Menu Members Guests LTQ
BOFHcam navigation bar

BOFHJournal

1999 | 2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016 | 2017

May's Journal
July's Journal


29/06/2012
[16:30] Today someone I think a lot of (a female Ph.D graduate in the sciences) mentioned a Guardian article on why women leave academia, which contained a link to a discussion of why career-successful women are usually childless. In my limited-and-certainly-not-unique experience I'd expand on that and say that a large proportion of successful (or aiming for success) women tend to be single... or are at least for an indeterminate amount of time before they become established in their fields and their transition to being stable in what they want their life to be about is well under way, or complete. I know I'm biased in my opinion, having suffered because of this, but it does seem like many women for the most part can't have a happy personal life without their career being neglected, or vice versa. So they have to choose. And that makes me so angry. Not just for those women, but for those around them whose lives are affected by this issue. Anyway, that's just my personal opinion.

Ran today, got a card in the post with a surprise inside, did some work, sent some emails, reauthorise a purchase order (oops) and watched the weather run the gamut from sunny to windy, rainy and overcast, and back again. I went on Facebook a little too much today (reading). Probably a bad idea. Will try to avoid doing that again for a while. It would have been nice to listen to some Blues though.

A weekend of activity beckons. Rowing, cycling, running, and maybe even a pizza. On Monday it'll start all over again. Only this time it'll be July. Time moves on. You know I even miss having a countdown, even if it was for one hundred days.

28/06/2012
[16:55] I found this graduation present both thoughtful and wonderful. I was always a big fan of Dr Seuss and had the privilege of visiting his alma mater just over a year ago. Not that that really means anything, but I did see some excellent original art work.

I ended up going to the boat house last night purely because it was on the way home and it was raining. I ended up doing 20 minutes on the sliders behind someone in my 4+ and ten minutes in front of him. It was really rather hot and humid, even with the windows and doors open. Still, nice to get a bit of a sweat on in the evening. I didn't push too hard given we had an outing planned for this morning. Likewise I tried to get to bed at a sensible time last night and managed it, too. That meant that getting up at 05:00 wasn't quite as hard as it might have been otherwise. The outing was OK, I guess. We had a very experienced cox who 'got out' of rowing a year or so ago back just to give us a chance of getting on the water (there really wasn't anyone else we could call on). Thankfully the rain had stopped by the time I left the house and held off for the outing itself, but it was still so hot and humid, even at 06:00.

Work today has mainly been a morning of short meetings in which I didn't need to do anything, a lunchtime of emails in which I asserted that there wasn't anything I needed to do, and was agreed with, and an afternoon of patching workstations and programming air-con units to be the same temperature. Not, in the grand scheme of things, a terribly taxing day. Which is good considering I'm already pretty pre-pooped by this morning's exercise. This evening's outing will be interesting, but at least I know how long it's going to be for. All I need to do then is work out whether I have the energy to go to the pub in the wrong direction from home and have someone else cook for me, or go directly home and cook something myself.

27/06/2012
[17:20] A morning of discovering new things about MySQL replication, our Big Brother monitoring system and just how much I can do if I'm actually asked to do things rather than it all being done for me. Most enlightening and a really good way to have the time go by. A few worries, sure; there might have been a few minutes when I thought things might collapse around my ears and it wouldn't be fixed again until my team leader got back on Monday, but I got there in the end by remaining professional, working with the people who knew more about the bits I didn't and only doing things when they seemed sensible. I even think the emails I sent to my team (one of whom turned up at lunch time) weren't full of stupid errors or misapprehensions. Which was nice. So, yes, by lunch time everything was fine again and next week will be interesting for at least one reason to do with Jira and MySQL.

No running at lunch today (or last night, as it turned out) as I had to eat and then head out to have a wireless networking meeting with someone from our sister service and the representatives of the place where wireless really isn't working out well. I think we had a productive meeting, found out some useful things by walking around in the roof space looking at "leaky feeders" and hopefully there are going to be some emails from people which push things forward.

When I got home last night my landladies had left me some artwork for the walls. While there's not quite as much as I would have liked, what there is is really rather lovely, so I've put what I can up on the walls. They've also gifted me two panoramic prints of originals that one of them painted. I have to get them frame (which won't be cheap), but they're really very nice and in colours that appeal to me (as well as of things I like). Even with the ones I have up already the house feels a little more homely.

I'm not sure if I will do anything active this evening. It's probably a good idea to have a full day off from actual planned exercise (cycling around town notwithstanding) given I have two outings tomorrow, the first being at 06:00. This month is going to have been pretty good for distance covered through rowing (245km+) running (120km+) and cycling (a lacklustre 70km+) by Saturday evening. I wonder if I can best it next month...?

