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.

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with all this commotion about epi-pens, which by the way are being manipulated in price because of government intervention, why don't people who might need them just go buy a bottle of it from their local farm supplier, a bunch of syringes, and make up a few to have on hand? there could be an open-source-hardware project (or several) to come up with auto-injectors, or at minimum people could store the loaded syringe in a small foam-lined box to take with them.

I'm not absolutely sure all farm suppliers have it, or will sell to non-licensed veterinarians, but I'm betting it's not so hard to get it. [comment]


so today I got a ride out to Sebastopol to meet Steamboat Ed, and also was introduced to the wonderland of Bataeff Salvage, which among other things has the same lightweight foam wheels for which I paid $25 or so each at Friedman's, for $17 each.

by midafternoon was starving so with my last $1.29 I got the two-tacos-of-questionable-origin deal at Jack in the Box, then took the bus back to P-town.

no joy at West Marine. they had the hardener for $8, but no wax additive, so I might as well get what I need online for way less. I was given a little extra time to get the job done.

speaking of jobs, I've got a client in Ukraine for whom I completed a $250 job a few days ago, but he still refuses to pay because of his misunderstanding of what the SRILM toolset, particularly fngram-count, is supposed to do. he insists that the tags should be removed from the output by the program, though obviously they are not, so he blames me for not configuring the factor-file correctly. ordinarily I'd just cut my losses and write it off, but I don't want to do that this time. I want this fucker to apologize, and pay. or at least pay. it might have to go to arbitration. I don't know how good my chances are there. it all depends on whether or not the arbitrator knows something about the subject matter, or about programming. if he does, my chances improve tremendously. but if he's some dummy with a liberal arts degree, I might be screwed.



since a friend posted a tearjerker today about a baby in England all covered with scabs due, allegedly, to contacting chickenpox from some unvaccinated kid — and all his pro-vax friends joining in with "vaccines are 100% safe" and similar bullshit — I decided to post the VAERS cover-up article that Guerrillanurse wrote. how do I know it's true? I don't. but it has the ring of truth. it's not anti-vax. it is anti-ignorance. the chance of your child suffering a vaccine injury are much higher than that of your winning the lottery, but how many hesitate to buy that ticket every week? or bunch of tickets? and yet most people willingly subject their children to every fucking vaccine that the Almighty Government recommends. and like the "mum" of the scabby kid, wants to shame (or force) everybody else to do the same. [comment]


added 15 drops of my not-so-good MEKP to 10cc of gelcoat. again it wasn't getting noticeably viscous after a few minutes, so I just left the batch without applying it: something that's not overly painful with these microbatches. it was hard after I went to check maybe half an hour later, except it was still tacky on the surface. but my Facebook friend Matt says that's normal for gelcoat, it will still leave a fingerprint a day later. so I guess I'm good with about 5 times the normal amount of hardener. gonna try and finish the job tomorrow, then re-fill the spa and see if it holds water. [comment]


the brine-pickled carrots I've had going for several weeks are starting to get soft, as if they'd been slow-cooked for hours. big win. slow cooking is not something for a limited budget, particularly when the fuel, by my rules, must come out of my food money. [comment]


so I took the long way home, out to Lucky and Goodwill then back along Lakeville. when I hit that grassy area near Steamer Landing Park, I saw a jackrabbit hanging out by the abandoned railroad tracks. and I decided to persistence hunt it.

I'd done this before, in the desert, and attempted it once in Helen Putnam Park, but so far I hadn't been successful without the added help of an air rifle. I chased the little bugger back and forth, and I was getting winded but so was he. finally I'd had just about enough, but some youngish lady came over and berated me for bothering the poor rabbit. "he lives here." she must be from the dreaded RDL, the Rabbit Defense League.

got to step up my game. the dumpsters won't be overflowing with food after SHTF. and these do-goody meddlers will be hunkered down in their gated communities anyway. that damned rabbit is mine. [comment]


this saved me from the trying to overwrite '/usr/include/bits' problem: sudo apt-get purge gcc-multilib lib32z1-dev libc6-dev-x32 libc6-dev-amd64 g++-multilib gcc-6-multilib g++-6-multilib. I'll probably have other problems down the line, but at least apt functions again for now. [comment]


I've got to learn to stop using my hands and feet as hammers. left hand is pretty painful tonight. but it will probably heal; it always has. and someday this bad habit of mine may come in handy, if a mugger picks the wrong target. [comment]


got into poison oak late last week, I believe it was Thursday. we were weeding, and there was this one vine that looked a lot like Toxicodendron diversilobum, except it had some 5-leaf groups and in some cases the 3rd leaf was itself trifurcated. so while I washed my hands, I didn't take it seriously enough. it's on my left forearm, my dick, and other places, and it's still showing up in new spots so I must still have it on my clothes or other things. [comment]


wow, that was quick. went downstairs for one final check, and it had all hardened. I guess it just hardens non-linearly. I'll try another batch tomorrow. breathed enough of that shit already today. [comment]


attempted another 100ml batch of gel-coat. that from yesterday (or was it the day before?) had finally hardened in the mixing container but still had a tacky surface. this time, realizing the clarity of the resin indicated I had mostly styrene and not polyester, I shook the can vigorously to mix it. then I added 4 drops of MEKP instead of the 3 I had added to the previous batch.

