November 13th, 2012

#3666: Have to wait until Thursday.

How do I know, when it's 8 AM and I haven't talked to dentist or oral surgeon yet? Am I psychic?

No. Thursday is when my dental plan kicks in.

"But you don't have a dental plan," you say. "Do you?"

You're right. Technically I've got a dental discount plan, but considering what dental insurance is usually like this is close enough to it for my taste. Thanks to a tip from Og I remembered from June of last year, for $130 I ought to be able to save a significant amount of money on having my bad wisdom teeth removed.

"Wait--teeth? I thought it was one tooth that was bothering you--"

Well, I've got two bad wisdom teeth that need extraction. Why pay twice? Just get 'em both out at the same time, and be done with it. Sure, it means soft foods for at least a week (probably two) but then they are dealt with and I never have to worry about them again.

I should be saving more on that than the $130 I paid for the plan, anyway. Even if it's a wash? The plan is good until February of 2014, so once I have an income again, I can go see my dentist and get a whole bunch of stuff fixed for about 50% of MSRP, which suits me just fine.

Best part? It also includes glasses. I can probably use this to get a new set of glasses for less than retail, which would also help since I've been--to echo the words of Bing Crosby--"playing the trombone" when reading things. (Watch White Christmas and pay attention to his scenes with Rosemary Clooney.)

So today I will call my dentist and find out who he recommends for this, and then make an appointment for Thursday. I expect to get my uncle to drive me to and from the place, if possible, and then I can spend Thursday sleeping off the effects of the anasthesia.

And have soup for dinner. Whee!

* * *

Three of the seven string theories has been shot down. Supersymmetry is a major part of string theory, and if there is no supersymmetry, there is no string theory.

What Vox Day doesn't say is that the latest data from the LHC at CERN also puts a nail into the coffin containing dark matter:
Supersymmetry theorises the existence of more massive versions of particles that have already been detected.

If found, they might help explain the phenomenon known as dark matter. Galaxies appear to rotate faster at their edges than the matter we see can account for, and one set of candidates for this missing dark matter is supersymmetric particles.

However, researchers at the LHCb detector have dealt a serious blow to hopes of finding them.

They have measured the decay between a particle known as a Bs meson into two particles known as muons. It is the first time that this decay has ever been observed, and the team has calculated that for every billion times that the Bs meson decays it only decays in this way three times.

If superparticles were to exist, the decay would happen far more often. This experiment is one of the "golden" tests for supersymmetry, and it would appear that this hugely popular theory among physicists has failed.
...I'll say again that you don't need dark matter to explain galactic rotation if you use general relativity instead of classical mechanics. Also, theories requiring dark matter may not be using the correct mass figure for the galaxy, as the galactic disk may be twice as thick as previously thought.

If supersymmetry is not an explanation for dark matter, then theorists will have to find alternative ideas to explain those inconsistencies in the Standard Model. So far researchers who are racing to find evidence of so called "new physics" have run into a series of dead ends.

"If new physics exists, then it is hiding very well behind the Standard Model," commented Cambridge physicist Dr Marc-Olivier Bettler, a member of the analysis team.
And maybe we don't need new physics to explain things, eh?

* * *

Obama won because everyone's in trouble? It's a compelling argument: Obama won the election because the economy is so perilously bad, people out there are convinced it's in their best interests to vote for the guy who's going to let them hang on the longest:
Because the economy is so weak, and people are so miserable and just holding on to their fingernails, the Catastrophic President becomes the only lifeline available to many. They wind up caring less about the economy as a general matter, because their survival instincts are just to keep themselves sheltered and fed. They are looking at the current moment, scared as hell of the next.
It's an interesting theory, anyway.

* * *

This home-brewed Garfield Without Garfield was something of a ball-buster:

Click here to see the original strip.

As you can see, I had to do a lot of work to remove Garfield and show Jon's missing side. So I took this strip:

...and used the book-and-hand from it.

Recreating the "ALBUM" text required that I cut that section of the image, blank out the text from the book-and-hand chunk with the "background" color, and then paste it over the "ALBUM" cut.

There's just one little problem with that process. In GIF mode, that doesn't work, which is why this particular one looks so crummy: I had to switch it to JPG to do this edit.

But although the finished product has a bunch of JPG noise in it, the actual editing of the image looks seamless, so I call that a "win" for me and MS Paint. Woohoo!


Wow, did I really predict that the unemployment rate would be below 8% in December of 2011? I did! Go, me!
Obama sez the unemployment rate "could" fall below 8% in time to pull his chestnuts out of the fire in Nov 2012.

