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


the other day I made some cold-brewed coffee after finding the muslin bag I had bought for that purpose a long time ago. it came out really good. just filled the bag with some ground coffee, put it into a glass casserole full of water, and let it sit for a while. squeezed the bag out. that's it! zero energy, zero waste. the grounds go to compost. I made a big pot of it, and it's holding up well without refrigeration so far. I know it'll get moldy if I don't use it fairly quickly though. [comment]


with all the recent hoopla about "commonsense gun restrictions" I got to thinking about all the other ways people can kill other people without guns, and wondered about arson deaths. well, I googled and googled, and wasn't really finding out anything except that there are lots of arsons, and that they're probably vastly underreported because of not being able to prove a particular fire was deliberate.

anyway I finally found this: http://www.fire-extinguisher101.com/article0803-arson.html. the latest year shown, 2006, was reported as having 31000 incidents reported, and over 300 people killed as a result. compare that to 900 total mass shooting deaths in 7 years. so where are the anti-matchbook crusaders? [comment]


forgot and left my 18V drill connected to the 24V solar panel. went down and found the battery pack smoking, melted, destroyed, but with gloves was able to pull it out of the drill proper before that got ruined. now I need to make a battery eliminator for it.

checked the pot I'm using for a "solar oven" again. back down to 150 already, probably never got over 160. not good enough. [comment]


just made the minimum payment on my REI Visa card, with only a couple of days to spare, and I didn't have to cash in any of my remaining bullion to do it. if one doesn't care how long it takes, it's entirely possible to get hundreds of cash from a debit card without the bite of ATM fees: $50 from the post office after mailing the radio to Thailand; $50 from Grocery Outlet after buying 8 ounces of turkey hot dogs for 59 cents; $40 from Sprouts buying 32 cents worth of on-sale $1.99/pound salted peanuts; and $60 from Safeway with purchase of a bolillo roll for 33 cents and 70 cents worth of $1.99/pound organic white sushi rice. all told, only a little over $2 and I got quite a bit of food for that money.

I found my oven thermometer, put it in my black-no-stick-lined pot with the glass cover, and left it in the sun. the thermometer was reading over 150 degrees F by the time I left around 12:30. I'll have to find a way to polish aluminum flashing to a mirror finish to make it more efficient. [comment]


organic Mary's chicken backs at Whole Foods are only $2.29 a pound. "what good is that", you might ask, "since they're about half bone?"

well, it turns out that of the .47 pound (213g) piece, only about 20g of the remainder was bone. all the fat, water, meat, cartilage, skin, and little bones got eaten, since I used the cooking water to make rice. not a bad deal at all. and the backs are one of the most fat-rich areas of the bird. very tasty and full of easily-accessible calories. [comment]


"gun" should not be used as an adjective. talking about "gun violence" as if it were somehow worse than other kinds of violence is disingenuous and dangerous. let's say you can get rid of guns, and therefore gun violence. where does that leave you? assuming the violent people are still around, which is generally a safe assumption, now they have only knives and blunt instruments with which to ply their trade; but so do you. a gun is easy for anyone, young or old, weak or strong, to use for self-defense. nothing else comes close. in a contest between you and a muscle-bound teen, both of you with a baseball bat, who is more likely to win?

another thing people often seem to overlook in gun rights discussions is other rights. many places with low amounts of private-sector violence have an overbearing police presence. here you're just substituting state-sponsored violence for that of random criminals. is that really an improvement? it may seem so to those of certain privileged classes, but to anyone who likes living freely, it isn't at all. keep your guns. protect your rights. and stop wishing "gun violence" would go away; it's the very best kind of violence for self-defense. [comment]


so I'm tinkering with ipv6 again, using Hurricane Electric to set up a tunnel over Comcast. it wasn't working, and I noticed an ipv6 address in the 2002/16 block on wlan0. wtf? had to sudo sysctl net.ipv6.conf.wlan0.autoconf=0, and restart networking, to get rid of it. now I can apparently ping6 the other end of the tunnel, but no luck with test-ipv6.com (unknown host) or ipv6.google.com (no route) yet. [comment]


bummed that my VX-7R only pulled $96 on eBay. I guess it fetches $200 or so only if it's a complete kit. perhaps if I'd included a battery and antenna I could have gotten a lot more. oh well, better luck next time.

