Couple days since an update, but that’s okay. I think only two people are out there anyway. Courtney, Anne: hidey-ho! (Not THAT kind of ho.)

I got up to Alcatraz yesterday. I was actually rather surprised by how much I enjoyed it. The prison itself was interesting, but I really loved two things about the experience: the ranger-led tour and the island itself. The National Parks ranger who led the tour was funny and knowledgeable about the island and its history. I haven’t enjoyed a guided tour this much since seeing the Tower of London back in December. The other big surprise was just how beautiful the grounds of Alcatraz Island are! The Parks Service is letting the grounds go wild, and the range of flowers, trees, and other vegetation was stunning. You’d expect the Rock to be gray, not arrayed in many colors and shapes and scents.

Don’t be turned off by Alcatraz. The island gets a lot of tourists, yes, but if you book an early tour, it’s not so bad, and it’s well worth seeing.

I continued my busman’s holiday, as Rory Root phrases it, with a trip to Comics and Da-Kind on Noriega Street. I walked in, browed a bit, and finally introduced myself to the proprieters, James Sime and his girlfriend Kristen. James grinned widely, stood up, offered his hand, and said, “Michael! I heard you were in town! It’s nice to finally meet you!” Goddamn. I feel like a rockstar.

James has a very cool shop, with overstuffed sofas for lounging, beautifully displayed Silver Age comics on the walls, a diverse and wide-ranging selection of comics from every genre, and even a stocked bar for the parties he throws his customers. Avengers artist Kieron Dwyer is among his customers and brings in finished art from the book for James to show off. And show it off James did. I was able to see pencilled and inked pages for an issue of Avengers that won’t be on sale for a couple months yet. Very cool.

James gave me a pass to yesterday evening’s free showing of a new 3D IMAX film, shot aboard the International Space Station. Altthough the line to get in was long, the wait was worth it. The movie is beautifully filmed and the 3D effects are used fabulously. Seeing the ISS in orbit over the Earth was stunning, especially in 3D. Also, highly recommended, if you have a chance to check it out.


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