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


The rash is all but gone, but the poison-oak itch is still there, over most of my body, and the only real relief I get is from almost-scalding showers, each of which lasts up to about 6 hours. The Grindelia tincture I made with tequila helps me for up to an hour at a time, but sometimes it doesn't seem to work at all. I found a lot of the stuff growing along the Petaluma river, down along the turning basin, but haven't collected more since those two plants back at the Estero Americano paddle.

My presentation, "Sub-$100 kayak", was selected for the first Ignite Petaluma event. Working on my slideshow now.

Feeling a lot better about my web programming now that I've cleaned up my Javascript. I put all the code and document IDs for my client under the com.jcomeau.limesurvey namespace, something which is trivially easy in Java but much less so in Javascript. Now I don't have to worry about namespace collisions with the Limesurvey framework itself. And I don't have to type all that out, most of the time, either; within the enclosing function() object, using the "this" keyword enables you to call one function from another; and in other circumstances, you can set up a variable, say:

var cjl = com.jcomeau.limesurvey;

And then use cjl.surveyID or cjl.postForm() to refer to member variables and functions. Just don't do it in a global scope, or you lose the benefits.

Local elections coming up. For Sonoma County supervisor, we get to choose between someone who wants to turn the county into a stinking industrial wasteland, and someone who will probably bankrupt it in short order. Oh, joy. Everything else, for me, is all about 2nd amendment rights, and for the most part, that means Republicans. Why is this? Doesn't the Democratic party espouse personal freedoms? Why not the basic right to keep and bear arms, which between the Heller and McDonald decisions is now binding on the states?

I'm tempted just to vote Libertarian across the board. [comment]


Did my 5-mile jog for the first time in what, weeks? Ankle still bothers me some, but there was some good muscle pain in my legs as well.

Switched primary browser to Chrome on my Linux box. It knows that the start pages and the home page are two separate things. Maybe Mozilla will grok it eventually too. Or perhaps they already have, but nobody's bothered to update Iceweasel.

Got to keep coding; the more consistently I keep at it, the more productive I get. Been broke for over a week now, need to finish something and get paid. [comment]


The rock quarry was approved also, by a 3-to-2 vote. Different "bad guys" this time, I guess the board draws straws to see who gets to appear to be the less corrupt on a given issue. Between that and the Dutra deal, also approved by the board of supervisors, the ghettofication of Petaluma is proceeding apace. Between the asphalt fumes; river, air, and groundwater pollution; noise; and additional low-paying jobs, this should be a nice little smelly factory town in short order. Blue-collar bars like Maguire's ought to remain open, as should the 24-Hour Fitness, but most of downtown will likely be shuttered for a while until the Mexican tiendas, all-night taco joints, second-hand stores, and other signs of a restructured economic basis take over. [comment]


Google adsense complained about some adult content in my blog, so I just got rid of the ads. At less than $1 a month, no big deal.

Found some Grindelia, probably G. Camporum, at the mouth of Estero Americano today, paddling with the LandPaths and Sonoma Land Trust group. I'm making an extract with tequila. Rubbed some of the exodate on the worst part of my rash and it kept the itch at bay till I got home at least. [comment]


For years I've hated granting 777 permissions to directories to which the webserver process needs write access. I've used suexec, but have had so many problems with it over the years, it's hard to justify the effort. And many of my clients' hosting services don't support it, anyway. So what I used to do was to chown the necessary directories to www-data. That works just hunky-dory, but it means I have to ssh to the server as root to do that. And every time I change the directory structure, or the names of the files, there's more root work to do. No more.

What I tried tonight is, as root: usermod -a -G www-data jcomeau on both my development system and my client's server. Then, after logging out and back in again, so my new group membership takes effect, chgrp www-data images, and chmod 775 images. After an rsync, the images directory had the same group ownership and perms on the server, and it was writeable by a test script.

I can just hear you now, "Wow, it took you all this time to figure that out? I did that 10 years ago, and since then I've found umpteen better ways". So I'm slow, OK? [comment]


Last night started the official end of summer in Petaluma, and possibly in Northern California: our first rain, meaning the golden rolling hills will start turning green again.

Contact dermatitis from the poison oak is driving me insane... hope it clears up soon. [comment]


Last night was one of the worst of my life. A good part of my torso, forearms, and lower legs are covered with the poison oak rash. Today I tried the hot water trick, and it's helping: shower under water that's so hot it's almost scalding. Apparently it releases the histamines that make you itch, and you have up to several hours of relative comfort before they build back up. Just took my 3rd hot shower, and there was a difference; the first two times, the hot water felt almost cool against the affected skin; there were equal parts torment and relief. This time I actually felt the hot water as too hot. It could just be that I used hotter water than before, but I'm hoping the symptoms are beginning to abate. [comment]


I have to admit that my poison oak eating experiment didn't work. I'm not even remotely immune. My forearms are worst, followed by lower legs. Can't sleep. [comment]


Wheat sprouts grew nicely, with about 1/2 inch of grass, very sweet. Presumably one could live on them, but I'm getting hungry for some meat.

The radiccio kraut didn't work. It had a nasty smell and hadn't pickled properly. I threw it out, and will use real cabbage next time.

Small scale brewers note: a #6 or #6.5 bung will fit gallon-sized Carlo Rossi bottles. #7 or #8 will fit the wide-mouth half-gallon bottles a lot of apple and grape juice comes in. The guy at Beverage People told me the s-shaped airlocks aren't nearly as good as the 3-piece design; he only carries the former because of a winemaker who insists on them. I bought one anyway, to compare. [comment]


A magical day. Found the hatch cover as I was making my final pass through the center of the river, on the downstream end of the range in which I thought it might be. My teeth were starting to chatter, which meant the hypothermia was at the point of getting dangerous. Saw something large and yellow off to my left; reached down and picked it up.

