More cool photos from Comic-Con Preview Night!

Pop culture fans at Preview Night were checking out an old school Batman. Pow!
Pop culture fans at Preview Night were checking out an old school Batman. Pow!

Without further ado, here comes a second batch of cool photos taken during Preview Night at 2015 San Diego Comic-Con. Enjoy!

Cool graphics promoting upcoming movie Batman v Superman Dawn of Justice at 2015 San Diego Comic-Con.
Cool graphics promoting upcoming movie Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice at 2015 San Diego Comic-Con.
Super awesome suits of armor at the fantastic Weta Workshop exhibit.
Super awesome suits of armor at the fantastic Weta Workshop exhibit.
Flaming Balrog figurine from the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Flaming Balrog figurine from the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Model of Chappie, from the recent science fiction film.
Model of Chappie, from the recent science fiction film.
Super Mario and other video game characters have a big presence at 2015 San Diego Comic-Con.
Super Mario and other video game characters have a big presence at 2015 San Diego Comic-Con.
Everyone was snapping photos of this cool Superman Hot Wheels car!
Everyone was snapping photos of this ultra cool Superman Hot Wheels car!
And here's another cool Hot Wheels car modeled after a Star Wars stormtrooper helmet.
And here’s another cool Hot Wheels car modeled after a Star Wars stormtrooper helmet.
Awesome Star Lord costume and helmet from Guardians of the Galaxy!
Awesome Star Lord costume and helmet from Guardians of the Galaxy!
I believe this prop is used in the upcoming Ghostbusters sequel.
I believe this prop is used in the upcoming Ghostbusters sequel.
Smaller, independent comic book publishers are out in force, promoting their brands and cool characters.
Smaller, independent comic book publishers are out in force at San Diego Comic-Con, promoting their brands and original characters.
Clive Barker is back at Comic-Con this year with more of his horror-themed artwork.
Clive Barker is back at Comic-Con this year with more of his horror-themed artwork.
IDW, a comic book publisher right here in San Diego, has their titles on display including Back to the Future.
IDW, a comic book publisher right here in San Diego, has their titles on display including Back to the Future.
Zombies and the dead are still in fashion. Here are buckets of bloody bones and other gruesome body parts.
Zombies and the dead are still in fashion. Here are buckets of bloody bones and other gruesome body parts.
It's the Legend of Zelda!
It’s the Legend of Zelda!
Super cool model of Star Wars snowtroopers in an ice cave.
Super cool model of Star Wars snowtroopers in an ice cave.
Nerds like sexy stuff, it seems! These female stormtroopers are being a bit risque.
Nerds like sexy stuff, it seems! These female stormtroopers are being a bit risque.
And, of course, we nerds love straight up, good old-fashioned comic book action figures.
And, of course, we nerds love straight up, good old-fashioned comic book action figures.
A big Captain Marvel graphic next to an exhibit that promotes Ant-Man, which comes out in a couple weeks. I'm stoked!
A big Captain Marvel graphic next to an exhibit that promotes Ant-Man, which comes out in a couple weeks. I’m stoked!
I see good old Charlie Brown. The classics live on!
I see good old Charlie Brown. The classics live on!
The DC Comics area is similar to last year, but with lots of new stuff.
The DC Comics area is similar to last year, but with lots of new stuff.
Costume worn by the Reverse Flash on the CW television show.
Costume worn by the Reverse Flash on the CW television show.
DC's big three superheroes on display on the San Diego Convention Center floor. Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman.
DC’s big three superheroes on display on the San Diego Convention Center floor: Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman.
Alfred E. Neuman looks down on huge crowds pressing through hundreds of cool Comic-Con exhibits.
Alfred E. Neuman looks down on huge crowds pressing through hundreds of cool Comic-Con exhibits.
Alfred E. Neuman encourages everyone to take a stupid selfie!
Alfred E. Neuman encourages everyone to take a stupid selfie!
Some of the models at Comic-Con are so detailed and amazing it almost blows the mind.
Some of the models at Comic-Con are so detailed and amazing it almost blows the mind.
Just a random pic of something I liked walking down one aisle.
Just a random pic of something I liked walking down one aisle.
Cool t-shirts and merchandise is everywhere. If I had a million dollars in my pocket, it wouldn't have been enough.
Cool t-shirts and merchandise is everywhere. If I had a million dollars in my pocket, it wouldn’t have been enough.
More colorful comic book art on a table.
More colorful comic book art on a table.
Some psychedelic artwork seems to glow in the dim light of the convention center.
Some psychedelic artwork seems to glow in the dim light of the convention center.
Sinister face on large ComicBase software graphic seems to be looking down at an exhibitor as he ties his shoelace!
Sinister face on large ComicBase software graphic seems to be looking down at an exhibitor as he ties his shoelace!
There are boxes and boxes and more boxes of comic books, naturally!
There are boxes and boxes and more boxes of comic books, naturally!
If you have 40 grand to spare, you can grab this issue of Marvel Comics.
If you have 40 grand to spare, you can grab this issue of Marvel Comics.
Monsters and villains easily outnumber heroes and cute characters. As they say, the bad guys often seem to be more interesting.
Monsters and villains easily outnumber heroes and cute characters. As they say, the bad guys often seem to be more interesting.
Here's a big Wonder Woman poster. Almost nine o'clock and time to walk home. It's quite nice to live downtown!
Here’s a big Wonder Woman poster. Almost nine o’clock and time to walk home. It’s quite nice to live downtown!
Bob the Angry Flower wasn't too miffed to be captivated by a comic book.
Bob the Angry Flower wasn’t too miffed to be captivated by a comic book.

