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August's Journal
October's Journal

[16:50] My heart goes out to the family and friends of those people who died in the air crash in Nepal this morning. For various reasons (not least of which being that they were all climbers of some description) I'm more affected by the incident than I usually would be by something like this. It's a terrible tragedy and I hope everyone touched by it is being looked after/supported as much as possible. Their only consolation, that their loved ones died doing something they wanted to do; that they were living their lives to the full. Should I ever go before I die of old age, I want it to be while I'm doing something active, not dull and boring.

Anyway, more on that another time. Today I ran, did some work, cleared a lot of stuff out of the store room and didn't manage to do some other things. But that's OK, because it's Friday and I get to go home very shortly! Tonight I will have some fun, I hope. Then the weekend's rowing in the mornings and either boat house maintenance or cooking a roast dinner with Kate in the afternoons (Saturday and Sunday respectively).

For now though, I'm going to try and get home before the skies open. Have a fun weekend.

[13:30] Hurrah! My server is back up and running again, as you may or may not have noticed if you ever look at other parts of the site (or even the site at all if you normally go to LiveJournal for your daily fix of mundanity). It may be though that may soon be homeless due to the hosting people trying to get out of the VM market and move on to other things. So, if you've a VM spare somewhere you wouldn't mind donating to the cause, please do let me know!

Last night's outing was thankfully rain-free, which was good as rain on top of a shouty coach on the bank, a cox who'd never been out in the dark before and a trial of some new blades with smooth wooden handles which were slightly too large for our hands left us feeling like we'd been put through the wringer somewhat by the time we'd been out for an hour and a half or so. Add to that the really annoying high-visibility thing I had to wear which got caught in the wheels and also chafed in various places, and a new person stroking the boat so everything else was a bit off, and you have a not too brilliant outing. Still, it was dry. Small mercies.

No morning exercises this morning as I had to be up and in work just before 07:00 to completely rewire a patch cupboard, including putting in new switches. Unfortunately the Helpdesk team had been accessing it for many months doing repatches, so it was a complete nightmare to redo. Got it done though, only ten minutes past deadline, so that was OK.

Off out into town now to do some other networky stuff, then hopefully go home a little early and do a bit of much-needed housework and things. No exercise today, which is a good thing.

[17:10] So it looks like some time between 23:00 and 07:00 this morning the server which is my screen session and also runs stopped responding completely. I don't really know why, but it might be the same issue as last time. This could mean it's offline for a couple of days again. There's still LiveJournal (which is where you're reading this now, obviously, unless you've come to read this a few days down the line when hopefully things are working again), so that's OK. Although I never thought I'd be relying on it over and above my "own" server. Still, them's the breaks when you're getting your server for free.

Last night's weights session went well (in that my legs ached this morning), and the dinner with Kate was smashing, as per usual. It didn't even rain, so I was able to get to and from the restaurant without feeling like a drowned rat. In fact it hasn't realy rained much here at all today. Which meant I was able to do my 6K in the dry (as opposed to Monday) and there's every chance that this evening's outing will also be dry. I may even try on my "new" (read: free second-hand) one-piece for the first time.

I'll be in horribly early tomorrow morning to do some network work. But I won't be on my own, which is nice. For now though, I think I should go and eat something so I don't collapse in the boat later on. Oh, and this'll be my first night outing of the year, which is always special. Especially as our cox hasn't done one before.

[16:50] Not a lot happened today. No running, not much in the way of work other than general systems and network maintenance and fixing, and things. I turned off the two old load balancer servers (may the rest in peace) and began a project plan for the patching of the whole of our linux server infrastructure (all 150 boxes, plus virtual hosts). I think it's going to take a good few months before I get permission to do them all at current estimate. Before Christmas would be nice. Especially seeing as RHEL5.9 (and possibly even 6.4) will be out before then. The main issue is getting down time. Not on the live services, but the development and UAT instances. That, oddly, is much harder to do.

I have a weights session this evening (truncated) then dinner with Kate. We're actually going to make an effort to both look properly smart this evening for once. Which'll be nice. I haven't dressed up and gone out for a meal with someone in far too long. I hope it'll be a nice evening. It usually is.

