[17:25] Typically, after a productive day I end on a low note with (of all
things) a CD drive that ate a disc and needed to be disassembled to get said
disc back. I'm going to try mounting the ISO via a virtual CD drive tomorrow
even though that means starting up the slow and jerky Java RKVMS thingy.
The achieveful thigns about today are that I managed to reinstall four
machines before 10:00 this morning, get a burrito lunch with Kris and Cormac
and get into town with two servers and bring two others back, one to
be decomisssioned and the other reprepped. This has also meant rewriting some
setup configurations and updating some firmware. I'd have done all that stuff
over the network only certain functionality I thought would only be accessible
with physical media. I'll try and disprove my own theory tomorrow after I'm
back from the opticians for a contact lens checkup.
In other news I've been wibbling about things a little and trying to retain
hope that good things are coming rather than anything else. It's impossible
to say just what the future will hold and I refuse to put finger to keyboard
to say either way, no matter what I might think. I don't want to tempt
whatever fate may or may not exist.
Gym tonight, then some marvellous pick'n'mix dinner with my girl.
[17:00] Another one of those Mondays when I'll have to tell you about the
weekend on Tuesday. It's not like most of the day was busy but I have been
involved in the three-monthly Nessus scans which have occupied a fair amount
of my time. Not that I've been able to do the Windows server scans as the
person who can say if I'm going to get in the way of performance monitoring is
off ill so can't tell me if EMC have finished doing what they need to with
Other than having lunch paid for in town today by the old Networks guy for
whom I managed to snag some GBICs I've just been handed an imperial bucket
load of work which pretty much all needs to be done tomorrow before the end
of the day. Much of it is stuff I'd already done which now needs to be done a
different way because of problems with LinuxThreads and NPTL (don't ask). As
a result I'm going to be getting in pretty stupidly early tomorrow to make
sure this is achievable. I'll also be bringing back a machine from the server
room we don't really use any more to reprep that too. Although that's a
little less time-contingent.
I'm off hashing this evening (although I'm a smidgen concerned about my knees)
and then it's pizza and a semi-early night to get me up and about for
tomorrow. I feel a bit rushed at the moment, I have to say. I think it's
good for me... or at least useful.
[16:00] Thank goodness it's Friday. It's not like the week has been
particularly busy, but it has been stressful. Also extremely tiring. This is
obviously, for the most part, my fault. Take last night for example. As soon
as I left work I met up with Kris and went home. After a quick snack and some
quiet time together I cycled fully the length of town to a Park and Ride on
the outskirts. I them, with two people from the Adventure Racing group I'm
hoping to become a part of, ran for about an hour up the only really decent
hill for miles, through woodland and forest and got thoroughly muddy and wet
into the bargain. We must have covered a good few miles at a reasonable pace.
I then cycled home, in the dark, at high speed (stopping only to peek in on
Kris doing her yoga session) to a house where Kris had (bless her) done the
washing up. Before showering I ate: a chocolate Geobar, a Tunnock's Wafer and
half of a malt loaf. Once Kris came home we had sausages, chips and blanched
spinach (which was truly lovely). I don't think I've been quite so hungry in
a long time. It was marvellous. Road running has nothing on that
kind of experience when the ground is changing under you with every step. I
slept like the dead last night and woke in the morning feeling a tiny bit
achesome and quite upbeat. Kris too, which was nice.
Anyway, work today has been dull and empty, giving me time to research some
personal stuff and go for a lunchtime run. Even after last night's exertions
and some mild ache in my left knee I think I put in a reasonable time. I'm
off at 16:10 today to meet Kris and get some things done before the gym, then
we're home for the night. This weekend, well, there'll be a Tesco trip for
certain, other than that... Shopping for birthday presents for Kris, I hope.
Also perhaps a meeting with an Australian friend of hers, perhaps in London.
Otherwise I think we'll be doing some housework and keeping ourselves busy in
and out of the house.
Unless the weather is horrible.