Enjoy future posts! Join me on Facebook or Twitter.

Before I Die: chalk street art dreams in Hillcrest.

People walk down a Hillcrest sidewalk past chalk street art desires.
People walk down a Hillcrest sidewalk past chalk street art dreams.

Human dreams are wildly varied and ever-changing. I saw proof of this in Hillcrest. Dozens of desires have been documented at a street corner on University Avenue, written in chalk on what appears to be a very large chalkboard. People passing by have paused for a moment to write what they would like to accomplish before they die.

This dynamic neighborhood, just north of downtown San Diego, is youthful and worldly. Those who’ve chosen to contribute to this participative street art have listed many dreams. Some are crude, some are desperate, some are erased.  Some are possible, some are impossible.  Some are profound. The absurd and the serious mingle together. Some dreams are mere whims, other dreams are ambitious. Some are selfish, some are unselfish.

Before I die I want to... Hunt mud ducks. Feel I am worthy.
Before I die I want to… Hunt mud ducks. Feel I am worthy.
Save the world. Make love. Visit Paris. Meet my biological parents.
Save the world. Make love. Visit Paris. Meet my biological parents.
Publish a book. Drink one more drink.
Publish a book. Drink one more drink.
Find hidden treasure. Find Waldo.
Find hidden treasure. Find Waldo.
People walk toward Alibi as they review reasons for living.
People walk toward Alibi as they review reasons for living.

To enjoy future posts, you can “like” Cool San Diego Sights on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter.

A short story to make you smile and cry.

sunflowers

Every few years, it seems, an unexpected sunflower springs up near the place where I live. So I decided to write a short story…

AN UNEXPECTED SUNFLOWER

(a small story)

by Richard

Lucy was surprised to see that an unexpected sunflower had sprouted in a corner of her backyard. Where it came from, she didn’t know. Every day she carefully watered the plant. It quickly grew.

When the bud opened the bloom was just glorious. Large, yellow and beautiful, like a cheerful sun in a small green world.

Gazing at the sunflower, Lucy felt that life was indeed good.

Every person on Earth, she thought, deserved the feeling that life is good. Why not? Suddenly she had an absurd impulse: to give that one magical flower to the entire world.

Every person should see it. Smell it. Touch it.

At last Lucy settled on her best idea. She’d give the sunflower to a friend, who would then pass the flower to another friend, who’d pass it to another friend… And so on.

Seven billion people on an impossibly big planet wouldn’t see her flower, but a few would. That’s the best she could do.

