jc blog - tales of a modern-day nomadic hunter-gatherer

Follow jcomeau_ictx on Twitter This is the weblog of Intrepid Wanderer. You never know what you might find here; graphic descriptions of bodily functions, computer programming secrets, proselytizing for the antichrist, miscellaneous ranting and kvetching, valuable information on living off the land... if you don't share my rather weird interests you may want to try slashdot instead.

You can consider my Del.icio.us links an extension to my blog, as are my LifeTango goals and my other to-do items. My to-buy list is also public, but only for sharing any useful ideas that might be there; I'm not requesting charity, neither do I offer it.

You can find me easily in google searches, as jcomeau, jcomeau_ictx, or jcomeauictx. There are lots of other jcomeaus, but AFAIK I'm the only jcomeau_ictx out there so far.

If you want to comment on anything you see here, try the new Facebook comments, reachable by clicking the "[comment]" link at the end of each post. If for some reason that isn't working, go ahead and email me, jc.unternet.net. You know what to do with the first dot. Make the 'subject' line something reasonably intelligent-looking or it goes plunk! into the spambasket unread.

This RSS feed may or may not work. Haven't fiddled with it in forever. RSS Feed

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2017-11-23-2330Z

got fingerprinted today. they said the card should be ready in about 2 weeks.

pondering on this sickness -- and though I've hardly sneezed or coughed I can't claim this time that I beat it before it got me -- I've concluded that it's the responsibility of those who live among others to eat healthily so as not to be a vector for spreading disease. I was slacking in that regard. [comment]

2017-11-23-0245Z

3rd attempt at fishing. still nothing, not even a bite.

binge-watched the Bourne movies again, all 5 of them this time, over the last 3 or 4 days. it takes several clicks to remove the popup ads on the free streaming sites like 123movies.com, gomovies.tech, and such, but after several tries you can usually watch it without interruption as long as you have a fast enough Internet connection.

one thing that came to mind this time, on the first movie, is that Jason shouldn't have taken the afternoon train to Zurich. he got there at night, in the cold, and got into an unnecessary and unwanted interaction with the cops. I'd have spent the afternoon sleeping on a beach, gone to a bar for a few cold ones, then taken the last train to arrive in the early morning.

then last night I watched the original Dirty Harry movie. early in the movie, when Harry walks into the hot dog joint while the bank robbery is in progress across the street, do you remember what the movie theater marquee reads? Play Misty For Me. thought that was a nice touch.

also, I didn't mention it, but on the Megabus between SF and Anaheim there were streaming movies available with their webapp. it really sucked, the movie stopped several times and when I got it back it was always back at the beginning, but as I really wanted to see John Wick 2 I put up with it. it was entertaining, as expected, but I had 2 things that really irked me. first, when D'Antino and Wick were talking the first time, it looked like both actors were wearing lipstick. the redness was over the top. the same thing bugged me in the Matrix. what is the point? other scenes didn't have it.

the other thing was when Cassian is revving his engine before running John over, John is just walking along nonchalantly. some great situational awareness there. on hearing that sound nearby, I'm always immediately looking around for the threat.

still have that throat bug, but I didn't want to keep paying all my food budget to stay on keto. I broke it today and made some rice.

I had been gifted some small organic potatoes, and after eating some, I forgot about the rest. they sprouted, and I planted them in some unused pots I had from last year. they're growing pretty well.

got an email from INAMI this morning, looks as though I've been approved for my residency. got to go in tomorrow to get fingerprinted. I stink like rotten fish, which is what I was using for bait, so I've got to take a shower and change my clothes. [comment]

2017-11-21-0227Z

went fishing again this sunset. didn't find a fish carcass like last time, but found a small crab in the shallow water that I used for bait. no takers. not a total waste, though, I saw a school of fish jumping and churning the water just a few yards away.

I hit that throat bug hard with an almost-pure keto diet and probiotics. I wasn't sure the yogurt I cooked last night would turn out, because I mistakenly bought low-lactose milk thinking it was low-fat. but this morning it had a good yogurt consistency. and I've been eating lots of good Sonoran ground beef with onions. the throat doesn't feel better, but doesn't feel noticeably worse. so I still have a chance of beating it before I actually get sick.

