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.

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2009-06-30-0203Z

Border Patrol swung past my house just as I was getting ready to go hunting. Not wanting them to mistake my air rifle for something deadly, because cops get nervous when they're outgunned, I walked the other way, South and West. Took an easy shot at a dove, but missed, then walked on up the arroyo. Climbing out of the arroyo at one point, I saw the unmistakeable orange of rabbit ears. It stayed perfectly still while I took the shot, and fell over with the first BB. I walked up and put another through its brain. Cleaning it later, I found it had a layer of subcutaneous fat, and even some milk! Didn't notice the fetuses, though, if any; perhaps it had already given birth.

That was my 3rd jackrabbit. All so far have had numerous large, nasty ticks in their ears. Hoping to avoid tularemia, but I guess it's gotta bite my ass one of these times. As long as my immune system is in good shape, I don't imagine I'll have too much of a problem. But you never know. [comment]

2009-06-29-0211Z

Mesquite beans are turning red-ripe in some places, notably near the arroyo. They should be ready for the first harvest in another week or two. Then I can try some fermentation experiments with them.

One of the three quarts of my new cider batch started bubbling yesterday, so I mixed the three together. But today when I checked, there was a strange white film and some bubbles on the surface of one of them, and some evidence of the same substance in all three. When I stirred it, it broke up and stuck to the side of the jar like wax. But so far it's still fermenting and not tasting weird, so I'll wait it out.

I'm still paying for yesterday's beer binge. I did end up going to the bar, where I finally saw C. May and got his permission to go on his property in the foothills of the Tres Hermanas. He said it was to stop people driving off-road up there. Anyway, I drank way too much, and the sauerkraut I ate today didn't help enough to settle my stomach. Should be OK by tomorrow though. [comment]

2009-06-28-0046Z

The butter I mentioned at the start of this month is still sweet, just put some in some unidentified cooked grains, probably barley, and it tastes great. Still working on that rabbit. It'll probably last all weekend the way I'm going.

Having to throw away all that cider and start over catching wild yeast is going to take a few days, all of which I'll probably resume consuming bottled beer. Drank 5 today, and might go to the bar later if the store is closed by the time I get there. It's an expensive habit, and I thought I was mostly over it, but the nature of wild fermentation means you get some surprises here and there. Ah, well; I can still afford such wastefulness, for now.

Reinstalled Debian, a 32-bit version this time. Both disks failed to install grub correctly, I had to chroot into the new partition, mount the CDROM, locate the mbr and lilo packages; install them using dpkg; and LILO the new partition instead. I don't know why grub tries to convince you that you have to overwrite the MBR. That's silly. If you set /dev/sda3 bootable, the BIOS will boot from /dev/sda3.

Anyway, it didn't help, except that now I have slirp working on a coLinux boot, which probably has nothing to do with the new installation. So now I'm able to upgrade packages and do other Linux shit under Vista, until I figure out how to get the net working natively. Most of last night I was backing up my old computer to this one over the wifi link. That's now done, and I've retired the trusty Compaq Armada until this one breaks, someone steals it, or some other misfortune happens. [comment]

2009-06-27-0147Z

Forced to admit that it's the cider causing my GI distress. Yesterday's batch is already vinegar, and even smells like some sort of industrial solvent. That brown scum floating on top is probably something nasty after all. Had to throw away over 6 quarts, and will now need to wait for fresh wild yeast in my clean jars.

It's been raining, and radar shows a lot more on the way. Yeah! [comment]

2009-06-26-2239Z

Diarrhea today, maybe something funky in my cider or sauerkraut. There was a nasty-looking brown scum on top of the cider yesterday, but it didn't taste bad so I drank it.

My July Oats options expired worthless today, as expected. Not gonna cry about it, but will try a different method of trading options from now on: set a "sell to close" order just a few cents above the purchase price, then look for another "bargain" before buying again. [comment]

2009-06-26-1316Z

Got Debian kind of installed on my new box, but can't get any networking, either wired or wireless. So I might use Vista for some things, but it looks as though I'll be using my old Compaq Armada for the day-to-day stuff until I figure out what's wrong with the drivers and/or setup.

