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August's Journal
October's Journal

[15:00] I've been working on stuff and things today. Helping with some application development (a change management system, did I mention that before?) and generally doing this and that. Kind of a bitty day really. I saw Deathproof last night with some of the regular Thursday crowd and I have to say it was the most oddly-paced film I've seen in a long time. Also suffering from Tarantino's penchant for ultraviolence mixed with rambling dialogues. Still, better than a night in on my own.

I should really head off now to be honest. I have a train to catch and a weekend away doing fun decorating things and playing Halo 3 (computer games, remember those!?) to get down to. I also have to make my way through London at rush hour. Wish me luck.

[13:20] I was in work for 06:30 this morning. Despite some strange and weird mishaps when updating the ZXTM software everything seemed to go well there. The arp issue we've been having under ZXTM and Solaris still seems to be broken though. Which is a shame. What's also a shame is the fact I had to get out of bed so early this morning. After the last few days worth of this and that I'm shattered and I could really do with a few early nights. As such there won't be a usual Thursday this evening. Those who want to will be coming to the cinema to see Deathproof (just because), then I'm going home to sleep. The weekend could be relaxing, I don't know. I'll be leaving work early to go to Reading to help Dunk decorate. If nothing else it'll be smashing to see him and a few other southern friends for the first time in a good long while. Also, newborn baby to coo over a little.

I should head on over into town and to this afternoon meeting of sysadmins. What is the collective term for sysadmins? A herd?

[11:00] Jenny left this morning. I don't really have a lot to say about that that I haven't already said to her. As I cycled in this morning after she'd gone it felt cold. Like summer was over and autumn had arrived. That's about the size of it.

So let me tell you about the preceding days. Saturday I tried to spend quietly. After the monster gym session on Friday (where I managed not to run too hard) I tidied, did some washing and washing up and entertained Sam when she popped around post cinema trip. I got an early night and tried to relax. Sunday was a really rather excellent day. After waking early and having a nice light breakfast I traveled to the Backs of Cambridge (by the river) to gather with other people for the race I was running in. Called the Chariots of Fire its been running for fifteen years and is an approximately 1.7 mile route which winds its way in and out of the colleges and streets of central Cambridge. I was running for two teams, so two legs. Rather than dissect the whole thing I'll just say that I'm more used to longer distances at slower speeds, but I still acquitted myself pretty well such that out of approximately 405 teams the men's team I ran for first came 10th. Oddly, the second leg I ran for a mixed team felt much easier. That team came 96th.

After hanging around for the whole awards ceremony at the end I went home in the blazing sunshine and had a lovely shower, some lunch and then relaxed until I couldn't stand being still any more and cycled out to go to the cinema. Watching Shoot 'Em Up and Distopia back to back was a pretty good idea, especially as I got to see two friends (Ellie and Greg) completely by accident while queuing for the first. Jenny arrived late on in the evening, very tired.

Monday was when Jenny slept off her last week's worth of course and a weekend in another country at a wedding. It was nice that she felt able to relax and recouperate. Some time around the middle of the afternoon we drove out of town to a place we'd visited very near the beginning of things last year and walked out in the sunshine and winds while we chatted and talked and Sorted Things Out a bit. Watching swans and their cygnets was nice, as was teamwork shopping at Tesco on the way home. Smashing pizza and a DVD was a good end to the day.

For our last day we actually got up at a reasonable time, after a final lazy morning of fun and stuff, and made our way to London by train. First off was a visit to the Wellcome Trust's building to look at the exhibition about the medical stuff Mr Wellcome had accumulated over the years. After drawing some rather cool pictures on bits of card (photo dutifully passed on to Jenny) and seeing the exhibition we had hot drinks and pottered around the bookshop for a little while. On the Underground we headed to The Castle for a damned excellent climbing session where I got to be repeatedly impressed by Jenny's improvements on every route she attempted. For my own part I managed some fairly good routes and even made a bit of a stab at a 6A before settling for the usual solid 5C ones. Rather than completely tire ourselves out we stopped around about 17:30 and headed into London for a quick meal at a favourite place before going home and bed.

This morning we got up when the alarm went, I packed the car (damned well, if I do say so myself), we had breakfast and then decided that it'd make sense if she left earlier to give her more travel time. Everything had been said. We know what we were feeling. She drove away. I hope to see her again, when the opportunity arises.

I firmly don't believe in fate, however the two tracks which have been playing on my MP3 player since I started it and began this journal entry have been, in order, "The Proclaimers - Letter from America" and "Eva Cassidy - Ain't No Sunshine". Go figure.

