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March's Journal
May's Journal

[09:55] Climbing was good last nigh, we were climbing with a good number of extra kilograms on in the shape of climbing equipment and dive weights in a rucksack on our backs. Really slows you down and makes you consider your moves a lot more. It was a shame one of the people I would have liked to have seen couldn't come. In fact there's a few people I'd like to see more of these days who just seem to be elsewhere. Maybe that'll change over time. Or perhaps it won't. It'd be nice if it did.

[17:10] So nothing happens all day. And I go to a seminar on Red Hat security and when I get back there's SCSI errors everywhere and tape drives beginning to spew smoke. So I basically do a lot of stuff I can't be arsed to tell you about this evening because I'm tired and want to go to the pub and get drunk.

[10:05] Another day at the coal-face. Staring things in the face just makes things worse. It's time to back away wherever I can.

[10:50] Just had a Chubb salesweasel come to see me without provocation. Had to sit through an interminable forty minutes of pimping for a new security system which is monsterously over-spec.'ed. Of course we need to replace the DOS-based one we have, but this looks like serious over-kill.

[11:05] Just dropped a PC. Motherboard's cracked. I'm so tired at the moment. Can I be arsed? Not really. Have stripped all working components and dumped the rest in the bin. Cancelled trip to Eindhoven in June to save myself hassle at the time with awkwardness. Shame the money's non-refundable.

[12:55] Time for lunch, then I'll go and talk to someone for a bit.

[15:10] No time for talk, never mind. Probably better to just do what was required. Machine back from QAA guy. Probably never even used. Doesn't really matter. Heading climbing this evening. Hopefully I'll tire myself out a bit. Although I've been yawning all day today, and yesterday, come to think of it. I should probably eat something.

[09:25] Hurdle.

Went climbing on Sunday, met a few more people whose names I'll really have to struggle to remember. I know one was Louisa as she gave me a business card, bumped into Jason and his dad and talked to someone from New Zealand and a few women from America. All nice people, all happy to talk about climbing routes. I managed a dynamic movement I've been trying for weeks, too. So that was good.

The machine I moved to Window 2000 on Friday seems to be settling in nicely. We'll know in a few hours/days whether I've managed to set up something that isn't a heap of pants.

[11:05] New CD arrives and is already ripped and ready for playing. Not that I don't think the CD audio version is better, but there are certain standards to uphold.

[12:20] Life sucks.

[14:30] Lunch good, however.

[08:50] A pleasant night with friends last night. Just missing a few.

[09:15] A laptop, two desktops a printer and a projector to set up today. And some user accounts to create. The fun never ends.

[12:20] Busy, busy busy. It's nice to be busy for once. Stops me thinking.

[12:35] Off to set up a projector in a bit, then it's lunch. Which I hope will be O.K.

[14:15] Projector all set up, user primed. Lunch was O.K. Now embarking on afternoon's work. With luck I can get it done pretty quickly and get back to my MP3s.

[17:00] Challenged, I've come up with a filk on Pump Up the Volume by M/A/R/R/S. It's readable here and the original tune to sing to is mp3'd right here.

[17:15] Oh, I got the first of the main administration machines moved to Windows 2000 fairly O.K. I've even gotten the registry to deal with some weirdo Eudora snafu, too. Which is nice.

[17:40] Tonight is Bullet Proof Monk at the cinema with a meal beforehand. It's going to be interesting. With a little bit of effort I think it could be good.

[10:30] My mum's just emailed me to correct my spelling of egregious, a wonderful irony.

[10:40] Got one of the machines I wanted to get installed with W2K up and running, just fiddling with updates at the moment. Tonight is Thursday night as usual (DVDs, etc.) and am hoping a few new people come along but imagine not. This IE6 SP1 update is going really slowly. Anyway, we're probably watching Amadeus tonight amongst other things. Wonderful film which I haven't seen in years.

[12:20] Machine all wrapped up and ready to be handed over. Shame I couldn't do both. Off to lunch in a bit.

[16:15] Looks like the last hurdle (the biggest) is pretty much upon me. I'm fairly certain that before the end of the month it'll be time to take a good jump at it and see how I come down. Doesn't seem like long enough. It really doesn't. I guess if I can do this I can do anything and the world's my oyster.

[16:43] I just have to be strong.

