May 25

Spring Cleaning, SB Style!

With the notable exception of laundry, I’m about as domestic as the Bhagavad Gita (or, if you’re reading this in India, Omaha Steaks). When cleaning is done around here, it’s on a piecemeal basis.

I’ve written in the past about my allergies. Possibly because this is the first spring in several years I’ve lived with multiple cats, they’ve been brutal. There are days when they’re utterly incapacitating. Curiously, Boise is ostensibly one of the best cities for allergies in the country. You know what I think about that?

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You’re supposed to measure the allergens, not smoke them.

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May 23

The Myth and Tyranny of the Muse

I truly am my own worst tyrant.

When I started this blog back in February I resolved to post an entry every single day. To date I’ve only failed to do so once, and that was because I knocked myself out somewhere on Orchard Street.

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Somewhere around here, I think.

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May 21

Electing for Obscurity

It was election day in Boise today. Seriously. Three Greater Boise Auditorium District board seats were up for grabs. As you can imagine, it was a heated campaign.

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You practically had to fight your way to the polls.
Image credit: momboleum

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May 20

Celebrating 100 Posts of Crap!

Well, look at that. Today marks SB’s 100th post. I suppose I should celebrate or something.

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Woo hoo!
Image credit: Skubasteve834

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May 19

Bulge? I’ve Got Yer Bastogne Right Here!

There’s nothing quite like receiving a nasty surprise at the doctor’s office.

One of the nasty side effects of depression is weight gain. Since you don’t want to do anything, you don’t do anything. Since not doing anything means not getting exercise … well, you get the idea. Continue reading

May 12

A Message From the Cats

Hi there. This is Djoser. Lane isn’t back from Wyoming yet, so I’m writing today’s post for him. Yeah, I know I don’t have opposable thumbs and all, but I found this feline voice recognition software on The Pirate Bay which allows me to blog. It’s pretty sweet, and who the hell is going to sue a cat?

Sneferu and I have been chilling this weekend. He even took time out of his busy schedule of dropping things in the toilet to help me clean up around here. I hope Lane appreciates all the work we did.

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I think we did a good job.

Last night we got on Netflix and checked out this movie called Cats & Dogs. Disgusting. Kids’ movie my furry, tabby ass! I can’t believe they let kittens watch this speciesist, canine supremacist filth. Once I’m done here I’m sending a big, nasty hiss to Netflix. If any dogs out there are reading this, you should do the same if you have any sense of shame whatsoever.

This morning we got up early to play some Blinx on Lane’s old Xbox. Sneferu is really, really good at this game. It’s those fast reflexes he has. He made a point to take a picture of my shame after he humiliated me. “Hey, where did you get that camera?” I asked.

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“Don’t worry about it, D. Don’t worry about it.”

I hope Lane gets home soon. The food bowl is almost empty, and Sneferu is not fun to be around when that happens. Frankly the box needs changed too. We’ll definitely bring that to Lane’s attention when he gets in.

I’m starting to get hoarse from all this meowing, trilling and purring, so I’d better wrap this up. Why can’t humans communicate by smell and expression like we do? Oh well. Peace out to all Toms and Mollies worldwide!

May 10

Friday Crap Roundup XIII

It’s the 13th installment of the Friday Crap Roundup! Like its predecessors, it’s more cheesy than scary.

Prediction: Total Crap

Although he can be a bit of a crank, I’m a fan of James Randi and his efforts to expose people with “supernatural” powers for the frauds they are. Earlier this week he called out noted “psychic” Sylvia Browne over her latest epic fail. To wit, on national TV in 2004 Browne told Jouwana Miller – mother of the long-missing Amanda Berry – that her daughter was dead. The problem is Berry was found earlier this week, traumatized but very much alive. The worst part is her mother died several years ago.

I try to keep an open mind about everything, but Randi’s logic is sound. There is simply no scientific evidence whatsoever supporting supernatural phenomena. If someone proves otherwise, great. Until then, can we please dispense with all these idiotic ghost hunter shows?

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And for a variety of reasons, don’t even get me started on the goddamn Blair Witch Project.

Accentuating the Positive, or Something

Tuesday’s post on regional accents was a big hit if my stats mean anything. I wrote that post on a spur of the moment basis after seeing the map on Facebook. Funny how topics like that become popular, while posts I plan days in advance get fewer views than an Abe Vigoda striptease.

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You’re on your own with the visuals.

I was hoping for a response from Rick Aschmann regarding my southern Idaho speech sample by now, but a couple days after my post The Huffington Post ran a story about his site too. Since they get a few more hits than I do, I suspect he’s pretty inundated at the moment. No fair! I wrote about it first!

In response to Duke’s comment, people are telling me things like that all the time now. Perhaps they feel sorry I’m turning 40 in a few weeks. Who knows?

Track of the Week

Since I’m on the road today (this FCR was written in advance), I figure some good travel music is in order:

Fitting, given that Atomic City is on the itinerary.

May 07

Idaho Has an Accent?

I spent my entire childhood in the 2T. I didn’t live outside of Idaho until I was well into my 20s, when I spent almost a year in the Chicago area. I suppose that means I grew up with an “Idaho accent.”

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It also probably explains why I have recurring dreams about wind.
Image credit: Wagner Christian

I personally don’t think the Idaho accent is much of an accent at all. For what it’s worth, corporate America seems to agree. Purportedly they base call centers in Boise and other cities in the region because of our friendly, “neutral” speech mannerisms.

