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December's Journal
February's Journal

[18:10] So on the way home last night I got a rear puncture. So had to walk the bike the two-and-bit miles home. Which wasn't so bad as I missed doing weights, which I didn't mind, and with the bottom bracket having shattered a bearing it was nicer in some ways than cycling it. I made myself be in bed by 22:00 as well, which was good given I had to be up early in the morning. Repairing the puncture took a while anyway for various tyre-related reasons.

I got to the boat house on the bike (making horrible *graunch* sounds on ever other revolution) and after waiting over half an hour for anyone to show up to do the erg with, one person did. As it was it didn't go well and I was slower than the same time the previous week, which was annoying. Then again, so was he, so maybe it just wasn't our day. I pushed the bike to the bike shop around the corner, then ran to work and showered for a second time in as many hours. Morning work was mainly dealing with Stuff, followed by a Dell engineer arriving just as I was leaving to run back to the bike shope to pick up my hopefully fixed bike. Foisted off on someone else I left him and ran. Unfortunately, while the bike mechanic was able to deal with the brakes and gears, the bottom bracket had sealed/cold-welded itself into the frame and just wouldn't come out. As a result I'm definitely going to have to get myself a new commuting bike within the next short while. This one isn't unrideable, but it's getting that way. It'll become my station bike, I think. Anyway, back at work I helped the Dell engineer fix our server again, then after my third shower of the day, settled in to have a late lunch and try and catch up on a few things. I've failed for the most part, but tomorrow should be fairly productive.

We've an outing tonight. Hopefully the wind will have died down a bit. We are in an eight tonight, so that should help with the general balance aspect and not being blown every which way. Speaking of which, I should head off so I don't have to subject the bike to too much punishment.

[17:45] I should have left by now, but I was passed a call we have open with Dell to fix one of the servers and the engineer only just left for the day after replacing everything and then finding out that the one thing he hadn't replaced was probably the faulty bit... And he didn't have that part with him today, so it means another visit tomorrow. I tell you what, it's a good thing these servers didn't need handing over to the web team quickly after all.

Last night's outing was interesting. We were in a 4+ and the wind was really high. Consequently we were blow about the place quite a bit. Despite that, and a few issues with the stroke man being ill, it wasn't a terrible outing. I'm off for weights tonight and then the really hard erg tomorrow morning at 07:00, but otherwise things seem to be on track at the moment. Especially as my cold seems to be on the way out. At least, until I get the next one.

My bike's bottom bracket started to make some really odd graunching sounds (do you like that word?) on the way home last night. I'm certain one of the bearings has collapsed inside it, so I popped into the bike shop on the way to work this morning and have it booked in for a service and parts replacement tomorrow morning. I'll go there after the erg, then run to work. Then run back to collect it, hopefully fixed, at lunch time. It may not be a fast run considering I still don't think my adductor is 100% happy yet. But we'll see. I'll definitely have earned my Belgian Buns after the morning's exercise!

Work has been mainly about me fool-proofing my perl module installer script and deploying it to all twelve servers, the going and replying to lots of email while they all chewed through it. It seems to have worked, so that's good.

[17:55] So I was away on Monday (and over the weekend in fact) doing fun, fun things in London. There was a plan to go and see "Chasing Ice" at the ICA, but it was booked up, so instead went to the Natural History Museum to see this year's Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibit. There are some really fabulous shots! It's definitely worth a viewing if you're close by. The rest of the weekend was spent either in a boat, rowing, in a gym, exercising, or in or out depending on what time it was. Had some brilliant food here and there, got to use a sauna, steam room, cold water dump shower, a jacuzzi, and a foot spa. So it wasn't all terrible. All in all one of the better weekends of the last long while. I really did need to get out of town for a little while.

