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[15:45] I'm feeling quite smug this afternoon. After tearing my hair out trying to get ViewVC to work on RHEL 3 (a thing for being able to look at CVS and Subversion repositories through a web browser) at the same time as keeping CVSNT, Subversion, Swig, Apache 2, Python and (obviously) RHEL 3 happy I found a site that had the missing piece in my puzzle and a few minutes of studious studying and equally studious working and it all seems to have come together. I'm really quite pleased because it's been a bastard of an issue and having it solved means the dominoes of progress begin to fall quite rapidly if I can get the people I've been slogging for get their fingers out and provide me with some users and permissions to populate some files with. Once that's done I'll be able to take an axe to the last of the desktop-class machines masquerading as a server in one of our machine rooms. Not only that but it'll mean that the psycho-nutzoid change control/staging system the people I'm doing this for are using at the moment gets to be put firmly in the bin, with a rocket.

In other news, my Shrove Tuesday Blowout looks like it will be nicely attended even if it's going to be a little odd at the same time. Still, with plenty of batter, sugar from a dozen different sources and the fate of the evening resting on the power of my wrist (no laughing at the back!) I think it's all going to go swimmingly.

As of today I start saving money again. Now that I have a purpose it really would be good if I was putting it away rather than taking it out again.

[12:30] Another one of those weekends where you can't really remember what happened until you sit down and connect the memorable dots. After going to the gym on Friday I toddled home and relaxed for the evening. In a fit of bacon-craving I dug a pack out of the freezer along with some potato cakes and set them to defrost. On Saturday morning I woke late, stretched a little, installed Photoshop CS2 and the 50MB of updates that've happened since it came out. Following that was bacon and potatoes cakes and more relaxing with nice company after a hectic week. By the evening I was feeling restless so popped out to the pub to see some friends for a pint and some food (saved thinking about what to make) before going home and to bed.

Sunday was all about preparation. I prepared all the vegetables for the roast I was going to cook, got all the pans ready and then waited to be picked up for the photography I was going to do. I think I mentioned it a few times before but my brain's so frazzled at the moment I really don't recall. So yes, I was asked to photograph a band for the insert shot to their upcoming album. They're not huge, or even big, just a local group who are rather good. All I really wanted was the practice at directing people for compositional work. We drove out to an industrial estate a few miles out of town and once everyone had arrived got some good shots with both (oooh, so many!) lenses in a variety of poses, not including the VW-based dune buggy that was being built in the garage unit we started off in. It was freezing cold outside so the rather attractive lead singer lady wasn't particularly keen to drop down to her basque but needs must for the same of a cover shot. Given the fact that I needed to get home, cook and eat a full roast dinner and then get to a gig we didn't have time for much, but what I got was apparently pretty good from first reports. I've yet to download the shots myself (they took a copy from the CF card there and then) but I was pretty happy with the event.

Back at home the oven went on within seconds of me getting in the door and the roast was in as soon as was physically possible. Everything else, from the roast potatoes and parsnips to the stuffing went off without a hitch and I'm proud to say it was probably my best ever meal. It's just a shame there wasn't anyone else to feed it to. Still, it means I have leftovers for tonight as well as pork sandwiches for lunch.

Minutes after polishing off a rather large helping of everything I was on my bike down to the gig where I and a friend were told to put away our "professional" cameras as they weren't allowed. Luckily the lead bouncer person wandered off and came back with permission from the tour manager that it was OK. Result! I haven't looked at those pictures either but I intend to if I don't go climbing this evening. I've also begun preliminary work on a master plan I've had in my head for about five years which may come to fuition in September...

[16:40] OK, all our /etc/passwd files are now in sync. This is something of an achievement and has left my brain in small wibbly pieces. As a result I've ordered myself two 58mm Hoya 1B Skylight filters to cover the ends of my lenses (especially my shiny 50mm chunk) to make myself feel better. I should cut back on the spending to be honest; I should be saving. No more toys or DVDs for a while. I've got tons to watch and do anyway. Also, climbing this evening.

[12:30] A most excellent time was had by all last night. As we'd decided to have an Aardman evening of wall-to-wall Wallace and Gromit Rosie and Ian brought around a selection of fine cheeses and some Jacobs crackers and we had some tea whilest waiting for the pizzas to arrive. Being able to watch The Wrong Trousers, A Close Shave and then realising that there's still tons of time to get through Curse of the Were-Rabbit before a sensible bed time was wonderful. Laughter and giggles all round.

