Atomic Fungus
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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in atomic_fungus' LiveJournal:

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    Thursday, October 23rd, 2014
    10:06 pm
    #4428: Dumbass.
    Dumbass paints rocks in national parks with acrylic paint because she's an artist don't you know?

    Not so much an artist, actually, as a fucking self-important moron who has absolutely no regard for anything other than herself.


    * * *

    So one week from today is Halloween. Holy crap.
    Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014
    2:33 pm
    #4427: Gosh, real physics in a Hollywood movie? Is that possible?
    Insterstellar is a story built on a foundation of interstellar travel via wormhole, and the wormhole is generated by a black hole spinning near the speed of light.

    ...and they brought in an astrophysicist to help them simulate a black hole, so that it would look right on the screen. Rather than just throw up something that looked good.

    Is hell freezing over?

    Same vein: Mrs. Fungus and I finished watching the first season of Under the Dome last night, and I had to laugh at their constant use of the old "cock the gun menacingly" thing.

    Guy's pointing pump-action shotgun at someone. He racks the pump to show he's serious. Then a little further on in the conversation he does it again and we don't hear a shell bouncing on the floor, indicating to me that the gun is empty. But of course after the conversation ends he then shoots someone else with the gun, demonstrating that it was loaded all along.

    It would have been more interesting if the gun had been empty.

    Here's the thing about this show: the writing is amazingly pedestrian, taking its cues from soap operas and overusing expositional tricks to make sure the audience is up to speed. Not a single episode went by where I didn't roll my eyes at the use of this or that hackneyed TV trope. But the story as a whole is entertaining, and the last few eps of the first season were very good even with the sophomoric writing.

    * * *

    Yet another anti-gun Democrat arrested while carrying a pistol. She wasn't arrested for carrying the pistol, at least, which puts her ahead of other anti-gun Democrats who have been arrested for illegal possession of a firearm.

    But of course she is an Important Person Who NEEDS A Gun For Personal Protection. You proles out there, you're not responsible enough to own firearms, which is why there have to be laws protecting you from yourself.

    Yes she is a hypocrite. No I am not surprised one whit.

    * * *

    This kind of thing is why I never expect to sell any of my books to traditional publishers. Cuomo got an advance of three quarters of a million dollars for his autobiography...which proceeded to sell exactly 945 copies in its first week on the shelves.

    Now, someone had to think--somewhere along the line--that Cuomo's not really a national personality and the memoirs of state politicians that are not currently running for national office aren't good candidates for huge advances. Didn't they?

    My biggest failing in this kind of situation is assuming that most people are rational and have some understanding of their own parochialism. That's a failing because lots of people don't second guess themselves ever and this disease is particularly virulent among the coastal progressive elite, who fancy themselves the smartest people in history, so of course Andrew Cuomo's memoirs are going to sell a lot of books because he's a coastal progressive elite and who doesn't want to read about him?

    The fact that people in the midwest aren't going to give a rat's ass about Cuomo does not figure. "Those hicks in flyover country don't know anything. Why, most of them don't even graduate high school." Yeah.

    * * *

    Still think we live in a country of laws? Short form: some guys got arrested for selling cocaine. The jury said they were not guilty of criminal conspiracy or anything, and were guilty only of selling cocaine. Judge, at sentencing, decided unilaterally that they were guilty of conspiracy, and sentenced them accordingly.

    Uh, no.

    And to add further to my stunning surprise, the Supreme Court voted not to hear an appeal of this verdict, because if they had, they would have had to reverse the decision, thus placing a limit on the power of judges across the land, and (by extension) reducing their own power.

    This case, by the way, further convinces me that the "war on some drugs" needs to end.

    * * *

    Karl Denninger again talks about how much government interference in the medical industry costs us.

    * * *

    There's still no inflation!

    Denninger dedicates one sentence to deflation, talking about computers and TVs. I noticed the other day that a 55" TV can now be had for around $550, where they were over $800 four years ago--and the dollars are worth less now than they were in 2010.

    Sure, my current computer cost a lot more in dollars than my C-64 did in 1983, but the dollars in 2014 are worth much less than 1983 dollars were, and this computer is faster than a Cray X-MP--the fastest computer available in 1983. That is deflation.

    In 1983 you could not buy a 55" LCD television, not for any amount of money. If you wanted a big screen you bought a projection TV, and paid out the wazoo for it, thousands of dollars.

    Have you noticed that the price of a bottle of shampoo has not changed much? I'm now paying $1.50 for the same bottle of shampoo that once cost $1, but that price has risen over most of a decade. Soap, toothpaste, shaving cream, after shave lotion, hair spray--my personal care budget has not changed materially; all these products are things that are made on assembly lines with as little human intervention as possible, and their prices have exhibited a fair amount of stability.

    Unlike butter, for example, which has doubled in price in the past year.

    Food is experiencing immense inflation even as everything else is deflating. And as someone pointed out, you can't eat computers and flatscreen TVs, no matter how much shampoo and toothpaste you put on them.

    * * *

    The title of that Natalie Dee comic is, "come on don't worry about what's in the can just help me out".

    Tuesday, October 21st, 2014
    2:46 pm
    #4426: I phont in post now
    that should have said 'phone' but i haven't got any gumption today. no motivati, just whatev, stream of consciousness. i suffer with this all the time, so you can take a couple minutes' worth. or don't, no mater.

    Alan caruba compares obama to carter with a discussion of carters malaise speech

    carter was incompetent but obama is worse. didnt think that was poss. but it is, and i wish cartere were still the nether standard of recent presidednts. of course that would mean we had president mccain now, which might be worse


    the religion of peace yet again shows how wonderful it is. sorry guys, "islamic state" is ISLAMIC no matter how hard you wish it wasn't.


    101 useful web sites


    cold yucky october day outside, no rain but threat thereof. when i got up the heater was running.

    typically the first ttime i have a day off after being on for several days I end up sleeping a lot. today i got up at 1:30ish.

    plus side, today is 1 of 3 off this week. minus side, less money. well, everythnig's a tradeoff.
    Monday, October 20th, 2014
    11:58 pm
    #4425: Maybe cheap oil is possible after all
    Plenty of American shale oil is profitable below $80 a barrel. It's not "hand over fist" profitable, but it's still profitable.

    * * *

    His boosters say that Obama is the greatest orator in American history but people would rather leave than listen to him read from the teleprompter again.

