Tuesday, March 30, 2010

LFD PUG Tool

I hit 80 on the weekend and after running random PUG Normals most every night for the last couple of weeks I had a decent set of pre-Heroic Blue Gear, while self-buffed I had close to 20K Health. On a decent Run I was pulling over 1500dps but occasionally would drop down to 1200-1300 if I was having Mana issues, or running all over the place and spending a lot of time in combat without actually hitting anything.

Being an 80 with reasonable Gear I decided to do some Heroics, and that's where the beauty of the LFD Tool comes in handy. No more do you need to send a tell to someone trying to get into their PUG Heroic, only to be rejected due to a too low Gear Score (or some other prejudice). Now you just sign up and Shazam! In you go. Oddly enough I found the Heroic queue to be shorter than a regular non-Heroic PUG, or maybe it just seems like it.

I ran several Heroics and noticed that my 20K Health (24K Group Buffed) was a bit on the low side, with some of my fellow party members having 40-50K. I've fought Instance Boss Mobs with less Health than that. It was not even uncommon to see Squishy Casters with 30K+ Health. I became curious. Just what was my Gear Score? I found a website that trawled the Armory and calculated my GS. It was in the mid 2000s. That actually didn't help me because I had no idea what was considered a decent Gear Score. I turned to Curse.com and the GS Add-On which came with a bunch of stuff that I didn't think was relevant. But if you don't want all this extra crap, it said, try GS Lite.

Hmm, I think I might, I said, downloading it and installing. It wasn't as invasive as my encounter with Dominos, in fact it was so non-invasive that initially I wasn't even sure it was working. Finally I noticed my GS was on my Character's Paper Doll screen, while if I moused over other characters their GS sometimes came up, and sometimes didn't. Perhaps those with no GS didn't have a GS Add-On.

I discovered that knowing the GS of others now gave me a sense of inferior inadequacy. Woah! That guy has a 5K+ GS. HOLY CRAP! That guy has 6K+! And here I am with my mid 2000s GS running a Heroic with them.

The good thing, as I mentioned, is I can actually run Heroics via the LFD Tool, and while I don't do the insane 4Kdps of the 5K+ GS player, I am doing close to 2K+ so I'm at least doing my bit, even if it's a small bit.

And by being able to get into Heroics I'm experiencing a whole lot more of the game than I did at 60 & 70 in the pre-Wrath days. Sure, I ventured into MC and Onyxia, then later Kara, but that was just dabbling. Being able to run Heroics now means I can actually gear up and loot Epic items rather than craft them (or buy them).

I figured the first thing on the agenda was acquiring a new weapon so I started looking through Atlas to see which Bosses in what Instances dropped Epic 2H weapons and discovered Loken in the Halls of Lightning dropped a Colossal Skull-Clad Cleaver. A wicked looking axe that someone clearly felt needed MORE AXES!!!

I signed up for a Heroic Halls of Lightning, ran the Instance but didn't see my Axe drop. I then ran several more Random Heroics before lucking out and getting into a random Halls of Lightning with a Warrior Tank and a DK DPS. They were the two that concerned me because either one of them could legitimately Need roll on the Cleaver if it dropped. But then I noticed they both had a 5K+ Gear Score, and when I inspected the DK he already had an Epic 2H Weapon. And here I was, tagging along with them, practically leeching off them as I tried to get Epics and upgrade my Gear.

My feeling of inadequacy was only increased when, while clearing Trash Mobs, General Bjarngrim ran in and suddenly I was dead. And so was the other DPS.

But the Warrior and the Death Knight survived, as did the Healer. And they continued to survive. This was a Heroic Boss with a couple of Adds and they were 3-manning him. At first I thought they'd only be able to survive for a little while but the Healer's HUGE Mana bar never even looked in danger of being depleted. The Adds dropped then the Warrior and Death Knight slowly but steadily chipped away at the General's 300,000 Health Bar. I've seen some cool stuff in WoW, and done some cool stuff of my own, but this was seriously impressive stuff. All I could do was look on from my place on the floor in amazement, and when they finally killed him and the loot dropped I didn't roll on it, not even a Greed roll. I felt like I hadn't contributed to the fight at all and so I didn't deserve to even get some vendor trash out of it.

After that the rest of the Run was practically anti-climactic, right up until we got to Loken. This stay we all survived. All of us except Loken of course, who went down so fast it was like he tripped over trying to get to us. I looked at what he'd dropped on his death. "Bother. No axe," I thought to myself, as I moused over the Epic item he'd dropped...and stared in disbelief.

