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    an idyllwild weather clam!

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

    Tuesday 22 August 2017
    Currently at 4:54 AM 57°


    Up to the minute now-casting provided by: Idyllwild Weather Clam Mega-Skyview Ultra-Precision Doppler 160000 Super Computron Forecast in Full Spectrum HD
    Thursday
    May162013

    I'm Doomed

    Friends,

    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

     

    Tuesday
    Apr302013

    Super. Market.

    A lovely centered borrowed picture.

    Friends,

    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
    Friday
    Apr122013

    RIP Jonathan Winters



    Friends,

    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
    Wednesday
    Apr102013

    A Wretched Hive of Scum and Villany

     

    Friends,

    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

    Monday
    Mar252013

    It's Time To Talk About A Few Things

    Friends,

    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

    Wednesday
    Feb132013

    It's Time To Think About Ice

    A lovely centered picture of a neighborhood.
    Friends,

    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
    Monday
    Feb042013

    Does Your Dog Bite?

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

    - bob
    Sunday
    Feb032013

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

    A fine picture of a fine cake.
    Friends,

    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
    Tuesday
    Jan222013

    It's Time To Think About Disappointment

    A lovely centered picture of despair.
    Friends,

    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.
    Wednesday
    Jan162013

    It's Time To Talk About Coughing

    A lovely centered picture of an advertisement.
    Friends,

    I've been pretty ill over the last few days with a weedy, grating cough that has left my voice a squeaky mess. It's going around, of course. We're in the middle of AN EPIDEMIC!!! after all. Some who passed on the flu vaccine (which has proven to be wildly effective, actually) are getting hit with a fairly brutal strain of the virus. Folks are missing work. There's sniffling and wheezing everywhere. My fake cold is a pale imitation of this. It's annoying, my throat hurts, but I haven't joined the growing group of people planning bathroom remodels because they've recently had the opportunity to spend significant amounts of time analyzing the wallpaper patterns.

    Clearly I've been so irresponsible that I've felt compelled to go to work every day during this illness. The volunteers aren't going to deploy those computers themselves! Amirite? (they've been doing a fine job deploying computers themselves. you're like a mother hen hovering over them. please. -ed)

    Your best pal in the whole world,

    - bob
    Wednesday
    Jan092013

    It's Time To Think About People

    A lovely centered picture of a conference room.

    Friends,

    I attended the American Advertising Federation (Desert Cities, don't you know) luncheon this afternoon and it was a head-scratching affair. After meeting the advertising bigwigs in the desert, who were all very kind and welcoming, we sat down for lunch and listened to a panel of experts in marketing to the LBGT community. Granted that community isn't a protected class in the Coachella Valley by the most fanciful stretch of the imagination, but I still have questions. Two big questions…

    The lesser of the two, which is the most immediately important to me in my position as the spokesmodel (don't judge) for the Far Eastern Outpost of San Diego's Omnipresent Charitable Organization seems unanswerable. Presuming that the LBGT community is as highly political and willing to punish companies that aren't as LBGT-friendly as the panel claimed this afternoon, how do I as the message crafter for a charity that is only loosely connected to the Catholic church and its dictums against homosexuality appeal to the LBGT community in a meaningful way? (whew! what an annoyingly long, run-on sentence! tighten it up, won't you? - ed) This question leads to the next question, but stay with me for a second.

    The wrinkle here is that if I wanted to try to appeal to the LBGT folks, which I do in a way that I'll explain in a bit, would that offend the powers that might not appreciate that discussion? Is there a contingent at my workplace that might consider an appeal to people they might consider to be evil (or sinful or damned or the latest epithet) in itself evil?

    The statistics trotted out at the luncheon were compelling: more disposable income, more cocktails and less beer (file that away for later), more technologically savvy, more brand loyalty. Some of these statistics are easy to explain while others like the cocktail thing are more difficult, but it's easy to see why the room was packed with ad guys hoping to glean some insight. They want to sell stuff and need to know that the shirtless plumber ad is too transparent and that the community absolutely doesn't appreciate pandering.

