[15:55] Last night was good. More of a boys' night in to be honest. Me, Shaun,
Cormac and Ian. The film was good and we got to introduce Shaun to Robot
Chicken, which is always an experience to observe. I just wish Shaun'd been a
bit more vociferious about us going for Chinese rather than pizza. Not that I
mind too much as I've just had a wonderful reheated Domino's Meateor for lunch
and there'll be some more waiting for me this evening when I get back from the
gym. Don't worry I'm eating fruit and vegetables too. An apple for lunch and
some carrots this evening. I know you were worried. It's OK.
In other news it turns out that a friend/coworker has been deported. A bit of a
shock to say the least but I don't think they'd sorted out getting their work
visa renewed or even getting their passport sorted after they lost their last
one. Basically they'd left this country to go to a work thing in Holland, and
then on the way back were refused entry. This required them to return to
Holland where they were denied entry too. Their only recourse was to fly home.
Nuts! Still, this is the way of things when you don't sort stuff like that out
In other, other news I had a brief chat via Skype, which is always fabulous and
a smashing thing and leaves me feeling cheerful. I also discovered that there
isn't much in the way of power monitoring kit which comes with client
installable agents. This is a bit poo. Finally I went for my Friday run with
the networks guy and really, really pushed myself to catch up with him when he
did the short version (I continued on and did the long route). I think I might
have actually killed myself... but I came back to life fairly rapidly and felt
wonderful. All hail endorphins given they're the only high I'm achieving at the
moment. All I need to do now is gym this evening and rowing tomorrow morning
and... well I'll have the rest of the weekend free for more exercise. That and
washing clothes, vacuuming the house and generally doing whatever it is you do
on weekends when you don't have or aren't in company.
I should get on and do some work. Have a lovely weekend doing whatever. Why not
let me know what you're doing. That might be interesting. Or it might not.
We'll never know unless you say something.
[16:30] Today hasn't been quite as exciting as yesterday. Admittedly this
probably has something to do with staying up late last night after we all got
back from climbing (where I did brilliantly, I must say) to finish the book I
was reading. The climbing was excellent. Cormac came, which was good and as
a result I felt a little more inspired to push myself. Not that he and I did
much climbing together as we were helping Helen push herself way past the
level she was used to. I ended up leaving them to it for the last half an
hour or so and borrowing Ian to do some gnarly overhangs until I couldn't hold
onto my chalkball, let alone a bolt-on. Wonderful feeling to be so stretched
and pumped again. Perhaps I'll go again on Friday, or maybe on Sunday in
London. Probably not the latter as I've got lots of housework to do, but you
Hmmm, what else? Oh yes, late night lead to tiredness this morning and stuff,
luckily I didn't need to be in work early so that wasn't so bad. Today I've
been trying to find something to supplement our MGE UPS so that if the power
goes something will actually tell the servers to shut down (the management
card in it being utter crap if you don't reset it now and again). No joy as
I think I may just go home and put masses of washing on and make the house
nice and warm for people coming over this evening. Still feeling a bit
loose-endy at the moment. I'm sure it'll pass.
[17:00] I managed to get out of bed at the right time this morning. Which was
a good start. I then further improved my day and someone else's by solving a
niggly little problem with a statistical package called SPSS. Not only did we
get an ISO burnt to CD such that an installation could be done (last night)
but I worked out what was wrong with the authorization code and so forth and
was able to pass on instructions such that an install (two) got done, all
without actually being in front of the computer. Yay for teamwork. I have to
admit it was nice to chat too, while trying to troubleshoot the issues we were
After that it was time to reply to some emails, go for my first run since
getting back and completely miss a brownout which took down a few people's
workstations (not mine, it's on a UPS). Anyway, yes, I forgot to mention that
I went to the gym last night too. First time in a little while. It was very
hard but I was pleased to see that being in America for a week hadn't
increased my weight. In fact, amazingly, I weighed less than when I left!