Today there's preparation work for tomorrow morning's early start (ZXTM upgrade), lots of email to read and respond to and probably climbing tonight. I'll be plenty busy, which is good.

[15:30] Plans are afoot for a ZXTM upgrade next Thursday morning. Another early one for me. Between now and then I have a weekend in which I do some relaxing and also a series of 1.7 mile runs for charity (at least, there may be charity involved, possibly just running). I should only be doing one, but it may be that not enough people turn up on the day. That's Sunday anyway. I'm away from work for Monday and Tuesday while Jenny prepares to leave Cambridge for the last time. Hopefully there'll be some good times before she heads off. Packing her car should be amusing, if nothing else. So yes, the next entry will be after she's gone on Wednesday morning.

Otherwise I've been looking at bits of code today and trying to work out what they do, feeling very hungry and arranging to get my hair cut. On top of that there's been planning the downtime for next Thursday and who/what that'll have an impact on. That, coupled with a short day today owing to the hours I've done this week has made this afternoon kinda short and kinda hectic. I think it's time I went and got shorn. See you on Wednesday. Between now and then there'll be running, climbing, eating and travelling. Variously arranged.

[17:50] This morning's 07:30 maintenance thingy went off without a hitch. In fact it all was done in about five minutes. It was rebooting the load balancers after installing kernel patches that took the most time. Given that I had to do so to check the apache modules were doing what they needed it was OK though.

The rest of the day I've been fielding emails about the run I'll be doing on Sunday and generally keeping the place running as normal. Not much has been happening in my neck of the woods so I've been taking the opportunity to catch up on this and that and help with a change management system that's being developed in-house. Today's run was good. I'm not going to do any more after today, before the weekend, and today's was shorter than usual and fairly easily taken. It's Thursday tonight with all that that entails. Also, I had my first ever Skype to landline telephone conversation. I have to say, I'm impressed.

[17:10] Today I ran my fastest ever 6km. Or at least I think I did. Not having timed it I can't be sure. But I was close to collapse at the end and I was pushing it really quite hard all the way around. Really, really hard. Also there was a barbeque (work's one) to go to and then a disk to swap in town. The latter necessitated a walk back to work, which was nice as it enabled me to stretch a little after cooling down. I know it was a good few hours afterwards, but it felt good anyway. I'm quite tired now but I really think I need to go climbing, if for no other reason than to keep my brain busy for the evening.

I should probably get on with the Nessus stuff tomorrow, but I've a feeling that the apache stuff I have scheduled for the morning is going to leave me wanting to do slighly less mind-numbingly boring things for the rest of the day in an effort to stay awake.

I got to see Jenny last night as she'd bunked off her evening's worth of planned activities by the course organisers. We went for dinner and then back to her accommodation, which took me back to my student days at Dalton-Ellis in Manchester. Rooms haven't changed much in the decade or so since I was at University.

I may flip through a photo album this evening once I'm back from climbing and relive some fun times. I just wish I'd taken some more pictures from earlier on. I don't really want to forget some of the things I've done.

[17:20] I was in for 07:00 this morning. This was necessitated by the service reconfiguration I mentioned yesterday. Happily everything came off exactly as I hoped it would and now we have a go ahead for the same thing to happen on Thursday morning (yay?) so that we can reconfigure the Live and Development instances now that Development has been successfully fixed. Other than that it turns out that Jenny can escape from the all-pervading scheduling of her week-long residential course to have dinner with me this evening. This is great as it also means I can get her a jumper to keep out the cold. Turns out that the very cool weather, while perfect for cycling in this morning and a run tomorrow lunchtime (hopefully) isn't enjoyed by everyone. Shame.

Other than that, well, I think I'm going to go home and change. Weather still looks lovely, if a little cold. The marinated pork burrito I had at lunch time has managed to stave off hunger until now, but I'm starting to grumble again. I have no idea why I'm so hungry at the moment, but I think I'm going to try and combat it with more apples from the tree in the car park rather than anything more fattening.

Oh, yes, patching Solaris 10, still bloody annoying at times. It's almost not worth doing for all the hassle it causes sometimes. Still, once this fix is in for the load balancers I'll be a bit happier about taking time over it and not disrupting anything.

[18:30] I got Skype working on linux today. Not much of an achievement you might think, but this is RHEL5, for which there isn't a prebuilt package. But anyway, that'll be useful later on I think. Actually, it's not much of an achievement, but hey, there you go.

