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December's Journal
February's Journal

[17:15] Blerg! Talk about a crap way to end the day. I've been feeling low on energy all day and the 6km at lunch time was tiring all the way around (so I'm not going to do my 5K test this evening at the boat house, that'd be silly), I think I may be having a weird digestive reaction to the black grapes we got from Tesco on the weekend and I have a headache (more just a feeling of thickness to my noggin). And then to cap it all off while I was in a meeting a production database server rebooted (just like its partner development sibling has been doing). Sync floods on the hypertransport buses seems to be a symptom, but there's no real cause ascertainable at the moment. I've opened a call with Oracle and hopefully they'll get back to me tomorrow.

Speaking of tomorrow, I need to be in for 08:00 to try and update of the firmware on one of the APC UPSes in the hope that the newer TCP/IP stack is a bit better. That should be a brief bit of interestingness. And better interestingness than the last three hours or so this afternoon.

Saturday was good. Rowing in the morning, Tesco after that, relaxing in the afternoon. Sunday was even better! No rowing in the morning, laziness, fun and wonderful breakfast, then progress on home/buildings insurance, finding a hotel for the night we have as layover in a foreign country for our honeymoon and insurance for that trip too (which I ended up buying today, so, two things we can tick off!).

To be honest I'm completely done in now and just want to go home. Hopefully I've given Oracle all the information they need, I'll get home safely with Cormac (who's picking up his car after leaving it at ours while he was on holiday) and then I can collapse and just use my brain for thinking more about home insurance which we really need to deal with before Wednesday morning.

[17:00] Blah, blah. Blah-dy blah. Subversion stuff, 10K run which was really rather lovely (if freezing cold and brilliantly sunny), small amount of patching, lack of response on support calls, terrible night's sleep (possibly due to last night's sushi, missed opportunities this morning (nobody's fault) and finally going home to a pile of washing up (but that's the price you pay for having wonderful food to eat every single day).

Rowing and Tesco on Saturday, nothing on Sunday but organising stuff for the honeymoon. Well, that and other fun stuff, I hope. Oh, and did I forget to mention that Kris makes the most awesome banana and chocolate chip muffins? Well, she does.

[17:00] Nothing much happening today. This is a good thing because after all of yesterday's exercise I'm really quite tired. Last night's row was... OK I guess. Nothing stunning but probably useful in some way.

Today I have been discovering that the building and contents insurance I have which is due for renewal at the beginning of February is not only going up but might have possibly been far highter than it needed to be for at least the last year. Oh well. Maybe Kris and I can use my day off from everything on Sunday to do some online searching and come up with something cheaper.

Speaking of Kris, she's working very hard at the moment. It's showing in that she too is feeling pretty tired most evenings and similarly in the mornings. We're both really looking forward to the honeymoon (and organising portions of it, which we also might do a bit of on Sunday).

And finally, tonight is a date night. Mmmm, 40% off at Yo! Sushi. That sounds like an excellent idea.

[16:40] A disappointing day in terms of resolutions with the companies I've been getting support from. One has flat-out refused to acknowledge that its product is at fault, another seems to have lost the feature request we put in a few months ago (and is offering useless advice on how to mitigate the issue in the mean time) and my two bug reports seem to have floundered and lost all momentum.

Still, at least I had a nice fast run in the rain (it was going to be another 10K but it was raining a lot when I left so I chose another route, then the rain stopped) at lunch time. I also did a Widowmaker on the erg last night as well as a semi-abbreviated core workout. Any more than that and I think I wouldn't be in any fit shape to do this evening's outing. Both Kris and I nearly didn't go out at all last night (she to a late-starting seminar) but we both found the energy, enthusiasm and resolve to do our own things and came home the better for it in both cases. We're now looking forward to Thursday as that's Date Night. Mmmm, sushi.

Oh, it might be that someone from the British Heart Foundation is as I type this round at our house picking up the wardrobe and futon we don't use any more. At least I hope so. It'll give me a good bit more space back in the garage (and the bedroom) for me to rationalise things into.

Other than that I think that's it. The wedding photographer is printing the photo we're taking to my grandmother in a few weeks, I don't currently have any injuries and there'll be prawns in tonight's dinner. Home soon. Hope it doesn't rain this evening while I'm rowing.