    * * *

    So here we have ebola news again:

    Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal lists the four stages of Obama crisis management and I can't help but list them here:
    1) Don't worry, I got this.
    2) I'm so mad.
    3) More money will fix it.
    4) Republicans are obstructing.
    Right now, in regards to ebola, he is on stage 2.

    Yes, CBS reporter, Rand Paul is a doctor which--as Mr. Driscoll's post points out--makes him more qualified to talk about ebola than Obama's ebola czar is.

    Meanwhile, this strain of ebola appears more infectious than the strains we've encountered in the past which means that all the CDC's protocols for dealing with it may not be as effective as they think and hope they are.

    * * *

    The so-called Civil War was about taxation, not slavery.

    The institution of slavery in the US was doomed. As far as that goes, the US was one of the last remaining holdouts in the world; the mechanization of raising cotton was inevitable and if the south had been allowed to secede peacefully slavery would not have long survived anyway. The conditions in which slavery occurs are always economic, and as soon as the economic conditions make slavery untenable it naturally goes away.

    (This is not to say that slavery is moral, as it clearly is not.)

    * * *

    A relatively easy day at work today--brief periods of activity followed by longer periods of down time. I stayed busy by working on various projects and cleaning things up in general, but by about 8 PM I was done with all that and could only sit at the counter and draw, wishing I could go home.

    I didn't even draw anything useful, just stupid doodles. *sigh*
    Sunday, October 19th, 2014
    11:04 pm
    #4424: Sunday? Really?
    I don't know where the days went. Suddenly it's Sunday evening. *sigh*

    Today was a fair dinkum day, even if I bought a bag of chips at 6:30 intending to have a snack, and then proceeded to do nothing but serve clients until the store closed. I ended up bringing the chips home, unopened. *sigh*

    * * *

    So it's autumn and last night we had another frost warning. Looks like we'll have another one Wednesday night.

    * * *

    The other day I was looking at mini-ITX system boards, just because I was curious to see if I could find anything that would perform better than the board in El-Hazard, and the answer was NO, not without spending far too much money.

    On I saw an ad for a 10-pack of system boards, but when I clicked on the link it went to a dead page. That would have been kind of funny, but mainly I was curious to see what you got for your $1,000--was it boards with processor and memory, or just the boards themselves with processors? At $100 each that would be a bit spendy, though it turns out you can spend up to about $600 on a mini-ITX system board without a processor.

    It's still possible to get a mini-ITX board that will take an i3, of course.

    The other thing I researched was video cards. I wanted to fully understand why you'd run two video cards in parallel, and I learned that it was indeed as I'd suspected: it's to combine the GPU and memory of both cards into one super-video card.

    Floristica lacks the hardware to support that kind of configuration, worse luck; otherwise I could get another GT650, throw it in, and link them with an SLI bridge...and turn all the graphics settings in WoW to maximum.

    Oh well.
    Saturday, October 18th, 2014
    12:31 am
    #4423: Penn and Teller!
    Mrs. Fungus and I just got back from a one night only performance by Penn and Teller at the Paramount Theater in Aurora.

    I wouldn't say I'm a fan per se, but I've recognized their raw talent and skill since I first became aware of them in the 1980s. I think I first saw them on an episode of Late Night with David Letterman, but after that I knew these were guys whose performances were worth seeing.

    Tonight I got to see them live, which was even more entertaining than on TV. We had some pretty good seats, too. It was a sold out performance and our seats were at stage right, all the way over, 13 rows back.

    I have a headache from grinning, I enjoyed it so much. We both had a great time, but now of course we're almost completely exhausted from the driving etc.

    It was worth it.
    Friday, October 17th, 2014
    2:55 pm
    #4422: It's just more of the same today
    I feel as if we're in a holding pattern, waiting for the other shoe to drop.


    Ebola: turns out the nurse that went to Ohio from Dallas may have been symptomatic on both flights she took. CDC doesn't really know.

    I'm beginning to think about referring to them as the KDK--Keystone Doctor Korps--because I feel as if the Three Stooges could have handled this situation with a lot more dexterity and competence than what we've seen from the CDC.

    "Hey! I think he's got ebola!" "Shut up, you!" *poink* "Woo woo woo woo woo!"

    Yeah, that's about right.


    Economy: none of the news is good--none of it--and in fact it's only a question of "how bad"? The bright spot in the retail sales report was that electronics stores were hurt the least by a contraction in sales, and that's really only good news for those of us who happen to work for electronics stores.

    The Fed has shot its bolt, and has nothing left with which to prime the pump--not that Keynesian pump-priming works, anyway--and the stock market has been in steady decline for nearly a week.

    The price of oil is declining, too, as OPEC refuses to shut off the taps--this would be good but for the fact that the US is now a net exporter of crude oil and we get our oil from fracking, which carries an extraction cost of about $80 a barrel. Further the decline in crude oil price indicates a decline in demand (especially as supply has remained approximately constant) which further points to a softening world economy.

    Meanwhile real inflation in the price of food is hanging in the double digits. Our government naturally excludes food from its inflation figure so it can claim there's little or no inflation. We continue to turn food into ethanol and do other stupid things to keep the prices of both food and energy arbitrarily high.


    War: ISIS continues its rampage across the middle east and our government continues its idiotic non-response of bombing targets from 50,000 feet. That is almost worse than doing nothing at all.


    All this stuff is hanging over our heads right now. Something will go wrong, and it won't take much of a failure to cause a serious disruption.

    I don't have so much as an iota of confidence in the federal government to manage any of these crises. The history of the past century has demonstrated that more often than not the government fucks up everything it tries to do, and it fucks up so thoroughly that the only thing they can do is double down on their fuckups until some kind of dislocation enables them to fix it.

    * * *

    Enough of that. On to less depressing things.

    Yesterday at work I had to deal with an employee of the store who is on short-term disability, who shows up every so often with a computer--a different one each time--wanting it fixed. The last time she was in, she sat at the counter for about two hours, asking different people to make copies of different documents for her, and chatting with people, and so on.

    This time? For the past couple of weeks there have been a couple of machines sitting on a shelf in back with her name on them. The guy who was handling them is the guy who had his last day this past Saturday, and I didn't know what was going on, so when she asked me to put one in for a backup and restore, I hesitated.

    I mean, okay--you work at our store, you bring me a PC to have something basic done on it, I'll do it as a courtesy, even if it's something we'd normally charge for. But when you show up about once a month--with a different computer OR TWO every time--I start to suspect that you're mooching, and as I talked to various coworkers to get some idea of how to handle this, it came to my attention that one of the machines she'd brought in previously belonged to someone else.

