Elite Skeptics, Elitist Skeptics, and me.

A bunch of nerds at TAM London 2010.

Many people get a lot of attention on the internet for saying or writing things like “Atheist and skeptics are just the same as religious people!”

They go on to say things like “Skeptics like to take down the beliefs of others, but they never question their own beliefs.”

Near the end of the rant, you’ll probably find accusations of elitism and arrogance.

Personally I think there is a confusion between the labels of “elite skeptics” and “elitist skeptics”. There is some overlap between the groups, but from my own anecdotal evidence, not very much.

I have no problem with people who are not skeptical about every one of their beliefs. My problem is with those people who aren’t skeptical of the reasons they THINK they are skeptical.

It’s a tricky concept, but maybe I can explain.

Not everyone can be skeptical of everything. There are loads of areas where I don’t think skeptically at all. This is the only way to get through my day, otherwise I’d never get anything done. I’d spend all the time investigating every tiny detail of every tiny truth claim, and never be able to have an awesome, albeit slightly random, life.

Who can really be that skeptical? Not us everyday people. And yet “skeptics” come under fire for NOT examining every single thing. And because we believe some things without question, and challenge a certain set of beliefs of others, we are called arrogant and elitist.

For that attention to detail we rely on elite skeptics. These can be professional scientists, or they can be trusted journalists or public figures who communicate the current state of scientific thought.

When Ben Goldacre says “Homeopathy is bullshit” I don’t rush out to do my own tests on diluted water. I just take his word on it. There is a virtuous circle of trust among scientists and science writers that allows them to reach a consensus on certain topics.

Yay for the elite skeptics!

My problem is with elitist skeptics, and I have a good working definition of the term.

First, let me state that I have no problems with any single belief or stance on any issue an elitist skeptic might talk about, or browbeat others about. The chances are they are 100% correct on the matter when held against the standards of modern science.

My only problem is the reason that they THINK they are skeptics, and are therefore scientifically right. The reason they believe they skeptics is their own intelligence.

Which leads to them believing everyone who believes something scientifically incorrect is stupid, or at least less intelligence than they are.

THIS is elitist skepticism, in my opinion.

I experienced it many, many times at the TAM London conferences in 2009 and 2010. More so in 2010. There would be a statement from the stage about how stupid religious people are, or how people are stupid for not knowing this scientific fact, and the audience would erupt in applause and cheering. It made me feel very uncomfortable. Same with my brother and sister-in-law, who attended one and two of the events respectfully.

The truth of the matter, as I see it, is that fact that you are a skeptic has nothing to do with your own intelligence. Instead it has everything to do with circumstances of your birth, your upbringing, and the society in which you live.

If this wasn’t the case, we could look at the most incredible minds throughout history, and they’d all be atheists and skeptics.

How about Isaac Newton? Oops. Was totally into alchemy and all kinds of batshit crazy stuff, as well as being a Christian. Same with every other intelligent person up until the Enlightenment.

Also, atheists have no problem saying “If you were born in Saudi Arabia, you’d probably believe in Allah, if you were born in Texas you’d probably believe in Jesus.” Which is totally true. This isn’t a statement about the mental capacity of any religious person, just the admission that people are shaped by their surroundings.

So why do skeptics think they are any different?

I was brought up in a hardcore Christian home, and I’m now an atheist and a skeptic. Is it my intelligence that took me down that path? I’d say no, just a great many incidences and coincidences along the way. My Christian upbringing probably contributed more to me being a skeptic now than other people’s secular upbringing, to the point where they’ve thought as much about the existence of god as the efficacy of Homeopathy. As in, not at all.

I have an identical twin brother who also attended TAM London in 2009 and 2010. He was also brought up in a Christian home, of course, and is now probably more hardcore atheist than I am. Did we reach the same beliefs because we are both as intelligent as each other? Well, no. It could be said that I’m objectively more intelligent than he is, as measured by grades at school. But even our grades at school had more to do with our only very slightly different life experiences up until age 16.

We took different paths to our skeptical mindset, at different paces, but in each case it took a repeated exposure to the skeptical mindset of others, each time totally outside of our control. After a time, by applying skeptical tools we’d picked up to our own beliefs, we came to the same kinds of conclusions. This had nothing to do with our intelligence levels, and way more to do with the fact that skepticism itself works. We didn’t invent it, we only slowly, and by accident, learnt it.

