Post VERY late today

But mostly written and, I think, interesting.

Sorry, was finishing page proofs for Baen because I was late and then typesetter was late (due to flu in both cases) and thing needs to go to print.

And now I must run to an unavoidable appointment, and even I can’t type half a blog post in five minutes.

I will be back.

Almost done with antibiotic for secondary infection following the flu, and it DID work, but oh, heck, that thing about severe headaches being a side effect is absolutely true. I’ve been having the kind of blinding headache that makes you long for a good trepanning.  So, be patient with me when I’m a little slower than normal.

UPDATE: Yah, no.  That took longer than I expected.  Post tomorrow.

180 responses to “Post VERY late today

  1. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    Take Care!

  2. The pre-post post announcing the post-pre-post post, to be posted post-haste in the pre-dinner, post-lunch posting period?

    Hurrah! ~:D

    And feel better my dear, we can amuse ourselves. Who’s got the carp-powered plasma cannon?

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

      Fluffy’s playing with it. 😉

    • But what about the plasma-powered carp cannon? That’s the one I’m watching.

      • You haven’t lived until you’ve seen plasma made from carp. As distinct from actual carps launched by plasma.

        O.M.G. what if you combined the two? Crossing the streams!!!

        • Sufficiently propelled carp is indistinguishable from plasma. Or so the theory would suggest.

          • Did anybody ever shoot something my way? If you did I think it got found before I could get to it. I think there may have been some rumor about a sale of lutefisk (or similar) somewhere.

          • Well, certainly, sufficiently propelled carp become plasma, and if it happens in air, that’s an impressive sight.

          • Christopher M. Chupik

            Plasma carp? I guess that gives a whole new meaning to “fried fish”.

            • Plasma Carp: A magnetic life form found in the convective zone and photosphere of stars. Plasma Carp are endemic in most stars, leading some stellar biologists to theorize they can survive through the silicon phase, and may form a type of cyst of silicon and remain dormant until the nebula condenses to form new stars.

              The discovery of plasma carp solved the riddle of the formation of sunspots. The formation of sunspots is known to coincide with spawning, and what were once interpreted as different bands of circulation are schools of plasma carp. The concentration of carp varies from star to star is a poorly understood process, Also poorly understood is their lifespan, which is assumed to end with spawning, but this is not definitely know.

              Plasma carp vary in size and gauss, and are currently the largest known life form. Attempts to keep plasma carp in captivity by condensing those captured from coronal mass ejections down to manageable scale have so far failed. The longest lived, Methuselah, survived only in seven hours in a spherical tokamak unit special built for the purpose. See article on Goliath (tokamak).

      • I am a purist. I will swear by and stick to my high powered pump action water gun filled with garum.

    • I think you’re pre-supposing pre-determined mealtimes.

  3. I recently went to a production of Patience and they included a list of common Victorian terms that the modern viewer might be unfamiliar with. For “trepan” they had “To cut a hole in the skull. Preferably someone else’s.”

    • Well yes. When cutting a hole in your own skull, the blood in your eyes often makes it difficult to properly guide the bone saw…

    • For a while, stoners believed you could get a permanent high if you drilled a hole in your skull at the right place.

      Apparently nobody quite figured out where that place was, but it didn’t stop a few stoners from trying anyway.

      • Think of it as evolution in action…..

        • Professor Badness

          A person could almost believe there was a conspiracy involved.
          Of course, I’ve seen druggies and stoners do plenty of stupid things without being prompted.
          The joys of working in a public library!

        • I’m firmly convinced that there is a small-but-growing segment of the population that has never, ever learned not to put things into their mouths. Those of us who grew up around berries that make you sick (“Yes, the birds eat them. Human’s can’t.”) and rabbits, and poisonous plants that look like domestic plants seem to be fewer and fewer. Those who, back in the day, would have been eliminated early on from the gene pool, or cured of the “shiny! It must taste good!” misapprehension are now living long enough to reproduce.


            There are sad stories of what happened to those who did not know the difference.

            • Doesn’t mention hogweed, which also looks like wild carrots or Queen Anne’s Lace. A plant whose properties I discovered by weed whacking around my mailbox. Poison ivy is harmless by comparison- but only by comparison. I had never heard of it until my unfortunate encounter.

