Minding your p’s and q’s in the Old Town print shop!

Upper case and lower case.

Mind your p’s and q’s.

The wrong sort.

Out of sorts.

I learned yesterday during a visit to the San Diego Union Building in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park that these expressions are believed to come from days long past.

There was a period in history when printing was a tedious operation requiring a hand operated press. To print pages, small cast metal blocks that imprint individual characters were manually assembled into words and sentences. These physical types were set into printable forms by the skilled, quick fingers of print shop compositors.

See all those drawers in the above photo? Each drawer is a type case containing sorts, the particular letters and other characters that are “sorted” into the forms.

Somewhere along the line, capital letters were arranged in an upper drawer: the upper case. Compositors rushing to print a newspaper would sometimes confuse the similar appearing p’s and q’s. Or accidentally choose the wrong sort. Or become disconcerted when they ran out of sorts.

And that how these peculiar expressions are said to have originated!

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!

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

Workers on cranes high above San Diego.

If you have a fear of heights, there’s one job you should definitely avoid. Working on cranes high above downtown San Diego!

I took these photos during a walk today along the Embarcadero. Four very tall cranes were swinging through the sky above a large construction site by the new downtown U.S. Navy Headquarters Building. And casually standing or sitting atop the cranes were tiny workers!

New buildings destined to rise along the waterfront, where much of the Navy Broadway Complex once existed, will make up the San Diego Research and Development District, or RaDD. The eight acre life sciences complex will include a 17-story tower, restaurants and shops.

You can learn much more and see renderings of the finished project 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!

A new Empowering Hope mural in East Village!

A huge, absolutely amazing mural in downtown San Diego’s East Village has been painted right next to the Quartyard. The mural is in support of wildlife conservation efforts, and is titled Empowering Hope. The artists are Carly Ealey and Christopher Konecki.

According to the promoted Key Conservation website, one can download their Key App to hook up with and support various global conservation organizations, who are working to save animals from extinction. It appears the project is presently a work in progress and more funding is needed.

If you’d like to check it all out, you can visit the Key Conservation website 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!

Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek at the Comic-Con Museum.

The Comic-Con Museum in San Diego’s Balboa Park opened this weekend. One of the museum’s inaugural exhibits is titled Gene Roddenberry: Sci-Fi Visionary. Gene Roddenberry was the creator of Star Trek.

Gene Roddenberry: Sci-Fi Visionary celebrates the achievements of a writer and producer whose storied life was filled with optimism about the human race and our shared future. That optimism was embodied in Star Trek, and is one very big reason why generations of fans have loved the many television series and movies in the enduring science fiction franchise.

I grew up watching Star Trek: The Next Generation and reruns of the original Star Trek series. I loved the space travel, strange new worlds, sense of wonder and discovery, how Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Uhura, Scotty, Sulu, Chekov . . . Picard, Riker, Data, Deanna, Geordi, Beverly, Worf . . . and a family of diverse characters overcame strange, sometimes daunting challenges, mostly using their moral sense and intelligence, never losing their faith in the potential good of humanity.

I loved the philosophical themes and the alien encounters. It all was fun, original, thought-provoking, exciting. I still enjoy watching the original series, even if the special effects are dated. My attachment to Star Trek is permanent. Like legions of other fans.

So, obviously, I was excited to view this major exhibit at the newly opened Comic-Con Museum. Gene Roddenberry’s creative genius and humanity is on full display–his writings, sketches, quotes, screenplays–plus there are original props and costumes from Star Trek.

If you’re a fan of Star Trek and happen to be in San Diego, this is a must see exhibition.

Here’s a little of what you’ll discover…

A colorful pathway through the exhibit details the life of Gene Roddenberry. He was a World War II pilot, police officer and Hollywood writer, before launching his enduring idea of Star Trek.
Original costumes from Star Trek productions on display.
The optimism and imagination of a curious mind are recalled.
Lexoriter word processor used by Roddenberry writing scripts for Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Roddenberry’s personal film projector used to screen Star Trek episodes at home.
Historical documents, letters, artwork and scripts are displayed, pertaining to the creative work of Gene Roddenberry.
Lyrics to the musical theme from Star Trek written by Roddenberry.
Star Trek communicators foresaw today’s cellphone technology. “The Menagerie” script of Majel Barrett-Roddenberry, Gene’s wife and actress who portrayed Nurse Chapel.
May Gene Roddenberry’s hopeful, positive world view Live Long and Prosper!