It'll just be me manning the fort tomorrow. My line manager's on his last week of vacation and my co-worker's on a NetBackup course. Here's hoping nothing goes wrong for the day!

[17:30] A strong contended for "good weekend", I think. Two mornings of extra long rowing outings (neither of them cursed with rain, although I don't hold out much hope for next weekend), a Saturday then consisting of Tesco, housework a 30 mile cycle and gardening into the twilight, and a Sunday which was mainly about rowing, coaching rowing and relaxing on the sofa watching terrible films on iPlayer. Add to that getting clarity on a few (but not all) of the things I've had pending in my head recently and by Sunday evening I was quite pleased to a) have achieved so much and still be in one piece and, b) that I could get to bed.

This morning I was a little late into work on account of something I'll tell you about in a few weeks. Nothing huge, I don't think, but interesting. Once in work I cleaned up a few errors and warnings and other things which had been awaiting my attention, then popped out for a totally awesome 6K run in the torrential rain. Forget about getting soaked to the skin; no achilles issues whatsoever! So cool! I still won't ramp up the distance any more, or run every day for a little longer. I want to be fixed again, and certain that I am. But... yay! Everything's soaked, obviously, which is a bit of a bind. But I'm not running again until Wednesday, so there's time for it all to dry out.

The afternoon was mainly spend babysitting two electricians who were replacing the oxygen sensors in our other server room's fire suppression gas bottle room. Long story short: the new sensor was DOA. So they'll have to come back again. Annoying. Still, I got a lift there and back because of the rain so it wasn't a total washout, as it were.

Erging tonight, then I'm off home for a big meal. I'm already famished, so may need to have a quick snack from the machine on the way out.

[16:25] A quiet day today. A little too quiet, really. I spiced it up with a fun 6K run at lunch time. I noticed my right heel/achilles being different to my left, but it doesn't seem to hurt right now. I refuse to overtrain it, so I almost certainly won't be running this weekend. Not that I should anyway as I've got other things I should be doing. Shopping, mainly. Preparation. Things like that. Oh, and mowing the lawn. The grass really seems to grow really quickly here. I have no idea why.

So yes, rowing, boat house maintenance stuff, Tesco, shopping and hopefully something social, but it seems unlikely at the moment. Hope you've had a good day/week and the next two days are a pleasant relaxation from what went before. I'll be a little late in on Monday, but I'll see you then.

[15:30] An enjoyable evening of erging (tough, too) last night has been offset by a feeling today that I may be vanishing off the radar/out of sight out of mind when it comes to some people with whom I thought I was creating something of a rapport. Maybe they're just busy (in fact it's almost certain they are). But it doesn't stop me feeling like the effort I was putting in has all been for nothing. Anyway, that. And also almost setting the kitchen on fire last night when I was grilling sausages. I really miss the salamander on my old cooker. The electric grill I have now is a pale substitute. I wonder - when I buy a house again - if I can find one to have in my kitchen. Hmmm, a kitchen I choose myself. How great would that be? I nearly got there, once. Well, it would have been jointly designed, and utterly awesome. Nearly, anyway. Just not quite. And frankly, as with so many things in life, nearly is basically a synonym for "didn't." I nearly got a kitchen. I nearly moved to the US. I nearly stayed married. Yeah.

I guess what I'm driving at here is that I'm feeling a bit frustrated with things, life and all that stuff. Which is a surprise, as that usually doesn't happen until Friday most weeks. I'm ahead of the curve. Yay me.

I guess that's it for the moment. I'm about to go into town to move some wireless access points around, then... do some other stuff. I think I'll miss out on circuits tonight, I need a night off. Or maybe I don't. I'll see how I feel.

[17:10] Last night's weights session was pretty hard. I've never really done a proper weights programme before. And usually when I've done them it's been at a gym with machines, rather than free weights, so there wasn't much you could do wrong. Now there's technique and everything I need to work on (much like rowing) if I'm not going to do myself an injury.

I ran today at lunch time. Just 4K again. I could sort of feel my achilles, but not in any way which made me think I should stop. I'll take another day off tomorrow and see how Friday feels at 4K again. If all is well I'll think about a longer run on Sunday, after the outing, if I feel the urge.

