Nature photography, political rants, and Martyman laughs from the ten-time award-winning author of "Cool Creatures, Hot Planet," "Endangered Edens," and the "Time Is Irreverent" series.

Misadventures from my New York speaking tour

So it’s going to be one of those tours! Yesterday I had a full day’s worth of flights from Missoula, MT to Syracuse, NY. I had the early morning United Airlines flight out of Missoula (the tackiest, most incompetent airport in America). First my Missoula flight was delayed because of a cold air plane, then it was delayed because of a fuel imbalance, and then it was delayed for de-icing. Apparently no one there is capable of thinking more than 5 seconds into the future. This delayed my flight out of Missoula by an hour, giving me 10 minutes to switch airplanes in Denver.

Luckily, I managed to catch my connecting flight. Unfortunately, while I went from Denver to Washington, DC to Syracuse, NY, my luggage took a detour to Chicago! I carry all of my vital show equipment in my backpack, so I could have done my show without it, but without my show clothes, hair brush, or electric razor, I probably would have looked like shit. Because luggage delivery would be too late, I hung around the Syracuse airport until late last night waiting for my luggage to finally arrive from Chicago.

Then, this morning, I had my first show of the tour at Cayuga Community College. I have performed at the college twice before, so I knew to go directly to the theater to set up. Only this time my show was moved to another location on campus. Okay, fine. I’m adaptable. I go to the other location and nothing works and the person assisting me doesn’t know what to do. No worries, this happens often. I dig into my backpack full of equipment, find a special cord, and route my equipment around the non-working school equipment. Yay! Everything works. I’m ready.

Since I had a little extra time, I found a couch where I could work for a bit on my latest novel. Ten minutes later, a man finds me and says, “Your show has been moved to the theater!” I always show up for my gigs 90 minutes ahead of time, so I have time to deal with set up difficulties. I look at my watch: it’s 30 minutes to show time.

I run and tear down my equipment and move it to the theater. Then I re-set everything up and plug in my laptop. But there is no picture on the screen, and the theater manager can’t figure out why. No worries, this happens often. I dig into my backpack, find a USB drive, move my show over to the in-house computer, and also get my remote to work with the school’s system.

It’s now 1 minute to show time. From there the show took off without a hitch—until I realize that I downloaded an old version of my show onto the college computer! My show requires a ton of memorization, and it’s so fast-paced that I’m often talking about a particular photograph before it shows on the screen. It’s too late now. So I do the old version of the show (which is 90% the same as the new version), and, of course screw up a few times when an unexpected photo shows up or an expected photo is missing.

Nevertheless, despite the long list of things going wrong, I have survived the day, and other than a few fuck-ups courtesy of the old show, I’m pleased. But today is just day two of seven. What will happen next? I’ll let you know.

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