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August's Journal
October's Journal

[17:00] Hurrah! Today was better! It started last night when it became today in Beijing first and Kris woke up to tell me thing were better. This sent me to bed in a much happier mood. When I woke I found emails from her which confirmed my thoughts. This helped me to get into work in time to do the application upgrade I'd spent so much time on getting organised last night (I was here until about 19:00). As it was the update then only took four minutes and (aside from another restart required this afternoon to replace a configuration file setting I must have omitted) went utterly well. This was also good and meant I could spend the rest of the day doing compiler installs, eating burritos and consuming one too many stale jam doughnuts. Because of that final transgression I am going to push myself just a little more than usual when we go rowing this evening. If we go rowing given how windy it seems to be at the moment. I tell you, if it's cancelled I'm out for a long run and damning the consequences, even though I'm feeling pretty trim all around at the moment due to regular situps and the like. As with most men it's those bits at the back of the waist which are first to arrive and last to go.

Anyway, yes, I think that's about it really.

[18:25] Something of a packed weekend! It started on Friday with a nice gym session which left me feeling very much like I wanted to relax. Rather than do that I cycled over to Cormac's where we met everyone else not at the girl's night in. A walk to the cinema complex, an all-you-can eat Indian buffet and watching Tropic Thunder were an excellent substitute. Some minor mix up with the bike situation caused me to have to cover a few more miles here and there but in the end I was home by about 01:00.

I hoped I'd get a decent night's sleep but unfortunately I still woke early again. It wasn't too bad as Saturday morning had me out and down at the boat house before 08:00. Things didn't bode well when there was a real peasouper of a fog on the river. There were also two boatloads of people waiting for coxes which never turned up for that reason. In the end most people wandered off to do other things, a few people did ergs and I went out for a nice relaxed 10km run with one of people from the women's boat. After that I hung around and then helped the new starters learn some more about sculling and rowing. Keith's started and seems to be coming on at a good pace, which is nice, athough a little odd to see him in my seat in my old boat.

After that it made a lot of sense not to do anything other than get the house in order and hang on for Dunk turning up. Which he duly did, right on time. Seeing as the weather was so good we did what amounted to a power walk from the house, down into town, around and back out again. Following that was a Tesco trip to get food for the evening. As we were leaving we encountered Cormac and Steph who decided to pop around for the evening, dragging along Keith and Cat into the bargain. That evening a lot of beer was drunk, pizza was eaten and DVDs watched. To my shame I ended up flaking out about midnight again and left people to it. They'd all gone in the morning (save for Dunk) and the place wasn't a bombsite, so that was good. I headed off to try rowing again (perfect day weather-wise this time) while Dunk headed off to do some cycling. My morning consisted of the bow seat of a very skill VIII and four back to back 2km pieces from bridge to bridge on the river. That was really rather cool. After that it was a case of relaxing for the afternoon, having a lovely long chat with Kris, saying hi to Dunk before he left for Reading again and then settling in to let the evening fade away into night.

This morning I awoke feeling a little more refreshed than usual and after the usual morning exercises headed into work. Email took up most of the morning, a 30 minute ergo filled up lunch and preparing for tomorrow's early morning work did for the afternoon. Well, that and one good chat with Kris and one... slightly more problematic conversation which left me feeling quite sad and powerless to help. There's not much more I want to say about that at the moment suffice it to say I feel closer to her than ever and we both wish right now that we were in the same place. I think I'm going to go home shortly and try to think of more I might be able to suggest that might help things.

[16:20] Today has been a better day. It actually started last night when a few of my favourite people came ovver to watch some television and stain my kitchen work surfaces with curry sauce. Once they'd gone and I'd finished writing work emails (saved me a lot of work today actually) I finished a hard email (personal) and went to bed. Waking up wasn't that hard to do; I think I'm getting used to this sleep issue I have. Getting the morning situps done was even easier after I read the reply to the email I'd sent the night before. That gave me all kinds of energy to start the day and keep myself going throughout it. At work I faced a pile of work including seven new SSL certificates to create CSRs for, a couple of COBOL installs (which it turns out I may not have needed to do anyway), groundwork for some downtime next Tuesday (which is going to be 'interesting' in the extreme as it requires an iLOM, BIOS and RAID hardware firmware update as well as RAM installation) and moving a server or two from one VLAN to another with all the associated firewall rule changes and NFS mounts to unpick.