[16:55] Another day completely taken over with responding to support calls with further information. Not all bad news as in two cases there may have been potential breakthroughs with regard to what the problems were/are. One of them may progress more tomorrow, the other may require me to spend a large chunk of a weekend day here at work watching nothing at all happen (diagnostics run). So, there you go.

In other news I have a date this week organised. It's with my wife, as you might have guessed, so that's excellent. I'm also hopeful that someone from a charity will come and pick up my surplus wardrobe tomorrow while I'm at work (so thanks to Kris for being at home). Odds are even that they won't mind, notice or care about the few scratches in it and I'll get some of the garage back to allow me to tidy more of it. Oh, and maybe I can get rid of the old fold-out futon too... Here's hoping!

Off to the boat house tonight for more strength training. It's going to hurt, again. But it's all in a good cause. Cycling, rowing, etc.

[17:55] Mostly today I have been making progress with support calls. I have two bugs open with Red Hat, something to do with the VLAN UPS snafu open with APCC and a call open with Sun/Oracle as one of our database servers rebooted itself again over the weekend. And, as I said, pretty much all of them have made some progress, which is awesome.

In other news the rowing over the weekend was pretty good. Especially as on the Saturday I got an extra half an hour in bed (meaning I didn't have to get up until 07:30). Otherwise I did lots of house tidying and cleaning and then tried to relax the rest of the time. Kris had a full weekend of yoga teacher training so we didn't see each other between 08:00 and 18:30 both days. We're going to remedy this by me taking next Sunday off from rowing so we can actually have a whole day together in each other's company.

Hmmm, it's far later than I thought it would be by the time I finished the things I was doing today. I blame running 10K at lunch time. That probably slowed me down in terms of energy to do other stuff. Or maybe I just have too many things in my Google Reader.

[17:30] There are a few things I need to work on. They're me-related rather than anything physical or work-related. And it would be helpful if I got them changed (fixed?) sooner rather than later. They're a problem that I would really like to deal with. Unfortunately today was not the day to do that. Today was the day when I worked on the plan to update the large number of RHEL boxes I'm responsible for. Unfortunately though this evolved into working on two bugs with RH in connection with dm-raid. That - and going for a run at lunch time - ate up most of my day.

Kris is in London today giving a talk at one of the universities (I'm so proud) so I'm not feeling any particular rush to head home. Washing up and a quiet house await. However it does mean I can get the place tidy and warm for when she does come home late this evening.

Lots of rowing this weekend and then probably cycling or something like that as this is one of Kris' yoga teacher training weekends so she'll be out most of both days. It's good thing really as I'm feeling a little unfit given how Tuesday's strengthening session left me.

[17:00] While some of last night was plain old problematic, the outing in the boat was really quite cool. Even in the pitch dark we still managed to do pretty well and came up with a reasonable row. I definitely think there was progress. For my part I still need to work on my rock over a lot more. I was told that the person I'm following was responsible for my some of my lack now and again. If you're a rower you'll know what I mean. Back at home it was just lovely to be with my girl, be happy, have some dinner and go to bed.

Today our new SAN threw another disk so I was tasked with opening the support call with IBM about it. Amazingly things seemed to go smoothly and the replacement disk was here before 13:15. I went for a run (during which time it arrived) to try and work some of the stiffness out of my legs from the Tuesday and Wednesday punishment I gave them. I'll run again tomorrow as I think I'm going to be stiff again then, too.

Kris and I are off to Tesco this evening. Obviously this is the highlight of our week. Still, since I got this new front light I can't help but be happy every time I cycle with it in the dark. It's brilliant (in every sense of the word) and I'm sure motor vehicle drivers are treating me with a bit more respect since I started using it. Maybe they're just blinded and are swerving away in panic.

I had a bit of a Facebook moment (well, more like a couple of minutes) today. Luckily Kris was on hand to bring me back down to Earth. She's good like that and I know that I'm very lucky to have her in my life. She's also been offered at least two preliminary interviews with universities in America so I think it's highly likely that at least one of them is going to offer her a job, potentially on the tenure track. If so, well, it's going to be all change here! Watch this space this half of the year...