So what next?

Thinking other people are stupid because they are religious or not skeptical is totally misguided. It becomes worrying when these elitist skeptics think they should also be elite skeptics, or worse yet, elite members of society in general.

You may be CORRECT about the topics of which you are skeptical, but that doesn’t mean the “stupid” people should be sneered at and then ignored. They should, instead or at least, be educated.

As a final argument, I’d like to bring up the parallels between elitist skeptics and Randian thinkers on economics.

“I got to where I am today, financially, due to my own skills, intelligence, and hard work! I am the 53%! Pull yourself up by your boot straps!”

The common rebuttal is something on the lines of “Really? You didn’t rely on your parents? Your schooling? The circumstances of your birth? Your parents’ economic standing? Your gender? The colour of your skin? Your reliance on the wider society to provide the safe environment in which you can flourish?”

Soon the claims that someone, anyone, got to their current financial position due to their own abilities falls flat. It involves long chains of coincidence, circumstances outside of the person’s control, and the actions of other people. All these things combine to bring any single person to any point in their life. There is no fate, there is no destiny, there is no god in the machine. If you are a hardcore skeptic, you won’t believe in true free will, only in the illusion of free will. You are only the culmination of matter and energy playing itself out in the universe.

Really.

“I’m a skeptic, and have all the right answers, due to my own skills, intelligence, and hard work! I have the same religious beliefs as all these Nobel Prize winning scientists! If you weren’t so stupid, you’d be just like me!”

My rebuttal is exactly the same as before. “Really? You didn’t rely on your parents? Your schooling? The circumstances of your birth? Your parents’ economic standing? Your gender? The colour of your skin? Your reliance on the wider society to provide the safe environment in which you can flourish?”

Yes, even skin gender and colour. How many black women at TAM London in 2010? Maybe there was one, but she was hidden among the sea of caucasian men. Then again, only middle-to-upper-class people could afford the money and time to attend TAM, and we all know that white men, aged 25-40, only reach that position through their own intelligence and hard work. Ho hum.

To conclude: Some people DO rely solely on their outstanding mental capacity to independently formulate the principles of science and skeptical thought. Good on them. But these people are few and far between. I’m not asking you to defend the ancient philosophers’ intelligence compared to the general population. It’s obvious they had the chops to rise above the rest, and have influenced world history since their times.

No, I’m asking you to defend your OWN intelligence compared to the general population. Is knowing the truth about some subjects, and knowing a method of thought to reach true conclusions on other subjects, reason enough to sneer at everyone else?

I think not.


A month of music – part 4: listening to my entire iTunes library by date added.

So, it’s that time of year again!

In 2009 I listened to every bit of music in my iTunes library as sorted by track name, and in 2010 I did listened to the entire thing as sorted by by track length, and again in 2010 sorted by play number.

It’s a fun little project, and makes me take notice of the music I have in new ways. Over the past month I’ve listened to every track as sorted by date added.

What did I find out this time?

Of the four ways I’ve listened to all my music in order, it was the one that had the greatest effect. Listening as sorted by track length told me a lot about the kind of music I own, but by date added it told me a lot about me. Changing tastes of music is only the smallest part of it.

Mostly it’s about the triggered memories. This is a great way to relive your life through your memories, in order, as triggered by “Oh shit, I remember buying this!” or “I know where I was the first time I heard this track, and ripped it from that CD!”

If I looked through a diary, that would work, but most people don’t keep diaries. But everyone has a collection of music. Listening by track name is just a whimsical thing that only someone like me would do, someone who has almost unlimited free time, gives in to random impulses, and bloody-minded enough to stick with long term projects.

I think everyone should listen to all their music as sorted by date. Then again, maybe most people aren’t like me, and might not get anything from it at all. Who knows.

