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


turns out it is necessary to add fat to the batter before panfrying. seasoning the metal isn't enough, and putting oil or lard in the pan doesn't give as good results. so I'm pouring some of the sourdough batter into a bowl, adding a pinch of baking soda and some lard, and pouring that out for pancakes. my coals have lasted overnight two nights now. [comment]


in a store recently I heard an old Madonna song, and it brought to mind a comment made by a South Florida deejay some years back: "Like a virgin? Oh please, she's been under more men than a bar stool." which would be grammatically incorrect except for the implied verb "has been". [comment]


cutting my "waste" footprint way down by taking a washable plastic container to the mercados for fish. if you ask the vendors not to use bags, they don't. and I'm burning anything burnable in my charcoal "stove". [comment]


Paz, Palmira, Pedregal, Pemex, Pichilingue. only made it to the end of Coromuel, at the base of Pedregal, in about 34 minutes.

the biggest mistake "winners" of war can make is laying down arms, attempting to raise a generation of innocents who won't have to know the horrors of war. if 3 generations were to remain armed and alert, perhaps it would become better entrenched in the culture and harder to eradicate. and chances are that war would become even less likely as a result.

right ear getting painful; apparently the crema-dispenser "syringe" isn't irrigating the ear properly. [comment]


some good 21st century curse words: tax, spam, frack. example: "you godspammed taxing motherfracker." [comment]


found another good coffeeshop, Arabiga, just west a block or so from the Ace hardware store. coffee is 12 pesos and it has wifi, comfy seats, and a restroom. [comment]


have to feed my charcoal "grill" about 6 times a day in order to keep from having to light it again. haven't calculated yet how much that's going to cost me; maybe a dollar a day. and haven't figured a good way to get the ash out. blowing it is messy.

since I keep the griddle well larded, I haven't had to add any to the sourdough. but I'm still adding baking soda to reduce the acidity, and it makes the pancakes airier.

still no sign of fermentation in the tamarindo beverage I made the other day. [comment]


boiling two small bags of tamarind fruits and a cone of raw sugar (piloncillo) in my second attempt at tamarind beer. also started a new batch of sourdough, using some of the starter I had saved in the fridge. [comment]


the clay worked, and I salvaged a lot of last night's charcoal. but I can't reuse it (the clay) because it broke in the process of removing it. [comment]


cold getting much better; still a hint of soreness in the throat, but congestion is much reduced and the extreme tiredness is gone.

cooked dinner over charcoal using a ceramic bowl lined with broken pieces of concrete and a large piece of cast-iron cookware I found recently at a store outside the mercado. tried to save the remaining charcoal by plugging the air inlets with some of that clay I found, but combustion is still occurring. [comment]


so now I know how to change out the spark plugs in a late-model Ford Explorer or Mercury Mountaineer, the engine with a coil for each plug. aside from a flex shaft, and borrowing an air compressor to blow the goop out of the spark plug holes, no special tools were needed. before I had the flex shaft in my possession, and I still had 3 plugs left to change out, I had left the last one inadvertently disconnected. that was enough to keep the A/C from operating properly. now it seems to be fine, but I'd better test on a hot day. today is quite pleasantly cool and breezy. [comment]


throat better, but overnight my nose started getting congested and runny. tried to take a nap on the beach this afternoon. didn't get much sleep but it was pleasant and relaxing. hoping to kick this thing in another day or two. [comment]


went to Farmacias Similares last night and asked for Peróxido de Hídrogen and all 4 clerks looked at me with blank stares and shook their heads "no". I didn't say it right -- it should have been Peróxido de Hidrógeno -- but chances are they would have still not known. went to Mega today and found it, called Agua Oxigenada.

so I flushed out my right ear with that and water, using a crema bottle I found at Aramburo for about 16 pesos as an ear syringe. not sure it got out all the wax, we shall see. [comment]


I did it, about a mile and a half. still feeling weak but that helped. [comment]


cold not getting much better. going to try to force myself to jog for a bit. energy level has been very low lately. [comment]


coming down with something. I'm guessing those "frijoles puercos" didn't agree with my system, because my GI tract has complaining for two days now plus my throat is acting up. the Mexican workers are mocking my constant throat-clearing, fuck 'em. [comment]


gravity is allowed as the only legal storage of energy at the KGC. I need to find out if my tick-tock idea qualifies.

there's a bus to Centenario in front of the GNP on Abosolo. have to remember that for next time I get work out there.

bought MX$30 worth of huachinango, the local snapper, and panfried it in my sourdough batter. comes out the perfect finger food, not greasy because there's just enough lard in the batter that the pan doesn't need any. and the fish is light and flaky.

must have lost the spark plug gapper, or left it at AutoZone. walking all the way back. [comment]


I used to think I was getting a good deal on those little bottles of rum for MX$27, about US$2.10. today I saw, a little to the left of those in the Aramburo supermarket, 940ml bottles of Ron Contemporaneo Blanco for MX$31, less than US$2.40. what a steal! I bought two bottles, and if I were in the black I'd have taken their whole stock and gone around to all the other supermarkets to find more. [comment]


finished reading Matt Bracken's Castigo Cay, one of his novels he offered for free download over the past few weeks. it was a pretty good yarn, but some of the electronic- and computer-related mistakes stuck out, and his characters' overall disregard of nonwhite races and the Islam religion make it unlikely I'll read anything else of his.

