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30/11/2006
[17:00] Final day of November. Where has the time gone? Where? I'll tell you where; on worry and happiness and smiles and stress. On panic and relief and confusion and indecision. On over analysis and relaxation and surprise and discovery. On work and leisure and sleep and waking. It's been very full month and it's not really feeling like it's going to get any different next month either.

But if there's one thing I've learned in the last year (and more than that really, but this last year has definitely been one of the ones which at present is going to stick in my mind as A Year To Remember) it's that things are different every time. Change happens and you either go with it, hang on, or lose out. I don't lose out anywhere near as much as I used to. There's all kinds of things I've done (and have still yet to do (again, in some rare and fun cases)) which I never would have got to do if I'd been the person I used to be two years ago let alone anything up to ten years ago (I'm thinking of February 1997 for various reasons I won't go into).

So, yeah. Grow and learn, learn and grow. You know the words by now, sing 'em along with me; LIS, IAG. Thursday happening tonight. Curry this time I think, for a change. Friday tomorrow with all the happiness and joy I'm hopeful it'll bring. Excitement abounds.

Oh yeah, work today has been pretty good. We braced the Web Team about their profligate use of storage on local servers for multiple, unnecessary extra, extra backups and general untidiness of scripts. Maybe this time they'll get their bottoms in gear and do something about it. Our backup solution is beginning to look a little less comfortable than it used to so anywhere we can shave off a few hundred gig is a good thing. I've also set up some scripting for our Oracle Grid startup and shutdown stuff which also seems to do what it should have said on the tin. Right now I think it's time to go home via Threshers.

Two other things: I went into town at lunchtime too and got some candles and matches. I'm surprised I'd never thought to get any before now. That, and my low profile bracket for my new graphics card shipped this evening (allegedly). I'll believe it when it's in my hands.

29/11/2006
[15:05] Grrr! Annoyance abound today. Not only did my graphics card not come packaged with the low profile bracket I thought it would but the issue I was attempting to deal with yesterday has become annoying and threatens to irritate, a lot. Still, should be sorted soon, I hope.

Speaking of irritating, how does paying £9.25 for a low profile bracket make you feel? I can't believe I'm having to pay more than four times the cost of the part for the delivery. Not only that but I'm still waiting on the refund for another order I did in haste. Why does everything have to go wrong at the same time?

Gym tonight. I mean climbing. Tcha, brain so not with it today.

28/11/2006
[16:40] Just another one of those fantastic days, although I did find something a little odd I have to take care of quickly. It may turn out not to be my problem but it affects me so I have to deal with it too either way. Such is life. If nothing else recently I've learned that when issues arise you just have to deal with them as time and situation allows and then move on. For example, we're having some issues with our NetApp at the moment. So much so that we have a NetApp engineer camped in our room, and has been since 07:30 this morning. I expect him to be here long after I leave this evening for the gym and then a fun evening which may, eventually, contain a shiny new XFX GeForce 6200 AGP (passively cooled) and an A/B/G wireless network card being inserted into a computer for a virtually silent machine.

But now, gym.

27/11/2006
[17:30] Another one of those busy days. First of all I had to spend a ton of time going through all my linux servers getting NTP working again after we accidently did something silly with it a few weeks ago and only just noticed on Friday. Then I've been doing a fresh, vanilla install of RHEL3 so I can see if there truly is a way to get RHEL3 to do dual-heading on a Dell GX280 machine with the onboard VGA and the DVI riser card. That's taken up a fair chunk of time as the initial RPM of the I915 drivers didn't take and I tried doing some fiddling. The tar.gz package seems to have gone on OK though.

The weekend on the other hand was really rather stunning. Most of Saturday I spent doing practically nothing at all as the weather was abysmal. In an effort to get out and about I made my way to Tesco and back during a break in the storms to get some supplies for the week and for the weekend's fun. By the time 16:00 had come round it turned out I wasn't the only person feeling in need of some company so a friend came over and we spent the rest of the day watching DVDs and chatting and stuff. Curry happened at some point and I have to say the next time I get curry it'll be a shakooi chicken dish. That was lovely and even good cold the next morning. Well I say morning, I don't think I was in the kitchen for the first time much before midday. Probably something to do with the fizzy red Banrock Station we had the night before. Must have some more of that.