Some more notes:

  • When you sort all the tracks by date added, if an album has the same time and date (to the nearest minute) it then lists the tracks alphabetically by name, not by track number. I’m not sure why, but it meant that I listened to albums in an unusual order. Unless, of course, the track names were “Track 1, track 2, track 3, etc.”
  • The first track, for the second time, was “5 seconds of almost silence”, a track I use to separate music track on CDs for my show. It’s also the shortest track in my library, as well as the most played.
  • Next is a whole load of music that I copied direct from my old PC onto my macbook when I bought it back in February of 2008. This includes 311 songs, 20.2 hours, or 1.5 GB of music. A lot of this is from my collection of CDs from the previous decade, but from CDs I didn’t still have with me physically.
    What did this mean? This batch included a LOT of memories. Stuff I’d downloaded for specific shows, CDs I’d borrowed from friends at university and ripped, some music from Pola’s computer, and lots more.
  • The next main batch of music is from a few weeks later, when I wanted to have the titles of every track listed, rather than just “Track 1, track 2, track 3, etc.” Instead of doing anything manually, I just ripped all the CDs I had, let iTunes grab the track titles from the internet automagically, and deleted the previous files.
    This included a lot more music that Pola and I had bought together, or that we both liked so that we’d carry the music with us on road trips in a CD carrying case. Good times!
  • Once I had an iTunes account, much of the music I bought was through that, and not CD. A lot of these were impulse buys, or buying new albums from favourite artists. Also there are many EPs and albums that I bought after hearing the music on a YouTube video, and iTunes is usually the easiest way to grab it.
  • At the EJC in 2008 I organized the EJC Open Stages, and put in lots of CDs to rip for the artists appearing on stage. Also someone gave me a USB thumb drive with a big collection of ska music and other stuff, and it somehow got imported into my iTunes library. I liked most of it, so kept most of it.
  • Some CDs that someone gave to me. Those were ripped.
  • Some music from musicians I work with on cruise ships. Well, to be honest the style of music normally isn’t to my taste, so I don’t keep the music in rotation, except for a very few artists.
  • Oh look, all of Jonathan Coulton’s Thing A Week music. Mixed memories of my own attempt to make a song a week for a just six weeks, rather than for an entire year.
  • And then quite a few albums bought at the suggestion of various girlfriends and friends who are girls over the last two years. Lots of memories there too!
  • Albums and EPs by musicians I met on my vacation in New York in September 2010. Those guys were all super talented! I still buy their new music as and when it comes out.
  • Various nostalgia trip! Downloading albums I owned on CD, cassette tape or (I’m not kidding here) minidisc when I was 20, but since lost. Groove Armada are still cool, right? Basement Jax? Air’s Moon Safari? Jamiroqui? Love it! That reminds me, I should find some Orbital and Leftfield again some time. This way I can get double memories, of when I first listened to that music, and also when I buy it again 10 (or more) years later.

Whew! A lot of memories. That will do for now.

But what next? Listen to the whole iTunes library as sorted by… release date? That might work, but only three quarters of my library has the year of release. Beats per minute? Only a few dozen tracks have that info attached. Genre? Album? Artist? Those are a bit boring. No matter, I’ll think of something.


Yosemite photos and bear “attack” story.

Ever since I first saw photos of Yosemite, I knew I’d have to visit one day. On this trip I knew I’d have the chance, and had a lot of fun planning my three day adventure. The weather forecast was bad, but this had the amazing effect of emptying the entire valley of other people. I’d walk for hours without seeing a single other person. As far as I can tell, this is a pretty rare experience.

I’ll tell the story of my bear encounter at the end of this post, but for now I’ll share some photos.

It’s photos like this one that made me want to visit Yosemite. Here I am trying to imitate Ansel Adams’s famous photo of Brideveil Falls, El Capitan, Sentinel Rock and the Half Dome. Unfortunately the Half Dome was hidden by the clouds.
It's photos like this one that made me want to visit Yosemite. Here I am trying to imitate Ansel Adams's famous photo of Brideveil Falls, El Capitan, Sentinel Rock and the Half Dome. Unfortunately the Half Dome was hidden by the clouds.


A photo of me not taken by me. Rare on this blog!
A photo of me not taken by me. Rare on this blog!

Unexpected blue sky.
Unexpected blue sky.

More colour than Ansel Adams.
More colour than Ansel Adams.

Tourist view of Yosemite Falls.
Tourist view of Yosemite Falls.


Oh Dear.
Oh Dear.

Trees and cliffs.
Trees and cliffs.

Ahwahnee hotel lounge.
Ahwahnee hotel lounge.

Half Dome peeks through the clouds and trees. This was my first glimpse of the rock.
Half Dome peeks through the clouds and trees. This was my first glimpse of the rock.

Mirror Lake, not so impressive when mostly empty.
Mirror Lake, not so impressive when mostly empty.

