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 rice beer isn't half bad, I drank almost a half-gallon this evening. Picked up some caraway seeds at Oliver's today to add to the next batch.

Baked two potatoes in the microwave to add to my dinner tonight, using the instructions in this Wired article. Except for the lack of crispy skin, it was just as good as oven-baked, for a small fraction of the energy that would have been used. [comment]


Jogged 5 miles yesterday. Left ankle was feeling it the last mile or so, but the calf muscle was just fine with it. Today I'm biking to Santa Rosa for another shot at REI. [comment]


I notice that when I put the black salve on a very small but malignant spot, it starts burning at once. Less dangerous growths start off with no reaction, then itch after a while.

Bought a cooking pot yesterday that looked as though it might function OK as a dutch oven. It didn't, but I still have some hopes for it. Might need to make a heat box for it. Two pieces, so I can leave it uncovered in the sun, insulated on all sides but the top, then cover it once it's boiling. Would plaster work for that? I understand plaster will revert to its anhydrous state by heating it in the oven, making it reusable indefinitely. [comment]


Man, was I ever duped. I can't remember on which web forum I posted, but after seeing a video in which Obama was shown saying "... it's true, I'm not an American." then biting his lip for several seconds, and continuing, "I was not born in Hawaii; I wasn't born in the United States of America. I come from Kenya." it looked real enough for me. Today, after a Facebook friend posted Obama's "long form" birth certificate, I was reminded that I wanted to research that more, and found out it was a fake. The real video is at whitehouse.gov, and the snippet was taken starting about 32:51 and overdubbed. It was originally a spoof from ObamaSnippets.com and co-opted by the anti-Obama crowd. Anyway, President Obama, I hereby apologize for saying you were born in Kenya. I stand corrected. I still don't agree with you on many things, and still think you are as much as puppet of the ruling class as was GWB, but I have to admit that the evidence points to your having been born in the US. [comment]


I've come reluctantly to the conclusion that there are some moles that even the strong Amazon black salve will not remove. This one on my right knee seems particularly resilient; the surrounding skin will burn but it looks as healthy as ever.

The rice beer with coffee wasn't very good. Caraway might be better. [comment]


Just had a piece of my 2nd batch of chorizo, finished about a month ago today. Can't say I'm happy with the taste, but if I survive, I guess it worked. This was the batch made with brine-pickled pepper and garlic.

Also finished my sun-dried jerky from about a week ago.

Figured out some more gotchas with OAuth using my Python script with only the standard modules. Google in some cases (the calendar feeds, at least) redirects you to the same URL but with a gsessionid appended to the URL. In that case you have to have a 302 redirect handler that will repackage that URL into a newly-signed OAuth request with a new nonce, timestamp, and signature, making sure to put the gsessionid into the signature base string in the proper lexicographical order, removing it from the URL in that step.

Also finished part of a personal project, the TANSTAAFL flag from Heinlein's The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. Had to get some help with the calculations at StackOverflow. [comment]


Trying a batch of rice beer using Sweet Dreams brown rice syrup. It'll need something to add character -- maybe coffee -- but it definitely has potential. I used about 1/3 of the jar to a half gallon of water, but still had lots of syrup at the bottom of the bottle, so I just now split it into two bottles for a gallon total. At about $6 a jar, it'll be $1 per half-gallon if this works out. [comment]


Besides sprouting mucilagenous seeds like mustard or flax along with non-mucilagenous beans and grains, which serves to keep the seeds moist longer without having to rinse as often, I've found that putting non-sprouting but flavorful seeds such as caraway, anise, fennel, and/or sesame makes a big difference in the overall palatability of the result. It makes the soak water more tasty as well.

My last batch of jerky came out much better, just by being out in the sun for a few hours. Still not nearly as good as the oven-dried stuff, though. [comment]


Decided to walk/jog the 15 miles to REI in Santa Rosa today, to pick up the Dromedary bag they've been holding for me. Got there not long after 7. The fuckers had closed at 6.

I should try brining wild mustard, mallow, and fennel greens. There's plenty of it around here.

Every time I lose something, I think about putting lanyards, or any backup attachment, to all the important stuff I carry: camera, toothbrush, pen, etc. But then I don't do anything about it.