I cheated a little and made some watered-down coffee this morning, plus had a few ounces of liquor throughout the day. hopefully not enough to undo the otherwise-good diet. [comment]

2017-11-19-2133Z

caught another bug in my throat... too many carbs yesterday I guess? that's pretty much all I ate. hitting it with my brine-pickled salsa but don't know if it will be enough. [comment]

2017-11-18-2141Z

for anyone who's wondering how my hand is doing a few weeks after the black salve treatment: here it is. there is, unfortunately, still one growth not killed by the salve. I peeled off the wart a day or two ago. I apparently didn't scrape that one enough before applying the escharotic. [comment]

2017-11-14-0509Z

I wasn't going to share this for fear I might die from it... but since I'm still kicking over 12 hours later...

that chicken I cooked yesterday wasn't fully cooked after all, and this morning the leftovers I'd had sitting outside in the unseasonably hot La Paz weather was partly rotted and smelled of ammonia or worse. I spit out some of it, but added some of my flour mixture and made a large biscuit out of the rest of the chicken-and-rice mixture, and ate it. the taste wasn't as bad as the smell.

I abhor wasting food, which is why I often buy less-than-healthy ham and sausages instead of fresh meats, knowing they'll keep longer unrefrigerated. this leads to questionable choices like the above. but so far I've survived. [comment]

2017-11-11-1833Z

I've been over a year without being sick. while I caught a few bugs, nothing ever progressed beyond a tickle in my throat, due to hitting it early with probiotics (yogurt, kimchee, or other brine pickles) and laying off sugar and alcohol until it was licked. hoping to make this a habit. [comment]

2017-11-11-1758Z

went for a jog, my first time since the journey, after letting my feet heal for about a week. they've ripped up a large part of the malecón so I had to run in the road for the first few blocks, then headed up Esterito when I reached the puente at the molinito. the sewer was backed up and overflowing through a manhole near the corner of Norte and Ramirez, so I had to pick my way carefully around the flow. then headed up Altamirano to Constitución, then two more blocks east to the Ley. bought some lard, and as I was headed back down 5 de Mayo saw another sewer overflowing right there at the corner of Héroes de Independencia and 5 de Mayo.

they're all too willing to tear up a perfectly good resource for their obras grandes but they can't keep their shit out of the streets. that's government for ya. [comment]

2017-11-09-2046Z

went back to INAMI today, expecting more problems. but even though the "letter" still wasn't satisfactory, the agent simply wrote one for me and had me sign it. unfortunately I didn't get a copy. however, my application was accepted and in a week or so I might have my residency card. we shall see. [comment]

2017-11-09-0157Z

went back to the INM today. this time the offishul says the letter has to be printed, not handwritten. I love how I get the details piece by piece, a day at a time. not. at least, though, she gave me the document I needed to pay the fee at the bank, and went to HSBC and paid it.

trying again tomorrow. 3rd time's the charm? hope so. [comment]

2017-11-07-2336Z

just had a liter of Modelo at El Parnazo, but it wasn't the same. no more Tuesday and Wednesday specials for $30 pesos, it's now $40 pesos every day of the week. and they switched brands to Cuauhtémoc Moctezuma instead of Modelo, so it's probably only a matter of time before they stop serving my favorite beers anyway. end of an era. [comment]

2017-11-07-2207Z

so there's only one bank I know of where the ATMs can spit out Discover cash advances, and that's Banamex. I tried 3 different ATMs before finding the one that asked me for a PIN, and that one worked. now I have enough cash to get my residence card and hopefully last me through the month of December. I won't worry about after that until the time comes.

the process for getting the card is, seemingly, deliberately vague, particularly the "letter" they ask for. one would think there would be some sample, or a standard format to follow, but nope. mine is just a one-liner, we'll see how it flies this week. I have until the end of the month to submit something satisfactory. [comment]

2017-11-06-0400Z

so my next route through Tijuana: take the airport road to highway 1; take the first side street right, that's Del Pino. it dead ends to a staircase, take it down and to the left, it comes out on Cañon Emiliano Zapata. follow that along several curves, there are two places where you make about a 120 degree right turn to get back onto Via de la Juventud Oriente: one just past a primary school, street name Onceava, and the other Gustavo Madero. either of those will get you past the open sewers.