The rocks weighting down my sauerkraut are getting moldy again. I guess it's time to repack the stuff in my quart canning jars; the fermentation is slowing down anyway.

Got some more rain last night, finally, but too gentle. Where's the goddamned early monsoon season, anyway? I want thunder, lightning, roaring rivers in the arroyos!

Bagged a cottontail this morning, just about sunup. Took me several tries, but when a ricochet broke a hind leg it couldn't move too fast any more. Time for a nap, now that I know I'll have some breakfast on awakening. [comment]

2009-06-24-0251Z

After some Googling, I realize my mistake. I must have read Mona Lisa Overdrive, and was confusing the characters and plot of that with Neuromancer.

While in Deming today, going out to see the new Starmax entertainment center, I stumbled across a trippy park, dug into the earth apparently for dirt to build up the I-10 embankment. Because it gets all the rain runoff from the highway and surrounding landscape, it has quite dense plant growth. There was a fairly large tamarisk with sweet-smelling pink blossoms, among many other specimens. Although the Starmax turned out to be a complete waste (it wasn't open at 11:15 when I passed, and I later heard that the bar doesn't even have its liquor license yet), that park made the trip worthwhile. There's also a red-roofed concrete structure in the dugout area whose purpose is hard to fathom. It looks a lot like what I took to be a cockfighting arena in Zacatecas. [comment]

2009-06-24-0234Z

Having a helluva time installing Debian on my new toy. The 140MB ISO doesn't have the drivers for either the wired or wireless NIC, and my DSL and Knoppix disks can't even find the KNOPPIX filesystem. No wonder GNU/Linux still doesn't have much mindshare in the O/S world. You need to be an übergeek to install on the latest hardware. Even then, it can be a royal pain in the ass. [comment]

2009-06-23-2356Z

Wow. Just finished reading William Gibson's Neuromancer, as if for the first time. There's so much of it I didn't remember, and so much stuff I thought was there that wasn't. I can say for sure it's way better than Pattern Recognition and All Tomorrow's Parties, two of his more recent works, which were at the Deming library. I returned them today, did some shopping, and went out by the new Starmax entertainment center, which was still closed at 11:15 or so when I passed. I later heard from the bus driver, Howard, that it opens at 12 noon, and the bar is only serving soft drinks and snack food, as it doesn't yet have its liquor license. I have no clue what the big, red-roofed below-ground structure is across the street. It resembles the cockfighting place I saw it Zacatecas.

Three Black Hook porters and I'm on a buzz I haven't had for some time now. The hard cider I've been making just doesn't get me this cooked. I bought some DVD+R blanks at Wal-Mart today and I'm making the restore disks for my e-Machines laptop, but I don't know if I can trust myself to do anything that requires neurons to fire reliably. [comment]

2009-06-23-0210Z

Today I got my new computer, and I'm in the process of installing Debian on it. Downloaded the 140MB ISO, burned it, booted it, and looks as though the base install completed. Still have to set up Grub and configure a Linux boot into Vista. That's one way to go about it, anyway.

My sauerkraut was getting some mold around the rocks which were placed on top to hold the cabbage under the brine. Took them out, boiled them, and replaced them.

Panfrying that rabbit over a hot paper fire on my burn barrel, two pieces of rebar resting on the barrel lid to hold the pan, seems to be ideal for the flavor. Almost no gaminess at all apparent.

Getting our first monsoon rain now. Hoping for a really wet season! [comment]

2009-06-22-1610Z

I've known for years that, in the Northern hemisphere, your shadow points north at noon. What's been confusing me for a few weeks is that my shadow has been pointing roughly Southwest at sunrise. This webpage clears it up a little, though I can't say I completely understand it. [comment]

2009-06-22-0459Z

My blogs haven't made it into Technorati since February sometime. What up wid dat? I login tonight and it tells me my email address hasn't been registered. It was, at one time, so I guess they have a timeout on them. We'll see how it works now that I've re-verified my email. [comment]

2009-06-22-0407Z

Anyone with eyesight as bad as mine can only become successful as a hunter by learning to spot abnormalities with the naked eye, then use the scope to confirm or deny the presence of game. A week ago it was a slightly different color of dirt that turned out to be a jackrabbit. This afternoon it was an orange tinge that was the ears of a cottontail. The latter fell with a single BB to the head.

