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March's Journal
May's Journal

[14:15] I spent much of last night checking the wallpaper job done yesterday for flaws. There are some; when you have a mild case of OCD it's not hard to find things like that. Actually, that didn't take long so the majority of the time was actually spent repreparing one of Kris' old MacBooks for me to use as a replacement for the old-and-busted Pentium III 700MHz I've had since 2001. I think ten years isn't a bad amount of time for a laptop. And it was still useful even if the down arrow key wouldn't work on some boots. Of course, this means I have to learn a whole new set of keyboard macros and get my head around how MacOS X does application installation/maintenance/upgrade/deletion. And where everything is kept, and a new keyboard (American configuration) and and and... No, I'm not really complaining, it's wonderful to have something so much more responsive and with a battery life not measured in tens of minutes.

I'll be taking it with me to see Kris shortly and she'll fill me in on some of the no doubt wonderful things a Mac can do that my Windows box couldn't. Not to mention that I won't have to plug a camera in any more every time we want to use Skype to talk to each other while we're apart.

The weather has been truly amazing today. Its been a real shame that I've had to stay indoors working. Still, it pays the bills. Speaking of work, today's most enjoyable bit of stuff was getting syslog-ng installed on one of the servers we got a good few years ago to replace the server which went out of warranty even more than a good few years ago. Configuration replication (given the extreme change in version) and getting the switches to log to it was a bit more fun than I've had in a while. Nice to end this session of work doing something moderately challenging for once.

This afternoon I'm getting my teeth checked at the dentist, going home, packing, chatting with Kris and then packing all the things I forgot, tidying the house, making some dinner, settling down with a bit of TV and then going to bed. Tomorrow is going to be a long day and starting early. Even earlier than this morning when I was in for 06:40 to do some system patching. Oh, and that required a bit more fiddling than just hitting "update" as some software a 3rd party installed was broken due to the people who wrote it not being able to discern arse from elbow (however, an rsync I've had in place for about four years probably hasn't been helping matters...).

I'll be gone soon (and then you'll be sorry). Back in a bit. Have a good one.

[16:55] I spent the morning at home today, watching someone wallpaper the rear wall of my house. The first few drops of wallpaper took quite some time as they were extremely hard to get on the wall considering how high off a flat surface some of it is. Anyway, at around 13:00 I left the man to it and headed into work... where I shortly found myself wandering down with a few other people to see how work was progressing at the site of the new, dedicated, almost purpose-built (but definitely purpose-repurposed) server room. Its come on a long way since I was last there and there's every chance that it will be ready for mid-May. I mean, the UPS won't show up for another week after we get the real estate, and we're only getting three racks to begin with, and we won't be putting anything in those rack (or transporting other racks to the suite) for a few more weeks after that but we'll be having it handed over to us on time anyway.

I'm heading home shortly to see if the decorator a) did a good job, b) closed the front door properly and, c) didn't nick anything. I'm pretty sure all three are going to be in the affirmative as he seemed like a really nice chap. I then have to get online and pay the man.

Tomorrow I have to remember not to start anything I can't finish in a day, or less, as I have a dentist appointment in the afternoon. I'm also in very early doing software updates on some live service servers, so hopefully that'll make up for the masses of time I took off this morning. Probably not, but my team leader doesn't seem to care. That or he just prefers it when I'm not in the office.

[15:30] Quite a full weekend, plenty of exercise, and yet I still don't think I'm 100% well again. This could be a bit of a problem when I do my first 2K erg test of the year this evening.

My parents were still here until I got back from my rowing outing on Saturday morning. On Friday night, as I prepared a computer for them to take home we watched one and a half episodes of the beginning of The West Wing, so I let them take the first three seasons away to watch until I see them again. I thanked them again for the huge amount of very small (and not so small) jobs they'd done around the house and then saw them on their way. The outing was nothing special (scratch crew, quite unbalanced) but it got us out on the water. After an early lunch I was back down to the boat house to head off with four other people for a nice 72km cycle ride through the country at a reasonably quick pace. Even though we had to wait for the slowest person a few times (and I gave him a good amount of my Nuun-enhanced drink and some Ride Shots as he'd only brought water) we still managed the loop in about 2 hours and 40 minutes. Which wasn't too bad. My right knee (actually a good bit below it) ached a bit in the evening and the next morning when cycling, but not when I was on foot, oddly. Once home I had a quick shower and then slowly cycled over to Kate's for a rather lovely lasagne dinner (with drink and bread provided by yours truly). I know I went home at some point, and went to bed, but I was so tired it could have been any point after 21:00.

