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January's Journal
March's Journal

[17:25] I'd like to say I got home early last night and had a nice, relaxing evening. I think I did, but it doesn't feel like it. Maybe it's something to do with getting up early this morning and doing a 30 minute erg. Either way, while I feel fine (abs are recovering slowly) I do feel pretty tired. Here's hoping this evening's row will be gentler than usual. Once I get home things should be fairly gentle too, for the most part.

I've been putting the finishing touches to the Oracle VM Manager upgrade and new guests/Servers today. With the help of my colleague and some judicious RPM additions we appear to have got both Dell's OMSA and our Big Brother monitoring client installed, not to mention MegaCLI for the IBM servers' RAID hardware. Quite a successful day's work, frankly. A real change from the beginning of the week and the tail end of last week.

Also, had lunch with friend Anna and returned to find a package from Amazon containing these amazing things. I had no idea they existed. My naughty cupboard at home is getting fuller by the week. Right, had better be off to the boat house and then home for fun and games.

[17:35] Last night's outing was pretty shocking. Hopefully it wasn't down to me for the most part, but we'll see what happens if we get in the same boat with the same crew in the same order in the future. Anyway, I'm pretty certain it was down to someone else, but it's not like I can come out and say it, I have to resort to innuendo and hyperbole to avoid the wrong kind of critcism/being rude. Anyway, it'll all work out when we're racing in the 8+, I hope.

This morning I woke up with sore abs again. Just the lower ones, as I've said before. The outing wasn't particularly good for them either. I'm now pretty much completely certain that it's something I'm doing wrong when doing the weights sessions, so I'm missing tonight's and may not do either of the ones next week in preparation for the half marathon as they really do ache when I start running and haven't really relaxed completely by the end of a 6K run. I will still keep going to the erg sessions (such as the one tomorrow morning) and doing the outings, but for the moment my focus is on the half marathon the weekend after the one coming up. Of course before that there's the rowing race this weekend, but so long as everything goes as I hope it should between now and then it's just a case of turning up on the day and doing what I've been doing for the last few weeks, only as hard as I can for about nine and a half minutes or so.

I've got four emails to write this evening. A couple of them will be very long. Almost too long, but that's not really something I can control unless I really get to work with the trimming. Also, the bike shop rang with news about my mud guards. I may have to pop in and see them tomorrow to see what the deal is. It's a shame that there hasn't been any movement on fixing my probably unfixable other bike as it would be nice to strip it down for bits and bobs if it's going to simply be binned.

Anyway, after the 6K run at lunch time I think it's time to have an evening off!

[17:30] Annoyingly, I think my watch (analog) is losing time. Slowly but surely over the course of a day it drifts. Either that or something very strange is going on in my wrist area. It wouldn't be the first time.

Anyway, last night's weights session confirmed to me that it's something I'm doing during weights which makes my abs ache. It must be something to do with the deadlifts, squats, or power cleans I'm doing which is causing me to put more strain on that area then its been used to up until now. Missing out the core (plank) exercises seemed to help a bit such that the erg this morning and the 10K run at lunch time weren't too bad once everything relaxed. Even so, after this morning's 2x 6K ergs (one being a recent-era PB) my lunchtime 10K was a good minute or two slower than last weeks, which is annoying. It's probably to do with when in the week I did it given the exercise in the last 24 hours or so. So yes, weights last night, ergs at silly o'clock this morning, outing on the water this evening.

I picked up my new bike from the bike shop last night, along with a set of mudguards. If it's going to be my commuting bike I may as well go the whole hog on making it one. Anyway, I spent a large chunk of the evening trying to get the damned things to fit on the bike. They wouldn't. In the end, having cycled home with it rolling next to me I cycled to the boat house and then to the bike shop the same way this morning to ask the bike man to please see if he could either fit these mudguards himself or get the 'right' ones from Scott and fit those. The latter is going to be quite expensive, but at least they will fit properly. In the meantime I should buy some new grips, and think about the pannier rack situation a bit more. It'll probably be a week before I get the bike back again.

