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31/08/2010
[14:40] Awesome achieveful bank holiday weekend of great joy! First of all I managed to get to the local parkrun on Saturday morning. Amazingly, I put in a personal best of 20:04. This gives me more than an outside chance of breaking what used to be the mythical barrier of 20 minutes for 5km. I hope to manage it before the wedding (86 days from now). Kris (bless her heart) went to Tesco for the food shopping. After that, even with Kris nursing a raging headache we went into town and did a whole load of useful chores and things including returning library books, picking up my (wedding) suit and looking at wedding rings (for me, even though I still don't know if I want to wear one). Back at home we chilled out for a bit before starting to clear all the rooms which're going to be carpeted of stuff which could easily be relocated elsewhere.

On Sunday we ended up in work. Both of us. I was attempting to fix an issue with 503 errors from the new service's web servers and Kris (with some help from me) brought her laptop so we could work on the wedding invitations. I'd like to think we both achieved a fair amount of progress over the five or so hours we were in the building. By the time we were in need of other surroundings Kris'd made some real progress with the invitations and I... hadn't done much more than follow all the dead-ends for my issue. Still, it did mean that there were fewer mistakes other people could make on Tuesday morning. We returned to the house and spent the afternoon sticking things to other things and pushing everything into a variety of envelopes. I think we're well over the hump invitation-wise, but there's still a pretty big list of things we still haven't sorted out yet. And there's 86 days to go.

Monday we decided to just forget everything and get out of the house and even out of town. We took a train north and then cycled by a fairly round about way to a National Trust property where we had a picnic lunch and a damned good wander around before cycling back to the train station and home again. It was really, really lovely (despite the tiny rain showers and the continuous wind in our faces as we cycled) and a wonderful way to spend the bank holiday. At home it was all about the getting clean and having a nice quiet evening before a very early bed.

The main reason for the early bed was that I was in work for 05:58 this morning. I think this is a record I don't ever want to break. Anyway, it was so that I could be on hand for the switchover of the service we're now hosting live on our servers. In the end all I needed to do was a few firewall rule updates and mention that we didn't have access to a couple of the servers via SSH and keys. Everything else seemed to go smoothly. Especially once my team leader came in and fixed the thing I'd been trying to do on Sunday. For some reason the test/monitor I'd been trying to build had been missing the options necessary. I didn't feel so bad when he wasn't able to make my monitor work either.

I've been for a run at lunch time so I had a break from the screen, had lunch and generally cleaned up everything which tends to break after we have a three day weekend. I think, now, it's about time I went home (via a post office for stamps). Tonight I will attempt to remove the fitted wardrobe in our bedroom and see just how much I need to repair before we get the carpet fitted, or at least get the new furniture from Ikea.


27/08/2010
[16:35] I've been raising old Debian DomUs from the dead today. Also discovering I average about 743 steps per kilometre when running, having lunch sandwiches of brie, ham and cranberry, watching a few YouTube videos of blooper reels and reading over SLA agreements with a small amount of mirth. Generally a pretty quiet day, really.

This weekend Kris and I will hopefully be finishing off the wedding invitation wording for the various parts of it, printing everything out, sticking little things to bigger things, tying ribbon around this and that (don't ask) and putting everything in envelopes and posting kit and caboodle to sundry personages. It'll be a real relief to get it all done. Although it will mean that we're expecting people to come to a wedding we've at best only half organised with (literally) exactly 90 days to go to the beginning of the ceremony itself as I write this sentence (accounting for BST).

I'm also thinking that we need to spend some of this weekend removing the fitted wardrobe in the bedroom just in case some stuff needs to be done before the new carpet is laid at the end of this week. You know, painting, skirting board or architrave replacement, damp proofing, major structural shoring up or rebuilding. That kind of trivial stuff. Then there's the parkrun tomorrow morning, having some fun outside time with my girl (weather permitting) and the bank holiday Monday to enjoy. I'm sure I'll have something to tell you about all of that on Tuesday when I'm back in the office on Tuesday morning at 06:00 when the new service we're adopting goes live.

