[16:00] Another month gone. Where do they go now? Just seem to zip on by at
the speed of light. It feels like we only just started this one. Before long
now it'll be getting dark at 16:00 and snowing. Anyway, today's the day I
finally realised I'd put a ConCom meeting (meant for tomorrow) in the wrong
month on my wall planner, which is a bit of an arse as I'm now booked to go
somewhere with friends tomorrow. I think I've got all the bases covered though
so my absence shouldn't be too problematic, if at all.
It's been hotter than hell in the building today, or possibly in my room.
Either way the machines probably haven't been too happy and I'm debating
leaving the fans on over the weekend. Hell, I'm not debating it, I'll be
doing it, and getting another one from elsewhere in the building. Other than
that I've been keeping printers running, reading up on Oracle 9i (a copy of
Oracle in a Nutshell has been keeping be engrossed for the past few days now)
and trying to find time to talk to my boss about buying new machines at the
same time as waiting for an outgoing secretary to come and find me to archive
the files she wants kept and the ones she wants to take with her. Elaine's in
town at the moment meeting Will so I'm going to head home in about half an
hour, grab a shower and basically try to cool down for a bit until she gets
The barbecue last night was excellent. Elaine put out a thrown type thing
that must have been about four metres square and provided more than enough
space for all the friends who came around. The weather was stunning, if a
little humid and we had a great time. Miriam looked like she had a good time
too, for her first Thursday: experience. Hopefully she'll come back next time
she's free. I don't know if subjecting her to Galaxy Quest was a good idea or
[14:10] Climbing last night was excellent. I can feel my fitness returning
slowly as I become more active again. It was hot too. In a brief burst of
machismo I had a go at beating the unofficial record for climbing one of the
long routes and managed to get it down to 14 seconds from bottom to top.
Completely unnecessary, silly and for no reason it still felt good to have the
strength and control over my body to complete a smooth climb with the minimum
of effort and a reasonable amount of poise. Naturally I failed miserably at
some of the other climbs that evening. Cormac had brought along someone new
called Miriam who appears to be slightly better than us. It certainly upped
our quality for the session to have someone to match.
Elaine and I were woken in the night by cats fighting in the garden. What I
wouldn't have done for a water pistol about then. Consequently in the morning
we were both absolutely pooped but I still managed to get to work in time to
install Sun's JRE 1.4.2_05 on twenty machines to help someone who was trying to
access a site which needed a JRE last night as I was heading home.
Naturally when they came in to use it it still didn't work and I had to admit
that it was Netscape on the remaining NT4 machines that was the root of the
problem, rather than the fact that the website still wanted a Java plugin when
one was installed when accessed with Netscape. I'm going to be so happy to get
rid of the last of the old installs.
Helping the user print out took up most (if not all) of the morning and I only
just had time to finally get Samba working on the big pile-o-disks before I
began to fold in half from starvation.
Elaine's been gardening this morning. Apparently the entire hedge has now been
trimmed (boy, did it need it!) and the grass mown for the barbecue we're hoping
to have this evening. I've been delegated to do the top of the hedge when I
[15:10] I've been busy all day thus far. Initially I was trying to sort out
with Meeting Maker why ther weren't going to give us any more trial code
extensions even though I know about that DoS which they don't seem to be doing
anything about. Then there was a machine to finish ghosting and do final setup
on before getting it shipped out. After that I decided to have some lunch and
try and chill out for a bit. Since lunch I've been trying to coordinate a lift
to Stowmarket for climbing this evening, as well as shoehorning three 80GB
drives and 320MB of RAM into a Dell Optiplex GX1 and get RedHat 9 onto it and
in some kind of sanely updated manner. Don't ask.
[10:10] Karate last night was excellent. For me it was far better than the
other club I tried a few weeks ago. Shaun and I arrived at the squash court it
takes place at on Mondays well before everyone else and went through a kata or
two before other people started arriving. In the end there were three black
belts, Shaun and I as browns, a purple and a yellow. If I'd been the yellow
belt I probably would have felt a bit nervous but he wasn't half bad at all.
The sensei was a 5th Dan who reminded me very much of Gary Hartford (my first
sensei in Manchester). In fact he knew Gary very well and told me that he'd
now gained his 6th Dan. I don't know what it is about small, friendly scousers
but they make excellent karateka.
So anyway, we warmed up and instantly I felt at home in that the warmup routine
was exactly like I remembered from my University days. The following hour and
a half was extremely enjoyable except for the immediate surfacing of my damaged
right hamstring, or ligament or whatever it is which means I'll never really be
able to do the splits completely again. Either way, I think Shaun and I did
really qiute well. We've not lost it completely.