Blocking access to a commons is evil. Open up a goddamned pedestrian path to the river, Duncans Mills, ya fuckers. Got bloodied and itchy going through blackberry and poison oak to get to the river. Exited into a gated community, but didn't realize it till I got to the entrance.

Made it to Beverage People just before closing and got a #6.5 bung to fit my Carlo Rossi gallon jugs. And 3 more airlocks.

Found a dollar bill on the east side of the overpass coming back. Then a 5. Then another 5. "This is getting good", I thought. But that was the end of the free money.

On my way to REI now. [comment]


Went jogging again this morning after giving the ankle a rest for the past few days. Still a reminder of the pain for the first block or two, but much better than it was.

Going by bus to the Russian River today to try and retrieve the Arluk III rear hatch cover I accidentally dropped to the river bottom yesterday afternoon. [comment]


Ugh. "Unable to process this request. Please contact the Webmaster." Fucking morons. [comment]


Just wrote up a little missive to Steve Padovan, who just approved the Dutra alphalt plant on the Petaluma River across from Schollenberger park. Of course, the Board of Supervisors still has to vote on it, but the blessing of the Planning Commission will make it easy for them to approve it.

"How much did Dutra pay you off for the favorable assessment? Hope you didn't sell out cheap. Or do you live far enough away that you just don't give a damn? Maybe you should move to Petaluma, near the golf and country club, and breathe in that sweet asphalt air! All the best -- http://jc.unternet.net/blog/"


Woke up this morning with a snippet of the last song I heard in the dream world: "wonder if I got wise to this, and fled from this, I'd fly... wonder if I got tired of this, I'd die." Many, many mornings I have little parts of songs in my head when I wake up, most with nonsense lyrics (the above are not exactly what I heard), but I don't always get them down on awakening. Hope I remember the tune to this one, it's catchy.

Thinking about the dream world, and all the signs of low gravity I always see there, I'm slowly putting together a picture of life after death, probably strongly influenced by Bob Monroe and other paranormal authors I read over the years. When you die, some of your relatives, close friends, and/or co-religionists (is that a word?) will be waiting for you to welcome you into the afterlife. The Christians will have their Heaven and Hell, or quite possibly multiple Heavens and Hells, one set per sect. Their world is based here on Earth, but at some higher vibration invisible to most of the living most of the time. So there's lots of room for dour souls to go moping around underground, going over and over their guilt. And there's even more room for those of us who reject authority and "things as they are" to go flying around building new worlds, planning for re-entry into the next available slot for another chance to shake things up in this three-dimensional playground we here call "reality". [comment]


Another blog reader searching for info on Peter Koska, finding a dead link, asked me if I could locate the article. After Googling around a bit, I found out Google News has an archive! Found the Koska article in the July 11, 1997 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. [comment]


Yesterday we made hamburgers with Estancia ground beef from Uruguay. Supposedly all grass-fed, never put onto a feedlot. It does taste really good, and it was only about $4 a pound at G&G market.

I hope I have the good sense never to use AJAX on my own websites. It is such a pain in the ass. Bad enough I code it for other peoples' sites. Javascript incompatibilities across different browsers abound, and the so-called solutions, such as jQuery and Prototype, conflict with each other (the famous '$()' kludge) and add megabytes of schlock code. [comment]


I keep thinking about some fuzzy seedballs that floated by us on the Noyo the other day. They'd land on the water, then get caught up in the breeze again and lift off; those were some strongly hydrophobic fibers, the ends bifurcated or split N ways. If I knew how to spin, I could maybe make some useful garments out of something like that.

After months of not knowing how to customize my X windows display -- yes, I know how to Google, but there's so much out-of-date and conflicting information out there -- and not wanting to go with KDE or Gnome, I finally found the .fluxbox/startup file in my home directory and added:

xset m 1 1   # slow down the mouse
urxvt -tn rxvt -fn xft:Courier\ New -rv 2>/dev/null &
urxvt -tn rxvt -fn xft:Courier\ New -rv 2>/dev/null &
firefox 2>/dev/null &

I've been amazingly clearheaded for programming lately; still far from the peak in my late teens when I got dangerously close to The Answer, but much better than most of the past 10 years. I can't help but wonder if all the toxins, antibiotics, hormones and stuff in our dental work, our food and environment are all part of a conspiracy to dumb us down. Did America's ruling class let dentists put amalgam in their childrens' teeth? I doubt it. [comment]


Started reading Blood and Thunder after finishing Beyond the Matrix. The latter introduces a lot of new-age weirdness I'd never heard before, but gives some new (to me) insights into the Roswell crash and mentions Jim Humble's "cure" called MMS, Miracle Mineral Supplement. He's also come up with MMS2, hypochlorous acid, which can be made with calcium hypochlorite tablets intended for "shocking" swimming pools. Looks pretty useful.

Soldered a coaxial receptacle onto my Freecycled cordless drill battery yesterday, and plugged it into my 12V booster battery using an adapter cord, but it didn't work. Today I thought of checking the fuse in the cord: blown. Bought a new fuse today, and voila! The damned thing works. Now to get going on some of my projects that had been derailed due to lack of a drill.

I haven't been able to run Java applets on my Debian system since I switched to Linux some months ago. Finally found the answer, after doing some serious googling today. Now I'm finding all I need to run an applet from a webpage is:

<object type="application/x-java-applet" classid="java:com.jcomeau.Mandelbrot" width="640px" height="480px"> </object>

Haven't tested under Windows, or anything other than FF3 (Iceweasel) on Debian. [comment]

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