it wasn't good enough. still hadn't gotten any more viscous after 10 minutes, so I added a few more drops of the hardener. 10 minutes later and it was still only semi-viscous. I'm about to give up. I guess the MEKP broke down over the 8 months it was sitting in storage. [comment]


so the client turned out to be an OK guy after all. He paid me $360 even though the product wasn't what he had in mind. very grateful. at least I'll be able to make the minimum payments this month on my credit cards. [comment]


I'm fucked. the job I had at Upwork was done according to spec, but the client didn't like it because he couldn't run it from the klunky, fucked-up AWS console. I just terminated it. I could have taken it to arbitration but didn't want that on my record. now I can't make my credit card payments this month unless I borrow from a credit card to do it. and quitting the job is probably going to ding my Upwork reputation so it'll be harder to get more work.

bummed right now. but I'll get over it. [comment]


was just cooking dinner on my camp stove, spaghetti and sausages for $1.69 at Grocery Outlet, and 2 cans of stewed tomatoes I got from the senior center handouts last Tuesday. only I forgot to stir the spaghetti, and didn't have any stirrer handy because the neighbor's dog keeps carrying away my bamboo utensils. so I tried to make do with a grater, but then I pushed too hard and the whole thing went crashing down. I had plenty of water handy and easily put out the flame, but the penny stove had fallen in the food itself and the bittering agent added to make the alcohol nonpotable ruined it completely. so now I'm out my planned dinner. I've still got food, thankfully, but without a grasping government I could have salvaged my intended meal.

without government there's always a chance that cheap alcohol will be toxic. only with government is that guaranteed. [comment]


this is even better, but the instructions are out of date: http://eliasbagley.github.io/ethereum/2016/02/14/getting-started-with-ethereum.html. [comment]


getting started with Ethereum, even though it seems others have already written Ethereum lotteries, as I always think I can do it better. I found this getting started tutorial and it's pretty good. once I've mined some testnet gas, I'll deploy a simple bot. then it's on to write the lotto, if I don't burn out on it first. [comment]


0341 here and I can't get back to sleep after getting up to pee.

an idea just popped into my head. I could write a lottery in Ethereum that pays out every hour or so. that doesn't cost anything for the ticket; the transaction fee would be the customer's only loss. that wouldn't fund any state racket. that wouldn't leave literally billions of pieces of paper waste per day on the streets of the world.

the payout algorithm would take into account the amount of the bid. let's say ETH0.0123 would count as 1230000 tickets. stack the blocks of tickets end to end, and generate a random number to index into the stack. there's your winner!

if it's coded right, there won't and can't be any cheating. and if it's not coded right, it will be easy for someone to copy and correct, and make a new one.

it's probably already been done. I haven't googled it, and honestly I've paid little attention to Ethereum, as I couldn't wrap my head around it. but this idea gives me something small and simple enough to start with. I might just try it. it could be my greatest gift to humanity. [comment]


so the AWS API call to create an HTTPS listener on an app's load balancer wants, for the SSLCertificateId parameter, the certificate's Arn attribute, not its ServerCertificateId attribute. now, that's intuitive. [comment]


fog coming through the Cotati gap for, what, the 7th night in a row? loving these cooler mornings. it still gets plenty hot in the late morning or early afternoon.

scored big at the food giveaway at the senior center this morning. I should be pretty much set for the next few days, except for meat. but then I have organic eggs, so I'm good for protein.

also got a head of broccoli and bag of oranges from the Grocery Outlet dumpster. but that's about all I find there lately, veggies and fruits. I cut off the tops of the broccoli and packed them into the emptiest of the 3 brine pickle jars I have going. there's kahm yeast in all of them but I'm not too worried about it. if it leads to mold, then I might have to throw some out.

making progress on the latest Django programming job, but it's a tough slog. the Elastic Beanstalk stuff adds a lot of complexity. but I might have found a way to set up environment variables using the .ebextensions folder, since it supposedly processes them in order. I use the 2nd one as a template, and fill in the variables with a container_command from the first one. it didn't work the first time because of a bug, but maybe it will this time. [comment]


one of the advantages of an extremely limited budget is that one does not buy what he likes; he buys what's on sale. and that can lead to some serendipitous discoveries, like this Pecorino sheep's milk cheese from Bulgaria, $3/lb, and Seattle International Baking Company white or whole wheat pita bread, 99 cents for 14 ounces, at Grocery Outlet. [comment]


what a week. mostly coding, with food procurement and preparation a distant second, or so it seemed anyway. probably still goofed off most of the time.

tested Zippo fluid (naphtha) in my penny stove. it worked, but too well. one time I spilled a little on the edge and it went whoosh! before settling down to a very hot, fast burn. I'll stick with the 70% ethyl rubbing alcohol, and as long as I cook during the hottest part of the day, it works well enough. made myself an omelet and a big batch of bulgur wheat with chia seed, the latter cooked in the chicken broth from yesterday's chicken backs from Whole Foods. waste not, want not. fat is my most important calorie source.

another month almost gone. soon it'll be winter in La Paz again, assuming I survive and everything else continues as before. the economic and political situation in the US and the world doesn't make anything too secure. [comment]

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