[11:05] Yes, there are typos in the back cover of 'Extreme Pogroming'. I'll redo it this afternoon if I have time. Sorry about that. I'm fairly shattered at the moment as I went climbing last night in London. It's been a while and as usual I was climbing well above my grade as Jason was there too. He's one of those people with arms longer than his height so he's able to make moves that would leave me having to dyno (dynamic movement, jumping) for. Still it was good to unwind after feeling mild stressful for the last day or so. I still feel a little wound up, but hope it'll dissipate in a while.

Have been booked the weekend after next to help someone move house. We're doing the whole transit van deal and I'm hoping it's nice and hot so we can take a break or so in the sun at the new place (which is really rather nice). Moving in the rain is rather depressing. Anyway, having lunch at some time around 12:30ish, so that'll be nice.

Busy morning so far what with forgetting to redo the times on the maglock doors to account for different opening times, and the backups and the printers needing maintenance and generally doing some website (not this one) updates. All go, really. But none of it interesting. Incidently, I'm peeved at the fact that I now make a few pounds less per month (net) than I did this time last year. I blame the stupid amount of tax I have to pay for designing those T-shirts. On balance I think it's worth the £48 per month less to know that I've given some people a little bit of pleasure. Even so, It means I need to tighten the purse strings a little for a while.

[11:45] Just had news of a cool and Really Happening Wi-Fi project about to go ahead in central London. If it happens you'll be the first to know about it. Those of you who can make it I expect to see there when it's up and running.

[14:35] Good lunch. Nice to get out off the office. This afternoon I'll be hoping to a) get a machine installed with Windows 2000, b) redoing the back of the XP T-shirt to correct some of the more egregious spellings.

[10:30] The PFY's not in today and owing to my devolving some important stuff to her and not keeping up to date with it myself I'm in a wee bit of a pickle as she's not in for the rest of this week. Everything should be O.K., it just won't be as smooth as if she'd done it. Also have two machines to set up and a third one to move from Windows NT to Windows 2000 (the first of the next set to go over).

[11:05] Finished the T-shirt designs. Not sure they'll ever make them onto T-shirts so I'm just sticking them on the web and people can do with them what they like (given the reproducablity of the size of the images). So anyway, for your brief viewing pleasure I give you Extreme Pogroming and its back cover. Enjoy.

[12:45] Setting up one of two machines for someone else. Have to wait for someone to bring round a non-Dell W2K...

[14:10] ... which they did, and then took me to lunch at a noodle bar. Hence the break.

[14:35] Retrying the install now. It appeared to fail on the bluescreen install which isn't good.

[16:35] Gateway 2000 machines suck ass. Seriously. Annoying. Thing.

I'm down one decentish machine because it has issues with Windows 2000. Gah. I think I'll go climbing in London in a bit.

[22/04/03 - 10:25] So all weekend we'd (five or six of us) been stripping, painting, pasting and hanging. We were knackered. On the Saturday night we'd gone and spent about £160 on a curry (paid for by our host's workplace as a thank you for working so hard recently) and came back to collapse. Come 23:00 on Sunday night we'd been papering some extremely fragile paper for upwards of fourteen hours nonstop. Everything hurt and those people who'd been unable to hang around due to having other committements had left myself and my host to it. About a minute after we'd downed tools, owing to the fact that we'd run out of wallpaper for a section and the shops weren't open on Easter Sunday, the doorbell went and our pizza arrived. Lying down proved to be a bad idea as we ended up leaving most of our pizza for breakfast and going to bed. With the last roll of paper purchased we finished the room (apart from some painting), vacuumed the room and went for a pub lunch before I was dropped at the station to make my way back home.

Back home I uploaded some photos and went to spend a nice relaxing evening in a pub with friends. I don't recall really going to bed.

[22/04/03 - 10:00] Got up and pottered around for a bit before going online to fiddle with things and coordinate the day. Didn't really do much except pack for the weekend and get things in place for a picnic in the afternoon. A friend came round at 12:00 and we made sandwiches until someone else turned up. Wandered out to the river and were joined by two more people. Food, sun, drink. All good. Eventually took a train to Twyford (bypassing Paddington) and started helping a friend redecorate his lounge.

