[17:05] A fruitful day all told, I think. Morning exercises, a safe cycle in
(despite making two road-using faux pas, and lots of other people being idiots
as well as myself), a morning of building VMs (only four, but a useful four
nevertheless), a lunchtime run of 10K sort of in company rather than doing it on
my own again, and then an afternoon of clearing up things on our monitoring
system and getting someone else to replace a hard drive for me in a server in
one of our remote data centers.
I have this niggling worry that cycling home in this weather is eventually going
to result in some kind of accident. Hopefully not because of me, but because in
the last two weeks or so it feels like the average intelligence of the road
users around me has decreased markedly. I'll be as careful as I can, but
there's no accounting for every eventuality.
Happily, Rachel arrives tomorrow evening. Although she'll be bringing a friend
from Kenya to stay the night before sightseeing on the Friday, we'll get some
time together without anyone else around. Which reminds me, I should clean and
tidy and wash up tonight, and probably check the spare room is clear.
[16:10] A bit more productive a day today, thankfully. It started early with a
rise and cycle in to work in the freezing cold (although I'm sure it's going to
get colder this winter). Then some patching (which went smoothly) and rebooting
(which also did, apart from one server which had some disk confusions caused by
someone other than me being responsible for extended its LVM setup some time in
the past). Since then I've run a nice fun 10km over lunch time, got the DNS and
firewall set up for a bunch of new VMs I'll probably build tomorrow, and managed
to score 6l of Innocent coconut water (we were shipped 300l, for some reason).
Now I'm off early to do some Tesco shopping and then put the heating on so the
house is nice and toasty.
[17:25] Well, that was quite a full weekend, in the end. I headed to Rachel's
on the Friday straight from work (via home, if you see what I mean), and even
though it was the tail end of rush hour didn't have too much of a problem with
the trains. Rachel even managed to get on the same train as me, at the same
door as me, so we could start spending time together as soon as possible. We
had a nice evening in watching things on the computer and being in contact,
before ending the day. In the morning I decided not to do the local parkrun so
we could have a bit more time together before she had to go to her hockey match
(and meet her parents). After a nice quiet morning I got the tram out to meet
her and her parents at a local park (which I got to wander around for a good
half an hour before Rachel came looking (and phoning) for me. A rather
too-large lunch followed, although it was very tasty. We then headed back to
the house before going into London for the evening for a concert at
St-Martin-in-the-Fields, which was interesting (although I've heard better). We
didn't get home until quite late due to distances and travel and stuff, but I
still managed to get a reasonable night's sleep. This was helpful as Sunday
morning we were up early to get a taxi out to Merstham and then walk a chunk of
the North Downs Way to Dorking. The walk itself was rather nice, although
somewhat cold when we stopped for lunch (made and carried by the wonderful
Rachel). However, we left a little bit too late for the train station and had
to walk from one to another and then wait a bit before we could get the trains
home we needed. By the time we got back I was just a bit too tired and down to
truly appreciate how nice the day had been. After dinner I just wanted to crawl
into bed, but managed to stay up and be sociable for at least a little while.
This morning was, of course, an early rise to get to work for 09:00. This I
managed, with a few minutes to spare despite train delays and traffic in town.
Since then I've been dealing with preparing for tomorrow morning's patching,
discussing the merits of vMotion (a VMWare thing), going for a run in the almost
perfect weather (I didn't run at all over the weekend), and generally catching
up on things. Tomorrow, I hope, is when the real work of the week starts.
Tonight I just want to get home alive, make sure the house is OK, have a bit of
dinner and forget about needing to go to Tesco until tomorrow evening.
[15:50] Oh, I forgot to mention yesterday that I asked for a new workstation go
to with the new SSD I got a little while ago. It's time, I think. This does
mean that I've had to bite the bullet and move the BOFHcam camera away from the
original Brooktree chipset-based S-Video/Composite camera and to a USB one, but
RHEL7 (rather than 5 or 6) seems to have a better driver for USB cameras and it
actually gives a more stable image. See what you think anyway, as it's up and
running now. All I need now is for my line manager to get things going and get
the thing ordered. If it arrives before Christmas I will be very surprised.