              • The title of the article is Giant Hogweed – Do Not Touch This Plant!


                The opening paragraph reads:

                Giant hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum) is a Federally listed noxious weed. Its sap, in combination with moisture and sunlight, can cause severe skin and eye irritation, painful blistering, permanent scarring and blindness. Contact between the skin and the sap of this plant occurs either through brushing against the bristles on the stem or breaking the stem or leaves.

                An excellent picture is provided.

                It is from the Caucasus Mountains and southwest Asia and was brought to the United States by The University of Connecticut as an ornamental in 1917. (The USDA has an informative article, but I did not the picture as good.)

      • Actually, what they were promised was “a high that will last the rest of your life.” Some people are very bad at processing the fine print.

      • Patrick Chester

        “That would have worked if you hadn’t stopped me.”

  4. I wonder if we can get this to a coiple hundred comments before Sarah gets back.

    • Professor Badness

      That depends on whether we can get the Wallaby and the aardvark involved.
      Or maybe just explosives!

    • I thought we could do fifty, easily.

      • 61 so far, not so hard. If someone can conjure up an ox we might get over 100. Ox very slow today.

        • Doing my bit here. About all I’m capable of today, between laundry and the kitchen that I did clean up yesterday but looks like a week’s worth. Spouse and children got way too creative…

          • I myself am stricken with the ague. This, sadly is a marked improvement to what was ailing me since about Wednesday.

            Today I can write. Over the weekend I was reduced to sleeping or staring dumbly at TV. Dire straights indeed.

            • I wouldn’t ague with that, but a straight flush just might be worse. [looks at sky for incoming carp plasma].

            • I am stricken with the Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrgh.

            • Yech. That was me at the beginning of January. Take care of yourself, Phantom.

              Three hours on the kitchen is nothing compared to being sick. Or trepanned…

              • 150 posts and counting. Woohoo!

                Today the arrrgh continues. How long does this crud last anyway? Its been 6 days already.

                • $HOUSEMATE seems to have been hit by it bad for at least 4 days, with a long slow recovery. I think it knocked me down hard for a night, and I was ‘meh’ for a few days. I think I am mostly back to (what passes for) normal, though a cough needs to fade a bit further. Until $HOUSEMATE got The Dreaded Lurgy, I was alright or close to it, though with a fair amount of sublingual zinc and vitamin C. Once $HOUSEMATE got it, my exposure was a lot more intense… when I got it I dropped the zinc (was using a lot – I started taking iron as a counter to some potential effects that I began to be concerned about though hadn’t run into… yet) and upped the vitamin C (and added decongestant, and at times analgesics – for headache, not to fight fever. I try to ‘help’ a fever ‘burn it out’ if/when I can.) So I suppose, “It depends.”

                • Mileage seems to vary. I had six days of comatosity (issoaword, Firefox!). Followed by about another six of “Don’t feel up to it, really, but have to do something.” Something including bringing the computer back to life, that coincidentally (?) had a hard crash the same day I took to my bed.

                • Three weeks, and then three more at half power. (Where I am now.)

  5. So a post in place of a post while the hostess is off post haste. I will wait for the post to arrive in the meantime, by the fence post the post box is fastened to.

  6. Do we have a Plant Whisperer in the group? (No, not Ms. Talks-to-Plants.) I need someone to convince the daffodils, tulips, roses, and Bradford pear to go back to sleep.

    • There were plants sprouting up and trees starting to bud last week. . . and much flurry activity Saturday, followed by an overnight low in the upper twenties.

      • We’re getting a little bit of furry activity in thin snow (either some chipmunks trying to decide if they’ll live outside this time of year, or a bigger critter with really odd toes), but the only thing growing here is the power bill. The weather service said the normal high is 48F, but we got 36F, and they have the Official Thermometer in a really warm spot.

        OTOH, we’ll get a bumper crop of grasses and weeds. The trees (mostly Ponderosa Pine on our land) are going to love all the water.