Clouds at the Half Dome.
Clouds at the Half Dome.





The dining room at the Ahwahnee Hotel, where I ate on of the most expensive single meals of my life. I think I paid more for the building I was in rather than the food or wine.
The dining room at the Ahwahnee Hotel, where I ate on of the most expensive single meals of my life. I think I paid more for the building I was in rather than the food or wine.

On Thursday morning it was raining. All morning. Until 2pm. I decided to chance a hike up the Four Mile Trail to Glacier point. If the clouds and rain held, I’d see nothing, but if I stayed in the valley I’d see nothing for sure.

As it happen, as I climbed higher, the clouds lifted higher and higher. It turned the single most magical hike of my life. At every turn the views became more impressive, and the light more and more interesting.

The non-tourist view of the Yosemite Falls.
The non-tourist view of the Yosemite Falls.

Tree details.
Tree details.

The Yosemite Falls again.
The Yosemite Falls again.

Amazing clouds.
Amazing clouds.


Hiking up into the snow and clouds.
Hiking up into the snow and clouds.


And out into the clear again!
And out into the clear again!


For some reason, I think Ansel Adams is to blame, I always picture Yosemite in black and white in my mind. I think it works well in photos like this too!
For some reason, I think Ansel Adams is to blame, I always picture Yosemite in black and white in my mind. I think it works well in photos like this too!

A park ranger had marked the path through the snow to the very top of the trail. I’m glad he had done so, as I’d never have followed the path without it. Only three other people hiked to the top of the trail that day, but that was enough so the 6-10 inch thick snow didn’t trouble me too much.
A park ranger had marked the path through the snow to the very top of the trail. I'm glad he had done so, as I'd never have followed the path without it. Only three other people hiked to the top of the trail that day, but that was enough so the 6-10 inch thick snow didn't trouble me too much.


The view from Glacier Point. The Half Dome wouldn’t show itself! I was above most of the clouds, but not those around the other high points in of the valley.
The view from Glacier Point. The Half Dome wouldn't show itself! I was above most of the clouds, but not those around the other high points in of the valley.

The Half Dome makes an appearance!
The Half Dome makes an appearance!

And then the sun began to set. And it was just beautiful! These photos really don’t do it justice. You had to be there!
And then the sun began to set. And it was just beautiful! These photos really don't do it justice. You had to be there!

But as it happened, I was the last person on the trail. Everyone else was had passed me on the way down hours before, and would have already been on the valley floor.
But as it happened, I was the last person on the trail. Everyone else was had passed me on the way down hours before, and would have already been on the valley floor.

That I was the only one to see these views first hand made the whole experience extra special.
That I was the only one to see these views first hand made the whole experience extra special.

I turned a corner, and saw the Half Dome catching the last of the evening light.
I turned a corner, and saw the Half Dome catching the last of the evening light.

After the sun dropped below the horizon, mist began to fill the bottom of the valley.
After the sun dropped below the horizon, mist began to fill the bottom of the valley.

The stars came out, and I had to use my iphone as a torch to see the path under the trees, but then I turned and saw the moon rise over Sentinel Rock. I thought the sunset and starlit valley had been amazing, but this just added an extra layer of magic on the entire hike.
The stars came out, and I had to use my iphone as a torch to see the path under the trees, but then I turned and saw the moon rise over Sentinel Rock. I thought the sunset and starlit valley had been amazing, but this just added an extra layer of magic on the entire hike.

I reached the valley floor, and the moon lit up the mist through the trees.
I reached the valley floor, and the moon lit up the mist through the trees.

A view of the Yosemite Falls from the Swinging Bridge, as lit by star and moonlight.
A view of the Yosemite Falls from the Swinging Bridge, as lit by star and moonlight.

Another moonlit view of the valley walls.
Another moonlit view of the valley walls.

The view from my cabin/tent on Friday morning. The day started with fine weather which was good for my planned walk up to Vernal Falls. But bad for having the the entire path to myself for the third day in a row.
The view from my cabin/tent on Friday morning. The day started with fine weather which was good for my planned walk up to Vernal Falls. But bad for having the the entire path to myself for the third day in a row.

Vernal Falls.
Vernal Falls.

Test shot for an “international juggler video” clip. I tried to get the rainbow on video, but I’ve not checked to see how well that worked.
Test shot for an

Vernal Falls one more time.
Vernal Falls one more time.

