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September's Journal
November's Journal

[16:40] I'm pretty sure the meaty, cheesey pizza I had last night has had some effect on me in the past 16 hours or so. Or maybe it's a little bit of worry about this and that. Either way I don't feel tip top. Hopefully being a bit more gentle with myself this evening and over the weekend when not rowing will help heal what needs fixing.

Don't get me wrong, the pizza tasted great and the evening with those who turned up was a lot of fun with its attendant bitching, gossiping, eating, film watching and eventual bed time. I kind of wish that the first film (Push) had had a little more substance than it did and not thrown us into the middle of an ongoing story with all the assumptions that that kind of plot required. Still, H.G. Wells' First Men on the Moon was fabulous if a little hammed up in places.

Today I've been planning more updates and what'll be required to have them work and not make people upset. That and going for a run at lunch time. The full 8km. Admittedly I wasn't pushing hard and was subsequently about 2 minutes off my best time but I still maintain I'm getting over two weeks of almost no exercise and a bit of wear and tear to the body.

Tonight Kris and I (mainly Kris, unless I finish the washing up quickly and learn a bit more in terms of cooking skills) are going to make our own home made Chinese takeaway meal with egg drop soup, egg-fried rice, crispy fried squid, and stir-fried vegetables. We're going to sit down, watch some episodes of House and relax. This weekend I have a bathroom being delivered. I had to call the people to find out the delivery window and make sure they still had the correct postcode. Hopefully I'll get home before it arrives (being out rowing) but if not I'm sure Kris can accept delivery and make sure everything's in order. More on the bathroom on Monday.

[15:00] I know I should be all about the "cautious optimism" but "WHEEEE!", because Kris has been offered an interview in Edinburgh for a lectureship post. You almost certainly have no idea how awesome this is for us. I know, I know, she might not get it. But we have to hope. Lots. And celebrate even this event. I think we might, a little this afternoon.

I didn't sleep so well last night unfortunately. I'm not sure why. Maybe I was too hot or something. It doesn't really matter except that I had to be in work for before 07:00 this morning to patch another important database box. It went a lot more smoothly than the last one in this project/service but there was still a weird and curious issue with the RDAC driver installation which might have been connected with running "make uninstall" in the wrong place before proceeding. I'm pretty sure that's the thing that was deleting the "copyright.h" file and a few other things which probably shouldn't have been removed. Still, the documentation got another update which should help the person who does one half of the matching pair we have remaining to do next Thursday.

After I'd done what I needed to in town with that box I came in to work proper and prepared a server to be taken down to where I'd just come from. This time I took someone with me for 'health and safety reasons' as I was racking something. It should have been a 10 minute job but for some reason the server appeared to have lost at least one of its NVRAM settings per onboard NIC. To whit, the BIOS (but not the ILOM) thinks all the NICs have a MAC address off FF:FF:FF:FF:FF which is a bit poor. Cue a lot of head scratching when the OS tried to boot each one of the NICs (only one's connected) with a DHCP request and a completely different randomly-allocated MAC. I have no idea what's going on there. Of the three machines (and these are the ones that had that RAID issue a few weeks ago) one has no issues, one has two out of four NICs with weird MACs and one has all four NICs in a state. I really don't know what the problem is. It's minor to be honest and will just mean downtime if we try to fix it at the moment. I'm inclined to make sure everyone in my group knows about it and just leave well alone.

So, other than the final Xen server (and guests) update which overran by fifteen minutes due to bandwidth issues at Red Hat's end that's pretty much me done for the day. I'm off home in a few seconds to congratulate and celebrate with Kris and then have the usual crowd over for Thursday. There's all kinds of fun happening today!

[17:10] It turns out that the person next door is selling his house. This is interesting as I get to see what he's asking for it. It turns out it's only just a little over 16K more than I paid for my house in 2004. This isn't brilliant if I want to end up selling my house in the next year or so. On top of that I've just rediscovered that the person who owned my house before me paid almost half what he sold it to me for. That hurts. Still, I've lived a lot of life in the place since I bought it. When I move I still don't know if I'll sell or rent. I guess it depends what happens next year with regard to where Kris ends up and what job I'm able to get. I just hope if I rent I'm able to at least match the mortgage payments, especially if interest rates go through the roof as they're potentially going to.

