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[16:40] Damn, sorry, got caught up in emails. This'll be short as I have a date tonight and need to get to the gym before that.

Had a fun outing last night saying goodbye to two of the crew. Just wish my seat runners had been in the right position. We went out for food and drink afterwards before I wandered through town to wait for Kris' coach to come in from Heathrow. Cormac and co. met me on the grass by the coach stops around 23:00 but had to head off before Kris arrived.

With the aid of a taxi I got a very tired girl home and into bed before she collapsed. That turned out to be a very good thing. Waking up this morning not feeling too tired was equally good too. Getting to work and doing some useful stuff was also fairly nice. Lunch with someone I've been talking to for over two years and only met for the first time today was pleasant also.

Now I'm off for a short gym session before a nice meal out with Kris and quite possibly a very lazy weekend punctuated only by a nice long run on Sunday and some non-rowing fun on water. We may even go to Borders and look at travel information for various places. That, I think, will be the most tiring part of the weekend.

[16:50] After cycling to Tesco and back and purchasing what turned out to be a rather expensive amount of food I toddled over to Cormac's where I met Cat and Keith and we all settled in to watch two extremely amusing films (Starship Troopers 3 and the old classic The Last Starfighter) with pizza and beer. The beer actually tasted quite good considering it was a Corona. Getting home lateish and heading to bed I was up and about quite early this morning and feeling rather good. I don't quite know why, maybe it was anticipation of this evening when Kris gets home. Either way I breezed through my morning exercises and also managed to shave of my proto-beard before getting into work in plenty of time. My lunch date failed to materialise again, which means we have to meet up tomorrow lunch time or the opportunity is over. Given we haven't ever actually met despite talking on and off for the last two or so years it's both mildly frustrating for them to be so close and yet I know that given its taken this long there's no reason why it can't take even longer. I would have suggested meeting on Saturday but I'm so going to be busy doing other, more fun, things.

Speaking of fun things I'm off to be in a scratch VIII crew this evening to say goodbye to two of my squad's members. They're heading off to Uganda and Brazil respectively so this is their final opportunity to get out in a boat as well as coming out for a 'swift half' at a local watering hole. I'm planning on leaving them at some point in the evening to firstly meet up with Cormac and friends who'll be celebrating/commiserating his recent exams (today) and secondly to be in town when Kris' coach arrives from Heathrow at around 23:00. I get the feeling she's really going to be happy to have someone to meet her after (if all goes smoothly) ~18 hours of travel.

In other news, I've created/updated all of the spreadsheets my squad uses for rowing and training and am extremely pissed off with supervisors who fail to do what they're supposed to for extremely hard working and dilligent members of my family.

[16:05] And I'm back. Hello again! You didn't miss me but I don't mind, I like that you come here and read this at all. It's possible you were expecting me to have posted something before now today but, well, I'm sorry to say I've actually been busy doing stuff. And things! Actual stuff and things! For pretty much the whole day!

Where've I been? Well Birmingham actually. Being part of the running of the logistics and volunteer side of the Discworld Convention. It's an every-two-years thing and is all kinds of fun (if you actually attend the programme items). I didn't get a lot of sleep, was Borged into the collective Committee with a walkie-talkie and secret service earpiece for about four days and was in constant motion for the same amount of time. Just like in 1998, 2002, 2004 and 2006. It's funny just how my my life has changed between each of them, actually. I say funny, you know what I mean. Anyway, I got back yesterday afternoon, spend the remainder of the day bemoaning the fact I need to go to Tesco and then instead choosing to watch television while reclining on the sofa and counting the number of Crabtree and Evelyn toiletry products I snaffled. They're the perfect travel size for people going on planes and generally moving around a lot. I'm sure someone'll be able to use them. I'm back now anyway and considering my options with regard to what I do this evening, how I get everything I need to do done before Kris arrives home tomorrow evening and just how drunk my rowing crew are going to get tomorrow when we go out for a final row with two of them who're leaving us to go to South Africa and Brazil respectively for the forseeable from this weekend.

I actually got back into the bow (into a boat at all) for the first time since the Bumps last night. Having such a big break left me a bit out of practice and I was putting too much power into the catch. Luckily I identified exactly what was happening and had it worked out of my system by the time we opened the taps and were blasting back down the Reach. I could get used to being in a 4x I think.

