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30/11/2007
[15:55] Last night was good. More of a boys' night in to be honest. Me, Shaun, Cormac and Ian. The film was good and we got to introduce Shaun to Robot Chicken, which is always an experience to observe. I just wish Shaun'd been a bit more vociferious about us going for Chinese rather than pizza. Not that I mind too much as I've just had a wonderful reheated Domino's Meateor for lunch and there'll be some more waiting for me this evening when I get back from the gym. Don't worry I'm eating fruit and vegetables too. An apple for lunch and some carrots this evening. I know you were worried. It's OK.

In other news it turns out that a friend/coworker has been deported. A bit of a shock to say the least but I don't think they'd sorted out getting their work visa renewed or even getting their passport sorted after they lost their last one. Basically they'd left this country to go to a work thing in Holland, and then on the way back were refused entry. This required them to return to Holland where they were denied entry too. Their only recourse was to fly home. Nuts! Still, this is the way of things when you don't sort stuff like that out I guess.

In other, other news I had a brief chat via Skype, which is always fabulous and a smashing thing and leaves me feeling cheerful. I also discovered that there isn't much in the way of power monitoring kit which comes with client installable agents. This is a bit poo. Finally I went for my Friday run with the networks guy and really, really pushed myself to catch up with him when he did the short version (I continued on and did the long route). I think I might have actually killed myself... but I came back to life fairly rapidly and felt wonderful. All hail endorphins given they're the only high I'm achieving at the moment. All I need to do now is gym this evening and rowing tomorrow morning and... well I'll have the rest of the weekend free for more exercise. That and washing clothes, vacuuming the house and generally doing whatever it is you do on weekends when you don't have or aren't in company.

I should get on and do some work. Have a lovely weekend doing whatever. Why not let me know what you're doing. That might be interesting. Or it might not. We'll never know unless you say something.

29/11/2007
[16:30] Today hasn't been quite as exciting as yesterday. Admittedly this probably has something to do with staying up late last night after we all got back from climbing (where I did brilliantly, I must say) to finish the book I was reading. The climbing was excellent. Cormac came, which was good and as a result I felt a little more inspired to push myself. Not that he and I did much climbing together as we were helping Helen push herself way past the level she was used to. I ended up leaving them to it for the last half an hour or so and borrowing Ian to do some gnarly overhangs until I couldn't hold onto my chalkball, let alone a bolt-on. Wonderful feeling to be so stretched and pumped again. Perhaps I'll go again on Friday, or maybe on Sunday in London. Probably not the latter as I've got lots of housework to do, but you never know.

Hmmm, what else? Oh yes, late night lead to tiredness this morning and stuff, luckily I didn't need to be in work early so that wasn't so bad. Today I've been trying to find something to supplement our MGE UPS so that if the power goes something will actually tell the servers to shut down (the management card in it being utter crap if you don't reset it now and again). No joy as yet.

I think I may just go home and put masses of washing on and make the house nice and warm for people coming over this evening. Still feeling a bit loose-endy at the moment. I'm sure it'll pass.

28/11/2007
[17:00] I managed to get out of bed at the right time this morning. Which was a good start. I then further improved my day and someone else's by solving a niggly little problem with a statistical package called SPSS. Not only did we get an ISO burnt to CD such that an installation could be done (last night) but I worked out what was wrong with the authorization code and so forth and was able to pass on instructions such that an install (two) got done, all without actually being in front of the computer. Yay for teamwork. I have to admit it was nice to chat too, while trying to troubleshoot the issues we were seeing.

After that it was time to reply to some emails, go for my first run since getting back and completely miss a brownout which took down a few people's workstations (not mine, it's on a UPS). Anyway, yes, I forgot to mention that I went to the gym last night too. First time in a little while. It was very hard but I was pleased to see that being in America for a week hadn't increased my weight. In fact, amazingly, I weighed less than when I left! Maybe it was muscle mass going, rather than fat. I don't know. We'll soon see how things work out over the next few weeks. I'm off climbing this evening which should be intresting given the mixed quality of my climbing in Boston. I should probably head off nowish and get some things copied to USB hard drive for Cormac as he's giving me a lift tonight. Oh, and I should probably give him his screwgates too, if he pays me the money for them...

