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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

    Entries in This Amazing Year (53)


    Toddler Watch: The Adults Testify This Week

    A lovely centered picture of a poster

    You might wonder how the various investigations into Russia's meddling in the 2016 elections and the now 45th president's cooperation and coordination with said meddling are coming along. At this point, it's hard to know. The independent prosecutor, former FBI head Robert Mueller, isn't sharing status updates. The House and the Senate, however, are holding hearings this week featuring the former FBI Director, the director of National Intelligence, and some other folks who are making Marmalade Mugabe very nervous.

    This is gonna be great.

    Your best pal,

    - bob

    Goodbye, Blogger

    So long, weirdos.


    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


    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


    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


    Chief, This Computing Thing Is Just A Fad



    Thirty years ago today, Xerox introduced to the public a computer that changed the world, the Xerox 8010, commonly known as the Xerox Star. Why should you care? Well, it was the first computer available to the public with a graphical user interface. The first with a mouse. The first designed to be networked into workgroups with shared printers and files. The first to use a document collaboration protocol based on hypertext, with embedded links to other documents.

    Essentially, everything you know about how computers are supposed to look and how they're supposed to work was either invented or refined at Xerox PARC and marketed first in this machine. And you could have all of this for the low, low price of $16,595 back in 1981 (which would be worth roughly $41,525 today, in case you were wondering).

    So go out today and hug an interface designer to celebrate, won't you?

    - bob


    Hello, My Name Is Betty. How May I Help You?


    This fine photo showed up on Cult of Mac this morning and it brightened my day. Seriously, how is Apple's market share still 10%?

    - bob

    ATTRIBUTION UPDATE: Yes, this great picture came from the Cult of Mac blog, but where did they find it? It was taken by Anita and Amit Vachharajani (both of them? -ed Yes, both. Shhh.) while on a trip to Tamil Nadu. If you have the chance, please go visit their blog about "books, babies, life, and everything in between." That's a lot of ground to cover, but they seem to make a bold effort to cover it all. Thank you Amit and Anita!


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

    Coachella Valley from Highway 74 Vista Point, 21 December 2010


    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,



    Seems That Somebody Got The Message

    Will you accept the charges?


    I seem to have missed a little bit of news where the infallible head of the Roman Catholic church has relented on the use of condoms under "certain circumstances" to reduce the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. We can speculate on the reason for the change of heart, but it's certainly an important first step. My big question is whether the CEO at work will allow the clinics to start stocking condoms in the clinic dispensaries. There's certainly a need there, and since his boss' boss' boss' boss now says it's okay, why not?

    Interesting times, eh?

    Your pal,

    - bob

    P.S. But what do the little creatures think about all of this?


    Hard To Know

    They're here!


    I was tipped to the story by the good folks at Metafilter that retired Air Force officer Stan Fulham has written a book predicting that a fleet of alien spaceships will be breezing by Earth today as some sort of first contact. The 13th? Really Stanley? You clearly didn't consider the dimensional rift that cuts through my little town right in the middle of the parking lot outside the Village Market. Yesterday.

    They're here.

    - bob




    Some societies consider visitation by giant beetles to be a good omen (which ones? -ed Just go with me on this.). Sure, it was odd to find this minor monster hanging off the screen door a couple days ago... Giant bug. ...but maybe it was a sign. After all, the family was scheduled to stop by my place the next weekend. I wasn't sure if I'd have time to prep the house, fix the broken toilet, clean up the leftover bits of dog. What I needed was another sign. Something that might, I don't know, convince me that this wouldn't be a complete disaster. That's quite a lot. Right! All that was left was for the kiddos to arrive... kewt! ...and maybe line up on the staircase for a picture... Kiddos! ...or even collapse the swing together... Smash. Even through my barbequed berry pancakes, minor meltdowns and a whole lot of mosquito bites, we even managed to get together for a great big family photo. You don't see that every day. Totally worth it.

    I'm pretty lucky, don't you think?

    - bob


    Happy Birthday, Deniglefritz!

    Action shot!
    File photo: The birthday girl enjoying a brisk afternoon.


