A shaper of surfboards and lives in Oceanside.

An inspirational exhibit at the California Surf Museum in Oceanside remembers a surfing legend.

Donald Takayama: Shaping Boards and Lives highlights the accomplishments of a champion surfer and one of the world’s most recognized surfboard shapers.

Looking at the extensive exhibit last weekend, I learned how Donald Takayama at the age of twelve moved from Hawaii to Southern California, having been invited to work at a Venice Beach surf shop, shaping boards. He was paid to wear a company logo on his shirt while surfing. Wikipedia states he may have been the world’s first professional surfer.

Takayama would move to Encinitas and then Oceanside, and continue to gain international fame shaping boards. He also would win many surfing competitions, including three consecutive Masters titles in the US Surfing Championships.

More impressively, he would win the hearts of many in the community. He was beloved by friends and family and surfers all over; he mentored future champions; and he even taught his friend, San Diego Chargers legend Junior Seau–also an Oceanside resident–how to surf.

Surfer Magazine named Donald Takayama one of 25 surfers who changed the sport. He has been inducted into the International Surfboard Builder Hall of Fame.

Visitors to the California Surf Museum will observe how one person changed the world around him in so many positive ways. They will see the enduring achievements of a great man.

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 Perfect Day (and other stories) in Oceanside!

What does a Perfect Day look like in Oceanside? To find out, you should visit the Oceanside Museum of Art!

In one museum gallery, the exhibited art of James E. Watts not only includes the above Perfect Day Blocks, but numerous other visual stories!

Here’s how the story of one Perfect Day begins…

…and how that Perfect Day ends.

Here’s the story of Frankenstein and his monster creation…

…and the story of Don Quixote, Sancho Panza, and two small horses…

…and the story of a female Prometheus…

…and the story of Quasimodo, Esmeralda and a goat.

Do these stories appear familiar? Perhaps you’ve already seen them “written” in James Watts’ little-known downtown San Diego studio: here and here and here.

If that’s the case, you might also recognize a few of these storytelling pieces in the Oceanside Museum of Art’s gift shop…

Art enthusiasts, take note! James Watts is a creative genius and an absolute, 100% original. He’s also a cool guy!

You need to visit the Oceanside Museum of Art to jump into his rich stories firsthand. Do so by July 17, 2022, when JAMES E. WATTS: STORYTELLER turns its last page.

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!

Sister cities observed at Oceanside Civic Center.

Curious eyes can make many interesting discoveries during a walk around the Oceanside Civic Center.

The last time I visited the beautiful Civic Center, I happened to notice a sign and a plaque that honor two of Oceanside’s sister cities: Pago Pago, American Samoa, and Fuji, Japan.

It might seem odd that Pago Pago maintains a close relationship with a city in Southern California, but Oceanside boasts one of the largest Samoan populations in the United States. Why? American Samoa has the highest rate of military enlistment of any U.S. state or territory. A large number of Marine Corps recruits are subsequently based at Camp Pendleton, Oceanside’s military neighbor.

Fuji, Japan has one sister city: Oceanside. The relationship was established in 1991. Fuji is located at the foot of tall, scenic Mount Fuji, one of Japan’s Three Holy Mountains.

I’ve learned that Oceanside has two additional sister cities: Ensenada, Mexico and Kisarazu, Japan.

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!

Regional artists inspire at Oceanside Museum of Art.

Want to be inspired? Head up to the Oceanside Museum of Art!

The museum’s 2022 Artist Alliance Biennial will probably take your breath away, with its many works of outstanding art. The pieces were all created by regional artists; of about 900 entries juried, only 61 were accepted. The exhibit will continue through May 1, 2022.

As I moved through the gallery yesterday, I thought about human potential and began to feel little overwhelmed.

There’s no end to the creativity that can issue from human contemplation and imagination. Our potential is truly infinite.

But life is so very short.

It occurred to me that in one passing life, eyes can see very little–an infinitesimal fraction of the entire world and all the incredible art ever made, and that will ever or could ever be made.

Oh, to see it all, go everywhere, do everything . . .