27/11/2007
[17:00] Maybe I was a tad tireder than I thought. I put in a full day's worth of work yesterday (stayed a bit late for having arrived late from the plane) and went home and stayed up until some time around tennish so as to try and get my body clock back into the UK spirit of things. However when I awoke today to the sound of the telephone I assumed it was an early morning call to do with the power outage we had in town last night and someone needed me in early to get things sorted before the working day began properly. No, it was my line manager wondering whether I'd fallen under a bus considering it was pretty much midday and usually weekday mornings were when people were in work doing their jobs.

Must have slept through my alarm. First time that's happened. By 12:30 I was in the office and basking in the comments of my coworkers, working through 'lunch' and discovering that our MGE UPS management card is a pile-o-crap. Other than that I've been happy to note that the RHEL4 DomU xen thingy seems to work as expected. Which is nice. I'm off to the gym this evening and then home to try and get a more sensible amount of sleep. It's a bit dull at home at the moment and I just don't want to be there. Probably just post-holiday glums. I'll be right soon enough.

26/11/2007
[17:35] Hallo there. I'm back. Hope all has been well while I've been away. Let me tell you about my trip. Or at least the bits which stick in my mind in the first instance. So... first off... I missed my flight out. Yup, I was that annoying person who delays the flight. I don't know what happened! I got up on time, got to the station on time, got to London on time, got the Tube on time and got to Heathrow on time. I also got through the very thorough security with tons of time to spare and then sat down in the departure lounge with my book to wait for my gate to open. And then all I remember is running the half-mile or so to the gate, hammering on the mag-locked door and being admitted by some airport staff who demanded to know where I'd been. I made it halfway down the gangway to the aircraft before someone shouted that my bag was already off the 'plane. I stopped. After running another half a mile to the transfers desk I managed to convince the desk clerk to get me onto the next flight (seven hours later) although I still had to pay 200 dollars for my stupidity. I honestly have no idea why I didn't hear any calls for me. I'm pretty sure they were mispronouncing my name. As it was it wasn't much of a problem, and might even have been more helpful for Jenny that I arrived later anyway.

After that the whole trip went a lot more swimmingly. Over the weekend and the Monday we walked around quite a bit of Boston, seeing places like Harvard, MIT, typical brownstone architecture and the high-rise districts... although Jenny's cold which arrived when I did and various discussed issues precluded all the strenuous activities we might have liked to have engaged in. While she tried to shake her illness on Monday I took a cycle ride and got horribly lost in Somerville and came back slightly chastened. Still, we did manage to have a damned good climbing session on Monday evening. Tuesday, while Jenny was in work, I walked across the middle of Boston and past Fenway Park until I found the very cheap outdoor shop we'd been discussing and, once she'd skived the afternoon off work (like everyone else who was going home for Thanksgiving), we spent a lot of money (although roughly half what we'd have spent in the UK) on windproof fleeces, Gore-Tex shoes and boots and various other things like wiregates for Cormac, bar ends for my bike and base layers and waterproofs. Lots and lots of really cool stuff anyway. Suitably loaded up we headed for home before getting dressed up in our new gear to brave the rather cold Boston weather. It's chilly over there at the moment and will only get colder apparently!

