This is only going to cover the first half of the day. I'll write about the evening in another entry.
After our exhausting ride through the central valley and great night at the signing party, Cady and I were wiped, but the hotel room was scorching and I couldn't figure out how to turn on the AC, so I barely slept at all. (A call down to the front desk in the morning clued me in - there was no AC, I had to open the sliding glass door. Wish I'd thought of that at 3AM.)
We ditched the car and rode BART into the Mission district around 10. Our first stop was Good Vibrations. I had a blast playing around with the toys. I mean researching. Yes. Serious writer's research. That's what I was doing.
I've already given up on submitting a story for a Drag Kings anthology. I did come up with a story that I like, but it doesn't fit the call. Even though it won't be submitted, I felt I had a legitimate excuse to spend a lot of time experimenting with the packers. Work, work, work. Pay no attention to the rumor that I tried swinging a floppy nine incher like a lariat.
The only thing that sort of gives me pause at places like Good Vibrations is that so much of the inventory is designed to make sex palatable. Flavored lubes. Massage oils. Scented candles. Are women that turned off by the smell and flavor of sex that they have to coat it in pretty, sweet goo before they'll endure it? The answer is probably yes. That's so sad.
Our second stop was at Borderlands Books, an independent store specializing in science fiction. The store mascot is a hairless cat named Ripley who was a little too interested in the contents of our Good Vibrations bags. Cady had a list of Liaden Universe chapbooks she wanted to get, so I was free to wander around the store and shop.
Big mistake. I should not be trusted in a bookstore with a credit card.
I bought Wild Seed as a personal memorial of Octavia Butler's passing a few weeks back. The old sword and sorcery series Thieves World is being reissued, so I picked up the first two books. I have no idea where my original paperbacks went and have wanted to reread them. I also picked up Laurie Mark's Earth Logic, the sequel to Fire Logic which I enjoyed a lot. I don't know why I didn't realize she'd published the next in the series, but I was glad to see it.
If you read my blog often, you know that I take picture of cemeteries everywhere I go. San Francisco doesn't have cemeteries, or so I was told, but when I found out Mission Dolores had one, I dragged Cady along on the tour. She did suggest that I stuff my Good Vibrations bag into the book bag before we went in. Something about decorum. We spent some time wandering inside the original church and the basilica, which was draped in dramatic purple cloth for Lent. Cady knows Catholicism, so I learned a lot on our tour. The graveyard was tiny, and kind of cool, but it didn't have any great funeary art. (Now Salzberg - there's a cemetery! Memento Mori everywhere.)
Between my purchases and Cady's we had about seven pounds of books stuffed into a little canvas bag that we took turns toting as we headed for the Castro. By the time we reached Twin Peaks bar, we'd been hiking around for about five hours, had eaten, hadn't even had something to drink. On the plus side, by that point in the day I still hadn't had a cigarette!
One of the many great things about spending a day with Cady is that she has no qualms about walking into a boy sex shop and looking at heavy duty S&M gear. I don't either. I love it. There are things I'll blush over, but sounds and enema gear aren't on the list. It's nice to be able to check out the beginner's hogtie kit and discuss it with someone who can keep the conversation on a technical level. Finally - sane people who celebrate sex instead of enduring it! I found a few things I liked, but given time constraints and the fact that I blew my budget on books, I was reduced to window shopping. At least wicked thoughts are free.
By the way - really hot nasty sex can be an expensive hobby. Just sayin'.