    This is all fine, but it leads me neatly to my second question: When might we not have to tiptoe around everyone all the time? Like every group of people on the planet, there are nice gay people and terrible gay people. Friendly gay people and hateful gay people. Black, white, brown, beige, and pink. There are the same pockets of this and that in every discernible segment of the population, so I really actually don't get why the "LBGT market" needs any special treatment. "Don't pander," the panelists warned. I couldn't agree more.

    Will I get resistance for advertising in Gannett's Desert Outlook magazine or any of the other on- or off-line LBGT publications from the far-right donors? I imagine so but I'm not sure that I care. I think a lot of people are interested in the story of the Far Eastern Outpost, not just those whose ethical outlook is proscribed by a smaller world view (that I happen to find infuriating, but that's another post). It's just people, everybody. Some people will choose to be donors and some won't. Some will find the things happening at the charity are worth supporting with their time or with their cash and some won't. I don't think it has too much to do with who someone chooses to sleep with, do you?

    I didn't think so.

    Your pal,

    - bob

    POSTSCRIPT: Since I'm my own editor (i don't have the time. i'm working on payroll and we need to have a talk about your lunch penalties. -ed) I've been reading this over and making edits for clarity. After pouring over each word, I'm annoyed by the labels. The panelists at the luncheon referred to those of us straight people who advocate and demand basic human rights like equal treatment for everyone no matter who they choose to love as "allies." Like we're a special class too. Protecting and supporting our fellows should be the baseline, not special. I'm not sure what's more annoying; the label or the perceived need for one.
    Wednesday
    Jan022013

    It's Time To Think About The Future

    A lovely and inexplicable centered picture.
    Friends,

    I think that your future is very likely to be confusing. Don't worry, the writers will explain it by the third act.

    We're professionals.

    You're welcome.

    - bob

    UPDATE: You have no idea how you're changing over time and how much you're changing history. You're frightening the timeline. Good for you!
    Monday
    Dec312012

    Say Goodnight, Time

    A lovely centered picture of a time meddler.
    Friends,

    Thanks for an incredibly odd and frustrating year. I hope that you and the ones you love have a much better 2013.

    Much, much better.

    Your best friend in the whole wide world,

    - bob
    Saturday
    Dec292012

    The Time Stealer

    A lovely centered picture of a silly costumed man.
    Friends,

    It's the interstitial between THE CHRISTMASTIME and THE NEWYEARTIME and I had many grand plans for this weekend. So I wake up late, as you do on the weekend, and realize that my rat fink traitorous lower back betrays me and thwarts any plans to walk, install brilliant gifts on my slab-sided pickup, or even carry laundry to the washer. Dammit.

    You're surely thinking, "Well then, why are you sitting in a chair writing this instead of laying down?" Because this is the only comfortable place and position to be in at the moment. Even then, it's not great, but I really do love Ikea's jesus chair (that they don't sell anymore, but is kinda like this one) at the moment since it's very nearly the right height.

    Is it the cold, snowy weather? A dog huddling up into my lower back overnight? The fates? Broken osteothings? Maybe something else entirely?

    Surely yes.

    More tomorrow on the thrilling consequences of these circumstances!

    Your best pal in the world,

    - bob
    Thursday
    Dec272012

    Terror of The Ice People

    A lovely centered picture of ice warriors.
    Friends,

    The winter storms have passed through and while roads are slippery there isn't enough snow on the ground in this alpine wonderland to assuage fears about drought. All of the danger, without enough benefit.

    It's impossible to remove all danger from life, of course. Sometimes, you and your buddy waiting at the gas station, might be attacked or your store might be broken into. My hope is that I'll receive a call from a local institution very soon asking me to write for them. Can this remove all the danger of driving to work? Removing 95 miles from the round trip is a great start.

    Please take a moment to employ whatever arcane rituals you think will help. Thanks!

    Your best pal ever,

    - bob
    Friday
    Dec212012

    Happy Christmastime!

    A lovely centered picture of a Christmas pudding.

    Friends,

    I say Happy Christmas. This doesn't ring right to American ears, which is the intended result. When I'm extending a cheerful greeting during this season, I would like people to notice, stop for a second and think. The dissonance makes people notice.

