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April's Journal
June's Journal

[10:00] This morning was kind of a dry run for tomorrow morning. That is to say I was up at 05:00 and down to the boat house for a spot of rowing in a 4. Not that I'll be rowing tomorrow, but I will be up, showered, shaved and out of the house before 05:30 (I hope). I've got a charger for my phone, am pretty sure I've got everything ready to be packed and I know where all my tickets and so forth are. All I need to do now is make it through the day alive, pack when I get home and not stay up too late this evening. Happily today should be a nice day with nothing obvious on my list of things to do which I can start today. I'm also having lunch with Kate after I've make a quick trip to Marks & Spencer.

[16:30] Drat it, it's raining. We were going to have a picnic this evening on the green, but the weather's gone all crap. Instead - as people know I have an early morning tomorrow - we're going to have Thursday at Keith's place. I need to cook my steak (or freeze it) tonight, plus do some washing up and make sandwiches for tomorrow. Other than that I've been looking into why one (or maybe two, but I hope not) of our servers is having lpfc driver issues again. It may be that upgrading from RHEL 5.1 to RHEL 5.2 may become a bit more important than previously thought as the driver seems to have undergone rather a large amount of fixes and updates between versions and

I think that's me done for the week and indeed for the next week too. Expect regular service to be resumed some time on the 9th of June when I get back and have the wherewithall to put something together. I might update now and then while I'm away if there's network access but to be honest I think I'll be having too much fun to do anything other than keep my inbox under control and reply to the more pressing emails. Even then not immediately. See you soon, probably.

[17:10] Something of a dull day today. From the weather (oppressive and humid in the extreme) to the work, such as it was. I can't honestly tell you what I have achieved today. I do know I went for a run where I completely misjudged how humid it was outside and nearly killed myself keeping to a fairly mundane time for 6km. Still, you've got to laugh. I also woke up my chocolate receptors with an ill-advised Cadbury's Twirl and have been fighting off the urge to stuff my face with sweets since then.

I missed out on rowing with the ladies' boat last night so instead went over to Cormac and Steph's ostensibly to play some computer games but failed utterly owing to lack of software installed on the right machines. In the end I reheated the other half of last night's kedgeree and we watched a couple of episodes of Manstrokewoman before I came home and went to bed.

Time's getting short now for my little trip away and it seems like I'm finally being allowed to feel excited about it. I don't know how but part of my mind has kept me from bouncing about quite as much as I thought I would. I think it was/is some kind of self-defence mechanism (much like another one I have which can leave me feeling rather worried sometimes). Either way, as time gets shorter it seems like part of me is waking up just a little more. Which is nice.

It doesn't look like there'll be an early morning outing tomorrow unless I get a text some time this evening. Chances are it'll be when I'm climbing and I won't know until very late. Right now I'm not sure if I can get up at down to the boathouse for 06:00 OTW (on the water). I mean, I'll be awake in time but two early morning and late night days in a row might be a very bad idea for me in terms of performance especially.

[16:30] Well, I'm back. It has been a bit of a weekend and no mistake. I'm sure you have your own stories to tell. Why not do so if there's something fun to share?

Friday night was the first time in a while I'd been out in a 4. I fact I may only have been out in a quad before now. Anyway, that was pretty brilliant, especially as it was a bowloader (the cox sits at the front facing out of the boat). We were moderately well balanced and only met a few really badly coxed boats. The remainder of Friday was spent chilling right down and eating some nice food.

Saturday was rowing in the morning. With the boat still slightly broken we had to spend about an hour searching for a backstay for one of the riggers and getting it fitted. Once that was done we could get out on the water with a spare person (female) subbing in for a missing man. Other than the Friday night (four of us) no-one had really rowed for two weeks and it showed a little. Not a brilliant outing but as usual by the time we turned around at the lock we'd improved tremendously on how we'd been for the first half. I'm damned if I can remember much else that happened on Saturday. It's all a bit of a blur, really. A shame, I'm sure some good things went on here and there. I do know that we got back from the outing late on account of needing to do those repairs.

Oh, I know what happened. I think there might have been lunch in town briefly owing to not having any food in the house. Met up with Kate to wish her well with her exams, bought some gloves for rowing on account of the rain really doing my hands some damage and got in minimal amounts of groceries in to last me until Thursday. That's what happened. I also had a good long chinwag with Kris when I got home in the evening.

On Sunday I woke up early on account of forgetting to turn my alarm off on Saturday night. After Saturday's rowing outing we decided we were going to turn up for about 11:30 to be ready for our race at 13:00. However when I arrived I was told that our race was at 16:00. This meant I went home again in a bit of a peeve. It was distinctly cold and wet in the morning. Hell, it was like that all day. Turns out a few other people did the same thing after I left (arrived far too early). Two of the boat knew about the new time but had neglected to tell everyone else!