foraged another watercress/plantain salad today, after a coffee-and-bagel breakfast at the Senior Center for 60 cents. the poor life ain't so bad. just got to get up earlier, and resist the urge to stop at Starbucks or Panera. [comment]


set up a gallon batch of unhopped ale 2 or 3 days ago, using a thin layer of castor oil on top as an airlock. it's working great. the only danger is that I won't be able to get all the oil out of the final product, and/or that it will taint the flavor. castor oil is supposedly somewhat soluble in water, compared to other oils. [comment]


my hideout on English Hill was relatively untouched when I went back to visit it yesterday. there was some garbage left by passers-through which I picked up and hauled off, but the gravity chair hadn't again been taken or vandalized, and the suitcases, saw, and jacket were as I'd left them. I took one of the suitcases to use for my cooking utensils, hung the saw on a broken tree branch, and left the place tidier than I'd found it. I think it's mine, at least as long as I go back and change things around often enough. [comment]


had to take off the drysuit for tonight at least. the baking soda was eating away at the toes of my left foot, and there's no way I can keep my feet trapped in moisture without it. but the suit came in handy today while gathering watercress in the creek. [comment]


finally ran into one of the people on B street who put their garbage cans out in the bicycle lane. I asked him, as he was getting into his car, if the containers were his. he said "yes". I said "please don't put them in the bicycle lane. please." as I was pulling them back to the curb. he stared at me for a moment; the guy was about twice my size, and he was probably thinking I was batshit crazy. I said "thank you" and continued my jog. [comment]


the eBay app for Android makes listing much less of a hassle. I'm selling my Yaesu VX-7R that I just got repaired. I hate to, but I hate selling my silver at a loss, too.

the Senior Center at Lucchesi Park in Petaluma sells coffee for 50 cents, has wifi, and there's usually some free food provided by somebody. anyway, it all passes the Bill Gates test, so I don't hold back.

gathered watercress, plantain leaves, and a crayfish on my way back. [comment]


so the lump on my neck was, as I'd hoped, a temporary phenomenon caused by the straps of all the stuff I wear every day. it was gone when I checked about a half hour ago. and I learned how to zip and unzip the drysuit all by myself! I need more practice though. it's still pretty hard. [comment]


got a lump on my neck, not quite painful but uncomfortable. don't know if it's some kind of tumor, like a lipoma, or just a result of all the stuff I wear every day. I'll have to check in the morning to see if it's gone down. [comment]


manzanitas are in all stages of ripeness now. some are still green, some yellow/blush and sweet enough to eat, some glossy black and chewy, some dark red and thoroughly dry and crunchy.

had a dream of the post office last night, but not the typical recurring dream of me working without pay. some wit said to me something like "and to think, all this was started by a mouse" meaning, of course, Mickey. [comment]


whereas sexually transmitted disease is a serious health problem in the United States, and

whereas, early quarantining and treatment of HIV infection, and that of other STDs, is crucial to both mitigating the dangers to the individuals involved and to reducing the risk of society as a whole, I hereby create the Health Risks Reduction Agency, HRRA.

every new sexual liason must be reported, using the online form at hrra.gov, within 72 hours. if your partner has reported and you have not, you are subject to immediate arrest for failure to comply.

only by keeping a central database of STDs and everyone's matrix of sexual contacts can we effectively fight the scourge of sexually transmitted disease. we are counting on all Americans to do their part.

if you have any information at all on any individuals who may not be in compliance, call 9-1-1 and asked to be patched through to HRRA headquarters. your anonymity is assured and a reward of up to $1000 will be yours if your information leads to arrest and imprisonment.

the above is a hypothetical, but in today's political climate easily imaginable, infringement upon our freedoms which would very likely be championed by a significant percentage of the American public. when I see the arguments made by so-called Technolibertarians for mandatory vaccination, the above scenario seems more and more likely. [comment]


kayaked Drake's Estero with the Petaluma Paddlers today. saw two leopard sharks, one very large, and at least a dozen bat rays. and there were tens of thousands of minnows using the abandoned oyster beds as protection from the terns and pelicans. very little wind, no fog, as close to a perfect day as one could hope for.

built v0.10.2 of bitcoind and am reindexing my blocks. everything changed this past week, and running 0.8.3 was leaving me vulnerable to invalid blocks.

