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.

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Let's see, where do I start? Today is Saturday, so it must have been Thursday morning I set out for El Paso. My friend Alima came along and gave me a ride as far as the Dollar General, so I only had to walk about a quarter mile to the MX$25 bus to Entronque, AKA Crucero Palomas. The Juarez bus came along in about an hour, and on arrival in that city I rushed to the West exit and caught the next bus downtown (MX$4.50). Walked to the bridge, about a mile, paid 35 cents to get through, and by early afternoon was in El Paso, after the obligatory harrassment by the border pricks.

First stop up Mesa Street was for lunch, at The Sushi Place. I'd gone to Yamato a previous time and was unimpressed, so this one, a block further north, was the obvious choice. The meseras were cute, but I think they objected to my vagabond appearance because it took about 10 minutes before I was served, and while the place had a good crowd it was fairly obvious I was being ignored. The green tea was lukewarm, and the leaves were ground up into the tea instead of sinking to the bottom. Not saying it's bad that way, just different. And I sank over $19 including a tip into the sashimi combination, and it didn't really fill me up all that well.

Next stop was the Butterflies of Wisdom cafe, where for $2.50 I could use their internet for half an hour. If I'd brought my laptop, it would have been free to use the wifi, but I didn't. Checked my email, looked at Google Maps to find a park where I could maybe rest, drank some coffee and I was on my way.

Arroyo Park, a few blocks northeast on Cincinnati and then south a block, turned out to be an unmaintained wildlife preserve with little provision for a nomad to lay his head down. I did find an arroyo, but the comfort level was low, I expected some snooty yuppie from the tennis club to call the cops on me at any moment, and I didn't get any sleep. After a half hour or so I abandoned the idea and headed back to Cincinnati Ave. and disappeared into Hemingway's for a cold pint of Guinness, served by the lovely bartender Andrea, and after pumping a couple or 3 dollars into the jukebox and trying a pint of New Belgium Brewery's 1554, left for something to fill my already-growling stomach. On the next block North was Sinbad's, and it looked inviting, so that's where I went.

Tried the Arabic coffee, muddy like Turkish coffee and smelling like some kind of solvent, and ordered the Shawarma Lamb sandwich, spicy meat which may or may not have been lamb rolled up in pita bread with a yogurt sauce. Very tasty, but not enough, so I asked how much would the Shish Kebab plate be without the rice or salad; the waiter, a young guy who, probably due to the current tension between Lebanon and Israel seemed to deny any Arabic ethnicity, came back shortly and told me $6.00. Good deal. Turns out to have been about the same as ordering two more of the sandwiches, though. In any case, I drank a cup of regular coffee and got out of there only spending $13 and change, and if indeed it was lamb it was probably a healthy as well as delicious meal. I highly recommend it for a nice atmosphere and good, inexpensive food.

When I got out, the hills east of Mesa were bathed in the blood of a dying sunset. I kept walking North; though the buses were still running at least until 8 PM, I didn't want to buy a ticket that day. My next stop wasn't for another 3.5 miles, Erin's at 6306 N. Mesa. I first went to the far entrance because it looked like the first door was a different establishment; then when I found out they didn't have Guinness on tap went through that first door again and found it was another part of Erin's! Anyway they had $1.50 drafts, probably 12 ounces each in plastic mugs which kept the beer surprisingly cold. The only decent brew they had on tap was Shiner Bock, so that was what I drank. The appetizers were very affordable too, at $2 each, but I wasn't really hungry so just ordered the popcorn for 25 cents. I sat there and watched almost a full episode of South Park, which I had never seen before except for little snippets here and there. I thought the kids sounded quite tame compared to other 6-year-olds I've known. Then started the Stereotype Olympics, where they made fun of black, Mexican, and asian stereotypes but not, as far as I could see, whites. Glad I don't watch TV except in circumstances like this.

