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


Googling found an answer to another question, that of founding a religion in such a way that the U.S. government will recognize it, here:

The federal government 'recognizes' a religion through the Internal Revenue Code. An organization must meet Code criteria in order to qualify for tax-exempt treatment and any other advantages at the federal level. Usually an organization will meet state requirements automatically if it qualifies under the Code. It is very, very difficult to get a new religion qualified under the Code - the government strongly discourages new religions. Be prepared for many, many forms over an extremely long time and probable denial in the end.

Bugger. If I can't find a religion that already meets my needs, my only realizable option seems to be to live in hiding on BLM land. The Church of All Worlds comes close to the mark, though. If water is sacred, it would seem that shitting in it is somewhat sacreligious... right? [comment]


Took a day off from running yesterday due to overdoing the beer the night before, but the GI problems persisted today and I jogged into town anyway. Also tried windskating this afternoon but the wind was too light and finicky.

Slept last night in a Pro-tech Extreme sleeping bag. It kept me nice and warm until the wee hours of the morning, when I started to feel a little chill due to the condensed water inside the bag. I might have continued sleeping nonetheless, but I had to pee of course. It remains to be seen whether the thing is rugged enough to last me at Burning Man next year. I know that down is almost as lightweight, but it's not waterproof as this is supposed to be, and it can cost much more, even $300 for a quality down bag. Anyway, we'll give it a shot, and if I have to break down and buy a down bag and another sil poncho/bivy sack (I lost the last one), well, I gotta do what I gotta do. The biggest downside to this bag, so far, is the noise it makes. Shifting onto your side makes enough racket to bring every coyote within two or three miles radius.

I wish I could find some info online for recycling plastics at home. The lack of information is giving me the conspiratorialist hebejebes. About all I've found out so far is that you can burn many plastics safely (almost complete combustion) with the notable exception of PVC, at temperatures approaching 2000 degrees Fahrenheit. Supplying forced air helps too. Also, Sony came up with a nice way to recycle styrofoam using citrus oil (PDF, 160k) but the process doesn't look adaptable to a backyard operation. [comment]


A friend was mentioning that one way to avoid having to succumb to the machine's wasteful habits, such as flush toilets (which is being forced on local residents in this area lately) is to have a religious basis for such, in this case for not mixing shit with holy water. I've found this book on the Gaia religion, which doesn't really mention the topic, but this page by the same author, who by the way is a Burning Man participant, mentions "Burn the man... For dumping everything from human shit, coke cans and radioactive waste into the seas." I doubt that I agree with everything on this person's website, but maybe can take bits and pieces of things I do agree with and formulate a religious basis for rejecting the onslaught of government interference. [comment]


I had forgotten how to get the old-style Mailman pipes working with Exim4. Yes, I know it's deprecated, but the new way is way too convoluted for me. Simplicity always gets the benefit of the doubt; if something is too complicated, any security advantage it might have is nullified in my mind.

The necessary addition to somewhere near the top of /etc/exim4/exim4.conf.template is:


I've jogged into town, about a mile, the past two mornings. Is it possible I might be getting into shape? Also, this afternoon the wind was consistent enough that I rode most of the way into town on my windskate, the longest run without stopping about a quarter mile. Very encouraging.

I couldn't get myself out of bed last night, but woke up maybe about 3AM with a dream still clear in my head; it contained elements of other recurring dreams but seems to be somewhat of an analog of where I'm living now... it's a kind of resort with various compartments on an uphill grade, each kind of like a manual carwash compartment, where people stay. There's also a conventional box-like structure with cement floors and harsh fluorescent lighting leading to an underground tunnel where a river flows. Big fish are clearly visible in the shallow water. The underground river flows downtown from where I came in a rowboat bringing a guest to the property. I can't remember any more details now. [comment]


OK, battery charged... let's see... since I've been home, I've jogged a quarter mile each morning (big deal, I know) and, more importantly, attempted windskating downtown each day. The first day I had to sit down and rest every tenth of a mile, because my heart was beating too fast. The next day, every quarter mile or so. Today, only once on the way back (the first two days, I got rides back). So my cardiovascular system is improving excellently. Also, each day I've been able to go farther without falling off; only 10 feet or so the first day, 20 the second, and 40 or 50 today. Only had one really bad fall, too, the first day, and my padding saved me from any injury.