[16:45] Oh, yes, today is my last journal entry until I get back from the Discworld Convention next Tuesday (although I probably won't do an entry until I get back to work on the Wednesday). With that in mind I should probably tell you something interesting to tide you over. Unfortunately I don't have anything that'd pique your interest. We've had some DNS issues at work all day which may be partially to do with the reboot of the server I did yesterday. There doesn't appear to be anything I can do to fix it so I'm leaving it to other people in this instance.

Work really is quite empty at the moment, yet still I feel busy doing all kinds of small things which are keeping me occupied and unable to relax terribly much. Now and then I've taken a bit of time to watch some Olympics action (Men's 100m and 200m, for example) which has reminded me to keep my exercise going. As a result I got back on the rowing machine last night in lieu of my leg regime at the gym and was pleasantly surprised to be able to beat out a good 5km row in under nineteen minutes, even if it left me in a bit of a perspire. My energy levels remained high and I was able to complete the rest of the session well. Oddly my appetite was practically zero when I got home even though I slept reasonably well. At least my shoulderblade didn't ache until I got up anyway.

There's climbing this evening (probably) and then I should probably pack and get a reasonable night's sleep. In the meantime I supposed there's a few emails I should reply to before I'm away from a computer for almost a week. Now I remember it I had a bit of a trip down memory lane recently about this and that. It was nice to feel simply nostalgia rather than regret. Something I've been getting much much better at recently. Definitely something I'm glad I can do more and more often.

Kris has emailed to say she's arrived safely in Taiwan, which is good. It's a shame wifi access at the hotel this weekend is so expensive, because we won't be able to chat except by occasional text message, but perhaps it's a good opportunity for me to take a complete break from computers for a while even if it's only a week.

[14:40] Back still aching somewhat. Sleep better. Dinner last night lovely, (extra topping'eded pizza) even with a terrible film as accompaniment. Getting up early this morning was made an awful lot better that you might imagine so it was with a smile on my face that I came into work to do some machine maintenance and upgrade the RAM in a live database server. Happily it was one of the more aware DBAs who checked to make sure the Oracle scripts for stopping and starting the databases were ready to use so everything went swimmingly. It was only when I got back into the office after twenty minutes in the server room that I noticed that our Big Brother/Hobbit server was flagging up an awful lot of errors and problems. This turned out to be because of a DNS server and a Windows server being rebooted that I hadn't been aware had been scheduled. Killing and restarting one Xen instance and rebooting another as well as doing a belt-and-braces resolv.conf update solved most of the problems and I've been able to settle down and think about SSL certificate organisation and a few other bits and bobs. It's good that it's nice and quiet at the moment as it means I can go and see Kris off to Taiwan in a few minutes and then not come back to work. Instead I'm going to have a nice long, unpressured gym session and then settle down for a quiet evening.

[15:50] It was extremely pleasant to get to the gym on Friday and not feel any ill-effects from the muscle pull I had on Tuesday. Getting through my exercises quickly but not in a rushed manner I was home just in time to get the house prepared before my parents arrived. This necessitated leaving Kris alone with them for a few minutes while I showered but it was OK because they got on famously. In fact the whole weekend of chatting, walking around various parts of the surrounding area and eating delicious meals (the first of which was cooked by Kris herself on Friday evening) just underlined how well everyone got on. Which was nice.

With no rowing over the weekend (but it's coming up next week when I get back from the Discworld Convention (where I'll be running the volunteer force, again)) we could do anything we liked. This included, but was not limited to, sleeping in, eating well and spending lots of time relaxing and enjoying ourselves. Add into that moving the dinner table into the middle of the kitchen for the first time since probably my parents last came to visit, a trip to Tesco for bulky/heavy things and a free wooden trolley which may come in very useful and the weekend was pretty great all in all.

By Sunday we were all a little tired, mentally anyway, so it was nice to be able to pull on my running shoes and do my complete Sunday Run in the afternoon while Kris had a snooze. I think the rest of the day was spent enjoying old Top Gear episodes and making a really lovely lamb curry-based dinner. Kris really is a wonderful cook.