Most of work today has been about 'spring' cleaning the Network storage cabinets and the store room (jointly shared with the Windows and Unix guys). We've thrown out an imperial buttloads of stuff that we just didn't need (and probably haven't needed in over five years). There's still more to go, too. Otherwise, there's been a few issues with web developers applications not doing what they're supposed to with regard to HTTP and HTTPS. I'm 90% certain it's nothing to do with my side of things, but the developer swears blind it isn't anything he's done, so I'll have to endure him leaning on my desk tomorrow as we work through more of his problems.

The weather's been fairly lovely today, so I'm going to take my time riding over to the boat house for the double endurance erg this evening. Then I may take a break from email and things this evening and catch up on some televisual viewing.

[17:25] So just before I left work yesterday MySQL replication broke utterly on two of our servers. We have no idea why, but rather than fix it at the end of a long day we went home instead, having left everything in a stable condition. Pretty much all of today has been spent trying to get replication (master/master) working again. The reason it has taken so long is that the notes I made when my team leader last did it at the speed of light were not complete and contained errors due to my inability to keep up with him, his lack of explaining what he was doing and him looking over the wiki document I wrote up and saying it all seemed fine, when it wasn't. It very definitely wasn't.

Still, all working now. And we have a piece of documentation now which is frighteningly precise and exact in what you need to do to rebuild a MySQL slave and get multi-master replication working again.

So yes, that was my day. And I got in early as well, so its been a long one. I'm now off to tire myself out with a weight session and then head off for food and conversation. There's a good chance I might actually survive today intact. Which'd be nice, really.

[16:30] I think the last few days were brought to me by "Awesome Weekends 'R' Us". It started on Friday with a fun time out and then in. I mean, things didn't go entirely to plan (when do they?) but I'm pretty sure that everyone went home having had a good time. Saturday morning was almost completely spent on the river in some lovely weather. We'd been given a training plan and had to row all the way down to the second lock, and then on the way back double back slightly, to fit everything we'd been told to do in. Back at the boat house I spend about an hour and a half cleaning up the boat bays so that they were young teenager-friendly for the Sunday when Lianne would be teaching a whole mess of them to row and scull. After that I just had enough time to get home, put a wash on, get to Tesco, get back, shower, and hang the washing out before I had to get into town to attend the opening of a noodle bar (free food and drink with friends!) before all the food ran out. Once all that was done three of us cycled out of town southwards and attended an honest-to-goodness tea party in someone's back garden. Fine bone china, tea, cakes on multi-level stands and lace tableclothes covered in paper doilies. The whole deal. The only alcohol there was Pimm's and there wasn't much of that. It was a remarkably dignified and pleasant affair that went on well after the sun had set (tiki torches are great). Sunday I was up with the larks and down in to town to register the two teams I was manager for for the annual relay race through the centre of the city. Everyone turned up (pretty much on time, everyone was raring to go, everyone had a great time and... I ran and my achilles didn't bother me at all! I was so excited after about thirty paces that I didn't care that my running fitness had totally gone down the tubes in the month and a bit since I last ran. Or at least that's how long it feels, anyway. I really missed running, so it was so so very wonderful to be able to do it again. Afterwards both teams retired to a pub where I'd booked us a table and we all ate and chatted and generally enjoyed ourselves. Once all was done I toddled off to the boat house and decided to do a quick 30 minute erg as there wasn't much else to do with the day (who could be bothered with washing up, I mean, really?). After that I did go home though, took my shoes off and had some actual down time. I mean, what's a weekend without half an afternoon to recover from the previous six and a half days of non-stoppedness?

Today has pretty much gone as Mondays go. Plenty of things to do which have been semi-intractable or generally annoying. I did go for a semi-gentle 4K run at lunchtime though, just to see if yesterday was a fluke. I'm pleased to report that while there was something happening in my right heel, it didn't feel like anything I should be doing anything more than bearing in mind. As a result I'm going to try running again on Wednesday lunch time. Tonight though, it's and erg with the rest of my crew. Then some washing up, then dinner. You know, like most of my evenings. Exciting, huh?

[16:45] I got one or two surprising emails today. Saying things I wasn't prepared for. It's odd to think that to some people you're one person, and to others a completely different other. Perhaps I just express myself differently via email/textual communication than I do face to face. But I didn't think so. I'm out tonight so I'll pay closer attention to how I behave and see how things go. I think it'll be an interesting evening for a variety of reasons.

