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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

    Difficulties, Technical and Otherwise



    Quite a lot has transpired since the last post in mid-September. Well, it's the last post that you can see. There are a bunch of posts hiding in a tin, buried in the basement of this blog that we can never talk about if I wish to remain employed. Sort of screedy, kinda stabby. The less said about them, the better.

    What I do know is that a bunch of things just aren't working right now. The webcam is failing to upload due to a server configuration issue (bad certificate?) so the last picture you see is from the morning before the earliest snowfall I can remember. No snow pictures for you, I'm afraid. There are plenty on the internet though, just do a search. You'll be okay.

    Also, for some damn reason, The Idyllwild Weather Clam is unable to update her spot on the Blogger clone of this site. Maybe it's time to finally pack it in over there and redirect to Squarespace. They were great when we started this hot mess, but it seems that functionality is slowly falling away. Maybe Google's losing interest in Blogger. That wouldn't be surprising.

    More later today...

    - bob


    New Feature: The Destruction of Time!

    My office desk.

    View of my office featuring state of the art high tech equipment.


    My work schedule has been changed to what amounts to a trip to the Central time zone and back again every week, or starting and ending Daylight Savings Time twice a week. This is the first week of this and if I don't get another cup of coffee in me very soon, there's a very real risk that I'll fall asleep at my desk and my head will land on the red button.

    Did you hear me? The RED BUTTON, PEOPLE!

    - bob


    Never Forget To Remember

    A grand old flag.

    Remember when terrorists hijacked some airplanes in the United States on 11th September, 2001 precipitating a series of tragic events that killed a bunch of people? Then you'll recall that the government overreacted and made air travel more difficult for everyone while also sending a lot of kids to war to punish the country where the masterminds of the terrorist attack were supposed to be hiding. Then the government decided that they should inspect everyone's communications everywhere at all times and explain that constitutional overreach by saying that they're listening for the next terror threat, but if anybody talks about the surveillance program they need to go to jail? Remember when that happened?

    Dear readers, I hope both of you will agree that the steps the government has taken to "keep us safe" after the gut wrenching events twelve years ago dishonors those who perished on that day. Now, as the president contemplates launching a strike on yet another bad actor in the Middle East, to punish Syrian bad behavior, even the generals are hoping to avoid another fight.

    Today has been designated by Congress as a national day of service. One patriotic thing you might consider doing today would be to write a letter to your representative airing your carefully considered opinion on the matters of war, punishment, surveillance and national security.

    But please take your shoes off first and put them in the bin.

    Your pal,

    - bob


    I Will Stand On My Head


    I won't actually stand on my head, but the late Cal Worthington, who passed yesterday at the ripe old age of 92 while watching football, certainly would have in his prime. He had dealerships up and down the west coast, and a jingle turned earworm that infected our little minds almost as much as Indio's "Hub of the Valley" and 30-second descriptions of the travails of the Wacky Wicker Workers. His on-air enthusiasm will be missed, but I suspect that we've moved on from his brand of aw shucks hucksterism.

    Now the most effective marketing is nuanced. The best campaigns, they will explain in webinars and marketing executive mixers, is more subtle and appeals to the buying public's deepest wants and desires.

    The difference between the honesty of Cal Worthington's pitch and today's deep mental massage marketers is that the new guys will gladly stand on your head to make a better deal.

    Your pal,

    - bob


    A Note From The Editor

    Artist's representation. Not to scale.


    I've been a bit lax in keeping up with the demands of work, home, and this fine journal of nonsense and paranoid delusions. I know it, you know it, and my editor certainly knows it. Here's his note describing his displeasure with the current state of affairs...

    (listen. i've just about had it up to here with you and your inability to get any sort of quality output done lately. i took a big pay cut when i signed on here ten years ago, because i saw real promise. now it's pieces full of phony outrage, photo posts and something about deer? why don't you call me when you wake up and start writing the stuff that people used to come for, even though i don't remember what that was. - ed)

    Well, there you have it. A well-deserved upbraiding from the editor. Guess I should do something about it.

    Your pal,

    - bob

    P.S. Coming up later today, a financial incentive for me to unplug my dryer and what it means for smart meters! Exciting conspiracy therories!


