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30/04/2012
[17:25] So Friday went well in the end. Ended up out at the pub with friends having fish and chips and then walking over to the Arts Cinema to see a film I knew nothing about with three lovely women (one not quite blonde, a brunette and a redhead) which was nice. The film turned out to be Headhunters and was really very good. Not at all what I was expecting. Definitely a more fun way to spend the evening than just sitting in the house on my own.

Saturday I risked doing the parkrun and came in in a very relaxed 18th place (19:34). Given it was just a "let's see" run I was quite pleased with how it went, especially as the falling rain had made the entire course waterlogged and slippery. I popped into Tesco with my entire lower half covered in mud and was amused at just how many other recognisable parkrunners were doing the same thing. Home for shower and early lunch and then rather than sit on the sofa for the rest of the day I went down to the boat house (ostensibly just to collect my erging kit from a few days previously) and ended up teaching the Learn2Row course again. This was both on the ergs and then, once we'd taken the people out and on the water in an eight, running up and down the bank as they splashed up and down the river outside the boat houses. Following that I spent a little while helping to set up the place for the Captain's Dinner (I was not attending) and then went home to have some dinner and watch television in a nice quiet house.

Sunday I got up early and pulled on my running shoes even as the rain kept pouring down outside. A 15K run down by the river showed me that the whole area was pretty much completely waterlogged. Both my shoes and my running clothes spent the rest of the day on the radiator. By the time I got back people were stirring from the previous night's debauching so we spent a lot of the remainder of the day watching films and catching up on various emails and chores. By the evening the sun had actually come out (I know, right?!) and this spurred us into about two hours of housework and tidying and vacuuming and then me beginning the process of repacking for my move at the end of the week. The day ended with Sarah making us all pancakes while I dug out my old laptop and we watched Zombieland on the television. As weekends go, it wasn't entirely without merit. Especially as right now my legs seem to be behaving themselves injury-wise.

I am a little concerned that once I move into my own place I may end up being somewhat less sociable than might be good for me. One of the things I was doing before I found I wasn't going to be emigrating was cutting back on my social interactions in preparation for leaving everyone behind. Now that I've had to stay here I need to find some way to build new friendships and rebuild ones which I had perhaps let go somewhat.

Anyway... today has gone well. The sun has been out for most of it. After my contact lens checkup I did some actual cable pulling and terminating this morning, went for 15K in the sun over lunch with no real appreciable issues, caught up on almost all of my email and have pretty much planned out my day tomorrow. Mostly it'll be a morning of desk work, a lunchtime of getting the keys to my place and transfering utilities into my name (no session until next week due to illness) and then probably an afternoon of trying to work out how to put an ADSL modem I've never seen before into bridge mode to connect a farm to the CheckPoint UTN-1 (not VPN-1 as I've said previously) box we have.

As for tonight, I'm about to go back to the house and tackle the truly huge pile of washing up from last night's pancakes and then consider what else to do with my evening. There's the Hash, perhaps. But maybe I should rest as I think I will be getting into work early tomorrow to do my 15K before the working day begins seeing as lunch time is booked up. I hope my mattress is ready soon. I'd rather be waiting on finding the right bed frame than not having something to actually sleep on.

Burble, burble, burble... I think that's all the news that's fit to print... Oh, except someone accused me of being American today online. Something to do with turns of phrase and certain vocabularic (like that? It's my newest made up word) inclusions. I didn't have the heart to explain everything and no-one really wants to hear it anyway.

27/04/2012
[15:40] I wish I'd moved to America. There are so many amazing sights I may now never get a relatively easy opportunity to see. Maybe I'll go independently of anything or anyone else one day. Just not for a while. In the meantime I should get my camera out and start taking pictures again. The gallery is full of photos I don't think I should look at for the moment, so it would make sense to take some new ones. I did look at the ones from the past four years. There are a lot of smiles in them. I'd like to smile again.

Let's do a mini positives roundup instead, because "hey, why not?" I think my achilles is pretty much back to normal. I'm going to try parkrun tomorrow and find out. If it is I'll run on Sunday too, come rain or shine. Speaking of which, it didn't rain on the way into work (or on the way back to the house last night) which is pretty rare for the last week or so. I may get soaked going out this evening, but at this point I'm not sure I care any more. It's Friday. That can only be a good thing. I may go to the Arts Cinema tonight with friends. There will be food beforehand in town if I do. I think all the bits of my next move are coming together. I've got the friends, the van, a possible route for getting the sofas out of Keith's house and into the one I'm renting (next door neighbour permitting), half a mattress (50% deposit down), some kitchen bits and bobs and a water bill pending. All I need is to actually move, buy a bed frame and the other half of my mattress, have said bed bits arrive in the shop and then be delivered, fit the sofas into the house, transfer the gas and electricity bills to me, organise paying council tax, get broadband service, work out contents insurance and wait for the majority of my possessions to arrive back from their completely unanticipated one year (plus?) only transatlantic visit to the USA. Nothing to it.