I haven't really had much of a useful time of things recently. I'm feeling a
bit adrift personally and professionally this week, as well as being unable to
shake a mild sense of forboding about the upcoming dental work, and other stuff
generally. It's all adding together to make me feel like I'm simply off my
game somewhat. I don't quite know how to get back on track again other than to
just work through everything one after another as time allows (and dictates by
its passing) and just hope I come out of the far side in good enough shape.
Running at lunchtime didn't even help as much as I would have liked (having
missed yesterday due to getting my hair cut) as I seem to have gone from no
blisters to one very large and raw blister on the inside of my left little toe
in less than 40 minutes. This will probably put me off doing parkrun tomorrow
morning, and could present some discomfort when I go walking with Rachel and
her parents on Sunday. So yes, as soon as I leave here I'm heading home,
packing, then getting trains to Croydon for the weekend again. It'll be
smashing to have an evening and morning with Rachel alone, and then perfectly
pleasant to spend the rest of the weekend with her and her parents going to a
concert as well as walking on the North Downs Way a bit. I'll be heading back
to work on another early morning set of trains on Monday.
[16:30] An early morning of patching went perfectly, thank goodness. This was
followed by a day of doing lots of tiny little tasks, including finding a RHEL7
workstation I hadn't been able to track down for days and getting it patched up
to date. It turns out it was in the next office over, but I'd completely
forgotten who I'd assigned it to. That's all done now, which is good. I should
probably create a text document or spreadsheet that has everyone's
workstations/identifiers in it, so I can keep track. There aren't more than
about twenty, so it makes sense, really. I just wish the Red Hat management
system I'm forced to use (until I get Satellite up and running) had the ability
to store this information, like the old one did.
Anyway, over lunch time I had a haircut which Rachel actually requested last
night, but I'd had scheduled since Tuesday. Then I came back, did some more
work and have just realised that as I got in early this morning I can go home
whenever I like now. In fact I probably could have gone home half an hour or so
[17:15] Nothing really happened today either, which is good. The highlight was
probably that I was able to get a version of Firefox which did the things I
wanted it to. I'm just about to prepare the servers I'm patching tomorrow
morning, and then I'm off home to have a nice big dinner and a settle down
before an early night. I did run 10K at lunch time fairly quickly, but that's
about it, really.
[17:55] Early start for patching and rebooting of servers. Everything went
according to plan other than someone not arriving in time to help me patch the
underlying VMWare server in one place. Anyway, I managed to snag some other
downtime later on in the day and got the work done then, which is great.
Honestly, the rest of the day was a mixture of meetings, going for a 10K run,
and organising more things to happen later in the week.
Tomorrow morning is my first non-early morning since Friday.
[17:25] Something of a packed weekend, in retrospect. It started on Saturday
morning, as weekends normally do, with a parkrun, where I paced a friend to a
reasonable 5K time. I was keeping my powder a little dry given the race Rachel
and I had planned for Sunday morning. After parkrun was over I headed home, got
cleaned, did the Tesco thing, had lunch, and then took the two trains to Croydon
that are required. Rachel had just arrived home from Washington, DC and a
hockey game, so was quite tired herself. We had a smashing takeaway Indian meal
with a spot of West Wing and The Grand Tour, then headed to bed. On Sunday
morning, after I'd had a rotten night's sleep, we took the bikes on the train
out to Dorking and ran the three legs of the Three Molehills race. We'd
initially planned to run all three legs together, not particularly race-like,
just more for the fun of it. Unfortunately, as I'd chosen to change my shoes
after the first (apparently muddiest) leg up and down Box Hill, I completely
missed Rachel waiting for me, assumed she'd run off without me, and spent the
next two legs of the race trying to catch her... only to find she'd been waiting
for me and I'd run right past her at the transition point. All entirely my
fault. However, that, plus the terrible weather the night before, plus us both
being tired, plus... oh I don't know, all kinds of small, inconsequential stuff,
meant that we were both off for most of the weekend and only really
pulled ourselves together after we'd headed home to Croydon again mid-afternoon
on Sunday. All that remained of the weekend was for us to get clean, settle in,
and relax for a few hours before bed. That part was really lovely.