    Vengeance Of The Dandies

    A lovely centered picture of deer.


    Sometimes people can come as close to missing the forest for the trees as one possibly might without being mauled by a bear. We have new neighbors up here in Fern Valley Corners, a grand new addition to the lodging inventory of available beds in town, and I attended their open house last weekend.

    Nice folks, and justifiably proud of their vision and the craftsmanship they've put in to realize that dream. Last weekend also featured a concert that was attended by the monied class to benefit a local private high school. Once the concert was over, the wine and cheese crew headed over to the open house for free wine and no cheese.

    I just walked around the corner and up the grand driveway to the grand entry, but noted that nobody was looking at the building. All cameras were trained on deer grazing on manzanita berries just past the parking circle. A magnificent bit of nature nearly close enough to touch. Breathtaking.

    But one polo shirted, tennis shorted, sexagenarian in the group decided that this reasonably rare collision between the wild and the wide-eyed was boring. He walked up to the deer, then turned on his heels to check out the blue Jaguar.

    Jaded? Maybe a little!

    Your pal,

    - bob

    Wait! Come back!

    A lovely centered picture of a girly dog spying something very interesting and smelly.

    I've hit my head very hard this evening on the kitchen cabinetry and I've surely earned a concussion for the effort. There's every reason to believe that I'll be fine, but I'm a little worried that the dizziness and confusion I'm experiencing at the moment signal something much more than a little bump on the noggin.

    But that's boring, so let's get on with a little housekeeping!

    Since I last uploaded something here over a month ago, we've had two fire scares. One that prompted the mobilization of over three thousand men and women to beat down the furious blaze that eventually consumed over 27,000 acres, and a smaller one today that was put out fairly quickly through our own corps and the quick attention of neighbors in Fern Valley. In the words of internationally noted photographer Jenny Kirchner on Facebook, "Yard abatement is important." Indeed it is.

    I don't really have a headache exactly. Truth is, my head feels mostly okay. There's going to be a bump for sure, but the biggest worry is that I don't really have a good idea where I am right now. Well, never mind that. On with it…

    During the Mountain Fire, I evacuated myself, papers, photographs, and Mme. Puppy Dog to the desert. From our emergency evacuation center in Cathedral City (whose city council has never met a boondoggle it wouldn't agree to fund in full), we could watch the flames charging along the ridge towards the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway's Mountain Station. Horrifying. I took pictures, but they're kind of terrible camera phone shots not worth posting. This one is nicer.

    A lovely centered picture of a meadow.
    Let's see, what else happened? I got a new boss at the Far Eastern Outpost of a charity from out west somewhere in a city with a mayor. You know, that mayor. Mayor Headlock, they're calling him. "Mayor Fingers" is creepier, so I'll stick with that, since all signs point to him being really creepy.

    Sorry, a little confused at the moment. I should get back on topic. Crickets are interesting, aren't they? 78 degrees in the house, shouldn't be sweating. Sweating might be bad.

    I started installing a new french door on the weekend before guests were to arrive a couple weekends ago. Here's a tip, all of the locksets you can buy at the hardware store have a defined offset. The offset is the distance between the edge of the door and the center of the lock and most are between 2 3/8 and 2 5/8-inches. You can get shorter deadbolts if you trim down the side of your door to be a lot narrower, but they're blindingly expensive. You are hereby warned.

    Very sleepy all of the sudden. Goodnight everyone.

    Your pal,

    - bob


    This was just the beginning of our troubles.


    You may have heard that we're having a little hubbub up here. Due to an inconvenience we like to call the Mountain Fire, encroaching on our pristine and very piney paradise, authorities asked everyone to evacuate last evening. 

    Reflecting back, maybe "ask" is the wrong word.

    I have found shelter at a location very near the Festival of Dirt where I could see flames running up to the ridgeline this morning. Not very comforting at all.

    I'll try to keep you posted here as events unfold, but for more up-to-date news, I'm sharing other people's posts on Facebook. Maps, photos, pessimism, it's all there!

    Stay safe.

    Your pal,

    - bob


    Ain't That Something?

    A lovely centered picture of a lemon lily.

