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


About 4 days now with no mosquitos. Not a one. Before that, they were killing me. There's standing water all over the place, and not a wiggler in sight. Weird. [comment]


Got paid for my Deming lot and bought by Burning Man 2008 ticket, "will call", for a grand total of $312.75. Whoopee! Here I come!

Killed a dove with my crossbow today, panfried it and threw it into the soup I'd already cooked. Not as good as quail but still tasty. It had a beautiful blue coloration around the eyes. [comment]


More rain coming our way, it seems... this has already been an extremely generous monsoon season, and this area is beginning to look more like savannah than desert. Rabbits rarely bother to show in human-populated areas, they have plenty to eat everywhere. My acre is covered with wild amaranth and a type of purslane that has almost perfectly circular leaves. It rained almost an inch here in the past 24 hours, and the arroyos were flowing so I could, and did, work on my irrigation swales.

My lot on eBay sold for $202, a damned good thing because eBay takes a whopping $70, minimum, out of the sale. Now if the buyer pays up, it will be worth it because I'll have one less possession tying me down, and a ticket to Burning Man. [comment]


Great, now iTouch Safari is crashing on my Yahoo! inbox as well. If Mozilla isn't interested in developing for the platform, maybe I'll have to port Links or something similar. [comment]


Safari on iPod sucks hard. Can't submit bids on RentACoder.com. PayPal's main page makes it crash, hard. This morning, gmail is doing the same thing. Can't Apple hire some competent programmers? [comment]


Warning! Link NSFW, contains nudity... found myself in the Black Rock Yearbook for 2007. No clue what the strange blotches are, must have been something on the camera lens. [comment]


I'm selling my one and only piece of real estate to enable me to buy my Burning Man ticket for this year. Yeah! It's almost up to $130 as of this posting. I've gotten 3 emails in praise of my listing... it seems there are still people who appreciate honesty. [comment]


Jogged the full 4.5 miles into Palomas this morning, but had to stop about halfway to trim a toenail that was digging into the adjoining toe. Sometimes it's better to sacrifice the purity of a run in exchange for being able to run again without a week off for healing.

Sitting in front of the Dollar General waiting for the bus to Deming. I've got about an hour, and the mosquitos are hungry. [comment]


Killed a quail with my 50-lb crossbow today -- well, actually yesterday, since it's just past 1 AM here -- one of those one-shot wonders from about 30 feet away. I found that when I appear, they scatter, but if I sit down and drink coffee, they start to ignore me.

It turned out to be only a fist-sized chunk of meat, but very tasty, like duck. With all the rains we've been having, the rabbits are well-nourished and hydrated again, thus harder to get. [comment]


Jogged 3.5 miles this morning. Didn't set any speed records, but that's the best distance I've done in years, and my best distance ever on my toes. Bought a coffee at the 24-hour Del Rio, and am sitting on a bench behind the Pink Store giving the mosquitos a feast. [comment]


Before I left LA, I found another good taco joint: Margarita's #1 Mexican food just south of Main on 7th. You get a meal-sized taco de carnitas for a buck fifty.

Waiting for the bus at Sun Valley Hardware, was chatting with a lady from Palomas who said there is a carnicería about 5 blocks west of the park, Doña Maria. They also make fresh tortillas. I'll have to check it out.

The same lady told me to cook carnitas, panfry them with chile powder and garlic salt. I asked if fresh jalapeños would work as well and she said yes. I tried it when I got home and they came out great, using fresh garlic also, even though I forgot the salt.

Just awoke from a dream in which I and others had a skin disease which looked like fish gills. The previous night's dream was weird too but I didn't get it down in time and can't remember what it was about. [comment]


Found Syndicate Lounge in Bakersfield and sucked down a Firestone ale. All in about 18 minutes of a 25-minute layover. It's always a challenge to get a beer before the bars close when riding Greyhound.



Washing my clothes at Arcata Speedwash after catching the 6:52 RTS from Trinidad. Couchsurfed there last night and picked up the drybag full of baking soda I'd left there last time through. In a few minutes my Greyhound leaves for LA. $77 non-refundable fare from Arcata, not too bad. [comment]


Lost Coast has a seasonal brew, LCB Chocolate Porter. Very good, but they don't bottle it. I'll stick with Downtown Brown ale. [comment]


Back at Lost Coast Brewery. Can't remember whether or not I could connect to their wifi last time, but for sure it won't let me this time. And the iPod Touch gives the very useful error message "Unable to join the network 'lostcoast'". Thanks shitloads, Apple.

I was in the Redwoods for my best friend's niece's wedding. It was quite an experience. Hitchhiked out of there and made it to Eureka in two rides with only a few miles of walking. Tomorrow I can go to Arcata to buy a Greyhound ticket... the RTS doesn't run Sundays. [comment]


Too many pints yesterday, had the shits this morning after walking and scootering around all night. Dug out a cat hole in a secluded area of Bidwell Park and did my business. Dried leaves sufficed for toilet paper, and the dirt was dry enough for a final dusting. Took a bath in the pool around noon, and slept in the park most of the day.

