You missed Red Shoe Day? Donate online!

It’s Red Shoe Day in San Diego!

Volunteers hanging out at busy intersections this morning were collecting donations for the Ronald McDonald House, which helps sick kids who are being treated at local hospitals, providing a nearby place for their families to stay!

Did you miss an opportunity to place some money in a red shoe this morning? Well, you can donate online. Do it here!

Thank you!

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!

Star Trek’s tricorder inspires new medical technology!

An extraordinary panel was held this afternoon at the Comic-Con Museum in San Diego.

The Science and Science Fiction of Star Trek’s Tricorder brought together four panelists who are helping to lead our way into the future. It will be a future of almost unlimited possibility, replete with groundbreaking technologies what were barely imagined when the original television series was created.

Dr. Erik Viirre, who acted as moderator, is Professor of Neurosciences at UC San Diego; Dr. Paul E. Jacobs is Chairman and CEO of XCOM Labs, and former executive chairman of Qualcomm; Dr. Yvonne Cagle is a physician, professor, retired U.S. Air Force Colonel, and former NASA astronaut; Eugene “Rod” Roddenberry, the CEO of Roddenberry Entertainment and head of the Roddenberry Foundation, is the son of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry and Majel Barrett. He is also an executive producer on Star Trek: Discovery, Star Trek: Picard, Star Trek: Lower Decks, Star Trek: Prodigy and Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.

The first thing the audience learned is that all four panelists are fans of Star Trek! (Did you know that the former head of Qualcomm, many moons ago, was founding member of Star Fleet Club La Jolla?)

The next thing we learned was that Star Trek has inspired generations of scientists, engineers, inventors and visionaries. Many technological advances we know today were first conceived by Gene Roddenberry and the experts he turned to for advice when writing the show. He wanted Star Trek to be believable and largely based on science.

We were reminded how Star Trek’s communicator became the actual flip phone, and how today’s smartphones have essentially become Star Trek’s tricorder. Think about it!

The various multi-function tricorders carried by Spock, McCoy, and other Star Trek characters could provide a user with all sorts of useful information. A tricorder could be used to ascertain location and weather, or analyze the physical environment or obtain cultural information. A tricorder could be used as a universal translator. It could even be used to assess one’s medical condition.

In many ways, your smartphone does all of those things today!

We then learned our own future contains even greater possibilities.

The panelists explained how a smartphone, or handheld mobile device, used by an ordinary person, could become a practical health tool. For example, such a medical “tricorder” could analyze the sound of irregular breathing or a cough and determine a likely medical condition or disease. And such a device, by detecting signals or other data from the user’s body, could provide a warning that a stroke or heart attack is imminent.

Projects like that are underway today!

Five years ago, The Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE was a $10 million global competition to incentivize the development of innovative technologies capable of accurately diagnosing a set of 13 medical conditions independent of a healthcare professional or facility, ability to continuously measure 5 vital signs, and have a positive consumer experience. Read more about it here.

The co-winning Canadian team, CloudDX, propelled by their Tricorder XPRIZE participation, has gone on to commercialize remote, connected patient monitoring hardware and software that anyone can easily use at home!

And that’s just the beginning.

On the International Space Station today, 250 miles above Earth, astronauts wear a Smart Shirt that senses body temperature, heart rate, blood oxygen, EKG, and even the activity of heart valves!

Can you imagine a virtual reality doctor’s visit in your future? (Oh, wait. Star Trek envisioned this already. USS Voyager’s Emergency Medical Holographic Doctor.) Advances in artificial intelligence and tele-medicine have just barely begun.

(And yes, virtual reality was envisioned many decades ago. It was the basis for many tangled plots on Star Trek: The Next Generation. The holodeck!)

Those who sat listening to this extraordinary Comic-Con Museum panel learned all of this, and more. We saw that, in the hands of thoughtful people who desire positive, healthy outcomes, our technological future can be very bright, 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!

A park designed for healing in La Mesa.

Briercrest Park in La Mesa was designed for healing.

The tranquil, beautiful park is located adjacent to the Herrick Community Health Library, and near many medical office buildings in La Mesa, not to mention Sharp Grossmont Hospital.

Briercrest Park, at 9001 Wakarusa Street, was purposely designed to be wheelchair friendly. Paths winding beneath shady sycamores and oaks lead to benches that accommodate those in wheelchairs. A special stone alcove, which you can see in my photographs, was specially constructed for this purpose.

