Girl Scout’s inspiring community mural project!

Mural painted in City Heights inspires those who see it to register to vote.
Mural painted in City Heights inspires those who see it to register to vote.

Check out this great new mural in City Heights!

The mural was painted this weekend to inspire members of the community to vote in this year’s election. It’s the Girl Scout “Gold Award” project of Lauren Crane!

She and a team of volunteers have painted a portion of a wall at Mid City Wash on University Avenue with a cool red, white and blue design that asks: Are you registered to vote? A nearby table, presided over by a couple of other friendly Girl Scouts, provided voter registration information for anyone who might pass by on the sidewalk.

I met Lauren today, as well as the folks of the organization Love City Heights, who’ve helped to make this awesome project a reality. Painting such a public mural requires the approval, resources and coordination of many people, and earning a Gold Award is all about leadership . . . and using that leadership to actually make the world a better place.

Not only does this project provide great experience for an up-and-coming leader, but it provides inspiration to all of those who are associated with it, and encourages those who happen to see the mural to become more involved in their community, too!

Is this awesome, or what?

Girl Scout Lauren Crane is responsible for this Gold Award mural project.
Girl Scout Lauren Crane is responsible for this Gold Award mural project.
Community volunteers pitch in to help paint the inspiring mural.
Community volunteers pitch in to help paint the inspiring mural.
Here are some of the people who have volunteered and made a real difference.
Here are some of the people who have volunteered and made a real difference.
A Guide to Voting in California pamphlets on a nearby table.
A Guide to Voting in California pamphlets on a nearby table.
An important community project brought to life by a Girl Scout, working to make the world a better place.
An important community project brought to life by a Girl Scout, working to make the world a better place.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Old mural that encourages voting vanishes!

American's future: your choice. VOTE.
An old mural painted on a building in downtown San Diego. America’s future: your choice. VOTE.

For years and years, the above mural has decorated the side of a building on Broadway near the City College trolley station. It encourages voting.

The familiar old mural will soon completely disappear as new construction in front of it rises.

It’s an election year, so I figured this mural deserved one final look!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Music education fund honors past Civic Organist.

The Spreckels Organ Society has announced that their increasingly important music education fund is now named after beloved past Civic Organist Jared Jacobsen.

According to the Spreckels Organ Society website’s page concerning this news, the Jared Jacobsen Educational Fund: “…underwrites the visits made by elementary school class groups to the Spreckels Organ Pavilion for mini-concerts and a peek backstage…” In addition, new financial support offered up in honor of Jared has allowed the Spreckels Organ Society to produce “a foundation on which to plan more ‘distance learning’ options for educational programs, identifying projects that can introduce the organ to students everywhere…”

There are certain things I especially love in San Diego that I blog about repeatedly. The Spreckels Organ in Balboa Park is near the top of that list. I can’t tell you how much enjoyment and inspiration I’ve received while attending free Sunday organ concerts over the years.

Indeed, thousands of music lovers in San Diego and around the world are inspired by the great Spreckels Organ. And by San Diego’s extraordinary Civic Organists, too!

So, during this period in time when we’re all trying to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, I was excited to learn the Spreckels Organ Society is planning to implement more distance learning. Music in our schools, and in the life of young people, should thrive no matter the present circumstances! Don’t you think?

Imagine. Kids have the amazing opportunity to learn from Raúl Prieto Ramírez, one of the world’s recognized top concert organists! That’s pretty special.

If you’d like to make a donation to the Jared Jacobsen Educational Fund, click here then scroll down for more detailed information.

A very favorite mural lives in Pacific Beach.

An extraordinary mural at Pacific Beach Elementary School painted in 2010 by artist Isaias Crow.
An extraordinary mural at Pacific Beach Elementary School painted in 2010 by artist Isaias Crow.

Yesterday I encountered one of my very favorite murals in San Diego. It lives at Pacific Beach Elementary School. I say this mural lives, because the artwork is vibrant, inspiring and has genuine soul. I couldn’t take my eyes off it!

The artist is Isaias Crow, and it was painted in 2010. You can see more of Isaias Crow’s work here and here. He also mentored a young muralist in City Heights, as you might recall here!

According to his website, Isaias Crow is a motivational speaker with an inspiring message. If his words are anything like this art, they must be powerful indeed!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

A lesson I have learned from blogging.