I had a thought when I looked out over the no-mans-land between the border fences on each side. that might make a great place for a little experiment in anarchy. would either side bother you if you set up an open market in there? looks like Uncle Sam is paying for all-night lighting. [comment]

2017-11-06-0336Z

something I forgot to mention: this time on Megabus, there was no mention of alcohol during the "safety talk" after leaving San Jose. this was a welcome change, and I'm wondering if it might have something to do with competition from Bolt Bus, a company copying Mega's strategy right down to the $1 tickets. and that got me thinking that competition in the realm of politics might be a way of turning back the seemingly inexorable countdown to tyranny. only where there are no alternatives can people be forced to accept fewer and fewer freedoms year after year.

anyway, I found out Metrolink has a $10 day pass on Saturdays and Sundays. if I just schedule my travel on the weekend, I can go from LA to Oceanside for $10 right from Union Station and vice versa. [comment]

2017-11-03-1307Z

I went into the Starbucks at the corner of Napa and Linda Vista, asked for hot water in my nice stainless steel Starbucks mug I'd found left behind at the Newport terminal, and when the clerk shook her head at the dollar I stuffed it in the tip jar. I wanted to charge my devices. while there, I caught up on email and Facebook, and ordered 2 copies of my boarding pass printed at the Staples in Old Town San Diego.

it turns out I could have caught the trolley at Old Town, but I didn't realize it at that point, thinking I needed to go to the MTS office at 12th and Imperial. but I kept walking anyway, since after all I had time to kill and it was still cold in any case. but by the time I got to the convention center, I decided just to check the machine to see, and all it said was for the senior fare all you had to have was "acceptable ID", which I had. so I bought the one-way ticket for $1.25 and rode to Beyer. slept in the park up the street from the library, then went to the library itself for a bathroom break and the final filling of my Dromedary bags.

crossed the border uneventfully, got my FMM filled out properly for "CANJE", and went my usual route along the border fence. this time, though, after crossing Shit Creek (literally now -- it seems someone piped water into the neighborhood but no sewer, so there are now pipes running raw sewage into the arroyo), I went south at the first sign of a public walkway, went down and across to the first street after passing under a large fig tree. took a left and just before a low, long, orange-painted building I took another left onto a public stairway, which I remembered correctly took me to a dead-end street which led me to the highway close to one of my favorite taco stands. I ate there, and then also paid a visit to HuaHuis for a beer and a seafood tostada. this time the owner made me feel even less welcome than the first time, but I put up with it. then after tendering a $200 peso bill, he brought back only $100 out of the $108 I was, according to menu prices, supposed to get. so I figured he got the tip he deserved, I have no plan to ever go back again, and we parted ways. walked the final mile to the airport and got some sleep here and there until a large mouse or small rat tried to crawl up my sleeve. wasn't able to sleep after that. at about 06:00 I decided to try going through security, since I'd drunk the last of my water. now I'm in the gate area with about 3 hours to takeoff. [comment]

2017-11-02-0927Z

third try's a charm. the next night the 23:35 driver was Luis, a guy at least perfectly bilingual in both English and Spanish, but had an accent I'd place more as eastern european than Mexican. he gave me a lecture about offering cash, because it seems some people were disciplined or fired for pocketing it back in the days when they'd switch the tickets to a different day or time for money, but once I said I had a credit card he was cool with it. he had the baggage guy process the transaction while he wrote down the number so he could call it in and cancel it, and I was on the nice warm bus for the night.

from Anaheim, I got the day pass at the senior discount for $1.25 and was in San Clemente around 1300 or so after 3 buses. then my plans all went to shit.

the 395 is history. it still runs into Camp Pendleton from Oceanside, but no longer serves San Clemente. there are no longer any cheap or free options across that piece of land unless you can get a bicycle pass, and I'm not sure they always honor those either. that's seriously fucked, and needs to be fixed. so long as the 395 ran, it was bearable, but now it isn't. I might write more about this later.

anyway, the driver took me back to the coast and I waited for the Metrolink. when it came, I asked the conductor how much to Oceanside and he said "man, if you don't have a ticket...", sounding like I was out of luck, but then he added "if you're just going to Oceanside, come on, grab a seat", I thanked him and I was on my way. slept a few hours on the beach and caught one of the last 101s south for 75 cents, after getting ripped off at a liquor store where I bought a 99% vodka for 99 cents plus 40 cents tax. I realized it about 2 blocks away but that of course was too late. I'll catch the bastard next year maybe.