I mowed the lawn this weekend, also weeded the path. Looks quite nice now. Oh, and I did an excellent meal of honeyed chicken, buttered asparagus in almonds carrots and sweetcorn. I believe there might have been chocolate icecream and raspberries courtesy of a Tesco and Blockbuster (later) cycle trip. It was a nice weekend of relaxing and stuff. Amusingly my garage is currently full of someone else's stuff, but I guess it won't be for long.

Erm, Saturday was all about moving Jenny, Sunday about relaxing and getting a bit frustrated about stuff. Still, life goes on. This entry's taken ages to write and I should have gone home to wash up ages ago. I'm also due in for 07:30 tomorrow to get some stuff done with the load balancers and see if we can't get the new HR systems' apaches using the right IPs of the clients rather than those of the load balancers themselves. Well, it makes sense to me. So yes, I should go home and do things.

[16:00] Bored and dull. Dull and bored. Make-work today for me. Fixed some printer issues, did some other stuff. And some other stuff as well. Also left a chocolate for Jenny and, erm, that's about it. It was her work leaving Do last night which I went to before getting tired around half past nine and came home. Lots of fun, except after the run and the stuff yesterday I was too flaked to stay until the end. The weekend's going to be relaxing where possible, although there's the moving Jenny completely out of her room and some other things which need doing which may take up some of both days.

Anyway, another go at the new gym equipment tonight after work, then home to do exciting housework and washing up and washing and stuff. Fun fun fun.

Sorry things have been dull to read these last few... weeks(?) I'm sure it'll all get more exciting soon.

[16:50] I don't know why but I was in a terrible mood last night. Possibly something to do with being hungry, or eating not enough of the right food, or something. Either way I wasn't great company. I probably should have spent less time on the computer. Oh well.

Today I went for a run at lunch time, which was pretty good as I had company for once. Other than that, well, I've done a change request form and organised for some funky things to happen next Tuesday morning. Of course, they may not work given that HTTPS is going to be in the mix. Right now I'd really rather be elsewhere, so I'm off. No Thursday tonight as it's Jenny's leaving do. To be honest I'm more hungry than anything else. I imagine there'll be food at some point.

[18:00] After having a fairly relaxing day at work I decided that given the amount of junk I'd eaten I really should go to the gym. Of course, now that they've refurbished the gym all the machines are weird and strange to use and haven't been bedded in yet with regard to oiling and getting things to not wobble quite so much and, in one case, actually work correctly. They also work all of my muscles in subtly (and in some case not so subtly) different ways, leaving me aching, even before the following (this) morning. Couple that with running a mile at about 9.5 miles an hour (I was aiming for 1.5 miles) and a kilometre on the rowing machine and I was shattered by the time I left. However, it was a beautiful evening so I felt obliged to finally finish cutting my hedge now that the green bin has been emptied of the previous session's cuttings. That was some more upper body and arm work right there.

Jenny came home around nine-thirty after a good day in the Netherlands. I'm slightly embarrassed to admit I had a bit of a mental disconnect and somehow failed to remember that Holland was the other name for the Netherlands. Well done me. I blame being tired, and stuff. Tiredness and other things seems to be affecting more than my memory at the moment, which is a bit bothersome, right at the time when I was hoping it wouldn't. Still, such is life.

The day was boring until I went for a run at lunch time (which was great) and then worked out how to stop one of our load-balanced applications from dying when we fail over on the Zeus software. Getting to implement the solution was also tricky in that I had to get a copy of Sun Studio installed so there'd be a decent copy of 'cc' such that apxs for apache would agree that it was the same compiler as compiled the packaged apache that came with Solaris 10. Once the module from Zeus (for that was the solution) was compiled and installed it then occured to me that it can't be tested until we get a vulnerable period for the application in question as otherwise toys will be ejected from prams.

Still, having some actual work made the remainder of the day pass by at obscene speed such that it's now 18:00 and I want to go home and eat.

[15:35] Jenny needed to be on a plane this morning so was up and around before 06:00. Consequently I was in work for around about 06:30. Whereupon I set off the corridor alarm on account of not knowing the alarm code since it changed. This was only mildly embarrassing as no-one else was around. However, despite having eaten far too much today (thus definitely necessitating a trip to the refurbished and reopened gym after work) I'm quite tired. Still, sucks to be me. I've scheduled in a shut down of an application tomorrow morning so I won't have to be in early for that.