[16:45] "Thoughtful" is how I'd describe myself at the moment. There's an
awful lot of stuff and things going on in my head and in my life at the
moment. Contemplative and perhaps even a little reflective and ruminative
also. Truth be told things just aren't as shiny as they could be or once were
at the moment. The only aspect of it all that keeps me from getting angry
with myself is that it's no-one's fault and there's nothing easy that can be
done to make things better. All the solutions are hard and aren't
just something that would make a difference overnight either. In fact in the
longer term they could even make things worse. There are thoughts to be thunk
and decisions to be made. Just not yet. Not yet.
In the meantime there's still a lot of good things which can distract,
entertain, be enjoyed and employed to make my life and the lives of those
closest to and around me much better, if the mental clouds can be pierced by
that sunshine then I anticipate smiles for a good little while yet.
Other stuff can come later.
I have been learning a lot about LinuxThreads and NPTL today and how RHEL4
supports both and RHEL5 doesn't (specifically LinuxThreads). It's all down to
glibc versions. To cut a long story short it appears to be the reason we have
a problem that's affecting our web server platforms when it comes to startup
and/or shut down. It's highly annoying and quite possibly down to bad
programming. We've bounced the issue as much as we understand it to the
company who wrote it, but I'm not holding out much hope that things are going
to be fixed. As a result I may have to reprep a good few boxes as RHEL4
rather than RHEL5. As a side note, RHEL4 support ends at the end of February
I'm going to be running this evening, in the dark (and possibly wet, too) with
some adventure racers. I'm pretty sure this is going to take my mind of
things for a little while, which should be good. I imagine that cycling home
post run will be a bit tiring, especially if the weather's as breezy and
changeable (read: wet and cold) as it is now. Still, Kris, a hot shower and
sausage and chips will await me.
[17:00] Surprisingly, for having been awake between 02:00 and 04:30 this
morning (or something like that), I've felt pretty awake and OK for most of
the day. I even managed to get a reasonable 6.2km run in at lunch time (the
extra distance being due to not remembering where I was supposed to meet
someone at 12:30). Kris and I had a pretty fitful night last night but the
end result was that we got out of bed in the morning feeling positive on the
whole. I tell you, life really is complicated sometimes. There's all kinds
of stuff going on in our lives at the moment and sometimes it just keeps one
(or both) of us awake. Happily this is where being two people comes into its
own and you get some company to talk your problems out with. There are also
hugs to be had. Now that's great.
Otherwise... still no progress on the dual monitor spanning/panning thing, but
I'll keep trying until I crack it or someone brings out a fix which fixes what
may be a bug in the xorg-drv-i810 (intel) driver. Other than that I've been
messing with sysctl, limit and java settings in an attempt to make PeopleSoft
web servers start up and shut down more sensibly. Ah, bad programmers (not
just PS, but kernel programmers responsible for futex wait state bugs), we
love 'em. But it's a tough love.
Tonight is a date night, so I better get going as there's popcorn to make and
a cycle to do!
[16:55] Let me tell you about the weekend before I forget, or run out of time.
As there was no rowing Kris and I decided to go for a long cycle. This turned
out to be both a brilliant and tiring idea. We cycled north out of the city
and about 18 miles of dirt tracks and rather muddy rutted tracks later came to
the next town. Happily, although we'd had to wash our footwear and bikes in a
hydrant at one point due to the extreme muddiness of one or two sections (next
time we're going by road or the NCN route), all was well and we arrived
unbowed and ready to try something longer next time. Part of the reason it
was so great was probably down to a) a smashing picnic half way through and,
b) it being a wonderfully sunny day. Sunday we organised a picnic on one of
the greens in the centre of town and pretty much everybody we invited came,
which was nice. Unfortunately the weather took a turn for the worse in terms
of cloud and air temperature and so we all moved to a pub.
Last night, rather than go to the gym or run or anything Kris and I ended up
in town where we had a bit of a decompress about things which were bothering
us over a nice cup of tea. It's definitely important to have those kinds of
conversations, even if the things you talk about aren't the best. It's even
better when you come home and made positive decisions off the back of them.