Another shot of Yosemite Falls from the Swinging Bridge, this time in the sunlight.
Another shot of Yosemite Falls from the Swinging Bridge, this time in the sunlight.

Postcard shot of the Half Dome.
Postcard shot of the Half Dome.

Squirrels everywhere, including on my camera bag!
Squirrels everywhere, including on my camera bag!


El Capitan from below.
El Capitan from below.

A climber on El Capitan.
A climber on El Capitan.


So what about my encounter with a bear? It happened like this.


On Wednesday night I got to my cabin/tent thing (see above), and put out my blankets. I was pretty tired, but wanted to go through the photos of the day. My laptop gets hot while doing photo editing, so I made a little tent under my blankets and used it as a heater. That worked well!

After a while I got too tired, so turned off the light and fell asleep.

And then I woke to noises outside my cabin. First I thought it might be a raccoon, but soon the noises told me it was a bear!

I thought if I just kept quiet it would leave. But instead it came inside my cabin/tent! I was shitting myself, as it was utterly dark! I couldn’t see anything, so just curled up as small as possible on my bed and kept quite.

The info signs say that if you see a bear, you should make noise to scare it away. I would have done this right away, if I’d been fully awake, but before I thought about it, the bear was within a metre of my bed, I couldn’t see it, and it was between me and the exit. That LAST thing I wanted to do was make noises to scare a bear so close that I could have reached out and touched it. Or, more to the point, so close it could have reached out and touched me.

It turns out I had my Ritter Sport chocolate bars stashed away in my camera bag, and had forgotten all about them. I’m an idiot! So the bear dragged my camera bag outside, and routed through the open compartments (I’d taken much of my gear out, and left it totally open to let it dry, thankfully). It took the chocolate and left.

I called the camp front office, and some kind of ranger came over, and we stored my bag again properly in the locker.

And then I tried to get back to sleep. That was harder than it sounds! I’d had a close encounter with a bear. And I didn’t see it. It was exactly like a horror movie. You hear it, you know it’s close, but seeing nothing is what made it extra scary!

It had dragged my bag out from beside the very bed I slept in. It was my fault for not paying full attention to the storage of food, and I have no excuses as there are signs EVERYWHERE about leaving food outside of lockers. You can get fined and thrown out of the camp for that kind of thing.

In the morning I checked my camera bag. That was a very dirty bear! It left muddy marks all over the inside of my bag.
In the morning I checked my camera bag. That was a very dirty bear! It left muddy marks all over the inside of my bag.

So concludes my Yosemite trip reporting.


Portland and San Francisco photos

I was invited to the Portland Juggling Festival. Cool, eh? You may expect loads of photos of other jugglers, and photos from the gym, and loads of photos from the main shows. But no, I was super busy hanging out, teaching workshops, getting stuff sorted for the gala show, and generally being a special guest at the convention. Also I forgot to put the battery in my camera on the Friday of the convention.

So instead of photos from the convention, I’ve only holiday snaps to share on my blog. I made the trip into a two week vacation (it’s in America, so vacation not holiday), and generally carried my camera with me to capture images and memories. I’ll share these photos in two blog posts, this one my time in Portland and San Francisco, and the following blog post will have all the photos from my Yosemite trip.

Sunrise in Berlin as I reached the airport.
Sunrise in Berlin as I reached the airport.

San Francisco skyline from a distant hill.
San Francisco skyline from a distant hill.

I walked up the hill with Christine, a friend I’ve not seen since 2004!
I walked up the hill with Christine, a friend I've not seen since 2004!



In Portland, I took a long bike trip. I didn’t take so many photos as I do when walking, as my camera is never right in my hand, but if I see something worth stopping for, I will. I actually went out of my way to visit Burrage Avenue. Did I spot it on a map? Nope! Google knew I was going to Portland, I guess, and flagged up a mention of this road via a Google Alert a few days before I left on the trip. Like Eric Schmidt says “We know Google is working when it gives you information you need before you ask for it.” In this case, that’s exactly what happened.
In Portland, I took a long bike trip. I didn't take so many photos as I do when walking, as my camera is never right in my hand, but if I see something worth stopping for, I will. I actually went out of my way to visit Burrage Avenue. Did I spot it on a map? Nope! Google knew I was going to Portland, I guess, and flagged up a mention of this road via a Google Alert a few days before I left on the trip. Like Eric Schmidt says

The view from the bridge to Washington.
The view from the bridge to Washington.