The icon didn't really look like an axe but there it was. My Colossal Skull-Clad Cleaver. Mine! I hit Need and it became Mine, uncontested. I had my Axe. My Epic Axe. My Epic Axe with extra Axes was mine. ALL MINE!

And here's a picture :D


The Armor is rather dull looking, and I don't exactly look Paladin'ish, but the Axe is pretty damn cool, even if I do say so myself :D

Sunday, March 28, 2010

JE does TKD

This Saturday was JE's second Tae Kwon Do Tournament. He attended one last year where he did his Purple Belt Form, or Pumsae, and earned himself a Bronze Medal. (Each Belt category is broken up into groups of 3 to 4 kids so each kid gets a medal regardless of how well they do. This fact did not escape JE's notice and so he wasn't overly impressed at getting the Bronze Medal).

This time around he did a lot better; his technique was more solid and he demonstrated better power & control with his blocks & strikes. Unfortunately he used the wrong block at the wrong time and although he corrected himself immediately it was obvious he'd made a mistake. Despite the error he missed out on the gold by just half a point and so took home the Silver, beating out two other kids.

After lunch it was time for the sparring, and while this was JE's second Tournament it was his first time sparring.

Having competed at a State-level Karate Tournament myself in Australia I'd spent the previous couple of months trying to prepare JE for what I knew was in store for him. Watching him spar with the other kids at this TKD school I could tell he really wasn't prepared. He kicked too slow, as if he was afraid of hurting the other kid. Slow kicks can be dodged. Slow kicks miss your opponent. Slow kicks don't score points and they don't win matches. Kick faster, I'd tell him, kick harder. You need to tag your opponent, he needs to feel it, and you need to keep after him the whole time. (The sparring matches were two one-minute rounds, separated by a 20-30 second break.)

But my words and experience meant nothing to the 9-year old boy. He just wasn't prepared. But then that's also what tournaments are for: to give you experience so you can improve and do better at the next tournament.

There were three boys in JE's sparring group. Himself, another kid about the same size and build as him, and a bigger, heavier kid. (Not necessarily a more muscular kid, I think 'husky' is the politically correct term ;) who lucked out and got a Bye in Round One. So while JE and his Clone faced off, the Husky Kid automatically advanced to Round Two, meaning even if he lost his one and only match he'd still get the Silver. Lucky leetle fat keed.

As JE and his Clone faced off I could immediately tell the Clone had more experience. He moved more fluidly, gliding in, snapping out kicks, then skipping back before JE could retaliate. This tournament was certainly going to be a learning experience. The poor kid was taking body shots and kicking at air and I could tell it was getting to him. He was fighting two fights; he was fighting his Clone and he was fighting back the tears and he was losing both battles.

I was aware of the rule which said if one kid takes a beating, starts crying and refuses to continue he gets DQ'd, and I looked on in horror as the Referee did indeed stop the match and ushered JE and his Clone to their seats. At the time I didn't realize it was just the end of Round One, but that was irrelevant; if JE didn't go back in it would still be the end of the match.

JE's Master rushed over and began talking to him then looked up at me with a question in his eyes: "What do you want to do?"

Surrounding the arenas were plastic pylons and chains to keep the audience back and give the competitors and staff room to do their thing. But my son's TKD school was hosting this tournament and many of the Staff were volunteers and parents of the competitors, including myself. I even had the snazzy yellow Staff t-shirt to prove it.

I leaped over the chain, rushed to my son's side and began talking to him. "Come on, son. Don't give in. Don't let him win like this," I said, along with other semi-inspirational things like how he might not win even if he did go back out, but to at least go out fighting and not just hand his Clone the victory.

Now if that was a 20-second break it was the longest 20 seconds I've experienced, so I suspect the Referee and Time Keeper cut us some slack and gave us time to try to rally the boy.

As parents we hate to see our kids hurt but we also don't like to see them just roll over and give in, and after a lot of prodding and encouragement the boy dug deep, sucked it up, stood up, and went back out.

This time he took the fight to the Clone who, being up on points and wanting to stay there, fought a lot more defensively. But I could see that he was surprised at the difference between the tearful JE who'd retired to his corner at the end of the first round, and the more aggressive JE facing him now. The boy went after the Clone and while he still got hit again it didn't stop him this time, and he tagged the Clone a few times in return. Unfortunately the rally was too little too late and the match still went to the Clone, who also went on to dispose of the Husky kid and win the Gold.