That's all to come at the end of next week. For this weekend it's just the usual stuff in the usual order. Sorry it's not more exciting. I should be doing more exciting, different, cool things. Doing the same old things is one of the reasons I'm where I am now. I am continually trying to embrace change, choose happiness and live courageously all while attempting to seek balance... But sometimes it's just all I can do to get through a weekend only doing those same old things. I'm trying to smile often and remember that today matters. I really am. I just don't think I can do it every day. I'll do better next week, I promise.

26/04/2012
[17:30] I have to be careful not to get into the habit of not actually doing any exercise. I mean, I'm doing my morning exercises and did something else this week but I can already feel myself getting used to not doing much at all, which is a bad thing. I don't think I have a body which stays in shape long when I stop moving. Or at least not as long as it did as when I was younger. As far as I can tell the achilles is doing pretty well given I'm not doing anything with it. At this rate I may pop along to the parkrun on Saturday and see how that goes.

Over lunch I got a much-needed haircut and went mattress shopping. The latter was a completely different experience to the last bed purchase I was involved in, but a necessary activity I got through with my wits intact. As I think I said a few days ago I went back to the same shop I bought my first mattress from and for slightly less money have one from the same company with more than twice as high a spring count. I've gone with the "firm" version, obviously. The frame on clearance they'd said they would get shipped over from the main shop for me to look at they just couldn't be bothered to put on the lorry this morning so I have to wait until next Thursday to see if it's something I want. If it isn't there's a reasonable metal one I can go with for not too much. Although I do much prefer wood... Well OK, there's another wooden one I've seen that would do too. I just wish most of the ones I've seen didn't have some silly, decorative, sticky-out-bit which would dig into the back of your neck if you were sitting up in bed leaning against the headboard reading a book. It's an important aspect/consideration in a bed (frame). The mattress'll take maybe two weeks to arrive so before then and after I move into my place I guess it's either the rollmat I got from my parents for my birthday or the futon I may be borrowing from friends as part of the furniture they're lending me so my home doesn't feel quite so utterly sparse and bare.

Today at work I have spent perhaps three and a half thousand pounds of other people's money on wireless access points and ADSL routers/modems. Now all I'll have to do is fit everything. This will almost certainly require me to do a lot of cycling in the rain and a steep bit of learning on the job/trial and error when it comes to interfacing the ADSL stuff with BT's two-wire presentation and our CheckPoint VPN-1 kit. And then with the wireless stuff getting into some awkward positions (physically and probably conversationally) to fit the access points and asking for more network points to be added so that they can be plugged into the network. I also patched a box this morning.

It's Thursday this evening (yes I know, it has been all day). Something should happen. I don't know what, and nothing probably will. I guess that's it for today.

You should have called me, we could have totally hung out.

25/04/2012
[17:55] Well, at least I haven't been dwelling on Stuff today. I haven't had time. Cycled in in the rain. Did some work, was driven over to a place I've been doing wireless stuff and connected up two new wireless access points. Drove back. Cycled to town in the rain. Tried not to embarrass myself too much in front of my peers, cycled back to work (in the rain) and have spent the afternoon in squelchy Goretex shoes trying to dry out the insides of my Sealskinz waterproof gloves. Yeah, not brilliant. It has rained quite a lot today. Amusingly, it isn't now but I'm sure it will by the time I leave the office. I think I'll need to change my socks and put my shoes on the radiator when I get in.

Last night was great. But it turns out I'm not as good at some things as I thought I was. Hopefully it'll come with time and practice. Although I don't know as I'll have the money for the practice for a little while given all my other anticipated required outgoings in the next few weeks and months.

This necessary Starting All Over Again thing that's been forced upon me really can be a bit of a drain on all of one's resources. Especially when some of them aren't currently easily accessible. Still, this is where I've ended up: A week away from moving alone into rented accommodation with a tremendous sense of impermanence and ungroundedness. Really, right now if someone asked me what happens next in my life or Where I'm Going I'd have no idea what to tell them. [If you want you can hum the Talking Heads' "Once in a Lifetime" while you read this.] Everything I'd had planned or anticipated, the things I'd hoped or dreamed I'd get to build or work upon have all gone, and until I discover a new direction for myself I really don't know what my life is about. I dismantled everything I had to make a whole new start, but with the knowledge that my best efforts would be supported and cheered on. But that didn't happen and instead I'm having to put that everything back together again on my own in a such a way as to fill the terrible hole that has been left. It's a situation I never, ever would have dreamed of even on my worst days (or nights) and dealing with it is going to be a challenge, but one I know I'm equal to.

Despite all that I'm mending/will mend with time. But once I'm a whole new hole-free whole, what then?