One aisle of the science fiction and fantasy section of Powell’s Books, the worlds largest independent bookshop in the world. It’s an impressive place!
One aisle of the science fiction and fantasy section of Powell's Books, the worlds largest independent bookshop in the world. It's an impressive place!

My only photo from the Portland Juggling Festival. It shows part of the charity tshirt auction.
My only photo from the Portland Juggling Festival. It shows part of the charity tshirt auction.

Rob at the Multnomah Falls.
Rob at the Multnomah Falls.

Thom, Curt, Rob and me in front of a waterfall.
Thom, Curt, Rob and me in front of a waterfall.

The second highest all-season waterfall in the United States. Sounds impressive? It would have been the most amazing waterfall on the entire trip, except for every single waterfall in Yosemite Valley.
The second highest all-season waterfall in the United States. Sounds impressive? It would have been the most amazing waterfall on the entire trip, except for every single waterfall in Yosemite Valley.

A romantic place.
A romantic place.

Smile for the camera!
Smile for the camera!

Thom looking out on the end of the Oregon Trail.
Thom looking out on the end of the Oregon Trail.


Don’t jump, Robert!
Don't jump, Robert!

Downtown San Francisco.
Downtown San Francisco.


Pier 39.
Pier 39.

Sea lions at Pier 39.
Sea lions at Pier 39.

Sea lions and Alcatraz.
Sea lions and Alcatraz.



I took a trip out into the bay on a catamaran.
I took a trip out into the bay on a catamaran.



Alcatraz and a tourist boat. There were so many people on the sight seeing boat that when they all went to one side to look at Alcatraz, the boat tipped to starboard quite visibly. How many people on the catamaran? Five.
Alcatraz and a tourist boat. There were so many people on the sight seeing boat that when they all went to one side to look at Alcatraz, the boat tipped to starboard quite visibly. How many people on the catamaran? Five.

The Rock.
The Rock.



We sailed under the Golden Gate Bridge. At the same time a helicopter flew under the bridge too, but I didn’t get a photo.
We sailed under the Golden Gate Bridge. At the same time a helicopter flew under the bridge too, but I didn't get a photo.

I have a GPS tracker for geotagging my photos. Here’s the route we took.
I have a GPS tracker for geotagging my photos. Here's the route we took.





Checking for dolphins. They were all over the place, and followed the catamaran for a while. I only got very bad and blurry photos.
Checking for dolphins. They were all over the place, and followed the catamaran for a while. I only got very bad and blurry photos.


The cat and the rock.
The cat and the rock.

Test shot for an “international juggler video” clip.
Test shot for an

Windingest road in SF.
Windingest road in SF.

Cable cars!
Cable cars!

I had to give this a go. A jumped on without paying.
I had to give this a go. A jumped on without paying.





Inside a dome. I think this was a shopping center. I don’t remember now.
Inside a dome. I think this was a shopping center. I don't remember now.

Brian, my host at the Vulcan, where I stayed for three nights in total. The Vulcan is a massive collection of artist and circus studio apartments, and is always full of interesting people doing interesting things.
Brian, my host at the Vulcan, where I stayed for three nights in total. The Vulcan is a massive collection of artist and circus studio apartments, and is always full of interesting people doing interesting things.

Bri, my other host at the Vulcan.
Bri, my other host at the Vulcan.

A courtyard at the Vulcan.

I took a bike ride on Saturday and, as planned (though I’d forgotten why I’d planned to take the bike ride on Saturday), I bumped into the San Francisco air show.
I took a bike ride on Saturday and, as planned (though I'd forgotten why I'd planned to take the bike ride on Saturday), I bumped into the San Francisco air show.

The service plane for the Blue Angels.
The service plane for the Blue Angels.

These guys are nutters.
These guys are nutters.

Whoosh!
Whoosh!

To the bridge!
To the bridge!

Test shot for an “international juggler video” clip.
Test shot for an

The other side of the bridge.
The other side of the bridge.

Borderlands, a science fiction and fantasy bookshop in the Mission District. Great for nerding out!
Borderlands, a science fiction and fantasy bookshop in the Mission District. Great for nerding out!

So that’s all for what I got up to in the cities. I had a lot of fun, though these photos only sum up a small part of it.