[16:30] Trailered the boat last night. Went home, had delicious stew made for
me by Rachel. Went to bed. Did a day's work. Am now about to go home via the
boat house and Tesco. This weekend I'm racing in the Fours Head of the River
Race on the Tideway. If you're in London at around 14:30 you may see me go by
under Hammersmith Bridge. On Sunday I'll be back in town, rowing, obviously.
The remainder of the weekend will be spent trying to catch up with a few friends
whom I haven't seen in a while owing to doing far too much other stuff. See you
[16:35] Last night's outing was a lot better than the night before's. Even
with one person having back issues and another practically falling over/out of
the boat with tiredness. We've scrapped tonight's outing and will just be
derigging later, with perhaps a quick short erg for a few of us beforehand.
Which is good as Rachel's been working from home at my place today and it would
be nice to get back to her fairly early in the evening.
Work today has been mainly about IT-related cleaning up and tidying. Our
monitoring system is looking a lot less crowded and generally more heathly than
it has in a while, despite this mornings HSRP flap on our core network. Nothing
to do with me; I arrived only just on 09:00 owing to having a rare lie-in.
Tomorrow's another day, with theoretically no exercise at all. Although
someone's pointed out that I cycle at what would be considered exercise speeds
to and from work every day. To which I reply that it's barely three miles each
[17:00] Today has been a much better day than yesterday. Aside from yesterday's
whole morning of patching and clean up, last night's outing wasn't spectacularly
good, and I also turned down an offer to go to the pub with a bevy of beautiful
women (believe me, I had a valid reason). The day ended well, but up until then
I have to say, I wasn't feeling it. It also being my 3rd nonniversary didn't
help either. But for the most part I didn't have time to think about that
aspect of life.
Today, as I said, is a nicer day. It started well, and has maintained a
moderate level of niceness. I have high hopes that this evening's outing will
be an improvement on last night's. Although I'm also looking forward to going
home afterwards, having food, and then another lovely night again.
[16:35] It has been A Day. Maybe even a day and a half. It started at 07:00
when I got in this morning to begin patching the couple of dozen machines I had
on my plate. Many of them wouldn't patch because of various issues, many of
them wouldn't shut down because the shutdown scripts were borked, or just
missing. This was distressing, and I had a bit of a hard time getting
everything straight and done in a timely fashion. Then the database box I
couldn't shut down finally went down and wouldn't reboot because of a fibre
channel issue I thought I'd sorted, but hadn't, and another server decided that
it wasn't going to do its networking once it came back. Cue another three hours
of fiddling before everything was back again. Luckily no-one complained about
any of it. Probably due to most of the servers not being in live usage yet.
Anyway, the long and the short of it was that I learned a good bit more about
VLAN tagging/802.1q, linux networking, Cisco networking, and how I behave under
pressure. Since then the day has mainly been about cleaning up after this
morning, having lunch, making a laughable attempt to catch up on email, and
trying to stretch a little after last night's ultra-mega-hard weights session.
Training this week is supposed to be moderately tapered in preparation for the
upcoming Fours Head of the River Race on Tideway/the Thames. This means only
one weights session (yesterday evening), only one 6km erg session (of one 6km,
yesterday morning), and three outings (tonight, tomorrow night, and Thursday
night). With no other patching this week, other than yesterday morning and
this morning I don't have any other early mornings this week. Hurrah! Even
better when there's a chance of seeing Rachel once or twice this week too.
Anyway, time to go; rowing beckons.
[16:55] Sort of a samey weekend this time around. Saturday morning was, of
course, lots of hard rowing for the first outing. We did three 2.5km pieces at
different rating caps and then recorded the times. This left at least my hands
in a bit of a bad way, such that the second outing in the 8+ (rather than the 4+
boats we went out in first in preparation for the Fours Head Of the River Race
this coming weekend) was a moderately painful affair. Survived it, anyway. The
remainder of the day I didn't really do much at all. I had the opportunity to
go to our boat club's ball in the evening, with a half price ticket, but given I
don't currently own a decent dinner jacket, and me probably making a little bit
of a fool of myself at some point over the course of the evening for various
reasons, I opted not to go, and got myself a pizza instead.
