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June's Journal
August's Journal

[16:35] The alarm in one of the houses opposite has been going off at 05:55 every morning this week. This morning it did it again. I almost got out of bed again (like yesterday) and went and knocked on their door. Happily it seemed to stop after half an hour and then the two times it started up again someone seemed to stop it within a few minutes. We're at a loss to explain what's happening. Either there's someone very deaf in that house or someone very, very lazy.

Kris and I had a wonderfully quiet evening last night. As no-one was free we simply settled down with some nice food and watched both Toy Story and Toy Story 2 (neither of which Kris had ever seen). It was nice. We're now both primed and ready to see Toy Story 3 (in 2D) some time next week. Probably on Wednesday.

Today I have been mostly doing more firewall rules, Oubliette updates and learning a bit more about how to add new hosts to the new SAN. It's all very straightforward at the same time as being very complicated. I'm definitely going to need to see/do it a few times to work out what's going on at all levels from fabric up and down. I also went for a run. Ostensibly this was to work some of the kinks of yesterday out. I finished yesterday's run and felt pretty achey in the quads and hoped that a gentle run today would fix me right up. Well, it doesn't seem to have. Still, there's no harm done as far as I can tell so it's all good training really. Especually good training if it turns out that I'm able to pull together four or eight people to do the Boston Marathon in September. This is a 31 mile row between Lincoln and Boston and should be a brilliant if, as I said, I can get a crew together from the people remaining who haven't already entered but still want to do it. I'm also rowing tomorrow and hopefully Sunday mornings.

Oh, and I'm also not in work for the whole of next week so you won't get an update on the Journal until 9 August. But I'm sure you'll survive. Time to go. Next week is all about going places, hopefully finding some carpet we like and seeing lots of cool things for not very much money. Also: lots of nice food too.

[17:20] Owing to perhaps not getting on top of the whole cycling holiday in good time all the bed and breakfast places on the route we were planning to go seemed to be booked up. As a result we've decided to modify our plans somewhat and go with a series of trips out from home every day. That way money spend is kept to a minimum and we can go a much more varied number of places. We think what we've come up with for next week is pretty damned good.

Hopefully the extra few days I've booked off over the next few months will allow us to get things like the carpeting upstairs done as well as figuring other house and wedding stuff out that we need to do. I should have arranged my vacation sooner but frankly there wasn't really much impetus to do so while Kris wasn't here.

Today I've been working on patching a box, giving feedback on the Nessus parsing script and... that's about it, really. Probably the most exciting part of my day was the 8km I ran at lunchtime which actually made my legs ache. That was surprising. Also surprising was the massive amount of sugary substances my team leader brought in from Tesco. I've tried not to go too nuts (and probably succeeded) but when they're basically in my eyeline there's not a whole lot I can do about it. In fact I think before I go home I'm going to move them out of it for tomorrow.

Thursday was planned for this evening. But I don't think anyone's going to come.

[17:25] Last night's date was lovely. And it didn't rain either. A nice drink, some tasty food just a 1 minute walk down the road and then a gentle cycle home via Waterstones to look at maps for next week's cycle tour. Really a very lovely evening.

It's a shame that I not only slept badly but that someone across the road had a loud radio alarm clock which went off every hour or so between 05:55 and when we eventually got up. I'm still somewhat groggy in the mornings at the moment but a full batch of morning exercises sure does help clear away the cobwebs.

Today has been pretty quiet for me on the work front. A few firewall checks, some load balancer rule stuff and logging a call with Sun about another server which is reporting ECC errors. Oh, and lots and lots of SAN tutorials. Lots. Still, at least I'll know a lot more about it by the end.

Time to go home and plan some more cycling holiday with Kris.

[17:05] Happily today has been fairly quiet. This is good as I'm quite tired for no readily discernable reason. I mean, there was the run on Sunday but I really didn't do much yesterday evening. Anyway, getting up this morning was a pretty slow affair. I need to start doing my whole exercise thingy again as I'd let it go last week on account of saving all my energy for the racing.

There are rumours we'll be putting some boats together for the Peterborough and Oxford regattas in August, which should be fun. Hopefully I'll get to be in at least one or two crews for that. I'm not wedded to the idea of actually getting a point or two on my rowing license, but it might be nice. Plus another shiny peweter pot for keeping flowers for Kris in would be nice.

