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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

    Entries in Festival Of Dirt (27)


    Another Good Use Of Bandwidth


    It seemed like a good idea when my hours at The Festival of Dirt were cut in half to go out and get a new job. The job numbers are looking up, I hear. Plus, the Great Recession (as we're calling it now) is finally over. Good news! Nifty! Should be a piece of cake to find new employment!

    Well dear readers, this has not been the case. I've submitted resumes for positions that are essentially what I do now and for jobs that I would love to do, but I haven't heard from anybody except spammers who will rewrite my resume for a fee or provide me with a sure-fire job finding toolkit, also for a fee. I find this infuriating on two levels, as I'm sure you do. The end goal of my job search isn't actually to give other people money (which seems intuitive, but when you're busy being evil, maybe you miss the simple stuff) nor is it to provide personal information to a mailing list instead of an employer. This country's economy has gone through a very rough patch, but that's no excuse to prey on the desperate.

    Speaking of desperate though, if I'm going to embark on Plan B, to get some freelance work to make up the other half of my salary, my poor website would need a refresh. You remember the old, tired, iWeb template site, don't you? No?


    It was pretty simple and I didn't update it very often, so nobody showed up. The hit count was low and very few people gave it a second thought, but that's about to change!

    The new site, pictured at the top, is better in every way. It has pages and links, which makes it a proper website. A picture of the Mighty Jeepster is now on every page to lend some much-needed dynamism. The webcam is still there, plus there are now colored rectangles, which make it more modern. Also, the web development software I'm now using has some settings that make the thing render differently depending on the browser you're using, which I hadn't intended.

    Overall, it's really great and you should visit!

    Your pal,

    - bob


    Super Fun Friday Part IV: Monday Edition



    I've had a couple days to wrap my shrinking, dark gray mind around the job situation—oh! you didn't hear? A bunch more people got laid off here at the Festival of Dirt and my job, considered a "luxury" was to be eliminated completely. Were it not for the intervention of my current boss, I wouldn't be enjoying the half-time status I do right now.

    This has left me scrambling for more work to fill in the gap, but I'm not my greatest salesman. There are a couple little gigs available here and there, but nothing long term. Not yet anyway.

    If you might happen to know of someone who needs someone to keep their personal computers, servers or networks running, or who has a website that needs maintenance, or even someone to edit their copy or write something new, drop me an email. You know the address, it's info at bobtherieau dot com.

    Your best pal,

    - bob


    Super Fun Friday Part III: Enjoy Your Cheese Sandwich Edition

    Nagasaki burning. Good lord.



    Actually, there are many high-powered fans ready to receive many thousands of pounds of solid human waste for distribution throughout our little, unassuming Festival of Dirt this Friday. Some people call this "creative destruction." As you know from, well, life, this never works in the real world. Ever.

    We're doomed.

    - bob


    Division By Zero, Imaginary Numbers Confound The Elderly

    Another aspirational photo.


    There are people who live in this world who seem to embrace the rut their lives have fallen into. That's not surprising. What makes my head spin around is when those people become angry that something out of the ordinary has occurred within their scope. I was heading home this afternoon and had to perform a marginally flashy lane change to get around one of these people to hit the waning green arrow to make the left turn up the hill.

    This garnered me the number three spot at the next light with the time to look in my mirror to see the passing victim plod through the intersection against what was surely a red light by this time. He ends up sitting in the other lane about three more cars back and leans out his window, "Hey! What's your f[***]in' hurry!" I turn around and shout back, "I gotta get out of here!" This was true.

    True, but not complete. Ever since my friend Clare implanted the notion that the Valley is a vortex, sucking alumni back in if they're not careful those decades ago, I haven't been comfortable spending any more time than absolutely necessary. It has become a creepy place that must be avoided, or at least visited only briefly with a clear exit strategy. At the end of my workday, I gotta get out of there and I do with all the muster that the teensy tiny racecar can bring to the fight. My week-daily mania also extends to the people who would stand in the way of my goal of scratching and clawing my way out of their sea level hell.

    Mr. Shouty was disturbed that I made my way around him. Around the lumbering chicane he was piloting without aim, heading back to what must be a just barely adequate home to wait out yet another few hours in his poorly drawn life. He was an em dash in the sentence of my day, but his outrage made me stop and consider my own motivation. Why had I considered him the embodiment of all that's wrong with that dusty waiting room called the Coachella Valley? Why?

    My real answer to him should have been, "what's the hold up?" This beautiful life and the lovely things in it, particularly at the higher elevations where I reside, aren't going to last. That's obvious, but I'm also concerned that today's angry man doesn't approach this brief time afforded us with more urgency, or at least understand why somebody else might. His finger wag seems to be a surrender. He doesn't have much of a destination and isn't too fond of anybody who might have one of their own.