I think Sunday was half spent in bed and the other half preparing and using my new lounge-based DivX-playback PC. Turns out the graphics card is far too noisy and I can't get network to it where it is so I've bought a passively cooled graphics card (pretty much the same as the one in my desktop PC, one year on it's a quarter of the price) and a wireless PCI network card. They'll go in tomorrow evening if they turn up tomorrow. Anyway, I think that's about it for now from the world of me. Hope that fills you in, keeps you appraised, keeps you informed. Time to climb.

24/11/2006
[16:30] Looks like a quiet weekend in prosepect for me. A third of Saturday's plans have gone by the board. Which is a shame but means the rest of the day should be a lot better. Probably. No idea what's happening to be honest but I do know I need to do some washing and get to Tesco. I guess it means I can catch up on some of the downloaded television I've been meaning to watch this last week. A few early nights and later mornings would go down quite well too I think.

Nothing much has happened today for me. I was in late due to attending to something initially. That worked out as I expected. Resulting conversation with other people was unedifying though. This turned out to be a bit of a let-down but appears to be due to a) technological fault and, b) someone just being a bit out of sorts. Well here's hoping they feel better soon.

I've kind of wandered through today. I had lunch with a Tory Wiccan, or a Wiccan Tory. I'm not sure which way round works, or whether it makes a difference. Either way the conversation bounced from politics to religion, historical monarchy (did you know there was a Queen Jane (Grey)?) and familial nicknames. Not so bad really. It rained on the way into town, but was OK on the way back. That I'm telling you about the weather is a sign how otherwise interesting my day has been.

I think I'm going to go to the gym, go home, order some Chinese (I have just been paid) and basically try to get some good mood going again. Either way, have a good weekend whatever you're doing.

23/11/2006
[17:25] Pretty much another day of doing useful things. The morning was chatting with people and getting things sorted. Who knew that could be so much fun. My lunch date was cancelled so I went to town with the Networks guy and two servers, dropped them off at the server room and had a quick bite in Dojos before heading back, getting them all plumbed in (we're out of power in one of the Dell racks now) and getting the terminal server working again for the first time in a while. That server room is looking very tidy now.

When we got back here one of my coworkers had added another (very useful) check to Hobbit/Big Brother to see if the right/any UPS software is running on each server. This highlighted some... omissions on my part which I've spent the rest of the day correcting. Home soon, usual Thursday malarky and a Canon 400D and Tamron 70-300mm f/4-5.6 LD Macro lens to play with for a little while. Lucky person who owns it is also getting a Canon 60mm f/2.8 Macro lens as well. Some people have all the fun (and the academic funding).

I'll be in a little late tomorrow on account of having to get something cleared up, but I should be around after that if you want to peek and see how I'm doing. Not many of you look at the webcam any more, I've noticed. Was it something I said?

Maybe it's everything I say...

22/11/2006
[16:15] We moved over to the live system this morning with one tiny static NAT update and some minor rule changes to take account of HTTP to HTTPS redirects. I also booked a mini-holiday to get away from things for a little while. More on that some other time, promise. Otherwise the day's been fairly quiet. Got some reading done, had to attend a "Dignity at Work" seminar over lunch time (TANSTAAFL) and had some fun conversations this afternoon. I'm off climbing now in London so will be back late. Very late. Ah well.

21/11/2006
[12:15] OK, I'm feeling far, far better this morning. I think much of it is down to a) falling asleep on the sofa as Elaine worked her way around the house tracking down the last of her stuff to take away, b) a damned good conversation which cleared things up and let some emotions out and, c) a phone call which cheered me up no end and helped me go to bed feeling much more upbeat.

Getting into work and realising I knew what the problem was that'd kept me there until gone six last night also helped tremendously, as did realising that I'd not made any mistakes, but rather that someone else had been blamelessly clueless. As a result we have things working in a much more sensible, supportable and simple way and Zeus have also accepted a neat change request which will be awfully nice to have implemented in ZXTM 4.1r2. We should switch over to the new solution (thus ending project status and becoming a supported service) some time tomorrow morning. Only a day late and in reality (if we didn't have to wait) only twelve hours late, really.

I'm now looking forward to a) the rest of the working day, b) this evening, with its trip to the gym and then a lovely relaxed evening and c) chatting to friends without feeling like I'm stepping around a minefield full of emotional triggers (most of the my own).

All in all, things are much better today. Thanks for listening.

20/11/2006
[21/11/2006 - 11:20] Now don't get me wrong, I'm pretty much convinced I'm not manic-depressive or bipolar. However with the advert of this morning and the happenings (which I will attempt to relate in a decrypted manner) herein I'm feeling distinctly downbeat. One might go so far as to say I'm 'sad'. This is a shame as for the most part the weekend (beginning on Friday night) was very pleasant. In fact in the main it was really rather lovely.