Before I turned up again everyone in my boat got a text to say that we were a person short for the race due to illness. By the time I'd had lunch and chatted to Kris I also had a phone call from someone else in the boat saying we were two people down due to A-Level revision being necessary. With a grumble inside my head I turned up to the boathouse in the drizzle and gusty wind and managed to convince our cox and someone else from the club to be stand (sit) in rowers. This necessitated us finding a scratch person to be our cox. All a bit haphazard really. By the time we were set most of us weren't really feeling the love it has to be said.

In a bit of good luck the boat we were supposed to race pulled out after one of their crew damaged his back on Saturday. This gave us a first round row over so after a 30 minute wait by the side of the river waiting for our turn to go we used the opportunity to race against ourselves at 90% effort and actually get used to rowing together for the first time in that particular configuration. As soon as we'd done that we rowed back down the river and took up position next to the people we were racing next. They turned out to be a damned good boat from a rival boat club. Off the line they accelerated away from us but over the 1,000m course we managed to hold onto them and only lost by about two-and-a-half lengths, which isn't bad for a crew who's been rowing together for 3 months Vs a crew with 2+ years of experience of rowing (together). Everyone (other than the two experienced guys who'd joined for the race) was pleased with how well we'd done so that was good.

After coming home I chatted to Kris some more (and other than tomorrow I won't get to speak to her again other than by text until Thursday evening), had a shower and ate dinner.

Monday turned out to be cold and wet too. When I first rolled over to look at the clock I thought it read 08:00. "This is good," I thought, "I've slept in." I tried to doze for another hour and then put on my glasses and got up. When I looked at the clock it said 07:03. Stupid short-sightedness. Pottering around for a while and doing the washing up I ended up heading to the gym just as it was opening. Spending an hour and half there after racing on the Sunday was probably a bad idea but it did feel quite good. If nothing else it gave me an appetite. Not that that's a problem at the moment. With nothing better to do (Kris was on a plane) I couldn't spend the bank holiday at home so wandered into town to grab a coffee and shoot the breeze with Kate for ten minutes or so while she took a break from revision before spending a good few hours engrossed in a book in Borders. It's a really cheap way to read the books you want but don't want to buy at the moment. And the chairs are nice and comfy too. As soon as I felt hungry I cycled home and cooked up some kedgeree before lazing about watching television and going to bed.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.2 came out recently so most of today has been spent upgrading those boxes I can easily do. In most cases this has required me to down Xen instances which has thrown up a few minor errord and warnings. With luck they won't bite hard now or in the future. Today was also burrito day and I have to say it was particularly satisfying. Maybe the guy who makes mine can see how hungry I am because they're usually packed and really fill me up, at least for a few hours.

I've missed out on subbing into the women's boat this evening by emailing too late so I might just go for a jog (not a run) this evening instead seeing as it's quite nice outside at the moment. "Fresh" I think they'd call it. For the rest of the day (all 30 minutes of it) I intend to work out what I need to make notes on for when I come back after my vacation.

[16:45] I'm going out in a 4 tonight! Excellent! The reason for this is that our normal boat still needs fixing and we don't have time to do it this evening. It looks like a brilliant evening for being in a boat. Not only that but the people in the boat with me are a good selection of the people who understand about setting the boat and are fairly likely to be 'switched on' for the whole period we're out. I may be in subbing into the women's boat on Saturday morning before my proper outing, but we'll see if I get an email from someone telling me yes or not.

The lunchtime run was nice and gentle. I was following the networks guy who comes and runs with me sometimes as well as on his own. He's still pretty good at keeping his speed up for a while but needs to work on his long distance stamina for the same pace.

Work today has been beginning the update of all of my RHEL 5.1 machines to RHEL 5.2. There've been a good few horror stories about Xen Dom0 and DomU network interactions (and even starting up interactions) to do with this update so I'm a little wary of it. The three Dom0 and fifteen DomU boxes I have that no-one's using at the moment should be a perfect series of testbed machines for me to try things on without upsetting anyone (except maybe myself!).

It's a long weekend so I won't be in on Monday (we love bank holidays). I don't know what I'll do with it but as I said there'll be rowing, so probably some other exercise as well. Definitely a smidgen of food shopping and almost certainly some housework. Either way, I'll see you on Tuesday.

Oh, damn, I forgot to mention the Indiana Jones film we saw last night, and the ninth birthday picnic I went to! Both were fun, enjoyable and contained cheese. That is all.