    • Free Range Oyster

      I’m worried about this year’s fruit crop, especially apricot. We had about two weeks of spring here, then cold again, and had what amounts to a micro-blizzard this morning (very intense, very short). Last time I remember that happening, a few years ago, Utah lost something like 75% of its apricot crop. Fruit prices were a misery that year.

    • Speaking of plants, I need to ask you if you have any ideas on good books to read that deal with a simple little question: what ecologies replaced the retreating glaciers after the last ice age, and at what rates and from where did these plants and animals come from?

      I can look up the regrowth after volcanic explosions (and colonization after a new island in volcanically made, now that’s some cool action in the “life will find a way!” department!), but there’s a massive dearth of post-glaciated landscape colonization.

      This might have to do with a muse wanting a Lewis & Clark type trek on a terraformed planet, and me stamping an impatient foot and yelling at the muse “You can’t do that until you know what they’ll be crossing!”

      …She’s giggling something something about John Chapman and midden piles and knowing what those who come after will find on their trail, but….

      • Not seeing much in the way of books. Mostly papers (and a lot of them in German – which makes sense).

        • If you can point me at the papers that are in English, that’d be awesome! I know, they’ll be in Academese, not real Queen’s English or American, but I can kinda speak it.

          • Eh. All I did was a search on “paleoecology” and one on “palynology.”

            I only knew one person over there, and she’s moved on since getting her Masters, but this might give you a start for some interesting links:

            I’d probably dive down this rabbit hole right now myself; I’ll need it a few novels from now – but I’m hip deep in relativity/quantum at the moment. (More like drowning, but I like to think I’ll get to shore somehow…)

      • Some of the academic papers in “Pleistocene Extinction: The Search for a Cause” and the follow-up collections talk about that, but for very small regions. For example, parts of Minnesota and the Nebraska Sandhills went from barren loess or sand through pine taiga to grassland in a century. You might look at web-sites with lists of plants and animals found at different latitudes south to north, and different elevations, because that is a close analog. I’ll dig around and see if I can find anything specific.

      • If there’s a dearth of easily-accessible information, look up post-fire patterns. The airborne seeds advance fastest, followed by animal-borne seeds (because the birds have to have a food source before exploring an area.) It would be a staggered creep as the zones changed, and things that we call “invasive species” would have the edge.

      • And here’s proof that *not* all invasive species are harmful.

    • Here in the Piedmont on NC the Bradford Pears have finally passed the ‘OMG it smells like a badly backed up sewer stage.’ (Bradford Pears may be a pretty tree, but they are certainly malodorous. They also fall apart at the slightest provocation. And they don’t produce useful fruit.)

      I am willing to see if we could find someone to talk the rest back, but I have no desire to go through that pervasive stink again.

    • I can kill any plant with a look. Does that count?

      • Sort of. But I don’t want them “asleep in the Lord,” just dormant again.

      • Daddy was great with plants of all kinds, except for dill.

        Momma had what she called a ‘black thumb.’ Eventually she did find a plant that she could grow. For some unknown reason, while everything else died, geraniums liked her.

        • I can grow wandering Jew plants.
          STOP LAUGHING.

          • If you can kill monkeygrass, that’s what’s called a salable superpower, since not much else will.

            • Is monkey grass another name for wire grass. Wire grass is how we refer to the lawn scourge in my area of the country. And yes, oh dear me yes, if she could kill it with a look she could make a fortune in our area.

            • Killing Bermuda grass would be a helpful skill. Honestly, one of my desired superpowers can be stretched to removing every trace of Bermuda grass from an area.

              • That stuff is invincible! You can rototill an area in the fall, starve it of water all winter, during a drought no less, put black landscaping cloth on top with an inch of stone, let it bake in the sun… and the stuff still comes back.

                You can’t pull up the cloth afterward, either. The grass weaves itself through it. You have to take a Bobcat to it.

                • Starve it during the *winter*? That’s its dormant season. I’ve starved it during the summer and still had to have a summer of plastic over it (clear, not black, really) to get MOST of it. Then glysophate for the rest, much as I hate it. Oh, and then digging down the mound it made and four inches below the sidewalks so we could gravel and paver most of it. After dehydration (1 year), solarizing (four months), digging (way too bleeding long), glysophate, and landscape cloth.

