Businesses board up before Election Day.

This is not a cool sight. Not for those who want to live in a representative democracy. Free to vote for their candidate or party of choice, no matter which side. Free to live without political violence or the threat of violence.

I noticed while walking through downtown San Diego that some businesses are boarding up doors and windows anticipating the possibility of destruction and looting.

No matter the outcome of this year’s election, no matter who is disappointed or who is elated, whether power over others is increased or diminished, may a shared sense of our common humanity prevail.

The unique, authentic life of street art.

A painting is hung on the wall of a home or museum and endures for generations. Street art–from an alley’s sudden bold graffiti to the most elaborately constructed mural–is born, sees the sunlight, greets countless passing eyes, ages quickly, fades, is ruined, vanishes. And where it once lived, often new art springs up.

In a sense, street art is like our own lives. Authentic. Something we all appreciate. That speaks from the heart, confidently. That is temporary.

During my walk through City Heights yesterday I saw how a uniquely beautiful mural painted outside a coffee shop has vanished. I enjoyed a look at it in August. But its gone in October. Its life was short. It was badly defaced, I’m told. And now this carefully made street art is gone forever, painted over.

Summer soon becomes autumn, then winter.

Cherish every moment in life.

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!

San Diego students create posters against drugs!

The students at Wangenheim Middle School in Mira Mesa have created posters that tell the truth about the destructive nature of drugs.

I was fortunate today to be walking nearby as members of the Associated Student Body were hanging these very creative anti-drug posters on the school fence facing Black Mountain Road!

And they were happy to pose for a group photo!

It’s Red Ribbon Week, when students in schools across San Diego and the United States engage in an annual drug and violence prevention awareness campaign.

Wangenheim Middle School students and members of the Associated Student Body are involved in all sorts of positive community activities, such as a Thanksgiving food drive. It’s encouraging to know the youth you see in the next photograph are some of our future leaders!

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 short story about a paintbrush and magic.

Anyone could participate in painting a small square in this large mural!

It has been months since I promoted my blog Short Stories by Richard, but I just now published a new short story titled Father’s Paintbrush, and I think some readers might enjoy it.

Like several other stories I’ve written, it has a surprising O. Henry-like ending!

If you’re interested, you can read this small work of fiction about life, learning and magic by clicking here.

I have more photographs taken yesterday at Presidio Park coming up, so stay tuned!

Where will I walk today? I haven’t decided!

Six names on six benches.

Around noon today I sat down, opened a book.

I’d taken a walk around Cardiff-by-the-Sea and had found a perfect shady bench in Glen Park.

Below in the distance people were darting about the basketball court shooting hoops. One person missed, madly whirled, lunged forward, fell back, reached, barely intercepted, passed, darted, jumped impossibly high, caught, shot again, swished, shouted happily.

Upon finishing a chapter, I got up and gathered my stuff. The bench I’d been sitting on had a plaque. “Gotta go, gotta ride.”

It felt like the perfect small poem.

I found six names on six empty benches.

Every word shined.

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!

Trail to Literacy benches in San Ysidro.

One of two Trail to Literacy benches in San Ysidro Park.
One of two Trail to Literacy benches in San Ysidro Park.

If you notice two colorful benches in San Ysidro Park, go take a closer look. On both you’ll discover a Trail to Literacy.

The benches are decorated with tiles painted by children. You’ll see small works of art that celebrate books and stories that young people love.

This wonderful community project promotes reading. After looking at the tiles, I think I want to visit a library and check out some children’s books. What better way to activate imagination? And relearn wisdom.

The benches stand not far from renowned artist Victor Ochoa’s beautiful Tree of Life, which I photographed while walking around the park last weekend. See those photos here.

Trail to Literacy painted tile bench near a water fountain.
Trail to Literacy painted tile bench near a water fountain.

The Paperboy.
The Paperboy.

Dogzilla.
Dogzilla.

Froggy Gets Dressed.
Froggy Gets Dressed.

The Cat in the Hat.
The Cat in the Hat.

The Gingerbread Man.
The Gingerbread Man.

Flipper and Where the Wild Things Are.
Flipper and Where the Wild Things Are.

Quetzalcoatl on the side of one bench.
Quetzalcoatl on the side of one bench.

A second Trail to Literacy bench at San Ysidro Park.
A second Trail to Literacy bench at San Ysidro Park.

Mulan.
Mulan.

Corduroy.
Corduroy.

La Hermana de Froggy.
La Hermana de Froggy.

Mouse Mess.
Mouse Mess.

Viva Piñata!
Viva Piñata!

Just Imagine with Barney.
Just Imagine with Barney.

El Arbol Generoso.
El Arbol Generoso.

More colorful, imaginative tiles painted by youth.
More colorful tiles painted by creative youth.