Friday night I had a late night visit from a friend before going to bed. Saturday was a very lazy morning before a trip into town for general weekday lunch supplies. Had another friend come over in the evening so we popped out to the pub for food and drink and had a Damned Good Natter about things. Not sure I'm any happier with the conclusions that were drawn but it was a fun evening nonetheless. I'm ashamed to say that when we headed home to watch a bit of telly and talk more I fell asleep on the sofa and had to be roused when they decided it was time to leave. Falling asleep during QI? Criminal.

Next time I think they should just stay over rather than driving back. I should have offered that but I wasn't in any shape to think at that point. Also staying awake and being a proper host would be a big improvement.

Sunday I went for a walk with a friend out in the fine, bright, cold weather before retiring to a pub for desserts and hot drinks. Heading back into town we decided to go to see Casino Royale but it was sold out for everything but the 16:30 showing so we went home for an hour or so and had lazed about until it was time to go back.

I have to say Craig is right up there with Dalton (my favourite Bond previously, followed by Connery) for being more true to Fleming's vision than in many a Bond film in recent years.

Tough, uncompromising, no (or very, very few) witty rejoiners, an almost psychotic approach to violence and a proponent of the 'quick kill' rather than prevarication and monologue. Criticisms of the film both good and bad amount to the uneven pacing of the film for the final quarter, the world's shortest car chase (and criminal destruction of an Aston Martin), a lack of Cleese as Q (I don't think the film would have worked with that comic relief), stunning visuals in the form of scenery (I now want to visit the Czech Republic), excellent realisation of the fact that "face wounds don't heal cleanly between scenes" and one of the most clench-worthy scenes in recent cinematic history. It's just good they didn’t faithfully follow the book in that regard!

I was unsure whether setting it in contemporary times rather than at the beginning of the Bond canon (given he starts out without 00-status) timewise would work, but I think it did as it allowed Dame Judy to cause a wonderful tie when it came to acting each other off the screen.

An excellent film all in all, marred by a few minor issues which were subsumed by the general overall quality. He doesn't have the rugged/noticable good looks that I think would cause women outside of hotels to double take but what do I know? I'm just a man.

Back at my place we had some chinese food which went down an absolute treat considering how little we'd had to eat before chilling out with some classical music (something I'll admit I've not had the opportunity to do in a good long time). I think I need to put some more on my iPod. I then went to bed and basically became unconscious in fairly short order.

This morning I felt rather down for various reasons, which weren't helped by confusion over something I'd done over the weekend. Having to deal with upset friends, all kinds of things breaking at work and no small amount of stress today has really dragged me further down than I've been in months. As is usual in this kind of situation for me I simply had to pile some more on top, which is why I've got something planned for this evening. I'm sure it'll be fine though. Must get on and try and get this stupid load balancing thing sorted.

[I should have posted this last night around 16:30, but things got busy, and stressful and, well, generally complicated.]

17/11/2006
[16:30] This entry has been scoured for typos three times very slowly to ensure that there are none, at all, in it. I've had a great day today. This is because I am now mildly squiffy on champagne which no-one else can drink. This is because everyone else is can't get drink because they're driving. I have had an awful lot thus far and as a result I've logged myself out of all of the machines on which I was being root as that would be a silly thing to be when I am drunk.

Today I have mostly done things with a machine which needed the new Oracle Grid installation thing installed which is to do with managing all the other Oracle databases and needs all kinds of password while you install it. Shaun has given me all the password on a bit of paper. A postit. I have to eat it when I've used them. Which is now I guess as I've used them. I'd prefer another doughnut, and some more champagne though as I think I'm I a bit drunk now.

I don't think the gym is a good idea. At least not for a little while. Oh, I did something else today, what was it? Yes, we had doughnuts as well. I think I should go home now.

16/11/2006
[17:45] Whee! A bloody excellent day. Not only did I get to flash all three Cyclades terminal servers to the same, much more funky, level. Not only did I get to make them all behave the same for the first time in the two and a half or so years that I've been using them. Not only did we have a most excellent meeting where all kinds of things were hammered out, flattened down and pinned up in such a way as to not flap free again. But I also got some damned good news. But that's another story which I'll tell you later probably. Now I'm off home to enjoy an evening with friends and smile an awful lot.