We'll see what the future brings with regard to just how much effect our
I've made some serious progress on this Dell Optiplex 760 dual monitor
problem. Not that I completely understand the how or the why of it but there
you go. Right now I appear to have some kind of merged frame buffer
(MergedFB) even though I haven't specified it. Along with that I have a
desktop which spans both monitors. Unfortunately although both are showing a
1600x1200 image, when you move the mouse to the right hand side of the left
hand monitor the image scrolls for another 1600 pixels to show you what's also
on the right hand monitor (where the mouse also appears at the same time).
Basically the left monitor has a range of 3200x1200 where the second 1600 is
also available on the right hand one. I just wish I knew how to limit what
the left hand monitor showed.
That's a problem for tomorrow (and probably more days after that). Right now
I need to go into town to help Kris pick some birthday present shoes (Gore-Tex
cross training) and then go to the gym to make up for not doing any exercise
yesterday. There's a chance I may be doing some kind of Adventure Racing
training on Wednesday or Thursday evening. You'll know when I do.
[17:10] A smashing weekend which I might tell you about tomorrow. Today has
been mostly about smashing my head against the wall while trying to get the
new Dell Optiplex 760 to run two monitors in spanning mode under RHEL5. I
don't know if you remember the issues I had back in 2007 getting this kind of
thing to work on a Dell Optiplex 280? Well this time it seems doubly as hard
because all kinds of bits of software are too old or out of date and I just
don't seem to be able to get the intel driver for the graphics chipset inside
the machine to play well. I mean, it's only the onboard VGA and an add-in PEG
DVI card. How hard should it be? Microsoft seem to have got this kind of
thing licked. It really makes me frustrated that the linux community can't
get the same kind of ease of use. Not that I'm contributing anything, I'm not
clever enough... but surely someone is?
I even missed out on going for my lunchtime run trying to get this thing
working. Add in the fact that certain commands affecting the X setup seem to
bugger up the machine I'm sitting on and things really start to get quite
tedious. I'm not sure what I'll be doing this evening at this rate. I'm all
kinds of peeved at this so maybe a run would help. I don't know.
[16:30] Today has been a rather pleasant day all things considered. Aside
from waking up a little early (which didn't really matter as we don't have a
house guest any more) it's all good. We got to work in good time, I've had a
day of rewiring a cabinet (which was already neat, so no great hassle), going
for a smashing 6km run in the cool sunlight of spring and discovering that
there's an outdoor activity which really could be the best thing ever. I have
and things may never be the same again. I know that sounds big and momentous
but it really could be if I get into it in a major way. I just can't believe
I didn't really notice it this much before. I've contacted a local AR group
and with luck will be going out with them some time next week to see what's
what. Given some of the key skills you seem to need are those of
running/trekking, cycling/mountain biking, kayaking, climbing and navigating
it does seem a little like a dream come true. We'll see I suppose. I'd
love to get back into paddling regularly again and to be part of a
team of like-minded people would be really rather great, I think.
Anyway, enough waxing lyrical about that. There's no rowing this weekend as
some lucky people are off to the Head of the River at Tideway, so I'm going to
be doing some of my own exercise this weekend instead. Also having a smashing
bacon and pancake brunch on one day, some gentle cycling on another, perhaps a
spot of running and/or erging and maybe even a spot of rugby watching in a pub
to round it all off. All in the company of the delectable Kris. Marvellous.
[17:00] Kris' house guest left at 04:20 this morning. We went back to sleep
again afterwards. I'm very impressed that Kris was able to get up and be
awake and civil at that time in the morning. It'll be an early night tonight
Today I've been mostly in the server room all day building the last of the new
machines, creating a pile of machines to take to the other machine room and
racking up the new power distribution units (PDUs) with the new double
mounting brackets so that there's more than one power phase going to each
rack. It looks really rather neat, tidy and spiffy I have to say.
