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


I can't remember at what age I realized that breakfast didn't have to be a special meal, that I could eat whatever I liked and not confine myself to oatmeal, cold cereal, pancakes or the like. it was at least by my 2nd year of college, but at any rate, whenever it was, it was tremendously liberating. no more did I have to have milk in the fridge; I didn't use it at any other meal. no boxes of cereal either, I'm not sure if I ever really liked the stuff. maybe only for the sugar.

so for example, there would be a breakfast of baked potatoes, or chili, or the previous night's leftover pizza. it was something I liked, and it tasted even better knowing I was doing something different, that I had broken out of my childhood programming. and as life goes on, I keep finding and breaking free from other such ingrained habits. [comment]


made another YACC stove to replace the one I inadvertently smashed on the trip down. this time I didn't bother removing the top; I see no point, as it's only used for pre-heating, and the existing hole is already plenty big enough for that. I did puncture another small hole opposite that to allow for easier reclamation of unused alcohol, by pouring it back into my little dollar-store travel bottles.

as always, it's very difficult to light. the instructions on that page don't really work for me, and the alcohol wicks out and onto whatever surface the stove is on, spreading flame as it goes. I ended up putting it in another small stainless steel dish to keep it contained, but the fuel all burned up before my water even started boiling. I'll try again. [comment]


all these years I had been going about it wrong. I was trying to find a chemical means of neutralizing urine odor, and while clorox worked best, it took a considerable amount. the answer was so simple: oil. I used baby oil, but a water-miscible oil such as castor oil might work as well, and would be less likely to cause problems at the sewage treatment plant.

it works not by chemical means, but just due to physics, it floats on top and keeps the smelly chemicals from vaporizing. [comment]


two more experiments, which I'm pretty sure I did before but wasn't sure what happened last time:

connecting the solar panel directly to a piece of 0000 steel wool makes it spark and smolder, but not flame up. I wonder if I could spot-weld with it though.

connecting it to a water heating coil in a cup of water only raises the water temp to lukewarm. [comment]


I guess it's safe to say the UET on raw Boerhavia diffusa leaves was successful. I'm not only still alive, but the "buzz" I felt only lasted a couple of hours, and wasn't really all that unpleasant. my heart didn't palpitate strangely or anything, I just felt a little hyper.

in the future I'll probably just add a few leaves to an amaranth or chenopod salad, or better yet, cook them. but it's good to know I can just munch some down raw if I'm starving.

made some garlic-and-peanut fried rice tonight, since that was what I had handy. now cooking some beans for tomorrow. [comment]


went to Waldo's to get more of those small stainless steel cups, like the one I lost last year. got 4, plus a stainless steel bowl and strainer; each turned out to be 30 pesos, so the grand total was about 9 bucks. plus I found a 20-peso note on the sidewalk on the way there, so net outgo was only a little over 8 dollars.

on the way back I went in search of some Boerhavia diffusa, tarvine, for an edibility test. I found a bunch of good-looking leaves outside the Casa de Cultura, took them home, washed them in vingar and rinsed, and I just ate a small one. if I don't notice any bad symptoms over the next few hours, I'll eat the rest. [comment]


found this article I remember having read before, and one of the replies, by a guy named Gerardo Martin Sola, said he and his wife ate it raw for 5 months. so I'm pretty confident in continuing the edibility test without waiting the 8 hours the army field manual recommends. and I'm going to use some salad dressing. [comment]


another batch of beans came out perfect. that's two in a row.

I'm noticing I don't crave meat any more. I wonder if I cut lard out of my diet that would change, but I have no interest in trying because lard is the cheapest healthy fat I can get here. and with the lack of meat in my diet, I also don't crave beer. weird how the combination of habit and body chemistry changes things. [comment]


here's something I don't remember ever noticing before, and I'm wondering how many errors I've made over the years because of it. the GNU sort utility default is to respect case; you have to give it the -f option to make it case-insensitive. at least, that's what the manpage says. in actuality:

jcomeau@aspire:~/Downloads$ echo -ne 'F9\nf7\nF5\nf0\n' | sort

to make it do the expected:

jcomeau@aspire:~/Downloads$ echo -ne 'F9\nf7\nF5\nf0\n' | LC_ALL=C sort

my locale is set to en_US.UTF-8, nothing abnormal. so WTAF? [comment]


couldn't sleep, so made some popcorn and watched The Life of Pi at archive.org. certainly not a replacement for the book, but a visually magnificent complement to it. [comment]


