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28/02/2007
[14:00] So yes, gym last night was excellent. As a result I woke up this morning feeling fairly well rested all in all, even given the slightly crap night's sleep I had. Still have a nagging feeling in my head something's up. I'm sure I'll work out what in a while.

I've been trying to get a new Dell 2950s to boot from USB stick and get a config from it for kickstarting. After a quick break in town for a drink following a fight with the new serial console server I'm beginning to think that I'm specifying the wrong sda|b|c in the syslinux.cfg file. Of course, once I hit the right one I still don't think the machine'll install as the box is on the wrong VLAN at the moment. And the network administrator's out of the office at the moment. Still, getting it set and ready to go would be a good thing.

Oh and the shiny, powerful, new Dell 2950s to replace the old, old, old Sun E3500 servers (think small, grey floor-mounted fridges, size-wise) have arrived so I can rack them up too. Although one of them won't be staying here long-term.

Contemplating climbing again tonight... Oh, I forgot to mention that yesterday morning before work I cleaned the bathroom and washed the kitchen floor. Talk about productive. Off to the dentist now. Back to work later.

27/02/2007
[28/02/2007 - 13:40] Ooops, sorry. Forgot to write this on the day. Erm...

Right. Went climbing last night. Bloody excellent. Was nice to climb with someone about the same skill level as me so we could just trade routes all evening. Did a fair amount of reasonable routes and felt nicely pumped by the end of the night. We came home fairly early in the grand scheme of things too so I got to get to bed at a good time as well. Today has been mainly about trying to get the enthusiasm to work. I did organise myself a little time off though, which I'll tell you about once it's all finalised and stuff. I also got myself in a bit of a pickle with a few acquaintances by trying to be too clever about a few things. Still, by the time I'd come home from getting my hair cut I was able to iron things out satisfactorily. I think. I toddled off to the gym and had a damned good session there too which was nice as I'd met someone for lunch today who was very much into gym stuff and she gave me some good ideas for compound exercises.

Had a whole load of new downloaded TV episodes which I didn't managed to work through in one go as Jenny popped over to say hi and have some post-gym dinner with me.

26/02/2007
[17:25] Well, it looks like our new NetApp head officially kicks ass (and definitely compared to the FAS270 we had previously). This is counted as all kinds of Good Thing as far as we're concerned. Now all we have to do is convince everyone who migrated away from the old stack to come back to the New Shiny Thing.

The weekend was excellent (aside from one bit I'll get to). Me and a friend took a trip to Rutland Water by train early in the morning and spent the middle of the day cycling the 22-odd miles around the outside and onto the peninsula. Cue a ton of mud (cleaned off with a pressure washer), some lovely bacon sandwiches, an amazing bike shop, a wonderful pub and only a brief rain shower. The less than excellent bit was finding out that my chain is slipping like a bugger over certain cassette gears. This is very annoying, and coupled with a completely frozen front derailluer meant that I was actually forced to get off and walk up some of the quite easy hills if I didn't want the chain to skip terribly and cause me to end up smashing my knees against the underside of my handlebar repeatedly. Still, otherwise a very fun day. Of course, now I've been in the bike shop there I want a new bike. Maybe my birthday present to myself...

Sunday was a very, very lazy day. But fun with it. In the end I went for a wander around town with someone, a Thai meal and then a quick drink before getting home ostensibly to get an early night. Of course, I turned on the television when I got in to see some news and got caught up in Enemy at the Gate, a rather harrowing-in-places byt still slightly too Hollywoodised version of the famous snipers' story during the Battle of Stalingrad in WWII. Consequently I didn't get to bed until around 01:00 this morning. Still, not to worry, I seem to be doing OK today.

I really, really need to a) get my hair cut and b) wash the kitchen floor. If I'm not climbing this evening then I'll at least get the floor done. Of course there could also be some Scrubs and Battlestar Galactica watching as well. But not before chores.