The minutes I spent at the Oceanside Museum of Art were very sweet.

At the Heart of Life’s Journey, 2021, Cathy Carey. Oil on linen.
Ascent in Yellow, 2021, Fiona Phillips. Oil and copper leaf.
Marionette Puppet #4, 2020, Linda Phillips. Oil on canvas.
Laguna Boys, 2022, Kimberleigh Wood. Oil on 2.5″ wood boxed panel.
El Gallo Rojo, 2021, Frank Vining. Epoxy fiberglass and sculpting epoxy.
Free as a Bird, 2021, Sue DeWulf. Low fire ceramic sculptural assemblage.
Coming Up Roses, 2020, Roberta Dyer. Mixed media on canvas.
Park Under a Golden Night, 2021, Duke Windsor. Acrylic and applied imitation gold leaf.
There Goes Mom, 2020, Lisa Bebi. Acrylic and mixed media on canvas.
Sick King, 2015, Kenda Francis. Mixed acrylic media on canvas.

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!

Golden hamburgers tempt eyes in Oceanside!

Huge juicy hamburgers, served with precious gold, tempt the eyes of those visiting the Oceanside Museum of Art!

I said gold?


The hamburger paintings and a sculpture, by San Diego artist Duke Windsor, are made to shine with the application of gold leaf. He was inspired by the gilt religious icons in the collection of Balboa Park’s Timken Museum. (Would that make these hamburgers secular icons?)

This savory exhibition of rather peculiar still lifes is titled Duke Windsor: Nothing’s Impossible.

When you’re an artist, indeed all things are possible. Even a luscious golden hamburger fit for a king!

I wonder . . . did that butterfly land on lunch during a picnic? Or does it symbolize something in particular?

Better place your order soon. The fast food will expire next weekend, when this cool exhibition ends!

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!

Van Gogh paints sunflowers in Oceanside!

Famous painter Vincent Van Gogh is frequently encountered in Oceanside, at the south end of Artist Alley. He’s filling a canvas with sunflowers.

I saw him today, and his painting appears almost finished!

The last time I took photos in Artist Alley, which I posted here, Van Gogh was nowhere to be seen.

The fun artwork, which unfortunately has been vandalized, is signed Snyder.

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!

Oceanside festival celebrates Filipino culture!

The 20th Annual Filipino Cultural Celebration was held today at Oceanside’s Civic Center Plaza. I arrived at the popular festival as it opened and stayed for a bit to enjoy all sorts of colorful entertainment!

After National Anthems were sung and presentations were made by community leaders, costumed dancing and singing commenced. The audience was wowed by an incredible fire dance by Dane Kaneshiro. You might’ve enjoyed his energetic performances at SeaWorld. As you’ll see in the upcoming photographs, he also custom paints longboards with great Polynesian inspired art. See his Kinjo Arts Instagram page here.

I also enjoyed chatting with a representative of the House of the Philippines about their new cottage in Balboa Park and watching kids perform tricks with tiny fingerboards on a model miniature skatepark. Of course, there was lots of food, vendors and educational opportunities, too!

The family-friendly festival was presented by the Filipino-American Cultural Organization and the Oceanside Public Library.

I was surprised to learn the second largest population of Filipinos outside of the Philippines resides right here in San Diego!

Another big Filipino festival is coming up next weekend in downtown San Diego at Waterfront Park. I plan to be there!

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!

Life and history at the Oceanside Pier.

Walk along the Oceanside Pier and you’ll encounter life. You’ll see walkers, bicyclists, people gazing across the water, talking, fishing, and beachgoers and surfers down below. If you have a curious mind and observant eyes, you’ll also discover history.

I walked along the popular pier on Labor Day and took these photos.

You can read the following historical plaques, if you’d like. Those many names carved into the wood railing were from a community fundraiser, whose proceeds were used to rebuild the pier in 1988, the year of its centennial.

The Oceanside Pier was originally built in 1888 and destroyed two years later by winter storms. Over the years, there have been six different incarnations. Today the pier is 1,942 feet long. You can learn more about its history here.

Oceanside Municipal Fishing Pier. Reconstruction 1987.
Oceanside Pier. 1925. Historic Resource 4-204.

