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


It's been raining, on and off, since Wednesday evening. The first good rain since, what, August? Not enough to cause any flow in the arroyos, though, that I could see.

Went to Wal-Mart the other day and they had Daisy multi-pump air rifles on sale for $40. But once I got it home I found I can't get it to work; the air leaks out as fast as I can pump it. Hope they don't give me a hard time when I take it back.

Meanwhile, I'm getting better with the spring-powered BB pistol I bought a week or two ago. I shot a dove today, cleaned and cooked it, and had it as part of my Thanksgiving Day meal.

While at Wal-Mart, I saw a nice little Acer Aspire One laptop for sale for $348. Prices just keep dropping. It's just amazing, considering how shaky the ground is under the U.S. dollar. [comment]


Finally got my DNSBL list set up correctly. I had enclosed it in single-quotes, like everything else in /etc/exim4/update-exim4.conf.conf, but /var/log/exim4/mainlog showed that it was parsing the quotes as part of the domain names; thus, only bl.spamcop.net was being consulted. Removed the quotes and restarted exim, and now all 3 blocklists are effective:


I've been sticking to my jogging regimen pretty well. 15 minutes a day minimum, and 35 yesterday; didn't make it all the way to the border, not that I couldn't have, but don't want to punish my body any more than necessary to keep in shape. I skip some days when blisters, cuts, or other injuries make it uncomfortable, or when I just plain don't feel like it; luckily, those are few. I'm enjoying the sense of well-being that comes from good cardiovascular condition.

Also back into reading, as my LED lamps consume far less energy than the computer. I re-read The Exorcist for the first time in about 35 years, and am starting on Patriots by James Wesley Rawles. All the Christian silliness about church and praying detracts from the novel, but the survival info makes it worthwhile. [comment]


The wind gods must have seen my blog! It wasn't enough today, but it was something at least. [comment]


Walking at sunup this morning, I saw what looked like motorcycle tracks in the dried grass. Only, nobody rides a motorcycle here, and even if someone did, it's unlikely someone could ride exactly the same path often enough to wear it down so perfectly. Then I saw the rabbit turds. And not long afterwards, saw the burrows from which the tracks led.

All the time I've lived here I'd never seen rabbit tracks. A combination of the dawn shadows and the spurt in this year's vegetation made them visible.

What happened to the wind? None for several days now. My battery bank is back down to just over 11 volts at dusk. [comment]


Just thought of another thing. I tried burning my torch inside an upright 5-gallon bucket yesterday afternoon, and it didn't go out. So the idea that nitrogen and/or CO2 will keep the oxygen out isn't very workable for open containers, it seems. Just checked the periodic table, and N comes before O anyway; so it stands to reason that O2 would be heavier than N2. And since all 3 are so perfectly miscible, I can't see a way to keep them apart without using sealed containers and a purging system, which doesn't fit in with my plan (keeping bulk foods like nuts and whole wheat flour fresh). Back to square 1. [comment]


Woke up with the moon shining through my skylight. I thought that was odd; I guess I always assumed the moon followed a similar apparent path through the sky that the sun does. But my sunshadow, in the northern hemisphere, would never point to the south as my moonshadow just did. Learn something new every night, heh.

Now that I've gotten a Debian package compiled with DKIM support, I feel a little more confident to tackle OpenID again. How difficult can it be, anyway? I believe the key, for me, is to print up the specs and the tcpdumps of working OpenID sessions and study them. That method always worked for me in the past.

By the way, if anyone trusts me not to crack eir server (bwahahahahaha) my APT repository line for your sources.list is:

deb http://www.unternet.net/apt dubious main contrib non-free

And so you'd fetch my build of the dkim-enabled exim4 with:

apt-get -t dubious install exim4-daemon-custom

If you update exim4-config also, be sure to answer Y to any questions about overwriting config files. Copy /etc/exim4 to another location first if you're concerned about your local modifications being lost. Luckily I have 4 machines running Debian so I could recover from my mistake. Don't worry about getting my "dubious" package of the configuration, I didn't add the rules to /etc/exim4/conf.d/transport/30_exim4-config_remote_smtp until after the build. I'm not very clued-in about building Debian packages yet. Don't even know how to make a source package.

Some of the dependencies are on packages from the "unstable" build; be warned. [comment]


I've been making sourdough for a week or two now. The easy way, just leaving whole what flour mixed with water left out of the sun with a towel on it. When it gets sour, make some awesome pancakes with it, and stir in more flour and water. When it goes bad, wash out the bowl and start over.

I got a free sample of a Beerbelly hydration frontpack, either because those guys are generous or clueless, I havent figured out which. Go to their website and order one, select Paypal as your payment option, then bail out once you get redirected to PayPal. See if they send you one. Anyway, it's the best hydration pack for jogging that I've found. It chafed on small spot on my belly, but once that heals I should be good to go.

I have a new favorite beer, Kona Pipeline Porter, joining beer and coffee in a most unholy and delightful matrimony. Don't worry, Downtown Brown, I still love you! I'm poly, remember? [comment]


Yes! Got DKIM configured into Exim successfully after maybe 30 hours of fucking with it. Now to see if I can install it on my servers without major problems.

