The Fantastica Chronicles (Day 113-119)

Day 113. (TFC A Cold Weather Snap After Lots Of Rain, Reading Entirely Too Much About Mining Crypto & Learning How To Dismantle Hard Drives)

The weather slowly got chillier throughout the course of the day and for the most part I just stayed indoors. As per usual before the temperatures get below freezing I filled all my water jugs and made sure to set the water line (that I have run to the shelter site) to trickle so that it won't freeze up and potentially break. Other than doing those things my preparation for bad weather is rather nonexistent at this point.

I spent the majority of the day researching different cryptocurrencies to mine and the pros and cons of mining the different types. For the most part doing any mining of the larger coins (like Bitcoin or Ethereum) does not seem like something that is worthwhile without a fairly large mining rig and some way of producing a sufficient enough amount of electricity to power it because the electricity cost (if purchasing it) will undoubtedly outweigh the value of the coins mined.

The whole crypto mining thing is something that I am once again taking a serious look at because with the fast moving high volume creek here there is a lot of potential for producing an abundant supply of electricity. There would of course be a lot of initial investment needed to setup an adequately sized hydro-electric system (and the mining rig itself) but the returns from the mining would probably pay for that within the first year or so. At this point it is all just an idea and although there would be a lot of details to work out I do not think that it is all that bad of an idea.

At some point during my online reading I stumbled across an article about repairing hard drives that have mechanical failure (where they make a clicking or buzzing sound) and after doing some reading and watching several videos I learned how to repair them through a process of dismantling them.

What apparently happens is that the armature inside the drive gets stuck on the drive's platter and has to be manually moved to get it unstuck. There is a small screw in the center of the platter that must be rotated counter-clockwise until the armature 'twitches' and then the armature can be gently pulled back into place by applying a little pressure to it with a screwdriver or some other tool.

Although there are a lot of dire warnings about only dismantling hard drives in a dust free environment/room there is also a lot of articles and how-to videos showing people doing it in non-dust free environments and the hard drives being fine afterwards. My thinking on it is that as long as it isn't in a super dusty area (or a windy area) and the disassembly and reassembly is done quickly that the process would work rather well regardless.

My further thoughts on that is that if I just want to get some data recovered off of a 'dead' hard drive I am not going to overly stress about the longevity of the drive after repairing it. In other words if a little dust gets in there but I can still get everything I want to get off the hard drive it does not really matter if the drive dies later from dust exposure.

Well that is about it for now. Sorry about the late posting of this one. I wound up taking a nap that turned into a very long sleep and totally missed doing my usual posting. I hope that everyone is doing well and has a nice day/night.

I think that it is pretty neat how squirrels have adapted to survive the winter in their nests! If you look closely the tree in the center has a squirrel nest in it!

Day 114. (TFC Another Chilly Day Outside, Researching Some Crypto Mining Software & Napping Entirely Too Long)

It never quite warmed up outside today and once again I found myself entirely content to just stay in the warmth of my shelter with the dogs which is becoming quite the habit of late as the year grinds towards it's inevitable close.

It is becoming difficult for me to tell if my days are actually productive or not when I just spend long hours on the computer reading technology related stuff but I guess that just depends on whether what I learn is actually useful or not.

I spent the majority of the day reading about various types of cryptocurrency mining software (as well as the types of crypto worth mining) which is not all that new to me or anything but damn there sure are a lot more options for doing it than there used to be.

Like I was saying yesterday I have been mulling over this hydro-electric project and considering setting up some mining hardware to burn off the excess electricity (or all the electricity made by it) and figured that I might as well also spend some time researching the various mining software options that are available so that I would have a clearer picture of how things would work and what all I would need to make it work.

Honestly most of what I was reading is probably useless information because by the time that the hydro-electric rig gets built there will probably be new and better software available.

Anyway I have been feeling pretty 'blah' about life in general especially because I tend to get to feeling rather 'down and out' around the holidays. I was hoping to have that 'computer' (the empty fucking case) I bought online to entertain me but that sure turned out to be a pretty crap deal and ever since then I have just been feeling like I totally failed to get myself something meaningful for the holiday that might assuage my deteriorating mood. I am sure it will all pass eventually and for now it just is what it is.

I just keep telling myself that at least I have a nice warm shelter and the dogs are happy and nothing else beyond that really matters and truly it doesn't!