23/02/2007
[16:35] OK, this looks like (up until now) its been something approaching a successful day. The morning started very well before I even got to work. Not to mention the fact that I completely stripped, cleaned and reassembled my bike's brakes as well as changing the blocks. All lubed and slippery I was working very well this morning, let me tell you.

So yes, today I spent the morning fiddling with something or other which I can't quite recall other than the fact that I achieved a lot with it... Hmmm. It's irritating I can't remember. Anyway, good job, well done. Probably.

This afternoon we've had a NetApp engineer here doing a headotomoy on our FAS270 and converting our array into an FAS3020. Of course the fact that the disks had OnTAP 7.2.1 on them and the new head had 7.0.5 on it meant that he was stymied for a while as NetApp have never experienced a customer who asked for a new bit of additional kit and were running a more recent version of the software than they shipped with that bit of kit. Cue me having to download the right version of OnTAP onto a USB key to put on his laptop so he could upload it to the flash card in the 3020 via serial console. 15.4MB over 9k6 or just a bit faster can't have been fun. I didn't hang around to watch.

Right now I'm off to a lecture on something psychological, then perhaps the gym (although when I went on Tuesday I felt really ill after a while so I may pass this week) and then some hardcore recorded television of the intarweb.

Weekend currently half-full but should contain cycling, water and pizza.

22/02/2007
[17:00] I so have to get home and do some washing tonight before people turn up. I also really need to take a damned good look at my bike brakes before something unfortunate happens. Especially if I go for a proper cycle on Saturday. I think they're a bit worn and a wee bit sticky in the joints and could do with stripping and oiling rather a lot.

Last night's climbing was excellent with some intensive climbs before a good quick trip home in time for me to get one good thing done before bed. I managed to get another done in the morning but also caused a wee bit of pain too by accident. Hopefully that'll die down by tonight. I've had a headache for most of the day which is something of a calendar event for me. I can't remember the last time I had one. Smiling and generally paying it no mind seems to have helped it fade without incident. I won't be bringing it on again for a while if I can help it. Hopefully I'll also have a better night tonight as well.

Work today considered of taking an engineer into town to one of our dark server rooms to replace a tape drive. That was a bit of a trial for all kinds of access control reasons but we got it done in the end. Since than I've been working on spring cleaning our Subversion installation and getting people up and running again with regard to client software and passwords. Maybe the most overpowered-for-its-job server in the organisation will start being loaded a little, finally. Its only taken two years.

Off home. Thursday night fun, plus more fun, possibly.

21/02/2007
[17:25] Excellent Pancake Day. Pancakes with ice cream and grated Cadbury's Galaxy do go down very well. However I don't recommend having too many. I felt a tad bloated afterwards which precluded any activities other than lying around and not moving much.

Today I got in late after a very enjoyable morning lie-in in bed, and then going to town for a contact lens checkup. Still, I got to catch up on stuff for the rest of the day, ensure that the machines I'm going to be ordering for heavy-duty database work are actually of the right specification (see yesterday's entry) and woke something up that had begun to doze (my cryptic comment for today, 'cause I know you so love them). Now I just have to go climbing and make it back in time to get some other things done tonight which I'd hate to miss out on doing.

20/02/2007
[17:05] Shrove Tuesday, innit? I've already got plans so am missing out on James' thingy. Otherwise I went to someone's house for dinner on the spur of the moment last night and helped them prepare something fairly nice which probably needed tomatoes adding to it. Otherwise, lovely food. Leaving early allowed me to make it home to get some washing done (Cormac's plague-ridden bed clothes), watch some telly and get a reasonably early night.

So, today has been about trying not to wreak bloody retribution on someone in another team who'd completely screwed up a specification for two new servers. Of course, given that they're not a systems administrator they couldn't be expected to work out that the server specification they'd come up with was in fact not even valid. I'd sigh if I could be bothered. Cue me spending most of the day fixing their spec. and then doing my own for a smaller (2U not 4U) server with better disks, faster CPU, FSB and RAM and for almost two grand less. Server spec'ing is a job for professionals.