After the match JE was still not happy. His Clone had kicked him pretty hard and despite the body armor they wear he was still hurting. But then getting hurt is part of growing up, as is overcoming that pain, learning from it, and moving forward.

"In the face of adversity, you find out if you're a fighter or a quitter.
It's all about getting up after you've been knocked down."

- Archie Griffin

Friday, March 26, 2010

Women

So the wife emails me at work and asks me to vacuum when I get home. I agree because it's my job (she does the laundry. Trust me, I've got the easier gig by far) and because a cat, a dog, 2 kids and 2 adults create a ton of dust and I haven't vacuumed for...a while...so the house needs to be vacuumed.

So I get home, clean up the dog's poop in the backyard (Trust me, I've still got the easier gig), then figure I'll chill for a bit and catch up on some blogs before I do the vacuuming. (I was gonna get to it... eventually.) But the wife wants me to do it now.

"Why aren't you vacuuming like you said you would?" she calls out to me from the boy's room. (They're in there doing something on his computer. Probably school-related. She's a good mother like that. I should probably tell her that sometimes. Does this count? No? I need to tell her in person? Okay, I will...after I finish the vacuuming ;)

"Yeah yeah," I say, with the Zenful serenity that comes from being married for longer than a decade, as I continue reading Blogs and finish typing (what I believe to be) a witty comment on some random Blogger's Blog.

Then the boy comes in. "Daddy, why aren't you vacuuming?"

Geez! Et tu, spawn of my loins?

Fine, I'll vacuum then! Wait! Doesn't vaccuum have two C's? I'm sure it does! I'm sure that's how I spelled it in school...in Australia. Bloody Americans. As if it's not enough to drop the U out of words like colour and neighbor and the D out of Refridgerator (And how come you add it in when you abbreviate it to Fridge, huh? If it's Refrigerator, shouldn't it be Frige?) you have to go and rob vaccuum of one of its C's. And you have the audacity to say Australia was founded by thieves and convicts? Bah!

Anyway, so I get out the vaccuum cleaner and start unrolling the cord when I remember the wife mentioned to me the other night that "they" are remaking Hawaii Five-O, which prompts me to start singing the Hawaii Five-O theme song. You know the one? (Or maybe you don't...) It goes like this:

Nag-nag nag-nag naaaag naaaaag.
Nag-nag nag-nag naaaaaaaaaag.
Nag-nag nag-nag nag-naaaaaag!
Nag-nag-nag-nag naaaaaaaaaag!

By this time I'm in the boy's room and he's joined in and is singing along with me so I lean over and give my wife a big, long, sloppy wet kiss on the cheek and when I'm done (it was a loooooong kiss) I say, "I love you, dear".

And what does she say in reply?

"Do the vacuuming."

Women.

Ah well. I guess I better get back to the vaccuuming.

Monday, March 15, 2010

WoW Addons & guitars

I don't use many Addons, my UI is the default UI. I have Recount, Titan and Atlas, along with a few of their components that came packaged with them, and that's about it.

When I read the Tankadin 969 Guide the fellow who wrote it gushed about Dominos and how it allowed him to create his own Hotkey Bars and set them up where ever he wanted, and it sounded cool and looked great on his screen so I downloaded & installed it. When I logged into WoW ALL of my Hotkey bars had been shrunk to about 1/4 the width of the screen and were now stacked one above the other beneath my character, while the XP bar had been moved to the top of the screen and was now a big blue bar with big blue numbers *shudder* Not prepared to spend time trying to set up and get used to Dominos I immediately disabled it. I still have it installed but I liken it to playing Guitar, specifically, playing the G-chord, more specifically changing how I fingered the G-chord.

A G-chord is played by holding down the 5th string at the 2nd Fret, and the 1st & 6th string at the 3rd Fret, and here's a picture for the mentally visually challenged.
The finger position in that picture is the traditional method of playing the G-chord, and as such is how I first learned to play it.

But there's a problem with playing it that way, as illustrated by another picture, this time of a C-chord:
From that picture you should be able to see that a C is played by holding down the 2nd string at the first Fret, the 4th string at the 2nd Fret, and the 5th string at the 3rd Fret.