[15:35] This has been one of those status quo days (and I don't mean Rockin' All Over the World). Things have been steady and unremarkable in every way. After getting in from last night's beer festival (two very nice half pints, one of wheat beer and one of perry) I waited up for about half an hour for Andrea to come back, made her some tea and then headed to bed. As per usual I dropped off almost instantly but woke (as usual, damnit) early with a crick in my neck again. I really don't know what's going on there. It's not painful any more, just annoying and aching now and then. But yes, I saw Andrea off after breakfast and cycled in sans pannier again given that I'm off to the cinema this evening to see the new Indiana Jones via a picnic on one of the grassy areas in the centre of town beforehand. Since then I've been doing this and that to get a copy of ZXTM 5.0 downloaded and licensed, made sure I can actually install it and watched (and listened to) a recording of Kris singing Maroon 5's She Will Be Loved, which was really rather good. Lunch was in the pub (although this was unannounced so I'd already eaten my home-made bread sandwich and other accompanying things.

It looks like the new home of is happy and stable and all the things I need (SSH keys and tunnels, screen, kopete, apache2, analog, etc.) are all in place and working perfectly. This is rather brilliant. The only problems have been that DNS resolution was sucky for a while and the machine refused to agree that BST (rather than UTC) was the timezone of choice in these here parts. Grabbed a flying chat with Kris just before lunch, hopefully there'll be more time for that in the next few days as things settle down here and there.

Final flurry of work I think, then I'm off out to enjoy the moderately clement weather. Bloody chilly last night once the sun had gone down. Stupid wind.

[17:05] Running 10km at lunch time considered... perhaps not harmful, but at least a little tiring in places. Still, definitely nice to have done it. I think. Today has been a flurry of activity in getting a new host up for this site (well, anyway). It's now sitting on its own Debian Xen host and should be mostly immune from any further interruptions. I think I've got everything copied across and set up the crontab and all that kind of stuff. We'll see what happens over the next few days as to how well I've got things set up.

I've figured out something about myself too. It's not brilliant, but it clears a few things up about me that I'd been wondering about recently. For now though, web site back up, RHEL5 server installed for tomorrow's playing with ZXTM 5.0 I'm off to a beer festival with friends. See you tomorrow.

[15:00] For those of you reading this in the old-style manner, apologies that you haven't been able to read it until now (whenever now is). There's an issue with the web server resides upon. It's not my box so I don't get to edit/fix it. At some point I'm sure it'll spring back into life and you'll be able to read this. Those of you reading the Livejournal version, well, there you go.

I got up early to reboot a server this morning. It was a low priority thing, mostly because we'd lost contact with the server over the SP/serial interface. I fired up a connection from home and SSHed in. The machine rebooted but didn't come back up again. A quick cycle in in the sunshine and I was able to verify that the server had come up again, but with no network connectivity. I'm not quite sure what happened but even with a keyboard and screen plugged in there was nothing doing. In the end I had to pull the power out after the SP refused to do anything about the state of the box. After that reboot and the authorising of the fsck everything seems fine. Which is nice. Other nice things were bringing my decent bike to work. Not bothering with my pannier for a day and having a monster burrito for lunch. Not much work happening today, which is definitely good after last week's madness.

Yesterday's blood-giving was rather cool. After getting there I was pretty much straight through to the beds where I had pretty much the best needle insertion to date. The blood flowed quickly (5 minutes 37 seconds, a record) so I was able to get home fairly quickly. Mildly annoyingly I chose which arm to give blood from based on the one which wouldn't be doing the feathering during this evening's outing on the river. So it was with only mild chagrin that I discovered that for the first time since perhaps the initial seating in a sweep boat I have been placed on stroke side. It's going to be an interesting outing.

Life seems pretty pleasant at the moment. Mentally I feel pretty good about this that and the other. There's a lot to be said for spending some time contemplating that which we have not. That, the weather, exercise and generally looking forward to the future too. I know that feeling this good can't last, but one can enjoy it while it is in evidence. And now, work. Later, rowing.

[09:15] A really rather enjoyable weekend actually, thanks for asking. Obviously there was the mandatory gym session on Friday. I'd made the mistake of rebooting a server past 17:00, so obviously it kernel panicked and gave me a real worry before it rebooted. That'll teach me to do maintenance work on a Friday evening. After leaving myself a note I got out of there and tried not to think about it until Monday morning (now, basically). Gym was good; there a few people there I actually talk to now, which is nice and breaks up the time a little. Had been planning a quiet evening but ended up going over to Cormac and Steph's for dinner before popping into town to help Cormac rebuild a Windows Active Directory. While we didn't get the DNS working (propagating to the other server) I did at least help him get the second server added to the AD. Got home quite late and fell into bed. During dinner Kris texted me to say she'd passed her Generals (hurrah!) which was pretty fantastic.

Saturday morning I got up and was about to go for a run with Kate when I had to do a spot of gentle reassurance and reminding about how good things are. I think I did OK. The run was good with my full speed journey to and from town being much more tiring than I thought. Probably something to do with really pushing myself over a relatively shorter than normal distance. Back home things seemed a bit better, which was good. Cormac and Steph came over an hour or so later and dropped off some small LCD flat panels before we went to my workplace to pick up the two UPSes I'd been able to salvage a few weeks ago. Dropping Cormac off in town to do some more Windows work, Steph and I did a quick joint Tesco trip before she dropped me home. I'm fairly sure the rest of Saturday was quiet. It might even have involved a DVD. It's all a bit hazy now. I think the rain had something to do with it.