Now that I'm brewing regularly, I'm starting to use more than 5 gallons of potable water a week; approaching 7, maybe even more. Perhaps if I thin down the fermentables so it's less tasty, I'll drink less. Or maybe I should just resign myself to schlepping more water.

The two cans of apple juice I hadn't yet used, still in the cans but not frozen for several days, were already fermented when I opened them tonight. One smelled pretty potent, the other vinegary. I'll probably go back to Deming tomorrow morning for another batch. Meanwhile, I divided those two cans into 6 quarts of brew, and will see how they turn out. I'll drink it in any case, unless something horrible happens.

I saw the tail end of the movie Awakenings tonight. It was awesome, based on an experience of Oliver Sacks (also author of Uncle Tungsten, among other works) in the summer of 1969. Leaves me wondering about how many people there are in the world with diseases that could possibly be treated successfully by living foods or paleolithic diets, or one of those combined with the natural remedies growing all around us. [comment]

2009-06-21-0209Z

I was playing around with openssl today, trying to connect to my server without success, and had to re-learn stuff I'd forgotten. Posting this as a reminder for myself and anyone else who tends to forget things after a few weeks, months, or years of not using them. Please forgive the switch between first and second person in the following steps; I couldn't make up my mind how to present it.

First, from Firefox's Edit | Preferences option, I selected Advanced tab, then the Encryption tag, View Certificates, Your Certificates, and selecting my own, Backup. Just entered the base name of the file, and it added a .pk7 extension.

Then you need to convert the certificate that you backed up from Firefox to the PEM format. It will prompt you for the password with which you saved it, and another password (that you choose now) for the encryption of the private key. While Firefox accepts an empty password, and openssl also does for the decryption, it requires the use of at least a 4-letter passphrase for the encryption of the private key.

openssl pkcs12 -in jcomeau_expires_20091106.p12 \
 -out jcomeau_expires_20091106.pem
openssl s_server -key unternet.key -cert unternet.crt \
 -state -Verify 2 -port 4433 >/dev/null 2>&1 &
openssl s_client -connect localhost:4433 -cert \
 jcomeau_expires_20091106.pem -pass pass:test

I got the error:

error setting private key
4246:error:0B080074:x509 certificate routines:X509_check_private_key:key values mismatch:x509_cmp.c:399:

Not very informative. Did some searching on the net, and found a number of reasons for the error, but none that could be deduced from just this one error line. So now, I copied my cert file into 3 different files: a key file, a cert file, and a "chain" file, which has the upstream certs needed to verify the client certificate. Then I edited the 3 files. The private key is first in the file, followed by the two (or more) certs in the chain, and the last cert was my own. After editing yours, make sure each file contains only what should be there.

Now I tried again:

openssl s_server -key unternet.key -cert unternet.crt \
 -state -Verify 2 -port 4433 >/dev/null 2>&1 &
openssl s_client -connect localhost:4433 \
 -cert jcomeau_expires_20091106_cert.pem \
 -key jcomeau_expires_20091106_key.pem \
 -CAfile jcomeau_expires_20091106_chain.pem \
 -pass pass:test 2>&1 | grep 'verify error'

shows the errors: verify error:num=20:unable to get local issuer certificate
verify error:num=27:certificate not trusted
verify error:num=21:unable to verify the first certificate

So I figured you have to, as with the Apache configuration directives SSLCertificateChainFile and SSLCACertificatePath respectively, specify the file containing the server certificate's upstream chain, as -CAfile; and the directory containing the upstream certs of the client certs you're willing to accept, as -CApath:

openssl s_server -key unternet.key -cert unternet.crt \
 -state -Verify 2 -port 4433 \
 -CApath www/www/client_certs_verification \
 -CAfile ipscabundle.pem >/dev/null 2>&1 &
openssl s_client -connect localhost:4433 \
 -cert jcomeau_expires_20091106_cert.pem \
 -key jcomeau_expires_20091106_key.pem \
 -CAfile jcomeau_expires_20091106_chain.pem \
 -pass pass:test