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!

Beautiful, unique mood lamps inspired by nature!

Check out this uniquely creative home decor idea!

A local San Diego artist has designed beautiful mood lamps that are perfect for any indoor room or outdoor patio. Why are they special? You can alter how they appear in a matter of seconds!

I love the original concept that makes these mood lamps so innovative. Their appearance can be completely changed by simply slipping on different fabric sleeves. Warm light shines through colorful symmetric designs that are inspired by the beauty of nature. In the dark they’re pure magic.

One can select lamps that are solar powered, battery powered, or plug-in. The soft light they emit slowly changes color, too!

I discovered these mood lamps today during a visit to the Talmadge Art Show at Liberty Station in Point Loma.

I love creativity, and how brilliant inventions like these can brighten one’s life.

The artist’s name is Julia Burnier. She happens to be really nice, too!

Check out her Eye-Catcher Designs website and the many beautiful, artistic sleeves that can decorate your mood lamp here!

Buy these very unique mood lamps at the artist’s online store by clicking 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!

Swarming gulls, Horton’s new skin, and a relic.

I observed a few interesting things in downtown San Diego during my morning walk.

First, a parking lot in East Village was swarming with hundreds of seagulls. Someone was tossing the gulls a large quantity of crumbs. It was quite a spectacle, as you can see in my photographs.

Of course, feeding birds downtown makes them more of a potential nuisance. And the people who’d parked nearby might have something to say…

Next, as I walked past old Horton Plaza, I noticed its redevelopment is progressing right along. The exterior of the now enlarged building at the corner of G Street and 1st Avenue, former home of a Nordstrom department store, has some new skin!

If you want to see how the project appeared about a year ago, with the once popular shopping mall stripped and gutted, click here!

If you want to see how the new mixed-use high-tech downtown campus will appear when finished, click here!

Finally, check out the following old relic.

How many pay phones remain in the city? I never see them anymore. I did find one here, at the Convention Center trolley station, next to a brand new high-tech PRONTO ticket machine!

Put that pay phone in a museum!

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!

Monument to tallest structures ever built in San Diego.

For over seventy-five years, the tallest structures that have ever been built in San Diego County stood atop a hill in Chollas Heights, four miles east of downtown San Diego. Three enormous towers marked the location of U.S. Naval Radio Transmitting Facility Chollas Heights, which operated the most powerful radio transmitter in North America.

A monument to these historically important towers can be viewed today at Lincoln Military Housing, across the street from the small Chollas Heights Naval Radio Transmitting Facility Museum, near the corner of College Grove Way and Transmitter Road.

The unusual monument is in fact a remnant of the old Navy communication station–an antenna that once was suspended 600 feet above ground.

While many San Diego residents saw three tall radio towers rising just north of Chollas Lake, their historical importance is less widely known. This is where the mainland United States received the first news of the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

The U.S. Naval Radio Transmitting Facility Chollas Heights was purposely built beside Chollas Lake so that its water might cool the heated transmitter tubes.

Chollas Heights. Home of the world’s first global naval radio transmitting facility. 1917-1991.

A small, very badly faded sign in front of the old antenna provides interesting information. I’ve transcribed the words:

This structure once perched 600 feet above the ground atop Tower 33, which was one of three towers. In the center of the tower array, wires suspended an antenna so high it was almost invisible. Completed in 1917, the Chollas Heights complex accommodated the largest and most powerful radio transmitter in North America. The historic 200 kilowatt poulsen-arc transmitters had an unprecedented 12,000-mile range and broadcast at a frequency of 30.6 kilocycles. The innovations of the arc, or continuous wave, transmitter improved the range and reliability of communications over that of traditional “spark” transmitters. These could not be tuned to a specific frequency, so they encountered much interference. A landmark in the development of radio, the Chollas Heights facility played a vital role in Naval communications during World War I.

