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


bought a half kilo of machaca last night, dried cooked shredded beef. going to see how many days it keeps without refrigeration; almost 24 hours so far and no noticeable change in appearance or taste.

I'm making biscuits of it with 2/3 biscuit mix and 1/3 machaca, roughly. adding yogurt and water to make dough, and cooking as usual on my griddle with an inverted pyrex bowl to hold in the heat, flipping after a few minutes to cook both sides evenly and all the way through the middle. not bad tasting, but I should experiment with some spices. in any case they pack a lot of nutrition. [comment]


I was leaving the bank, and all my stuff was in the receptionist's office near the front. my trumpet, disassembled completely, lay in dozens of pieces on a tarp on the floor. I grabbed a few bags and part of my mobility scooter and headed out the door.

next thing I knew I was in a car, driving across 4 lanes late at night into a parking lot across the street. I was going slowly, but I was drunk or otherwise groggy and couldn't press the brake. I woke up.

a lot of my dreams end up like this, dying. remember the opening sequence in Strange Days? [comment]


I started logging stderr on the latest Chromium for Debian, version 54.0.2840.101 (Developer Build) (32-bit) Revision 80c41737f982b17b0c5e7c9cb05dfbfde366be15. here is what gets logged when the "Aw, Snap!" errors on Google Calendar, and a few seconds later, Gmail. it should be noted that Gmail, unlike Calendar, loads almost completely, showing me the standard inbox display, before it breaks. [comment]


seems these "Aw, Snap!" errors have been ongoing for years. this thread is from 2012 and using Windows 7 Chrome 23.0.1271.64.

apparently there are a number of possible issues involved. it sure would be nice if they'd give a less obscure error message. [comment]


damn! getting the "Aw, Snap!" errors on Gmail and Google Calendar again. got to revert back to the Chromium with certificate transparency problems again... grr... [comment]


got rid of Chromium errors, too, by upgrading to unstable version 54.0.2840.101-1. now we're cooking. on to Amazon SWF, my next challenge. [comment]


computer problem after the upgrade to Jessie: my ntfs partition was no longer readable. took me maybe two hours to fix, and while I was googling and trying different things, I smelled something burning. it was my breakfast; I had forgotten all about the large biscuit I had had cooking outside.

I ate it anyway, except for the blackest bits. can't waste food. [comment]


got my 64-bit development environment done cheaply using debootstrap --arch=amd64 wheezy /opt/wheezy64, chrooting in using chroot.sh, and installing a bunch of packages. I also learned that installing a package using pip under a virtualenv includes a .libs subdirectory under virtualenv/lib/python2.7/site-packages/<packagename>, which contains any shared objects needed by the package. so just copy those directories into the deployment root and you're all set. at least it worked for PIL, I realized I didn't need lxml so I scrubbed it.

still not out of the woods. my Lambda function gets only so far as to attempt a PutObject into an S3 bucket, and fails with a permissions error. I've obviously not written my policy statement JSON in a manner that pleases the AWS gods. [comment]


did a system upgrade (apt-get dist-upgrade) last night, and while some things are better, I'm still getting the net::ERR_CERTIFICATE_TRANSPARENCY_REQUIRED error at aws.amazon.com. this article explains it. [comment]


it kills me how my bank doesn't process ACH transactions on the weekend. seriously, you think we believe you do that shit manually? fuckers. [comment]


tried to make yogurt with an immersion heater running directly off the solar panel. bad idea. way overheated, something I didn't expect; previous tests with water only barely got it above tepid. anyway, I kept letting it cool off, then supplementing the acidophilus with more yogurt, but it never really gelled. bottled it up anyway, hoping it'll at least serve to make a few batches of biscuits before it goes bad.

tried a solution of TSP today, trying to get the oil and grease stains off the patio concrete. used some cornstarch as a test absorbent, not wanting to buy talcum powder if something I already have on hand will do the job. I'll know by tomorrow I guess; just hosed it off about a half hour ago but it won't dry well until the sun hits it.

running apt-get dist-upgrade for maybe the first time in my life. never dared do it before. but I'm tired of all the errors when I try to install new packages. hopefully this will fix all that. could take hours though. [comment]


I remember, fondly, the days when programming was mostly writing code to make the computer do what you wanted it to do. nowadays, programming is mostly reading API documentation, trying to get all the pieces needed to get the API to get the computer to do what you want it to do. I'm not really all so sure we have progressed. [comment]


using the soap paste I made the last couple of years, directly, on the oily concrete stains is definitely working, but incompletely and takes too many applications. I found some TSP at Ace Hardware for 89 pesos (about USD4.50) and it's supposed to work.

