Strength and determination in wheelchair rugby.

Today I watched some of the world’s best athletes compete. I headed up to Balboa Park to experience the 28th Annual Best of the West Quad Rugby Tournament in the Municipal Gymnasium. Most people know the sport as wheelchair rugby, or murderball. That last name sounds rather tough, but it’s for a good reason.

The quad rugby players that participated in this tournament are among the best in the world. Some have competed in the Paralympic Games. There were teams from California, Arizona, Texas and Minnesota, and even from London and Australia. The amazing team from Australia was this year’s Best of the West champion.

At the very top level, wheelchair rugby players are unbelievable athletes. They are strong, fast, agile, and can turn and accelerate on a dime. To block opposing players, trap them defensively, or upset an unfolding strategy, players will literally smash their chairs into one another. As if in some sort of crazy demolition derby, the bashing wheelchairs sometimes tip sideways, even turn over. And the players don’t seem fazed in the least. Each is an irresistible force, determined to assist their teammates and find a way through the opposition to score, no matter how.

Here are a few photos that capture a bit of the action.

The composition of one photograph turned out to be exceptionally dynamic, but the image was completely unfocused, so I altered it to appear like a cool oil painting.

You really have to see quad rugby in person to appreciate the heart of these players.

Raw human determination can be unstoppable.

Watching quad rugby is inspirational.

For an explanation of quad rugby, click this photo and it will expand for easy reading.
For an explanation of quad rugby, click this photo and it will expand for easy reading.

The victorious Australian quad rugby team celebrates by joining hands.
The Australian quad rugby team celebrated their championship by forming a circle, joining hands and rocking the gymnasium with a spirited, victorious shout!

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!

Three short stories about creativity and freedom.

I’ve recently written three short stories that touch upon human creativity and freedom. And the unending struggle . . . and the infinite mystery . . . and slow, bitter anguish . . . and sudden inspiration . . . and that joy a creator experiences when they’ve assembled a thing that seems powerful and true. In other words, that wonderful but turbulent journey undertaken by every passionate artist.

These three new works of fiction can be found on my writing blog Short Stories by Richard. How it has grown! Please enjoy the following links:

A Secret Junkyard is an odd, funny story that concerns black despair and creative rebirth.

A Long, Deep Drink suggests that satisfaction can be found by turning to gaze in a different direction.

The Pistachio Rocket is about launching upward, ignoring rules.

I hope you enjoy reading these! You might be surprised!

Two cool murals in an Ocean Beach alley.

Spiritual revelation is suggested by many eyes and mandalas in an Ocean Beach mural. This cool street art can be experienced in a little-visited alley. The whole can be glimpsed from any place where you stand.
Spiritual revelation is suggested by many eyes and mandalas in an Ocean Beach mural. This cool street art can be experienced in a quiet alley. The whole of this world can be glimpsed from any place where you stand.

Each life has an infinity of roads not taken. Robert Frost touched upon regret with his famous poem. But, you know, every road that is taken contains an abundance of life, if we choose to see.

Yesterday, during the Ocean Beach Street Fair, I ventured, by chance, through a seldom-visited alley. And discovered two amazing murals.

And then I moved on. Chances are I won’t go that way again.

Hope, flying saucers and flaming green hair, part of a second mural on two walls in the same alley.
Hope, flying saucers and flaming green hair, part of a second cool mural in the same alley.
Guys load empty kegs during the Ocean Beach Street Fair.
Guys load empty kegs during the Ocean Beach Street Fair. Day-to-day work, surrounded by wonder.
Swirling, blooming beauty painted in a nook. A mermaid is perched above flowers.
Swirling, blooming beauty painted in a nook. A mermaid is perched above flowers.
I see a lot of names. I assume these are the beautiful mural's creators. I might never meet them, but their art has touched me.
I see a lot of names. I assume these are the beautiful mural’s creators. I might never meet them, but their art has touched me.
This alley that is seldom taken contains untrod flowers, and life, and no regrets.
The human world contains many alleys. This one contains a glimpse of untrod flowers, and surprising life. We turn a corner right or left, and continue the journey.

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!

To read a few thoughtful stories I’ve written, click Short Stories by Richard.

A brilliant recital at the San Diego Opera.

The San Diego Opera has performances scheduled for April and May 2016. Madama Butterfly and Great Scott.
The San Diego Opera has performances scheduled for April and May 2016: Madama Butterfly and Great Scott.

Yesterday evening I attended a recital by Ferruccio Furlanetto at Copley Symphony Hall in San Diego. The concert was a collaboration between the San Diego Opera and the San Diego Symphony.

Simply: it was a powerful and deeply moving experience. The combination of a full symphony orchestra and one of the world’s great opera stars stirred my soul and mind in a way that very, very few things can–not unlike the world’s greatest literature or poetry.

Both the quiet moments and the thunder seemed the very elements of human life, but exquisitely condensed, made poignant. During the diverse program, Ferruccio’s voice rose through the hall with sadness, memory and yearning. It was a performance that lifted me as I listened, and as I watched.