On the way up, I stopped at Quincys for a pint of Guinness. $6, ouch. But then I got a good deal at Popeye's: a thigh and biscuit for 1.63 including tax.

And I stopped at Breakaway Bikes to see if they had the black ankle straps with silver or white reflective strips. Yes! For $2.99 each. So it wasn't a total loss. [comment]


Looking over Bitcoin.org, I get overwhelmed by the complexity of it. Why can't mutual credit clearing be a simpler process? At its most basic, we're just giving IOUs to each other, then get together occasionally and settle up. Some of the technical hurdles to overcome when we're doing this on the Internet:



Not only have I not been successful in compiling bitcoin, the upgrades to GTK and other libraries have ruined Iceweasel as well. What a fucked up mess. Why do you need goddamned GUI shit for fucking financial transactions anyway? Lose, lose, lose, fucking loser motherfuckers. [comment]


Making some bread this morning, first time in a long time since I hadn't been doing any home brewing for a while, and I like to reuse my yeast this way. This is really hyperactive yeast or something, it was screaming and farting the whole time I was kneading it.

Burned my shoulder pretty bad kayaking in the sun Sunday. I was wearing two layers of wool shirts, but both had holes in the same place. Got to practice darning one of these days, although darning such a large area could take all day.

Counting down to the Kinetic Grand Championship, I still haven't tested to see if I can propel my rig just by kicking. I can pretty much guarantee a shot at the Golden Flipper award, though, if I try going in standing up on it. [comment]


Someone stole the Duff acetylene and oxygen tanks with the Smith's torch and tips out of the driveway today. Pisses me off, I'd been planning on using those once I get time and money for my projects again. And I lost the 50MHz antenna extension for my VX-7R while jogging today too. Not a good day. But I tested my drill with the battery at 11.8VDC and it worked. So something good at least. And I'm figuring out how to use XMLVM to convert Android code for the iPhone. Submitted a patch for the project so that my client's app compiles at least partway. [comment]


I've been trying to charge my B&D Start-It battery pack for weeks now, with my 10W flex solar charger plugged into it. It went from about 6V when I started to over 11V yesterday, enough to light the LEDs on it (which aren't on the more recent model linked; neither is the cigarette-lighter socket, which is on mine). I'm hoping that in a week or two more I'll be able to run my 12V drill off it again. I've been keeping an inverted bucket (that I found on the roadside) over it, to prevent the rain from short-circuiting the internal battery, which is what ruined it in the first place. [comment]


Just finishing the last of the jerky I made at ambient temperature 8 days ago. It's pretty nasty-smelling and tasting, but after the first couple of days it doesn't seem to diminish my physical capacity at all; at first it kind of weakened me because my colony of bacteria were not familiar with the putrid meat. I'm pretty confident that if I can roll the next batch out thinner, and use some kind of wicker mats to keep it aerated better while drying, I can have a reliable method of storing beef for weeks without refrigeration.

The chorizo, except for two more grayish links, looks to be curing nicely as well. Towards the end of the month I can start on the most recent batch, that made with brine-pickled pepper and garlic, and report on its qualities. I'm hoping it's a winner.

I've got this idea for a "stove" made of a piece of threaded iron pipe with a cap on one end. I've already bought what I need, just have to drill a few holes in the capped end that show when I unscrew the cap for a few turns. The idea is that when the pipe is spun around, air forced through it will heat the pipe red-hot while some wood chips are ignited inside, and then when plunged into a metal container of soup or water will quickly bring it to boiling. If I survive this last batch of jerky I might let you know how it works out. [comment]


I fucking got it! Just once it worked, and I compared the debugging output to a recent failed try. I noticed the oauth_token_secret in the successful run didn't have any special characters, which led me to look at the spec again. Sure enough, the RFC says the keys must use the same special percent-encoding used by the oauth parameters. Fixed my script accordingly, and had two successful runs since then. [comment]


So the Google OAuth Playground doesn't work in Firefox either. It only works in Safari on my client's MacBook Pro. It might also work on Chrome if I don't use a proxy, but that's the only way I use it.