I had an epiphany 2 or 3 days ago: my post-nasal drip problem may be exacerbated by breathing through my mouth, a bad habit I probably developed through my long bout with bronchitis or pneumonia back around 2005 or 2006. it makes sense to me that bringing in air, particularly while jogging, through my nasal passages might be what is needed to effect a change, perhaps even a cure. I'm giving it a try, anyway.

I've really got to find a way to brew my own beer or beer substitute. my Pacifico habit is taking almost half my daily food budget. [comment]


what is it with this Chromium NET::ERR_CERTIFICATE_TRANSPARENCY_REQUIRED error anyway? sometimes the "advanced" option lets me through, other times it complains about the website using "HSTS" and gives me no option.

apt-cache showpkg chromium only gives me 3 options, and as I already blogged, the newest gives me "Aw, snap!" errors on Gmail and Google Calendar, so that's out. and I just downgraded one more time, to version 53.0.2785.89-1~deb8u1, so I have no more options there, either.

guess I'll just have to use Firefox for more stuff. [comment]


last chance to register for the Neighborhood Watch With Teeth webinar. hat tip to David Codrea. [comment]


another hint that I may be growing out of cowardice: today, while walking to the hardware store, as I was passing the cathedral, a young lady was assaulted by a young man after a short verbal exchange. he grabbed her and stuck his hand into her right rear pocket. I shouted "hey! none of that shit." in English, and even though he may not have understood, he took his hand out of her pocket, and froze. then the ladyboy (turns out that's what she was) said something to him, and they walked off together. I guess they're stuck with each other by some agreement I know nothing about. not sorry I said something, though. maybe he at least will treat her a little better if he thinks people are watching.

bought some plumbing solder and acid flux, and finished the adapter for attaching a regulator to my 5-gallon propane tank and connecting it to the butane stove. but I haven't tested it yet. not sure the connection is gas-tight. [comment]


"downgrading" fixed it: sudo apt-get install chromium=53.0.2785.143-1~deb8u1. everything's working again. [comment]


oh, great, it's crashing on Upwork as well. here's part of the stack trace and register dump:

#26 0x0000ee3a129a start_thread
#27 0x0000eb1360fe clone
  gs: 00000063  fs: 00000000  es: 0000002b  ds: 0000002b
 edi: de66b774 esi: eb200000 ebp: de66b978 esp: de66b6b8
 ebx: 000000c4 edx: 00000006 ecx: 000000d2 eax: 00000000
 trp: 00000000 err: 00000000  ip: ee405430  cs: 00000023
 efl: 00200296 usp: de66b6b8  ss: 0000002b
[end of stack trace]


upgraded chromium to 53.0.2785.143 so I could use it with chromedriver for a new Upwork job. now both Gmail and Google Calendar give me constant "Aw, Snap!" errors. way to go, Google. your browser crashes only on your websites. [comment]


for reference later. a SF author who, like Heinlein, is staunchly libertarian: https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/author/8301. [comment]


finally acted rightly at cusp, for once. I was on the malecon, about to start my jog, when I heard someone screaming from out in the bay. but it didn't sound like "ayudame" (or even "m'aidez") so I wasn't sure. after about the 3rd call, though, I decided to act, since it seemed nobody else was going to. I asked a couple at a bench if they'd watch my stuff, and they assented, so I stripped down to my long johns, waded out to the channel, and started backstroking to where I could see somebody, having to turn over every 10 to 20 strokes to make sure I was headed in the right direction. another, Mexican, guy was coming to help also.

