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


Last day of work at Kate Wolf was more challenging, as I was warned to expect. Even so, there was plenty of time to rest. A damned good thing, too, because when there was work it was a lot of heavy lifting out in the heat.

Finished the last two bottles of dandelion ale, it was pretty bad. That one bottle that had tasted good must have been an anomaly. If I ever use dandelion again, it will be a lot less; maybe 1/2 a plant per gallon. Bottled up my new batch of rice beer last night, and am drinking the first sample bottle. It isn't carbonating well if at all; I wonder if the yeast all died? [comment]


First day here I went down to check out the creek. Closest access to the campsite had a cooking setup and a couple of guys chilling; asked for permission to pass, and they were totally cool with it. Then later that day, went with my lady down that way and we were rudely sent away by some stocky guy with a serious attitude problem. So next day, while waiting for my shift to start, the guy comes into recycology (recycling) camp to tell me I have to respect him. You can imagine how that went. I was getting so agitated I had to gasp for breath, my hands felt numb and vibrating. I guess that's due to adrenaline and/or testosterone "fight or flight" reaction.

I found out later that he, Moe, and his wife Marissa, "M&M Security", work for Wavy Gravy, the owner of the Hog Farm here. And a lot of people think he's a total asshole. If he'd just told me he was the owner's agent I'd have been willing to follow his direction. But respect someone just because he demands it? Fuck that.

Yesterday I drank almost a full bottle of wine, and last night, while fairly cold, I felt too warm the whole night. I don't remember wine ever doing that to me before.

Just one more shift to go. So far I might have done two hours real work out of 12 hours on duty. Not complaining. [comment]


Didn't have to sneak in after all. Checked at the volunteer desk, and Kerry Morgan told me that though I was on standby he had some cancellations and could use me. First I was assigned to security but Peter, the security honcho, was concerned about my lack of recent experience and passed me off to recycling. I work the 12 to 6 shift.

Had some horrible cramps in my legs and feet last night. I was moaning in pain. [comment]


Bottle-conditioning my dandelion-hopped ale is improving it tremendously. By the time I get to the last bottle, sometime next week, it ought to be almost palatable to the average beer drinker. I'm liking it a lot right now, even at room temperature.

I'm not very good at keeping a low profile today, challenging both the Petaluma Police and the Bilderbergers on Facebook. Oh well, life is good even if foreshortened by a few decades. [comment]


Someone, June I think it was, mentioned the other day about acidic soils producing predominantly yellow and purple flowers. Quick googling didn't corroborate that, only that hydrangeas are more commonly blue in acid soils and pink otherwise.

I lost some weight in the last month or two, down to 150 on the gym scale this morning. And I've been eating a lot of carbs too, since those are more easily available to the almost-freegan diet I've been on to get out of my most recent debt. [comment]


The second time my Tevas broke, a few days ago, I dug my Chacos out of the pile of stuff I schlepped here from New Mexico, and started using them again. But it wasn't till today that my feet got accustomed to the straps enough that I could do my 15-minute jog. It could be a long, painful, wearing in period.

My last batch of brew didn't turn out very well. It's quite acidic and has a really earthy flavor from the dandelion. My next batch of rice beer with caraway has been bubbling away furiously for the last few days.

Making progress on 3 jobs, but it's slow and I'm always easily distracted by Facebook and StackOverflow. I found that by maximizing my xterm, or switching to a console screen when booted into Linux, I can get a lot more done before being drawn back into social interaction, or what passes for it in Internet land.

Going to try to sneak into the Kate Wolf festival, not to "steal" the music, which I really don't care for all that much, but to be with my lady. Wish me luck? [comment]


Bottled up my gallon of malt brew that had a complete, chopped-up dandelion plant in it for a few days, as "hops". Filled 10 bottles and had a little left over to taste. It is so easy filling bottles with my homemade siphon, and using a temporary funnel of paper folded into a cone to add the half-tsp sugar to each bottle. The twist-caps are holding up just fine; no need for a capper. Lotecnotec brewing company, at your service.

Then poured the last half of my jar of rice syrup into the leftover yeast to start a new batch. Fuck sanitation. As long as you take steps to mitigate an infection while it's still starting, you have little to worry about.

Woke up with a rough idea of an object schema for restructuring my latest tree-genome job. Still psyched and making some progress, but keep getting distracted.

Change.org sent me an email trying to get me to sign a petition: "close the loopholes" that allow "potential terrorists" to buy "assault weapons". I sent back:

Bullshit. There's no such thing as an assault weapon. There are useful weapons, and less useful weapons. The AK47 is a useful weapon, for good or for evil. If you want to stop the bad guys from having them, GO AND BUY SOME FOR YOURSELF AND YOUR FAMILY. NOW. Thank you.