My server at Unixshell crashed horribly with a RAID failure, but luckily almost everything was backed up to the Tektonic server, so not much was lost. I'll be patching things up over the next week or so. [comment]


All right, let's get caught up... after my hearing, I went to Greyhound and bought my ticket, then spent the next hour and a half around the corner at the same brewpub I mentioned the day before that. My bartender was Raven, a young beauty working her way through college.

I walked across the bridge at about sunset, and up to Ave. Guerrero to catch the Permisionarios bus. Had another 2-hour wait for my bus to Entronque, so walked south and found a bar within a quarter-mile or so. Talked with Silvia, the bartender there, until 9:30 or so. She likes my favorite Mexican rock group, Maná, and told me I should hear their song Cucu. So maybe I'll check it out someday.

Got a nasty surprise when I reached Entronque; no more buses to Palomas until 5AM. Spent the night walking around to keep warm, got bit up pretty bad by mosquitoes, then about 5 went to Palomas and walked towards home; got a ride about half the distance, then crashed for the rest of the day. Battery dying, gotta go... will finish another time. [comment]


I think I acquitted myself pretty well in the hearing... the line "I masturbate a lot" in response to how I spend the average day seems to have had an impact... but I won't know for sure for two or three months whether or not I get my SSD benefits. I didn't have to lie at all... my situation is pretty pathetic when I think about it. If not for the generosity of my primary client, my ex, and my friends, I'd be barely surviving.

I fixed the ~/src link in my webservers, so everything should be working now. Again, let me know if you notice otherwise.

My Hot Or Not rating has fallen precipitously since I posted the graphic on my blog. Coincidence? Dunno. I was 8.9, and I've fallen as low as 7.9. Currently at 8.0. [comment]


Finally split my webserver config to have my html under /var/www, world-readable, with my home directory 700. I should have done it as soon as I added other users to my server, but I hate making changes. I know I already broke the link to my ~/src dir; let me know if you see anything else broken, OK? I'll try to fix that src thing later today, gotta go to my hearing now... [comment]


Wow! The total bill for 3 pints, the burger, a dessert of baklava with two cups of pretty-good coffee was $16.97. With tip, $20! Very, very, affordable. I'll try to get the taxpayers to foot this too, of course, but am very happy to pay it myself. [comment]


I forgot to post the photo I got from Burning Man, emailed to me last night I think -- here. Warning: not safe for work!. As far as I know, this is the first pic of me, full monty, on the Internet. There should be another one soon, also from Burning Man, and I'll let you know if I see it. [comment]


Holing up at the High Desert Brewing Company, only a block from the Greyhound station where I landed earlier and only a mile and a half from my hotel. The beers are first fucking class, the service is damned good, and the food is reasonably priced, let's leave it at that. OK, there's nothing wrong with it, it's just that there's nothing special about it either. [comment]


My luck is still holding up... got to Las Cruces on the 4:25 bus from El Paso, which I think was the last one till 1-something AM. Took a room at the same La Quinta where my hearing is going to be, hoping that SSA will spring for it. These guys charged my card $71-something though the room rate they gave me is $55; I complained but they said they always do that with debit cards. Whatever. Serves me right for wasting money on a hotel room, whether mine or the taxpayers'.

Now to find me a pub! I've got to celebrate getting over that nasty virus that's had me down for the last few days. [comment]


The Corre Caminos bus to Deming didn't stop in Santa Clara this morning, but the driver of the next local bus called the Deming driver on the radio, and he came back and picked me up! Then a Pink Store employee gave me a ride from Deming.

Then I was able to rescue my code-signing keys from my old computer, thus saving myself $100. So far the day is going great. [comment]


Now that my head-cold is abating, and I'm in a place where there's not much to do but research, I've found http://www.aetherlumina.com/gnp/faq.html, among other similar resources, and I've updated my ../src/nw_wurdz.txt accordingly. I also tweaked ../src/apa_jc.txt, mai mecod av spelin wurdz in severel lengwidjiz wiy onli ye ASCII kerektrz, in a kansistent (wiy itself end wiy pronansiexan) wei.

