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


my left upper back has been bothering me for about a week now, after I inadvertently slept with the pillow under it one night. normally I can fix these things with self-chiropractic techniques, or having someone walk on my back, but I wasted my chance for the latter to happen easily, and the former hasn't worked so far; it's too high up for me to reach with any strength. guess I shoulda learned yoga. [comment]


my productivity burst crashed and burned about a week and a half ago. it was fun while it lasted.

in other news, upgrading libc6 has gone off without a hitch on all my servers the last few times. I'm amazed, because for years I was regularly experiencing kernel incompatibilities that weren't discovered by dpkg until halfway through the upgrade, leaving the system unusable until I could find a way to patch it back and revert the upgrade, or convince my VPS host to upgrade the kernel. [comment]


this article caught my attention. as some of you know, I had a stuttering problem for many years, and still have nightmares and flashbacks of it, although it hasn't actually affected my speech for at least 10 years, probably longer. it's one of the main reasons I loathe the telephone, because that's the medium on which it occurred the most easily. I hated going to the post office to buy a money order because I knew I wouldn't be able to say the word -- anything starting with 'm' was particularly troublesome, so over time I just mumbled and substituted an 'n', hence 'nunny order'. I don't know how it actually got cured, if it did. just one day I looked back and realized I hadn't stuttered in a long time. [comment]


it's been a frustrating day and not much to show for it. practiced quite a bit on the casterboard since the internet was so fucking useless. starting to get the hang of it but it'll likely take months before I make any noticeable progress. it requires fluid motion, and I'm so scared of falling and breaking my head open, I stiffen up. that doesn't work for any exercise I know except for one, and this ain't it. [comment]


I was getting errors on my Cyanogenmod9 tablet about Google apps (gapps) and Google Play services, and the apps dependent on them, in the format "Unfortunately, (x) has stopped responding."

I finally ended up uninstalling Google Play Services, and all the apps dependent on it, going into loader mode (up-volume while turning on), reinstalling gapps from the zipfile, then re-downloading and installing my apps. what a hassle. especially combined with the network problems. [comment]


Internet access of late, here in La Paz, has been abysmal everywhere I go. lost connections, aborted downloads. and companies keep changing their routers, which indicates to me that Telmex may be doing what Valley Telecom did a few years back in southern New Mexico, changing everybody's routers instead of admitting to, then dealing with, their infrastructure problems. a very expensive head-in-the-sand approach that accomplishes nothing. [comment]


by now you've probably heard of Lenovo's Superfish debacle, the software which installes a self-signed root certificate on all its computers. that gives it the potential, which it exploits fully, to "issue" the certificates for all your banks, email providers, social networks, etc., and read all the "encrypted" traffic between you and those entities.

we know we're dealing with untrusted networks, but at some point you have to trust the hardware/software contraption you're using. I've thought it over quite a bit lately, and have come to the conclusion that it's all but impossible. even if I buy a gazillion transistors and build my own computer from scratch, some evil entity, using micro-miniaturization techniques, could have placed sophisticated circuitry inside each of those to monitor and store data until it can upload it wirelessly when in proximity to a device capable of "speaking" to them. that's pretty far-fetched, sure, but it wouldn't surprise me at all to find out there are hidden cameras and microphones inside mass-produced devices, let alone keyboard-sniffing hardware and software, that aren't available to the operating system.

basically, we're screwed as far as security and privacy are concerned. I think now that the best strategy is to have so little to steal that we're not worth bothering with, and that includes our lives. make it all public so that the evil controlling entities don't have a monopoly on it. [comment]


so I went back to The Shack for an experiment. only had two mugs there yesterday, plus two bottles of Pacifico later that evening. not a lot of beer. but I had violent diarrhea this morning. my guess is that something is making the beer toxic there. maybe the lines from the keg to the tap haven't been sanitized since god-knows-when? your guess is as good as mine. to be on the safe side, I think I'll stick to bottles when I'm there from now on. [comment]


almost won the Darwin award earlier tonight. I asked the guest, who was cooking dinner, if he wanted me to light the oven, but he said he could figure it out, so I went back to my programming. a couple or three minutes later he said "jc, the oven isn't getting hot" so I got up and looked, and sure enough there was no flame. mind you the gas had been on full blast for that time and there were two stovetop flames going. but, there was no smell at all, and the gas here in Mexico has mercaptans added, same as in the Estados Bandidos north of here. still, I exercised a little caution. I shielded my face as I clicked the sparker a couple times in front of the open oven. then I figured "what the hell", turned the gas back on, and lit it. and it looked OK. maybe 20 seconds later, FOOM! I smelled burned hair, both top burners had gone out, but we were both obviously still alive and no obvious damage had been done. I just woke up a few minutes ago with the realization that the gas must have all gone into the walls of the oven, where the insulation is, and that's why the delayed reaction. weird and worthy of mention.

anyway, then we did what I should have done the first time, opened up doors and windows and let the place air out for a couple of minutes after turning all the oven and stove valves off. then relit everything and he got on with his cooking.

another thing that popped into mind while in bed last night: tourtiere pie is a Canadian meat pie served around the holidays, and something I haven't had for years though I did have a somewhat similar Jamaican meat pie more recently, I think at Petaluma Pie last year. anyway, Mainers pronounce it the same as touché, the fencing term for admitting a hit. now I'm wanting an online excuse to post "tourtiere!". hee hee. [comment]


practiced on the casterboard today by holding on to one of those globes on the malecon while making the back-and-forth motion with my feet. then, when I actually tried it for real, I was able to do it a little bit while in motion. it may take me weeks more, but I'll probably eventually get it. I was thinking today that some type of large hoop would help as a stabilizer, as well as a frame for my expanding sail. [comment]


don't know if I'm at 100%, but close enough to play it on TV. damn. a hundred-hour bug I guess. damned if I know what hit me; yes, I got drunk Tuesday night, but I've been drunk worse than that many times with no such problems. [comment]


another possibility for that music I heard last Christmas: CumulusN by Gareth Whittock. really loving this genre, at SomaFM's Deep Space One. [comment]


took my desert hike today. saw a jackrabbit soon after entering the arroyo, but that was the only large animal life I saw the whole walk. turned right up the fork after the memorial, turned around when I started feeling dehydrated. got back downtown about noon. no sign of Damiana, and other passiflora I saw were either very young or past fruiting stage.