Sunday was much nicer, weatherwise. I got up early (still no rowing) and set about installing one of my spare PCs with WXP Service Pack 3, just to see what happened. Oh, I forgot to mention that I made the world's best bread machine bread on the Saturday at the same time as doing a load of washing at the same time as being out and about with C&S. Very achieveful in that regard. So, yes, once the machine was installing I pulled on my running togs and popped out to do my usual 12.7km run. Not the most pleasant of experiences. Maybe I was a little tired. Either way it was pretty much on the 54 minute mark, which is close on par for the course. Shower, lunch, chatting with Kris followed and then we went our separate ways to do some other things. I had a fraught time (dead mobile phone batteries, confusion as to meeting points, etc.) meeting Kate for a revision break (hers, not mine) but managed it in the end with only one extra cycle to and from town. We did some walking around bits of town she hadn't seen before, talked about her continuing resolutions to improve her life and ended up grabbing some food before I cycled home again. Plenty of exercise! For some reason I decided to watch another film before bed so it ended up being a bit of a late one. Not particularly smart, but a good use of the last of the day.

This morning I have to decide if I can both go and do some ergo at lunch time and leave work early to go and give blood. I've missed about three sessions I should have gone to recently so I'm feeling a bit guilty. We'll see what my team leader says. Theoretically I have nothing pressing going on at the moment so here's hoping. The rowing coach has texted everyone this morning to ask us to update our availability on the Google Documents spreadsheet so hopefully if I do give blood today I'll have at least 24 hours before I start stressing the arm I donate from.

[15:10] OK, that was one of the most soul-draining meetings of my life. It's only the fact I managed to get out for an ergo session at lunch time that meant I didn't jump out of my chair and start climbing the walls. Still, I get to go and give blood now. Which is 'nice'. Well, it makes me feel better about myself anyway. Not doing much tonight, I might actually clean the bathroom. With luck I'll be rowing tomorrow night. Plenty of time for my vein to heal. Hopefully those who're putting things in boxes today are doing OK. I'm thinking about them anyway.

[17:00] Today, aside from sad news from a friend, has been pretty good. Not only have I made twelve machines ready for production, I'm also only a few minutes from getting the other three servers (MySQL DB boxen) ready for production too. No, scratch that, I'm done. I've built fifteen servers in less than a week, including some really hairy configuration. Of course once I hand them over to the web guys they're going to find all kinds of horrible problems which will have me stressing for days on end. But for now I can go home in the knowledge that it's a job well done. Speaking of jobs well done I should make sure that Kris knows that when she gets back from today's exams she should give herself a pat on the back for having done so well and having got through them in one piece. Damned proud of her. Must find that photo...

I actually cycled into town and back this morning to work out why the two other interfaces on one of the Xen host machines weren't working. Turns out it was a configuration error on the part of the networks guy but I didn't mind the exercise. I had hoped to grab a coffee with Kate in town after diagnosing the problem but she wasn't around and it was better I came back anyway. Lunch with Shaun was enlightening. It's good to be a trusted friend with whom you can share information, opinions and comments. There've been no rowing plans for this weekend which leaves me at something of a loss as to what to do with tomorrow and Sunday mornings. I may have to go running or even head down to the boathouse for some morning ergo work. That or read a book and make some more bread. I have to say I'm tending more towards the exercise thing.

Speaking of which, it's 17:00 and time to go to the gym and home for the evening. Happy Friday and all that.

[17:45] I've achieved today. Not much, but significantly. After getting the Perl DBD::Oracle thing working last night (Oracle Instant Client and some horrible messing about) I tried doing 'make test' this morning with my team leader watching over my shoulder. The tests it failed on he reckons we don't care about. And with that all the Perl modules were installed. There was little left for me to do before I had to bite the bullet and shut the template instance down and begin cloning it, eleven times, as well as copying a vanilla version to the kickstart server for 'just in case' reasons. Since then I've been bringing the clones up and giving them names and personalities as well as registering them with Red Hat Network and so forth. Of course there've been a few problems. In fact I'm facing two at the moment which are extremely problematic (both network related) but I'm not going to deal with them today. That's a Friday job I think.

Sent a lot of emails this morning what with one thing and another and waiting for those 30GB images to go flying about the network. Not to mention one or two this afternoon to people I haven't spoken to in a while. All good, I think. The lunchtime run was satisfying (it always is when I haven't exercised for a while (read: the day before). I pushed but still can't break that 6km/24min barrier. I know I could, but I'd be useless for the afternoon. Maybe one weekend I'll do it.