Workwise I gave up on Oracle this morning and moved the failed install/upgrade of Oracle VM Manager to one side and did a fresh install using the local MySQL database option. This means, if necessary, I can revert to the old install and its database if Oracle ever get back to me. I can't imagine they will, and after all the work I've put into getting this new install up to speed and working with the old Oracle VM Servers, I'm not sure I want them to any more. Anyway, as it is tomorrow morning I'll be back where I was roughly the same time last week. But at least everything'll be updated and ready to rock. I hope. Time to go now, anyway. There's rowing to do. It might even not rain, which would be lovely.

[16:30] So Friday evening was great, even if I was utterly shattered. Turned out to be an early night watching television and eating nice food. Pretty much exactly what I needed in the end. Saturday was mainly about getting across London to watch the two rugby matches with Andy and Andrea and friends, and also eating pub food. By the time I got home at the end of Saturday I was, again, utterly shattered. Sunday morning was all about rowing, and me making a few faux pas in the boat house with some of the other rowers. Hopefully not something I'll repeat. Then it was another pub meal (must cut down on those for a good while), boat house maintenance and home in time for a few hours downtime before entertaining for the evening.

Still nothing from Oracle today on my VM Manager issue. I'm going to be taking steps tomorrow to get things going again by doing a parallel install of the most recent version and seeing if that does what I'm hoping for. Oh, and the bike shop rang and my new bike is in, so I'm going to collect it (or at least see it) in a few minutes. Then it's weights at the boat house and home for a rest.

In other news, I think my abdominal strain seems to have cleared up. Maybe. We'll see how that goes this evening and with tomorrow's run. If it's OK in the first ten steps of tomorrow's run then perhaps for the first time in a good few months I might actually be close to completely healthy! Here's hoping. Otherwise, well, we'll just have to see if I can nurse my body through the next month and a bit of half marathons, head races, and other fun activities.

[16:40] Short entry today. Everything still broken. Considering reinstall because Oracle aren't saying anything. Ran to work to collect bike which is leave-worthy at the station tonight. Ran 15K at lunch time in the freezing (literally) cold. Very tired, very tired. Caught up on a few emails, but not enough. Going to London now. Rest day tomorrow. Watching rugby with Andy and Andrea, neither of whom I've seen in a dog's age. Rowing and all the other things I should have spread over two weekend days on Sunday. Then it's a whole new week again. Have a good weekend.

[17:35] Everything broke this morning. Luckily it was only 10% my fault and 90% Oracle's fault. They told me to use an update script for something and it completely hosed Oracle VM Manager (or its database, or both, I'm not sure any more). I've been feeding Oracle logs all day, but may have caused them to choke fatally on the amount of data I've given them to work with. Not that I think it'll do much good at this point. We may be in some seriously deep do-do on this one.

However, since I did my furthest 30 minute erg at 07:00 this morning, and ran a pretty quick 10K at lunch time my endorphins have been reasonably high all day so I care less about everything being broken than perhaps I would otherwise. That's not to say that I'm not feeling like I'm on the edge of a period of downedness, but I'm certainly feeling better than I would if I hadn't done the amount of exercise I have today. And I've got an outing in a boat this evening too, which should help get me to the end of the day. Not that I need 'help getting to the end of the day' really, it'll just be a nice way to finish off what has otherwise been pretty poor in terms of good things happening in a work context. Also, I'm pretty tired at the moment so I can't wait to get home afterwards and not have to worry about getting up early on Friday morning (or Saturday morning either).

I'm just rambling now. I should go.