got the Internet back. so it turns out Ace trumping king was a later innovation, sometime around 1400. cards themselves came from China, which of course is rich in symbolism of its own. [comment]


my cold hasn't gotten much worse since Wednesday evening, but while the throat may be better, a sinus problem has kicked in. nevertheless, I'm hoping for a speedy recovery.

I was thinking about two other things that could be helping to hold people in old thought patterns. I've already talked a lot about names of weekdays and months, but how about playing cards? I don't have Internet at the moment so I can't look it up, but who are the mysterious aces, who rank higher than kings? could they be the elites referred to as Great Pirates by Buckminster Fuller?

then there are numbers, and the 24-hour partitioning of days, and the bases for years, among them the Chinese, Jewish, and Gregorian. with an efficient way of verbally representing large numbers, it would be possible to count years from the beginning of the universe; how cool would that be? how better to open up young minds to limitless possibilities? and by trashing all the old words that hold our minds in bondage to ancient thought patterns, we ditch all the old gods and demons. children raised for a few years under such a system would be fairly immune to any mental conditioning attempted to be imposed out in the "real world". [comment]


got totally trashed the other night at The Shack. I actually remember shaving, with my pocketknife, there overlooking the bay. went to Thrifty for an ice cream cone on my way home, and ended up vomiting it up by the sidewalk. still have stomach problems almost 48 hours later, and I think my weakened immune system picked up something else, too, as my throat has been feeling weird since last night.

compounding my bodily woes, my left wrist got tweaked sometime in the last week or two, and hurts terribly in some oddball positions. also banged up my left elbow falling out of a boat yesterday. [comment]


does anybody remember the Y2K scare? there are, as far as I know, only two major lines of thought about it. one group, by far the largest, thinks it was anywhere from a total hoax to a totally overhyped scare tactic. the rest, primarily those in the software industry, know that it was all too real, but that vast resources were dedicated to mitigating it, starting way back in 1970 or so, when banks with 30-year mortgages first started seeing the problems surface. many of us (not I, though, as I recall) spent the last few weeks or months of 1999 poring over code, making sure nothing critical was missed. when the clock rolled over, many (from both camps, I'm sure) breathed a sigh of relief.

so will history likely view the coming Fourth Turning. those of us who see the parallels to Nazi Germany in today's overbearing governments, and who work to stop and perhaps even dismantle these tyrannies, will likely be seen as kooks and fear-mongerers. indeed, we already are. but if we succeed, many will be able to remain blissfully ignorant, look back on it and say "see? we told you so. nothing bad was ever going to happen." and we'll never be able to convince them otherwise.

of course, if we fail, then we'll be able to dish out the atojisos, but that won't be much satisfaction. [comment]


yesterday was interesting. I walked out to the southeast corner of the city to get my Android tablet looked at, and just before I hit Tenochtitlan street, a guy at a military checkpoint hassled me, asking for ID and having me open my drybag for his drug-sniffing dog to check out.

anyway I dropped it off at Ganes PCs after the guy checked that it wasn't necessarily my charger at fault, as his couldn't charge it either.

our couchsurfing guest, Curtis, who is bicycling from Alaska to the tip of Argentina, told me that all long-distance bicyclists get numb hands like I do. he says it's carpal tunnel, which makes sense but I never thought of it that way.

we had dinner last night at Los Cayucos, where Terry Townson was supposed to be playing with the band. not only did he show up, but he and his guests joined us at the same table!

also yesterday I finally found a tube for the bike I bought, at the Italika dealer on Obregon a block or two north of Chedraui.

I'm getting better on the Ripstik. made it maybe 20 feet yesterday nonstop. as soon as I can get around the little park I'll probably try it on the Malecon. [comment]


and this is totally unsurprising: both sides accuse the other of "junk science". [comment]


just to throw some dirt on the vax/anti-vax pissing contest: without vaccines, the human population would be a helluva lot more manageable, and the remaining people would be hardy, resistant to a lot of the diseases that threaten us today. see for example this synopsis of a study that indicates a genetic mutation that enabled survival of smallpox also confers immunity to HIV. perhaps a stronger population wouldn't be approaching 50% having chronic disease.

and even if you're pro-vax, know what you and your children are getting injected directly into your bloodstream. these are the additives the CDC and Big Pharma don't mind us knowing about (download the PDF), and the list doesn't include percentages or PPM, so imagine what else is in there they either don't know themselves, or want to keep secret. [comment]


has anyone else noticed the strange pattern in Americancoin mining? I haven't yet taken the time to plot it out and make sure, but I believe the pattern is: miners with lots of resources work like crazy while the difficulty is low, getting new blocks in the order of minutes or even seconds; then when the difficulty is recalculated, drop it in favor of other currencies while dumb schmucks like me work the pits. then when it drops again, rinse and repeat. I've only scored one block in the last few months. [comment]


I believe I just found the song that has been haunting my mind since I heard it on the speakers outside Hotel Las Gaviotas when I passed by Christmas day: The Voice from Home by Steve Brand and Ishq. they just got done playing it on Deep Space One.

happy now!

at the very end, the voice that says "from home" sounds very much like my own voice! [comment]

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