26/06/2012
[16:35] Last night, after a really good outing in the M1 8+, with fantastic weather and so much crew effort that pretty much everyone developed a new blister or two (despite us all already having hands like leather), I had a minor Down episode. Among all of the important things that I found myself missing - the really important, life-changing, emotional things - I found myself pining after a generous helping of Kirkland Signature Mangoes & Berries. Available from Costco (in the US at least, I don't know if you can get them from the UK arm) it's a 624g bag (22oz for the Americans among you) of pure deliciousness. And I miss it. Not just because of what having access to it represented, but because I really like mangoes, and berries. Such is life now.

I guess I also forgot to mention that my CR-1 US spousal visa ran out last Friday, too. It doesn't really matter given that my marriage ran out two weeks before that. Six months ago though I'd just been to London to have my (anti-climactic as it turns out) interview, and six months ago today was Boxing Day with my whole family. I guess it turns out that things weren't perfect, but I was so happy then. The reason I was reminded to mention this is that my ESTA ran out today as well. Given I'm expecting my things to be delivered in the next few weeks that'll be pretty much all of my connections with the US put away for the time being. That's nothing but a terrible, terrible shame. But it is the way of things.

Today has been a luckily quiet day. The second one without our line manager around (he's not here this week). After last night's outing I actually didn't get out of bed until very close to 08:00. I guess it really took it out of me somewhat. "Really very tired" is perhaps how I would have categorised myself. I was still in before 09:00 and have done a full day's work as well as this week's 4K lunchtime distance in the new shoes. I think the heat/humidity had the same effect on my feet as the blade handle did on my hand last night and I ended up with a few small blisters on the sides of my feet by the end of the run. I don't think it'll affect my gentle 10K this evening from the boat house (we can't find a cox) with one of my crew mates though as I'll be in my normal running shoes. I'll tell you what though, days really do seem to revolve around eating at the moment. I get the feeling I'm using far more calories than I'm taking in, or at least not getting calories at the right times during the day. Maybe it's time for me to start thinking about grazing more than having regular meal times. Akin to how things go when doing adventure racing.

Anyway, I guess I'm just wittering now. That's me done for the day.

25/06/2012
[17:00] Whew! That was a full weekend. Exercise-wise at least. I might have very, very slightly overdone it. But probably not as I think I feel fine. Mostly. Friday night was Cat's new housemates housewarming thing. It was good to see people and catch up and generally eat a few bits of less than healthy food, but I left at 22:30 so I could be in bed at a reasonably sensible time. Saturday, from 08:00 until 13:00 I was in a boat of some kind pushing hard in training for upcoming races. First an 8+, then a 4+. I think both boats are coming on well despite me being the shortest in the 4+ by at least six inches compared to the next smallest person. As soon as I was out of the second outing I just had to get my running shoes (normal kind) on and head out for a nice 10K by the river. Something about the day just made me want to get out and knock out a few kilometres. That and the fact that I'd been tied to 2.5K every day all of the previous five days in my Vibram FiveFingers shoes. So, after a nice 42 minutes (fighting the headwind on the way back like we had in the boats) I was back at the boat house, where I proceeded to crash quite hard. I showered and got home as quickly as I could and scarfed down a tasty lunch before going to Tesco while I still had the energy. The remainder of the afternoon was spent on the sofa before I headed out to see friends (including Dunk and his new lady, who were in town) for cocktails and things. Another 22:30 departure time and in bed by 23:00. Sunday was shaping up to be a double outing day too until the cox said that everyone in the 8+ felt like they were too tired, so we were banned from going out in our 4+. As a result I went home and gardened for about four hours in a fairly successful attempt to strimmer the grass, delineate the garden path (which had been encroached on by grass, soil and stones) and prepare the end nearest the road for the water meter fitters who should be coming on Friday. After that, again, I was pretty pooped so after a rather large evening meal I had real trouble getting myself out to a rowing friend's house to watch England lose on penalties in Euro 2012. Also, something I ate there gave me terrible indigestion so I watched two hours of football in physical pain as well as mental.

Sleep cures many ills, so when I woke up this morning all my gastro-intestinal woes had gone, which was nice. First thing out of the gate was a trip to the council offices to work out what the hell was going on with my council tax, then get into work, print out the forms required to get my possessions through Customs and delivered to the house (apparently my ship came in, over the weekend) and write a letter explaining why I couldn't fill in the "date of arrival in the UK" field, seeing as I never actually left. It saddens me that I have to explain the failures in my life to people to get things done.

