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


Great job, Mozilla. Firefox downloads updates and tells me to restart to finish installation. I do. It says it can't complete the installation. So I "switch user" to an administrative account. No such message from Firefox. Reboot. Same deal. Login as an administrator again. Finally force the update from the Tools menu, and it's working.

Get a clue, guys. People smart enough to use your browser are also probably smart enough to not surf the web logged into an administrative account. Either enable the updates to be installed into %APPDATA% or don't prompt a non-administrative user to install them. Got it? Good. [comment]


Chemtrails over Columbus! Looks like 1-mile swaths starting two miles from the border going northwards towards Deming. Wonder what these military geniuses are up to. [comment]


I'm now thinking an iPod, with iPod Linux, a waterproof case, and an HMD, might be the cheapest wearable solution. Haven't checked into the possible input devices yet, though.



I earned 4 cents on Helium sometime in the last 24 hours! Wowza yowza. What am I ever going to do with all that money. No, seriously, I'm glad to see something, no matter how little. I understand from another Helium writer that your profits from advertising accrue for life for every article you've written. And I like Helium's format better than AC's so far, although the latter reputedly pays you something, up front, per article.

My electrical system is still lame from the week I was in Boston and had the solar panels covered to prevent breakage. Not enough wind. Right now the inverter keeps cutting out... good goddamned thing I removed that fucking piezo buzzer or I'd be going batshit. [comment]


Hrmph. My article on Helium has been displaced by an article on American forestry that has little to do with the topic, "Could humans survive with no vegetation on earth?"

Makes me wonder about the intelligence of the average Helium reader. Not that my article is necessarily accurate but at least it was on-topic. And it doesn't read like a dry news report either, like the current #1.

Don't mind me, I'm just ranting. On the upside, my WikiHow article might be allowed to remain, as the member who tagged it for deletion has now withdrawn his motion; thanks in large measure to Zotlynn of Daniel Quinn's website. [comment]


Went out this afternoon and filled a pot about half full of yucca blossoms and fruits. Cut the fruits, filled it with water and put it on the wood stove. Added some Anaheim pepper from the store, sliced, two slices of bacon chopped, and a can of clams from Mexico. Left it boiling on the old wood stove while I went and played cards. Came back after the game and went at it with a spoon. Totally awesome. The yucca fruits add the consistency of potatoes to the soup, and the peppers just the right amount of spice.

I'm also getting better at roasting coffee. Just pour green coffee beans into a teflon-coated frypan on an already-hot stove, and stir in a constant, but slow, motion to make sure none of the beans stay on the bottom too long. I use chopsticks for this. After the first "crack" (sounds like popcorn popping), keep stirring for another 5 minutes or so, or until the beans are as dark as you want. The worst that can happen is you have a pan full of charcoal, so go for it. But just realize you'll never get the even consistency of a commercial roaster.

The process leaves your house with a heavenly smell for at least 24 hours. You can grind and brew it right away, or let it sit for a few days. I think it gets sweeter with time. It will blow you away if you've never had real, fresh-roasted coffee before. [comment]


I could use some help from my blog readers, all 3 of you... there's an attempt at WikiHow to delete an article I just wrote this morning, and I'd like some supporting viewpoints (or opposing viewpoints, whatever -- I'll take the good with the bad). The article is How to Wake Up from the American Dream and the controversy is at the discussion page. Thanks -- jc [comment]


Woke up from a strange dream and couldn't get back to sleep. It was one of those dreams where I seem to be hitching a ride in another person's body, as I don't seem to be in control of what "I" am doing.

I was with a friend in some Mediterranean-looking town. We were walking down the street naked, carrying towels; there were casinos on each side of the road, and he went into the one on the opposite side of the street while I decided, since I'd been to the other one twice already, to go to the one on "this" side. So I wrap the towel around my privates and walk in. I go towards the back, and the guy who's supposed to guide me to whatever game it is "I" play seems to be somewhat retarded, but as I talk with him, I realize he can read my mind. I ask him about this, and he confirms that he has the ability.

So, I go across the street to tell my friend about the guy who reads minds. As I'm doing so, there's a black guy in a London Fog coat with his back to us, and it appears that he's listening in on the conversation. In fact, the more he stays there the more I'm sure he's some kind of spy or cop. Eventually he turns around, annoyed that I'm watching him (how did he know?), and as we have some words back-and-forth I realize he's just another fucked-up guy so I say something like "All right dude, I thought you were a cop or something the way you were acting, so just back off". One of his friends then laughed and said something like "Now you're talking! That's what he wants to hear."