Did a reasonable 30 minute erg session at lunch time and then had a brilliant and lovely conversation with Kris just before she went to bed. Hope she manages to sleep with a mass of Korean students playing drinking games in the corridor outside her room. Me? I'm going to the gym momentarily, then out on a Boys' Night to combat the fact that those boys who have girls in our particular group who're friends are without them this evening as they're having a Girls' Night. I think that's right.

Rowing tomorrow morning, including me helping out with the new starters after my session. After that Dunk arrives and we do stuff. Sunday I'm rowing again and then hanging out with Dunk a bit more before he heads off and I have my Sunday "proper" Skype chat with Kris.

[16:45] Not the most bestest day today. I mean, it started well because even with a broken night's sleep (what else is new) I still got in before 08:00 and had the ZXTM load balancers updated by 08:03. From there though it was hard getting time to respond to the emails I wanted to, I made some silly mistakes during my Skype call with Kris and the savoury waffle (and a sweet one too) I had at lunch meeting Kate just doesn't seem to be sitting well. Add to that the CD I've been handed doesn't seem to have any instructions on how to do the right install for COBOL (COBOL for heaven's sake!), a slew of servers which I am now no longer allowed to install any kinds of patches or package updates on, SSL certificates which I haven't got around to ordering yet (and I should have today) and that I need to be leaving here in 20 minutes to get home in time to get a quotation for having my leylandii hedge lopped by a few feet and I'm feeling just a bit hassled and peeved at myself for the knots I've tied myself into today.

I'll try and do better tomorrow.

Gym last night was good. I've started concentrating on some old areas to bring them back up to scratch. Must go, have to see a man about a hedge.

[12:30] Turns out it's a really short day today. I'd fogotten there's an Institution-wide IT Liaison Meeting this afternoon. This means I head off to the gym for a 30min ergo session shortly, then have lunch, then go to the meeting. After the meeting I head back to the gym again for a medium level gym session before going home. Something close to a good day. I've spent the morning doing important emails (although I hope one of them made up for one which I sent without thinking). With luck I'll have a nice set of mails to reply to when I get home this evening.

Short and sweet today. Which is how I like it.

[16:55] Firstly I ate far too many carbohydrates last night. A few slices of bread when I got home followed by a late dinner of pasta and baked beans (left over from Sunday night) does not a proper evening's feeding make. It also ensures you get an even more than usual rotten night's sleep. Therefore when you wake up (finish fitfully dozing) at 06:10 the best thing to do is get straight out of bed, do your situps and get dressed. Eating breakfast and getting out of the house come next. It was rather gratifying to know that I didn't have to make a packed lunch this morning because today was Burrito Day.

At the server room in the center of town I powered down the server I was going to be working on and additionally powered down the server with a live NFS mount to it, too. I'd have just stopped the application that used it, or even just unmounted the share but the stop script didn't work, I didn't hold out any hope for the start script and time was short. Obviously although I got the new CPU modules in place I messed up on putting the RAM in (who remembers about filling the white DIMM slots before the black ones at 07:00?) so I had to bring the box up with only 32 rather than 48GB of RAM. No-one really cares so it's not such a hassle to be honest.

Back at the ranch today I've been doing a bit more furniture removal from the old office, calling Sun to ask about those werid KCS errors in the iLOM's event log and chatting to Kris just before she heads to bed. There's some kerfuffle about everyone needing to train more and buck their ideas up about rowing on the email lists, frankly I got into rowing to keep fit and have some fun. If they're going to make some militant absolutism thing about it I'm very quickly going to get bored. I'm already pretty fit, I'm getting fitter and doing lots of running, erging and getting in the boat quite often. I know to be a 'winning crew' we need to be training a lot together and all that jazz but I have a life outside of rowing, I miss climbing and I want to keep seeing my friends. I'm sure I'll figure it out to everyone's satisfaction. In the meantime I've had a haircut and should go home so I can eat something small and energy-filled before I head off to be on the water for 18:30. This means no gym tonight, but gym tomorrow instead. I might also start my lunch time ergs again. Maybe that'll placate the new Men's Captain.