I've upped my weekday running a touch as per the instructions for my shoes and currently feel pretty good. I was really chafing only doing the shorter distances. My calves recover very quickly now after each run and hopefully I'll not suffer an achilles tendenitis flare up again as I try to change my style to a more natural one. Here's hoping. I'm trying my very best this time.

As our cox is going to Henley this week to help run things we have an outing this evening in the 8+. I'm seriously considering some chocolate to get me through the session until I get home for dinner. Maybe it's time I put a bit more thought than I am now into proper nutrition and stuff. Although I don't think I'm doing too badly now. Looking at myself in the mirror and comparing times and exercise evidence I believe I'm in the best shape of my life thus far. That's one thing I can be happy about. It's just a shame there's no-one here to take advantage of it/me.

22/06/2012
[16:45] Another week over. They seem to go by so fast sometimes. There was a time when they crawled by and I had a web page open with a counter which told me how long it was until it would reach zero and I would be so very happy. That doesn't happen any more so I simply try to think about things I can do for myself to increase my happiness. It turns out though that this isn't always the best idea. Which I find intriguing and something I may look into more as time goes by. Stoicism. It seems to fit the bill for many of the ways I already interact with the world.

My water meter wasn't fitted yesterday after all. I discovered this when I got home and found that there wasn't a hole in the garden. It turns out that the water company contract out to another company to fit the water meters and they subcontract to another firm if it's an external/garden installation rather than inside the house. Only those people also do emergency water main work and if there's an emergency, domestic jobs (like mine) get bumped. So, I have a rescheduled appointment for the 29th. That actually works out better in a way as it's closer to the end of the month so I get to use a bit more of my flat rate money's worth drinking lots of water and watering the garden. Although it has been absolutely tipping it down today.

Last night's rowing outing was the first time I've felt like I might actually be in the M1 boat. This might have had something to do with one of the subs we had in the boat being far better than the person he was sitting in for, but it was balanced, powerful and moved well. I liked it a lot.

Today I've mainly been doing a lot of wireless logistical legwork. Telephone calls, spec. sheet reading and email writing. Not a lot of actual sysadmin stuff at all other than helping someone with their keychain stuff. Still, this is what's required in my redesigned job and it keeps me busier. I did my final 2.5K Vibram FiveFingers run this lunchtime and aside from the (good) ache in my calves I think I'm ready to move up to perhaps 4K next week.

This weekend is rowing heavy in the mornings, hopefully long distance tempo running in the afternoons (in my normal shoes) and cocktails and other fun stuff with Dunk and his new lady in the evening(s), or at least Saturday evening. There's also a housewarming tonight (Cat's), even though it's more that two new housemates have moved in, rather than it being a new place. I should probably go to Tesco at some point in there as well. And maybe read a book. I'm sure I'll have it all worked out by Sunday evening in time for the new week to begin. Currently, according to Google Calendar it's looking pretty sparse, but I'm sure I'll be able to fill it with things to do soon.

Wherever and whoever you are, have a good weekend.

21/06/2012
[16:20] Some days isn't it nice to just find something that makes you smile? I recommend clicking on that and spending just a few minutes remembering that the world is filled with people who want to make you happy.

I've been out of the office for almost all of today doing networky things. They started at 07:00 this morning and continued without a break until about an hour ago when I got back here and had my lunch, late. Given last night's outing and everything else I'm doing at the moment I've felt pretty shattered for most of today, so it was probably a good thing that I wasn't able to go for a run at lunch time. There's another outing this evening. Hopefully it won't rain too much and I'll be able to get home and find out if I still have running water (the water meter is apparently being fitted today).

I think that's everything for today. Tomorrow's Friday, so anything could happen. Here's hoping it's only nice things.

20/06/2012
[17:10] Another quiet day today. Which is good as I had an important email to write and send. I was also able to get some other stuff done in preparation for tomorrow, when I'll be coming in horribly early to help with some fibre work in the centre of town. Happily, these days I actually live a little closer to town than I did so it's a shorter ride to get to where I need to be. But only by a small margin.

Did an erg and a weights session last night. Those plus my little FiveFingers run at lunch time seems to have totally wiped me out. This isn't helpful as I'm in a boat this evening at 18:30. I may have to stop by the vending machine on the way out this evening to make sure I don't collapse during the outing.

Apparently the landlady and some plumbers were at the house today to fix the tiling around the bath and do the waste pipe under the kitchen sink. I'll see how all that went when I get home later on this evening. I'm glad I keep the house clean and tidy as a matter of course though as it meant I didn't actually have to do anything last night to make the place look presentable.