I don't remember much else about the dream. I think it switched to another dreamscape with which I'm more familiar, a basement cafeteria I associate, in my dreams, with the Moonies, though it really doesn't exist as such in either the New Yorker nor the Tiffany building, but has some elements of each. Anyway I walk down what resembles a movie theater to the front, then up one of the rear stairs or walkways into the kitchen, and don't know what I'm doing there so I ask if the cafeteria will be open today. Someone says yes, so I turn around to leave, but keep doing strange things like turn on the water and pick things up without knowing why I'm doing them. I woke up soon after that.

In the first part of the dream, I think my "friend" was one of my real-life Israeli friends, Y or Z. If you guys are reading my blog, let me know if this triggers a memory. It might have been a shared dream. [comment]


LiveJournal wasn't accepting my LINK tags to my OpenID authentication. I was about to rant about that when I looked it up, and, sure enough, XHTML tags must be lowercase. Well, shit. So I fixed the tags in my header, and was able to login, but now it gives me a separate LiveJournal profile. I can't yet see a way to tie my OpenID login to my existing LiveJournal.

No fucking wonder OpenID hasn't really caught on yet. Things like that, and there's no really simple reference implementation that I can see. The Python library examples are probably small and simple in the author's eyes but to me they are bloated garbage. If I can't reduce it to 25 lines of code, forget it, I'll keep plugging certs instead. I'm just pissed that Google Adsense can't be served up SSL-encrypted. [comment]


I was reading that Technorati allows use of OpenID to claim your blog, so I tried it, and apparently it's no longer supported. OpenID looks like a fairly good idea, particularly since the use of Thawte freemail certs and its Web of Trust isn't catching on for WWW authentication as I hoped it would... even Thawte doesn't take advantage of it! [comment]


Before sunset today I went out and actually did some physical labor for a few minutes, working on my second water catchment hole and my super-long-term project, the hole which will take me down to the water table and beyond, possibly to where I can tap geothermal energy.

I'm finding that a hammer, with one side either a pick or a wedge, and an old aliminum frying pan make good digging tools for close-quarters work. You bend down and break up the hardpan with the hammer, then scoop it up in the frypan and throw it out of the hole. Should be good for the first 8 or 9 feet at least.

There were two fairly large horny toads in my well hole today, one of which scampered away and the second who let me scoop it up in my frypan. But I wasn't hungry enough and let him free.

The ground is still moist a few inches down from those 3 nights of rain we had recently. This desert might become productive if I could only make some progress on my carbon powder project. I'm finding that a to-do list is helping, hosted at Ta-Da list, with the RSS feed added to my Google homepage. [comment]


9/11 conspiracists, anti-9/11-conspiracists, anti-anti-9/11-conspiracists, ad nauseam... I was just reading through a recent conversation at Tribe.net and might as well reiterate what I've been telling people from Day 1 (or rather, 11)...

First of all, the globalists and the Bush administration gained the most from the attack, regardless of who did it. The usual pattern, problem and solution. "We've been attacked, so you must surrender your freedom and we can protect you better". I remember when I was young, feeling sorry for the Russians that they had to suffer such indignities at the hands of their government, just traveling from town to town. Now the Russkis are comparatively free, and I'm the one treated like a potential terrorist every time I cross the border (which is almost every day) or get on a plane or even a Greyhound bus (thankfully not very often).

I remember reading years ago, before 9/11, that Samson knocking down the twin pillars is a favorite symbol of the globalists. This was probably in one of Icke's books but I haven't seen it since despite several web searches. Anyway, I "knew" when I first heard about the attacks on 9/11 that Bush and the globalists were involved. Several others have told me the same thing. Not that it means anything...

So who did it? In late 2004, Bin Laden supposedly claimed responsibility for the attacks. This meme has been planted so well over the years that many people have forgotten that he originally denied involvement and even foreknowledge of the event but that he was happy it happened. This just doesn't ring true. Islamic militants are always tripping over their dicks stepping up to claim responsibility for any attack on the West. Why would Bin Laden deny it right after it happened instead of grabbing the limelight, then admit it 3 years later? Give me a break.

No, I don't think Bush has the brains to plan such an attack. But he's just one tool of the globalists. They have many other allies and sympathizers more capable that that pinprick.