Another, earlier, morning this morning to get the trains to work, and here I've
been, getting my update ducks in a row for tomorrow morning (another early
start, again), accompanying a Dell engineer to replace a motherboard and two
CPUs, and generally sorting out the 1001 little things that people are wont to
ask me to do, day in and day out. I'm heading home now, hopefully to find the
house still in one piece, and to get my head around the remainder of the week,
and everything I need to fit in to it before it ends.
[17:00] A rest day today, so I spent the lunchtime cloning my workstation's HDD
from a spinny to an SSD. There were 768 out of 250,000,000+ write errors, which
is a little worrying given the SSD was straight out of its wrappings, but we'll
see how it fairs over the next little while. I still have the source HDD, so
there's always that to go back to. The OS certainly boots pretty darned quickly
now, and I don't even have a fast CPU/RAM in this chassis. It's definitely
moving to my new computer, when I eventually get one. I just need to work out
what to do about the full-height PCI (old PCI, not PCIe or anything) card I have
in it. They don't really make PCs any more that take them.
Work-wise I've been doing a little bit of this, a little bit of that, and
generally trying not to get caught up in doing anything that'd be interrupted by
the weekend. Monday's going to be all about replacing a motherboard and two
CPUs in a database server, so I'm OK about keeping my schedule free for that.
Over the weekend I'm heading to Rachel's after I've done parkrun tomorrow and
been to Tesco. Sunday (in what I think is going to be terrible weather) we'll
be running up three big hills south of London, getting really muddy and cold,
and then heading home again on bike and train to get clean, warm, and dry. It
might be a two pairs of shoes race, given the variations in terrain. More about
how it went (or didn't) on Monday. Rachel's actually still in Washington, DC at
the moment, and doesn't arrive home until some time tomorrow morning. Then
she's playing hockey, I think. I don't know how she does it. I'll be taking it
relatively easy at parkrun. Especially if I can convince Max to come and do it
for the first time.
[17:55] I achieved things today. Mainly in the morning when I was able to
prepare and ship out three linux workstations to replace older operating
systems. Not only that, but another one running an even older OS was retired
completely, which is brill. Then it was lunch time, so I went for a quick 8K
run to be back in time for a meeting which ended up requiring me to get in
contact with Dell and not only request a replacement motherboard, but also two
CPUs as well. I don't feel like either is going to solve the problem we've been
having with the server in question, but at least it'll definitely rule out
hardware as the issue, which means I can pass the buck.
That's about it really, for today. The afternoon was mostly about calling Dell,
writing position emails for other people to justify getting rid of software and
ageing hardware, and trying to reduce the number of tabs in my multiple browser
windows. Tomorrow's a rest day from running - thank goodness - in preparation
for potentially doing parkrun on Saturday, and then this 14+ mile trail run on
Sunday. I just hope it's dry both days, or just on Sunday, otherwise the going
is going to be terrible.
[17:45] A horribly hectic and annoying day today. Mostly because we've got some
hardware which is now our responsibility, and its gone wrong. By our
responsibility I mean that it has been foisted off on us (probably rightly so,
but that still doesn't make it feel any better) and we're now struggling to work
out how to deal with it/fix it. This hasn't been helped by my team leader being
oddly absent all day (he's probably on a training course, but didn't seem to
mention it). On top of that there have been issues with various other servers
and services, I've scheduled a bit too much for myself tomorrow (both morning,
lunchtime, and afternoon), and I'm not sure if I'm going to be able to get it
all done in time. We'll have to see.
