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January's Journal
March's Journal

[10:40] End of the month. Another month has rolled by. Fairly soon now I have to make a decision. It's going to be a tough decision made more difficult by the actions of others. I really don't know what I'm going to do. Ah well, I'm sure it'll all work out soon, or in a few years, or by the time I'm thirty. I've begun to realise that in some ways it's almost easy to deal with the life you have; you just do it, improve what you can and ride out everything else. I'm not sure how it'll work out, it's a mystery.

I'm away from this afternoon to Gatwick and thence to the Netherlands for the weekend. I'll be back for Monday, in case you were worried (you weren't, I can tell).

[11:35] These new HP DeskJet 3820 printers really look like breadbins. Quick though. I imagine they stop sucking up paper like all the others after a year or so, though.

[11:50] No PFY today. This afternoon I roll out what will hopefully be one of the last NT4 images I ever have to do. Even with WindowsUpdate for NT4 (ick) it's still plain to see that W2K (despite it's overcomplexity in places) is streets ahead of it, especially in the area of Plug and Play. Shame really. Standard Thursday this evening. I could just do with a pizza. Brother made actual food in my kitchen last night. Real vegetables and everything. Healthy food's all well and good, but it's no substitute for MSG, melted cheese and various types of meat.

[15:45] Looks like (touch wood) the Ghosting of the new image went smoothly and by the numbers. I like it when that happens. Time to update the web pages to reflect the fact there's new software available.

[27/02/2003 - 11:45] Nice day out yesterday with parents and brother. We drove out of town, went to have a look at at a cathedral and walk by a river. Ate in a pub for lunch and generally pottered around. Most relaxing. Took plenty of photos and stuck them up on Fotopic. Felt odd having the house full of sleeping family. Still, kept the place warm.

Anyone who was watching the cameras yesterday may have noticed that the PFY had her child in the office. I hadn't suddenly lost a few years and most of my hair.

[11:15] Not a wonderfully long entry yesterday. I doubt anyone cared. The day was taken up getting EndNote to work properly with romaing profiles and the locked-down setup I have here. I'm pretty sure I got it nailed with some funky use of login scripts and such. Ended up going climbing rather than sitting at home for the evening. Someone fell on me. I ended up mentoring her and her freind for the evening. They'd just been on the 4-week introductory course and last night was their first time there on their own. I was rather impressed with just how good they were. Unlike me they seem to be much more reliant on skill rather than strength. It was actually a relief to concentrate on someone else as I seemed to be way off my best.

This morning I'm ghosting back the new image I've done to the same machine to make sure it works properly. Then Thursday should be roll-out day. I'm not in tomorrow as my parents and brother arrive this evening and I've been ordered not to go into work. I think I can manage that.

[15:20] Everything is just so complicated sometimes. Life didn't used to be this hard, I'm pretty certain. I've got to juggle so many things now. Not as much help as I used to have.

[11:00] PFY came in rather frazzled this morning.

[11:15] After a coffee and a sit down she seems a bit more settled now. Hmm. Life busy, weekend rather good with the party and all. Parents visiting this week. Let's see if this week can be better than the last.

[10:00] Saw the Wicker Man for the first time all the way through last night. Even in full it's damned odd and reminds me of the Fenlands of Cambridgeshire in terms of insular, inbreeding, wary-of-strangers attitudes. Of course, there's no pagan worship in the fenlands...

A lot of people I know at the moment appear to be getting ill, and in some cases seriously. I won't jinx myself by saying anything. I would like to help, but what's not asked for can't be given.

[11:10] No sense in looking back, I guess. Things continue to continue, the good and the bad. As always, I try to to make the best of them. Just sometimes it's a little hard.

Today, well today we attempt to create a new NT 4.0 image for the plebians downstairs. I would be giving them W2K but the infrastructure (read: servers) aren't ready yet due to cascading requirements. Given that we're about to (read: this side of the Apocalypse) completely gut the room and make it actually look like a room that people might want to work in, I think that'll be the time to do it, when nobody can complain that the machines are out of action.

Theoretically it's Thai for lunch. Always good. Must wrap that present this evening.

[14:40] Friday afternoon. I'll find something to do in a bit.

[11:30] Not feeling terribly pleased with life today. But that's nothing new. Attempting to compensate... Compensating. Starboard power coupling seems to be holding for once.