Apparently today is Work Your Proper Hours Day, so do so. I did some work from home, but not before 08:00 and I will be having a full lunch break and going home at 16:30. Well, to the gym anyway.

[10:45] Wheee! My lens has arrived. No longer must I rely on the generosity of someone else for my 50mm shots. I really am glad I went for this one over the cheaper one. No, I still can't tell you why. The lens was waiting for me when I got in this morning at 09:00. Full kudos to T4cameras who not only delivered to an alternative address, but were cheap, cheerful and excessively helpful. I'm told that their prices are really quite good for other lenses too, but I've not been researching prices for anything else as yet. Now I look at the backpack I bought yesterday I notice that T4cameras also do that a fair bit cheaper than I paid for it here in town. Drat. Either way, I can't recommend them highly enough. Buy from them, mention my name, maybe I'll get a discount, or not.

There were no noises from the loft last night, at least that I could here. Or maybe there were, I'm so tired I don't really remember to be honest. There wasn't any climbing either, which was a shame, but I got to clean the bathroom ("yay") and catch up on some television which I've not really done in a few weeks. Also got to send a few emails and generally chill on my own for a bit. I'm enjoying the space but sometimes it gets a bit too quiet and I need some funky music to banish the silence to the corners. A hug wouldn't go amiss too now and again.

Tons of stuff to do today so I'm busy busy busy adding new complications to the build scripts for the web teams servers, fiddling with Solaris 10 on x86, getting ViewVC up and running on the version control server (SVN and CVS now) and trying not to play with my new lens.

[11:40] Sometimes things contrive against you despite your best efforts. I went to the gym last night but caused myself some harm by aggravating the bruise I caused myself while in London recently. After managing a full session I made it home and had a beer to chill out with. In a rare turn of events I went to bed before midnight but was awoken at 02:00 by scuttling noises in the loft right above the bedroom. This went on until around 04:00 when I either fell asleep or whatever was up there stopped moving. When I finally got up at around 09:00 and went up there I couldn't find any traces of entry, or signs that anything had been disturbed, chewed, masticated or otherwise touched. Odd. I'm considering buying some traps if the noises repeat. The technology is such that they won't maim or otherwise cause more than a moment's pain and will verify that there's been something up there. A poison pellet isn't necessarily going to be a one-shot deal and could mean whatever's up there crawls off somewhere to die.

Anyway, I'm still tired, getting on with work and trying to work out what comes next. Everything's just a little confusing again right now for some reason. I'm not entirely sure why. Still, life remains interesting, just not very full.

[12:35] Had a good evening yesterday. Elaine popped round to pick up some stuff and the cheque for her (now my) sofa and I left her there to say goodbye to it. I went to meet a friend for a meal and a walk around which was pleasant. This necessitated another late night due to travel, but I didn't really mind as work's flexible enough that I was able to get in a bit later. Burning the candle a bit more at each end than is strictly sensible at the moment. Still, it means life is a bit more interesting.

We're going to see how much more of this NetApp stuff we can knock out today, but it's still not going to be finished unless we really get ourselves in gear. I've got all kinds of other little tasks I need to be doing too, which aren't getting done. Frankly everything feels a bit temporary, up in the air and generally transitory at the moment. And this is extending outside of work into my life too. I need some grounding, but I'm not entirely sure how that's to be achieved.

[17:00] I've bitten the bullet and forked out for the 50mm f/1.4 lens. It's not cheap, but it's the cheapest I've found it anywhere and the place I've bought it from seems to be a nice place with good customer service. Should everything go to plan I'll have it some time on Thursday at which point I'll give them some free advertising here. Oddly I'm feeling no buyer's remorse over going for that instead of the f/1.8. This is quite gratifying. All I have to do now is borrow someone's 75-300mm L IS USM lens and I should be able to get a good range of shots of the band I'm shooting this coming weekend.

Gym time.

[11:15] Welcome back after an absolutely nuts weekend. After heading to the gym on Friday I finished the day some time on Saturday morning chatting online while watching something trashy on television. Saturday I cleaned the house for a while in the morning before heading into London by train. The person I'd hoped to meet up with was busy in the end so I just jumped on a train to Reading where Dunk picked me up. Helping him prepare the house I vacuumed every bit of carpet in the place while he did the bathrooms. Just as we were finishing he popped out to pick up Eve (his new lady) and other people began to arrive. I don't think we scared Eve too much turning up en masse, but she was quite quiet. I know I'd find us intimidating initially.