By the end we were both really quite hot but decided to spend a futher ten
minutes running through all the kata from Kihon to Tekki Shodan to make sure we
knew what we were doing. After that we both went home. I think cycling home
after a session is going to be just the right kind of warming down exercise I
This morning I have a vague ache in my legs and a bruised knuckle from the
kumite (sparing) part of the evening. And I really don't care.
[11:00] Some time last night Fotopic
reached five million published pictures. The actual image was a pretty good
one of some crop sprayer or
fountain or something.
[15:00] It's enough to make you buy a car. I've just spent fifteen minutes
trying to get information as to whether I can book a train journey to Scotland
and back next week using a Super Advance Return and first of all been sent
around in circles by National Rail Enquiries and then by my 'local' train
company. It seems now that even though you can book it up to 18:00 the day
before, there is no Super Advance Return available for the journey I want to
make. The search continues.
[16:15] I don't think it's going to be next week now. Perhaps some time in
September. I think, with some juggling and not caring quite so much when we go
I may be able to get something for £55.00 Return, for us both. An Apex,
I think. Time to do some thinking. It could be the best time to be honest;
right after the last big bit of work for the summer, when everything should be
settled in and working.
[16:30] Dum dum dum dum-de-dum dum-de-dum.
NASA have spotted this in the Solar System. Remind you of anything...?
[11:45] Bitty morning, and I got in late too. A group of us went to Go Ape in
Thetford Forest far too early on Saturday morning. I have to say it's the most
fun I've had in a good long time. You can take a look at what it's all about
by going to this site and stuff.
I would have taken a camera but I didn't know how much risk I ran of getting it
broken on the routes. I'll certainly be aiming to go again (in term time on a
week day when we can do it a good few times and redo the best ones again) and
getting some good action shots.
Once everyone was back safely on the ground again some people went for a walk
while I and others headed back to get ready for an evening in Peterborough with
Andrea who'd finally found a free weekend in her hectic social and sporting
schedule. After dashing about like mad things, Elaine and I managed to get
packed and cycled to the train station in time to get the same train as
everyone else going from the same place.
The jounrney down was uneventful and the cycle to Andrea's house a nice way to
stretch our legs. After putting up tents in the back garden for the night we
got changed into our gladrags and headed out into Peterborough to go to a
really rather nice chinese restaurant where nine of us managed to rack up a
rather large bill between us. Embarassingly there was a bit of food left over
at the end, but I think we did it justice. Rolling gently into the street we
headed for a club where the music was loud and the dance floor packed. While
most people danced the night away the morning's activities had taken their toll
on Elaine and I and we borrowed Andrea's keys and walked home. It was a
pleasant night and aside from shoes I'd not worn in a while a really funky time
was had by all.
As I had the only keys to the house I sent Elaine to bed while I put on a DVD
and tried to stay awake until everyone else arrived. I don't know what time it
was when they did, but I was up and unlocking the door the firs time they
I headed out to the tent and after a few minutes was fast asleep, woken only
now and then by the fact that even though Elaine had my skin mat sleeping mat
and sleeping bag, the one I was in was still far too hot. By morning I was
ready to get up and eat again, which I did once everyone else had stirred and
were drinking tea and coffee. Realising that we needed to do some things back
at the house, Elaine and I decided to make a move around 13:30 and cycled to
the station to get home.
I don't know how much we achieved on getting home, but putting up the tent (wet
from the rain during the night) in the garage was an experience and I'm pretty
certain we went to bed feeling rather flaked out by a full weekend of
excitement, food, cocktails and general madcap frippery. One of the better
weekends this year.
Maybe that's why I had so much trouble getting up this morning and was
forty-five minutes late for work. No-one noticed, or cared. As it is I've
already organised £905 worth of telecoms work to be done and have some
machines being built ready to ship out to the three new people we're due fairly
shortly. I actually don't think I'm going to have time to go out for lunch.
I will be making sure that the boiler man who's going to the house this
afternoon doesn't charge too much for whatever is stopping the heating from
coming on though.
It's also time to try out another Karate club this evening, with Shaun. If all
goes according to plan I'll let you know how that goes tomorrow at some point.
[10:00] Surprisingly the six machines I ordered from Dell on the twentieth have
just arrived. This is by way of being rather amazing. It gives me something
to do today at any rate. I checked my email briefly last night when we got
home and noticed all kinds of things that needed doing with regards to phones
and new people arriving. I should write out exactly what I need to be doing
and work through it today. That should make the time fly by. First things
first though; I've uploaded selected pictures from yesterday's event to the
gallery into a collection entitled
which you can look at if you're at all interested. The descriptive text tells
you but I'll mention it here too; that the many duplicates are mainly so that
those relatives who wish to get prints done can choose their favourites, rather
than because the photographer didn't have much imagination. Anyway, there you
go. Time to get on with some work.
