Julia Scott

Photo by Julia Scott

A medley of people wait for the San Francisco Public Library to open in the morning. Students on a deadline. People who really need a library book. Retired folks. And people checking email.

As the doors open, patrons stream into the atrium at the main branch near the Civic Center in downtown San Francisco. Some head to their favorite reading nook; others to computers to start surfing the Web.

Julia Scott

If you could be at your own funeral, what would you like to do? How about dance and drink champagne with everyone you've ever known? A Bay Area man and his husband try to greet death in style. But they discover that death has its own agenda.

KALW contributor Julia Scott produced this radio documentary in partnership with the BBC World Service.

Bon Voyage

It’s crab season in California, and commercial fishermen can’t unload their catches fast enough to satisfy the crowds filling Fisherman’s Wharf. But out on the public piers behind the Embarcadero, away from the big boats, you’ll find a different breed of fisherman. They set out their poles, unroll their lines, add some bait, and wait quietly for dinner to arrive.

Flickr user Sterneck

Joseph Luna woke up this morning in a sleeping bag under the Harrison Street on-ramp to Highway 101. He sleeps here when he needs to get out of the rain.

Luna does not sleep past eight because he'll get rousted by police. His sleeping spot is near a five-way intersection, in back of a city tow lot. In his morning routine, he will get up, stack the cardboard and shove his stuff into a big black duffel bag, the only bag he owns.

Life is pretty boring if you’re a salmon growing up in the Nimbus Fish Hatchery. After being incubated in a tray, you spend six months in a plastic tub surrounded by 70,000 fish just like you. Then, it’s graduation day. You’ll be scooped into a tanker truck and dumped into the Sacramento River. But for now there’s nothing to do but eat, and the only thing you see all day are the people who feed you, like D.J. Gervin.

Julia Scott

Take a trip to the bottom of San Francisco Bay, and you’d find a lot of critters that aren’t supposed to be here at all. Hundreds of tiny, exotic organisms now live there, too.

“It’s unfortunately on the rarer side to find those things that should be here,” says Chris Brown, a biologist with the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, based in Marin. His lab works to locate and identify foreign marine life. Brown says the Bay is like an underwater zoo, with species from all over the world.