15/11/2006
[16:05] Damn and blast! Busy today. Got some machines racked, got some machines installed, got some work done, got a lot of chatting enjoyed and now I've got to go to an IT exhibition and then to climb.

Got it all under control.

14/11/2006
[13:50] Went to London last night to climb at Westway. Had an excellent time initially but I think I ran out of energy a bit too soon. I think I was too excited about climbing somewhere with a bit more challenge with some people I didn't have to watch/tutor just for once. Went a bit wild on the Wall. It was a damned good feeling. Heading to Eat and Two Veg (a vegetarian restaurant in Marlybone) was a but suspect but the food was tolerable, even if I was in the mood for a large chunk of steak after the workout on the Wall.

Sadly the train home was useless and we had to stop just outside of London and get a double-decker bus the rest of the way. Consequently I got home some time around 01:20. Getting up this morning was therefore a little tough but I was still in on time ans getting things done. Excellently I've been able to power up the new Dell rack, get an install verified as not working and arrange something fun. Now I get to go to a meeting for the rest of the day, head to the gym and head home for food and a lovely evening in at home.

Oh, and I got to make someone, possibly two people, smile today. I rule.

13/11/2006
[16:15] Stunning Friday. All who could come over came for the 30th birthday holiday party reunion at my place. Lots of people put themselves out getting the ingredients for a truly excellent set of tapas courses and a wonderful paella.

Saturday I went for a walk which was cold, wet, windy and wonderful. Then Tesco for some food. Watched some DVDs in the evening and went to bed early, oddly. Well, not that oddly. Sunday was all about ultimate relaxation. I'm not sure what time bed was left but it was closely followed by bacon, so definitely a damned good day. Still dog tired I watched some DivXen for some of the evening and then went to bed.

Most of today has been spent fiddling with Oracle Grid Control and trying to keep on top of things. Seems to be going fairly well. How was your weekend. Come on, tell me something fun.

10/11/2006
[17:10] Spent the evening in a bit of a daze to be honest. Woke horribly early and stared at the ceiling for a few hours. Left the house and discovered that life isn't quite as bad as a sleepless night and early morning can make it out to be. Of course, it's not all roses either. But that can be worked on.

Work was a bit of a non-entity today. Heading home now for friends and tapas and paella and remembering the excellent time that was my 30th birthday party holiday in Spain in April. Weekend should be quite nice too, once I find out how to deal with it.

09/11/2006
[17:00] Excellent night last night. Relaxing. Ended up being awake until 01:00 though. Still, not to worry. The worry comes from an issue revealed to me this morning which I've already done something about (as much as I can anyway). Even so, now I have to deal with it for a while until things become clear. Or not. Luckily I have some very good friends who're helping deal with it too.

Oh! Yes! How could I forget! I got a clean installation of Oracle Grid Control on RHEL4 32-bit. I have no idea how but it just sailed through the linking process without any issues! Wahey! So yes, now I get to replicate it at some point with the right settings and so forth. Then finally we can get rid of another (the last) E250. Great hulking beasts that they are.

08/11/2006
[17:00] I woke dreadfully early this morning. I have no idea why, unless it was some kind of excitement. I really couldn't say. I went to bed a little late last night too due to talking to a friend for much of the evening. Very pleasant evening following a gym session.

I got in early this morning as I'd been intending to leave work around 16:15 for a train to London for evening climbing. Unfortunately the person I was due to climb with forgot, so that's not happening. Instead I'm going to go home and have a quiet, fun evening instead, I hope. You see today I've had to try and run that bedamned RDA thingy against the machine I want to install Oracle Grid Control on even though there are no Oracle instances on it yet. As a result I think the results are going to be pretty useless. Still, you have to show willing if you're going to get an eventual solution. And I am. There will be a solution to this if I have to scream and shout and jump up and down on someone's face to get it.

But now, phone call and then home.

07/11/2006
[17:15] Busy day. In town with a disk array and a big server by taxi. Stupid rack kits. Reinstalling servers, doing configuration work, moving racks around general blah. Time for gym now. Quiet evening with television and stuff planned. Also washing up.

06/11/2006
[13:00] A weekend of great fun and enjoyment. Friday evening and Saturday morning were all kinds of excellent exercise with gym work and other stuff. I even ran to the gym and back on Sunday morning too. I haven't felt this fit and together in a long time. Sunday after was pretty bloody good too. Ended up going to Wimpole Hall and wandering around the folly there for the first time ever. Amusing construct; fools the eye very well until you see the normal brickwork on the top of the town and then, obviously, go around the back.

