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    an idyllwild weather clam!

    Our gal, The Idyllwild Weather Clam thinks that it will rain again today.

    Friday 23 June 2017
    Currently at 5:03 AM 60°


    Up to the minute now-casting provided by: Idyllwild Weather Clam Mega-Skyview Ultra-Precision Doppler 160000 Super Computron Forecast in Full Spectrum HD
    Wednesday
    May202015

    Tramway!



    Friends,

    How do you build a tram system up a steep slope before we invented anti-gravity boots and rock-climbing robots? Helicopters! These "mechanical dragonflies" hauled stuff up the hill to build towers and string cables so that a bunch of guys in the 1960s didn't have to. This video is 25 minutes of your life that you may, as I do, find fascinating.

    Also, the opening set-up shots are worth the time just to see the hotels and businesses that no longer exist—like Bob Hope.

    Come for the nostalgia, stay for the crass jokes!

    Your pal,

    - bob
    Wednesday
    May202015

    Oh, The Technical Issues You'll Have!



    Friends,

    I've been working on cleaning up some of the issues around here, but it's a bit of a slog to go back through ten years of posts to find what's broken. Here are only a few of the fun things that have gone wrong at your favorite Jaunty Little Blog:
    • When I moved to the new hosting platform, some of the images didn't make it over. There are broken links everywhere and I'm going through the archives to return the missing files. It's a bit of a mess.
    • Changing to the new template has damaged some of the closing tags for links in the posts. This means that links are just spilling across entire articles instead of ending where the link is supposed to end. I'm not entirely sure why this happened, but I'm going through each post and editing tags. So far, I've made it back to 2012.

    I'm sure there's a lot more to do, but I appreciate your patience while I continue to work on restoring some order.

    Your pal,

    - bob

    UPDATE: I'm having a harder time finding old pictures than I thought. It turns out that my naming convention wasn't as air-tight as I thought. I hope the Wayback Machine can help.
    Friday
    Apr102015

    Welcome To The Future



    Friends,

    This BBC documentary from 1966 details the technological advances pioneered in California with not a small amount of wistfulness. California's rapid pace is awe inspiring, but there are casualties...

    It's worth your 45 minutes.

    Your pal,

    - bob
    Thursday
    Jan082015

    Things I Learned While Staring At Trees

    a lovely panorama this evening
    Friends,

    I was really looking forward to having a respite in 2015 from the nightmare that was 2014. Make no mistake, 2014 was no picnic. I had to quit the job I relied on to get away from an evil boss. Racial turmoil and mass shootings roiled these United States. War, disease and privation made above the fold headlines every single day. Soft media concerned themselves with glossy asses and selfie sticks. Surely, the jackals could take a moment to reflect and step away for a while. This was not to be.

    The Paris offices of French magazine Charlie Hedbo were shot up yesterday by Muslim extremists, killing 12 and shocking a nation. This was one of the few publications that republished the cartoons depicting Mohammed published in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten in 2005, earning the magazine a fatwa.

    The day before, a chapter of the NAACP in Colorado Springs was bombed, leading to hardly a peep of news coverage. Apparently, this wasn't fireworks or a gas leak as some have suggested. Rather, this domestic terror attack was intentional, but the outrage machine has been mostly dormant.

    The 2016 Chevy Volt was unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show the day before that. One of its key features is the ability of the car to extend to you GM's "commerce and engagement offering" by showing you ads and offering you coupons when you drive by participating businesses. You can also receive a discount on your insurance via the car's built-in connection to Progressive Insurance by opting into allowing the car to tell them if you've been speeding or doing other naughty things. Hashtag: snitch.

    We have also been bombarded in this nascent year with the news that our New Year's snow storm did not put a dent in California's drought. which is the worst that has ever happened in the history of forever. We will need, it is supposed, 11 trillion gallons of water to cure this deficit, which is an unimaginable and unattainable number. Therefore, we are doomed.

    Or are we?

    Okay, yes, maybe we are doomed. What has changed is that we're being constantly beat over the head with our own failures and our own suffering. The bludgeoning by the media with the cudgel of despair must drive ratings or SEO or clicks or something, but I can see a way to manage the gloom…

    Require the media to offer solutions.

    None of this "spark a dialog" or "encourage a conversation" nonsense. I'm talking about real solutions. If the drought is caused by too many of those little silica desiccant packs in our packages drying out the air, let's get rid of them. If the bombers in Colorado mistook the NAACP building for an Arby's, let's find a way to get them better maps. If French Islamist extremists don't understand that cartoons aren't actually photographs of the prophet, let's give provide them with a better arts education.

    Okay, I couldn't think of real solutions for any of those problems except for this: Never buy a GM product with OnStar. Ever.