[17:10] A weekend of all kinds of things has just gone by. Saturday started with a rowing session which I managed to get to finish in perfect time to get to Cormac and Steph's house for 10:00. Even though we then left late it was nice to get there on time. We drove to Stowe Gardens where I took some photos as well as wandering around and having some food. A lovely relaxing time was had by all in rather pleasant weather. Obviously for those people driving the fairly long distance in both directions it was a bit more tiring but I like to think that the fact that I got up on Sunday and ran the first leg of a relay race (1.7 miles six times) in ten minutes dead (I'd have done better if there hadn't been quite so many people to navigate through at the beginning) before cycling home and doing my usual 12.7km run in an hour made up for that. After that I barely had time to put a wash on, go to Tesco and have my regular and much-anticipated Skype chat with Kris before she went to bed. I'm afraid the rest of the day was spent playing Portal (I've only just got around to trying it) watching television and eating a large steak dinner (with Experimental Asparagus).

My, that went on a bit. Anyway, this morning I came in to find that four more CPUs had arrived for me to put into one of the Sun x4600 M2 servers we have. This then required me to work out which CPU boards to spread the RAM already in the box between based on an analysis of the HT links between them. For information until tomorrow morning we have four boards, each with three pairs of 2GB DIMMs (making 24 sticks or 48GB of RAM). Given that you have to install RAM in matched pairs and have at least one pair per board, inserting four more boards means I'm going to have to share those DIMMs out in a 4 4 4 4 2 2 2 2 arrangement making sure that those boards with more RAM on are the best catered-for by HT links. It's not rocket science but it kept me amused for a little while. The actual operation will take place at 07:00 tomorrow morning which means an early rise for me, again.

The networks guy and I popped into town at lunch time to actually deliver the rather oversized boxes containing the boards as well as two UPSes for different network cabinets which now require them to allow VoIP traffic to continue to flow in the event of a power cut. This afternoon I've basically been sorting out all the other machines that'll be affected by the downtime tomorrow morning. Hopefully we won't have a repeat of the debacle that happened the last time this machine was power cycled.

No exercise this evening, but rowing tomorrow, Saturday and Sunday. I think I'll gym on Wednesday and Friday, too. Probably no running until at least Wednesday.

[16:50] I should have gone home fifteen minutes ago but I've been trying to find out how to get a decent conversion of a PNG to a GIF which maintains the look that decent alpha channel and transparent background work has given it. Add that in with rebuilding a web server to RHEL4 AS update 6 (thank heavens for keeping old Kickstart build areas around), chatting with Kris to work out some important logistics for the China trip and going to lunch with the other people in my six-man relay race team (this Sunday, remember) and it has been something of a busy day!

I'm still fairly up in the air about whether I like my new desk or not, especially considering how people can see my screen when they come into the room (which isn't great if I'm chatting with Kris at some point in the few hours when it's mutually useful to us both). I'm sure with time I'll be able to get used to it. Either that or convince people that as there used to be blinds over the windows there's no reason why I can't stick a picture over the little narrow slit window that's there.

Gym tonight, rowing tomorrow (plus some hefty reading of the China guide book) and a nice 1.7 mile sprint on Sunday (I may do my 12.7km run after that if I still feel like it). It'll be nice to get back into exercising again.

[17:30] Bit of a day today. I've been tasked with doing some forensics on the servers which have been having issues. It requires lots of work, is very time-consuming and is rather problematic given that I'm having to go back more than a month and the logs don't go back that far on the machines but they do on Red hat Network. Not that that's complete when you've manually initiated updates on the server side. Suffice it to say it's been a bit busy.

I need to go home and have an evening which is not connected with work. There may be more Chinese food which wouldn't be too much of a problem even though I had some last night when I went over to Cormac and Steph's for some downtime.

