Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Back In San Francisco

It was a drizzly day in San Francisco yesterday. Scott stayed behind at my parents’ house to get some work done on his magazine, so I’d be spending the day by myself. I got to Yerba Buena around 12:30, drove around until I found a parking garage, and hauled the laptop and the worms to the Zeum Theater, where the California Academy of Science is holding its lecture series while its permanent facility is being renovated.

I was their monthly guest lecturer—this is a free lecture for members and I think it cost $8 or so for non-members. The theater seats about 175 people—large enough that it made sense to bring the laptop and do a slide show with some photos of worms.

There were 50 people in the afternoon lecture, including a woman who sang a worm song to me. The song was actually a jingle on WKRP—the sponsor for Les Nesman’s show was “Red wigglers, the Cadillac of worms.”

Wow. Now, I’d forgotten all about that.

About 40-50 showed up for the evening lecture also, and this time there was a guy who told me a worm joke. This one loses something on the printed page because there's a little pantomime you need to do at the end, but I’ll do my best:

Guy goes ice fishing for the first time. There’s another guy out on the ice who’s clearly more experienced, so he turns to him and says, “Hey, this is my first time ice fishing. Got any advice for me?”

The fisherman says, “mmph mmph mmph mmph.”

“What was that?”

“Mmph mmph mmph mmph.”

“Sorry, I still can’t understand what you’re saying.”

The guy reaches in his mouth and pulls out a couple of nightcrawlers. “Keep your worms warm!” he says.

Ah, tales from the road. In between talks, I walked down to Stacey’s on Market Street to sign copies of the book. So far they hold the record with four copies in stock, and a couple paperbacks of From the Ground Up. Then I walked all the way to Clean, Well-Lighted Place for Books at the Civic Center, only to find one copy on the shelves. They had five or six, they told me, but they’d all sold. So I signed the one copy and headed back to Union Square for dinner before the evening talk. Got back to Santa Rosa at about 10:30 last night and fell into bed. Just finished a newspaper interview by phone, and in a few minutes I’m off to Corte Madera for a talk at Book Passage, then to Berkeley for a workshop this evening at the Berkeley Ecology Center.

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