I ran a reasonable 10K at lunch time after emailing Rachel a few times as she
sat in a departure lounge in Heathrow for her flight to the US. The weather's
quite mild here at the moment, but I'm sure that's going to change soon,
probably just in time for the race we're doing on Sunday down near Dorking. I'm
not sure how much I'm going to enjoy running up and down Box Hill in the dry,
let along the chalky/muddy wet, we'll have to see about that.
I'm off home now, hopefully to make a moderately early start on tomorrow. I
could do with nothing really going wrong tomorrow, please.
[18:00] Today has been a fairly useful day, even if it has also been quite
frustrating. Usefully I've made some progress with setting up our installation
of Red Hat Satellite. Frustratingly, it has crashed a few times already
(confidence-inspiring), and I've still got all kinds of servers I'd like to
patch that people don't seem to know whether they're still in active service or
not. This is not helpful.
Otherwise, Rachel headed off back to London today in preparation for going to
Washington DC tomorrow, until Saturday morning. I ran a reasonable 10K at lunch
time, and I've got lots of lovely home made chocolate things to eat over the
next few days until Rachel is back again. She's smashing like that. That's
probably about it, I think.
[17:15] Well, I had a pretty good three days off, thanks for asking. Friday was
great, seeing as how Rachel arrived on Thursday evening. On Friday morning we
slept in, went for a nice run together, then went into town and had lunch at
GBK. After that I made Rachel hunt through about five different shops until we
found her a pair of jeans that fitted, and were actually nice. Her reward for
shopping was that we got to go to Waterstones where I read a whole book and
drank hot chocolate whilest she looked up places in the UK for us to go on a
running holiday (more on that another time).
On Saturday morning it rained a lot. So obviously we went to parkrun and got
utterly covered in mud. Rachel beat me, of course, by a good 30 seconds. She's
very good, and even having not trained whilest in Kenya and Uganda, she's still
faster than me when the chips are down. She, of course, refuses to acknowledge
this. Anyway, once we'd run we came home, put the heating on and put our feet
up for a while. After lunch we headed into town and to a hotel I'd booked us
for the night so that we could enjoy the weekend Rachel was back in the country
between foreign trips just a little bit more. After a nice relax in a truly
wonderful room we popped into town on foot to share Chef's birthday meal
celebrations before returning to the hotel for a good night's sleep.
That just leaves Sunday, which started with a lovely breakfast at the hotel,
then home, Tesco, and a quick turn around after unpacking to do a half marathon
and a bit route. Neither of us were particularly happy with how exhausted we
felt afterwards, but we've reasoned neither of us have done over 20km since the
Ladybower 50. After we got back from the run neither of us wanted to do much,
so we set about getting her new Fairphone 2/Android phone set up. I found it
quite exciting, although Rachel didn't as she's a dyed in the wool Blackberry
user. That and some television (and Rachel doing all my washing up and making
fantastic food) basically finished off the day, and the weekend. We headed to
bed early, pretty shattered.
This morning I got into work to find that nothing had exploded, but all kinds of
annoying things were going on. Most of my day has been taken up either with a
database server which is slowing down for no readily apparently reason, or
ascertaining why my Red Hat Satellite subscription wasn't available to install
on the server I wanted to. I've fixed the latter, and I've got a meeting about
the former on Thurday afternoon (alongside some remedial work recommended by
Dell which I think I'll be doing tomorrow afternoon). I'm patching tomorrow
morning, so I really should head off now and have a nice evening with Rachel...
although we are due to go out for circuits this evening, which I might suggest
we don't do...
[16:55] Some stuff achieved today. Perhaps not as much as I could have, but
that's the way it goes sometimes. I have managed to get my Red Hat Satellite
server (OS) installed (that's happening as I type this). I'm also just about to
clone my workstation hard drive to one which hopefully doesn't have any bad
sectors on it. No running today as Rachel's arriving this evening and staying
until Tuesday morning (awesome) and I'm taking tomorrow off to be with her.