Now it works: Verify return code: 0 (ok)

After each try above, kill the server: killall -KILL openssl

Hope I didn't leave anything out. [comment]

2009-06-20-0459Z

If you've been following July Oats, you'll know that it fell from $2.60 way back down to around $2.10. Of course, a miracle could still happen, but it looks like I'm out about $350. Makes me want to invest in silver or gold bullion instead, and maybe day-trade the options, cashing out on every 2-cent rise for a profit of $100 minus $24 round-turn, about $76. Then I become a gambler rather than a trader, but what the hell? If something doesn't work, why stick with it?

[comment]

2009-06-19-2340Z

Had several easy shots at cottontails yesterday evening, but failed to connect with anything lethal. Had better luck this morning, and got by so far today just on the organ meats (and maybe two quarts of my homebrew). Also made a good-sized batch of sauerkraut in the stoneware crockpot I'd gotten months ago and hadn't yet used. That cabbage shredder I bought isn't all that great, but it beats the heck out of slicing it by hand.

Every now and then I have to configure a router to work with the COS network, and I never remember all the steps involved. While it's fresh in my mind, here it is for my own future reference:

Remove /etc/init.d/S??{firewall,dnsmasq}. Leave wl0_mode=ap. Set lan_gateway and lan_ipaddr to the core router's IP and this router's IP in the same network. Set wl0_ssid and wan_hostname to the router's new name. Set wl0_wds to the AP of the nearest upstream router, and add the new router's MAC address to the wl0_wds string of the upstream router. Remember that on some routers you need to use the base MAC and on others it's MAC+1 or +2 (or -1 or -2!). Make sure wl0_channel, wl0_key, and wl0_key1 are the same as the upstream's. Of course, wl0_wep needs to be enabled, and wl0_lazywds needs to be 0 (off). Save using nvram commit and reboot. Reboot the upstream or just: wifi up. Check you can connect using:

wl ap 0
wl scan  # then wait a second or two
wl scanresults
wl join ROUTER key WEPKEY  # ROUTER=upstream's SSID, WEPKEY=WEP key
wl assoc

If the above shows you can connect, wl ap 1 and then try pinging the upstream. If it fails, scratch your balls for a while and try again. Curse loudly and scream if necessary. Reboot everything. Eventually, when you're just about to shoot it with your 12 gauge, it will start working.

Not sure I got all the steps, but that's a good start. [comment]

2009-06-18-1509Z

Rained off and on last night, mostly off, but this morning it was heavily overcast, and there have been rumors of monsoon season starting earlier this year (July 4 is the usually-quoted start), so I got off my lazy ass and hauled my recliner, futon, and mattress indoors. Whew! Just stacked 'em one atop the other for now. But now I've got to relocate my hanging food storage, because the mice can just jump from the mattress onto it, whereas before it was high enough out of the way.

I bent the adjustment screw on my new tubing bender tool, before I even got the first piece of (1" square) tubing bent. Now it's fucked. I guess it's possible I can bend it back. For sure I'll try, but I've got to find a more secure place to mount the damned thing. All that torque has to sink somewhere.

I'll hopefully finish my rabbit stew today, and go out hunting for another one. I got gifted some pepperoni pizza yesterday, a welcome treat! Also a bottle of Ten Pin Porter, a very smooth dark ale with heavily-roasted (maybe even slightly burned) malts. [comment]

2009-06-16-1653Z

The night I got the jackrabbit (liebre, en español). I soaked it in salt water for 12 hours or so, which was a mistake. Apparently I didn't add enough salt, or didn't cover it sufficiently with water, because the end result was even stinkier than before. But whatever, I added crushed dried mirasol peppers and some of the red-ripe Anaheims (chiles California) (which, by the way, I couldn't find an easy way to peel), and cooked it for hours. This morning I deboned the meat and am cooking it again. I used 5 of each type of pepper, and also added some Cajun Creole seasoning, which will hopefully hide more of the nastiness of the meat. I was hoping to have a result somewhat like birria de chivo (goat stew), because jackrabbit meat so much resembles goat, but it ain't gonna happen this time.

