a jaunty little webcam!
refresh this page for updated image
links! links! links!
send me a note!
This form does not yet contain any fields.
    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

    Entries in Earth (16)

    Wednesday
    Oct192011

    Mountain Lion Spotted! Still Checking For Pumas and Cougars...



    Friends,

    My part-time, next door neighbor called last night to let me know that when she drove home from her cabin on Sunday, she had to make a panic stop halfway down the street to avoid hitting a mountain lion. "I don't know if you leave your dog out overnight (I don't because she'll bark at rustling leaves and nobody will get any sleep), but I'll bet that mountain lion would have no trouble climbing your fence."

    I have a couple thoughts about this. The first would be that she must not have been that worried to wait until Tuesday. Maybe it looked sickly or sort of unmotivated. The second is that despite the delay, I still took time out of my evening last night to lose my mind over every tiny noise inside or outside. But my biggest concern isn't that the nice kitty will climb the fence…



    Your pal,

    - bob

    Wednesday
    Mar232011

    Earthquake Watch 2011! - Fallout Edition

    ol' buddy, ol' pal.

    Friends,

    It's been a couple weeks since horrifying devastation was wrought on Japan by a magnitude 9.0 earthquake and giant tsunami, but what we seem to continue to focus on isn't the human tragedy, but the threat of the unchecked release of radiation from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Some people I trust don't think we should worry about it here on the left coast of the United States, which makes perfect sense to me. Some suggest that the plant was bound to fail in the first place. All I know now is that it's time for everyone here in unincorporated rural southwestern Riverside County to lose your minds because they've found radioactive isotopes from the Fukushima plant in a collector in Riverside. Shhh!

    The amount they found is as tiny as you would expect according to the monkey botherers over at the EPA [warning: PDF link]. All the usual suspects are here though. You've got your iodine, your cesium, your tellurium; all stuck to a little gizmo waving around up in the green-gray atmosphere of Riverside, CA. How much? The press release doesn't say except to patronize us with a "100,000 times less radiation than a roundtrip international flight (to chernobyl? -ed)" line. We're big boys and girls (speak for yourself. -ed), we can take the numbers. If anything at all has come of the calamity that has befallen Japan, it's that we've all become amateur physicists through the reporting.

    Of course some people seem to be having difficulty adjusting to this new world we're facing. Take for instance the fellow in Hemet who took after a couple people with a samurai sword yesterday. I know you're thinking two things; first, aren't the Hemet police under siege from deadly gangs of dentists? Why yes they are, but things have calmed down to the point where they could immediately arrest the assailant. The second, and most important question you have must be, what does this have to do with that?

    Certainly not this. Or this hysterical tripe.

    - bob

    Wednesday
    Dec222010

    Storm! Watch! 2010! - Frame Of Reference! Edition!

     

    Friends,

    I had heard on the radio that the Sheriff's Department would like for motorists to call 911 if they see any rock slides, which I did on the way to work (not in my lane, thankfully). If my ancient Motorola feature phone had been able to obtain a signal at the point of the slide, I would've reported it there, but no such luck. Once I did get a signal, I pulled over and called the helpful and not at all twitchy 911 operator.

    "How big are the rocks?" she eventually asked. "About the size of a German Shepherd," was my helpful reply. Then a long pause...

    "What?"

    - bob

    Tuesday
    Dec212010

    Storm Watch 2010!ZOMGZ!!1!!ponies!!11! - Atmospheric River! Edition!

    Coachella Valley from Highway 74 Vista Point, 21 December 2010

    Friends,

    We're doomed. Doomed! Just look at all of the terrible warnings about the coming deluge after five days of steady rainfall here in Southern California. Just look at it...

    Even Mount Baldy is closed. Mount Baldy, people!

    What's hilarious about this, on top of the idea held by people down in the Festival of Dirt that they might melt if they get wet, is that this weather event (an event! we can feel the gravitas. - ed) is a phenomenon with an actual name. Ready? Wrap your head around the idea of Atmospheric Rivers. A jet stream picks up moisture from the ocean and keeps running for days and days, dumping on the coast, until it's perturbed in some way. This time, it'll be upset some time early Thursday morning, but until then: WATER IS LIKELY TO CONTINUE TO FALL OUT OF THE SKY!!!

    While you're waiting for the storm and its attending panic (which I do not share, btw) to end, here's something cheery for your listening pleasure...

