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31/03/2011
[15:05] Last night's outing didn't go well. I'm putting it down to me feeling like crap and at least three new people in the crew. The variety of rowing style really was spectacular to behold from the bow seat. By the time I got home I was absolutely shattered, my throat was extremely sore and I'd given up speaking.

Overnight I don't think I got more than ten consescutive minutes of fitful dozing in past about 01:30. My temperature was up and down, I found it very hard to swallow and I just couldn't get comfortable. Around 04:55 I actually made an effort to find the medication Kris and I bought when we had flu over Christmas. A swig of something (the recommended dose, no more) seemed to help somewhat but it was still mostly relief when 06:00 came around and I had a real reason to get up, shower and get to work.

This morning's patching went well aside from the fact that it looks like I forgot to do two machines (now scheduled for tomorrow along with either others). Also, the mildly troublesome box with a mass of fibre channel attached storage seems to have had some (hopefully) inconsequential new warning/error messages on boot and has (soft) locked up at least once since being booted into this new kernel.

I had a meeting with the sysadmin who's happily shifting OS-level support of an application stack running on virtual Debian guests on RHEL5 to us over the next few months. I'm sure it would have seen a whole lot less complicated if I'd been able to concentrate a little more but my throat has been killing me all day and swallowing and coughing has been extremely painful. I'm sure it will all make a lot more sense once I'm well again.

Speaking of well. I don't really feel like I've been properly well since before Christmas. I'm certainly a whole lot less fit than I've been, which is annoying. I used to be able to run 6km+ in a good time, erg at least as well as a good number of people in the club and generally be a better shape around the middle than I am now. And as I get older it's harder and harder to get that back. Colour me annoyed.

Also, because of this throat thing I've asked if I can be substituted out of my boat for the HORR this weekend. As it is I certainly won't be doing the 100mile sportive on the Sunday but I was quite looking forward to the race on the Thames. I just don't think that spending the entire day outside in the (potentially) cold and wet and then exerting myself thoroughly for 18+ minutes is a terribly good idea given the way my throat is feeling right now.

Damn this body and damn the things which get in the way of getting fit.

30/03/2011
[17:05] "Amusingly" I appear to have developed the cough/cold/sore throat that my team leader has. If he'd stayed home this week perhaps I wouldn't have an illness in the run up to the HORR. Of course might have compounded this problem by doing some gardening last night and giving myself a huge blister on the palm of my blade feathering hand by using a wooden handled trowel too much. Damn those dandelions.

I have been dealing with making appointments for various things, talking to solicitors, looking at forms on web sites and filling up my electronic To Do list with masses of early starts (the first being tomorrow) to do patching and rebooting of manylots of linux servers. This has taken up most of the day. I think not going for a run was a very good idea if I want to not tire myself out too much before the outing this evening and generally for the weekend ahead. At this point I really doubt that cycling 100 miles (or even a paltry 100km) this weekend the day after the HORR would be a good idea.

I should head home and deal with the masses of washing up which has accumulated in the past few days and then go rowing, hopefully to find out that the patch of raw skin on my hand isn't going to be in contact with the blade handle. That would be really, really nice.

29/03/2011
[17:05] Quite a bit happening today, too. I didn't actually leave work until gone 20:05 last night, but in the course of the evening I did get to completely (I think) fix the server someone else had broken. Probably a few brownie points there, somewhere. Maybe. Anyway, it did mean I didn't have to be in work early this morning. Unfortunately because I'm big on getting machines patched I have at least ten mornings between now and the beginning of May when I need to be in work by 07:00, if not before. It's OK really as it does mean I can leave early on those days and what with the clocks going forward it's light in the mornings anyway so it's far less of a drag than it would have been in the winter. As a bonus I get all my servers patched up to date, which is nice.

Went for a run a lunch time to offset not going yesterday and not getting to erg last night. It definitely felt a bit leaden and there was the first threat of summer heat in the air as I stamped around the 6km loop. I should make sure I get out a bit more as the weather heats up so I get more acclimatised to it. Must remember not to run on Friday though as I'm rowing in the HORR on Saturday on the Tideway in London. After that I have to figure out if I'm going to do a 100mile sportif the next day... I'm still not sure.

I should head off now and decide whether I'm going to go and erg this evening before chatting to Kris. I want to hear how her first days of school have gone and everything else... Although she's just come on Skype, so maybe we'll do it now!

28/03/2011
[18:00] What a way to return to work. Someone for whom we host their machines managed to run some kind of "fsck" on a live filesystem while I was out at lunch catching up with Shaun. This has thoroughly upset the server, which has now been trying to repair itself for the last five hours. Odds are even that I may have to a) be here all night and/or, b) do either a major backup restore or even rebuild at some point. I've been told that unless something extraordinary happens I shouldn't stay at work for too much longer (I've already fixed another - more minor - issue) because we've missed the chance to do any large restores today due to the necessity of changing the tapes and having an impact on tonight's schedule backups.

Other than that excitement I have to report that the IBM SAN course last week was extremely interesting for significant portions of the time and I've certainly cleared up a whole lot of wrong or missing conceptions about how SANs work. And also learned a lot about the SVCs we use here.