Not long after I got out of there, it started raining. And rain it did; all night long. At first I found a place under a closed insurance agency where I was fairly hidden from the street and could lie down out of the rain; but I couldn't sleep, and eventually I just decided to keep walking, even took off my hat to let my filthy hair get an impromptu shampoo. At one point, while the water was flowing madly through sluiceways, I found one place in which I could immerse my head in the flowing water and washed it out pretty well. I then walked all the way to the Walgreens north of the Hudson's bar and grill before turning around and heading back. That was about 3:45 in the morning; I spent maybe an hour at Wal-Mart looking for thermal underwear or anything dry with which I could replace my soaked shirt which by that time was making me shiver badly, but no luck. I was also almost out of money except for my bus fare home, and had to be careful how much I spent. I bought two $1 sausage McMuffin's at Mickey D's, drank some coffee and caught a few Z's at Starbucks, and finally went to Home Depot where I found the spacers I was looking for, on behalf of a friend in Columbus who needed to do something about the outlets in his house which were mounted badly -- the installer forgot to take into account the width of the sheetrock when he installed the handy boxes -- and since that was the only real reason I was in El Paso, after that I caught the next bus downtown, gave my day pass to the first person smart enough to grab it from me, and headed back across the border to Cd. Juarez.

I don't think people who live in a place necessarily know much about their town. I got in line for the Ruta A1 bus, but just before boarding asked if this went to the Central Camionera and two or 3 people said "no". Shortly thereafter the Permisionario bus came along, and since I knew it went that way, got on it. Turns out we followed the A1 all the way south along the exact same route. That day, due to the all-night rain and poor drainage, Ave. 5 de Mayo was flooded practically end-to-end with water up to maybe 8 inches deep. Disabled cars here and there... a real mess. Kids were playing in the water, oblivious to the threat of death in a country where electrical lines are haphazard at best. Anyway, once at the Camionera, I got on the next bus to C. Palomas, and was in Palomas proper by early afternoon. I walked across the border and after less than a mile, and having been passed by several SUVs and big-assed shiny pickup trucks, got a ride in the back of a rather beat-up pickup driven by Mexican-Americans. My friend reimbursed me the price of the spacers and gave me a little extra for my trouble, which I promptly spent on burritos and beer at the San Jose Deli. I was home! I slept like a log most of the rest of Friday, and through the night as well. I'm lucky I didn't get pneumonia from my "night on the town", which would have thrown a major crimp in my Burning Man plans. Laterz... I'm feeling sleepy again already. [comment]


Woke up a little while ago from another possibly-recurring dream. I say "possibly" because while I was dreaming, things looked familiar, but on awakening I couldn't remember any similar dream I had before.

Where I start remembering is in a castle at the top of a hill; I'm on the roof with the nobleman or whatever lives in the castle, the wind is blowing hard, and I start flying by flapping my arms (must be low-G in this dreamworld, as in a lot of my other dreamworlds). There's a river running past the castle, and I'm able to stay aloft just long enough to land gently in it. Then I go under the surface to avoid being observed, and near a bend in the river enter a culvert. This culvert has some blockages engineered to discourage people like me from navigating it, but I've been this route before and know all the tricks. I can't remember if I could breathe underwater, or if after a while there was air space at the top of the culvert; I do remember I was quite unconcerned at being trapped underwater in a closed space for a long time.

Eventually I reached a point from where I could start climbing to the surface; some kind of handholds were in the high vertical wall, or just the low gravity of the place made it possible to climb without handholds. When I was several stories up, I could grab onto the edges of the cubbyholes of a sheet-metal shelving unit with machine parts in it. I threw some of the parts down into the water in order to give my hands better purchase, though it probably wasn't necessary in that gravity... then looked around in the adjacent doorway for some signs of life. Eventually the noise I was making by rattling the shelving unit and throwing things off it attracted the attention of some clerk in the office across the hall. He came out, looked at me startled, and I said "help me!" at which point he grabbed my leg (though I wanted him to grab both arm and leg) and pulled me into the hallway. Somehow then I got a look at "myself", as in an out-of-body experience, and saw a gray-haired white guy with a crewcut, 60ish, listening with a crafty smile as the clerk tells him how lonely he is here and could use some help. At this point I wake up.