    So she told me that the store's GM had okayed it, but that she understood that I had to get confirmation. "I texted [boss]," she said, and proceeded to sit at the counter and wait for him to text her back.

    My attitude was pretty simple: if the boss called me and told me to do the job, I'd put it in, no problem. But I'm not going to give away $300 worth of services solely on her word that the boss okayed it, not when she's already brought in so many other machines.

    I suspect--I suspect--that she is bringing in friends' computers: "I can take it to work and they'll fix it for you." One subcurrent of that suspicion wonders if she's not trying to make money off the deal--taking some sum of money from her friend and then getting the computer fixed for free--but I have no proof whatsoever of that. It fits, but I have no proof and I am not accusing her of anything.

    Regardless, the freeloading is more than enough to make me want to refuse to do any more free work for her.

    ...but she was mad when I and the tech in back both said we couldn't do anything without a call from the boss. (That's what usually happens when you cut off a freeloader; they get angry that the gravy train has ended.) Eventually she left (saying she was going to browse a little) but she never came back for the computers, so I put them back on the shelf they'd formerly occupied.

    This woman is (supposedly) on temporarily disability because of a back injury. I don't know how she can transfer a desktop computer from her car to a shopping cart if her back hurts so much that she can't work as a sales clerk in a retail store. She seems perfectly spry whenever I see her.

    But WTF, it's not my problem.

    Then there was the woman with a laptop that wouldn't power on. She's one of those people who insists that a tech support contract covers hardware, which it emphatically does not, and when told the facts of the situation, asks, "Well, what did I pay all that money for?"

    I tried to reconstruct the service history from the information I had in front of me. She insisted that it had been sent out for service in May--two months after her extended warranty expired--and I told her that there was no record of it being sent anywhere. The service order from May had recommended such a repair, but it wasn't done (at least, as far as I could tell) and the only time that she'd received a hardware repair was while the thing was still covered by the PSP, in January. Otherwise, all other services she'd had done were software, covered by her tech support contract.

    Of course then she wanted to talk to a manager, who proceeded to tell her all the same things that I told her, because I was fuckin' right and her unit had no hardware coverage.

    Sorry; no free service for you, not when your warranty expired six months ago.

    Other than the stupidity, yesterday was a pretty fair dinkum day, I have to say.

    * * *

    Of late--the past couple of months--I have been eating Fritos Scoops as an occasional snack. For some reason the thicker Scoops chips taste better to me than regular Fritos ever tasted, and I've come to like them better than other corn chips.

    Today I noticed that Fritos have three ingredients: corn, corn oil, and salt. I think that might be why they taste so good to me; it seems that the simplest foods taste best to me. Ginzo bread--Marconi's Italian--contains a bare few ingredients (flour, salt, water, yeast, butter) and it's the best damned bread on the planet.

    No preservatives, no emulsifiers, no nothin', just the things you and I would put in food we were making at home.

    ...I also happened to see that the chips are gluten free. So, no dicks flying around the room and exploding like on South Park.
    Thursday, October 16th, 2014
    6:17 pm
    #4421: Meatloaf sandwich OOH YEAH
    Made meatloaf last night. Mrs. Fungus loves my meatloaf.

    Hehhehhehheh she loves my meatloaf's just regular old meatloaf, but apparently I am good at making it, so once in a while I take 2 lbs of ground beef, mince up some onion and green pepper, add two eggs, about half a cup of ketchup, and perhaps 3/4 cup of bread crumbs with about a teaspoon each of salt, pepper, and garlic powder mixed in, and smooge it all together with my hands until well-mixed. Baking it at about 300 degrees for roughly an hour (occasionally draining the fat from the pan) yields a tasty meatloaf anyone would be proud of.

    And it makes an awesome sandwich, even cold. Yeah.

    * * *

    I no longer lust after Erza the way I did before I was married. But dang.

    * * *

    I am not the only one who is skeptical of Lockheed's supposed fusion breakthrough.

    ...but again, all the benefits ascribed to fusion power are already available to us in the form of fission. Fission power generates an excess of nuclear waste only because we don't recycle spent fuel, and that has been the case since Jimmy Carter signed an executive order outlawing it. (Congress passed a similar law soon after.)

    A nuclear fuel cycle designed by someone with sentience would naturally include reprocessing and recycling of spent fuels--on-site, at that--which would make nuclear power considerably cheaper than it is now. Nuclear power is expensive only because of politics.

    * * *


    100-150 people per day enter the US from countries with active ebola outbreaks. Great! (Keystone Kops reference in here, but I made that comparison first! I rule!)

    Ace stresses "We have never had an outbreak like this before," his emphasis.

    Clipboard idiot is there to keep the people in bunny suits from tripping? WTF.

    Steven Den Beste likens ebola to the pink stuff left in the tub by the Cat in the Hat and his concluding paragraph begins, "The sheer incompetence on display is disillusioning."

    The attitude honestly does seem to approximate: "Well, we're Americans and we're smarter than all those brown people. We don't have to worry about ebola here because we're smart Americans! We have money and knowledge and good educations, so we don't have to worry."

    ...and as the first comment at SDB's post says, we've gotten used to being insulated from most infectious diseases by virtue of having clean water, efficient sewage systems, widespread vaccination, and easy access to health care. The people in charge of maintaining the public health have themselves forgotten that even in America we can have epidemics, solely because we've been lucky enough not to have had one for about 98 years.

    Our idiotic non-response to the ebola outbreaks in Africa--our inability to refuse flights from infected areas, for example--is going to be regarded by historians as the primary error that caused a stupid and easily preventable outbreak of a deadly disease.

    * * *

    Wonder how long it'll be before Oculus Rift works with WoW? That would be pretty cool, but it sounds as if it requires a pretty high-zoot video card to run it.

    * * *

    Greenpeace founder says it's "evil organization". Of course it is.

    Not as evil as the "Voluntary Human Extinction Movement" (which is real) but still pretty bad. Anytime you have someone standing in the way of improving the diets of starving people (because, horror of horrors, it's through the use of genetically modified organisms! and someone might make some money on the deal) I call that "evil".

    * * *

    Well, we have only a couple more weeks of political ads before the elections are over. Can't wait.
    Wednesday, October 15th, 2014
    7:51 pm
    #4420: THIS is the correct way to respond.
    The home visited by Patient Two, in Ohio, has been cordoned off by police. Further the police are working on determinine where Patient Two went and when, so as to warn people who could possibly have been exposed to ebola and contain the potential spread before it happens.