24/04/2012
[17:15] Oh look. Another day and another link. This one's about a long running issue I have with society these days. I would imagine you've come across it yourself at least a few times. I'd like to think that by not owning a smartphone and barely touching a computer outside of work if I can help it I'm doing pretty well. I'm also fairly good at holding a conversation. Or at least I think so. You'd have to ask someone who knows me well.

Work today has been moderately interesting. I was in early to reboot the two boxes I didn't get around to rebooting last week. One went perfectly, the other had the same MySQL issue as its partner did last week. This time when my team leader came in I managed to capture everything he did to rebuild the Master/Master database replication setup. It's now immortalised in the wiki so that the next time it happens I can get everything done without needing any help.

No run at lunch time of course. I'll tell you what, not getting out for an hour really makes the day seem much longer. I think this week is going to feel very long. Apart from tomorrow, I guess, when I'm in town over lunch doing something which could be very interesting. Maybe more on that another time. I'm actually coming in to work via town tomorrow as I'm picking up two wireless access points from there for my other team leader to install at the place I did the wireless survey last week. I'll probably pop along with him to do that.

Finally, the weather seems to be behaving for the most part so I think I'll get out of here shortly and go do my evening thing before heading home to have a much-delayed catch up on about two weeks of downloaded television and stuff. It's a good job I don't want half of the stuff I download for those people who use the server I upload to or I'd never get away from a computer screen.

23/04/2012
[16:35] I don't usually put links in journal posts, but when I do they're awesome. I was taught to add soy sauce. Not sure I'll be doing that again. Anyway, that's that.

The weekend was the usual mixture of frustration, good times and bad. Let's get the bad out of the way first: no running. I had to let my right achilles tendon rest. There werw no two ways about it. This means I'll have to restart my challenge again. That's OK, though. That's Oooookay. Better to wait and run another day than never run again. So Saturday had no run, no parkrun and didn't start early. Instead I went to Tesco and got hit square in the face with sadness. I'm not entirely sure how I made it home without crashing, but I certainly did when I got back inside the house. Good job no-one else was there. Obviously doing the washing up and then tidying and vacuuming the entire place helped.

And then we get onto the good, or at least better/positive things. One of those which helped me get my mind back in the right place was going out to the shop where I bought my first (and only) bed ten years ago, to get a new one. I'm pretty I know what mattress I'm getting because I trust the brand (same as last time) and for the price I paid last time (slightly less this time, actually) I get about double the spring count, so that's what I'll be going for. Chances are I'll just get the cheapest frame possible (there's one on clearance they're shipping to this shop to show me), at least for the moment. Maybe a nicer one if I ever buy a house again.

The rest of Saturday was good. Once I'd sorted my head and the bed stuff I went down to the boat house and put in a sub-1 hour time for 15K of erging, then showered, then ended up teaching about 20 new people on the Learn2Row course how to take a stroke. It turns out I'm a really good teacher. I broke down the stroke into its constituent elements, tried to explain some of the basic biomechanical aspects and then got them to build up the movements into a complete stroke. Obviously they forgot most of it as soon as they got out on the water, but the key elements are in place for next week. I might even go and do it again and see how they're progressing.

Sunday morning: no running. It was horrible. However I did head out to meet up with people so we could drive to a Go Ape for someone's birthday celebration. I don't think anyone there was under 28. Brunch first in town and then we drove through regular heavy showers to get to the forest the course was in. Three hours of tree-top fun (I wish I'd taken Kris there, I think she'd have enjoyed it) later we were semi-soaked and semi-dried from the changing weather and heading home again. Against my better judgement I convinced myself and my housemates to get Chinese takeaway, but stopped short of getting anything but a main each to save a bit of money and I made egg-fried rice for three (hence looking at the URL above today). Despite not having run I was shattered by the end of the weekend and sleep, now thankfully returned to normal, wasn't long in coming when I hit the pillow.

This morning, as for the last two mornings, my right achilles felt fine so I packed my running stuff to do an exploratory run at lunch time. Lunch time duly came around and with no rain I headed out to do a modified route that would loop me back around to work after about 3K in case things weren't going well. After 3K all seemed fine so I started on a bigger loop. I began to feel something but couldn't swear it wasn't psychosomatic so kept going and eventually ran out just over 15K of loops in 1h10m, which is only a minute off my slowest time for about 250m less. So that was good. I'll rest up for the remainder of the day and tomorrow morning and then try something similar tomorrow lunch time. I've got something on in the evening tomorrow which should also help a bit.

Otherwise I guess I'm doing OK. The randomly triggered sadnesses are going to be par for the course for a while to come, I'm told. Possibly I'll have Moments like Saturday morning every now and again for the rest of my life. I guess that's the price you pay for a huge and deeply distressing life change for which you're part responsible. It'd probably be weirder if I didn't have them.