[16:30] Aside from having a nice lunch in the sun with Shaun I've spent the
entire afternoon updating all our DNS records on Central's database. Things
make a bit more sense now. I've also been working on the telephone system and
getting quotes for new lines, physical line movements and other such stuff.
As it is I'm knackered and am off home for the weekend. We'll be going to Go
Ape on Saturday morning and Andrea's on Saturday afternoon for the night.
Sunday there's a good chance we'll be going to Shaun's to practice kata and get
ready for Karate on Monday. Phew!
[23/07/2001 - 09:30] Wonderful day. Aside from getting up at 07:00 in the
morning everything went perfectly. I dragged a protesting Elaine out of bed
and, owing to forethought on both our parts last night, had everything pretty
much ready to go. We cycled down to the station after I'd had something to
eat. Elaine had pretty much no appetite. The ticket machines refused to give
us the tickets we'd priced up last night so we had to go and get them from the
ticket office. This meant we missed the train we would have liked to have
caught, but in the end that didn't matter because the train we did catch got us
to Doncaster exactly five minutes after Elaine's father arrived at Doncaster by
Once we'd met up we drive to Sheffield and headed for 'Centertainment' where we
could have something to eat before the afternoon stuff happened. We settled on
Old Orleans and wolfed something down before getting changed in the toilets.
I don't think the other few patrons of the establishment were ready for
Elaine's father coming out in complete Scottish national dress, brogues and
We drove to the center of town and parked on a side street and walked to the
pick-up point for robes and hoods. Elaine looked wonderful in hers and, I
think, began to enjoy the fact she was finally officially getting the hell out
of there. We walked back to the Octagon Theatre and took our places for the
Congregation. On looking at the programme we found that Elaine was on her own
for receiving her particular degree, so had about a fifth of a page to herself
and was also fifth to go up. She stood out, at any rate.
The Congregation took place, things were said, degrees were awarded and the
address by the Chancellor was suitably short and pleasant and short. After it
was all over Elaine and I went looking for the graduation photographer who
seemed to think he knew what was what when it came to how academic dress was
worn. Rather than get into an argument I retreated and let him do his job,
even if he wanted to put the tassle on Elaine's mortarboard in the wrong place.
All of us suffering from heat-exhaustion (Elaine's father in 9 metres of kilt
fabric second only to me in black jeans) we headed for the car to change and
get out of town. As we left Sheffield the rain began to fall. Quite heavily.
Then very, very heavily. Luckily we were blessed with a sensible road full of
drivers and everyone dropped speed and increased distances accordingly. For a
passenger it was more fun than fraught. The further south we travelled the
better the weather got though, so by the time we arrived home there'd been no
rain and the weather was warm and dry. It been late and all of us being a bit
tired we simply opened some champagne, looked at the photos on my camera and
then went to bed.
[11:10] I'm this close to not doing anything else work-related today. After
working out how to get the firmware for my switches from 3Com for free (don't
ask, I was just being numb) I downloaded the currently installed and most
recent versions and wrote up some documentation on what I was doing. I then
let people know what I was doing, set up a TFTP server and did a trial update
on one of the standby switches. It all went perfectly. I did some tests, felt
OK and began to update all the live switches. One by one they went, upgrading,
rebooting, and reporting back; Success. I finished documenting what I'd done,
let the users know that it was all over and tried not to think about the amount
of karma I'd just used up.
Still, it was something to get my teeth in to for a bit. Those PCs I ordered
yesterday will be arriving with the correct delivery address on them this time.
I don't think I mentioned that the last two came with the wrong address on
them and nearly got returned. Anyway, the next set should be fine. We also
have a 'spare' on which I can try running Oracle a bit more sensibly than on
the extremely underpowered machine I have at the moment. It's just not a
sensible box to try something like that on.
[16:55] I'm off for the day now. Tomorrow I'm in Sheffield for Elaine's
graduation ceremony and stuff. I'll be wearing trousers don't-you-know and
maybe even something smart (you never know). Hopefully there'll be photographs
and such like. We're getting the train up there in the morning and Elaine's
dad is driving us back in the evening and staying the night. Saves on train
fares, keeps everyone happy. Less stress everywhere. Marvellous.
[12:45] I must be due some bad karma sometime soon. This morning I have
installed (on the same Windows 2000 machine) a parallel Zip100, USB Zip750,
USB2 CD-RW, USB HP DeskJet and a USB Epson scanner. Also installed were seven
bespoke applications, as well as Office 2000 and an MUA. I also joined the
machine to the domain, installed A/V and got the user who used the machine I
replaced logged in with everything working. It's a good morning's work but I
can't help wondering if I've either missed something or left myself open to
some really bad payback some time soon.