Sunday I had decided would be a day off from exercise. Indeed until midday I didn't do much other than put a wash on, do the washing up and watch the London marathon. Then Kate texted and asked if I'd be interested in a run. In the end we didn't go far, but we did run back to her place where I had even more lasagne before running back to where I'd left my bike and cycling home. As previously mentioned, my knee hurt when cycling but was fine for the whole time I was running. I just have to hope that the discomfort won't show when I'm testing this evening.

Today I started off in town trying to do errands and not being able to complete any of them. However they should be achievable this evening. Then, along with the masses of photocopying I did at lunch time today, Things will be one tiny step closer to Happening.

[16:00] Well, it looks like the wallpapering that we couldn't do because the wall we wanted to do has the stairs on it so is too tall in places for us to reach without scaffolding is going to get done tomorrow rather than on 6 May. This is good. Hurrah, etc. Now I need to think about when to see Teresa, and the estate agent again.

[16:25] I just want to point people at this article about sugar and the video that's linked on it near the top. I've spent the afternoon watching it, rewinding bits when work got too complicated and I missed a step in the explanation. It really makes me want to not have eaten the two doughnuts that were in the packets that've been sitting in front of me all day. I'm seriously going to try and cut back on all sugar that I eat (and drink) across the board. And up my fibre consumption (within reason).

In other news, I got home last night and found that my parents had done an incredibly amazing job tidying the garden. They've removed the old rose which has been there since before I bought the house (but left the holly tree which was planted by a bird a few years ago) and planted some flowers here and there. They also cleaned the cooker to a shine and today will have been painting and filling cracks in walls (not in that order) and hopefully soon I will be getting someone in to wallpaper a wall which I don't have the ladders, etc. to get to all of safely.

Work-wise I've been patching, vetting patches and generally working out what I can and can't apply to servers safely outside of designated patching periods with associated down time. I also went for a run today and tried my first interval training block in a while (100 paces off, 100 on, repeat). It wasn't a huge success, but I know I can build on it next week, even while I'm away.

More house stuff this weekend, also rowing (in a boat I hate) and possibly even some cycling in what could be quite a large group.

[16:45] I didn't sleep especially well last night. I don't think it was down to dinner, I don't even think it was especially down to the fact I was sleeping on the sofa and probably not due to the fact my parents were sleeping in my bed and snoring away. I honestly really cannot tell you why I felt so completely groggy and flat this morning. I know that I didn't feel too 'up' last night, but I put that down to a long day, a meeting in the late evening when I'd rather have been home, alone, reading. I guess it doesn't really matter as I've not had a huge amount to do today. I'm just a bit off my game, enthusiasm-wise at the moment.

Getting my head around Endomondo for the logging of my training took up a few minutes of my day, with me putting in my sessions back to the beginning of the month (or at least when I was well enough to get out of the house). Hopefully it'll be a good way for the coaches at the rowing club to see what I do outside of erging at the boat house when they happen to be there.

I've been discovering a little more about the bureaucracy Kris and I are going to be diving into, today. There's a slim, small, tiny hope that we might be able to take a shortcut with regard to the time that'll be required to do the necessary, but I'm not holding out much hope.

In other news my parents arrived last night and have been doing wonderful things to the garden (I assume, I haven't been home to see yet). They'll be doing good things to the inside of the house too with and without my help for the remainder of the week. However no, we won't be doing anything substantial to the kitchen. I do expect the rose in the corner of the garden, which was there before I bought the house, used to flower at the weirdest times of the year and never really looked 100% healthy, to have gone when I get home. That, and maybe some other stuff. We'll be off to Homebase this evening I expect, to get wallpaper. Possibly even Tesco too, for a food shop where I don't have to cart everything back in my bike panniers.

[16:45] After erging 10K last night it made sense to only run 6K today. I really do like being not-ill as I'm capable of a really reasonable amount of exercise without feeling like I'm about to die. Next week I'll start pushing again, rather than just trying to gently increase my stamina and strength post-illness.

My parents are due to arrive around about 18:00 this evening to help me with some house stuff. Not sure how many days they'll be here for, but probably up to the weekend at least. I have a rowing meeting this evening at 20:00 so we are eating before I go, and potentially chatting to Kris on Skype too, if all goes according to plan. Then it's four-plus nights of sleeping on the (fairly comfortable) sofa while they get the bed. Them's the breaks when you have family visit to do lots of really useful stuff for you.

Work today has been mainly about avoiding the massive amounts of chocolate and sweets sitting just within arm's stretch of me. Of course I haven't been completely successful, but things have gone much better than they could have. I hope the run burnt off a least a few dozen of the calories I took in.

[17:05] Today I have mostly been getting machines patched, getting photos done, getting a photo endorsed, posting off things, contacting people about selling things and getting my eyes checked (contact lens checkup). And then going into work. It has been something of a full morning. The best thing though is that I achieved everthing I was hoping to.