Maybe it was muscle mass going, rather than fat. I don't know. We'll soon
see how things work out over the next few weeks. I'm off climbing this
evening which should be intresting given the mixed quality of my climbing in
Boston. I should probably head off nowish and get some things copied to USB
hard drive for Cormac as he's giving me a lift tonight. Oh, and I should
probably give him his screwgates too, if he pays me the money for them...
[17:00] Maybe I was a tad tireder than I thought. I put in a full day's worth
of work yesterday (stayed a bit late for having arrived late from the plane)
and went home and stayed up until some time around tennish so as to try and
get my body clock back into the UK spirit of things. However when I awoke
today to the sound of the telephone I assumed it was an early morning call to
do with the power outage we had in town last night and someone needed me in
early to get things sorted before the working day began properly. No, it was
my line manager wondering whether I'd fallen under a bus considering it was
pretty much midday and usually weekday mornings were when people were in work
doing their jobs.
Must have slept through my alarm. First time that's happened. By 12:30 I was
in the office and basking in the comments of my coworkers, working through
'lunch' and discovering that our MGE UPS management card is a pile-o-crap.
Other than that I've been happy to note that the RHEL4 DomU xen thingy seems
to work as expected. Which is nice. I'm off to the gym this evening and then
home to try and get a more sensible amount of sleep. It's a bit dull at home
at the moment and I just don't want to be there. Probably just post-holiday
glums. I'll be right soon enough.
[17:35] Hallo there. I'm back. Hope all has been well while I've been away.
Let me tell you about my trip. Or at least the bits which stick in my mind in
the first instance. So... first off... I missed my flight out. Yup, I was
that annoying person who delays the flight. I don't know what happened! I
got up on time, got to the station on time, got to London on time, got the
Tube on time and got to Heathrow on time. I also got through the very
thorough security with tons of time to spare and then sat down in the
departure lounge with my book to wait for my gate to open. And then all I
remember is running the half-mile or so to the gate, hammering on the
mag-locked door and being admitted by some airport staff who demanded to know
where I'd been. I made it halfway down the gangway to the aircraft before
someone shouted that my bag was already off the 'plane. I stopped. After
running another half a mile to the transfers desk I managed to convince the
desk clerk to get me onto the next flight (seven hours later) although I still
had to pay 200 dollars for my stupidity. I honestly have no idea why I didn't
hear any calls for me. I'm pretty sure they were mispronouncing my name. As
it was it wasn't much of a problem, and might even have been more helpful for
Jenny that I arrived later anyway.
After that the whole trip went a lot more swimmingly. Over the weekend and
the Monday we walked around quite a bit of Boston, seeing places like Harvard,
MIT, typical brownstone architecture and the high-rise districts... although
Jenny's cold which arrived when I did and various discussed issues precluded
all the strenuous activities we might have liked to have engaged in. While
she tried to shake her illness on Monday I took a cycle ride and got horribly
lost in Somerville and came back slightly chastened. Still, we did manage to
have a damned good climbing session on Monday evening. Tuesday, while Jenny
was in work, I walked across the middle of Boston and past Fenway Park until I
found the very cheap outdoor shop we'd been discussing and, once she'd skived
the afternoon off work (like everyone else who was going home for
Thanksgiving), we spent a lot of money (although roughly half what we'd have
spent in the UK) on windproof fleeces, Gore-Tex shoes and boots and various
other things like wiregates for Cormac, bar ends for my bike and base layers
and waterproofs. Lots and lots of really cool stuff anyway. Suitably loaded
up we headed for home before getting dressed up in our new gear to brave the
rather cold Boston weather. It's chilly over there at the moment and
will only get colder apparently!