I haven't really managed to achieve anything today other than some more mild panic about pushing back my achilles recovery by running on Sunday. I'm still doing heel drop exercises but (unless it's my imagination/hypochondria) I can feel my right achilles tendon tingling even when I'm just sitting at my desk. I know this run is almost certainly going to push back my recovery by another month or so, but at this point there's no-one else who can take my place.

Saturday is rowing, Tesco, probably the opening of a restaurant (free food) and/or a tea/birthday party in the south of the city. Sunday morning is the relay race. Then food, then... I don't know, relaxing for a bit? I'll see you all on Monday with stories to tell.

[17:30] Nothing much happened today. Except that I tried a very short experimental run and realised that my achilles still isn't happy yet. This doesn't bode well for the 2.72km I'm running on Sunday. If I wasn't the team captain for two teams and running in one of them I'd pull out. As it is I think it's going to set me back at least a good few more weeks. It's so frustrating given how many people in the world don't want to run, and here's me, desperate to, and I can't. Bah. It's not that it's painful, per se. But I know it doesn't feel like it should.

Had a smashing dinner last night at a local Keralan place. Even had some wine for the first time in I don't know how long. It's certainly nice to be doing a bit of socialising, rather than just going to the boat house every evening. I'm actually not going to go tonight or tomorrow. How crazy is that?

[17:10] I spent the entire morning standing in a freezing cold server room babysitting a carpenter who'd been sent out to fix an electrical problem and a plumbing problem. Naturally he left after three and a bit hours without having dealt with either issue satisfactorily. I then went and had lunch with a friend, which was a nice way to spend the last of the dry weather. It has now been spitting all afternoon and is probably going to hammer it down shortly. This is annoying as after I've been to the boat club this evening I'm going across town to have dinner with Kate. Cycling home in the cold and wet wasn't something I was planning on doing.

Hmmm, I feel tired. I wonder if last night's weights session with a quick (but not too quick) 2K erg on the beginning had anything to do with it.

[17:00] After yesterday felt a bit poo in the morning I was pleasantly surprised to see things take a real upturn later on in the day. Especially pleasing were a few emails I got from people which made me feel a whole lot better about myself and the immediate future. So that was nice. Even the little issue of feeling excluded from some social groups went away for the most part. The 5K test in the evening went fairly well too. I got a reasonable time considering I didn't go flat out and I had something of a stomach upset which meant visits to the loo immediately before and afterwards. Given that, 17:42 isn't so bad. Hopefully I can bring that time down a bit as the season progresses.

I'm doing weights tonight. Then it's home for steak, chips and kale. It's amazing how much I'm looking forward to that piece of meat. Maybe it's something to do with how much exercise I'm doing at the moment. I can't wait until I'm able to run again; my meals are going to be huge.

Hmm, what's happening in the next few days? More work tomorrow (surprise), then possibly lunch with a friend, then more work. An erg in the evening, a quick meeting about training and race/regatta entries, then dinner with Kate and a chance to catch up on everything that's been happening recently. I think Thursday is basically free (although there is a weights induction at the boat house, and there's work, obviously) and then Friday is work and then meeting a friend after work to do something fun.

That's it for now though. Time for some weights.

[08:55] After a pretty good weekend I've suddenly come down to earth with a bump. A combination of loneliness, discovered I wasn't being invited to some social events, and a complete failure to create a situation I was hoping to has left me feeling at a fairly low ebb with extreme rapidity. What's more there isn't a lot I can do about any of them without looking like a rather poor excuse for a human being. I'll just get on with my day and hope and work for the best by just trying to be as nice a person as I can be. Not really the BOFHly attitude. But then this journal stopped being about that kind of thing a long time, really. More on the weekend later.