going to be mostly offline for the rest of the week. if you start the revolution without me, make goddamned sure you win. [comment]


putting in a plug here for Jeannie Toutloff's Out of the Ash Life Coaching. while I can't vouch personally for her abilities, her testimonials page can give you some idea. if you're a friend of Jeannie's and you want to help her page get noticed by the search engines, please post a link in your own blog. [comment]


jogged in almost-full survival kit today, drysuit half on, jacket and down vest tied around waist. it was exhausting. no wonder I did so badly on the mountain trail.

saw a cop talking with a guy standing with a sign saying "CAPTURE AND TORTURE THE RICH". maybe I should have stopped and recorded, but instead of taking the adversarial approach I just said "free speech! right?" and the cop replied "oh, absolutely!" but he kept detaining the guy. I'm going to try Stewart Rhodes's suggestion of trying to bolster the cops' "oathkeeper" conscience for a while and see if that works. but I've also got to develop an Android stealth recording app that captures audio and some photos without sucking a lot of battery power. [comment]


it occurred to me this morning, as I'm sure it has to many others in the past, that one good way to get information out to the world is through the blockchain. it would be almost impossible to stop it. especially if you encrypted it with your wallet (private) key, waited for that transaction to be confirmed, then published the key in another transaction, with the message "this key decrypts my previous transmission, and since this account is now public, no further communication from this source can be trusted."

if you installed bitcoind on a new (or new to you) device that cannot be traced to you, and get rid of it after doing these two things, it would be hard for anyone to track you down. one problem would be that you'd have to buy the bitcoins anonymously, unless you could afford a mining rig.

with yesterday's purchase via localbitcoins.com, I now have 0.105BTC. combined with my massive holdings in Argentum, Americancoin, and Dogecoin, I have a whopping USD37.46 in cryptocurrencies. [comment]


thought I might save money by grinding a little coffee in Safeway and cold-brewing it in my cup. didn't work well; the grounds didn't sink and I had to drink it through one of my nylon mesh produce bags.

also, there was no option at self checkout to tare the bag, so I paid almost a dollar for a little bit of coffee.



40 pounds still on Arm Curl, and still a struggle to do 3 sets of 15, but was able to up the weight on Rotary Chest to 50. the last set was a little lame though. [comment]


been foraging plums and figs in the neighborhood lately, and watercress and other mustards, mallow, plantain (Plantago major), and mint along the creeks and disturbed areas. still haven't figured out a way to get meat (duck, goose, pigeon, or whatever) without getting caught though. [comment]


so I ate a piece of Estancia stew beef from G&G today to test my immune system. so far so good, a few hours later. I'm cooking the rest for dinner, along with some plantain, mallow, and watercress I foraged, and some bulgur wheat from Whole Foods. [comment]


Megabus just opened up ticketing through November 17, whereas normally one can only buy something like 10 weeks in advance. had to buy a couple days earlier than I wanted, and have an early departure, to get the $1 price, but that's better than paying $42. total plus booking fee for that leg of the trip was $2.50 from SF to Anaheim. and I already have my $53 (as I recall) discount plane ticket from TIJ to LAP. I should get there for well under $100 this fall, my best price yet. [comment]


in my dream at least two different people explained to me about the "Puco" (or perhaps "Foucault"? it was only pronounced, not spelled) layer, a radius determined through study to be about 30 feet, at which most collisions occurred on that world. but as I recall, the first guy was only half again as tall as me or so, and he was showing me it was about shoulder height. but who knows, I may have been 20 feet tall in that world. [comment]


so it's been about 36 hours since I had more raw fish without even the benefit of wasabi, that time at Safeway. it tasted pretty bad, but I'm not sick yet and I don't think I will get sick from it. wondering if I dare try my luck with raw beef or lamb. I remember an experiment back a few years ago, about which I blogged, that didn't go very well. [comment]


someone on Facebook posted again the DO NOT DUMB HERE. sign, and curiosity got the better of me and I had to see what the actual Japanese said. even though reddit comments cleared up most of it, I still didn't see an actual character-for-character breakdown, so I did it myself. in particular, the "kuda" of kudasai ("please") was written in hiragana in the most illuminating reddit comment, but a kanji was used in the sign. [comment]

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