[17:00] The money cleared! So Kris and I have booked our honeymoon! Hurrah! I won't say where or when we're going beforehand for obvious reasons, but it's going to be completely amazing and totally brilliant. And there'll be lots of pictures, obviously. Neither of us have been anywhere like it before. Well, I sort of have with regard to some of the major architecture, but otherwise, no. Which is also great.

Obviously, to counteract this great news we had a power cut in the middle of town today which necessitated me taking a taxi to the server room, standing around for a few hours turning off disk arrays and such and then turning everything back on again when the power came back. And then standing around watching those self-same arrays be checked for errors. I left the office at around 11:30. I didn't get back until gone 14:00 at which time I was very hungry and not a bit tired.

It was probably a good thing that I didn't have time to run today after last night's strength session. Lots of lunges and other movements have meant that for the first time in many many many months my legs ached this morning and actually still do a bit now. Running at lunch time would probably have meant I'd be useless for anything this evening when I'm out in a boat with the 8+. As such I'll hopefully be able to put down a bit of power and help the shell on a bit more than would otherwise have been the case.

Our Big Brother monitoring system seems to be calming down a bit now, even with the oddness of many of our servers here shutting down too due to some kind of UPS/network/routing/subnet interaction we still haven't gotten to the bottom of yet. I'll take a look at that tomorrow though, when my head doesn't feel quite so clathered.

[17:00] Not much happening today. Probably something to do with not much happening anywhere. Unless it was and no-one told me. I know that Kris has been working very very hard at the moment. I'm really very proud of her for just how much she's dealing with (successfully) right now. I'm looking forward to getting my teeth into something serious here soon, but there are a few minor things which need to be done first, including getting every single RHEL5 machine updated to the updates that comprise RHEL5.6.

I'm off to the boathouse this evening for a good session of erging and muscle workout. I get the feeling it's going to be rather tiring, which is good as I think I have both my and Kris' allocation of energy today. It's a shame today wasn't a running lunchtime day too as the weather was marvellous when I looked out of the window at around 12:15. Oh well, I'm sure it'll rain again tomorrow when I do go out.

I was hoping to pay for something expensive today. But I've been stymied by the British banking system. Why is it I can "Faster Payment" out of my bank account in seconds (and have it arrive with the company/person I'm paying in the same amount of time) but a transfer from one bank/building society to another has to go via BACS and takes at least two days. Everything's electronic! What are they doing with it?

[17:00] The rowing over the weekend was pretty good. I took the precaution of taping the bits of my hands which has previously been bleeding to allow them a little more time to heal. This turned out to be a good idea when it was decided that as well as racing in the 8+ (we came third overall) we'd also be splitting into two 4+ crews and racing the distance again. In the end, despite me being in what I'd like to think was the wrong 4+ we ended up only being seven seconds behind the other 4+ who had, on average the stronger crew. So that was good.

Otherwise the weekend started with a bit of low point and got better with plenty of time with Kris, some delicious food (including a Chinese delivery which both of us had real problems finishing, which was a first) and some actual time to relax, even if most of Sunday was spent either at the boat house or on the water in some rather windy (but not rainy, hurrah!) weather.

I managed to troubleshoot an issue with the new service we assimilated at the same time as dealing with issues at home on Friday night (or at least work out what the problem was) which was rather cool. Coming in on Monday it was a pleasure to find out that people had acted on my efforts and the fix was already under way.

Its been raining for the whole day at this point but I still managed to get out for what I only assume was a rather fast run at lunch time. I blame the fact that about a quarter of the way around I noticed that for the first time there was another runner behind me on my loop so I had a shot of adrenaline to keep my speed up for all but the last kilometre or so. Which was nice. Otherwise Kris and I have been playing phone and web tag with various travel agencies and airlines to coordinate our honeymoon which we're hoping to take, well, quite soon. More on that we we know it. Probably.

[16:15] Today has been a good day. I've worked hard today. It has been good. I really like days like this. I mean, there were some slack bits here and there but I did good work on a Big Brother monitoring script that further refines the monitoring of RAID hardware for LSI cards (stupid HDDs and their transient errors). I worked so much I didn't actually get to go running at lunch time which is a bit peeve-worthy, but there's a good chance I'll get to work up a sweat this evening which will more than make up for the missed dash around the block.