[17:55] Boo, I moved offices today. I'm not sure I like the new location all that much. I'm upstairs in a place where there's air conditioning, sure. The thing runs all the time though, which is very annoying (at least until I tune it out in a few days, I guess). The lift broke after my office mate took his heavy stuff up in it so I had to lug all of my stuff up the stairs by hand which didn't help at all. I've not got privacy on my screens any more which is a reall killer as I hate hate hate having someone being able to see what's on my screens. It's not like I'm watching hard core pornography all day or anything, it's just part of the aspect of me that doesn't like people standing behind me or even being behind me while I'm seated. I'm sure I'll get used to it eventually.

In better news the web server I rebuilt correctly before I went home seems to be behaving itself very well at the moment. In fact the developers have installed two web servers and they both seem to be doing what they're supposed to. I imagine this means I'll be rebuilding the two other Xen guests at some point in the near future. For now though I'm going to head off to Cormac and Steph's for some fun and company and then go home to bed. There may even be junk food.

And, as usual I had a lovely conversation with Kris. She's lovely, she is.

[17:00] Well, eveything is completely broken today. I don't know what the issue is but everything seems to be going wrong. Not only does the network feel sluggish and samba connections and mapped drives in the Windows world are going walkabout but also there's me making mistakes and rebuilding a Xen web server image with a sparse file system. That caused those 100% I/O waits I must have told you about a couple of months ago. Now I'm having to reinstall the server as quickly as possible and have been getting frustrated by the fact that a simple HTTP connection from one VLAN to another has been freezing. Basically I've not had time to have a proper conversation with Kris today (which annoys me the most), I've been stupid in using a template Xen image which was completely incorrect to use and now I'm seeing more lockups and I have to get to rowing this evening by 18:15 and argh. You have nothing of any consequence passing across your desk for days and then everything goes wrong at once. I swear if I wasn't overtraining exercise-wise at the moment I'd go nuts during the outing this evening. Instead I'm going to take it easy and use the session as a chance to row cleanly and with good technique. This is technique I was instructed in at a group coached ergo session last night where we all ended up doing a synchronised 40min/10km row. I definitely needed some rehydrating after that. Given I didn't sleep too well last night (again) I'm inclined to think that I may indeed be a suffering a little from overtraining. As a result I'm going to be bringing down the amount I do for a few weeks, to see if it helps. It also means I won't be running again before Sunday when I do the charity race. It's only 1.7miles so won't be too much of a problem. With my finger cut healing slowly (it was quite deep, no more bleeding though, which is nice) I won't be climbing again either and there's no rowing other than tonight and Saturday. I may even miss the gym on Friday, which would give me masses of time to do other things (like even attend a party).

I should get on with this install thingy (which the networks guy is helping me diagnose) and then go home, grab something to eat and then get to the boat house.

[18:05] Whew, I'm tired. Friday's gym session was everything I expected from it and left me feeling not a little drained. Cue a slob on the sofa rather than heading down to the boathouse to help people clean up. I don't feel too bad about that considering the work I did on tidying the boat bays a few weeks ago. I woke early on Saturday morning and tried to get back to sleep only to find that when I next woke it was 07:51 and I had nine minutes to get down to the boathouse for my outing. Arriving there dressed, having eaten and with my clothes on (the right way around) by 08:05 is basically down to being Just That Good. Of course I wasn't last and in the end we were two people short. One person had an excuse in that they'd broken their arm the night before while cycling. The other? Well, he just slept in. In the end we went out in a quad scull (the first time for one person) and a single. Following that I hung around to help deal with the influx of new potential rowers who'd come along to the New Starters session. We showed them around, explained things and gave them a go on the ergs with some coaching as to how to use them correctly. I remember when I first started and how many different body movements I needed to learn (and unlearn). It was strange having Keith (who I'd invited) sitting on one, taking instruction from me. I'd be interested to see how much he enjoys it long term. He bought me lunch anyway, which was nice.

The rest of Saturday could have been spent relaxing, but the weather was so nice I felt I had to do something. Rather than sit indoors I spent some time mowing the lawn and weeding the garden so the place wouldn't actually come last in an episode of Pimp My Garden any more. I really do need to get someone to come and lop about three feet off the top of my leylandii at some point. Maybe next month, once I've been paid.