Everything came back to earth with a bump last night and this morning, though. When I got home last night there were masses of emails waiting for me, plus a Tesco trip that couldn't wait. Once there was food in the house again I just gave up, watched an episode of Attenborough's Africa and went to bed. No email, no sorting anything out. Nothing. This meant that I had to get up at around 05:30 to get everything packed so I could go to the boat house and do the training plan's three 6km ergs. They went fairly well, although I did feel quite tired by the end of the last one (which no-one else did).

Work today has been fighting my way through the morass of Perl modules I need to install on a lot of the servers I just build last week. That and waiting for Dell to send out an engineer to fix the server which seems to have died after only a few days of operation. Oh, but I've managed to sidestep the three modules which didn't seem to want to install, which is nice. Therefore tomorrow should mainly be about installing the same set of 145 modules on 11 other servers! Hurrah, I think.

Anyway, time to go to the boat house and take a 4+ out for the first time in a good few months and see what happens. Good job I brought my calf protectors as this boat bites!

[17:10] Last night's outing was interesting. I think I understood what we were aiming for. And we probably got it, too. I think I did, at any rate. Suffice it to say that it wasn't the best outing, but we did improve. It all seems to be fits and starts at the moment. Everyone's trying to change so much that there's not a lot of consistency in the boat sometimes. Anyway, the darkness, the cold and another bloody cold meant that I wasn't at my best. As a result I've decided not to go and erg this evening so that I have a better chance of getting up and being ready for Saturday morning's one outing. It's an early one to get us out and back before the race scheduled for later on in the morning kicks off. After that I'm home and then off out for a bit. It should be a very fun weekend all things considered. I've got Monday off too, as I want to do a bit of exploring in London for once. Given the amount of holiday I have at the moment and the lack of reason to use it right now I thought it might make sense to take a day here and there to enjoy my time. I'll be home in time for the evening training, but the rest of the time I fully intend to use to the full. If I'm not feeling utterly wretched. If I am I'm going to be seriously pissed off.

Anyway, with nothing to do this evening but go home I'm going to do so, and spent the first part of it washing up. Now that's how you kick off a weekend! See you Tuesday.

[17:00] Whee! A hard weights session last night followed by a hard 30 minute erg this morning! Someone's legs were feeling a bit wobbly by the end of both, and no mistake! Still, I not only managed the weights session (90% of current maximum weights for each exercise) but got right smack dab in the middle of the 500m split time I'd been given. And the same for the distance, too. So, quite pleased with that.

Workwise I've built another five servers today (one physical, four virtual), got all of their ancilliary stuff installed, and coordinated with a colleague to get all of the monitoring stuff up and running too. Right now I don't have a whole lot to do, which is why I'm going to be leaving early and not worrying about anything but the amount of personal correspondence I've got to get through this evening. Oh, that and surviving the outing this evening on the river. At least the roads are pretty much clear for the most part (aside from a few of the less-used side roads). We might even hit 0C over the weekend!

I think that's it for now. Just need to spend some time thinking about what I will be writing in an email to a friend to tell them that all is well and stuff in various ways. Right, time to go and try not to worry about the dryness at the back of my sinuses which tells me another cold or some other bug is trying to take up residence in my body.

[17:30] Did a really rather good erg last night. 44 minutes of 4 minutes off, 4 minutes on. Not that I pushed quite as hard as I should, I think, but it certainly seemed to go by pretty quickly relatively speaking. We were all due to look over some video footage of outings we've been on recently but just as we were starting there was another gas leak in the building so we had to evacuate and I sent everyone home while I waited for our tame plumber to arrive and turn off the gas. I think it's time for a new boiler. Just our luck to need one at this time of year. Once that was all dealt with I just went home and had a good solid meal of Moroccan stew and rice while watching some television.

After what I think was a very deep sleep I got up this morning and did a good 45 minutes of core exercises and stuff at home rather than at the boat house. Cycling to work is getting progressively easier given the lack of snow fall and slightly higher temperatures (although tonight doesn't look good). At work the replacement RAID daughterboard arrived, so I got that in and the server building its RAID1 sets while I got the other one installed its OS and then the guests on top of it. I love having scripts which I can just go through and get servers all set up and shiny without having to think about it. I've comissioned fifteen servers in the last few days, without having to think about it much at all.