Well that is about it for now. I hope that everyone is doing well and has a nice day/night.

I think that it is incredibly cute when the dogs pile up like this!

Day 115. (TFC Refurbishing An Old Laptop, Researching Setting Up A Server & More Or Less Just Reading A Lot)

These chilly days are not all that bad as long as I can find something to focus on and feel like I am learning new stuff but I am assuredly missing doing physical activities and making my scenario better. The downtime is nice and all but it sure does not provide much in the way of having interesting things to write about.

I got up super early once again and got to thinking about perhaps setting up a small server for mining some cryptocurrencies like XMR or BCN (Monero and Bytecoin) which although not all that profitable they are definitely more doable with the hardware that I currently have than the larger coins like Bitcoin or Ethereum.

Most of my server research centered around installing and configuring Ubuntu Server and although I have used it in the distant past I thought a little refresher course would be good for me. The installation and setup process is a heck of a lot easier than it used to be and there is not really much difference in setting it up than a usual Linux distribution other than there being no graphical user interface. Fortunately my current level of experience using Linux does not make doing everything without a GUI all that challenging so that is good.

I have yet to do any research on 'hardening' (securing) the server but I am assuredly going to do some in-depth research regarding that before I set the server up which is pretty damn important because crypto mining systems often get hacked on by nefarious folks seeking to steal whatever crypto they can. That alone makes me hesitant to even setup such a system but I kind of just want to do it to further familiarize myself with various types of mining software. Basically it is just an 'educational' experiment and not one that I really anticipate making much revenue from.

I have several faulty laptops that each have their problems like sticking keyboard keys, bad fans, ports that don't work, partially cooked hardware and etcetera. They do 'work' though as long as I am willing to apply work-arounds to their problems/inconveniences which is honestly more annoying than I can sum up but hey when trash is what you have then trash is what you work with!

Although I was first considering setting up the aforementioned server on one of the laptops I then got to thinking about the Android-x86 project (it allows you to run a full blown Android OS on a regular computer/laptop) so I switched gears and decided to first build a laptop to run Android.

I have one decent old laptop that has a working screen so I focused on it and added more RAM to it and replaced it's burned out internal WiFi card with one from another laptop who's motherboard is completely fried.

The keyboard is fucked in the 'good' laptop and it's fan makes a horrible 'death rattle' noise so I am thinking to dismantle the entire thing, remove the keyboard altogether, dismantle the fan, add some special lubricant to the fans internal parts and reassemble everything. The DVD drive is also dodgy so I might remove it as well. With no keyboard, no battery and no DVD drive the laptop should run a little cooler because it will have better airflow but we will see if it survives the disassembly and reassembly process first!

Anyway that is all for now. I hope that everyone is doing well and has a nice day/night.

New grass shoots are popping up everywhere with all the rain and warm weather we have been having here.

Day 116. (TFC Hanging Out With Some Of My Fellow Homesteaders & Finally Using The Rest Of The Fence Material To Expand My Dog Yard)

I have been in a pretty weird mood lately and although I generally side step feeling fucked up around the holidays by zoning out online playing my favorite video game...that has not been the case this year which has left me with a lot of flailing around looking for things to focus on that might be as fulfilling/soothing as my two decade tradition of gaming.

Honestly nothing has quite filled that void and aside from complaining there is not fuck all that I can do about it other than to just keep plugging along and finding solace in the company of the dogs and occasionally spending some time with my fellow homesteaders.

Considering that human company often just makes me feel more isolated and disconnected it is a wonder that I actually enjoy the time that I spend with the folks here. I have no idea if they actually enjoy my company but at least I tend to get them laughing and/or thinking with my antics so I guess the answer to that should be self-evident. Human relations/communication is always a complex affair to say the least so who the fuck knows if that is true!

Today I spent the early afternoon chatting with a few of the folks here and discussing how weird it is that we are all so damn programmed to either participate in the consumeristic holiday festivities or feel like utter crap for not participating in it. All of us being rather financially challenged sure does not help and although that (being poor) does not seem to phase us much the rest of the year it sure as hell does this time of year.

That is at least my perception of things but at least I recognize that the feeling of being a total piece of shit for not being financially endowed is purely a societal programming issue and not something that I genuinely embrace as an authentic feeling of my own. In other words recognizing the root of the fucked up feelings sure makes dismissing them a hell of a lot easier because after all I did not become the person that I am because I blithely buckle to something as insidious as cultural conditioning or societal 'norms'.