[17:00] So, now that I have new 3Com switch 4400s it seems I can't upgrade the
firmware (even in the event of a DoS or other security flaw being discovered)
unless I pay hard cash for it. Which is nice. I've ordered a few more PCs to
replace old and slow ones. They'll probably arrive some time towards the end
of next week. That'll mean the last of the sub-500MHz machines are EOLed and
I'll have a few to play with/sell off.
[09:30] What is it with parents. First of all I pull very slowly out of my
driveway (as normal) and begin cycling. A small girl on a bike with her mum on
a cycle behind her isn't looking where she's going and is drifting more and
more towards me the further I pull in to the curb. Only when we're a few
inches apart does her mum scream at her to look where she's going. We don't
I turn left, and then left again and onto a fairly busy A-road. I'm almost
past the school when I notice a mother and her two children crossing diagonally
from right to left (seen from above, from bottom right to top left). I know
I've given them plenty of room, until the child furthest from me (behind her
mum) begins running, putting my physical distance calculations off. I shout
in surprise and get screamed at by the mother. I pull over and am subjected
to a tirade of abuse. When I try to respond her large white boyfriend/husband
begins to physically intimidate me. Any further comments are met with a loud
"shut up!" from the woman who cannot accept that while she had right of way
once on the road, I'd given plenty of space and it was her child who ran from
behind what I would consider parallel to me to in front of my wheels.
Rather then get into an actual fight with the curly-shiny-mulleted podgy man
with the gold sovereign rings and ear rings, I cycled off. I'll be fine once
I've calmed down.
[10:10] Other things that happened over the weekend include getting up late on
Saturday and finally having some time to chill out for a while. Elaine had
painted most of the lounge white by the time I got home on Friday. I gave her
a hand before we collapsed for the evening. In the daylight it didn't look too
bad, although we won't be leaving it that colour. Anything's better than the
orange and it'll mean we need less paint when we choose a colour that costs a
bit more than white. So yeah, we got up late and pottered about a bit before
cycling down to the station to make our way to Norwich for Ellie and Greg's
BBBQ (sic). While in the shop at the station waiting for Keith and picking up
food for the afternoon I found forty pounds on the floor. Not knowing whose it
was Elaine and I waited outside the shop for about ten minutes watching for
people who looked concerned about losing money. After a while, as time was
getting short we gave up and got on the train, deciding to spend the money on
Keith just made it to the station in time and onto the train in a bit
of a lather. The journey was uneventful and after getting a little lost in
town we began the cycle out to the house. It didn't take long and it was a
pleasure to cycle somewhere that had a few more hills than were we live.
The party was a lot of fun. We spent some of the money on food for everyone
and had a good time using the barbeques until the rain came down in absolute
sheets. While Ben (another one) resolutely stood outside and cooked off the
meat that was still on there everyone else stayed inside and dried off. The
party went on and Elaine and I decided we couldn't head off for the last train
as we're kind of only just arrived there. While I crashed out about 01:00,
Keith and Elaine and the rest of the people carried on for a few hours more.
In the morning we headed out at around 09:00 to get a train back and make
something of the day. I can't really believe we passed up a free cooked
breakfast but I'm starting to feel a bit unfit so in a way it was the best
thing to do. We had no trouble cycling back into Norwich and found the station
easily. Unfortunately, with an hour to wait we were forced to buy breakfast in
the Budgens at the station and then take some time to stare at the ironwork
that made up the station's roof.
Back home we did a bit of shopping in town. Elaine got a new wallet, I got
some new shorts and then we went home and collapsed. While I made some bread,
did the washing up and generally tidied the lounge, the party animal known as
Elaine had a sleep on the sofa. To top off a pretty great weekend we watched
three episodes of The West Wing (S4) before bed.
All in all a pretty great weekend. Now there's Monday to deal with, machines
to fettle and Elaine's interview this afternoon. I'm really hoping for the
best in this one because it's structural rather than civil engineering and more
of what she's good at and likes doing. I'm also doing another medical
experiment over lunch and this afternoon which should bring in a little bit of
cash and advance someone's research. I don't do the unknown injections and
strange substances onces (which don't really exist), more the looking at things
and people working out what my brain's doing ones.
[14:50] Back from the experiment early on account of writing very quickly. I
haven't put pen to paper quite so much in years. My hand hurts a little. I
managed to ring Elaine just before I went in to wish her luck. She'll ring me
when it's over and we'll see how it panned out. For the moment I've got
another PC to swap out so I'll get on with that.
[11:30] Went to Karate last night. An interesting experience. I didn't
realise until I got home last night and checked my KUGB grading booklet but my
last grading (to 1st Kyu) was in 1997, almost eight years ago! Where did the
time go? It really doesn't seem so long since I was in Manchester, a few weeks
away from doing my Dan grading. Things changed when I moved here.