[11:55] Despite both of our spare HP LaserJet 4000Ns giving bad print I've managed to shoehorn TCP/IP(LPR) printing onto a Windows 98 machine and get it printing to the monster networked photocopier downstairs. I regard this as a reasonable coup.

[12:00] I was going to go mess about with friends last night but cancelled in the end to allow other things to take place. Instead I went for a long walk down by the river (upstream) for a few hours and then sunbathed as the sun sank in the west. Ambled back and broke my mood a bit by a chance meeting. Hopefully it didn't bother anyone too much. Ended up spending the twilight hours chatting to good friends online.

Heading off earlyish today to go buy a barbecue and some food at the shops. With luck we'll get something that'll last the evening rather than melting and embarassing me.

[15:40] Another mistake has come back to bite me. The best thing I can do about this one is just Leave It Alone. Hopefully in a few months it'll just be forgotten. I'm a little surprised as I'd forgotten all about it, but hey, that's life.

[11:15] Well, have hair cut, shorts on, shades in pocket and Tevas on feet. It is officially late spring here. Also officially certified as sane, but that's another story altogether. Today there has been very little happening (I think the sun's made people dozy) so I've been doing things with book covers... I think you might like this new one (if I can get the damned thing finished).

The word is that SQL-Slammer is doing the rounds a bit again as of 15:00 yesterday. Hope you patched (or got your customers to patch) those boxes before you removed the port blocks.

Oh, someone pointed this out to me. Which is nice. I love namechecks.

[15:15] Wonderful day, spent lunchtime walking around in the sun and then sitting on the grass. New book cover is half done, looking good.

[16:25] Back cover now in production. And I've made another mistake. Surprise! I wish I could stop doing them. I think I'll go for a nice walk in the sun.

[11:30] Good night last night. Other than a few emails back and forth which I put a stop to before they got out of hand everything seemed to go reasonably well. Had a few friends over and we worked on demolishing my stock of whisky just a little bit more. Two more people rang up due to their evening's entertainment being cancelled and they came over too, so it was quite the little gathering. Had a laugh, had some fun, discussed a barbecue on Thursday.

Wonderfully sunny today, and apparently will be all week. Looking forward to lunchtime and probably climbing this evening. Am heading out to get hair cut and another errant after that so don't know if I'll be back after 14:50.

[12:35] We need a petition to get MacGyver released on DVD.

[12:40] Sorry, was busy this morning. Weekend was good, in places. Saturday I ended up reading Stanislaw Lem's book Solaris in Borders. Pretty empty day until the evening when I went to see Johnny English. Pretty good, although I don't think I got my money's worth as I had my head in my hands for a lot of the time. Cringeworthy in places. Sunday was much better for the first half. It was very sunny so I went for a cycle very early in the morning and at about half past nine turned on my mobile. I'd asked if I could go in and help some people with some Sun/Oracle problems this weekend and was assuming to go in on Saturday. As it is I spent an educational few hours watching Sun hardware die in new and exciting ways and learning how to back up and restore Oracle installations. By the evening I just wanted to go to the cinema again and relax.

A few complications arose which caused some stress but I still managed to enjoy the film (Blue Crush). By the time it was over I just headed home, rang my mum and went to bed.

This morning I've spent about four hours writing and rewriting an email and have eventually sent it off for someone else to look over. And now I've redited it again. I think it's almost ready.

[15:45] I don't know what I did, but I must have done something. Even before I sent the email.

[11:10] Happily, after most everyone cancelled last night someone rang me up and invited me for a curry. In the end I managed to get seven people to come along and I think a good time was had by all. I mixed up a chicken tikka with a tikka masala but was happy with the result. I think everyone was rather tired to be honest. Thanks to everyone who came, anyway.

[12:50] Further strife with email sorted by quick thinking from me. All hail me. Sometimes. Time for lunch.

[16:00] All stop here this afternoon. I've tried resurrecting two LaserJet 4000N printers but there's something going on inside of them which is putting some really nasty marks on the pages. Secretary has an ill home machine and is begging me to take a look at it. Guess it gives me something to do.

[10:45] At 16:10 last night there was a bit of a major problem. It was quite impressive and could cost us a lot of money. It was so important in fact that because I was the local technical contact I'd probably get a lot of the flak. On top of a bad day anyway I began to laugh. It was terribly funny. [I've edited this down from what was here as it's been recommended that I don't put as many details in. Probably a good idea.]

