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August's Journal
October's Journal

[17:05] It has been a bit of an odd day today. Only I can't really explain why. I mean, its been mostly quiet. Not much has gone on today other than a few things working out properly so perhaps my feelings of ungroundedness are more about the fact I'm not doing much cardiovascular-wise at the moment. I think I'll make an appointment with my GP before I go and pay for a physio. Plus I might get an X-ray which would give some idea of what's going on inside my knee.

I'm having mental niggles about the fit of my wedding ring. I know that with time I will get used to having it on but every time I wear it it feels huge and chunky and odd. I guess the only thing to do is wear it continually for life until I miss it when it's not there. As rings go it looks pretty good, I have to admit.

That's about it for today. I'm off home shortly to work on wedding order of service stuff and perhaps go over to someone elses' house for a Thursday if we get time. Otherwise we'll stay home and get Stuff Done. Oh, rowing was cancelled last night as someone other than me dropped out. This was good as it rained a lot last night and I don't think my knee is happy enough even for non-impact exercise. I've bowed out of the weekend's outings too.

[18:05] Hallo there. Again, it has been somewhat of a while since I was last here. But that's OK, you didn't really mind. Here's a few things you might like to know.

After a visit to the hardware store I was able to get bits and bobs which allowed me to fix the wardrobe frame. After some contortions and some perfectly-timed help by Kris I was able to get the frame upright and attached to its partner and I can report that I'm pretty sure it'll never come apart into its constituent pieces again. Ever again. As in, it'll be sold with the house rather than coming with us. Such is life. After that we did a lot of other house things, I helped put away some more stuff, slobbed around the house a bit (for the first time in months) and then over the weekend did the London Rat Race. I'm please to report that we did pretty damned well (coming inside the top 10 for the two days of events). Unfortunately all the road running on the Saturday evening managed to revive the rather painful right knee injury I thought I'd put to bed a year or so ago. Most disappointing, but pleasing to know that I was able to cycle and run and do all of the other things that the Rat Race demanded and come so high up the leader board while still semi-cripplingly injured.

Otherwise Monday and Tuesday were about recovering, thinking about finding a physio hereabouts to visit, a bit of working from home to allow the one team member who wasn't on holiday to actually survive the day and doing wedding stuff. Yesterday we went and collected my wedding ring from the jeweller. I think it might be slightly too big. But it probably isn't. I know I'm going to get used to it and in time would miss it if it wasn't on my finger, but right now... blurgle-thing-on-my-finger. Oh, and apparently my stag thingy has been pretty much organised and looks like it might be totally awesome which is good.

Today I have been mostly patching machines (with more to tomorrow), closing a call with Sun/Oracle about the machine which had the memory issues (none since I rebooted it and installed the diagnostic software to help me pinpoint more accurately where the memory errors were coming from), catching up on the other machine which needed both sides of its RAID1 mirror replacing and doing a whole heap of stuff for the newest project we've just brought on board which it turns out a load of different people printed loads of incorrect documentation for which means I have to add in a whole load of URLs which had been deprecated so that people's documentation isn't full of big fat lies (as well as other people's old bookmarks). That should all finish up neatly tomorrow unless something goes horribly wrong or I'm not as clever as I thought (and in this case I think I am).

Incidentally, I didn't get that thing I might have wanted. But it doesn't matter. However, Kris made the world's most awesome cake for my return from the Rat Race and it was most awesome. And chocolatey to the max. Also lemony.

[15:50] In an effort to save time last night Kris and I tried to build two wardrobes at the same time. This failed not because of technical skill but because we didn't have enough room to move the second one into the right position once it was ready to have its final piece put in place. We broke it, quite badly. I'm now charged with going to the local hardware store and seeing if we can salvage it with some glue, self-tapping screws and replacement dowling. There's a slim chance.

In other news it sounds like all of Kris' stuff has been delivered from the shipping company. I'm expecting the house to be significally fuller than when I left this morning. However I'm reliably informed that what can be put away can be/will be/is being put away and everything else is just going to be neatly stacked in boxes and stuff until there's a place for it. I'm not too worried as it just gives us more places to neatly pile things, which is great!

Went out for lunch to see line manager on his birthday today. Had a very nice burger. Definitely set me up for a midafternoon of talking to people about small bits of metal and wood.

Of the two servers I've been having issues with recently one has decided that it is in fact perfectly OK when it comes to DIMMs and has resolutely refused to generate any more ECC errors since being rebooted and having the monitoring software installed. The server whose motherboard we replaced yesterday decided to make its filesystem read-only overnight and refuse to see its disks again. This is surprising considering the RAID hardware is on the motherboard which we just replaced. After some determined fiddling around and a manual resync (or two) the thing seems to be back up and running again but I have almost no trust in it and have no idea what to think about the fact that the hardware seems to think that both drives are predicted to fail. It's a damned good job that of all the servers in the live/production stream this one is the most able to be lost without it being an issue.