I'm off for a date with Kris tonight. We're doing the whole drinks and a meal thing. We will, however, be talking about the week we're taking off next week to do house stuff and an overnight cycle trip (possibly more than one night) somewhere too so it won't be a complete evening of relaxation and leisure. But we don't mind, it's our first one in ages and it's a perfect time to do this while drinking nice things and sitting very close to each other.

The reason we can sit close to each other is that I had a nice long shower after the run in the rain I did at lunch time today. It was nice to get out there again after so long away from the trainers but I'm sure I've lost a fair bit of muscle/cardio fitness because of it. Oh well, I'm back on the millstone now.

[17:10] Despite there being no rowing (as a reward for the end of the races) it was a very full weekend. Starting Friday. Friday we managed to row without getting caught. Not only that but we almost caught the boat which had caught us the night before. Gave them a damned good scare anyway. The party afterwards was heaps of fun, but as Kris was feeling pretty under the weather after having put in a full day of work and such I cut things short and headed home around about 23:00. I'm reliably informed that it went on well past 04:00.

Saturday morning wasn't supposed to be about remodeling the kitchen but it ended up being. We removed a heap of stuff from the corner shelves, then the actual shelves themselves. Then a whole load of stuff from the cupboards, then even more from my box room and the spare room. We're really trying to clear the decks so that when Kris' stuff comes we have room. A lot of the things we're packing away I probably didn't need any more and it'll make things easier when we start getting new carpet for certain rooms and new bits of kitchen in place too. Saturday afternoon was Keith and Mariko's post rowing party to which a whole heap of people turned up. We went, had a great time, got lungs full of barbeque smoke and came home.

Sunday morning we pottered for a little while and then Kris went to do yoga and I for a 10km run. Having left my running shoes at work I was in my AR ones and so stopped after about 8km when I felt that the protoblister was far enough advanced that any more would be actual blister-inducing. I really should work out which socks are best for those shoes. We went home and then popped out to Homebase to pick up some new blinds for Kris' room (she's fed up with the curtains in her room). Fitting them, or at least attempting to fit them, reminded me that the lintel above one of her windows is now plaster over a very thick piece of iron. In the end I had to screw the hooks into the wood of the picture rail instead. We're not sure which part of the whole deal isn't plumb (wall, rail, blinds), but something needs to be done to make the things hang a bit straighter. I've already filled drill holes with polyfiller so my next task is to get the old brad awl out and make a new hole for the hook on one side of one blind to see if I can make things line up a little better. Kris is doing more yoga this evening so I have a chance to do the washing up from last night's awesome meal (cooked by her) and perhaps that bit of DIY. Oh, I forgot to mention that I also put up the towel ring perfectly and last night's Top Gear and Sherlock were pretty damned excellent too.

Today's work has been mostly about trying to fix the MySQL replication the web guys managed to break on Friday in new and interesting ways. The fact that my team leader didn't get it solved in seconds flat (more like hours) has made me feel a little less stupid than I did on Friday. On top of that we've got people in doing penetration testing today and that's been playing hell with some of the major services we run here and I've been unable to edit someone's Nessus XML report parsing script to do what I need it to. Not a great start to the week, but at least nothing has totally broken... yet.

I might just go home before it does.

[16:25] We were caught with a bump last night. We made it within about 400m of the finish line before the crew behind us made up the distance. Most annoying but frankly they were simply faster than we were. This puts us in front of the crew we managed to hold off two nights in a row, so we're not too worried about tonight's row. Of course, we'd like to catch the crew who caught us last night, but that may not be possible. Especially if they catch the crew in front of them (who we were chasing for two nights) before we do. Still, it's all a laugh, really. It was nice that the rain started and then stopped before I even got to the boat house. It meant the air was much cooler and a bit more moist on the throat that it had been. Here's hoping for the same tonight. There'll be a big party after tonight's rowing and although Kris probably isn't going to make it due to really feeling the tail end of the cold we've both had I might stay for an hour or so and do the old socialising thing before I go home to my girl.

Before that though I have to go to Tesco, get home, put everything away, have dinner, get to the boat house and row. And that's on top of the work I've done today which has been mainly nursing Nessus scans through from beginning to end when UDP port scanning, various plugins and accidently DoSing of a server or two has made it an extremely long job. Other than that I've been looking over the shoulder of my colleague who's been trying to fix the MySQL replication issue that someone in the web team managed to cause and offering some almost useful advice here and there. We've done all we can for the moment and it's now up to our line manager (off this week, back on Monday) to pick up the last few complicated pieces we couldn't understand and slot them into place (we hope).