Anyway, last night was in a sports hall nearish my house. The sensei was nice,
and the session small. I thought it lacked the regime/discipline that my KUGB
sessions had had and the instruction differed from what I'd been used to. I
think this was mainly due to the fact that I hadn't really trained in a long
time, I wasn't quite so up on my Japanese and another sensei was taking loud
children at the other side of the hall. But, aside from the usual big chunk of
skin that comes off my right big toe whenever I start Karate after a bit of
time off, and feeling a little out of shape I think I did fairly well. I'm
going to try the other sessions (no children at those ones) and see how it goes.
With luck I should also be able to convince Elaine to come along too, and
possibly Shaun if he has the time to spare.
It was good to know I hadn't lost most of my flexibility (although the
suspected tear I have to the inside tendon of my right thigh jumped up straight
away and said 'hi') and my accuracy and speed are still there. Style and
control are right up the spout though.
This morning I dropped a HDD with RH ES3 from a Dell GX1 into a Dell GX270 and
booted it. I was coloured very impressed when Kudzu removed all the old
hardware configurations, added in all the new hardware and just carried right
on booting without a care in the world. Not bad at all.
[10:30] Shaun and I are hopefully getting our arses in gear about returning to
karate again. We've only been talking about it for the past six months. With
luck we'll head along to one of the places we've shortlisted soon and see
whether we like the teaching style or not. It'll be good to get an honest
sweat on again and get back up the level I was not so many years ago. For
cardiovascular fitness you couldn't beat two hours of kata and kumite. It'll
also give me the chance to try out karate with contact lenses, something I
always bemoaned the lack of previously.
In a fit of 'needing to do something in the evening' Elaine (and I, a bit)
painted one wall of the lounge white last night. Specifically the window wall.
It's already made the window look huge. Doing the whole room in a light colour
is going to make it seem like we're sitting in a room twice as large. Mostly
the reason we're doing it is that coloured paint is expensive and white paint
isn't. Covering the darker orange with white will make things a bit cheaper in
the long run, given the size of the walls.
I ran HFNetChkPro patching at 01:00, 03:00 and 05:00 this morning for most of
the machines in the building. Naturally I forgot to close my own open files
and lost some useful notes I'd been jotting down. Ce la vie.
And finally for the moment, Elaine has a job interview this afternoon, so
here's hoping on that score.
[15:10] You are in a twisty maze of Oracle configurations, failed installs and
leftover stuff that you aren't sure if you should delete or not, all alike and
very confusing. Learning this stuff without any kind of structured teaching
is really tough and my head hurts. Nothing seems to work despite my best
efforts and it's too hot in here. I'm this close to reinstalling the box and
starting again. I just wish I knew why certain parts of it refused to work.
[11:15] Naturally now that I have the machine set up, the groups and
users created and the kernel parameters set. Now that I've got Oracle to
install and chosen a setup that'll allow me to play. Now that I've done all
the prep-work and I'm ready to use the DB Creation Wizard. Now it tells me
that there won't be enough room, even if I drop all but one of the undo logs.
So now I'm migrating the entire install to another disk with more space on it
and starting again. If nothing else it's teaching me about preparation,
reading the caveats that hadn't seemed so important at the time and bedding
down some of the more esoteric settings that I hadn't really remembered
terribly well. So, that's my morning at the moment. Redoing ES3 and then
starting on Oracle 10g again.
In other news Elaine's still hard at work looking for gainful employment and
has been contacted (finally) by a company she last talked to over a
month ago. They want her in for an interview on Monday which'll be for a
department which deals with highways (boo!) and structures (yay!). If nothing
else it'll be a job in the right technical area so she'd be keeping her hand in
in that regard.
We're also ringing around boiler people at the moment because it looks like the
thermocouple has gone wrong or the jets are clogged on the boiler which does
our central heating. Best to get it done now, before we actually need it.
And in even more good news Elaine's had a ring from a place where she was
hoping to get a job as a teaching assistant in engineering disciplines. They'd
like to see her for an interview tomorrow. The money's not great but it could
also be the start of something good. We'll just have to hope something comes
of one or other of these things. If not there are still plenty of other
opportunities bound to come her way.
[15:05] *burp* Thai food is nice, if a bit too spicy sometimes.
[08:00] Everyone has come down on me like a ton of bricks for what I
said in my 10:00 journal entry yesterday. Feeling quite demoralised by losing
another job opportunity and by other personal matters in my life at the moment
I wrote that I thought that in some areas I (I didn't know
obviously) believed I was stronger than that person. These areas were ones I
was reasonably sure they'd not been doing for a while. I then wrote that I
guessed they weren't the areas the panel were interested in (seeing as how I
didn't get the post). The fact that I followed it with "Or perhaps I'm just
deluding myself" I hoped would show people that perhaps I was deluding
myself and even in those areas I'd obviously been well outclassed. It was an
off-the-cuff remark born out of frustration at my lot, I didn't expect it to
explode in my face. But it has. I've pissed off at least half a dozen people.