    Your pal,

    - bob
    Tuesday
    Dec092014

    Kate.

    Friends,

    I listen to a lot of podcasts, which is like radio without the antennas or the static. This week's Roderick On The Line episode discusses minimalism, go-bags, jeans, trendy boots and ends with a reflection on Kates versus Kats versus Kathryns that I've snipped for your listening pleasure.


    Of course, you should probably listen to the whole thing if you're not afraid of a couple four-letter words.

    Your pal,

    - bob

    Friday
    Dec052014

    A Small Business, Man

    IMG 1442
    Friends,

    No, I'm not giving up on finding a commuting for an hour, sitting in a cubicle 9-to-5 job, but the benefits of a freelance career have their appeal. For instance, I can step outside and take pictures. Also, Mme. Puppy Dog isn't getting any younger, so it's nice to spend time with her.

    The only hiccup is getting new clients, and recurring clients would be nice. Maybe you know someone who needs a press release or a new website or who'd like to start a direct mail campaign. I know someone who can make that happen.

    You know who.

    - bob
    Wednesday
    Nov262014

    Drought.

     

    Friends,

    August? Really? It's been that long?

    I can explain...

    • My trip to Hemet, discussed in some detail here, was to deposit the final paycheck from the Far Eastern Outpost of a charity. In the intervening months, I've been looking for jobs, trying to keep my house, and other fun activities.
    • "You can't fire me, I quit," seems like a lot of fun to say, but actually doing it is fraught with problems. First, I should say that I was, by my reckoning, the fourteenth employee to be investigated at that charity in the last year. By investigated I mean selected for summary judgement and immediate dismissal. It turns out that when the boss tries to impugn your expertise in public, that boss will make sure you're fired if you stand up for yourself. For instance, I was unable to see into the future to know that the boss' internet connection in a hotel conference facility on the East Coast might be spotty. Nor was I able to fix that connectivity problem. Therefore, I must be the worst and she let everyone know that. I was having none of it.
    • Luckily, I have friends who warned me of my impending separation, so I was advised to quit before the papers could be drawn up. The bad news is that it's pretty difficult to receive unemployment insurance benefits if you quit, regardless of the reason. I'll just go ahead and put my ultimately successful appeal of the denial of benefits in the "other fun activities" column.
    • After a year slogging through a fairly hostile work environment, leaving has been a relief but getting healthy has been a slow process. Slower still has been working out what to do for a living now that I'm all grown up. Freelance copywriting seems the most risky tack to take, but I'm gravitating in that direction. Head over to bobtherieau.com and let me know why that's a terrible idea!

    That's the short version of events. There are some great stories to share from my final days over there, but the holiday season has begun and I hate to do anything that'll adversely effect their fundraising efforts. After all, I wouldn't have stayed there for a decade if I didn't believe in the mission to help people in need of a fresh start. I guess you're witnessing my own fresh start, so cross some appendages that I can make it a good one.

    Your best pal in the whole wide world,

    - bob

    Friday
    Aug152014

    Hemet.


    Friends,

    I've taken a break, in case you haven't noticed, to take care of life. It's been a tumultuous month or so but you'll be pleased to know that the tumult is largely over. I'll get back to that in a little while, but you should know that I took a little trip to Hemet today.

    I had a check to deposit and the closest branch of my bank is in Riverside County's home of potato farming, Hemet, California. Once I managed to wade through the traffic, the incessant lights and the low-motor skill holders of driving licenses, I rolled up to the parking lot and caught the attention of enough skinhead loiterers that I thought I should head inside.

    Once I was buzzed through the outside doors and the vestibule doors (not entirely unlike this, and you know how that turned out), I was greeted by a pudgy security guard who insisted on shaking my hand and disco playing from the overhead sound system. Friday. Disco. The teller at the end motioned me over, "I can help you."

    Then I noticed the name badge on her teller window. "Excuse me, can I ask you a personal question? Is your name really Shimmy?" "Well, my name is much longer, so most people call me Shimmy."

    "With the disco playing and your name, this may be the most fun bank branch I've ever visited." "Why thank you," she said. "We try." 

    So if you're having a bad week, head to the Hemet branch of my bank. They seem to be having a pretty good time.

    Your pal,

    - bob

    Friday
    Jun062014

    Be Seeing You

    Friends,

    It's sort of a salute, really.

     Your pal,

    - bob

    Tuesday
    Mar252014

    Festival!

    A lovely centered picture of a pretty dog.

    Friends,

    It's time for our own cherry blossom festival, so here they are. I'm filled with glee.