Still 3 bottles left of my rice brew. Ingredients: about half a jar, or 10.5 ounces, of Sweet Dreams brown rice syrup; about a tbsp of caraway seeds; and half a packet of bread yeast in a 1-gallon carboy (Carlo Rossi bottle). Top up with water. Ferment about a week, bottle condition with 1/2 tsp sugar each for another week. This stage clarifies the cloudy brew, and what's left is a crystal-clear rice ale with caraway seeds floating in it. Pleasant taste but not much character. Quite drinkable all the same.

Got to find something to bitter my next batch, made with malt syrup this time. Maybe dandelion. [comment]


Tried my hand at Conway's Game of Life in Python, as a starting point for a gene analysis and editing tool. It's slow but it's small and fairly easy to understand.

Maybe now I can actually make some progress for the people who are keeping me alive... [comment]


Went kayaking today, first time in quite a while. Pleasant day on Tomales bay.

Yesterday, throwing together lunch turned out really good: about a pound of ground lamb, browned over high heat; then added a 28-ounce can of crushed tomatos, turning heat down to medium. Then a cup and a half of macaroni with a cup and a half of water, which filled my saucepan enough that I didn't want to add any more to it. Except a chopped poblano (pasilla) pepper, some salt, and some crushed red pepper for a little more zing than the poblano provided. I kept fiddling with the heat; low wasn't enough to keep it boiling, so it took longer than it should have to finish. Even so, at the end the macaroni was overdone, but it was delicious. And quite simple. Just finished the last of it this afternoon.

Tonight I bottled up my rice beer (8 bottles), made a new batch of brew with malt syrup (haven't decided yet what I'm going to bitter it with), and made bread dough with the yeast left over at the bottom of my Carlo Rossi gallon bottle I've been brewing in. The first rise just ended, might not actually do any baking till tomorrow morning.

Got to get my mind in gear for work, I have two clients who need stuff done soon and I haven't been able to focus. Got some coffee brewing right now. [comment]


Dropped my camera one too many times. It fell out of my unzipped "gadget pouch" yesterday onto the asphalt. It still takes pictures, but the little circle of buttons that allow one to set such things as the mode, flash settings, and macro focus are unresponsive. [comment]


Forgot to mention, yesterday I tasted another oak apple. It was very juicy and even had a hint of apple taste, but there was a slight bitterness and an astringent quality; I had to spit it all out. If I'd swallowed it I might have choked.

Today I walked down the tracks and crossed a barbed-wire fence before the creek, taking the trail north along the creek, through a gate marked in both English and Spanish "keep gate closed". Not far past that there were several tents, mostly full of passed-out drunks. One friendly guy, John, told me he wouldn't mind if I set up my tent there, but that a lady named Michelle would have to clear it first. Michelle's tentmate was decidedly uncooperative, though. I might have to go back there later in the month, with a peace offering of booze, and strike a deal. [comment]


My gallon of rice beer seems to be getting better, but it's still cloudy. Quite possibly that's endemic to the use of brown rice syrup. I'll probably be bottling it soon.

My throat is finally better. Though I didn't have any long coughing fits, the discomfort lasted way too long. And the phlegm production will likely continue for a while longer.

I was freecycled a nice tent, but haven't figured out how to set it up yet. I was going to set it up by the river near another tent, but it looks as though everyone was rousted for the river cleanup. So still looking for a place.

My right Teva strap broke a few minutes ago. I sat down here at Starbucks, got out my needle and thread, and sewed it. Proud of myself. [comment]


I have to have Windows running for a program I'm developing for a client, but this time it seems to be working out pretty well, disregarding a bluescreen a couple of days ago or so. I still have almost full access to Debian, of course, through the magic of coLinux.

A new batch of rice beer with caraway seed is in its 3rd or 4th day of fermentation. It's really looking promising, despite an early infection. I made a siphon with some 3/8" OD plastic tubing, a #8 bung, and a half-gallon plastic apple juice bottle that compresses just enough to get the suction going. I got the idea from this instructable, and it works just great.

My knees and ankles are still a little sore from the KGC, but I've started jogging again and I'm doing pretty well. At least my regular use of a pumice stone prevented me from getting cracked feet this time. If I can keep it up, I won't ruin my feet at Burning Man this year either. Assuming I can afford the ticket. [comment]


Finally starting to get over this virus or whatever has been attacking my throat and sinuses. It'll probably be another week or so till I'm cured, though.

I don't understand how I did so poorly in the KGC when I came in at about 4:30 the first two days and about 4 the 3rd day. I did have to get rescued crossing the Eel river slough, but that shouldn't have tacked on enough time to put me all but dead last. Maybe the revised results, if and when they're posted, will vindicate me somewhat. [comment]

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