I finally get a water meter fitted at the house tomorrow. This should at least halve my monthly water rates, which is good. It's not that I don't ever wash, it's more that I tend to end up showering at the boat house after morning outings, at work after the lunchtime run, or at the boat house again in the evening after an erg session or an outing. After the washer and washing up I'd say my next major usage of water at home is making squash to drink.

Oh, and my laptop RAM arrived from Crucial. I probably didn't need it, but I wanted it and frankly I'm not really spending on anything else at the moment other than my one debt (to be wiped out this time next week), utilities and groceries. I'll stick it in this evening and see if it makes any difference. I hope it does.

19/06/2012
[16:05] So we didn't have a boat organised until fifteen minutes before entries for the race closed. I managed to convince one of our much more experienced (read: older) rowers to finish his weights session and join the crew so we could actually enter. We then proceeded to row like an angry octopus down to the start line, turn, wait, row at race pace (overtaking another crew), and win the whole event by one second. It was almost embarrassing when I went to check our placing and couldn't find where we were until I'd started looking again from the top. So, minor amounts of kudos and a glass pint tankard for me to drink squash out of with my evening meal. Yay for us.

Work has been quiet today and I was able to spend the morning catching up on email whilest babysitting air-con engineers at the other server room, again. After that I went into town to get a cycling water bottle back from Cormac and have the last of my sessions (for the moment, at least). I think on some levels I'm doing very much better than I was back at the beginning. But that's probably to be expected, really. When you face things I've had to (it's just how my mind works; I find it difficult to compartmentalise and put off thinking about stuff sometimes) it does mean you tend to deal with your issues more quickly (but not necessarily more betterer) than if you were to just stack them away neatly while you get on with life. Sometimes I wish I could put things to one side more easily. I envy those people who can. But then again it does mean you're simply putting off that which must be faced eventually. So there are up-sides and down-sides to each way of being. I imagine there's some happy medium somewhere that can be reached with a bit of effort.

I'm off to see the doctor after work today, and then down to the boat house. If the weather stays as nice as it is right now I think I might just take an erg out on the balcony and enjoy the early evening air as I do my session. I can't think of anything nicer to be doing on a sunny June day than that at the moment.

Must remember, landlady No.2 is bringing plumbers around tomorrow to deal with the sink pipework which leaks when you empty lots of water down it in one go, and maybe some other stuff. I should probably do some washing up.

18/06/2012
[17:05] Everything happened this weekend. Or at least a significant portion of it anyway. I met my landladies for the first time and totally endeared myself to them. So much so that they want to come and not only fix all the things I pointed out, but do some gardening, plant all kinds of vegetables for me to pick and eat, and (as one of them's a painter and the other a photographer) put some stuff up on the walls to make the place feel a bit more homely and lived in. So that's nice.

I had an early morning rowing out on Saturday which went pretty well. We were in the 4+ again, and things seem to be progressing nicely. After that I still felt quite full of energy so got the Tesco shop out of the way before having a nice lunch. In the afternoon I popped into town to winnow down which travel book I wanted for my trip in August and then watched racing on the river before I went home. In the evening I ended up heading out for a curry with those people who'd returned from the West Highland Way hike they'd been on last week. It turns out to have been an enjoyable but midge-infested and injury-prone experience for half of them. But they still had a great time. I was also presented with a letter which had been delivered to the place I lived briefly. This turned out to be my decree absolute. I'm no longer legally married. After the curry I went home and read the legalese a few times and then wrote an email to Kris telling her that it'd arrived. I'm sure she'll get her copy in a week or so, transatlantic postage willing. I said a few things in the email, none of which I'll detail here, but it expressed my sadness and disappointment as well as what I had hoped for if things had gone differently as well as how I know I'll always feel. Then I went to bed.

Sunday morning didn't have an outing scheduled so I stayed in bed as long as I could (07:45) and then got up and pulled on my normal running shoes and headed out. I hadn't charged my GPS watch so that gave out after 10.71 miles. I ran a few more miles before I got back to the house, so it was a pretty good way to spend an hour and a half or so. There was a women's crew out from my club so I ran alongside them for a while too. By the time I got home, showered and presentable it was time to meet Cat and co. for a trip on the river. By the time everyone had turned up there were eight of us and we had a wonderful time with me doing a lot of the work to keep us moving, which suited me fine. I even got to call my father and tell him how much I love and appreciate him, which was good. In the evening I made the mistake of catching up on Facebook and discovered a quote which made me quite sad. I have some more background now, but at the time it left me feeling pretty blasted. A conversation with friendly ears helped somewhat and I was able, as I always seem to manage, to get to bed and sleep.