Speaking of places, I need to be in another one in a few minutes. Have a good weekend.

[16:15] We managed to row over again last night. It was actually easier than the first night as there wasn't much of a rush for the last 300m or so due to the guys behind us getting caught and the crew in front just being too far away for us to bother killing ourselves to catch in that distance. What it does mean is that we're really going to have to step up our game tonight to defend against the new chasers we have. Not having looked around while going at race pace I have to rely on YouTube videos and the cox telling us that we have been getting reasonably close to the boat in front in the first 30-40 strokes or so, but then we lose ground on the corners. Hopefully we'll manage to eat into their lead a bit more solidly tonight and get them before we're caught from behind. If not it could be an extremely difficult row over.

Not helping matters is that the next door neighbour was having a small get-together last night which ended up being held outside, right below our bedroom window. At 01:00 I had to get up and gently ask her if she'd take it inside. Because she's nice she did. I'm pretty sure Kris and I lost consciousness very shortly after that. Kris is still pretty gravely of voice and low on energy but improving while I seem to finally be getting back to normal too (although an evening of racing makes me cough somewhat still) so we were both mostly OK this morning, if a little groggy.

Work today has been mostly about tidying up a load balancer rule a little too rigorously (and having to revert one of the changes when people noticed something wasn't working any more), clearing up some Oracle Grid agent scripts the DBAs don't seem to want doing what they're supposed to (or at least some of the DBAs anyway) and some regularly scheduled patching. Now I'm just waiting to go home to my favourite girl, do some washing up, have some dinner and go and row.

[16:35] Well, we didn't suck last night. Which was good. This was slightly surprising as I found out only an hour before we were due to be on the water that I was going to be swapping sides (stroke, rather than bow side) to accommodate our substitute who only rows bow side. I'm a little peeved not to be in the "crumple zone" of the bow seat, but wherever I sit I can contribute so that's OK. So, yes, we rowed over with very little panic and frankly it seemed to go quite well. We're certainly pleased we seem to have the measure of those chasing us, even if we don't have that of those we're chasing. We'll see how tonight goes, anyway.

Very little seemed to happen at work today, even though the morning seemed to go by at lightspeed. I updated a few Oracle monitoring files, double checked that the PCI Compliance and QALoad stuff was still paused and swapped out that RAM (for the third time). Other than that not much goin' on here. It's good really as although I was awake by the time I got dressed, the stuff I took last night to help my coughing (of which we don't seem to have any more of in the house for tonight and the next two nights) really knocked me out and made me pretty groggy this morning. Probably for the best given the rest I seem to need while I'm getting better from that cold.

Thanks to all those who came to watch things last night. I hope a series of row overs isn't too dull for you. More racing tonight!

[16:40] I've finally started doing something I should have been doing years ago. I've got myself a notebook/ledger and am keeping a proper record of everything I do each day. This should help with an awful lot of things including any potential applications I make for pay rises next year. I think it would be really quite useful right around then.

So anyway, last night I got home from work, did the washing up as per usual and we had dinner. Still feeling that weird unsettled feeling that I've had since just after Kris came home Kris took me out for a walk and we set the world to rights a bit. I really do enjoy stepping out with my girl. I feel a good bit more... balanced afterwards. I'm not totally on an even keel (there's at least one thing I really wish was fixed) but I think as time goes by I'm evening out again. Slowly but surely. Which is nice.

I'm still coughing a lot come the end of the day and bedtime has been quite annoying for us both for at least four days now. Last night was no exception so I took pity on us both and slept in the spare bedroom. This allowed Kris to get to sleep and me to cough to my heart's content, rather than trying to keep it all bottled up and damn near choking myself to death. Hopefully I won't have to do it again (this evening). Kris is also ill at the moment so I'm hoping to take care of her when I can and help her recovery a bit more quickly than I seem to be doing. It makes me happy when she's healthy and smiling.

Work today was all about prodding Red Hat into acknowledging the actual problem I raised with them about RHN, attempting to start on reading up on the new SAN (failed), updating three service boxes with new printer configurations and prodding Sun about the ECC errors support call. We're getting new RAM out tomorrow for that one.