Sunday was the first day in over a year that I've slept in past 08:00. I didn't
even get out of bed before 08:50! Given there were races on the river in which
we weren't involved the club opted for a maintenance day. Of course, most
people didn't turn up, but I and a few other people did, and we got a good bit
done. The club looks awesome... for the moment. By the time we'd finished
there was just about time to get to Tesco before it closed and get home for a
bit of chilling out.
As this week is all set up for tapering in preparation for this weekend coming's
racing we only had one 6km erg this morning. Which was perfect really. My
sliders didn't seem to want to move properly so I ended up hitting the ends a
few times which threw me off somewhat. That hasn't happened before so I'm very
much inclined to blame the tools rather than the workman. Today at work has
been mostly about clearning up from an unattended weekend, managing to get my
time off at Christmas sorted, despite not actually booking it at the same time
as I got my train tickets, preparing for tomorrow's morning's ultra-mega
patching session (twenty three servers, both virtual and physical), and trying
to organise my life somewhat. I think I've succeeded for the most part. We'll
see how things go tomorrow morning, and then the remainder of the week for how
the rest of it.
[16:45] It was so cold on the water last night that I got that dizzy
'disconnected from the boat' feeling I sometimes get. Still and despite that we
still had a reasonable outing. It was a pleasure to get home afterwards and
have some soup and stuff before an early bed, though. Well, not that early, but
before 23:00 at any rate. The house was pretty cold when I got up in the
morning so I put the heating on to come on this evening before I get home from
tonight's outing. First time this end of the year I've done that. Not that I
don't mind the house being cold, but maybe it's time I kept it a bit warmer so,
if nothing else, clothes dry a bit faster. If I was having company over that,
too, would be the polite thing to do. Not everyone is as happy with being
not-warm like I am. It might make it easier to get out of bed tomorrow morning
when I have to be down at the boat house for 06:50, like I had to be out of bed
and at work for patching at the same time this morning. I really wanted to stay
in bed this morning, even though I didn't have company. With company it would
have been six of one and half a dozen of the other as to whether I'd have stayed
or not and called in sick.
But I was alone, so I came into work. The patching went fine, even though I had
to rewrite a few scripts and change permissions on a whole load of things before
everything would work as it was supposed to. Still, that's the life of a
sysadmin, really. I managed to get the people going the the old server room for
tape changing duties to swap the RAID battery I've had sitting on my desk for a
day, and folded in a firmware and OS update into the process. Multitasking for
the win, there.
The end of the day is here now. I can leave any time I like, head down to the
boat house, do an 8+ outing, and then hopefully get home to a warm house, have
some steak and chips and beans, watch some television and slope off to bed at a
reasonably sensible hour so I can face the weekend. Saturday is intra-club
racing on the river, followed by some technical work. Sunday is boat house
maintenance day, with perhaps an outing in the afternoon depending on how we all
feel. Then, just as suddenly as the weekend began, it'll be over and Monday
again. At which point I'll see you then.
[17:00] After last night's 30 minute erg I probably should have gone to sleep a
little earlier than I did. As it was I didn't, but still felt reasonably OK
when I got up early this morning to get in to work for patching duties. All of
that work went smoothly, which was a big relief given how important the systems
are. After that I had a software developer camping out at my desk for most of
the morning and the first half of the afternoon trying to solve a persistant
problem we've had with the application he wrote. Long story short, it was my
lack of experience with 'expect' and it's timeout that turned out to be the
problem. Interesting failure mode for the application though. Still, I fessed
up and made sure that the developer's email to the management committee made
note that it wasn't his fault, but mine (although his code could have better
reflected what was going wrong with better reporting of errors).
Otherwise it has been a day of lots of small but useful things, preparing for
tomorrow's patching, and arranging dates for the last of the servers which
hadn't got dates set for their patching. So, that's good. Once they're done I
can start planning the patching of all the boxes which were patched before
RHEL6.5 came out (today, annoyingly).
Tomorrow as I said, I've patching in the morning, then a RAID battery to swap
out, then a few other bits and bobs. There's an outing tonight I'm about to
leave for, and another tomorrow night (4+ tonight, 8+ tomorrow night). I'm
hoping to get home moderately early tonight, get some food inside of me, watch a
bit of television and go to bed at a sensible time. We'll see how that goes.