Which was lucky because this morning was another early one. 05:00 for 06:00 on the water. It's wonderful (as I think I've said before) to be in crew where everyone turns up on time and ready to make the outing 'go'. Even in the rain we did well and there were definite improvements. I need to be more in control of the boat though as - it being a bow loader - I'm the voice who communicates with the cox about the crew's dynamic/wishes/etc. I got to work early and was able to make a start on a few things, which was good because at 11:17 Kris' reply to my email arrived. Under the circumstances it was better that I could have hoped. It also revealed things to me that I wasn't sure of before were actually the case and, while it didn't clarify everything, it showed me that it wasn't all my fault. Which is how I've felt for what seems like so very long. And it told me that we still shared some important things. Even as they aren't something we could or would do anything about any more. I have a reply to write. It will require thought. But it will be positive.

I made a decision today. About me. I'll take action with regards to it tomorrow. I hope it's the right one. Otherwise I have to dash off now as I've just been requested by three different people by three different methods (MSN, email and SMS) to join a crew for a race this evening on the river. It's nice to be wanted.

15/06/2012
[14:10] The weather today has already been all over the place. It was pouring down over night. When I got up it was overcast. By the time I got to work there was brilliant blue sky and we've had two torrential storms pass through. I'm due to head into town now and I have no idea whether or not I'm going to get absolutely soaked. I think all I really care about is whether or not it rains between 07:30 and 09:30 tomorrow. Other than that I'm content to stay inside/get wet as necessary, but rowing in the rain always bugs me.

Last night's erg was good. A nice steady 15K in just under an hour, with company for the first 30 minutes. I have the evening off today (although I did do another short FiveFingers run at lunch time) as my landladies are coming over for the first time. I've a few things to point out to them but otherwise I think everything should be fine.

Over the weekend there's not much happening for once (although if the weather's OK something may be occuring on Sunday). I may have to go and do something purely to keep myself from going nuts. Speaking of which I really do think I need to organise some kind of holiday for myself next month. I just don't know what or where yet. It should probably be in the UK though given current finances.

Today's random links are the dance-walk which I would totally... watch in the alternate universe where I moved to New York. Otherwise, having one of these to run with could also be brilliant. Not sure how it deals with the runner changing direction sharply though.

Right, I think that's about it for this week. I'm pretty sure that thing I keep going on about will happen in the next day or so. Or maybe early next week. You'll know when it happens because I'll say so. Anyway, don't let it get in the way of having a good weekend, I'm going to try and not let it for my part.

14/06/2012
[17:00] I don't know if it's the fact that I did three 2K, 75% effort pieces last night on the ergs with the current golden boy from our boat club and wasn't too far behind him even though I'd run at lunch time, or the fact the weather has been lovely today, or even the fact that my appraisal didn't seem to go anywhere near as badly as I thought it was going to given how I feel about this job at the moment... but today seems to have been a much better day that many a one I've had in a while. Add in another short 'barefoot' run at lunch time, a walk into and out of town in the sun this morning to do some fibreoptic wiring up, and knowing I not only get to do an erg under my own rules tonight but may also get to follow the boat I ran alongside a few months ago while it does a race this evening... and I'm quite pleased with how today has gone. So far. It could all change, but I'm willing to believe it won't. I have faith.

I am pretty tired, though. This erg tonight is going to half kill me, I've got a load of new tasks just come in which I have to work out how to deal with (one of the two things I have to improve on coming out of my appraisal is acknowledging other people's priorities and interpolating them with my own) in good time, so that could mean the next few working days (all of next week, basically) are a bit fuller than usual. I guess that's good considering what else is going on my mind at the moment.

Fun links for today are the pure awesomeness of the post-it note table and some help on realising that this too shall pass which is applicable to not just writers, I think.

Time for me to head off and get to the boat house before other people turn up and start playing music that doesn't jibe with my erging mojo.

13/06/2012
[16:50] I ran in my FiveFingers for the first time in months today. Just a short 2.5K or so. I'll do it again tomorrow and Friday if I'm available at lunch times, then over the weekend and into next week. This is a new attempt to try and get my body used to them. Sensibly this time, rather than the complete hash I made of last time which resulted in me getting achilles tendenitis for the first time ever and probably leaving me susceptible to it for the rest of my running life. Thinking about it, there's a lot of things I could have done differently since I bought those shoes just over a year ago which could have left me in a much better life position than I find myself in now.

Isn't HD-quality hindsight a horrible thing?