Work is... work. Few things to do at the moment so I'm learning about the printing system which backends the Oracle Financials web service. Probably a good thing to know about. Otherwise I may be about to be given all of the wireless stuff for our group. That could be an interesting increase to my workload.

20/04/2012
[16:50] I have been completely denuded of gruntle today. Not only did I finish my run with some mild discomfort in my right achilles tendon (which doesn't bode well for tomorrow's run), but also with a streaming nose bleed which left my right hand, right arm, parts of my legs and a substantial area of my Buff covered in rich red blood. I stopped the nose bleed pretty quickly, but both events really took the shine off what would have been a rather pleasant 15K otherwise. The blood also scared a few people coming in the opposite direction to me out on the road and in my building between my office and the shower. Once I got in, the floor of the shower was reminiscent of the final few seconds of the shower scene from Psycho.

I really hope my tendon's OK by tomorrow. If it's not I know I'll probably have to take a break from running for a little while like at the beginning of the month when my left achilles tendon started doing the same thing. This will require some rearranging of my challenges, but so long as I'm not out of action for more than four weeks I'll still be on course to finish when I want to. Here's hoping anyway.

The morning was spent walking around a large building with a laptop running inSSIDer to work out where the wireless leaky feeders were feeding. It turns out out of the 90 rooms I went in most of them weren't being fed terribly well which was a bit of an arse. Luckily cycling back to the office wasn't as bad as yesterday as it didn't rain (it didn't rain at lunchtime either, which was also a nice change).

This weekend, if not running I intend to spend a lot of time doing very little except maybe reading. I may have to go bed shopping as well as the usual Tesco trip, but otherwise I don't think I've much else on. Oh, other than going to a Go Ape on Sunday for someone's birthday celebration. That should be a good way to work off some energy if I'm not running, so hurrah for that.

I'm sure you're all doing great things this weekend. If you're not, stop working so much and have some fun. If only for half a day. Do it for me. Go on.

19/04/2012
[17:15] So I complain about not being busy, and then everything happens on one day and I end up being overwhelmed with things to do. In the morning there was a fan/power fault on one of the servers so I had to open a call with Oracle about that. Then one of the three servers that I was in early to patch and reboot first of all failed to come back after a reboot, then failed to show what was up on the serial console and then once I'd got everything else working it ate its own MySQL (a database) binary/log files. That meant I had to ask my team leader to fix it as he's never shown me how to do so. Cue lots of sighing by him and me feeling pretty crappy. Still, we got everything back in the end, even if it means I have to now schedule another early morning next Tuesday to get the other two machines (which have been patched) rebooted. With luck neither of them will go tits-up and leave me looking stupid.

I ran at lunchtime. The rain held off just enough for me to get round the B loop without getting soaked. It was a hard run though. Hopefully just a blip on the page. After that I had to dash through the shower and have my lunch at speed so I could cycle the two miles (in the rain) to a farm we provide a VPN to through a BT ADSL modem. Laptop in pannier I cycled through the liquid silage (all over my bike, shoes and socks now, marvellous) and spent a good few hours on the phone with BT swearing at the modem, the line and the CheckPoint VPN-1 box, all of which were misbehaving. It turns out there's a bug in the firmware of the BusinessHub we have (thanks for that BT) so we're going to have to replace it, even for just the two weeks before we run fibre to the place and get rid of all this stupidness. I left it broken and came back to the office (in the rain again) so that I could finish off the day and get to the cinema with friends to unwind and try not to break something. I should be careful what I wish for, sometimes I get it.

18/04/2012
[17:30] I'm going to say that it's the curry that caused me to have a bad night's sleep last night. I doubt it was the yoghurt and specifically last night there wasn't anything actively bothering me. I mean, there's stuff bothering me but I wasn't thinking about anything specific. Whatever it was, dragging myself out of bed this morning was a bit of an effort. Still, I got to work and I've done work and I've been given some more work to do for tomorrow (and if it doesn't go well the next day too). I've also got an early start tomorrow patching and rebooting four servers. Today's run was pretty good. A little off the pace, but that's to be expected as I get back into the flow of things (plus there was some wind and rain). Speaking of flow, last night was good and just what I needed. I'm looking forward to more of the same.

By this time next week I should know whether or not I've embarrassed myself in front of some of my peers too. It won't really matter if I do, to be honest, and if I don't then there's a whole new set of questions and embarrassments I may have to deal with. But that's really putting the cart before the horse at this stage.

I guess that's a suitably useless entry for today for everyone but me and anyone who knows what's going on personally for me right now (which, is actually no-one now I think about it). Such is life. Back tomorrow.

