Little black spots

On the sun today

Sun 20170329
Sunspots on the Sun 20170329

Still working on getting the hang of getting pictures of the sun with my little solar telescope. A little blurry, but a couple of sunspot groups can be seen pretty easily. At first I thought they were specks of dirt or dust on the telescope optics, but a check of showed there were indeed two groups of sunspots (2644 and 2645) on the surface of the sun.

Used the little Barlow lens with the camera adapter for this shot. Gives a larger image of the sun but not quite as bright, and the smaller FOV means spending more time hunting for the sun.

Recovering from surgery

Everything seems to have gone well with the back surgery to remove the bits of the L5/S1 disc that squished out. Checked in to the hospital just before noon yesterday, and was home by about 5:30 that afternoon. The actual surgery only took about an hour (so I’m told) so most of the time was waiting, getting prepped and then recovery in the PACU.

Pain from the surgery site has been pretty minimal (~5 cm incision site in the middle of my lower back). No staples or stitches that need to be removed later, so all I need to do is rest and let everything heal up.

The leg is feeling better with less weakness and numbness. I imagine that will improve even more as the nerves recover.

Off work for the next week and a half for recovery. Planning to use that time to catch up on some reading, do some more work on my equipment tracking application, and binge on some Netflix.

Fixing the back

The sciatica problem from last month resolved itself fairly quickly with a course of steroids and plenty of ibuprofen and I haven’t had any problems with pain since then.

Unfortunately, some leg weakness and tingling/numbness lingered on afterwards. Nothing bad enough to seriously affect my day to day activities, but abnormal and annoying.

I was able to get an MRI a couple weeks later which showed a ruptured L5/S1 disc (“Well, there’s your problem right there!”). The displaced disc material (circled in red) is pretty easy to see on the sagittal images

Sagittal MRI of Mah spine
Sagittal MRI of Mah spine

The axial image shows how the blob of disc material is pressing up against the nerves (where the left end of the red line is pointing).

Axial MRI
Axial MRI

The weakness and numbness hadn’t resolved by then, so that got me an appointment with a neurosurgeon today (four weeks later) who told me that because of the disc material pressing against the nerve, my symptoms weren’t going to get much better and that I was going to need surgery to remove the chunk of disc material.

If everything goes smoothly with the insurance approval process, I’ll be having that surgery about the middle of next week. Should be a pretty simple procedure he said and that I should be in and out with no problems. A week or so for recuperation and I should be good as new (until more disc material decides to ooze out).

So long Radio Shack (again)

Just as I was getting used to having another Radio Shack near me again, news came of General Wireless filing for bankruptcy (Chapter 11). They ended up with Radio Shack after the 2015 bankruptcy filing.

I stopped by the Radio Shack near the house (one of three left in the Charleston area) and was sad to learn that they would be one of the stores closing.

It sounds like the Radio Shack in Mount Pleasant will remain open (for now) leaving two left in the area. The other one in Summerville is a franchise and is unaffected.

With the store closing, everything was on sale (except for the Sprint stuff), so I picked up a few things.

Radio Shack haul
Radio Shack haul

The receipt was almost 1 m long.

A few packs of hookup wire, variety packs of resistors, capacitors, transistors and diodes, a few reels of solder, toggle switches, 555 and 556 timers, op amps, soldering iron tips, heat shrink tubing and prototyping boards. There was a lot more I probably could have left with.

May need to go back in a week or so to see what’s left.

No yolking around

Somewhere, a bunch of chickens laid a bunch of eggs. Some of them got processed and sorted into two cartons that we picked up from Publix.

All of them were double yolk eggs.

24 eggs, all with  two yolks inside them, sorted into cartons that were purchased within a few days of each other.

One or two double yolkers would be interesting. Two dozen of them though?

I wonder how many other cartons were full of double yolk eggs in that batch delivered to my local Publix.

What the heck are these chickens eating?