I can save you the suspense and confirm that yes, the official unemployment rate will be below 8% by November of 2012.
Dang, I'm good.

#3667: Still have to wait until Thursday.

...after all that, I realized two critical things--and subsequently learned a third--about the dental discount plan I bought:

1) My regular dentist wasn't a participant.

2) There was another plan--CIGNA--in which he is, and it costs $10 less to boot.

3) CIGNA doesn't include vision (oh well) but the best-case price for having my two wisdom teeth extracted drops by some $160 compared to the Uni-care plan. The worst-case price is $406 less.

So I contacted their "live chat" help, and after two chat sessions and a phone call to the oral surgeon, I figured out what I needed to do, and did it. So now I'm on "CIGNA Dental Network Access" rather than "Uni-Care 200" and have an appointment for Thursday afternoon to get these f-ing wisdom teeth the hell out of my mouth, so I can stop having problems with them.

I had hoped to put this off until after I had a job. Well, we don't always get what we want; but if you try sometimes--

I'm not going to have general anasthesia. Just local--I've had extractions done before, and while it's unpleasant to be awake for it, at least that way I don't have to have someone drive me there and drive me home again afterwards, and then stay with me for hours to make sure I don't do something stupid and dangerous in my post-anasthetic loopiness. Besides, it's cheaper.

Maybe they'll let me have a little nitrous oxide, though.

* * *

I was in bed all day yesterday. I finally got up in the evening, just in time for that damned tooth to blow up; Lemonzen came by a short time after I got up and we spent the next nine hours together. She went home, and I decided it was simpler just to stay up and resolve this nonsense; well, now it's resolved, and I can go to bed, finally.

Bible study tonight at 7. Whee!

#3668: Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.

I've got three of those, plus a bonus "liberal media" post.

First: California State University trustees are delaying a vote on raising tuition. Young people voted for California's Proposition 30, a tax hike on "the rich" which was meant to help keep the California state university system from having to raise tuition.

...and they're preparing to raise tuition for "some" students. Yeah. So the CA state government gets its tax hikes and tuitions are still going up.

This is what happens when you vote to allow tax increases, particularly in a state that is already taxed to the gills and still overspending.

Second: Apple now has to pay more for certain parts used in its products. It has to pay more for these parts because it can only buy them from Samsung, the company against which they recently won a patent infringement case.

As Denninger says, disdainfully:
Suing someone who is a single-source supplier is usually one of the dumber things you can do, as they're quite capable of making sure that any judgment you "receive" comes right back to them and out of your hide.

This is especially true when you try to sue because you "patented" a box with rounded corners.
Congratulations, Apple! You're run by morons!

Third: Union baby strikes against Hostess has resulted in them losing their jobs. 627 union babies are going to be out of jobs because Hostess is closing the bakeries at which they work. Hostess is doing this because they union babies are on strike, and Hostess needs to be able to make Twinkies and Wonder Bread and-and-and in order to remain in business.

The company filed Chapter 11 for the second time in a decade; they need to cut costs in order to remain competitive. Pandering to union babies is too expensive.

...and hell yeah, they have to cut costs. I only buy Twinkies etc when they're under $3 a box--and usually when they're under $2.50 per box, to boot. I won't pay $4 for a box of 8 Suzy Qs or 10 Twinkies.

I will--and do--routinely pay $3.49 for a box of Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme Pies, because there are 12 big ones in a box. 12, which is 150% of 8 or 125% of 10. You see how this works?

But union contracts are full of benefits and wages that are far above market value, and unions have gotten to the point of strangling into bankrupcy the companies at which their members work. (See also GM.)

What good does it do your members if the union gets them an extra dollar an hour, but the employer goes out of business because he can't make a profit? What good does it do them when the union is so inflexible during a severe economic downturn that the employer has no other choice but to close the plant, thus putting the members out of work?

* * *

Liberal media: JayG asks us to imagine that it's 2004 and that George W. Bush is doing things like those Obama has been doing.

The screams of the mainstream media would still be echoing, and I think we all know it.

* * *

As for me, I went to bed after the last post and slept pretty much all day. The Vicodin makes me sleepy, and I have to have it in order to keep my jaw from aching most egregiously, but fortunately I can get away with having a dose every 12-16 hours rather than every 8.

I did end up missing Bible study again this week. Argh etc--but it can't be helped. Since I'm getting the wisdom teeth removed on Thursday it's probable I won't feel like going to choir practice, either, but we'll see.

* * *

Today I got my last "paycheck" from Michaels. It's a debit card, so I have to activate it and do a bunch of other stupid crap in order to get at my money. I'll do that tomorrow, though.

* * *

Man, I have zero energy. *sigh*