Rather than hire a car we decided to actually fly to Cape Cod for Thanksgiving and duly journeyed to Boston Logan airport on Wednesday morning, but via the New England Aquarium where we got to see lots of penguins and fish (both very important). The flight from Boston was in a Cessna 402 (so only about eight people) and in thick fog, which didn't bode well for the weather while we were there. However once we'd been driven to the hotel we were staying at and found the room to our liking, the extra amenities (cheese and wine social every day, free DVD rental from an extensive library, free access to the spa) we figured it wouldn't matter too much if the weather stayed bad. We spent the early evening looking around Provincetown before heading back in to read and enjoy the room. Thursday's weather was incredible. Cold, windy, clear and bright. We walked out across the breakwater and across the "Long Point" sands and all the way around the edge. There's few things quite so tiring as walking a few miles on sand but it was brilliant and something I'll remember for a long time. After coming back and recovering with a trip to the spa (mineral hot tub, sauna, steam room) we wandered out to find the place Jenny and the hotel had together managed to book for us to eat for Thanksgiving (an all you can eat buffet in a fairly cheesy diner) so that was fab too. Friday was a chance to do some more superb walking and we headed out to the other side of the Cape to follow the cycle route (no cycles to hire out of season) all the way to the Atlantic coast. The wind was ferocious and it was a damned good idea that we'd brought gloves and hats and excellent new outdoor clothing. Being in the beech forest (although I'm pretty sure much of it was oak) helped filter the wind much of the time too. Saturday was spent traveling back to Boston and dithering about what to do before we got invited to share a meal with Jenny's landlady, her live-in cousin and their friends. Whilest waiting for the dinner to be prepared Jenny and I managed to completely trash her SPSS 12.0(.1) install and I've been unable to track down installation media for it since I've come home. I fully intend to get a handle on it before too long. If anyone has the media, the license is legal and valid, I only need an .iso of the CD...

My last day was just a wonderful as all the others, if not more so here and there. Unlike the other days when there'd been diner breakfasts or brunches, we at at home before taking two bikes out and north to the Middlesex Fells, an area of wonderful forest and so forth barely half an hour from Jenny's doorstep. A lovely long walk (yes, I like walking, OK?) followed by packing, a shower and some very pleasant relaxation prepared me for my leave-taking and coming back to the UK. At the airport Jenny and I said our (mostly) cheerful goodbyes and I headed through the security.

The flight home was overnight, uneventful and almost allowed me to have some real sleep. The Tube ride in rush hour, the change to the Circle, the wait at Liverpool Street and the train home were dull and all too short to allow me a proper doze. At the station I did my good deed for the day by giving a girl who was having trouble making change for her bus ticket a 50p piece. She was very grateful but I probably did it out of a desire to collapse into a seat sooner than out of raw generosity. As soon as I got home I packed and came to work where I've been catching up on email and discovering that RedHat have just started doing a RHEL4-based kernel in a Xen DomU version which saves a few bits of bacon I'd forgotten I'd put in the pan before I left. I think I'm going to go home now, sort out my photos, watch some television and try to stay away until a sensible hour before crashing out for the night. It'll be odd to be back in my own bed tonight.

I think that's everything.

15/11/2007
[16:15] Climbing was crap last night. Really bad. Everyone was tired and annoyed and really not in the mood. I don't think we were actually there for more than about an hour and a bit. I know I got home in high dudgeon, which wasn't helped by a few emails I had. Luckily after a shower, a chat and some food I went to bed in a better frame of mind.

This morning I spent a good few hours writing and responding to emails as well as discovering exactly how to resize a Xen disk image. I'm going to pepper this entry with juicy Googlesnacks so that it's easy to find for other people as well as me. So, yeah, Xen, block device, monkeys, resize2fs, losetup, cheese, xm create, xm destroy, penguins. That ought to do it. Anyway, herewith my current method for resizing the root partition of a standardly laid out filesystem (/boot, /, swap) contained with a file (with no LVM or anything else weird):