Tonight's my first night of racing (rowing) and I'm trying not to be nervous about it. I'm in the mens second boat which means we're mixing it with the big boys, but hopefully the amount of practice we've been doing and the strong people in the middle of the boat will mean we don't get totally wiped out on any of the four nights. More on tonight's event tomorrow.

[17:20] An extremely busy weekend, most definitely. My parents arrived on Friday afternoon just after I did, after which I left to row. When I came home Kris and my parents were still in full flow and enjoying each other's company, which was lovely. The food was likewise great too. Kris is such an amazing cook. And it's almost always so much healthier than what I probably would have come up with. The outing was OK. We were still using subs rather that the agreed crew so we still aren't sure how we'll stack up on the night(s).

Saturday, rather than rowing we all piled in the car and headed down to the secret location just outside of Gatwick to give Kris her first view of the place we were pretty sure would be the eventual wedding venue. As the manager showed Kris and I around the place we gave each other the agreed signal of three hand squeezes to say "yes, this is the place" only in our excited states both forgot to stop at three. Suffice it to say, she likes the place. Once we'd hashed out a large amount of the details my parents came back from wandering around the town and we settled down for what turned out to be a very delicious lunch at the same venue. It was good that we went for three courses in the end as the car journey to the Ikea we'd designated as our stopping point on the way home took a very long time to get to due to really terrible traffic jams on the M25 and the A road roundabout beneath it that we eventually came off at. Still, Ikea was interesting (even for me) and we came away with lots of things for the wedding and some good ideas for when Kris and I head back to one with a friend and a van at some point in the near future. By the time we'd finished in Ikea the M25 was clear again and we got home in good time. Kris had succumbed to a bug in the previous 24 hours or so and spent most of the day without a voice and with horrible aching head and throat so she was pretty low on energy (as was I with my coughing for half the night) by the time we collapsed on the sofa. A snack of oatcakes and cheese was quickly followed by bed.

Sunday saw Kris and I both heading down to the boat house in the morning. Kris to do yoga with people and me rowing. Again we didn't have all the crew in the boat (this time due to one of the guys getting a huge splinter in his thumb on the Friday and needing ultrasound to find the missing bit he didn't get out and then surgery) but it turns out now that the person we did have in is now the person we'll have this week. By the time I got home Kris was already back and my parents had spent a quiet morning reading and relaxing. They left shortly after lunch and Kris going to bed to try and recouperate a little. I went for a nice speedy cycle ride with Cormac and was pleased to find that rowing legs keep up with cycling legs. Especially when the cyclist is on a carbon-fibre racing bike and the rower is on a 26" wheel mountain bike with the only nod to speed being slick tyres. I shouldn't have done it, being under strict orders to relax until Tuesday evening, but it was such a lovely day. When I came home I spend the remainder of the day looking after Kris (although I'll do better at that next time), making dinner and watching a bit of TV with my girl curled up in my lap.

Today we still have the wind which affected our outings so much over the last three days, but the heat is back too. I've been at work adding much-needed tests for "file freshness" to our Oracle Big Brother test, communicating with a developer over what's changed in his development environment in the two years since he last did anything in it, adding firewall rules for new Apex instances and generally reading up on the servers that might arrive soon that I'll be responsible for installing and monitoring. And now I'm going to go home and see my girl!

[15:50] I'm still coughing and blowing my nose in the evenings and it's making going to bed a bit of a trial. Not to mention the fact that it's having a quite detrimental effect on my energy levels in some very important aspects. Still, between getting home last night and the rowing outing (which went reasonably well considering we had two subs in the boat and the wind was gusting pretty strongly) I managed to put up a shelf in the bathroom and have it actually be level and located in the correct place laterally. There was a brief moment when it looked like I'd got one side a whole 50mm lower than the other but some unscrewing and tightening of screws with some movement of the brackets and everything seems to have worked out almost perfectly.

So yes, an outing, cycling home at full speed for dinner with Kris and then coughing my way to sleep. I guess you have to take the bad with the good. Speaking of which, today's work has been a collection of firewall modifications, web site load balancer rule updates, proddings at vrious servers and a stymied attempt to run this quarter's Nessus scans. It turns out the server I use has lost its connectivity to the multiple VLANs it needs to have a presence on and is therefore currently next to useless. Hopefully the networks guy will be able to fix this state of affairs on Monday.

