Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Tour Diary Part 4!

Next on our journey was San Francisco. We drove from Monterey to Mountain View first to pick up my dear friend and former roommate in both Madison and Forest Park, Tai, who we stayed with in San Francisco. Why did we pick her up from Mountain View? Because she moved to San Francisco to work for Google! That's right, I got a tour of the Googleplex!!! Maybe I'm a geek, but I was highly excited because that is where all the magic that is my email, blog, search engine, etc, etc. happens. I even saved my name tag though I'm not sure where that is right now. And I don't have any pictures because Googleplex is top secret like that. But it's cool and there is free gourmet food and juice and nap pods, though I did not actually witness a nap pod, but Tai wouldn't lie about that.

We dropped off the rental car and went to Tai's to hang out for a bit before heading to the Edinburgh Castle for my reading as part of the InsideStoryTime reading series. I was really psyched to be part of this because the absolutely amazing line-up included Frank Portman, author of King Dork and frontman of the Mr. T Experience, a band that has been rocking my world since high school. He myspace messaged me and told me we were reading together a few months back and I had this total fangirl freak out, so I wouldn't have been surprised if he was slightly afraid of me, but he was one of the nicest guys I've ever met, totally down to earth and friendly and reassuring about the crazy world that is book touring and publishing. He read and played acoustic songs which was so awesome I cannot even tell you. It was such a great line-up in general. I really didn't feel cool enough to be a part of it. You can see the bad ass flyer and read the write-up of the event here. But the other folks who read were Erick Lyle, who read some great anti-war nonfiction, Blag Dahlia of the Dwarves, who read and also performed the song "Let's Just Get High and Fuck Some Sluts," which was precisely on the borderline of being hilarious and totally offensive, and Ammi Emergency, who writes 'zines and writes beautiful pieces about why you write zines growing up in a small town that doesn't get you, which well, I related to that in a huge way and wanted her to be my best friend. The MC was Jack Boulware who told a bit about his amazing oral history of East Bay punk that is coming out soon and I am highly excited about. Here's a pic of me reading, kinda arty looking due to Scott's dislike of flash. Please note I am wearing the Moth Eaten shirt I got at Rock N Read.

Afterwards, we had dinner (oh delicious falafel) with one of my dearest friends from high school, Mike. The next day there were three missions. Meet for coffee with Steve Moriarty of the Gits, go to the Pirate Supply Store, and do a Not Your Mother's Book Club event. Steve is also incredibly down to earth and cool. I'd been corresponding with him via email regarding promoting the Gits Movie and he was willing to have coffee with me, which was a huge, huge honor. The Gits are one of my favorite bands. Hell, I went to Antioch College partly because they formed (and dropped out) there. He brought me a Gits hoodie, which was so nice and will be featured in most of the rest of my vacation photos.

The Pirate Supply Store is at 826 Valencia, a writer center for inner city kids. It's a kinda silly store that has supplies for pirates and the proceeds support the writing programs. I'm a wanna be pirate and I also enjoy supporting writing programs, so it was a win-win. They had all these drawers with file tags on them and you open them up and find things that sort of go with the descriptive tag, like "Shiny" had a bunch of shiny buttons in it. I was most excited because there was a drawer called "Eunice," which is my middle name. It was way high up so I got a stool to see what was inside. A mannequin head! But even more thrilling they had planks for sale. Hamster Planks, Parrot Planks, Turtle Planks, and best of all a Kitten Plank!!!

In case you can't read it, it says, "They are prone to betrayal. They mouth off. They are unreliable and do not pull their weight. That's where this plank comes in. You know what we mean." I thought it was the funniest thing ever and decided that since my ten dollars would go to the writing center it would be perfectly okay to buy a piece of wood labeled Kitten Plank. I got it for Lars but he is slightly too big for it. Here is my attempt to force him to walk it into the kitchen sink:

After the Pirate Supply Store we basically killed time until my Not Your Mother's Book Club Event at Books Inc. This was the event where I was most worried about people showing up. Jennifer who runs the NYMBC events said they normally take summers off so she wasn't sure if people would come, none of the people Tai invited looked like they were coming, supposedly something had gone out to Columbia alumni in the area, but I had no idea. If there was going to be an event where my only audience was my boyfriend and one friend, this was gonna be the one. We got to the store almost an hour early and noticed they had a flyer for me up with the other author appearances and a display in the front window. (I'm not sure why I'm always amazed by this, but I am.)

Even more awesome when I walked in the bookseller recognized me!!! I went up prepared to introduce myself, "I'm the author for tonight, I'm pathetically early..." but she already had her hand out ready to shake mine. All of the people at Books Inc were so nice and we talked for awhile and I got to use the employee bathroom and watch them set up for my event.

Then I noticed two girls, one wearing an awesome necklace made out of paperclips and one wearing a great blue dress, and I thought, wouldn't it be cool if they were here for the event? And it turned out they were and there names were Eli and Rae. Later, Ritika (is that the most beautiful name or what?) showed up with her teacher (gosh, and I've forgotten her name, it's so hard to remember anything from these events because I get sooooooo nervous) who usually brings way more students when it's the school year (note to self, visit SF in the fall next time). Ritika picked up a book for her book club "You Call It A Book Club, We Call It A Party!" which might just be the best book club name ever. Two local writers Jazz and Sarah also stopped by along with a few others to round out the event. Of course Jennifer and Shannon who run NYMBC were there and were incredibly wonderful. They even had a present for me, a cute little journal that says "Herbivores Score More," how suitable is that.

Jennifer introduced me and I thought I was going to have to sit behind the big oak table they had set out and I felt sort of uncomfortable like I'd be teaching a class, but fortunately she told me, I could sit *on* it, which was definitely preferable. So I read the section of the book where Emily talks about her first gig and I answered questions, one of which clearly made me laugh pretty hard (again, I get so nervous I can't remember much of anything).
When signing time came around I came up with a new tradition that I wished I'd thought of earlier so I could have done it in LA and Monterey. I sign your book, you sign my journal. I've been doing it at every event now and am going to get a separate journal just for that (maybe I'll use my herbivore journal because its a good size!). I also decided I need a picture with Ritika, Rae, and Eli because they were so cool for coming to the book club during summer. Here we are so you can see how much fun we had and be jealous that you weren't there:
After the fabulous event, Tai, Scott, and I went to have dinner and then drank the bottle of champagne Alexa gave me for my birthday. I know that sounds like quite the party, but we were in bed by midnight because we had to catch a flight to Seattle the next day. There really aren't that many pictures of San Francisco probably because we spent too short of a time there, but if you want see reading photo outtakes and some shots of Tai's cat Maukin, you can go here.

The final part of our tour was Seattle. I'm not sure if I will post about Seattle tomorrow or if I will post a visit from the Girlfriends Cyber Circuit because I have a lot to say about Seattle and tomorrow I am reading at the Columbia College Chicago Bookstore (624 S. Michigan in Chicago) at 3 pm, immediately followed by a Rancid concert, so.... But don't worry, the rest of my adventures are coming soon!

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