Rather than hire a car we decided to actually fly to Cape Cod for Thanksgiving
and duly journeyed to Boston Logan airport on Wednesday morning, but via the
New England Aquarium where we got to see lots of penguins and fish (both very
important). The flight from Boston was in a Cessna 402 (so only about eight
people) and in thick fog, which didn't bode well for the weather while we were
there. However once we'd been driven to the hotel we were staying at and
found the room to our liking, the extra amenities (cheese and wine social
every day, free DVD rental from an extensive library, free access to the spa)
we figured it wouldn't matter too much if the weather stayed bad. We spent
the early evening looking around Provincetown before heading back in to read
and enjoy the room. Thursday's weather was incredible. Cold, windy, clear
and bright. We walked out across the breakwater and across the "Long Point"
sands and all the way around the edge. There's few things quite so tiring as
walking a few miles on sand but it was brilliant and something I'll remember
for a long time. After coming back and recovering with a trip to the spa
(mineral hot tub, sauna, steam room) we wandered out to find the place Jenny
and the hotel had together managed to book for us to eat for Thanksgiving (an
all you can eat buffet in a fairly cheesy diner) so that was fab too. Friday
was a chance to do some more superb walking and we headed out to the other
side of the Cape to follow the cycle route (no cycles to hire out of season)
all the way to the Atlantic coast. The wind was ferocious and it was a damned
good idea that we'd brought gloves and hats and excellent new outdoor
clothing. Being in the beech forest (although I'm pretty sure much of it was
oak) helped filter the wind much of the time too. Saturday was spent
traveling back to Boston and dithering about what to do before we got invited
to share a meal with Jenny's landlady, her live-in cousin and their friends.
Whilest waiting for the dinner to be prepared Jenny and I managed to
completely trash her SPSS 12.0(.1) install and I've been unable to track down
installation media for it since I've come home. I fully intend to get a
handle on it before too long. If anyone has the media, the license is legal
and valid, I only need an .iso of the CD...
My last day was just a wonderful as all the others, if not more so here and
there. Unlike the other days when there'd been diner breakfasts or brunches,
we at at home before taking two bikes out and north to the Middlesex Fells,
an area of wonderful forest and so forth barely half an hour from Jenny's
doorstep. A lovely long walk (yes, I like walking, OK?) followed by packing,
a shower and some very pleasant relaxation prepared me for my leave-taking and
coming back to the UK. At the airport Jenny and I said our (mostly) cheerful
goodbyes and I headed through the security.
The flight home was overnight, uneventful and almost allowed me to have some
real sleep. The Tube ride in rush hour, the change to the Circle, the wait
at Liverpool Street and the train home were dull and all too short to allow me
a proper doze. At the station I did my good deed for the day by giving a girl
who was having trouble making change for her bus ticket a 50p piece. She was
very grateful but I probably did it out of a desire to collapse into a seat
sooner than out of raw generosity. As soon as I got home I packed and came
to work where I've been catching up on email and discovering that RedHat have
just started doing a RHEL4-based kernel in a Xen DomU version which saves a
few bits of bacon I'd forgotten I'd put in the pan before I left. I think I'm
going to go home now, sort out my photos, watch some television and try to
stay away until a sensible hour before crashing out for the night. It'll be
odd to be back in my own bed tonight.
I think that's everything.
[16:15] Climbing was crap last night. Really bad. Everyone was tired and
annoyed and really not in the mood. I don't think we were actually there for
more than about an hour and a bit. I know I got home in high dudgeon, which
wasn't helped by a few emails I had. Luckily after a shower, a chat and some
food I went to bed in a better frame of mind.
