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


before I left on the Oregon trip (Madras, to see the eclipse) I brine-pickled 3 bags of organic broccoli I'd found in good condition in the Grocery Outlet dumpster. but when I got back, the top was no longer covered in water and had turned into a putrid goo. I scraped it off, and the rest of the batch hadn't pickled properly but was still mostly palatable, so I added some to my meal. but halfway through dinner I decided "nope" and spit the rest out.

I had had diarrhea for almost 48 hours at that point, and was afraid the putrid veggies were going to make that even worse. but luckily for me, I've gone the day without incident, and I'm feeling fine now. the last couple days of the trip I was running low on food and ate some things I probably should have thrown out, like moldy pecans and slimy lunch meats.

tonight's dinner was mac-and-ham-and-cheese, made from organic spaghetti from Grocery Outlet, a pound for 99 cents, and ham and cheese from the dumpster out back. I have enough for another day at least, and have meat and cheese for another batch, if it keeps.

haven't had any flying dreams lately, but had a pretty cool sliding dream last night. I had climbed to the top of a mountain, and there was a road going straight down starting at about a 30% grade. I took one look and decided instead to look for some switchbacks to walk, but then I thought I'd try sliding on my butt. it was easy and painless! my pants were still fully intact at the bottom, and I got down in record time. [comment]


I think it was the Sunday after that last post that I cooked a ribeye steak at low temp, just put it in my pan with some rum (to kill bacteria) and olive oil, and covered it tightly with a plastic bag. it sat in the sun all day and hopefully hit at least 120 degrees Fahrenheit. anyway, I ate it and it was delicious, and I haven't yet had any serious indications of health problems as a result. so I'd say that's a win. now I'm wondering how far I can take sous-vide cooking for preserving meals up to a week or so at room temp. [comment]


walked and jogged from Solarfest into Madras, shopped and got some programming done on myturn, and walked/jogged back. it wasn't until I was out of town till I realized how dehydrated I was; I hadn't taken advantage of any of the chances I'd had all day to drink water. so I got out my filter and drank a pint out of the canal. when I got back to camp, I ate a half-pound uncooked cheeseburger to test my immune system. since then I've been drinking wine, over half a bottle so far and I may finish it tonight. I also soaked the burger meat in some rum hoping to kill any of the nasties that may have multiplied while it was sitting at room temperature in my bag all day. I expect to get through this just fine, but you never know. [comment]


I don't mind debating flat earthers. it's intellectually stimulating, having to actually prove things mathematically that I always just assumed previously. but I wish both sides would make it easier.

if your goal is to win the mind of your opponent by showing him the fallacies of his own model, frame your argument in the terms of that model, not your own. and if your opponent misrepresents your model, show him how, don't just call him names.

if you post a video or a photo that you think proves your viewpoint, research it first and spare your opponent the need to locate the GPS coordinates, names, and heights of the features involved. this means both the spot from where the photo or video was taken, including height above sea level to the actual camera lens, and the claimed base and peak heights of at least one of the distant features in your example. if it's a long-winded, repetitive video, as many tend to be, tell your opponent the place or places to which to skip ahead to the "meat". if your opponent has used kilometers and meters, don't reply in miles and feet, defer to his system.

if he comes back with something like wave height, and you hadn't taken that into account before, no need to panic. just tell him "good point", go back and study, and come back to the discussion when you have an answer. maybe your model isn't perfect after all. open-minded discussion can't hurt, and it sure beats ad-hominems and other fallacious substitutes for genuine debate.

