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


Woke up too late this morning, after sunrise. Saw 5 or 6 jackrabbits but no cottontails, and of course the jacks won't let me get close enough. My trick of placing teddy-bear cholla cuttings around my food plants seems to be working. I wish I'd thought of it sooner.

Wind is blowing like crazy, and I'm still dithering on how to rig a collapsible sail to my bike and/or dirtboard. Hell, I could get to El Paso in 3 or 4 hours in a wind like this.

Using flour to "dry-shampoo" my hair, that is, get the oils out of it, is working well. I tried baking soda a couple of times too, but the results weren't as good. Just rub the flour in, then brush it out. Gives me a preview of what I'll look like with white hair, too! Once a week seems to be good enough to keep the dreadlocks from forming. I'm using whole wheat flour, since that's all I ever buy, but white should work also. [comment]


The gods sent me another rabbit about sundown. I was standing on the grass-free knoll down by the COS wastewater lagoon, and it came right up below me. Cottontails don't normally look up. Took me at least 5 shots to kill the bugger, but he's in my frypan now. I didn't find any of the BBs while butchering him, hopefully I'll get them out when deboning it tomorrow. [comment]


My new moon shave came out pretty good, but I cut myself up worse than normal. No matter, it's usually healed in less than 24 hours. It's been too cold to shower, so I just had a "whore bath". With the drought being so bad, it seems wrong to take a normal shower anyway.

Took down my clothesline today, the damned things stretch so bad it's not worth it. Instead I hung wires down from the greenhouse frame, passing the wires through the center of the clothespin springs. Works great! I've got 8 up now, I can add more as needed. Since the wire won't come in contact with the clothes, it doesn't matter that it's rusty.

I came up with an easy way to build shelves that requires no critical measurements. I think. I won't know for sure until I get the first set finished.

Gotta get cracking on my HPV, it's only two months till the Kinetic Sculpture Race, and I still don't have even a prototype. Maybe instead of buying my Burning Man ticket this week I should spend my paycheck on raw materials. [comment]


Another rabbit hits my frypan. Got up before dawn this morning, missed a few shots before it got light enough, then found one near the arroyo just sitting there, not much over 10 yards away. Click! Down he went. Still looking for a combination of spices (local, preferably) that makes them palateable. [comment]


Killed and panfried a rabbit yesterday about sunset, but couldn't repeat it today. Anyway, deboned it and added it to the catfish stew this morning, giving it a little more substance. Still got another day or two worth of food without opening the canned goods I picked up at Peppers. I know my goal for this year is 10% of my food by hunting/gardening, but I like to keep it closer to 50%, both in anticipation of lean times hunting, and because I don't trust the market manipulators to keep the economy afloat much longer. In fact, I'm betting against it with my options on (so far) 20,000 bushels of July Oats. [comment]


Yesterday I went with two friends into the Floridas, entering at the 24 mile marker on Highway 11. It's called B016, Camino Doce. The road gets worse as you go farther towards the mountains; where it forks, and the left fork has a cattle guard, bear right. There will be a gate eventually; be sure to close it behind you. When you're in sight of the ruins of an old ranch house, the road is impassable unless you have a decent off-road vehicle. There are a few forks in the zig-zag road that takes you through the saddle. We bore left at the first, and right (straight) at the second. We passed a mine shaft, a small excavation into sandstone where one or two people could huddle through a storm, and, at the top of the saddle, a nice cabin with three cots, a fireplace, and various scattered pieces of furniture. Someone named Weast had just carved eir name into the doorway a few days before.

Today took the bus back to Deming for some more porter. The Shiner Bock and Widmer Hefeweizen they have at the San Jose Market in Columbus ain't bad, but I prefer Black Hook and Kona Pipeline.

Wind is wicked today, gusting to 50 or 60 MPH. My batteries are liking it, but they're about the only things that do. [comment]


The left mouse button built into my laptop has been getting worse and worse, and finally broke yesterday with some help from a very disgusted me. Luckily, Manny had a PS/2 mouse for sale at his second-hand shop, and it's working great.

My article Eat Wild Rabbit is featured today on WikiHow. Typically, it hasn't driven any significant traffic to my website or blog. I've got to get over my programmer's block and make some progress on the Unternet. [comment]


First experiment with Brown's Gas was a total failure. Well, not total, I guess you'd reserve that for "blowing up oneself and one's house". When I hooked it up straight to AC, my inverter couldn't take the current and kept cycling on and off. When I put a 1.72uF current-limiting capacitor in series with the plates, nothing visible happened at all. Next step will be either trying it on grid power, or getting bigger capacitors, or joining several in parallel.