17/04/2012
[14:25] Drat it. Crossed wires mean I've missed my session this week (and the next one's not for two weeks now). I was sure it was 14:00 and not 13:00. However a phone call just now tells me that I was apparently wrong. This is a bit frustrating as I came into work early this morning (07:00) to do my run today so I would have (a late) lunch time free to head out to my thing. I could have had a bit longer in bed. Still, the run was pretty good, even if it was hard and took six minutes longer than yesterday's run (on a slightly different route). The wind and rain and the good time I put in yesterday probably has something to do with that. Or perhaps it was Keith's vegetable 'curry', tasty as it was. We'll see how things go tomorrow lunch time when I didn't have to get up earlier than usual. Or maybe I'll start making a habit of running from work, the water's free and nice and hot.

Things are going fairly OK at the moment, all things considered. I mean, I know there are still some big upheavals to come down the line. The move, for example is going to be another Change. Then there's the new budget to consider given the various large outlays that are going to have to take place in the near future. A few other upcoming and anticipated things are going to give me pause here and there (some of them are pretty huge), but mostly I think I can deal with what's going to be my life for the next little while. I have plenty of people I'm emailing about fun things and currently I'm not suffering any running-related injuries (other than catching my leg on some brambles this morning about 1K from the finish, so that by the time I got back to work rain and blood had made my entire right leg looked like the floor of an abattoir (and scared those few people who were also in work early). Along with the social things I have in the works, the weekly stuff I have planned and the sheer mass of books I seem to have accumulated (despite being in the process of getting all my other books back from the US in a few months)... when I think about it, that's basically a lot of win. Couple that with the fact that from certain points of view it turns out that I'm pretty much a nice person, with just a few important things I need to work on and, given some time and effort on my part, I could be most excellent again. It's just a matter of working out how much time and where to apply the effort. That's the real trick, isn't it?

Speaking of effort, I'll be expending some more tonight. Hopefully it should help ease some of the aches from today's run.

In case you hadn't worked it out, I'm doing OK today. It's probably something to do with getting up early. It turns out I may be a morning person again, finally.

16/04/2012
[16:30] All in all I think I'd consider that a successful weekend. Saturday was parkrun (19:20, as I wasn't pushing for a PB), Tesco (had a few flashbacks but nothing terrible), second breakfast (always a treat) and then over to Lianne and Paul's to look at their new house (gutted on the inside, but it's going to be brilliant when it's done) to find out what furniture of theirs I get to borrow rather than buying. We took a trip to their storage place and discovered some useful things. Also that the supposedly damp-free unit had in fact caused something to get damp. This was annoying. Anyway, after that we spent some time drinking tea and shooting the breeze before I left and had some quality time on the sofa before heading off to see something at the cinema with Cormac. I won't tell you want it was as it really was a terrible film. I got home some time after midnight, but that was OK. Hell, isn't that what weekends are for?

Sunday morning I had to get my run done in time to head into town with Keith so I left the house at around 08:00 to get a gentle 20K in. 1h37m later I was back and with a quick shower and a shave we were off into town in time to perfectly make the 10:30 brunch appointment with some friends from out of town as well as some other local ones. Having already eaten something before we left I was able to just get by with a bowl of bananas/hazelnuts/honey porridge and a nice drink. There were toddlers there and I sat myself next to the few-month-old so I got to keep it amused for a little while. After that there was time to read a whole book (Star Island, Carl Hiaasen) in Waterstones and then get back to the house to do some housework and be made pancakes while we watched some fun television. Cat came over too so it was a nice evening with the four of us.

Today is day one of my new running challenge. I was out at lunch time with my work running partner on her bike. With her pacing me I'm pretty pleased to have put in a rather good 1h03m for 15K. I doubt that'll be what I do for the rest of the challenge, but it's certainly a good top end time to hang my hat on. The weather was practically perfect in every way, and I wasn't even out of breath by the end of it so that was nice too. I'm sure in the next little while I'm going to be running in some atrocious weather.

I was going to be going for a drink with someone this evening but they've had some stuff come up so that's not going to happen. However that does give me the perfect opportunity to save some money, stay at the house this evening and get some reading done. Tomorrow morning I'll be running before work as my lunch hour is going to be a) later than usual and b) filled with something else. Then I have my new thing in the evening. Anyway, that's tomorrow. I still have to get through today and make it back to the house alive. Currently that doesn't seem like it's going to be an issue, but you never know.

13/04/2012
[16:30] Meditation last night wasn't everything I was hoping for. I'm going to have to think about what that means for a little while. Still, as it was raining heavily when it ended I suggested to Kate that we go next door and have a drink while we waited for the cloudburst to end. 'Unfortunately' the wait staff gave us full menus when we sat down so we ended up having dinner there instead. Which was nice as it gave us time to catch up, complain about a few things and realise that we were both thinking the same way about meditation. The perils of being northerners, I think. So yes, given I have something else on on Tuesday evenings at the moment it might be nice to have an evening off now and then on Thursdays and not actually do anything. I've always liked to have some quiet time to myself, so once I move into my rental place and I'm living on my own again I can always dedicate some time to just sit and meditate there. Especially as I won't be getting a new television or cable television installed.