I'm guilty of some of the things I mentioned above. I'll own that. but I'm getting better. [comment]


I got an email a few weeks back that said I was entitled to proceeds from a class action lawsuit. I'd been part of these things before and didn't expect much if anything; I think the last one was a few cents, not worth the time to cash the check. so you can imagine my surprise when I got $74.36 in today's mail. paying down my credit cards just a little bit more this month. pretty cool. [comment]


the cold-water shave. finally got it down. far better than a dry shave for comfort, and it probably doesn't dull the razor as much. all you need is a few drops of water and a squirt of Dr. Bronner's or other soap. lather up and shave, you'll hear a distinct scraping noise but the lather will prevent the chafing and nicks that dry shaving exacerbates. then just a few taps against the side of the sink or, anything hard like a stone if you're camping, are usually sufficient to knock the whiskers and dead skin out from between the blades.

someday I'll have to combine this with my "pocketknife shave" and see what the results are. this works for now; I'm making my $4 Gillette Fusion cartridges last 6 months, good enough for me. [comment]


it wasn't nearly as easy as in this video. two of the bolts were rusted so badly they broke off when I tried to loosen the nuts, and I ended up having to saw through the old valve and drive out the remainder of the bolts. I also had to unbolt a bracket that was holding it in place, and bend it out of the way; can't do that more than one or two more times before metal fatigue will make it unusable. and I had to use one leg to push on the pipe at the far end, past the ell, to give myself enough slack to get the new valve in. but it's in and it works. yay. [comment]


my lady taught me something about siphoning that I never knew, or if I'd known I'd long since forgotten. the scenario: a leaking hot tub that had about 100 gallons of water in it, which I needed to empty. I was going to make 100+ trips with a one-gallon water jug. instead I did this, at her direction:

run a hose to the bottom of the hot tub. hold it down with something if necessary, but not so as to kink it. remove the nozzle if any.

turn on the water at the other end of the hose. make sure water is coming out inside the container (hot tub in this case). yes, you're adding more water in this step, but just a little, and it saves a lot of effort.

simultaneously turn off the water and kink the hose at the bibb end. carry the kinked end to a level below that of the bottom of the container being emptied, which in my case was downhill a few feet. the point is to make sure there's more water weight in the part of the hose below the bottom of the container than there is above, so at least half the hose must be below.

release the kink. the weight of the water will pull suction on the line and empty the container. [comment]


woke up with another headache late last night. I'm coming to the conclusion that I can't drink wine unless I also eat meat. just drinking lots of water doesn't cut it any more on my almost-meatless freegan diet.

chicken trimmings: fat, skin, and some meat, sells for 39 cents a pound at Sprouts. it's just conventional chicken, not healthy meat, but that's quite a bargain and compares with the small random cuts G&G used to sell as "pet food". I got 1.4 pounds for 55 cents, and it's in my solar "oven" now. I'll probably have to light a fire later in order to really cook it.

got a lot to do by Sunday, then could be offline for two whole weeks. got to finish cleaning off my old server and getting everything running on the new ones, make some real progress on myturn, and get some stuff done around the property. [comment]


also went to RCU and used my new credit card to consolidate the debt on my other 3 cards. my monthly payment will be lower, and more of it will go to principal. [comment]


jogged off my headache earlier today, and it hasn't returned. I also ate some of my kraut for the probiotic boost. hoping to have nipped that bug in the bud. [comment]


had a headache all night. rare for me, and my phlegm production seems up a notch. I might have picked up some bug. [comment]


in line with some of my previous rants on how browsers deliberately block certain features -- for example, any sound that isn't a direct response to a user action -- making web apps with crippled functionality, I'm planning on forking an open source mobile browser, uncrippling it, and naming it Bergeron in honor of the Vonnegut character. I hope its freedom isn't as short-lived as its namesake. [comment]


one outstanding feature of Android 6 is the "battery saver" mode. you may have noticed it come on automatically at 15%, but I wanted it on all the time, since I don't have phone service and just want it to last as long as it can between recharges.

it turns out it's a little hidden; you need to go to Settings | Battery and click the "context menu", those 3 vertical dots in the upper right corner. select "Battery saver" and flip it to "on". note that you can't do it while it's plugged in to power, and as soon as you plug it in to power, it immediately goes off, not back to 15%. you have to manually set it again.

so, obviously, they're making it a royal pain in the ass to keep it on for some reason. but once you get into the habit it's not that bad. and it seems to last 4 to 5 days between charges now, instead of 2 or 3. [comment]

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