That said, I’ve always been intrigued by the differing accents and dialects in the English-speaking world. Indeed, there are obvious differences in accent between the 2T and places like Chicago and Philadelphia, both of which I lived in at one point. I lived in Las Vegas too, but I didn’t notice much of a difference there.

During my time out of state I began to pick up on several different accents I wasn’t exposed to as a kid, notably the Boston and Long Island varieties. In my estimation the Philadelphia accent wasn’t as “strong” as those, but it was stronger than the accent heard in, say, Washington, D.C. As I noted when I lived in Philadelphia, it seemed like the further northeast one went up, the thicker and more unintelligible the accents became.

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Until one eventually hit Francophone Quebec.

Earlier today I came across a terribly interesting site created by linguist Rick Aschmann. Aschmann has exhaustively researched and mapped the various English accents and dialects spoken in the United States and Canada. It’s an impressive work. Unfortunately, like many other works of a national or continental scope, it’s a bit lacking when it comes to Idaho-specific material.

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A Mike Crapo speech sample? C’mon, people, we can do better than that!

Now I could sit here and complain about it, because that makes for good blogging material. However, I could also do something about it, which … makes for good blogging material. On his site Aschmann asks for voice samples from native American and Canadian English speakers like me who spent most or all of their childhoods in a particular place. I was happy to oblige, especially since the ever-so-slight Chicago and Philadelphia accents I used to have are long gone.

Naturally, I pointedly informed him there is no “Z” in “Boise.” I’d be horribly remiss if I produced something like this and failed to do so.

I also read him a bedtime story. You’ll probably fall asleep too.

This turned out to be a fun afternoon project. I encourage others to try it as well.

May 06

The Clouds Prepare for Battle

Well, well. Summer might be threatening the Command Center after all. As anyone who’s spent any amount of time in Idaho can tell you, what passes for spring around here often tends to be more like “silly season.” One day it could be 80 degrees (um, around 25 degrees C if that suits you better). The next day, frozen tundra. This is especially true in March and April.

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Although other places had it worse … this year.

Usually this nonsense settles down by May. Today’s weather event was definitely a sign of summer: a thunderstorm. This is something I normally associate with later in the year around here, such as in July and August, so it came as a nice surprise.

Not to mention a convenient excuse to play “Jacob’s Ladder”

Idaho thunderstorms are typically brief, yet intense. I recall one in particular about 20 years ago, when I drove the ice cream truck in the 2T. When storms like that come around, nothing to do but shut the doors and wait it out. Don’t try to go home; it’ll be over before you get there. Besides, with everything smelling so nice in the aftermath, business is good.

Weather.com, a site which puts SB to shame in terms of sheer concentrated crap, says we may get another T-storm tomorrow. Apparently Weather.com still features weather forecasts. How nice of them. Now I know that, as well the 10 worst foods I can buy, and that the most exciting city in the United States is … Oakland?

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Hrm. I suspect some bias there.
Image credit: jndotcom

We’re also looking at highs around 80 for the rest of the week. This is a good thing as my upcoming Wyoming junket has already hit a minor snag. I don’t want the situation to get worse.

The snag in question is no big deal. More on that in an upcoming post.

May 04

The Twaddle of Twitter

Although I’ve had an account there for a couple years, I’ve only recently warmed up to Twitter. As a writer, when it comes to social media I prefer the free-form style of Facebook. There are certain things which simply cannot be said in 140 characters.

Still, there are plenty of sophisticated people on Twitter who tweet intelligent things. Indeed, attempting to compose a complete thought – complete with the requisite hashtags and replies – in the space provided can be a worthwhile challenge.

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Especially if you’re not saying, “R U A BELIEBER 2? OMG! LOL ❤ #corporatewhore”

I set my Facebook postings to automatically copy to my Twitter account. Fully 75 percent of my tweets come from that. However I’ll go over to Twitter and post directly there from time to time. I’ll do this especially if I want to reach people who aren’t necessarily on Facebook.

Given my penchant for snark, you may be surprised that those of you who “follow” me find yourselves in very good company. Among others, my followers include the Mayor of Boise, a major news outlet, a former NFL player, members of the Idaho Legislature, published authors and even a United States Senator.

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Flattop and all.

While this is all well and good, the number one reason I’m on Twitter is to advertise SB. You know, get as many eyeballs on the blog as possible. That said, my numbers were, shall we say, lacking. So a couple weeks ago I came across one of those Twitter “follow back” accounts, which is kind of an electronic chain letter, but without the threats of eternal damnation.

It’s also free. As anyone who’s been online for any amount of time knows, “online marketing” is one of three things on the Internet you never, ever pay for.

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The other two, of course, are news and porn.
Image credit: Luke Hollins

So did this little ploy work? Well, sure. Within moments I was getting new followers left and right. Now I’m up to nearly 100! Woo hoo! Yes I know having only 100 followers sucks, but let me have my moment, dammit!

The real problem is I didn’t get a lot of follows from the aforementioned sophisticated people. However, I did get a shitload of followers among 15-year-olds who worship Lil Wayne and communicate in wingdings. That’s OK I suppose, but …

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… let’s just say I’m not reaching my target demographic here.
Image credit: ~psdlab

So, my faithful, sophisticated and snarky SB readers, help a guy out and follow me. My Twitter feed is getting stupider by the day.