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


so my experiments with the dromedary bag as an ear syringe were inconclusive. I ended up asking a certain someone to bring my known-good bulb from up north down, and used that after pouring peroxide into each ear and letting it bubble for a while. got a big lump out of my left ear with the first squirt or two, but didn't get much out of the right ear at all. so where did it go? it must have come out with the water from the Dromedary bag, but damned if I saw it. anyway, a short piece of the same 1/8" ID vacuum hose with which I fixed my bike pump, stuck over the end of the Dromedary cap, was what made it work better.

went to hear Terry Townson at Hyatt Place tonight. there was a youngish (30s?) guy with a red beard at a nearby table, with two other guys, that I vaguely recognized, and my gut told me he was a potential enemy. but when he walked past me later, I nodded and he nodded back. maybe know him from a dream? no idea. [comment]


so there is a BICYCLES MUST EXIT sign on I-5 at Oceanside approaching from the north, meaning I shouldn't have to worry whether or not Camp Pendleton is allowing bicyclists through. I still think it's against CVC 21949 that there is no pedestrian route from San Clemente to Oceanside, but if I can rig a CVC-compliant bicycle out of a piece of rolling luggage, I won't care as much. [comment]


MC4 connectors for solar panels are 4mm diameter, or .157 inches, just barely too small to match with standard .176" bullet connectors. while I could barely jam a male bullet terminal into a female MC4, the male MC4 wouldn't make reliable contact with the female .176" terminal. so I had to cut open the MC4 bodies that the wire thieves left to retrieve the inner parts, and solder my new wires to them. [comment]


so the other day, on my way east for something or other, I passed Autopartes Zepeda, on the corner of Hidalgo y Costilla and Gómez Farias, and asked if they had any shrink tubing. the clerk pretended he knew what I meant, and brought out the wrong thing. so I managed to explain that what I wanted se reduce en diametro cuando se aplica ... heat, temporarily forgetting the word calor, and they understood. and it was only 13 pesos per meter! far cheaper than the little packs of different size one finds at most other places.

and then last night, the car wouldn't start, so instead I met my lady at the terminal with my hand truck. later I cut my Vertex charger and attempted to trickle-charge the battery overnight. no help. this morning, as soon as the sun reached over the neem tree, I hooked it up to the battery terminals and attempted to start: rat-a-tat-a-tat! a loud sound like the solenoid cutting in and out, but no attempt to turn over the motor. and the voltage at the battery terminals was climbing up to 15 volts, so I figured the battery had had it.

went back to Zepeda, and they had the battery I needed right at the door, a drop-in replacement for Ford Explorer. and only about 1300 pesos. brought it back on my trust hand truck, installed it, and vroom! back in business. [comment]


experiments, experiments... the Dromedary bag thing didn't work. the ear pain is back with a vengeance. I need to be able to direct the stream of water better into the inner ear.

today I risked losing my jog map, simply exiting MapFactor Navigator rather than the 3 steps of going to Tools then Record/Replay/Manage GPS files, then finally Stop recording. luckily that worked, and now I know I won't have to bother going through the extra hassle again. it's especially tedious in strong sunlight when I can barely see the screen.

bought a packet of half-price cheese at Arámburo, and a telera roll, and made me a grilled cheese sandwich using my pot lid and heavy Pyrex bowl to smash it flat. it was delish. got to remember those packets of odds-and-ends cheese, they're a real bargain for protein at about MXN58 per kilo.

left that immersion suit I haven't been able to get rid of down on a bench on the malecon with a sign on it, MXN200 or USD12, with my PayPal address. someone will probably just walk off with it, but that's cool too. even better if I get my money back. [comment]


forgot to report the test of the Dromedary bag as an ear irrigator: it might have worked. I didn't see a big lump of wax come out as expected, but the water warmed up in the bag, lying in the sun, nicely; and holding the nozzle to my right ear with my right hand, and squeezing the bag (filled with half water and half air) with the other hand, I got a nice jet of warm water going into the ear canal. and I'm not feeling any pain in my ear for the last 36 hours or so since I did the trial. so, I'm hopeful. I'll try it again someday.

oh yeah, if you do it sitting down, cover your legs with something so they don'tget all wet. a raincoat or tarp will do, or in my case a neoprene laptop bag I unzipped all the way so both halves covered my legs nicely. later today I ruined that same bag by putting a hot cooking pot on it. may have ruined the pot, too, it's got a bunch of black plastic burned onto the bottom of it now. [comment]


so El Parnazo is not the place to go for regular-sized tarros, mugs of beer. it was 27 pesos, and for 3 pesos more I could have had a full liter. I should have gone to Tailhunter, where they're only 15, but I think they're closed on Wednesdays anyway. oh well. just hope I remember next time.