12/06/2012
[17:15] After last night's erg session I was pretty tired so decided on heading home rather than going to the pub with people. This turned out to be the right idea as I was still shattered when I got up at 05:00 this morning to make it to the boat house for an 06:00 outing. Amazingly it wasn't raining (I think it would have been utterly miserable if it had been) and even though we were in the shell I hate the most out of every one owned by the club (an Empacher with slides seemingly designed purposefully to give you slide bites) we had a reasonably good outing. It's going to take a while for us all to get used to it, and it's a bitch to adjust, but I think that if I'm able to survive outings of 2+ hours, I should be able to deal with races of a maximum of 8 minutes. Just so long as I remember to pack the Cathay Pacific travel socks with the toes cut out that I never knew I was hanging on to for this reason until I started rowing. They make perfect calf-protectors.

Work today has mostly been about thinking very hard about what I do here and what I may want to do in the future. I don't think I managed to come to any good conclusions yet. The things I did today almost certainly won't result in anything fruitful. I have my (irregular "yearly") appraisal the day after tomorrow. I imagine it will be an interesting affair as I'm pretty sure my team leader was looking forward to getting someone new in when I was supposed to have left at the end of February. To be perfectly frank I was looking forward to leaving here myself and letting someone else take over my seat, which is why I feel doubly antsy most of the time I sit here now. I was ready to go anyway, but I was also prepared to go mentally. I could have been looking for a new job, or traveling with Kris as she researched and seeing amazing new places with her. But that isn't to be in this reality. Maybe in another universe that's happening right now. I'd like to think so. Somewhere there are new adventures happening for the two of us.

As for this me, here, I'm going home shortly. I deserve a night off from everything so that's what I'm going to have. No washing, no washing up, no exercise, no socialising. It might just consist of me and a book and some dinner. I know, right? Total, unbelievable excitement. What an amazingly not-dull and packed with variety life I now lead, eh?

I should do something about that.

11/06/2012
[14:50] The weekend was great, really. I mean there was plenty of time when I was on my own and had to resort to reading or watching downloaded television to keep myself sane but otherwise it was rowing on Saturday and Sunday mornings, an hour's run on Saturday afternoon in the last of the good weather for what seems like a while, someone's birthday picnic on the green on Sunday afternoon and potentially being picked up to be in a 4+ for the remainder of the season if I keep up my training and make myself available. Well, it's not like I have any other demands on my time at the moment so there's a chance that could happen. Maybe this is what I need to do for the time being; immerse myself in rowing for a while.

Oh, I have a replacement keyboard at work, too, no more sticking space bar, yay!

What else? Oh, went to the cinema with Shaun and Sam on Friday evening, which was pretty good. We saw Red Tails which was far more entertaining that I thought it would be despite some extremely odd pacing and editing. I'm not sure what kind of film it was trying to be, but it managed to be a reasonable bit of fun nevertheless. My kitchen sink drain leaks but I'm due to have a visit from my landladies at the end of this week so they should be able to get that fixed. I may have a small ant infestation, but seeing as I kill each one I find the chances are they'll get the message that to enter the house means death. It's raining a lot here at the moment. I don't like being soggy, but when you don't own a car it seems to be the way of things. Not that I mind as I'm still a bit low on cash and owning one would mean I'd be in dire straits right about now rather than just hanging on. I still need to pay the last of a very important debt off too. Hopefully that'll happen at the end of this month so that July will be the real start of the next part of my life given all the other things which come to and end in this one.

Lots of discussion about networks here today. Hopefully I'll be able to get in on a bit of that to stave off some of the boredom I feel daily when I come to work.

Off to install a new switch now, then the boathouse this evening for some land training.

08/06/2012
[16:25] Today, nothing actually happened. Although I did have a nice lunch with Shaun, Fran and a giggling ball of small girl. So that was good. Cinema tonight, rowing over the weekend. Nothing much else planned really other than the usual food shopping and perhaps someone's birthday thing, if the weather isn't terrible.

I hope you have a pleasant two days, no matter what it is you're doing or where you are.

07/06/2012
[17:30] I watched the first episode of a new season of a show I used to watch in happy company, that we even based a soup name on (sort of), last night. I don't know if it's just because I'm in a bit of a low at the moment, but it really isn't as much fun to watch it on my own. Hopefully the other shows we used to watch together which are coming back over the next few months (Leverage, Burn Notice, White Collar) will be more enjoyable to watch solo or I'm going to have very little to bother downloading any more. Still, I have read a lot more recently and made sure I was out in the evenings more, but sometimes it is nice to sit down and just relax while someone else does the work.