Headed home for hot chocolate with marshmallow goodness before some early dinner and then a chance to watch fireworks from my bedroom window. There's something about lying back on your bed, warm and comfortable and having explosions going off close by. As a result of being really quite relaxed I had a wonderful night's sleep and woke bright and early this morning. Of course I've done little this morning apart from prepare two machines for re-imaging, chat to a few people about fun things and wait for the networks guy to be ready to cable up the new Dell rack so I can get on with booting more than one machine at the same time. I still have to do something with that bedamned Oracle installation under 32 bit Linux and run the RDA tool to get Oracle some details. I think I'll do that tomorrow. Tonight is climbing, although there's something else I wouldn't mind doing.

03/11/2006
[14:45] Quite a confusing night to be honest. Not entirely sure what went on given the wine that I drank. I know there was some good conversation, some sticky moments of misunderstanding and it being damned cold outside, but I think I had a little too much to drink at the end of the night and missed some nuances. There's been some emailing this morning to clear up the confusion but I'm still left wondering what exactly went on. In the meantime I got to bed late, woke feeling weirded out all over the place, got a phone call from my line manager to head to one of the city center server rooms to let some electricians in to do some work. Cue me having to trog all over the place to find keys to the key safe so I could get into the server room (I'd left mine at work not thinking I'd be going to this location this morning), then sitting in the same server room for about an hour until the electricians got around to actually wanting to get in.

I got to work proper for around 11:00. I've reinstalled one machine and loosed some of my developers on it like the ravening horde that they are (i.e. they'll get around to looking at it some time towards the end of next week), cancelled a lunch appointment given I'm a bit sick of cycling in and out of town today and don't want to have to do it more than once more (I'm due back at the server room in a few minutes to let the electricians in to finish up) today.

I got back from the South Pacific and all I could think about was playing Far Cry (those islands) so I ordered it from Amazon. It still hasn't come so I'm going to get a copy from Game in town as soon as I've dealt with work. I have an official "bugger off home once you're done" from my manager so it's all good.

See, that's the point about my life at the moment. Despite the things which go wrong now and again, it generally is all good. Take tonight for example. That's going to be fun all over the place.

02/11/2006
[13:10] I climbed like an absolute hero last night. Well bouldered like one anyway. I got the train down to London in time to get to The Castle for 18:30. This meant I was pretty much bouldering from then until 20:00 when everyone else turned up. I don't think I'd shot my bolt per se by then but I had certainly done some monster routes as far as I was concerned. Pretty bloody excellent work as far as I was concerned. Helped a few people do a few roof routes, chatted to some nice people and clonked my left elbow on a hold in a way which only really became apparent this morning when I rested it on the desk.

So, yes, when everyone else arrived we did some lead routes, I failed to do a second on one James had lead (for which I blame masses of bouldering beforehand, honest) but did some other 5C routes fairly cleanly. We popped out for a Thai at the pub down the road and managed to get back to Kings Cross in time to get the last train home just after midnight. This was of course the 'stopper' I knew so well from the last time I was single and was going to The Castle twice a week and climbing until the Wall closed. It stops at every blade of grass on the way home. As a result I didn't actually get through my front door until aroun 02:00ish this morning. I read a sad emails from someone before deciding on a reply which, I think, was about the only response I could give (what's a journal entry without some crypticness?)_ and then went to bed.

This morning I felt really quite bouncy and awake, oddly. I've achieved a fair amount this morning including buying a second iPod charger from eBay for £0.01 + £3.99 postage and packing. This was on the suggestion of someone who's already done the same thing (and I'm actually using their charger as you read this, if you read this today, before about 15:00). Anyway, soup's been drunk, asian sweets consumed and I've got a 19" rack to bring from one end of the building to the other, and down some stairs. All is mostly good today.

Ben Terror Level: Moderate Perturbation with hints of carrot and coriander.

01/11/2006
[16:35] A lovely afternoon yesterday and morning today. Time to enjoy myself and generally get back on course. Yes, I took them off on a whim and it paid off. Admittedly I ended up exerting myself anyway, but I can't just sit still when there are fun things to do. As a result I'm just a little pooped today but looking forward to going climbing this evening at The Castle in London.

Work has been a little more relaxing given I've decided not to do anything about Oracle Grid Control this week. I'm working on RHEL3 and preparing boxes for the eSales service we're going to be rolling out. It's much more satisfying to achieve something at the end of the day. Not that I've not achieved some pretty impressive things today anyway.