Kids (and DBAs), don't try this at home.

And now; gym.

19/02/2007
[16:00] Now, let's see...

Friday evening I actually went somewhere I've never been before. I went to a boathouse that had a number of ergo (rowing) machines and was taught how to row correctly for the first time ever. I didn't beat my best time for 2km, but that's probably down to constantly trying to alter my style on demand, and the rather exhausting 500m sprint I did beforehand. That and the fact that the ergo I used was probably in far less decent repair than the one I normally use. Either way, I don't think I embarrassed myself too badly. As a reward I got some films from Blockbuster again as well as icecream and chocolate. All hail their "two films + icecream + chocolate" thing for £. Especially when you have £2.50 off for having had a really scratched DVD the last time.

So I got Proof and The Departed and watched the former that evening with a pile of pasta bolognese and some wine. The other film I saved for Saturday night which came after a day of helping a friend move, hacksawing off the screw holding my security light closed and removing the detonated bulb from inside, getting a new screw and bulb from B&Q, fitting it and doing some other minor DIY tasks about the place.

Sunday I spent lazily before Sam and I went for lunch in the pub and then met a whole gang of people at the cinema to see Hot Fuzz. It's criminally funny in places. Laugh-out-loud funny in others. In some ways not quite as good as Shaun of the Dead and in others far, far better. Anyway, a definite enjoyable afternoon/evening. Topping it off we all made our way to a well-loved Chinese restaurant to meet a pile more people and had a lovely Chinese New Year meal which lasted for hours and comprised of lots of food and drink and sake and stuff.

Cormac and Steph stayed at my house last night after the meal with Sam doing sterling driving duty all over town for us all. While Steph was the person suffering with a cold/flu thing for most of the weekend and last night, it was Cormac who was running a fever this morning we we all got out of bed. Well, Steph and I did anyway. For all I know he's still in bed at my house. I'm desperately hoping I have caught whatever Steph had and gave to Cormac at the moment and chosing not to go climbing this evening to give my body a chance to fight off whatever it is that I might catch. Part of that resting will be to make up for last night's terrible sleep pattern I had. I think I woke pretty much once every thirty minutes all night. I know this because I looked at the clock every time in the hope that it was getting up time. That'll teach me to close the door (owing to Cormac and Steph being in the house) and not open the window.

Oddly though I don't feel tired at all today and I've actually done some reasonable work. Among the bits of work that I have done is the saving of one (perhaps two) of my Solaris 10 x86_64 boxen to which I had applied patches and a kernel upgrade. Stupid patch 118855-36. You need to make sure 124631-03 is installed first, otherwise showrev segmentation faults and things go very weird. Still, all seems to be fixed now...

16/02/2007
[16:20] Ooops, was going to do this later then realised I'm helping someone unload a van in a few minutes. OK, excellent day. Have managed to get a Dell Optiplex 745 with an Intel 965Q integrated graphics chipset with VGA out and DVI-D out exposed via a breakout card to do a KDE/Xinerama dual-head desktop of 3200x1200! It's a bit of a mouthful, but then so was getting the configuration to work.

I'm dead smug now, me.

Oh, and I also managed to get some real work done too. Now I'm off to do some heavy lifting, and then have some fun on a rowing machine. This weekend I'm off to see Hot Fuzz and then celebrate the Chinese new year with lots of food and sake. Tonight should be pretty enjoyable fun too.

15/02/2007
[17:45] Bit of a surprise when I got into bed last night. Still, a nice one nonetheless. I had a quiet, enjoyable televisual evening for the first time in about two months. Aside from regular Thursday: sessions I don't think I really watch television much any more. But yes, a good evening, some nice food and a fun surprise before bed.

Work today has been singularly uneventful other than some fun fiddling with RHEL5 beta 2 and a Dell GX280 this time. I remain unconvinced as to whether this machine can drive two displays (onboard D-SUB and DVI breakout card) at 1600x1200. I'm bringing in a DVI to D-SUB converter tomorrow to see if that'll deal with the weird scaling which I'm seeing on the DVI-connected TFT. The only thing is... I don't think the breakout card does anything but DVI-D which is a real arse. Damnit!