That thought about my mind's wandered to the fact that Kris is likely going to be called for a job or post-doc interview in the US in the very near future (possibly even before Christmas). Obviously this means she won't be coming back, probably for a long time as she'll either get the job there or not be allowed back unless she gets offered a job (interview) here in the UK. If she goes back to the US for an interview and then has an interview here I'm not sure what'll happen. Maybe evidence of an official job interview (with attendant potential of a work permit) would mean the UK Border Agency would let her back in. I assume so. It certainly doesn't need thinking about just yet though anyway. Suffice it to say it'd be nice if she got an offer from Edinburgh (where she's applied) and then they offer her the post.

Although, given how much I love her I guess it doesn't really matter where she gets a job so long as I can get a decent job there too. We'll always look for a job for her in the UK but there's no reason why I can't try living in the US for a while if I can cover everything financially.

Anyway, yes, that's what's inside my head at the moment. I should go home after a fairly quiet day here and get ready for more exercise at the boat house. Last night's was a good reintroduction, but my quads ache a bit now so tonight is going to be interesting to say the least. The meal Kris made last night was awesome. I should mention that. A duck cooked to perfection is getting to be one of her signature dishes now. I'm so proud and impressed.

[17:00] After meeting Kris for a Tesco trip of some great size we had a very pleasant evening marred only by the "Finest*" pork thing we'd cooked for dinner. Every time we try one of those specific joints we're always disappointed with the amount of fat compared to meat and the poor crackling. Maybe it's something to do with the way we prepare/cook it, but I don't think so. Either way, with a light dinner and a delicious and light pudding we were able to make use of the rest of the evening very happily rather than feeling sleepy and over full.

What was almost as good was the fact that we both slept like logs until the alarm this morning. A combination of jet lag, being back together and being pretty tired out contributed to one of the deepest sleeps I've had in a while. Still not quite enough to banish the last of the timezone change but definitely a very good thing to have happened. Dragging ourselves out of bed this morning was pretty difficult but starting the morning exercise routine again and a quick shower certainly helped get me on the road. Having Kris there doing her own thing and occasionally helping me get ready to leave the house is so much better than being/living on my own and wondering what she's up to (usually sleeping given the UK/east coast USA timezone difference). I really hope we don't have to spend too long apart in the future, unless it's because something good is going to come from the temporary separation.

Work today has been satisfying. Not only did I patch the other half of the ZXTM load balancer cluster but I have been allowed to begin patching the web team's Xen servers (Dom0 and DomUs). I've done two machines (12 servers in all) with only one to go (probably on Thursday). This is because there's more than a slim chance we're going to be making some of them live on Monday next. It's only about two and a half years since this was supposed to take place so I'm not holding my breath. That'll leave me with 25 machines still in need of a serious amount of patching, which is a significant improvement over the situation two weeks ago.

I got to go for a run at lunch time today. I'd have gone yesterday but I don't think my body would have been happy with the experience. As it was I don't think it was too pleased with the idea today. Still, needs must. I'll run again on Thursday to make it twice this week and go to the boat house a few times too if only to show my face and sign up for outings this weekend coming (I'll be going this evening). I really do feel better when I feel fit. I imagine there's some endorphin fix in there somewhere but that plus a fun home life and work proceeding well all go towards making me a happier person.

[17:00] Well, we're back. Disney World was an experience. Definitely a lot of fun, definitely very tiring. I had no idea the place would be so large and spread over four or so 'parks' as it was. 47 square miles (including the resorts)! While set up for younger children than us it was still a really enjoyable experience despite its effect on the adult parts of the brain (and the soles of feet and lower back). It was tremendous to see Kris again after so long apart and especially lovely of her parents to make the trip as cheap as it was for us both. The weather was wonderful (although a bit too hot sometimes), the food almost uniformly smashing (a little too much of it, as usual) and the smiles of the 'cast members' (AKA Disney employees) just as saccharin as I was expecting. There weren't really many opportunities to take varied photos so those people who wanted them are going to have to settle for a few of Kris and I looking very happy against various backdrops.