    Today is my sister's birthday and to celebrate, I will share with you a new feature we've been working on up here in our Secret Alpine Laboratory. We call it Song to Text© and it's sure to revolutionize the internet. All I have to do is sing a few lyrics of a song and they show up here as text. For instance...

    Happy birthday to you,
    happy birthday to you...
    Happy birthday, dear Denise!
    Happy birthday to you!

    Pretty amazing, don't you think?

    - bob





    Today is the 23rd of May and it's been snowing here in my delightful Alpine village all day. It snows, it sticks, it melts, it snows some more, repeat. It's chilly, of course, but it's absolutely lovely.

    The Highway Patrol is requiring chains or snow tires from Pine Cove to Lake Fulmor this afternoon, which seems like an alarmist reaction, but I guess it weeds out the kids on racing slicks? Hard to know.

    - bob


    From The Alternative Fuels Desk

    Because Oscar Mayer has a way with b-o-l-o-g-n-a.


    I don't know what's going on with the last 1,000 meters of my mountain commute, but after the skaters had cleared out I thought that was it. Not so, dear readers. This morning, I got stuck behind a large truck whose exhaust fumes reeked of bologna. Or, rather, baloney.

    This only raises one important question: has the Pacific Slope Tree Company stumbled upon a way to convert deli meat of questionable provenance into fuel for their vehicles? Why are they keeping it such a secret?

    Okay, that's two questions.

    - bob


    Happy Cinco de Mayo!

    It's all about the colorways.
    These look comfortable.


    Today in the United States, we observe the Mexican army's defeat of the French at the Battle of Puebla in a cleverly named celebration we like to call "Cinco de Mayo" (hey, that's pretty catchy! -ed). In this grand festival, we honor the decision made by Mexican President Benito Juarez to stop paying interest on debt owed to Mexico's largest creditors, including France who sent their collection agency to seize the collateral for those loans—namely, the entire country. Thankfully, our modern financial system is much more sophisticated and would never be subject to ham-handed tactics like those.

    But those details have been washed away over the years by Americans who were looking for an adjunct to Saint Patrick's Day, except with tequila. No harm in that, certainly.

    This year's celebration, though, is likely to be marred by protests against Arizona's new immigration law. I'm not sure I see what all the fuss is about, actually. Have you ever been to Arizona?

    - bob


    Toddler Birthday Happy Photo Blort!

    You'll never believe this, but a pig pops out of the haystack! Friends,

    I trundled down the hill to attend my nephew (and godson, btw) William's first birthday. The birthday boy was pretty happy about the whole thing, even if the cake decorators may have been phoning it in...

    I'll bet they'd be upset if you misplaced the decimal point on the check. ...but the party favors were laid out with care...

    Is this the gifting suite? Even the birthday boy's sister was in fine form...

    I enjoy a good hat now and again. ...right up until the bubbles I brought ran out.

    The end. Happy birthday, William!

    - (uncle) bob


    Great, Now What?


    I've been trying to write a post about an interaction I'm in the middle of on Facebook, but every angle I try to take on the subject seems, well, not interesting. That story is hereby spiked. What will go up is something else entirely, starting with another picture of an oddly proportioned Japanese car from the way-back machine...

    Subaru Roadster, c.1961
    1961 Subaru Roadster (that may have a different name that I can't read because it's in Japanese on their site). Rear-engine, 23 horsepowers of fury!