Other than that, not much has been happening, which is rather nice for once.
Oh, and I went to see Watchmen last night. First of all I pedaled over to the
big multiplex on the south side of the city and stood behind the person who
got the last two tickets for the showing I was hoping to go for. As a result
I had to pedal back into town and go to the local arts cinema instead. It
wasn't any cheaper (especially after I bought a drink to make up for the fact
I'd missed out at the other cinema) but the seats were a wee bit nicer, the
screen had less of a feeling of a cattle market and I had less distance to
cycle home after the mammoth length of the film and the late hour at which I
emerged. How was the film? Well, any attempt to film Watchmen was going to
fail. But I think this barely failed at all, even if the ending was a bit
There's a regular Thursday tonight. I should go home and do some washing up.
[17:45] Not that I mind having lots to do at work but it and its effects sure
does get in the way of the rest of my life. I haven't been climbing in months
now and I've just passed up the perfect opportunity to go this evening because
I am a little tired and as you may have noticed I'm still at work. I'm also
feeling the effects of being on the edge of the storm that is Kris' illness so
that's probably contributing too. I've also not been to see Watchmen (or
anything else) at the cinema (recently), nor have I been able to get in all
the exercise I'd like to be doing for a while either. I don't know what's
eating my time at the moment. Maybe that's not it, maybe I'm just feeling too
tired such that when I do have free time I just want to sit down and not think
about doing stuff (because, let's face it, I spend most of my day sitting down
at a computer).
Although not today or in fact most of this week. No, I've been doing lots of
running up and downstairs (I also went for my lunchtime 6km run too) racking
and kickstarting more of the servers we got last week. As of this entry I've
installed all but one of them (which I intend to do tomorrow) and hopefully
have found enough rack space in our other server room to rack the ones which
aren't staying here. Those which are staying here are neatly racked in the
new racks we have and my don't they look shiny?
I had someone come to see the house this morning to give me another quote for
the building work I'm going to have done towards the end of the
month/beginning of next. Having been up on the garage roof again to see the
damage I'm really beginning to think that the quote I've gone with already is
probably a good deal considering the damage even a layman like me can see. I
have almost officially given up on trying to get the window company to pay for
the work. I really do think they're not going to budge and while I can see
holes in the argument their solicitor letter puts forward the onus really is
on me to deal with the burden of proof. I'd rather not spend any more time,
mental energy or effort on it and just get it done and out of my head
so I can concentrate on the things in my life which are more important. Not
that the house isn't important, but you know what I mean.
I should go home and do some washing up and then try and have some relaxation
time to myself. I might go to the cinema this evening but I think
I'll get back really rather late if I do...
[17:05] Mostly today has been frustrating. The kickstarts I was doing just
stopped working when I started doing two new machines. Coupled with a minor
RAM detection issue which may mean there's some bad RAM out there I spent
pretty much half a day struggling to work out what I'd done wrong. It turns
out that one of my coworkers implemented an Apache authentication module for
a service he was working on and chose the base name for the server my
kickstart HTTP tree is on. Cue some SIGSEGV errors which I couldn't diagnose
via serial console and required me to connect a monitor and keyboard so I
could page through the virtual consoles until I saw some requests and
redirections to a site I didn't expect to be there. Annoying, to say the
Still, I've built three machines today despite that. That includes all the
post build setup stuff as well. I'm just past half way through now (at least
for the newly-arrived machines, there's still some older ones to rebuild) so
aside from these occasional curves I keep getting thrown everything's going
nice and smooth/automatedly. Had a nice lunch time burrito-and-a-bit with
Kris and Katy. Kris is beginning to look and feel a bit better after her
sore throat/cough/tiredness thing. I must have caught some aspect of it as
the 30min erg I did last night was really quite tough in places. I'm off to
the gym for a bit now, and then home to collapse/relax for the evening (aside
from helping cook dinner, of course).