26/08/2010
[17:00] Urgh! Big long meeting where lots was decided and lots of things are going to happen off the back of it. Still, in the grand scheme of things it looks like I'll be able to do most of the things I still do to keep machines up to date and so on where necessary. I've been writing in my notebook all day for the things I need to do and generally trying not to sigh at just how poor the weather is outside at the moment. I think that's about it, really.

25/08/2010
[17:25] I just discovered that some of the people I have competed with in Adventure Races in the past have gone and entered a truly awesome race this weekend (it's actually a four day event). I feel quite disappointed that this is the first I've heard of it and I wasn't invited to be part of the team. It's highly likely that they've created an excellent team by not inviting me to be part of it but it would have been nice to have been asked. I could have even put off buying my new bike to have afforded the entrance fee, too. Currently it feels like the money I've spent on AR equipment in the last few years has been a little wasted. I know it's unlikely I could have done much AR stuff this year, what with more important things like the wedding and getting the house into a bit more order taking precidence, but I do feel a bit like I've been left behind/ignored by those people who I have raced with in the past. Oh well, I'll have to be a bit more proactive once current big things in my life have happened.

In other news, I've been dealing with various outages to the new service I'm helping put in place here. Some have been explained, others unexplained. I think this service is going to be a very interesting one to support... even before it's up and running.

Other than that Kris and I made some big decisions about lots of things yesterday which culminated in getting Chinese takeout for dinner. Tell me that's not the best way to end a day of strife, stress and a huge amount of housework (by Kris).

Speaking of houses and Kris, I should go home. We're working on wedding invitations and stuff this evening.

24/08/2010
[16:10] The day started badly but improved massively around about midday. I think it was a combination of things, but mostly be being the old me rather than the newer me I want to be. It comes down to having problems dropping my old (and busted) priorities and not getting my head around new (hotness) ones as quickly as perhaps I should in this Brave New World. It's a problem.

Anyway, a generous helping of sensibleness on my part and a the beginning of a distinct attempt to Do Better should have totally excellent results as time goes by. Benworld will continue its march towards being a better place to live just so long as I can keep a handle on everything that's going on as well as my finances in the meantime.

In other news work has been pretty quiet recently. The new service I've been responsible for bringing up/moving across from elsewhere is now entering the upkeep stage (where we organise the backup scheduling, etc.) so I've handed off some of the admin to our backups person while still keeping a handle on things.

Wedding wise Kris and I are now working on the invitations and have a list as long as my arm of other things we need to think about. Cutting down on the television watching in the evening may be the best thing we can do at the moment if we're going to get everything done in time. As such I've physically unplugged the cable TV box from the mains so that it takes a more conscious thought process to get to the point of us letting the one-eyed god in the lounge drain away an evening of our lives.

House wise there's more going on there too with the carpet getting fitted in all the upstairs rooms at the end of next week. That's going to mean that we have to do a lot of furniture moving and actually remove the fitted wardrobe in our bedroom. This could lead to us finding all kinds of nasty things behind the laminated hardboard of the sides, but hopefully won't. It also means we're definitely going to have to succumb to the Ikea instinct and get ourselves some replacement (and more) storage. Hopefully that won't take too long, be too difficult and be too expensive.

The times, they are a-changing. Just like the length of my hair, which I'm off to have cut right.... now.

23/08/2010
[17:00] It just rained a lot. Seriously. Anyway, you don't care. What you want to know about is how my weekend went. I know you. So, here it is. I totally didn't go to parkrun on Saturday morning even though I wish I had. It was the bad night's sleep which did it. Having people shouting in the middle of the night really doesn't help. We went to Tesco instead, and then I went to town and looked at wedding rings and found that my suit trousers hadn't been made the right length and stuff like that. The evening happened and it was quiet. Sunday was more about being active. We both headed down to the boat house where Kris did yoga and I went for a rather pleasant 10km run along the river and back. It would have been a perfect morning for rowing, but most people seem to be taking a break at the moment. Which is sort of understandable unless you don't think you've been overdoing it on the rowing recently, which I haven't. Anyway, as soon as we both got home we packed a picnic and headed out to a nearby National Trust property for a picnic. That was lovely, and the ride out and back wasn't too bad either. I played some old computer games for a while during which time Kris slept and then it was pretty much time for the evening meal and the end of the day. Exciting huh? Just what you come to read about, yes?