People whose opinions matter to me. I've greatly annoyed perhaps a few more and
left myself with egg on my face, again.
I'll apologise here as well as in the emails I've sent and basically try to get
on with dealing with life. It's probably not worth continuing this journal in
its current form seeing as every time I write something personal in it, someone
has a go at me because they read the words, and not the sentiment behind them.
I thought I was a fairly good writer, all things considered, but every time I
put finger to key someone takes issue with me and I ostracise myself further.
I'm just getting tired of losing friends now.
[12:15] After an entire morning having a go at a) disaster recovery steps on my
life and b) learning lots about RedHat Enterprise 3 I never knew before (the
Sysstat stuff is far more involved than I thought, for a start), I'm going to
go and have lunch at 12:30 with Elaine and Co. and try to bed some of it down.
Of course after lunch it's back to it again.
[17:25] This afternoon we have mainly been installing RedHat ES3 from CD,
updating OpenSSH and securing the machine from those nasty internet people who
get up to no good. We've also been reading about the differences between ES3
and 9. I've been reading through the monster PDFs on
(free signup may be required) as well as running through some of the standard
things I try on new installations. I've also been fiddling with the Oracle 10g
files in preparation for installation tomorrow. It runs, which is more than it
did under RH9. There are hacks to make it run under RH9, but I've never played
with ES3, which is why I'm doing what I'm doing. All the kernel tweaks are in
place now, the user's set up and basically we're go. Custom install time
Still a bit worried about the shortage of RAM and disk space though.
[10:00] Unsuprisingly it turns out I didn't get the job I interviewed for the
week before last. It went to someone else I know though. I think I'm much
stronger in many areas than him, but I guess there weren't areas the interview
panel were interested in. Or perhaps I'm just deluding myself. Either way,
no job for me. It feels like there's no way to get out of the mainly Windows
administration area I'm in without going for something on at least half the
pay. Both the places I would have killed to work at have now turned
me down. Still, there are things to do here (now and then) so there's time
between them (when I'm not going mad with boredom) to at least do some theory
on things that might help me do better in the next job interviews I go for.
Even so, I'm feeling a bit demoralised at the moment.
Elaine went to the doctor this morning to have a proper look through the letter
Sheffield sent about her MRI results. Nothing much new on that score. We're
waiting for her notes to come down from Sheffield still so she can get a
neurologist consult here. As soon as that happens I'd assume that the lumbar
puncture appointment will be set up. I learnt an important lesson in my last
relationship which I've been working with in this one. Anything Elaine has to
go through I'm going to be there with her. And if possible I'm going to go
through the same things she does so I know how she's feeling. There's no way
she'll be going through this on her own.
Job hunting for us both continues to continue.
[15:35] I'm getting hold of a copy of RH-ES 3 so I can start getting some
experience of Oracle. At the moment all I have is a RH9 box, but Oracle 10g
isn't too happy with that so I'm going to have to reinstall.
[09:45] There was an absolutely torrential downpour as I was cycling home last
night in my shorts and T-shirt. Lightning and thunder had recently made an
appearance and it was looking extremely grubby outside. Still, cycling home
when you know there's warm towels and, more importantly, warm person waiting
for you makes it quite enjoyable. Of course I was completely soaked but I
thought everything important had stayed dry. While my mobile was OK my watch
appeared to give up the ghost some time during the evening when I took it off
and left it on top of one of my speakers to dry. Not that the location would
help, just that I wouldn't have a wet watch strap on my wrist. So now I am
watchless and find it very odd. I may journey in to town at lunch today and
see if I can actually find something to replace a watch I've had since at least
my second year of university.
I'm rather displeased with NTL at the moment. I don't know whether it was the
storm last night or simply that their broadband network is duff but the first
time I've ever put it under any amount of stress it seems to have less
resilience than west string. SCPs are having to be constantly restarted and
the other downloads I have going are suffering mightily. Still, there's no
rush on what I'm downloading so I can wait.
Someone emailed me to say I should think about removing Copyleft from my
O'Really pages as they seem to have really gone under/ceased trading in any
meaningful fashion. This is a real shame as they were the first people to
really give me a break when it came to getting my designs out to people. For
the moment I've put up some changes on the front page of the
O'Really area of the site with the
idea that this'll dissuade people from trying to order through them. I'm also
on the lookout for a new US-based distributor for my designs. If anyone feels
like prodding ThinkGeek or other sites who may be up for it until they contact
me then I'd be more than happy to entertain them. If you have any other ideas
then please email me on [email protected]
with the subject line "US O'Really Distributor" and I'll take it from there.
For the moment though it's only The Register.