I've begun to look into adventure races I can do this year. Like socialising with friends, it's something I put on the back-burner somewhat when I got married and decided to spend less time doing so as to spend more time concentrating on Kris. Given most AR events are on weekends and that was when we would have the chance to talk on Skype most relaxedly I let a lot of events go by. Now I'm having real trouble finding people who want to compete with me as I'm an unknown quantity. Plus, until my things arrive, I have no mountain bike or most of the kit I would use in the various disciplines. But it's the fact that people don't seem to want to do a pairing, trio or quad team with me that hurts the most. I firmly believe I am fit enough to keep up, my map-reading skills aren't too bad, and I have a good handle on nutrition and hydration these days. So it's just people's memories which I have to overcome. Frustrating. Just like many of my social circles, I honestly thought I wouldn't be part of them after the end of February and now I'm finding it difficult to be accepted and invited to be involved as much as I would like.

Oh "Wah, wah, wah. Woe is me." Life is hard. How about I have a big drink of "man the hell up" and get on with living my life? So my job's boring and I feel like my mind is rotting here? Push to learn something new. No-one wants to play with me? I should go out and play on my own and perhaps invite other people to join me.

I might just do those things. It's just a shame that the latter is far more expensive when you're not sharing transport costs to get to the other end of the country, and the former is hard when there's a distinct lack of need for innovation here at work right now.

I need a change. I feel so stymied now given the huge changes I was about to undergo for my life, love and marriage which now haven't taken place. I was on the very edge of diving of a cliff into a completely new life, only to be rocked back not only onto my heels, but my back, my head hitting the floor with dizzying force. Theoretically the world is my oyster. I just don't know if I can make a leap to something/somewhere new without at least a reasonable belief that I'm going to be able to support myself when I get there now that it's just me. Lack of confidence in my own abilities is killing me. The problem is that I don't think I'm wrong about how good or not I am at things (obviously).

I feel a terrible dissatisfaction with my life and everything in it and I don't yet know how to remedy that feeling. Is this what a (mid-)life crisis feels like? If so then I don't like it.

06/06/2012
[16:10] I hope you had a great extended bank holiday if you happened to be in the UK. Mine was... full. This can only be a good thing. Herewith below everything I can remember that happened, just in case you're interested. If you're not feel free to glaze over until the end. Then you can still pretend you keep up with what I'm doing.

Saturday morning was all about rowing. First outing wasn't so bad. We had a good cox so got to work on a lot of technique, which helped a lot. Then I had an outing with a bunch of reasonably raw rowers to see what they were like in anticipation of crew selection for races coming up at the end of next month. After that I just had enough time to get home, change and collect some nutrition before I was back down to the boathouse to meet five other people for a speedy-ish cycle out in the country. We didn't go too fast, or too far, for the sake of one of two of our group, but 36 miles seemed like a good round number. Back at the boathouse we found we were too early for the Learn2Row barbeque so I headed home to get cleaned up. By the time I got back it was pretty much over, so I grabbed a burger or two and then tried to catch people who'd gone to the cinema, and failed. Given that, I popped over to a friend's house to see his new kitchen/dining room (very nice, much like what I would have done if I hadn't sold my house) and then went home for some dinner.

Sunday was a day I tried to stay in bed and sleep in. That didn't work and I was out of bed by around 08:00 and itching to do something. I headed down to the boat house early and did some exercise before the outing at 10:30. I have to say it was one of the better-balanced outings I've been in since I started rowing. Not enough power in the right place, but the balance was excellent. After popping home, everyone turned up to the flat of one of the rowers and we spent a few hours eating lots and lots of bacon, eggs, crossants, beans, bread, butter, jam and other things while enjoying a good chinwag and general bonding session. Good stuff. By the time it was over I figured I should go and do my Tesco shopping for the week so pottered off to get that done. After getting home I was very close to staying in for the night but was convinced to go to the pub and see people (who turned up much later), have a drink and play pub games for a while. I also got to catch up with one or two people I haven't seen in a while and share my happiness at how well their lives are going, or are to turn out soon. I've missed out on a lot of people's lives in the past year as I prepared to emigrate. Withdrawing from the social circles I'd been in and putting friendships into hibernation when in fact I didn't leave has meant that rejoining groups and being someone that people invite to things has been difficult when people have moved on, become used to you not being around and have all new friendships and activities which you're not a part of. It all contributes to making you feel just a bit lonely, and very stupid for neglecting things get so badly.