    I don't hear a whole lot about Americans being merry. It's not a description that's used very often and I really can't tell you why. It's not that we're moping around, far from it. Visitors from other countries will usually remark that Americans are an amiable people. Affable, friendly, warm, but not merry. Jolly? Save that for our vision of a certain heavyset and hirsute gentleman in a crimson suit. Happy sits there on the upbeat spectrum somewhere between giddy and satisfied for me. A spot where a warm hearth, the golden winter sunset streaming through the windows, and little kids full of too much sugar giggling with delight resides. Happy.

    While in the Apple store down near the Festival of Dirt purchasing shiny things for a cute girl I know, the young guy taking my money wasn't sure what to make of me. I asked an overworked and over-asked woman in the back of the store if she would process my payment and was referred to the table up front with the young guy. "They're faster," she suggested. I shared that praise with the young guy, rolling him back a bit. After the gizmos were bagged and my receipt bleep-blorped into my phone, he thanked me with some tenuous corporate approved "Happy holidays!" "Thank you, and Happy Christmas!" I replied. He stopped for a beat and asked, "Hey, that's English!" "I suppose it is, isn't it?" as I headed out the door.

    I wish you and the people you love a very happy Christmas.

    You've been through a lot this year and you deserve it.

    Your best pal in the world,

    - bob

    P.S. In other Christmas news, is Mercedes-Benz's commercial guy…

    A lovely centered picture of Mercedes-Benz Santa.

    …supposed to remind us of this guy?

    A lovely centered picture of Jerry.

    I think the demographics point to yes.
    Wednesday
    Dec052012

    Waiting

    A lovely centered picture that illustrates the point.
    Friends,

    I'm waiting for a phone call. The phone was supposed to ring three weeks ago, then two weeks ago. Now I hope that the email I sent a week ago will encourage a particular caller to call with good news this week.

    What sort of good news? I'm glad you asked!

    Your pal,

    - bob
    Sunday
    Nov252012

    Seven Seconds of Fame



    Friends,

    I was challenged at a meeting a couple weeks ago by the idea that I didn't have a lot of experience with the media. Still don't, but I took on the spokesman duties for a little event put on by the Far Eastern outpost of San Diego's Omnipresent Charitable Organization. Didn't get a mention in the lower third in the video package above, but neither did the county supervisor who wrote a big check, so I'm not too disturbed by the snub.

    With this appearance, I've been in a few minutes of teevee interviews and seven seconds or so of airtime. Total. Ever. Okay, there was that time sitting in the audience at Bozo's Circus in the old KMIR studios…

    Your pal,

    - bob
    Thursday
    Nov152012

    The Early Bird Special

    A lovely centered picture of a sextagenarian at his job.
    Friends,

    This is the time of year when our monied elders come out from their summer hiding places in Idaho and Canada and migrate to the Coachella Valley. Actually, the annual migration may serve to empower some who never left the desert. People in the service sector aren't happy, like the checkers at the upscale supermarket I stopped at yesterday…

    A woman who looked like Iggy Pop if he'd stopped working out decided that she'd let everybody in the checkout line wait while she took off to pick out flowers. Her food purchase was pending in the register, so everyone in the queue surely wouldn't mind waiting out her pokey and painfully deliberative decision-making process. Once she picked her poinsettia, Princess Jerky Treat shoved me aside to figure out how to work the payment terminal.

    The checkout clerks looked at me and offered a wan smile and a little shrug that told me all I needed to know—"Sorry about that, but we've got to deal with these fragile monsters for the next four months."

    Rich, entitled, poor spacial awareness. I feel for the service industry. They're gonna hear "be a dear" and will have to comp a lot of soup and breadsticks through March.

    Keep a kind thought in your hearts for the poor kids down there who can't get a job writing reverse mortgages, won't you?

    Your pal,

    - bob
    Monday
    Nov052012

    The Jeep Election

     

    Friends,

    This may be the second election in United States history decided by Jeeps. Let that sink in for a second.

    If America's foremost mink hubcap salesman hadn't flubbed a news story about Jeep expanding back into China rather than saying at a rally in OHIO that Jeep was moving production to China, the state of the race would be very different. Partisans can talk about all of the other ways external forces have sabotaged his campaign, but this was an unforced error. In fact, it was the result of a lack of basic reading comprehension.

    Shouldn't that disqualify you from the presidency all by itself?

    I'll be up all night tomorrow hoping to find out...

    Your best pal in the whole wide world,

    - bob

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