Anyway, I'm off out of here in a little while so I can do this and that and the other and then I'm not back in the office again until next Wednesday. In the meantime we might fix a wardrobe, unpack a life, I'll do the London Rat Race, there'll be something interesting going on tomorrow for me. See you in a week!

[17:15] Went home last night, washed up, learned how to cook beef, watched Kris go to yoga, went to the boat house, erged for 40 minutes and learned a huge amount about how my stroke isn't very good, fixed some of it, came home, started to fill the wardrobe with baskets and shelves and things, put the beef in, finished the wardrobe, welcomed Kris home, ate warm beef on spelt and honey bread with caramelised onions whilest watching fun TV, realised that the wardrobe internals hadn't been done properly, did half of the fixing of it and then went to bed.

Today has been a pretty good day all things considered. I've had plenty to do, (created and) fixed some problems with the load balancer, DNS servers, DNS management station and magically fixed one hardware (memory errors) problem and had an engineer come out to replace the mainboard on another one.

I also popped out to a nearby research establishment to talk over the plan of action for this weekend's Rat Race in London with my team mates. I'm very much looking forward to it as I know that at least one of them is an amazing map reader who's also done the London Rat Race before. I think so long as he has the map the other two of us just have to keep up and do the physical challenges.

I should head home with my new tyres, Nuun tablets and PowerBar ride shots and do some more Ikea (re)assembly.

[17:05] Back again! Whew! Talk about busy. We have been. I'll get right in to it. Thursday we were up early to be ready to drive to south of London to see the wedding venue with our friend-photographer. He was enchanted with the place and thought it'd be awesome to photograph. He's also something of an equipment 'test pilot' for Leica so is going to be checking out a rather good camera for the day (as well as his backup). The photographs should be really, really good (quality, at least). Anyway, once he'd satisfied himself he went home and left us to do the menu tasting for the wedding breakfast. That went well and left us with some surprising but tasty decisions. I left the wine choice to Kris for the most part, uncultured swine that I am. We took a taxi the few miles down the road to the flower shop we're probably going to use and I tried to contribute to what was a discussion that for the most part wasn't my thing. I think I did OK. We headed back in to London with the intention of going to a Dartmouth alumnae meet in a pub in the evening but accidently bought three packs of really interesting sausages from a market just north of London Bridge and had to go home instead. The train took far too long but at least the wait for the bus wasn't more than half an hour or so.

Friday is somewhat of a blur for some reason. I honestly currently remember what it was we did. Oh yes, I collected Kris' new bike from the bike shop (it is rather nice) and then I painted the coving I put up last week. I think after that we went to Tesco and then slobbed out quite a bit, and then had sausages for dinner. Probably the most relaxing of the four days I wasn't working.

Saturday morning I elected to clear up/out the garage rather than go and parkrun. In the end I think it was the most sensible decision given that Kris' stuff is due to arrive from America on Wednesday of this week and evenings are going to be pretty full between now and then. Anyway, I cleared the garage and then an hour or so later the Ikea stuff arrived. Pretty much four times my body weight in flat-packed 'goodness'. Once it was all in the house we quickly assembled Kris' shelving unit to make ourselves feel like it wasn't beyond us to do such things. They look pretty awesome actually. She's already got a lot of stuff on them and come post-Wednesday I expect them to be full to bursting with Chinese art history books and stuff. We also made a start on the carcasses of the bedroom wardrobe and did half of them. By that time it was late, we were hungry, it was time to stop.

Sunday was therefore very much about finishing building the first wardrobe. We definitely made good progress until yours truly decided that having done two we could start taking shortcuts to save time on the build. This lead to me taking the lead too much, marginalising Kris, going too quickly, causing people to get grazes and eventually precipitating lots of frustration on both sides. Totally my fault even though I thought we were doing well. Turns out I was doing well, Kris was feeling like a fifth wheel. After some sterling efforts on one side and then both we figured out how to survive a day of Ikea building: you go out for lunch and have "two burgers and fries for £9.95 at GBK", wander around a food festival, have lots of samples and buy some spelt and honey bread to make fresh roast beef sandwiches with and then go home and build the glass doors to the wardrobe. I'm sure we could have done it more rapidly than we did, but I'm not sure how as we were a perfect team by the end of the day. Just a few snags getting the doors hung but other than the internals the first one is done!