So go ahead and read all the conspiracy websites, and those debunking the conspiracies, and those that debunk the debunking, and so on, and you still won't have the answer. You'll never have the fucking answer, except possibly if you're in the secret sessions of the most secret meetings of the secret societies that decide what happens in this mighty matrix we call "civilization". [comment]


OK, yet another skate I have to try out, the Skorpion. Certainly more affordable, if not quite as cool, as jumping stilts. [comment]


Just awoke from a dream in which I was to tend a sacred fire for a night. I was carefully raking around the small stones, and before I realized what I had done, they all fell down through a grate. I had ruined it; the fire was still going because it was artificial, coming from a huge iron furnace, but the mandala was destroyed. Oopsy. I just set us back some umpteen million years in spiritual development.

I've been reading Ken Wilber's A Brief History of Everything, and was starting to agree with his conclusion that there is really is a good force propelling us to grow spiritually and even physically (his example of how a bird's wings could not emerge by Darwinian selection alone sticks out in my mind). But this morning after awakening from that weird dream, I'm skeptical again, thank God. What is lacking, at least in the first 100 or so pages, is in fact a healthy skepticism. What we see unifying and eliciting further growth of the "holons" might in fact be an entity we should be fighting, not cooperating with.

I just now read the transcript of a discussion about the Matrix between Ken Wilber and Larry Wachowski, and I'm very unimpressed. A couple of geniuses stroking each other's egos, yeah, I can see that, but where is the goddamned skepticism? What if this matrix of holons is something we should be attempting to escape? [comment]


Rained again night before last and last night. This desert is going to be overrun with rabbits if this continues...

Finally terminated opengrok with extreme prejudice. Tomcat, too. Ugh! Who needs the complexity? Not I. [comment]


Made another positive plant ID today: Littleleaf Sumac, which grows wild in my backyard. The berries are said to be good for "pink lemonade" like the berries of other Rhus varieties; I wonder if they have enough sugar for wine. [comment]


Perfect weather... hot sunny days and rainy nights. It was quite windy today, too, and in addition to charging my batteries fairly well, enabled me to finally get some decent aerial views of my place. I found out that I have an additional 6 feet or so, meaning 1200 square feet, for my gardening experiments.

Speaking of which... that trifoliate orange is still kicking! Despite the many insults, it's continuing to shoot out new leaves. I've got to get more of these "flying dragons", they seem ideal for this part of the world, both drought and cold tolerant. [comment]


Last night we had a helluva storm. The wind was so strong I thought I'd lost my solar panels, but no, they're still in place and unbroken; and the rain was constant for hours but my catchment system didn't get anything to speak of. Got some aerial photos with my kite yesterday but nothing really usable. Maybe try again today. [comment]


It turns out the plant I've been calling barberry for two or three years is actually Natal Plum. Thanks to Charles and rec.gardens for the ID. Now I know it can't be planted in my region, though... too cold-intolerant. [comment]


Heh. The Blue Chicken, Adam Reinisch, comes up in eBayersThatSuck.com in first place in a Google search. That won't necessarily hurt his scam, though. I still haven't run out of options for that. [comment]


Traveling is nice, but damn it's good to be home. [comment]


Hot shit! Free wifi at the Juarez Camionera Central (bus station). SSID is "default". And all I was expecting was to update my blog offline.

Spent last night at Arroyo Park after limiting myself to two pints of ESB at Cincinnati Bar, where I finally paid a tip for my New Years drunk. Crossed the border a little too late and had to pay the 35 cent toll into Juarez, then waited about a half hour on Vicente Guerrero about a half a block west of Francisco Villa Paso del Norte, in front of a Paleteria y Neveria whose name I can never remember, for the Permisionarios Unidos bus to the station. Well, gotta go catch my bus. Hoping to meet some friends and neighbors, or at least one, at the Pink Store in a few hours. [comment]


I made it, with barely a hunger pang. Breakfast was a Chicago-style hotdog and a pint of Sam Adams at gate K-9 of O'Hare. There's an apparently-unsecured Linksys router here but somehow I can't connect. So I guess I'll be uploading this in El Paso or maybe from home. [comment]


I left the Providence airport for a while to look around. There are some trees by the highway where I could lay out my sleeping bag and get some fresh air instead of sleeping in the terminal, or if they throw me out of the terminal after all. And there's a Wendy's that takes credit cards, so I spent two of my remaining dollars on a large chili. I checked my balances at the ATM at the airport, and had roughly $1.50, $2.00, and $2.50 on my 3 bank cards. Plus I still have $2 cash. W00t! Living on the edge... [comment]


About a half-hour ago I got woken by a cop, inside the Providence airport. He asked me some questions and looked at my ticket. He asked if I were staying overnight and I answered in the affirmative. So it looks like it's no problem! I was afraid I'd have to find a place to sleep outside. And chances are that, inside, I'll hear the commotion at 5AM and wake up in time for the flight. [comment]


Microsoft always has to go and break things. And they may not even be aware that they're doing it, because it's such a huge company involved in too much shit. For example, those CM_Mappings. From the migration FAQ to Pocket PC 2003, there's source floating around the net showing an attempt to map both and localhost to the same network GUID. Anyone who's ever tried that, and viewed the results in CMMap{P,G}, will have seen that only one worked. You can't have two entries with the same index, the older one will just get overwritten. They probably never tested the fix, or tested it on an emulator which had different software.