    Patient Two is a nurse who ought to know better, and clearly does not. Her thinking should have been, "All right, I was exposed to ebola, and now I have a fever; I must not get on that airplane." Instead it was more like, "Ah, this is nothing, I'm fine to travel."

    Well, to be fair, she did call the CDC (aka "The Keystone Doktors") and they said she'd be fine to travel.

    But the head Keystone Doktor assures us you can't get ebola from sitting next to someone on a bus, but if you have ebola you should stay off the bus to avoid infecting other people. Because, I guess, he's a doctor and he's studied this.

    My question: would YOU, doctor Friedman, get on a bus and sit next to someone who might have ebola, who--like Patient Two--has a fever but no other symptoms? Would you feel perfectly safe and comfortable doing that?

    Yeah, I didn't think so.

    * * *

    This article makes it sound as if Lockheed has figured out how to build an overunity fusion reactor. It also says that Lockheed is trying to find "potential partners in industry and government" to continue development.

    If Lockheed actually knew how to build a compact fusion reactor which would fit in a pickup truck and put out a hundred megawatts, they wouldn't be looking for any partnerships with anyone. They'd be going ahead and patenting the things and building new vaults to store all the fucking money they would make.

    I'd love to believe this article, but no one has made the requisite breakthroughs, and if anyone in the world had managed over-unity fusion it would have been all over the scientific community.

    Whatever the article is trying to say is further obscured by the writer's near-absolute scientific illiteracy. "The effort seeks to harness the energy released during nuclear fusion, when atoms combine into more stable forms," for example. "Ultra-dense deuterium, an isotope of hydrogen, is found in the earth's oceans," for another.

    The only thing "ultra-dense" here is the reporter. Shit.
    2:00 pm
    #4419: Now there are two
    And the second one flew to Cleveland and back the day before she was diagnosed with ebola. And to make things even better, she was symptomatic, and therefore contagious, so everyone on that plane has to be tested for the disease--and half of those who were infected are doomed.

    Even better: we are assured that she was not symptomatic when she was displaying symptoms of ebola. She only had a fever, don't you know, so it's not like she was bleeding and crapping all over everyone, and as soon as we get a handle on how this strain is transmitted we'll be sure to let you know, but for now you should not worry about it because she wasn't contagious even though you become contagious when you start evincing symptoms.

    And there's still no need for a travel ban from west Africa, and the CDC has got this, and your completely unjustified fear is just the result of media scaremongering and not because the CDC (and federal government) so far has handled this about as effectively as the Keystone Cops handled Charlie Chaplin.

    * * *

    This is both good and bad: oil drops beneath $80 a barrel, briefly.

    It's good because that means lower gas prices. That's about all the good I can extract from it.

    The bad? It means lower worldwide demand for oil because everyone's economy is in the tank. Worse, lower crude prices makes extracting shale oil economically inviable.

    The price is dropping because demand has fallen and OPEC nations haven't cut production to match. It costs about $20 a barrel to pump oil out of a conventional well, so they're not hurt as long as oil stays above that mark. Of course they wish to maximize their profits (hence the existence of the cartel at all) but market share is equally important.

    Shale oil, on the other hand, costs $80 per barrel to extract, which is why that number is commonly bandied about as a nether limit for "the new normal"--and if oil goes below $80 and stays there for any serious length of time, it's going to be bad for American domestic production.

    * * *

    Here is a book about the Democrat Party. *rimshot* No, that was too easy....

    So the same site that has that discussion of the book on Miley Cyrus' mating habits *rimshot* has a bunch of other things on it.

    One was the electric, self-balancing unicycle, for $1,800, which "takes 1/3 Kilowatt-Hour to do the same work as the average car does on 1 gallon of gas".

    It can go ten miles at 9-12 MPH on a charge. Most cars can go at least twice that distance--and a lot faster than that--on a gallon of gas. If I got into my Jeep and let it go only 10 MPH I could probably go thirty miles on a gallon, but if I drove normally I'd get 18 miles out of it.

    From the physics standpoint "work" has a definite meaning, and it's usually expressed in some unit of energy. Considering that 1/3 kWh is considerably less work than is available from a gallon of gasoline, it seems as if we all should be converting to electric unicycles, right? I mean, if this miracle machine can haul a two-ton mass around at 60 MPH while using a bare whisper of a fraction of a gallon of gasoline?

    But they don't mean that definition of work. No, by "the same work" they mean "carrying your butt, and that alone, ten miles".

    Also from the same site, then, I found out that someone is making Surge again. Awesome! ...until I saw the price:

    $75 for a twelve pack

    A 12-pack of 16-ounce cans, and shipping is another $12.

    Not even as a Christmas gift, not for any reason do I want soda pop that costs seven freaking dollars per can.

    Okay, if it were ten bucks a half case, maybe even twenty, I could see getting some just to taste it again. But seventy five dollars is INSANE.

    This is flavored sugar water we're talking about, here, not rare wine. (And even rare wine is a stupid waste of money.)


    * * *

    So last night I took the 1 TB "MULTIMEDIA" external drive and hooked it to the Blu-ray player, and sure enough I was able to flip through the files and play videos from it.

    This means that if I were to buy a 2 TB external drive--one of the "pocket" drives that is powered via USB--I could copy all the anime to it, then leave it plugged into the BD player, and have easy and instant access to most of my downloaded anime. No disks, no computer--not for most of it, anyway, at least.

    A nonscientific survey of titles demonstrated that it is merely some MKV format videos which won't play.

    I watched two eps of Code E and will watch more, because it's been too long since I last watched it.

    Tuesday, October 14th, 2014
    9:07 pm
    #4418: Ormus looks like Robert Heinlein
    So the latest WoW patch went live today, the pre-patch for Warlords of Draenor, and that means all the new character models are up. This includes new faces, which is actually a good thing for the male human toons because they got rid of all the harelip variations. But Blizzard didn't map the new faces to old ones such that Old Face A mapped to New Face A; instead they seem to have made groups which means Old Faces A, B, and C map to New Face A, and so on. Since you can now change your face when you go to a barber shop in the game (Krazzlebolt's Barber Shop and Plastic Surgery!) this means you can pick whatever new face you want, for a price.

