[17:05] Still having issues uploading to Live Journal. I'll check it again
when I get back but for now I'm off for a little bit.
Before that I'll tell you about last night and today which was mostly a great
night out with Kris and Cormac & Steph having cocktails, then a huge Keralan
meal and then cycling home to watch a film. I didn't sleep terribly well and
was up and about and stressing around about 05:30. We got some stuff done
before I headed to work where I ended up printing stuff, working on upgrading
PHP for a developer and then cycling out to pay the cycle shop I got some bits
from for the bits I got a few days ago. On the way back I went via home to
see Kris, give her some printouts and then cycle off to the other server room
where I called someone from the UPS company to ascertain that the UPS and/or
management card are indeed in a bit of a tizzy.
Other than that I've basically batted everything in my inbox out to the people
who need to deal with them and told them to reply to our team's address rather
than me as I won't be around to deal with their messages.
Back in a bit. Be good.
[17:05] Moved a few machines today. Discovered that we didn't have the
"Cabinet Rail Adapter Plate" parts that we needed to move the disk array from
a threaded rack to a square-holed rack. I've contacted Oracle to ask for the
bits we need but the chances are we're going to have to pay money, probably a
large number of national credit units to get a few bags of bits of aluminium
and steel. I find this annoying, but expected.
Otherwise I've been puzzling over the segmentation faults our RHEL servers
have been having all afternoon in connection with RPMforge. Hopefully someone
smarter than me is on the case and there'll be some kind of fix for it before
the end of tomorrow. Chances are slim though, so I'll have to tell someone
else here about it and have them do an update at some point.
Kris' bike arrived around lunch time so I need to go home and look at that
before we head out for dinner with Cormac and Steph. Kris has been doing lots
of packing all day so I expect her to be tired and achieveful. 'Cos she's
awesome. Also, LiveJournal doesn't seem to be accepting submissions from me
at the moment so this entry and yesterday's are going to be queued until
they get their fingers out or I figure out what's gone wrong at this end and
perhaps get another command line submission client. I hope I don't have to do
[17:00] As weekends go this was a good one, I think. No rowing at all after
last week's mammoth 4-races-in-4-days thing. We had a score draw (as it were)
for the last night, but we were made to work for every single stroke from
start to finish. That was tiring. I didn't stay long at the party afterwards
as getting home to Kris was more of a priority.
Although I didn't sleep terribly well I did manage to stay in bed for a little
bit on Saturday morning. It was one of Kris' yoga teacher training weekends
so after a breakfast date with Kris in town I got to potter around the house a
bit after getting back from going to Tesco, do some packing and tidying and
have a semi-successful trip over to see Cormac about getting my bike's saddle
and bottom bracket changed. His tools were all at Keith's so we did the
saddle and then planned on him coming over later in the day to do the other
bit of work on his way back from collecting them. This happened, an excellent
"bread and mebbies" dinner followed, and then bed.
Sunday was mostly about Kris being at training again, me doing a longish run
from the boat house (deserted since Friday night/early Saturday morning) and
more tidying and packing. We broke and ordered pizza for dinner because, hey,
you can do that when you're two consenting adults with jobs (and one of you
even has a mortgage).
I paid for the pizza today by cycling into town and getting the last little
bits for Kris' replacement/insurance-supplied bike from the most excellent
cycle shop in the world, then doing a shorter time but higher energy erg at
the boat house. Other than that I've been working on a few things, asking
questions of other people and generally putting balls in other people's
courts, as it were.
Kris' bike should arrive tomorrow at some point. We're also having dinner at
a Keralan restaurant with Cormac and Steph in the evening. Other than that I
think I might do some KVM fiddling during the working day. I haven't got a
deadline for when I need to start rolling out the live service so I figure it
might be a good idea to get up to speed sooner rather than later.
[16:45] Hurrah! We didn't lose our race last night. Neither did we win. I
guess you could call it a no-score draw. I think we did OK, but we had almost
no chance of getting a better result. I don't think I mind to be honest. The
chart will show the bald fact and that's all we really need.
Work today has been mostly about looking at RHEL5.7 media, copying it over
RHEL6.1 install trees by accident and having to get RHEL6.1 install media to
fix my mistake. Otherwise, bits and bobs. To be perfectly honest the best
part of my day was before I got to work, anyway.
Oh, and I called the bike place who're replacing Kris' stolen bike and bits
and they're due to ship to arrive on Tuesday at some point, which is good.
