California Middle Earth
It was one of those quiet Tuesday nights and I happened to stumble across a Lord of the Rings book in the house library.  Flipping through the map of Middle Earth and the  description of the different places, somewhere, along with that feeling of escape and adventure was a feeling of home... looking closer at the coast and the mountain ranges, the similarity between Middle Earth and California geography started to appear.
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Interactive version at
"Middle Earth not so far away" - Another person's reflection on the same topic

California Social Studies Lesson
For those who didn't get to experience the California public education system firsthand, to best understand this map, please read up on the history of water politics in CaliforniaCity of Quartz, a history of SoCal by Mike Davis is also worth reading.

Middle Earth is in California!
Funny enough, Middle Earth is the name of a freshman dorm at University of California, Irvine, and also a student lounge at University of California, San Diego.  There is also a student housing cooperative called Lothlorien near UC Berkeley, and a student housing cooperative called Baggins End (aka the Domes) at UC Davis.