I guess I'm going to have to call off the beans experiment for this year. my lady is coming back in a few days, and my stomach flora still haven't adjusted; they make me fart as bad as ever. [comment]


it's been building up for a while now, and in another day or two the pain in my right ear will likely be unbearable. I normally fix this by irrigating with water, but I don't currently have an ear syringe and I haven't been able to find the large ones here in Mexico, and the small ones are just too small to do much good. so I hope the sun comes out today. I have an idea for using my Dromedary bag for that purpose, but the water has to be close to body temp or vertigo results.

as a test today, I tried video recording while walking to the market wearing my tablet on its lanyard around my neck. it came out good, although the slight swinging side-to-side while walking gave the video a cyriak effect. and no, I'm not gonna post the video... [comment]


learning boto3 since boto is going to stop being maintained. you first create a boto3.session.Session with args of your access key ID, your secret key, and region name. then you get both a session.resource('ec2') for high-level but incomplete access, and a session.client('ec2') for complete but low-level access. for example, both have the method create_vpc, but the first returns an actual VPC object while the latter returns a dict of attributes. but both create a VPC, which hangs around in the cloud indefinitely until destroyed. [comment]


he liked it. paid me a bonus.

that should cover the bills for this month. now to make enough money to live on... [comment]


too early to brag yet, because my client hasn't had a chance to test it... but I'm hopeful. I took on a job yesterday afternoon which was out of my comfort zone, a Python script optimization using array arithmetic to figure out optimal groupings of objects each of which has several key parameters. to be more precise, it's a fantasy football program.

I spent hours trying to profile the goddamned thing to find the hotspots. I got it down to one or two routines, but cProfile is too coarse-grained to give me the detail I needed; either that, or I just suck at using it. anyway, I figured it was the additions of the various parameters that was taking most of the time, so I laboriously converted the objects to subclasses of Numpy ndarrays, which almost worked (it did work while profiling was on, and broke on its own) but was over an order of magnitude slower than before. so at around 0500 I went to sleep for a few hours, reverted to the old code, and took another look. I found an expensive computation that didn't need to be done unless another one was within cetain bounds! so I moved it into the conditional block after the more crucial computation, and I had about a 30% speed improvement. I'm hoping that's good enough to earn my money.

I'm thinking about going to El Parnazo for a beer later. but I'd really like to know if the job is done first. a liter of Pacifico is not good for the programming mindset. [comment]


I didn't have a good feeling about the Bundy Ranch standoff at first either, but I have an even lower opinion of Ammon's sneaky plan to take over the Malheur wildlife refuge building.

however, if he and his crew manage to pull it off without starting civil war II, more power to them. we may end up owing them big-time. and I'm cool with that. [comment]


finally got my first success with letsencrypt!

Reporting to user: Congratulations! Your certificate and chain have been saved at /etc/letsencrypt/live/jcomeau.com/fullchain.pem. Your cert will expire on 2016-04-02. To obtain a new version of the certificate in the future, simply run Let's Encrypt again.

this was just after a failure, doing it exactly the same way, when it gave me a ":: The server could not connect to the client to verify the domain :: DNS query timed out" error. when my Apache logs showed that in fact, it had connected and gotten the requested information. strange.

not ready for prime time, obviously, but at least now I know it can work when it wants to. [comment]


cooking experiments: added chia seed to my last big batch of biscuit mix. I like the added flavor and texture, and it tends to mitigate the pancakey (is that a word?) nature of the batter I've been getting since I switched from sour milk to real yogurt. although I did get some nice pancakes out of some of the last batch by adding enough water to make it soupy.

today I panfried some fish (cabrilla, sea bass) in that flour/yogurt batter, and it was good, but the one piece I dusted with garlic powder, pepper, and salt was much better tasting.

made my 2nd batch of beans using the thermal ballast/haybox method. actually it's still on its third hayboxing, but after the 2nd they were tender enough to eat. I'll pull them out within the next couple of hours and munch down. this time I used rocks instead of bones. found some nice smooth ones, that red igneous rock used around here for construction, down off the malecon.

I've been cleaning up the colorforth jc2007 sources, getting rid of duplicate code and updating the configuration files to account for the changes in qemu, bochs, and other things over the past 8 years. it now assembles properly to run under both those emulators, and I added a 3rd video mode, 0x4111, for 640x480 graphics to view the whole thing on a WSVGA 1024x600 netbook. maybe I can get vmplayer working tonight. damn, but my Mandelbrot program is so much slower than Mark Slicker's. unfortunately his has the size hard-coded, or so I remember. [comment]


in addition to the tea tree oil idea I blogged last year, another Facebook friend gave me what looks like a promising suggestion for my post-nasal drip.

If it happens to be a chronic low level fungal infection, then using a nebulizer (the kind for asthma. Look for one on ebay or many drug stores, making sure it's unusued) then use half and half sterile saline and NANO-silver (not just colloidal silver, but specifically nano-silver by Results RNA. The particles are much smaller and so penetrate better.

Use the nebulizer as directed except breathe through your nose entirely to get the silver penetrating into your sinuses.

Alternatively, you could use a neti pot used as directed with the saline solution and adding a small amount of silver, increasing the amount until you find the amount that is uncomfortable for you.

The neti pot method is second best, but obviously easier as you don't need any special equipment.


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