There wasn't much happening over the weekend except rowing and lots and lots of DIY work on the house. I'm now pretty sure I've done the lion's share of the paint touching up around the house and finally removed the rather ugly crab and lobster transfers which graced a few of the tiles in the kitchen. When/if I get home today I'll be sure to see how noticable it is that they've gone. Also, I had sausages last night so I have two left over to chop up and add to my pasta this evening to make a scrummy sausage and pasta meal. That should be nice and quick especially if I'm still here in a few hours and feeling like I just want to go home and eat.

It's Kris' first day of teaching today. I know she'll be doing brilliantly but I wish I'd been there to see her off and welcome her home again at the end of her first day. Still, there's a good chance I might get to do that with her next job.

I'm beginning to wish I'd gone for a run at lunch time today given that I'm really not going to have the time or inclination to go and erg this evening at this rate.

21/03/2011
[16:45] Oddly I appear to be iller today than I was either on holiday (with all those new bugs, undrinkable tap water, new food and exposure to lots of people on planes) or immediately upon our return. Luckily it hasn't seemed to affect me while I've been in a boat, rowing. Just when I'm sitting at my desk or on my run at lunchtime today. I'm very glad I'm near the amenities.

Rowing over the weekend was extremely interesting. For some value of interesting. I was a substitute for a substitute and rowing on stroke side (not the side I've painstakingly developed calluses for over the past few months or so with these new blades we have access to. As a result by the end of the Saturday outing I had five new big blisters to try and do something with by Sunday morning. Tape mostly helped but while I didn't decorate the handle with blood, I'm rather glad I'm not rowing again this week. That coupled with the minor illness makes me glad I'm only a substitute for this weekend's race, too. In fact, if I'm called upon it might make sense for everyone concerned if I make myself unavailable.

Work has been vaguely interesting with a little bit of this and that to do. As I'm not here for the rest of the week (I'm on an IBM SAN course down in London) it hasn't been worth starting anything big. I did get plenty of emails sent out about the masses of patching that I should now be able to get around to doing.

I'm going to go home shortly and relax before making a proper dinner for myself and wondering how Kris' interview went. I know she'll have been her usual excellent self, but I need details, man. Details.

Otherwise, that's it until next Monday. Have a great week and tell me all about it as so many of you do when I get back.

18/03/2011
[15:00] So it sounds like Kris' interview yesterday went pretty well to judge from the conversation we had over Skype and mobile phone this morning. Of course she was great but the adrenaline wearing off and having been shuttled around the world almost nonstop for the last three weeks or so is bound to take its toll on your thoughts when reviewing something important which will have an effect on the rest of your career. As a result we don't know for certain what the response from her prospective employer is going to be. I'm quietly confident that it's going to be an offer, but we'll wait and see. Right now she's somewhere between Virginia and New Hampshire where she'll stay overnight before flying down to St Louis for another interview. Two days later she'll be back in New Hampshire where she'll have a day to get ready for teaching her two courses. I really wish I could be there to take some of the load off her. Not that she needs it, she's strong and great, but it's nice to be able to help.

For my own part I was in work for 06:45 this morning to reboot a server and fiddle with its BIOS. Having finally had all the Oracle databases shut down I was able to troll through every single BIOS screen until I could find the one I was supposed to set. It would have been helpful if Oracle had told me the actual setting, rather than an incorrectly-worded version of same. Two hours after the reboot the box suffered soft lockups. Hopefully the two things aren't connected.

It's Red Nose Day today. At lunch, rather than go for a run I took part in a quiz with the rest of my team. We won. I now have a pair of socks which Kris might like.

Having come in early I'm now going home early. I think I will go to the boat house and erg for a little while before going home, relaxing and building a replacement (smaller, quieter, faster) below-TV computer now that the wireless NIC with a low profile bracket has arrived.

This weekend I will be rowing both mornings (as a sub, I still don't have a place back in the senior/first boat) and then doing house work and relaxing in the afternoons. Oh, and chatting to Kris. Very important.

17/03/2011
[17:15] Mild but increasing feeling of being excluded. Something I'll have to keep an eye on. Still no word on whether or not I have a training course next week, which is a bit annoying. Most of me hopes it's on, the rest of me doesn't as it won't mean having to travel muchos four days of the week and/or stay in a stinky hotel in London.

Kris has a life-changing (for both of us) interview today. I'm sure she'll tell me how it's gone later on today but my expectation is that she's going to do brilliantly and be offered the job and without much thought on our part it's going to be the best idea for her to accept. Of course, nothing is set in stone yet and there'll be a whole load of things to think about before she says yes, but honestly I can't really see a reason for her not to. Not unless the chances of me getting a job where she'll be are nil. I mean, sometimes (and more so than ever here at the moment) I feel pretty un-reemployable, but the chances are I'd be able to find something, eventually. Even if it meant we had to buy a car, or two. Whatever the outcome I know I'm extremely proud of her for the mental, physical and academic effort she's put into, well, everything. She's amazing and she deserves to do what she wants to with her life. Hopefully with me also getting to have an equal part in it! I think though, eventually things are going to work out OK.