This morning I was a smidgen late in doing all my usual morning stuff, but I really don't think it was a problem. In fact I think it was pretty much the best outcome considering. At work I've been updating SSL certificates and then realising that the new SSL certificates from Thawte now require an intermediate certificate not to cause IE to get its knickers in a knot. Luckily I have a THAWTE-ca.bundle handy which I was able to upload to the right places on our ZXTM load balancer and smooth everything out quickly.

At home things seem to be coming together quite well now. I'm sure we still need a little more storage (or at least to use the space we have more efficiently), there's still some big jobs like a new kitchen and the driveway/garage front and small jobs like replacing the coving in the lounge, repainting skirting boards and doors and I'm convinced small sections of the grout in the bathroom still needs some work (but I'm totally willing to wait until this shows up as a popped-off tile or water damage on the ceiling of the lounge as a professional has said it's fine) but otherwise it's all about little changes here and there, little by little.

Some interesting new for Kris on the job front, but nothing we can hang our hats on either way yet. If it comes off it'll be exciting for Kris and something I can be proud of her for being selected for and doing, even if the timing will suck massively. Right now though it's time for me to go home and do some shelf and basket fitting so that we can move things from there temporary 'storage' places to something more permanent and make room for the new wardrobes. It's all go - especially as I should be going erging tonight too, and babysitting the roasting beef!

[16:35] Not a whole lot going on here today. Which was good as in between the bits of work I have been doing there's been a lot of wedding stuff to organise for tomorrow. Kris and I are off down to the wedding venue with the photographer so he can get the lay of the land, we're tasting the menu and making final decisions and then we're off a few miles up the road to talk to a potential florist. We've then got to get back through London and go to a pub to meet some of Kris' fellow Dartmouth alumnae before heading home. And that's only Thursday. Friday... actually right now there's nothing on the calendar for Friday. Hopefully this means I might actually get a relaxing day off for once. I don't think this'll be the case though as I know I have to at least paint the new coving I put up so that I can do another coat on Saturday so that it's dry in time to assemble the Ikea wardrobe that's going to arrive on Saturday to be put up in that room probably some time on Sunday.

I also went for a cycle at lunch time today (rather than a run) on account of me thinking I should give my foot another day or two of not being hammered into the ground on a 6km run while there's probably still a splinter in the sole of it. That and we'd run out of stamps and Kris needed her cheque for her yoga pass posted. Cue a 12 mile round trip cycle to the postal address so I could just stick it through the door sans postage. Even with the wind in my face all the way there and all the way back it was a good bit of exercise as it took me about 19 minutes and 40 seconds each way.

So, yes, I'm off work for the next two days. I'll see you all on Monday.

[16:55] A curious network issue put paid to any new connections for a good chunk of the morning so we've spent some of the rest of the day working out what went wrong and then going out to lunch once it was fixed to celebrate it being OK again.

I somehow managed to get a splinter in the sole of my right foot some time after my run at lunch. Eventually it got so deep that by the time I got to the boat house after buying Kris her new bike (she'll pick it up in a few days once they've fitted mudguards and stuff) I couldn't row without it being painful to push down on the area it was in. I tried to get it out with my Leatherman but eventually had to just go home and see what Kris could do with some tweezers. She didn't manage to get everything out so I spent the evening soaking my foot in the hope it would help the swelling go down and help the splinter or whatever it is work its way to the surface. Chances are I won't be running tomorrow, or possibly on Friday either. If not Friday then almost certainly not at parkrun over the weekend either. Still, we'll see. Theoretically we have Kris' stuff arriving this week, the grout in the bathroom being done (tomorrow now as the guy didn't turn up today), the delivery of all our Ikea stuff, going to see the wedding venue with the photographer, looking at flower providers for the wedding and getting a train home from south of London.

It's not going to be a quiet week, even with two days off work.

[16:15] A fairly packed weekend! Saturday morning I beat my parkrun PB and got below the magical 20 minute mark (19:54). I'm so pleased that the change I've made to my weekday lunchtime runs seems to have such a pronounced effect on the speed of my runs. Unfortunately when I got back there were some issues at home which soured much of the middle of the day (my own fault). However, because Kris is awesome and I'm not too bad by the time Kris got back from her yoga session I'd not only put up the coving in the bedroom (and sealed it and everything) I'd also been into town to post the new council tax direct debit form (without needing a stamp) and ordered my wedding ring. How about that, then!?

I know, pretty amazing, eh? Believe me, you don't know the half of it. Anyway Kris and I spent a delicious evening on the settee with sausages and television and pretty much spent the evening in physical contact and happy to be who we were with.