I've got to remember not to use my PayPal debit card at the Dollar General down at the border. Their machine has some problem with it, and this time it not only showed a failed transaction, but it charged my card and didn't issue an automatic refund like last time. So now I've got to jump through hoops to get my $9-something back.

Got my tubing bender and some tubing, now just gotta figure how to mount the tubing bender on something relatively stable.

Only spent $10 on a six-pack of beer for this week, the Chocolate Stout from Fort Collins Brewery. It's not the best in its category, but I finished it all yesterday evening without even realizing where it went. Another $12 or so went towards 8 cans of ShurFine frozen apple juice ($1.39 a can at Peppers), which should provide me with fresh cider all week.

But then when I got home, I went out of control when I saw the deal in TigerDirect's daily mailing. I spent $350 on a new 64-bit laptop with 3 gigs of ram, a 250GB hard drive, and DVDRW. So now my next paycheck is shot. Oh, well. Now I'll be able to generate Mandelbrot sets to 64 bits! [comment]

2009-06-15-0152Z

Tried eating the rest of my rabbit today, but almost gagged when I tried. Gave it to the dogs. On my last hunting run this afternoon, I chased down a jackrabbit I'd apparently hit through the heart while it was "playing rock", and it finally dropped dead. It had a bad tick infestation on its ears, and a bubble of skin with eggs in it on one leg, but its liver looked healthy and I'm cooking the organ meats now. The meat is soaking in salt water overnight.

Friday I went into the foothills to see how the thick-leaf "banana" yucca were doing. The ones I saw hadn't even sent up stalks yet. Even the thin-leaf yucca at that elevation were a month behind those at City of the Sun. But there were some ripe prickly pear fruits (tunas) along the wash.

Tried a can of frozen orange juice with my wild yeast. It bubbled up fine overnight, but doesn't taste very good and leaves a sticky mess of pulp. I don't think I'll be trying that again. [comment]

2009-06-14-1717Z

Any doubts as to the efficacy of my underarm guards are easily erased by not using them for a few days. The odor started within hours, and rinsing never helped for more than an hour or so thereafter. I've been suffering the sweatstink ever since my return from Arcata; finally I found another pair of socks to use, and am stink-free for another week or so.

I never found a way to keep the adjustment loop on my Dr. Slick fisherman's necklace out of the way. Finally realized it would fit around my neck!

I think I hit two jackrabbits yesterday, but they both got away. No luck this morning, either. But today is Pink Store day, and I've still got some cottontail meat from last week.

Haven't yet received my tubing bender from Northern Tool. I hope it gets here tomorrow, while I'm in Deming getting more tubing. I've got several ideas how to complete a HPV from the stuff I already have, and one or more of them ought to work. [comment]

2009-06-12-0258Z

Looking more deeply into my travel options to Alaska after Burning Man. I could go Greyhound to Bellingham, WA and get the Alaska Marine Highway ferry to Ketchikan, which is a long ways from Anchorage but I might as well start kiteboarding or windsurfing as soon as possible in the journey. Problem is, going from Bellingham to Ketchikan on the ferry is $239, not even counting the bus from Reno to Bellingham. So, a better option is Reno to Prince Rupert, BC for $94 (21-day advance ticket), then the ferry to Ketchikan for $54. Saves me about $150, guessing that the Greyhound fare to Bellingham is about $60. It's probably more. I still have no clue what I'm going to do about wetsuits, drysuits, or other cold-weather apparel. I seriously doubt I'll try the Russia trip this year; the best I can reasonably hope for is to make it to the last US-owned island of the Aleutian chain and turn back. [comment]

2009-06-12-0102Z

Celebrating my anti-consumerism breakthrough by drinking bottled beer and eating Frito-Lay chips. Stupid, huh? Well, in my defense, I can't be rational all the time. I was at the store today to get ice for my beer and decided to get a salt fix. Oh, well. As long as it's a rare occurrence, I won't sweat it.

