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


Estafeta in Mexico is the worst fucking delivery company I've ever worked with. they haven't responded to 3 customer service calls initiated via their web site; same with an email I sent after googling for their customer service email address; and I've been on the phone for about 15 minutes already on hold. they disconnected me once. they just don't seem to give a shit about customer service. [comment]


somehow got a pimple right in the middle of my upper lip. looks like I have a eagle beak. [comment]


the striker that comes with the Coghlin knockoff of a Swedish firesteel isn't completely useless. just opened a Ballena with it. thanks, Alex. [comment]


found a bunch of my old PDP-11 code online! it's at DECUSlib. my uudecode for INDirect is there, as is my Peritek monitor driver, and some of my variations on FIG Forth, as well as my utilities peek, poke, and tail, from BASIC and UNIX respectively.

that uudecoder is how I got Kermit onto the standalone Unibus system in the Fort Lauderdale ACDCS. I used to love working nights and weekends; there were hundreds of feet, if not miles, of unused data cables throughout the facility that could be rerouted such as to set up communications between computers all over the GMF. and were. it was fun being able to diagnose and/or reboot systems without having to leave where I was. [comment]


I've probably mentioned this before, but just in case, and while it's on my mind: I'd like to set up some kind of a "telephone" for cetaceans. my original thought was full audio/video, but someone I spoke with about it said it would be a lot simpler, and more easily achieved, with just audio, which made a lot of sense. still it would require waterproof microphones and speakers underwater at each site, wired to a buoy which has a transceiver; relays to the remote; and solar power with batteries to drive everything. I'd need help from people who know dolphin and whale movements to help with placement, and funds or donated equipment. it would also be great to be able to forward both sides of the conversations to the Internet, with the eventual goal of enabling these majestic beings to have Twitter and Facebook accounts, and participate in the Internetocracy. but that can wait. one step at a time. [comment]


ate chicken feet for the first time in my life (that I can remember, anyway) tonight. nothing to write home about, and in fact if I'd had to live on those for any length of time, the world would probably not have had to suffer my presence for very long. [comment]


half-assed plumbers of the world, stand down. you never, ever use teflon tape on the threads of flare or compression fittings. why not? because the flared end of the tube, or the compression bead, are the things that are supposed to be making the seal, not the threads. any impediment to tightening the threads makes it less likely, not more, that you'll get a proper seal. add to that the fact that brass is brittle, and that slight increase in male thread diameter may be enough to split the female part.

some halfwit painter reconnected the dryer the wrong way, and gas was leaking into the closed laundry room all night. the goddamned thing could have exploded, in fact it's a miracle it didn't because the gas water heater was running, and in the same room. and we were sleeping in the bedroom right above it. [comment]


made my 2nd batch of soap using an even more simplified method based on this already very simple procedure. this time I used the amounts I calculated after last attempt's imperfect results: 152ml water and 511ml sunflower oil for 100mg of 85.5% pure KOH. it took about 50 minutes to cook, start-to-finish, because I had to turn off the heat several times and wait for the suds to go down before I could continue.

also, I made a mistake by pre-heating the water in the microwave, and/or measuring the water in the same 500ml cup in which I measured the oil. there was some oil left in the cup, and though I could see where the oil was floating on top of the water and measured the water more or less accurately, adding the potash lye to the cup made it instantly boil over and I lost a little bit of it. luckily I had had the foresight to do that step in the sink. anyway, judging by the lack of liquid oil in the pot after it had cooked down to a paste, I don't have anywhere near the amount of superfat I had last time. I think this will be a good batch. but if not, next time I'll use a liter cup to mix the water and KOH, and use a different cup for the oil.

anyway, the simplification is I only used a silicone spatula for the whole thing, just stirring constantly. no other tools required. this is probably as simple as it gets. [comment]


this can't be good.

Fetching projects: 59% (235/397) Fetching project repo
fatal: Invalid gitfile format: /home/jcomeau/android/system/.repo/repo/.git/clone.bundle
fatal: Could not read from remote repository.

Please make sure you have the correct access rights and the repository exists.
Fetching project CyanogenMod/android_external_llvm

but then again, I already have repo don't I? so maybe nothing to worry about. [comment]


back on chording keyboard again. since all the low 31 characters can be made with control-something, the low 5 keys used alone can be control, alt, function, apple or windows, and right (for right-alt). maybe they can generate tones like do-mi-so-do-mi until the next pattern resolves them into the actual code to be sent. [comment]


learned this some weeks ago but neglected to blog it: .176" bullet terminals are a close enough match for trailer connections to use when you can't find the right connector. [comment]


for dinner I'm having sun-made yogurt I made from a liter of milk this afternoon, with leftover lamb from the other day at Nim, on top of haybox-cooked wheat kernels. very small amounts of energy used.