[17:10] Happy birthday to my brother today. Right now I think he's teaching
people how to sow seeds (he works in IT). I wish my present to him had
arrived in time, but even ordering it two weeks beforehand doesn't seem to
have allowed it time to get delivered.
I have been busy as the proverbial bee today. Aside from finding a solution
to kickstarting the x4X40 servers which RHEL4 refused to see the USB
controllers for (the wonders of mailing lists), I spent most of the morning
rewriting a Big Brother monitoring script to deal with newer versions of the
application it relies on as well as newer hardware than I had access to (and
still don't, but I've made an educated guess) at the time of writing. In fact
now I think about it I spent the morning and the first part of the afternoon
(when I should have been running, showering and eating lunch) working on that
and getting it uploaded to the download server for other people to use.
Once that was done I kickstarted the previously unkickstartable machines (by
my usual method) and got on with replying to emails and stuff as well as
getting another two machines part-prepared for tomorrow when I'll be doing
the same thing again, only much more quickly now that I know how.
I'm sorry I haven't put the Paris photos up yet but the weekend was kind of
busy. That started on Friday night when I went to the gym straight after work
and from there to Tesco to pick up as much heavy stuff as I could before Kris
and Katy came home on Saturday evening. As such I didn't get home until gone
20:00 at which point all I could do was put things away, have a shower, eat
Saturday morning was rowing and we managed to get an VIII out on the river.
The outing wasn't bad but the mix of people we have in the boat made for a
rather unset outing. Not only that but people who should have been there and
are now getting regular places in other boats, leaving us literally high and
dry sometimes. I wouldn't mind so much except that I'm not getting the
opportunity to substitute in the same boats when I feel I'm at least as good
as those people who are being given opportunities. But anyway. After rowing
I came home and had not enough to eat before cleaning and tidying most of the
house, doing the washing and washing up and only at around 16:00 sitting down
to watch some recorded television. Kris and Katy arrived a little later into
the evening after some train annoyances. We ate, relaxed and went to bed.
On Sunday I was annoyed to find that two people who'd been in the boat on
Saturday had drunk too much that night and weren't turning up to the outing on
Sunday. Not only that but someone who had said he was going to be unavailable
was actually rowing for another club entirely. He's one of the ones who
regularly gets to row in better boats than ours in the club (probably because
he socialises a lot with other members of the club). I let all that go so
that I could concentrate on getting a IV out with the coach we'd managed to
snag for the morning. The outing ended up not being too bad, even though I
think we were all a little concerned about capsizing (or at least the cox
was). Still, by the end even the coach said we'd done pretty respectably for
our first go together. After getting home I dragged Kris and Katy out to
Tesco for the remainder of the food we needed before having lunch outside on
the grass. Much as I'd wanted to go to the cinema to see Watchmen it was just
too lovely a day to be indoors so even with Kris feeling more and more ill we
cycled into town to show Katy around for a few hours. After getting home
feeling like we'd used the day semi-productively we ordered curry (which I
went to get) and then watched stuff on the box before bed.
I think Kris has slept for most of today in an effort to recouperate. I hope
to get out of here shortly, go home, do a run (or go to the gym and erg) and
then have a rather lovely roast lamb dinner. Tomorrow will be more server
preparation and stuff with a chance to check refinements I've made to the
post-install build scripts based on today's results. I may have to go a
little slower though as my co-worker wants to see how I do what I do.
[17:00] Another Friday the 13th and this one has bitten quite hard. First off
Kris had to be up at the ass-crack of dawn to get down to London to meet her
friend who's visiting from America for just under a week. On top of that it
looks like RHEL4 and Sun x4140/x4240 servers don't play well together when it
comes to USB kickstarting.