It was the flight back that ended up being just as memorable as the week or so in the sun. The Orlando to Philidelphia leg was pretty normal, even a little boring. Once we boarded the plane to London things got silly. After waiting at the gate for an extended period the taxi to the runway took almost half an hour. All the while I and other passengers could hear an erratic banging and clanking within the fuselage of the plane. The cabin crew just said it was hydraulics recycling and in fact we heard them again as we taxied to the gate after landing. Once we'd reached the queue of planes to take off though we paused. And paused and paused and paused before the co-pilot announced we were going back to the gate to have a minor hydraulic issue fixed. This took another hour before we'd got back to the gate and had it dealt with. It was another half an hour before the requested fuel truck had come over and finished topping the tanks off again after all the time spent spooling on the ground. Luckily the flight over was uneventful, even if neither of us got any real sleep. Landing at Heathrow I got through immigration quickly and sat down to wait for Kris to clear. Over an hour later she still hadn't and it was becoming obvious that it wasn't because the queue was long. I texted her and got a quick reply saying she'd been detained, more information when she knew something. I tried to stay calm and sat outside of the arrivals doorway, waiting for something, anything. Perhaps close to an hour and a half later there was a call from Kris asking where I was; she was through. The long and short of it is that she can't re-enter the UK after the next time she leaves (which'll be in March at the latest and I hope against hope that it won't be any sooner). Or not for at least 6 to 12 months (we're not sure at the moment) if she doesn't have official paperwork (by which is meant a work visa or leave to remain with a partner). This is down to the amount of time she's already spent in the UK in the last year or so. We're deeply hopeful that there won't be a reason for her to have to leave before March. After that, well, after she's defended her Ph.D in April/May either she'll have a job here with attendant work visa or she'll have something in the US and we'll be looking for a job for me in the same place. As I said a few weeks ago, a change is coming. A huge, great big one. Hopefully it won't be this side of Christmas. The unfortunate fact that Kris' Belgian father's father died today could mean that Kris leaves to help with the funeral arrangements some time this week and then has to go straight back to the US after that is something I'm trying not to think about. That and if any one of the US jobs/postdocs she's applied for want a face-to-face meeting/interview... As Kris said recently, coming back from holiday was rather a shock for everyone.

Still, here we are, back home safely. There's nothing to eat in the house so we're off to Tesco this evening rather than me killing myself on an ergo at the boat house. I'll go tomorrow evening and remind everyone that I still exist as well as signing up for next weekend's outings. As for work today, after Kris and I finally arrived home yesterday we managed to stay awake until 19:00 and then just had to go to bed. Cue waking at 22:00 feeling wide awake. We solved that by having a very, very important discussion about the future which wore us out totally and allowed us to get back to sleep some time around 00:45. Naturally we then didn't wake up again until the alarm went off at 07:00, which lead to us dropping off solidly again until around 09:00. Following that I heaved myself into work and spent the day catching up on email and doing catchup patching of a variety of boxes. A few problems solved and a few things set in motion for the rest of the week. On the whole returing to work was the most relaxing part of the last two days.

[16:40] Supposedly the firmware patch I was applying to the RAID card this morning was going to be an easy reboot and action. Only it seems that there was more going on that previously thought. First of all the machine wouldn't power down after OS shutdown. Some kind of ACPI snafu. This should have clued me into the fact that something wasn't going well. When the BIOS started up it was sluggish and the SP claimed not to have an IP and the RAID card started screaming about something or other. I yanked the power and let the SP boot again. It seemed perfectly happy so I booted from the DOS boot USB stick and with the piercing keening of the RAID card saw that there was apparently a foreign configuration and a degraded array. I patched the firmware rebooted and went into the RAID card's BIOS setup. After accepting the 'foreign configuration' I set the array rebuilding, hoping to hell that the data was still being preserved rather than ending up with a perfectly clean RAID5. Only five minutes past when the machine should have been back up I booted the OS again and found that all was well. A minor issue with the application stop script, a random array rebuild and no SP/BIOS update in the time available. Still, not too bad for a Friday morning.