The weather really is very strange at the moment. It was torrential rain just twenty minutes ago. Now? Brilliant sunshine. I should head home very soon so as not to be caught in the next cloud burst. It's good that I am really as I've had a reasonable day of doing bits and bobs, odds and sods, making a few phone calls, solving little niggles and getting things working both in my work and home life. I think I'll call it a day.

20/08/2010
[16:20] Today I have mostly been cleaning up after the pushing out of a new Oracle log file checking script to all of our boxes. This basically is an enhancement on checking that a running database has a couple of different log files being watched in that it also says if it's looking at the right ones (by which we mean "updated in the last 24 hours" as you might or might not be surprised how often the DBAs move databases around and forget to tell us where the new log files are and leave us watching the old, defunct, ones). So, that was fun.

I also cleared up a fair amount of cruft from the server room. Plenty of boxes (cardboard), packing material, bits of plastic, cable ties, power cables (why people like Sun insist on sending us power cords with mains plugs on the end I don't know, and each in their own cardboard box!).

Last night I did some more DIY. It actually took far less time than I thought it would so I decided to head out with Kris to do a short erg before going to see people who were out on the town, sort of. Only it turned out that a women's 4+ was short a person so I ended up subbing in for them, which took me way past the time I thought I'd be seeing people and meant instead that I was cold, wet and tired. So I went home instead. This was a little annoying for someone who'd brought a book for me to reclaim so after listening to a number of telephone messages Kris and I cycled out in the rain to go and say hi, collect the book and share a few minutes of socialising with everyone. It was actually really cool to see people and catch up with a few of them.

So anyway, I have a new lock and toe clips for my bike (with the clips being fitted this evening/weekend). The other bits and bobs I'm due I won't get until Monday now, unfortunately. Still, they're not essential.

This weekend I'll be going to collect my (wedding) suit, Tesco shopping, maybe doing the parkrun and hopefully having a bit of fun here and there. For tonight though, there's obviously lots of washing up to do and then an evening of relaxation with my girl (once she's back from yoga).

19/08/2010
[16:30] Got home last night and made a distinct effort to get my mudguards fitted to my new bike. They went on fairly well considering a) some of the bits (now on their way from Wiggle free of charge) were missing and, b) Kris' yoga class was misadvertised so she came home and offered an alternative to working on my bike right at the point where it really wasn't the best time to stop (things up in the air, as it were). In the end we had a nice relaxing evening with her doing some home yoga and me taking my time over the bike.

Did I mention that the old drafting table I've had in my garage for years and years has now been cleaned of glue and goop, sanded, varnished, sanded, varnished and had its stand cleaned and spray-painted black? Well, it has and it looks pretty damned awesome and is now doing sterling duty in Kris' room as her desk. It's high (hurrah for matching chair) and far far larger in terms of deskage real-estate than her previous one. It makes the room look pretty great too. New carpet and some Ikea storage and I think she'll have a pretty stunning studio to call her own. Which is very important.

Anyway, I need to head off, collect some other bike bits from Cormac (new lock and some toe clips) and head home to see my girl.

18/08/2010
[19/08/2010 - 16:25] Turns out I didn't do a journal entry yesterday for some reason. Probably due to the fact that it was a reasonably busy day doing load balancer configurations and adding more loop devices to all of the Dom0 hosts for the new service I'm part of the configuration crew for.

That and discovering there was maybe something I should put some effort into doing something about (more on that another day, perhaps). Anyway, the meal the night before was pretty cool. Fish and chips! I haven't had fish and chips for... well, years I think. It was lovely, although Kate looked a little tired. We had a wonderful evening, the three of us, including a rather nice bit of dessert in the pub across the road from the fish place, too. Slept OK too. Which was nice.