Bought a package of seafood, mostly squid, in Mexico today for about $2.40. It was 0.6 kg, over a pound. Making a soup of that and the rest of the rabbit, hoping the flavors will blend well. [comment]


I seem to have a psychological barrier about my hunting abilities. Can't seem to get a rabbit for 3 days in a row. Wounded one from maye 30 yards, but it limped away and I couldn't find it.

Regarding the iPod charge adapter: 12V is at pin 20 and ground at pin 30, just as Pinouts.ru says it should be. Still took hours to charge, but it worked.

Saw the first leaflets and cones on a mesquite bush this afternoon. Spring has come to the desert at last. Many people have remarked on what a mild winter it was, but it felt awful goddamned cold to me. [comment]


Things keep falling out of my right front pocket when I'm sleeping. Never had that happen before recently, no explanation. I found everything I had lost -- my knife, nail clippers, and money -- in the couch just now. So I've got to come up with a different arrangement. I put the knife and clippers in the cargo pocket, and will look for a change purse with a chain, like a trucker's wallet but with just one big, zippered compartment.

I hooked up the iPod charging adapter to my 12V system today, using the extension cable and battery clips supplied with my Sunlinq panel (which doesn't have enough juice for the job). I had to hook the battery terminals up in reverse in order to get the right polarity at the adapter. Damned good thing I have a meter, or a lot more shit would go up in smoke than already does. [comment]


The gods sent me a rabbit first thing this evening. I guess they repented of all those days they let the rabbits, doves, and quail know I was coming from 100 yards away.

My power went below the cutoff for my inverter a few minutes ago, first time in months. Too many clouds and too little wind lately. [comment]


Got another rabbit tonight. Damn, but the smell of their flesh is getting sickening to me. I can see why in the biblical myth the Israelites were grousing about the quail. The same thing day after day gets tiresome. [comment]


Found some Amerityre flat-free bicycle tires at Sun Valley Hardware for about $13 each for 16x1.95. I don't know if they ever carry 26-inchers. I'm gonna use the little ones for my HPV experiments. [comment]


Thinking about making a cooperative on-line mail forwarding service once I work out the bugs in the Unternet's OpenID system. The idea is that nomadic people can have an address to receive mail and packages, and things can be forwarded to them general delivery, or scanned and emailed to them, for a fee. There will of course be a rating system so that people can have a reasonable assurance they're dealing with someone trustworthy.

A rabbit I wounded got away, but a fat dove sat there in the mesquite tree for four shots till I finally downed it. Cooked it yesterday afternoon but haven't eaten it yet.

I'm in Deming shopping this morning. My Odesk jobs are keeping me well afloat financially, and I've got to get back home and work on one of them now. [comment]


Walking through the arroyo with my air rifle in the midafternoon heat, I came up behind a fat dove sitting in a mesquite. Bang! His feathers came fluttering down, but he took off easy as you please, and headed towards a nearby cholla patch. But not far upstream, a rabbit let me get a good shot at him, and after 3 or 4 BBs and quite a bit of chasing, he's now being panfried on my wood stove.

OptionsXpress got back to me and is going to credit my account for the trades, even though the correct amount -- $12.99 per contract per side (for options on futures) was what was eventually billed. So, except for their 5-day hold on ACH transfers, I'm happier with their service. Meanwhile I'm checking out some other companies. If anyone has suggestions, please send them my way. [comment]


Some things I left out of my previous post...

It always rankles me how journalists and others use the term "anarchy" to refer to the rioting, stampeding, running-around-crazy crowds one finds in situations such as the fall of a government or the loss of an important soccer game. There should be another word for that. I was thinking "unarchy" or "disarchy" but both of those terms already have some history, with different meanings. How about "postarchy"? My theory being that chaos will reign after governments fall, but the sociopaths will soon eliminate themselves by their actions, and true anarchy can emerge from the postarchy.

Of course, everyone has a different idea about true anarchy, but common ground can be found in the lack of rulers (so how will we measure anything?) and a belief in the basic goodness of everyman. Contrast this with the prevailing belief in most societies that humans are basically flawed and need a strong government to keep them under control.

I saw the glass bulbs in the Dollar General yesterday that are supposed to automatically water your plants, by filling it with water then sticking it with the bulb part on top (sorta like an inverted vase) into the dirt. It gave me an idea: why not use a beer bottle? So I did. It's in my potato planter (an old tire), and it seems to be working. And it won't get broken nearly as easily as that thin glass thing that costs $2.00. [comment]


Drinking less beer and accomplishing more. Who'da thunk it? If I can only keep this up...

Someone mentioned wicking the other day, and it triggered the idea, why not use wicking to reduce the amount of energy needed to pump from a well? Preliminary research indicates it's not a usable idea, but I'll throw it out there, maybe there's a way.