This morning I spent a good few hours writing and responding to emails as well
as discovering exactly how to resize a Xen disk image. I'm going to pepper
this entry with juicy Googlesnacks so that it's easy to find for other people
as well as me. So, yeah, Xen, block device, monkeys, resize2fs, losetup,
cheese, xm create, xm destroy, penguins. That ought to do it. Anyway,
herewith my current method for resizing the root partition of a
standardly laid out filesystem (/boot, /, swap) contained with a file (with no
LVM or anything else weird):
# dd if=/dev/zero of=<'disk' image> bs=1 count=1 seek=<new size>G conv=notrunc
(new size should be bigger than the current size of the 'disk' image)
parted <'disk' image>
rm 3 (the swap partition (3))
# fdisk <'disk' image> -ul
(Find the "Start" sector value for / filesystem (partition 2))
# losetup /dev/loop0 -o <sector value*512> <'disk' image>
# fsck -f /dev/loop0
# losetup -d /dev/loop0
# losetup /dev/loop0 <'disk' image>
(creates device node for entire block device)
# fdisk /dev/loop0
(Make note of the number of cylinders)
# losetup -d /dev/loop0
# fdisk -u <'disk' image>
(Go into "expert" menu
Set cylinders to noted cylinder count
Delete the / partition (partition 2)
Recreate partition 2 with the same partition number and start sector value
and as large as you need leaving space for the swap partition on the end
Create swap partition (partition 3)
Write partition table
Quit (ignore warning))
# xm create -c <image config file>
(VM will fail to boot with an fsck error
Make note of fsck physical block size error value)
# xm destroy <image name>
# losetup /dev/loop0 -o <sector value*512> <'disk' image>
# fsck -fy /dev/loop0
# resize2fs /dev/loop0 <physical size error block value>
# fsck -fy /dev/loop0
# losetup -d /dev/loop0
# xm create -c <image>
(VM should now boot correctly!)
If you can streamline this do let me know. If it's so much line noise then
don't worry, it was to me too, and I'm supposed to know all this stuff. Still
after about nine hours of constant puzzling it all out I'm pretty sure I know
what's happening but haven't really had time to find a smarter way of doing
things. Suffice it to say as soon as I come back from being away next week
(well, I actually leave tomorrow morning at some unhealthy hour of the am) I'm
going to see if there's a much easier way of doing it. I wonder if Xen
Enterprise has all this stuff wrapped up in a neat way. If nothing else I may
look at simplifying the partitioning system for VMs even more into one
monolith partition with no /boot as a separate entity and also moving
the swap partition out to a separate 'device' (in reality another file within
Dom0 which is refered to within the Xen configuration file for the VM as
another disk. In other words:
disk = [ 'tap:aio:/.../server-disk,xvda,w', ]
disk = [ 'tap:aio:/.../server-swapdisk,xvdb,w', ]
Or something like that.
Anyway, I think that's about it for today, and indeed this week and next.
I've made a ton of progress on all kinds of things, seem to have sorted out
some problematic issues in my personal life and found that there could be some
moderately fun things happening in the next few months both in and out of
work. But if I've learned anything it's that you never expect things to
happen, it's more that they will if they're going to and usually there's not
much you can do other than gently influence things a little and go with the
And on that note, I bid you adieu until a week on Monday.
[17:35] Aside from a run in the freezing cold today (which was excellent),
I've been really getting to know how partitions work in an effort to try and
be able to resize Xen disk images. I got rid of LVM and went for normal
partitioning but that still wasn't good enough. Suffice it to say tomorrow
I'm going to try and build some images with one monolithic partition and
either include swap in the disk image as a file (within a file, oddly) or as
a separate file within Dom0 and reference it in the Xen configuration for a
VM. I know this means less than nothing to most people but talking it out
means I might actually remember this stuff tomorrow.
Oh, my line manager's just come up with something else that might work. I'll
try that tomorrow as right now I have brain-fry. It's kinda nice as I've not
had it in a while, but it's always annoying not to be able to solve something
even after you've been really clever (althought obviously not clever
Must go, I'm climbing tonight. Wicked.
[16:25] Gah, why is it only Tuesday? It feels later in the week, but
it isn't! That's so not right. Anyway, I popped into town before work this
morning to pick up some stuff and then headed in. The weather's finally cold
enough that other cyclists are starting to question my sanity again. Also the
rather attractive females in reception this morning waiting for their course
to start couldn't help staring. Obviously I'd prefer it if they were
looking at my face, and with some kind of appreciation, rather than the vague
horror my bare legs seem to usually elicit when it's cold outside. Not that
don't garner a watered down version of same in the summer months anyway...