17/08/2010
[17:30] Nice to have a day slightly less frenetic than yesterday. It's just a shame that I had a bit of a freak about about my new bike's gears last night, couldn't sleep, was woken at around ten to four by the police mistakenly chasing one of my Hungarian immigrant neighbours into his back garden when he didn't stop when they told him to and generally felt a bit ick when I got up this morning. I don't know what happened with the gears but I think that the front derailleur hadn't been tightened properly and had started to rub on the chainrings. Fixing that (involving retensioning the gear cable) took longer that it would if I'd actually been any good at fixing bikes. I'm also on a bit of a low about other stuff going on in my life at the moment. Wedding planning, bits of life, the house, how lots of things seem to be less than perfect (when I know perfectly well (no pun intended) that nothing is ever perfect) and well, blah.

Anyway, morning exercises helped shake some of the cobwebs as usual, I cycled in with a lunch made by my beloved and sorted out the council tax mixup that appeared to have happened with regard to my direct debit, again. I took the opportunity to admit that I'm no longer allowed the 25% single occupancy rate so that's going on from next month too. Once in work I did a bit more configuration of the new boxes, set up a 800GB file copy from a USB drive to the main MySQL server I built, went for a run (and managed to shave ten seconds off my personal best for 6km) and have spent the rest of the day setting up various parts of the Zeus load balancers for the new services we're going to be hosting.

I really should head home soon and help Kris move her new (resprayed, stripped, sanded and varnished drafting) table up to her room, relax for a bit and then have dinner with not one but two lovely women. And it's fish and chips too. How awesome is that?

I know!

16/08/2010
[17:10] I've spent most of the day fighting with what might be a new bug in Red Hat's kickstart stuff. It put me back by about five hours all told. As it is I've had to fudge a file or two just to get all the machines installed. They are now all installed (the last one taking its sweet time over formatting 1.9TB of space) and I'm pretty sure I've done all the post-installation configuration I can do. It's now up to other people. Or at least for them to tell me what I've missed.

There was lots of things going on this weekend. I got my bike wheel retrued, did a lot of house stuff (sealant in the bathroom, cleaning the whole house, spray-painting and varnishing Kris' 'new' desk) and Andy came to visit to have a Skype chat with us to Dunk to pin down some duties and things like that. I also got stressed about things a little bit and consequently didn't sleep so well. Still, I think we're getting on top of things slowly but surely.

I've just this minute called the people doing the carpet to pay the 50% deposit on the job so that's something other than work achieved today too. I have to go now so I cahn get a small piece of plastic from a bike shop. Speaking of bike shops, more on that tomorrow if I remember. Ask me about the wheel.

13/08/2010
[16:35] Hurrah! Another busy day. But a little stressful too. More on that in a second. I didn't sleep well again last night. I'm pretty sure it's not work-related stress though. Kris and I have so much going on at the moment that I'm sure that's what's causing it. Still, we're working on it together so we're bound to get it all sorted in the end.


Work today has been all about the new boxes I'm setting up. I made a rod for my own back by inviting over the developer/sysadmins of the old system I'm helping replace so I could show them what the build process is and ask them some questions. They gave me some chocolate biscuits for my trouble. I wonder if it's trouble to come rather than trouble I've already dealt with...

I felt pretty powerful on the lunchtime run today. This bodes well for tomorrow's parkrun (if I do it). Other things this weekend are Andy coming to visit, a Skype conversation with Dunk (the reason Andy's coming to visit) about wedding/Best Man/Groomsman duties, lunch with Andy and some shopping. Kris and I will also be working on the wedding invitations too, I think.

I should go. I need to be at the bike shop soon as well as the fact that the first part of next week could well involve some long working days.

12/08/2010
[17:05] Even getting up at 06:00 this morning (Kris got up, I couldn't be bothered to stay in bed waiting for the alarm to go off) and in work for about 07:30 I've still spent most of the day getting the six new servers wired up, plumbed in and up and running. I mean, I haven't got the OS installed on any of them yet but they're connected, powered up and their RAID arrays are ready to go. Most of the afternoon has been spent writing the kickstart and post install scripts for each of the boxes. Unfortunately I don't feel I can do any of the installs yet. Not until the people who're going to be running the Debian DomUs on them have come over and looked over my build scripts (my choice/decision). I'd like to make sure I give them as easy a ride as possible as it would be nice not to have to go around the loop on this (or even around the bend) more than once.