Over lunch I cycled a few minutes down the road to meet a new friend. That was rather nice, even if there's going to be a bit of ground-rule setting given one thing and another. Still, definitely better than not having a new friend at all. I don't know what it is about me at the moment but I do seem to be exuding some kind of attraction for new friends and similar at the moment. Maybe my mojo is slowly starting to return. Which is nice.

Weights at the boat house this evening, as usual. Then I'm going to go home and deal with the correspondence I had caught up on until overnight last night. Stupid timezones. Anyway, time to face the road surface and random chunks of (black) ice.

[17:10] Last night someone made me Moroccan Stew, and it was delicious. Not only that but as a series of events unfolded I found myself not going to the boat house to do weights either, so that was kind of nice. I made up for it by going there this morning at 06:20 (while it was -9.2C) and doing three 6km ergs with the others. Naturally the heating isn't working again there, but the hot water is, so, small mercies! I also didn't come off my bike on the way to or from the boat house or work yet. So that's a big plus too. Not that the road conditions are getting any better. If anything they're getting worse as the snow is becoming more and more compacted and slippery as time goes on. We need need a proper thaw, not something half-hearted that leaves us with lots of water which refreezes into black ice.

Work today, I'm embarrassed to admit consisted mainly of catching up on correspondence from over the weekend and Monday. Not much actual work at all. Although I have arranged a very useful meeting and done a few very small but useful things on a few very large servers. So, not a complete write off. And my inbox is down to zero messages that I need to reply to, and only three or four that I need to either reread, read associated documents or action in some way. Of course, overnight this will all change as people in other timezones get time to do their thing, but for the moment I'm sitting pretty. Which means I should probably go and try not to break anything on the roads, again.

Rather than an outing this evening we're going to be staring at videos of our last few outings and critiquing them. I think I'd prefer to be getting cold and wet on the river. After that it's just an erg of some kind, but I'm not sure yet. I think I'll really be looking forward to going home and having some more of that delicious stew.

[14:15] It snowed a lot here over the last few days. Well, for here it snowed a lot. Perhaps not so much compared to where you live. As it is the whole place has been a bit problematic to get around on a bike with slick tyres. I should reassemble my other bike with knobbly tyres, but it's still semi-dismangled after two transatlatic trips, and in the shed, which I'm half sure is wedged shut with snow. So, fun and games on the roads. I rowed on Saturday, despite waking up with a monster cold and sore sinuses, etc. I apparently looked so rotten I was told not to row on Sunday, which was nice as after the Saturday row, while we were doing an erg there was a gas leak at the boat house and we all had to evacuate, even if we were hot and sweaty. So, on went my dry street clothes over my soaking kit and then I had to stand around outside for a few hours waiting for and then chaperoning the man from the Gas Board who came out to make sure we weren't going to blow up. After that I just wanted to go home, have a nice hot shower and stay in bed the following morning. So, I did. Then cleaned and tidied the house, put a wash on, braved going to Tesco in the snow (barely any, but settling), and then curl up with a nice warm book until the very end of the day when things improved somewhat.

This morning was a fairly late start owing to one thing and another, and also the rather deep (again, for here) snow outside. I got to work roughly on time and have been doing racking and installs all day so far. One of the machines I just racked this morning has a DOA RAID card, and the other couldn't see any of its network interfaces until I opened up the chassis and pushed everything back into place. Still, that was better than the cumulative 20 minutes on hold I spent to the vendor getting them to send me out a new RAID card.

[16:30] Another productive day! A morning of VM building (eight more done), and an afternoon of carrying physical servers over to the other server room and getting them racked up. I even managed to squeeze in a perfect kickstart build while I was racking the kit up. Of course, the others left me to it so I had to walk back in the snow, but it wasn't too bad, and was a nice bit of exercise given I haven't been getting out at lunchtimes recently with my adductor strain still outstanding. Monday'll see me racking up the last two servers (one a host for DB VMs, one a host for App/Web VMs) and getting them installed and hosting.