Still hung on getting an Access Token. I keep getting "400 Bad Request" from Google, it won't give me any reason why. Frustrating. [comment]


The mobile Facebook site, normally sucky anyway, is constantly giving me a "connection error" today. Wish they'd quit fucking with things.

Ate one of my chorizos from the first batch, earlier today. Still alive. [comment]


All this time I couldn't figure out how to use Google's OAuth Playground, because the goddamned Request Token button was always grayed out. Then tonight I tried with Firefox instead of Google's own fucking browser, Chrome, and the goddamned fucking stupid thing works. Well, isn't that fucking sweet you bunch of stupidassed Google wankers.

I fucking lost all but maybe 1/4 pound of the 3 pounds of meat I tried drying at ambient temp. The only pieces that cured properly were the very thinly rolled edges.

Otherwise it was a pretty productive day, I worked almost all goddamned day because it was too fucking windy to walk downtown. [comment]


I had brought two of the 3 pounds of drying beef indoors, and left one outdoors. The outdoor batch still smells OK, but what was indoors went bad (putrid-smelling). Threw it out for the neighbor's dog and the crows. [comment]


Yesterday afternoon I bought a bunch of Estancia grass-fed beef, rolled about 3 pounds of it between sheets of parchment, and left it outside to dry. Just now turned it over, the tops had dried nicely. Flies are landing on it but so far haven't laid any eggs that I've been able to notice. This might work! Otherwise it's about $15 of meat lost.

Just used my 20% REI coupon and dividend on a 10L Dromedary bag. Probably have more urgent needs, but can't waste a lot of time on that shit; just picked something from my to-buy list that's been there a while. [comment]


Got my respring utility working on my iPod now, after writing a very basic pidof in Python. Now to figure out how to make a Cydia repository so I can distribute this and other stuff I might write, to people who might also find a use for it. [comment]


Decided to black-salve the remaining fragment of the chin mole I removed, plus the one above my left eye. I feel an itching on the chin, but nothing notable above the eye, yet. [comment]


Left calf hurting again. That sure didn't last long. Guess I've got to stretch both before and after running. Dammit.

Found out I can respring my iPod Touch by HUPping SpringBoard. But I've got to make a pidof command before I can make respring. [comment]


First batch of hamburger jerky came out great. Next one I want to try sun-dried rather than oven-dried. But I'll probably have to do something to keep the flies off.

Back to jogging; went about 3 miles yesterday. Leg finally healed, but I hope I remember to keep stretching because I don't like being out of commission like that. [comment]


Tried making some ground beef jerky today with the grass-fed Hick's Valley beef from Oliver's in Cotati. Mixed in a little soy sauce, salt, and pepper; rolled it out to somewhere between 1/4 and 1/8 inch thickness between two pieces of parchment; threw away the top sheet of parchment and put the jerky on trays (bottom parchment still there) in the oven at 150 degrees F. It's been drying for over 2 hours already and probably still needs a few hours more. I can cut it into smaller pieces once it's done. And I might try making pemmican out of some of it, by smashing it with a mortar and pestle, adding liquid suet or lard to it, and casing it in sheep intestine like sausages. That last part of the process might not be necessary in the case of suet, but the lard might not work out otherwise, as it's pretty gooey at room temp. [comment]


Had my Postal Service recurring dream again last night (or rather, this morning); the one where I've been coming in on-call for two years and haven't yet gotten paid (and I keep forgetting to clock in, so I can't really blame anybody but I keep bitching about it anyway).

At Family Build Night, a COTS program in Rohnert Park where I've been volunteering two nights a month, my suspicions were confirmed when a so-called "autistic" girl showed up with about a pound of sugar in the form of what looked like cinnamon pop-tarts. I watched her munch down the top one of the stack. No wonder her wiring is all confused. If alcohol and tobacco are prohibited to minors, so should that nasty drug be.

Had my first ham contact tonight. Didn't write down the call letters, but I announced "KE5TFZ" on the local repeater while waiting for the bus, and got an answer. The guy asked if I were calling someone in particular, and I said "Nope, just testing out my new radio". He asked where I was, I said Rohnert Park. I thanked him, and that was that. So easy! But took me 40 years to accomplish. [comment]

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