A winter’s day walk in Balboa Park.

Even in winter, on a gray, overcast, slightly drizzly day, Balboa Park is one of the most wonderful places on Earth.

I took an easy walk through the park yesterday.

I saw friends. I saw strangers. I saw families, people young and old.

I saw smiles and expressions of happiness and wonder.

Enjoy these photographs…

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!

Students reveal genealogy, humanity at History Center.

An exhibition at the San Diego History Center in Balboa Park assembles the genealogical research of students at High Tech High.

The High Tech High “Rubber Duckies” have discovered the fascinating stories of their ancestors, and have shared them online. The stories contain joys, struggles, successes and failures–they are memories of complex lives filled with humanity whose echoes still touch the living.

At the museum, visitors can scan QR codes to read the stories. Or you can read them now by clicking Pre 1900, 1901-1950, or 1951-Present. Then click Family History at the top of each story summary to read the student report.

Many of the students have immigrant ancestors with stories that will break or lift your heart. Some distant ancestors are quite surprising, such as William the Conqueror.

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!

Wishing everyone a sweet New Year!

Yes, the older I get, the faster time flies. I still haven’t figured that out.

I remember thinking as a boy: Wow, I’m probably going to be around in the distant future . . . in the 21st century! There’s going to be a year 2000! The very notion I’d be living in a whole new millennium seemed inconceivable.

Now it’s 2022!

In the blink of an eye!

And here comes the metaverse!

Having made it this far, I guess we all deserve a virtual doughnut. (A yummy Donut Bar one, too!)

Wishing everyone a sweet New Year!

You Are Not Alone in San Diego.

I saw this new mural the other day while walking along West Morena Boulevard, at the south end of San Diego’s Bay Park neighborhood. It’s near the new Tecolote Road trolley station.

Nobody in this world should ever feel alone. Even if you have no family. Even if you have difficult problems. Even if you’re feeling depressed or hopeless.

San Diego–and indeed every community in the world–has friendly, compassionate people. Find them.

I see the mural’s artist is Catherine Carlton.

If you are elderly or disabled, San Diego has a You Are Not Alone program that will call you regularly to see if you’re doing okay. Learn more about it here!

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!

Glimpses of San Diego from a bus.

I ride the bus a lot.

I usually use a combination of buses and trolleys for my work commute. I also ride different routes all around the city on weekends for my photographic adventures. (Old walking legs must be rested occasionally!)

I’ve been less active than usual lately, so my blogging material at the moment is sparse. But I do have one folder on my computer containing past images that were captured while riding the bus!

If we’re stopped and the window is clean, I can get crisp shots. Other shots are rather blurry. They all provide a momentary glimpse of our city’s life.

These photos are unedited, just scaled down a little. If you can identify all of the San Diego locations, you win a smile!

(Yes, one photo wasn’t taken while riding a bus, but as I waited at the Fashion Valley Transit Center. The skateboarder and ducks were simply perfect.)

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!

The storytelling blocks of artist James Watts!

One of the most wonderfully creative artists in San Diego has a little-known studio downtown. His name is James Watts.

I blogged about my first visit to his amazing studio several years ago here.

Today I was walking home after a long adventure (many blogs coming up) when I saw his studio door was open. And there he was working away! Hammering at flat pieces of printed aluminum, making colorful storytelling blocks!

What are storytelling blocks? They feature images from human experience on different sides–such as night on one side and day on the other. You can flip them any which way, then insert them into a wooden box with fixed compartments! These visual stories are like small treasures or keepsakes. Dreamlike, they are open to interpretation.

He also showed me his Box of Yes and No (that uses words from different languages and a couple of eyeballs) and a shelf full of storytelling cubes. Plus lots of other cool artwork!

His fantastic Frankenstein monster that debuted earlier this year is so cool it’s coming up separately on my next blog post!

I love the unlimited energy and joy of life that flows from James Watts’ hands. His art is primarily about storytelling. His studio is also filled with large sculptures based on Japanese kokeshi. The sculptures creatively depict Don Quixote, Prometheus, Jonah, Pandora, Joan of Arc, and a whole host of diverse characters from literature.

He told me some of his storytelling pieces will be in a future exhibition at the Oceanside Museum of Art. So you might be getting a little bit of a preview here!

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!

Imagination and reality on Kettner.

Everything you can imagine is real–on Kettner Boulevard.

This morning I saw this long mural across the street from the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. Looking up, I discovered window washers on a downtown building. They appeared to be suspended in a maze of reflecting mirrors.

I imagined eyes looking down from places behind the mirrors, searching the streets of reality below…imagining–

Everything you can imagine is real.

But can everything that is real be imagined?

Incidentally, the mural’s quote is by Picasso. The words, many colors and geometric fragments were painted by @StefanieBalesFineArt.

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!

A story about one teacher’s strange lesson.

A mysterious reflection in the rippled water.

Readers who are new to Cool San Diego Sights probably don’t know that, when I’m not walking around the city taking photographs, I love to write fiction.

Well, I’ve completed another very short story. This one is about a school teacher and a very peculiar lesson taught to her students.

The lesson isn’t merely strange–it might be one of the most important lessons any person, young or old, could learn.

To read it, click here!

County ceremony at Day of the Dead altar.

This morning I walked down to the San Diego County Administration Building to view their Day of the Dead altar. Like the one last year, this new altar on some outdoor steps remembers those who’ve died from COVID-19.

When I arrived a gentleman was setting up additional luminarias and flowers.

Baltazar Hernandez, who is also Vice President of the City Heights Día de los Muertos, was busy making the altar more beautiful and meaningful.

He informed me there would be a special ceremony in the evening, so I returned to the County Administration Building after work.

The ceremony began with a blessing of the altar by Baltazar, who wore Danza Azteca garb. A few short speeches followed.

The most powerful words were spoken by someone who had tragically lost a loved one. She told everyone: “That empty place that you have in your heart–fill it with love.”

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!

Day of the Dead walk around Old Town.

Today many are celebrating Día de los Muertos–Mexico’s traditional Day of the Dead. It is a time when departed loved ones are remembered and honored.

Early this evening I took a short walk around Old Town San Diego to see what I might see.

Many are still cautious because of the COVID-19 pandemic, so there wasn’t the usual crowd and activities. But I did find music and colorful Catrinas at Fiesta de Reyes, and sugar skull face painting at a few spots in the State Park and along San Diego Avenue. I also came across a couple of Día de los Muertos altars.

These are my photos…

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!

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