making a lot of progress on many fronts. made an improvement to my underarm guards for my upcoming trip. getting better on the casterboard. built a balance with a piece of iron bar. getting better at shaving with my pocketknife. hoping to make another batch of soap any day now, although the last batch is still usable and I have plenty left. [comment]


finally recovered from a botched install while attempting to set up my system to compile cyanogenmod, running into a problem with file conflicts that were supposedly resolved years ago. the winning combination seems to have been:

sudo dpkg --configure -a
sudo apt-get -f install
sudo apt-get -o Dpkg::Options::="--force-overwrite" install libc6-dev-i386:amd64

now back to your regularly scheduled programming. [comment]


since Adam Parks gave me permission to repost the blog entry he took down after the shitstorm of comments:

John Comeau: I've copied his post if anybody wants to see it. I'm debating whether or not to post it to my own blog for reference.

Adam Parks: Anna Huerta Zepaltas you couldn't be more right. I stepped in it good. My comments were hurtful to a large population. I have tried to apologize but not sure it's being heard. Sure I'm worried about my business. But I also understand how wrong my post was. Anything that hurts that many people is wrong. John Comeau post away if you want. It's easy enough to find. Sorry if I caused any of you hurt, that was surely not my intent. (facebook comments)

here is the post. note that this is static HTML and you won't be able to actually post a comment to it. for some reason all the existing comments come up twice, too, and in the interest of leaving it as I found it, I won't correct that. [comment]


put the partially-cooked soap back on the stove. after curing out in the bodega for a week or so, it finished in only a few minutes, turning into something resembling vaseline. I might make a second batch tomorrow, with the recalculated ingredients. I plan to subtract 14 ml from the necessary water, since most of the 14.5 percent "contaminants" in the potassium hydroxide I presume to be water. [comment]


oh, and yesterday I thought of, found, and registered a good name for my Facebook-killer website: kybyz.com, pronounced "kibitz". a site where you can post your goals and friends can critique, nag, and praise you for your accomplishments or lack thereof. also snagged "kybytz.com" in case of misspelling. thanks to the strong petrodollar, the price in Euros from DomainDiscount24 wasn't much more in dollars: USD108 vs. EUR100, for 5 years. now if I can just get off my lazy ass and code the goddamned thing. [comment]


no more wrist pain today, so got back on the horse that threw me, i.e., the casterboard. still doing well; balancing better, recovering from bad starts without having to brake, coasting longer distances than I could a couple of weeks ago. [comment]


wrist is already pain-free. I might go casterboarding again as early as tomorrow. boxers and MMA fighters must get these wrist injuries all the time.

spent some time today refining the vector graphics for the Ready for Hillary graphic I started some weeks ago. I'm still not 100% happy with it but probably won't spend any more time on it. I'll post the code if enough people nag me. it's a combination of handwritten postscript and ImageMagick commands, with the bumper sticker art from readyforhillary.com, after removing the "I'm" using gimp (color picker, rectangle select, fill). [comment]


I'm getting better at casterboarding. went about 34 yards nonstop yesterday on that ideal, gradually sloping new sidewalk east of Sinatra. but today I was right in front of the house and went down hard on my left wrist. this could turn out badly. [comment]


so two or 3 days ago, my tablet's battery went to zero again, and this time it wouldn't reboot. the little Cyanogenmod guy just stood there generating various shades of cyan for hours. so I did the upvolume-on trick to get into the ROM manager, and erased all user data. it booted successfully. now I've got to add all my apps back, ugh. [comment]


had to use a propane torch to light the sparkler, but then it lit instantly and burned down into the piece of clamshell that held the magnetite sand mixed with aluminum powder. it went out. no reaction. damn. will maybe try again with something hotter. [comment]


"all public employees have larceny in their hearts or they wouldn't be feeding at the public trough" -- Robert Heinlein, speaking through his character Friday in the book of the same name.

some accuse me of having been such, during my years as an electronics technician at the USPS, but I'm pretty sure my heart's desire for larceny is tempered by my sense of fairness and love for my fellow man. except when it comes to wifi. if it's unsecured, I'll probably steal some bandwidth. [comment]


the cleaning ladies used so much of those reeking detergents that the whole house is unliveable. I tried sleeping out on the balcony at first, but when the wind died down, the smell came out under the door and woke me up again. I was almost resigned to pay for a hotel, but besides my revulsion at paying for things like hotels and taxis I remembered that often hotel rooms are almost as bad with regard to detergent odor. then I remembered the car. found the keys, crawled in the back seat, and crashed. made it through the night. [comment]