Since then I've been closing tickets, doing makework and generally making sure that I can leave my desk for the next week without anything going boom too loudly. This time tomorrow I'll be somewhere over the Atlantic, I hope.

So, other than that here's hoping I'm back, with Kris a week on Sunday morning to be back home again together some time before the end of the day. I'm not taking a camera on account of wanting to have my hands free and to keep the baggage as light as possible. If you're lucky I'll put up some of Kris' shots if any get taken at all. I can't wait to see her again. See you around.

[17:05] Well, I cleaned pretty much the whole house in terms of vacuuming and stuff. Didn't manage to wash the kitchen floor but I did vacuum the corners (which never gets done normally) and clean the bathroom properly. I even washed the shower curtain! Try not to faint, or care. After that I should have thought more about my packing but I really don't think I'm going to need to spend much time on it to be honest.

The server at work that's been occasionally suffering from kernel panics on its RAID card (yup, this appears to be RAID card issues month) I've finally reported to Sun. They're recommending (you guessed it) a firmware update. As well as that I've been told to do a service processor/BIOS update too. I have everything ready including my trusty 128MB DOS boot floppy (USB stick) so we should be good to go. Good to go at 08:00 in the office, which isn't so good in the grand scheme of things. However it is my last day in the office for a week, so I guess I should use it making sure everything I've been doing has been put to bed or handed over. Not that it's all that much at the moment, but still. A conscientious sysadmin always makes sure they've done more than their due diligence.

It's a Thursday this evening. I need to make a special effort not to eat anything greasy in an attempt to help sort myself out a bit. I can feel myself de/un-healthying this week through lack of regular exercise. In other news I mentioned to my team leader and line manager that when Kris gets a job it won't be here, thus necessitating a move. On a positive note during our chat today Kris and I revealed that we'd both been thinking about the bed and how we wouldn't want anyone else to sleep in it if/when I rent the house out.

[16:30] Not having gone to do rowing training for two nights in a row I feel both a double dose of guilt and a mixture of antsy and lazy about whether I'll go tonight. In my vague defence I did manage to do a fair amount of painting (by which I mean touching up necessary repairs rather than a whole wall or something) instead before relaxing for the evening. I also made myself a decent(ish) meal in the hope of knocking some tummy troubles on the head too before I go away. I mean, airline food isn't going to help, is it?

I still need to clean and tidy the house before the end of Friday evening so that Kris comes back to a nice clean house. Therefore perhaps I should spend this evening doing that (considering tomorrow is Thursday and there's no training on a Friday). Maybe two weeks off rowing would be a good idea for me...

You know what? I think I will go with the housework this evening. I just can't conjour up enough enthusiasm to sit on an erg for what's likely to be at least 55 minutes this week. So, I'll go home in about half an hour and blitz the house for a few hours (bathroom, bedrooms, landing, stairs, lounge, kitchen) and then settle back and watch the last few episodes of Defying Gravity to get me up to date (although apparently there's only two more filmed and in the can). Theoretically it'll probably be the last time this bathroom will be cleaned, too. The next time it'll be one that's all shiny and new... maybe.

I'm not operating on all cylinders today across the board. Mentally, emotionally or professionally. I'm not down per se. More just... can't be arsed with anything. Such is life. I even slept a little better last night too.

[17:00] As of now(ish) it's four days until I get to see Kris again. I'm really starting to miss her now. Especially with everything that's going on in our lives. Still, I just have to get through this week, heal my heels and work out why I'm not sleeping very well at all any my stomach is upset and we'll be home free. For a week anyway. I'm resolved that that week will be as fun and relaxed - as positively care free - as possible.

Speaking of care free, today has been like that. Aside from spending the entire day with my shoes and socks off to try and allow my heels to breathe, as it were, I haven't done much. Updated a few servers so they're checking the right log files as one of the DBAs moves databases around... In fact I just took a break in writing this to dash off a quick email about switching from direct Oracle connect strings to using an OCM to make things a little more transparent in the future. Or at least mean I only have to restart applications rather than frob configuration files.

I didn't go to the boat house last night. I don't feel terribly guilty about it but I do think I'll go this evening for the weights session. Hopefully I'll be able to find someone to mix in with as I don't actually know what the new exercises are. Anyway, having probably caused enough damage for the day, I'm off.