While I was over at the other server room an email came in saying that we could all go home at 15:00 today as the weather was becoming increasingly inclement. But here I am at 16:30, still doing stuff. I think I should go as soon as I've finished this entry as everyone else left ages ago.

Last night's training was a simple technique erg, by which I mean there was a lot of complicated things to do, but it didn't go on very long. I did lots of stretching and a short erg afterwards to keep my body on the go. It's so nice that the heating's working again now. It makes going down there and getting all hot and sweaty far less problematic. Anyway, we've had a few outings cancelled this weekend, Tesco shopping as always, and a friend coming to visit on Sunday so there should be plenty of fun going on, even if the snow is deep and crisp and even.

Have a safe weekend, especially if you've snow where you are.

[17:35] A much more useful day today. Not only did I build another four VMs, but I think I've squashed two bugs with them too. Also, someone repaired both of my 900 lumen torches, so I can see where I'm going down the driveway leaving work at night. Of course, those coming towards me are going to be utterly blinded, but that can't be helped, much.

Someone's writing a plot thing for me to "choose my own adventure" with, this evening. Apparently it'll arrive by email later on. So that should be a a bit of fun to do over my chilli and pepper pork sausages, chips, brocolli, and probably baked beans this evening. After I've erged at what hopefully will be a slightly warmer boat house this evening now that the heating has apparently been fixed.

[16:25] Sudden rush to the end of the day caused by a switch's power supply in town going pop. Consequently I'm having to build a new switch configuration and get it onto another switch and cycle it into town in the next few minutes. That means no time to tell you about how awesome last night was. Even the erg I did for 30 minutes in a boat house with no heating for the second day in a row. Still, it did mean I got to stay in bed a little longer this morning, which was really good.

Switch has booted. Configuration time!

[17:10] No exercise last night as the heating was off at the boat house, thus rendering it pretty close to ambient temperature (zero centigrade, or close to it). Did a bit of core strength work, though. I'll be there again tonight before dinner and fun things, so I may be able to get into the coxes cupboard and see what's what if someone's left me a key.

Work today wasn't too productive owing to a lack of decisions by the web team as to what they want on their new servers. Hopefully they'll be more forthcoming soon. I should head off now as even though the snow has mostly melted, I want to take my time getting to the boat house for this evening's erg.

[17:00] It snowed last night, and for most of the day today. This meant when I finally managed to drag myself out of bed this morning the cycle to work was a little bit hairy. I'm sure the cycle home tonight is going to be even more so. Anyway, the reason I had trouble getting out of bed (and not doing my morning exercises) is that the weekend was pretty tough. Actually it was rather tiring from Thursday night, with Friday night not being that much more gentle. Saturday morning was more about the 10K run (where I discovered that my adductor strain isn't quite gone yet) and the 8+ outing which caused my back to ache somewhat. I think Saturday evening was mostly about me having a long hot shower in the hope it would relax my back muscles and getting an early night. Sunday morning should have been a very rare lie-in, but instead I had to head down to the boat house to help someone fix two boats for racing later on in the day. Once I'd done that though I was able to drag myself to Tesco, get that shopping done, go home and then get back to the boat house again in time to gingerly warm up and then race in my 8+ in the first leg of a three leg head race. I thought we did reasonably well, all things considered, even though two of the crew afterwards really thought we could have done better. Well, hopefully we will over the next two legs. That's what this series of races is about. Happily, my back was totally fine for the race, but has since become a little more achesome. As a result I'm considering taking this evening off from training (a weights session) and trying to get some back relaxation in instead. Especially as I have an erg session tomorrow morning with a 06:45 start time.

At work today I've mainly been building virtual servers and getting software stacks installed on them. I've done what I can, but there's not a lot more I can do to them before I clone them without external input as to what else needs to be installed. I guess that's it, really.