Several days later she carefully harvested the sunflower and placed it in a tall vase. She brought the flower across town and gave it to her Uncle Carl, who was under blankets with a bad case of the flu. A note was tied to the sunflower’s stem: Once this small bit of sunshine has been enjoyed, please give to a friend.

“Thank you,” he said, sincerely.

The next day Uncle Carl was visited by Alfonso, one of his war buddies. “Now you have to give this to one of your friends,” he said. “And add a little water.”

The sunflower descended like a beam of golden sunshine when Alfonso handed it to his daughter, Maria. She rose from her dining room chair, stunned. “That’s for me?” she asked, with absolute disbelief. “Seriously?”

“Yes,” he smiled. “You’re my friend, right? But read the note. You now have to give it to someone that you think is special.”

Maria gave the flower to William.

William gave the flower to Jerry.

Jerry gave the flower to Daniella.

Before class, Daniella handed the sunflower to her Geometry teacher. Mr. Harrow didn’t know how to react. “Read the note,” she explained.

“But the flower is drying out,” he said. “It won’t last much longer.”

“You’re the best math teacher I ever had. So take it.”

Mr. Harrow took the vase containing the sunflower home. He read the note attached to the stem: Once this small bit of sunshine has been enjoyed, please give to a friend. He wondered who the blue vase belonged to. He placed the vase by the television and thought of his late wife.

Next morning the flower had entirely wilted. The crumpled petals had lost their brilliant color and several had fallen off.

Mr. Harrow removed the note from the stem and put it in a drawer. He carried the vase out to his compost pile, and quickly tossed the flower onto the heap. The vase he carefully cleaned and placed in a corner of his quiet house.

The following spring Mr. Harrow took a slow stroll through the backyard on a gloomy, gray day. As he came around the garage he was taken by complete surprise. Two sunflowers were rising from the dead compost.

The small miracle caused Mr. Harrow to wipe away a few tears.

Perhaps, he thought, being a teacher of math wasn’t such a useless thing. Because he appreciated the revealed meaning of the sunflowers. And it was: simple multiplication can quickly encompass the world.

If seeds were carefully harvested from a dying bloom–and just two seeds sprouted–one sunflower might become two. Then, repeated, two sunflowers might become four. Four sunflowers might become eight. Eight sunflowers might become sixteen. And in 33 generations–33 years–one seed might produce well over seven billion sunflowers. Enough sunflowers for everybody. Everybody in the world.

Mr. Harrow found the old note in the back of the drawer. It still read: Once this small bit of sunshine has been enjoyed, please give to a friend. He then added in his own writing: When the bloom finally fades, harvest the seeds and grow more sunflowers. He made two photocopies of the note, one for each of his miracle sunflowers.

In math, even the smallest fraction contains world-changing power.  One in seven billion seems like nothing, until it is turned upside down.

. . .

Lucy lay in a dark hospital.

The memory of her miracle garden had long vanished.  She had become very old.

Judy, her granddaughter, came to visit one late Thursday afternoon. She was holding a surprise behind her back. She presented a sunflower, like sunshine, in a tall, new vase.

“Can you believe it? Out of the blue my best friend gave me this! Isn’t it amazing? And it has a strange note. I’m supposed to give this flower to someone I love. I would like you to have this.”

Attached to the stem of the sunflower was a small photocopied note. The first half of the handwriting Lucy recognized. It was her own.

To read more stories like this, visit Short Stories by Richard.

You might also want to check out my Foolyman Stories blog, for some creative writing that’s just plain silly!

Quotes on the Martin Luther King Jr. Promenade.

Walking past a plaque which is engraved with one of many important quotes by Martin Luther King Jr.
Walking past a plaque which is engraved with one of many important quotes by Martin Luther King Jr.

I frequently walk along the Martin Luther King Jr. Promenade in downtown San Diego. Whenever I do, I like to randomly read some of the historic MLK quotes that are engraved in plaques along the long pathway. I’ve never counted the number of quotes. There are easily dozens. Every quote on every plaque is important and powerful, and reflects the intelligence, energy, optimism and wisdom of America’s great civil rights leader.