    We're holding a festival in this piney paradise to celebrate a spindly and delicate flower that had gone nearly extinct some years ago. Bluegrass bands play, lectures are held and the town is full of people. The organizers even set up a webcam allowing people from all over the world the pleasure of watching a plant grow.

    You could say that this is a triumph of marketing, but really it's about a large group of people in town getting together and doing a thing. It's still about a weedy little flower, but now it's a real festival.

    Now, about that chamber of commerce

    Your pal,

    - bob

    Great Minds

    TWA lounge photo from Shorpy!


    Here's a photo of the TWA lounge at Idlewild Airport taken sometime in 1964. Looks sort of like the departure lounge at the Idyllwild International Airport, without the pine tongue and groove panelling, of course.

    And the squirrels scampering around.

    - bob


    I'm Not Doomed


    I was working on the computers in the kiddos department at the Far Eastern Outpost of San Diego's Kinda Meh Charitable Organization today on "staff development day." Staff development day means that, I suppose, staff members hear about legal stuff and reporting stuff and take notes in another room—without kiddos.

    This also meant that I could try to figure out a vexing problem with two machines and watch progress bars slowly progress. For this exercise, playing the studio version of the song embedded above seemed more than appropriate considering that the lack-of-progress bars had induced a near trance state. I don't know why I bothered to look at the bookshelf to my left in classroom 3…

    A lovely centered establishing shot.
    Upon focusing in on a book that drew my attention…

    A lovely centered joke payoff.
    …I figured that everything might be okay. Somehow.

    Your pal,

    - bob

    Additional Visual Gag Alert: We label things in the classroom to help kiddos with their language skills and to help them grasp big concepts…

    A lovely centered setup.
    I had some time on my hands, as I've mentioned, so I thought I'd help with some additional language cues.

    A lovely centered punchline. Zooming in will help.
    For the children.

    I'm Doomed


    The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has released their latest report on the crashworthiness of "compact SUVs" which groups the little Hyundai with the Ford Escape tall-ish micro station wagons with wee body on frame trucklets, which includes the only one extant—the Jeep Wrangler. Guess who did poorly?

    C'mon, guess.

    Yeah. I own one of those wee little trucklets and this report says that I'm going to die a horrible death in their new and redesigned crash tests. This is yet one more data point telling me that driving around is dangerous. Commuting 101 miles a day is crazy, right? I'm surely exposing myself to far too much risk every weekday.

    But wait, there's another big problem with a lot of driving that the insurance industry group fails to mention...


    Stick with it until the end.

    I'm smart! Not like everybody says, like dumb. I'm smart and I want respect!

    - bob



    Super. Market.

    A lovely centered borrowed picture.


    I went to a supermarket yesterday to stock up on a couple things, like a loaf of bread and a package of giant tortillas. I also picked up a package of seasoned soy stuff to toss into a burrito and a box of unsweetened almond milk, which is nice in a bowl of cereal, but not much else that I'm aware of.

    The light was on above an empty checkstand, but an impossibly thin girl in her 20s with a blotchy grayish-greenish-brownish complexion wearing a sweater (108° outside, btw) shuffled into position to run the register. Then, in an apparent rush to get through her lines, she spoke:

    hello how are you doing today thank you for shopping at [market] did you find everything you were looking for?

    "Um, sure. I think I found everything okay. How are you today?"

    i'm fine thanks for asking.

    She then started noticing, about halfway through scanning my items, exactly what she was scanning…

    oh you don't eat meat? seriously? i like meat. i like it a lot. like steaks. like a rib eye steak. they're really good.

    "No," I replied. "I don't eat meat."

    not at all? because meat's really good. i like it.

    "Nope. Not at all. Well anyway, I hope you have a good day."

    do you have a [market] club card?

    We all play our parts.

    - bob

    RIP Jonathan Winters


    He hadn't been well for quite a while, but his passing is still a huge loss. I'll miss his screwy nonsense. When you're done with the video above, watch this fishing bit from Jack Paar's Tonight Show, then watch him in It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.

    Your pal,

    - bob

    A Wretched Hive of Scum and Villany



    Banjo the dog was tied to train tracks by a fellow in Mecca, CA suffering from dementia according to this article in Riverside County's newspaper of record. He was saved by an alert train engineer, but what lessons can be learned here?