Suministros A Z, the chemical supplier on Juarez east of Ramirez in La Paz, has aluminum powder, 100g for about MXN200. got some cash and am going back there shortly, so I can do my thermite experiments. [comment]


looks like Mike and I disagree on the M855. he says the Fudds (those who care only about gun rights with regard to hunting) are agitating against the ban. though he definitely has a better feel for the nation's pulse in gun matters than I do, I hope he's wrong.

and perhaps I didn't explain my concept of it clearly enough. what I'm saying is that the administration is saying "we want this ammunition off the market because we're afraid you're going to use it on us". and we're saying back, "we're afraid that you're afraid we're going to use it on you; what atrocities are you planning that would necessitate that?" [comment]


got two Facebook friend requests from two purported young ladies in the past 24 hours. deleted both. nice try, fibbies. my account is totally public and I have a "follow" button. use it. I'm not your friend. [comment]


so my first soapmaking experiment was probably a failure. I won't know for sure 'til I try and use it, but I never got it past the applesauce stage, and I realized partway through that I had done the calculations all wrong. you see, I had forgotten that my KOH was only 85.5% pure. so I had figured, with an average saponification value of 191 and density of .9188g/ml for sunflower oil, my 100g of potash lye would saponify 523.56g or 569.8ml of oil, plus 5% superfat would mean 598.3, or 600ml close enough. but with only 85.5g of potassium hydroxide, the same calculations with 5% superfat is only 511ml. so I really had 23.2% superfat (600/487), and that's way too much. I might try again someday, but for now I've got to clean up my messes and prepare for the arrival of my lady in a few days.

oh, and I calculated water, based on that webpage, as 1.94 to 1, so used 200ml of water when I should have only used about 166. [comment]


just awoke a little while ago, and in that semi-awake state connected some dots that have been building a picture, but until now I wasn't able to see it.

the proposed ban on "green tip" ammunition that the ATF floated recently has generated a backlash I seriously doubt they, or anyone, would have expected, including me. even the NRA, the big slumbering giant, has been awoken by the noise and started getting recalcitrant congresscritters in line.

for my friends who are into other things and to whom this may look like a silly sideshow: it's not. Waco and Ruby Ridge were followed by years of standoff between a government (acting on behalf of the moneyed elites) intent on making any resistance toothless, and the unorganized militia who saw the swastikas on the wall and decided to make sure it wouldn't happen. I myself was only made aware of what was going on about 7 or 8 years ago.

the tl;dr summary is: this is the latest battle in the still-nonviolent revolution.

the ATF knows this ammunition for AR-15 and similar rifles is the cheapest and most readily available (until recently anyway, due to this proposed edict causing binge buying) hunk of lead and steel that will be floating in the direction of its masters and their minions once gun confiscations begin on any serious level. they fear the consequences, and they fear the 3 percent or so of Americans who will fight back. this ho-hum "commonsense" measure, which by their own twisted logic could have been imposed decades ago, but wasn't, isn't fooling anybody. the shitstorm of response this has generated is telling our would-be masters exactly what they have been fearing: this ammunition is primarily to be used on them, and they don't like it one bit. [comment]


my back straightened itself out over the past few days, a combination of self-chiropractic, sleeping flat on my back, and lots of exercise. no noticeable pain at all today. [comment]


raining again! love rain in the desert. and I made some almond butter in a molcajete a little while ago. wasn't very difficult at all. how cool is that? [comment]


lotecnotec is registered as Ace in the 2015 Kinetic Grand Championship, number 105. so long as I have no mishaps between now and Memorial Day weekend, hope to see you at Arcata Plaza at noon on Saturday, May 23. [comment]


just had an ice cream cone at Thrifty, nuez garapiñada, not so much because of sugar cravings, which are actually pretty easy to override, but more as a fuck you to a certain "friend" who reads my blog and emailed me expressing an interest in my immediate demise. don't hold your breath, bitch. [comment]


went out to FYMSA today to get some iron bar. I thought it was barra de hierro but I was wrong; they didn't understand. so went out into the yard and found it. it's solera.

raining in La Paz today, or at least it was until about a half hour ago. much better than the wicked humidity we had in the morning. [comment]


best night on the casterboard yet. about 24 yards with each foot forward on the new sidewalk opposite Sinatra. that slight downgrade, probably less than 1%, is very forgiving of my inability to get the back-and-forth rhythm. [comment]


Waldo's finally finally finally got some stock of cheap Chinese-made pliers again. pretty sure it's been over a year. 19 pesos each. and some analog oven thermometers for 29 pesos.

bought an option for $87 December silver for .002/ounce. looks like my July options will not likely pan out. [comment]


practiced for hours on the casterboard today. I still suck, but suck less than before. the biggest key to success, I found, is a smooth surface. tried the new sidewalk on Mutualismo and had much better results. [comment]

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