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


Cop came through and cited a campmate for smoking pot, $700. Ouch. Basically a mugging; a victimless "crime" now has a victim, and the deputy sheriff is the perp. If we Boomers don't take over government and reign in these bulldogs, they are going to take the brunt of the nation's wrath in a civil war, and it will be our fault. They're just doing what their nature dictates; one can't expect these idiots, many from criminal backgrounds, to use rational thought processes. [comment]


Made it to Black Rock City Friday afternoon, no lines no waiting, with our early entry passes. Cold, cloudy, windy, and occasionally rainy today but hoping it will clear up by early morning for the hot air balloon ride. [comment]


Fixed it. Sloppy, but it worked. [comment]


Trying to install mod_python on my server, to test an automatic URL method I've had in mind. Getting the following errors:

root@tektonic:/etc/apache2# apt-get install libapache2-mod-python
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree       
Reading state information... Done
libapache2-mod-python is already the newest version.
The following packages were automatically installed and are no longer required:
  librpmio0 libnspr4-0d python2.5-dev liblzma2 libelf1 libnss3-1d
Use 'apt-get autoremove' to remove them.
0 upgraded, 0 newly installed, 0 to remove and 694 not upgraded.
4 not fully installed or removed.
After this operation, 0B of additional disk space will be used.
Setting up python (2.6.5-11) ...
running python rtupdate hooks for python2.6...
Compiling /usr/lib/scons/SCons/Tool/386asm.py ...
SyntaxError: ('invalid syntax', ('/usr/lib/scons/SCons/Tool/386asm.py', 40, 9, 'import as\n'))

Compiling /usr/lib/scons/SCons/Tool/gas.py ... SyntaxError: ('invalid syntax', ('/usr/lib/scons/SCons/Tool/gas.py', 36, 9, 'import as\n'))

pycentral: pycentral updatedefault: error byte-compiling files (142) pycentral updatedefault: error byte-compiling files (142) error running python rtupdate hook pycentral WARNING: compile error while trying to byte-compile /usr/lib/aap/Filetype.py: SyntaxError: ('invalid syntax', ('/usr/lib/aap/Filetype.py', 1417, 10, ' as = 0\n'))

dpkg: error processing python (--configure): subprocess post-installation script returned error exit status 4 dpkg: dependency problems prevent configuration of python-central: python-central depends on python (>= 2.4.3-10); however: Package python is not configured yet. dpkg: error processing python-central (--configure): dependency problems - leaving unconfigured dpkg: dependency problems prevent configuration of libapache2-mod-python: libapache2-mod-python depends on python (<< 2.7); however: Package python is not configured yet. libapache2-mod-python depends on python (>= 2.6); however: Package python is not configured yet. libapache2-mod-python depends on python-central (>= 0.6.11); however: Package python-central is not configured yet. dpkg: error processing libapache2-mod-python (--configure): dependency problems - leaving unconfigured dpkg: dependency problems prevent configuration of python-dev: python-dev depends on python (= 2.6.5-11); however: Package python is not configured yet. dpkg: error processing python-dev (--configure): dependency problems - leaving unconfigured Errors were encountered while processing: python python-central libapache2-mod-python python-dev E: Sub-process /usr/bin/dpkg returned an error code (1) root@tektonic:/etc/apache2#

Bugger. Google doesn't turn up anything that looks useful. [comment]


Wrote my first useful python-fuse script, which reformats my .netrc file for use with ncftpget, for those rare jobs with lame servers that don't allow scp and rsync. Like Network Solutions, last I knew. It just tested successfully, but certainly there are undeveloped features and, quite possibly, bugs. As with all my scripts, use at your own risk. [comment]


My tunnel kept breaking, so I wrote a Bash script to test it every 5 minutes via cron, and kill the tunnel process. It's the first script where I've made use of Process Substitution in Bash to avoid using temp files or named pipes for input. [comment]


Went to Sonoma today to pick up a Freecycled drill. I only had to go a mile or two in the highway constuction area, but it was so hairy I took the Sonoma Mtn. Road back. What a workout! Steep grades, had to walk it for miles. Saw a wild turkey, some manzanitas, and a Zen meditation center. Stopped at Twin Oaks because the signs said $2 drafts and Lagunitas IPA on tap. It was a lie, the pint cost $4.25. Back at Maguire's for the half off special.