    Your pal,

    - bob

    Friday
    Feb282014

    Sometimes The Glass Is Mostly Empty

    Friends,

    A big Pacific storm is headed our way today and will bring us some rain. In some places, like my piney paradise, quite a bit of rain. Then this idiocy happened on Twitter (about 500 times from a series of like-minded nitwits)...

     

     

    Gee, really? The two inches of rain today aren't going to turn our arid desert into a tropical rainforest? How about shut the hell up?

    I blame how we've come to understand the word drought. Since we live in a mostly dry place, shouldn't what we now think of as drought be considered normal? It seems like the times when moisture falls out of the sky are extraordinary, not the dry spells. 

    And before you raise your hand to mention climate change or poles shifting or coronal ejections, yes, it's always been this way forever. Dry deserts are not new.

    So let's reset the measurement and get rid of the D word. That way most of us, perhaps with the exception of Ian, can enjoy the rainfall as it was intended. Spoilsport.

    Your best pal in the whole world,

    - bob

    Monday
    Feb242014

    Freelance Crankypants

    Friends,

    On this particular Monday, the idea of responding to this Craigslist post is very appealing. Like asking an arsonist to come over and check your stove's pilot light.

    Tempting.

    - bob

    Monday
    Feb032014

    Birthday Holiday Season! Kickoff! Recap!

    [note: the pictures that are supposed to be in this post, and help it make sense, are missing from the server. our crack team of researchers are looking into it and hope to find them very soon. -ed]


    Friends,

    These are some of the things that happened yesterday as I kicked off my 2014 Birthday Holiday Season. As you know, your own birthday holiday season begins when you receive the first gift, or cake, or card and ends when the last candle is extinguished. Using this time-tested formula for happy funtimes, a given birthday holiday season can last for months—as it should.

    Let's begin with the good news that the football team that I've been rooting for in a somewhat ironic way for the past few years actually won the Super Bowl. Why did I choose them as my team? Because they represent the largest geographical area of any major sports team in America that I can think of. Nice old ladies in Alaska are Seahawks fans. People from Idaho to Oregon are Seahawks fans. Becoming a fan of this team seemed logical.


    As you know by now, yesterday also marked the passing of Philip Seymour Hoffman. Gifted and troubled, his death struck me in a weird way. I knew that he was a genius and labored under his addictions, but there was one thing that stood out on the day of my birth; he was only 46.


    I've always found the coincidence of my birthday falling on Groundhog's Day to be a bit unsettling, mostly because the ritual is pretty damn stupid. It warmed my heart then to find this picture of the new mayor of New York City dropping a groundhog during their own dumb ritual thing.


    Here in drought-stricken Southern California, we haven't seen much in the way of precipitation this winter. That's bad news for a place like Idyllwild, that relies solely on moisture that falls right here for drinking water the rest of the year. I'm happy to report that we received a light dusting of snow last night and it is currently raining.

    And that's something to celebrate.

    Your pal,

    - bob

    UPDATE: Punxsutawney Dr. Phil, from the Conan program.

    Thursday
    Jan302014

    The Photons Are Bouncing Off Of Things In The Atmosphere In A Pleasing Manner

    a lovely centered picture of a stunning sunrise in sorta-hdr

     

    Friends,

    Some days you just want to press on through your commute as fast as you can. Year in and year out you look at the same landscape. You change the channel on the radio to mix it up. Have another sip of coffee to stay alert.

    Today, on the eve of a minor precipitation event (which would be a grandiose way to hype the promise of some rainfall this afternoon) I found the sunrise so spectacular, that I had to share. My iPhone's High Dynamic Range (HDR) setting only begins to capture the depth of the colors on display, but it wasn't too far off.

    We'll see what today's sunset offers. Maybe another reason to stop.

    Your best pal in the whole wide world,

    - bob

     

    Wednesday
    Jan012014

    Happy Successful Orbit Day!

    A lovely centered picture of an exhausted puppy dog.
    Friends,

    We're starting the new year with a whimper, and why not? Someone unhelpfully decided that the Christmas and New Year holidays would be in the middle of the week, messing with everyone's schedules including Mme. Puppy Dog's. Of course we'll regroup over the weekend and provide more content. More! Content!

    That's another way to say, "words."

    It's going to be a fine new year, everybody.

    Your pal,

    - bob

    UPDATE: Apparently, lots of people hate the term, "content," so we'll be using "words" from now on. "Words" and "pictures" and some "video" and some "audio."
    Friday
    Dec132013

    Absolutely Everybody Is Talking About It!