Of my home brews, so far the apple juice has worked out the best. The agave syrup turns out too bland; a bittering agent might help. The grape juice is bubbling nicely, but I took a sip today and it's like some fizzy grape drink. Not yet very alcoholic. I've got to try mesquite blossoms next spring, and mesquite pods (dried and boiled down) later this summer.

So much wind! As soon as my tubing bender gets here, hopefully by this weekend, I can modify my bicycle trailer to be a wind buggy. I'm psyched! [comment]

2009-06-11-0438Z

The gods were kind to Intrepid Wanderer this afternoon. In about an hour, two rabbits and a small rattlesnake were cooking on my stove. I ate the organ meats of all three, plus the snake meat, for dinner, saving the rabbit meat for the next couple of days. I was able to chew the rib bones of the rattler, which allowed me to get far more of the meat than I would have had the patience for if I'd had to pick out all the bones.

I'm really liking the sumac juice, mixed about half-and-half with the cider. Plus it's keeping me more sober than I would be if I were imbibing the homebrew straight.

I tried a cholla blossom the other day. It has a taste similar to that of mustard greens, pleasant but not at all sweet. [comment]

2009-06-10-2306Z

The sumac wine didn't work out; not enough sugar for the yeast to do anything with, but I'm adding it to my hard cider for an extra kick of sourness. On my third day of drinking just my own brews, and still have no desire to drink commercial beer. Bought two more cans of frozen juice today, one apple and one grape, to replenish my stock, just adding it with water to the jars that still have yeast left over from the previous batch. I don't see why this can't go on indefinitely; this is a major breakthrough for my self-sustainability in the event of economic collapse, assuming I can eventually find a local source of fermentables.

Still no luck with rabbits. Those I injured earlier this week are still haunting my efforts. If I don't get any by tomorrow morning, guess I'll have to buy some more meat at the store; I could live on grains for a day or two, but I sure don't want to. [comment]

2009-06-10-1300Z

Just out of curiosity, I looked up the U. S. public debt today, and read that it's about 11.4 trillion dollars, and growing by about 4 billion per day. What's more, from the Wikipedia article, "As of June 2009 the debt was 82.5 percent of GDP based on current GDP. This level of debt has not been seen since 1951, with the nominal value the largest in recorded history. The President's 2010 budget estimates that total debt relative to GDP will rise to 97% by 2010 and stabilize at approximately 100% thereafter." Stabilize at 100% of GDP? That's good news???

Of course, I don't mind if the US goes bankrupt and China takes over, though I'd better start studying up on my Mandarin. But what I can't understand is, why the fuck hasn't hyperinflation hit us yet? My July Oats dropped after that meteoric rise above $2.60 and it's only got two more weeks before the options expire worthless. Come on, US public! Panic already!!!

Of course, it's not too late to fix. Impose a flat tax, implemented as a Federal sales tax of about 30% on everything. Phase out the IRS and its bloodsucking parasites, or just shut it down immediately and give amnesty to those who currently owe taxes; the flat tax will be bringing in huge revenues daily, with very little administration necessary; the shopkeepers will be doing most of the work, and it'll just be programmed into their cash registers the same way state and local sales taxes already are. Stop corporate welfare cold. Pull out of all wars, and keep just enough standing army to train the populace as one huge honkin' militia. That's for a start. Of course, anybody who dares try all that will be targeted for assassination from all quarters, including from within the government itself. And none of these ideas are new, they've been floating around for years and years and nobody has dared try any of them.

Just the militia idea alone will save gazillions, even ignoring the non-monetary benefits of an armed citizenry. The government spends huge amounts of money on weapons and ammunition, that the citizens would be glad to buy for themselves if there were any ammo left for them on the store shelves!

Getting back to the real world: the sumac-berry brew doesn't look active yet. I poured out the liquid into another jar, and refilled the original with water to get more of the juice out of the berries. What was in the jar was only about 1/3 of a quart. And the stuff smells like black tea for some reason, haven't tasted it yet. I've gone two days now without drinking any bottled beer, preferring my own stuff. Yay me! [comment]

2009-06-10-0045Z

Getting a few raindrops on our parched ground. Not nearly enough, but what little the gods grant us is appreciated.