This is frustrating. Especially as I was using these machines as a way to
demonstrate how my kickstarting works. Rather than stress about it I have a)
spent some of the day working out how best to route and contain the cables in
the new racks and, b) been for a lunchtime run. Although in the latter case
I think I may have slightly pulled something which is going to mean I don't do
any leg exercises at the gym this evening before going to Tesco (if I go
tonight rather than tomorrow after rowing and then teaching rowing to the
After tomorrow morning's activities I'll either be cleaning and tidying the
house for Kris and her friend coming home in the evening or ensuring that we
have sausages and potatoes in the house to cook the friend the "bangers and
mash" she's apparently got her heart set on while she's in the UK. I look
forward to meeting her. With luck it'll be as fun for Kris to have one of her
original friends here as I hope.
I still haven't decided what to do about the window thing. It needs more
thought and more reading over of what I have and what evidence I think I can
[17:10] So I got a letter from the window company's solicitors last night.
Right on the date I'd said was the deadline. First thing I did after reading
it was go for a 12.7km run to clear my head a little. It didn't help much but
at this point I'm really not getting stressed about it any more. The work's
going to get done either way I just need to work out how much time, effort and
money I put into trying to get some money back for something which is their
fault. I need to think some more and try and come up with a way of proving
what I know to be true. With both the solicitor and Trading Standards people
saying that my case isn't particularly strong I'm beginning to think that I
may not win this thing even though I'm in the right. I'm not done yet,
there's still perhaps one more letter in me before paid-for solicitor know-how
(which I don't think is worth it for me given the amount of money involved)
beats home-grown brains (me and my extremely helpful and smart friend Ian).
Work-wise (remember that?) I was in work for 06:45 this morning to down a live
DB server to stick 16GB more RAM into it. That went perfectly well aside from
having to wait overlong for processes to end (they didn't owing to bad shell
scripting). Back at the office I've been tweaking post-installation scripts
for our new generation of boxes running RHEL5 and servicing our flagship
Tonight I fully intend to sit back, chill out and watch something cool on
television before Friday comes around and I have to show my co-worker how to
install boxes using my patented USB Kickstart stick method.
[17:10] Not so great news today about the window stuff. Still, I'm quite
resigned to it all now that I know it's going to have to be dealt with and I
can actually pay for it (even if it's going to be a big dent in my savings).
Still, it's good to know that I'm doing (still one or two things to try) all
I can rather than just lying back and accepting the situation. Things
continue to be brilliant with Kris and even though I haven't had time to go
for a run at lunch time today due to racking new machines in a new rack (must
remember that the power distribution unit needs moving to the other side of
the rack), been unable to work out why inserting a ZXTM load balancer between
an Apex installation and IE caused Flash graphs not to load but continue to
load in Firefox and work my way around a lack of terminal server by using an
honest-to-goodness VT100 to set up some machines which refused to do DHCP for
their service processors before they'd been tickled via serial... I still feel
reasonably OK and just hope that there's the chance of a run this evening.
I was hoping to have a quiet night in watching some recorded television but at
this rate I'm going to need to go out and either do a Hash or go to the gym.
I really need to burn off some energy.
[17:00] Wotcha everyone. I just flew back from Paris and boy my arms are
tired. Not that I flew, it was Eurostar both ways. Other than a bit of a
pause outside the French end of the tunnel on the way back the transport was
flawless at every stage. We even made the right train home on domestic
railway too. Kris and I had an absolutely brilliant time. I'll get the fact
that it took me a wee bit of time to settle down (all the stress crowding in
my head at the moment over the house and stuff), relax and enjoy things out
of the way first. Also that we had a few discussions about life, the universe
and everything but that they were hugely productive and mark a bit of a
change in how things are going to go from now on. I'm very very hopeful on
Now that that's done I can move on to the most excellent time we had walking
everywhere (boy, our feet are tired), seeing the Louvre (including
the really interesting stuff beneath it), Notre Dame, the crypt and stuff
close by, old Roman baths (even if the best bits were closed), lots of the
Latin Quarter, the islands in the Seine, having amazing ice cream, buying pink
chopsticks, eating lots of phenomenal food including going back to the same
crepe place as on the way back from my 30th birthday in Spain and a truly
wonderful meal that we would have been even more astonished with if we hadn't
been falling asleep in our seats and caught up in an important conversation,
going all the way to the top of the Eiffel Tower, looking down the Champes
Elysee at night, seeing Montmartre and walking, walking, walking everywhere.