I'm not even mentioning here the broken line in the source which didn't give an error with makecab but broke the "localhost" entry. Most competent programmers would have caught and fixed that.

Now, as I remember, they didn't explain the "index" back in 2003. Now they do: it's that number in the line <characteristic type="1500">. Lower numbers get matched first, so if you have a more specific entry, such as "http://localhost/", you want it to get processed before "*://*/*". Now, for Windows Mobile 5, someone decided that the index numbers are unsigned LSB decimal, which makes the (apparently) signed MSB hexadecimal numbers of PPC2003 all far above the current defaults.

Comments by Microsoft's John Spaith indicate he doesn't know how this works. So he claims that won't work on the device; it's a "known bug". Now -- as I'm typing this entry -- I'm wondering if the same fix will work as before, but now it's necessary to place the index between 501 and 999, in order to prioritize it above the defaults! I have to try this and find out. Also find out if making an index entry for localhost different from that of will allow both to peaceably coexist in the CMMap files, though it doesn't seem to be necessary for localhost any more. I wonder what kind of godawful kludge they put into the kernel for that mapping.



To help diagnose customer problems, I've written a script to dump the mysterious CMMapP and CMMapG files in the \ConnMgr folder on a PocketPC device. The output can be edited, then reconverted to a CAB provisioning file, but I haven't actually tried this yet to see if the PocketPC will accept it:

dumpcmmap.py ~/my_documents > _setup.xml
vi _setup.xml
makecab /D COMPRESS=OFF _setup.xml newcpf.cpf

If you downloaded them from your Gmail using Firefox, and you have several in your My Documents folder (which I have in my $HOME folder as my_documents thanks to Cygwin's symlinks: ln -s "/cygdrive/c/Documents and Settings/jcomeau/My Documents" ~/my_documents), you can specify a 2nd arg to indicate the number in parentheses, which is how Firefox indicates version numbers:

dumpcmmap.py ~/my_documents 3  # dumps \My Documents\CMMap*(3)

Here is a sample dump, one that shows a conflict between "*" and "*://127.*/*". [comment]


Adam Reinisch just pulled my contact info from eBay. As if he couldn't have found it easily enough with a web search. If something happens to me over the next few months, he's a prime suspect. Got that, cops?

Speaking of cops -- the Providence police are pretty damned friendly. I hadn't been lying down for over 10 minutes before two units came by. They said they got two complaints, one which said there was a dead guy outside, and that they had to ask me to move along. One said just go down by the canal where people wouldn't see me so easily. I did, and had no problems the rest of the night.

I should be on a plane in about 24 hours. Just spent almost all the remainder of my cash on a cup of coffee at Starbucks, but I've got internet, power, and a bathroom for the day or until they throw me out.



So Boston is a dog-friendly town. Reading from the Commuter Rail Schedule: "Dogs are permitted to enter stations and passenger coaches provided they are leashed or carried and they do not annoy any customers or occupy seats"; and "Other than stated above, animals may be transported on trains if carried in an enclosed animal container". That's just the trains, though; I haven't seen any indication that stores and restaurants allow any 4-legged visitors.



The Tap turned out to be an excellent use of my last $20. Now I've got food for most of tomorrow, and enough coin to keep me in the coffeehouses, recharging my laptop and keeping in touch, and for the bus to the airport tomorrow night. [comment]


I must be smelling pretty ripe. I just got asked to leave a bar for the first time this visit. It wasn't even one of the big-name places, it was a more modest-looking bar across the street from the harbor. Then again, it's often the unpretentious places that have higher prices and a higher level of snobbery.

In any case, the guy did me a favor, because now I found The Tap, which has 20 wings for $5, Molson pints for $2, and free wifi. And no snobs. Fuck the goddamned snobs. [comment]


So I went back down Back Bay to that old church, and verified that it is indeed the First Church in Boston, now Unitarian Universalist. I saw the spot where I camped out my first night(s) here before renting the room at 37 (or so) Bowdoin St. Whoop-de-do, right? Who gives a shit?