# dd if=/dev/zero of=<'disk' image> bs=1 count=1 seek=<new size>G conv=notrunc
 (new size should be bigger than the current size of the 'disk' image)
parted <'disk' image>
 rm 3 (the swap partition (3))
# fdisk <'disk' image> -ul
 (Find the "Start" sector value for / filesystem (partition 2))
# losetup /dev/loop0 -o <sector value*512> <'disk' image>
# fsck -f /dev/loop0
# losetup -d /dev/loop0
# losetup /dev/loop0 <'disk' image>
 (creates device node for entire block device)
# fdisk /dev/loop0
 (Make note of the number of cylinders)
# losetup -d /dev/loop0
# fdisk -u <'disk' image>
 (Go into "expert" menu
 Set cylinders to noted cylinder count
 Delete the / partition (partition 2)
 Recreate partition 2 with the same partition number and start sector value 
  and as large as you need leaving space for the swap partition on the end 
 Create swap partition (partition 3)
 Write partition table
 Quit (ignore warning))
# xm create -c <image config file>
 (VM will fail to boot with an fsck error
 Make note of fsck physical block size error value)
# xm destroy <image name>
# losetup /dev/loop0 -o <sector value*512> <'disk' image>
# fsck -fy /dev/loop0
# resize2fs /dev/loop0 <physical size error block value>
# fsck -fy /dev/loop0
# losetup -d /dev/loop0
# xm create -c <image>
 (VM should now boot correctly!)


If you can streamline this do let me know. If it's so much line noise then don't worry, it was to me too, and I'm supposed to know all this stuff. Still after about nine hours of constant puzzling it all out I'm pretty sure I know what's happening but haven't really had time to find a smarter way of doing things. Suffice it to say as soon as I come back from being away next week (well, I actually leave tomorrow morning at some unhealthy hour of the am) I'm going to see if there's a much easier way of doing it. I wonder if Xen Enterprise has all this stuff wrapped up in a neat way. If nothing else I may look at simplifying the partitioning system for VMs even more into one monolith partition with no /boot as a separate entity and also moving the swap partition out to a separate 'device' (in reality another file within Dom0 which is refered to within the Xen configuration file for the VM as another disk. In other words:

disk = [ 'tap:aio:/.../server-disk,xvda,w', ]
disk = [ 'tap:aio:/.../server-swapdisk,xvdb,w', ]


Or something like that.

Anyway, I think that's about it for today, and indeed this week and next. I've made a ton of progress on all kinds of things, seem to have sorted out some problematic issues in my personal life and found that there could be some moderately fun things happening in the next few months both in and out of work. But if I've learned anything it's that you never expect things to happen, it's more that they will if they're going to and usually there's not much you can do other than gently influence things a little and go with the flow otherwise.

And on that note, I bid you adieu until a week on Monday.

14/11/2007
[17:35] Aside from a run in the freezing cold today (which was excellent), I've been really getting to know how partitions work in an effort to try and be able to resize Xen disk images. I got rid of LVM and went for normal partitioning but that still wasn't good enough. Suffice it to say tomorrow I'm going to try and build some images with one monolithic partition and either include swap in the disk image as a file (within a file, oddly) or as a separate file within Dom0 and reference it in the Xen configuration for a VM. I know this means less than nothing to most people but talking it out means I might actually remember this stuff tomorrow.

Oh, my line manager's just come up with something else that might work. I'll try that tomorrow as right now I have brain-fry. It's kinda nice as I've not had it in a while, but it's always annoying not to be able to solve something even after you've been really clever (althought obviously not clever enough!).

Must go, I'm climbing tonight. Wicked.

13/11/2007
[16:25] Gah, why is it only Tuesday? It feels later in the week, but it isn't! That's so not right. Anyway, I popped into town before work this morning to pick up some stuff and then headed in. The weather's finally cold enough that other cyclists are starting to question my sanity again. Also the rather attractive females in reception this morning waiting for their course to start couldn't help staring. Obviously I'd prefer it if they were looking at my face, and with some kind of appreciation, rather than the vague horror my bare legs seem to usually elicit when it's cold outside. Not that don't garner a watered down version of same in the summer months anyway...