Today I have been mainly rebuilding Xen virtual machines with much more basic
partitioning structures (i.e. no LVM) so that they're more easily fiddled
about with if we want to make the 'hard drive' larger with a swift bit of 'dd'
action. Also I popped into town with the Networks guy to drop off some new
switches for some early morning work I'll be doing tomorrow. My first bit of
decent network work in years. Shame it's not anything tremendously
interesting but at least it's more exciting that sitting down for the whole
day. Although tomorrow is a running day, and a climbing day too.
Right now I'm going to learn about Checkpoint FW-1 a bit and then head off to
the gym for the evening. Should be a fun evening. If nothing else I've got
the other imperial assload of kedgeree to eat tonight after I made double the
amount I thought I was going to last night. Aside from a few incidents with
underboiled eggs and white sauce mixing (which turned out very well in the
end) it looks like I've got a second dose of scrumptiousness tonight after my
I think that's it.
[17:05] So, here we are again. Another Monday. But, let's rewind back to
Friday night. Friday night was all about gym and it being really rather good.
It's a brilliant feeling when I'm really in the groove as it were and
everything's working and I come out of the place feeling tired but hugely
energised. Which was lucky as Saturday morning is rowing time! This was a
much better session than last week. Not only were there a large load of new
people who got to go on the ergos (meaning my group were definitely out on the
water) but as there were five men I got to go in a single scull for the first
time while everyone else went in the quad. Single sculls are even more
unstable than the kayaks I used to race (mostly because of your height above
the water). That coupled with my inexperience, the wind and having two oars
instead of a two-bladed paddle meant that while I didn't embarrass myself I
wasn't as happy with my performance as I would have liked. My coach for the
morning seemed satisfied though, which was nice.
I left rowing feeling good and spent the remainder of the afternoon doing
housey things and receiving my curtain rail from Teresa (bent the right way
this time!) in preparation for cutting a few bits out of the coving around the
stairs and mounting it. I have no idea when the curtain will be done by but
given the requirement for two people to put up the rail I'm hoping to recruit
Shaun to pop around one evening the week after next to give me a hand with a
drill and/or screwdriver. I'm just a smidgen worried that it's going to be
difficult to attach it to the ceiling given the location of the stuff the
plasterboard is attached to. Still, we'll see.
Oh yes, where was I? Saturday. Yes, Saturday evening I was dancing and
getting very hot and stuff at a ceilidh. Although I took a break it ended up
being in the region of two hours of dancing with lots of drink in between.
Even though I wasn't imbibing alcohol I was still rather shattered by around
23:00 and escorted Cat home by bicycle before collapsing into bed. I think
I'd mentioned going climbing on Sunday? Well I didn't. Although I woke up in
plenty of time to make the very early start the fact that I've been waking
early for the last few days meant that I really wasn't in the mood for a long
car journey. Instead I tried to stay in bed for a little longer, read a large
chunk of the book I'm on at the moment and then finally gave up to insistent
demands to get out of bed. While the sun was rising I jumped on my bike with
my camera and other essentials and tried to capture some of the fading, but
still brilliant, colours of the UK in autumn. With some help I think I was
successful in proving that it's just as nice as other places in the world for
this time of year.
After that, some breakfast and later on some lunch kept me from folding in
half. I've been famished this last month or so, I think it must be my
metabolism keeping up with my increased activity. Anyway, I cycled across
town in the rapidly brightening weather to meet Cormac and then fly some big
powerkites (and my smaller, easier to transport one) in some lovely high
winds. For the very first time I pulled on a kiting harness and got some good
air time too, which was really bloody excellent. Eventually though the cloud
rolled in, the temperature dropped and the winds picked up to slightly more
dangerous levels. This meant we packed up and went home for hot tea and a sit
down. After a bit of a rest I went home and found I had zero enthusiasm for
cooking so for the first time in a long time I went with a Chinese delivery.
Being only one person the people weren't particularly interested in delivering
to me but I managed to convince them that a £1 would give them a bit of
a profit on the venture. I'm pretty sure I went to bed later on, given that I
woke up there this morning. I think it's something to do with how much I'm
doing at the moment.