Built between 1915 and 1917, materials used in the Naval Radio Transmitting Facility were delivered by mules. The radio towers were visible for over 50 miles in clear weather, a familiar fixture in San Diego’s landscape for over seventy five years. Aircraft warning lights at their tips were used as a reference for pilots on their final approach to Lindbergh Field. To this day the towers were the tallest structures ever erected in San Diego County. The more modern transmitter, supporting three additional high-frequency antenna types, was used until the 1960’s, when it became outdated by advancing technology. It was then decommissioned in 1991 and dismantled in 1995.

“In behalf of the citizens of San Diego I have the honor of extending to you the season’s greetings and their good wishes and congratulate you upon the completion at San Diego of the world’s most powerful radio station. Space has been completely annihilated and the Atlantic and Pacific seaboards are as one.”

San Diego Mayor Edwin Capp’s original message sent to Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels in Arlington on the transmitter’s official testing day, January 26, 1917.

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!

Local students engineer amazing robots!

Possibly my favorite part of today’s Grand Avenue Festival in Escondido was the robotics demonstration.

Students from several local high schools were showing their sophisticated robots, which can operate both autonomously and by manual control. These amazing robots are built every year to compete in the international FIRST Robotics Competition!

I saw one particular robot shooting balls into the air. One crazy looking robot with pipes sticking out of it was built to launch t-shirts!

All of the students I met were friendly and clearly smarter than me. Several provided technical explanations, which promptly went over my head.

I saw teams from Rancho Bernardo High School (Team E-Motion), Poway High School (Team Spyder), San Pasqual High School (Team SuperNURDS), and Escondido Charter High School (Team Daedalus).

Over the years, these local teams have had great success competing in the prestigious FIRST Robotics Competition. The acronym FIRST means For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology.

The games that challenge the competing robots are changed each year, so students must utilize creativity, logic, engineering skills and sheer ingenuity. Robotics is one fun way to implement STEM education in schools!

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!

Love your eyes on World Sight Day!

Today, the second Thursday of October, is World Sight Day!

I didn’t know this until I happened to walk past a couple of friendly guys in Mission Valley. They’d set up a table in Civita Park and were telling passersby about the importance of loving your eyes. Both represent Shamir, an eyeglass company whose United States headquarters is right here in San Diego.

An informative brochure they handed me explains that eye health impacts a person’s education, employment and quality of life.

I learned eye health can be maintained via diet, physical activity, eye protection and, of course, routine vision check-ups. It’s very important that children have an eye exam before they start school.

Check out the following photo for more great information!

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!

Unusual and brilliant designs in San Diego!

San Diego-Tijuana has become a finalist for the World Design Capital in 2024. The two cross-border cities together have made the first ever binational bid for this international honor, which is bestowed by the World Design Organization.

According to their website, the World Design Organization evaluates “use of design to drive economic, social, cultural, and environmental development.” When you include the terms social and cultural, doesn’t that cover just about everything?

As I walked down Broadway this morning, I saw the street banners in the next photograph…

…and an idea suddenly popped into my brain.

Over the years Cool San Diego Sights has documented all sorts of interesting, unusual and brilliant designs: in art, in fashion, in architecture, in furniture, in quilts . . . you name it!

Not all of the fantastic designs you’ll see in the upcoming links originated locally. But many did!

Click the following links for fascinating photos and descriptions:

Architecture inspired by nature . . . and UFOs!

Malcolm Leland’s modernist designs in San Diego.

Kids create Minecraft-style Mona Lisa mural!

Cleverly designed furniture is surprising, playful art!

A visit to the California Surf Museum!

Amazing life-size cardboard superhero sculptures!

An amazing cube, like real Space: full of stars!

A 180 ton teddy bear made of boulders!

Museum exhibit shows evolution of fashion.

The fantastic, amazing Harper’s Topiary Garden!

Salk Institute architect Louis Kahn: an amazing exhibit!

Print Culture exhibit at San Diego Central Library.

Early American quilts: amazing color and patterns!

Ray Bradbury and crazy Horton Plaza.

Unfolding Humanity appears at Maker Faire!

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!