[17:05] OK, so now I'm back from town where the network lead and I have completely failed to set up a Vodaphone femto cell thingy due to them (or us) being poo. So, after a Friday evening where I completely failed to find anyone to do anything fun with despite the weather being fabulous, I got up on Saturday morning and spent three hours or so rowing the long course out of town and back with my 4+, after rigging it back up (it'd been away for repairs). All in all I think it went pretty well considering how long its been since we were all in it, and the fact that we had a stand in (potential replacement). I ended up doing some regatta prep-work before heading off to do other things. There was some Dragon Boat racing on the river in the afternoon so after I'd been to Tesco I ambled on over and took the opportunity to simply hang out for a while. I couldn't do it for long though as there was nothing to stimulate me, so I ended up helping out here and then for a while before grabbing Keith and Sarah and a few other people and going for a curry once we'd got as much as we could sorted for the following day.

The following (Sun)day started at 04:00 when I couldn't sleep any more. I got up and made myself busy with emails and other such things until it was time to make some lunch and get myself to the boat house. Arriving first I got the launch and the two tubs ready, fiddled with the launch a bit and then with Keith's help got everything into the water and lashed together (hurrah for knots learned in Scouts all those years ago). I piloted the whole messy flotilla/platform down to the part of the river where we hold the regatta and delivered the barbeques, tied down the stake boats in the required locations and dropped all the buoys in the proper places (going back a few times to move one or two). Then, amazingly, the rest of the day was spent doing very little at all other than getting some sun, laughing and joking with a crew mate from the 4+ and helping marshal at one of the midpoints. Oh, and Kate turned up for a little while to see what all the fuss was about on the river, which was nice. Other than the occasional ferrying of people across the river it wasn't until the end of the day that I was required to clear the whole mess of stuff down again and slowly make my way back with everything, against the current, to the boat house. I and my helper/passenger didn't arrive until it was pretty much fully dark. But that didn't matter as it had been a beautiful day. Everyone who'd stayed behind to break down the regatta ended up at the pub for some well-deserved food and there they probably stayed long after I'd run out of steam at about 22:00 and gone home to bed.

This morning I was up with the larks and exercising before getting to work in gently spitting weather. The morning was spent catching up on emails and things before the network lead and I headed into town to do various things. Which brings me back up to date with what I was saying above. Since that debacle I've been back in the office for a few hours and will shortly be leaving for the boat house where there is much tidying to do before I do my first erg test of the new season. A 5K time trial. I don't think it's going to go well. In other news though I think my achilles may be getting close to being mended. Which is good. I refuse to run on it for at least another four days, just to make sure. Whether it's fixed or not I will be running on it on Sunday though, so here's hoping.

[14:00] The landing stage building went well. Which was nice. I then got to have a nice quiet evening cleaning up the house and getting some washing up done. So a good evening all round, really.

I've started doing some exercises to work on my achilles tendon. I believe that what I'm doing is helpful, rather than causing more damage/problems. At least that's what all of the stuff I've found online (and I've looked at a lot of documentation). It would be nice if it's runnable on by next Sunday at the very least. If not, well, I'll probably run on it anyway.

Quiet day at work today, so I'm off into town to swap a switch out, get the incident room up and running (remember that place I stuck a wireless AP a few weeks ago?) and then perhaps get out of work early and go and do something energetic. I could go for a cycle, but I didn't bring my water bottles, so maybe I'll go and put some loud music on at the boat house and work up a sweat doing a bit of an erg. Friday's supposed to be a rest day, but I haven't really done anything exercise-related since Tuesday.

The weekend should see me back in a boat tomorrow morning, then... I guess I'll do some other stuff. Sunday I'll be in a motor launch from very early until late. Being on a water and not under my own motive power for once will be fun. Have a good weekend. Let me know how you get on.

[16:55] So yes, I was away yesterday. It was a long day and I'm rather glad I didn't wear my contact lenses despite how sunny it was. There's no way I'd have enjoyed the experience of falling asleep on both trains on the way home if I'd had to keep my lenses in place when I woke up, and on the cycle home in the dry, windy darkness once I got back into town last night. A long day. But, I think, ultimately productive, even if I don't end up doing much for the organisation. In all honesty I probably need a journal entry devoted entirely to what it is I might end up doing, and today isn't the day I can be bothered to write it. I've got too many other things I need to get done before the end of the day. Then I've got to get down to the river to help build a landing stage for our boat club.