Helping a friend buy a mobile phone this afternoon, and then looking for a first birthday present for a friends' child to whose birthday party I'm going this weekend. Cake and icecream, and paper hats and everything! A legitimate reason to go into The Early Learning Centre and play with the trains is always good.

[14:50] Now have present for small child and helped friend purchase first mobile phone as I was helped in June of last year by someone else. I consider this a kind of pay-it-forward (no, I have not and will not see(n) the film).

[10:00] Yesterday got a bit busy. Reinstalled a few machines, did some other work...

Hmm, argument in my office between PFY and secretary. I think she's holding her own.

... ended up staying a little too late (went climbing) to get something ready for someone tomorrow. Getting to The Castle was odd. Getting off the train at Kings Cross was 'fun' as the platform was nine deep and there was some serious shoving of people. Also raised voices. Got on the Tube and found myself in the middle of a huge amount of Ajax supporters heading to Arsenal. Somewhere just outside of Caledonian Road a lady just down from me was assaulted by some idiot supporter. She pulled the Passenger Emergency Alarm (first time I've heard it used) and we waited in the station while there were scuffles. Police arrived, man removed, train departs.

[11:45] At a technical seminar this afternoon on creating RedHat packages. May not be back afterwards. Final Stargates this evening. Popping round to see it with some friends. Chocolate, wine, food, and apparently custard. Don't ask.

[12:10] Appear to have broken the corner off a printer. Not so good.

[10:45] Friday evening was O.K. Ended up playing Nuclear War and having a pretty good time. In the end I got home at about 00:30 and stayed up to build my futon. It kept my mind off things and meant that I actually got to sleep as soon as I went to bed. The mattress is... rather thick, which is nice I'm sure, but it makes the seating position very high. Far higher than I remember from other people's futons of the same style. Maybe it's just not been squashed enough. One person sitting on it for a few hours per night isn't really going to make an impression very quickly. Still, that's how it is now. I mainly got it to give me some head support when sitting in front of the television but for the moment I don't think it's going to work.

The march on Saturday morning was rather impressive. As a paid-up member of the Liberal Democrats I and a few friends opted to join that contingent (seeing as how, in the event of unfortunate actions it was unlikely that the Lib Dems would be part of it. We congregated at the Festival Hall and after some milling around and an indecypherable address by Charles Kennedy we were off. Slow walking seemed to be the order of things so we toddled up in a contingent of about seven thousand to Blackfriars bridge and over. Up the road to Westminster we headed, occasionally stopping as the march backed up. Occassionally we mingled with other groups; Socialist Worker, etc. Now and again we were re-segregated. Right at Big Ben and down Whitehall. We moved as a mass, now and again a wave of sound rolled from behind or in front of us up and down the solid mass of people. It was hard not to join in sometimes. Winding through London we passed by various landmarks including Nelson's Column and the Cenetaph. By the time we arrived at Hyde Park the numbers were thought to be somewhere around the one million mark. We didn't stay to listen to the speakers but instead decided it was time to eat. With the Central Line being closed we walked all the way to Leicester Square and Tokyo Diner. Sitting was a pleasure, eating doubly so.

Splitting up into smaller groups and meeting with others we tried to find a pub but there was nothing suitable, or empty enough so we decided to call it a day and headed home.

Sunday consisted of trying to catch up on some sleep followed by a kick-around with a football, a nice meal in a pub and Daredevil at the cinema. Definitely a good film with some odd turns of plot. Marvellous music.

[15:20] It's pleasing that the PFY seems to be getting a lot of people depending on her for stuff now, I think it's really good for her development. Just a shame she appears to be busy with other stuff when other people come looking.

[12:40] Just going for lunch. Busy morning doing more comparisons of online photo gallery sites.

[14:35] My futon arrived this morning (which is why I was late in to work this morning). It's kind of flat-pack, so I'll be assembling it this evening, or tomorrow morning before I go on the march. Yes, I'm going on the march, the first one I've ever been on. If you want a reason to go, try reading this article from the Daily Telegraph by Armando Iannucci.

[16:35] Yes, thank you to those people who emailed me about what today is. I was trying not to think about it. Neither of them. No, I'm not so great, but there's nothing to be done but smile and show the Face. It takes two to tango. As it is I've got far more important things to think about than that, at the moment. And if I succeed it's going to be close to the best thing I've ever done for someone.