Between now and then I'll be going home to meet my parents, going rowing, sleeping (with minimal coughing would be nice), heading down South to look at the hopeful wedding venue with Kris and them so that Kris can see it for the first time, rowing again on the Sunday and sleeping twice more. We might even have some food and pop by Ikea (only for a catalogue this time). Have a good weekend.

[16:40] Coughing all evening, more NyQuil before bed. Managed to not have set the radio to come on for 07:00 this morning so we both dozed through until around 07:30. Still managed to get into work on time. Learned some more about the SAN today and have pointers to a massive amount of white papers and tutorials to read through. Have been tweaking Big Brother scripts for most of the morning, had lunch with Cormac and spent the afternoon trying not to fall asleep. There may or may not be rowing this evening depending on whether or not we can find a sub for the boat and if we can't whether or not I end up in a 4+ instead. I won't fight to get a place in the smaller boat as I'm going to be missing essential housework preparing for my parents coming tomorrow. Definitely can't leave Kris to do the lion's share on her own. Either way I will head home from here shortly and do what I can before I leave for the boathouse.

[14:45] This cold is having a moderate toll on my energy reserves. Although in this air-conditioned office things seem to dry up I still have a ticklesome throat which coughing won't fix and feel pretty tired.

As my outing was cancelled last night I went down to the boat house with Kris, tidied a room for her yoga and then spent the evening counting shoes which need replacing in the club's whole fleet of boats. For my troubles I got a nice pair of new shoes to fit at my position (if it remains my position) to trial before we buy any more. Fitting those did mean I was a little late getting back so I had to apologise to a ravenous Kris who'd already come home, showered and pretty much finished making dinner.

This morning was the last of the early morning patching sessions. I managed to drag myself out of bed and into work for around 06:50 and had the work done comfortably by 07:10. There's something weird going on to do with PID files with the multiple instances of exim we're running on one of the boxes I patched (as well as another one I did a few weeks ago). I think that's what I will be looking into until the end of the day. However, since this morning I have done a few more small things, sorted out some monitoring of Oracle databases and upgraded the monitoring of some of our multipath'd systems.

Kris was around getting her library reader card just before lunch so we ate together outside before she toddled off into town to do some more work and I went back to the grindstone. We'll be meeting after work to go to Tesco seeing as there doesn't seem to be any rowing on tonight. After that I'm sure we'll have something constructive to do/discuss. It seems to be the default these days.

[16:45] I'm pretty certain I've come down with a cold. It couldn't have happened at a worse time (except maybe next week). I feel low on energy and all bunged up and stuff. This doesn't bode well for the racing next week. Oh well, it's not like there's anything I can do about it other than try to keep myself in good shape otherwise and hope I kick it before next Tuesday.

Today I have had one of those bitty days again. Little jobs here and there, preparing for an early morning patching session tomorrow (last one in a while) and generally watching over the consultant's shoulder as he and my team leader set up the new SAN.

No rowing this evening, even though it was scheduled until about two hours ago it seems. I'll head down there anyway while Kris is taking some yoga class and do what I did yesterday which is work on the boats a bit more with Keith.

There's a minor problem with the front door at the moment. Before the people who made it will come out and fix it they required a photograph of the problem to be sent. Not sure why, but luckily Kris had a digital camera to hand and after she emailed it to me I did the deed. They're damned well not going to weasel out of fixing it.

Right, I should head off and go home to see my girl. There's stuff and things to be done!

[16:35] Kris is home. She's home and all is well. It's good. No, in fact it's better than good, it's great. Super and really quite smashing. Of course things didn't go completely according to plan on Friday. My bit did. I went home via town and collected a nice bunch of flowers, put up all the banners and things and then had some lunch. But then Kris rang to say that her bus had overheated somewhere on the M25 and she'd be late. And she was. Two hours late. Not helpful when she'd only marshalled her energy to get home at 14:00, not 16:00. Still, I was waiting for her at the coach stop and I had a taxi waiting so I was able to whisk her home, let her smile at the banners and flowers and me and then collapse for a bit. It was wonderful to have her back again. And this time for good.

Saturday morning we relaxed, then relaxed some more. Then Shaun, Fran and Annushka came over and said hello before heading off elsewhere. Kris and I went into town for her to see what had and hadn't changed and we looked in shops and basically enjoyed the sun. Not a lot else happened that day, even though it was basically brilliant. Kris slept a bit, I dozed on the sofa and we reminded each other what a weekend in company is like.