All in all today has been a lot better. Mostly due, in fact to a conversation I had last night, as well as my neck not feeling quite so sore and it being a lot cooler in the office. And on that note, I'm off home to watch one, if not two Indiana Jones films in preparation for The Crystal Skull this time next week!

All I need now is for my head not to get mixed up, again.

[18:45] My neck is still playing up. I think I'm going to go to the doctor in the morning if I can get an appointment and make sure it's nothing more than a pull or strain or something. For the life of me I can't remember how I did it, which is what's bugging me the most. I don't think it was rowing or gym because when I do both of those I don't feel any discomfort. Mainly it's when I'm turning my head to look behind me when I'm cycling and stuff. Annoying anyway. I just hope it clears itself up soon.

Today has been a complete bastard of a day too. From the off I woke early, again. I mean, I went to be nice and sensibly after another good dinner out last night. Had a quick chat before bed too which was nice. I still woke around 05:45, which isn't what I was hoping for. By the time I'd made it to work I was already hot and having the office feel like a furnace didn't help. Immediately I got stuck into getting my template box ready to duplicate. Most everything went on with barely a problem and I felt like I was flying through things. Then the perl modules started being an arse because brainy-old-me forgot that these machines are going to be 64-bit and my test install machines were all 32-bit. Idiot. Still, after some really complicated hackery in places, working through lunch (I didn't feel like exercising anyway given my neck and feeling pissed off about this configuration stuff) I'd got all bar DBD::Oracle installed. Getting the Oracle client installed was a trial in itself and even once that was done it turned out that the module is known to be "A bit of a git" to install under 64-bit linux with a 64-bit Client. In the end I think I've got to a point where the damned thing actually compiles because it can find everything it needs to... but I need someone to help me through the "make test" phase to make sure it actually does what it's supposed to. I think I need someone to help me with tnsnames.ora and possibly firewalls, credentials and things.

Right now I think I'm just going to go home, try to chill out somewhere that isn't so warm and think about dinner. Not that I'm that hungry but I think food would be a good idea. I've an invite out to see an Argentinian film or something this evening. I'm debating whether or not to go. Either way, time to get out of here.

[16:55] I went home in a bit of a funk last night. Not quite sure why. Maybe it was tiredness or dehydration or something like that. Whatever it was I surely didn't feel like much contact with the outside world. Once I got home I grabbed a picnic blanket, a beanbag and the book Kris had given me and went outside to read it for a few hours. I haven't read for such an uninterrupted period for a good few months and it was marvellous except for the slight ache I still have in the left side of my neck muscles near my spine. It doesn't feel serious at all, just a bit stiff and annoy and has been there for a few days now (so no, it's not meningitis). After reading I popped online for a chat and ended up staying on far longer than I thought I would. Mark one up for the need to get information across and genuinely enjoying contact when I was sure I wouldn't. I like that though. That and the fact that I spent the rest of the evening in a much better mood. Probably having pizza and a beer helped too.

I woke in the middle of the night (probably due to dehydration) so was a little bleary when it was time to actually get out and about. Today I've written a lot of good emails, set up the first of the web boxen, got the DNS sorted and generally have a good idea of what I'm doing tomorrow. Rather than risk the day going bad at this point I'm going to count my blessings at finding somewhere that had a Canon LP-1014 lens case (soft, damnit) in stock and go to the gym. Dinner is being had Out this evening. Should be nice.

[16:25] We rowed on Friday. That was excellent. Really, really good. I found myself at 5 set rather than Bow (something I wasn't told until we were getting the boat out of the bay) and everything came together for pretty much everyone. It was so good I was moved to email the coach (who wasn't there) and tell him so. Incredibly we were on the water for about three hours which meant that by the time I got home it was 21:50. Showering and making dinner took me to 22:40 so I didn't really settle down to eat until 22:45. Not a brilliant way to live for an evening but perfectly tolerable. I watched some television and went to bed feeling quite pleased.

Saturday I wasn't actually in the boat for the outing. This is the first one I've missed out on while still actually being available. In solidarity and to see what we look like from the bank I came along on my bike anyway and was interested to see just how some of the other squad row. I didn't feel right shouting out helpful things and I'm not sure people would have appreciated it. Back at home I made the effort to cut the grass, trim the hedge under the window and replace the rear derailleur and chain on my older bike. I'm pretty sure I did a perfect job but the chain is still skipping. I can only assume it's because the cassette is worn and the chain's not stretched (enough) so doesn't conform to the shape of the teeth. I guess that means I need a new cassette too. Ah well. It's worth it to have two bikes in cycleable order. Getting things done there meant I was a bit late for Rosie and Ian's housewarming. Luckily they've moved closer by again so I was able to get there in short order. That was a lovely way to spend the evening but I was absolutely knackered and needed to prepare for the race the next day so left at about 22:00 and came home. Kris was around so we had a nice chat before I went to bed.