    There does not seem to be a great deal of variation in faces. The female human faces all have approximately the same eyes, and none of the face textures are as "pretty" as the old models. Ditto for female dwarves.

    Anyway, as soon as was feasible I took Ormus to a barber shop and corrected his facial hair, leaving everything else alone.

    There are a bunch of new features and the new skill trees (yeah, they changed them again) are going to take some getting used to.

    New content goes live in a month. Whee!
    Monday, October 13th, 2014
    10:19 pm
    #4417: On the plus side we don't have to run the heat.
    70° and raining, all day (pretty much) and after the cold we had (including two nights with frost warnings in a row) it feels like July or August.

    This did not keep them from turning on the heat at the store. *sigh* And you know what good it would have done me to ask that the thermostat be adjusted?

    But here at the bunker, I control the thermostat, and that means I can avoid broiling in my own waste heat.

    * * *

    Shepherd of the Gurneys explains why a real ebola outbreak in the US will not end well. The main reason is that we have a total of 23 beds in the country which can supply full isolation. The rest of them are going to be less effective at containing this shit.

    I hope I'm wrong about this, but the offical news I'm hearing about ebola in the US has the distinct odor of fertilizer.

    * * *

    Lately I have been thinking about the old cartoons I drew in tech school called EPA Man. EPA Man himself was actually a martian, and he had various bold (mis)adventures.

    One example: "EPA Man has been exposed to a virulent filovirus!"

    EPA Man: *Cough* Huh?

    ...and then he turns into a puddle of goo with eyes, going SPLOOT in the process.

    EPA Man has an inordinate number of things happen to him, and all his adventures end with a trip to the Reconstitutifier, a machine which turns him back into his normal ornery self every time he gets turned into a pasty puddle.

    What have I been thinking about? The possibility of scanning them and posting them here, because it's a lot of fun.

    I would have to do some work on the dialogue and such, because my handwriting was scarcely better twenty years ago than it is now.

    We'll see.
    Sunday, October 12th, 2014
    11:56 pm
    #4416: You don't need to be so gleeful about it.
    Or, maybe I do, but either way I can't help myself. See, the store manager sent everyone an e-mail talking about working overtime (verboten now unless a manager asks you to do it) and taking lunch breaks (mandatory because if you're scheduled for 7.5 hours or more in a day, it's the law) and I can't help basking in the glorious sensation of all too rare vindication.

    So today I took a lunch break, and my supervisor expressed surprise when I mentioned I was on a lunch break, and I pointed out that since we'd gotten that e-mail....

    We're not required to be on premises for our lunch breaks, either, so I'm able to hit a fast food place and eat lunch there, or in my truck, and be the hell away from that place. I find that highly relaxing.

    ...and I needed that lunch break today, because I wasn't able to get anything to eat before work. I'm glad it all worked out--but I was still at work for 4.5 hours, unfed, before I managed to get my break. A bag of potato chips sufficed to prevent stomach rumbles, but not by much. Sheesh.

    * * *

    Union bosses make twenty times minimum wage! Remember that the next time someone tells you how much money CEOs make.

    * * *

    Person who treated "patient zero" in Dallas is infected with ebola despite gown, gloves, mask, and other precautions.

    So here we are: as Vox Day points out, we were told that ebola wouldn't get to the US. It has. Then we were told it wouldn't spread in the US. It has.

    Still think open borders are a good idea?

    * * *

    Still, after work was done I was flat dead tired. I came home, greeted my wife, then crawled into bed. She crawled in with me, but she fell asleep faster than I did, and when I woke up at 10:30 (after napping for about two hours) I thought to get up and have some dinner, but I fell asleep for another forty minutes or so.

    Woke up with a taste for buttered noodles. It's something I had from time to time when I was a kid: I'd boil some pasta, put margerine on it, sprinkle it with garlic powder (usually too much) and then eat it. I have a steadier hand with the garlic powder now so I know not to put too much on, and for some reason it hit me just right tonight. I probably won't eat much else before bedtime, seeing as this is going up just barely before midnight.

    Well, that's how it is, sometimes.
    Saturday, October 11th, 2014
    11:59 pm
    #4415: Put away the f-ing cell phones, for crying out loud
    Are you going to a restaurant to eat, or are you going there to fuck around with your cell phone? Pick one, damn it, and do it.

    * * *

    Under The Dome, from three episodes in, is pretty decent.

    * * *

    So today a coworker (who'd been with the company for several years) had his last day, and they sent him off by decorating the precinct with helium balloons, and having a couple of pizzas delivered. Since I got in at 4, the pizza was cold, but I had a few slices as a snack; and the closing manager told me to clean up the decorations before leaving.

    I got rid of the balloons which were no longer floating, but took home about five that still exhibited positive buoyancy. They behaved in an entirely predictable fashion: when I accelerated, they "leaned" forward, and when I braked, they'd "lean" backward. I find it amazing that the acceleration of a car changes the air density enough that a helium balloon will react to it.

    But of course it's just like the liquid sloshing in a spirit level. Pretty f-ing cool, at least if you're a physics geek.

    * * *

    When I got up this morning to hit the can, around sunrise, there was frost on the grass. Whee!

    * * *

    So: the Samsung Blu-Ray player won't play the True Tears (TT) episodes I torrented 'way back in the Cretaceous. They're MKV files, and while the box will play MKV files it apparently will only play a limited number of encoding methods, and these were encoded using a codec that the player does not include.

    More and more it's looking as if I'll need to hook Cephiro up in the family room and use it to play the videos that the Blu-ray cannot. I recall TT having a pretty good story, enough that a few elements have stuck with me even though it's been more than five years since I watched it. TT is the first series that won't play on the thing, but it won't be the last.

    The first eps of Mokke, ToLoveRu, Pretty Cure, and Hayate no Gotoku all played on the thing without incident. I'd expect the rest to do the same, as long as they're all encoded the same way. (Which they should.)

    That's probably good enough.

    Anyway, while watching Pretty Cure I had a printout of my PC webcomic to hand, and compared the flow of the anime to the webcomic. (I think that effort was only really amusing to me, but that's all right.)

    * * *

    Sunday is my 1-year anniversary with my employer. Whee.
    Friday, October 10th, 2014
    7:27 pm
    #4414: Butter costs as much per pound as ground beef, BUT THERE'S NO INFLATION
    Yesterday Mrs. Fungus and I went shopping and Meijer had 85% lean ground beef for $5 a pound again. They also had butter selling for $3.79 per pound.