I know I'm rambling a bit but I don't really have focused thoughts at the moment. I know I feel a little as though I have next to no control over the course of my life at this juncture. But I also know that I'm not alone in that I have Kris to support and gain support from in turn. Maybe once she gets the offer and accepts it and I know what has to happen next (or what many many things have to happen) I'll feel like I have a bit more direction. Anyway, none of this takes anything away from the plain and simple fact that this is Kris' chance to shine and even from here (3703 miles distant) I can see a gleam on the horizon.

Speaking of horizons, I should disappear over one, go home, fit my new PSU, see if that fixes my PC, upload some photos and then get to the pub to see people.

Oh, before I go though: went for a 1 hour cycle with two people from the rowing club last night. Definitely brought home to me that I have to learn to increase my cadence somewhat. Bit of a surprise to have occasional trouble keeping up with someone I thought less cycle-fit than I! The outing in a 4+ was good too. A bit of wobble here and there but in the end not bad for a scratch crew of reasonably good people.

16/03/2011
[16:50] Went to the boat house last night and did another 5K. Not too hard, just enough to get the body back to the idea of exercise again. After that some weights and core body stuff. I'm definitely in need of eating a little less and exercising a little more again. As such I've arranged to go for a bike ride before this evening's row. I'm not in the 8+ I want to be in. Rather a 4+ filled with other good rowers who aren't really bucking for seats in the senior boat. Hopefully all the training I'm working up to will demonstrate to the coach that I'm worthy of my old bow seat back again. We'll see.

Slept like a log, unsurprisingly. Nearly overslept after going back to sleep once the radio had come on and I'd heard the headlines. I also think I may have the same stomach bug as Kris is beginning to recover from. Just not as seriously. Here's hoping she's on the mend today as she's traveling on three planes over the course of the day.

Work has been about tidying install scripts up for the two machines I'm prepping tomorrow. Also getting in contact with a delivery company to make sure they deliver the new PSU I need, rather than leaving a note. Current indications are that they might just be the best delivery people yet. More on that tomorrow.

Must get changed for an hour's cycling before rowing.

Also: happy birthday to my brother!

15/03/2011
[15:20] We're back from honeymoon. Or at least, I am. Well, we both were, briefly, but at 02:45 this morning Kris and I got up and I sent her on her way to the coach stop by taxi for her three month plus time in the US. She's teaching at a very well respected college there for a semester as well as going to two job interviews in the next few days. Suffice it to say that while I'm very tired she is more than likely supremely tired (and on a transatlantic flight) right now. Having been fitfully awake since 12:30 and not having had more than twenty minutes of doze after Kris left I've been running on automatic pilot for most of the day and am looking forward to going home early. Except that I won't be going home, I'll be going to talk about my ISA with my bank, then stopping off at home just long enough to get my stuff together to head down to the boat house for an erg to work the kinks out.

Anyway, yes, while I already miss my wife utterly I can think back to the last two weeks of fun and activities we had on our honeymoon in Belize. From climbing the great temples at Tikal to swimming through the caves of ATM (Actun Tunichil Muknal) and snorkeling off a sandy caye and with sharks and rays in the clear waters of the Caribbean Sea it was truly amazing and a wonderful break from things here. Aside from the last day or so it was almost a perfect holiday. It rained on the last day, which was actually good in a way as it cooled everything down. Also we managed the entire holiday except the last meal and the trip home without getting messed up digestion although while I seem to be over it Kris is still suffering somewhat. The journey home was extremely tiring, but we arrived on Sunday afternoon and spent the time between then and this morning getting all of Kris' clothing washed so she could pack to leave again. For my part I helped and somehow managed to let the magic smoke out of my desktop computer's PSU. This, and the fact that Fotopic is potentially dead means that I can't download from my camera and then upload all the photos I took. As soon as Pikfu is up and running though, I will.

The PSU was due to arrive today but it doesn't look like it's due to be out for delivery today, I'm hoping that Kris is OK and arrives safely in America, having arrived at work stupidly early today I'll be leaving at 16:00 and going to the bank and then the boat house before collapsing at home and having an early bed tonight. I've managed to get my inbox down to an easy to manage 27 messages and I have a good bit of work to do tomorrow. Unfortunately the two weeks away seems to have lead to me losing my seat in the boat I was training/competing in and somehow further isolated me from my work colleagues, which is a bit annoying. I think both situations are fixable though, with time.

Time is something I have lots of for the next 87 days (not counting today) until Kris comes home. Although if she gets offered one or more jobs before the end of the month all the time I thought I might have for training and exercise might suddenly be filled with preparations for some major life changes. Changes which I can honestly say are appealing a little bit more every day when faced with some of the issues I feel like I'm encountering here. I have to wonder how many of them are of my own making and how many are due to other people.

So anyway, a bittersweet and slightly tired hello from me. A wonderful honeymoon with my beautiful wife, lots of tiring stuff, a few disappointments and issues and finally here and now a belief that things are going to improve because when Kris and I are together they can't not.