I rowed on Sunday morning and Kris came down at the same time and did some yoga with some of the dev squad members. That was pretty cool and could lead to something a little more permanent over the next little while. I certainly hope so. I'm very proud of her nevertheless. Her first yoga gig! Brilliant!

The rest of Sunday was mostly about looking for a bathroom over-sink shelf, a towel ring and some little bits of food I hadn't managed to think to buy on Thursday. We had duck for dinner after popping around to Keith's to see people. Although rather fatty (probably the fattiest duck we've had to date) it was still really tasty and another reminder that now that Kris is home food is going to become a whole lot more interesting again. Just like pretty much every other aspect of my life. She's that good for me.

Work today has been frustrating. A disk went on a server, but I got a replacement within four hours so I've deal with that. We're still getting ECC errors on that other server following my colleague doing the second RAM fiddle on Friday afternoon. I managed to briefly stuff up an exim setup by doing an update of the package when I shouldn't and I guess I asked a few questions I needn't have and got the condesending treatment from my team leader again. I must watch those last two.

On the whole though today has been pretty OK. My sore throat seems to have gone which means I either beat it or I'm about due a cold in the next 12-24 hours. I'm not rowing this evening but I will be down at the boat house doing some maintenance work and Kris will be collecting me from there and we'll cycle home together to make dinner. If that's not a great end to the day I don't know what is. Actually I do...

[11:45] Start (and end!) the day on a high I always say. This morning, aside from changing the bedding, doing the washing up and crossing and dotting all the housey t's and i's I could I've also finally managed to get a reliable way of monitoring the percentage rebuilt of a RAID1 array in a Sun V20z running Solaris 10 x86_64. It was very simple in the end and basically just involved the use of LSI's 'lsiutil' for Solaris x86_64 and its commandline options. I should have thought to use it sooner but I was blinded by 'raidctl' and its uselessness.

The new replacement RAM for the server has also arrived but there's not due to be any downtime before this afternoon. An afternoon which I fully intend to be spent solely in the company of my beloved who, even as I write this, is on a National Express coach from Gatwick. In less than 15 minutes I'll be leaving here, going via town to get a nice bunch of flowers and then dropping my bike off at home to walk to the bus station. We'll be getting a taxi back with the huge suitcases and wedding dress she's heroically negotiated through three airports. And then the next phase of our life begins, heralded by a string of A4 colour printed letters across the front of the house reminding her of how much I love her and how happy I am that she's come home. Speaking of which I should finish up here, head back and get that strung up without falling out of an upstairs window!

More on Monday where I should be giving you some fuzzy details on what we got up to over the weekend... as well as any rowing, cooking, housework, wedding decisions and other 'fun' stuff I/we might get up to. There also might be a cycle or two, an airshow, a visit from Shaun and even some yoga. Who knows?

[16:40] Well, I think I've done everything I can sensibly do to prepare for Kris' arrival in less than 22 hours. Of course there's a few things which can't be done until tomorrow (I won't mention what they are in case she's still online) but they shouldn't take more than half an hour. I'm rowing this evening and then heading to Tesco to get in all the things she likes so that Friday evening and through the weekend we'll have nice stuff to cook and eat and enjoy.

I've been getting new DIMMs sent out for the same server again today. With luck they'll arrive and I can fit them before I leave at lunch time tomorrow. Otherwise it'll have to be Monday. Other than that I've been learning about RHEL's 'built in' multipathing/RDAC stuff in the hope that it'll replace the Sun-supplied version we have to do two reboots for whenever we upgrade the kernel.

Oh, and I had a poke at some server room temperature/humidity monitoring kit but have been told until our new server room's online before I do anything serious that might cost us money. And randomly, my front door appears to now have a split in it. I've no idea why but as it should be covered under the warranty (fitted in June 2008) I've contacted the company who fitted it and have been told to expect someone to call me within the week. Hopefully it'll be a quick and simple resolution.

I should get out of here on time today; I need to be down at the boathouse as soon as I can to do some boat mending before we're out on the water. I just hope all the shopping fits in my panniers and rucksack afterwards.

Looking at the time I believe Kris is probably with her parents having lunch about now. She'll take off while I'm rowing and Tesco'ing and then fly through my night to arrive early tomorrow morning. Her ETA at the bus station in town is 13:50, which gives me just enough time to get home from work, do the necessary bits and bobs and walk there to meet her... It's going to be awesome.