...

Why do I have to do this to myself? Off the back of an email received I've spent too long (any time greater than zero is too long at the moment) looking through documents, hand-drawn images and sound files to and from Kris. And then obviously I went on into emails from last year and saw how full of "forever" and other words and phrases that show how much we loved and cared for each other they all are. I really wish I'd known I wasn't doing things well enough back then. I wish I'd known so I could have addressed the/my problems sooner and more fully so that this wouldn't have happened and the future would have been so much better than this present currently is...

OK, that's enough self-indulgent whinging in the face of reality. This is where I am. This is what my life is now. Today is a day. Tomorrow is just another day. And tomorrow I will parkrun, and go to Tesco, and see people about them lending me furniture when I move into my rental place, and then maybe I will read in Waterstones, or just go back to the house and read some of the books I have stacked up on the floor of my room. On Sunday morning I will go for a long gentle run and meditate for two hours or so on the move and return clear-headed and ready for an afternoon seeing people who are coming to town for the day. There might even be smiling and laughter. I have things to look forward to both in the short, medium and long term. These are what I will try to concentrate on. Not that which I can no longer affect.

Tonight though I'm going to do a medical research trial which will pay me some money to fall asleep while I listen to sounds in my ears. If I'm lazy I will have curry with friends on the way home, otherwise I will go home and cook a steak with chips and wilted spinach. Oh, and I ran 15K at lunchtime in a very relaxed 66 minutes. I think that's pretty OK.

I hope you have a good weekend, whoever and wherever you are and whatever you're doing.

12/04/2012
[16:15] After leaving work after 18:30 last night (despite the timestamp on yesterday's journal entry) the Oracle engineer got back to the office for around 09:00 this morning. By midday he'd given in and done the thing I'd suggested to Oracle that time last week, which was to fit a new motherboard. Everything started working again. I succeeded in not being angry or frustrated. It's brilliant when you can let things just go like that. Calmness is awesome and leaves your head so clear to concentrate on the things which matter, or at least matter now. I really do feel very different to the person I was at the end of last year. But hey, a lot of things have changed since then.

Positives include mostly sorting out a shipping issue which was causing a little bit of strife and getting that server fixed. Honestly, I think that's it. Other than meditation tonight and me having to make sure I use up a mass of spinach when I'm cooking my steak tonight I really can't think of anything else to tell you about right now. Except that I got an awesome rollmat from my parents and a book from my brother, so that was great. The mat'll be very useful in a few months when I go away for a bit.

I guess right now what I'm mostly doing is treading water.

11/04/2012
[16:40] I read through some of the emails Kris and I exchanged this time last year (between 3 April and into early May) just now. They made me feel good long before they made me sad and I had to stop reading them. Each one of them is so full of happiness and love and devotion and excitement about the future (and hidden notes, and beans, and Institutes) they made my heart ache and a smile comes unbidden to my face. The pain only came later when, in a flash, life caught up with me and all the good thoughts came tumbling down in the face of the complete unreality of the situation now. In some ways I'm still only living - existing - from moment to moment here. Struggling to understand what happened and why. I don't think it'll ever really make total sense to me. There are so many things on both sides of the equation that might have been resolved/cancelled out. All I do know now is that it did happen, it has happened, and there's only the future to work from here on in. It could be an amazing one if I make it/let it be. It could have new people and old experiences made new again by the involvement of those people, or people I've known before involved in brand new experiences, again leading to new situations. Either way, it's up to me to make it all happen. I hope I can.

Thinking positively, yesterday's session went mostly OK. Although I got wet on the way to it my evening thing was fairly good too. Nothing happened in the evening, but (literally) at the end of the day I didn't care, I just wanted the day over for another year. This morning I've managed to get Oracle to actually send out parts and an engineer to try and fix the server which has been down since the middle of last week, I've been for a 6K run with seemingly no achilles issues (I'll try another one on Friday) and for the most part life is just ticking over. In the grand scheme of things that's probably a win, overall.

Right now, as I write this I'm connected remotely to my computer as I watch an Oracle engineer completely gut the server which hasn't been running for the last week. Given he wants to talk through every stage of his work I probably won't get out of here much before 18:00 at this point. Still, there's nothing to go home for right now.