Now in what kind of world would you have normal offices and hallways, and through one portal off the hallway there's a 50-foot drop into a storm sewer? With a parts cabinet to the right of the portal (I'm using the word in the sense of "opening without a door") with no place for someone to stand (it must be attached to the concrete wall with screws and anchors)? Also during my underwater adventure it went through my mind that this was some kind of illegal contest that was held every year.

The idea of flying into a body of water is not restricted to my dreams; often, back when I was flying in planes a lot, I'd entertain myself by thinking that if the plane were sure to crash, I could jump out where I could see a body of water, spread-eagle, and try to reach it, thinking my survival chances would be a little better landing in water than on land (I've since learned that people routinely die jumping off bridges into rivers; the water doesn't give that much softer a landing). [comment]


After publicly bitching about PlentyOfFish.com and cluttering Markus's blog with my ranting, I found the error... mine all along... I misspelled my username on signup, and the misspelling was saved in both my browsers... when logging into the forums I was spelling it correctly so of course it wasn't working. Made a total arse of myself online again, ah well... just got a response from Markus and he was cool about it. [comment]


Two more losing sites: impersonals.com, which just clears all the fields when I try to submit the signup page, and collaboradate.com, which gives me the following error on the second page of signup:

Microsoft OLE DB Provider for SQL Server error '80040e14'

Line 1: Incorrect syntax near '>'.

/v2/createprofile/step2.asp, line 292

I enabled cookies for both sites, it doesn't seem to help (but why does almost every site require cookies anyway? Are they all written in ASP or PHP, two of the lamest technologies out there?)... bah. Humbug. [comment]


PlentyOfFish.com might be one of the better dating sites out there, but damn I'm having a helluva time logging into the forums. Tried with both Firefox and IE, and both with my normal paranoid security settings and completely insecure -- no dice. Don't they do any fucking testing? What a bunch of dweebs. Or maybe I'm the dweeb, since other people don't seem to have any problem.

Got my cobalt-blue rope light up where you can maybe see it from Highway 11... if you're passing by, stop in for a shot of tequila, Laphroaig, or whatever else I might have around. [comment]


So I survived the curse after all. For some reason I thought my Dad was born in 1920... turns out I found his record in the Social Security Death Index, and he was born in 1924, which means he died about two months after reaching age 47. So I've already outlived him by 3 years. One totally irrational fear goes out the window... I might still die today, but the shortened lifespans of my Grampy and Dad won't necessarily have anything to do with it.

I got my rope light up 2 or 3 days ago, but due to various problems it hasn't worked all night yet. I already solved one electrical problem, but now I've got to secure it better. Then I can check if it's visible from the highway. Eventually I'll probably make it so it lights only at night, but at 2.5 watts it's not a priority. [comment]


I just posted my Digikey parts list for my blue LED rope light. Mind you I haven't actually built it yet, so not sure if the wire size is going to work out. I just got some plastic tubing today at the hardware store in Deming. [comment]


I just had a curious déjà vu experience when running my program in the T5 emulator... the display froze, and a bunch of similar events ran through my mind so fast, I couldn't piece them together into anything coherent. I know this doesn't sound worthy of mention, but somehow it is... I'll maybe figure it out someday. [comment]


Genome researchers with limited bandwidth can save a few minutes downloading the HG18 dataset by visiting my compressed HGP directory. You need the tools for at least one of the two competing 2bit file formats. Mine is here, I haven't yet found complete sources for the other.