Sunday saw me out at the boathouse again (on time this time) for another outing. Again we had a no-show but were able to find a replacement in fairly short order. Seeing as it was Pagey who was both organising the boat and taking a seat in it we used a much better boat than usual as well as better blades. I felt the outing went very well considering we had a range of abilities from 6 months to 15 years all in one crew (for information I come in at just over 1 year). As soon as I got home after that I pulled on my running stuff and did the usual 12.7km run. For most of it I felt fine, but after I reopened the rather large cut on my finger which I caused by trying to slice an onion for burgers on Friday night (I did make the burgers after that, just one-handedly) I had to stop to wrap my running top around it to stop it flapping around. No, it's not huge, it just refuses to stop bleeding when I knock it. After that I went to Tesco and did a nice small shop for the week which was a good way to warm down, even though I showered first. To be honest, after all that activity I just wanted to settle down and slob for the rest of the day. So after chatting to Kris and catching up (as I'd done on Saturday; sorry, forgot to mention that) I did. Lunch, slobbing, doing a bit of work (fixing MySQL even though the web developer who'd complained rebooted the box in the middle of my fixing the issue and wandering around the web a little occupied the rest of my day before bed.

I woke stupidly early again this morning (read: 03:00). I really don't know why considering I even closed the curtains this time. Dozing until a sensible getting up time meant that I was fairly OK for today. This was a good thing as today has been pretty busy. Certainly the busiest I've been in a few weeks. Fixing the weekend's issues, solving disk space problems and generally getting on top of things was the morning done with. A lunchtime run of 6km helped me work the kinks out of my calves and shins before an afternoon of re-imaging one of the Xen web servers for our flagship service and getting it up to date and ready to use. I've just popped upstairs to move my soon-to-be new desk into the right position and tidy it a bit. Not that I want to but I should be able to move up to it some time in the next two days. You'll be be able to see the change once I'm there. Not that there'll be much change on camera as I'll still be back to a corner, but the wall will look closer at least. It's going to be odd to be in a room with so many people, but them's the breaks, I guess. And the price to pay for airconditioning.

I should head home now. I've had a good day (I got to talk to and see Kris) and I'm at a coached ergo session this evening in less than an hour so I should get out of here and get into something I can perspire into.

[16:45] The science fiction/horror film Eden Log is very strange. At least when you're watching it. Not only are the first ten minutes deeply irritating (for the lighting) but the whole thing never really makes complete sense. At the end you kind of go "Oh, right" but there's no real feeling of closeure or completion. It's not as bad as Cube, but neither do you feel like everything was properly linked. I shouldn't be surprised; it's French.

Enough about that though, the evening was good, the conversations by turns fun and extremely useful and I didn't fall asleep before everyone had gone home. Given how tired I was it was surprising that I woke so early and so groggily this morning. Still, dragging myself out of bed and into work enabled me to do a whole morning's puzzling as to why three of my Xen virtual machines (which I hadn't touched in ages) don't work properly with PeopleSoft web server installations and why doing updates on them continued to make them behave badly. Next week is going to be very interesting when it comes to Xen DomU replication and renaming things and doing tests and stuff.

Today's lunchtime 6km was slower again than Wednesday (and therefore Monday). I wasn't pushing as hard because I'm off to the gym as soon as I have uploaded this journal entry so I'm reasonably happy to just have the distance for this week under my belt. I'm not sure whether I'm doing too much this week or whether I should take a few weeks off to let myself build up some energy again. I'm inclined to think I've given it a reasonably easy time recently so perhaps I'll keep things up at least for the next two weeks or so and see if I improve at all. If I don't (or get worse) then I'll take that break and see what happens. As it is I'm rowing tomorrow and Sunday mornings and doing my usual 12.7km run on Sunday afternoon. Hopefully somewhere in there there'll be some time to Skype with Kris too. Have a good weekend.