I'm off to row now, then do a smidgen of partying, then go and spend the last
bit of the day with my wife. Over the weekend she's at yoga teacher training,
so I'll be doing lots of house sorting, packing and then going to see Cormac
with lots of bike bits to be swapped over and stuff. Sunday will probably be
more packing. Possibly some exercise of some kind too.
[16:20] Lost our race again last night. Not quite as quickly, but quickly.
That was annoying. Still, another chance tonight. If we get caught tonight I
might just believe we're not actually very good. There's a chance we won't be
though on account of the people behind us being old. However nothing's
Did some work today. Moved some servers across town. Have been looking at my
arm and wondering what bit me on Monday evening down by the river. More cream
on it when I get home, I think.
I'm still waiting on the person I sent my new version of my monitoring script
to to send me back the new output from it. Hopefully he'll get around to that
soon so I can sign it off and get it added to our install tarball and uploaded
to the web site where things like this are put to be shared with the world.
Things haven't been quite so annoying today. A little bit, but not much.
[16:35] I'd like to think that I am a phenomenally even-tempered and
restrained person. That in my life I have pretty much conquered my anger and
desire to respond physically and verbally to verbal, mental and physical
slights or just plain old rudness. Sure, I have masses and masses of faults.
Far too many to name, and whatever you're thinking of, there's more than that.
Having a temper, being rude or abrasive though? Nope, not me. As far as I'm
Some days I wish I wasn't quite as awesome in those areas.
But I am. So that's how it goes. Today I have been working on fixing a
fairly major logic problem in my script (thanks to the help of a sysadmin from
last.fm) which hopefully I should have confirmation of tomorrow or the day
after. I've also been doing some tidying up of various other bits of
maintenance stuff which fell out of the bottom of the pile a week or so ago
and its been up to me to ferret out again. I also fixed my portable hard
drive which wasn't making itself useful under MacOS X but was under Windows.
The last thing is probably the most satisfying as it means when Kris goes to
the States she'll have lots to watch when she's on her own. She's in Oxford
today looking at things in libraries and stuff. Hopefully she'll be home by
the time I get back from rowing tonight.
We lost our race last night. Pretty quickly too. Still, we'll see what
tonight's one results in.
Tomorrow I'll be moving servers, and some other stuff probably. That and some
more deep breaths.
[16:55] So last night's outing was fun. We had a last-minute sub in as the
person who was going to go at 7 seat has come down with a monster cold. I
know what that's like. It's a damned shame but it does meant that there's a
chance I'll be at 7 and our sub for tonight's race will be in at bow like I
and the emergency sub were last night. The outing wasn't too bad but I
definitely need to make sure I'm not the weak link with regard to holding the
blade in and then tapping down and away cleanly. More on how it all goes
Mostly today I have been working out where to submit the new version of my
Big Brother monitoring script now that Quest Software appear to have eaten the
old BB script repository web site. Also collecting my watch from town. Oh,
and before work this morning I went and got my cholestrol blood test done, the
results of which should be with me towards the end of the week.
Kris is in London today so I'm fending for myself when I get home and when I
get back from the race unless I'm out really late and she comes back earlier
than I think she was planning on.
I think that's about it, really. Time to go home and eat.
[17:00] Lots done this weekend. Saturday morning we had a monster outing
(with me turning up at 07:00 to fit two new pairs of shoes). I'm happy to
report that we didn't totally suck. However I do think that this week's races
are going to be Hard. Back from rowing Kris and I did a lot of house sorting
stuff. Kris more so as she's packing to be away from a lot of her books and
clothes and other things for an extended period shortly. It then rained on
and off for the rest of the day, so it was good that we were indoors. I spent
a good amount of time on the phone to the cycle company charged with replacing
Kris' bike. Unfortunately they don't have the size of frame for the bike we
want in stock so it may not turn up for a week or so, which is annoying.
Sunday was the only day in the last few weeks that I've had as an opportunity
to sleep in. I didn't manage it. Kris got up and went for a short run while
I tried to rest. It didn't really work. In the end I pottered around the
house for the day, did a lot of washing up, watched a bit of TV and generally
felt a bit off-kilter. Kris did even more packing and sorting and I did a bit
of clothes sorting myself. I don't think there's much more I need to do for
my clothes, really. It's not like I have the wide selection that Kris does.
Maybe I should.