So today I woke up feeling pretty much on top of the world, as it goes. Not
perfect, but close to. Popping into work this morning was lovely given the
temperature was fairly close to zero. We figured out why a certain web server
wasn't running (oops, my fault) and did some other things. It wasn't until
lunch time that I realised I didn't have my towel with me to use after my run
so I modified my run to take me home and back again, which turned out to be
the same distance. Handy. The weather here is amazing; brilliant blue skies,
freezing temperatures and little to no wind. Pretty much perfect for running
in. This afternoon I've mainly be doing favours for other people and thinking
about things I need to get done before Friday. I'm not sure what else there
is I need to do to be honest!
[16:40] Right, that ought to do it. I'm done for the week. What can I tell
Had the best lunchtime run in a while (fabulous blue skies, 6km of
uninterrupted quiet to let my brain untangle), lunch tasted especially fine.
My shower was hot and cleansing and nothing went wrong while I was away from
my desk. Not that anything really went wrong when I was at my desk either,
apart from some power work in town which is making one of our UPSen go crazy
This weekend I hope to go rowing, get my hair cut, attend a ceilidh, go
climbing outdoors, sleep. Tonight starts with going to the gym.
In the vein of someone else recently:
Things I like about the UK: We have lots of types of cheese. In the
main the population doesn't appear to be supporting of stupidity in its
leaders. You can cycle across the country in a week, even if you're taking
your time. We have lots of imaginative words for things, like cowpats. Our
currency doesn't look like monopoly money (or be worth roughly the same).
Things I think might be good about the US: The landscape is simply
incredible. Alaska. Diner breakfasts. The existence of Moose.
That is all.
[17:30] I woke this morning with a slowly subsiding feeling of depression. I
managed to alleviate it by concentrating on the thoughts and actions I needed
to carry out today, and got on with life. Last night I popped over to see
Shaun and Linda and Thomas (he's growing well now, aged 4) for dinner. The
food, as usual, was lovely and I had ample opportunity to discuss the burning
issues of the day with both of my lovely hosts (three if you count young
Thomas) while indulging my latent and long-buried passion for building things
out of Lego. Cycling home in the cold, crisp, cloudless, pitch dark on a
lovely bike with a high-visibility tabard and good lights was enjoyable, but
even that couldn't shake a growing feeling of disquiet with nothing really to
pin it on. Sometimes my life is very strange. I went to bed in moderately
high dudgeon but very glad about the evening's activities and hopeful I hadn't
hogged the evening's conversation by talking too much!
Although today hasn't been what I could claim as the most productive of my
career to date I'm pretty certain I have achieved something.
Probably the highlight has been getting the new versions of RHEL 5 from RedHat
(hurrah for finally doing DVD ISOs!) and intergrating them into the Kickstart
area. Oddly since I rebooted my workstation USB sticks don't automount any
more. This is probably due to most of the /dev entries having vanished.
Anyway, that and some other minor stuff seems to have taken up most of my day.
Lunch at my desk, thinking about good things which might be happening soon.
Not a great day, not the worst either. And there's still Red Dwarf to look
forward to when I get home (it being Thursday).
And finally a message for our friends in Bostonia. "Agent P requires fish."
That is all.
[15:10] Busy day, done lots. Mostly arranging email things and fixing
versions of perl and PHP. All good fun. The run was good as today is my push
day. After doing a fabulous gym session last night I'm totally shattered now
and there's still tons of cycling to and from town, to Shaun and Linda's for
dinner this evening and then getting home again. Still, keeps me fit.
Some of those emails were very very long. My fingers almost hurt. Better go.
Hope everyone's having a good day doing what they're doing. I feel like I've
been stretched in about five different directions. No climbing tonight, which
is probably a Good Thing.
[17:00] After not working out where I wanted to go last night (stay in or go
out to see the fireworks) I was convinced to come out at the last moment and
meet Keith. With a few others we watched the fireworks before heading to a
restuaranty-type deal for some food. The explosions and things were pretty
good, but it was cold and wet and someone had a reasonable attempt at trying
to pickpocket an empty pocket as I was walking to the restaurant. No harn
done and he was off on his toes before I could be bothered to do anything.