    Of course I'm reading much more into this than the plain facts present, but I don't care all that much. What I do know for sure is that the interchange was helpful in clarifying where I stand. Gasoline up here in my little burg is up to $4.19 a gallon for regular, which is an outrage, and slowing down for fuel economy's sake seems like a good idea, but there's no place like home. And there's no place like this home.

    Your pal,

    - bob


    Super Fun Friday Part II: Everything's Still Perfectly Fine Edition

    Hindenburg burningHindenburg burning



    There is absolutely no reason to be alarmed. I mean, seriously, it's not like there's anything going on at the corporate headquarters today. Don't be silly.

    - bob


    Super Fun Friday!

    Hindenburg burning



    I'm sure everything will be just fine today at the Festival of Dirt. No reason for concern. Nothing to see here.

    Move along, people.

    - bob

    UPDATE: Yeah, not a big deal. Just a little something about money and services and jobs. Nothing to be concerned about.


    Dryer! Sheet!


    My workplace, the far eastern outpost of San Diego's omnipresent charitable organization, was very blinky when I arrived this morning. Not only were the fire alarm strobe lights flashing in their moribund death-to-disco cadence, but a local news crew was set up in the parking lot with their remote news van, microwave antenna fully extended (burritos not included).

    The clients who were doing chores this morning looked like they'd been up all night, and they had. "We've been up since 3:00 or something. There was a real fire this time. You should go look at the laundry room." I joked, "as long as you don't say 'you should go look at the server room,' everything will be okay." I got some tired chuckles, then headed off to see the damage. One of the industrial dryers was well done and its glass door shattered. The next one over was singed and it was clear that the fire suppression sprinklers had worked perfectly. I don't know the cause, but somebody mentioned that some "dumbass" had left the thing running for hours and hours, which I find hard to believe.

    Dumbasses? Here?

    In the meanwhile, the place smells like Barbie's Glamour Waste Water Reclamation Plant and Deep Pit Barbecue.

    Good luck getting that image out of your head.

    And also, you're welcome.

    And, happy Monday!

    - bob


    Storm Watch 2010! Photo Blort! Edition!

    The Forest: In color.

    You may have heard that we had a little storm up here in the gateway to America's Cleanest Forest (more on that later). A modest amount of snow fell...

    Hmm, somebody likes pictures of trees...
    And now that I have a set of snow shoes, I don't get a lot of frozen, wet intrusion in the top of my boots. That makes getting nice shots much easier...

    No sledding.
    I found that this was important to get quick snaps before the next storm rolled in...

    That tree's gonna come down, isn't it?
    What better plan than to work from home last Friday? The roads weren't plowed regularly, but when they were, the ice sheet was exposed. Forget it, I thought. Time to light a fire and use my bandwidth instead of the failed network at the Festival of Dirt.

    My DSL stayed up at this Secret Alpine Laboratory, but the genius monopolies of AT&T and Verizon combined to allow the big pipe at work to fail. Oh, and they decided to take the weekend off and got around to working on the problem today. Towards the end of the day, the connection came up but they didn't tell us. "Just figure it out yourselves. By the way, we really value you as a customer."

    Of course they do.

    - bob


    Happy December First!

    Mme. Puppy Dog

    The little girly puppy dog is sick. Could be the religious extremist** in town poisoning dogs to remove the demons on earth, could be that she ate something bad while in the desert. It's hard to know at this point, and while she didn't eat at all yesterday or her breakfast this morning, she looked well enough that I decided to head down to the Festival of Dirt this morning.

    I suppose I should be honored that the Indian Wells Police Department thinks my elderly Jeep Grand Livingroom can go as fast as they say it was going this morning, but there's a reason that Lidar is pronounced "LIE-dahr."

    Stupid Tuesday, indeed.

    - bob

    ** Thanks to frequent commenter KC and her finely tuned lingometer for pushing me in the direction of using "extremist" instead of "fundamentalist." There's a huge difference between the two, but I think the former is much more accurate in this case.


    Day Presumed To Be Peachy - Pink, Fuzzy

    Yeah, I got nothing.Friends,

    Not to get all Andy Rooney on you, but did you ever notice that some days the universe provides signs that you should've just stayed in bed? Like how all of the lights are red during your morning commute? Maybe how the light bulbs blow out in the bathroom while you're taking a shower? Or how you realize that the milk is bad only after drenching your Cheerios?