Last night's climbing was excellent, which is nice considering it was Jenny's last climb with the group (such as it is) for the forseeable. I guess we'll see if it's forever. Anyway, it was also Patrick's birthday so we had cake half way through the evening and there were chocolates for certain nice people. And I won't be having (m)any of them.

As for now, well, I'm tired so I'm going to go to the gym and then home before I really crash somewhat. Tonight will be a relaxing one... once I'm home.

[16:40] Good weekend, for the most part. It started off on Friday evening with me apparently looking like the living dead when I got home. I think the run was to blame. Good job I didn't go swimming after work like I was thinking of doing.

Saturday morning I spent doing something or other and then going out to meet Samantha for lunch. We were about to grab some food from Boots when we saw a (manic) street preacher (American) evangelizing and putting forward Intelligent Design with people beginning to argue with him... so I stuck my oar in for an hour or so and poked a few holes in his 'convincing' arguments. It's just a shame there were too many people just trying to shout him down over proving his beliefs to be wholly (holy) wrong. Or at least some of them. Anyway, lunch with Sam was good as was helping people with loading cars after that.

Sunday was more about helping Jenny pack her room into boxes and ship them to my garage until it's time for her to take them home to her parents. Having left her bike at my place I was able to then toddle along to the cinema to see Breach with Sam and Rich before cycling home, collecting Jenny en route after her fairly unsatisfactory meal at a local Thai place for someone's birthday.

Oh, I know what I haven't mentioned, seeing The Pursuit of Happyness (sic) on DVD on Friday night and ending up being quite down for the remainder of the evening. It was probably due to low blood sugar, tiredness and stupid emotional stuff because it wore off by morning. There was some other stuff over the weekend which was a bit down-making, but all in all, as per usual, I enjoyed my life for the last two days.

This morning I had my lunch made for me, came in to find a patch I'd applied on Friday had actually completed successfully and have managed to Do Something with today. I also managed to get out at lunch time and buy some things which will make people happy and squeak and stuff tonight. Which is always nice. And Jenny's got a birthday card for Patrick too, which'll be nice. I must remember to pack some plates/a knife, napkins, etc.

[16:30] I was going to go for a swim after work, but I may not do, depending on how things go. Today's been a bitty day to be honest. I slept well and woke early and naturally around 06:45 but lazed around listening to the radio for a while before I got up. I've not done much work today other than trying to nursemaid a Solaris 10 machine through a few more patches. It really is a tedious and annoying job as it really doesn't seem to want to apply most of them. Excessive use of kill has been authorised. I just hope nothing terribly odd has been going on behind the scenes because of it.

Lunchtime run went well. Nicely tired and very hungry afterwards. I think I did it in a personal best time too, something like 25:40. I should start keeping records so I can see if I'm improving/slacking off at all. I should also head off anyway and see if I can do something fun this evening while the weather's holding together. If not outdoors then indoors with the windows open. This weekend should have a lot of reading in it, also lunch and chat with Sam. Hopefully also something else fun on Sunday, but definitely including cinema in the evening.

[16:55] Today I found out that I have access to a horrible time sink that could easily take up all of my work time and leave me as a useless member of the team here. So I will be strong and not access it except when I'm sure I have nothing to do. Other than that I've been slowly patching a Solaris 10 box with 189 patches and gradually working out which ones cause the patching application to lock up. Or maybe the OS. I don't know but there have been a lot of kills and restarts.

Oh, I got the second camera working again! Only three years since it went offline at the old workplace. Head on over to and click on the top link to "BOFHcam II". It'll show you a slightly interference-ridden image of another angle to my office. Not only that but you get to see my dual display glory in all its... erm, glory. Yeah.

Life is good today. I slept well (despite two really weird dreams), woke happy, had a good morning, had free curry for lunch and am going running this evening before the regular Thursday thing. At which we may watch lots of Red Dwarf (if someone remembers to bring it). However, I need to go now so I can pass on my camera and stuff to Gareth who needs it as backup for another wedding.

[17:00] The server that broke on Monday evening I've been working with Sun today get to the root of the issue. Hmm, that's a really unwieldy sentence, yet I find I don't want to change/correct it. So, on with the entry... Unfortunately not only were we not able to find out what the problem was (and it stopped doing it whenever we rebooted it after a while) but it turns out that one of the applications that we run through the load balancing software on top of it doesn't like the fact we've been failing over to the other machine five or six times today. It kind of upset a few people to have their sessions dying repeatedly throughout the day. Still, it's good to know this issue exists so that we can get someone to fix it (although it'll probably be us) before it bites us at a really important juncture.