It has been demonstrated that being outside in nature promotes healing. I know that, for me, fresh air and sunshine produces a greater sense of well-being.

Nature was an important element in the design of this park. There are flowers, gentle bridges over still water, and ample opportunity for easy exploration or quiet meditation. There is also stunning public artwork at every turn.

A mosaic butterfly at one entrance symbolizes transformation and renewal. It’s placement on the pathway was intentional. The butterfly along with other park mosaics (including a gorgeous labyrinth) were designed by renowned artist James Hubbell, along with his award-winning architect son, Drew.

I learned all of this today as I toured the park during the 2022 San Diego Architectural Foundation’s annual Open House event. My next blog post will detail what I learned about the amazing mosaics, plus other unique aspects of Briercrest Park.

If I lived nearby, I would walk through this park often. To help soothe my small day-to-day hurts. To feel whole.

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!

History and the Hearne Surgical Hospital Building.

I often walk past the old Hearne Surgical Hospital Building in downtown San Diego. It stands near the corner of Fourth Avenue and Ash Street.

A plaque by the door indicates the building is Historical Site No. 115, and that it was designed by the Quayle Brothers and built in 1906.

But until a few minutes ago that’s all I knew.

With the help of Google, I found some fascinating history concerning the building!

Part of a book titled Hearne History describes Dr. Joseph Carter Hearne’s medical practice in San Diego. The following information is transcribed here.

The doctor located in San Diego, Cal., Dec., 1891, where he soon took his place at the head of the medical fraternity. Indeed it is not too much to say that he is well recognized as one of the leading, if not the leading, surgeon of Southern California. Soon after his arrival at San Diego he was appointed local surgeon to the Southern California railway

On March 8, 1906, the doctor completed and opened for the use of his own patients a Private Surgical Hospital, which in appointment and equipment is acknowledged to be equaled by none. Surgeons connected with the foreign battle ships visiting the harbor of San Diego are loud in its praise and say that there is no hospital abroad, public or private, that equals it. It has accommodations for twenty-five patients and is fully equipped.

So, apparently, the building you see in my photographs was, in its day, one of the most impressive hospitals to be found anywhere!

It is now an apartment building.

The Quayle Brothers architects, who designed the Hearne Surgical Hospital Building, were responsible for other important structures in San Diego, including the 1928 North Park Theatre and the 1939 San Diego Police Department Headquarters. They are probably best remembered as the designers of San Diego’s original City Stadium, which was built for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition. Standing beside San Diego High School, it was later renamed Balboa Stadium.

If you’d like to see photos of the very handsome Alfred Haines House in Golden Hill, which the Quayle Brothers also designed, check out a past blog post 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!

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!

How kids in hospitals become superheroes!

Young patients in the hospital or an outpatient setting have the opportunity to become superheroes!

Kids can gain amazing superpowers (and smiles) with the help of the Healing Little Heroes Foundation!

The HLH Foundation brings encouragement, happiness and hope to sick and disabled children, especially those with cancer. How? By helping kids play the role of superhero!

I met Dr. Justin Wu today. He’s co-founder of the HLH Foundation. We met at the Fandom Invasion event today in Escondido. He brought three cool cars along which kids love, including Lightning McQueen from the animated movie Cars!

Justin is an unselfish, enthusiastic guy who is changing people’s lives–and the world–for the better.

Want to learn more? Click 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!

Love in San Ysidro for those lost.

AMOR spelled out on a fence in San Ysidro. A project for Día de los Muertos in 2020 to remember lost loved ones during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Today I enjoy a long walk in South Bay.

As I wandered through San Ysidro, I passed the parklike space where the neighborhood celebrates Día de San Ysidro/San Ysidro Day each year. I found the Spanish word AMOR, which in English means love, spelled out on a fence.

As you can see, AMOR was made from numerous small circular tags. They represent the many who’ve passed away this year from COVID-19. It was a project earlier this year of Casa Familiar, a South Bay community development organization.

Unfortunately, the virus is still taking a very big toll in mid-December, as the world waits to be vaccinated in the months ahead.

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!

Two special trees at Alvarado Hospital.

I had to wait a few minutes at the Alvarado trolley station this afternoon, so I walked across the street to look at some brilliantly shining green trees.