Around 19:00 we drove into Reading to a placed called Sweeney Todd's that mainly did pie ("Mmmpie"). After being shouted at by the waitress who announced which pies were available in a very loud voice we ate our pies, then some very sweet desserts while getting to know people some of haven't seen in almost twelve years in some cases. Odd how some people change in some ways and not at all in others.

From Sweeny Todd's we walked to a fairly close by bar in the Oracle (ground floor, river side, glass frontage) where it all went a bit nuts. Drinks, chatting, excessive fondling (of me, by actual women!) and more fun than I've had in I don't know how long resulted in an ending of some time around 02:15 before we even left the place. After convincing a taxi driver to do a flat rate of £12 all the way back to Dunk's tea and toast was the order of the morning. Ritu went to sleep in the kitchen leaning on the work surface and I eventually headed off to the bed I'd commandeered.

Sunday morning I was awake far too early so had a shower and pottered around until those of us who'd come back were ready to drive to the nearest pub for some really bloody excellent food. Sitting around with some of my favourite friends, eating probably the best burger in focaccia it's ever been my fortune to eat I was replete, content and chilled. Being driven almost all the way home by Andy was also a bonus. Driving with a friend and listening to the football and then standing on a station waiting twenty minutes for a train that'd only take forty minutes to get home was far better than working my way into and out of London again on a Sunday on my own, even if I do have an iPod.

I'd intended to go to the Royal Academy exhibition of China but there's still time to do that, especially if I find someone else to go with. As it was I went home, settled down and popped online to see who was about. I think getting to bed last 'night' at 02:00 was both a very good and very bad idea given Friday and Saturday nights. As a result I'm Quite Tired this morning but in fine fettle (I drank to the miniscus of drunkness over the weekend, a fine judgement if I say so myself). I've got tons to do today including bringing up an interface on the most live of live boxen here to get it connected to the NetApp's private network, figuring out why one of the tape drives in the backup system has gone into a DOWN state and arranging to meet someone in London this evening. Maybe I should move there considering how frequently I go there during the week?

Oh, I'm also buying a sofa. Not that this'll change how the lounge looks, it's the one that's already there. Must remember to write a cheque...

[13:25] Another day of monstrous amounts of awk, sed, cat, chown, xargs and editing /etc/passwd on numerous machines. We're working our way through things and I think by the end of the day we'll be a lot closer to having a grand unifed theory of everything user-related. This will be a good thing and may require me to have a drink. Luckily I'm off to London/Reading tomorrow and that will happen whether I like it or not. In the meantime I have copious amounts of music to keep me from going insane. I was hoping that someone would get back to me about going out this evening but thus far nothing. We'll see what happens.

[13:40] I'd just like to say I continue to love Bob the Angry Flower. That is all.

[17:00] I have a stinking cold. As normal it came on as a sore throat first, then changed to a runny nose and a clogged head. This isn't particularly useful as I'm doing some fairly important things as root on some fairly important servers. I've already made one huge mistake which I've been able to fix with a service restart so eveything else is getting checked and double checked before I press return.

I was up too late again last night but I can't help it. In my defence I was talking and watching US Marshals (what a barrel of dross that is) on television. I should dig out some smartish clothes for the weekend when I go to London to see Dunk and possibly meet up with a new friend for the first time. And also go climbing, hopefully. Well I can't come to London and not go to the Castle.

Just got my hair cut. It was about time as it was beginning to get a bit bushy even when brushed forwards.

[16:45] An odd kind of a day today. We've started doing the UID shifts and boy are they going to take a while. I've paid the second half of the money required to rent out the villa for my 30th birthday in April and generally spent some time working out what the hell is going on with one of the other servers that seems unable to accept web archive (.war files) for Tomcat as distributable packages any more. It's quite far out of my brain-zone but I'm at least helping the web developers get a handle on what's going on.

Last night was a quiet night of pizza, beer and staying up very, very late talking to new friends online. Incidently, I found a story on water today which makes me feel a little less silly about how I order drinks in pubs.

Due to not climbing this evening and not going to the gym last night as I was talking to people I will pop along to the gym tonight instead and then go home and have some well-earned dinner.

[12:40] Climbing last night was tiring but enjoyable. It's good to see that the newer climbers are improving, especially the six year old I was teaching for most of the evening. She's coming on in leaps and bounds (literally some times). She's very rewarding of patience and I look forward to her gaining some height so she can tackle some of the more difficult routes in time. While we talked all the way there it was nice that she went to sleep on the way home so I could get some rest too.