    Today, on my way home from work, I stopped at the store to see about some ground beef. 85% lean, $4 a pound.

    Butter: $4.29 a pound.



    Damn, it sure is a good thing that the federal government assures us that there's no fuckin' inflation going on! I'd hate to think of how much butter would cost if there were inflation!

    ...I snatched a pound of bacon, too, because it was merely $4 a pound, and thanks to Obamanomics that's a good buy!


    * * *

    We ended up having dinner at Reuben's again. That will have to hold me until December; Mrs. Fungus does not like Mexican food as much as I do. I could stand to eat there every week--the same thing, too, the enchilada plate with green salsa and split a plate of nachos--but she cannot.

    * * *

    Today at work was 100% assholes and elbows for four straight freakin' hours. Why, yes, I was alone at the counter for that time, but why would you suspect that?

    It's not just the freakin' cash registers both being hunks of shit today, though that was a big factor. I went to ring up tech support for a guy, and the register hung at the first SKU for three fuckin' hours until I turned the damned thing off in disgust. Then the other register horked up a bucket of dicks and I couldn't use it either, so every time I had to run a transaction I had to take the client over to the front lanes and ring him out there. (Two of Customer Service's registers were being used, and the third one was also coughing up dicks.)

    It was also stupid people, like the guy who insisted that his computer wasn't that old and so it shouldn't have stopped working. Dude, you bought it 16 months ago, and any electronic device can crap out at any time. The warranty expired in June. It's not my fault your computer died.

    Then there was the guy who wanted to set a password on his computer, but apparently was too stupid to follow the instructions even after I showed him how to do it. "Type the new password here. Retype the new password here. Type a hint here." "It says it can't set the password." "Sir, you have to type the password the same in both boxes." THREE FUCKIN' TIMES. I was able to set a password just fine, and I offered to set it up for him, but he didn't want that. Now he's probably going to complain about it.

    In the same vein, I get so tired of telling people YES YOU NEED AN APPOINTMENT JUST TO PICK UP YOUR COMPUTER. There is only one of me working the counter and I AM BOOKED SOLID WITH NO HELP FOR THREE FUCKIN' HOURS and I am not going to make an exception for you. Make an appointment or don't, but don't get pissy with me because I politely told you that you'll have to go to Customer Service to make an appointment to pick up your junk. I DON'T CARE.

    I also get sick of the people who say, "They just told me to come in and get it." I want to say YOU ARE LYING BECAUSE NO ONE TOLD YOU THIS. (And if anyone did, they should be shot, because WE WORK OFF APPOINTMENTS.) In fact I am going to make sure my boss knows that someone is telling clients they don't need appointments to pick up, because I am getting very, very sick and tired of people telling me that they were told they didn't need an appointment to pick up, and I want to make sure that no one is telling anyone that. YOU NEED AN APPOINTMENT. I DON'T CARE IF SOMEONE TOLD YOU THAT YOU DON'T.

    I'm not going to apologize; I'll be happy to explain it to you: "I'm the only one here, and I'm booked solid." I can only do one thing at a time, there is only one of me, and as it is I have too much to do. If you think I'm going to drop everything and move you to the front of the line because you're a special snowflake, DREAM ON, SHIT STICK. "Make no mistake about it: I don't care where you're from; I don't care how smart you are; I don't care how dumb you are; I don't care what color you are."

    On the plus side, another CA came in at 2 PM and then of course there were effectively no more clients for the rest of the day. (At least until I left at 5:30.) I was able to go get lunch, and then take care of some other things, and helped a couple more people out. The last third of my shift was much easier than the first two thirds was.

    And now I'm home, and I'm so f-ing tired all I want to do is go to bed. And that's exactly what I aim to do.
    Thursday, October 9th, 2014
    5:49 pm
    #4413: Ebola news
    So let's start with two Vox Day posts.

    And his first point in this list is how I choose to begin:
    Thanks to Ebola, no one wants to sit or be anywhere around Africans. It would no doubt horrify the usual suspects to see how an African could clear out seats in all four directions simply by sitting down in both countries I recently visited.
    Those countries don't have Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson. We would be happy to send them there, of course, but no country in its right mind (or even out of it) would want them.

    Then he suggests we leave the volunteers in Africa, verbatim. Look: if you volunteered to go over there and help people, you are a very fine person. Your quality does not excuse you bringing a disease with a 50% fatality rate--and which we don't really understand all that well--back with you. Stay there.

    Cold? Heartless? Unquestionably. Look: if these people had the flu--even avian flu--I wouldn't be saying these kinds of things. The thing is, most of the time the flu doesn't kill people who are otherwise healthy. Ebola is virulent and this strain has a 50% fatality rate, and we don't really know how it's transmitted. Furthermore, because it's a virus, antibiotics don't work against it, and there's no vaccine. The only way to prevent the spread of the disease is limit the movement of people who are infected with it, and although quarantine is a horrible imposition on their civil rights there is plenty of precedent for it.

    And the breakouts are already starting. It takes one infected person hopping a flight from west Africa to start a breakout elsewhere.

    * * *

    ...and that's all that inspired comment today. I'm too tired to care about the usual Obama bullshit and all I really want to do is go sleep, but Mrs. Fungus and I have errands to run, and it'd be nice to have something for dinner. *sigh*
    Wednesday, October 8th, 2014
    3:57 pm
    #4412: I predict that it won't be any good, because Hollywood.
    In this article about a possible Uncle Buck TV series, it's mentioned that there's going to be a TV series based on Real Genius.

    Okay, I'll try watching it--assuming that I notice when it starts (or started) but I honestly don't expect it to be any good.

    The original movie was so-so; the best thing about it was the unusually good technical direction--the people making the movie hired laser physicists to help them get the science right and they listened. Otherwise it's a typical Hollywood movie about smart kids doing something that requires real brains to accomplish but Big Bad Government Tricks Them Into Building A Weapon. (This was made in the Reagan years, so yeah. Notice that movies where Big Bad Government is the antagonist have kind of disappeared since Clinton?)

    I was thinking about Real Genius the other day and realized that this was another one of those stories where the end wasn't really a triumph for the good guys. Like Avatar, where after the movie ended the humans probably just nuked the Na'vi and took the unobtainium, in Real Genius even the destruction of the laser was not really enough to keep it out of the hands of the CIA.