[16:40] So I went into town yesterday afternoon and made with the fixy-fixy for
a building's VPN connection. Which coincidentally placed me close by the train
station earlier than I thought I'd get there. So I got trains early and managed
to make it to Rachel's a little earlier than I'd hoped for. Maybe it was the
travel, or the hard couple of weeks I've had, but it took me a good long while
to wind down from the day and relax for the evening. It was seriously nice to
chill out for an evening though, rather than having a night outing, or weights
or training of any kind.
Getting to work in the morning was interesting, but I managed it before 09:00
and have been Getting Stuff Done for most of the day. Rachel packed me the
world's largest lunch, which I probably should have split into lunch and dinner
to be honest. Even now at the end of the working day I'm still feeling more
than a little replete. Which is good, I guess, as rather than weights tonight a
whole load of us are doing a 30 minute AT erg, which is never exactly light in
terms of energy expenditure. Given we're starting at 17:45 it does mean,
thought, that I'll get home in time to have something of an evening.
I'm in early tomorrow morning to patch and reboot all the servers of a tier one
application. So, here's hoping nothing goes wrong there...
[15:00] At weights last night we decided that a morning outing this morning was
just going to be a bad idea considering how we all felt. So, after a hard
weights session (when is it not?) we all went home safe in the knowledge that we
wouldn't be out on the water at 06:00 this morning. Instead, two of us who'd
not done Monday morning's erg got to the boat house for 06:45 instead and did
two 6km ergs on sliders. That definitely woke us both up.
After that it was the usual belgian bun fix and then cycling into work. Today
work has mainly been about fixing things that are going wrong for no readily
apparent reason, working out if my graphics card will do the resolutions I want
it to if I get new monitors, dealing with an insistent developer who needs a
whole suite of new things installing on his workstation (and then permission to
run them), and... some other stuff. Nothing Interesting. Just stuff.
Had lunch with Shaun and Cormac, which was a nice break from work. Have been
logisticising travel down to London after work. And in a moment I'll be heading
into town to work out why a network connection isn't connectioning like it
[17:00] A definite fully-utilised weekend. Friday night we had an outing in
the 8+ and decided to change things up, putting me back at stroke, and the other
four together in the middle of the boat. Saturday morning consisted of sitting
on the river for considerable amounts of time in the cold and peeing out of the
boat, and racing a 2.5km course, twice. The first race went really well, but
we had to stop three times near the end due to catching boats in front of us.
The second race wasn't so good, but because we didn't have to stop we were four
seconds faster. That race got us a win in our category and hip flasks, which
was pretty cool. I'll be collecting mine tonight, I hope. Rachel arrived in
the evening and I met her in town to go to a friend's birthday meal. We didn't
get a chance to talk to all of the people I wanted to introduce her to, but
those she did meet she got on with well. The reason I couldn't collect my prize
on Sunday is that Rachel and I went to run the St. Neots Half Marathon yesterday
morning. For not having trained anywhere near as much as I would have liked to,
to only be one minute off the time I posted last year on the same course was
extremely gratifying. Rachel was only five minutes or so behind me, which was
brilliant. We spent what remained of the day once we'd made it home watching
television and ordering Chinese food.
It was a real pleasure not to get up early this morning and go for morning ergs
(I'll try to fit them in some other time this week). Work today has been pretty
quiet and I've been able to catch up with almost everything that's been on my
plate today. I'm plenty stiff, but the achilles tendinitis I was worrying about
in my right leg never made itself know during my run... it was an ache in my
left achilles which bothered me from 800m in. I also discovered a huge blister
on my right big toe at the end of the race. That got lanced and taped this
morning. Luckily it won't affect my rowing. I've got an early morning outing
tomorrow, which means tonight's weights session is going to be a light one
concentrating more on cardio and loosening up everything that's still tight from
I hope you all had a weekend at least as smashing as mine was.
[16:30] Given how shattered I was yesterday, last night's outing was bound to be
a bit of a bust/big ask. And it was. It didn't go exactly well. Although
neither did it go terribly, either. It just wasn't as good as it has been,
recently. We all came away agreeing that tiredness had played a factor. We'll
have to see how tonight's outing in the 8+ goes. I'm hoping it's nothing too
strenuous given tomorrow's head races and Sunday's half marathon. It'd be mad
to do anything too hard tonight, thinking about it. It'll also be good for my
left hand, which has a distinct hole in it courtesy of a blister coming off last
night. I may have to tape it tonight and tomorrow.