Unfortunately last night's sleep was badly broken and I ended up moving to the spare bed so there was the best chance both of us would have as good a night's sleep as possible. Amazingly, sleeping on what is usually my favourite mattress resulted in my muscle pull playing up again. Happily today has been exceedingly quiet at work so all I've needed to do is sit very straight, watch Olympics coverage and try to let my back calm down. Tonight should be quiet, which'll give me a chance to do some partition magic with Partition Magic to make two of my computers feel like they have a little more room to play with on their C: drive partitions.

[16:30] Bills paid is back on the net again. Not that any of you really care given that you only read the journal and that through LiveJournal anyway. My shoulder is beginning to heal somewhat, which is good. Sleeping on it is still something of a no-no though. As it was we went to bed pretty tired anyway considering that last night was Kris' first Thursday: affair. A good few people turned up and we celebrated in fine style with Blazing Saddles and Animal House. Even with Animal House being a bit scratched we had a fine old time with pizza and cakes and drinks and things.

The weather has proven to be sunny and bright again today which makes me regret not doing anything at lunchtime. As I'm going to the gym this evening before my parents arrive for the weekend I feel as though at least I'm getting some exercise in. The rowing schedule for the next few weeks has come out and I'm back in the boat, but not as much as I'd like to be before the next regatta we're going to (Lea, 31st August). I may have to try and get some of the sub places which are potentially available between now and then.

Work quiet, have been trying to figure out why PassEnv doesn't work for Apache and endeavouring to discover where it gets all its environmental variables from at start up. For the moment I've gone with SetEnv. But that just doesn't feel as neat.

I should get to the gym so I can get home in time to help with dinner. Have a good weekend.

[17:00] Climbing was pretty good last night. Even with my pulled muscle I still had a fun time climbing with Kris for the first time. I'm actually really pleased that I don't seem to have lost a lot of my climbing skill despite the rather lengthy break. Still, it was more tiring than I had expected perhaps due to not sleeping particularly well what with my pulled muscle and all that. The useful talk Kris and I had on the way back in the car had a tremendous effect on my mental wellbeing though. I think I should take this opportunity to state for the record that Kris is one of the most wonderful people I have ever talked to about what goes on inside my head and that her willingness to listen and/or otherwise be prepared to deal with what goes on with me on a day-to-day (or even hour-by-hour) basis needs extolling and recognising. Thank you Kris, I just hope I'm worthy of it.

Anyway, having made my way to work a little later than expected I've managed to spend the entire day doing almost nothing at all. This wasn't by choice, it's just that there's very little to do at the moment. Patching and rebooting the live load balancer was probably the highlight of the day, work-wise. Eating two extremely sweet and sugary cakes from someone's birthday celebration perhaps not so great as you might think. Other than that it hasn't seemed to rain today when I actually have a waterproof with me, as opposed to yesterday when I didn't and it did.

I should head off now. Tonight is Thursday, as it tends to be most every at this point in the week. Therefore I need to get out of here and make the house presentable for other people, and find a hair clip. Or at least try.

Oh, and the DNS record for is on hold at the moment owing to a payment issue. Sorry about that. As soon as it's fixed I'll let you know.

[17:00] Rather stupidly I appear to have pulled a muscle in my left trapezius. Probably something to do with the speed with which I did some of the exercises and/or the weight I used at the gym last night. Silly me, especially when we're going climbing this evening. I'm not in any pain per se, but cycling to and from Tesco after the gym session wasn't the most enjoyable thing in the world. Sleep was easy to come by but the morning still away me feeling a tad tired. Hopefully with this evening's exercise and some food I'll sleep like a log, especially when I don't have to get up early tomorrow as I thought I'd have to. No, instead that's going to happen on Tuesday morning instead. This is mildly peeveworthy as it's the day Kris leaves for Taiwan. Happily I've been assured that once I've done the 7-8 duty with the updates and the memory upgrades and the heyheyhey I can head home for a little while to see her off for the week or so she's away.

As for today it's all about more updates as and when I can apply them, regretting not packing a waterproof to cycle home with and trying to curb the sudden chocolate desire I have which has cropped up in the last few days. I really don't know where its come from but thank heavens for the vending machine and the fact I tend to do some kind of calorie-burning exercise every day (except Thursdays).