Reading activates imagination, teaches knowledge and wisdom, and makes life much more rewarding.
Reading sparks imagination, teaches knowledge and wisdom, and makes life much more rewarding.

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!

Girl Scouts work to make a better community!

Believe.
Believe.

Today I enjoyed a tour of a fantastic outdoor mural exhibition in San Ysidro. It was the highlight of my day. I’ll blog about that shortly.

Earlier in the afternoon, I walked a little around the neighborhood and found myself looking at some creative artwork on a fence at the San Ysidro Community Center. I’d stumbled upon the Gold Award project of two local Girl Scouts!

According to a sign on the fence, in 2018 Orian Martinez restored the community center’s outdoor playground, and Sofia Perez-Valles created the Utopia Mural on the surrounding fence, embellishing it with positive messages.

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has closed the San Ysidro Community Center and its outdoor area for many months now, so if things look a bit weathered and ragged, you can understand why. But the positive efforts and messages endure.

The actions and leadership of these two Girl Scouts have indeed made the world (and their community) a better place!

Utopia Mural.
Utopia Mural.

Butterflies decorate a gate to an outdoor playground and gathering place.
Butterflies decorate a gate to an outdoor playground and gathering place.

Sign near entrance to San Ysidro Community Center.
Sign near entrance to San Ysidro Community Center.

Two Girl Scouts achieved the Gold Award for a 2018 project at the San Ysidro Community Center.
Two Girl Scouts achieved the Gold Award for a 2018 project at the San Ysidro Community Center.

Recycled materials turned to art on the chain link fence.
Recycled materials turned to art on the chain link fence.

Courage.
Courage.

More colorful butterflies.
More colorful butterflies.

Action Changes Things.
Action Changes Things.

The future has many names...
The future has many names. For the fearful, the unknown. For the weak, the unreachable. For the brave, an opportunity.

Action is the foundational...
Action is the foundational…

...skill to all success.
…skill to all success.

Fall seven times and get up eight.
Fall seven times and get up eight.

If you do what you've always done, you'll get where you've always gone.
If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll arrive where you’ve always gone.

Changes bring opportunity.
Changes bring opportunity.

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 lesson I have learned from blogging.

Never stop flying.
Never stop flying.

This coming Sunday, Cool San Diego Sights turns seven years old.

Seven years doing this? Unbelievable.

Starting a blog and watching it grow very, very slowly over many years has taught me an important lesson about life. Patience and perseverance might be the two most important keys to success.

While having fun and doing things that I love–walking and writing–I have spent literally thousands of hours working on Cool San Diego Sights. A good chunk of my life has been spent taking and selecting photos, cropping and adjusting them, doing research, being a detective, plotting out future blogs, making corrections, being obsessive/compulsive, providing updates, pulling out my hair (what’s left of it), periodically wondering if I should quit this sometimes tedious exercise…

And now, to my complete surprise, I find myself getting traffic from Google News, News Break, Chrome’s suggested articles, and a remarkable variety of major websites.

As a result of Cool San Diego Sights’ growing success, one of my other websites, Short Stories by Richard, is being visited by students from classrooms around the world. Most are reading my little story One Thousand Likes, which I’m told might be used in an upcoming twelfth grade textbook produced by one of the world’s most prestigious publishers.

Pinch me.

Is this real?

To think this thing started on a whim. I’ve always walked. I had an unused little camera. I created a simple, easy WordPress blog. I figured I’d post a photo and a few words once in a while.

So if you’re a blogger or writer out there in a ridiculously enormous world that contains billions of web pages, and you’ve begun to wonder if it’s really worth the effort–keep at it! Don’t give up! Do your best! Stay passionate! Write well, be truthful, be original, be creative, be smart, be curious, understand and appeal to your readers’ humanity, and remember to always maintain your sense of humor!

And never lose hope! Because you never know!

Neighborhood restaurant mural: Better is Possible.

The East Village restaurant Neighborhood closed for renovations earlier this year. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, they have yet to reopen.

I walked past their boarded-up windows this afternoon and saw a mural had been painted on them. After a little searching on the internet, I see that artists Joshua and Ezra Andrade created the artwork last month.

Positive messages in the mural, which includes images of fighting, a knife and brass knuckles, include Ego is not Your Amigo, Better is Possible, Regulate Impulses, and Hood Must be Born Again!

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 answer to hate, violence and anger.

In this old world, there seems to be no shortage of hate, violence and anger.

In my experience, there’s only one answer to all that is negative.

Love.

A positive, unselfish love for one another.

During my walks around San Diego, I’ve photographed many words and images that express a simple idea: We should love one another.

And why not?

Life is short for every one of us.

Only love in our hearts gives us true fulfillment.

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!