10/04/2012
[12:55] How was the long Easter weekend for you? For the most part mine was far better than I anticipated. Sure, I still ended up vacuuming cat litter and doing washing up, and I didn't do any running either. However, I did go down to the boat house every morning and do 15K on an erg in an hour (so 60K over the four days). That, coupled with showering, travel and faff/weights session stuff and helping people out with stroke coaching tended to fill up the mornings pretty well. Afternoons were either a 38 mile cycle (everyone on nice carbon fibre bikes except me on the one I was going to leave behind when I emigrated), watching the Boat Race (no comment), spending some time on my own in quiet contemplation and then having dinner with friends at a newly moved in to rental house, or cleaning the house for guests and then going to watch The Hunger Games before dinner at our favourite Chinese(ish) restaruant (no sake on a school night). All in all that seems pretty positive for the most part doesn't it? Lots of exercise, friends around and activities to be involved in. I wasn't that lonely, really. Not really at all.

Things only went downhill on Monday afternoon when I had a bit of a relapse and spent some time, well, let's just say being very aware of my situation and needing to be alone in my room so as not to bother people. On the plus side, unless something goes wrong through malfeasance or mishap all of my remaining possessions are now in the transatlantic shipping system and on their way back to me. Some time between 6 weeks and 4 months from now I should have almost everything I sent over back. I guess I can't ask for anything more than that even on today of all days. It makes me sad though, to know that another link with Then has been severed. Very few of them remain. And as various wheels turn even those will be broken, that'll be it, and there will only be Now. I miss... well, I miss what was, because for my part I was giving my all to it, despite its (and my) problems and flaws.

Today I got up, went to work, spent two hours rebuilding a server repeatedly to show Oracle that there's something wrong with the motherboard (and not the CPU boards or RAM) and am about to have lunch. This afternoon I'm off for a session, then this evening I have something new to try which may or may not be a very awesome addition to the things I do in my life. More on that another time, perhaps. It will be a quiet day for the most part.

05/04/2012
[12:50] Unfortunately, out of the blue (considering how gently I was taking things) I appear to have a very slight achilles tendon issue in my left leg. I am, as you can imagine, Most Displeased. This means I more than likely won't be running for at least the next seven days, if not longer. Given Friday and Monday are Easter holiday days I'm obviously going to have to get out on my bike instead rather than risk going stir-crazy. Unfortunately I think my spare inner tubes and repair kit stuff is either packed somewhere I can't find it or in a clear plastic crate in the USA. Obviously this too is pretty galling. Hopefully I'll be OK. It'll probably be a plan to take my mobile with me in case I'm 50 miles out and get a puncture. I'll be glad to have all my things back again though. Not that I missed it compared to other feelings of missingness, but some of it was and is useful.

So, on with the positives. It seems like my sore throat has subsided somewhat. Hopefully my usual next phase of the super-runny nose won't last too long this time around. Other than the cold and the tendon the rest of me seems to be in good working order, so that's nice to know. This morning I not only did network work (moving a two racks of core networking infrastructure over to a new UPS) but also got the other two new disks into the other server and the filesystems of the KVM guests extended onto them. There's meditation tonight and then no work for four days (although see below).

Unfortunately we have a sick server at the moment. It keeps thinking someone is pressing the power button on the front (they're not) and even when we disable the button in the BIOS it still manages to reboot itself and become wedged in the POST sometimes. We're quite annoyed as even a firmware upgrade hasn't seemed to fix it. We're waiting for support from Oracle but it may be that we won't get any joy out of them before the end of the working day today, in which case, while I seriously doubt I'll be asked to, I might have to come in on Friday or Monday (or perhaps even the weekend) to deal with an engineer. Chances are low though. Not that I have anyone other than me to look at me disapproving about that now.

What else will I be doing this extra-long weekend? I have no idea. Hopefully a significant amount of reading, probably in Waterstones. Possibly watching the Boat Race with people on Saturday. In another universe there'd have been exploring, and new and interesting things being discovered (along with probably unpacking of boxes). That universe sounds fun. Here though I will probably end up vacuuming up cat litter, washing up other people's dishes and feeling a bit lonely. More paperwork arrived today. It made me sad. Still, at least its not raining.

Onwards on the Path. See you next week for more of the same.

04/04/2012
[16:15] As it's a significant date I looked back at the last few years of today's events captured in text by this journal before writing this entry. It's interesting to read what I wrote even just as far back as 2008. Between that year and now, with the journal to remind me, I find I have almost perfect recall of the events of those days. Times have changed. Tremendously. Almost out of all recognition. And yet at the same time it feels like I've sort of come full circle in other ways. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose, as they say. Anyway, when you have no option to go back, forward is where you must set your sights. Maybe there'll be other circles for me; returns to previous times, people and places. Or maybe you can't ever go back, because everything is in a constant state of Change and even if you do loop around, it's never the same as it was before. The more I think about this continual flux the more I realise it's not just a good thing, it's the best thing. It means that there's no such thing as "never going back", because it's impossible to "go back" when the past has gone. Encounter anything from the past and because of the nature of the universe and the mind it's a new situation. Where am I going with this? Nowhere really. Just musing.