[16:55] OK, so perhaps a slightly earlier bed time would have been helpful. The thing is that if we'd done that we wouldn't have been able to see The Dark Knight and then have a rather scrumptious pork stir-fry for dinner. I don't quite know why but this second watching of the film was rather depressing/disheartening for me. I wasn't particularly happy for a few hours afterwards. I felt rather down in all honesty. I think it was the negativism of a lot of the interwoven themes within the plot. Obviously as a Batman story it wasn't going to be sweetness and light but... I don't know. I still think Ledger's role was excellently portrayed.

Getting up this morning was rather hard too given my tiredness. Still, with some encouragement from Kris I was able to get out and about in the end. She has been squaring away the rest of her stuff in her room today. Me, I cycled to work in the driving rain, only to have it stop once I actually got here. Amusingly there was a minor mixup with regard to how Kris and I would meet for lunch and she ended up at the burrito van with Cormac while I wandered around my building looking for her (rather than staying at my desk). Still, she's getting to know more of the city (all be it by accident).

In an effort to keep the twelve new 'identical' web servers in sync I've spent some more time replicating changes to match the server that has been being fiddled with recently. That and organising (by which I mean the decision was made for me, not that I mind per se) an early morning start on Thursday to fit RAM to the other database server (the sister of the one I did last week) has meant that I've been lining up hefty software updates for certain machines such that they'll get new kernels and things the next time they're rebooted.

For now though I'm off to the gym and then to Tesco, if the weather holds. I fully intend to then have a rather relaxed evening and hopefully get to bed moderately early. Chance, though, would be a fine thing.

[16:40] Tired doesn't begin to cover how pooped I am at the moment. From going to the gym on Friday night (good session, actually) to the party with a pirate theme (I took a CDR upon which was written "expensive software, movies, music, porn") I wore myself out quite intensively, even if I left at 23:00. The problem was compounded by waking up too early on Saturday morning and deciding that the amount of chores I had to do required me to get up there and then instead of attempting to sleep in. I got up and was in town well before the shops opened. However, being first into the John Lewis department store first allowed me to get the uplighter lamp for Kris' room at less than half price because of some discounts and a crafty negotiation. Add in an eco/power saver bulb for 49p and I was already ahead of the game. Getting the fizzy water, jasmine tea bags and a bouquet of flowers just finished the first phase of my day off. I then had breakfast and a chat to Kris on Skype before setting about the garden with mower, shears and weeding tools. In the end I finished only three minutes after the heavens opened. At that point I decided that the afternoon would be spent eating a late lunch and relaxing on the sofa with no plans to do anything else. It was still a pleasant decision to go to bed early in preparation for Sunday morning's horrible wakeup time. Unfortunately someone decided to start setting off fireworks at 23:00 so again, it was something of a later night than I was hoping for.

Sunday morning saw me up and about but not necessarily awake at 04:20. With a small snack inside of me I walked the few miles to the bus station and took a coach down to Heathrow to collect Kris and her masses of luggage (her life for the forseeable future). (Un)fortunately she passed through Immigration in a few minutes (rather than the hour or so we'd assumed) so she was forced to wait about 45 minutes for me to get there. As it turned out this meant we could get an earlier coach back home again which, with taxi ride at the far end, got us back to the house about an hour before I'd assumed we'd make it. Unpacking, lunch and generally settling her in took up the remainder of the day before we walked over to Cormac and Steph's for some chat, Indian food and some of a film. I say some because Kris fell asleep leaning against my legs as we watched it. Walking her home (with Keith's spare bike which we've decided not to use) was a nice way to let the food go down and work the last of the kinks from our legs after sitting on a plane and coaches for half of the last 24 hours or so. Bed followed rapidly on returning home.

Which brings me to today. Today has been tiring. It has involved replicating the tiny but numerous changes made to one of the new Web Team servers to the other eleven. There has been cycling at dead slow pace with Keith and his Pashley tricycle with three servers from my work place to Cormac's secondary work place, lunch outside (fresh air can tire you out too) and generally doing lots of Monday things which leave you feeling a tad drained at the best of times. As a result I'm not going to go to Tesco this evening but instead am going to take my best girl to see The Dark Knight. I may then have some dinner and go to bed.