Yes, this is going somewhere :P

Many popular songs are written in the same key and as such use the same basic chords, A, C, G, D, & E, or variants thereof. I'm not going to get into finger positions for A, D & E, suffice to say that switching between A, C, D, & E is usually quick & easy because of somewhat similar finger positions. My point here is that switching between C and G is somewhat more complex because the fingers need to go through very drastic position changes, especially the 3rd/ring finger which needs to move from the 6th string down to the 1st string. The 1st/index finger must move from the 2nd string/1st fret up to the 5th string/2nd fret while the middle finger has it slightly easier with a shift from the 4th string/2nd fret to the 6th string/3rd fret. If that made your brain hurt then just look at the pictures and see for yourself the position change each finger needs to make.

I was getting pretty good at playing most of the songs with my Church's Youth group, except the finger change between G and pretty much every other Chord still tripped me up. As I studied the chords, particularly G and G7, I wondered why there was such a drastic change between the finger position for the two, especially as the difference between most chords and their Minor or 7th versions required little more than changing the position of a single finger, whereas switching between a G and G7 was like going from a G to a taller C, and here's one last picture, this time of the G7 chord:
You can see how the G7 more closely resembles a C than a G, and yet to go from a C to a C7 you need do nothing more than plop your pinky onto the 3rd string at the 3rd fret. That's it. To change between a C and a C7 all you have to do is add a pinky finger, whereas to change between a traditionally played G and a G7 requires total rearrangement of the fingers akin to changing between G and C.

And that was when I realized the traditional method of playing a G-chord on a guitar is wrong. The books are wrong. The teachers are wrong. And if you're fingering a G-chord in the traditional manner then you're doing it wrong (and now I know how Galileo felt when he went against the system.)

Yes, I said it. If your guitar teacher is teaching you to finger a G-chord as in the above picture then they're teaching you the wrong way. Of course they'll never admit it because almost everyone does it like that so it's widely accepted as the correct way to finger a G-chord, but it's not. It's wrong. (It was also widely accepted that the earth was flat and the center of the universe, but the people who believed that and called Galileo crazy and placed him under house arrest were wrong, too).

Why is it wrong?

It's wrong because the difference between almost every chord and their minor and 7th variants is almost always the addition or subtraction of one single finger, whereas switching between a traditional G and a G7 requires a complete change of the hand position.

The correct way to finger a G-chord (IMHO) is not by using the 1st, 2nd & 3rd fingers, but by using the 2nd, 3rd & 4th fingers. Why do I believe this is the correct method? Because it follows the same principle of switching between G and G7 as switching between all of the other chords and their respective 7ths.

Using the 2nd, 3rd & 4th fingers to play a G, switching between the G and G7 does not require a large change in the position and shape of your hand. It requires nothing more than lifting your pinky off the 1st string/3rd fret while putting down your index finger on the 1st string/3rd fret. The middle finger and ring finger stay in the same position, on the same strings, on the same frets. And because they don't move your hand shape remains practically the same. All you've done is lifted off one finger, and put down another. And that means this is the correct way to play a G because it makes the transition between the G, G7, and all the other chords a whole lot smoother. At least it does when you finally get the hang of playing a G using your 2nd, 3rd & 4th fingers.

If you already know how to play guitar, getting used to fingering a G a new way is like learning how to touch type using the Home Keys. After a lot of practice my fingers finally realized I wanted to play the G my way and not the traditional way (but it took them a while to learn that), and it did make switching between chords a lot easier. For what it's worth I can touch type and relatively quickly, but I never did manage to teach my fingers to use the Home Keys.

Coming full circle, I liken this to learning to use Dominos or some other Addon which totally changes the layout of your UI. With change comes a rebellion, a reluctance to learn the new method. You like the old method just fine, so why change it? If it ain't broke, why fix it? I liked what I read about Dominos but when I installed it it was too different; I preferred the appearance of the default UI. Why should I learn to use a completely new UI, one that needed customizing before I'd find it aesthetically pleasing, when the current one worked just fine?

And so I didn't. Daunted by what was required to return WoW to what I perceived as a playable state I disabled Dominos and went back to the default UI. While it may not be as pretty as some of the custom UIs I've seen (and some I've seen are just amazing) the default UI serves its purpose and allows me to play the game but more importantly, enjoy it now.