I got off the bus too early, thinking I was going to go my usual La Jolla to Misson Bay route, but then I saw the map and realized that wasn't the shortest way at all. I continued down Genessee to Clairemont and cut over at Clairemont Mesa going to take Clairemont Drive south, but stopped here at Jack in the Box, one of the rare 24-hour Jack's that has not only the drive-through open all night, but the inside as well, and ordered the 2 tacos for $1.19 plus 10 cents tax. sometimes that mystery meat tastes really, really good. [comment]

2017-11-01-0138Z

left Petaluma Sunday morning at 0952. found the Kastania road extension paved all the way from behind the old gas station/cigarette store all the way to what used to be the southbound exit ramp to San Antonio road. I was able to "plod", as Dawn Thomas calls my 3-MPH attempt at a jog, for the first few miles, but stopped somewhere along that span and continued walking.

as the day turned into night, muscles were getting sore and my breaks were longer. I didn't get to the San Rafael to Larkspur path until after midnight, and though there was a sign saying the tunnel was closed, I didn't believe it, and kept walking, muttering to myself about the sheeple who would turn back, believing the cops were energetic enough to shlep out here every night to lock up a pedestrian tunnel.

so imagine my surprise, and disgust, when I got right up to it and found out it was true. a big old padlock on the gate. however, it looked like the other half of the tunnel, while overgrown, may have been open, and there was an open gate to that part about 1/4 mile back. so I plodded back to it and came up the other way. damn! another gate. but when I got up to it, it wasn't locked! just latched with one of those Y-shaped things that swing out when you lift and pull. so I got through that, but then, just a short ways into that tunnel, there was a huge steel gate locking out any access. so I wasn't getting through there until 5AM. on my way back, I saw another swing-out gate between this unpaved path and the bike path that I hadn't noticed before. this also was unlocked, and I pushed it open and was back jogging down the path only to see headlights approaching! cops, I thought, who else could it be? just play it cool. but it was only private security, and they just let me jog on past! I got out of there without incident, went down Andersen to Sir Francis Drake and headed back west. approaching the crest of a low hill, I felt power ahead of me. suddenly a noise, and a buck jumped the steel barrier and ran across the road and up the embankment! his doe followed shortly afterwards. they were beautiful, silhouetted against the sky. got to Larkspur about two hours later than I should have, 02:40.

I slept a little on the Mill Valley to Sausalito trail, and again for a good two hours in Sausalito proper. didn't get across the Golden Gate bridge until 16:24, almost 30 hours after leaving Petaluma. got down to the parking lot just in time for the PresidiGo bus, used the swanky restrooms at the Presidio to clean up, shave, and fill my water bags, and caught the 17:15 PresidiGo, an express bus totally free, to the Transbay terminal downtown.

slept a little along the embarcadero last night, wrapped up in my SOL sleeping bag and leaning against my gear and provisions which were wrapped up in my tarp. nobody bothered me. I even drank a 22-ounce Heineken, discreetly pouring it into my coffee cup so no cops passing by would notice, but I don't think they care anyway.

I need to buy another Dromedary bag to pee in. a smaller size, for sure, so I don't get it mixed up with my water bags!

the two Megabus drivers I tried so far wouldn't let me use my ticket for their bus. don't know if the policy changed, or they don't know the policy, or they just didn't want to do it. going to try again tonight on the 00:15 bus. at least it's the same day.

I'm in Panera now, enjoying a 99-cent dinner roll with real butter. I've been fat-deprived. I did find a nice meal last night, though, a chicken teriyaki rice bowl someone left on top of a garbage can near Caltrain. people in the bay area are always doing this, gifting food to weary travelers by this anonymous method! [comment]

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