So let us move on to more positive things as is our wont. Last night I was shown the best pub ever. I really wish I'd known about it sooner to be able to have gone to it more often with favourite company. As it was, cooking my own springbok steak (I could have had crocodile, zebra, kangaroo, wildebest, and more besides) on a hot stone with two types of side dish was utterly marvellous. Of course I had it blue and it was extremely tasty. I'll be going back there. But not for a while, to keep it special. Meditation beforehand was excellent too. For the first time I managed to simply let everything go. I didn't go anywhere, I wasn't "a being of pure love in a sky of perfect bliss." Instead, everything (and I mean everything, perception of body as well as thoughts) just went away. There was nothing. And it was Good. I just wish it could have lasted longer than fifty minutes. Today I've wired up some people's offices, got a switch working again and even been for a run (although non-positively I may have a very slight achilles tendon issue, so I'm not running on Friday or Saturday unless it feels better). Although I have a sore throat I might be rowing this evening although probably not. If I'm not I'm having an evening in, something I haven't had in a good week or more. I might even watch the new Game of Thrones. Even if the theme music will remind me of happier times.

I hope you have a happy day, today.

03/04/2012
[15:10] Headed into work early this morning, which wasn't easy considering Mr Drum'n'Bass was going until well into the early morning with his choons. Couple that with a semi-late night having been over at Cormac's with a bucket load of other people introducing someone to Star Wars for the first time and I wasn't the freshest of daisies when I got into the office. Still, all I had to do was shut down two KVM guests and the host, slot in two drives, create a RAID1 set and then partition the resulting logical drive, create two 100GB image files and extend each of the two guests' root partitions into those files and resize their filesystems. Easy-peasy. Since then I've been to town once to add 72kg of battery pack to a UPS (including use of screwdrives, big blue sparks (oops) and copious amounts of muscle), written some documentation, had lunch and prepared to go back into town (leaving shortly) to liven up a few network sockets in a few rooms (if I can track down the custodian).

Oh, and it turns out those drives, that we bought from Dell, came from a third party company and even though they're mounted in official Dell caddies Dell's OMSA tool states that they're "Uncertified" and as such has marked their status as "Non-Critical". Which is nice. I've got a call open with Dell about it. I think the solution is going to be a firmware update for those drives. More downtime will be required, if I'm allowed it.

Positives are: Last night's fun with friends, leaving earlyish today, meditation tonight, dinner with Kate afterwards (there may be some springbok in my future), running again tomorrow (what?) and someone telling me I have lovely eyes. Which was nice.

02/04/2012
[12:20] Sad news first. Micah True, also known as "Caballo Blanco" and the subject of the book Born to Run by Christopher McDougall was found dead over the weekend. He was an ultramarathoner and 58. In a small way he's one of the inspirations for why I've slowly been upping my mileage. Maybe one day I'll be able to do some of the things he did. He'll be missed by the whole running community.

Anyway, positive town is where we should be heading, so let's get that bus... Rather than run on Saturday morning (parkrun) I decided that I needed a day off so instead got the early train down to London to meet Andrea. We headed across London and over to Teddington to meet Andy and his girlfriend. Pub lunch, some wheat beer and chatting before we moved on to go and watch a very low division football match. Not particularly inspiring stuff, but fun to actually be at pitchside rather than watching it on a television. After that we headed back into London, grabbed some excellent food in a pub off Trafalgar Square and then inserted ourselves into a 'Tweet up' meet. Given I was still pretty shattered from the week and I still had to get a train and a cycle home I didn't stay much past 21:30 and that meant getting home well past midnight and a bit. Sunday was therefore a day of rest to some degree. I mean, I still went for a very gentle 20K tempo run in the morning (fabulous weather, empty tow path) but then it was shower, breakfast, Tesco, lunch, visiting my rental accommodation-to-be to pick the things I want to buy from the current tenants, reading in town and then some PS2 playing with Cormac before the evening. All in all not a bad way to spend a day. Tonight apparently we're all going to educate someone in the Star Wars oeuvre (she's never seen any of them before). We're not screening the newer ones.

Apparently our boat house was broken into in the last 24 hours or so. I don't have any details at the moment but I would imagine the TV has gone. Otherwise I've had new information from the court about dates and been to do some wireless network surveying and discussion and caught my network team leader (I have feet in both systems and network administration camps now) up on what happened last week. That's about it really. Knowledge that elsewhere stuff happened over the weekend set me back a little on my path. It's actually nothing to do with me any more, but it reminded me that I really want my things back from the USA. I just hope they're able to be shipped soon because it's going to take a long time for them to come home. I wish I'd known when I was packing everything away that I wouldn't be seeing it for possibly 13 months, and in the same city that I'd packed it away in. Or maybe I don't. Time for a run.