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I'm telling you, there are a ton of donut (or doughnut) shops in Los Angeles. To be precise, there's 864 of them in the metro area, according to our library's ReferenceUSA database. By comparison, there's 63 in Atlanta and 305 in the New York City metro area. And that's only counting stores that list donuts as one of their primary products, as opposed to general purpose bakeries, coffee shops that sell pastry, and so forth. These are freestanding donut shops. For example: Donut Star. Designer Donuts. Spudnuts Donuts. Ra's Donuts & Teriyaki. Yum Yum Donuts. Winchell's Donut House. Mo Better Meatty Meat Donuts (okay, maybe not that last one). I was astonished.

Now, we did do other things besides count donut stores. We saw a number of such traditional sites as Grauman's Chinese Theater (where I learned my hand is the same size as John Woo's), the Hollywood sign, the Santa Monica pier, Rodeo Drive, the Book Baron, Sunset Boulevard, Meltdown and IKEA. We ate at a number of places, including Gaucho Grill, the Market City Cafe, Canter's Deli, El Farolito, and Watson Drug (which doesn't sound like much, but it's where they filmed part of That Thing You Do and the food was pretty good besides). And most importantly, we got to spend time with our friends, Abbie, Tim, and Jodie (thanks guys!).

Writing news was relatively slim while I was gone. Got the contracts & check from Strange Horizons for "Laundromat Advances the Plot." Also found out that the "Best of" antho that Muse was up for has evaporated, on account of the publisher's wife leaving him. Which is a pretty good excuse, as far as I'm concerned.

Recently read: Oh, it's a whole lot of books: the freaky and highly recommended Zod Wallop by William Browning Spencer; My Name is Legion by Roger Zelazny; The Norm Ball Collection by Michael Jantze; the history of civilization Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond; and all four Astro City graphic novels. Nicely heroic, those last were, and remind me quite a bit of George R. R. Martin's Wild Card series.