Tektonic gives me "unmetered" bandwidth, so download away. These compressed files are over 100MB smaller than the complete datasets available from UCSC. [comment]


Looks like someone independently came up with a 2bit file format different from my own, way back in the late 90's. Not hard to imagine for something so blatantly obvious, but I couldn't find anything like it when I was first investigating the human genome. [comment]


Forgot to mention, on awakening last night I remembered that I dream a lot about riding a bicycle, or walking or running, in the area of Skowhegan going up towards the high school, like on McLellan Street, and around the Norridgewock-Mercer-Madison area. I really wish I could get myself back in the habit of running. It gave me a sense of power over myself and my life as nothing else can. [comment]


More recurring dreams, this time about my childhood home in Skowhegan, and in a building that resembles both the Skowhegan high school (as it was in 1974) and the USPS processing facility in Fort Lauderdale... the first snippet I remember, I retrieved 8 brown business envelopes, hand-addressed, from a facer-canceller hopper after processing was done. Then I guess I fell asleep somewhere in the back of the building, and didn't know, when I woke up, if I was late clocking out or not. In most of my dreams about the post office, I rarely clock in or out anyway, and I never get paid, but this time I was somewhat conscientious about it. And I was concerned about those 8 letters that I had delayed processing by a day because I had taken them in a metal case to the back with me and they didn't get canceled in time.

Another thing I remember was in the living room of 15 Olive Street, and there was my cousin Janet W. looking an absolute babe; I was talking to her trying to determine when we'd last seen each other, and I decided it was at least 30 years. There were two dogs there, one of which had reptilian features, and when my foot brushed against it there was sharp pain from its scales.

Now upon awakening I can't remember if Janet is my cousin or not... in the dream I "knew" it. What's weird is I haven't thought of her since I left Maine 32 years ago. [comment]


A few days ago I read my first Paulo Coelho (not his first, but my first) book, The Fifth Mountain, and I was very underwhelmed. All this fame for a guy who writes "historical" novels based on the Bible, itself a fabrication? But this afternoon I finished The Alchemist, his masterpiece, and I have to admit that despite his monotheism and his apparent blinders to anything outside of Taker culture, I'm fascinated by the idea of pursuing the dream I've had since childhood of becoming great at programming computers. Not just competent... transcendent. Maybe that's what the universe needs right now. Someone to blend the physical world with the spirit world through the Great Digital Divide. I'm rambling... [comment]


The thumbwheel on my Clié PEG-TJ37 is such a great navigation tool; why the fuck doesn't Sun's midp4palm or IBM's J9 software use it as a default selector for List screens? Grrrrr... sure I can navigate with it, but to select the item, just pushing in on the thumbwheel doesn't work... it's completely ignored. One must use the stylus as a selection tool. It's probably Sony's fault, they might have mapped it in some bogus way. Without knowing PalmOS better I'm only guessing.

Want to see how your MIDP device handles implicit List commands? Download demo.jad using your MIDlet downloader, or for Palm, get IBM's Websphere which has the J9 MIDP VM, and demo.prc. You can view the source also, and/or build it yourself using GNU make. I've tried Apache Ant, and it's OK, but I still prefer the power and simplicity of Makefiles. [comment]


At the Golden Dragon in downtown Silver City, using their free wifi and having the $7.95 "Twice Cooked Pork (Hot)", not hot by Chinatown standards but not bad considering how deep into Gringoland this is. The main dish is very tasty and fresh, though the fried rice is the typical insipid garbage with frozen peas and carrots, and the tea is weak, only one bag for the whole teapot. In any case, it's the best deal on the best meal I've gotten in this town so far. Which doesn't say a whole lot for the other places I've tried. [comment]


I couldn't figure out for the life of me where the fucking Tungsten T5 Simulator was caching data; I removed the .prc files from the AutoLoad folder, and even completely removed the simulator directory and reinstalled from the zipfile... the old apps were still there. Finally did a Windows search and found c:\Palm\SimSlotDriverVolume, renamed it, and voila! That was it. Pisser. Took me over an hour. [comment]