We'll be going running together, which is great. We'll do parkrun on Saturday,
have two birthday meals with the same person, spend a night in a nice boutique
hotel around that, enjoy a relaxed and huge breakfast on Sunday morning, and
then... I don't know, have an enjoyable remainder of Sunday at home. Rachel'll
then be working from (my) home on Monday, we'll probably go and do circuits on
Monday evening (more on that on Monday, probably), and then she's back off down
to London on Tuesday morning and I'll be in early to do some patching.
So that's that, really! I'm shutting down my workstation to clone it, now.
Then I'll be off home once I've got the new drive installed.
[17:35] Having Rachel around this morning only just helped ameliorate the news
from the US. Only just. But given she then had to head off to London
(and then home to Croydon after that this evening), and that I gave her my
waterproof by accident instead of her own (which doesn't fit me, so I had to use
my old one), things rapidly went downhill. You know why.
So anyway, at work I've prepared the machines/VMs I'm going to be patching and
rebooting tomorrow morning, made a smidgen of headway with the Red Hat Satellite
installation I'm going to be building, found a replacement hard drive for my
workstation (which I now need to clone to, probably tomorrow). In other news,
one of my administrative servers has started to slowly throw its toys out of the
pram with regard to its RAID array... again. It's frustrating as I'm going to
have to throw away all of the disks and completely rebuild the server from
scratch. Luckily I'm backing everything on it up, but it's still going to be
frustrating rebuilding everything from scratch to restore the backups to. I'm
not sure when I'll get around to doing that. Probably next week seeing as I
have Friday off to spend with Rachel.
I ran at lunch time. Again, not before work. And I won't again before work
tomorrow as I'm doing the aforementioned patching around 08:00. It was cold,
and wet. But not terrible. That's the way it's going to be this winter, I
[17:30] Rachel is back in the country! She landed safely a few hours ago and is
even now heading off to an evening event (which she intends to leave a little
early) to do more work before coming to see me for the night. It's going to be
wonderful to have her back again. That's going to be the highlight of my day,
if not my week.
In other news, today was the first day when my usual wet/cold weather cycling
gloves were inadequate and my fingertips were burning with cold by the time I
got to work. I'll need to break out the winter gloves tomorrow morning, I
think. In any evening, I got to work in good time this morning and managed to
sort all the morning things that were going on. Went for a nice gentle 10K run
at lunch time (apparently the slowest I've ever done it, who knew?), and have
spent the afternoon preparing servers for Thursday morning's patching and
rebooting. There'll be more prep work to do tomorrow (including staging
firmware updates), but for the most part it'll just be a bit of Dell OMSA
updating and making sure I can get to the serial consoles of a few servers.
Right, I need to go home, change the bedding, do some washing up, shave
(seriously), and maybe even some vacuuming. Then cycle out and meet Rachel at
the train station.
[17:30] Just a day or so now until Rachel is back in the country, if only for a
week or so. We've managed to get through this time apart reasonably well, I
think. Both of us have been pretty horrendously busy in our own ways (she far
more honourably than I), which has helped the time pass a little more quickly.
For my part this weekend went quite well in terms of running. A parkrun on
Saturday morning which could have been even faster if I hadn't been held up a
few times by other people, and a ~20km run on the Sunday morning with the local
triathlon club which just about kept me warm enough as the wind started to pick
up and the temperature remained quite low. Saturday evening was a quick social
thing at Max and Stacey's before heading to watch the fireworks, which were
pretty good. Sunday afternoon and evening were more just about staying home and
keeping warm and cosy. I mowed the lawn for the last time this year on
Saturday, went to Tesco, fitted some draft-excluder foam to some doors, and did
washing, washing up, and things like that. Generally, this weekend was pretty
full and quite well used.
Monday hasn't been too bad either. The person who I was worried about in terms
of moving desks actually took the desk we were sure he wouldn't want, and
everything else looks like it might drop into place quite well. And nothing has
exploded today, and I seem to have fixed a very long standing issue with another
server by rebooting it into the BIOS and changing its power profile. Honestly,
I think at this point I should just go home and decide whether or not I'm going
to go to strength and conditioning/circuits tonight.