OK, enough of that. I've got my ALJ hearing on Tuesday in Las Cruces, so Monday is going to be hectic, going from Silver City to Columbus, picking up my mail from SSA, rushing across the border into Palomas, doing the El Paso route, then catching a Greyhound into LC. Somewhere in there I have to see if I can rescue my RIM code-signing keys from my old computer or if I have to buy new ones from Blackberry for $100. Ouch.

Also bought two Loquat trees on eBay, and am looking for a good deal on some Lychee seedlings. If the rain keeps up I might as well get some trees started... if I have to be responsible for watering the damned things, they're gonna die for sure like my pines did. [comment]


Just woke up from a dream about an improbable past -- I guess it was supposed to be a dream about a movie, because one scene of it was Bruce Willis as a war hero, with a prominent 3rd eye in the middle of his forehead, brownnosing his superiors -- in which the quote "The first half of the twentieth century was violence, and we needed a rest." came up at least twice.

Other snippets I remember were about an armored vehicle that moved 45 miles an hour, meals being delivered at enormous costs to the hero from kitchens in warships or submarines, and a controlled fire in which I played a part. But it was the quote in the previous paragraph that made me want to write this down. I googled it and got no hits; it looks to me like something one of the globalist bankers would have said to explain why no more world-scale wars took place after WWII. And, more ominously, that they might be planning one now. [comment]


Found the name of that other iceplant I picked up in LA. It's Aptenia Cordifolia. [comment]


Funny sign outside the Alotta Gelato shop in Silver City: "Stop Praying for Rain Now, OK?"

Caught the 3:45 PM bus for $2.50 from Deming to Silver, and now enjoying the free wireless at Rejuvenations at 201 North Bullard.

Next year I've got to plan better for Burning Man. Even if I can't bring a keg of Guinness, which I'd really like to do, I need some kind of tripod to hold my water bags (which, by the way, after I reseated the filter, didn't leak from the bottom any more), some warmer clothing for the cold nights (assuming I fail again at getting a cuddling partner), and maybe some necklaces advertising the Don Nowhere Shebeen. Also I want to visit the Bonobo Institute and Poly Paradise camps earlier in the week and get a chance to learn something from those tribes, which are already somewhat established. My "Playa Name", if you look for me there, is "jc", something I've been called on-and-off since 1974.

I don't know what Google did to their customized homepage, but the last two days or so the calendar and clock started refreshing once a second instead of using the javascript (Ajax? Not sure, I never bothered to learn it) methods they were using before. So I had to remove them from my homepage. [comment]


A rancher who's lived here all his life says this is the greenest he's ever seen this desert. I believe it. Where it was once mostly dirt with a few scraggly plants, it's now mostly lush growth with a few patches of bare dirt.

Didn't mention earlier, got a ride from Deming after walking only about a mile. It pays to be a little weird so people recognize you easily: the long-haired white guy dressed head-to-toe in black leather.

No burritos at the San Jose Lounge tonight, had to be content with a pizza. Finishing my second beer now, then will probably head home and make another attempt at sleep. For some reason it didn't work out earlier, between the ants, the flies, and the tickle in my throat. That last is still bugging me, but hasn't escalated to a cough, so I might yet get off easily. [comment]


Just the info I've always wanted: How to Survive a Long Fall. It was on my customized Google homepage today.

Pulled into Deming this morning, the virus still bugging my throat and not having slept really well in over a week. After I get caught up on email I'm going to plant my iceplants and go to bed. [comment]


Just had to visit Chinatown while here... sitting now in the Won Kok Restaurant on Alpine St. Good prices -- the Pork Foo Yong is $4.50 -- they give you a full pot of hot tea -- and they're open till 3AM. I visited this place for the first time over a year ago with a very special person, and it's hard to keep the tears from flowing now, remembering that occasion. [comment]


Rolled into LA about 6 this morning; as usual, walked past the gauntlet of drug dealers down 7th Street to the Metro station and took the blue line to Long Beach. Crashed in the park near the aquarium for a few hours, and woke up with a tickle in my throat which hasn't yet gone away... looks as though I wore down my immune system with poor nutrition and insufficient sleep. Let's see how long it takes for me to recover.