I went home.

Came in this morning and spent about two hours getting things into some semblance of order. I think I may have retained my reputation as a miracle-worker. Happy birthday to me.

[10:55] I have some forms for the PFY to take to Central at lunch time. I intend to go and try and actually have a birthday lunch.

[12:25] Started the previous entry on time, then shit hit fan. All go here. About standard for me, life-wise.

[12:45] And as I am about to head for lunch the heavens open. Why am I not surprised. Not at all.

[14:50] Came back from lunch at 14:00. Only one person came and they were having lunch there anyway. Cancellations for this evening coming in thick and fast.

[16:55] Well at least Bob the Angry Flower agrees with me.

[17:00] Neatly whittling down my circle of friends through the Secret Art of Event CancelFu I've decided that no matter how stunningly good the friends are, two people doesn't really constitute a loud and raucous evening in a pub.

So I'm going home.

[11:00] Talk was good last night. Very interesting although I did know some of the details already.

[11:10] Got a lovely package from my parents this morning for tomorrow. Twenty-seven little chocolate bars to put in the coffee room for other people to eat. I love my parents, they're great. Just set up the last bit of the machine that was having network problems that I can do without the user here. They're due in a little while to give me the last few bits of stuff to install and then I'm making sure they aren't told the administrative password, again.

[13:15] This machine has been a real arse to install. The Palm Desktop software has got me so angry I'm tempted to just go home. I'm in a real mood at the moment and it's times like this I could do with someone to just talk to as a close, intimate friend. But that's not going to happen. So I keep on moving.

[15:45] My first birthday card's arrived, via the internal mail system. I won't be opening it until tomorrow. I wonder what it says.

[10:10] Today is inventory day (or day one of it, at least). I'm at a SAGE-WISE talk this evening in London, if anyone else is attending. You'll recognise me I'd imagine. Come along, say hi, entrance is free and all that.

The machine I was working on yesterday is almost done (just need to add the printer, etc.) and then it can be taken back and abused for another three years or so. I think it'll stand up to it a little better now.

[14:35] Out of a six floor (including ground floor) building the PFY and I have inventoried the top three floors. Out of the remaining ones one of them doesn't have more than one PC and one printer on it. The other two are quite full. With luck I'll be finished by 16:30 when I head to London for the talk this evening.

[16:27] Right, time to go. See you tomorrow.

[09:40] Well, I'm back. Hi. Unfortunately nothing seems to have changed and in some ways they're worse than they were before. How're things supposed to improve if I'm the only person who seems to be trying? I guess it's more waiting and getting on with other things.

Belated April 1st japery from Koos in the form of automated Helpdesk responses. Good for a few minutes mindless fun.

[12:45] Should have worn shorts today. Annoyingly I've snapped the clip off my iPod carrying thingy. Still, it's an excuse to get a better one, perhaps with somewhere to store the excess headphone cable.

[17:10] Spent the afternoon trying to work out why one of our NT4 machines in a far off place was going to slowly when using the network. The local sysadmin swears that they've tried another network card, cable, port on the wall, etc. and nothing's worked. They blame the machine. So I fiddle for a while, then lug the thing back across town, fire it up here and assign it a local IP. Suddenly we're cooking on gas. What's that all about? Anyway, as it's got a stone-age installation of NT4 and other stuff so I'm going to give it a memory upgrade and a brain transplant and send it back minus all the guff the user had installed. Currently just copying all the stuff the user "really, really needs" off before doing BIOS flashes and stuff like Ghosting. I love a good Ghosted machine, all clean and neat and ready for my tender ministration.

04/04/2003 - offline
[14:45] Theoretically this is my last offline entry. At least this time around. It's been odd, as I think I've said before. But oddly liberating at the same time. I want to thank the legions of you that came along every day and wondered why I hadn't put anything down, And especially those of you who emailed me to find out if I was alive or not. You know who you are.

Frankly I don't know if this'll have helped me, anyone else or the situation at all, but it was good to know that a) I could do it and, b) someone actually noticed I wasn't around. In some ways I feel stronger. Bollocks to any of you who know me and wonder why I'm attaching any importance to this action, if you can't understand, ask me. Anyway last night was the usual reduced Thursday crowd. We watched GATTACA, which I'd never seen before. Good film. Scrubs was excellent as usual.