I think I finally found that daisy-like flower with the fractal leaves growing around La Paz in disturbed areas: Perityle emoryi, "Emory's rock daisy". I pulled it up by googling "baja sur daisy"! finally, after all these years! [comment]


went to Ley today for some flour, and saw they had some blender parts. I couldn't find any mason jars, so couldn't check, but it looked about right so I bought one. it was only MXN15.80, about 85 cents US. and it works! the blade assembly from the blender jar I bought at the segunda is about right for the cap, and the cap fits normal (narrow) mouth canning jars. so now I can easily use my drill, with a 1/4 hex male to 1/4 square (socket) adapter, to blend things in any normal canning jar.

the UPC code on the Rosan "portovaso y empaque para licuadora" (cap and ring) package is 743701 355078.

also, I tested connecting my Workforce 18V battery charger directly to the solar panel, and the red "charging" light went on! before that I tried it with my buck converter in the circuit, to bring it down to about 20V from the approximately 33V it was putting out, but apparently that wouldn't provide enough current. [comment]


finally got a good batch of beans. this time, in addition to sea salt, I added a couple pinches of baking soda to the soak water. soaked it overnight, and cooked for 2 hours today, covered with a Pyrex bowl, over a low flame. after that, they were nice and tender, and mashed easily. then I added some lard, onion, and garlic and cooked some more. might try it in the blender if the sun ever comes out from behind the clouds.

it could, of course, also be that my previous attempts were with old beans, and that those I bought at Chedraui Palacio recently are fresher. [comment]


I kicked that bug, whatever it was. last night I even drank 2 Ballenas, and didn't wake up with a headache this morning.

finally got off my ass and wrote a program to guess private keys of some of the biggest BTC wallets. I'm running it now, at about 4 guesses per second on 2 of my netbook's 4 CPU cores. super slow. [comment]


woke up this morning with a mild headache. hopefully just due to dehydration, but might be coming down with something. Jay and Pam, the couple I met last night during my Burn the Old Year 2019 celebration, said they got sick just before they came down from Oregon a few days ago.

ate the rest of the yogurt I had made yesterday from Lala "media crema", which I mistakenly believed was half-and-half but no, it's just cream with additives to make it thicker. I also added some Nestle cocoa powder. it wasn't great but hopefully the probiotic effect helps. it's getting close to a year since I was last sick, if I recall correctly. [comment]


sometime within the past week my swollen gum finally healed itself. all I had to do was leave the damned thing alone. I think all my attempts at lancing and draining it just prolonged the swelling. [comment]


finally rescued my backup phone. not sure exactly how I did it, but here's what I did:

  1. changed security from Swipe to PIN
  2. updated Chrome
  3. poweroff/powerup
  4. Settings|Apps|Show System|Preinstall Data2|Disable|Force Stop
  5. Home button works!

what had happened is that that viral app had apparently hooked the home button to show ads. so pressing home just opened a new browser window; and when I disabled the app the previous time, the hook was still there, so it did nothing. since then I've been using the square button to kill (swipe right) all running apps in order to get the home screen. but for now it's working correctly. [comment]


made some spicy peanut sauce today, using as a guideline the recipes here and here. however, I didn't weigh anything, instead using roughly the same volume of peppers to peanuts. I used a little too much oil, but it's grapeseed oil and hopefully healthy enough. and it's way spicier than McFisher's. finally, I ground it in a molcajete rather than using any fancy kitchen appliances, so it's chunky. but it's pretty tasty, made some pasta with it for dinner. a little goes a long way.

the beer store, Vinos y Licores "Los PaceƱos", was unexpectedly closed tonight. if I want a Ballena of Pacifico, guess I'll have to overpay at El Killiki or walk several extra blocks to the Corona store. [comment]


hadn't had a bowel movement in almost 72 hours, so was getting worried, but early this morning passed a couple of chunks of clay, then later in morning had a large BM. I guess that cheese was too much for me, even with the beans for roughage. [comment]

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