Things to tell you: yesterday went well, there are a lot of acronyms in the world I was unaware of, Marylebone station isn't terribly exciting, but its Underground exit is a great place to do stair running rather than taking the escalator, always pack snacks when traveling (also water), my achilles still isn't happy yet, things I thought were progressing are (as always seems to be the case) not progressing as quickly as I would have hoped, I'm staying in the place I'm renting right now until at least the end of June.

And now, time to get out in what's left of the day's sun.

[16:45] The current highlight of today was my haircut. That tells you what kind of day it has been. The fact that there's a weights session at the boat house this evening (I know I go on about the boat house and rowing a lot more than I used to these days, but there's not a lot else happening in my life at the moment) may be a late, but strong, contender for something more exciting than that. What else happened recently? Well, last night's erg session was interesting. Given how men usually like to be best at things when doing them in a group it was nice to see that I actually out-erged everyone else in my crew during the two 20 minute pieces we did last night. It looks like my long distance running, cycling and erging is paying off somewhat. That and the fact that I didn't really take a break other than to go to Morocco since the end of the racing season. And especially as my recovery time seems to be extraordinarily good, too. Anyway, that was a pleasant discovery. This morning I started off in town tracing fibre runs to discover what's going to be affected by the resplicing that's going to be done tomorrow morning. Not that I'll be around to pick up any potential pieces if it all goes to pot as I'll be on a train to my induction day for the organisation I've been accepted to volunteer for. As I said previously, I'll tell you all about it tomorrow if everything goes well.

I should go and have a shower, there's hair everywhere.

[17:05] Oh, I put the Morocco photos up. They're not terribly exciting, but hopefully they'll give you a flavour of what it was like out there.

The weekend had some good bits and some bad. Some stuff that was unexpected and some that I guess I really should have seen coming. Saturday morning started with me heading down to the boat house to cox a 4+ for the first time. Everything was ready, I had my calls down, I knew what I was going to do with the outing... and then we were a man short. So it didn't happen. I cycled home, changed into my running stuff and made it to the parkrun course in time to have a bit of a warmup. About twenty paces into that my right achilles decided that it just wasn't ready to come back off the bench yet, probably. Rather than put back my running any more I just stopped there and then and walked back to the start area, collected a marshalling tabard and volunteered as a course director instead. It's a very odd feeling to watch ~300 people go off the start line and not be among them. I cheered everyone around anyway and got thanked a lot, which was nice. Had a good chat with lots of running/adventure racing friends afterwords. Networking, as it were. Again, very odd to be doing so while not coming down off a 5K run. I really hope I can get back in the saddle again soon. Saturday afternoon was tidying, cleaning and vacuuming for the first time in a long time as Kate was due to come over and cook dinner with me. We met at the local Tesco and picked up all the ingredients before heading back and getting everything made. Had a great evening, a little bit too much wine and plenty of good honest conversation. By the time she left I have to admit I was ready for bed and went out like a light.

Sunday morning I actually felt a tiny bit the worse for wear. I think it might have been something to do with the wine, which I haven't really had in a very long time. I solved that by getting some washing up done, going to Tesco and then watching RED, which I haven't seen in a while. By very early afternoon though I was itching to do something active, so toddled down to the boat house and threw down a reasonably good 1 hour/15.6+km erg while watching lots of people running along by the river and feeling extremely envious. After that all I wanted to do was get showered, home and catch up with some personal email, which I'd really let slide for a few days.

This morning, as per usual, followed the same routine. It's nice to know what I'm doing from about 06:00 onwards until I leave the house. Getting up just a little earlier is paying dividends in terms of what I can do before I need to get going. The weather's been nice thus far today, too, which is galling as I wanted to start running again today. As it is I'm going to wait until at least Thursday before I give it a shot. Or maybe Wednesday night when I get back from my volunteering induction thing. Have I mentioned who that's with yet? I don't think so. OK, I'll tell you more about it on Thursday when I can tell you how the induction day was, too.

Not much else has happened today other than the fact that the load balancers got flipped over to the new ones this morning before I got in to work. Another case of my team leader giving me something to do, and then taking it over himself when it looked like it was a fun task. I'm not terribly bothered as it meant I didn't have to get in to work for 07:00 this morning, but still, it's the principle of the thing. I'm off shortly to go to the boat house for a crew erg and a meeting in the pub afterwards to talk about crew selection, training and the like. I wish I'd been able to run today.