Due to be on the water for 08:00 I was up for 06:00 and sending mails and things by 06:40. Down at the boathouse we prepared ourselves and the boat and headed down to the start line with the masses of other boats also taking part. The first leg of the Head (2.6km downstream) was one of the best prolonged bouts of rowing I've done to date. I remembered everything; not to grip too hard with the feathering hand (no lactic acid buildup this time!), to hook and pull with the outside hand and most importantly to put the power down with my legs. It seems like everyone did and we put in a reasonable time. The row back was a little slower due to the number 2 seat catching two crabs in quick succession but we still held off the boat behind us which was excellent. All in all I think we improved in technique (possibly at the expensive of power) over the last (first) race. Not a brilliant or note-worthy position in the final times but nice to know we have somewhere to aim at. After the rowing I was free to wander off as I'd not been chosen for the Sprints in the afternoon. Heading home for a shower and a chat I ended up back out in the the brilliant sunshine and into town to rescue Kate from her revision for a few hours. A late salad-based lunch, a drink and some sorbet and we wandered back to her house to sit on the steps and drink tea as we discussed interesting matters further. In the end I decided to force her back into revision mode and came home to chill, chat and generally relax.

This morning my door surveyor was caught in traffic so arrived later than expected however all was well so I still got into work about when I expected to. Today has been mainly about updating all the linux boxen with new kernels and thinking more about hard drive sizes for the new web teams' Xen kit. I should head off and get my hair cut before I start getting tan lines on my head. Turns out I'm not in the boat for tomorrow's outing so I think I'll go to the gym for the first time in a while (not counting today's ergo session at lunch time).

[16:40] Today improves just a little bit more over yesterday. This is good. I've been for a run (6km, 24 minutes again), done some finishing work on the approximately 170 Perl modules I have to install and basically written a lot of good emails.

Last night was interesting. We all met out on one of the grassy public areas in town and lazed around on my blankets eating the pizza Keith and I went to order. I learned a new thing or two which was a tad odd but when I think about them rationally they mean nothing, which is as it should be. Once a few people had wandered off we decided that watching a film on the laptop on the grass probably wasn't going to work so the remaining people wandered back to Cormac and Steph's to use a large widescreen laptop. I'm afraid I fell asleep before then end as I'm wont to do these days but rallied enough to make my way home in the balmy night air.

I'm out in a boat again this evening and then not on Saturday. However I think I will turn up and run alongside the boat as bank party in case there are any nuggets of wisdom to be gained. I'll also get a chance to watch my own boat in action to see how everyone else is improving. It turns out that while five of the squad are in both races and all the training sessions between now and Sunday afternoon, I'm not one of them. No Sprint for me on Sunday and, as I said, no place for me on Saturday either. Still, I do get to do the x2 2.6km Head course on the Sunday morning. That should be enough. Despite not wanting rowing to be my life and being glad that it's not I am a little disappointed that I haven't been selected for both races. It makes me think that perhaps, as per usual, I'm not as good as others in the boat. I would like to be down in the 7 seat a bit more as I really enjoy it a lot there (and frankly think I do my best work when I am). I guess cox and coach just don't see it happening.

Life goes on and there's an awful lot more to it than having a big stick in your hands and trying to slide backwards through the water as fast as you can.

[17:20] Today has mostly been a much better day I think. After I got home last night I had someone come over to talk to me about doors. I wasn't in the best of moods but the price we ended up discussing (and have now agreed) seemed Not Too Bad. I don't think I'm being stiffed anyway. I was still feeling quite low mood-wise and really just needed to chill out for a while. So in keeping with my newfound semi-consistent attitude I had a nice big meal because it seems to me (and other people who I care about and who care about me) that I'm probably not eating enough these days given the amount of exercise I'm doing. After that I cycled over to Cormac and Steph's place and basically shot the breeze for a while, something I don't think I've done with friends in a long time. We ended up cycling to Tesco and back (they're lovely and close) before coming back and having a drink in the almost Mediterranean night air. I cycled home and spent a few minutes chatting and discovering I was still pretty down. An early bed seemed like the best thing.

This morning I woke horribly (05:00 again) early. I really need to get around to closing my curtains while the mornings are so bright. I really do think that helps me stay asleep those few hours longer. Still, once up and about I decided to get into work early and achieve some things. I did too. Mostly it was writing a long and important email and attaching various things to it to make it just a bit better. Of course I forgot to explain what two of the attachments were (for) but I got to explain in person just before I dashed out to have lunch with Kate in town. Had a great time as always and people-watched for an hour or so before heading back and diving head-first into all manner of Perl module stuff. Made fantastic progress on that score and I think I may have a definitive way to install all the modules the web team need on their new Xen servers. All fifteen of them.