    Well, it's only 7:00 AM here at the Festival of Dirt and not only are the phones failing internally, but now all of our lines out are gone. Normally, I'd just place a repair call and that would be the end of it, but talking on the phone seems to be very important to people. Also people get edgy if they can't transmit pictures from one scanning phototelegraph to another. Therefore, I will receive fifty panicked calls asking me if I'm aware of the situation. "Yes Virginia," I will say to somebody who is not named Virginia, "I've called the phone company and they're going to fix it by 10:00." I'll leave it to you to imagine the remainder of the conversation.

    What else is in store for a Tuesday? More trouble? Stay tuned!

    - bob


    A Great Deal Of Standing Water


    The monsoon season is still upon us and heavy rains once again pummeled the greater Festival of Dirt metropolitan area. I spent the night down here last night to spend quality time with the folks and I'm struck by the new level of hell the valley has become. I left their place a little under an hour ago in the dark and it's still hot and humid. The Miniature Racecar™ is overheated and so am I.

    Good thing there's a mountain paradise close by, but I really can't see how people wake up in the morning and say "you know, the Coachella Valley is a wonderful place to live." It's just not.


    This Week In Technology Gone Wrong


    Work. What can you say? The medical systems I'm responsible for have decided to pitch a fit, leaving our family health clinic in America's Finest Decent Satisfactory Declining Doomed City without their electronic charts. Fine, they can break out the ballpoint pens and legal pads while I fix it. We've had a good run of uptime, so they're not too upset.

    I'm anxious to get in on the burgeoning Bismati rice futures trading market, considering our global food crisis. I don't really know how to get started though. By the way, can we blame Al Gore for this too? The corn to ethanol thing we can totally pin on his biofuel ideas, but rice? We'll see.

    The very big problem is that the spambots have started using bob [at] bobtherieau [dot] com for their evil ends. If you're sending email then, please use info [at] bobtherieau [dot] com instead. Thanks China! (Just asking, is this the next salvo in their information war with us? Fun thing to think about, no?)

    So, um, good times! Whee!

    Your pal,

    - bob


    Sooper Toosday Joonior

    Dear Friends,

    Today was absurd, but the weekend in America's Finest Most Run-Down Clearly Done Dingiest City was good fun. I managed to convince a very cute girl to try Indian food, which went well. What else would you expect at India Palace? It's worth trying if you're in the neighborhood.

    I dropped off the pups with their keeper on Saturday. They immediately forgot about me and went about their business of checking the perimeter of The 1912 House. Expected, but sad nonetheless. My thoughts about rescuing my own dog bubbled back up to the surface until I remembered that my day at the Festival Of Dirt combined with my commute would keep me away far too long. Not what you'd hope for if you were being rescued.

    More tomorrow, when the need for sleep shouldn't be so dire. Thanks for hanging in there.

    Your pal,



    Liveblogging The Democratic Debate...

    Who am I kidding? Boring.

    How about some crappy cellphone pictures instead? Here's a nice shot from a few weeks ago of the sun setting over my neighbor's house...

    sunrise, sunset, sunrise, sunset
    As you know, the dogs hate the chilly weather up here. Not surprising, since my yard is essentially their playground AND bathroom. Here's that girly dog waiting for me to make the snow stop falling...

    oh gawd, how I hate you
    And from the big fat charity place preparing for a fundraising event, a labeled box...

    cylindrical flora containers
    Care to guess what was stored in that box? Makes the "it's it's its" battle seem petty, doesn't it?

    Your best pal ever,

    - bob

    P.S. Commenter inky, send me an email with the subject "Clam!" about your transportation problems. It'll be fun!


    No-Pants Wednesday


    The joke is this; one of the managers here at The Festival Of Dirt arrived here this morning then realized that he'd forgotten his pants. The reality, however, isn't nearly as funny so I'll spare you the generic OTB** sleep meds.

    Here are other things you can do today without pants on:

    • Watch a lunar eclipse. It might be a little chilly without pants, but in some parts of the country, the moon may appear to be glowing red. Like your knees. When you're not wearing pants.
    • Download a new podcast. I've been enjoying ESPN's Pardon The Interruption podcast (link to MP3 download) lately. I almost exclusively listen while I'm wearing pants, but who am I to say that you have to?
    • Drop out of the race. People will hardly mention your tear-filled concession speech, once they realize that you're not wearing pants. Detractors will become confused as on the one hand they praise your decision as "for the good of the party" and "healing the ideological rift" but on the other feel that you should really get a little more exercise. If you know what I mean.
    • Get pregnant. A former coworker stopped by for a visit at the Festival Of Dirt this morning and she's working on child number eight at the moment. And by working, I presume she's not smuggling a basketball under her shirt.

    Is it a little breezy in here?