Anyway, I decided to let my credit card bill go late another couple of days, and instead grab the last $20 out of my bank account to live on today and tomorrow. It's probably only gonna last me till tonight the profligate way I've been spending. [comment]


Woke up twice, once from laughing out loud. That was when I was (in my dream) reading a Dilbert cartoon, and old pointy-hair was interviewing some hotshot liar, who would say outrageous things, and in the lower-left-hand corner of the frame it would show what the boss was hearing, something completely different and usually meaningless (was he on drugs?). Anyway, what I was laughing at, in the dream and out loud, was that the interviewee said "and, of course, I [rooted] your colorForth router". The word he used for "rooted" was something I'd never heard, and can't remember completely, but it had "buzz" in it, and in the dream I knew what it meant. Part of the reason I was laughing is that I thought Scott was reading my blog, and this was his way of saying "hello" to me.

The second wakeup was right after, in my dream, I went back to the place I'd been sleeping earlier and found the grass freshly cut. I was thinking "well shit, why didn't that cop just tell me they were going to cut the grass? I guess he just didn't feel the need to explain himself to the common people." I haven't gone back to verify if that was indeed what happened yet. But I hear a sound like that of a lawn mower, and that may be what triggered the dream.

Anyway, now I gotta pee and drink water, not necessarily in that order. I have a slight headache, been ingesting too many toxins lately. Gotta my ass back to the desert stat. This trip has been fun and enlightening, but enough already. [comment]


I couldn't have been sleeping for more than 10 minutes when this fucking stupid dickhead cop comes through the Common saying "wake-up time". Fucking asshole. Glad this doesn't happen often. Gonna wait a few minutes and then go back to sleep. Or move to a different part of the park. It might rain this afternoon so I gotta get my sleep while I can. [comment]


Got my blog indexed by Google! It took only about 48 hours, maybe even less, since I started pinging them. Nice when things work the way they're supposed to... [comment]


As planned, I bought my train tickets, and I'm in Framingham killing time at Panera Bread until the WACCC night meeting. If I run out of money, at least I can make it back to my plane on time. This trip isn't being as productive as I'd hoped, oh well. [comment]


Couple of ideas: first, I'm going to try soldering a wire to each of the rims of my sunglasses, then attach a little sphere of plastic to each wire, adjusting them to touch my eyeballs at the best place to correct my vision. Experimenting last night shows I can improve it maybe 60 to 80 percent by touching the right spots on each eyeball. That should be good enough to drive or do anything else that requires distance vision.

Then -- I got this idea while walking down Bowdoin Street and looking at the building in which I rented a 5th-floor room for $16/week or so back in 1976 -- a down jacket, pants, and booties should pack smaller than a sleeping bag, and offer the advantage of the warmth while moving as well. Tire sandals can be made to fit over the booties, making them wearable while walking outdoors. Combined with some waterproof stuff sacks and my sil poncho/tarp, it's a pretty complete outdoor-living solution that should fit in a single lightweight shoulder bag. I still need to solve the laptop problem though. Can't very well hide it in my pants pocket. If I actually get the ARMmite/BGW200 thing working, I ought to be able to sell a bunch of them too.

Going to post on eBay an offer to create a custom RSS feed for someone. It might sell in time to pay my server bill before it gets shut down. Cutting it really close this week... oh well. [comment]


I was wrong. There is a free wifi router in South Station, SSID AMTRAK_CLUB_ACELA. I don't know if it's intentional or not, but the one that looked the least likely to be open, is open.

Also, I woke up early this morning, 3:30 or so, and found the station open even while all the gates to the subway entrances were still locked. So I guess it's open all night, but there are cops making sure nobody sleeps here. Can't have that now, can we? Oh, horrors. Maybe the whole world's homeless will converge on Beantown if they allowed people to sleep in South Station from 1 to 5 AM. And it could only sleep maybe a thousand people comfortably.

It was fairly warm tonight, and according to weather reports, should be positively balmy by Thursday, 82 day/60 night, before dropping back down Friday. I've only got about $70 to last me through to next Saturday morning, gonna try and get all necessary tickets so I won't miss my WACCC meeting nor my plane, then worry about food when my stomach starts growling. Lots of fat pigeons around, due to idiots feeding them. There are signs around explaining how feeding leads to overpopulation but many people ignore them. Obviously it doesn't work that way, right? Just because we humans are approaching 7 billion due to overfeeding doesn't mean anything.