Today I have been mainly rebuilding Xen virtual machines with much more basic partitioning structures (i.e. no LVM) so that they're more easily fiddled about with if we want to make the 'hard drive' larger with a swift bit of 'dd' action. Also I popped into town with the Networks guy to drop off some new switches for some early morning work I'll be doing tomorrow. My first bit of decent network work in years. Shame it's not anything tremendously interesting but at least it's more exciting that sitting down for the whole day. Although tomorrow is a running day, and a climbing day too.

Right now I'm going to learn about Checkpoint FW-1 a bit and then head off to the gym for the evening. Should be a fun evening. If nothing else I've got the other imperial assload of kedgeree to eat tonight after I made double the amount I thought I was going to last night. Aside from a few incidents with underboiled eggs and white sauce mixing (which turned out very well in the end) it looks like I've got a second dose of scrumptiousness tonight after my shower.

I think that's it.

12/11/2007
[17:05] So, here we are again. Another Monday. But, let's rewind back to Friday night. Friday night was all about gym and it being really rather good. It's a brilliant feeling when I'm really in the groove as it were and everything's working and I come out of the place feeling tired but hugely energised. Which was lucky as Saturday morning is rowing time! This was a much better session than last week. Not only were there a large load of new people who got to go on the ergos (meaning my group were definitely out on the water) but as there were five men I got to go in a single scull for the first time while everyone else went in the quad. Single sculls are even more unstable than the kayaks I used to race (mostly because of your height above the water). That coupled with my inexperience, the wind and having two oars instead of a two-bladed paddle meant that while I didn't embarrass myself I wasn't as happy with my performance as I would have liked. My coach for the morning seemed satisfied though, which was nice.

I left rowing feeling good and spent the remainder of the afternoon doing housey things and receiving my curtain rail from Teresa (bent the right way this time!) in preparation for cutting a few bits out of the coving around the stairs and mounting it. I have no idea when the curtain will be done by but given the requirement for two people to put up the rail I'm hoping to recruit Shaun to pop around one evening the week after next to give me a hand with a drill and/or screwdriver. I'm just a smidgen worried that it's going to be difficult to attach it to the ceiling given the location of the stuff the plasterboard is attached to. Still, we'll see.

Oh yes, where was I? Saturday. Yes, Saturday evening I was dancing and getting very hot and stuff at a ceilidh. Although I took a break it ended up being in the region of two hours of dancing with lots of drink in between. Even though I wasn't imbibing alcohol I was still rather shattered by around 23:00 and escorted Cat home by bicycle before collapsing into bed. I think I'd mentioned going climbing on Sunday? Well I didn't. Although I woke up in plenty of time to make the very early start the fact that I've been waking early for the last few days meant that I really wasn't in the mood for a long car journey. Instead I tried to stay in bed for a little longer, read a large chunk of the book I'm on at the moment and then finally gave up to insistent demands to get out of bed. While the sun was rising I jumped on my bike with my camera and other essentials and tried to capture some of the fading, but still brilliant, colours of the UK in autumn. With some help I think I was successful in proving that it's just as nice as other places in the world for this time of year.

After that, some breakfast and later on some lunch kept me from folding in half. I've been famished this last month or so, I think it must be my metabolism keeping up with my increased activity. Anyway, I cycled across town in the rapidly brightening weather to meet Cormac and then fly some big powerkites (and my smaller, easier to transport one) in some lovely high winds. For the very first time I pulled on a kiting harness and got some good air time too, which was really bloody excellent. Eventually though the cloud rolled in, the temperature dropped and the winds picked up to slightly more dangerous levels. This meant we packed up and went home for hot tea and a sit down. After a bit of a rest I went home and found I had zero enthusiasm for cooking so for the first time in a long time I went with a Chinese delivery. Being only one person the people weren't particularly interested in delivering to me but I managed to convince them that a £1 would give them a bit of a profit on the venture. I'm pretty sure I went to bed later on, given that I woke up there this morning. I think it's something to do with how much I'm doing at the moment.