[17:00] Packed weekendedness again. Saturday morning was rowing, of course. That went pretty well as far as I can recall. I was in a 4+ with one each of novice, experienced and French. This lead to some interesting rowing but some damned useful technique practice. The second session was useful for getting even more technique (leaning into the rigger). I left tired but feeling like I'd learned something. I went to Tesco after that, then had a bit of lunch. I can't honestly say what I did with the rest of the day. I know Kris and I had a nice impromptu chat on Skype. I'd like to say I did something, but for the life of me I can't remember what it was. I know that I did some painting on the Friday night, but that's about it. Something of note on Saturday evening was the fact that while I was making myself a rather nice omelette a mouse ran first across the kitchen and under some fitted cupboards and then past my shoe and into the corner by the table. I tried to finish my cooking before following it (rather than waste the eggs, ham and cheese) but it turned into rather overdone scrambled egg what with one thing and another. I was unable to find any sign of the mouse so I blocked up anything which I thought might have been its way in (I thought I'd heard something the night before) and searched the house from top to bottom. Nothing. I went to bed with all the doors closed.

Sunday morning was more rowing. The current crew lists have come out. I'm not too disappointed with the people I've been placed with. I'm not in the crews I would have liked to have been but then the person who might have had some sway over who was going in what boat for the last few weekends just doesn't seem to like me all that much. I find myself caring less and less as time goes by as I realise that it may not make any difference whatsoever in a few months. Anyway, we rowed again, I got to work on my technique, even if it meant unbalancing the boat given the fact the three other people in the boat weren't doing the same. Although we didn't have a second session like the day before while I was waiting for Kate to arrive the head coach pointed out some of the flaws in my stroke. I'm not entirely sure I can force my body into quite the posture he reckons it should be in (it's not a case of becoming more flexible, I just don't think my joints do that) but I've certainly learned some changes I can implement. Kate arrived on the dot of 11:00 and we headed out for her very first 10K run.

Now, it'd been raining when I'd left the house and I'd stupidly assumed that by the time we got back to the boat house it would be locked up. As such I hadn't brought any change of clothes or anything I would need to leave behind. This meant that I'd decided to row without socks to keep them dry for my run. As a result my feet got numb and it wasn't until too late I noticed that the poor shoes for my seat had rubbed the achillies heels raw on both of them. While they were fine once I'd strapped them up for the 10K (absolutely perfect in fact) this isn't good news for the amount of walking I'm going to be doing next week with Kris. I only hope they heal a bit before then. The run was pretty cool. Kate kept her pace well and we ended up back at the boat house in a time of about 49:30 or so. Not bad for her first ever run at that distance. I hope she does even better when she does the race next weekend.

Kate and I had lunch in the pub close to the boat house and then went our separate ways. I went home, had a nice long hot shower and then cycled out to Homebase to buy two mouse traps. Rather than go home again afterwards though I went into town and found myself a good book to read in Borders with a drink and something sweet to eat. About three hours later I meandered home and, after having smeared the right place with chocolate spread, set each of the traps in places I thought might be major mouse thoroughfares. By 21:00 I was feeling listless and bored, so I went to bed.

Probably because I went to bed early I woke early this morning feeling not entirely rested. Exercised and up I found that neither of the traps had been sprung. I'll leave them another day before I move them around the house to other locations. I headed to work and around midmorning the Sun engineer arrived with the selection of spare parts to fix that server which wasn't seeing a PSU. To cut a long story short, it was the internal power cable that was at fault. Weird how the service processor, which is powered through connection to the motherboard was able to remain up and operational when only PS1 (which it swore was absent) was plugged in, yet the MB wouldn't start up. Anyway, with a new cable all was well. Truth be told I'm not certain if that box had always thought it only had one PSU since I installed it. Still, fixed now.

Otherwise I've been pushing my head through the maze of twisty passages, all alike, that are the decisions I'll be making which're coming up in the next few months. I think it's getting a little easier. I won't be erging this evening for two reasons. 1) I want my feet to have a bit of a chance to heal and 2) I've just discovered the series Defying Gravity and I want to see a good few episodes before bed. Especially if it's good.