Today the weather's been fine, but my Oracle install (which started so cleanly yesterday) appears to have failed with the same linking errors as last time. A shame, but it gives me something to learn. Lunch was cool. I didn't cycle in today as I'm away for the weekend in London, so I walked into town with a friend, grabbed some lunch after a few chores and sat out on a wall in the sun.

[16:00] Time to head off now and see if I can get into that game show thing. I've done another long-awaited W2K install this afternoon, so it's not been completely empty of things to do.

[18:00] Oh dear, the people in this queue are all sad lonely people who either have nothing to do or have dressed up to get a big break into showbusiness.

03/04/2003 - offline
[10:10] It was a fairly grubby day when I finally got up this morning, but the sky's beginning to clear and there's plenty of blue to be seen now. Have been sorting out stuff for the weekend and thinking about my birthday which is coming up soon.

Just helped one of the secretaries look at pictures of her son-in-law who's a loadmaster for British Chinooks in the Gulf at the moment.

[11:00] I've been thinking too much again. Taking my mind off it by beginning the next stage of my learning. Installing Oracle 8i should take rather a long time on this box, I think.

[12:30] Yeah, in fact this is going to take upwards of two hours. Can't seem to find a patch for anywhere. Anyone know where I can get one? Damn, you won't read this until Monday at the earliest, oh well.

[17:20] Just been invited to take part in a quiz show tomorrow night in London. Have no idea what it'll be like, stiil it's a laugh, innit?

02/04/2003 - offline
[09:00] Got home last night and did some midnight gardening to rescue the seeds from the damp packets they were in. Ended up leaving my machine on all night (it's not a quiet machine) to download a few gigabytes of mp3s from work. It finished about 07:00 this morning. Oddly easy to sleep through. Right hand hurts when I use it overmuch. Hopefully it'll be fine by Friday otherwise I'll just go and meet friends, rather than climbing first.

No PFY today, must find something to do. There are one or two things that require my attention, then there's the network card on that Solaris box to fix.

[10:20] Sod the network card, let's do something more interesting; OpenSSL and OpenSSH. In fact, sod the setting up of a proper $PATH, let's just add them for this bash session and get compiling.

[12:00] Right, OpenSSL and OpenSSH installed. Just learning about locking down the box now and all the services that run by default.

[12:35] I've just invented a new word; "Googlefruit" defined as the results of a search using Google that provide an excellence of information. In a few minutes I'll head off for a nice Thai lunch (need to get some money out first). I'd go on Friday, but it's not my turn. I really hope this doesn't last forever; I'm sick of this sad dance.

[16:35] Have spent the afternoon activating Gnome and KDE on the Solaris box (much nicer than CDE) and generally tidying things up. I feel I've got more of a handle on things now. Even managed to get the Institution's financial system working, which is a big plus, really.

[18:00] Still haven't solved this NIC problem where it won't come up until I've logged in as root and done 'ifconfig elxl0 up'. Something to do with IRQ problems, I think. Can't seem to fix it, at the moment, anyway. Google doesn't seem to know anything useful either.

01/04/2003 - offline
[10:20] Beginning of another month. Found someone's photos from June of last year. Probably the last pictures of us looking happy together. Decided not to look at them for very long as there's no place for thoughts or talk of that until she and I are friends again and probably not for some time after then. I do miss her friendship, sharing things with her, and I hope she's not changed so much that she doesn't miss that part of me, even if the rest is dead. I'm prepared to wait and to do my part when she's ready. It takes two people to have a friendship though.

It's actually raining here today. A markedly different weather experience compared to yesterday. If it doesn't clear up then it'll be even more of a pleasure to go climbing this evening. I think I've left some packets of seeds outside in the back garden. Hopefully they won't have sprouted when I get home late this evening.

[12:45] Time for lunch. Wondering whether to brave the cold outdoors or not. I think I will.

[15:20] Got absolutely soaked coming back to work from town. Hopefully things will dry out by the time I head off to London later on

[21:20] Really tore something in my right hand while climbing this evening. This kind of put paid to me doing anything else so I've gotten myself a Burger King and jumped on the train home. Depending on how I feel when I actually make it home I may spend some time collecting some of my mp3 collection from work and adding it to my iPod. Or I may just go to bed.