Thursday, July 31

Email Subjectivity

A friend has this really obnoxious habit with received emails. If the body of the email doesn't match the subject, her mind shuts down, and doesn't read the remainder of the email.

So when you get a reply (if you get a reply), the second part never even gets the attention it deserves.

OK, you may be thinking "Bob, isn't it possible that the friend may read this post?"

Yes, but that's the point. The word subjectivity in and of itself doesn't have anything to do with the subject line in an email.

So I'm safe.

(Yeah, I'll let you know if she catches on)

Sunday, July 27

...and then there were three

Branches, that is.

That photo of the half a tree was taken at 3pm this afternoon; the photo below was taken about twenty minutes ago. Wind's a howlin' tonight; this storm may be the tree's swan song.

Funny thing with that previous post. "Breaking Wind" was supposed to be a poorly executed pun, and it worked. The ad to the left was priceless, for a gas and bloating aid.

(Your mileage may vary)

Breaking Wind

No. Not going there. Don't ask.

Last week's wind storm that hit Taylorsville was, by all accounts, a series of microbursts. Nothing at all happened to the huge willow in the backyard. Hell, I expected a couple branches at least, but just a few feet away, the nondescript tree against the fence didn't fair at all well.

Yes, I cropped it this way for a reason. As can be seen from the photo, there's really half a tree missing.

And you can tell from the base of the tree that this was a substantial hunk of wood that broke off. Two whole "branches" from the main "trunk", this tree had turned into more of a bush.

We interrupt this brilliantly stimulating conversation for an explanation...

I'm told that this particular tree has quite a history, that it was hit by lightning - a year or so BB, or Before Bob as it were. Cut down to a stump afterwards, this tree wasn't ever expected to do more than rot away; it has since returned.

So the "tree" doesn't really have a trunk. unless you call the following a "trunk":

Now we have two trees with peculiarities - or one-and-a-half as the case may be.

...we now return you to your regularly-scheduled

Chose Wisely

Banner ads. Love 'em or hate 'em, there's not much we can do about 'em. We try to not even look at them, but... wait. Does that banner ad say what I think it said?

Here's a quick sampling of banner ads I've found over the last little while. The first three are animated and have been modified to do so forever so you can see the errors. That last one isn't animated, like it matters.

What it boils down to is that graphic designers need to be proofreaders as well!

Saturday, July 26

Visitors from all over...


I've been a denizen of the online community for over two decades now. Started out on Compuserve in the early '80's with a Lear Siegler ADM 3A at 300 baud. That's (really) slow in today's terms. Text based. No graphics. And only 80 characters wide. Cutting-edge for the time.

Had short spells of interest years after that with Prodigy and AOL, and then my first real internet account in 1994.

1998 brought about my involvement with CAWS, and here, ten years later, is my blog.

And this thing we call the World Wide Web does, in fact, connect the entire world to information, concepts, and, yes, bob's bs. So much so that I've started to attract folks from all over the world from such diverse and remote locales as Colorado, Nevada and California.

Oh, and Australia, Romania, and Belgium!

Anyway, again, welcome to bob's bs. It's gonna be a fun ride!

Thursday, July 24

There's More Where This Came From

You're really missing a treat if you've never ordered anything from Cafepress. Mugs, Mousepads, Shirts, Tile Coasters - and Bags and Journals as above.

I bought these a week ago, the products arrived Wednesday; got journals for Marilee and myself, and she also wanted a bag to carry her brilliantly stimulating stuff.

Cafepress may seem a bit steep, price-wise, but considering they take care of all the production, shipping, and returns if necessary, you don't have to worry about having a hundred size small t-shirts in your own inventory.

So what are you waiting for? My bs is waiting for you!

Valley Newss

No, this isn't a retread of my extra Z's post.

New Hampshire's Valley News actually had a typo on its masthead Monday where it misspelled the newspaper's own name - the print edition, no less. Which to me is peculiar since I'd expect something like that would be inserted in the production process as a graphic. Or as a solid pound of lead. Anyway...