Had he stolen something I guess I would have "given chase" as the saying goes.
I left everyone else just before ten so I could be home in time to get a
reasonable night's sleep for this morning's work. As it was I woke at 05:00
anyway (I always do when I'm feeling a bit stressed about things). In work by
06:20 or so I had a last little check over my action plan before beginning it
on the dot of 06:47 when someone else came in. Both strands of machine
reboots seemed to go for the most part flawlessly. Only a few scripts written
by the DBAs didn't work as advertised and they were such that we were able to
run the right bits by hand anyway. Only two of the machines wanted to do
fscks (file system checks to make sure everything was OK with how things were
arranged on the hard drives) but otherwise... yeah, pretty good. That was all
done by around about 08:00 or just before so we were able to settle in to the
day's work without much muss or fuss.
Today's work was installing the new office member's linux workstation, eating
a few too many sweets (we still have a massive bucket of leftover Halloween
sweets which children never got from our team leader) and getting a more
recent version of PHP and PEAR installed on two of our database servers.
Please, don't ask me why this is case but it is. Rest assured I've done my
damnedest to lock it down so tightly it squeaks when you even ask it
for its settings. Happily we're behind enough other protection that
everything should be fire. Retrofitting a PHP of that ilk to RHEL4 certain
Given how long I've been up and at work it already feels like something like
seven in the evening. It's not though and I've still got a gym trip to do.
I'm really enjoying the gym at the moment. It's a really good way to relax
after a day of work and/or frustration. I'm also happy I got to have a few
emails with friends in distance places. I reckon I should get out of here
while the going's good and not return until tomorrow. Have a good remainder
of the day wherever you are.
[16:00] Rowing on the weekend was poo. We were in a mixed boat (males and
females) and I was at bow for the first time. One person was better than me,
the other two were far far worse. Following the person at stroke was
extremely difficult. We never got to full slide on the seats and I caught a
lot of crabs. This I'll put down to 20% my technique not being great yet and
80% horribly wobbly boat caused by the people at three and stroke. I came
home having not raised a sweat, completely unexercised and generally a bit
peeved. Lunch and a shower helped and then I settled down to getting some
housework done. Andy arrived later than we'd planned due to difficulties
elsewhere so I dashed around Tesco as quickly as I could so we didn't waste
the remainder of the day in a supermarket. Instead we wasted it in the local
Chinese, which appeared to be having its busiest ever evening in the history
of forever. Aside from waiting ten minutes to get to order, getting the food
took about another thirty-five minutes. We spent the remainder of the night
watching some fun DVDage and drinking beer.
Sunday morning was all about watching Robot Chicken and eating bacon and
potato cakes. I've developed a real taste for these non-potato, non-cake
things and try to get the decent Warburton ones whenever I can. Anyway, once
Andy had departed with a laptop full of televisual delight I settled in to not
do anything energetic for the day. This, of course, was a bad idea and before
an hour was up got up to do something. What I ended up doing consisted of
cleaning the kitchen, putting on some washing and cleaning the bathroom. Only
once I'd done that was I able to sit down. Although I did then go out for a
cycle ride for an hour or so.
Today I've been scheduling all the things I need to do for my (and everyone
else in the office's) early start tomorrow. I'm rebooting nineteen servers,
many of which are live/production. This means I'll be in before 07:00, again
and it'll be a rather interesting two hours or so. If nothing goes
wrong I'll be amazed. Anything that requires me to spend the morning writing
the action plan has got to have something go amiss somewhere. Other than that
I've been for my Monday run (lovely and cool outside, even got to deliver
Cormac's pedals en route) and sent one of the three big emails I was due to
try and do today. I've got an hour. I'll see if I can do at least one more
before I go.