    Easy. Living in Mecca will make you a little daft. Obviously.

    Your pal,

    - bob


    It's Time To Talk About A Few Things


    I've been neglecting this fine project lately in favor of upheaval, failed attempts at fighting off illness, and other work to keep this ship of Damp Dog Lodgeness afloat. This barren month or so has been unflinchingly gooey, damp and cold. Hardly the stuff that these entertainments are made of.

    Spring, then, seems like just the right time to get back to a regular schedule of writing, so I will.

    Until then, you could always follow me on Twitter. Right?

    Your pal,

    - bob


    It's Time To Think About Ice

    A lovely centered picture of a neighborhood.

    You may have heard somewhere that there have been massive snow storms along the Eastern United States, knocking out power to tens of thousands and leading to widespread travel bans. Our latest storm was nowhere near as serious, but it's certainly cold enough, and very pretty.

    A lovely centered reused picture.
    Also, and some might say coincidentally, the upcoming season of my favourite documentary program about a snappy dresser with two hearts will feature the return of the Ice Warriors. They must have heard that we like frosty things.

    And who doesn't?

    Your pal,

    - bob

    Does Your Dog Bite?

    A lovely centered picture of a differently-abled dog.
    Well, technically, no.

    - bob

    It's Time To Talk To Your Kids About The Second of February

    A fine picture of a fine cake.

    When you think of the second day of February, you may automatically think about rodents. Given the popularity of the 1993 Bill Murray documentary Groundhog Day, featuring a rodent, you could be forgiven this popular notion.

    a fine left-justified picture of a rodent However, concentrating on a common ground marmot, woodchuck, land beaver or whistle pig would tend to take our focus off of what's really important—that it's the start of the birthday holiday season. Whose birthdays? I'm glad you asked.

    The late Stan Getz was born on the second of February, as were Farrah Fawcett, Christie Brinkley, Brent Spiner and Shakira, as you know. In addition to these luminaries, you'll be excited to know that February second also my birthday.

    A fine picture of a trio of rodents.
    I can't begin to tell you how little I care about the comings and goings of a marmot on this day. In fact, I'm much more excited that it's World Wetlands Day, if I'm to be honest.

    So have another slice of cake...

    A fine picture of the same cake
    ...or maybe light up another cigar...

    A fine picture of a smoking rodent

    ...and take a moment to remember the real reason for the season.

    Your best pal in the whole world,

    - bob

    It's Time To Think About Disappointment

    A lovely centered picture of despair.

    If you've been following this hot mess for any length of time (and there may be some new readers who haven't taken in enough to really be hip to the whole deal, but more on that in a teensy bit), then you may know that I've been waiting for a phone call from some people. People? Why yes, I applied for a job some months ago and I sat down for a group interview. It went okay, I thought. All four of us seemed to get along well and my skills lined up nicely with their requirements.

    A lovely centered picture of more despair.
    I followed up with a couple emails. One every two or three weeks, and it's hard to know if they seemed needy or stalkery or pleading, but they went out and all but three went unanswered. The first two to the hiring manager and the last one to another of the interviewers. The first reply was nice enough and sort of encouraging with its "I hope all is well with you and look forward to speaking to you soon." The last one finished up with, "I hope all is well," but the bit at the beginning was crushing...

    "Hi Bob,

    Thank you for your message. We had several very qualified candidates (you being one of them) and we have filled the position."
    This was not the result I was hoping for.

    Three months in, dreaming up marketing plans, plotting bold new strategies, imagining a world where I don't have to get up at four o'clock in the morning to risk a commute that makes sane people cringe in horror, and it all went away. Poof. Nine point Verdana managing to stab me in the non-shriveled, non-blackened part of my heart.
    "I hope all is well."
    Me too, madam. Me too.

    Your pal,

    - bob

    UPDATE: Here's a story from the paper of record on the lady who eventually got the nod. I guess you could call this a safe choice, but it's worth noting that her previous business doesn't seem to have had a website (source: Google, Internet Archive), so maybe it's all about writing press releases? I'm clearly missing something here.
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