Now, if it were cold -- and I think I've stated this before -- it would make some sense to allow homeless people into a place to save heating costs! An adult human body is radiating 98 degrees at a rate of over 250 BTU per hour even while sleeping! That's not a lot but it's something to think about. Now, during hot weather it's a bad idea because then you'd need to provide the same amount of cooling. But then it's better for the homeless to sleep outdoors anyway; they'll be more comfortable.

Obviously, no city wants to be the first to allow the homeless to sleep in its empty public buildings at night. But why not a one-week trial at least, during the coldest week of the year? Just to see if the cost of providing security and WC facilities can be paid for by the heat savings. Offhand it doesn't seem that it would be, but we Americans are supposed to be innovative aren't we? Let's find a way, goddammit. Capitalism was wonderful, but it's outlived it's usefulness, let's move on to the next great thing. [comment]


It's working! thebluechicken already changed the title on his coins from "Unopened Roll Washington Dollar Coins Smooth Edge Error" to "Unopened Roll Washington Dollar Possible Errors CWI 103". I don't know if it was my complaint to Paypal that triggered it, or just his conscience started nagging him, but it's encouraging either way. Let's see what he does with the platinum wire if he lists it again... [comment]


I finally put together an RSS feed script after seeing that Google Blogs won't index a blog (as a blog) without one. Ask me if you want to see it; it's probably not secure, and I don't want every teenager with time on his hands hacking into my site. [comment]


I figured out a better strategy to avoid spending so much money in Boston. Mornings between the time I get woken at the subway stop until Bruegger's (with the free wifi and electricity) opens, I spend at South Station, where it's warm and the coffee is only $1.04 with your own cup. No wifi or power there, though. McDonald's, by the way, has sausage-and-egg muffins 2/$3, but they told me to unplug my laptop from the wall outlet. Then tonight, after the coffeeshops close 9-ish, I can head back to South Station. They will presumably close the station, if it closes at all, at the same time they close the gates at the subway station where I've been sleeping.

My page on the eBay scammer, thebluechicken, is now only 6 results down on a Google search. Excellent! Maybe I can shut down his scam for good, or force him to clean up his act and post accurate photos and descriptions, which amounts to the same thing. He is actually selling and delivering real goods, so you can't compare him to Sal Wise. But he's promising Dolly Parton and delivering Twiggy, so to speak. [comment]


A street vendor told me City Sports has the mini-carabiners. So I went there and nope, the clerk said, nothing like that. "Mind if I look around?" I asked. He said go ahead. Two steps away, there they were, a whole display rack of them. He said, "Oh, those are key clips!". Whatever. I went back and gave the street vendor a buck. So altogether it cost me $5.20 to fix my Otterbox. The carabiners hopefully won't be unhooking themselves like the installed clips did. [comment]


Happier now. Not just due to the two pints, I've said good-fucking-bye to svn. Since I'm the only developer, I'm just using rsync from now on. Fuck all that fragile "smart" fucking software. Well, rsync has its problems too, but I have scp -r as a backup. No CVS nor .svn subdirectories all over the place, and no complex overhead. Ahhhhh... [comment]


I am so fucking tired of goddamned bloated fragile software. This time it's Subversion. I made a slight change to the configuration, and since changed it back, and now every commit gives me a MKACTIVITY error, with nothing in the logs to indicate what. Fuck this shit! GOD FUCKING DAMN! [comment]


I'm beginning to believe there isn't a single store in downtown Boston that actually sells useful stuff. I need a small carabiner to fix my Otterbox, whose shoulder strap broke, and there's no Wal-mart, Walgreen's, Target, or anything similar. Macy's and Marshall's just have clothing. 7-11 just has food. I saw a hardware store from South Station, and walked to it, only to find it had long since been boarded up. Maybe one of the stores in Chinatown has something, but I haven't noticed it yet if so.

Oh, but lots of goddamned churches. I can save my soul, but my luggage is going to hell. [comment]


So, two of the places I remember from Boston of 30 years ago are gone: the S. S. Kresge store and Barnes and Noble. That old church in Back Bay under whose arches I crashed my first night there is still standing, but I don't think I'll use it again after finding out how comfortable the Metro stops are.