Tonight is Guy Fawkes (Bonfire/Fireworks) Night. A year ago today I wasn't
outside watching the fireworks, I was indoors having one of the best evenings
of my life. It's funny how it seems like barely any time ago. I wonder where
I'll be a year again from now.
[16:40] Busy day! Most of the morning has been spent working out which
machines are due a reboot as they haven't had a chance to start running on a
newer kernel in a little while. Cue me creating some wicked lists of machines
with kernel levels, whose they are and what they do and when we can reboot
them. Happily they're all up to date with regard to patches and things so it
really is simply a case of typing "reboot" when there's an appropriate bit of
Last night a few of us went for a curry. We'd had the intention of watching a
DVD on a laptop in the curry house but unfortunately the seating we were given
wasn't really conducive to a) us all seeing it and b) not disrupting the
dining of other patrons. We retired to my house afterwards to have a late
night watching another entire series of Red Dwarf. This meant I was beginning
to drop off towards the end of the final episode, but still managed to soldier
through and make a nice (but probably unnecessary) phonecall before
going to bed. For some reason my brain is saying I went to the dentist this
morning. I didn't, that was yesterday wasn't it?
So yes, after a shortened run at lunch time (so I and my running partner could
make it back in time to shower and stuff) everyone from Windows and Unix
Support headed down to the pub to 'thank' one of my team for writing a front
end for the data from the old helpdesk system. The company who make the
system (whose newer system we're in the process of buying) wanted
£3.5K to provide us with something with read-only access to the data.
Our team member wrote something in under two weeks to do the same thing, and
it's bespoke so exactly like we'd want it. That amused us anyway, when they
gave us a quote (eventually, after we'd given up and had this guy do the
I'm off to the gym now, then home to meet Joel who's coming to pick up a few
servers from me. After that I'll be hanging around, probably watching some
television before bed. Saturday morning is rowing (I may be actually
joining the club for real), possibly in doubles rather than a quad.
Saturday afternoon and evening Andy's coming to see me on the way to see his
folks. He goes on Sunday morning, post obligatory bacon. I don't know what
I'll do with the rest of Sunday. Maybe make some calls, talk to nice people
about things and stuff and look forward to this and that. Also, housework,
washing, shopping for food and bike maintenance type things. Given how I'm
feeling at the moment I imagine there'll be something vigorous and active too!
[16:05] Wow, November. How the hell did that happen? I mean, I don't
mind that it's November; there could be some good things happening
this month, but time does seem to have this habit of speeding up, slowing
down and curving back on itself in in an extremely non-linear and confusing
way sometimes. If I wasn't so sure that there wasn't currently any way to
traverse the two dimensions of time (see this month's New Scientist) other
than how we do by default I'd swear I was Sam Beckett. Not that I'm currently
putting right anything that went particularly wrong, but I do try where I see
Speaking of putting right (but failing). I tried to get Jenny's laptop
talking to her landlady's wireless kit last night. Despite an hour of work,
and finding a similar spec laptop to hers to bring home to use as a mirror for
what she was doing, I was unable to help. Which, considering yesterday's
amount of exercise (flat out run and climbing) left me feeling a bit dejected
when I went to bed. Also quite tired.
Still, a dentist appointment this morning meant I didn't have to be up early
for once so I got to sleep in a while. Paying £30 for twelve minutes in
a chair, only to be told that aside from having very healthy teeth a trip to
the hygenist (for a further £60) might be a plan for a clean and scale
rather than the dentist doing it, wasn't a particularly brilliant start to the
day though. Getting to work pretty much only half an hour later than the
beginning of the recognised working day wasn't so bad though. It enabled me
to get in on a discussion that culminated in the impression that an awful lot
of new and interesting things could be happening here in the next two years or
so... More on that, if I stay here that long, when it happens.
More work on stuff and things today, found some new (to me) Hybrid DJ sets on
the web so have something new to listen to when
working/coding/erging/gymming/cycling about the place, which is nice. There's
a curry to attend tonight at which we will apparently try to watch Red Dwarf
on DVD on someone's laptop. I remain skeptical we won't be thrown out...