Rogue-ish: Attempting to escape the clutches of mass surveillance while living one's best life. These entries reflect my daily 'adventures', growth, and discovery.
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Calories

Even though I have nothing but time, I still don't eat. I have food. I buy food. I still don't eat. I suspect it's because I'm not buying the right kind of food. Most of what I have on hand requires heat, and pulling out the stove isn't always an option. I need easy eats that I can have without leaving the car, and also variety.

These pre-made tuna/chicken/salmon salad pouches are going to be a lifesaver for me. Slap it on a slice of bread, fold it like a taco and consume. I need more protein in my diet. Hello, protein.

I also find it incredibly easy to drink a quart of chocolate milk throughout a morning. It's these small revelations and improvement that make this situation easier.

Tomorrow, I'll buy more protein pouches (that's what I'm calling them now) and hit up the gym to workout and shower.

Baby steps.

A+ Progress

I definitely need to spend more time studying for the 220-1001 exam, but I am able with my progress thus far. I barely and unwillingly graduated high school all those years ago, without taking a single SAT/ACT test or anything like that. So in a way, this is all very new to me.

I'm honestly excited about the progress I'm making. I really believe I'll be able to sign up for the exam by the end of the month. I told myself I'd live in this car until I pass the 220-1001, no exceptions. After that, who knows how I'll feel and how broke I'll be.

I've also decided on doing FreeCodeCamp again and refreshing my programming knowledge with books like Eloquent JavaScript. I have a ton of Web Development courses on Udemy as well as more sysadmin/linux/security courses I'm really excited about taking.

2020 is going to be the year I finally make the career change I've been yearning for all these years. Whether it's in IT or Web Development, it's happening. I'm going to freelance more and continue writing along the way.

The Holy Grail

Every day I find a way to make living in this car more managable. One night, I froze under a thin blanket and slept with the heater on. The next night, I was comfortably warm inside my sleeping bag. Win.

But tonight, oh, tonight... I scored huge.

I went to AutoZone to pick up some cheap sun-shades for the front and back windows. Along the way, I got one of those air-vent phone-holders. I was considering getting something like this for a few days now, so I'm glad I finally have one. It's not only in a convenient place for navigation and charging, but also for when I want to type with my Bluetooth keyboard.

I was waiting in line to purchase my goods, but the cashier was busy helping these two girls for a long time. Then, he had computer problems with the next person in line. I went back to poking around the store.

That's when I found it. The holy grail. A 110v, 130w DC power inverter for my laptops (or whatever).

A few days ago, I started utilizing USB tethering. Tonight, I have power and a little more privacy from the sun and wandering eyes.

Let's get back to coding.

Tomorrow when I'm at the library I'm going to rip a few CD's, and maybe some movies too. But I'm also going to download a few coding books so I have offline references.

Much excited.

Blackout

I woke up this morning to the sun's rays on my face. And by that I mean it more closely resembled a flamethrower melting my skin and burning my eyeballs.

The other day, I was scoping out a place to park behind a shopping plaza, but a car was occupying the best curb-side spot (I like to cook on curbs). Upon closer examination, there were blankets, t-shirts, and all sorts of other things covering every inch of window space inside the car. I knew someone was camping out in their car like me.

At the time I felt like it was a little revealing. I think any reasonable person, looking at a car blacked out from inside like that, would know someone was living out of their vehicle.

Fuck those people. I'm going to get some sun shades today.

Car-dweller of {unknown location}

While at the Dollar Tree, I picked up a novel that looked promising, and a bit reflective of my current scenario: Spaceman of Bohemia by Jaroslav Kalfar. As one would expect, I was skeptical about buying a $1 book from a dollar store but it's really great, so far.

There was a specific piece of the story that I felt deep within my soul as I read it, and I'm beginning to fear that she might leave me, instead of vice-versa.


The spaceman, Jakub, is weeks into his journey to Venus, isolated and lonely within his ship. He is consumed, and tormented, by the thought of a dissolving marriage between his wife, Lenka, the only person in the entire universe he loves and cherishes.

The two are confined to a 1.5 hour weekly video conversation, and while Jakub desparately prepares to chat with his beloved at the scheduled time, she leaves him in the (space) dust.

Is this also my destiny?

Spooked

I pulled into a dark, empty plaza and drove the outskirts until I reached a quiet corner facing railroad tracks.

To my left, there was a dense area of trees obscured in darkness. To my right, there a long wall that made up a portion of one of the buildings.

It was a good place to cook some ramen and read, or so I thought.

First the rustling of leaves disturbed me - it sounded like footfall to my paranoid ears.

A few moments passed before I heard what sounded like a shriek or wail, but it was most likely an animal I've never been exposed to before.

That noise made my skin crawl, though.