    Having invented the thing, Mitch and Chris (the latter played by Val Kilmer) think that by ruining it during a government test, they've taken it out of the hands of the bad guys and all is well. But the government still has the laser, and other scientists can reverse-engineer it--and furthermore the technicians who installed the laser in the B-1 bomber and prepped it for the test will be smart enough to remember that the thing uses a cryogenic fuel slug ("excited boron in an argon matrix") and-and-and.

    In short, they didn't really lose. Oh, they haven't got a laser which is 100% ready for service, but when you're testing an experimental weapon system you know that your prototype is going to break sooner or later, and since William Atherton's character knows the science he can tell the government everything they need to know about the laser anyway. Give them a few weeks to build a new laser and it's off to the races; the hardest part of making the thing work was Chris Knight's inspiration to use the cryogenic fuel slug, and that's done already. The rest is just engineering.

    Okay, so the guys get revenge on their erstwhile mentor by reprogramming the laser targeting system, so that it ends up popping about a truckload of popcon in the bad guy's house (which he hates). Evil mentor's house is a wreck, but the government still has the laser, and--yeah, if weaponization of science is your bugaboo, you fail.

    I don't expect the TV series to be any good.

    ...but sometimes I get a surprise. About ten years ago there was a TV series called Do Over, which was a regressive time-travel story, and I thought it would blow, but it turned out to be good. Of course, it was canceled after about half a season.

    * * *

    Borepatch got into a bike accident on his much-anticipated trip to Florida. Broke five ribs and a collarbone. *sigh*

    On the plus side, he's alive, he's going to mend, and he'll have an awesome story to tell.

    * * *

    Steven has mixed feelings about US Patient Zero and I have to admit I agree with him.

    It's Fungus policy not to exult in anyone's death, nor to say, "Oh, he deserved it". I don't hate the guy (as Steven says he does) but I am not happy about his complete lack of concern for the people around him. As Steven says, risking the lives of others to increase your own chances of survival, without their knowledge or consent, is evil.

    So we learn things about the case, such as the fact that one of the ER nurses said, "He said he was from Liberia, not Africa!" That's an epic fail, but it also tells me that the guy didn't bother to tell anyone, "Hey, I was in a hot zone a few days ago and I have had close contact with someone who had ebola." That says to me that the guy didn't give honest answers to the ER staff when they began working up a history.

    Okay, we've all been to the doctor. We all know that the nurses and the doctor all ask questions: where does it hurt? When did this start? What other symptoms do you have? And we all know that the more information about your problem that you give to the doctor, the better he can diagnose your problem.

    That you were exposed to ebola three days before you departed for the US is a fact the doctor really needs to know if you want to live. And I don't care how uneducated you are--if you know you've been around sick people, you should be smart enough to tell the people trying to help you, "Hey, I've been around sick people!"

    When he went to that ER in Dallas, the first thing he said to the triage nurse should have been, "I am from Liberia, and I have been exposed to ebola." He might still be alive today if he had--or might not, considering that the disease has something like a 50% fatality rate--but it's really hard for me to fault the ER staff for not being mind readers.

    Meanwhile, the other day someone flew into O'Hare and presented with the right symptoms, and the local government was very quick to say, "Oh, it's not ebola!" Sure, guys. Suuure.

    After all, the last thing that the Democrats--the party that benefits most from vote fraud and unlimited immigration--is a precedent for closing the borders. Why, if those hicks out in the hinterland realize that unrestricted immigration can expose them to fatal diseases, they might not vote the right way in November!

    But this shit is bad enough that they may not have a choice. A Dallas county sheriff's deputy has "ebola-like symptoms" after having been in the apartment of the now-dead man's family. (Do you suppose he is going to the ER and not telling the staff, "Hey, I was exposed to this shit!" Somehow I doubt it.)

    He may not have ebola--since the initial symptoms for nearly all viral infections are largely the same he could just have the flu--but the fact of his exposure to a contaminated environment is a significant fact in his recent medical history, and failing to report that to someone trying to treat him would be the kind of omission only a woefully stupid person would make.

    * * *

    Today is a lovely autumn day. Because I was up until almost 6 AM watching the eclipse, though, I slept through most of it.

    The nice thing about this one was that it was in the western sky, which meant I could stand on the front porch and watch it. My neighbor to the south has a large security light in his back yard (think "streetlight" and you wouldn't be far off) that makes my back yard a poor place for stargazing. This light was installed after the previous occupant of the house got burglarized in the early 1980s. (Even better, one of the burglars was a kid I'd been friends with in fourth grade. *sigh*) They'd broken in through the back, which was unlit, so his response--yeah. And that house sits higher than the bunker, both in site elevation and stories, so my back yard is also well-lit.

    But on the front porch, that light is blocked, so I was able to see the eclipse very nicely. It helped that last night we had excellent seeing, too--no clouds, low humidity, crisp autumn air--so good in fact that I could clearly see the Pleades and the Orion nebula for once. In fact, I could even see that nebula that's over Orion's head, the one I can never remember the name of.

    But the days of being able to see the Milky Way from my front yard are probably over (thanks, urban sprawl!). *sigh*
    Tuesday, October 7th, 2014
    9:29 pm
    #4411: That time, at least, it WAS a real sound.
    Woke this afternoon to a very loud bass humming, and I groaned to myself: The tinnitus is back, and much worse than before, if I can hear it over the fan....

    Got out of bed to hit the can and realized that no, this time it was an actual noise from outside: they are resurfacing one of the streets in the immediate vicinity of the bunker, and the humming sound was from the construction equipment doing its thing.

    The next time I woke up the actual tinnitus was back, but after a few hours of Valsalva maneuvering and such now it's gone again. In fact, yesterday, I stood in the shower with that ear turned towards the shower head, with the latter set to its most forceful setting, and when I got out of the shower the noise was gone entirely. Later this evening when I take a shower, I'm then going to get out the irrigation bulb and stand over the sink and flush that ear canal most thoroughly.

    I mean, I do wash my ears, but I've known for a long time that I produce a prodigious amount of earwax. When I was twelve and suffering an epic earache that kept me out of school for almost two weeks, the first thing the doctor did was to irrigate my ear canals to remove the wax, and my ears had enough wax in them to make a birthday candle (however disgusting). Since then I've kept my ears as clean as I can, but mere washing doesn't always do it, so periodically they need to be roto-rooted clean.

    I'm really glad it's just that.

    * * * that I've read on a bit in Betrayer of Worlds and I've seen a scene which (I think) I've read before, I am now thinking that I might have read this book as well. Even though I was caught flat-footed on page twelve.