[16:30] I spent about about an hour this morning trying to get the people who're going to be fitting my bathroom to a) acknowledge that my postcode was incorrect as well as b) telling me a firm delivery date and c) a firm fitting date. My confidence in that side of the business is sorely lacking at the moment. Kris and I are both a bit more confident in the fitter himself who seems to be a pretty capable guy. More on that once he starts, I guess.

After coming off the rails a bit last night with too many thoughts I had a quick Skype session with Kris who set me on the right track with regard to some of the worries I have. The long and the short of it is that I decided that today is going to be a Positive Day. I've done quite well considering. I'll try to schedule them now and again with a view to trying to make them a more regular occurence. Especially as things solidify from the amorphous mass of meta-questions and stuff that we're currently facing. That's the plan anyway.

Today was pretty quiet otherwise. Sun refused to send out an engineer and parts for today as the box is on Silver contract. This means next business day (Monday). At least the engineer'll arrive with all the parts. Cue more downtime for a live box (luckily with a rock solid set of failover servers to take up the slack) and me being off in town for what's likely to be at least half the day. Oh, and I went for a run at lunch which was a pretty standard 8km affair with no drama whatsoever. I do like that I can bash out a quick (sub-36 minutes) 8km run whenever I want. I like it a lot.

Tonight is a quiet night for me. I'll be eating reheated pizza from last night's three man/four pizzas for the price of two/Gremlins+Gremlins 2 bonanza and thinking about the weekend. That's going to have the usual amount of rowing, an extra 10K run with Kate (who's been training for a 10K charity run happening the following weekend), a bit of Tesco shopping to see me through until I go away next Saturday and a few bits of house stuff. If I can manage to.

[17:00] Urgh. Not a brilliant day. Having done a 55 minute erg session last night and then had a delightful dinner with Kate (with extremely long waits between sitting down, ordering, getting the starter and eventually the main course) I didn't actually get to bed much before 11:45. Not the best prepraration for being in work before 07:00 this morning. At least I was saved the hassle of trying to remember the alarm code for the corridor.

Patching a RHEL5.3 DB box to 5.4 was the order of the day so I went ahead and ran the scripts supplied by the DBA. Those and the "yum update" commands were the only things which worked as advertised today. After the update I rebooted the box, having been careful to comment out the fstab entries for the volumes on the attached array. The box wouldn't come up cleanly until I physically removed the fibre cables from the back of the box. After that I wasn't able to compile and install the RDAC drivers required due to some weird missing files issue. In the end, close to the tail of my 2 hour downtime window I was able to download a newer version of the RDAC drivers, get them installed, get the grub.conf modified, dash down and plug the cables back in and get the box back up and the services started with 1:45 left on the clock. That was basically the end of my positive day.

Following that I spent some time catching up on email before being granted down time on the server with the dodge power supply issue. Suitably and sensibly shut down I ran the full diagnostics package from within the Web GUI and then (on the assurance that the other things I'd be doing wouldn't reset the host) brought the OS and its five Xen guests back up again. Login in as "sunservice" to the SP I followed the engineers instructions precised and was rewarded with all kinds of confusing options to do with fan speed testing and (noticed out of the corner of my eye) the host resetting, bringing down the Dom0 and all DomUs uncleanly. This was most upsetting. What was more upsetting was that after getting them all back up again the SP was found to have become extremely sluggish when logging in as the normal "root" user. So sluggish in fact that I thought it was broken. When it did allow logins it would quickly begin to scroll up out of memory errors/warning and then eventually reboot itself. It's still doing this now. The engineer is mystified (never a good sign) but has promised to ring back with arrangements for an engineer to come out tomorrow with a few different parts in the hope one of them will be the solution to the seemingly absent power supply issue. Of course, we won't be able to do much trouble shooting if the service processor isn't playing ball now will we?

It's also 17:00 and he hasn't rung yet. I was due to go home at 15:00 today and have a nice relaxing afternoon. That so hasn't happened either. I'm leaving now, having sent him a mail with all the delivery/visiting engineer details he might need. Hopefully it'll be a nice quiet Thursday and I can get some sleep.