Now I'm in a bad mood. I think I will go home and eat Toblerone before people come over for tonight's DVD-watching. Oh, the business case is nearly written now.

14/02/2007
[13:30] Damnit, I've done it again. I've missed the BOFHcam birthday. Well, it was on the 9th, which was last Friday and was eight years old. I've now been writing this thing for eight years. I have absolutely no idea what use, good or importance it has. Probably none at all, but it's what I do most days now and, oddly, it seems to give me a way of getting out some of my thoughts in a way which means they're not ricocheting around inside my head instead. I have no claim that it's actually worth doing, but I do it anyway.

So anyway, another year and another completely different situation to certain other passing yearly marks in the life of the Journal. Should I have a retrospective, a prospective, possibly even a taking stock? No, I can't be arsed. Life goes on and looking backwards just wastes time that should be spent enjoying the now. Looking forward too much also seems to waste time when there's nothing particular to focus on. Right now it's about the Now.

On the other hand, the recently-Now of last night contained Cormac, Steph and I taking a friend climbing for the first time. She did pretty well, but I'm not sure it's her thing. Still, was nice to be able to pull on my teachig hat again for a bit and see someone improve over the course of an evening's session. We got back home fairly late and had a much needed Chinese (I so need to have a more frugal week from now on) before going to bed. As a result of the late night I wasn't in work particularly early but since getting in I've been in a productive meeting, fought a case for two coworkers which they'd been fruitlessly trying to do for weeks and I'm very close to finishing the final version of my business case.

Yup, I'm that good.

Just a shame I'm alone this evening. However I do get to have some excellent food, watch some downloaded fun stuff and have a quiet, relaxed and comfortable time with me, myself and I. And with recent activities early nights might be the best thing for a while.

13/02/2007
[14/02/2007 - 13:10] I spent most of today thinking about, talking about and working on the business case I need to do for some vulnerability testing software we're thinking of buying. It was rather interesting to get my teeth into something requiring verbiage rather than technical skills. Apparently my first draft was "pretty good". I decided not to hang around and left as soon after 17:00 as I could given the climbing tonight.

12/02/2007
[13:10] Had a fairly hip, hop and happening weekend as it happens. Friday evening I went to the gym and had muchos good workings out. Came home to find a letter asking me to give a reference for someone wanting to be a Scout Leader. I was one of those once, as well as a Cub, Scout, Venture Scout and Queen's Scout. Hmm, that was a long time/lot of other lives ago. Anyway, the rest of the night was very nice as I had some company over. The film probably wasn't the best choice, but I think it went down fairly well anyway.

Saturday morning would have been much better lazy, but I had to get to London to meet people for birthday shenanigans with Elaine and Co. I got to The Castle for around 11:00, expecting people to arrive around 12:00. Unfortunately they didn't get there until gone 13:30 so I was already pretty well warmed up by the time they did. We had some fun climbs, chatted and did lots of chalk japery before drinking hot chocolate and chilling for a few minutes around 17:00. After a Tube ride to Leicester Square we met up with Andy, Rosie and Ian in a pub for a drink. Cormac and I went off to see if we could do the impossible (find a table for ten in a Wagamama on a Saturday night in London) and managed it. Hurrah for us. With everyone seated we proceeded to drink all the sake and eat all of the food. The meal was fabulous (I must go to more Wagamama restaurants) but I was starting to fade a little having been pretty much constantly active since around eight in the morning. We left for another pub at which point I could feel myself starting to drift mentally so I wished Elaine a very happy birthday, everyone else a great remainder of the night and got myself back on the most packed Tube train I've ever been on ever to the train station.