Yesterday while paddling I got my first real look at a leopard shark in the shallows approaching Tom's Point. I'd seen the fins at Drake's Estero a few weeks before, but they always dove out of sight as I approached. This one didn't see me, he was busy hunting. Beautiful animals. [comment]


I've been meaning to blog for quite a while on Jeff B., the bicyclist who was injured by a careless motorist while he was commuting to his job at UPS on July 23rd. On my way home the other day from San Francisco, I followed his path in the northbound breakdown lane of 101 passing Kastania Road. It was a lot scarier to me than the previous times I'd been by there, knowing what had happened. There's no rumble strip; had there been, it's likely the accident could have been avoided, since Jeff could have heard the sound of the van entering the shoulder and taken evasive action. There is a different type of rumble strip separating lanes, those hemispherical plastic or ceramic bumps every 10 feet or so, which make another sound altogether. That's good; some places, Utah as I remember, use the same type of rumble strip on the shoulder as between lanes, making it difficult to know if one should be relieved on hearing the sound (a car is switching lanes to give you maximum clearance) or terrified.

Twilight anarchy: Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series books are, I believe, an overall good influence on the young adult generation. The heroine, Bella, feels compelled to solve problems on her own, not counting on the Man for anything. The latter, in fact about the only mention of government in the whole series I've seen so far (the first two books plus the Eclipse movie), is her own Dad, a bumbling small-town cop. Powerful forces exist in the Quileute tribe of werewolves and the Cullen vampires, who are at low-level war with one another while cooperating to fight other vampires, and preparing to attack the Volturi, the "royalty" of this vampire world. The tribe's leader, Billy Black, has only an advisory role, and Sam Uley, the first of this generation to go through the werewolf transformation, has emerged as another leader, to whom even Billy grants deference when it comes to the Protector role of the tribe. Tribalism, anarchy, fighting corrupt royalty, radical self-reliance: all good traits for the young Hero generation to venerate.

Over the weekend I made some progress on an idea I've had for a while, a Python shell I call "pysh". The basic idea is that of a Forth-ish data stack that collects everything you do from the shell, allowing you to work from the stack without having to invent variable names for everything. It's pretty primitive at this point. One of the first modifications I plan to make is to prefix shell commands with '!' to make one's intentions non-ambiguous. [comment]


Going back from SF heading north is much more fun than the other direction. For one thing, after crossing the Golden Gate bridge, it's almost all downhill into Sausalito; I was there in no time. And since Sausalito isn't laid out very well for bicycles, going northbound puts you on the right side, which feels more natural.

As mentioned earlier, got lost a few times. Saw 2 deer, though, in a residential area (on Eliseo Dr. in Greenbrae, near the top of the hill; I'd forgotten to take a right onto Via a Cumbre), and a jackrabbit next to the road. [comment]


Got a good feeling from a restaurant/bar I passed in San Anselmo, after getting quite lost in Larkspur. Had a couple of Belgian beers and the scallops, there at L'Appart. I didn't ask the price of the food, hope it's not like $30 or something for 3 scallops with a smattering of mushrooms and some kind of strange vegetable like a tiny squash. The lady next to me was having it, and it looked just perfect. And it tasted that way, too. [comment]


Just realized: the Bike Hut is another example of the Gift Economy in action. Of course they can't gift the tires and tubes, but they can and do gift their time, expertise, and use of their tools; which makes me and others want to gift something back.

I love what the world is becoming, despite all the signs that it might be going the wrong way. The real people are winning, I'm betting my life on that. In fact, all of life on earth is betting on that. [comment]


That worked out damned well. The Bike Hut at Pier 40 didn't have foam tires, but they had a 20 inch tire and tube for $15 and they let me borrow their tools. So with a $5 donation, I got out of there with a working bike and only spent $20. Celebrating with a pint of Anchor Steam at the Public House down the street.