It's no wonder we didn't see many fat people in Paris if everyone's walking as
much as we did. Then again, the sheer tonnage of cheese, tarts, cakes and
pastries we ate must surely have made up for the amount of pavement-pounding
There's a few photos to sort through and we even managed to send postcards to
the people we were required to but in the main we walked a lot hand in hand,
talk a lot about everything and generally had a lovely, wonderful,
thought-provoking and emotional time. The hotel was reasonable too.
Since getting back I've mainly been working on the letter I may or may not be
sending to the window company (having had a useful but ultimately depressing
meeting with a friend with far more legal knowledge than me), calling
surveyors for more bad news with regard to who I might be able to blame for
this window problem and unpacking thirteen new servers, two of which I need to
build tomorrow. Incidently I got to decommission one of those three old
servers today because the Windows server guys needed the power stuff off the
back of it as they'd smashed the ones on an identical model removing it from
the rack. Oops.
Lunch was a burrito with the fragrant and radiant Kris (and Shaun) which was
helpful as we don't have any lunch-making stuff in the house having been away
for the long weekend. I've got an appointment with a solicitor this evening
which should give me a bit more information to work from and then I have to
think about rewording and then sending that letter, or not. Given the
conversations Kris and I have had recently about the money I've been saving
not just being for the new kitchen but for the house in general. It's no use
saving for one big thing and not getting around to the other things.
Anyway, should go and see if I can find some letters I wrote to my surveyors
and mortgage company in 2004 to see what I said.
[17:05] I had a nice evening to myself washing up and relaxing while Kris was
out running last night. We also had a rather lovely meal of chipolatas when
she came home (her first).
Today hasn't been spectacular in terms of work done on account of me
discovering that the Shorewall installation I have is 4.2.0 and the version I
need to upgrade from (via a tar file of /etc/shorewall/) is version 1.2. This
is a major jump and given I'm not too hot on firewall/iptables stuff
anyway is something of an uphill struggle for me. My team leader is obviously
quite unimpressed with me and will be taking a look at it tomorrow while I'm
away. Hopefully he too will discover just how nest-of-snakes it all is and
will cut me a bit of slack for my lack of achievement in getting everything
Anyway, that's enough for now. I've also been working on the final draft of
my letter to the window company in preparation for sending it next week. I
fully expect the poo to hit the fan as soon as it's received. I just have to
weather the storm and see what happens. I know I'm in the right, I just
really dislike confrontation with angry people who may or may not believe they
are. Next entry will be on Tuesday.
[17:20] Aside from not actually eating the popcorn I'd procured (nor the
shortbread fingers, but I'm sure they'll be started soon, if they haven't
already) and me having a bit of a downer at the end of the evening Kris and I
had a wonderful 'date night' last night. After coming back from the gym with
only a minor ache in my mid-back muscles I made dinner with some very helpful
help from Kris and then we settled down to watch a film we'd been saving since
Christmas. It was interesting as well as thought-provoking and left me
feeling sad at the end. Wonderfully, Kris reminded me of the good things
going on in my life and the evening was far from ruined by the time we went to
She really is rather wonderful.
Another example of her wonderfulness was her coming in with me to work this
morning (to go on as normal to the library) and then going home again to wait
in for the NTL engineer so that our broadband could be fixed. Seeing as the
time slot was 08-12 or 12-16 (we opted for the latter) I'd have to have taken
half a day off to deal with it.
I ran today. It didn't feel very fast but it was one of my better times (by
about 30 seconds anyway). Maybe I'm actually getting fitter. Who knows?
We're actually off climbing for the first time in ages tonight. That
should be excellent (or embarrassing, depending on how much I've forgotten).
The afternoon has been spent replacing the last two (but one, mine) older Dell
Optiplex desktops with newer ones. Pretty by the numbers really. All I need
to do now is mine and we're sorted. There's still the new network management
server to build and the temporary firewall box to do something with, but there
doesn't seem to be much guidance on what's supposed to be happening there.