Another way of showing the problem, with the other Qwest nameserver:

jcomeau@unixshell:~$ dig test.jcomeau.com @ +norecurse

; <<>> DiG 9.2.4 <<>> test.jcomeau.com @ +norecurse ;; global options: printcmd ;; Got answer: ;; ->>HEADER<<- opcode: QUERY, status: NOERROR, id: 9860 ;; flags: qr ra; QUERY: 1, ANSWER: 0, AUTHORITY: 3, ADDITIONAL: 3

;; QUESTION SECTION: ;test.jcomeau.com. IN A

;; AUTHORITY SECTION: jcomeau.com. 171438 IN NS ns1.domaindiscount24.net. jcomeau.com. 171438 IN NS ns2.domaindiscount24.net. jcomeau.com. 171438 IN NS ns3.domaindiscount24.net.

;; ADDITIONAL SECTION: ns1.domaindiscount24.net. 155503 IN A ns2.domaindiscount24.net. 155503 IN A ns3.domaindiscount24.net. 155503 IN A

;; Query time: 82 msec ;; SERVER: ;; WHEN: Fri Jul 7 18:49:17 2006 ;; MSG SIZE rcvd: 156

jcomeau@unixshell:~$ dig test.jcomeau.com @ +recurse

; <<>> DiG 9.2.4 <<>> test.jcomeau.com @ +recurse ;; global options: printcmd ;; Got answer: ;; ->>HEADER<<- opcode: QUERY, status: SERVFAIL, id: 10610 ;; flags: qr rd ra; QUERY: 1, ANSWER: 0, AUTHORITY: 0, ADDITIONAL: 0

;; QUESTION SECTION: ;test.jcomeau.com. IN A

;; Query time: 551 msec ;; SERVER: ;; WHEN: Fri Jul 7 18:49:24 2006 ;; MSG SIZE rcvd: 34




I ran the queries directly against Qwest's nameservers... so the problem isn't in the modems at all, it's in certain providers' fubared nameservers:

jcomeau@intrepid ~/www/www/blog
$ nslookup test.jcomeau.com
Server:  phx-dns-01.inet.qwest.net

*** phx-dns-01.inet.qwest.net can't find test.jcomeau.com: Server failed

jcomeau@intrepid ~/www/www/blog $ nslookup www.jcomeau.com Server: phx-dns-01.inet.qwest.net Address:

Non-authoritative answer: Name: www.jcomeau.com Address:

OK, now change the CNAME:

jcomeau@intrepid ~/www/www/blog
$ nslookup test.jcomeau.com
Server:  phx-dns-01.inet.qwest.net

Non-authoritative answer: Name: cosf.unternet.net Address: Aliases: test.jcomeau.com

Then I changed it back, but unlike the DSL modem, it cached this latest record as the CNAME that it is, and still gives the correct result. I've got to wait 8 hours till the record expires.

So it's a combination of bugs. Qwest has buggy nameservers that can't resolve a recursive query x.y.z CNAME y.z, and Actiontec DSL modems cache CNAME records as A records when the CNAME fails to resolve. Still not sure I understand it, but it's getting clearer. [comment]


More weirdness with the Actiontec modem... I set test.jcomeau.com to be a CNAME to unixshell.jcomeau.com, and it timed out as expected. Then I changed the CNAME to point to cosf.unternet.net, and the recursive query went through! Aha, I think, so it only works if the CNAME points to a different domain name. So I change the CNAME to point test.jcomeau.com to www.jcomeau.com; now it resolves as an A record, even though it isn't! Definitely a bug somewhere. I wish dd24.net would let me change my TTL to something small so I could test more easily. [comment]


Sure enough, changing www.jcomeau.com to an A record solved the problem. Immediately. WTF? The record never even got cached. It's as if the query were never even made. On my server, the dig query still shows the CNAME, with another 8 hours till the record expires. [comment]