[16:45] So a few presents for Kris arrived today. I'll be taking them with me to the US in a little under two weeks from now. That's going to be lovely (the present giving, not to mention the seeing-Kris-again bit). Another delivery I had was the replacement SAS backplane fan tray for this stupid server which seems to have Issues. I cycled down and replaced the tray in about 30 seconds. Instantly all the service lights went out... but the SP still can't see that it has two power supplies. What's more, with everything shut down I pulled the power out of the PS that it can't see and all was well. But when I pulled the power out of the PS it could see (having replaced the cable for the other PS and ensured that all the LEDs were green on the back of it) the server tanked. Literally stopped dead. It's now my opinion that the culprit is either the motherboard or a power cable between power distribution board and motherboard. Either way, the ball's back in Sun's court, again.

The weather has been pretty crappy all day today. When it hasn't been raining its been humid and just a bit muggy. Neither were great for my run at lunch. I didn't push it too hard as I've got a 55 minute erg this evening which is likely to go most of the way towards killing me. Still, after that there's a dinner out with Kate which should be nice. I think I'll sleep well tonight.

Tomorrow I need to be in for 07:00 so I can start patching a key database server and then reboot it. Of course, once rebooted I have to rebuild the RDAC support which requires you to be in the kernel you want the drivers for before you can use them, so after that there'll be a second reboot. I must remember to comment out the /etc/fstab entries for the stuff being accessed via fibrechannel so nothing goes too whoopsie...

[16:40] Quiet day today. I didn't make it to the boat house last night on account of just being Too Tired. Instead, I was in bed by 21:15 and asleep within half an hour or less. This did mean I was feeling a little fresher when I got up this morning.

Around 10:00 I headed into town from work to swap out the PDB of the server which is complaining that one of it's (as far as I can see perfectly servicable) PSUs is missing. This didn't help. After some back and forth with the engineer who was with me we decided it had to be the fan tray above the PSUs and are having one delivered to me tomorrow morning. I'll head back to the server room myself and swap the one in the machine out, reset the SP and hope that the faults clear. I'm pretty sure the machine is still being supplied with power from two PSUs. The engineer and I have come to the conclusion that the SP monitors the existence of PS1 through the return from the fan which isn't working. Dumb, but the only explanation we can come up with at the moment based on available evidence. We'll see tomorrow.

I'm going to definitely go to the boat house this evening, and tomorrow evening (when I have dinner in town planned afterwards). I imagine I'll do a weights session this evening unless I find some people who're interested in doing the AT erg which they may have already done last night.

Mostly quiet on other fronts although my brain is still churning about what may be to come in the next few months. Oh, and it's raining on and off which is annoying.

[14:25] Good afternoon and welcome to Monday. I'd say it'd been a rare old weekend and no mistake but that would be incorrect as it was pretty much business as usual aside from a few bits and bobs. Saturday I popped out to get to the boat house for 07:40 and found myself stroking (being the person everyone follows, before you get any funny ideas) a 4+ as it was bow-rigged. That outing went fairly well even with the rather high winds which made the going a little interesting both with and against it. The second outing in an 8+ was moderately interesting as it allowed time to work on technique. After all that though I was pretty shattered and seriously considered heading home and crashing out for the afternoon. Perhaps even with a small nap. What I did instead though (despite asking Kris via email for permission to not do some of the things I knew I 'should' be doing) was to go home, have some lunch and then head out to Tesco to get supplies for the week. Rather than stop as soon as I got home I instead unpacked everything into the cupboards and fridge and went out again straight away. After a few minutes of searching for the book I'd been reading in Borders I found it with the help of the staff and settled into a chair in the Starbucks to finish it. It was such a fun book to read that I completely forgot to get a drink. Three hours later I closed the book, stood up and cycled home. I might have stayed home for the rest of the evening if not for the text I received at 19:30 telling me there was a curry trip planned for 20:00. Rather than stay home in the warm, comfy embrace of the sofa (where I'd have to make my own dinner) I headed out in time to meet a few people and enjoy a rather lovely shahi gustaba (lamb) and some conversation before heading home to bed.