learning that my sourdough can handle a day or two of sitting unused, without spoiling. this evening the small batch from maybe 48 hours before had developed a strong yeast smell. added more flour and water. [comment]


sourdough makes a great batter for frying fish. cooked about half a kilo of cabrilla that way last night, and sauteed some chayote in olive oil with some cilantro and green onions. came out really good. tonight we're having hamburgers. just got back from seeing Gravity. special effects were out of this world. that space junk is scary, and it's a real developing problem, not fictional at all. [comment]


here in La Paz, near the flats on the south side of town, there is a dirt road that looks oiled, and holds together really well. seems that an oiled dirt road would be easily repaired, and except for the runoff and seepage isn't as much of an environmental disaster as asphalt or concrete roads which need to be torn up and rebuilt every few years. googled and found some discussion on it here. [comment]


so it wasn't freicoin that had the low difficulty level, it's ppcoin. and luckily, the included 64-bit binary just runs on my CentOS system. hard to keep track of what the hell I'm doing. blame it on the heat. yeah, that's it, the Baja heat. [comment]


got freicoind built on my CentOS system. here's the patch for the makefile, and I had to make STATIC=1, and when it failed at the mpfr libraries, for which I have no static libs, I completed the build with a simple make. in both cases, I had avoided having to use -f makefile.unix by symlinking that to Makefile. it's now running. hopefully it will be able to generate me some coins, and if not, I can still buy some affordably. [comment]


if you're trying to build freicoin and getting errors like these:

/usr/include/boost/asio/ssl/detail/openssl_context_service.hpp:73: error: ‘::SSLv2_method’ has not been declared
/usr/include/boost/asio/ssl/detail/openssl_context_service.hpp:76: error: ‘::SSLv2_client_method’ has not been declared
/usr/include/boost/asio/ssl/detail/openssl_context_service.hpp:79: error: ‘::SSLv2_server_method’ has not been declared

you might try this patch.

I've still got other errors... argggh. [comment]


so I took those brown, semi-dry tamarind fruits from yesterday, boiled them for a bit; saved the liquid; mashed the boiled beans in my molcajete; and swished some of the liquid in the molcajete till I got all the brown goodness into my pint jar. covered with a cloth and now I'm waiting for fermentation to start. [comment]


I don't remember signing up for Pinterest, and in no case would I have misspelled my name as John Cannue, but when I go to the site is shows me logged in as such: johncomeau2032. I'm beginning to believe my computer has been compromised. [comment]


problem getting back online, so I rebooted, and yes!!! my console keyboard is back to normal! had a guest over. I'll leave his name unannounced so that the NSA can do a little extra work to figure it out. my fish, locally-foraged greens and fruits, and sourdough pancakes left over from this morning were all good and greatly appreciated. [comment]


there's lots of aloe growing around here. have to google how to use it as a vegetable.

also going to try tamarind beer. but don't know if it's too acidic to ferment.

thinking of trying to use a sea urchin as a hairbrush. but it might not like that idea.

I've been drying some leaves of that wild tobacco. will have to buy or make a pipe, get hold of some rolling papers, or go to a hookah bar to test it out. anyone in Baja who's familiar with a nicotine buzz want to join me? I haven't smoked since the mid 80s.

need to design and make a trailer to trike conversion kit. just needs a steerable front wheel, pedal drive, and seat.

tried a pitaya for 5 pesos today at Mercado Madero. it's a cactus fruit externally similar to tunas de nopal but internally has the appearance, taste, and texture of a miniature watermelon.

I'd heard and read that most corn products here in MX are GM from the states, but saw some blue corn tortillas at Mega today; is it probable the blue stuff is relatively safe to eat?

after foraging for greens today I cheated, stopped to have a liter of Modelo at El Parnazo. it was good but I've got quite a buzz right now. [comment]


so it turns out it was totally unnecessary for me to spend MX$169 on that cylinder of propane a week or so ago. today I found at Mega the correct, fat-boy style of cylinder from Coleman that I needed, for MX$94. ah well. found a replacement for a glass that I somehow lost, too, for MX$5.80, or about a half a US dollar. really got to shop around down here. [comment]


found where my console keyboard had been switched to Colemak, and changed it back using sudo dpkg-reconfigure keyboard-configuration. won't know for sure it's fixed till next reboot, however. my power connection had wiggled loose an hour or so ago, and my bootblock had apparently been updated without being copied to the Windows boot directory, so I was left without a bootable Linux partition; luckily I had my Knoppix USB key with me, but then after fsck and lilo I still had the funky keyboard layout to deal with on login. my password is hard enough to type without having all the keys remapped. [comment]


2nd day making sourdough pancakes. this time went and bought a 50 cent pack of bicarbonate from Aramburo, dissolved a little in some hot water, and added it to the batter. I also fiddled with adding just enough fat (lard? mais oui!) to the goop to keep from having to add any to the pan. end result: better pancakes, very little cleanup of the frying pan. [comment]


ate one of the natal plums from outside the church. even though it wasn't fully ripe, it was still sweet and tasty. maybe I'll get a bunch more when the cops aren't watching the place so closely. [comment]


maybe better than flywheels for energy storage: remember the old grandfather clock mechanism? make the weight a ton or so and the pendulum a few hundred pounds. easy to stop, no high speeds or shattering to worry about. still thinking... [comment]


put some flour into a glass yesterday and added rainwater from the molcajete in which I had made neem paste a day or two before. already caught a yeast and/or some acidophilus. hope it doesn't get stinky, I'd like to make me some sourdough pancakes. [comment]


coming back from Wal-Mart after the job, came across 3 young Mexican dudes with a classic Mustang stuck in the arroyo. tried to help them get it out, but it was stuck too good and I ran out of ideas, so I went on my way. got lots of goatheads in my socks and spent a good part of half an hour picking them out once I got back on Abosolo.

got the fixings for green chile cheeseburgers and will fry them up as soon as my lady is ready. [comment]

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