Sunday I was up bright and early and wading around in the river setting up stakeboats for our rowing club's regatta. I wish someone'd thought to get me and themselves down sooner as by the time I was anchoring the second boat in place the first few competitors were lining up and ready to race. It all seemed to go off pretty well in the end and I left at around 14:00 to go home and meet Kris. The rest of the day was spent doing Sunday afternoon stuff and actually having some downtime.

This morning we had the builders back to repair some of the concrete filleting on the gable end of the roof. That hopefully won't cost anything given I'm pretty sure the concrete falling out in the first place was down to the work I paid them for a while back. Still, we'll see.

At work I've begun initiating the move over of fall-through HTTP requests to a server we're hoping to decomission to the 'new' (now over two years old) servers that're replacing it. Hopefully as time goes by there'll be fewer and fewer requests directed to the old box.

Kris and I are off to buy her her Ph.D completion present after work today. A brand new bike which isn't made out of heavyweight steel. And with decent gears. Her £80 lasted pretty well with some decent upkeep by me, but she deserves something much better. Today is hopefully the day she gets it. From the bike shop I'll go straight to the boathouse for an hour or so's coached erging (beginning of the new rowing year for my club, with an emphasis on "technique first, then power" this time around) and then home for dinner and relaxation. With today's lunchtime run feeling a little tougher than usual it'll be nice to get home and off my feet this evening.

Just a shame that from tomorrow morning we won't be able to have showers at home for a week if the bathroom fitter guy comes out to replace the grout which didn't get put in properly the first time. Seven days for it to cure properly. Cue lots of showers for me at work and at the boathouse!

[16:40] Patched some machines, had a meeting about complicatedish stuff I have to do next week for the web team, went for a run, ate reheated pizza (yum), got emails from my parents which were nice but require talking to Kris and them about over the weekend and generally hoped that Kris wasn't feeling too sleepy after having an even worse night's sleep than I did.

I've also installed some software here and there to help the web team developers try out some new stuff and been fairly successful in working out what applications still remain on some of the servers I'm hoping to decomission soon. Right now though I have to go and meet Kris so we can go to Tesco, go home and while she's putting the food away and making dinner I can put the last coat of paint on the wall behind where one of the new wardrobes is going to go so I can then put up the coving and be ready for the Flatpack Adventure!

Hopefully doing parkrun tomorrow, then helping with the regatta on the Sunday. Stakeboat and a book ahoy!

[17:00] I didn't managed to do the sealing or painting in the bedroom last night on account of forgetting that I had actually bought the right polyfiller and figuring I'd have to buy it after work this evening. I then found it after I'd returned from the rowing meeting at the boat house, at which point Kris was already in bed and half asleep which made the bedroom a no-DIY-zone for the duration of the night. And really, who does DIY at 23:30?

Kris is in London today at a freelancer writer's conference thingy so that means I have the house to myself this evening to watch terribly bad/poor films with anyone who wants to come over and see them. Chances are it'll be fewer than two people (so, just Cormac) but that's OK as we'll have pizza, point and laugh at the screen a lot and wait for Kris to get home and sigh at us before heading for bed.

Today I have been looking at the RHEL6 beta 2 spin from Red Hat and deciding (among the important decisions with regard to how it'll affect operations here) whether or not I'll be able to stand it as my desktop OS in a couple of months (or however long it'll be before Red Hat release it for real). I'm not too much of a fan of KDE 4 and especially not because it's not the most recent version that Red Hat could have gone with, but it should be tolerable nevertheless. I've also had time to respond to a telephone call about something to do on one of my days off in two weeks time, make some big downloads and eat my lunch.

I actually think I could have gone for a run today given how much sugar I've eaten from various sources today. Maybe I'll stop eating cakes and sweets at work again from tomorrow given that I'm hoping to start some serious AR training again soon (weekends away, perhaps) and even some nascent triathlon training (possibly minus the swimming bit, so more biathlon of running and cycling) which means cutting down the body fat a bit more and generally getting into better shape. We'll see how that goes.

[17:20] OK, a lot has happened since I was last here so I'll try and put down the big ones. The carpet was fitted, looks good. I had to tear out the fitted wardrobe (fairly successfully). Kris and shifted a lot of stuff around the house and I think we even binned a few things. I missed out on going to parkrun but we both had useful days of housework, wedding and general chore doings. I did some painting (and need to do more tonight). We went to Homebase for bits and bobs for the house and garden. Tesco, trips to town and a nice lunch out also happened. We seem to have settled on a watch for me as something for Kris to give me in exchange for her ring in the ceremony. I was fairly settled on which watch too until I read a fair number of reviews which were pretty negative about how long it and its functions would last. I might even switch back to a ring if we can't find a watch which doesn't feel to big and heavy on my wrist. I don't have long to decide though.