I always have a problem with pens breaking or just going bad in my pocket. I found these cute little Sharpie Micro pens at the CVS store, that look as though they might survive a while. Expensive, though: $5 for 4. They write finely enough for my to-do lists, plus they're usable for anything a normal Sharpie is good for. [comment]


Lunching at the Chinatown Cafe after a nap on the Common. It's cafeteria-style, so no tip, and the Spicy Szechuan Shrimp plate for $6.25 including tax is as spicy as I like. And I guess it's OK to keep refilling my tea as often as I want from the urn; nobody's complained so far. I bought a coffee mug at Bruegger's this morning for places like Starbucks, after the problem 2 days ago. I only use the Orikaso cup when I'll be filling it myself, as here.



Had a pretty good sleep yesterday afternoon on the Common, but by about 2AM I had had enough of the bars, coffeeshops, and Chinese restaurants, and it was getting pretty damned cold. I came across a closed subway entrance with heat pouring out onto the sidewalk and no homeless guys yet occupying that prime real estate -- so I unrolled my sleeping bag and crashed. Got woken once by a black guy who took the other side and bumped my feet as he was getting his gear laid out, and again by a maintenance worker who was apologetic and kindly as he opened the automatic gate and stepped over me to do his work. But I went quickly back to sleep both times, and was quite well rested when the transit worker came to open the entrance for the day at about 4:50. In fact, I was feeling great. That feeling has had plenty of time to dim by now, though, 6:30, the opening time for the earliest Boston coffeeshops. Actually, this one supposedly opened at 6, but I got tired of waiting and took another walk.

This town has a TAZ in the subway entrances. The cops don't seem to care at this time, and in addition to a warm, comfortable place to stay, there's a free wake-up service. Now I wish I had had my ultraportable wearable computer done for this trip. The laptop is a pain to schlep around, but it's a worse bedmate, especially in a small sleeping bag. And I can't very well leave it showing. If I can interface the ARMmite with the BGW200, and two single-hand chording "keyboards" and some kind of audio chip, I could have a kick-ass little Linux system whose heaviest component will be the NEMA enclosure. I could add video at a later time, when I figure out a way to do it cheap, waterproof, and lightweight. [comment]


Say what you will about Starbucks -- the overcommercialization, bad coffee, lack of local flavor, whatever -- it's a place where you can fairly reliably power your laptop and sit there for hours with nobody hassling you. And have a clean restroom available. And often, in a big city, find an open wifi AP within reach. So far, I haven't found anything better here in Boston. The free municipal wifi is only in certain areas I guess. [comment]


Back in Chinatown, Boston style... stopped by the Asian Garden on 28 Harrison and ordered #204, Chow Foon Singapore style. Big plate of rice noodles with shrimp and various meats. Tasty but not as spicy as I would have liked. A little pricier than my favorite LA haunts, too, at $5.80 including tax. [comment]


I slept in the riverfront park last night, for maybe 4 hours before being awakened by a light rain. It wasn't quality sleep, but I feel fairly well rested. The first MBTA train to Boston doesn't leave until 11-something on Sundays, so if the clouds go away and it warms up, I'll lie down again for a few hours in a park. This town has lots of green space.

I'm using the ibahn access point provided by the Hilton where this Starbucks is located. Free, the way wireless is supposed to be. It'll be interesting to see how Boston's free municipal wifi is laid out. [comment]


Tried my Orikaso at Starbucks this morning. The server filled it past the fill line, it leaked, and the manager freaked and was going to give me a disposable cup instead -- but the server kept her cool, dumped it partially out, and gave it back to me. She liked the concept of a fold-flat cup. [comment]


Continuing my pub crawl at Blake's, just finishing my 5th pint, of Blue Moon this time, and just ordered some coffee. Only midnight here, and I'm already finished for the night, with at least 6 hours before anything starts happening in the morning. This place doesn't look very homeless-friendly either. [comment]


I'm at the Trinity Brewhouse eating and drinking the night away. Their Russian Stout is awesome, you gotta give it a try if you're ever stuck in this goddamned town. And the Zuppa is pretty good, an appetizer of local mussels with a hot chorizo broth. They're out of the haddock, so I ordered the catfish instead. It took some convincing to get the bartender to reset the router, but now that he did, I'm online. Battery's almost had it, though. [comment]


So, if you ever have a long layover at O'Hare and you're not sure whether or not you have time to get downtown: you need at least an hour each way on the Metro (CTA). And I don't know if the ticket was good for just one trip or not, I bought a second ticket for the trip back. $4 in all.