Not much has happened today, work-wise. I mean, I've been busy doing stuff,
but nothing really out of the ordinary. Next week should be a little more
So, this weekend is looking like it's going to be a tiring one. Although, when
aren't they? Saturday morning I've got two 2.5km races to do. Shorter than the
practice race pieces we did two weeks ago, longer than the ones we did a week
ago. It should be fine. It's just how well we gel together, and how tired we
still are. Saturday afternoon I need to go to Tesco and do anything and
everything I might have been going to do on the Sunday afternoon, and then go to
a meal out with friends and Rachel in the evening. And then on Sunday it's the
St. Neots Half Marathon. That's going to be interesting, I think. My first
race in my new shoes. My first half marathon since the one I did in the first
quarter of 2013, and one that I really haven't prepared for, and am still
carrying an injury going into (the achilles tendinitis). We'll just have to see
how it goes. I can tell you that Sunday afternoon is going to be spent firmly
embedded in the sofa, relaxing. I might even take Monday morning off from
erging, even if I did do the same this Monday just gone, too.
And I think that's all the news that's fit to print for today, and this week.
I'll be back on Monday, hopefully in one piece, uninjured, and feeling
[15:00] I thought I was tired when I got up this morning. But that's nothing
compared to how I felt after I got to work after my 30 minute erg finished at
07:30. I am pooped. I've been giving serious consideration to
sleeping under my desk. This is probably due to last night's weights session,
then dinner with Kate and two glasses of wine and a semi-late night, then an
early morning, pushing hard on the erg, and probably yesterday lunch time's 10K
run on top of everything else. So, it's good that I haven't had all that much
to do today other than get things in order and do a little patching of
I've got a bread delivery imminently, then a hair cut, then an outing this
evening before Rachel comes over. I may just about survive the experience, but
I can't guarantee that I'll be awake by the time I get home. Thank goodness
tomorrow morning there's nothing happening at all. I can sleep in until 07:30!
[16:35] Early morning, patching, usual drill. Everything went perfectly, which
was nice after last night's SAN debacle. Last night was saved, however, by an
awesome outing in the 4+. Around 12km of really quite good rowing, in the clear
and brittle night. A fullish moon and most of the stars were out. Everyone was
pretty much bringing their A game. It was a good time. Getting home and having
the other half of the leftover curry and tiramisu (separate courses) Rachel
brought was exactly what I needed.
So yes, the remainder of today has been pretty quiet, really. I went for a good
10K run at lunch time. I have a few blisters, and a few aches, which I think
will be gone and gone by, and then return twice as badly after Sunday morning's
half marathon. But them's the breaks. Before then I've got weights tonight,
an erg and an outing tomorrow (morning and evening respectively), an outing on
Friday evening, and two races in our 4+ on Saturday. So, it's not like I get to
do all that much tapering between now and the end of the week's run.
I'm heading off now though, as I was in early, and it's not even early to be
[15:00] I had a glorious staying in bed until 07:40 this morning. Closely
followed by morning exercises, shower, lunch-making, breakfast, and a cycle to
work. After last night's weights session and yesterday's lunchtime 10K I wasn't
feeling the most flexible and limber this morning, but I certainly felt a whole
lot better afterwards... even if I do think I'm getting tennis elbow in my right
Work today hasn't gone too badly at all. Two jobs of fibre tracing with a
psychology study and someone's retirement lunch between them, preparing eight
servers for tomorrow's early morning patching, and watching someone else take
down one of our important bits of infrastructure by accident. It's so much
better when something bad happens and it's not my fault.
I'm off for a much-needed haircut right now, then either back to work, or off
for the day for an evening outing on the water (hopefully the weather will
remain as nice as it is right now), more of Rachel's left over potato curry and
tiramisu pudding, some quality downloaded television, and then bed. It's an
early start tomorrow.
[17:20] Naturally, as I was about to leave for my haircut someone knocked out
power to half of the live SAN. So I've been sitting here for the past two hours
waiting to see if I'd be needed to do anything. I wasn't. Haircut rescheduled
for Thursday when hopefully nothing will go wrong then. Now it's time
for me to get out of here.
