Another day with not a whole lot scheduled during the day. This leads to more walking around San Francisco (because how often do you ever get to San Francisco?). I headed down Columbus toward downtown, passing the Zoetrope building. It's big and old and green and the sort of headquarters of Francis Ford Coppola's empire. A rather wordy plaque informs visitors that this was the place where Godfathers 1 and 2 were edited and mixed. They omitted Godfather 3 but mentioned Rumblefish. I stopped in at City Lights, the famous beatnik and hippie bookstore. It's not, apparently, a Conservatize Me bookstore. I think it's about time I realize I'm fairly mainstream.
Then I went to see The Departed. In that movie, everyone shoots everyone else. It's directed by Martin Scorsese. Made me a little nervous about the upcoming tour stop in Boston.
Back at my room, I had a phone interview with a print reporter for the Washington Post Express. As I tried to answer his questions, there was a knock at my door. A really persistent knock. For, like, five rounds of knocking. Finally, I asked the reporter to hold and I went to the door. "What?! What?! What is it?!" It was the guy delivering my jacket that I had pressed. I hope the reporter didn't overhear my lack of patience with the persistent laundry deliverer. I wasn't rude, just more exasperated than I like to get.
For that night's reading, we parked in front of a stop sign, altered to read "STOP and smell a flower." The reading was in Berkeley. Big crowd at Black Oak Books, a mix of politically aware boomers and young McSweeney's post-hipsters. I'm beginning to see this mix a lot. Also in attendance, semi-clandestine Republicans who I've also been seeing periodically. They're always quite polite. At the Q&A we had one of those "I challenge your assumptions" guys who does more commenting than questioning. When I didn't seem to loathe conservatives enough, he walked away indignantly. Lots of other good questions and even appearance by Ian, my former co-worker at a Seattle temp agency. Also at this reading, someone finally claimed the secret prize. I guess I need to get a new secret prize. The old one was a polka CD.
So new secret prize. Anyone who says YOUR BOOK IS LIKE A MERINGUE PIE EXCEPT THE MERINGUE IS INSIGHT AND THE PIE IS A BOOK.
Nick from Black Oak introduced me, just as he did at the Northern California Independent Booksellers' Association in Oakland a while back. As with everyone introducing me, I continue to be impressed by the high quality of writing on the part of booksellers. I just feel like sitting around and listening to them for a while but then I have to get up and talk.
This was my last night in the Bay Area. I'll miss it.