Filled a quart mason jar about 3/4 full with little-leaf sumac berries, both red-ripe and orange-dry. Then filled it with water and added yeast from the bottom of the fermented apple juice jar I'd just drained. Tried to crush the berries with a piece of yucca stalk but didn't accomplish much. Anyway, I could see a lot of the sugars had dissolved, making the liquid somewhat amber-colored. This should be interesting. The jar of diluted agave syrup is still fermenting too.

Haven't had any packaged beer yesterday or today, preferring my homebrew. That's what I'd hoped! My stuff is less alcoholic, and has (hopefully) beneficial organisms in it to maintain my immune system. Plus, it's way cheaper.

I had to cheat on the meat part of my diet, though. Not having bagged any rabbits so far this week, I bought a six-pack of chicken drumsticks at the San Jose market this morning for $2 and change. Cooked it with rice for a tasty meal of arroz con pollo, and it ought to last me till tomorrow sometime. No biggie, I'm still way ahead on my goal for this year, which is to get 10% of my food by hunting, gathering, and gardening. I'm probably at about 30% or more, though it's hard to estimate accurately. [comment]

2009-06-08-2008Z

Several hits, no kills. Looks like Intrepid Wanderer is going to have to survive off his stored stash for today.

The juice I seeded with yeast from my previous batch started "cooking" overnight, a big improvement timewise! I'll probably have to bottle some of this for secondary fermentation. But I'll have to clean some bottles first. [comment]

2009-06-07-1926Z

Found some red-ripe Anaheims at the Sahuaro market in Palomas today. I'm going to try skinning and brine-pickling them until winter, and then use them to make Basque-style chorizo. Guessing that it's a fermentation process that preserves the pork with garlic, peppers, and salt, the pickling should only enhance the process. Or so I hope. If it turns out bad, it's not the end of the world.

I bought four more cans of frozen concentrated apple juice yesterday at Peppers in Deming, on sale for about $1.30 each. I'm making this batch diluted twice as much as the first, and seeded the approximately 8 quarts with the wild yeasts from my current brew, which is now getting sour but still for some reason doesn't taste alcoholic. I wonder why? In any case, if this will satisfy my craving for drinks during the week, it will save me about $50, maybe more, every week. Even more when I find enough wild fermentables to use.

Making some progress on a homegrown wiki for a modern-day reconstruction of decoding the Rosetta Stone. More info soon, I hope. [comment]

2009-06-06-2114Z

Fermentation took off sometime overnight, and this morning my apple juice was fizzing and foaming beautifully. Still doesn't have much of an alcoholic taste. I had to remove the sumac berries yesterday, as some white stringy stuff was forming little clouds in the liquid and I was afraid it was mold of some kind. But maybe it wasn't, as the results right now are looking so good, and perhaps the berries did help kickstart the ferment.

I realized something today, something related to the Oracle telling Neo "... it seems like you're waiting for something." I'm always waiting for someone to tell me what to do. That's why I accomplish so little unless I'm working for someone else. And if other people suffer this same malady, that explains why people suffer with monstrous governments, jobs they hate, and marriages that persist long past the demise of the relationship.

The baby steps I take in getting myself to do the things I want to do are vital to my spiritual development. I can't imagine why it's so goddamned hard, but it is. Do indigenous peoples have this same problem? Do people laze around until their spouse or chief tells them what to do? Or is it only endemic to the Taker culture? [comment]

2009-06-05-0037Z

Picked some sticky, sour littleleaf sumac berries today and threw them into the apple juice I reconstituted a day or two ago, hoping to jump-start the fermentation with wild yeasts. Hopefully will see some results in another day or two, and if it works, will try again with the agave syrup. The goal, of course, is to be able to make beers and wines with the local desert vegetation, such as agave juice, prickly pear fruits, thick-leaf yucca fruits, and the like.

The rice I cooked a few days ago, and finished this morning, was noticeably sweet. I wonder if I picked up some local wild kōji, or if there are other uOs responsible for the breakdown of starches. [comment]

2009-06-04-2148Z

July Oats have decisively broken the $2.60 barrier. My options are almost back up to where they were when I bought them; of course their "time value" drops every day, so the only thing that brings them up will be their approach towards the strike price.

