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


took about 10 hours to finish a 1-hour job on upwork.com, due to idiosyncracies with the Facebook and Instagram APIs and my own lack of recent experience with both. but it's pretty much done, just need the client to sign off on it and the $90 will be on my way ($10 taken by odesk/upwork).

went jogging for the first time since my journey ended, earlier today, then I gathered some local amaranth and a devils-claw "cucumber", too bitter to eat raw, which I'm attempting to brine pickle. [comment]


lost a lot of weight on my 100-mile or so walk. down to 135 pounds, face looks gaunt, no gut, I feel light as a feather.

local expat Al M. gave me a charger for my Aspire netbook, to replace the one I must have left behind at the Starbucks in the outlet mall at San Ysidro, so I'm good to go. all he asked was that I give a little money to a charity of my choice, so I sent the USD equivalent of 50 pesos to Pencils of Promise.

any blog readers who live in the San Ysidro area who could use a spare 18V charger, go ahead and pick mine up before they trash it.

saw Sean and Rainbow downtown, and met Roger, who may have some work for me soon. things are looking up. [comment]


another note on Deputy Block: he said that my being dressed all in black indicated a thief to him. I asked if I were trying to be hide why would I have flashing headlight and taillight? he said he hadn't noticed them. or, for that matter, my reflective ankle straps. so much for his powers of observation.

some things that really helped this trip: clipping my drybag to the two full Chico bags and slinging the whole thing over alternating shoulders; clipping the heavy drybag to a shoulder strap kept cutting my neck. having cured my athlete's foot with baking soda so I could wear socks all the time. my sweat absorbers, so I could go almost a whole week without showering yet, hopefully, not developing an overwhelming stink. [comment]


OK, so here's the half-promised blog entry on the cop, Deputy Block, badge #967, Samuel (sic?) County Sheriff's Office. at least I heard him say Samuel County, even though I never heard of it, and I'm pretty sure Del Rey is in San Diego County. all this is from memory, written down maybe an hour after it happened, so I'm not 100% sure of any details.

roughly 0340 to 0350 -- could have been a little less or a lot more -- I was detained by the above named officer. it started when he pulled up and started asking the usual nosy questions: who I was, what I was doing, where I was going. I told him I don't converse with cops and if he wanted to chat he could find me when he was off duty. he didn't like this, and ordered me to sit down on the curb, specifically stating that I was being detained.

he lied at least twice saying I was in the middle of the road -- same as the CHP cop who kept repeating that I was on the freeway. these cops must be trained to lie early and often. I was on the sidewalk until my headlamp batteries were so weak I didn't see the bumps and almost fell. then I stepped into the bike lane, and into the parking lane after walking around a car.

anyway, I should have kept my mouth shut and just handed him my ID (if that -- I'll have to check if that's mandatory on detainment) but I answered some of his questions out of habit. he asked if I'd ever been arrested before and I said yes, a long long time ago. he asked what for and I told him if it came up on a records search he'd find out. he was cool with that.

he asked if he could search my stuff and I told him I don't consent to a search but if he forced it on me I wouldn't do anything to stop him.

anyway he let me go after the records search came up negative. sure I could have avoided the whole confrontation if I'd just answered his nosy questions, as I've almost always done in the past. but it's time to stand up for principles. I've just got to get better at it. [comment]


someone in Encinitas left a takeout dish for a hungry stranger: some raw carrots and a large fried fish fillet. I ate it all with gratitude.

hope to reach Mission Beach by morning. [comment]


total spent on travel so far, in case I forget to blog it elsewhere: $2.50 Megabus ticket plus $1.75 NCTD route 395 for grand total of $4.25. can't remember how much my airfare was but I'm thinking somewhere around USD$60. this will be by far the cheapest trip south I've made so far, at $65, unless I fail to walk to the border in time, in which case it could be $5 more. [comment]


so far I haven't exceeded my $3/day food allowance, thanks to the huge cache of dumpster-dived sausages and cheese I brought along with me. my primary expenses have been carbs (bread) and Starbucks coffee. I could of course use a cheaper option for coffee, such as my 10 cents Whole Foods trick, but Starbucks are much easier to find, and more reliably have power to charge my electronics. [comment]


got on the first 395 to Oceanside for $1.75. if I'd wanted, he could have sold me a San Diego Metro pass for $5, good to the border. this is the first year their systems got integrated. [comment]


about 45 minutes ago I believe I saw some white-haired official of some kind, in a reflective green vest and sporting a badge, get paid off by one of the Megabus guys.

the bus has something wrong with it. we have to wait another 20 minutes or so for a replacement.