I think now though it's time I went home and tried to find out if it's possible to have a Thursday film night outside on a public space in the centre of town with a number of blankets, two laptops and two copies of Raiders of the Lost Ark. Plus attendant pizza, drinks, dogpiling of people and things of that nature. This could be interesting...

Oh, turns out I won't be rowing on Saturday or for one of the races on Sunday (the sprint). I don't think I care (given I don't want rowing to be my whole life) but it does feel a little like I'm being left out of the boat, etc. I know it's because we have twelve people in the squad now but even so... maybe it was my attitude on Tuesday or am I just not pulling my weight enough? Oh well, time to fix my bike, clean the house, have a life and generally sleep in for the first morning in a month!

[16:30] Yesterday's outing was pretty crappy. Beautiful weather, good feeling but I did abysmally, the boat wasn't set and the crew the coach has selected for the two races on the weekend just doesn't feel right. Not to mention the fact that I'm in the Bow seat. No, I didn't like last night at all. Not only that but after putting the boat away I was braced by someone else from the club to ask about the clearing up of the barbeque we had there three weeks ago. Turns out some stuff was left out/not put in bin bags and something got some cooking grease on it. I have no bloody idea how it happened but as one of the people who spent upwards of three hours cooking food that night before going home well before the end of the evening I got the blame for it being so. I pure couldn't be bothered to make a fuss so I just asked what I could do to help, did a whole lot of picking rotten food packets out of a bin and dropping in a bin bag and then spent time washing grease off a bakers loaf crate which is used for storing shoes when people're out on the water. Didn't put me in a great mood anyway considering this was 'thanks' for the work I'd put in. I went up to take part in the debrief and wasn't particularly positive and frankly just wanted to give my place to someone else in the boat for the weekend. Arriving home I really didn't want to talk to anyone but put in the effort because, well, sometimes it's worth it. I went to bed fairly early after making sure I'd eaten and drunk enough.

I managed to sleep in a little later this morning by actually closing my curtains for once. I don't think that's been done regularly since the end of September last year. It's not something I do, anyway. Still feeling a bit down I headed into work and spent a good long chunk of time getting angry at CPAN and Perl modules. The web development guys want about seventy modules installed on their new Xen (DomU) servers and some of them are a right bitch to get installed. A break here and there to chat and receive deliveries made things a bit more bearable.

In an effort to take a break from rowing for at least a day I went for a run at lunch time instead. The weather was extraordinarily warm for the time of year but I still managed to put in a good 24minute time for the old 6km route. I think my legs are stronger with all the rowing I've been doing and the long 12.7km runs I do on the weekends. Hurrah for that anyway.

I'm off home shortly to see a man about a front door. No climbing tonight so I may go and help Cormac and Steph unpack a bit more.

[14:15] Hurrah for bank holiday weekends. I've done so much it's brilliant. Plus the weather has been fantastic too! So, Friday night I went to the gym as per and then came home to relax. Had a lovely evening chatting and generally doing this and that. I ended up watching a film on my own just because I could.

Saturday I was up nice and early and down to the boat house for an outing with the squad. After some excellent core exercises we got out on the water for another rather good technical session, just like Tuesday. Only this one was done in much nicer weather. After that I came back and completely weeded the garden, path and driveway. Not only that but I swept away all the loose tarmac gravel from the driveway. Hopefully it'll all be taken away by the bin men in time! With no Cormac and Steph to take me to Tesco I decided not to do much else that day so stayed in and had a very wonderful and enjoyable afternoon learning how to achieve certain goals. Not quite sure what I did with Saturday evening. It's all a bit of a blur.

Sunday I do know that I was up and about in time to be down to the boathouse again for a double outing. Unfortunately our first outing cox had broken her collarbone being knocked from her bike by another cyclist so we did two 30min ergs instead with her giving technique advice. After that we were out on the water doing even more technical work (which, frankly, I love) and then after that I decided on the spur of the moment to do a quick 10km run. This last was possibly a bad idea, especially as a few of us had planned to come back to the boathouse on Monday morning to do a 20km erg session, but I did it anyway. I don't think it killed me but the last few kilometres weren't as easy as they normally are! I wobbled home on my bike and had a nice hot shower after stretching. Food has become an even more vital part of my life these days so I had a second breakfast before lunch. After some chilling out time Sam came over and we went off to see Iron Man (good, worth seeing, probably not more than twice) which was a great way to catch up and generally enjoy the last part of the day. Feeling like I'd been cut in half (hungry) we stopped off for a takeaway curry on the way home before I stayed up for a while to let my food go down and then became unconscious in bed.