All that jazz aside I decided to put my angst to good use today and finally finished rolling out the rest of the fencing material and expanding my dog yard. Although I am definitely going to have to add some more posts to stiffen up the fence I was at least able to nearly triple the size of the dog yard which made the dogs (and me) extremely happy so that is a damn good feeling.

I have too damn many thoughts bubbling around in my mind right now to explore them all here in this tedious medium of phone typing so I am going to just wrap this up and call it good enough. I hope that everyone is doing well and has a nice day/night.

As you can see the fence is a bit wavy at the top so more posts are required.

Day 117. (TFC Writing A Short Humor Article, Washing My Laundry & Clawing My Way Out Of The Holiday Funk)

This morning I once again found myself up before the sunrise with a bit of a litany of weird stuff going through my head which was undoubtedly the result of reading entirely too many damn news articles the night before. So to get all that crap out of my brain I immediately began writing a humor article which turned out to be pretty damn funny if you ask me. Who knows whether or not it is truly humorous to anyone else but it at least helped to clear my mind.

I should probably do that sort of article a little more often just for the fun of it but I really dislike wandering too far outside of the homesteading genre that I write about each day because I always fear that I will lose readers if I write about too many topics. Fears being fears I should probably disregard them but I assuredly like staying well within my 'comfort zone' with the writing especially since I already occasionally meander into writing about technological stuff that most folks probably have little to no interest in.

On a different note I washed all my dirty laundry today which there really was not that much of but all my undergarments were dirty as well as a blanket that one of the dogs vomited on. I try to keep a few clean blankets on a shelf in the shelter just in case that (the vomiting) happens in the middle of the night so that I can just hang the soiled blanket outside on the dog yard fence and use a clean one.

So far that tactic has worked out really well but since there is only a washing machine here and no clothes drier it often takes several days (or longer) to get the blankets (or any laundry) dry because it has been routinely overcast and/or rainy the last few months.

Drying stuff out by hanging it on the wall in front of the propane heater has been working out really well but I can only hang a few items at a time there and it tends to make the interior of the shelter very humid during the drying process but at least it works!

All in all the whole process of doing laundry sure is a heck of a lot easier than it was at the last place I lived (and did it all by hand) so I have zero complaints in that regard.

Anyway I have been steadily clawing my way out of the holiday funk that I have been feeling of late. Mostly I have just been telling myself that the holidays are almost over and also that one of the most challenging decades of my life is finally coming to an end.

All things considered I am at least in a pretty good place now in all the ways that truly matter. My financial situation is by far not super awesome but I have at least managed to buy dog food and coffee each month and fortunately the folks here are still willing to feed me.

Well that is about it for now. I hope that everyone is doing well and has a nice day/night.

I actually used this picture of me holding an apple to make the graphic for that humor article.

Day 118. (TFC Doing Some Early Morning Publishing, Watching The Weather Turn Rainy, Disassembling And Reassembling An Old Laptop & Installing And Testing Android-x86)

I woke up a little after four this morning and per usual on a Sunday I immediately set to work compiling my weekly post on Steemit and was finished long before the sun was up.

That particular post was not all that wonderful because most of it consisted of the days that I was either ill or recovering from said illness and although I still managed to write something each day I really did not have much to write about and felt like all the posts from that week were quite underwhelming to say the least.

A few days back I mentioned that 32-bit laptop (with the working screen) that I was thinking of putting Android on and how I would need to dismantle it to try to fix the cooling fan inside of it and today I finally did it.

Unfortunately I had to literally disassemble the entire laptop to get to the fan which was pretty much a pain in the ass but not the most difficult laptop I have ever had to dismantle.

I wound up removing several internal components that I did not need as well as the keyboard with the stuck keys. The components that I removed were the dysfunctional DVD drive, the PCMCIA card board and in the end I also removed that new internal WiFi card that I previously installed because the laptop gave me an error with it in saying that it was an unsupported device and would not boot.

Once I got everything disassembled and got to where I could actually access the fan I found that along with some water damage the fan housing was literally packed solid with dust and what looked like incredibly fine sawdust which makes me wonder how the fan was even capable of spinning.

