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In August, I had the good fortune to visit the great city of San Francisco when I presented my paper "Hayes, Herr and Sack: Esquire Goes to Vietnam," at the 2006 AEJMC Conference, perhaps the largest and most well known in the mass communications field.

Of course, the "City By the Bay" is known for much more than just hosting boring academic gatherings. Indeed, San Francisco is about as vibrant a metropolis as one can get, teeming with exotic culture, fine dining, breathtaking vistas, raucous nightlife and much more.

Located on a wind-swept peninsula along the central-California coast, the city boasts exceptionally mild temperatures even during the summer. And the frigid, wild-and-wooly surrounding waters make the area a favorite for surfers and shark hunters alike (indeed, the Great White is a frequent, if menacing, visitor to San Francisco beaches).

When in town, be sure to head up to the North Beach district and check out City Lights bookstore, fabled stomping grounds for such legendary "Beat Generation" writers as Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg. And since you're in the neighborhood, why not stroll next door to the world-famous Vesuvio, favored watering hole for many a writer and artist.

For maps on the area or for more information on things to do while in San Francisco, visit the city's chamber of commerce Web site.