[16:40] I found myself watching the opening ceremony of the Olympics on the BBC iPlayer this afternoon. An impressive display of mass people coordination mixed with a fantastic-looking venue and plenty of cuntural history which left me wondering more than anything else what London is going to do in 2012 to even hold a candle to it.

The main work of the day has been clearing down the old version of Oracle Client from the three servers which make up live, standby and development. Of course, even with the head DBA watching what I was doing and giving me the OK we still managed to delete an entire OCM development instance. Minor oops there which probably won't come back to bite us as the DBA who was using it regularly breaks and/or reinstalls things when he messes up. That and the OCM service is now live here anyway. More on that next week, I imagine.

Speaking of next week, Kris arrives the day after tomorrow. I've still a good few things I need to get done before she does so, so tomorrow is going to be quite busy, but only in a useful and well-filled way. It's going to be really rather good to have her here again. I'm looking forward to all the things we're going to be able to enjoy doing. Especially sleeping, considering she's coming over on the red-eye and I'll be getting up at 04:30 on Sunday morning to go and pick her up.

But it's now the end of the working week. After last night's quiet but enjoyable Thursday with Hannah, Ian and Cormac watching Hot Fuzz and Eight Legged Freaks I'm looking forward to a slightly more active one this evening with a gym session in the next half an hour or so and then a party for the remainder of the evening. Have a brilliant Friday and weekend and I should be back on Monday, as usual.

[17:25] Pretty much everything I've achieved today has been individually tiny and barely noticable. However every single thing has contributed to a mass of successful larger actions. I'm not normally one for enjoying being a small cog in a big machine but today I really do feel like I've done my job, not been visible and allowed the business model to roll along as it's supposed to. Not only that but last night I went to Tesco, went for a good run in the late evening twilight and had a lovely Tesco's Finest* pizza while watching Generation Kill. Basically the last 24 hours have been pretty good. I'd love the next 24 to be just as good. Having Hot Fuzz to watch tonight and Chinese take away could be a good start at attempting that.

It's getting very very close to the day when Kris comes back into the country for the first of two longish visits (punctuated by a trip to Taiwan). I have to admit I'm like a cat on a hot tin roof in terms of mentally bouncing around with stimuli when I allow myself time to think about (it's distracting otherwise and makes me cycle into parked cars when I let that happen so I tend to wait until I'm sitting down). Between now and then there's a few things I need to obtain from various places in town (nothing special, just some stuff and things) and then I need to make sure I'm well rested for Sunday morning's early start. Leaving work would probably be a good start.

If the weather's good I might even trim the hedge and mow the lawn between now and Sunday.

[18:25] Today has just flown by. I'm not sure why. Maybe it's something to do with writing long emails and watching things happen on my screen for extended periods of time. Definitely the right way to spend the early afternoon. The right way to spend the rest of the day is solving what turned out to be really easy Apache/Perl/CGI/Oracle issues with a simple and elegant solution. Which I did. That and removing unwanted software from a whole slew of machines to make next month's Nessus scan even more excellently clean.

I started writing this entry at 17:00, intending to get away on time and do some Tesco shopping and some other things. What happened instead is that I spent about an hour working out how to move the development web server for the in-house applications we have here from one version of Oracle Client to another. Not only that but getting the application(s) which depend on it to use the new installation and not fall over in a confused and messy heap. I do believe I've done it, so I'm off home now before I break anything else and have to fix that too. Happily I have a little reward for doing so. If the developer tests things tomorrow and pronounces everything a success I can have a go at removing the old Client and seeing if anything breaks or not. If not then I can change the standby server and then the live one at a convenient moment.

[17:05] The row last night was a little odd for me. I don't know if I just wasn't that set in my head or something else was up but I just didn't feel completely switched on. Maybe it was the large but fairly healthy dinner I had beforehand given that the outing was at 20:00 or that I hadn't been in the boat as often as previously (leading up to the Bumps). Either way, the outing felt "meh".