Here are photos taken at different times of a few of Dr. King’s quotes…

Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor. It must be demanded by the oppressed.
Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor. It must be demanded by the oppressed.
The deep rumbling of discontent that we hear today is the thunder of disinherited masses, rising from dungeons of oppression to the bright hills of freedom in one majestic chorus.
The deep rumbling of discontent that we hear today is the thunder of disinherited masses, rising from dungeons of oppression to the bright hills of freedom in one majestic chorus.
Along the way of life, someone must have sense enough and morality enough to cut off the chain of hate. This can only be done by projecting the ethic of love to the center of our lives.
Along the way of life, someone must have sense enough and morality enough to cut off the chain of hate. This can only be done by projecting the ethic of love to the center of our lives.
We have flown the air like birds and swum the sea like fishes, but have yet to learn the simple act of walking the Earth like brothers.
We have flown the air like birds and swum the sea like fishes, but have yet to learn the simple act of walking the Earth like brothers.
Two people walk side-by-side down the Martin Luther King Jr. Promenade in downtown San Diego.
Two people walk side-by-side down the Martin Luther King Jr. Promenade in downtown San Diego.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.
The democratic ideal of freedom and equality will be fulfilled for all--or all human beings will share in the resulting social and spiritual doom...
The democratic ideal of freedom and equality will be fulfilled for all–or all human beings will share in the resulting social and spiritual doom…
The greatest victory of the civil rights period was something internal...We armed ourselves with dignity and self-respect...We straightened our backs up...
The greatest victory of the civil rights period was something internal…We armed ourselves with dignity and self-respect…We straightened our backs up…
The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.
The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.
Any law that uplifts human personality is just, any law that degrades human personality is unjust.
Any law that uplifts human personality is just, any law that degrades human personality is unjust.
Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.
Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.
Breaking the Chains sculpture, by Melvin Edwards, reminds people on MLK Promenade of the positive legacy of a great civil rights leader.
Breaking the Chains sculpture, by Melvin Edwards, reminds people on MLK Promenade of the positive legacy of a great civil rights leader.

To enjoy future posts, you can “like” Cool San Diego Sights on Facebook or follow me on Twitter.

Spreading cheer and good deeds in San Diego.

Birds take flight above palm trees in downtown San Diego.
Birds take flight above palm trees in downtown San Diego.

The astonishing success of this modest blog is hard to believe. Thank you.

This blog’s purpose is simple. It is to enjoy San Diego, to spread a little sunshine, and to help people who are doing good deeds or undertaking worthy causes.

Here are a few charities and positive organizations that would be grateful for your assistance.

Please click to learn more:

Please help Stuff the Bus to fight hunger!

Foster homes needed for loving San Diego cats!

Free books for teachers, schools, hospitals and prisons.

Ocean Beach Public Library needs activism and help!

Big red shoes help families heal in San Diego!

San Diego walking superheroes fight brain tumors!

The Salvation Army celebrates service in San Diego.

Spreckels Organ raises funds for Operation Rebound.

Cool Corvette car show benefits San Diego USO.

Art made of coins helps Rady Children’s Hospital!

Glean Queens of San Diego need your help!

Help Westview High School Music Outreach succeed!

Fill the Boot in San Diego to help burn victims!

San Diego breast cancer walkers: the final mile!

Wasted grocery food turns to art in Balboa Park.

20 Ways To Help the Homeless in San Diego.

Kids’ NewsDay benefits Rady Children’s Hospital!

Photos of cool pancake fundraiser on the OB Pier!

Photos of Coastal Cleanup Day in Ocean Beach!

Habitat for Humanity builds a house downtown!

San Diegans donate used textiles for charity.

Here are a few more thoughts about why I blog:

Writing a blog opens up an amazing world.

To enjoy future posts, you can “like” Cool San Diego Sights on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter.

Students interview veterans for USS Midway exhibit.

Visitor to USS Midway Museum on Memorial Day weekend absorbs Portraits of Resilience exhibit, created by students of High Tech High Charter School.
Visitor to USS Midway Museum on Memorial Day weekend absorbs Portraits of Resilience exhibit, created by students of High Tech High Charter School.