     

    Your pal,

    bob

    Monday
    Sep202010

    This Seems Like Kind Of A Big Deal

     

    Friends,

    So, the new vapor recovery gas nozzles mandated by the secret super children at the California Air Resources Board have a problem with their handle latches not working properly. No big deal, right? We'll just use another vendor.

    The problem is, there is no other vendor and the non-releasing latches have stuck open and have caused people to douse themselves with gasoline. Luckily, the state fire marshal has leapt into action and mandated that the latches be removed, causing gas station owners to howl that their patrons will find another way to not hold the handle while gas is pumped.

    This is all very funny and tragic and emblematic of the shortsightedness of unelected bureaucrats, but it also gets to my point that if the petrol-fueled internal combustion engined automobile was only proposed today, regulators would have none of it. "It's too dangerous! You would allow ordinary people to drive around with a tank full of explosive hydrocarbons wherever they want? To drive near schools! What if a terrorist should get a hold of one of these mobility machines!"

    The best way to fix this, of course, is to go back to the old and perfectly fine vapor recovery nozzles. You know, the ones that we've been using for a couple years now. Oh, and put all of the CARB board members in stocks in the public square. So they'll be safely away from the petrol spray. Because we care.

    - bob

    Saturday
    Feb062010

    The Junction of Highway 74 and Goodbye

    Them's some big rocks, chief.
    Friends,

    This has been a pretty big storm, but without the media play that the last received. Sure the snow was inconvenient, but the rain over the last few days has been unrelenting. Mix into that the already saturated hills and the denuded burn areas from the Cottonwood Fire, and now we seem to be missing a big chunk of Highway 74 just outside of Mountain Center.

    As always, please read the Town Crier Breaking News blog for more details (without any sort of judgement about whether it may be a blessing to not have to go to Hemet) and if you're really bored, go take a look at the Press-Enterprise's wall-to-wall coverage (very short walls, btw).

    We could lay some 2x6s across that chasm and be ready for the Monday commute—if you're really, really careful.

    - bob

    Tuesday
    Jan052010

    Planet? No, It Just Kinda Happened.

    Actual artist's interpretation of a similar event before either of them occurred.
    Friends,

    Yesterday, NASA and JPL announced that the Kepler space telescope had discovered five planets outside of our solar system. This is good news if you took JPL in your Fantasy Number of Planets league and good news for folks already tired of this year's cold weather. According to astronomers, the planets range in temperature between 2,200 and 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit. No more shoveling the driveway!

    Scientists at JPL have documented their assumptions...
    Sure, the telescope's mission is to find planets that we can move to when things get too dicey here (I'm moving to the planet where playing Hip Hop or rap is a capital crime), and the announcement seems a bit apologetic for finding screaming hot planets Kepler 4b through 8b first, but I'm thrilled by the news. It's the first step in the "too hot, too cold, just right" triumvirate, and at the rate they're going, we'll be moving off this rock by 2012.

    Well, you'll be moving off this rock. Right?

    - bob

    Tuesday
    Oct202009

    It's Related!

    I'm terrified, frankly.
    Friends,

    I know that the story about the future conspiring to break the Large Hadron Collider so that we don't, you know, DESTROY THE UNIVERSE has been floating around. People have mostly dismissed it as either geekery or fantasy. I've asked Doctor Morgan to comment on Facebook, but he's been eerily silent on the subject. Maybe he's getting paid off with future Euros to keep his mouth shut, but that's just a rumor.

    The future, ladies and gentlemen; it's not to be trifled with.

    Your pal,

    bob

    Monday
    Aug242009

    Happy French Thermonuclear Bomb Test Day!

    Simply comb in Just For Squirrels...
    Friends,

    Today marks the 41st anniversary of France's first hydrogen bomb test on the Fangataufa Atoll making her the world's fifth nuclear power. This was also one of the last above-ground nuclear tests in the world, conducted, we presume, because the French prefer to be fashionably late to the party.

    Above-ground nuclear testing has been abandoned by nearly every country because it leads to an increase in albino squirrels. Peace activists have warned that a sudden jump in the albino squirrel population would be "freaky" and "way weird," leading to a comprehensive test ban treaty among the major nuclear powers.

    Or I could still be under the influence of last night's portobello mushroom pizza. Hard to say, really. It seemed so real...

    - bob

    Friday
    Aug142009

    What's This Murky Gunk?

    Friends,

    I haven't found any answers to the question of the murky haze layer covering Southern California. The first two pictures aren't of my latest chest x-rays, as you might expect, but document my camera's struggle to deal with the low-light landscape this morning...