[18:00] So I'm still in the M1 crew, which is nice. However I've been on a progressively lowering ebb all day. Starting off the day wondering if I was going to get sarcasmed at by my team leader (I didn't) didn't help, but then I made some mistakes installing Oracle VM Server so had to do that again, then had issues getting that installation and the one I'd done previously connected to Oracle VM Manager, then spent the rest of the day trying to get VM Manager to update fruitlessly to the degree that I missed going for my lunch time run because I thought I might be on to a solution (I wasn't). Now I'm sitting here with a late lunch lying leaden in my stomach, all kinds of email correspondence having gone unanswered and a distinct lack of useful progress on something I really hoped wouldn't take more than five minutes and a reboot to deal with. I've since done the reboot part at least (to get the OS updates live) but the update of the other bits and bobs just doesn't seem to be happening (not that the un-updated application the server hosts is letting me see anything since I rebooted either, which is a little worrying...), which is all really annoying. Still, there's a reasonable chance tomorrow will be a better day when I get to talk to people more, potentially get a valid place for a half marathon (rather than running as someone else) and even go for a run at lunch time. I should leave now, really, and get to the boat house for a weights session before going home to face a mountain of washing up. I think tomorrow's work is going to be extremely frustrating. I'm tempted to leave things as they are overnight and pick them up tomorrow.

[17:55] Weights last night, 2 x 6K erg this morning. On top of the 8K I ran at lunch time I was pretty tired when I got home last night. I didn't feel it physically, except that after I'd eaten I just started dropping off on the sofa, so went to bed. Getting up at 06:00 this morning wasn't that easy either, even if I don't feel achesome, just tired. We've an outing this evening which I'd like to do really well in as there's a non-zero chance I might be bumped down to the M2 boat for HoRR tomorrow. We'll see. I'd like to think that I'm putting in the hours of training to mean that won't happen, but yes, we'll see.

Work today has been repeated installations of Oracle VM Server on the first of two boxes. The repeats due to a lack of forethought on my part with regard to how the virtual disks should be set up on top of the RAID1 and RAID10 arrays. I think it's all sorted now and therefore I'm faced with the braindead nature of Oracle VM Manager and apache's refusal to serve files over 2GB in size when it would be really, really handy if it did. As a result I've had to send an email to my team leader which is probably going to annoy him tomorrow. Still, it's that or probably make a mistake which would lead to more annoyance down the line. I really don't like looking stupid in front of him, but it mostly seems to be the case these days. Maybe I'm just not cut out for this kind of thing. Anyway, there's nothing I can do about it now as I need to get down to the boat house for the outing.

[17:10] Friday's meal went well, which was nice. As I didn't have to row in the morning due to my injury I felt able to stay to the end and help tidy up as well as cooking the meal. Saturday was odd without rowing in the morning, but I used the time to get the house clean and tidy for the first time in many many weeks. It felt good. By the time evening rolled around I was ready for some company/interaction. Which was good as I got some. Ended up watching a film and then getting a moderately early bed.

Sunday was also very relaxed as I wasn't racing. Of course the weather was absolutely perfect so it was galling not to be in the boat. However, it was also nice not to have to get up early, have a relaxing morning (whole day, in fact) and do everything gently and slowly. My back improved gradually over the course of the weekend and by Sunday evening was pretty much OK again. Or at least about 95% OK. Watched two more films (filling in terrible omissions in film knowledge) and even ordered delivery Indian food for the first time in I don't know how long.

This morning was one of those nice, relaxed ones. I chose not to get out of bed early and instead enjoyed the very last moments of the weekend before the whole Monday thing happened. The day has been quiet for the most part and I have found myself hoping something more starts happening again soon. I know I should be careful what I wish for, but I think it's out of my hands for the most part, like the bike I'm still waiting to arrive at the bike shop. That's out of my hands too (and hasn't arrived).

Anyway, time for me to cycle down to the boat house and see if my back is up to a bit of gentle weights work this evening.

[17:10] With no rowing things to do last night I went for a quick 7.5K run instead and discovered that various parts of my abdomen aren't used to running oddly. Rowing, yes. Running no. Must do some more running soon. Then I went to bed fully intending to do some morning exercises, a day's work and then row this evening, tomorrow morning and race on Sunday. Instead, about two minutes from the end of my morning exercises I managed to pull something quite badly in the bottom of my left trapezius and suddenly I'm not rowing at all in any of those outings, or the race. I am... disappointed, to say the least. Not only because I was looking forward to the exercise, but also because the motion that caused it is one I've done countless times before with no problems whatsoever. As it is I'm therefore one of the injured, rather that one of the rowers at this evening's crew meal and film night. Frustrating doesn't begin to cover it. This now means my weekend is suddenly quite empty in places. Luckily I think I know exactly how to fill it. And it won't just be going to Tesco and doing washing.