And I didn’t understand most of the words that he sang!

A voice that can express high passion with minute subtlety is a rare thing, indeed. Ferruccio was brilliant, and now I want to experience more of the opera.

It was a shame that I saw very few youthful faces in the audience. I suppose the opera is a medium that relies largely on reverence to tradition. But the opera could easily speak to modern, younger audiences. Much of human experience is universal. We all have those same feelings that are expressed in the opera: the same passions and tensions that result from human interaction. I challenge writers and composers to renew the opera and make it less stuffy, less repetitive, less beholden to the past. Our present world is full of great issues and movements. Make these part of a living art, one that moves boldly and experimentally forward into the future.

Because art is ultimately about life. Our lives.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can enjoy more Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Do you like to read short pieces of thought-provoking fiction? Please click Short Stories by Richard.

Wisconsin Badgers fans go wild in San Diego!

Wisconsin Badgers fans go wild! Passion runs amok at the base of the Unconditional Surrender statue near the USS Midway Museum.
Wisconsin Badgers fans go wild! Passion runs amok at the base of the Unconditional Surrender statue near the USS Midway Museum.

In the past few days, during my walks, I’ve noticed that a dedicated army of Wisconsin Badgers (and Green Bay Packers) fans has descended upon San Diego for the 2015 Holiday Bowl. The University of Wisconsin–Madison football team will be competing against USC at Qualcomm Stadium on Wednesday. By all accounts, it should be a great game!

Here are some random fun pics that I’ve assembled!

Wisconsin Football semi-trailer truck parked conspicuously behind the San Diego Convention Center. The years of their 14 Big Ten Championships are proudly displayed.
Wisconsin Football semi-trailer truck parked conspicuously behind the San Diego Convention Center. The years of their 14 Big Ten Championships are proudly displayed.
The red rig is almost obscured by decals dedicated to Wisconsin's numerous past bowl game appearances.
The red rig is almost obscured by decals dedicated to Wisconsin’s numerous past bowl game appearances.
Billboard on Pacific Coast Highway just north of downtown San Diego reads: JUMP AROUND AND BUCKLE DOWN. THAT'S WISCONSIN.
Billboard on Pacific Coast Highway just north of downtown San Diego reads: JUMP AROUND AND BUCKLE DOWN. THAT’S WISCONSIN.
Opposite side of the same billboard proudly reads BADGERS NEVER TAKE A HOLIDAY UNLESS IT'S FOLLOWED BY A BOWL.
Opposite side of the same billboard proudly reads: BADGERS NEVER TAKE A HOLIDAY UNLESS IT’S FOLLOWED BY A BOWL.
Alamo Flags in Seaport Village has a big University of Wisconsin banner in one window.
Alamo Flags in Seaport Village has a bold University of Wisconsin banner filling one window.
Wisconsin Badgers fans check out a street performer on San Diego's Embarcadero. What do you think of our weather?
Wisconsin Badgers fans check out a street performer on San Diego’s Embarcadero. Hey, guys–what do you think of our weather?

Join me for all sorts of unique San Diego sights on Facebook and Twitter!

Do you like to read inspirational, thought-provoking fiction? Visit my Short Stories by Richard writing blog!

Please join Bloggers Lifting Others Generously!

Bloggers Lifting Others Generously - 500 x 500

I’d like to propose a new informal organization. Anyone can join. It exists in our spirit. It’s called B.L.O.G., which stands for Bloggers Lifting Others Generously.

We bloggers have amazing power. Our presence on the internet is enormous. We have significant and increasing influence in the world. Together we can make a huge positive difference.

So why not flex our muscles and use that growing influence to do good?

My proposal:

To be a self-appointed member of B.L.O.G., one must make a conscious effort to help nonprofits, charities and unselfish individuals who tirelessly work to improve our world.

Bloggers Lifting Others Generously will help these deserving folks by providing them with publicity.

From time to time–when opportunities arise–members of B.L.O.G. will publish posts about charitable efforts.  One might write a post to help publicize an organization’s food drive, or a community’s environmental cleanup, or neighborhood students trying to raise money, or a walk to find a cure…

Every member of B.L.O.G. will use the power of their passionate words to support those who work to improve our world.

Here are some examples.

Will you join me? I even made a big blue B.L.O.G. graphic as you can see at the top of this post! Make your own or use mine if you’d like! It’s all about a spirit of giving and doing things that are meaningful. Isn’t generosity what’s ultimately important in life, anyway?

Let’s make this world (and the internet) a better place!

Blog (and write) with passion and personality!

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I wrote a guest post! It concerns blogging (and writing) with passion and personality. You might enjoy reading it by clicking here!

And while you’re at it, check out the cool website Mostly Blogging, which covers how to become a successful blogger! It’s got lots of great info and a whole bunch of nice people, too!

For all sorts of fun adventures, please join me on Facebook or Twitter.