    I therefore have no idea which of these books I read previously and which I have not. *sigh*

    * * *

    To make matters worse, I've had "Reflectia"--the opening theme for True Tears--running through my head incessantly for three days.

    Yesterday at work I thought about how neat it would be to buy an SSD, pop it into an external enclosure, and plug that into the Bluray player. Of course, there's no reason to do it that way (least of all because I'd pay more for an SSD and an enclosure than I'd currently pay for a 1 TB external HDD, and have about 1/10th the capacity) but it was a fun thought.

    Meanwhile, today I was playing the "what did I blog about on this day in X?" and came across the entries mentioning when I first ordered the components to build El-Hazard. I keep thinking about digging that machine out and tinkering with it; it will (in fact) end up being the PC I use in the "monk's cell" because it has enough guts to run OpenOffice and maybe Pandora at the same time, and I could listen to good music while I wrote.


    * * *

    Gotham continues to impress.

    * * *

    Over the past couple of days I've been revisiting an idea I had last year. The basic story was about an immortal and invulnerable girl who finds herself stranded on a planet without any resources whatsoever, nothing but her wits and an endless supply of rocks and sand. The planet has a breathable atmosphere--which is explained partway through the extant story by her discovery that the planet is pockmarked with sinkholes that lead to a subterranean sea, one full of life--but otherwise there is absolutely nothing on the surface of the planet other than rocks, sand, dust, and more rocks.

    "What does she eat, anus?" You ask. Nothing; see above, "invulnerable and immortal". What made her that way? She doesn't remember; it happened a very long time ago. She suspects it was some kind of alien supertechnology, but without being able to remember what or where or why--well, she's made it her mission to explore the galaxy until she finds the source of her immortality, in hopes it can also take it away.

    So how did she end up on the surface of the planet? She fell. At the outer boundary of the star system, her ship encountered some kind of space/time anomaly that wrecked the ship. Her ship's computer--realizing what was happening and that the ship was about to blow up--maneuvered to put her on a collision course with the planet, knowing that she'd survive it handily, and being on a planet was infinitely preferable to drifting through interstellar space forever.

    The space/time anomaly is what I've been thinking about. What is it, and why is it there?

    "What" is the hard part. Whatever kind of space-time distortion I imagine, I can't see it having any real effect on a starship's systems. A protective field, on the other hand--

    So, okay, having discarded "space/time anomaly" for "protective field", what are its properties? Everything I think of would just result in a hard collision, and usually I fall asleep before I get anywhere with it.

    But I decided that the field is generated on the (nominally) habitable planet; it's alien tech and old.

    Now if I could just figure out what it does and why....

    * * *

    Something I'm going to comment on now because I finally thought of it:

    On my desk is a sugar packet. The front side is graced with three holly leaves, in blue, with three red berries, and the legend "HOLLY SUGAR". The back has a stylized heaping teaspoon of sugar on it, and is bracketed with two halves of an exhortation:

    If you know what's good for you
    What is that, a threat? Have I just been threatened by a packet of sugar? WTF is this?
    1:15 am
    #4410: Maybe someday I can do this.
    Machine my own AR15 lower using a $1,200 CNC machine.

    Okay, that's a lot to pay for an AR15, but it's not a lot to pay for the ability to make as many AR15 lowers as you want.


    * * *

    Reading Betrayer of Worlds and got caught flat-footed in the first twelve pages--I definitely have not read this one before.

    Today I was thinking about four-dimensional spacetime manifolds and how what we experience as the force of gravity is just such a phenomenon, and trying to reconcile that with momentum.

    I've reasoned that when an object is in motion, its tendency to stay in motion is due to the curvature of spacetime. It takes work to get something moving because you're changing the shape of space, because you have to generate the "tilt" in spacetime that keeps that object moving once you let it go.

    But: why doesn't it accelerate? If "tilted" spacetime is the cause of acceleration due to gravity, why doesn't an inertial "tilt" also cause acceleration?

    Then it hit me: the object in motion is a single body; the object being accelerated by gravity is interacting with another object. That interaction with another object causes the acceleration; the single body cannot act on itself, so whatever motion it has is all it's going to get.

    No, it's not a big revelation or anything. All I really did was think of another way to describe the workings of gravity and momentum--but in terms of four-dimensional manifolds rather than "force", "velocity", "momentum", and so on.

    More one cannot ask for.
    Monday, October 6th, 2014
    12:03 am
    #4409: THAT was a dinner.
    Suddenly it was 8:30 PM.

    After the last post I went to bed to nap. Mrs. Fungus and I got up for a little while, but ended up going back to sleep out of sheer exhaustion. But I woke up at 8:30 knowing it was well past time that I made dinner.

    We'd decided days ago that dinner tonight would be chili dogs and pasta salad. When I stopped at the store on the way home I bought vanilla ice cream and celery, because Mrs. Fungus got some apples from her friend S and I've been planning to make a batch of apple crisp with them. (I have enough of them left to make another, too. Heh.)

    Anyway, I got up, hit the can, and then hit the kitchen. First I did some much-needed tidying so I had a place to work, then cut and peeled apples for a while; once the crisp was in the oven I started chopping onion, green pepper, and celery for the pasta salad while a pot of water came to a boil.

    The pasta salad finished, I got out the hot dogs and opened a can of chili, combined them in a pan, and let that heat slowly while I put another pot of water on to boil for corn-on-the-cob.

    Dinner was delicious and the apple crisp was great, as always. Ahh, I feel good.

    * * *

    A few days ago I mentioned a constant low-frequency hum; today I realized that it was only in my right ear, meaning tinnitus of one stripe or another. Never had it in the bass region before, but when I laid down for that second nap I could feel the ear draining a bit, and the hum is a lot less loud now than it was this afternoon.

    I'm enough of a hypochondriac, though, that I immediately thought of the most dire reasons for the hum: some kind of aneurysm, maybe, or a tumor--but once I reminded myself that I am still prone to sinusitis (even though it's been a while since I last had it) and that sinusitis is therefore the most likely cause for this, especially with the all-too-familiar "block of wood" sensation on that side of my head...which, by the way, has had me performing the Valsava Maneuver and doing the other things I automatically do to keep my sinuses as clear as possible.

    It makes sense; the past couple of days I've felt like the right side of my head was very congested. This means I'm going to have to go see a doctor and get my head examined. I'd wager a course of antibiotics will set this to rights, though.

    Well, that's how it goes.
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