I haven't been sleeping well recently because of all the accumulated bits of small stress which are going on at the moment. This tends to mean my lunch time runs are a little harder. Today's was no exception. Still, the fact that I still got out there and did it makes me happy.

I should head home and do that painting so I can go the the men's squad meeting (rowing) this evening. I hope Kris managed to get some work done with all the telephone calls I foisted off on her this morning.

[16:55] Unfortunately, I didn't manage to push through a series of patches to some live servers today on account of not writing a clear enough plan for the person who I was expecting to present it to the change board.

(Does that sentence make sense? I think it does. You get my drift anyway.)

So, I've had to write a proper plan, which is definitely a good idea and good practice for me. Hopefully when this is resubmitted to the right people it'll be passed and I'll get my permission to patch.

It turned out that we hadn't been updating a certain file of codes for over nine months and no-one had noticed. The fault ended up being upstream of my area of technical responsibility and we got it fixed fairly quickly once we noticed. The reason we checked is that the import of the codes into a database usually never goes flawlessly after the short break we have at this time of year but it did and that clued us in to the fact it hadn't been getting a more recent version for nine months. What was even weirder was that once we'd started getting the up to date file it still imported cleanly! This despite having been unchecked for so long and over 35% larger than it was when we last did an import. Weird! Cool, but weird.

I went for a run at lunch. It was hot, I enjoyed it. That's about it. I think I may do parkrun again on Saturday. I won't plan on breaking 20 minutes but it would be nice. I'm also not in tomorrow so I can coordinate the second day of carpet laying upstairs at home. Kris was there today and it all has apparently gone very smoothly. Tonight is going to be mostly about moving lots of furniture and other stuff around so the other rooms can be done. I'm also going to have to unpick all the wiring in the box room, which is going to be a real chore. This will mean that we'll be without network connectivity for about half the day, but I think we can cope with that. Kris may go out anyway so she can get some work done in peace and quiet. Oh, and I'm not in on Monday or Tuesday either. So no journal then either. Chances are I won't remember even a quarter of what happens over the next four days so you'll just have to suffer. I doubt it'll be that bad.

Here's some things to be going on with: the wedding invitations started arriving and people seem to like them even if the text is a little small on some of the bits, some people have some really picky food issues, I've still not been called back by the person who's supposed to be coming to regrout the bathroom, I'm going to be doing a bit of work from home first thing on Monday morning, we still need to work out what we're ordering from Ikea and what we have to go and get because they don't deliver, I'm hungry.

That is all. Have a good few days.

[17:00] Kind of a mixed bag of things today. There were a number of rather more in-depth discussions with the web team about the issues we had with a master/master MySQL database a few weeks ago (which luckily for once I didn't have the skills to have been involved in trying to fix) when all I wanted to do was talk about moving some applications off old servers onto new ones. Then there was the easy scheduling of some RHEL patching, of which some is going to take place while I'm actually on holiday (but I'll still be doing, from home). Finally there was some analysis of some SSL alerts we got from the back end nodes we just added to the load balancers for the new server we've picked up. After a few minutes we discovered that it was in fact the "friendly" probing that another part of the institution does which was sending malformed/incomplete SSL handshakes and causing issues. We've now blacklisted the service from the point of view of the probe so that it won't happen again in the future. We hope. We have to hope because apparently the service is Really Important (more so, apparently, than anything else we run) so it has to stay up at all times.

To be honest, today's also the day I discovered a little more about what certain people think about certain other people here than I thought I would. And certainly more than I think I wanted to.

Having left work early yesterday on account of starting horribly early I went and got straight on with ripping out the fitted wardrobe in the bedroom. It wasn't quite as satisfying as I thought it would be and the room certainly looks a little odd without the big mirrors in there any more, but the damp in the corner (previously hidden by the side wall of melamine chipboard) isn't as bad as I thought it would be and I think with a little work, some pliers for the wall plugs, some polyfiller and some paint I'll be happy to cover the whole thing up again with a Pax wardrobe system from Ikea (when we eventually get around to ordering it). The garage is now full of lots of white melamine coated chipboard, but only two mirrored doors as I was able to give one to the next door neighbour. Now all we have to do is shuffle all the big furniture around upstairs for the next two days as tomorrow is the first day of the Big Recarpeting Job.

Kris is out this evening at yoga and then having dinner with a friend so I'll be fending for myself and living off a diet of whatever I can find in the cupboards and four hours of downloaded television.