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May 29th, 2015

inland empire week

I've been in inland southern California the last few days for a work project. The past two days involved lots of early morning work on other matters followed by each solid business day on the matter at hand. I've managed to take a half-hour or hour's walk in local little city parks. I get to see some birds I do not see at home--Western Bluebird instead of Eastern, Cassin's Kingbird instead of Western or Eastern, and the Black Phoebe instead of the Eastern Phoebe. Even the familiar House Finch generated a surprise--this morning I saw a lovely orange-colored male House Finch in place of the red to which I am accustomed. Day before yesterday I saw
a graceful tern called a Forster's Tern dive-bombing a park lake. Only the apparent Sharp-Shinned Hawk I so confidently identified led me astray, as eBird offers me only its near kindred as a possible sighting for this region, the Cooper's Hawk.

I've been managing to keep up with what I eat and log it in carefully in the Weight Watchers food tracker on-line device. A working lunch comprised of something called a Nature Valley blueberry biscuit meant I ate too few points today. Too few points eaten is not a good thing. So I indulged on half a Snickers bar. It was a pretty humdrum bit of candy.

I finished Jennifer Marie Bissett's novel "Elysium", my fifth straight speculative fiction novel this year. I initially found the book too clever by half, but then its plot devices drew me in, and it felt less like a slightly polemical dystopian MFA project and more like good old sci-fi. I like it when my patience allows a book to gradually win me over. I am going to stay on a science fiction streak.

I do not have my SD card reader with me, and my cheap little laptop lacks a smart-card slot. The only one in the nearby drug store has a twenty dollar price tag, a multiple of what one costs on eBay. I will go to hundred dollar lengths sometimes not to spend 20 dollars on a 5 dollar item. So I will wait to process my local photos until I get home.

I had to pack my laptop in my luggage and leave my computer case (with my SD card reader) in my car to timely catch a flight. I have been delighted, though, with the six dollar computer case I got at Goodwill. I am also delighted that a Goodwill, a Subway Sandwich Shop and a FedEx office were within walking distance from each other when I needed a sandwich, to make a rage of photocopies, and a good inexpensive used laptop case.

It is curious to be back in droughtlands. I believe our home town in Texas has gotten some rain almost all week. But here it is dry--lovely, but dry. I took a right turn at a urban street and found myself in an orange grove.

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