Starbucks at 565 Clay, across from the Pyramid, opens at 0330. I got here about 0350. bathroom code is currently 2468. gotta give myself an hour to get back to the Mega stop from here, more if I get lost, which happens a lot in this city.

pisser that most if not all Starbucks fail to post their hours here. I might have stayed around Caltrain if I knew when the nearby one would open. I guess I could have hauled out my laptop and connected, and found out that way, but that's just inviting trouble south of Market in the wee hours of the morning. [comment]


the Starbucks at 3rd and Market in San Francisco now has wireless charging at the streetside seats. unfortunately none of my devices support it.

skipped the first 40 miles or so of walking; last night at the sendoff party a friend who was leaving Petaluma for the city offered me a ride in the morning, and I would have been a fool to pass it up. she was already going that way. the change in plans meant I had a few hours more with my lady, and I won't be as beat up when I arrive in Orange County tomorrow as I would otherwise have been. I was able to see the progress of the frontage roads as she drove, and it wouldn't have been that great walking. they should be much better by next spring, maybe even done.

slept for a while in the park across from the Marina Safeway, then walked the embarcadero to downtown. I'll probably stay here another hour or three, then probably spend the night on the embarcadero again. bus leaves at 0815 from the Caltrain station, Townsend between 4th and 5th. [comment]


just about ready for the trip. the plan is to leave early tomorrow morning so I have at least 24 hours to go the 40-or-so miles into the city with all my gear, to make the 8:15 bus to Anaheim. from there I plan to walk to San Clemente; since nobody is generally allowed to walk through Camp Pendleton, I'll have to take the North County bus through it to Oceanside, then I can walk the 60-or-so miles to the border. I'll have a few days to accomplish that before my flight to La Paz. my electronics will be well charged and I should be able to get a lot of it into MapMyRun.

2015 will be remembered, by me if nobody else, as the year I became good at dumpster diving for food. I can now live as cheaply in Petaluma, CA as I could in Columbus, NM hunting rabbits and doves, and foraging prickly pear fruits, amaranth, yucca blossoms, and other wild edibles. the food may not be as healthy here, but it can keep me alive when money is tight, as it's likely to be for the next few years. just not landing jobs on Odesk any more.

looks as though the broom plant that used to own the hillside where I'm staying is just about eradicated. it'll never be completely gone as long as the plants next door remain, but it shouldn't take nearly as much weeding from here on out. and one welcome native, soaproot, has moved in to take its place, as has a welcome non-native invasive, fennel.

so it turns out the PowerMonkey can be charged from the USB port of my netbook. I'd probably have known that if I'd read the instructions, huh? anyway that's how I'll be charging it most of the time now. no need for my bag of wall warts, just the power supply for the computer and that's it. the little bag of adapters for the PowerMonkey Extreme will charge everything else I regularly carry.

I don't even have any plans to take a jacket this time. I'll just put on 4 or more base layers, and keep moving to stay warm. [comment]


I'm thinking of renting my place at City of the Sun, the community north of Columbus, NM. it's a dump, but it'll keep you tolerably warm through the winter. even more if you use some of those piles of bottles to make a bottle wall to replace the blown-out plastic south wall. you'll need to make friends with the locals, because if you piss anybody off you can be forced to leave, and you'll need one of them to "sponsor" (vouch for) you. I'm asking $10 a week, or $30 a month, plus there's an honor-system $1 per day (last I knew) you owe COS for use of their bathroom/shower. I'll expect you to do what it takes (very little) to keep tumbleweed and any other noxious weeds from maturing, and to keep the place from getting any "dumpier" than it already is. anybody interested please email or direct-message me on social media. [comment]


finally got my tablet back! thanks to jt1134 at rootzwiki.com, I'm running CM10 off my external SD! [comment]


so it seems my /dev/block/mmcblk0 was unwriteable, and in particular mmcblk0p1 showed up without file system showing. attempting to format it ext4 appeared to succeed, but actually failed, and writing directly to the device using echo test > /dev/block/mmcblk0p1 likewise failed. so I tried another write of the originial Verizon ROM, this time with the --repartition option to heimdall. and now, though adb shell gives me no root access, I can see that the partition is now viable, though as MSDOS:

$ mount
rootfs / rootfs rw 0 0
tmpfs /dev tmpfs rw,relatime,mode=755 0 0
devpts /dev/pts devpts rw,relatime,mode=600 0 0
proc /proc proc rw,relatime 0 0
sysfs /sys sysfs rw,relatime 0 0
none /acct cgroup rw,relatime,cpuacct 0 0
nodev /tmp tmpfs rw,relatime 0 0
/dev/block/stl6 /mnt/.lfs j4fs rw,relatime 0 0
tmpfs /mnt/asec tmpfs rw,relatime,mode=755,gid=1000 0 0
none /dev/cpuctl cgroup rw,relatime,cpu 0 0
/dev/block/stl9 /system rfs rw,relatime,vfat,llw,check=no,gid/uid/rwx,iocharset=utf8 0 0
/dev/block/mmcblk0p1 /cache rfs rw,relatime,vfat,llw,check=no,gid/uid/rwx,iocharset=utf8 0 0
$ df
/dev: 225980K total, 0K used, 225980K available (block size 4096)
/tmp: 225980K total, 8K used, 225972K available (block size 4096)
/mnt/.lfs: Function not implemented
/mnt/asec: 225980K total, 0K used, 225980K available (block size 4096)
/system: 326336K total, 311596K used, 14740K available (block size 4096)
/cache: 213600K total, 128K used, 213472K available (block size 4096)


the partition table I printed out a few hours ago shows mmcblk0p2 is the biggest chunk of memory of the 2GB internal ROM, the only one formatted ext4:

~ # parted /dev/block/mmcblk0 print
Model: MMC SEM02G (sd/mmc)
Disk /dev/block/mmcblk0: 1959MB
Sector size (logical/physical): 512B/512B
Partition Table: msdos

Number Start End Size Type File system Flags 1 32.8kB 220MB 220MB primary 2 220MB 1539MB 1319MB primary ext4 3 1539MB 1959MB 419MB primary fat16

this doesn't seem to have anything to do with the heimdall command print-pit, which shows 13 entries:

Downloading device's PIT file...
PIT file download successful.

Entry Count: 13 Unknown 1: 4380672 Unknown 2: 1 Unknown 3: 0 Unknown 4: 0 Unknown 5: 7703 Unknown 6: 64 Unknown 7: 63496 Unknown 8: 20



error messages scroll by too fast to get them all, but one that shows clearly is: DBDATA: wipe failed.
E:Can't mount /dev/block/mmcblk0p2 (Invalid argument)

seems to be something caused by my attempt to install CM10. if so, it's a pretty crappy installer that can't correct for that, IMO. [comment]


after a few reboots and cache wipes I'm back to the verizonwireless splash screen... [comment]


seems you need to re-init download mode before any additional heimdall commands. many times I tried to download-pit after failing to flash, and got ERROR: Protocol initialisation failed!

but after turning it off, holding volume down, and holding power-on for about 10 seconds or so, I got the Downloading... screen again, entered sudo heimdall download-pit --output /tmp/vz.pit --verbose --no-reboot, and it worked. it's a binary file, but less will show you enough of what you need to see. print-pit would have probably worked as well.

now I'm trying to reinstall the factory ROM using information here. [comment]


that "Encryption unsuccessful" message comes with the dialog box "Unfortunately, the process com.android.phone has stopped". [comment]


finally after a few more attempts, CM9 booted up to where it got the "Encryption unsuccessful" screen again. now to "Reset tablet" and go through another reboot loop, probably. doesn't look promising. [comment]


nope. lots of pretty colored pixels coming and going, but nothing resembling a boot screen. back to the drawing board. [comment]


don't know if it made the difference, but I bought a 16GB microSD card at Staples today for $2.99 using their $10 off coupon. stuck it in the Samsung tablet and again attempted to install CM9. failed again at "Checking state of BML/MTD" so I follwed the advice here and tried again. this time CWM (ClockWorkMod) had changed from to, and both CM9 and Google Apps finished installing. about to reboot now, fingers crossed... [comment]


the windsurfer was picked up yesterday; it hadn't been touched. today I tried it at the Petaluma marina. not enough room; I never quite got it to where I could safely haul in the sail. will try again another day at the turning basin.

made 50 FRNs at a neighbor's today, answering another help wanted ad on nextdoor.com. this is working out pretty well, especially if I can keep down expenses like I did today, only $1.50 for a cup of coffee at the senior center and a 4-ounce piece of salmon at Dollar Tree. the rest of my food I got as freely donated bread and veggies at the senior center and my favorite dumpster, at Grocery Outlet. and now that I'm a member at the Redwood Credit Union again, I can just go there for coffee and save my 50 cents. I went there anyway, since the senior coffee was so bad today. [comment]


so my Android tablet died over the weekend. I'm still trying to get it back, but I already wiped all the data on it while attempting to restore it, which means that the .05BTC or so I had on it is gone forever. damn. [comment]


dumpster diving paid off well today: 3.3lb pork ribs, a quart of blueberry yogurt with active cultures (gallons if I could have carried it), and a big box of baby spinach leaves. picked up about 10 figs, drops from the tree near the high school, some of which I used as a "barbecue sauce" for the ribs, and the rest which I'll probably snack on. not the healthiest foods, but probably not as bad as the sausages I've been eating, and sure will be a lot tastier. plus you can't beat the price. [comment]


forgot to mention Turby, the Vietnam vet who gave me a ride in his pickup truck yesterday not far from Green String farm all the way to the Safeway in Sonoma. in 'nam he said he had a one-man outpost. when he heard enemies nearby he'd go out, take off his shirt, yell an obscenity at Ho Chi Minh, and hold his arms out daring them to fire. after they'd emptied their magazines at him, he'd turn around and go back inside. never got hit. that's his story anyway, best as I remember it. I have no good reason to disbelieve him.

found a box of portobella mushrooms and some cherry tomatoes in the dumpster at Grocery Outlet, and some strawberry tree fruits and figs on the way back home. threw it all in a pan with some of my cheap sausages and sauteed. I'll be back to brag if it came out really good, otherwise ich grolle nicht. [comment]

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