I tried to go to bed early but just couldn't settle so ended up watching some television until about 23:00. Thank heavens for downloaded episodes. Getting up at 06:00 proved to be a bit zombifying but I made it to the center of town in plenty of time to bring two machines down and upgrade their RAM. Both presented a few problems which I seem to have overcome. The dumbest being the way in which Dell labels its DIMM slots.

Back at the ranch, just before lunch, after a morning of reading web pages and writing emails it began to rain, hard. It was then that I realised I'd come into work in a t-shirt with no waterproof. I borrowed an umbrella to go for my burrito with a good gang of people from work. The afternoon was then dedicated to writing Apex documentation and an important conversation which has cleared up a few important points. From what I can tell I think I've made my point nicely.

And now, it's time for me to depart for the gym and points homewards. I'm a little tired but it's all in a very good cause. Relaxing evening tonight I think!

[17:15] The weekend in retrospect was something of a mixed bag of activities. Saturday morning was about getting ready for the cycle of 25 miles or so to Greg and Ellie's barbeque. Followed by the actual cycle to Greg and Ellie's for the barbeque (with Cormac and Keith). Happily it didn't rain at all while we were on the road. However, after we arrived and found we needed to buy some food, it absoloutely tipped down while we cycled the 5 miles or so to the nearest Sainsburys and back. I don't think I've been that wet cycling (my shoes were full of water) since I cycled across the country around about this time last year. It simultaneously feels like very little and an awful lot of time has gone by since that happened. Anyway, after we got back we got to have nice hot showers before the barbeque.

That was enjoyable but in the end I decided not to stay and opted to get the train home with Cormac, Steph and Cat. This allowed me to get up on Sunday, have a run (which I didn't quite manage to complete owing to tight leg muscles), do some washing, washing up and wash the kitchen floor as well as sanding down the polyfillering I did last weekend and clearing the house of spiders and the majority of the spiderwebs.

Oooh, I forgot to mention: I had a sports massage on Friday after I'd been to the gym. That was nice, if a little short. It's fun being a test manequin sometimes!

Otherwise Sunday involved another wonderful chat with Kris on Skype and then getting out with about fifteen other people to see The Dark Knight at the local cinema and a trip to Wagamama where I ate rather a lot and still felt quite hungry (until I ate the remains of someone else's food as well). My appetite really has gone through the roof recently. Probably since I started rowing a lot more, I guess.

Speaking of which, after today's work on load balancers, Nessus scans (including deleting some stuff I really wish I hadn't) and stupid PeopleSoft problems (getting things to work with that in-house authorisation thingy I've mentioned before) I'm getting out in the boat again tonight (seat 5) as a sub again. This is good as it keeps my hand in with the rowing even when I'm not going to be in the boat for the Peterborough Regatta this coming weekend.

I should go and help Cormac install some rack rails right about now even though I should hang around and help my team leader fix the PeopleSoft problems.

[16:05] How the hell did it get to be August already? I mean, come the tail end of this year I'll be wanting the days, weeks and months to fly by but... wow, is this year going quickly! I don't know, it feels on the whole like everything has happened so rapidly, while when I think about certain events they seemed to have passed so slowly.

Last night Sam came over rather than me having an actual Thursday-type session as per usual. I guess I was just too tired and needed to get some work done from home. Not that I got any work done (we watched Generation Kill instead), but it was nice to see her and have some company for the evening.

Today has been all about solving various perl module issues with the server the Networks guy is using to do fiendish SNMP stuff. Even with an up to date distribution like RHEL 5.2 there are still some issues which take a bit of sleight-of-hand to get around. I appear to be up to the task though and things now don't segmentation fault at the end of a run. Which is nice.

This evening is going to be a little hectic. I need to get out of here as on time as possible to get to the gym. Following that I need to shower there and then head down to the boat house for a free 'sports massage' by one of the people there who's looking for test subjects. Hopefully this won't result in any permanent damage.

The weekend too will be busy. The middle of Saturday will be spent cycling about twenty-five miles to a barbeque and then staying the night. Sunday will be cycling back and then seeing The Dark Knight at the cinema with about sixteen other people and then going for dinner. By the time I get home on Sunday evening I think I'll be quite tired.