[17:25] Last night's outing wasn't quite as good as the one before. It was probably due to having two substitutes in the boat. Still, we did the timed race which composed the second half of the outing at a reasonable rate. 2.2km at no less than 33spm, which was reasonable. I think we even made up some ground on the crew in front too.

Happily I didn't have to be in work early this morning after all, and I don't need to be tomorrow either. This was good as I had a bit of trouble pulling myself out of bed. The morning exercises helped get the blood flowing though which is part of the reason why I do them. While I think about it I should mention that there appear to be two or three things wrong with the bathroom now. There's the grout issue, I think the sealant is coming away between the bath and the tiles and I have this horrible feeling that the cistern is going to come off the wall given the amount of creaking that goes on whenever you walk around the bathroom. Kris is coming home soon (less than 45 hours at this point) so her advice as to whether or not we fix these things ourselves or have someone come out again and do it (for free, I hope!) will be very much appreciated.

So yes, work today has been pretty standard. Identifying that the DIMMs I replaced yesterday don't seem to have fixed the ECC errors we were getting in that server means either we have more DIMMs on the blink, I was told to replace the wrong ones or there's something more fundamentally wrong with the box. I've kept Sun informed so we'll just have to wait and see what happens.

I did a fun 6km run at lunch and played around with stride length and breathing cadence to see how it affected my energy levels over the duration. Definite scope for improvements, I think. Although now I think it's time to go home and do a bit more housework. Tomorrow I'm rowing in the evening and really won't feel like doing much in the way of that kind of thing then. I should get as much as I can done tonight, I think.

[17:00] Last night's outing was excellent. For a scratch crew we had almost perfect balance. All we need to do now is get the power down at the same time, not rush the last quarter of the slide, catch together and pop the blades out together. So basically everything else. Anyway, after doing that I was on a nice high to cycle home, eat lots of pasta, watch some TV and go to bed.

Unfortunately I had a bit of an interrupted night's sleep but was still up and about at 06:00. I decided that it was about time I had a burrito on a Tuesday again so didn't need to make a packed lunch. Coupling that with not needing a shower due to very little in the way of morning exercises I was at work well before the big gates opened to let me in. Still, once I was in the server room I was able to knock the first machine out of the park patching and RDAC building-wise in under half an hour. fsck'ing the array afterwards took a bit more time. A cycle to work (I was in the center of town) to do the other server didn't take long at all and I was done with the other machine in about another forty minutes. Case closed.

The replacement RAM for the server with the ECC errors arrived just before lunch so after eating my burrito I brought the box down and fitted it. On first reboot the thing complained it was missing a quarter of its RAM and CPUs so I went down again, pulled everything out and reseated it and rebooted. And lo and behold everything was fine. Stupid computers.

Another stupid computer was the Sun V20z which panic'd on reboot to install this week's Solaris patches. It took about half an hour to get it back up, the patches actually installed and rebooted again. The sluggishness was almost certainly down to the way in which it likes to completely resync the RAID1 after any reboot. Very strange. Still, at least I won't be surprised when the live box in the cluster does it on Thursday morning.

I'm racing this evening. It's just a short/small/hardly important thing so we're not too excited about it. But it will give us some idea of what kind of time we're going to need to put down for the event towards the end of the month based on what other crews do. Then again they may not take part so it's hard to know.

[16:35] I'll come straight out and admit it. I didn't go and do the parkrun on Saturday morning. I know I promised I would whenever I didn't have rowing scheduled but I just couldn't bring myself to go. I did use the entirel morning to do housework instead though. Hopefully that counts for something. I also cycled gently into town and managed to get D&A to replace my glasses with a new pair because of the pattern of fine scratches on both lenses which make looking at lights at night appear as though I have greasy lenses. I'm not sure why they've ended up as they have given the anti-scratch coating they're supposed to have but getting new glasses after a year of wear on the old ones is pretty cool. I'll try to be even more careful with this replacement pair when they arrive some time in the next week or so. Anyway, after doing that in town I came home, having purposefully not taken any money with me at all.

Saturday evening was a chance to get together with a few people, eat some food and chat about ludicrous things for a while. I left at around 22:00 and went to bed. All in all it'd been a good day and I managed to achieve almost everything I needed to with regard to house cleaning.