    - bob

    ** Over The Blog


    Tuesday Is The New Monday


    Thank you for your indulgence over the long holiday weekend. I took a trip to America's Finest Mediocre Ramshackle Urgently Requiring Remediation Spy Satellite Landing Site of a City to pick up various puppy dogs and to see a certain cute girl. You'll be pleased to know that all of those creatures, furry and otherwise, are doing well.

    This is being posted fairly early in the morning. 3:30 rolled around this morning and seemed like a perfectly reasonable time to get started. All of the things I really need to take care of today need to happen before 8:00, so the early start should help. By the way, is there such a thing as higher high beams? The Mighty Dakota's less than dazzling displays of illumination left a lot to be desired this morning. That, or it was really freaking dark.

    - bob


    U.S. of China - Puttin' On The Feedbag


    Now that you're restricted from reading this lovely mess by say, Websense, fire up your feedreaders and point them here: http://feeds.feedburner.com/ajauntylittleblog. Let's see if Mao's Little Helper has stopped that.

    Mouse to Cat—check.

    - bob

    UPDATE: (sounds like you're striking back against the "crushing of dissent." are you actually dissenting? -ed The truth is like a bouquet of flowers that smell bad! What's the worry?)


    United States of China


    This site is now blocked by Websense at San Diego's Omnipresent Charitable Organization. Actually, all sites hosted on the blogspot.com domain have been silenced. Other "social networking and personal journaling" sites have been disappeared as well. TypePad sites are among them, but there are a couple that missed the axe for now. I won't name them and give the thugs ideas, though.

    It's disconcerting of course, but I worry about the greater message. Alternative and private opinion isn't welcome at a place that some might consider progressive, and that's a choice made by some anonymous individual. Was it us? Was it a Websense update that just automatically installed (which is likely since it happened on the 15th)? Was it an executive decision made to enforce parity with our ban on Facebook and MySpace? And this—will it make the place happier and more productive?

    I'm not happy, if that's any indication.

    By the way, you can send this URL to yourself and give it a try: http://tinyurl.com/39fjs9 It's a TinyURL for the giant link to this site through the YouHide proxy server. Here's another one: http://tinyurl.com/26vbdk from SurfUnblocked. The nice thing about this one is that the advertising banner doesn't seem to be that overwhelming. Proxy servers. Geez, it's come to this.

    Your pal,



    Genius! - Microsoft Edition


    If there was ever an example to prove that I don't know what I'm doing down at the Festival of Dirt, this is it. It's complicated, so bear with me here...

    There's a fairly problematic machine in the mix down there. My predecessors had tried all sorts of idiotic tricks to make various flaky software packages work. Undocumented. Unauthorized. Non-standard reaching for marginal functionality. Workarounds are the norm for anyone who uses that machine, but the bill finally came due today. I had even implemented some of those insane fixes. Internet Explorer 7 stopped working, so I installed Firefox and let it go. The big problem is that some of our internal software now requires IE. Time to finally make it work.
    • Having uninstalled balky IE, I now needed to reinstall.
    • Use Firefox to download a new version of IE and run the installer.
    • Reboot.
    • IE 7 won't run.
    • Check the DLLs. They're set to load the Dependency Checker instead of registering themselves. Fix that. Still won't run.
    • Reboot.
    • IE 7 still won't run. Use Firefox again to download IE 6. Run installer. Error message says "setup has detected a newer version and will quit."
    • Uninstall IE 7 and restart.
    • Run IE 6 installer again. "Processes requiring a restart have not completed. Installer will quit."
    • Reboot.
    • Run IE 6 installer again, and again error message says "setup has detected a newer version and will quit." Wha?
    • Check Start menu and notice that IE 7 is listed as the default web browser. What are the odds? Click on IE 7 and it runs. It runs!

    In a nutshell, I uninstalled a piece of software, which then appeared and ran properly. What? Are you kidding me?

    Absurd Microsoft shenanigans? Alright super genius Windows dudes, what happened here? Cripes!

    - bob


    Genius! - What's For Lunch? Edition


    I was downstairs at The Charity (much better. the name is short and sweet. just don't forget the right tags. - ed Alright! Cripes.) working on a machine around noon yesterday when the thought of lunch occurred to us. One of the "perks" of the job is free lunch. We can eat in the commissary the same fare that the downtrodden line up for every day. Of course, some fare is more popular than others so it's wise to call first...

    • "Hi, is this the kitchen? What's for lunch today?"
    • "Yeah, this is the kitchen, but we don't know what's for lunch today."
    • "You're right there, aren't you? Can you take a look?"
    • "We've seen it, we just don't know what it is."

    And the guy on the phone was actually involved in lunch preparation and STILL didn't know. Just wow.

    Buon appetito!

    - bob