Today though I've made excellent progress with my script. I've learned lots
about bash that I didn't know, got everything working, got everything working
and looking right and even done a few deployments to the one new and few old
Dells we have here. I've also sent it to someone I know who has a few much
more complicated RAID setups who should send me back some sample output which
will hopefully show that I've caught all the edge and corner cases. More on
Speaking of tomorrow, I've got a cholesterol test tomorrow morning before work
so I'll be arriving absolutely famished. I think that deserves a bacon and/or
sausage butty at around 10:00, don't you? Then it's the first of this week's
races in the evening. Hard work. Definitely.
For now though I'm off home, then out to the boat house to scrub Ajax all over
the handles of our blades, row in the rain (ick) and then go home and kiss my
[16:50] It's been a big day all round here. First off was my parents having
dinner with us last night at the excellent Bedouin restaurant in town. They
then drove 180 miles or so home. I didn't sleep well but was up and about in
time to get into work for a decent time. I was all set to get my RAID
monitoring script finished when I remember that my mother was having her first
cataract operation this morning. Luckily it took less than 10 minutes (what?)
and seems to have gone perfectly. So hurrah for that!
Back in the saddle on the script hacking I was again making great progress
when it turned out I was late to go for a run with someone else at work. That
stopped work for about 45 minutes (shower, etc.) until I sat back down at my
desk to find that there were multiple missed calls from Kris. Some thieving
toerag had stolen her bike from outside of her yoga studio. Cue me spending
lots of time on the phone to the insurance company and then being called by
the bike replacement company to get things sorted and ordered.
I'm one step away from finishing the whole deal with their payment and
logistics department calling me back to arrange the debit of the excess and
shipping information. Hopefully that'll happen this evening, otherwise it
should be some time tomorrow morning. Unfortunately Kris isn't around Tuesday
or Wednesday so I guess it'll either be delivered to me then or we'll try and
get it shipped to the house for Thursday. So annoying! I'm just glad we have
insurance. Another two weeks and the bike would have been safely locked away
for months! Gah!
I'm rowing tomorrow morning and need to get there very early to make sure I
can replace two pairs of shoes in the boat we're using. This means probably
a bit of an early night tonight. As for Sunday. Well, we'll see.
[16:30] Full day of working on Oracle support contracts and shell scripts. I
was in early to update the load balancers (which went perfectly). I should
have left work at 16:00 to meet Kris and my parens but they haven't arrived
yet on account of getting caught in traffic. I still should have gone home,
so I'm going now.
Last night's outing was good (even if I have to track down two pairs of new
shoes for the boat for Saturday), the meal afterwards at home with Kris was
[17:05] Smashing drinks and dinner last night with Kris. Bonus pluses for her
looking truly fabulous in her going-out clothes and new haircut. I think when
the next big thing happens to me I should think about a wardrobe makeover so
we can go out more often and me not feel like I'm holding her back from
looking even more amazing. I'm actually looking forward to it. Even if it
won't be until early next year.
Aside from heading into town this morning to derack a very heavy server with a
few of the other sysadmins here I've been happily dusting off my bash
programming skills to completely rewrite the bb-omsa-raid.sh script I last did
something with in March 2009. This version should be a lot faster, a lot more
forgiving about what version of OMSA and PERC it's being run against and
generally a bit smarter about stuff. It'll be ready when it's ready. I'm
just glad for once that I don't have much else going on at the moment.
However, it's now time to go home, kiss my wife and head off for a spot of
[17:10] I'm late for a date with Kris so this will be short. So: have been
working on getting my first RHEL6 kickstart going. It took a while due to
lots of things having changed. But, I have it. Now I'm working on all the
changes to Dell's hardware and OMSA reporting which I'd written scripts for a
long time ago. Still, I think I've found a way to really tidy up the one that
checks for RAID health. More on that tomorrow, I hope.
That's about it, I think! Time for Kris!
[17:10] Good outings both days this weekend. The Saturday one being
significantly better than the Sunday one owing to having a coach on the bank
for once. I really thought we came on a lot during those two hours. A good
few people I don't think have worked that hard in a long time. For my part I
spent some of the afternoon napping on the sofa with Kris I was so tired.
Admittedly this was after we'd cycled out to an orchard south of the city for
lunch and cake and then cycled elsewhere to look at a kind of farmer's market
slash artists enclave type of place. Sunday, after the outing we cycled over
to Shaun and Fran's for a salady type lunch in their garden. Caught up on
stuff, played with Annushka and then made it home in the break between cloud
bursts. Not that it seemed to rain again once we were home, or had perhaps
even rained at all over the house. Sunday evening I had a visit from Teresa
which resulted in probably the best possible outcome considering the issues
which were on the table. Hopefully things will be done and dusted within a
few months now! Not that I'm looking forward to the increase in outgoings,
but this is the path that makes sense.