Sunday morning I woke early again as I seem to be doing all the time in this summer period. It's a good thing really considering Kris isn't one for lying in bed much past 06:00 (or even 05:30). Having promised myself I'd do something a bit more active and get out of the house I packed my usual cycling kit and set out vaguely eastbound (having done west and north so far). While I only managed ~46 miles (and I'm not sure if it was more than that consider my speedometer or transmitter battery seems to be flaky) but there were a lot more hills than normal and I made a real mistake by doing it all on a fairly major A road. I don't think I'll be doing that route again any time soon. The rest of the day I ate (more like grazed) and relaxed and tried to enjoy a last weekend of single, batchelorhood...

It wasn't a complete success as - even after she's been away for so long - I miss Kris intensely. Not just because it would mean another body in the house, but also because of that unexplainable wonderful aspect to coupledom which you find it very hard to shake once you've experienced it. The house feels empty without two people in it even now. She left in February and hasn't been back since.

I'm extremely glad she's coming home soon.

I'm rowing tonight (I hope, there's no word whether or not we have a full crew yet) and possibly tomorrow evening too. This is the lead up to the town races for this year so expect a lot more rowing in the evenings (and possibly even weekday mornings) between now and the end of the month.

[16:20] I didn't get in early this morning! It was brilliant! I still woke up at 06:00 but instead of getting out of bed I simply reached over and grabbed my current book and read for an hour instead. Luxury. Come 07:00 I got up and did my full morning exercise thing before the rest of the morning routine and cycling into work nice and gently.

Today I have been doing lots of quote comparisons with various models of Dell server in an attempt to beat the suddenly inflated quote Sun/Oracle sprang on us recently. I'm not exactly loathe to go back to Dell, but I would much rather stick with the Sun X-series servers we've been getting for the last two years or so. Still, Oracle's stupid fault for asking for a whole lot more money suddenly.

Last night's Thursday was interesting. I'd planned on a barbeque based on one person asking for one. Then no-one said they were coming so we cancelled that and went with pizza. In the end three other people turned up and we watched a few episodes of The West Wing and generally had a rather chilled out time. I think I'll stop hosting Thursday for a few weeks. Most people seem to be doing other fun things on that evening for the summer/sunny months and it can be a bit limiting to confine myself to the house if no-one else is going to turn up.

I appear to have abraded both lenses of my glasses. I have no idea how but it really is very annoying when there are point sources of light as it gives the impression there's grease on them to my eye. Given they're supposed to be scratch resistant I'm going to take them into the optician tomorrow and see if I can get them to do something about it.

Hopefully I'll be rowing this weekend. The hope is for two reasons. Three actually. 1) I don't want to do parkrun tomorrow as I'm quite tired from today's forced 6km run and I promised I'd always go and run if I wasn't rowing. 2) It would be really nice to go rowing. And 3) if I don't do anything energetic tomorrow morning it's possible I may spend the entire day on the sofa and that would be bad. Then again I have lots of house stuff still to do before Kris comes home, so I'll be doing that if nothing else. That and going to the optician.

Right, that's enough brain dumping done for the moment. Time to head off and do some grocery shopping. There's stuff to do and then some recorded TV to be watched before the end of the day.

[16:25] And now we're in July. Obviously this means that something has to go wrong for me. And it did, at 07:00 this morning (although you could argue that it went wrong at 06:00 when I had to get out of bed) when the machine I was patching and rebooted threw all of its toys out of the pram with regard to the disk array attached to it. This caused me a fair bit of consternation (although far less than it would have done a few months/years ago) as I tried various things to fix it. Somehow (I'm still not entirely sure how) it was indeed fixed and I was able to restart the production database on the box and hand it back to the DBAs. And I'd still had over fifteen minutes of vulnerable period left to go. Easy life!

The rest of the day I've spent trying to work out what exactly the problem was so that if it happens again I'll be a lot better informed as to what the cause and possible solution is. In the middle of that I went for a lovely walk in the sun, had to hard reset another box upon which the third party software stack had taken hefty bites out of the kernel and discovered that I'm going to be responsible for another six new servers soon. They'll be running RHEL5 as a Xen hypervisor with Debian guests. That's going to be very interesting.

I've offered to host a barbeque this evening in place of the usual Thursday type stuff. Only as far as I can tell only one person has said they'll be attending. I'm not sure a barbeque for two really works if the other person isn't your significant other.