[16:45] Today was an OK day. Admittedly I had to get in just after 07:00 this
morning to be backup in case anything untoward happened during the firewall
work, but nothing did. Then I spent the day building a new VM and using new
bits of Ansible that I'd got working, which was nice. Some conversations with
people about VMWare/SAN resource allocation, an 8K run at lunch time, some
carpet tile relocations, and a chance to text and email Rachel a bit. Mostly
that was my day.
I'm now off to celebrate someone actually making some progress on starting to
build a garden shed, then home for the night later on. Tomorrow will be
parkrun, then a social evening with friends ending up at the boat house to watch
some fireworks. Honestly, I haven't had a single thought about what might
happen on Sunday. Things are just a bit more boring when Rachel isn't here to
help me fill weekends up.
[17:30] Today was basically desk moving day. That meant it was a write-off for
pretty much everything else. No running in the morning before work as I was in
early for patching, no running at lunch time as I was still getting my desk
sorted, and probably no running when I get home this evening... because I just
can't be bothered. I'm quite happy with where I've ended up, seating-wise.
Everything seems to be working network-wise, and I've managed to throw away a
few things, decluttering and tidying. I think I've done all I can to settle in,
which means I can be in early tomorrow to support a co-worker who's doing all
kinds of network/firewall-related things from 07:00 onwards (I intend to be in
by 07:40ish). I might even go for a run at lunch time.
Rachel was in an airport in Nairobi for most of the day, with wifi thankfully.
By now she's in a plane heading to Uganda for the second half of her working
trip to easten Africa. I wish she was coming back tonight, rather than next
week. I'll just have to keep myself occupied and not caring that I'm not
putting in the running miles until she is back. Not that the running is
connected at all.
[17:10] A fairly normal day today. I'm still not managing/wanting to get up
early to run before work on a Wednesday (and probably Thursday) morning. I
guess I don't really need to until marathon training starts properly either just
this side of or right after Christmas. I did do a nice steady 6K at lunch time
though, to keep myself from feeling too bad about things. Given I'm doing a
little strength and conditioning exercise at the boat house this evening before
a short meeting about starting a running and/or cycling club under the umbrella
of the club the rowing club operates under I think I'm getting my physical
exercise in for the day by various means.
Workwise I've been a bit stymied by the fact one of our two redundant firewalls
is still down (and probably will be until Friday, if not longer). I can't build
a new VM I was hoping to knock out with Ansible (including some new stuff for
mounting CIFS shares) because various communication needs to cross VLAN
boundries and we don't allow that without permission. I've plenty of other
things to be getting on with for the time being, though. For example, prodding
everyone about their servers and getting them patched. I've lined up a few
Tuesday and Thursday morning patching sessions for the next few weeks.
Hopefully I can get a few different services stacked up so I can get more done
in fewer early mornings.
Right, I better head off so I can get a reasonable session and a shower in
before this meeting, then get home for food and television before bed. Rachel
is doing fairly well over then in Kenya, heading to Uganda shortly for more of
the same kind of awesome charity/microfinance stuff she's so good at. She'll be
back in less than a week now, though. Which is great.
[17:10] November. Here we are. Only one month and one week away from my dental
surgery. That's what I'm counting towards, other than Rachel's coming back from
east Africa. One of them I'm really, really looking forward to. Can you guess
Anyway, today was a day of committing things to our Ansible git repository,
learning a few new things about Ansible along the way, going on a fast 10K run
when I'd planned on it being a nice little gentle run instead (that's what
happens when someone offers to accompany you), and fiddling with a few other
things here and there, including returning some RAM I'd been specifically told I
didn't need to (good job I didn't throw it or the packaging away).
Off home now in the pitch darkness of GMT, to have a nice evening of relaxation,
reheated pasta bolognese, and some television before bed. I may or may not get
up tomorrow morning to do a long run. I'll have to see how I feel.