Sunday was much less windy, so I made rowing harder for myself by volunteering to make up a spare space on stroke side in the Men's 8+ that was going out. It's been about a year or more since I last rowed on the other side so there were no calluses (as on my left hand) to protect me. This is why I have one or two large ones there right now. Still, the outing went pretty well. I didn't make the second, shorter one so was home to shower, eat lunch and generally do the relaxing most other people do on a weekend. Kris popped up on Skype twice over the course of my afternoon and evening to my delight. The second time being a chance for me to remind her about some important things.

I'm sleeping a tiny, tiny bit better at the moment. I don't know if it's the exercise, the fact that I'm sorting a few things out in my head or a combination of those two things and more but it certainly makes the world a much better place in the morning. This morning at work I've mainly been getting a response from Sun on what might be up with our X4200M2 with the PSU problem, arranging a server room visit to do some hardware shuffling and discovering that even basic trivial patching of my RHEL servers is about to have another layer of administration slapped on top of it.

Speaking of that X4200M2, I should head off and get that done. I'll probably be erging tonight. Probably.

[16:45] Today has been much quieter than yesterday, in every way. I've been basically minding the store and making sure nothing goes wrong. No word from Sun on my unhappy server with the dodgy power supply as yet. Maybe they've been shocked into silence by my total and complete diagnosis of the problem and my far-too-simple request for new parts rather than going through the whole process of pulling bits out and plugging them back in, again.

I did my run at lunch time. Only 6km on account of doing a run and some sprints last night before a very short weights session so that I could get home and do the whole social thing. I mean, today is my day off, really. Next week'll be a little more relaxed now that I realise you don't have to do an AT, UT1 and UT2 erg all in one week. The UT1 is if you miss a weekend outing. Good to know for the future.

I'm very much looking forward to a lovely, quiet, just-me evening tonight. There will be food, possibly some cider or beer (I think there's only cider chilled at the moment) and some downloaded stuff to watch on the television. Tomorrow is rowing and probably some reading in Borders (I've half a book to finish) and then, possibly, some repainting. Sunday'll have more rowing and then whatever I didn't do the day before, plus some other stuff I haven't decided on yet. Almost certainly no more exercise, unless I can't sit still and want to do my 12.7km run.

[15:25] Things are going to change an awful lot over the next few months. And if not before Christmas then very very much after Christmas. 2010 is going to be a very big year of an awful lot of changes. You probably know how I feel about change (or if you don't, basically I'm not too good at it) so suffice it to say I'm going to find it difficult. Hopefully not too difficult as it's all to do with ensuring I have a life with Kris. I'd say I'm excited about it, but in a similar way to being excited about a sky dive or bungie jump. It could be extra-super-awesome-to-the-max (and easily could be), but the lead up and the initial parts of the experience could scare me witless and may not be all that enjoyable at all. However, it's equally likely that letting go of the things I have my hands tightly wrapped around and taking a jump into the unknown might just help me develop into an even more excellent person than I already am (according to Kris, the excellent person stuff anyway... I mean, she wouldn't love me as much as she does if she didn't think that). So, yeah, a change is gonna come. Unless something totally and completely unexpected happens between now and, say, the beginning of November it's actually inevitable and incontrovertable. Just when the change will be exactly and how much of it there'll be is still unknown. Whatever happens though, my world is going to be completely different. Aside from Kris, she'll be my constant.

Enough about that for now though. Today in mundane world I reprepped two machines from base metal and was pleased to see them build perfectly (including the new software I had such problems with finding yesterday). So pleased was I that I felt able to pop out to lunch with everyone else to see our old Networks guy and shoot the breeze for an hour or so. On arriving back I noticed that one of our Xen Dom0 servers appeared to have lost a PSU (or backplane fan, or both) so I'm off down there to diagnose that and open a call with Sun. Following that I'm getting a hair cut and then heading to the boat house for half an hour of exercise before the usual Thursday crowd. I'm not sure how many people will turn up this evening. There's a chance someone who hasn't been for a while but who felt the need to suggest something to watch might actually come for the first time in a few years. Which would be Odd, but there you go. More change. Anyway, I should head off into town and get the server stuff done and my hair shortened.