Today I've been helping Jenny look at her replacement monitor from Dell to see if it has backlight issues like her original, beginning the cleanup of old accounts on the Unix boxen as part of the NetApp work and installing Subversion from source on an old RedHat 9 box that the web developers refuse to migrate from.

I have plans afoot to deal with that though.

I was looking back at previous February 14th dates in the Journal this morning and thinking to myself how much things change between the years and at the same time how much some things stay the same. I won't bother quoting the French for that, you all know it already.

[16:20] I suddently appear to have developed a very dry back of the mouth/throat. I wonder what's brought that on. Have been fiddling with Subversion all afternoon and trying to find a way to install ViewVC without having to do anything with Apache.

[11:35] I am tired. I am mentally and physically really quite pooped. Aside from the travelling, partying, sleeping on floors and climbing I've done this past weekend I'm also brain tired of having to keep my head in the game and not making mistakes that'll make life less good in the future. Went to the gym on Saturday morning having missed it on Friday and had an okay session but not really anything that woke me up overmuch.

Went into town for a while on Saturday morning before heading into London. On my way north from King's Cross to Camden I happened on St Pancras' Gardens where I spent some time looking at the gravestones and inscriptions and learning about "Hardy's Tree" which is a tree (still there) that Thomas Hardy used to pile old gravestones against when the land was being retasked to make way for the Midland railway. The stones were piled so close to the tree that the bole has grown over and around it in a very odd way.

After spending time waiting for a camera shop to retrieve a second-hand lens from their warehouse (required me to go and get a coffee for half an hour and watch Ireland get creamed by France) which I didn't buy in the end, I met up with Keith and some other people for drinks in a pub before heading to Guildford to see Donna and Jon and Co. Sleeping the night on the floor isn't something I've done in a while and sharing a room with Keith (and his nine distinct snoring types) wasn't particularly restful either. Excellent evening though. Sunday morning we watched Trek and played some DOA4 on the XBox 360 before I wandered into town on the train to go climbing with friends. That pretty much wiped me out (I didn't really climb very well anyway) and I felt drained by the end. Going for food at Tokyo Diner revitalised me a bit, but the strain of the weekend and keeping my head in the game has taken its toll quite a bit. I could do with a big warm hug.

Today is about getting Subversion to work (installation, configuration, user administration, repository configuration and firewall rules) and trying to stay awake and stuff. I'm thinking of climbing this evening, if only to do some bouldering, work on my technique and clear my head a bit. I feel like burning the candle at both ends for a while. Get a bit more light in my life.

No new photos, sorry.

[17:30] Had a bundle of fun this afternoon. Probably should have done a bit more work too. It's good when you get to do something you're skilled at and people appreciate your time and effort. Still, climbing now.

[16:45] Happy birthday to Elaine today! Had a good time last night watching DVDs with friends and went via a nice cake shop on the way home to buy a cake on the offchance that she might come over. Luckily I wasn't required to eat the entire thing myself as she did. I was low on candles though so had to make do with representing her age in binary instead. Nice to have the opportunity to do something fun for her anyway.

Today I've been documenting the beginnings of my NetApp configurations so that those who follow me (probably me again in a few months having forgotten everything) will be able to decypher the mystic incantations uttered over it to make it more secure.

Off to the shops in a bit and then hopefully to the gym. Probably a quiet night in for once. If you're having fun out there tonight, be careful. Hope to have a fun weekend out and about. May have new photos on Monday.

[18:20] I've had an entire day of looking at matricies of UIDs and GIDs to work out which ones to change and what kind of a job it's going to be with regard to file owenership changes. My brain now consists mostly of numbers. I've had an okay day otherwise, put up some pictures of my time in Wales and tried to keep my head together. I'm so glad I don't get headaches otherwise I'd be curled up in bed about now.

Things're a bit off-balance for me at the moment but I'm having fun and being far more chilled than I've ever been before, which is all good. I'm talking to some new and interesting people, getting on and doing new things which are taking up my spare time (always good). Can't hang around trying the same old things all the time and there's always hope that tomorrow'll bring even more fun my way, even as new angle on an old topic. That hope is something I intend to remain true to until I'm proven otherwise. I doubt it'll happen any time soon as I can't see myself slowing down in the near future. I know what I'm capable of, it's just a case of keeping getting out there and doing it and seeing what comes along. That's what makes life more exciting, pleasant and fun. That and making sure those I care about are happy too, hopefully at the same time!