[10:40] Elaine just rang her doctor. The MRI scan has shown up 'abnormalities'
on the optic nerve. This is the one that was affected by her bout of optic
neuritis a few months ago. This seems to indicate an increased risk in her
developing multiple sclerosis 'at some point'. They're recommending that she
go for a spinal tap some time soon. When she asked the doctor how far she
should take this the doctor recommended that she go "as far as you feel is
necessary to get a result". OK then. Elaine's notes haven't arrived from
Sheffield yet, which is very poor. However she has been recommended to a
consultant at the teaching hospital here. She's got a doctor's appointment on
Monday and I guess we take it from there.
[10:45] Oh, no news yet on whether or not I have this new job. I'm thinking
that I haven't got it, or at least that I'm not the first choice. If I'm
second choice (yeah, right) then I doubt I'll get a look-in. Whoever is first
choice would be mad to pass up this opportunity so I guess once again I'm
pipped at the post. Elaine's applying for more jobs today. Maybe one of us
will have some luck.
[15:15] Another odd day. I don't know why but it seems to be a really slack
week at the moment. There's very little for me to do at the moment. I've used
the time to get a load of small things that needed doing done, but I'm running
out of them rapidly.
I'm still on the lookout for a Win32 command line password randomiser that
allows you to specify the user and the length of randomised password, write it
to the Windows 2000 Active Directory (I'm pretty sure I can do that with some
WScripting using oUser.SetPassword and some other fooery) and then append the
result to a text file in the form "". If
someone feels like writing me one (portable Perl's fine) as my programming
skills really aren't up to it, then I'd be more than grateful, I'd probably be
able to pay you with a T-shirt or something. My attempts to do something have
resulted in a lot of wasted time and very little structured progress.
Annoyingly my NTL cable modem connection appears to be acting up the first time
I want to use it with any seriousness.
Climbing last night was good. Plenty of exercise, plenty of new routes and a
pullup area as well. For the price well worth the travel.
[15:15] It's been a very quiet day today. Initially I was asked to work out
why one of the databases wasn't showing the information someone wanted it to
show when it spat out records to a mail merged Word document, but when I
offered to take the thing apart and look at the queries to work out why it
wasn't working I was waved off. Fine by me, I have other things to be getting
Really tired again this morning, not entirely sure why. Elaine's hunting for
more jobs again today. I've already posted her application to work here in the
institution as well as sending off other stuff after making illicit use of the
photocopier. I'm so bad.
For the first time in a while we'll be going climbing with Cormac this evening.
That's a bit of a car journey away in Stowmarket. I have no idea what the
wall's like... actually I'll take a look once this entry's live. Either way I
doubt we'll be home until it's late tonight. This is a shame as I'm hoping to
set up eMule on one of the machines at home. I would put it on the linux box I
use as the router, only the only eMule/eDonkey linux command line application I
can find requires glibc2.2 and RedHat 6.2 (don't ask, it's stable) ships with
2.1. Still, cest la vie.
[10:45] For some reason my entries on LJ still aren't showing up on people's
friends lists as yet. Not quite sure why as I've turn off the backdate flag
while leaving backdate entry on (I need to control the date/time entered).
[12:15] I do believe I've managed to get JLJ to do what I want now. Turns out
that the "backdate entry: yes" flag doesn't just prompt you for the date, it
also explicitly turns on LJ's "backdate" flag, even if you put "backdate: no"
in your RC file. This is because "backdate" isn't actually a configurable
option, it's set internally when you use "backdate entry". Which is annoying.
Anyway, I've stuck in a few lines which now look for "backdate" in your RC file
and if it's set to "no" it then unsets the backdate variable whether or not
"backdate entry" is set. Which is nice.
[15:55] We ran out of West Wing episodes last night. There doesn't seem to be
a reliable source for a date at which cable/terrestrial television will start
showing it again, either. When it does the problem is going to be that it'll
be season five. We've only just finished season 3. There seems to be a few
West Wing eDonkey sites around with season 4 available. While I'm waiting for
my preorder of season 4 to arrive from Play I'm going to see what happens
In between work I've been playing with the box that's eventually going to
replace the primary BOFHcam box. I even swapped in the Bt848 card from the
secondary camera server to see if that side of things was ready to go. It is.
All I need now is a reason/excuse to spend some time not doing work to do the
actual swap and final configuration. It probably won't happen any time soon.
In other news there's been no communications from Meeting Maker about the DoS I
found a few months ago. We won't be buying licenses until there's a
fix for this. Despite the usefulness of the thing and the lack of extra
bloat it has over other shared online diary applications I cannot spend money
on something that anyone in the world can break whenever they like.
[12:30] One of the better weekends in a long time. Friday evening was all
about relaxation, more West Wing episodes and generally decompressing from the
week. On Saturday we were actually up and around fairly early on. The weather
was extremely changable but we decided to cycle out to see Shaun, Linda and Tom
anyway. After cycling against the wind we watched Tom running around the
lounge and remember that only a few months ago he'd been unable to stand and
could barely crawl with any real coordination. Babies grow up very quickly.