Monday! Monday was a bank holiday so obviously I was up around about 06:00 and looking for things to do. At 08:30 I was at the boathouse and with three others from the squad we embarked on another 20km pull. 79min 14sec later (incidently, to the second what I got last time) I was done and with aching muscles in my posterior. I cycled home in mild but perfectly tolerable discomfort. For those of you who care, that's the kind of discomfort you get after a big bout of exercise, not injury. After a shower and food I pedaled out to Tesco to stock up on food for the week and a bit. That wasn't 100% good either but by the time I was home all was well. I walked half way to Kate's a few hours later to walk her home to see my house and have a quick cup of tea before we walked back into town for our semi-regular dinner thingy. The weather was fantastic so we took the opportunity to amble and had a lovely time discussing this and that and enjoying the topics of discussion which came up. Walking home afterwards the night air was a perfect temperature and only my shoes (which I don't wear that often) were a problem with a mini-blister on one achilles heel which shouldn't last more than a day or so.

After getting back I popped online to chat to Kris for a while and fill her in on the day's activities before bed. This morning I've discovered that not only am I in the boat for next Sunday's sprint (400m, full power) but we're also going to be taking part in a 2600m there and 2600m back head-to-head race too! That one's really going to require us to dig deep! I don't think I'll need my hands next Monday so that's OK.

Today I have been rationalising the asset tracking system and our machine list on the twiki. Now that is scintillating work! Not. Rowing tonight to prepare for the weekend ahead.

[16:50] How much would you pay for a new front door (hardwood) including the frame being replaced, all the fixtures and fittings, VAT and stuff like that? I've been ballparked a figure of about £2000 which feels excessive to be honest with you. Other people are talking about me getting a (composite) door for £595 and fitting it and the frame myself. One person in the office tried that (and he's a pretty handy guy) and found it rather difficult. I'm not sure which way to go at the moment. I do know that the company I've chosen for the moment will do a composite door job for less than two grand. I may see what they can come up with. It's the labour I guess which is the killer. Right at the moment I'm just not into DIY in a big way. Maybe I'll be more so when it comes to the kitchen.

I've been fighting with PHP today. Not sure if I've broken anything moving from 5.0.4 to 5.2.5 but I'm having a devil of a time finding a php-pear RPM for 5.2.5 and building the source RPM isn't going well. I think I'll head off soon, go to the gym and then collapse for the evening. Three rows to do, two bikes to fix and a cinema trip before Monday. That's a bank holiday so I'll be off work and doing fun things, including dinner with a friend in the evening I think.
[09:50] Welcome to May. May. Already it's May. Seems like it isn't long since Christmas. But now I think about it a lot of time has actually passed and with it all kinds of happenings, situations, incidents and accidents. There were hints and allegations...

Anyway, things look a lot more exciting, clear and hopefully are beginning to sort themselves out into some semblance of a life which I would be happy to lead. Of course there are and will be some wrinkles and folds still to be ironed out but, given things which have come to light recently and decisions I've been making, things seem a bit more bright and hopeful than they have been in a while. There could perhaps be, potentially, some good times coming. Although not for a little while longer unfortunately. Still, like waiting and saving for that toy (yes, even when you're 32 you still want toys) it's so much sweeter when you finally get to Have it. Well, I'm waiting and saving. I think it could be good.

Unfortunately, as is the case in life there must be balance. The current balance is maintained by Cormac and I arriving home last night (climbing was pretty good actually, I was close to getting back to my best, maybe) to find a Police forensics van parked outside my immediate next door neighbour's house. His front door had some substantial screwdriver marks in the frame. The break in hadn't been successful but it put me on edge as his front door is in plain sight of the road we're on. Mine (and my entire front of the house) is hidden behind a large leylandii hedge. I have to worry that they've already 'cased my joint' as it were. I can only hope that they saw that my door has a five bar lock as well as the Yale lock and it'd take significant effort to gain entry (at least I hope it would). Something tells me that perhaps having the upstand light in my lounge come on in the evenings with the blinds closed helps too... Gah, I hate this feeling of wondering if my house is going to be broken into and ransacked while I'm not there. I've upped the frequency of images captured by the camera in the lounge in the hope that if something does happen it'll be recorded. However I'd much rather not have to worry about it at all. Cormac's going to hopefully pass on the details of someone who quotes well for door+frame replacement so maybe I'll get the door replaced (finally). I'm thinking a nice wooden door in British Racing Green with some nice shiny brass numbers and letterbox. What do you think?

Today I've lunch in town, work to be doing and probably a normal Thursday this evening. Although now I think about it, at least two regulars won't be there as they're standing for the council as Green Party candidates.

[18:20] Not quite the productive day I was hoping for. No word from Cormac on door fitters, no progress on the web developer's boxes and a long and ultimately costly (or will be when we get the email telling us how much we're going to have to pay) telephone call to Red Hat to work out how we're going to get more than four virtual hosts on a physical host and have them not consume real subscriptions when we join them to RHN.

I'm off home now. I think it might be a quiet one tonight.