I've also signed off something which has been annoying me for a while now. I
don't think it's anything other than a good thing for me. I'll do more work,
I won't get as frustrated and it'd all happened for the wrong reasons in the
very first place way back when.
Indeed, as a result I had a whole afternoon of really useful (I hope!) work
getting my first RHEL6 KVM host kickstart file written. Tomorrow is test day!
It's good that I don't have any fixed deadline for this; it means I've tons of
time to play around and get things exactly right.
In awesome news though... I went for a run today and not only did I not have
any pain, discomfort, pins-and-needles or in fact any noticable achilles
tendenitis symptoms at all beforehand, I had none at all during the run and
(unless I'm about to feel it when I stand up from this afternoon's deskwork)
none afterwards either. I ran a very gentle 6km (my first in two or more
months) and it all felt really good. I now won't run again until
Friday lunch time when I get to see if I can repeat the awesomeness.
I can't wait to tell Kris!
[16:40] I've just watched the last ever Shuttle launch. I was five when the
first one went up. Amazing memories. Amazing pieces of machinery. I just
can't help thinking we should have made more progress in the last 30 years.
Some other stuff happened today. Mostly to do with finding out what a Dell
R710 needs to have done to it when you get it out of the box. I'm going to go
to Tesco with Kris now. The weekend will have other stuff happening in it. I
will tell you about on Monday if it's exciting.
[16:40] Immediately down to the other server room this morning to help an ADT
guy find the two ends of an unterminated cable to get the CCTV stuff up and
running. Luckily it only rained a little bit whole I was outside. I pulled
up a few floor panels, did some hunting around and eventually we got it all
Back at the ranch I've been unboxing servers we didn't think had even been
ordered let alone arrived. I've got one racked up already and will be getting
it cabled in and ready to do my first RHEL6.1 test installs on by lunch time.
At lunch I hope to be going to do an erg at the boat house. I'm not sure
running is the best thing for me at the moment with the way my tendons have
been shortening up, etc.
I actually did an erg last night at the boat house. We were supposed to be on
the water but one single member of the crew got caught in a traffic jam and
the whole thing had to be scratched. This was annoying as it meant we
couldn't spar against the Vets (who'll now be the number 2 boat in the
upcoming races) and also didn't get any coaching. Hopefully we'll at least
get out on the water tonight.
While I'm out I'll be picking up my new bike pump, getting wine for Kris'
evening in with the girls, pulling boxes out of the garage and then (after
washing up at home) rowing. I'll return - I imagine - to a house full of ever
so slightly drunk women trying on clothes.
Not the worst thing to happen to me.
[17:00] Today we made my tier one service checker I'd written live. There
were a few teething troubles but I managed to fix them fairly quickly. Now we
have monitoring not just of the servers and the web servers, but the services
themselves. If something goes wrong, we'll know.
Otherwise, we slept in a bit this morning. Not entirely sure why other than
it was day three of Kris coming back from New York. Anyway, Kris was on hand
to make my lunch this morning (always awesome) so I could get in on time.
Once there I took a trip over to the new server room to check to see if the
UPS thought the UPS management card was talking out of its ass or not. It
was, which means that we now have a call in to Maintenance to come and find
out where the problem is.
Other than that I think I'm done for the day. Rowing tonight.
[17:00] Mostly today I have been wondering why the UPS in the new server room
thinks the unit is on bypass rather than protecting the load. That's probably
something we'll look at tomorrow. Maybe.
Did a run at lunchtime today. A nice 4km with no real pushes but plenty of
stretching beforehand. Also went to the doctor and among other things had a
blood sugar test (5.4, where apparently anything below 7 is perfectly fine)
and got an appointment for a cholesterol test just to make sure everything's
working fine. I'm at the age where it's probably a good idea to start doing
things like this every few years or so.
Ordered a new set of bottom bracket bits for my new road bike. Shouldn't have
had to really considering how old it (and therefore they) are, but even though
they say "Do not disassemble" on them once I have the new ones in place I may
have a go at dismantling the one that's grinding and seeing if I can fix them
as spares. I've also got a saddle with a bit cut out of the middle and a pump
coming too, but they won't arrive for a while, I think.
I should mention for completeness that Kris is wonderful and amazing and I
love her. Even more than sausages.
[16:30] Kris is home! Kris is home! She came home today. How do I know
that? Because I was still awake at 01:10 this morning when I walked to the
coach station to meet her arriving at 01:50. It must be love. We got a taxi
straight home and were in bed and asleep pretty close to 02:30. I'm sure I
still woke before 07:00, but managed to doze heavily until 07:30. No
exercises this morning, I figured I should conserve all the energy I had to
make it through the day.