[17:15] The weekend went pretty well, all things considered. Saturday morning
was all about the rowing. The weather cleared up into something quite nice and
although we were interrupted on the second and third of our three runs, we got
some good rowing in. The second outing netted us some really good training and
we all left the boat house feeling tired, but happy. Food in the pub and then
relaxing on the sofa until bed time (the whole rest of the day) and letting
everything else go was the order of the day. This did mean that on Sunday,
after another two outings (both of which were done in brilliant sunshine), I had
to do everything. So after rowing I went home, cleaned and tidied most of the
house, did the washing up, went to Tesco, did a load of washing and only then
sat down for about an hour and a bit before Rachel arrived. Which was lovely.
I even put the fire on for a bit, and we ordered pizza. Something I don't think
we'd yet to do before last night.
This morning I actually didn't go and erg in the morning. It's a bit sad when
staying in bed until 07:30 is considered a lie-in, but that's what I did. On
the other hand, I did go for a 10K run at lunch time and, while I still have a
little bit of achilles tendinitis in my right ankle still, I don't think it's
going to bother me overmuch this weekend when I'm doing a half marathon. I
hope. Other things that happened today consisted of getting a CPU fan swapped
out in a server, lots of little technical things, watching people recover from a
power failure that only affected us because our networking goes through the
affected area, and eating a Twix. Which reminds me, I'm still hungry. Better
get to the weights session and then home for dinner. Today's dinner was kindly
and generously left by Rachel yesterday. So that's nice.
[17:00] No new PB for me in the 2K Test. But I didn't embarrass myself either,
which is always a good thing. As far as I can tell from my records I got
exactly the same time as I did this time last year. I don't know if that's a
good thing or not, to be honest. I hung around afterwards and cheered a few
people on and then went home to grab a quick bite to eat before Rachel turned up
at shortish notice. She's full of cold at the moment so we basically just had a
quiet night of eating dessert and catching up.
This morning I had more patching. Only one machine, so it wasn't too bad to get
in and get it done. Over the course of the day I've managed to get another few
servers scratched off the list, not to mention getting some firmwares updated,
too. Which is always helpful. I'm well over half way now in getting everything
patched, but there's a whole project/service's worth of servers that I may not
be able to do until January because of a freeze on all work which could cause
problems. Not so much of an issue for me, except that I was hoping to get
everything out of the way as soon as possible so I could get some clear mornings
for a while. As it is I guess I'll just be getting a break before I do them.
The remainder of the day has been spent either cycling in the rain to a
psychology experiment, doing said experiment, cycling back, having lunch,
catching up on things, doing work, and heading over to the old server room to
rack up the other two new servers I built this week, and a QNAP box.
There's rowing tonight. The weather is pretty unpleasant and I'm seriously not
looking forward to it at all. I can only hope I'm in the stroke seat where the
only water that'll be getting on me is from the rain, rather than backsplash
from the rowers in front of me. Lots more rowing over the weekend, as always.
Saturday mornings seem to be set in stone as the day we do 2.3K race pieces on
the river (corners and all). Hopefully they'll see us in good stead come the
regatta (and during the current 'head') season. Sunday I may also be going for
a cycle ride with someone who's just bought a new road bike, but we'll see what
the weather has to say about that...
[17:10] It's that time of the month again already; 2K Test day. I can't say I
will do any better at it than I did a month ago, but I'm hopeful. Maybe the
lack of running and the slightly heavier weights I've been doing recently will
have a positive effect. We'll just have to see.
I think I've prepared fairly well by getting a reasonable night's sleep last
night - even if I had to get up early this morning for patching. The weights
session I did last night wasn't too hard, but I did then do some bank partying
for a women's 4+ which was out in the dark.
Today has been mainly about catching up on a massive amount of web site backlog
stuff, logging a lot of calls with Oracle, adding the machines I built (and
have half racked) to the various monitoring systems we have, and trying to
ensure I stay hydrated (failed utterly) and unhungry (not complete failure) in
preparation for tonight. If not for the 2K, but for Rachel coming over later
[16:50] So by the time I left work last night I was in a real strop. Cycling
to the boat house took place at super high speed (out of frustration, and
because I wanted to get there in time to erg with other people). As it was I
still arrived and got changed a minute too late to start with everyone else,
but I started erging straight away and was able to row with them for the
majority of what turned out to be a pretty good 2K prep (1250m). In fact I
almost wish I'd carried on another 750m. Still, I can do that tomorrow instead
when I'm not quite so het up. Doing it all in one big rush seemed to work for
Anyway, after that there was the fireworks display, which Rachel managed to get
to in time to see it all. It was a little odd to stand on the balcony with
two parts of my life together at the same time. Still, I think it was a good
thing in all kinds of ways. We didn't end up staying for the curry as I was
far too hungry to wait for twelve people to get themselves together in one
group, get to a curry house, order, and then wait for food to arrive. A lovely
evening was had anyway.