So today I woke up feeling pretty much on top of the world, as it goes. Not perfect, but close to. Popping into work this morning was lovely given the temperature was fairly close to zero. We figured out why a certain web server wasn't running (oops, my fault) and did some other things. It wasn't until lunch time that I realised I didn't have my towel with me to use after my run so I modified my run to take me home and back again, which turned out to be the same distance. Handy. The weather here is amazing; brilliant blue skies, freezing temperatures and little to no wind. Pretty much perfect for running in. This afternoon I've mainly be doing favours for other people and thinking about things I need to get done before Friday. I'm not sure what else there is I need to do to be honest!

09/11/2007
[16:40] Right, that ought to do it. I'm done for the week. What can I tell you?

Had the best lunchtime run in a while (fabulous blue skies, 6km of uninterrupted quiet to let my brain untangle), lunch tasted especially fine. My shower was hot and cleansing and nothing went wrong while I was away from my desk. Not that anything really went wrong when I was at my desk either, apart from some power work in town which is making one of our UPSen go crazy batpoopy nuts.

This weekend I hope to go rowing, get my hair cut, attend a ceilidh, go climbing outdoors, sleep. Tonight starts with going to the gym.

In the vein of someone else recently:

Things I like about the UK: We have lots of types of cheese. In the main the population doesn't appear to be supporting of stupidity in its leaders. You can cycle across the country in a week, even if you're taking your time. We have lots of imaginative words for things, like cowpats. Our currency doesn't look like monopoly money (or be worth roughly the same).

Things I think might be good about the US: The landscape is simply incredible. Alaska. Diner breakfasts. The existence of Moose.

That is all.

08/11/2007
[17:30] I woke this morning with a slowly subsiding feeling of depression. I managed to alleviate it by concentrating on the thoughts and actions I needed to carry out today, and got on with life. Last night I popped over to see Shaun and Linda and Thomas (he's growing well now, aged 4) for dinner. The food, as usual, was lovely and I had ample opportunity to discuss the burning issues of the day with both of my lovely hosts (three if you count young Thomas) while indulging my latent and long-buried passion for building things out of Lego. Cycling home in the cold, crisp, cloudless, pitch dark on a lovely bike with a high-visibility tabard and good lights was enjoyable, but even that couldn't shake a growing feeling of disquiet with nothing really to pin it on. Sometimes my life is very strange. I went to bed in moderately high dudgeon but very glad about the evening's activities and hopeful I hadn't hogged the evening's conversation by talking too much!

Although today hasn't been what I could claim as the most productive of my career to date I'm pretty certain I have achieved something. Probably the highlight has been getting the new versions of RHEL 5 from RedHat (hurrah for finally doing DVD ISOs!) and intergrating them into the Kickstart area. Oddly since I rebooted my workstation USB sticks don't automount any more. This is probably due to most of the /dev entries having vanished. Anyway, that and some other minor stuff seems to have taken up most of my day. Lunch at my desk, thinking about good things which might be happening soon. Not a great day, not the worst either. And there's still Red Dwarf to look forward to when I get home (it being Thursday).

And finally a message for our friends in Bostonia. "Agent P requires fish."

That is all.

07/11/2007
[15:10] Busy day, done lots. Mostly arranging email things and fixing versions of perl and PHP. All good fun. The run was good as today is my push day. After doing a fabulous gym session last night I'm totally shattered now and there's still tons of cycling to and from town, to Shaun and Linda's for dinner this evening and then getting home again. Still, keeps me fit.

Some of those emails were very very long. My fingers almost hurt. Better go. Hope everyone's having a good day doing what they're doing. I feel like I've been stretched in about five different directions. No climbing tonight, which is probably a Good Thing.

