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 page generally sucks less using Mozilla Firefox. RSS Feed


OK, false alarm, my knee healed up pretty well already. I jogged about 2.5 miles this morning and it didn't bother me much. Looks like I'm good to go unless I do something else stupid before November 12.

Just received a small inheritance... might be able to get another solar panel and finally run my Sundanzer freezer. We'll see.

Gotta drive to Deming this afternoon to pick up my neighbor... I'll be picking up some good beer at Pepper's too. Stop over tonight if you're in the area and help me drink it, OK? [comment]


Took a nasty fall on my windskate yesterday, coming back from the Pink Store. I wasn't even drunk -- had only coffee with my food. My right knee protector had slipped down so wasn't there to buffer the shock to my knee. The trauma doesn't seem to be too bad. I might still be able to run the 5k.

After about a year and a half, I finally got Blackberry's attention on the ControlledAccessException that started showing up on new handhelds running our app back in early 2005. Defaults built into, or downloaded into, the handhelds determine their ability to allow certain functions such as HTTP Filters. These defaults cannot be edited until an application that attempts to use them is installed, and then can be edited only for that application. The more I learn how these buggers operate the more disdain I have for their engineers. Why can't they just use jarfiles like everybody else? Why do they have multiple places where access to APIs can be denied, and why don't the javadocs reflect this? Pisses me off.

Got my d-Limonene the other day and have been playing with it. I cleared some space in my trash barrels by pulling out some of the styrofoam garbage, and dissolved it in a few ounces of the orange oil. Today I painted a small piece of 1/4 inch grid screen with some of the viscous, bubbly goop and it covered a few of the squares. A couple of hours later it was somewhat hard and glasslike in appearance. Whether it will actually work as glazing remains to be seen. It might also function as a glue.

Finished Katherine Neville's The Eight. She spins a better yarn than Dan Brown, but there were still a lot of weak spots in it, where some of the characters didn't seem three-dimensional to me. It got me thinking again, though, about the correspondence between things like the musical scales, the periodic table of the elements, the I Ching, the genetic code, the Hebrew alphabet... a lot of fascinating shit.



Just got back from Mexico, and now enjoying a Foster's Lager. A little more bitter than American lagers, it's refreshing when you're really exhausted, as I am. Had a nice wind going down to Mexico -- the first time I windskated over 4 miles -- but the way back it had died down to almost nothing. I didn't get a ride till the last mile, and pushing that skateboard and carrying the sail just about did me in. My heart rate was pushing the limit, and I had to stop every few feet to let it slow down.

Had some strange dreams last night. In one, I was leaving a building where I'd apparently been living for some time, and on the way out Reverend Moon talked to me for a little while. I can't remember the conversation, but he was congratulating or praising me for something, and speaking to me as an equal, something I never experienced in real life. There was a hint, though, that he might have to eliminate me eventually. Anyway, I said goodbye and left.

Then there was a dream in which some crazy woman was driving a car, and when we'd approach an intersection she climbed out onto the hood or roof, watching as I'd attempt to steer the car with one hand from the driver's seat. She'd be killed each time, but apparently that didn't slow her down any because before I knew it we were heading for another crash. I was aware of some guy in the back seat but never turned around to see who it was. [comment]


Found a tiny scorpion in my place today, wouldn't have noticed it at all if it hadn't moved since it's the same color as the dirt. It's the first scorpion I've seen since moving here; hope it's the last. I'll think twice about walking around barefoot now...

Wrote a python script to generate the outline of the Mandelbrot set without using any external libraries. It's horrendously slow, however. I'm going to try different things to speed it up as I find time.

Bought a bunch of different beers last Saturday in Deming, and added 4 new sixpacks to the collection lining the walls, but only have a few left. Was hoping to have a good selection for Friday when some Norwegian dudes pass through from El Paso to see the City of the Sun, but oh well... still have my Guinness keg and it hasn't gone flat yet. Also gonna try making some pink margaritas using prickly pear fruit instead of limes.

I've been testing my homemade sunscreen and it works good. Olive oil (1 cup), beeswax (1 oz, stirred into olive oil until dissolved), and 2 tbsp. of zinc oxide. I'll use less oxide next time, it didn't mix very well. [comment]


Training for the Columbus-Palomas 5k footrace; did about 2 miles for the first time in years last Friday. Got my new moccasin boots on Saturday, which make it much easier to run on my toes.

I went windskating again today, despite the 20-MPH gusts. It's not easy to control the damned thing in winds that high, but it's hella fun anyway.

Finished the aforementioned books, and highly recommend Aztec. No idea how historically accurate it is, but it's fascinating regardless, the last 50 years of Aztec civilization before Cortes destroyed it, told from the viewpoint of an imaginary native who lived through it. Since then, I've read Gleick's Chaos, Machiavelli's The Prince, and a few nibbles of some other books in my collection. [comment]


Stayed up most of the night finishing the 1991 unedited release of the Master's Stranger in a Strange Land. Before that, in the past few days I've read Frank Herbert's White Plague and Spider Robinson's Callahan's Crosstime Saloon. I'm working on Chögyam Trungpa's Shambhala and Gary Jennings's Aztec.

I remember a small part of my vivid dreams last night; there was a collapsible ultralight car (which on awakening appears suspiciously like my neighbor's collapsible doghouse), made of ripstop fabric and a wire frame, called the Ayuda. I thought that was kinda cute.

Still haven't been able to rescue my Subversion repository after the hard disk failure. It'll seem to be OK -- you can browse it through Apache -- but after the first or second commit, the repository goes belly-up and gives weird error messages. DB_RUNRECOVERY doesn't work. I think it's possible I've got newer versions of svn or db4, and it can't deal with the old data. Bugger.

My Morningstar SS-10 charge controller died a few days ago, too. Got power yesterday only by bypassing it, but I've seen what that can do to batteries. Hoping I can get a larger, used charge controller without breaking the bank.

Well, enough whining. Had a nice keg party last weekend despite the lack of electricity. Got the Guinness wrapped up in my new space bag and am feeding it ice, hoping it will stay good longer this time. [comment]

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