Why is this of note? Because the article I read that reports this major typo is from Great Britain. I haven't a problem with the Brits. This is because it takes a United Kingdom newspaper to observe a typo on a United States newspaper. I'm guessing that the Brits take great joy in reporting on errors in the Colonies. Tender spot?

A quick review does show that there are reports of the flub in this country, particularly at Regret the Error. Take a look.

Wednesday, July 23

Travel Equals ?

Have you noticed that all my posts labeled "Travel" have to do with work?

Must work on that...

Tuesday, July 22

Elementary, Dear Readers

Several years ago, there was an advertising campaign put on by the local Mormon newspaper, The Deseret News. The campaign said simply "Written in the interest of time... Your time." Simply put, it would make for a quick read. And easy to understand.

I'm not going to make this a Mormon-bashing post. But you be the judge of the rest...

A fun feature in the blogosphere is the Blog Readability Test [sadly now offline]. Put in a blog's web address, and it'll tell you what the readability level is. Mine ranges from High School to College Undergrad, one post even registered Genius. Jenn's is at College undergrad on a regular basis. It's not the content that's High School level, it's the readability level. K?

But as the Readability site suggests, "This tool also works on myspace profiles, livejournals, facebook, and most websites". Including The Deseret News.

Daily, The Deseret News has the following readability level:I suppose one could gather that it is easy to read the News because the readability level is so low, but one has to wonder - since the majority of people who read the News are Mormon, that maybe it's written this way because the reading level of Mormons is Elementary Level?

Just sayin'.

Monday, July 21

Double Petunia

There's a saying / piece of prose / rhyme / poem / whatever - that my California and Nevada family knows by heart. Since I originally heard it from my Dad, and my Aunt Mary Lou knows it, I'm guessing that it is quite old, say the twenties or thirties (that's last century for you youngsters).

If you google the title of this post, you'll find that "Double Petunia" is actually a type of flower. Like a begonia. And thus we begin:

A petunia is a flower like a begonia
A begonia is a meat like a sausage
A sausage and battery is a crime
Monkeys crime trees
Trees a crowd
A rooster crowd and made a noise
A noise is part of your face like an eye
Eye is the opposite of nay
Horses nay, and horses have colts
And if you go to bed at night with a colt and leave the window open, you'll wake up in the morning with Double Petunia!

Old Man Talk

Last Tuesday, I posted a seemingly peculiar graphic of a hemorrhaging vegetable. Upon showing it to my co-worker Dave, he immediately saw the reference and knew that it had everything to do with work. Showed it to another co-worker and he had no idea. I thought everyone knew about this idiom; apparently not.

I expected to see at least one person comment, but didn't get any - apparently there were far more people who didn't get it.

I figured that would be the end of it until this evening when Chris came over for dinner and yard tending. After some brilliantly stimulating conversation, and finding out he hadn't actually read that particular post, I showed him the graphic.

Blank stare.

"What is that?"

I then explained that one reference has it that when Cain brought an offering of a turnip to God while his brother Abel offered a lamb, that God said "You can't get blood out of a turnip."

The young whippersnapper said:

"That's Old Man Talk."

[I'm not a religious scholar, so if the analogy above offends, deal with it. -Ed]

Sunday, July 20

Moving Day

Rather, its been moving week.

Three separate yet distinct offices of my employer are currently moving into a single office. Everyone's going to be one happy family. Yeah, riiight.

Today's the last day (yes, Sunday) for getting everything out of my old office in Salt Lake City. An office from Davis County, and yet another from West Valley moved last week.

I've already moved two Rodeo-loads of crap - yes, crap - from there to home. No one seems to know or realize that all of my spare parts, 500-plus pounds of them, will not fit in a Chevrolet Impala. Maybe without their boxes, but no. Suffice to say, they haven't given me a place to put the leftovers in the new office. I suppose that there are more pressing things to be concerned about.

The crap is mostly twenty-plus years of memories. While there's been time to move it all, there hasn't been time to sort through most of it. Sure, I've dumped five or more trash cans full, but what remains still needs perusal and retrospection.