That CNAME problem I mentioned last April, with regard to a lot of DSL modems, is still confusing me; www.yahoo.com is a CNAME, as is www.usga.com, and they both resolve here at Rejuvenation; but www.jcomeau.com does not resolve. I can't figure out what the problem can be. If I set norec in nslookup, it points me to the correct nameservers for jcomeau.com, but if I set it to recursive mode, it times out. It's an Actiontec modem, and the provider here is Qwest. Weird shit. I should really change all my DNS records to A records and just avoid the problem, but it irks me, and I want to figure this shit out. [comment]


On awakening today, a thought about landfills popped into my mind. I usually rail about hauling "garbage" off to landfills which will have to be dug up and recycled by future generations... but once oil becomes super expensive, as it eventually will, the mountains of garbage, mostly plastics, will become extremely valuable as fuel. Possibly within my lifetime, municipalities and private companies who own landfills might be getting rich off them. Maybe I should buy some cheap land and start my own landfill... [comment]


I was wrong about the Silver Cafe, my pork chops came out right after I wrote that last entry, and they were quite tasty. Not having a beer with lunch kept the tab at $9.75 including tip, and it actually filled me up. In fact, I didn't eat anything more until just a few minutes ago.

The internet was down all day at Rejuvenation, so I programmed most of the day instead of wasting time surfing the web. Yet it's nice to be able to research things when you want to, and I couldn't do that once I left my friend's house this afternoon. Ah well, water over the dam (or "waterfall" as Billy used to say... right Tony?). [comment]


Caught the 1:53 bus from downtown Santa Clara to Silver City for $1.25. Its last stop is right across the street from the Silver City Brewing Company, which was closed when I got there; they open at 3PM. So I walked down Bullard to Nancy's Silver Cafe, where I ordered the pork chop plate for $7.80, got a cup of vegetable soup followed by some stale chips and salsa, and am typing this while waiting for them to kill the pig. I'm beginning to think that there is no good food available in Silver City restaurants. [comment]


Tried enough of the kernels to lose any hope of finding CONFIG_BINFMT_MISC set in any of them. Back to some other project... [comment]


Duh, there was an easy enough way to check, as someone else pointed out in the unixshell forums:

unixshell:~# zcat /proc/config.gz | grep -i binfmt
I'm trying different kernels to see if any of them have it enabled. I'll let you know what I find out. [comment]


Tried to get binfmt_misc working on my unixshell Xen server, not that I need it but I want it, and I'd liked to have helped this guy in the process. It was quite a trip.

First, I had to upgrade some packages, as my kernel was built with gcc-4.0 and I had gcc-3.3 installed. But apt-get kept insisting there was no gcc-4.0 available. I had to rebuild my /etc/sources.list by running apt-setup noprobe. Then I made the mistake of installing gcc-4.0-locales, which took hours. Got a cute little message in dmesg which told me to disable the tls libraries, which I did after dpkg finally finished installing the locales for every frickin' language for every goddamn country in the world. Got the kernel source using links http://unixshell.com/kernel-source/ and pointed the compiler to the proper include files by running:

# mv /usr/include/linux /usr/include/linux.old # ln -s /usr/src/linux-2.6.16-xen/include/linux /usr/include/linux

Then after hours of fiddling came up with this patch which, after running make modules modules_install makes a binfmt_misc.ko that loads correctly without a "version magic" error in dmesg.

After all that, I confirmed that "mmilne" from the unixshell forum knew what he was doing, and we're not likely to get binfmt_misc working until Matt Ayres and the fine folks at Unixshell decide to build the support into the kernel. If the entry binfmt_misc doesn't show up under /proc/sys/fs there isn't a hell of a lot you can do. [comment]


Now in the Buffalo Bar, still hijacking a signal from Rejuvenation. I can't figure out for the life of me why I need to run colinux-daemon as an administrator first, then shut it down and run it as a limited user, in order to get the network to come up. And even then, I used to be able to get a second IP for the coLinux instance, now lately I get the same IP as under Windows.