The beautiful trees stand in front of Alvarado Hospital Medical Center. Each had a plaque at its base.

I read the words..

Anthony J. Wapnick, M.D. - Dedicated and caring physician - He will never be replaced in the hearts of those whose lives he touched.
Anthony J. Wapnick, M.D. – Dedicated and caring physician – He will never be replaced in the hearts of those whose lives he touched.
Judy Cherry - Microbiologist - A special friend and colleague.
Judy Cherry – Microbiologist – A special friend and colleague.

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!

Chalk art supports Rady Children’s Hospital.

Look at the beautiful chalk art that I spotted this morning! It was created a day or two ago on Fifth Avenue in the Gaslamp by local artist Cecelia Linayao, whose work you’ve seen in many posts on my blog.

I learned upon reading words at my feet that September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, and that the artwork’s purpose is to support Rady Children’s Hospital. Rady is where children throughout San Diego go to be treated by world-class doctors with the most advanced medicine.

If you are inspired by the story of two young brothers told by this chalk art, then please visit the Rady Children’s Hospital donation page by clicking here. You can also volunteer!

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!

Standing woman sculpture at UC San Diego.

There’s an unusual sculpture at UC San Diego rising high in the air between the Medical Teaching Facility and the Basic Sciences Building. I say it’s unusual because it doesn’t feature a “usual” depiction of the human form and I’m not sure how it affects me.

The piece’s title is Standing, and its creator is artist Kiki Smith. The public art was added to UCSD’s Stuart Collection in 1998.

Gazing up at the small, vulnerable figure you’ll notice what appear to be nails sticking out from her upper body. It looks like an example of a surgical procedure in a medical textbook. It makes her look like a passive, punctured thing, not a vibrant human. The form appears tired, aged, fragile, resigned to her inescapable condition. It strikes me the sculpture depicts a confrontation with our human mortality. She stands atop a severed tree trunk. Her face seems to ask: Why me? When the fountain feature is on (it wasn’t when I walked by), water drips from her hands. I almost wonder if the dripping water makes one think of draining blood.

Yet, to me, the sculpture isn’t really that morbid. It’s simply seems a clear-eyed observation of the material human condition.

An interpretation from the website that describes the piece emphasizes certain dualities: “Cast from a live model, the female figure atop Standing calls forth thoughts of human strength and frailty, and both the power and the limits of medicine. Serene and ageless, she stands in a Madonna-like pose that is both vulnerable and generous. Ribbons of water – the source of life – flow from her hands into the rock-lined pond below, with a soothing, mellifluous sound.”

Perhaps my own interpretation is too bleak. It’s hard to see past those nails. They remind me of an earthworm dissection I performed using a square of cardboard and pins in high school. Perhaps if clear bright water was flowing from her hands my feelings would change.

If there is strength and generosity in this sculpture, it comes from within the form, from a place unseen–an organ those sharp painful nails cannot reach. And the water’s sound must be the gentle sound of present living. A sonorous whisper from a human standing.

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!

Amish in San Diego, postcards, and Mexico.

I learned something interesting yesterday.

I was downtown inside the Santa Fe Depot, waiting at the train station’s kiosk for my microwaved chicken burrito, when I noticed a stand containing postcards. I wondered, in this digital age of ubiquitous cell phone cameras, where anyone can instantly post photos to social media, who would buy postcards? I asked and received a surprising reply. Amish tourists love postcards!

Which makes sense. The Amish tend to live much more simple lives, remaining largely “in the past” and shunning many of the conveniences of modern technology. And it seems to me that in some respects this might be wise. Less distraction. More eye to eye human contact.

I’ve often wondered why I sometimes see Amish folk walking around downtown San Diego, gazing about in wonder at the tall buildings and hustle and bustle around them. It seems a very odd place for these people to be. One thinks of the Amish driving pony carts in the rural Midwest or Northeast, not walking about urban California in the extreme southwestern corner of the United States.

I was told by my friend at the kiosk that the Amish come to San Diego to seek medical treatments in Mexico. I did an internet search and found this page with some explanation.

I asked my friend what Amish “tourists” were like. He explained they tend to be very quiet, but if you initiate a conversation they are surprisingly friendly and open, and in many respects much like you or me.

Next time I see these plain-dressed folk walking about, I think I’ll smile and say hello.

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!