Three or so more loads and I'll be done. But the hardest part of all this is that I've had a place to go, an office, with my own chair, my own desk, my own in box and out box, my own drawer full of pens and Taco Bell hot sauce packets, for the last twenty-five years. My new office? A car. You're mobile with this company. Down-time is frowned upon. Never should you need to be anchored to a desk.

Anchors Aweigh.

Saturday, July 19


I don't like to apply "labels" to things - once you do, you'll either have to stick to them or even worse, piss someone off by pigeon-holing them. But blog posts? That's another thing.

Previously, I had labelled my posts to the tune of twenty-five-or-so different labels; I've now cut that down to eleven twelve (added "Local").

So while I wouldn't have applied any label to this post - with 25 labels to pick from that's amazing - I'm just doing this one as Writing.

Labeled thus.

Be Careful What You Wish For

...or search for.

Early on in the history of the CAWS website, I put something like "Please don't kidnap the photos of our animals" on the home page. Once the search engines started hitting the site, we were getting spammed from sites wanting us to list our site on child abuse sites. One email in particular had used the word kidnap. Ooops.

I quickly altered kidnap and changed it to "kitnap".

Why am I telling you this? Simply put, you really need to be careful when you put stuff on your website, or even your blog. And that line is beginning to blur.

And never, ever, put the name of the company you work for in your posts.

Friday, July 18

Lucid in the Sky with Diamonique

I've been having some weird lucid dreams lately - the brain and dream enthusiast will have fun with this post - but I've been expecting them.

Yes, it's another drug-induced side effect. But this particular drug is for my own good. Family's, too.

Sorry, Jenn and Chris, no more menthol smoke in the future.

The drug is called Chantix. It affects the same receptors in your brain that nicotine does. Fits the receptor a lot better than other smoking cessation drugs like Zyban.

An example of it's efficacy is that I got home from work Wednesday night arounfd 5:30pm, and didn't even have a single urge until I got ready for bed; I thought about the fact that I hadn't had one for four or more hours, and it hit me like a ton of bricks.

I'd tried Chantix before but didn't complete the program - stress at work complicated matters. Now that things are settling down (a bit) I decided to try again.

But if you see me, please don't ask how long it's been since I've had a smoke. I'll want one!

Strange thought just popped into my head - imagine if Timothy Leary'd had a blog...

Dogs Can't Add

Out on the patio this morning having my morning coffee. Dogs are out there to do their "business". Watching them (not too intently, of course).

They come over to where I'm sitting, Princess wants some head scratches, Bambi, too.

After having had their business meeting, they wander over to the steps, single file, waiting for the door to open. Because it's an automatic door.

They haven't yet put two-and-two together that I'm the automatic part.

Thursday, July 17

300 Channels

...and nothing's on.

In a throwback to early television, our main viewing TV in the family room only receives three channels. No, it's not broken. Hell, even if we were to get an HDTV, it'd still only receive three channels.

Yes, Marilee controls the remote.

It's her TiVo, after all.

Occasionally, when there's nothing on, I get to drive, and still end up flipping over to a shopping channel.

I'm hopeless.

Tuesday, July 15



Monday, July 14

What Time Is It?

Here's a fun thought. Try calling a help desk somewhere, and ask as the first question "What time is it?" If you've ever experienced this, you'll know what I mean. Getting nowhere with a help desk person, you'd wonder if they'd be able to give you the time of day.

Late Sunday night call to Salt Lake City. Perhaps you've heard of it. Not a classy locale like Caldwell or Boise, or even Kanab, but close enough that if I really had to, I could actually drive there. AND sleep in my own bed afterwards.

Caller said the building was on Chiptal Way. Even spelled it for me. Chiptal. Left the house at 10:15pm. Called the supposed on-site end user whose name was Amish. No, he wasn't Amish, his name was Amish. Asked him to spell the name of the street for me.

Rustling of paper. Tapping of keyboard. And otherwise dead silence.

I prodded a bit more. "I just want to know if it's Chiptal or Chipeta, as there's no Chiptal in Salt Lake City."

More rustling, tapping, and silence.

I started to wonder if maybe he had been brought in for a special project, picked up at the airport, and truly did not know where he was. But surely...

"Are you up by the University of Utah?"

"No. Actually, sir, I'm in India."