Got back in time to guzzle down a Sam Adams at the airport bar for $7-something (ouch!) and crawl into the tiny jet to Providence. The RIPTA bus is $1.50 to downtown, and that's the last of my cash. I didn't get much sleep on the plane, I wonder if I'll find a place to crash tonight or if I'll have to pull another all-nighter at the bars... [comment]


So I made it to State and Lake and had a meatball sub at the Potbelly Sandwich Works. Looks like I might even make it back in time for my flight. I would have liked to have seen the lakefront but no time, no time... [comment]


Taking a chance and a blitztour of Chicago during my 3-hour layover. If I miss my flight to Boston I can maybe claim I fell asleep and get another flight? Let's hope I don't have to find out. I'm riding the Chicago Transit Authority to State Street... saw a dead deer in the road running next to the train in the forested area just south of O'Hare. [comment]


In Juarez, buses pass by two or 3 per minute most of the day. What is it with U.S. cities and their half-hour or worse bus schedules? That added to the lack of usable signs, pedestrian-hostile roads, and information centers with no information (as at the 5 Points station), and it all adds up to Fuck You, unless you have a CAR. I don't pray, but if I did, I'd pray to whoeverthefuck listens to bring on peak oil. With a vengeance. [comment]


What a shitty, shitty, shitty day. Even after making it less shitty by declaring my nice leather duster obsolete, after I accidentally (drunkenly?) left it at a bus stop on Airport Rd. It's no longer part of my life. I hope someone who can use it finds it. I'm now sitting at the bar in Applebee's near the El Paso airport, drinking a Sam Adams, and reminiscing about the goddamned fucking day I just experienced.

Oh, it started off well enough; woke up next to a beautiful woman, made coffee, played pitch, packed, sent off my property tax protest to the Luna County Assessor ("due to Ordinance 37, the value of a 1/2 acre lot is near ZERO, please adjust accordingly"), and walked towards the border; about 30 cars passed me by along the 4.5 mile walk, and none of them stopped until my lovely neighbor came by. So we ate at the Pink Store, I paid the guy in front a dollar to hold the next bus for me, and it came a few minutes after we were finished eating and sipping coffee. I waited about a half hour at Entronque (AKA Crucero Palomas) before the next bus to Ciudad Juarez came along. This time, as soon as I saw the Permisionarios buses, I asked to get off, saving me about 15 or 20 minutes side trip to the shitty Central Camionera. Got waved through the border crossing and made my way to the park where all the buses stop. That's where things started going bad.

Well, that's a lie right there. I had decided to try out the Kentucky Club, which I had bypassed every other jaunt through Juarez for one reason or another, and sat down at the bar which has seen far better days. I asked for a Pacifico. "No hay", only the Cuauhtemoc Moctezuma brands: Dos Equis, Carta Blanca, Bohemia, all that shit. So I got a Margarita. It tasted good, but only 4 sips for $2.50 compared to the Pink Store's 4 gulps for the same price. Fuck that place.

Anyway, back to the central bus stop: a guy told me I needed the #57 to get to the airport, but the driver of the bus which would supposedly meet up with the 57 told me no, take the #50 or #35 to 5 Points, then catch the 33 to the airport. So I followed that advice, went to 5 Points, saw no sign indicating where to catch the 33, nobody on duty there except a fat-assed useless-looking cop, and started walking up Montana instead. Came across two unfriendly bars, the George Washington Lounge and the Twin Z Lounge, both of which sold shitty beer at high prices, then found myself sitting on a bus stop bench on Airport Road, where I left behind the aforementioned leather coat. After giving up on waiting for the bus, I started walking, then of course a bus came by, and strangely enough, he stopped when I flagged him down. But after a few minutes, I asked him if he were going to the airport, and he said no, catch the bus across the street. I did. 20 minutes later, the #7 bus came by. I asked him if he went to the airport, and he said no, catch the #57. Then he realized that the #57 had already quit for the day, and told me get in, he'd drop me off near it. And he did. A bright spot in a very dark day. So American Airlines was already closed, but after some coaxing, their automated system gave up my boarding passes. I just have to kill time till 4AM, when the gates open. Then we'll see if my blogging rates high enough on the dictator's radar to get me incarcerated for life. I doubt it -- there are far stronger than mine -- but who knows? These paranoid fuckheads are unpredictable. I found that out with the fucking Postmaster General. [comment]


At least I accomplished something before my Boston trip. I found a way to use my PICkit 2 as a simple crystal tester. I can only get it to work for one of the crystals I salvaged from miscellaneous circuit boards that I had around, but that's enough to convince me it works. Details here.

I'll be heading out Friday afternoon, taking the usual route from Palomas to Juarez, and from there to the El Paso airport. Let's see how much the Bush administration is going to hassle me. If you don't see any more updates, I'm probably spending the next few years in Guantanamo... [comment]

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