One of the fan blades broke when I was dismantling the fan itself and I think that it was already cracked from hitting the glob of dust/sawdust and perhaps from being overheated it had grown brittle. Luckily the blade did not break entirely free and I was able to use some superglue to repair it.

There was a bunch of rust on the internal parts of the fan and although I looked everywhere for my special grease that is made for working with both plastic and metal parts I could not find it anywhere so I wound up cleaning off the rust by applying some PB-Blaster to a tissue and gently removing the rust with it. It was a pretty hacky solution but worked out okay.

Anyway once I got the laptop reassembled I installed Android-x86 on it and although it ran pretty quickly (which was a surprise to see on such an old laptop) it also would randomly power itself down. It also kept making this horrible clicking sound from the speakers that I failed to find a way to turn off.

I did succeed at setting up a cryptocurrency miner on the laptop (with Android running it) but the hash rate was half of what I can get from an old tablet that I have that consumes a heck of a lot less electricity than the laptop does. In the end it was an interesting experiment and I have an extra 'working' laptop out of it but I am not sure what (if anything) that I will do with it.

Well that is about it for now. I hope that everyone is doing well and has a nice day/night.

It was a dreary day but the sun kept peaking out every once in a while!

Day 119. (TFC Too Much Or Just Enough Thinking, Writing Another Steemit Article Outside My Usual Genre & Reminding Myself Not To Breathe Anxiety Into The World)

It was predominantly overcast and rainy today but at least it was not all that chilly outside which was good because I did not have to worry about running the heater all that much and thus use up my dwindling supply of propane.

As far as the propane goes I do have a partial tank hooked up to my outdoor shower and another partial tank attached to the stove so I am not going to abruptly run out or anything.

The tank on the shower is pretty low though and might provide one night's heat and the tank on the stove has a good bit in it but the safety valve inside trips nearly every time that I open the main valve even if I turn the valve extremely slowly. On the stove the safety valve tripping (and thus only letting a small amount of gas out at a time) does not matter too much and if anything keeps the stove operating rather efficiently as far as gas usage goes but if I use that tank on the heater the limited gas flow renders the heater inoperable and it takes almost ten minutes for the safety valve to un-trip itself.

On a different note today was just one of those days where I pretty much just hung out with the dogs and did a bunch of reading. I did however spend a good bit of time writing another humorous Steemit article. That particular article was a bit more than mere humor though because it was also about some of the political shenanigans going on with that platform at the moment. The politics are not all that dramatic or anything and like most evolving organisms (the platform) is undergoing evolution and experiencing some growing pains in the process which is completely normal.

Anyway my motto the last many months being 'do not breathe anxiety into the world' I kept reminding myself of it today while also reflecting back on what the hell I was doing last year at this time and the year before that and the year before that etcetera...all the way back to ten years ago and whoa am I in a much better place than I have been in all that time and am incredibly thankful for it!

The holidays are always a bit of a head trip for me but I am admittedly doing rather well with it all this year. I even used a lot of my recent Steemit earnings to get gifts for some of my fellow homesteaders and did my gift giving last month instead of just holding onto the gifts until the holidays. My only big fail was the gift I got myself in the form of that computer that turned out to be an empty case but whatever because at least I have peace of mind and an incredible sense of stability and well-being.

That is about it for now. I hope that everyone is doing well and has a nice day/night.

It was quite the overcast day!
Thanks for reading!
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Previous Fantastica chronicles:
The Fantastica Chronicles (Day 1-7)
The Fantastica Chronicles (Day 8-14)
The Fantastica Chronicles (Day 15-21)
The Fantastica Chronicles (Day 22-28)
The Fantastica Chronicles (Day 29-35)
The Fantastica Chronicles (Day 36-42)
The Fantastica Chronicles (Day 43-49)
The Fantastica Chronicles (Day 50-56)
The Fantastica Chronicles (Day 57-63)
The Fantastica Chronicles (Day 64-70)
The Fantastica Chronicles (Day 71-77)
The Fantastica Chronicles (Day 78-84)
The Fantastica Chronicles (Day 85-91)
The Fantastica Chronicles (Day 92-98)
The Fantastica Chronicles (Day 99-105)
The Fantastica Chronicles (Day 106-112)
That Is All For Now!

Comments 3

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29.12.2019 13:26

To listen to the audio version of this article click on the play image.

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29.12.2019 13:42

It was great to learn about your crypto experience and some new facts

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30.12.2019 11:21