Oct 4, 2020


I was off work sick this week with…


That’s right, I came down with a viral infection during a global pandemic… and not the one everyone was worrying about. I came down with a case of shingles, specifically ophthalmic shingles. It wasn’t much fun, and I didn’t know anything about shingles beyond the name (certainly not enough to recognise it from the symptoms), so I’ll write a bit about my suffering in case it helps you.

First of all, do not image-search for shingles if you are squeamish. There are some really gruesome pictures out there. Thankfully my case ended up being pretty mild.

So, what is shingles? Well, it’s the same virus as chickenpox, and can strike anyone who has had chickenpox—even decades later!—usually as a result of a weakened immune system, but it can also just be totally spontaneous.

We don’t vaccinate against chickenpox in the UK, and 9 out of 10 adults who grew up here had it as children, so most people in the country are at risk of shingles.1

Here’s a timeline of my symptoms, and what I thought was going on:

As of this morning, my eye is not yet fully recovered. I woke up again with eyelids stuck together with goo. But the bumps are looking pretty good. I’ve got a few scabs, but no new bumps have appeared since starting the medicine. My pills will run out tomorrow. The doctor I spoke to didn’t tell me to call back when I ran out for a check up, so I guess I’ll just keep an eye on things and, if it looks like the shingles are worsening again, get another appointment.

All in all, I wouldn’t recommend shingles. If you are going to come down with a viral infection, go for a cold instead.


This week I read:

On Wednesday I thought “great, multiple days off, I’ll get loads of reading done!” but then I didn’t feel like it at all.


This week I decided to put off my Call of Cthulhu session, so I could put 100% of my effort into relaxing, rather than worrying about doing preparation or whether I’d be able to wear a headset for 3 hours with a painful head rash.

Network rebuild

A few more components trickled in this week. The network cabinet is all working now, and has 2U for expansion, which is nice. I decided to go ahead and get a fancy router and access point, which should be here in the next week or so. That’ll take up another 1U.

The brand new WD Green SSD I got for nyarlathotep started having read errors and corrupting data after 6 days of usage, which was less nice. I replaced it with a Samsung 860 EVO which seems to be doing fine.

Despite doubling nyarlathotep’s RAM, I saw it quickly creep back up to about as much percentage usage as it was on before, it seems I’ve got a few RAM-heavy things running on there. So I decided to double the RAM again, bringing it up to 64GB. With that upgrade in place, it’s been hovering around 60% used for a while, which is nice as it means there’s plenty of room for growth as I add more services. Though I’m not sure how it was coping as well as it was when it only had 16GB total previously.

I’m still waiting for the cables to connect the HDD hot-swap bays, but I’ve had a second shipping update and they should be arriving on Friday. It’s all coming together.

  1. The NHS believes that vaccinating everyone could increase the risk of serious cases of chickenpox or shingles in adults. Chickenpox is a pretty mild condition in children, so the NHS prefers that everyone gets it as a child and so develops immunity, to the risk of some children missing the vaccine, and not catching it because they’re surrounded by immune people, and then catching it as an adult. In addition, being exposed to active cases of chickenpox boosts the resistance in people who’ve already had it, lessening the chance the virus reactivates and causes shingles. So really, sick children are a force for social good.↩︎