Dead silence

Saturday, July 12


You probably haven't gotten any SPAM lately. I just finished off half a can.

Not spam, this is about SPAM.

A recent Marilee-less trip to Costco found yours truly buying (intentionally) a mega-pack of reconstituted pig. I hadn't had any SPAM in a long time, and thought it would be a grand idea to get some.

(Mental note: Always bring Marilee along on future trips to Costco.)

Fried up some SPAM tonight I did. And it tasted like - reconstituted pig. Flavor, yes, since this was the 25%-less sodium version. But texture? Ick.

Marilee was a bit put off by the mere thought I was eating the stuff; when the subject got around to what's actually in SPAM, I grabbed an unopened can and started reading. And stopped when I got to the first ingredient:

Pork with Ham

At least we have something to hand off to the Scouts the next time they need handouts for their food drives.

Quick update: the expiration date is great - "Best by February 2011"

Friday, July 11

Finding My Nitch

Or neesh.

I've been cataloging my cache of photographs the last couple days. It'll likely take through the weekend and then some. I've cataloged them before, but this time I've got a master plan for doing so. I'm not particularly looking for one specific photo; for the most part, I remember just about every one I've taken, where, when and why. Even what and who. And how.

If that sounds vaguely familiar, there's a reason.

A friend of mine from my distant past has said that when I get my thoughts together, they'd like to read what I have to say. And what I do with whatever it is that I find, it'll be a treasure trove. Of possibilities? That remains to be seen.

For what I intend on doing with all those photos, with a bit of prose thrown in for good measure, is to do something that's been on my mind for a long time. A very long time.

Without going into too much detail, here and now, I've made up my mind.

I'm going to write... a BOOK.

Wednesday, July 9

Day (and-a-half) Tripper

I've been on a trip for the last three days. And I haven't gone anywhere.

While my doctor thinks I need more mellowing, this last drug he prescribed for me isn't the answer. While I wouldn't exactly call my state of mind mellow, catatonic comes close.

Even Marilee, last night on a cheap date at Costco, said I wasn't being Bob. She caught me more than once just staring off into space. Now, while we do enjoy watching people at Costco, it's far more fun watching Marilee watch people. Intent stares at other people is one thing. And I don't know if while I was staring off if she looked to see where I was looking, but even I have caught myself staring for minutes at a time. At nothing in particular.

I haven't been into work for a day-and-a-half. I was off on a service call to Rowley on the other side of the lake when catatonic happened. Heading out via highway 201, I caught myself turning around at highway 202. BTW, it's the only place in Utah where two state highways only a number apart intersect. [There's the old Bob showing up]

But turning around didn't happen. Highway 202 then intersects with Interstate 80 after a mile or so, and that leg of I-80 back towards I-215 is a hell of a long drive when you're having second thoughts about driving any distance.

Weird feeling, having this particular drug coursing through my veins. Not that it's particularly powerful, but that it's now the second additional anti-depressant that's affected me in a negative way. And the side-effects (at least the reported side effects) don't help matters. Agitated and sweating are in there - while catatonic isn't listed, I awoke to a pool of sweat a la "wet spot" at least twice since Sunday, but I also erupted at my old boss Monday afternoon just before I turned around and went home. And since when is agitated helpful as a side effect for an anti-depressant?

I've got a breakfast meeting to go to this morning and will see how that goes. Stay tuned...

Monday, July 7


Right now. Get your mind out of the gutter.

The pecking order has been established, at least in the canine realm. Princess is the boss.

But Bambi is still fighting that, tooth and nail. No real fisticuffs yet, but there have been a few, uh, discussions.

Before Snickers left us - someday I'll write about Snickers - she and Bambi would do that disgusting dominance two-step. First Snickers would pee, then Bambi on top of that, then Snickers would circle around and repeat the process. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Now with Bambi and Princess, Princess is first. Then comes Bambi. Then... but there's no "then". Even when Bambi goes first, Princess doesn't even care.

Literally, she doesn't give a rat's ass.

(Strangely, no, there's no picture to show. You're welcome.)

Saturday, July 5

Don't Click There!

Not yet, anyway.