Amusingly though, from about 09:10 onwards I was sitting under a tree in the
sun waiting for engineers and electricians to do things in the new server
room. I came back for about an hour at 11:00 before heading back over there
for 12:00. The person who was due to arrive didn't for another forty minutes
but this time I had a book (a text book, but at least it was something). Cue
lots of standing around while UPS relays were tied into the Big Red Button we
have in case things go bonkers.
The weekend was really good (inasmuch as it could be without Kris). With no
rowing on Saturday or Sunday mornings Saturday morning I cleaned the entire
house except the kitchen, vacuumed, chatted to Kris on Skype and then headed
out to Cormac and Steph's to cycle with Cormac and Keith (who was late, stupid
rowing) to Ellie and Greg's for the annual barbeque. Twenty-five miles of
cycling later and we were there. I'd like to think that cycling with a full
pannier on the only bike which wasn't all carbon made my speed more impressive
than the other two's, but I don't really care. It's all about me keeping fit
and the carrying the spare tyre in my saddle bag, not around my waist. The
barbeque was nice. I sat in a deckchair in the sun and topped up my sugar,
protein and a little bit of carbohydrates and chatted to a few people here and
there. It's surprising how many people seem to be married and/or have babies
these days. Not so much worrying as... a sign of just how old we're all
getting now. Around 19:30 or so those of us who were cycling set off again
and, via a slightly more direct route, headed back to town. Another
twenty-five or so miles later I was home, feeling good and ready to sit down
for the evening. I don't recall if I ate an evening meal. I doubt it.
Sunday was just as good a day for getting things done. Rather than lie around
in bed or sit watching television I headed down to the boat house for around
08:20 and did a very hard but ultimately rewarding 30 minute erg before some
core exercise. After cycling home I washed the kitchen floor, went to Tesco
and grabbed slightly more food than I could easily carry home and then had
some lunch. After that all that remained on my to do list was head over to
Cormac and Steph's again to use Cormac's tools to a) put a new cassette on my
old bike and, b) find out what's making the quiet but odd noise on my new one.
Doing a) was easy, and I think I fixed what I thought was worn bearings at the
same time by tightening up things here and there too. Unfortunately b) turned
out to be almost certainly down to something having gotten into one of the
bottom bracket cups and upsetting the bearings. Cue an order from Wiggle (as
soon as Cormac gets his order together and it's placed).
Sunday evening was mostly about eating lightly to help stay awake, drinking
water rather than snacking (my new plan for getting rid of the mini-tyre) and
then watching bad enough television that I didn't nod off before leaving the
house at around 01:10 to walk into town and collect Kris. It was a lovely
night and I'm so glad I made the effort to see her just a few minutes before I
would have anyway. I met her with one of the cards she'd written for me a
long time ago and took her home in a taxi.
After this morning's out-of-office stuff I've spent from around 15:00 onwards
back in the office catching up with this and that. I'd really like to go home
soon and see my wife now. Happily there's no rowing until Wednesday evening,
so I get some relaxing evenings until then.
[16:15] July. July already. Half a year gone, just like that *pouff*. I
don't know how it happens, but it does. Sometimes the time goes far more
quickly that I want it to and other times far far too slowly. I know it
passes at one second per second, but I'm pretty sure perception is as
malleable as a very malleable thing.
Anyway, speaking of time passing, it did so in an almost reasonable fashion
last night when I sat ramrod straight in a cinema seat watching Transformers
3 with Cormac. My review? OK. Better than the second one, plot holes a
giant robot could amble through with its arms waving and really ropey acting
from at least half the cast.
Today I have been doing small jobs again. Nothing really interesting or fun.
I did go for a run at lunch time and discovered that my achillies tendons are
not quite fixed yet, but they are a whole hell of a lot better. Which is
good. At the moment though I'm more concerned about my back which is slowly
getting better owing to not going rowing last night and there being no rowing
over the weekend. I will instead be cleaning and tidying the house (all
except for Kris' room, where I don't want to mess up her 'system') and perhaps
going for a run or cycle to stave off the need to do something active (and
Oh, and there's a barbeque on Saturday about 20 miles from here, so I'll be
cycling with others to that at lunch time, which should be nice. And most
importantly of all, Kris comes home to me on Sunday night. Late Sunday night.
Very late Sunday night. Probably more like Monday morning, really. It's a
good job I love her.