Check out this very cool fish-shaped bike rack! I saw it down by the beachside boardwalk.

Some benches near the foot of the pier memorialize loved ones…

Just a few of the many names on the weathered wood rails along the length of the pier…

Across from the concession shack, with its souvenirs, snacks and bait, you’ll find a collage of faded photographs.

Cherished memories over the years. Happy days fishing…

Ruby’s Diner at the end of the pier permanently closed early this year after three decades of operation. A sign indicated the building will return to life in the future.

History goes on.

Why the many flags nearby? It’s Labor Day, 2021.

Another fine day passes by. Time to head back…

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!

More cool art in downtown Oceanside!

Enjoy the following cool photographs! They were taken today during a long, meandering walk around downtown Oceanside.

All of these murals and other bits of art were new to my camera. For whatever reason, I didn’t see this artwork during previous walks. Some of the murals appear to have been painted more recently.

If you’d like to revisit several old blog posts featuring a lot more street art around Oceanside, you can click here or here or here or here or here!

Okay. Here we go! Read the photo captions for any more information that I observed…

Underwater scene at Cynthia’s Artistic Expressions Art Gallery and Sip and Paint Studio. Colorful images include tropical fish, shark and mermaid. By W.B. @caegallery.
SpringHill Suites mural shows jellyfish holding a surfboard!
Mural by Paul Knebels, 2021, decorates Fugu Ice Cream & Taiyaki.
Mural by Skye Walker Art at Harbor Liquor-Beer and Fine Wines.
Old, faded mural at Venetos Cucina Italiana depicts Oceanside Pier and beach scene. By Mark McBee, 1998.
Mural at EVE Oceanside, which appears to have been created by Anlicuado, 2019.
Window graphic shows military aircraft and American eagle by the Oceanside Pier. “Dedicated to the men and women who serve with bravery and distinction their Constitution and Country. Painted by Hernandez, 9-11-2015.
Cool shell and tile mosaic decorates one unique Oceanside building.
Superhero guards entrance to Panels Comic Book Coffee Bar.
Murals add color to alley by Purrfect Auto Service.
Eye-catching mural on wall at Rebel Rebel Hair Salon, by @hirotton.
Lush artwork adds life to front of Plantology Cafe, by artist Aja Saint Claire Seabron (@_honeyspyder_).
Beautiful artwork above front door of Don Myers Stained Glass.
Fun turtle table outside Firestone Auto Care.
Mural on south wall of GrowGeneration.
Trippy spray paint graffiti art on north side of GrowGeneration.
A kinetic metal sculpture rises from the sidewalk on South Coast Highway.
Artistic drop of water hangs in front of Sonora Refillery.
A very unique and artistic garden in front of Seaside Flowers and Gifts.

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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Amusing photos from an Oceanside walk!

ON THIS SITE IN 1897 NOTHING HAPPENED. A funny plaque on the Inner World Smoke Shop building.

This morning I took the first scheduled Coaster train up to Oceanside. I wanted to watch the annual Annual Labor Day Oceanside Pier Swim, but it was already over when I arrived. Oops!

But I did go on a long random walk and discovered a bunch of cool stuff!

First off, enjoy this collection of amusing photos. It appears many people in Oceanside have a good sense of humor!

I spotted these as I sauntered down various sidewalks…

Only COOL people allowed. A humorous COVID-19 sign.
It seems even the chef at Mary’s Family Restaurant has to wait in line.
Yellow hand seats at Alfredo’s Mexican Food.
Beer speaks. People mumble. Here’s lookin’ atcha, Oceanside!
Is he heading for Trestles? Malibu? The Jetties?
Beware the hammerhead shark at the entrance to Sandy Toes Gift Store. That’s one big mouth!
A slice of metal pie is included in the patio fence at Carmine’s Pizza.
A giant rooster guards the entrance to Carrillo Pottery.
A funny face painted on a window at Knuckleheads Barbershop.
O’side or No Side. Humorous graphic at the Real Surf Shop, on the rear of their old Chevrolet Apache.

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!