[17:30] Last night's outing wasn't totally awful. We were in a four, and even with the blisteringly cold wind and a bit of snow here and there it wasn't all that bad. In fact, after a while it wasn't even down to stroke side all the time either. Getting home and having some nice sirloin steak, beans and potato cakes was exactly what I needed, even if they were the inferior Tesco brand ones rather than the far superior Warburtons ones. Not that I know what I'm going to have for dinner tonight, even if I have time to think on account of there not being anything rowing-related going on for once. Probably because it's Valentines Day and some people do stuff on that day. I am going to watch films, and eat dinner on the sofa. Because that's the kind of guy I am.

Nothing really happened today. Seriously, other than the 2x 6K this morning and my usual Belgian Bun fix (had to ask someone in the Co-Op to go into the stores and get them out as they weren't on display yet) I've basically just set up the DRAC and RAID arrays on a server and replied to some emails. There is a currently minor issue with our ClamAV installations, but they should fix themselves overnight, I hope. I'm basically marking time until the weekend when all kinds of good things are due to happen, I hope. Mostly what's going to happen this evening is washing up. Joy.

Oh, tomorrow I intend to start running again. Nothing huge, nothing fast. But I want to get my cardio fitness back up to snuff again (or at least as far as I'm concerned). Especially if I'm going to do a half marathon in March.

[17:40] Last night's 2K test didn't go anywhere near as well as I would have liked it to have done. I don't know. I think it was a combination of a tiny bit of pushing too hard in the weights session the previous night and just not being willing to commit everything to the test on the night. I'm sure I could have done better. In fact, I may do it again in a few days from now with the guy who got the best time last night but still thinks he can do better too, and others who hadn't been able to attend last night. Maybe I'll do better, maybe I'll do worse. Who knows? I certainly don't.

After that mild disappointment I went for pancakes at Cat's house and only managed to have four. I think I was just in that situation when you go through hungry and out the other side. Not really a problem I guess as I'd eaten plenty throughout the day as it was. I think before the next 2K test (not counting the one I may do again within the week) I'm going to get back into doing interval runs over 6km to get my cardiovascular fitness back up again as I think that's what I'm lacking at the moment.

Work continues to continue. Nothing much to report at the moment. I'm getting the DRACs (Dells) and disk arrays set up on a few servers, but other than that don't really have anything to do with them as yet. I think I should go to the boat house now. Hanging around work reading web pages isn't really the kind of thing I want to be doing of an evening. Not that I don't do it during the working day.

[16:55] Early bed last night after perhaps slightly too much working out with weights at the boat house. Nothing long (although I was there a while) but it was 95% of maximum weights for each exercise, and 3 sets of 2 repetitions. I didn't actually break a sweat, but some of my muscles ache today. Not best given what today is all about. Still, bed by 22:00 was a good idea.

I don't think I slept terribly well as I woke a few times in the night, but as I needed to be up and about at 05:40 it wasn't terribly bad. I got the first stage of work done as I ate breakfast and then cycled in on empty, dry, green lit roads to work. Other than the silly things that other people hadn't done, despite me asking them to do so repeatedly in person and via email, everything eventually went pretty much according to plan and I was able to hand over all eleven servers, patched and rebooted within four minutes of when I said I was going to. So that was nice. Since then I've been trying to drink a fair amount, eat in a grazing type manner and conserve my energy for this evening's 2K erg test, which is now less than an hour and half away.