On the up side, on February 24, 270, Valentine was clubbed, stoned, then beheaded. So that's not so bad.

[11:40] Made a schoolboy error this morning with regard to someones mail accounts. Lots of looping, not good. All fixed now.

[12:00] Some sample T-shirts arrived today. So I'm wearing one, just to try it out, you understand. We'll be ordering some directly for our paying customers.

[15:10] Gosh! And indeed, wow! Just had a reply to an email I sent about two years ago, back when times were happier. Email from someone I haven't set eyes on in more than five years, I think. Amazing. Really nice person, someone I really should have kept in better contact with. Anyway, Clare, if you read this (I did point you at this) "Hi there", do try to stay in contact a bit better this time!

This afternoon I'm attempt to coerce another few people into letting me make their machines Windows 2000 installations. Suprisingly, it's for the best. I've sent out this week's Thursday: email. Shame no-one tells me how good (or crap) they actually are.

[17:55] Just taking a look at online photo gallery web sites for comparisons with and finding that it's really rather good, especially compared to many of the competition out there.

[15:50] Finally, finally, finally shipped the bedamned eMac out of the office today. This gives me room to get two machines reinstalled at once, which is helpful as we may be about to shift up a gear in a week or so to get the administrative staff done quickly.

[16:10] It's been foggy and dull outside all day. Still, went shopping at lunch time and got a top for climbing in the sauna which is The Castle (this evening). I've been accused of 'showing off' (it's sleeveless), well bollocks to you, I like it.

[17:00] Off to climbing, and stuff. Thursday tomorrow, how exciting.

[15:25] A very busy day. I've learnt a lot of things today and not all of them are good. In fact some of them are really rather sad. But, as they say, shit happens and now there's only me to deal with it. It's the way things are. Part of me'd like someone to split the stuff I'm dealing with with, but perhaps this is for me to take.

Upgrading some of the Windows images today, given enough hotfixes have come out to make it worth my while. Also thrown in a newer, shinier sysprep.inf as well to make things go more smoothly.

[10:20] Karting is great! Absolutely wonderful. But more on that in a few lines. On Friday we all headed into London to the TGI Friday near Covent Garden and met up with a load of people. A good time was had by all. Staggering home was fun. On Saturday we all met up in one place and in two car-loads drove out of town to a karting track. After dressing in one-piece jumpsuits we stood around for about an hour and a half being queue-jumped before being shown to our karts. After a few moments of being seated we were off. The steering was extremely heavy but climbing seemed to have given me the strength to wrestle with the wheel through the corners. I haven't had so much fun in a long time and was quickly screaming round the track.

There were a good few collisions, a broken axle (sparks everywhere) someone lost a petrol cap and got splashed with two-stroke and there were a few personal grudges, but is was great. I think I won, I lapped everyone a good few times and I don't think I was passed. By the last few laps most of us were screaming round and I was powersliding round the hairpin. Great stuff.

[10:55] So it's Monday again. Same old lows, still feeling the pain. Missing stuff. Meeting this afternoon, some things planned for the week ahead. Welcome to the next week of your life. Please mind your head.

[18:10] Been setting up that eMac this afternoon, finally. I've come to realise just how much I re-hate the MacOS 9 interface and the lack of more than one mouse button. What were they thinking off? Anyway, that's pretty much done except for the printer and some other stuff like copying all the files from the old Performa across. That's going to be the tough part as the user isn't much good at keeping things tidy.

[11:10] Things are going to get harder before they get easier. Luckily there's always a bit of brightness, even when the rain's at its strongest.

[11:55] I've just read this time of year's Journal entries for the last few years. How odd are the things that have changed and that have remained very much the same. This Sunday, BOFHcam will be four years old. I've been keeping this Journal going for four years. I never thought it'd last this long. I actually never considered that I would keep it going. I think when I start something good I never consider stopping, I just enjoy what effect it has and slowly make it better until it's an integral part of me.

Barring accidents, changes of job where I don't have the ability to keep the machine up or something I just haven't forseen yet (given the turn of events in my life, this last one is the most likely) I'd imagine it'll be going for a bit longer. I don't think I'd want to stop, now.