    These two were taken a little later in Garner Valley. The fingers of gunk seem to be wrapping around the neck of the Coachella Valley, ready to squeeze the life out of the Festival of Dirt. Happy Friday!



    Bigger versions are available with a click. Gianter versions are available on request.

    Feel free to speculate on the nature of the bad air quality. Real or imagined answers are welcome.

    - bob

    UPDATE: From the Town Crier blog comes word from Cal Fire that the smoke is from the La Brea fire [warning: PDF link] 21 miles East of Santa Maria. That's an awful long way for smoke to travel, isn't it?

    Tuesday
    Sep232008

    Happy Autumnal Equinox!

    Okay, fine. It was yesterday.

    Equinox
    As you know, this is the time of year that the trees get GM Employee Pricing on poorly assembled crossovers that'll be discontinued next year anyway.

    Stupid trees.

    - bob

    Tuesday
    Sep092008

    Happy End Of The Planet Day!

    Pals,

    The Large Hadron Collider is scheduled to go online very early tomorrow, our time.

    Fermilab bits of the Large Hadron Collider...
    I'm not all that worried about the potential for the creation of micro black holes considering that I'm incredibly dense myself. I can take whatever the Swiss can dish out. What I am concerned about is strangelets.

    Cotlets!
    I had no idea...

    - bob

    UPDATE: According to Britain's Sun newspaper, the world has not ended. I think you can understand that this is a great relief to many people. Particularly those with appointments scheduled for today. So please, everyone, do carry on. Thank you.

    UPDATE II: Nothing to worry about, Bob. Everything's gonna be fine, they say. No chance of any trouble, they insist...

    Tuesday
    Jul292008

    Jaunty Dumptruck O' News! Massive Earthquake!

    OMFG!

    How about them aftershocks?
    We're very nearly doomed! In a slow, rolling way.

    But that's the worst kind!

    - bob

    Tuesday
    Jul292008

    Tin Ear Alert: Gas Taxes Too Low!

    Um, right.

    It seems that Americans have been cutting back on fuel consumption, which is fantastic. We'll cut back on unburned hydrocarbons entering the atmosphere, send less money to foreign powers that we don't particularly agree with, what could go wrong? I'll tell you, bub. Sure, you're pretty smug about that electric car of yours, but what about the crumbling bridges!

    That's right. We're paying fewer taxes into the highway transportation fund because we're buying less fuel. Apparently, that's bad. The solution bandied about by the usual suspects is that, clearly, the gas tax must rise to compensate for the shortfall. We're using less gas because it's too expensive, so the solution is to make it more expensive. The president, meanwhile, thinks we should just outsource the problem and sell the highways to private companies so that they can collect tolls. In an unconfirmed story by an unnamed official, the administration is also considering hiring trolls to live under bridges and ask drivers three questions before they may cross. If this fleecing continues, there may be a lot of takers for the new Federal Onsite Highway Overpass Metering Engineer jobs.

    - bob

    Tuesday
    Jun172008

    An Unpopular Question

    Friends,

    Speaking of punishing gas prices, particularly in California where the average price is generally fifty cents more per gallon than the rest of the country (except alaska and hawaii. - ed), remind me why we're not doing more domestic drilling. There are rich untapped deposits of oil right off our coasts, oil shale just sitting there in the upper Midwest, and **gasp!** the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

    Should we just get used to five and six dollars per gallon and hope for some neat magic battery technology for our new cars? Can you really tell me that public transportation is the answer? Remember that Riverside County canceled bus service to my little town in the '80s due to lack of ridership. And that was the short bus.

    Frankly, I'm inclined to slap that silly grin off of the pundits who think that high prices are good. They posit that we're saving the planet by reducing our gasoline consumption, like it's a merry choice happy citizens are freely making. We still live in a big country with vast spaces between where we are at the moment and where we need to be for the next appointment. And more often then not, the bus doesn't go there.

    - bob

    Tuesday
    Apr222008

    Happy Earth Day!

    Friends,

    I know you've heard stories about the Earth, and some of them are true, but I thought I'd take the time on this Earth Day to remember our home planet.

    You could wake up early on a spring day, throw open the window and smell the pine trees. Maybe even hear the the creek gurgling by. We sure didn't like the stinging insects though. That was a big problem back then.

    The flowers were in bloom, the birds were chirping (and speed dating), and then the call rang out. We were all evacuated to this planet (which seems to be a pretty close approximation, actually) because of some global catastrophe (thanks a lot, President Gore), but to avoid panic they erased the minds of the slow-witted and...

    Uh oh.

    - bob