[16:45] Up again dreadfully early this morning. Not as bad as yesterday but still pretty unpleasant. This was probably exacerbated by the dire climbing session I had last night. Truth be told the run at lunch time probably did for me energy-wise. That, coupled with not really having climbed in a good long time basically meant I wasn't really up for climbing, I wasn't very good at it and it probably would have been a better idea for me to stay home. Not that not exercising would have been better. I'd have just stayed home and eaten. I do feel a little heavier than normal at the moment. I think it's all muscle to be honest but the scales say I'm the heaviest I've ever been at the moment. I 'blame' Kris and her making me eat much more healthily than I have in a long, long time. I suppose the only 'up side' to her being away is that I may start to eat less good, wholesome food for a while and get back down to a 'sensible' weight. Yes yes, I know, I know. Still, she's instilled a few more good eating habits into me so you never know.

Anyway, aside from the food and the tiredness I've got a few issues that still need resolving in my personal life. Chances are that may happen tonight. I really do hope so as they've been hanging over me (through my own fault) for quite some time now. Sorting them out for good would really be a nice thing. Being happy there would leave me with pretty much a clean plate (aside from a slowly fading issue that I'm just letting die away in its own good time) and a real chance to be properly happy for the first time in many years. Of course, having Kris back would be a big help.

I was at work for 07:00 this morning in the center of town to power down one of our major DB boxes, yank off the top and see just how the memory was arranged inside. Booting the box is always 'exciting' because you can never quite tell what's going to pop up error-wise when it comes to the external disk array. Funnily eveything seemed to go much better than normal. Once I'd done that and then hung around until 09:00 to do some email I was able to wander around town getting my photos done and buying Special Delivery envelopes for my China visa. Once that was done (although I'm sure I forgot to include something or sign somewhere or fill something in) I headed to work where I found that a whole load of boxes connected (literally and figuratively) with the box I rebooted were misbehaving (in fact they have been all day). Consequently the remainder of the day has had email trying to fix the issues arising, writing email and having a late lunch due to trying to sort a few things out. It's actually good that I haven't had time to do anything other than work and emails today. I feel properly productive for the first time this week.

And now: home to wash up and prepare for the Thursday evening.

[17:25] After going to the gym it really was lovely to come home to a warm house and Kris' smile. Spending the evening quietly together, eating lovely food and just enjoying each other's company was a wonderful way to cement the feeling that we're together now and being halfway around the world from each other for 101 days (with a two week meeting up approximately in the middle) isn't going to be more than a frustration we'll deal with a day at a time. We went to bed early which was useful as we both woke well before the 05:30 alarm I'd set to give her time to shower and breakfast before the taxi arrived.

Once she was on her way I didn't really have much to do beyond making a packed lunch and going into work. Today's jobs have been straightforward and plentiful enough that I've been able to be semi-distracted from the fact that Kris won't be there when I go home this evening. The lunchtime run (a minute and a bit slower than Monday) also gave me time to unplug from things for a while too. I'd planned on doing the afternoon's work in a leisurely fashion until I was asked to install a RHEL5 desktop and show the user how to configure it. That required me to be away from my desk for a considerable amount of time and I've only just returned in time to rush through the things I needed to do, write this entry and toddle off home to be ready to be picked up for climbing this evening.

Rowing organisation appears to have stepped up a number of gears in the last day or so and now I'm faced with the prospect that the club may want me to come for squad training on says when I would normally be doing other things (like Thursday, climbing or going to the gym on my own). It's something I'm going to have to look at in the next few days to see how it's all going to fit together such that I still get to be in a boat even if I'm not attending all the training sessions that are being mandated. I started rowing for fun and a way to keep fit and enjoy myself. I'm not going to let it encroach much more on what little Life I have otherwise. Speaking of which, time to go home and eat something snacky before climbing. I'm in early tomorrow power cycling a machine at the same time as looking inside to see how the RAM is distributed amongst the CPU boards. After that I hope to get some Royal Mail Special Delivery envelopes and some passport photographs done.

[17:05] Rather than go to a meeting about rowing things last night I made the executive decision to stay home for the second last night I'd have with Kris before her departure for the Far East tomorrow morning. As a result we made the unhealthy choice to eat Dominos and watch West Wing. We're now close to finishing Season 1, which is where we'll have to leave it for 111 days until she returns. Tonight I'm gymbound (especially after the doughnuts and cookies I've had today) and then home for a nice meal and a quiet evening. Neither of us are sleeping particularly well at the moment, but in Kris' case this might be a good thing in terms of adjusting her body clock to Beijing time.