    • We were all entertained yesterday by the news that fierce gay rights opponent, Republican State Senator Roy Ashburn was pulled over for a DUI departing from a gay nightclub on Wednesday morning. One of those universe self-leveling moments, I think. Then I learn this morning that legal gay marriage in Mexico City had taken effect yesterday. Predominantly conservative and Catholic Mexico City? The one in Mexico? And we can't manage it in California, which I still find baffling.
    • As you know, I'm a registered Democrat, but I have been fairly vocal about my "Anybody but Barbara Boxer" campaign this November. The problem is that the opponent with the highest name recognition in California is Carly Fiorina. If you put aside my animosity against her based on her record at HP that killed my last job, her mouth isn't doing her any favors right now. She thinks that she's a better candidate because Boxer beats white men, she's anti-choice, and shares Sarah Palin's values (whatever that means. sounds like pandering to tea partiers to me. - ed Check!). So maybe not anybody-anybody. Maybe Tom Campbell can help...
    • You remember former speaker of the California assembly Karen Bass, don't you? She's running for the Congressional seat being vacated by Diane Watson this year. She's also the one who donated $20k to a ballot initiative to dissolve the citizen's redistricting panel. Well, as a parting gift to her Democratic caucus foot soldiers in our very broke state assembly, she promoted twenty staff members and gave them 10% raises in her last days as leader. Could stunts like this account for the deep financial hole the state's in? Is this the same speaker who kept banging the drum about "revenue enhancements" to plug the state deficit?

    Whew! Now that we've covered that, what's for lunch?

    Your pal,

    - bob


    Happy February!

    Because the curves of the car are reminiscent of other delightful curves? Um, okay.

    Just wanted to drop you a little note wishing you a happy February. Yeah, I know, it's Monday and things haven't been working out for you today. The sink is clogged, the rain has finally leaked into that hole in your shoe, your cat has asthma, the budget you submitted is running a trillion dollars in the red...

    But hey! It's can't be all bad, it's February!

    - bob


    Planet? No, It Just Kinda Happened.

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

    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


    Happy Brand New Year That's Better Than The Last One!

    that's gotta hurt

    We here at the vast Jaunty Little Media Empire wish you a happy, healthy, and joyous New Year. We're planning interesting things for the new year while continuing to provide the same middling level of mild entertainments that you've come to expect from this hot mess. That's our our promise to you! (which you can take to the bank, once it has emerged from bankruptcy protection. - ed)

    Your very best pal in the whole wide world, bar none,

    - bob


    Glowball Wharmining Legislation - Forehead Slap Edition

    Wait, what?

    I went to a town hall meeting with our state assemblyman Brian Nestande last night in the Idyllwild School gymnasium. Yeah, he's a Republican, but this is a pretty Republican town in a pretty Republican district (warning: PDF link. Scroll down to the 64th. Registration was 41.99% as of last May. - ed). Clearly, on his tour of the district he's been really pounded on by other groups and it showed in his deference to the current assembly leadership. "I don't want to get into the politics..." he said often while making a point about the broken politics in the legislature. Budgets? They're terrible and likely to get worse. Legislative analyst projections of revenue? Wrong and increasingly wrong over the last few cycles. He's recently been selected by his caucus to sit on the budget committee, which is fine (chief of staff for Sonny Bono a decade ago apparently is enough qualification), but his grasp of the details was pretty thin, I thought.

    You'd think it would be a friendly crowd and they were pretty respectful on the whole. Questions asked, with petitioners trying to display their own level of wonkery, and questions answered. Teacher salaries, tax burdens, business stimulation, state employee compensation levels.

    So, are there any questions?
    The standard bits were trotted out and everybody nodded and hummed and listened with finger on chin. The meeting was informative, but pretty staid and was starting to go long. Then the answer without a question came from our host. I'm going to paraphrase because my notes are crap...

    "What bothers me about the global warming legislation in the state is that it creates a demand for green technologies. Wind and solar... But it creates the demand from foreign sources. The legislation won't allow industries to build the equipment here in the state because of the emissions, but it sets up the demand. We'll have to buy wind and solar from China or Tennessee or Alabama because they don't have these rules, so we are going to demand these things and spend the money and send that money out of the state. I don't get it."

    I'd never thought of this problem before, but it seems so obvious, especially in the context of building up the tax base to fund this budget of ours. The budget that, in the words of the assemblyman, "is diverging, between expenditures and revenue, and is getting worse."

    The, um, "green economy" is starting off famously, don't you think? Here's your unintended consequence.

    - bob

    P.S. The question that engendered the most crowd reaction was the complaint that the CalTrans snowplows were dumping snow in people's driveways. Can't something be done? Everybody was positively animated. Top issues, people!