Cactus Eaters in National Geographic Weekend

One of my readers just sent me this audio link to an interview I did a while back. This is probably the only time in my life in which I will appear in the same program roster as Chuck D of Public Enemy. Cool. (I just so happen to have Chuck D’s autograph, dating back to the “Apocalypse ’91, the Enemy Strikes Back” tour. I still have that autograph somewhere in storage. It’s on a napkin.)

The Cactus Eaters: now available in paperback!

I am very pleased to announce that the Cactus Eaters is available in the paperback format at your local bookstore. Literal minded people will point out that the book was already out in paperback, but let’s just set that aside for the time being. In other news, it looks like the book will go into another printing soon — and I want my Cactuseaters blog readers to know that I’ve been incorporating their emailed suggestions, though I will not be able to include color photos, at least for now.

An enduring puzzle: the Golden Gate Park spear (updated report.)

As I mentioned in a recent blog posting, I discovered what appeared to be a spear point in Golden Gate Park, not far from the Shakespeare Garden, and turned it over to the deYoung Museum, who in turn handed it over to the California Academy Of Sciences. An expert from the Academy’s Department of Anthropology has weighed in on the finding — and there are many more questions than answers. While the expert has declared that the obsidian object is “likely a spear tip or knife — it looks too robust to have served as an arrow tip,” its provenance is murky. There is some chance that the object was buried before the park was created in the late 19th century, and that a burrowing rodent pushed it up to the surface. But very often, gophers and other creatures actually bury artifacts deeper into the ground, rather than pushing them…

Mary Magazine, featuring Cactus Eaters deleted scene and interview

This just in. Mary Magazine — a literary magazine with headquarters at Saint Mary’s College of California in Moraga — has published an interview by the writer Jillian Kurvers, along with a very brief deleted section of The Cactus Eaters. And one more thing: While Cactuseaters is a family-friendly blog, there are a couple of impolite words in the deleted section. Just so you know. Also, make sure to check out the college’s upcoming series of readings, featuring the talented fiction writer Lysley Tenorio and many others.

$1.6 million needed to save SF bookstore

I stopped by Stacey’s bookstore on Market Street here in SF and asked if there was anything I could do to help the bookstore and prevent it from closing. One of the employees said yes, I could write them a check for $1.6 million!! Apparently that is what it would take to save the store, which (according to the employee) is paying 65K in rent each month!! So I guess the news is final after all. On the bright side, I can take some comfort in the fact that two top-notch bookstores (Alexander’s, just down the block, and a branch of Book Passage, several blocks away overlooking the water) are still going strong.

The vanishing mural of Haight-Ashbury (where has it gone?)

One of my favorite pieces of local street art has vanished. Every day, when I’m going on my appointed rounds or marathon-training runs, I pass this color-splashed mural with anthropomorphic smiling faces (some of them with lolling tongues.) I witnessed this project take shape from start to finish. Tourists are always posing in front of it. Locals stop to stare and admire it. And now, boom, it’s gone beneath a fresh coating of off-white paint. There might be a rational explanation (perhaps it was meant to be a temporary installation. I’ll ask around the block and see what I can find out.) Meanwhile, if you’ve never seen the mural, here are some photos that I took on pure impulse a couple of weeks back. By the way, there is a great mural on Cole Street near the Haight intersection; it’s an ‘evolutionary rainbow’ featuring fish, reptiles and other creatures. Make…

I found a spear in Golden Gate Park!

Yes, you read that correctly; I found a spear — or, to be more specific, a rocky spear point — in the park not too long ago, while running through the park on a rare, sunny day. GGP — long before it was turned into a pleasure garden — was just one more section of scrubby plants and sand dunes marching out toward the Pacific Ocean. Human habitation has a long history in what is now San Francisco — reaching back to at least 3,000 years B.C. But this doesn’t (necessarily) mean that the relic that I found — and duly turned over to the de Young Museum, which transferred the item to the California Academy of Sciences, after I provided specific coordinates of where I found this ‘surface relic — is the real deal. Sometimes it takes careful examination to determine whether something like this is authentic or merely…