A little more has developed on the room change thing such that I think I'm going to be happy with my eventual work space (I'll be roughly the same distance from a window but there'll be air conditioning this time) but I have to say that for the most part there's very little going on here this week thus far. I need to reply to some emails when I'm actually sitting in front of my computer at some point and rationalise what I'm going to be moving to the new desk, but other than that things seem pretty quiet. I rebooted a server this morning, or was that yesterday?

[17:10] Sleep has been pretty broken these last few nights. I'm putting it down to the freakish barometric pressures we've been getting recently. Friday was the joy of gym followed by the greater joy of shopping at Tesco. This was a brilliant coup as there was no way I wanted to do it over the weekend. Saturday was rowing and relaxing and lots of West Wing. I'm serious, lots. It's brilliant. Sunday was more about going out in the wet and helping run my club's regatta and then coming home and getting warm, dry and happy and eating lots of baked camembert. After that, well, more West Wing and a rather smashing dinner of salmon, asparagus with almonds and butter and mashed potato. For dessert was a simply lovely Gu lemon thingy. I may have to get that again.

Today had some work in it. Nothing spectacular. In fact the most spectacular thing was that I ran the old 6km route in ~24 minutes. That's pretty damned impressive for me given the amount of training I've (not) been doing recently.

[16:20] A bit mroe hectic today what with long conversations about useful things and bits and bobs of useful work to get the day done. Unfortunately it looks like the office change we were told about a few days ago is definitely going to happen now, which is annoying. I like where I sit now and the fact that no-one can see my screen or bother me without me seeing them first. I have no doubt that my new desk will be a lot more open and I'm really not looking forward to it. Still, it's all for the good of the section I imagine.

Or something.

Gym tonight, rowing tomorrow, helping out at the regatta with barbeque skills on Sunday. Otherwise it's all about China organisation. Last night was pretty brilliant (no, no China organisation, just a change of subject). Got home and cleaned and tidied pretty much 90% of the house (didn't clean the kitchen floor, but it was swept) with Kris' help before a good Thursday of Indian food and a film. There were also two episodes of Robot Chicken too. Not everyone understood what was going on there.

I should head off shortly. Things to do this evening include gym, China stuff (including looking at applying for a visa) eating food and enjoying company. See you Monday.

[16:40] Went running last night with Kris in a brief break in the rain which appears to be blanketing around here at the moment. It's also been torrential now and again today too. Although more of a jog considering our relative running speeds it was still a lovely way to get some exercise into my day when climbing had to be cancelled, again. Having a fabulous stir-fry (with home-made fried rice) was also a definite bonus. Not only did I also make my best ever loaf of bread (in the bread maker) but we also started watching The West Wing from the beginning too. I can see a good few evenings being pleasantly filled over the next week and over Christmas when she's back in town.

One of our more important databases has been having issues today so Shaun's been tearing his hair out trying to work out what's happening. Happily there's not a whole lot I can do to help so I get to go home on time today. It is highly likely he will not. That's a shame because we were all hoping he'd be able to make it to tonight's Thursday. Speaking of which I need to leave pretty much on time today to do some housework before everyone else comes back. Not only that but I need to time my departure with a break in the weather, which seems to be pretty much about now.

[16:55] Despite the later night and doing two 30 minute ergo rows at the gym in lieu of an actual weights session I was still awake at 05:25 this morning. Happily I was a bit more able to deal with it and used the time pleasantly chatting to Kris before she went off to do some things and I dozed for another hour before getting up. It's quite lovely to have someone here to do morning exercises with too. Participation events are always fun.

There isn't any climbing this evening (which is unfortunate) so we're going running this evening before I do some housework and settle down on the sofa to work through my China visa application and hotel bookings and the like. We're beginning to plan some rather fun things for my trip over there. As soon as I have an idea of what's possible and what's not I'll be sure to let you know.

