Sunday, March 23, 2008

San Francisco, Part Two

Yesterday was a different sort of day – there were no panels that I felt compelled to join, so I decided to walk the book tables, drop off the copies of my paper for the fundraising table (the money goes to fund graduate student travel scholarships), and sightsee a bit. After picking up a jacket (I’ve been lucky with the weather here, but it can change on a dime), I double-checked my map and went out to find Grace Cathedral – I decided I had a better chance of having some private time to enjoy it then rather than at today's Easter Sunday services. It felt good to be out walking in the sunshine in this city and I think I get bonus points for tackling the unending steepness of California Street - maybe I should’ve taken a cable car! Grace itself is a marvel – it’s an Episcopal cathedral, but it very accepting of all faiths and all communities. I was particularly moved by the AIDS Interfaith Chapel. I walked the interior labyrinth, which is an idea borrowed from Chartres Cathedral; as you walk, you contemplate. It's a very calming thing to do, I must say.

The finale of the conference was a showing of Blade Runner followed by a raffle (with some VERY generous prizes, I should add!) - the movie was great – it was the director’s cut, which means the voice-overs were gone, as is the final scene of Deckard and Rachel soaring off toward a new life wherever it is. It really is an astonishingly good film that does what all good science fiction does – ask the big questions. In this case, the central question is “What does it mean to be human?” It also addresses some big questions about the relationship and responsibilities of creator/created. Oh, and the raffle was fun. Even if you didn’t win anything (I did), you don’t leave unhappy as there is a scramble at the end to do some judicious horse-trading to wind up with things you really wanted. Packing tomorrow could be interesting . . .

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