If I survive that, it's Shrove Tuesday, so I will endeavour to cycle a mile or so to Cat's house for pancakes. Hopefully there'll be plenty left. It's only just under (I hope!) seven minutes of exercise. But it's flat-out, balls-to-the-wall exercise. I'm going to feel pretty wrecked afterwards for a few minutes. Also develop the "2K cough". Still, it's all in a good cause. Here's hoping I get the time I'm supposed to, or even the time I want (which is faster).

Other than that I've been doing small jobs today to tidy up our monitoring software's alerts, organising the next two weekends and feeling pretty pleased about things, for the most part. I got a very long and involved email from a friend today which I should probably read through again as it's very interesting. For now, though, it's time to go and face the music at the boat house.

[17:15] You know what? This weekend wasn't particularly interesting, apart from the bits I'm going to tell you about. Mainly it was rowing, going to Tesco and spending far too much time watching The West Wing again. The only really interesting part was going for a Chinese New Year meal with friends I don't think I've seen in a fair while due to being far too busy with rowing. The meal was great, the friends were great, I still got to bed at a reasonable time.

Mostly today has been preparation for tomorrow. I'm going to be patching 11 machines (the whole three tiers of our main service application) and rebooting them before 07:40, I hope. Then a full day's work, then there's the dreaded 2K test in the evening, and then if I can manage it and the weather's not totally terrible, Shrove Tuesday pancakes with friends across town. I have managed to get some emails replied to today, but I've still got two big ones to deal with before the end of tomorrow, I guess. I should go now and have a gentle (I hope) weights session and then go home for the early night it's pretty important I get.

[16:40] Yay, a morning I didn't have to get up early and go to the boat house. After last night's semi-atrocious outing (I won't go into why) it was just a good idea to get out of there, go home, have some food, and let all thoughts of rowing vanish from my mind for the rest of the day. I also didn't turn my computer on, which was a really nice thing (not) to do, too. I may do it again tonight, unless there's an email or two I need to reply to before Saturday morning. Probably not, though.

Work was briefly interrupted over lunch by going to do another cognitive science thing at the local academic cognitive science place. A little bit of money for cycling hard in the cold for ten minutes each way and staring at a screen and tapping keys like a trained monkey? I can do that. What was a surprise was that the person doing my testing wasn't the person I thought it would be, but someone I know from the rowing club, who I knew worked there, but wasn't expecting to see. A very pleasant surprise, to say the least. I wonder if there was more to it than the planned tester not being able to be there...

For now, I'm off for Friday's erg, then relaxation. The weekend is obviously all about rowing, then relaxation, then rowing, then relaxation and Chinese New Year. And seeing a friend, or two. Also my weekly tithe to Tesco.

[17:25] A somewhat odd day today. For various reasons I didn't get to work before lunch time and for most of the afternoon I've simply been catching up on email. Now I'm about to leave and go to the boat house for an evening outing in an 8+ (if the speaker wiring is working, that is). When I cycled in I came in riding my good bike, and pushing my broken one. In the wind it was a pretty interesting experience. Hopefully, when I get back from the cognition experiment I'm doing tomorrow lunch time I'll be able to hand it over to some crack engineers who'll either get the bottom bracket out by using a blowtorch and the fact that aluminium expands faster than steel, or the bike will be just as broken as it was before. We'll find out by the end of the day tomorrow!

Last night was a very busy one. I left work and went straight to the boat house, did two hours of weights which left me feeling really quite pooped, then cycled into town to have dinner with Kate, then cycled home and carried on the evening for a little bit longer before diving into bed. It's a shame I didn't sleep very well, but at least I got to sleep in a little in the morning on account of having done this morning's erg the day before.

Anyway, I think that's about it for now. My email inbox is down to a reasonable level and I think pretty much everything is in order for the moment. Or is at least as much as I can make it for now.

[17:00] I did the erg meant for tomorrow morning this morning because I've got other things happening tomorrow morning (I hope). It went a lot better than I was expecting, but still doesn't fill me with positivity for the 2K test next week (I still think I'm going to crash and burn somewhat). Anyway, given it was off the back of an interesting night (and early morning) I think things went pretty well, and I'm pleased. It's weights tonight, then dinner with Kate, then back home in time to get some other things enjoyed. Here's hoping for as good, or better, night as last night.