Arriving at my local train station at some horrible hour of the night I got a text from one of my friends asking if I wanted to meet some of their friends, have berries and fruit and melted chocolate and alcohol. All I needed to do was walk 2 minutes across the cycle bridge. Feeling a bit like I'd woussed out on everyone in London I thought "Sure, why not? At least I'm in my home town now, getting home is going to be easier." I don't remember what time I left but it was hammering with rain when I did. I also have no memory of getting home on my bike other than the fact that a homeless guy stepped off the pavement in the darkest part of the route home while I was wearing a reflective jacket and fully bike-lit and I hit him. It was only a glancing blow and I was extremely apologetic but frankly it was his fault. I did worry that he was going to attack me but I think he was too drunk to cause me any harm.

Sunday was about sleeping in, a lot. I did get a text around 10:30 asking if I wanted to go for a walk (seeing as the sun had, against expectations, come out). So we went for a walk on one of the dykes for five or so miles, then shopping for food as I'd not really had anything substantial since the Wagamama meal the day before. I broke before I even left the supermarket and bought a hot Cumberland sausage to munch upon in the car.

Lunch was picnic-like followed by lying around for a bit and feeling full. I think I spent the rest of the day chilling out, relaxing, reading and watching television. Oh, and doing some washing... Hmm, forgot to mention that I managed to stab myself in the pad of my right index finger with a shard from a plate that a friend broke last week. There was still a bit in the sink on Friday night and as I was trying to sweep it down the plug hole it jammed and went half-way through my finger. Climbing on Saturday therefore required tape and not being quite so good with that finger. Still, I'll be more active with it later I hope.

What else happened on Sunday...? Oh, I watched one of the best Top Gear shows ever and then The Day After Tomorrow (for giggles) and then Village of the Damned (a Wyndham 'Midwich Cuckoos' clone) until I felt I really should be in bed. This morning the very first thing I did was change my bedding. Talk about some violent duvet shaking (to get it into the new cover properly) to wake you up in the morning. Other than that I'm here, at work and about to have lunch. I may even do some work later on.

09/02/2007
[14:20] Well the snowman's still there. It was a horrible cycle in this morning with the freezing fog and stuff. Still, work's always nice and warm in winter.

Last night was cool. Sam came to Thursday for the first time, we had eleven people in the lounge and bought £87.47 worth of pizza. Good film and a few classic episodes of Scrubs and then everyone went so I could get some much needed shut eye. Not sure why I'm so tired at the moment. Maybe I'm still fighting off the remainder of this cold. Anyway, work's about to get a bit more interesting next week, I may be able to scam a replacement monitor for the second head of my test RHEL5 setup and I'm off climbing this Saturday for Elaine's birthday treat thing. That'll be an interesting day out. Before then though there's going into town to look at a machine to make sure it has a quad ethernet card in it, and then the gym. Then this evening, which should also be quite fun too. Hope you all have a nice weekend.

08/02/2007
[17:25] I've just been given a new job. Or a new task anyway. I'm going to be the network security wonk. This means I get to do an awful lot of nessus and nmap scans and start talking to people about why their machines. Other than that I've been discovering that RHEL5 Server beta 2 doesn't like installing over HTTP and goes all Wrong.

It snowed last night/this morning! It was excellent. Of course I didn't get up until late on account of having a very pleasant lie-in watching the flakes come down. Lunchtime saw me and the networks guy out building a snowman. In the very best Calvin and Hobbes tradition we made it a three-part construct which topped 6'7" by the time we'd finished. Don't believe me? Tough. Anyway, home time.

07/02/2007
[17:25] Ooops, forgot this again. Well, nothing happened today except that it was a lovely frosty morning, I had a good day doing work and stuff and getting RHEL5-beta2 prepped for kickstart install. Oh and the new SAN tray is still playing silly buggers. I'm off home now via the shops.

06/02/2007
[17:05] Bit of a day again. The SAN configuration still isn't completely finished as yet given the stupid hoops we've had to jump through and the fact that bit of the thing keep saying they're broken when they may not be. This is known as 'a bit of a bind'. Other than that I've been migrating about 32GB of kickstart and post-kickstart configuration from our old Sun V120 and D1000 to the new PowerEdge 2950 and getting into a bit of a confusion about all kinds of things needing updating and changing and accessing via new means. I think I've got everything sorted and as soon as a new machines comes into the building I'll have something to test it with.