This morning I was patching again. Everything went as it should, despite me
really not wanting to get out of bed this morning, and having forgotten to have
prepared everything before I went home last night. The remainder of the day
has been spent talking support with one of our software vendors, getting a
developer's linux PC delivered, connecting up wireless access points and Apple
TV devices, and moving servers into racks.
I should/could have left hours ago, but now I have to as I'm being a bank party
to a crew tonight, so need to get my weights session done as soon as I can.
[16:55] Probably as some kind of karmic balancing out for last night's totally
awesome weights session (I'm pretty sure I got a new PB on the deadlift, which
is no mean feat for me considering I've pulled my back at least twice doing
them, and may have caused my not-hernia issues with the same lift), today has
been a total shitstorm of annoyance, bad weather, work, and stupid people. It
started off with me arriving at work early for patching and fracturing my
access card so that I wasn't going to be able to park my bike, or get into the
building. Luckily both the bike park and the building's front door were for
some reason unlocked. I was able to bypass the internal security doors by dint
of security being a joke internally. The patching seems to have gone
perfectly, which is about the only plus I can think of at present. But then I
had to cycle into town to get a replacement access card. It hammered it down
with rain the whole way there, which wasn't very nice. I came straight back to
the server room to pick up with the work I was doing all of yesterday afternoon
and spent a good few hours getting kickstarts to kickstart properly. Once they
had I then had to sit on a phone with an extremely annoying person trying to
get DNS to behave. I'm still not sure what the issue is with the DNS server I
had been told to use, but once I switched to another one things went a whole
lot more smoothly. That's the short version of what was about four hours work
and me seriously considering violence against another person. Back in the
office things have gone a little more smoothly, but given I got in at 07:10
this morning I could have done with leaving a lot sooner than now.
I'm doing a 2K Test preparation erg in about half an hour, then helping to
prepare the boat house for Guy Fawkes Night. Rachel's coming up to see me, and
she'll be meeting a whole load of people as we're having a curry afterwards.
I'm in early tomorrow morning to do more patching, obviously. Hopefully it'll
go quietly and I'll be able to get on with dealing with my huge backlog of
email and work.
[16:00] And I'm back. The running holiday was pretty good, even if a whole lot
of running didn't go on owing to incipient injury, no trains on Monday last
(because of the wind), bad weather, and basically just having other things
going on. It didn't matter; a good time was had by all. There was at least
one good clifftop run, and a rather lovely hike along a different bit of cliff,
which made everything worthwhile. Not that just being there, in lovely
company, and away from work wasn't worthwhile anyway. So yes, some nice places
stayed in, some good exercise gotten, and a pleasurable amount of time spent
away from everything else going on in my life.
So now I'm back at work. And with a whole mess of things to do today on the
sysadmin front. Luckily nothing went horribly wrong while I was away. At
least in any way that I have to care about and hasn't already been covered by
other people in my team. However, there's still lots to do, including this new
round of patching, of which I'm barely half way through. There's an interesting
set of machines to do tomorrow morning. And by interesting I mean "oh, I hope
nothing goes wrong with them or there'll be hell to pay".
I managed to stave off thinking about work even into this morning, by going
down to the boat house and doing an erg. It wasn't my first return there since
I got back from Cornwall; I arrived home on Friday evening, so was able to get
a whole weekend's worth of rowing in, which was pretty good. Even if it left
me (and everyone else, in fairness) pretty shattered by this morning.
So anyway, here I am, back again. I'm going to have lunch and then head over
to the server room to potentially rack up and set installing four new servers
for a Moodle project we're doing. Two of them, once they're built, will be KVM
hosts for another two guests.
There's a weights session tonight, then I'm off home for an early night. Just
back from holiday and I'm already quite tired.