I managed to get down a snippet of a recurring dream on awakening this morning. A woman's voice, a teacher of some sort, was telling me something about "assassin's plant", or "white lindu plant", which took place by the waterhole. An important part of human history. I'm wondering if it has something to do with that old Sumerian legend I read in the Earth Chronicles, about an immortality plant at the bottom of a lake. [comment]


Went walking down the arroyo about sunset, and there was a rabbit less than 10 yards away, pretending to be a rock. I took careful aim, fired... and the little fucker scooted away unharmed. Damn! At least I got a dove for breakfast this morning, and there's enough left for a stirfry with some rice tomorrow. [comment]


Getting sentimental about drinks... remembering my first beer, Gansett, which recently hit the market again but not brewed by the original firm. I won't drink it even if I find it, by principle, same as I won't drink Bass nor Rolling Rock any more after they sold out to big corporations who don't care about quality.

I'm glad to see Moxie is still in production and still a staple of New England life. I don't have a clue why I should be glad about a soft drink, arguably the chief culprit in our nation's obesity problem, but I can't be rational all the time. [comment]


Walking for the bus through the arroyo this morning, I thought I had already passed the mostly-buried barbed-wire fence on the edge of City of the Sun property. I broke into a jog, and soon realized my mistake, as I lay on my hands and very painful knees in the rocky gravel, cursing. My foot had caught the top wire and I had gone down, hard.

I still made the bus, and got my shopping done, but right now I'm one hurtin' sumbitch, staying home and cooking up a rabbit stirfry for dinner, self-medicating with Red Hook ESB and Kona Pipeline Porter. Some Arnica on the knees might help, too, but for now they don't seem any better.

Bought a copy of American Free Press at Peppers today, thinking it was a voice of free Americans, only to be disappointed. It's apparently a neo-Nazi mouthpiece, spouting all kinds of anti-Jewish rhetoric and seemingly against all other non-white races as well. Denying the Holocaust, yet taking the bible as God's Own Truth? Gimme a break. How can some people see so clearly in one direction yet be so blind in another? Hard to fathom. [comment]


Suddenly I'm not so sure of the wisdom of my decision to start trading futures options. About $15 was taken out of my account overnight, and "Peter E.", the representative I just text-chatted with at OptionsXpress, told me it will take 24 hours to figure out what happened. Not very confidence-inspiring, is it? [comment]


Finally got a rabbit this evening. He went down on the first shot, but it took another two BBs through the head before he stopped thrashing when I picked it up. The muscles were still twitching even after I chopped it into pieces. The meat is really tough, too. But at least the gods have finally decided to be good to the hunter and evil to the hunted. Let's see how long it lasts this time. [comment]


Got a little rain this morning, and looks like we might get a little more soon, judging by the radar map at Weather Underground. Speaking of which... you ever notice how the establishment takes anti-establishment icons and co-opts them for its own use? Weather Underground and Napster come to mind. Then there's the secret shit the government does, like the Philadelphia Experiment, that is remembered by most people as a movie having little to do with what originally happened.

Also, this morning, I got an email confirming my first trade of futures options at OptionsXpress, two options on July Oats with a strike price of $3.50. Now that I'm finally able to trade, I plan to buy something every week as a hedge against the coming hyperinflation. Of course, it could all go to shit, and the company go broke before I get my money, along with the CBOT and everything else. But whatever. It's all a gamble. [comment]


Today I took the new 955 test for the USPS Electronic Technician job. I did piss-poorly on it compared to the old 932. I did pass, though.

I can't tell if my quinoa is sprouting or not. It's tasting sour, as though it's fermenting, and that little tail isn't growing appreciably. At least it hasn't rotted yet, as the rye berries did already two days ago.

We had some rain last night, and it's looked like rain all day today but no joy yet. It might have been enough that we get a beautiful showing of poppies in the Floridas next month, though, as we did in, what? 2004 or 2005.

Still no luck hunting. Not getting depressed about it, but concerned about my lack of sustainability should the Matrix fall apart anytime soon. [comment]


I've been getting pretty good at sprouting Hard Red Winter Wheat berries. Made some sourdough pancakes with the sprouted wheat in them this morning, and they came out pretty good despite a bitter edge to the sourdough. It seems that different types of bacteria and/or yeast take over the batch at different temperatures. It looks, smells, and tastes different day by day. Someday I've got to buy the Wild Fermentation book and learn what I'm doing wrong.

Anyway, I got a ride to El Paso yesterday and stocked up on several different grains I'm going to try sprouting. My hunting prowess seems to have hit bottom after that thrasher I killed over a week ago. Bad karma, maybe, like the Ancient Mariner and the albatross. "There was a ship", quoth he... [comment]

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