06/11/2007
[17:00] After not working out where I wanted to go last night (stay in or go out to see the fireworks) I was convinced to come out at the last moment and meet Keith. With a few others we watched the fireworks before heading to a restuaranty-type deal for some food. The explosions and things were pretty good, but it was cold and wet and someone had a reasonable attempt at trying to pickpocket an empty pocket as I was walking to the restaurant. No harn done and he was off on his toes before I could be bothered to do anything. Had he stolen something I guess I would have "given chase" as the saying goes.

I left everyone else just before ten so I could be home in time to get a reasonable night's sleep for this morning's work. As it was I woke at 05:00 anyway (I always do when I'm feeling a bit stressed about things). In work by 06:20 or so I had a last little check over my action plan before beginning it on the dot of 06:47 when someone else came in. Both strands of machine reboots seemed to go for the most part flawlessly. Only a few scripts written by the DBAs didn't work as advertised and they were such that we were able to run the right bits by hand anyway. Only two of the machines wanted to do fscks (file system checks to make sure everything was OK with how things were arranged on the hard drives) but otherwise... yeah, pretty good. That was all done by around about 08:00 or just before so we were able to settle in to the day's work without much muss or fuss.

Today's work was installing the new office member's linux workstation, eating a few too many sweets (we still have a massive bucket of leftover Halloween sweets which children never got from our team leader) and getting a more recent version of PHP and PEAR installed on two of our database servers. Please, don't ask me why this is case but it is. Rest assured I've done my damnedest to lock it down so tightly it squeaks when you even ask it for its settings. Happily we're behind enough other protection that everything should be fire. Retrofitting a PHP of that ilk to RHEL4 certain was 'interesting'.

Given how long I've been up and at work it already feels like something like seven in the evening. It's not though and I've still got a gym trip to do. I'm really enjoying the gym at the moment. It's a really good way to relax after a day of work and/or frustration. I'm also happy I got to have a few emails with friends in distance places. I reckon I should get out of here while the going's good and not return until tomorrow. Have a good remainder of the day wherever you are.

05/11/2007
[16:00] Rowing on the weekend was poo. We were in a mixed boat (males and females) and I was at bow for the first time. One person was better than me, the other two were far far worse. Following the person at stroke was extremely difficult. We never got to full slide on the seats and I caught a lot of crabs. This I'll put down to 20% my technique not being great yet and 80% horribly wobbly boat caused by the people at three and stroke. I came home having not raised a sweat, completely unexercised and generally a bit peeved. Lunch and a shower helped and then I settled down to getting some housework done. Andy arrived later than we'd planned due to difficulties elsewhere so I dashed around Tesco as quickly as I could so we didn't waste the remainder of the day in a supermarket. Instead we wasted it in the local Chinese, which appeared to be having its busiest ever evening in the history of forever. Aside from waiting ten minutes to get to order, getting the food took about another thirty-five minutes. We spent the remainder of the night watching some fun DVDage and drinking beer.

Sunday morning was all about watching Robot Chicken and eating bacon and potato cakes. I've developed a real taste for these non-potato, non-cake things and try to get the decent Warburton ones whenever I can. Anyway, once Andy had departed with a laptop full of televisual delight I settled in to not do anything energetic for the day. This, of course, was a bad idea and before an hour was up got up to do something. What I ended up doing consisted of cleaning the kitchen, putting on some washing and cleaning the bathroom. Only once I'd done that was I able to sit down. Although I did then go out for a cycle ride for an hour or so.

Today I've been scheduling all the things I need to do for my (and everyone else in the office's) early start tomorrow. I'm rebooting nineteen servers, many of which are live/production. This means I'll be in before 07:00, again and it'll be a rather interesting two hours or so. If nothing goes wrong I'll be amazed. Anything that requires me to spend the morning writing the action plan has got to have something go amiss somewhere. Other than that I've been for my Monday run (lovely and cool outside, even got to deliver Cormac's pedals en route) and sent one of the three big emails I was due to try and do today. I've got an hour. I'll see if I can do at least one more before I go.