I recently ran a few Instances with Paaco tanking on his DK, and as we pulled the first Trash Mobs in the first Instance and I started on my Retadin rotation, my Chat log exploded with whispers. They all came from the same character, the Healer, and they were being generated by a Macro he had installed called RankWatch. What RankWatch does is monitor the spells being used by yourself and your party members and it can alert you and/or them when you and/or they use downranked versions of spells. Without realizing it that's what I'd been doing, even though I'd been to the Trainer and had the most up-to-date levels of my abilities/spells, because a bug exists with characters with dual-spec where not all of their abilities/spells on their Hotkey bars get updated. In my case, for example, I'd learned Exorcism(8) at 73, but my Hotkey bar still had Exorcism(7), and I would quickly discover it was not the only downranked spell I'd been using. About 4-5 of my Abilities were downranked.

Up until then I'd been pulling approx. 1,100dps, with bursts up to 1,200, but unfortunately I'd also sometimes drop embarrassingly below 1K. (Noob!)

After updating my Hotkey bar with the most powerful of my abilities my DPS skyrocketed and peaked at over 1,600dps. Now the Shaman in my party may have had a little to do with that, but IMO (even though I'm a Noob and always will be) I very much doubt he can take credit for a 33% increase in my DPS. I'm sure his Totems were partially responsible, but a large part of my DPS increase still came from upgrading my previously downranked abilities. And with an increase in DPS came newfound enjoyment in what had been a gradual stagnation of Ret. I'd actually contemplated going back to Prot for questing/grinding because Ret was just not doing it for me. But now, once again, it was.

After the first run the group stayed together to run a second Random, and my Retadin DPS was still crazy high (or more correctly, no longer noobishly low). When Paaco logged for the night I visited my Paladin trainer and learned my new level 74 Abilities (I'd actually dinged 74 the night before then Noobishly logged almost straight away). I then switched to Prot and made sure my Prot Hotkey Bar had the highest ranked abilities, just in case.

With renewed faith in my ability to provide MQOSDPS I switched back to Ret then hit up the DF Tool for one last Instance. Not normally running PUGs without Paaco Tanking it was a somewhat new experience for me, and either Paaco is a good Tank (which he is), or the NElf DK sucked as a Tank (which is equally possible) because initially I suspected I was in for the typical PUG from Hell with a Tank who couldn't. After a couple of Trash Pulls the Tank blamed Lag for her inability to Tank then DC'd on us, and I stepped up to the plate, switched to Prot and offered to Tank the rest of the Instance. While my first experience as a Tank in Wrath had been a painful affair this Run was fairly smooth. There were a few chaotic moments when the Shaman used the horrible "let's throw all the Mobs far away" ability, but not one wipe, or even anything like a Near Wipe. I already knew I could bring the Pain as a Retadin, but now my faith in my ability to Tank had also been restored.

Was it that I'd noobishly been using downranked abilities to Tank in Wrath? Was it the gear upgrades I'd acquired between 70 and 74? Was it a combination of both? (Probably ;) In any case I was now, once again, an Indestructible Tankadin! and once again enjoying the game, all thanks to an AddOn called Rankwatch that I didn't even have installed.

Signs you work for Initech

I've mentioned before that I'm in charge of the office coffee club because no other schmuck will take it off my hands, and I need coffee, and as much as I like Soy Lattes I'm not doing Starbucks every day.

So I'm in the breakroom this morning and an altruistic coworker presents to me what he thinks is a great idea.

We should turn off the Keurig coffee machine on Friday afternoon so it's not On all weekend, he says to me.

That's not a bad idea. I mean it's just one little machine keeping about a quart of water hot so when someone wants a cup of coffee it's ready, but I'm sure there's some cost saving if it were turned off over the weekend instead of being left on. A minimal cost saving, but a saving nonetheless.

I also start work early. I mean seriously early. Like OMFG o'clock. So I could turn the machine back on first thing Monday morning when I get in giving the water inside time to heat up and be ready by the time the rest of the riffraff get in, and so...

Yeah, that's a good idea, I tell him, before adding, who's going to turn it off on Friday?

See because I get in at OMFG o'clock (what can I say? That amuses me. Yeah, I'm a little juvenile at times) I also leave early in the afternoon, so I can't turn the machine off when I leave or I'd be depriving some of my caffeine-addicted coworkers of their coffee. Bad things happen when people who need caffeine don't get it, and I'm not going to be responsible for that, so it's only natural that I'd ask him who would turn the machine off.

And he gives me a look not unlike a kicked puppy, which I think is a little unfair. He's the one who didn't think his idea all the way through to the "Who would do this?" stage. Why does that make me the bad guy for pointing it out?