In my head I was imagining a couple of different scenarios of a witch-like creature to jump out of the woods and attack me. More realistically, I thought, it was a group of insane-homeless-woodland people who were watching me through the thick of the brush with intentions of robbing me blind.

I kept cooking.

It was only mere seconds after I cleaned up when I heard another human-like, shrill sound.

Yep. It was time to go.

Check, Check, 1-2-3... Check

I was introduced to USB Tethering today, thanks to my CompTIA A+ certification book, and it just solved a tiny problem I had. My main laptop doesn't have Bluetooth connectivity, so a Mobile Hotspot wouldn't work, but USB Tethering 100% does. Actually, it doesn't even have a wireless network card and for some reason my USB Wi-Fi adapter works on my other laptop running the same OS, but not this one. Project for another day.

Since it's a lot easier to charge my phone while I'm driving than it is to find a place that has both decent Wi-Fi AND an accessible power outlet to use my laptop, I decided to do the bulk of my writing for this blog on my phone. A few months ago, I bought a new Bluetooth keyboard that works marvelously with phones.

I'm using the Listed.to blogging platform because I can do everything right from Standard Notes, which makes things stupid easy. However, I can't upload to my Listed blog from the mobile app. I have to use the desktop version.

All-in-all, the entire process of uploading a post and viewing it in a browser consumed 3mb's of cellular data. Wonderful.

Here's a breakdown of the process:

  1. Write draft in Standard Notes (offline), either on laptop battery charge or mobile device.
  2. Connect phone to laptop via USB.
  3. Turn on laptop (if it's not already on) and begin boot process.
  4. Go to phone network settings and turn on USB tethering.
  5. When OS boots to homescreen, open terminal and connect to TOR via ProtonVPN.
  6. Check connectivity to TOR.
  7. Open Standard Notes and wait until sync is finished.
  8. Open note that you wish to upload.
  9. Upload to Listed
  10. Open link to view blog in browser.
  11. Profit???

Coffee, Mate

Making instant coffee over an open flame, in public places, is becoming easier. I mix three large spoonfuls of instant garbage into a cup of water and stir. This makes it taste even more terrible, but it's the only way I can actually feel the caffeine.

I ignite enough alcohol in my stove so it heats up the liquid to just under boiling before going out. I use clean drinking or tap water for this so it's unnecessary to bring it to a full boil.

Dollar stores are abundant up here and they're seriously saving my ass. Last night I bought a 2QT, wide-mouth, plastic container and filled it up with duplex creme cookies. Now I have a cookie jar and it only costs $1-2 to fill it up.

I'm all about those small victories in life.

Preparation

I spent the last two days on outfitting and recon. The morning I arrived, I went straight to Wal-Mart and purchased a new smart-phone and a monthly unlimited talk/text plan with 2GB 4GLTE for a whopping $55. I also bought some essential foodstuffs like bread, peanut-butter and jelly for PB&J's, seasoned rice packages, ramen, instant oats, instant coffee, a bag of apples, and a lot of water. Everything paid in cash.

The rest of the morning was designated to setting up my new phone with FOSS apps and configuring the settings for a blend of privacy, security, and usability. First and foremost was downloading OSMAND+ with local and regional maps for offline use. Then I replaced all stock communication and media apps, like swapping out Contacts with OpenContacts, and Gboard with AnySoftKeyboard for increased privacy. NetGuard and SuperFreezZ were next for more privacy and performance. Then I spruced up the place with some of my favorite open-source apps like Red Moon, RadioDroid, NewPipe, Aegis, and Standard Notes.

I hit the road again, looking for quiet and private places where I could eat, sleep, and possibly bathe. As I discovered potential resting spots, I was flagging their locations in OSMAND+ for later. However, there was enough caffeine in my body to kill a small child at this point and I was beginning to feel impaired while driving. The culmination of total exhaustion from working, sleep deprivation, caffeine overload, and lack of nutrition began to take control. My body was telling me to stop. I had done enough. It was time to rest.

The Fall

I prepared for this situation knowing I would need to run away one day. The tension, pain, and confusion has built up over the last few months. A man can only take so much before he breaks, right? So here I am in this place, designated by a plan that was never shared with anyone nor documented. Within a few hours of time, I deleted all of my social media accounts, turned off my phone, packed up my car, and began driving.

I said goodbye to everyone at work, but not with finality. They would never think of me going AWOL, especially not my direct supervisor. Not in a million years. I had too much responsibility. I was the man with the plan. I'm still imagining the rage of my boss calling a dead phone over and over again and while simutaneously being crushed by the workload I was supposed to be handling. I'm confident the walls were shaking that afternoon.

In hindsight, it was incredibly easy to pull off the first part: getting away. Now, I'm living out my car contemplating my next move. And while I have a few ideas of what to do next, none of them are coming to fruition right away - this is my foreseeable future.