Work was mostly about unboxing two more meaty servers. These ones'll be used for OBIEE stuff, once I've got them up and running and running their guests. The disk arrangements are a tad weird, but it's not terribly odd. I just hope that the operating system installer can cope with what I apparently need to do. That and I need to learn about "hard partitioning" so that various Oracle things don't throw their toys out of the pram. I'm definitely going to be learning some new things in the next few weeks.

That's about it for today. More fun tomorrow, I imagine.

[16:15] A morning erg which went fairly well. A cycle to work on a bike which is getting worse by the day. A morning and early afternoon of not very much to do except catch up on emails. I think I've overdone it on the grazing today. Or maybe I've just had my fill of fruit and nuts. Either way I can't seem to finish my little tupperware tub of them, for the first time. Not to worry though, I'll be getting my fill of things this evening.

Speaking of this evening, I need to head off a little sooner on the broken bike to get to the hardware store and pick up a nut spinner (possibly with a T-grip handle) as we're back in the boat with the stupidest adjustment bits ever, and that precise tool really helps things go a lot faster.

That's about it really. Other than I'm going to get up moderately early again tomorrow so I can do the erg stuff I was supposed to do on Thursday morning when I'll actually be busy doing something else. It turns out we have a 2K test (Google it if you want to laugh at what I'm going to be doing) this time next week, so there's some preparation stuff to be done for it.

[17:30] A weekend of stuff happened. Friday evening was the usual end of the week erg. But it was an unsual one (not that you care about the details). I got that out of the way quickly so I could go home, have some food and then have a nice time with a friend.

Saturday morning was rowing on the river. The weather was pretty chilly, and I was on the other side of the boat along with a few other people who hadn't been on the other side for a lot longer than me. The outing was... pretty poor, if I'm honest. Plus I got four brand new blisters in the places my bow side set up hands weren't expecting them. Stupid stroke side. The second outing was scrapped in place of a gentle 10K run to the lock and back, so I got to see how my adductor is doing. The answer: better, but not best, yet. Tesco, then lots of relaxing followed. I even opted for a delivery pizza for the first time in about six months, and ended up getting sent two when the first one turned out to be wrong. So that was lunch and dinner on Sunday sorted.

Sunday's outing wasn't much better than the previous day's one had been. But at least I was back on the right side of the boat. Other crew members were back in too, but we still aren't getting what we want out of the rows. A few of us went for breakfast afterwards and then rather than doing a second outing in the pretty high winds, went ahead and moved everything back into the the places they'd been moved from for the band night the previous night. So that was a weights workout all on its own. I spent the rest of the day on the sofa at home because sometimes you really should just have an afternoon off (or what was left of one after I got home at 14:20).

Today has been a pretty uneventful day to be perfectly honest. My bike is still broken, and getting more and more broken with every trip I make on it. I went to the bike shop today to think about what I'd like to get next but they don't have the ones I want to try in stock (yet). I may have to go elsewhere to find out if what I want is what I want. It might actually involve a day off to do so. Anyway, it's weights night, so I should head off and get that done so I can go home and contemplate doing the house work I should have done over the weekend when I was relaxing.

[17:10] Today, not much happened. I got up late and did morning exercises because it was one of those rare days when I don't have to be down at the boat house at stupid o'clock. Then I got to work on my bike that makes a horrible sound, even if the brakes and gears work perfectly. Mostly today I was installing and configuring anti-virus products for our linux servers (to scan uploaded files that we get on some of our new systems). I had lunch with my new friend and talked about this and that, and then arranged to have a bit more fun than simply going home after rowing this evening. Although now I think about it I've just realised I've double-booked myself. But in the grand scheme of things I think what I've got on instead (as it were) is a much better idea.

Rowing this weekend. Tesco shopping, hopefully some socialising here and there. Hope the weather stays tolerable, too. See you Monday.