[16:35] So tired. And yet I slept in this morning. It was probably last night that did it. Extremely pleasant evening, dinner, etc. A new place I hadn't been before. And with an hour's erg this evening I'm pretty sure that I'm going to be rather pooped for tomorrow. Luckily all I have to do is get to the boat house for about 08:00 and help some people put a Wraptor on a boat and I can go for a nice gentle jog until my outing at 10:30. Not sure what's happening for dinner this evening, but I'm sure it'll be nice.

This weekend as I said, it's rowing. Both days. But with a race on Sunday. Followed by giving Kate's laptop a good going over in the evening in exchange for dinner and conversation. Hurrah. Just hope I don't have to be there all night getting things sped up again. When I used it on Tuesday evening it certainly was extremely sluggish!

Anyway, time to go. The evening awaits.

[16:45] Achieved stuff today. Most especially a 30 minute power erg this morning with four other people, and someone servicing all of the other ergs in the background. Not the best, but certainly not the worst person in the lineup, which is gratifying considering everyone else is at least six years my junior, possibly more than twelve in some cases.

Got another machine built in a repeatable way, even with the fiddly disk setup that it has. So that's good too. And now I'm going to go home early as I have fun things planned this evening which aren't rowing-related for once! Last night's weights session was followed by me going home and eating a lot of pasta rather rapidly. Which reminds me, I need more vegetables this weekend when I go to Tesco. For now though, I'm out of here, and not back until lunchtime tomorrow.

[17:40] Not quite as much as I wanted to achieve achieved today. I had some issues with getting my new Dells to kickstart. In the end the last issue turned out to be something I'd overlooked with regard to baud rates for the serial console. Well, that and how anaconda deals with disks once they've been written to once. So yes, two machines out of the first three built, with the last one to be done tomorrow morning as quickly as I can. Then I can sit at my desk all day and build KVM guests for a few hours before the end of the day rolls around and I get to have some fun not doing something rowing related for an evening. Hurrah!

Last night's training was rowing technique and core strength work, including doing some tests to see how strong we currently are in certain 'plank' positions. This meant that when I got to the boat house this morning all I had to do was help with the testing of the others and do some weights of my own before and after they were there. Tonight's fun is more weights! With an erg tomorrow morning! Double hurrah!

[17:50] Since I wrote the last entry things have calmed down enormously. As I've said to myself many times (as the song goes), what a difference a day makes. Twenty four little hours. Anyway, yes, things are much more settled and I'm feeling so, too. Which is good as after last night's weights session (which didn't feel hard, but I was aching in the morning) I tried to get an early night so I could be up and feeling reasonably together to get to the boat house for 06:00 this morning. The first day of morning sessions. It was fairly easy, just two 6km ergs at UT2. Quite enjoyable really, and a good way to start the day and feel like I'd already achieved something by the time 08:00 rolled around. Making my lunch last night and having everything all ready to go was an essential master stroke. I'll have to make sure I do it every night I've got an early start the next day.

So yes, things are better/more sorted and therefore I am too. I'll be a lot less cryptic in a while, but I just wanted to note for myself that today was a better day than yesterday.

Most of the day at work has actually been spent fighting with the new Dells I have to set up as KVM hosts. They've got iDRAC7 Express things in them for lights out management and, embarrassingly, I wasn't quite sure how to get them working over the network until I sat down and parsed what the iDRAC BIOS was telling me/displaying. And what it meant by certain options and settings. I think either I'm getting old, or things just aren't as clear as they could be.

But that's that. I'm off to the boat house for technical stuff and another 6km of erging, and then to Kate's for dinner. So great not to have to cook this evening.