It's likely that just above bob's bs up there at the top, there's a "Next Blog" link. Don't click it. But if you must, bookmark or save as a favorite this blog. Really.

You'll want to come back since if you don't save it now, you might not find it again.

Really. It's worth it.

What Tree Is This?

There's a tree in the backyard that doesn't do anything. Sure, in Autumn it drops its leaves, stark contrast to the Winter white (artsy fartsy) Spring brings out the new growth, Summer it just sits there. No fruit, no flowers, no nothing.

Yes, for all you Utah readers, I could snap off a branch or twig and take it to Western Garden and have them ID it, but someone out there's got to know what this is.

I even have gone to the Arbor Day's website and used their What Tree Is That program to no avail.

We've discussed cutting it down to get something else planted that does something other than....

OK, so it does do something, and maybe reason enough to keep it - it produces oxygen.

In this day and age, that's something worth considering...

Selective Hearing

If you google for the phrase "selective hearing", you'll find lots of references to a condition where someone says one thing and the listener hears something completely different. But in my opinion, that's not real selective hearing - rather, it's when someone says something, and chooses not to hear anything at all.

Case in point - calling for Bambi or Princess to come in and they ignore you completely. But call them for dinner, cheese or cookies and they come running.

Guys, I'm afraid, have this same problem. We choose not to hear certain things. The speaker may as well be speaking a foreign language. If we don't care to hear something of a particular subject, it's in one ear and out the other. With no filtering in between.

I mentioned this to Marilee this evening, and she wholeheartedly agreed, though I was only talking about the dogs. She mentioned that guys were like that as well.

"Do women have that problem?"

"No, we hear everything."

Guys, we have been warned.

Friday, July 4

Ye Olde Watering Hole

It hit a hundred degrees today. Not so much a scorcher, since the humidity was rather high.

Marilee and I enjoyed the air conditioning indoors, while Bambi and Princess insisted on cooking their insides yet again outdoors.

After returning from outside, Princess went over to the mega-waterer we got last year; it is ingenious since you're not always filling a water dish. But the drawback is that it makes Mom and Dad lazy as far as keeping the thing filled.

There was no sound coming from her massive tongue-lapping, and I realized why - the damn thing was empty again. After pulling the bottle off the thing, and heading to the faucet to fill it up, I returned to the scene below.

Yes, she gave me a look.

The Look

My family (of California and Nevada) has a genetic predisposition to look over their glasses when prompted to do so by a comment or activity which warrants it. Even I have this behavior, and, yes, everyone in my family wears glasses.

I've used this look on Marilee, Taylor, and Jenn and Chris. Having not "grown up" in a family environment of those who wear glasses - Marilee wears glasses only for reading - they didn't know that's just something I do. And it was effective.

My Dad, in an earlier life, was a high-school teacher. Even then, in the '30's, there were goof-offs in the classes he taught. When one of these miscreants would start acting out, he'd stop the lesson and dead quiet would envelop the room. Over his glasses he would stare at the perpetrator. Effective even then.

We're not talking a sidelong glance. Not with raised eyebrows. You know the look. "It's not what you said, it's how you looked when you said it."

Wednesday, July 2


Look it up.

If those of you reading this know me personally, you'll know I spent some time in a "military environment". No, not THE military. Anyway...

I have a real problem with regimentation (which, BTW, is difficult being of a minor religion in Utah). Any suggestion that I need to be controlled sets me off. You have been warned.

Monday night Marilee and I went shopping for clothes, for me. I'm not a clothes horse by any means, but the work I do is very hard on clothes. Crawling around on floors, snagging stuff on sharp edges, ink stains - it runs the gamut. Went to Penney's and got a couple short-sleeve shirts and a couple pairs of pants.

While the clothes we bought are fairly nondescript, no logos, no patch pockets, they're perfectly OK for work. However, I had had the feeling I should get something that's a bit more in tune with my current employer, and wondered if I should get some logoed merchandise - I'd seen others wearing the stuff, so I took a look at what was available.

Oh yeah, they're available. But when I read the part about "yearly uniform allowances", I stopped dead in my tracks.


Look it up.
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