Tonight is Guy Fawkes (Bonfire/Fireworks) Night. A year ago today I wasn't outside watching the fireworks, I was indoors having one of the best evenings of my life. It's funny how it seems like barely any time ago. I wonder where I'll be a year again from now.

02/11/2007
[16:40] Busy day! Most of the morning has been spent working out which machines are due a reboot as they haven't had a chance to start running on a newer kernel in a little while. Cue me creating some wicked lists of machines with kernel levels, whose they are and what they do and when we can reboot them. Happily they're all up to date with regard to patches and things so it really is simply a case of typing "reboot" when there's an appropriate bit of downtime scheduled.

Last night a few of us went for a curry. We'd had the intention of watching a DVD on a laptop in the curry house but unfortunately the seating we were given wasn't really conducive to a) us all seeing it and b) not disrupting the dining of other patrons. We retired to my house afterwards to have a late night watching another entire series of Red Dwarf. This meant I was beginning to drop off towards the end of the final episode, but still managed to soldier through and make a nice (but probably unnecessary) phonecall before going to bed. For some reason my brain is saying I went to the dentist this morning. I didn't, that was yesterday wasn't it?

So yes, after a shortened run at lunch time (so I and my running partner could make it back in time to shower and stuff) everyone from Windows and Unix Support headed down to the pub to 'thank' one of my team for writing a front end for the data from the old helpdesk system. The company who make the system (whose newer system we're in the process of buying) wanted £3.5K to provide us with something with read-only access to the data. Our team member wrote something in under two weeks to do the same thing, and it's bespoke so exactly like we'd want it. That amused us anyway, when they gave us a quote (eventually, after we'd given up and had this guy do the work).

I'm off to the gym now, then home to meet Joel who's coming to pick up a few servers from me. After that I'll be hanging around, probably watching some television before bed. Saturday morning is rowing (I may be actually joining the club for real), possibly in doubles rather than a quad. Saturday afternoon and evening Andy's coming to see me on the way to see his folks. He goes on Sunday morning, post obligatory bacon. I don't know what I'll do with the rest of Sunday. Maybe make some calls, talk to nice people about things and stuff and look forward to this and that. Also, housework, washing, shopping for food and bike maintenance type things. Given how I'm feeling at the moment I imagine there'll be something vigorous and active too!

01/11/2007
[16:05] Wow, November. How the hell did that happen? I mean, I don't mind that it's November; there could be some good things happening this month, but time does seem to have this habit of speeding up, slowing down and curving back on itself in in an extremely non-linear and confusing way sometimes. If I wasn't so sure that there wasn't currently any way to traverse the two dimensions of time (see this month's New Scientist) other than how we do by default I'd swear I was Sam Beckett. Not that I'm currently putting right anything that went particularly wrong, but I do try where I see the opportunity.

Speaking of putting right (but failing). I tried to get Jenny's laptop talking to her landlady's wireless kit last night. Despite an hour of work, and finding a similar spec laptop to hers to bring home to use as a mirror for what she was doing, I was unable to help. Which, considering yesterday's amount of exercise (flat out run and climbing) left me feeling a bit dejected when I went to bed. Also quite tired.

Still, a dentist appointment this morning meant I didn't have to be up early for once so I got to sleep in a while. Paying £30 for twelve minutes in a chair, only to be told that aside from having very healthy teeth a trip to the hygenist (for a further £60) might be a plan for a clean and scale rather than the dentist doing it, wasn't a particularly brilliant start to the day though. Getting to work pretty much only half an hour later than the beginning of the recognised working day wasn't so bad though. It enabled me to get in on a discussion that culminated in the impression that an awful lot of new and interesting things could be happening here in the next two years or so... More on that, if I stay here that long, when it happens.

More work on stuff and things today, found some new (to me) Hybrid DJ sets on the web so have something new to listen to when working/coding/erging/gymming/cycling about the place, which is nice. There's a curry to attend tonight at which we will apparently try to watch Red Dwarf on DVD on someone's laptop. I remain skeptical we won't be thrown out...