This weekend I will be rowing both mornings and in fact most of Sunday as there's a Head race on into which I've been entered in both a 4+ and an 8+. This was news to me when the email came in at around midnight last night (i.e. I didn't get it until this morning). Kris isn't best pleased and to be honest neither am I, but I guess if I say no to the 4+ (the thing I was unaware of) I will leave four other people in the lurch.

[17:00] The replacement HDD which was supposed to arrive before 17:00 yesterday finally turned up at around 15:00 today. Unfortunately while the application within the OS claimed it was disk 1 (of disks 0 and 1) which was at fault, this translated to disk 0 on the front of the chassis itself (labeled 1 and 0). As a result I pulled out the 'good' disk and now have the server resyncing to the new disk from the suspect one. I can't take out the suspect one and replace it with the old 'good' disk until this has finished (in about half an hour). Hopefully the fact that I was asked to replace the suspect disk because of an ASC/ASCQ 11h/00h error won't affect the syncing process. We'll have to wait and see.

The main reason I hope things go smoothly is that I have a date with Kris tonight. Cocktails and sushi in town if things go according to plan. I feel like I'll deserve it after today's Cacti wrangling (I now think I pretty much grok the new PIA plugin handling), RHEL5.6 publishing (and trickled out RHN updates which broke things in amusing ways) and SVN wrangling (more on that soon I imagine).

[18:00] Looks like all is well now. I hope. I'm going to leave before anything goes wrong that I have to deal with. Of course, should something go wrong and I check my email before bed I'm sure I'll end up dealing with it. That's just the kind of guy I am, I'm afraid. For now though, cocktails and sushi!

[17:00] In an effort to let my hands heal a bit more I didn't go and erg last night. I did however go to the library with Kris, only to discover that we still had books out so couldn't take out any more. I didn't mind at all as I really like cycling in the dark with the new light I have.

After an evening of closeness with Kris on the sofa last night I realised that it was much better to go to bed early with my wife than stay up and watch a film I've seen before. Oddly though I was still really, really tired this morning. I don't really know why. Maybe it's something to do with getting over the last of the flu, but that seems unlikely.

Today I've sent more information to Sun/Oracle about the server which has been rebooting for no readily apparently reason, doing various load balancer configurations, sorting out Oracle Support Service Numbers and contact information and patching RHEL boxes. Oh, and updating the O'Really pages with the new Zazzle information. Go and buy a T-shirt, or three.

I'm out on the water this evening. I get the feeling it's going to be cold. Cold and wet. Not pleasant, anyway.

[17:00] Aside from the annoyance of one of our big and important servers rebooting itself again for no good reason (I've opened a support call about it with Sun/Oracle) today has been about setting up my own store to do O'Really designs on T-shirts again. Yes, its been a long time coming but you can once again get the designs that gave me my 15GB of fame back in the day from Zazzle by going to and choosing the design you want. One small note, I have no idea how good the quality is, but so many people asked about getting them again I had to do something. I'll update the pages on this site tomorrow when I get a free ten minutes or so. For now though I'll remind myself that the Thai food I had for lunch was excellent, that my hands seem to be healing well and that I need to head off right now and meet Kris at the library to get a book out for her.

[17:20] I'm not sure but I don't think either of the rowing sessions over the two weekend mornings did anything for anyone in the boat. We had a chat about it after the Sunday outing and came to the conclusion that we really need to get back to basics for the boat/crew as a whole. Not that there are any major faults with anyone in particular, it's just that we all need to start rowing the same way. Stopping the 'fitness' outings (we're all fit enough right now) and concentrating on technique really is what we need to do right now, we think.

Anyway, rowing (in the cold, pogies are awesome, however blisters all over my hands are not) aside, after the Saturday outing I went for a good long run around a common across from the boat house while I waited for Kris to get out of yoga and we went to Tesco for the weekly shop. Shopping while hungry isn't always the best idea but we seemed to manage it.

We took the tree down on Sunday afternoon. I'm glad it stayed up as long as it did; the lounge feels very bare without it now. Bare enough that I'm thinking of getting another bookshelf or something to fill the gap its left.

I'm very much enjoying the books I was given for Christmas at the moment. It feels good to be reading again. In fact I may read when I get home this evening (after doing the washing up).