[16:15] Another day, another draft of my LoC. With some suggestions from my
friend with the legal knowledge I'm now going to start work on the next draft
and hopefully come up with something a bit more sensible. I've a few more
days before I go away and come back to my meetings with solicitors and Trading
Standards people so there's still time.
The first half of the day here was pretty quiet with the highlight being lunch
with Kris and a spicy pork burrito. This afternoon I've been installing an
interrim firewall box for another department and doing an emergency reinstall
of a DB box with a 32 (rather than 64) bit OS. This is a bit annoying but
luckily I have all the kickstart and post installation scripts to hand. That
means I should be able to get out of here at around 17:00 so I can go to the
gym and then on my date with Kris.
Last night's Hash was excellent. Not only for me as I got to run a lot, but
also for Kris as she got to go at her pace too. We chatted to people, got our
Virgin 'down-downs' done (I got an extra one for sending a humorous joining
request to the mailing list) and met a load of really nice people (note to
self must talk to more/different people next time).
Anyway, must get on. Lots to do before I go to the gym!
[16:55] It really was a lovely weekend. Rowing on both days, no trip to
Tesco, lovely food (cooked by Kris, with help from me), a chance to clear my
head somewhat and even some bread-making and meal out fun too. Yes, all very
good. It's just a shame that my brain is still dwelling on the issues with
the house. The cracks I see everywhere, the feeling that as time goes by I'm
more and more turning out to be someone who bought a lemon as a place to live.
I'm probably not, but it certainly feels like it when I look around the house.
The huge amounts of condensation which returned overnight didn't help my mood
at all. I mean, I know it was almost certainly because of the hot showers,
large amount of cooking and the drop in temperature outside yesterday but it's
not like any other houses around seemed to be suffering from the same thing.
Although my periods of being really OK with things which bother and stress me
out are increasing in numeracy and duration I'm still struck by rather strong
bouts of introspection, depression and worry about things now and again. You
might have noticed.
This, obviously, does Kris and I no good at all. I'm doing what I can (at
least, some of what I'm probably able to anyway) house-wise by keeping up a
small amount of DIY whenever time allows (filling holes in the entrance hall
and repainting them and damaged paintwork recently, repainting the water
damage in the bedroom and probably the boxroom hopefully within the next few
days) but I still feel like... I don't know... I could have done better and
not been stuck with a domicile where it seems like every wall has a crack in
it. I feel like there's a fragility to the place which affects me deeply
because it's my home damnit.
It feels like the best things which have happened to me in life (meeting Kris,
traveling around the world to sail the South Pacific, things like that) have
happened when I've had few to no real cares in the world. Those kinds of
things really do give me the desire to change how I react to life and what it
throws at me, I just find it harder at some times than others. It's
disappointing in a way; I always thought I'd be much better at handling stress
and problems and issues. At the moment it doesn't seem like I am, but I'm
damned if I'm not going to get better at it. There's no other course of
action which makes sense. Parts of why certain unfortunate things have
happened in my life have been down to my inability to relax and accept that
once I've acknowledged a problem there's no need to keep proding and poking at
it like someone picking at a scab. If I could wave a magic wand and fix
everything I can think of right now I would, but that's not how life works.
I need to keep trying, working at and understand that life isn't easy except
for one or two lucky people. For everyone else it's hard graft.
So, today I've been taking a first stab at a draft of my Letter of Claim to
the window company. This is when I start laying things out even more legally
in the hope that they'll see that I have a valid claim for recompense for the
damage his installers caused. While that's been going on I've installed
another desktop upgrade (and blown away and failed to recreate the USB
kickstart device, stupid RHEL5 and GRUB) and learned a lot more about
pre-action protocols for construction and engineering disputes. I'm off to
the gym for a little while after work with Kris and then we're going to our
first ever Hashing event. That should prove interesting.