Actually the best thing was that Kris' birthday present arrived today. I timed the email for her to go and check her pigeon hole perfectly (I think) so I got a reply pretty much the moment she came back from looking which was all happy and bouncy. And that's why I'm smiling now as I leave for home, the boat house to erg and then my evening relaxing with some downloaded television. Also the weather is quite nice too.

Just a shame it looks like various things we hoped might happen by mid-August may take considerably longer than that... but we'll see. We'll remain hopeful and optimistic and see how that pans out. More when I know more.

[15:40] Had a pretty good weekend, all things considered. Both mornings I was up with the sun and feeling like I actually had a bit of energy. As a result I went down to the boat house and did a 10K erg (lowering my time by almost forty seconds on the Sunday over the Saturday even with a harder setting) followed by a 10K run to the lock and back. This set me up nicely for afternoons of lazing around, reading. I did go to Tesco on the Saturday and to see Source Code on the Sunday evening but otherwise the highlight of the weekend was chatting with Kris on Skype on my birthday. Lots of relaxing, reading and eating little bits of nice food. In retrospect I don't feel I wasted the sunny weather too much given the opportunity to recharge my batteries after a week of being ill. Oddly my phone apparently missed a few calls and texts from people who've since emailed me with their greetings. Maybe it's something to do with roaming between Orange and T-Mobile's networks now that Orange owns the latter?

I have someone coming to the house straight after work today to do some stuff and then I'm chatting with Kris this evening about documents. I don't think either of us thought there would be as much complication with things as it turns out there might be. Still, them's the breaks.

I've spent most of the day looking at various bits of documentation, getting lost in document IDs and despairing at the complications and bits of paper you need to do stuff these days. So I went for a 6K run just to clear my head a bit. I'll be extremely glad at the points when balls are in other people's courts.

Early start tomorrow with me in town for just before 07:00 to patch a machine. This may take longer than normal as I'm experimenting with not disconnecting the fibre channel card(s) from the array before rebooting into a non-RDAC enabled kernel at the half way point. We'll see how that goes. Once that's done I'll get two kind of passport photos taken, a contact lens checkup done and then head into work. It'll be a busy morning, and all before 10:00.

[16:30] I completely forgot to take the gas and electricity meter readings this morning before going to work. Probably something to do with being more concerned about whether or not my puncture repair from last night had held or not. Yes, another puncture. I have to say I really miss having a bike with tyres that had some tread to them. I think I may invest in a set of much less "slick" tyres in a few weeks if this keeps happening. Especially as putting patches on inner tubes as slim as these are isn't as easy as putting them on the tubes that mountain bikes use.

Anyway, I'll get the readings when I put the bike in the garage when I get home. Unless I go home, dump my bag and go out in the awesome sunshine which seems to have been hanging around for the last three days or so. I do think it's helping me get better, and burn off some of the excess I appear to have accumulated in the last month or so. Given how I seem to be improving in terms of health I'm looking forward to doing a large but sensible amount of exercise this weekend. That and talking to Kris. There's now rowing planned, but I think I'll do some erging, to try and build that part of my fitness and stamina back up, too.

Nothing really happening at work, except me trying to get in on things Chris is doing so I'm not completely out of the loop with regard to the SAN. I'm sure the other two people in my team are thinking "what's he doing coming over here? This is nothing to do with him." but I don't care, I'm trying to be a useful part of the team. Still, it's more important that I keep my skills fresh and keep learning stuff for the future. Unless I end up doing something completely different. Who knows?

I hope the weekend is fun. Especially Sunday.

[15:35] For most of yesterday and up until about two hours ago I would have sworn I had a sinus infection (left side only). Sudafed seems to have at least reduced the symptoms. Being awake at 02:45 this morning, calling Kris in America to find out which of the masses of pills we have in the medicine draw would help with horribly congested and painful sinuses wasn't as bad as you might think. I even managed to get a good amount more sleep before I had to be up at 06:00.

More patching this morning. Just another eight machines, plus one more I took the opportunity to patch at the same time as forcing a reboot to fsck its disk fully. Since then I've been holding fire on some other updates I'd love to get done, gone home at lunch time to see a man about some property and been to the pharmacy to get some more Sudafed of my own (the result of which is why I'm able to type this rather than coughing and feeling my left temple explode in a mess of blood vessels and brain matter).

I think that's it for now. Trying not to cough too much, trying not to eat the chocolate biscuits in the office, trying to find something to do for the last 15 minutes before I go home today. I'm not sure I'll go out and do anything social this evening. Maybe tomorrow. Or if I'm well maybe tomorrow I'll go and do an erg. Apparently we have a 2K test in a week or so...