    Friends,

    Yesterday, the fine folks at the South Coast Air Quality Management District (an obviously overwrought name designed to create the too cute by half acronym, SCAQMD) issued a No-Burn Notice for Orange, San Bernardino and Riverside Counties due to anticipated high levels of particulates in the air. This means that you'll need to put out the tire inferno still blazing in your backyard (no, seriously, you should get right on that), but more importantly, it means that the fireplaces and wood stoves heating a touch under a third of California homes must stay cold this evening. You'll notice that our gal, The Idyllwild Weather Clam says that it's 27° outside right now, but overnight lows tonight are predicted to be at or a little above freezing. In other words, despite this steep warming trend, it's going to be pretty chilly tonight and for a lot of people, particularly in the mountain communities, a fireplace may be the only source of heat in their homes.

    I'm lucky in that even though my furnace has been broken for a couple years, I have several different sources of heat for my house. They're inadequate on their own, but when combined can make the Damp Dog Lodge a pretty cozy place.

    The notice went up on Facebook and my neighbors lost their minds trying to figure out how they'll stay warm tonight. If you simply went to http://www.aqmd.gov/ and put in the ZIP code of an affected region, or use Idyllwild's 92549, you'll see that burning is banned today. If you read further down into the press release linked on that page, you'll see that residents living 3,000-feet above sea level or higher, like our friends in my mile-high burg, are exempt from the order. You'll see lots of exceptions, some economic, some born of necessity, so why did people freak out? Was it because their way of life was threatened by an arbitrary governmental agency but they didn't want to take the time to do simple research, like clicking a link, on exactly how the order might affect them personally?

    Maybe!

     

    Your pal,

    - bob

    Friday
    Nov152013

    Goodbye, Blogger


    So long, weirdos.

    Friends,

    It's been a very long time and we've had a lot of laughs, but it's time to finally bid the Jaunty Little Blog at Blogger farewell. Their interface isn't playing nice with the tools I use every day, Google has made it very clear in revisions to their terms of service that content I post can be sold by them however they see fit, and maintaining two sites has been a real impediment to my willingness to post new content. Something had to give and Google has made the decision for me. The nice people at Squarespace, on the other hand, have been generous with their support (maybe because I'm paying them a nominal fee) and their tools work all the time, unlike the advertising behemoth that Google has become.

    I'll miss the old site a little only due to nostalgia, but there's more cool stuff to come at therieau.com, so please take the time and follow me over there. You won't necessarily be glad you did, but you'll be sad if you don't.

    Good night Blogger.

    Your best pal in the entire world,

    - bob

    Tuesday
    Nov052013

    Oh, You Better Believe We'll Recurve Your Distributor

    A lovely centered picture of a Sun distributor machine.
    Friends,

    Things have been pretty busy around the Damp Dog Lodge lately. How busy? I've been sick for two non-consecutive weekends, the drain lines in the Lodge are backed up (unrelated), the job search has intensified (also unrelated) and now that my dreams of a decent work schedule have been put down like a race horse named Mucilage, I'm officially leaving and arriving in the pitch black darkness. You in more northern latitudes may not care about the latter point, but we down here in the bottom of the lower 48 pay a little something called The Sunshine Tax. This is a penalty fee we incur for living in a place with nice weather that I cannot see unless I turn the high beams on.

    I think I've got a solution: Move on to something fun that pays a little more. It solves the crushing solemnity of darkness problem and makes it easier to cover The Sunshine Tax.

    There you go. Problem solved. Now all I've got to do is find a new fun gig. Shouldn't be a problem.

    Right?

    - bob
    Thursday
    Oct172013

    Octobernationals


    That's Exciting!

    Friends,

    I was driving home this sunny and comfortable afternoon with the windows rolled down and was passed by a rough looking Mercury Villager minivan. A minivan held together with duct tape and drywall screws. A minivan that smelled like taco grease and farts.

    I changed lanes and pulled up alongside at the red light when I caught the driver's eye. He grimaced a little, his eyes narrowed, and he started revving the bag of broken hammers under his imaginary race car's hood. So this was going to be a race then?

    Not sure I want to know what I would have received for winning. Fare thee well, fart van man. Fare thee well.

    Your pal,

    - bob

    Friday
    Oct112013

    Well, That Settles It

     

     

    Friends,

    Remember earlier when we had a little discussion about Google losing interest in Blogger? It turns out that they're very interested, for reasons that I'm not very interested in.

    Google revealed its shared endorsements scheme in a change to its terms of service. The updates state that going forward, friends, family, “and others” may see a user’s Google profile name, photo, and any endorsement they’ve created for a company alongside ads for that company. For instance, if Jon Brodkin gave the new Nickelback album 5 stars and said in a review that the band is “the voice of our generation,” the next time someone searches for that album, Brodkin’s rating and praise could appear alongside a sponsored placement.

    Time to hold a pillow over the mirror on Blogger until it stops squirming.

    Good night, Blogger site. Please adjust your bookmarks accordingly.

    Your best pal,

    - bob