Man, with all the food around here, I’m amazed these women stay so skeletal. Either they spend all day at the gym, or…well, apparently bulimia is rampant out here. Good lord. And the prices would make a skunk blush. Still, since other people are payin’ for it…I’m walking out to Runyon Canyon every day, in hopes of keeping from going back ten pounds heavier.

Lessons Learned: A place that charges you ninety bucks for lunch can still have a skanky bathroom.

I don’t know that I’d ever be comfortable in a place where there’s so much discussion of sex and astrology, and so little discussion of wholesome topics like, say, leprosy and naked mole rats. Still, the food’s amazing. I had a brie and sliced apple panini with carmelized onions for lunch today.  Last night, possibly fearing that I was homesick for the cuisine of the South,* my charming celebrity host took me to a place that makes red velvet cake. I don’t even LIKE red velvet cake and the stuff was un-freaking-believeable. The icing alone could have brought about world peace.

Meanwhile, the birding continues apace! Runyun Canyon’s not a total bird mecca–no open water–but it’s still pretty cool. The house finches are native here (I am reminded that they were sold on the East Coast as “Hollywood finches” a century or so ago, leading to their establishment there.) and they’re everywhere. Lots of California towhees, fair number of bushtits. Saw a pair of wrentits (lifer!–I heard ’em first) and an ash-throated flycatcher (lifer!) though. And I hiked up to the highest point in Runyon, where the swallows go careening and airfoiling around, and added both Cliff and Violet-Green. (Took awhile. Getting a visual bead on anything going that fast well enough to ID with confidence is tricky. Saw something that might have been a Vaux’s Swift yesterday evening, but I didn’t get near enough fieldmarks to call that spotted.) Heard a mockingbird virtuoso do a truly brilliant series of car alarms and industrial noises. The park’s also lousy with hummingbirds, and I was privileged enough to see, after hearing an odd kind of ticking call, a covey of three little California quail go skittering across a little opening in the chaparral. I’ve seen quail before, but there’s just something delightful about seeing them. I don’t know what it is.  I gotta paint some critter with a riding quail some time…

Tonight I’m going to something called “drag queen bingo.” Pray for me.

*It will be a cold, cold day in hell, my friends…

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