The BikeE is surprisingly easy to fix. Just loosen the two 15mm nuts, unclip the quick-disconnect for the internal gears, and the rear wheel is in your hands. A 20x1.5 tire fits it just fine. [comment]


Since I was going to be alone this weekend, I figured I'd better put myself in survival mode so I wouldn't go crazy. Rode my bike to the Iron Springs Pub and Brewery in Fairfax, going west on Freitas and through the park on the bike trail. Had a couple pints of their coffee porter and a stout. I was three sheets to the wind; took several wrong turns and was headed deep into Marin when I asked someone for directions and got back on the right track.

My pub crawl ended last night at Picco in Larkspur, where I had a bottle of Lagunitas Censored after polishing off my order of Kennebec fries. From there, I mostly walked the bike into San Francisco, lacking appropriate lights and clothing for visibility. Signage sucked, and I got lost once. It looked like I was in a military housing area. The streets were all but empty; finally a friendly bicyclist came by, and told me I had to go back through the tunnel and around to the right, and I'd cross the Golden Gate. It worked. I made it to a bar before closing time, but didn't really feel like having any more beer.

Made it all the way downtown before finding out that the 24 Hour Fitness clubs near Market aren't open 24 hours on weekends. Had to go all the way back to the one at 1200 Van Ness. There I had a short workout, a shower, and even a short nap in the stretching room. Also snoozed a bit in the Market and 3rd Starbucks later, and once the fog boiled off, I guess between 10 and 11, laid down for a while in the park at Mission Bay. A loud explosion under my leg startled me and several passersby. My goddamned tire. Jon had warned me about the sidewall damage; the top-off I'd given it earlier today must have finished it off. Now I've got to get to the Bike Hut before closing and see if they can do anything for me. [comment]


Saw Eclipse. Not bad at all, though I disliked Bella for the way she played with Jacob's feelings; she did the same thing in the book.

Didn't mention earlier, I did my 5-mile jog this morning. Heard the downtown clock strike 7 when I left, and it struck 8 when I was on Kentucky street. One of these days I've got to break through that 5-mile limit. Plenty of runners around here do 10 miles or more; why can't I? [comment]


Made a hair tie out of a piece of synthetic cord and a cord lock; it ought to outlast a hundred of those stupid Scunci things. Also successfully cooked a pound and a half of liver using my solar oven, using a heavy cast iron 10 inch skillet I got for $10 at Grocery Outlet. I wanted to buy one used, but only one of the 3 thrift shops in town even had one, and they (Sacks) wanted $20 for it.

Finished reading Twilight, and planning to go see the Eclipse movie tonight. The movies get a lot of bad press, but people are shelling out the dough to see it, so it can't be all bad.

Now I'm reading Abbey's Desert Solitaire. I like the way this guy thought and wrote. [comment]


Petaluma Summer Saturday Burgers


  1. One pound Tara Firma Farms ground beef
  2. Two Panorama Baking Company (or Della Fattoria) panini
  3. One small shallot, finely chopped
  4. Butter, cheese, mayonnaise, mustard, tomato, peppers, pickles, lettuce, as desired


  1. Morning: go to Tara Firma Farms at 3796 I Street, which is on your right not far before I Street Extension meets San Antonio Road. Buy 1 pound of their 100% grass fed ground beef. Take it home and defrost.
  2. Afternoon: go to the Farmer's Market at Walnut Park. At or near the corner of E and 4th you should find the Panorama Baking Company truck. Buy two of their panini. Also find a shallot, tomatoes, and any other desired veggies at the other booths.
  3. Evening: turn the gas grill on high and preheat for 7 minutes. Meanwhile, slice, toast and butter the buns (panini); finely chop one small shallot, mix with the burger, and form into two patties. Salt and pepper the tops of the patties.
  4. Grill the burgers at high heat, 4 minutes on one side and 3 on the other. If cheese is desired, add at the start of the last minute.
  5. Serve with your choice of condiments, slices of tomatoes and peppers, and lettuce if desired.

This is the second time we've had them; they're a meal in themselves, very tasty and filling. [comment]

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