Monday morning was another attempt to sleep in. I managed to stay in bed until nearly 08:10 this time before I had to get up and do something. I ended up walking my bike to Waitrose and buying a selection of fruit juices to take to a brunch with a few friends, some of them new. After sitting and chatting and eating lots of blueberry pancakes with maple syrup as made by Dave the Canadian (I'd really forgotten how much I missed someone making those style) we all went our separate ways. I ended up in Waterstones where I read the new hardback Chris(topher) Brookmyre from cover to cover, which was marvellous. To lose myself in a book was utterly wonderful and something I always deeply enjoy. I still miss not having company though. You can't really have a "book club" of one, but I persevere.

Tuesday morning all my attempts at sleeping in were forgotten as I was awake well before my planned getting out of bed time of 05:00. After a quick shower and breakfast I pulled on my running things and a fleece and headed out to the boat club to hide bottles, gels and Mars Bars under the boat trailer before walking to the rough location of the recent half-marathon start line for around 06:00. Without any fanfare (just the beep of my watch as I started the timer) I began to run. The streets were completely deserted at that time on a bank holiday morning and I was able to take any line I wanted through and then around town as I kept a steady pace on the way to 13.1 miles. As I crossed the invisible line marked by my GPS I stopped to refill my bottle from my stash, sucking down a gel or two as I carried on running, only eight minutes off the time I'd put in for the official half-marathon a few months ago. The second set of laps around town weren't that much harder except for what was probably the last two miles when I started to get a bit of pain in the ball socket of my left leg/hip (similar to the feeling I had when I was hiking on the Great Wall). I was so close to the end though that I just shut it away with all my other mental and physical pain and went for it. The result was my first ever marathon distance in a very steadily-paced (according to my GPS stats) time of 3:16:31. I'm quite pleased with that considering I hadn't trained specifically for the distance (my previous longest distance being the half-marathon I did in March and nothing as long or longer since then). Nor do I appear to have any injuries other than some sore muscles and a few mild aches at various joints. I'll be taking the rest of the week off from exercise and returning to rowing probably on Saturday. After my run I cycled home (slowly), showered and made an early (and huge) main meal of sausages, chips and beans for lunch. Some proper sofa relaxation with some occasional stretching followed before I decided that going to see Prometheus was probably something nice to do as a reward. No-one else was available so I went on my own. More stretching was the order of the day just before bed and then I was out like a light.

Today I've been mainly doing make-work this morning as well as babysitting air conditioner engineers again. After calling for someone to stand in for me I cycled over to the court and handed in the last document I need to sign for my marriage to be over, plus a cheque. Give it a week or so and I'll have form D37 and what I've known was coming since the end of January will be legal. So very much not something I ever wanted even in my darkest moments... but in the end it wasn't my decision. The best thing I could do was simply make it as quick and painless as possible for us both and hope to come out of the experience a wiser and eventually stronger person. I don't feel like either of those right now.

On a lighter note this XKCD mentions barefoot running-type shoes which I've been using for a while now (I bought my pair when I was visiting Kris in Hanover, NH what seems like a lifetime ago). I think I'd like to be able to outrun death. Or maybe just the death of happiness.

01/06/2012
[18:50] After I'd gone and counted network ports yesterday afternoon I decided it was time to get me my birthday present for this year. After having called a few shops I settled on one and purchased a Garmin 110 GPS watch. And, after some consideration a Gore Windstopper running shell that was at 50% off. I think that given the price I paid for both items was well below retail I did pretty well all in all. The shell is great and will be wonderful for not only running in freezing weather, but cycling and walking when it's windy and a bit colder than pleasant. Definitely something I can use when the weather doesn't work for my fleece Windstopper.

Given what I want to attempt over this long weekend coming up (next Journal entry will be on Wednesday) I also decided now was the time to get some portable hydration (given my Camelbak hydration backpacks are somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic right now) so I ran into town and bought a Delaney Race Camelbak system which should see me right. Oh, and some gels. And because I am well known at the shop I also got a discount off that and some gels. So, it's all good there too.

I spent most of this afternoon helping my father remove a virus from his old Windows XP box. All by memory, all over the phone. I think we managed it in the end but it left me feeling pretty frazzled. Him too, I think. Still, we seemed to get it done and that's all that matters. Hopefully next time it won't be quite so problematic. Or hopefully even more that there isn't a next time!

I can't believe it's June already, but it is. This year is going to speed by what with everything else that's gone on. It all comes to a head next week... and then it will be pretty much over. I'll have a form to hand in and then when the response to that comes back I'll no longer be married. There'll be perhaps one or two more emails to send and... that'll be it, I guess.

Anyway, there's a four day weekend for me to enjoy before I have to think about or do anything about that. I'll see you on the other side, perhaps with a good story or two to tell you.