Never stop flying.
Never stop flying.

This coming Sunday, Cool San Diego Sights turns seven years old.

Seven years doing this? Unbelievable.

Starting a blog and watching it grow very, very slowly over many years has taught me an important lesson about life. Patience and perseverance might be the two most important keys to success.

While having fun and doing things that I love–walking and writing–I have spent literally thousands of hours working on Cool San Diego Sights. A good chunk of my life has been spent taking and selecting photos, cropping and adjusting them, doing research, being a detective, plotting out future blogs, making corrections, being obsessive/compulsive, providing updates, pulling out my hair (what’s left of it), periodically wondering if I should quit this sometimes tedious exercise…

And now, to my complete surprise, I find myself getting traffic from Google News, News Break, Chrome’s suggested articles, and a remarkable variety of major websites.

As a result of Cool San Diego Sights’ growing success, one of my other websites, Short Stories by Richard, is being visited by students from classrooms around the world. Most are reading my little story One Thousand Likes, which I’m told might be used in an upcoming twelfth grade textbook produced by one of the world’s most prestigious publishers.

Pinch me.

Is this real?

To think this thing started on a whim. I’ve always walked. I had an unused little camera. I created a simple, easy WordPress blog. I figured I’d post a photo and a few words once in a while.

So if you’re a blogger or writer out there in a ridiculously enormous world that contains billions of web pages, and you’ve begun to wonder if it’s really worth the effort–keep at it! Don’t give up! Do your best! Stay passionate! Write well, be truthful, be original, be creative, be smart, be curious, understand and appeal to your readers’ humanity, and remember to always maintain your sense of humor!

And never lose hope! Because you never know!

Public art around the city inspires reading!

Public art that inspires reading can be found all across San Diego!

In the past I’ve photographed murals, sculptures, and even some beautiful glass panels that encourage reading. Often great books and authors are celebrated. Wisdom, knowledge, compassion and other timeless human values are shown to arise from reading. And, of course, there’s the simple enjoyment. Almost everyone loves to learn something interesting, or a good story!

After seeing artwork that promotes reading outside the Vista Library on Sunday, and posting photographs here, it occurred to me that I should link to more of this inspiring art!

What has my camera recorded so far?

Click the following links to see past photos!

Books fly in a children’s reading mural!

Dr. Seuss and Cat in the Hat sculpture at UCSD.

Wise words inspire readers at the San Diego Library.

Sculpture of Mark Twain reading book on bench.

New mural painted on Union-Tribune building.

Art and wisdom outside National City library.

La Jolla Library and the Voyage of Discovery.

Wizard of Oz glass panels at Coronado Library.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Three new murals are painted in City Heights!

More murals are being painted in City Heights!

This afternoon Carlos Quezada of Love City Heights showed me three great new murals and introduced me to one tropical fish store owner whose building is in the process of turning very colorful!

First up, we checked out a mural that was finished about a week and a half ago. It’s inspired by Lotería, and was painted by a picnic bench outside Filiberto’s Mexican Food at 3446 University Avenue. The youthful artist is Andrew Greyeyes. You can see his smiling photo and his other City Heights mural at Fruteria Disfrutalas here!

Next up, I took a photo of another new mural on the side of Sunset Kava. It’s titled Afro Garden and is by the artist Aicha Fofana. Find more of her work at @fofanaflowrs.

I love the super creative design. Very cool!

If the next mural (which is painted to the right of Afro Garden) seems familiar, I took a photo of it a while back, but it wasn’t quite finished. It’s by artist Mary Jhun. See what it looked like in early 2019 here.

Lastly, a big, super colorful mural is now being painted on two walls of the Tropical Fish Stop at 4647 University Avenue. Tropical birds and fish and a turtle greet people passing by, and entice everyone to come inside!

The artist is Imperial Beach-based Esmeralda Robles. You’ve seen some of her artwork already on Cool San Diego Sights. Click here and check out her dogs on the surfboard!

Carlos Quezada of Love City Heights told me this is the 27th mural his organization has helped bring to the community. Truly inspirational.

I was introduced to the friendly owner of Tropical Fish Stop and looked at all sorts of exotic fish and birds. The store has been open at this location for less than a year and they have plans for expansion! If you live in City Heights, or elsewhere in San Diego, drop on by and check it out!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Sunflowers on the Silver Strand.

