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


Finally got mailman working at least half-assed. Had to add '-subscribe' and '-unsubscribe' to the local_part_suffix list, no idea why they weren't there in the README instructions. Also had to fix my Apache setup; I hadn't read the docs and had copied the scripts to my own cgi-bin, which didn't work worth a damn, so now I put in my config:

Alias /pipermail/ /var/lib/mailman/archives/public/ ScriptAlias /cgi-bin/mailman/ /var/lib/mailman/cgi-bin/

Seems to be working OK except I'm not getting my own posts to my gmail account. But then again, gmail seems to do this a lot with emails that I send, however circuitously, to myself. [comment]


Configuring Mailman and Exim together under Debian is a bitch-and-a-half. I think I followed the instructions in /usr/share/doc/mailman/README.EXIM correctly, but still an email to mylist-subscribe won't work because exim is looking for a directory /var/lib/mailman/lists/mylist-subscribe, and only /var/lib/mailman/lists/mylist exists. I'll probably figure it out with a lot of additional hairpulling, but I kind of like having hair. [comment]


Shit. I just took the OkCupid test again, and found that in the past few months I've degenerated from The Boy Next Door to a Random Brutal Sex Dreamer. Must have been the depression caused by reading Kunstler that flipped me over the edge.

Anyway, I just read Ender's Shadow and Shadow of the Hegemon by Orson Scott Card, and will probably reread something uplifting like The Moon is a Harsh Mistress until the Tom Robbins book arrives. Maybe there'll be hope for me then. If not, I've still got lots of booze and free access to an internet full of porn. Just found out yesterday that the library's filters don't block Suicide Girls. Yummy. [comment]


Got my passport today! Now to get my tourist visa for Mexico and I'll be ready to do some traveling. I heard it's better to use a birth certificate, though, to get your visa, because they'll stamp your passport, and if you forget to turn the visa in before the 6 months are up you can get hit with a hefty fee of MX$100 per day or so. I didn't have that happen to me, though (they didn't stamp the passport), so YMMV.

Might head out to Rosarito this weekend to pick up my tools and stuff I left there last year. We'll see. If I do, it will be via the El Paso to LA line, and traveling the local bus systems through Orange County all the way to TJ. Will also likely stop at the Portfolio coffeehouse in Long Beach for the nice atmosphere and free internet. [comment]


Over the past few days I've replaced a bad tire on my bicycle; finally finished lifting a (probably) 200-lb. or more pole behind my bunker for mounting antennas, by lifting it bit-by-bit and holding it in place with old tires; finished reading The Long Emergency; ordered Tom Robbins' Still Life with Woodpecker from Amazon; and moved the Columbus Village Library website to my server.

I have lots of other projects to work on, like a rewrite of my MIDI programs, a ROCS implementation, my postFORTH compiler... the list goes on and on... but a good start is I'm (at least temporarily) over my Second Life addiction. Not that I think I have a lot of time. I got a stern reminder of my mortality in Cd. Juárez the other day when crossing Av. Adolfo López Mateos to the McDonald's; I looked the wrong way and stepped right out into speeding Westbound traffic. Somehow time stood still for me and gave me a chance to get back to the curb in one piece. [comment]


That racist Canuck I met in Rosarito last August was here in Columbus this past Monday and Tuesday, still spouting off his mouth about Mexicans. The bartender here told him to fuck himself, good for her. I was debating whether or not to remind him what I'd said to him last year but decided to drop it. Wasn't worth it.

Still spending way too much time in Second Life. It's almost to the point that when I'm walking down the street in Columbus, especially at night, I feel as though I ought to be able to just lift off and fly as I can in SL.

The papercrete workshop went well but in the end, there is still a lot left to complete. I spent a few days recovering and doing not much of anything, but did manage to finish Alan Weisman's book Gaviotas and am almost through The Long Emergency, yet another treatise on Peak Oil. I wish it would fulfill its promise already. I'd love to see Highway 11 deserted so I could try my Windskate in relative safety. [comment]


Came to El Paso today to ship the laptop to my Mexico City friend... actually I tried first from Juarez, but the UPS office was closed and the DHL droids insisted I must deal with the ladrones at Aduanas first, so crossed over to here. UPS was going to charge me $180, so went to Ditto's, where manager Frankie Carrasco shipped it FedEx for me for $96. Pays to shop around!

Using free wifi at Jamocha on 2231 North Mesa. My Clié browser, Netfront, crashed repeatedly, apparently due to crappy Javascript, so I downloaded pssh and used lynx to check my email. I've been to a number of bars and restaurants today, mostly not overly memorable, but met two nice Guinness-quaffing females, Jennifer and Lauren, at Hemingway's. Jen tells me to read Tom Robbins, yet another addition to my must-read list.