Found the ultralight, ultracompressible sleeping bag I was looking for: the Coolmax sleeping bag liner. I'll have to get one for next year's Kinetic Grand Championship.

Due to the smoke from fires in the area, the sun appears copper-colored, or even red, most of the day here in Chico. Otherworldly. [comment]


Made it to Madison Bear Garden. There's a new policy here: no tabs, but they run your card for $20 and give you your change in cash! Not bad. Having my 2nd pint of Sierra Nevada pale ale of the day. [comment]


At the Sacramento station I walked around the block and found the Three Monkeys, a bar facing the Hard Rock Cafe. Downed a pint of Sierra Nevada and left the $1.25 change for a tip, $5 in all. It sure hit the spot, and there was free wifi as well. I didn't even check the SSID, I only had a 45 minute layover.

On the bus bound for Chico. I would gladly have waited for another one and given my knees a rest, but the next isn't till 7:30 tomorrow morning. [comment]


Went back to Greyhound. Fell down on my scooter after hitting a small crack in the sidewalk. Wheels are just too goddamned small.

Bought my ticket to Chico for $65, and am waiting at gate 11 till 10:00. Charging the iPod from my motorcycle battery. [comment]


I got an idea for a water sensor. Aim a laser diode at an angle to two phototransistors. When the space between is filled with air, it will hit one, and when water fills the gap, it will hit the other. I guess multiple photosensors, or an array, would be needed for various levels. I forget the name of the phenomenon. Parallax?

The new Greyhound station in Las Cruces is far from the microbrewery that used to be just around the corner. There's a nice little Mexican restaurant just up the street, though, the Kiva Patio Cafe on the corner of Amador and Tornillo. Next time I won't order seafood, though. The shrimp chowder tasted like creamed corn, I could hardly taste the shrimp. And there was a big-screen TV with a stupid movie playing. But they serve Pacifico, there's no minimum on credit cards, and service was friendly.

Tysons Hickory Bacon is a pretty good snack food for bus trips. It's $2.00 for 2.2 ounces at Dollar General.

Got to LA about 4 and scootered to 7th and Fig. When Starbucks opened I had a coffee, used the restroom, and tried to charge my iPod. No good. The piece of shit charger I bought on eBay lasted for only one charge. And the 7th&Fig wifi seems to have disappeared. So I have no reason to hang around town. [comment]


Over the last few days I haven't gotten any rabbits, but unfortunately I'm driving bolts through them and they're getting away. I hate wasting meat, and I'll likely never see the bolts again. Why can't they just roll over and die?

The COS wireless network had slowed down, so I logged into the OpenWRT router and ran tcpdump. It showed an ICMP scan of the network, hundreds of packets per second scanning the 192.168/16 block. I found out from /tmp/dhcp.leases whose computer it was, and went and checked it out. I turned off one service after another, and WINS Client turned out to be the culprit. Hadn't seen that one before.

Got my thermite powder on Saturday, and using some sparklers I had bought in Deming the other day, set off an ounce or two. Nice flame! It left a little piece of lightweight slag where the pile had been. When I get back from my California trip, I'll play with it some more.

I also got the replacement chargers for my iPod and camera, that I'd lost on the last trip. Those deals on eBay just can't be beat.

I bit the bullet and tried hooking up my RP-SPT70 speakers to a 12V battery today, fully expecting to see the smoke coming out of the electrolytics. Amazingly, it worked great! I now wonder how many other 6V devices can be run off a motorcycle battery without harm. I'm taking the battery in a waistbag, along with one of those cheap 5-watt trickle chargers, and will try using it to charge my iPod. We'll see how that works out.

Leaving from Deming tomorrow on the 9:30 to Los Angeles. It goes East to Las Cruces, then back West again on the same road. Whatever. I'll likely have time to get me a sausage biscuit and coffee and McDonald's before taking off. Not a bad breakfast for a buck fifty... for some reason they usually give me the "senior" price for the coffee without my having to ask. [comment]


I found an interesting job on RentACoder and, having proved to the poster that I figured out the encryption , I'm waiting to see if he'll accept a higher bid. It was fun regardless of whether I get paid or not.

About a week ago, baby quail started making their debut, strutting across the desert with their mom in the lead. We're still getting a little rain here and there, but nothing resembling a real monsoon.

I think I hit a jackrabbit with one of my plastic bolts today, but he wandered off unfazed. That was my last, unless I find some of those that are scattered across the local desert. The plastic ones break, or the tips fall off, or over time the stabilizers UV-degrade and crumble off. The aluminum bolts, on the other hand, usually bend, or the tips or stabilizers fall out. Nothing is any goddamned good. I'll probably have to come up with my own design. [comment]

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