[12:10] This morning's work has been fun. I've had one user (who deals with some very important stuff pertaining to the state of the world Right Now) come in with a buggered laptop and ask me to secure his data while I get him a new one. Another user's bed-ridden in Germany and can't return a machine we really needed.

I think I'll go to lunch, get some shopping and come back to another Windows installation. Maybe end the day with some Windows Updates. There's some celebrations in London tonight, climbing and potentially go-karting over the weekend. Should be excellent fun.

[14:55] A slip of the fingers online has come back and bitten me.

[16:35] Oh well, I live and learn. And another machine done, just about to drop it back into place.

[17:40] I think I need to find 'A Tribe Called "Quest"', I'd forgotten how good it was.

[11:15] Another Internet Explorer cumulative patch. How surprising.

[12:00] Lunch at 12:30 today. A cycle ride away. Have been trying to do some updates to Windows but I think man+dog is attempting to secure that piece of poo web browser at the same time.

[15:20] Productive afternoon talking people through moving email clients and servers. Coupled with the move to Windows 2000 (slowly, slowly, catchie monkey) things will become a lot more stable and sensible here shortly. Not much time for anything interesting at the moment, hopefully tomorrow will be more exciting.

Speaking of interesting, I heard some news this lunchtime. Very odd in its way. 'Surprising' would be a word I could apply. Still, it's life. Just got to keep on toddling on. (That nice and cryptic for you all? Not quite sure how many of you read this damned thing anyway I'll just take a squiz at the logs... hmm, about 120 of you a day)

[15:37] The "first to respond" award goes to Mark who demanded an explanation at around 15:35. Well done.

[16:40] So more information comes down on which room we're going to be planning on putting permanent multimedia equipment in. Water now well and truly muddied. Marvellous.

[15:10] Spent the morning at a technology briefing for Sun and Veritas. Had to sign an NDA so nothing much I can tell you other than there are some fun things coming. Hopefully I'll get a job in a while which'll be connected with them.

Had lunch, came to work, replied to my email backlog and am about to go and get another machine or two to install with Windows 2000. If I get some time I'll be doing a Solaris 8/Intel installation at some point. Also looking into MySQL and integration with Apache. Just for something to do.

[16:55] Hmm, well that sucked. Just tried installing Litestep. It installed cleanly, but I seemed to confuse it in some way and it barfed up a lung at some point and left me without a shell. Luckily I was able to salvage it and I've uninstalled for the moment. Will try it on a sacrificial machine next time, rather than my personal work box.

[09:45] Cold this morning.

[11:00] I typed the time at 10:50 knowing it'd take me ten minutes to come up with something. Still haven't thought of anything to write. I think I'm going to set up a RedHat 8.0 box and do some investigating of bits of software I haven't used much before.

[15:10] Working on documents for the Resources Committee meeting coming up. Accounts, budget specs. for the equipping of a room or two with full-on audio-visual goodness (plus some secure cabinets for same). Just have to run the stuff by the Administrative Officer before it's included in the documents to be dealt with.

[16:45] Well that seemed to go fairly well. Prices on LCD projectors have fallen through the floor recently, which is nice. Means I can do what I think we need fairly easily.

[16:50] Oddly, for the first time in years, I'm writing poetry. It still sucks. I think I'll go climbing in a bit.

[09:25] If I didn't know better I'd say I was paying off karma at an accelerated rate for something bad I've done in a previous life. The unfortunate and distressing loss of the Shuttle Columbia and her crew on Saturday is a terrible tragedy, it also puts paid to most of the reason I was going to Orlando in May. I don't know, I imagine I'll still go.

Saw two good films over the weekend (I Spy and The Transporter). Aside from feeling a bit queasy between them and causing myself a few problems it was a great day. Sunday consisted of getting up late, trying to repair some of the problems and going to The Castle for some cathartic climbing.

I've become an instant fan of Joe Simpson (Touching the Void, The Beckoning Silence among others) who writes the most engrossing books about climbing, mountaineering and ice climbing. With no frills, no embelishments of the facts and situations, he creates such a realistic image of the events an actions that it's hard not to feel the ice under the axe and the snow in your face.

[10:10] Must remember: haircut at 16:30.

[15:45] Another machine done, would have done two today only there are still people here doing stuff that requires some extra fiddling.