Guess I was a little too drunk last night, there's a bunch of info I left out that I wanted to share... first of all, on disembarking in Juarez, I walked straight through to the West side of the terminal and immediately caught a bus into downtown Juarez for only 4.50 pesos; the taxi fare to the same area is 65 pesos! First big win. Of course I wouldn't have paid the taxi fare anyway, but the bus sure beats walking about 7 miles. I still walked maybe a mile to get to the bridge, but that's just because I don't know downtown well enough to know where to get off the bus.

Still didn't figure out the damned El Paso bus system yesterday afternoon, though I had a little better luck this morning. Turns out that the first bus "stop" you run into walking East on Paisano is a decoy; I don't think any buses actually stop there. You need to walk a few blocks north on Oregon to get to where the terminal is, at San Jacinto Plaza. Despite the signs, I still couldn't find Mills Avenue, however, where the 37 to Bassett Center Mall is.

Also forgot to mention the all-you-can-eat Prime Rib special every Wednesday night at the Steak & Ale, for about $14.00. They clean up on the drinks, though, at about $5 a pint for Fat Tire. Still, I walked out of there with an overfull stomach for just over $30 including the tip. Something there gave me GI problems, though; guessing it was the broccoli or bread, since I've never had such problems before with steak or beer, at least not immediately after drinking.

The Motel 6 wasn't my first choice; I got a weak wireless signal from AmeriSuites while at the bar, so first went over there to check out the price. $149 plus tax. Nope. Walked about a mile, and just before Motel 6 there was a Motel 8 (or something like that), and just for kicks asked their price; $48 plus tax. I asked if they could match Motel 6's price of $36 just across the street: nope. Imagine that, a copycat chain charging more than the original. Weird. So I got room 419, with free phone calls, and got my internet fix plus HBO (though nothing particuarly good was showing) for a fraction of AmeriSuite's charge. Still I'm kicking myself for throwing away that money though. At least I took a good warm shower, something I can't seem to justify in the desert.

This morning I got the number 65 bus from somewhere on Paisano Blvd to downtown, which is where I finally found out where to catch a bus East for next time. Then walked across the border, walked straight up Benito Juarez to the downtown bus station on Vicente Guerrero, and kept asking around for a bus to the Central Camionera. Turns out there are two lines that go there, the 1A and the buses marked "Permisionario". The Permisionario bus was only 4 pesos; beats the heck out of the $1 for the El Paso buses, though they aren't as comfortable.

You've probably figured out, if you're following this blog, that I used the money I'm supposed to be saving for the Dell in order to buy this Toshiba laptop; I'm still no good at controlling myself with credit. Damn. But if I don't go overboard this weekend, I'll still have $500 to send Dell on Monday, subjecting myself to a finance charge on only $149 of the balance.[comment]


Here I am on dialup, for the first time in an eternity, from the Motel 6 on Gateway Blvd. East in El Paso, not far from the Steak and Ale where I purchased yet another laptop from a guy named Mark who listed it on Craiglist. $500 plus the $42-and-change it cost me for this goddamned room. But the wind is so fierce tonight, and I came so unprepared for bad weather, and I'm so tired and have a bad case of the shits... well, that's more than enough info, I'm sure you can understand my splurging.

I'd never eaten at a Steak & Ale all these years, though of course I've seen them since the late 70's or so. I guess it's that ugly German design of the places that turned me off. Whatever, I like this place. The bartender is a friendly guy named Ventura, and there's a regular customer named Jack, a contractor, who bought me a beer and shot the shit with me for about a half-hour. Just about 6, the time when I was supposed to meet Mark, was when I got the first urgent call from Mother Nature, and luckily he hung around while I did my business. Took me a while to figure out how to setup the dialup to Bamnet but now I'm online I might as well update the old blog. [comment]


Slowly migrating to the Inspiron 600m... turns out this sucker can run coLinux bridged to the wireless network no problem, just add the MAC of the wifi adapter and off you go; it gets a DHCP address instantly.

Got my Lagavulin 16-year-old scotch; the bottle of Laphroaig 15 is on back order. The Guinness keg is warming up with the spring weather, but hasn't gone flat yet. It looks like this shebeen is going nowhere unless I can get some refrigeration of some sort.

As predicted, this machine can run Google Earth and Second Life no problem. Both are addictive, the latter extremely so. I'm Intrepid Resistance in SL, if you're also an addict. [comment]

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