I found the ice plants I wanted: Carpobrotus in the vacant lot next to the Verizon building in Long Beach, and the leafy one whose name I can't remember at the Del Amo metro stop. Now to catch the 1:30 AM bus to Deming for $53 while I still have the money.

This Starbucks at the Figueroa and 7th shopping mall doesn't have free wireless, but the one just up the street (closed for Labor Day) has two or three unsecured hotspots around it. So I'll charge my battery here and can then go upload a block away. [comment]


Spending my 2-hour Sacramento layover at Zokku sushi bar. I got the overpriced but substantial 9-piece sashimi combo and a pint of Kirin Ichiban. Very pleasant atmosphere here (upper middle-class, multi-racial), it's worth paying a little extra; plus there's an unsecured linksys wireless router, whether intentional or not I haven't asked. [comment]


Changed my mind about the Greyhound ticket. A week's wait would have saved me only $15, and I'd blow that in one night here in Reno. I'm sitting with a Sam Adams draft at Jungle Vino, 248 West First Street killing time until my bus departs at 6:15 local time. There's free wifi here from Java Jungle next door (same owner). [comment]


OK, so I spent most of every day naked at Burning Man, until the last of my all-natural sunscreen wore off Friday and I got some first-degree burns. Didn't get laid, but I didn't make any real attempts at seduction either; the few times I made any attempt at all, I just asked flat-out for sex. I wonder if that would even work on me, though I suspect it would. In any case, it didn't work for me. Is there any society where one doesn't have to play all kinds of games in order to get fucked? I have no statistics, but am fairly sure most people want sex every day but most go without, due to the complications society builds up around the extremely simple and basic act. It could and should be the easiest thing for men and women to give each other, and it's certainly one of the most pleasurable.

On a related note, cuddling for warmth, with or without sex, is another basic need that people could easily give (and get), and judging by the number of people roaming center camp, shivering, in the wee hours is a vitally needed service at Burning Man. I'll have to work with the PlayaInfo.org people next year to set up a cuddlebunny match-up.

Lacking a cuddlebunny of my own, I spent the last few nights at Spike's Vampire Bar, where the small size of the dome and the high occupancy made for a comfortable temperature. Not to mention some awesome strippers. [comment]


Missed the burn. I'd eaten one or two cookies with some magic in them, and lost control of my body for several hours. So much for fucking radical self-reliance! If I'd been in a dangerous place I wouldn't be alive now.

It was a nasty buzz. A lot like the first time I got high on marijuana, but many times stronger: increased awareness of the conversations going on around you. You hear every word, whether you want to or not; motor skills aren't necessarily impaired, but you don't feel as though you can move at all; you feel somewhat detached from your body. There are other components of this type of "high" but I can't recall them just now. It's not at all pleasant, at least not to me.

Anyway, hitched a ride to Reno early this morning, and a sweet young lady named Christine from Toronto gave me a ride with her two other friends. I'll probably stay here a week to get a good discount on Greyhound to LA, where I hope to pick up various iceplant cuttings before heading home. [comment]


Another cold and lonely night, staying awake to stay warm and alive... a lot of things wrong with this "gifting" economy: you can feel like a beggar asking for beer at a bar; the announcer at the cafe tries to lay a guilt trip on the patrons, e.g. "These people are sacrificing their party time to serve you". Well, wtf are they sacrificing for? Haven't they at least read Ayn Rand? Obviously, this "economy" becomes unworkable the longer it goes on; though in a hunter-gatherer community it could be sustainable indefinitely. Here where there's nothing to hunt or gather, everything has to be brought in from the outside. It seems it requires a "taker" economy to drive this "gifting" system. Hardly a step towards workability.

I'm almost out of food and water; I cut it just a little too close. But I proved to myself I can survive on a fraction of what most people brought. A lot of people here just don't get it: plastic garbage left everywhere in Center Camp, in the porta-potties, all over. The ticket prices are going to keep going up if we keep getting these clueless college brats at Burning Man. [comment]

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