This morning I walked a little around the USS Midway. The historic aircraft carrier is now a popular museum docked on San Diego Bay. I was there because it’s Memorial Day weekend, and I have personal experiences that make me grateful for America and our brave servicepeople. But I won’t blog about that here.

I was surprised to see a thought-provoking exhibit being set up in the hangar deck of the Midway. I learned it was a project of students at High Tech High, which is a charter school in Point Loma. 50 students interviewed 50 veterans, to learn about war, and peace, and human resiliency.

I took some photos in less-than-optimal lighting, and my flash wasn’t entirely helpful, so I had to apply a good deal of contrast.

Portraits of Resilience. 50 students. 50 veterans. 50 powerful portraits.
Portraits of Resilience. 50 students. 50 veterans. 50 powerful portraits.
The whole point of the Armed Forces is to protect freedoms so that people can agree or disagree with what's going on.
The whole point of the Armed Forces is to protect freedoms so that people can agree or disagree with what’s going on.
Greatness isn't achieved randomly. You need to set goals.
Greatness isn’t achieved randomly. You need to set goals.
It's people. It was always people. I didn't want to let anyone down.
It’s people. It was always people. I didn’t want to let anyone down.
A veteran reads words of memory and wisdom spoken by others who've served in the military.
A veteran reads words of pain, joy, memory and wisdom spoken by others who’ve served in the military.
Everything is written in pencil. As soon as you have a plan, thirty minutes later it changes.
Everything is written in pencil. As soon as you have a plan, thirty minutes later it changes.
Don't waste your time worrying, worrying, worrying! You're only going to get wrinkles!
Don’t waste your time worrying, worrying, worrying! You’re only going to get wrinkles!
My best decision was marrying my wife. My number two was being a pilot and getting my wings.
My best decision was marrying my wife. My number two was being a pilot and getting my wings.
No matter how your grades are what people thank about you, do what you want to do and you can accomplish it.
No matter how your grades are or what people think about you, do what you want to do and you can accomplish it.
We didn't have names of battles. We had excursions, and we had firefights, but we didn't have names of them.
We didn’t have names of battles. We had excursions, and we had firefights, but we didn’t have names of them.
When you return, things are physically and emotionally different. It's like moving from one world to another.
When you return, things are physically and emotionally different. It’s like moving from one world to another.
They had tears of joy, they couldn't believe that someone had documented what they had done; they were proud, they were happy.
They had tears of joy, they couldn’t believe that someone had documented what they had done; they were proud, they were happy.
You're watching his back, he's watching your back.
You’re watching his back, he’s watching your back.
Now when somebody says,
Now when somebody says, “Thank you for your service”, I look them directly in the eye and say, “It was my privilege”.

To enjoy future posts, you can “like” Cool San Diego Sights on Facebook or follow me on Twitter.

High School students create cool graphic novel!

Thoughtful, talented young artists create a graphic novel using imagination and creativity.
Thoughtful, talented young artists create a graphic novel using imagination and creativity.

I made a very cool discovery!

A local high school had an intriguing exhibit in Balboa Park yesterday during the big Garden Party of the Century event. The CCA Envision Conservatory for the Humanities Hummingbird Project has been launched by Canyon Crest Academy in Carmel Valley. Students are creating a graphic novel!

The four-part graphic novel will tell the story of four separate children who magically transform into a hummingbird and take flight. During each journey, the central character meets other animal friends and explores new places. The exciting stories encourage imagination and help educate the reader about culture, mythology, history and the environment.

What a fantastic, brilliant idea! Students learn, write, create art and become published all at once!

Perhaps other schools might be interested in doing something similar!

Here’s their Spirit Skies graphic novel website.

The Hummingbird Project includes a four-part graphic novel created by students at Canyon Crest Academy!
The Hummingbird Project includes a four-part graphic novel created by students at Canyon Crest Academy!
Inspiring exhibit at Balboa Park's big Garden Party of the Century event.
Inspiring exhibit at Balboa Park’s big Garden Party of the Century event.

To enjoy future posts, you can “like” Cool San Diego Sights on Facebook or follow me on Twitter.