Woke up this morning remembering having resolved a recurring dream -- one in which I was supposed to enter a building with a glassed-in security area, and in which I kept getting stuck in a conveyor-belt hell where the ducts became too narrow for me to pass. Don't know what I did to resolve it, but vaguely remember the key was in treating the guards as people and not as the mindless morons they can be when they're on the job. In another dream I started sliding along the road on purpose, but then couldn't stop, somehow frictionlessly picking up speed. Tried to slow down by going off-road but it didn't help. Can't remember how that one turned out either. In still another episode I was talking to a hacker girl who was saying something about a graphical diff program. I woke up with the realization that I should be spending a lot more of my time exercising my brain, as I used to years ago. [comment]

2009-06-03-1806Z

The butter I bought in late April is still sweet, stored in a cheap Wal-Mart drybag (the smallest, blue one) with no refrigeration whatsoever. Just put some on my brown basmati rice and it's delicious; and I can't stand rancid butter. [comment]

2009-06-03-0219Z

Three rabbits in three days. Finally accomplished it, or am quite sure I did. Yesterday's was not in doubt, nor that of the day before, each of which was killed just after sundown. But I wanted to break this psychological barrier, so I set out earlier tonight. Walked all the way to the west end of the property, then south to the arroyo. Didn't see anything till I was just west of my neighbor's property, and that was a cottontail scurrying up the other side of the arroyo. He paused within about 3 feet of the top. I took careful aim and fired; it looked like I'd hit it, but then it scurried up and over the top and I didn't see it. Pumped the rifle 10 times, no hurry, and loaded another BB. Down the arroyo and up the other side. Looked around, and didn't see it. Another few steps, and there was a rabbit lying on its side. No twitching, no heartbeat, but it still had its body heat, and it hadn't bloated as it would have if it had sat in the sun all afternoon. I took it home and left it on top of one of my burn barrels while I went for a "confirmed kill". Didn't even get close to another rabbit, so went back home and skinned the one I'd gotten; I found an entry wound near the heart, but nothing perforating the heart, and no BB to be found, nor an exit wound. So there's the shadow of a doubt that this was my kill. But I'll take it anyway, since there's no other logical explanation I can think of.

Jogged downtown today for the first time since returning from the Kinetic Grand Championship. My right big toe still hurts like hell from where I'd ripped the skin experimenting with my bike two weeks ago or so, even though it looks healed, but I managed to deal with the pain by scrunching my toes between footfalls.

Finished reading three Philip K. Dick stories: Through A Scanner Darkly, of which I'd seen part of an animated movie; Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, on which the movie Blade Runner was based (very loosely, I realize after reading the book); and Confessions of a Crap Artist, one of his non-science fiction works, but whose character Jack Isidore, a "nut" in this work, appeared also in Androids as a "special". I'd been wanting to read this guy's work for years, and finally found some free e-books somewhere on the net, I forget where. Maybe it's in my Delicious links. [comment]

2009-06-01-1741Z

Got a cottontail after sundown yesterday. Almost too dark to see at that point, but got it home and on the stove while I sucked down a few beers. Just had some for breakfast, after deboning it and throwing in some onions and chiles, along with some quinoa I'd cooked last night.

Got a problem with my HSBC MasterCard resolved over the phone, after two failed attempts using email. A scam called TLG Great Fun had charged my card $11.99 with no authorization, and all HSBC could tell me was to call the company and cancel the subscription. I asked the guy on the phone "Do you expect me to call a thief and ask for my money back?" He saw my point, canceled the charge, and closed out the account and is sending me a new card with a different number. And I just found my cash rewards balance available for withdrawal because it went over $25.00, so I'll be getting a check within a couple of weeks. Sweet!

My July Oats options are getting closer to the money as the dollar goes down the toilet. Still over 3 weeks left till they expire; I hope at least the one with the $3.00 strike price makes me some money. I get $500 for every ten cents over $3.00 before June 25. Of course, I lose my whole investment if it doesn't get to $3.00. [comment]

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