it was a young lady trying to help a young man to shore, but she was apparently exhausted, and even though she probably only had 50 yards to go, she wasn't making any noticeable progress. on my way out, a boat which I'm pretty sure was the harbor cops passed by, and signaled it with my arms, but it just kept going.

anyway, I grabbed one of the guy's arms and started backstroking with my free arm. after a few spurts of swimming and resting (I was already exhausted just getting out there) I told the girl, "haga como yo, a la espalda" and she did, which helped a lot. we were making good progress, and after about 30 strokes I could touch the sandbar! at that point they could continue on their own; I guess it was just that the guy couldn't swim.

as I was getting dressed, the cops, who had been watching from shore, went over with their clipboards to talk to the couple. I pointed out to the folks who watched my stuff, "la policia no ayudan, solo molestan" and they agreed.

let's hope this means I'm transitioning from a coward into a hero. it's about goddamned time. [comment]


with regard to swastikas for Trump, I totally forgot the real point I made to my Jewish friend the other day: that the graffiti could well have been a protest against Trump's win rather than an affirmation of it. compare the very similar Hitler-Bush memes of yesteryear, deploring the possibility that we might have a nazi in the White House. in my opinion, it's the most likely explanation. but I could be wrong. [comment]


I was apparently unfriended today by a Jewish friend who took offense to my questioning whether a reported swastika vandalism incident was the work of a Trump voter or just some random idiot trying to get a rise out of people. who can know for sure? a swastika looks the same whether it was painted by a neo-nazi, a teenage gangster, or even a Jew. it's not like it never happened before.

if people know a certain easily-reproduced symbol will trigger a certain group, you can be sure it will be used for that purpose. it's best if you can harden yourself to where it doesn't bother you, but if that's not possible, at least find out who acted before lashing out at everyone for your hurt feelings. [comment]


the left could well be right about one thing at least: electing Trump set us back about 50 years in terms of openly expressed hatred. I've seen plenty of posts from Trump supporters using terms like "nigger", "sand nigger", and "wetback", and they're glad to be free of the bounds of political correctness now that their boy Trump has opened the floodgates of allowable discourse.

the problem is, if you've studied even recent history, silencing hatred never works out well anyway. witness the brutal wars after the breakup of Yugoslavia after the iron hand of Tito fell into his grave. the hatred just picks up where it left off, plus interest from the years of simmering on the back burner.

I agree with Mencken: "I believe that liberty is the only genuinely valuable thing that men have invented, at least in the field of government, in a thousand years. I believe that it is better to be free than to be not free, even when the former is dangerous and the latter safe. I believe that the finest qualities of man can flourish only in free air – that progress made under the shadow of the policeman’s club is false progress, and of no permanent value. I believe that any man who takes the liberty of another into his keeping is bound to become a tyrant, and that any man who yields up his liberty, in however slight the measure, is bound to become a slave."

all those years of repression of the neo-nazis and Ku Kluxers haven't bought us anything. now they're out painting their swastikas just like before. what we do need to do is make them fear us, not the policeman or the FBI agent. every marginalized group must have Deacons of Defense, people who are armed, trained and unafraid, and cannot be elected out of office or bought off by big corporations. [comment]


I have to eat some crow. I was sure libertarians would flip towards the end and give their votes to Trump or Hillary. many did, I'm sure, but a surprising number did not, and history is being made. our voting bloc can never again be safely ignored by the two branches of the War Party. way to go! [comment]


feels like I'm finally over my cold. still have excess mucus production but that's been the case for years now. throat feels back to normal.

looks like Gary's not going to get his 5% nationwide popular vote, but he's doing way better than 2012 for sure. hopefully he'll be a spoiler in a few states. nothing makes the big 2 parties take notice quite like that percentage they lost by ignoring a voting bloc. [comment]


crowdsourced research happening since yesterday on "pederasty code" found in Wikileaked emails, e.g.: "pasta"="little boy", "cheese"="little girl", "sauce"="orgy". example: https://wikileaks.org/podesta-emails/emailid/30613.

[update: it should more accurately be referred to as a "pedophilia code", as "pederasty" refers only to man-boy relations.] [comment]


my cold is finally winding down to a few productive coughs a day and lots of nose blowing. that was horrible. [comment]

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