Finally, I did my run today. Started off slow but about half way round pushed up to close to flat out. I think I ended up being about a minute and a half off my best time. Which is probably OK, I think. The ache in my foot seems to be subsiding/not presenting as much now too, which is good.

That's enough randomness for today, I need to go home!

[16:30] Dragged myself out of bed and into town in the rain to install a replacement "SASBP" fan tray. For some reason this had the effect of causing one of the drives to vanish from the RAID1 pair and then reappear (possibly when I reconnected the new fan tray). Of course, a resync was then necessary. This seemed to go OK and the box is now happy so... I'll just chalk it up to experience. Sun/Oracle didn't seem to have any idea what caused it either but did the usual recommendation of upgrading the ILOM/BIOS and RAID hardware firmware, in the event that that might stop it happening again. I remain unconvinced.

I was also unconvinced by the weather at lunch time (which actually did stop raining) and the probable bruising of the padding of my left foot (line of thicker skin just before the toes attach) due to the fact I went from no running to 10km and 6km over the course of the week. This meant that I didn't actually run today and won't again until Monday. What Kris and I did do last night was check out the improved climbing wall (with a view to potentially going on Saturday afternoon) and go for a date/dinner out. It was wonderful and especially so given the management misread our voucher and gave me 50% off the entire meal rather than just the main courses.

I'm now off home using my new front light/torch thing. I've bought a new mounting bracket (shipping tomorrow) but have zip-tied on one I got free from someone at the rowing club to see how it works. I'm actually really looking forward to it being pitch dark outside now. I'm doubly looking forward to this evening (or some time over the weekend) when other fun things might happen.

Other things happening this weekend include rowing twice (probably in the rain), going to Tesco and relaxing, hopefully.

[17:00] Very vivid dreams this morning just before I woke up. Oddly, I was very aware that they were dreams and was egging myself on to stay asleep and enjoy them as much as I could. Still, waking up wasn't too bad given the company.

Today I managed to log a support call with Oracle (Sun, as was) Support and get a part shipped out successfully. I don't get to fit it this evening, but instead have to do it at 08:00 tomorrow morning instead. It's not such a problem really, but it would have been nicer to do it on the way to see Kris, the new climbing wall here in town and then have a date with my girl.

Otherwise all has been quiet today. The only things of note are that I've booked train tickets for Kris and I to go and see my parents and my grandmother in the near future and that I need to find the best versions of the O'Really designs I did from a few years back. I have a moderately cunning plan...

[16:40] So, just before Christmas I caught the actual flu from someone in the office. Everyone did thanks to his coughing. This lead to a Christmas spent mostly on the sofa with Kris looking after me until she too succumbed. After that happened we mostly went in for mutual support and division of labour until we began to get better again. Don't let the above make you think we didn't have a great Chrismas holiday though. We did. Aside from going out for Christmas Day dinner (which was a good thing as we never would have been able to cook a proper meal that day given how we were feeling) we spent a lot of time together, enjoyed an open house that far fewer people than we were hoping for but in the end was just the right amount of people came to and had a wonderful New Year's Eve where we basically didn't drink, but still had a wonderful intimate evening together. Not to mention the fact that we weren't hung over the next morning. I didn't manage to get much exercise done due to feeling like I was 80 for most of the time, but we still got out of the house a few times (even braving the Sales) and had a lot of fun. Presents-wise we decided to have a minimal giving rule this year and instead will be spending what we would have spent on each other on the honeymoon when we're able to take it. We're much more into experiences than gifts now, I think.

So anyway, that was our Christmas. Illness, happiness and frugality without sacrificing the best things. Incidently, the Christmas Day dinner was with Cormac and Steph at a Loch Fyne. Walking there and back probably wasn't the best idea, but it did give us an appetite, helped us walk off the meal and meant we actually got some Vitamin D over the course of ten days or so. I think that was also the only time the sun actually got out from behind clouds between December 23 and 31.

Today I have been mostly doing small, inconsequential things, going for a gentle 6km run and finding out that I do actually have an outing this evening after it took upwards of 12 hours for someone to let the emails to the rowing mailing list out of their holding area and be delivered.

[16:15] I was going to tell you all about the Christmas break today. Then lots of work happened and I had to update the Journal for 2011 markup. So I don't have time. I'll do it tomorrow. Haircut time now.