[17:30] Again, very little happening today. I went for a run at lunch time. It was hot and moderately tiring. My sinuses seem to be aching and clogged and aching so that didn't help. Still, at least I was able to do it, rather than having to stop. I miss Fitness. I want it back. Still not being included in discussions about things unless I force my way into the situation. It's wearing more and more as it matters less and less. It's not like I need to (or even sometimes should) be involved, I just feel like perhaps as a member of the team if I had more to do with things it'd help me be more useful so I could be more involved and useful. You know?

Final round of house cleaning and tidying this evening for tomorrow's big day. Also spending an evening in rather than out (like last night's enjoyable dinner with Kate) will be a good idea considering I'm in early tomorrow morning for more patching and rebooting.

Why am I so tired when I don't seem to be doing as much at work as I'd like to be at the moment?

[15:55] Had a good long conversation with my line manager yesterday about what's going on with me at the moment. Definitely useful to get it out and Known About by The Management. Should make the next few months a bit easier. Also talked to hom about the other issues on my mind right now. He offered some contructive criticism regarding me (very useful) and took everything else I said on board. Hopefully it'll make things easier around here for the time I need it to.

I was in early again this morning doing more patching. This time one of the four machines where I actually have to physically detach the FC arrays while doing the first reboot (to activate the kernel I want to rebuild the initrd for with RDAC drivers) was in the firing line. The next one's next Tuesday. There were a few other servers too, but they're just fire-and-forget. I'm going to try and not disconnect the cables on the next server and see what happens. Maybe the kernel changes since I last tried will mean that the thing won't lock up solid on boot, thus allowing me to build the new initrd and then reboot without having to be physically present. I think the likelihood is low.

Still feeling pretty clogged in the head. Going home soon to tidy the house before dinner out this evening. I may try going for a run tomorrow lunch time.

[18:20] It looks like everyone had a brilliant time on the Thames over the weekend. I for my part was home, doing very little and feeling pretty sorry for myself. I went to Tesco in the morning and spent the rest of the day keeping warm. I think I went to bed at around 21:00. Sunday was a little better as my throat finally decided to stop hurting. I mowed the lawn, did a bit of gardening and then decided that I could, perhaps, try going for a run. This turned out to only be a reasonably bad idea rather than a complete disaster as I ran (jogged) about 4-5km before I had to walk. The remaining 7km or so I did both walking and jogging. And I wasn't dead when I got home!

However, when I told Kris what I'd done I nearly got killed by her telepathically. She wasn't pleased at all. As it's her birthday today I promised not to do any exercise at all today to placate her. I'm sticking to my promise and am rather glad I did as my sinuses appear to have backed up and caused some serious blockage in my head, with associated headache. Not good.

She also told me to change my eating habits to something a little less batchelor-like (which I had started to do a few hours before she asked) so maybe a few more vitamins and some protein (rather than just carbohydrates) will help me improve my health a bit more quickly.

I'm giving serious consideration to stopping rowing, to be honest. The enjoyment seems to have leeched out for me this last few months. Maybe it's because I was dropped from the boat I was in, or the lack of joined up training but I'm just not feeling it any more. Which is a bit annoying considering I just forked out for another year's BR membership in November.

Anyway, I spent about an hour talking to my line manager about the future I have here and some of the problems I've been experiencing recently and was pleased and gratified by his response (which I never expected to be anything other than it was). That's one more issue dealt with. Two, sorta.

Oh, and I called someone who'll be coming out to look at the house on Thursday. Which is helpful.

Finally, happy birthday to my darling wife. You're amazing and I miss you.

[11:50] It looks like we've managed to find someone to take my seat tomorrow at the HORR. I'm really displeased not to be rowing (this year of rowing appears to be going with a whimper, rather than a bang) but it's a much more sensible idea than the alternative (travelling to London to the day, getting cold and wet on the Thames and rubbing my throat red-raw, not to mention being useless as the bow man). So yes, all I have to do now is try to get healthy and fit again for 18 April when we're apparently doing a 2K test. I don't think it's going to be pretty.

My coworkers appear to have gone to lunch quite early, and may not be back for quite a while. I don't really mind now that I know what the future is going to bring. Also, I'm leaving work at 14:30 today on account of having been in for 06:30 again this morning patching and rebooting servers. I'm still ill. Going-to-bed-at-20:00-last-night ill. Which was disconcerting when I woke up at 23:15 and assumed it was some time in the morning of today. Even so I still feel like crap after having broken sleep all night. Getting up and showering was, again, more of a relief than a trial. I hope having this weekend as downtime, only going to Tesco and nothing else, will help me get better. I hate being ill. I hate being unfit. I wonder if it's something to do with getting older; this getting iller more often. I imagine that the 'finding it harder to get back to the same level of fitness' thing is down to the latter. Maybe part of it is also that my diet is not quite as good as when Kris is here, doing amazing things in the kitchen.