I tried separating wild amaranth (pigweed) seeds a couple of days ago by pulling the tassels and putting the stuff in a Mason jar. Shook it, and the small black and red seeds went to the bottom while the chaff stayed on top. Then yesterday, the rejuvelac was getting amber-colored and smelled (and tasted) something like cloves. By then the chaff and seeds were pretty evenly mixed both on top and bottom. [comment]


Since the olive/tea-tree oil combination worked so well on my balls -- cured them in a few hours -- I'm trying it on the cracks in my right heel. They're quite painful at night, though amazingly they don't bother me when I walk around all day.

A friend told me about storing bulk foods in nitrogen. I wonder if a mix of N with CO2 would work as well, and if you could get that just by burning something in a bucket till the oxygen is used up. [comment]


I didn't know guys could get yeast infection. Yuck. Maybe I should wash my underwear more than once every few months... ya think? Put some tea tree oil on my balls and they're feeling much better.

Finally got around to setting some longer, more difficult, passwords on my most important web accounts and on my server logins; now that every cracker in the world has access to distributed supercomputers, it was only a matter of time before someone would have cracked my 6-letter password, if they hadn't already. A friend of mine had her Yahoo account stolen a few weeks back by someone in China, and her password wasn't a dictionary word and was 8 letters long.

Also, I learned how to use Exim's /etc/exim4/local_*_blacklist to cut back on spam. I'm really cutthroat at the moment, adding whole /16's and even a /8 for a single incident. I don't believe I have ever gotten a legitimate email from APNIC, or anywhere in Russia, or Brazil anyway, where most of the crap is originating. [comment]


Overwrote my MBR using LILO, after having to mount -o remount,dev /dev/hda6 from Knoppix before chrooting. Got my harddrive boot back! For some reason, it's not coming up with an option to boot Win2K, but I'm not going to sweat it. Life is good. Going to Deming on the 1PM bus to get some good beer at Pepper's. [comment]


God DAMN! Took me most of the night to figure out what was wrong with my new ISPCA certificate installation. All kinds of confusing error messages, firstly:

[Mon Nov 10 01:59:48 2008] [error] Failed to configure CA certificate chain!

It wasn't that at all; there was nothing fuck-all wrong with the certificate chain file. Instead, I had inadvertently edited out the -----END CERTIFICATE----- line in one of the hashed files in my SSLCACertificatePath. Fixed that, and Apache finally started without crashing; but then, on trying to connect using my client cert:

[Mon Nov 10 04:53:49 2008] [error] Certificate Verification: Error (20): unable to get local issuer certificate

Turns out the SSLCACertificatePath has to be world-readable; none of the other files pertaining to the SSL configuration do. So since nothing in that directory is anything secret, I just put it into /var/www/jcomeau. Finally working. Whew! [comment]


Got an idea for a new type of wind generator sometime in the last 48 hours: have a sail which drives a heavy flywheel/generator up an inclined track, all of which rotates automatically to catch the wind. When it reaches the end of the track, the sail collapses and slides back down to the bottom where it becomes upright again for the next stroke. A piece of flexible cord feeds the power from the generator to where it's needed. Not sure if it's a useful idea or not, but figured why not share it on the odd chance that it is.

My time for the 5K today was 32:26. Nothing to crow about, worse than 6 miles an hour... but I completed it without stopping to walk, and won the race anyway since there was no competition. [comment]


Figured out the problem with my computer. Booting it today, found the last two bytes of the MBR were again 55AA, but every odd byte of the MBR had bit 7 set. The block after that didn't. What I surmised was that a temporary hardware failure earlier was masking out that bit on the read, but setting it on the write. So when I had attempted to fix the problem, I made it worse.

Well, I didn't have to fix the whole MBR, only the partition table. My first guess at which bits to clear turned out to be spot-on, and I now have access to all my files again... at least until the hardware problem resurfaces. I just can't boot into Windows again unless and until I complete the repair of the MBR. No great loss. Once I save all the files I need (if any!) maybe I'll overwrite that piece-of-shit operating system and use all that space for something important, like porn. [comment]


Last night while eBaying using Windows (why oh why wasn't I using Linux?), my old Armada bluescreened and wouldn't reboot. I'm running it now with a DSL CDROM... the MBR seems to be hosed: it ends in 552a instead of 55aa, for one thing. I've gotta find out where the partition data is and see if I can reconstruct it. [comment]


I saw a guy at the library yesterday, Japanese I think, who had a nice bike outfitted with waterproof Ortlieb panniers. He said he's going to South America. I asked him, "isn't it dangerous riding a bike on Mexican roads?" and he agreed. I sure wish him well. If anybody knows who this guy is, let me know. If he has a blog, I'd love to read it... maybe I'll get inspired to try it myself if he survives.

Hurt my right foot just a little today while jogging downtown. I'll rest it tomorrow, because I want to run the Columbus-Palomas 5K on Sunday. Looks like I'll be the only contestant this year... [comment]


First freeze last night; there's ice on the water I'm turning into mud for finishing my charcoal kiln. Also, the wind has been blowing pretty good for the past two or three days, and my batteries are now finally recovering from the rainy season. [comment]


This morning I wanted to finish a little jobbie I'd been putting off, that of hooking up my old laptop to my 25-watt solar panel through a custom 18-volt battery pack. I checked, double-checked, and... connected it in reverse polarity. Fuck! I heard the goddamned thing go "pop!", and was sure I'd fried something. But bless those Compaq engineers, the Armada M700 is idiotproof. As soon as my inverter powered on in the morning sun, the computer came back to life. [comment]

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