There were many empty picnic benches on the bay side of Silver Strand State Beach today.

I chose a shady one that faced these bright sunflowers. Then I took out a notebook and struggled with my writing.

Words never seem adequate.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

If you’d like to read an inspirational little story about sunflowers and human kindness, click here!

Street art celebrates legendary musicians!

Talk to me so you can see what's going on.
Talk to me so you can see what’s going on.

Check out this extraordinary street art in East Village! All four sides of an electrical box have been colorfully painted with the images of legendary musicians. And the accompanying messages are inspirational.

The artwork includes legends of Motown, jazz, blues, pop music, hip-hop, reggae, and rock and roll. You can see them at the corner of Park Boulevard and Market Street.

How many of these famous musicians can you identify?

Legendary musicians are celebrated with inspirational street art in San Diego's East Village.
Legendary musicians are celebrated with inspirational street art in San Diego’s East Village.
Music can change the world.
Music can change the world.
Music and rhythm find their way into the secret places of the soul.
Music and rhythm find their way into the secret places of the soul.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Free Comic-Con Souvenir Book features Ray Bradbury!

With less than a week to go, Comic-Con International logos have appeared all over the San Diego Convention Center!

One of my favorite authors of all time–perhaps my favorite–is featured in this year’s Comic-Con Souvenir Book!

Ray Bradbury!

The 260-page epic 2020 Comic-Con Souvenir Book pays special tribute to 100 Years of Ray Bradbury. The book, which is jam-packed with articles, plus original artwork by many popular artists, is available for free download at the Comic-Con@Home web page by clicking here!

The free Souvenir Book is in PDF form and has many clickable links, which lead to all sort of cool offers and websites that will interest fans.

I love that the Souvenir Book’s cover and Introduction is: Ray Bradbury, Riding a Dinosaur, on Mars. I suppose that after Ray jumped off his dinosaur, he entered a rocket ship and headed to Earth, and walked right into your home, mind and heart.

Ray Bradbury combined fantasy, science fiction and reality in a way that was so brilliantly poetic and wildly imaginative and thought-provoking that I’m not exactly sure how to describe it. His uninhibited prose breaks through the walls in our mind and exposes regions of truth and wonder we might not otherwise explore.

When I lived in Denver, I attended a speech he made about his writing and his amazing life. That might have been the most inspirational (and fun) talk I’ve ever heard. He was brilliant, enthusiastic, but really just a nice, ordinary guy like you and me. And like you and me he was a big fan. A fan of creativity and pretty much everything in life. He loved both pop culture and fine art, and everything in between.

He wrote popular short stories in the days of pulp fiction magazines. He wrote stories and novels that are now considered literature. He wrote the screenplay for Hollywood classic Moby Dick. His celebrated stories have been turned into numerous television shows and movies. He has been a major influence for generations of writers and dreamers.  He was engaged in too many projects to mention, such as the creation of Disney’s Epcot Center. Even the idea of becoming safely lost in a city, put forth in his essay “The Aesthetics of Lostness,” was used in designing San Diego’s very own Horton Plaza Mall.

Did you know Elton John’s classic song Rocket Man was inspired by Ray Bradbury’s short story “The Rocket Man” in his book The Illustrated Man? (By the way, the story is simply amazing. It’s one of my favorites.)

Ray Bradbury loved and attended comic book conventions, and frequently spoke at San Diego Comic-Con. From the 1970 convention at the U.S. Grant Hotel, to the 2010 event at the San Diego Convention Center, he was a guest at Comic-Con over the course of four decades!

He was a tireless lover of life whose imagination soared into the farthest reaches of the universe and even beyond. His mind never stood still.

If you’re a writer, read his Zen in the Art of Writing to instantly wipe out writer’s block and unleash your full potential. And read all of his short stories again and again. He was a master. Some say he was the greatest writer of the 20th century.

I do a little writing of fiction myself. If you want to read a short story that I’m sure was unconsciously influenced by Ray Bradbury, you might enjoy clicking One Strange, Shimmering Dream.

Ray Bradbury, in my opinion, provided a perfect example of how to lead a full life. He loved people. He loved living. He never stopped dreaming and creating. He loved everything.

Now download the free 2020 Comic-Con Souvenir Book by clicking here and get busy filling your eyeballs with wonderfulness!