We've been dealing with fallout from the upgrade to one of the major information systems for the last few days. All seems to be going well at the moment with only the occasional user who decided to bookmark a page which doesn't exist any more despite us telling them not to do that in the first place on account of pages past a certain point being subject to movement or removal at any point. Not much else is going on to be perfectly frank. I've got a ton of updates pending on about fifteen machines but I can't do them yet on account of them being on important/live servers where changing things would be considered harmful.

It's a shame the weather has just turned terrible as it may be that I don't get to go running now. We'll have to see how things go. I'd like to, and maybe it's a chance to try out some of my new base/wicking layer stuff.

[16:10] It is with regret that I have to report that I didn't go Ceroc dancing yesterday evening. No, instead we got caught up doing other good things instead. It was brilliant and a fun way to round off the day. Of course, having had a few doughnuts and cola bottle sweets meant that I really should have done my run at lunch time as an excuse for consuming that amount of pure sugar. Going to the gym and other vigorous activities this evening like cooking should make me feel a little better. Having Kris around to do morning exercises too has also been nice. It'll be odd when she's in China as I've grown quite accustomed to her being here already. Which is nice.

We watched an episode (and a bit) of the BBC's Wild China series last night. It was fascinating to have Kris on hand to give a secondary commentary on the things in the programme and how much chance we had of getting to that part of the country when I head there later this year to see her. Unfortunately there are still some sleep-timing issues because of the traveling which has been going on recently so early nights and very early mornings are still the order of the day. While I can't take naps in the middle of the day it's likely that if Kris does there's a chance of us getting a decent night's sleep tonight at least. Slightly less early mornings I can deal with if there's a good reason for being awake.

It's nice to see that since just before lunch the weather has cleared up an awful lot and I won't be cycling to and from the gym this evening in torrential rain. Neither was I made damp when walking to get my burrito at lunch time. Work today has consisted of watching over the upgrades of one of our major applications here, following emails through our mail system, installing a few Perl modules and wondering when a certain person might issue PHP 5.2.6 RPMs for RHEL4 which work with the Apache magic module number for the version of Apache which ships with that distribution.

Otherwise... meh.

[16:25] I know I say it every month (and if I don't I certainly think it), but this year is shooting by at an extraordinary rate. Why, barely thirty two days ago it was July and now it's September! Probably what makes the time fly is having Kris here. The last two days (aside from a tiny misinterpretation of my own creation) have been incredibly brilliant (a possible contributing factor being that there was no rowing to get in the way).

Saturday was spent showing Kris around town for the first time, as well as sitting down in a Borders with a pile of China guide books and drinks and beginning to put some bones on where we'd like to go when I visit in October. Couple that with some other purchases and lots of walking about (did I mention that we both like exercise a lot?) and a curry with friends in the evening and it was a tremendously full day. Sunday actually saw me getting up and doing my 12.7km run such that I was home before 08:40. Which was a bit nuts but then made the rest of the day feel a whole lot longer and more fillable with good things. First up was a wonderful pancake and sausage with maple syrup breakfast (joint effort). After that we spent some time getting gait analysis such that Kris could buy some new running shoes fully informed of how she moves. A cinema trip to see Hell Boy II followed which left us feeling entertained but not wholely satisfied (it's not as good as the first one in our opinions) before we pottered home to make a nice roast pork belly, roast potato, buttered carrot and goat cheese salad for dinner. Kris reckons it was all pretty much my work but I beg to differ on account of what she did with the carrots, the salad, the potato preparation and my ill-considered words.

Today has been a pretty productive day spending, as I have, the entire morning helping to put up a 54Mb/s wireless link between two buildings in the centre of town. It did mean that I didn't get to run at lunch time but I have had about three doughnuts (so encrusted with sugar that the crunched as I ate them) a pile of cola bottles and my lunch (not necessarily in that order). I am very much looking forward to going home in about 45 minutes.

The only question about today's clean sweep of goodness lies in the Ceroc class I'm being asked to attend this evening with Kris. The thing about Ceroc and dancing with a girlfriend generally is a little weird for me given things that have happened in the past. However Kris is someone I really feel I should make the effort for in this area, at least once (if not twice). Always try something once. Otherwise how are you going to know you actually don't like it? So, yes, dancing tonight, one way or another.