[17:40] My head aches. I've had so much go on in the last three days that I feel like I need a break from life. It wasn't so much the double rowing outings both mornings (Saturday a 2-, then an 8+, then on Sunday a 1x and then another 8+) which has left my hands in tatters (really, it's not pretty), but everything else that went on outside of that. Let's just say that I made a rod for my own back, and then beat myself with it a few times. I think I have a handle on things now, and independent adjudication seems to be backing me up as to the choices I've made being the correct ones, but both Saturday and Sunday afternoons and evenings were some of the best and worst times of my more recently life. Not to mention the fact that I ordered the wrong (read: far too expensive) stuff from Zipvit, had real trouble getting sense out of my ISA and savings people, and didn't quite manage to do everything I wanted to today.

So basically the weekend was a confusing mess, with a happy (hopefully) ending, and then I got up horribly early and patched thirteen servers with only a modicum of issues arising from forgetting how long an fsck of large slow disk volumes takes.

Oh, and rowing training starts in earnest this week with early morning and after work training every day. Which is nice. I hope I and my hands are up to it. I'm glad I get Thursday evening off to do something else. Anyway, on with the show.

[17:15] I got in late this morning. The first time in a very long time that's happened. I didn't get a great night's sleep. Disturbed, somewhat. I guess there's a lot going on in my head at the moment. I'm sure it'll all get worked out in the end. I'm just not quite sure what's going on in certain areas of my life. All my own fault of course. Think of it as a case of biting off more than one can chew, again. As it was I still managed to build all six servers I was aiming to do before the end of the week, and get three of them deracked and ready to be transported over to the other server room. That just leaves four other ones with slightly more complicated setups to do when I get in next week. Before that there's the weekend of rowing (two outings on both mornings) a visiting friend on Saturday afternoon and working out what I'll be doing with Sunday afternoon and evening (which is something to be pondered). I definitely feel a bit off-balance at the moment, which isn't going to help the core strength session I'm about to go and do at the boat house before I get to go home this evening. Hmmm.

[16:45] I got up at the right time this morning such that I could start off some patching from home and then cycle in at high speed and get things finished off. Everything went perfectly except for a weird networking snafu with the one Xen guest which I eventually fixed by rebooting the Xen host it resides on. Then there was some issue with a message broker thingy which eventually came down to a single "-" character missing from an initialisation script. And I wasn't the one who removed it. Anyway, other than that I've been writing long emails all day while working my way through another iteration of server builds. They should be ready to go tomorrow such that I can do about six servers in whatever amount of time I have once I get in to work tomorrow at whatever time I manage.

Last night's weights session turned into another erg session to give some support to someone who hasn't trained in a while. I may or may not go this evening, it depends on the other things I do before I get to relax for the night. No, I think I've got enough else going on this evening that an erg is not required.

[17:30] So, that was Christmas and New Year. It went pretty well, all things considered. Some definite, wonderful, highlights. A few, unavoidable, lows. And in the end a feeling that 2012 is most definitely behind me now, and 2013 is going to be a year where everything changes. Again. I suppose I should be used to it now. The fact that every year, without fail, no matter what my personal circumstances, everything's going to change in ways I can't realistically forsee. I wonder what's going to happen this year...? I hope it's good.

A slightly unfortunate start to this year's work was me forgetting to get in early this morning to patch about thirteen machines. Ooops. Blame my mind being on other things. Anyway, no-one seems to care, and it'll be rescheduled for next week, probably. I'm definitely in early tomorrow morning to patch three other, very important servers, so that'll be interesting. I can already tell something's going to go a bit wrong, somewhere. Hopefully not too much. I'll start them from home, which should speed things up a bit.

In other news, I've already started my new training regime at the boat house. Aside from the few pulls and strains from the tail end of last year I'm feeling pretty good. Which is excellent. Here's hoping I stay on top of all the new stuff that's coming in the programme in the next few months.

And with that, and the yearly update of the copyright notices on BOFHcam I think I'm ready to roll. Hey, why not drop a comment for once on the LJ version of this entry with what your highlights and lowlights were in 2012, and the hopes and plans you have for 2013. Or don't. That's OK too.