Speaking of easy rides, Cormac and I (mostly Cormac) had a go at truing the rear wheel of my new bike last night. I think it's pretty OK now, which is good. I may ride on it for a few days and then see what happens. After that I went to the boat house to do some maintenance work with Keith and then finally back to Cormac's to collect my forgotten pannier and then home. It was a long evening.

Tonight is going to be much more relaxed with people over for pizza and films and Kris upstairs with a friend or two planning her hen event. I'll be interested to find out what they decide on. For now though, I'm off home.

11/08/2010
[17:05] Talk about busy. I was told I'd won a book called "Yoga for Rowers", had my bike turn up, found it had a slightly buckled rim, had a call from the bike shop about it, had a server throw half of its disks out of its pram while no-one was there from my group to fix it and, oh, gave notice of marriage at the local register office.

And all that before 10:30.

Since then Kris has been home to see the sofa repaired, I've fixed a server or two, gone for a run, rack-mounted six new servers (more on that tomorrow), found out I have to see if I can re-true my new bike's rear wheel myself (with help from Cormac) and been talking with APC about the RHEL3 server which won't run the new version of the MGE Network Shutdown Module client software for the UPS.

I think all that remains to do today is go home, do the washing up, cycle over to Cormac's with my rear wheel to try fixing it, go to the boathouse and look at blades, go home and greet Kris fresh from yoga, make dinner and collapse. Easy!

10/08/2010
[17:15] I did a huge amount of washing up last night and did some more cleaning out in the box room/my 'office'. I still think there's more to go (out of the door and into the bin) though. Given I'd left work late I didn't actually sit down for a rest until about ten minutes before Kris came back from yoga. Still, better than having a lazy evening. I wish I'd remembered the Hash was on though as it was a lovely evening.

I didn't sleep well last night. Probably stressing about something or other. Even so, the morning exercises helped as they almost always do. Today has actually been pretty good as I caught up on some patching, created and configured a CVS repository for a block of users and spent an inordinate amount of time learning more about the SAN from Flash tutorials. It's just a shame the narrator happens to be a Californian surf-chick. That's getting old very quickly.

My new bike arrived at home at around 16:15 so I don't even know what I'm still doing at work except that I had a few things more to do. We've also today booked the new carpet to be installed at the beginning of September. That is going to set off a whole load of big changes in the house what with getting rid of the old built-in wardrobe and getting a new one from Ikea which also means we get some new bookshelves for downstairs and Kris' room too. Change is coming... and some of it is already here.

Time to go home and play with my bike. A shame it's really raining hard at the moment.

09/08/2010
[17:25] Such a lot has happened in the week I've been away. Herewith a brief list: Cycling out to see carpet samples, choosing carpet samples, agreeing a quote to get the upstairs rooms recarpeted, binning lots of things, rearranging the lounge a little bit. The sofa breaking partially, cycling places, having cake, seeing National Trust properties, some huge arguments for no real reason, lots of walking, plenty of lovely food, looking at wedding rings, meeting our prospective photographer, printing and sending out save the date thingies for the wedding, more house tidying, buying a brand new bike which should be delivered tomorrow, arranging a Registry Office visit (Wednesday morning), completely forgetting about the Skype call to have with my two best men and probably at least a dozen other things which I just can't bring to mind right now.

On top of that there was coming back to work this morning and finding that I had to update all of the MGE UPS client software and discovering that the new version doesn't seem to like RHEL3 very much. Then there was the lunch time run, cycling over to Cormac's workplace with a fair amount of IT stuff I didn't need in the house any more and catching up on just how far behind my servers can get in terms of patching in just a week.

At least my bad night's sleep these last few nights haven't been down to the alarm going off in the house across the road. I went over and hammered on the door until someone came to talk to me a few days ago and it doesn't seem to have happened since. On the flip side, the same gang of asian lads who were pelting houses with plums a week on Friday last nearly caught Kris in the side of her head with one last Friday as she was cycling home from yoga. We ended up informing the police and they may be doing extra patrols around our area on Friday nights from now on. Which is nice.

For now though I should go home, do the masses of washing up that seems to instantaneously appear whenever I take an evening off doing it and then dive back into my box room and see what else I can throw out.