If anything that was his queue to step up to the plate and say "Why! I shall turn it off myself!" but he didn't do that. So he has a half-arsed idea, that he never thought through, and which he's not prepared to put into action himself, but I'm the bad guy for calling him on it.

That's not the Initech moment, which if you need it pointed out is the company Peter worked for (or didn't work for, depending how you look at it) in the movie "Office Space".

On Friday I completed & submitted my electronic Time Sheet (like a good little Peon). This morning the supervisor who I helped last week (who is a supervisor but not my supervisor) is apparently reviewing my Time Sheet because she asks me to recall it because I didn't charge any time to her projects.

So I recall my Time Sheet, change the numbers around to bill some time to her projects (instead of it all being charged to the projects on which I normally work), re-Submit it, then notice I have a new email. It's from my Supervisor. As in my actual Supervisor.

It's short, simple, and to the point.

"Please submit your Time Sheet."

You have got to be fucking kidding me!

Now I actually have a decent relationship with my real supervisor so I fire off an email to him, explain the situation, and tell him I've just re-submitted it. Then I add:

"I'm glad I'm learning new opportunities but situations like these make me feel like I'm in the movie "Office Space" :P

Yeah, I actually emailed that, including the :P smiley.

"Just another manic Monday." - The Bangles.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Neilmed Sinus Rinse

The following post contains scenes and descriptions that may upset weak stomachs. Reader discretion is advised.

Inspired by the latest post on Borderline TMI I would like to bring your attention to Neilmed Sinus Rinse.
I got one of these at the family Christmas gift exchange a couple of years ago, and I'm still not sure if it was meant as a gag gift or if the giver was genuinely sincere in her espousing of its effectiveness. Given my wife's family's fondness for holistic medicines, vibrating massage thingies, etc, the cousin who claimed she used it and loved it probably actually did. (No, I don't think she actually gave me hers...) Not too sure about it myself I took it home and put it in the kitchen cupboard, where it sat, unopened, for a loooong time.

Eventually my clogged sinuses got too much for me, and when I recalled that my father used to snort a cup of slightly salty warm water to alleviate his sinuses, I figured I had nothing to lose (except snot) and a whole lot to gain...like clear sinuses.

I nuked a cup of water to just warm and mixed it with a packet of salt in the little squirt bottle, screwed on the cap, stuck it up my right nostril, looked sheepishly at myself in the vanity mirror, then leaned over the sink and began slowly squeezing the bottle.

The instructions recommend that not only do you not hold your breath while doing this, but that you breathe through your mouth to avoid putting pressure on your middle ear. And so I did. I leaned over the sink while carefully & slowly breathing in and out my mouth as I squirted warm, salty water up my nose.

At first nothing happened. Oh sure, I could feel the warm water slowly filling up my sinus cavity but it wasn't coming out my left nostril (the cap seals your nostril pretty good, and I have big nostrils) and then it happened.

No, the water didn't begin pouring out my left nostril.

It began running down the back of my throat, into my mouth, and out my mouth into the sink.

Warm, salty water. From my nose. Was coming out of my mouth.

Along with...other stuff.

It was disgusting, in a satisfyingly cathartic way.

When I'd finally squeezed the bottle to almost flat I removed it from my nostril, and now I had water running out of my nose AND my mouth.

But my nose felt kind of good.

As I walked to the kitchen to warm a second cup of water for my left nostril more salty water dripped out of my nose. Oops.

When I repeated the procedure with my left nostril it mustn't have been as blocked as the right (or vice versa) because this time around the water began running out of my right nostril. Along with...more stuff. Big, long, thick chunks of...stuff.

And when it was done and I'd blown my nose into a paper towel (because a tissue would have disintegrated) I felt great. My sinuses felt clearer than they had in a long, long time. The snot was gone, the pressure was gone, and the pain that accompanies blocked sinuses? Gone.

I used it almost every day for a couple of weeks - because every time I did there was the cathartic relief that comes with the removal of large chunks of snot - before scaling back to just a couple of times a week as I felt necessary. And except when my sinuses get really clogged up the water goes in one nostril and out the other, accompanied usually by a thick string of snot that feels so good to be rid of.

If you're plagued by blocked sinuses, forget the old "head over a bowl of steaming water" trick, that won't cut it. Instead try sending 8oz of warm, salty water up each nostril. You might be surprised at how good it feels, despite how disgusting it sounds...or looks...or tastes ;P