Wow. I am an idiot. I thought my conference began Monday with tutorials and Tuesday with the formal conference proceedings. I was wrong. Well, it gives me an extra day to play, I suppose.

I awoke early again today. Being exhausted by 8:30 usually means calling it a day, heading back to the hostel, doing email and Web log, and then reading for an hour or so before bed. Which then means waking up about 7. Gives me an early start, I guess, so I won’t complain.

I found a lovely little greasy spoon around the corner and down a block or two from the hostel. Instead of a couple danishes and a posh latte this morning, I had bacon, eggs, huge hotcakes, and bottomless coffee–all for about five bucks.

My arteries have filed a restraining order against my stomach.

After breakfast, I roamed through Chinatown, looking at kitschy souvenir shops and browing book and video stores. Perusing Chinese softcore is interesting, with titles like Samurai Voyeur.

After Chinatown, I made my way to SFMOMA, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, which is fabulous. The collection is first-rate and fascinating, and with a student discount, the price was just right.

Then, Berkeley. Y’know, as beautiful as IU-Bloomington is, UC-Berkeley is even prettier. The trees are older and larger, for starters. (You’d be amazed how many trees at IU are only a hundred years or so old.) And the women. Oh god.

I then stopped at Comic Relief, one of the country’s best comic bookstores, two blocks from the Berkeley campus. Rory Root, the owner and proprietor, runs a shop that looks more like a bookstore than any comic shop you’ve ever seen. He stocks primarily graphic novels, those collections of comics into book form that you can find at any good Borders. Rory and I talked for nearly three hours about comics retailing, Berkeley and the Bay Area, and various other topics. But mostly about comics. Good man, that Rory, and it’s cool to have a new friend.

Three hours, we talked, and we met for the first time today. Isn’t that amazing?

Well, that’s enough for tonight. It amuses me how many people here look at me like I’m a mutant just because I can touchtype. I see them hunt and peck and then they just stop and stare at my hands as I write.