Other than that I've been looking at why my testbed machine has some issues with SSH sessions such that I keep getting bad packet lengths and similar. Oh, and I tried to go swimming last night (because the gym is being renovated) and found that it didn't open for swimming until 20:00! As a result I went home and did some weights and core muscle exercises until Jenny arrived, early. We spent the rest of the evening cooking a mishmash dinner and watching something about the downturn in farm labourers' livelihoods in the 1800s.

Hmm, other than that I'm trying to get the camera working on my second linux box and contemplating climbing this evening in the hope that it'll be as good as it was last week as opposed to two weeks ago. Or was it three. The time when they'd just changed the routes and neither Jenny nor I had a good session. That one, anyway.

[16:55] I wore the wrong shorts for running yesterday so by the time I'd finished my run the inside of my right leg was, to put it bluntly, bloody and painful. Luckily it was easy enough to keep it clean and unrubbed while I sat at my desk and only pained me on the way home, by which time it wasn't bleeding any more and was only painful and looked fairly innocuous. Happily I wasn't going out to do any exercise so I was able to rest and let it get on with healing. The bonus of the evening came in the shape of Jenny who'd been feeling a bit under the weather and had dumped netball in favour of relaxing and stuff. She came over with consolation cake and icecream which we devoured some of before bed...

Not letting her have any cake for lunch today nearly lost me my status as a nice person.

Thank goodness she's coming over this evening to eat the rest of it. I just need to go swimming beforehand so I feel worthy of my portion. I'd probably feel even more worthy if I could figure out why one of our load balancing Sun V20z servers refuses to consistently boot cleanly. I patched it last night just before going home (I know, I know!) and then got very worried when both the OS froze on boot and the service processor was nearly unresponsive. Having called a coworker back in (he lives close by) we got the box back up and running and headed home, but today we've noted that the thing still doesn't boot every time, even though we've rebooted the SP. Sun admit to not knowing what the issue is either right now either and everyone's pretty sure it's nothing to do with the patches I installed as we have another machine with the same patchset (and the same BIOS and SP firmware as well, for what it's worth) which seems to be fine... not that we've rebooted that to check this week...

I'm getting used to this dual screen setup thing now and it's really rather useful, so much screen real estate in whatever direction I look. Also it keeps my head moving a bit more and changes my focus now and then, which is probably good for me. I better go and swim before I become a lardy person.

[16:10] I've had the coolest weekend ever. Well, another cool weekend. First of all there was Friday when I went to go for a swim. I could have gone to the gym as it turns out the place didn't close for refurbishment until ten that evening. Still, the swim was excellent although I ended up with a very red face. I'm not sure how many lengths I did, or exactly how long the pool is but if I guess at 17m metres and I did somewhere in the region of 40 lengths then I did at least 680m.

Anyway, after that I got dressed up in proper togs (you know, trousers, shirt and tie, proper shoes) and take Jenny to a proper restaurant. That was a fantastic evening. The meal was completely set and all we had to do was sit back and wait for the food to come out. The only downside was that there was a large group of very loud Americans and British men whose laughter definitely carried more than it was supposed to. The meal and the company were extremely wonderful though.

Saturday was mostly about relaxing. Although saying that I spent the morning while Jenny was teaching Open University cleaning the house, tidying the kitchen corner unit (a haven for cruft buildup over time) and doing washing up. We also went for a smashing walk around some nearby woodland and along a Roman road a short way too. Being hungry and not in the mood for anything else active we came home, cycled to Blockbuster and got some films to watch while we munched on home-cooked steak, asparagus and other healthy vegetables. A rather fabulous day, to be honest.

Of course, being the energetic people wot we are we decided that Sunday was going to be more active so we drove for a while to get to Grafham Water and walked around it. It's only about 10 miles, so we didn't take more than a few hours. With a picnic lunch and some reasonable weather the whole middle of the day was taken up rather enegetically. After getting home we hung out for a while before going to a barbeque across town. Although it rained towards the end and I ended up being the person who got the barbeque going again we had an excellent time and ate some lovely food with some smashing people. Cycling home in the rain wasn't fantastic but then again, it's not often a good thing.

Today I've been working on not much at all. Mainly getting dual display working on my desktop and going for a run over lunch which was really very pleasant. It was smashing before and one minute after I finished. But for the first minute after I stopped... "ow".

I think I'll not do anything active this evening and maybe have a quiet one again doing nothing but a bit of light exercise and watching a film. Until then I should get some more documentation done and my desk tidied.