                  And now for the next section. (That one was a trapezoid roughly fifteen by four and six. OY.)

          • I had a friend who wanted to give me a houseplant (she had tons of them). I kept telling her, no, don’t give me a plant, I’ll just kill it.

            Oh, no, she said. You can’t kill this one.

            I was really most annoyed at her.

            The plant was usually hardy. I think it lasted two months. 😦

  7. Who mentioned lutefisk? I feel racially offended 🙂 Worse than carp! Winter appears to be over in Florida. 85 right now. Need rain.

  8. I used to get headaches like that. One of my bosses once asked me why I came in to work feeling so awful, and I told him if I was going to feel awful I might as well be doing something useful.

    • And getting paid for it. Had a similar conversation, myself. In a relatively* quiet environment, if the pain isn’t so bad I can’t see, it’s doable.

      *relatively, as in, not around heavy equipment operating, mining explosions nearby, firing range, or full-decibel rock concert/sporting event. Which kinda cut down my employability in those sectors.

  9. Have fun storming the castle!

    There are headaches which let you comprehend fosslized skulls which have had holes drilled through them. Couldn’t be much worse, right?

    By all means, get those page proofs done for Baen — it makes it sooooo very easy to give you money.

    • There’s a device called a TENS unit, which administers electric shocks to your lower back. It’s often prescribed for lower back pain. The electric shocks hurt, but it’s a *different* pain that distracts the patient from the worse pain.

      That’s why when your headache is bad enough, beating your head against the wall looks like a wonderful idea.

      • A tens unit actually causes muscles to tense and relax rhythmically, which can help.

        But, OTOH, if you think something helps it probably does, in part or in whole BECAUSE of your belief.

        Tangent; One of the questions I’ve always wanted to ask about ‘alternative medicine’ is, if Traditional Chinese Medicine is so popular in China, what does this say about the quality of mainstream medical care in the People’s Republic?

        • Have had tens done in a therapeutic setting. All it did was give me low powered shocks. Did not relax my muscles at all.

          • Works for my wife. I think it’s like all medical procedures and medicines, especially painkillers. Works on some, not on others.

            • I had a course of TENS a decade or so back – in my case, as part of the therapy following a bad shoulder sprain.

              It did seem to help, somewhat, in conjunction with the (very light) mobility and strengthening exercises I was doing. But the overall effect was more “it doesn’t hurt quite as much, so I can cautiously do things” than “it eliminates the pain”. YMMV

        • Ideally, you have both the more useful traditional tonics for people who are mostly well, and the Western medicine for people who are really sick. “Middle aged and feeling like crap” is not really a medical problem, but it does not make one happy.

      • TENS is often done wrong. It is not supposed to hurt. If it hurts, they’ve got the pads in the wrong place and it is turned up too high. Or the unit is a POS, that happens a lot. Morons drop them, leave the wires tangled, etc.

        There are plenty of people out there, such as me, with a very low tolerance for electrical shock. The voltage used on the average little old lady will make me levitate off the bed.

        Chronic headaches of great severity commonly (but not always, of course) include involvement of the TMJ joint and the jaw muscles. This is common with y’all tooth grinders. Ask your dentist if you grind at night. Or your spouse. It sounds like a rock crusher set on “frappe.”

        One useful treatment is the use of TENS on the jaw muscles, I have seen people get very nice relief from that. When done properly, the contraction and release of the muscles by the e-stim can reset the muscle to a longer resting length, or at least get it to stop contracting for a while so the PT can stretch it out a little.

        Obviously, the use of electrical stimulation on the head is to be done by a -competent- professional, who knows exactly what they’re doing. (Meaning not by some bubble head fresh out of school who has to consult the TENS manual 40 times while they’re setting you up. It isn’t rocket surgery, but you do need to know what you’re trying to accomplish. The world is filled with people who may have a PT license, but they weren’t paying attention in the e-stim lectures. Math is hard.)

        Final caution, Don’t Try This At Home, Kids. It could turn out like that haircut you gave yourself that one time, except with your brain.