I went to the Silver City Brewing Company and had a couple of their tasty but flat beers with an uninspiring meatball sub for dinner. Now I'm here waiting for my ride, drinking $1.75 draft Buds. Yuck.

A while ago, leaving Rejuvenation, a pretty blond blue-eyed 20-something told me I have nice eyes. Too bad I don't feel horny after programming all day. [comment]


Finally fixed my svnimport.sh script to run properly with a remote server. To use it, you'll need to have an sshd daemon that allows root login via public key by adding this line to your inittab, changing 8888 to whatever port you want. export ROOTSSHPORT=8888 and cd to the parent dir of the directory you're importing before executing the script. Check the other variables and constants in the script, fixing as necessary, including the svn repository and the username under which apache runs.

Yes, I know it's not safe to allow direct root login via ssh, but this is IMO the safest way to do it if you're going to do it anyway. It's a separate high-numbered port, only root can login, and only with a key, not with a password. Of course, on your normal sshd port you shouldn't allow root logins whatsoever.

Wrote a simple quicksort in Java for sorting int arrays by length of the subarrays. I needed it for a particular project, haven't really tested it yet. It needs improvement, particularly in the pivot point selection process. [comment]


Back at Rejuvenation after a walk up Bullard to get some food... stopped in at Diane's restaurant which is barely visible from the road since they don't have a noticeable sign. Ordered the tuna melt and a bottle of Bass, $13 including tip and it didn't fill me up at all. So now I'm eating some super-sweet carrot cake with my coffee. Yuck. I checked in at Java the Hut on my way back and they don't have wireless internet. Also, there appeared an open network from Diane's labeled "101" but it wouldn't assign me an IP address.

Finally solved a problem that's been bugging me ever since putting %.test rules in my Makefiles: it would sometime delete the .class files afterwards. Putting a .PRECIOUS: %.class rule in my Makefile fixed it. [comment]


Rained like a sonuvabitch most of the night. Wish that would happen in Columbus more often.

I'm at the Rejuvenation coffeehouse in Silver City, a nice comfortable place with free wifi and a lot of pretty girls.

For some reason gcj 3.4.4 on Cygwin can't recognize StringBuffer.append(String) from the JDK 1.5.0_06 rt.jar. See the Makefile, Common.java, and compiler output and let me know if you figure it out. It works fine when I add the J2ME jarfiles to the bootclasspath. [comment]


Something weird just happened; the eardrum in my left ear started vibrating at maybe 10 to 20 cps. It lasted for a few seconds, then quit. This was in Santa Clara, east of Silver City. Government tests? I can imagine this would have been quite painful at a higher amplitude. Why only the left ear? My right ear wasn't facing an open window.

Speaking of the devil... when we got to the base of the cliff dwellings yesterday about 5:30 local time, the ranger on duty, a pleasant white-haired lady, informed us that for our own protection we were not allowed to go up the trail because it had been washed out by rainwater. Oh, gee, thanks, after we drove 2 hours through the winding mountain roads. How about letting us decide, Uncle? [comment]


Spending some time in Silver City after a harrowing night, two nights ago, at my place. Meanwhile I have some blue LEDs and stuff coming from Digi-key with which I'm going to make some very-low-wattage rope lights.

Going to visit the Gila cliff dwellings in a few minutes. More later... [comment]


Over the past couple of weeks I upgraded my wiring "backbone" to AWG6, and since that in itself didn't solve the problem, got two 6V golf-cart batteries to replace the Wal-mart "marine" batteries. My freezer has been running almost constantly since replacing the batteries yesterday, but unless I get some wind pretty soon the party's going to be over again... the batteries are already down to 10.8V (in series of course) and that's pretty close to the low-voltage cutoff on the SunDanzer.

Not much else going on lately... my date palm, Phoenix Roebelinii, has been holding on due to my neighbor's help in watering it, but nothing else, including ice plants and prickly pear, I've tried growing has survived. Monsoon season, if we get one this year, starts this month so let's see if the rain gods will cooperate. [comment]

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