Shaun looked absolutely knackered after a tough week but he still had enough
energy to play around with Tom. It was the village Day where they lived so
the lot of us went out with Tom in the pram to see what was happening. Linda
took a turn on one of the stalls so Elaine and I volunteered to wander off with
Tom for half an hour or so to give them both a break. Walking around with a
toddler in a pram was a very strange experience. It's certainly something I
could do, y'know, eventually. Just not right now. Elaine claims I'd be a
great father. I have no idea myself.
After we all came back from the Day (avoiding the occasional cloud-bursts) we
chilled out for a while before Elaine and I cycled home again. Having had
plenty of exercise for the day we decided we owed it to ourselves to vegetate
for the rest of the day. Which we did.
Sunday was all about preparing for Go Ape in the evening. Unfortunately some
guy had an accident a few hours before we were due to arrive so the walk Elaine
and I had to the station ended up at the cinema where we watched Shrek 2 before
going home. It's a good film, crammed full of one-liners and laugh out loud
jokes. I'm not quite sure whether it's better than the original, but the
animation was certainly impressive.
It turns out this morning that most people are on holiday this week. This
makes job a whole lot easier and I can spend a bit of time putting more of
2002 on LJ as well as looking at upgrading the BOFHcam servers. Go Ape's been
rescheduled for probably the 24th.
[15:00] Right at this moment I'm assuming I didn't get the job I interviewed
for on Thursday morning. It's getting close to the end of the working day and
they tend to tell people as soon as they can. Damn.
[09:20] Right this minute I'm working out how to make JLJ hide the huge number
of entries I'm backfilling with from you all (so those people reading this on
LJ don't get spammed) while making sure that the current entries do appear. I
think I've got it.
[10:30] I'm on a list to do with MRI volunteering. It's not restricted to
where I live. Someone just posted the Scariest Email Ever from a researcher to
I am seeking volunteers for my either of two studies. The first involves 2
MRI scanning sessions at XXXXXXX. During the first scan subjects would
receive mildly painful electrical impulses to the lower abdomen, in the
second mildly painful electrical impulses to the rectum (via a thin
catheter) which would be inserted either by myself, Dr Debbie Painter or
the subject depending on his/her preference. Subjects would be paid for
time lost off work and travel expenses. In practice this usually works out
at 50. If you would like more information/ would be willing to volunteer
please contact me via the e-mail/phone extension below or ring XXXXXX
Ow. I think I'll pass on that one.
The second experiment involves 3 MRI scans. During 2 of the scans the
subject would receive short-lived mild-moderately unpleasant heat stimuli
via a 2*2cm thermal resistor to the left foot or lower back. During the
third scan the a small (2cm) balloon would be inserted intothe rectum
either by myself, Dr Debbie Painter or the subject depending on his/her
preference and inflated to mild-moderately unpleasant levels. Subjects
would be paid for time lost off work and travel expenses. In practice this
usually works out at 50. If you would like more information/ would be
willing to volunteer please contact me via the e-mail/phone extension below
or ring XXXXX XXXXXX.
[16:35] I've put up a few more months' worth of journal on LJ. We're well in
to 2002 now. I've also spent a little time getting a RedHat 9 box up, running,
secure and up to date with some of the applications I want for it to be able to
take over as the new BOFHcam box. I'm fairly serious about this happening now,
I just need the time to do it.
Other than that it's been quiet here. I've allocated an IP to a visiting
machine, watched the rain fall and the lightning flash and generally tried to
relax given it's the end of the week. This weekend I hope to cycle out to
visit Shaun, Linda and Tom tomorrow and make my way to a
'Go Ape' centre on Sunday. Just have to
hope the rain stays off. Speaking of which I'm going to head off now and try
not to get drenched.
[11:10] Well, I've just had an interview for a Unix support post here within
the institution. I had to answer some questions, then do a presentation, then
do some more questions. My presentation was on a brief history of cheese. I
know that I could have done something on climbing, or karate or something
technical that I knew more about but cheese was the first thing to come in to
my head and I decided that that was what I was going to stick with. I won't
hear anything until Monday, so for now it's just back to the grindstone and
getting things done here.
[14:00] That's the whole of 2003 now on LJ. It's tiring work, but I still
can't find a sensible way to script doing it. At the moment I'm doing a month
at a time offline and then flushing it to the server. Seems to be the most
sensible way and stops me from making too many mistakes.
[16:45] I've spent the afternoon installing someone's "Lamborghini of mice"
(a Logitech cordless of some description) and using one of the spare machines
to build a replacement camera and web server for the BOFHcam cluster. I
really do think it's time to move off RedHat 5.2 to something a little