        • I had a form of TENS done as part of the tracking and work done to take care of my TMJD stuff. Which was not caused by grinding, but by a misfit between jaws, teeth, and skull. The doc used TENS to get all the muscles to relax before tracking each adjustment and tweaking the retainer in order to find where everything ought to be, and to heal the damage as much as possible, before going to the permanent fix (orthodontic crowns.) It didn’t hurt too much, but it was odd to feel muscles moving without my having any say in the matter.

          • That sounds like an example of TENS done right.

          • My cousin was having back spasms. A doc told him it was all in his head, but he managed to get a better doc, but they never seemed to happen while he was visiting. Then, finally he had a case while laying on his belly, holding on to the exam table/bed. He latched on, gritted his teeth and the spasms caused the whole works to move like an old vibratory football game. When it was over and he lay there panting, Quoth the Doc: “Those are the worst spasms I’ve seen!”
            Cuz: “Those are minor.”
            Doc: “No, I mean it, those are the worst I have ever seen or heard of!”
            Cuz: “And I’m telling you that, for me, those were minor”
            Doc: “Oh. I get you. We’ll have to fix that.”
            they considered TENS. I don’t think it got fully fixed, as Cancer took him, and may have been in part a cause, but it had been lessened before the chemo really ravaged him.

  10. Dear Esteemed Hostess:

    So I am back in town and find I have to tell you yet again that what looks like a post, reads like a post, gets responses like a post IS A POST.

    Unless what it is that has crossed your mind to post later is something so timely that it cannot wait, if you find you have time to write it up today why not take it and use it as a post tomorrow?

    With love, Me

  11. HT: NY Post

    Loneliness is contagious — and now it’s gone viral. That’s the takeaway from Caroline Beaton at Psychology Today: “The General Social Survey found that the number of Americans with no close friends has tripled since 1985.” The question is, Why? First, it spreads: “People who aren’t lonely tend to then become lonelier if they’re around people who are.” And now the Internet has multiplied that effect: “One reason the Internet makes us lonely is we attempt to substitute real relationships with online relationships. Though we temporarily feel better when we engage others virtually, these connections tend to be superficial and ultimately dissatisfying.”

    I has long sed that arguing with some folks on the internet will make you nuttier than a fruitcake.

    • My regrets: I had misread that as loonliness.

      I stand sit corrected.

      And yet I maintain my assertion: argue with some folk online and to grapple with them you will have to loosen your grasp on reality.

      • More likely, it will be loosened for you.

      • My store of sanity is limited as it is, I can’t afford to dole it out to those that are in dire need of it. Especially on the book of face. :p

      • I come around here to get the screws tightened again.

        • And… “Righty-tighty, loosey-lefty” popped into the head just as I clicked the button…

          • So, saying a leftist has a few screws loose is an apt observation then.

          • Except certain European faucets, or so I’m told. (No, really, the ones marked ‘C’ for Chaud [hot], don’t they turn to the left? Did “they” do that in the US (have left-hand threaded hot-water faucets?) I suppose I was being domestic yesterday—we had two almost conjoined trees cut down due to lightning—and being domestic seems to make me think of plumbing.

            Here’s Major Obvious level clue: it’s much, much cheaper to cut down trees before you build your house. On the other hand, we did get forty years of shade out of those two trees so it could be a wash.

            • Plumbing? Dunno. I can barely deal with the simplest US plumbing, with a handy book, and the rest of the family out of the house.

              Forty years of good shade, IMHO, does make the trees a bit more than a wash. I would lay up the wood, too (probably, depending on the species), so would think of it as a net profit, myself.

            • There are a number of things that are left-hand-threaded. The mnemonic is intended for the vast majority of things that do not have a specific reason to tighten in the opposite direction. The hot water handle does, often, work in the opposite direction, because mirror action is symmetrical in such a use, and can be easily enough remembered as a special case.

    • “Loneliness is contagious”… so quarantine. Wait… hang on, shouldn’t the contagion be self-limiting by definition?

  12. Patrick Chester

    Well, hopefully you don’t owe anyone two dollars…

  13. OK, Missy, it’s Tomorrow (the day following yesterday) now and time for your post, so get with it! Please? Pretty Please? With ice cream and sprinkles on top?