Climbing was good, although I bouldered all evening and never got to put my harness on at all. The wall was freezing to start with as the place is an old unheated squash court. I think the fact that I did some pretty monster routes throughout the evening (including a bastard route set by one of the club members) meant that after a short amount of time I was fairly warm and comfortable. Still, slept like a log when I got home.

I'm still not totally over my cold now, although I'm just down to a frog in my throat and clogged sinuses now and then. Of course, all this blowing now has given me a nosebleed which I'm hoping isn't going to start being a regular thing again. Anyway, I should head off and get to the gym so that I can be home in time to try and help someone rescue data from a USB disk which isn't playing ball, make some omlettes and get some sleep again.

05/02/2007
[17:35] Hmmm, kind of a quiet weekend. Saturday I went for a walk in the afternoon as the weather was absolutely fabulous. Ended up with a curry and (for the first time in almost ten years) getting some films from Blockbusters. Had a lovely quiet evening and a very good night before slobbing about for most of Sunday. Eventually mustered enough enthusiasm to get to Tesco and back in the freezing fog before settling in to watch another DVD. I do like the fact that I don't have do to anything on a weekend if I don't want to. All hail working life.

Today we've been fettling the new shelves in the SAN we have here. Adding 4.2TB to the ~6TB we already have spinning. It's not been the easiest of jobs and (tangentially) I still need to work out why none of my machines mailed me this morning (again) to tell me that they were doing RAID check consistency runs. It's a little disconcerting not to get the information you're usually normally prepared to delete without reading.

Otherwise my brain continues as normal. A little more balanced, a little less skew-wiff perhaps? Who knows. I think it's all about very definitely (as I needed to do when each of my girlfriends left me in time) trying to take each day moment by moment and not to look too far ahead for now. It's limiting in a way - emotionally and temporally - but in some ways that's actually a Good Thing. For now though, climbing.

02/02/2007
[16:35] Getting close to the end of things here. And that includes the end of the week. Its not been a fabulous time but it's certainly had some excellent ups and some weird downs. Not sure what's coming up in the near future now but two things are for certain. One, there's plenty of things going on out there, and two, some people (no matter how amazingly intuitive as to your mental state they seem to be) simply bother you. The trick seems to be to just not care so much when things go Odd. I do believe it's time to look after number one somewhat more than I have been recently. Pouring energy and stuff into what is essentially the drain rather than a receptacle is getting old. We'll see what the very near future brings and take it from there.

In good news the new head for our NetApp arrived. It's excellent (a 3020) in that it takes up the last 4U we had reserved for NetApp fillage. Of course, the upgrade's going to be freaky given that the FAS270 we have at the moment is going to become a dumb shelf and we're going to have to try and migrate the configuration on it onto the 3020 in some way and then remove the 'head' unit itself from the shelf. All very strange. Of course it's also excellent in that we'll actually get the performance we need from the disks now. Oh, and on Monday hopefully we have a Sun engineer coming to activate the new two shelves of SAN we just slotted in. That's going to be Interesting.

So, what happens now? Well, I'm going to go to the gym, go home and shower, do some washing up and have someone over for a Chinese and a DVD evening. Then I am going to go to to bed and read until I fall asleep with the light on and the book open in front of me. Saturday is going to be all kinds of interesting I think. Sunday is completely undefined right now.

01/02/2007
[09:55] I'm in work at least. I have to admit that when I got up this morning I was feeling pretty damned perky and like this was the right idea (coming in) but since arriving I've been sneezing quite a bit and generally feeling a bit bunged up. Still, getting stuff done is better than not.

Not that I'm getting much done at the moment; I seem to be in a rut again for some reason.

[10:00] Actually, I know exactly why.