Category Archives: Administrative

My Back Problem

I had an appointment for an epidural on Monday, but after reading up on it, I decided to cancel. Seems like some risk involved, and I’m not in enough pain to bother. I really just need some strength training in my lower back. Unfortunately, the earliest appointment I could get for an evaluation for physical therapy is Boxing Day.

But I am feeling back to normal (that is, somewhat stiff in the morning when I get out of bed, but more limber once I start moving around, with little pain). I’ve been getting gradually better for the past couple weeks (it’s hard to believe that it’s been four weeks since it started). I managed a trip to DC this week with quite a bit of walking, including carrying a suitcase up and down stairs, and putting it in and getting it out of an overhead, so I think I need something more prophylactic at this point, so it doesn’t happen again.

Back Update

The bad news is that I can’t get an epidural until December 16th. The good news is that maybe I don’t need it. I’m no longer in back pain, though the problem has migrated lower into my upper thigh, making me a little gimpy. On the other hand, that’s getting better, too. At this rate, I should be back to normal this weekend. Now I have to start some strength training to prevent a recurrence.

Back On The Air

We drove back to CA from Colorado this past weekend, and tried to get in Sunday night, but as we approached the California border, we ran into a jam of people returning from Thanksgiving weekend. It took us an hour to get from Jean to Primm at the border (a few miles), so we gave up and turned around to go back to Vegas, which had cheap rooms on an off-season Sunday night (though infuriatingly, the room at the Luxor was only forty bucks, the “resort fee” took it up to seventy). Add in ten bucks for parking and taxes, and it was a hundred, but still a good deal for a luxury room.

Anyway, we drove home yesterday, getting in mid afternoon. My back is quite a bit better, and the painful spasms are gone, but now the problem has migrated to a pain on the inside of my right thigh when I walk, probably as a result of how I was walking when my back hurt. I’ll be going in for epidurals this week, and starting some kind of physical therapy, which will probably just be standard strength training, which I should have been doing anyway.

Of course, the new problem du jour is a furnace that’s not lighting, which apparently started over the weekend, according to our house sitter. Last time this happened it was a bad igniter, and I’m hoping that’s the problem this time as well, because it’s an easy and cheap fix.

But the fun never ends.

[Late-afternoon update]

As I suspected, it was a bad igniter. These things seem to be like light bulbs, in that they have no predictable life, and can fail at any random time. Of course, in a sense, that’s exactly what they are, in that you’re heating a filament with electricity, except not in vacuum.


I know that posting has been light, but this is the first real vacation we’ve had in a while. We’re in a vacation rental up above Estes Park, within walking distance of the park boundary of Rocky Mountain National Park. We’ve been pretty much house bound since the storm, but it’s OK, because it’s a very nice house, and we do have an all-wheel machine to go down the mountain into town if we want to.

Here is the view from one of the balconies.

That’s the continental divide, inside the park. I think that the pointy mountain to the right is Long’s Peak, the furthest-north fourteener.

But I want to give thanks for my health, which considering all the wear and tear of decades, is still pretty good. My back is slowly recovering, and I’ll probably be back to normal by next week. I’m also grateful to live in what I think is still the greatest country on the planet, warts and all, and despite the desires of some to “fundamentally transform it.”

I’m also grateful for my readers, and all of my friends in the space industry, and the ability to start to accelerate our progress in opening the solar system to humanity in the coming years.

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Back Update

Well, I’m doing better than Friday and over the weekend, but I’m still getting twinges, that occasionally elicit a yelp. I have a ticket to Houston for SpaceCom tomorrow morning, but thinking I’ll probably just have to cancel and eat the ticket. I don’t want to aggravate it on the trip and not be able to get home Thursday night. I was supposed to have a meeting with some JSC folks, but it may have to be a telecon.

[Friday-afternoon update]

Just got my MRI results. I have a compressed disk (and a little arthritis, but I don’t think that’s the issue). For our Colorado road trip, just got another shot in the ass of a muscle relaxant, and prescriptions for oral muscle relaxant (that they should have given me last week instead of the steroids), and prescription-strength ibuprofen (instead of Vicodin, which apparently isn’t that effective for nerve pain) for pain and to reduce inflammation.

When we get back, I’ll start epidurals and physical therapy (I assume basically strength training) to build up some muscular protection of the spine down there.


Space Settlement Summit

I’m attending this two-day event at Caltech, so posting will be light to non-existent.

(Saturday-evening update)

The final afternoon of the conference, the right side of my lower back started to hurt. It got progressively worse, to the point that I went to a sports doctor yesterday, who gave me a shot in the ass, Vicodin and steroids, and a back brace, and I had an MRI this morning, whose results I won’t get until Friday.

Bottom line: I’m trying to get well enough to travel to Houston Tuesday, but posting will continue to be light.

Computer Problems

Yesterday, while installing a new router, my ethernet connection quit working. This morning, when I plugged the cable back in to troubleshoot, the computer died, and won’t reboot. This is a recent new motherboard. Not even sure how to start troubleshooting.

[Update a few minutes later]

I unplugged the cord from the power supply, plugged it back in, and the machine came back to life. Still no eth0, though.

[Update late morning]

OK, this is making me nuts. I went out to Office Depot, who didn’t stock any PCI-E ethernet cards, but they had a USB wireless dongle for thirteen bucks. I bring it home, plug it into the back of the machine, and the machine dies again. And this time, I don’t seem able to resurrect it.

An exact replacement for the mobo would be $150. But I’m not sure if I want another one.

[Update a while later]

OK, apparently when I was futzing around on the back panel, I was killing the switch on the power supply.

So I’ve plugged in the USB dongle, but the OS isn’t seeing it.

[Afternoon update]

OK, the OS is seeing the dongle, but it won’t connect to my wireless network. It attempts, then drops it.

In better news, I now seem to have a wired connection. The bad news is that I have no DNS. I can only ping by IP, not by domain name.

[Update a while later]

OK, I think I found the problem. Apparently my ExpressVPN account has expired, and it had written its nameserver into /etc/resolv.conf. I changed it to the router IP, and now it’s working (though I’m still getting a question mark on the network connection).

An Argument Too Far

I don’t necessarily agree that the 737-MAX fiasco was a result of climate hysteria. Yes, the new design reduced emissions, but it did that by reducing fuel consumption, which is intrinsically a desirable goal for airlines. I’m sure that Boeing wanted to claim that it was lower emissions, for PR purposes, but fuel efficiency has always been a driver of new-aircraft design.

BTW, got home from DC yesterday morning. I had quite a week at IAC, but posting may return to the (subdued) normal this week.