[09:30] All kinds of things to do today. Lots of email to deal with, jobs to do, things to get in town at lunch time. It's going to be a full day. Hopefully there'll be climbing this evening. I wonder why the blackout blinds are down in the office...

[16:40] Went into town at lunch time to do some errands, including trying to find out why my revised council tax bill with refunds and discounts hadn't come through. Turns out it should have turned up a few days ago. That doesn't matter though as the money in/money out balances haven't swung correctly yet and the council still thinks my ex housemate should be getting half of the leftover money. Hopefully that'll be sorted tomorrow lunch time. Again.

Also paid in a cheque and picked up some new climbing shoes with the very lovely collection of Open Air vouchers I was nicely given for Christmas. I'm not entirely sure this pair of the same model size 8.5 shoes is the same as the pair of same model size 8.5 shoes I currently have, but then again my old ones fit like gloves (old, comfortable, like a second skin gloves) and these are new. I'll try them on tonight and if I'm still happy I'll take them to the wall and invalidate my ability to take them back.

Also made a few decisions over the last few days which should preclude me doing anything overly stupid here and there any more.

Oh, today I have mostly been getting to grips with our NetApp 270 and locking it down (PCNFS, I ask you!) so it's more secure than out of the box. I missed the install but this is just as good as I'm getting to go through everything looking for holes. Climbing in a few hours.

[14:25] Guess who's been tasked with going through all the machines' passwd and group files looking for all the users and groups therein to draw up a plan for UID and GID consolidation so that when we start copying stuff to and from the NetApp we don't get in a terrible migrating-permissions muddle? Yup, you guessed it. Unless you've ever had to do it yourself you'll have no idea just how mind-numbingly difficult it can be. I'm looking forward to turning my brain off in about 2.5 hours and doing something less boring instead.

Last night was excellent. Climbing in London, more Leffe (by the half pint) in the pub, some good food, plenty of fresh air even though the place was smokey and a train home that was on time. I'm absolutely cream-crackered now but really pleased with the week thus far with just a few exceptions. Hopefully the weekend will be good too and I'll be back next week with more of the same, or something. For now it's back to UID/GID tidying and the James Taylor Quartet. Take it away gentlemen!

[17:00] I've finished the Spreadsheets of Doom. Don't ask me how I managed to do it without going completely batshit loopy. The columns they dance before my eyes with a rhumba of their own devising. I really need to get the flock out of here and do something that doesn't require thinking quite so much. The tally of users and groups is somewhat high and we're in a whole heap 'o trouble which means come Monday someone's going to have to be running some fairly in-depth finds to work out what files are going to need changing ownership. That'll be fun. I'm off, have a lovely weekend.

[10:35] OK first off, two things have happened consecutively to the DNS stuff associated with which have caused it to be a little hard for some people to get to. Frankly, as DNS updates propagate it's going to disappear and appear for pretty much everyone. Sorry about that. As I don't imagine many people read the journal or anything much else on the actual site it won't affect many people, but still.

Climbing last night was OK. I didn't get to use my rope and wasn't really on top of my game to be honest. Some OK climbs, nothing spectacular. Hopefully everyone else had an excellent time. Unfortunately on leaving the wall we found that the back of one of the foglight clusters on the Saab had somehow vanished and the power cable had been dragging on the ground for we don't know how long. Not sure how that happened. Had a kebab with everyone back at my place and then went to bed after making sure everyone got home safely.

I'm quite tired but still going to go to London to climb again tonight because I can. I don't think I'll keep up climbing three times a week for monetary reasons if nothing else, plus I'd like people to still come around on Thursdays to fill the house with conversation and humour, and the smell of pizza.

[16:20] An afternoon of getting RHEL4 to play nicely with all the extra software I install post Kickstart. I've got most of it working but there are some real inconsistencies between 3 and 4 which are biting hard. Stupid thing.

[10:45] February already. It's as if life is accelerating as I go through it. Luckily I'm not on the brain-draining PeopleSoft course I was on yesterday so I get to do some work on RHEL 4 web servers and doing some Resin (Java servlet thingy) database connection state analysis. Frankly a bit more interesting that what I was doing before. Hoping to get something productive done today so I really feel like climbing this evening. Must remember to bring my rope so I can do some leading.