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October's Journal
December's Journal

[16:30] Trailered the boat last night. Went home, had delicious stew made for me by Rachel. Went to bed. Did a day's work. Am now about to go home via the boat house and Tesco. This weekend I'm racing in the Fours Head of the River Race on the Tideway. If you're in London at around 14:30 you may see me go by under Hammersmith Bridge. On Sunday I'll be back in town, rowing, obviously. The remainder of the weekend will be spent trying to catch up with a few friends whom I haven't seen in a while owing to doing far too much other stuff. See you Monday.

[16:35] Last night's outing was a lot better than the night before's. Even with one person having back issues and another practically falling over/out of the boat with tiredness. We've scrapped tonight's outing and will just be derigging later, with perhaps a quick short erg for a few of us beforehand. Which is good as Rachel's been working from home at my place today and it would be nice to get back to her fairly early in the evening.

Work today has been mainly about IT-related cleaning up and tidying. Our monitoring system is looking a lot less crowded and generally more heathly than it has in a while, despite this mornings HSRP flap on our core network. Nothing to do with me; I arrived only just on 09:00 owing to having a rare lie-in.

Tomorrow's another day, with theoretically no exercise at all. Although someone's pointed out that I cycle at what would be considered exercise speeds to and from work every day. To which I reply that it's barely three miles each way.

[17:00] Today has been a much better day than yesterday. Aside from yesterday's whole morning of patching and clean up, last night's outing wasn't spectacularly good, and I also turned down an offer to go to the pub with a bevy of beautiful women (believe me, I had a valid reason). The day ended well, but up until then I have to say, I wasn't feeling it. It also being my 3rd nonniversary didn't help either. But for the most part I didn't have time to think about that aspect of life.

Today, as I said, is a nicer day. It started well, and has maintained a moderate level of niceness. I have high hopes that this evening's outing will be an improvement on last night's. Although I'm also looking forward to going home afterwards, having food, and then another lovely night again.

[16:35] It has been A Day. Maybe even a day and a half. It started at 07:00 when I got in this morning to begin patching the couple of dozen machines I had on my plate. Many of them wouldn't patch because of various issues, many of them wouldn't shut down because the shutdown scripts were borked, or just missing. This was distressing, and I had a bit of a hard time getting everything straight and done in a timely fashion. Then the database box I couldn't shut down finally went down and wouldn't reboot because of a fibre channel issue I thought I'd sorted, but hadn't, and another server decided that it wasn't going to do its networking once it came back. Cue another three hours of fiddling before everything was back again. Luckily no-one complained about any of it. Probably due to most of the servers not being in live usage yet. Anyway, the long and the short of it was that I learned a good bit more about VLAN tagging/802.1q, linux networking, Cisco networking, and how I behave under pressure. Since then the day has mainly been about cleaning up after this morning, having lunch, making a laughable attempt to catch up on email, and trying to stretch a little after last night's ultra-mega-hard weights session.

Training this week is supposed to be moderately tapered in preparation for the upcoming Fours Head of the River Race on Tideway/the Thames. This means only one weights session (yesterday evening), only one 6km erg session (of one 6km, yesterday morning), and three outings (tonight, tomorrow night, and Thursday night). With no other patching this week, other than yesterday morning and this morning I don't have any other early mornings this week. Hurrah! Even better when there's a chance of seeing Rachel once or twice this week too.

Anyway, time to go; rowing beckons.

[16:55] Sort of a samey weekend this time around. Saturday morning was, of course, lots of hard rowing for the first outing. We did three 2.5km pieces at different rating caps and then recorded the times. This left at least my hands in a bit of a bad way, such that the second outing in the 8+ (rather than the 4+ boats we went out in first in preparation for the Fours Head Of the River Race this coming weekend) was a moderately painful affair. Survived it, anyway. The remainder of the day I didn't really do much at all. I had the opportunity to go to our boat club's ball in the evening, with a half price ticket, but given I don't currently own a decent dinner jacket, and me probably making a little bit of a fool of myself at some point over the course of the evening for various reasons, I opted not to go, and got myself a pizza instead.

Sunday was the first day in over a year that I've slept in past 08:00. I didn't even get out of bed before 08:50! Given there were races on the river in which we weren't involved the club opted for a maintenance day. Of course, most people didn't turn up, but I and a few other people did, and we got a good bit done. The club looks awesome... for the moment. By the time we'd finished there was just about time to get to Tesco before it closed and get home for a bit of chilling out.

As this week is all set up for tapering in preparation for this weekend coming's racing we only had one 6km erg this morning. Which was perfect really. My sliders didn't seem to want to move properly so I ended up hitting the ends a few times which threw me off somewhat. That hasn't happened before so I'm very much inclined to blame the tools rather than the workman. Today at work has been mostly about clearning up from an unattended weekend, managing to get my time off at Christmas sorted, despite not actually booking it at the same time as I got my train tickets, preparing for tomorrow's morning's ultra-mega patching session (twenty three servers, both virtual and physical), and trying to organise my life somewhat. I think I've succeeded for the most part. We'll see how things go tomorrow morning, and then the remainder of the week for how the rest of it.

[16:45] It was so cold on the water last night that I got that dizzy 'disconnected from the boat' feeling I sometimes get. Still and despite that we still had a reasonable outing. It was a pleasure to get home afterwards and have some soup and stuff before an early bed, though. Well, not that early, but before 23:00 at any rate. The house was pretty cold when I got up in the morning so I put the heating on to come on this evening before I get home from tonight's outing. First time this end of the year I've done that. Not that I don't mind the house being cold, but maybe it's time I kept it a bit warmer so, if nothing else, clothes dry a bit faster. If I was having company over that, too, would be the polite thing to do. Not everyone is as happy with being not-warm like I am. It might make it easier to get out of bed tomorrow morning when I have to be down at the boat house for 06:50, like I had to be out of bed and at work for patching at the same time this morning. I really wanted to stay in bed this morning, even though I didn't have company. With company it would have been six of one and half a dozen of the other as to whether I'd have stayed or not and called in sick.

But I was alone, so I came into work. The patching went fine, even though I had to rewrite a few scripts and change permissions on a whole load of things before everything would work as it was supposed to. Still, that's the life of a sysadmin, really. I managed to get the people going the the old server room for tape changing duties to swap the RAID battery I've had sitting on my desk for a day, and folded in a firmware and OS update into the process. Multitasking for the win, there.

The end of the day is here now. I can leave any time I like, head down to the boat house, do an 8+ outing, and then hopefully get home to a warm house, have some steak and chips and beans, watch some television and slope off to bed at a reasonably sensible hour so I can face the weekend. Saturday is intra-club racing on the river, followed by some technical work. Sunday is boat house maintenance day, with perhaps an outing in the afternoon depending on how we all feel. Then, just as suddenly as the weekend began, it'll be over and Monday again. At which point I'll see you then.

[17:00] After last night's 30 minute erg I probably should have gone to sleep a little earlier than I did. As it was I didn't, but still felt reasonably OK when I got up early this morning to get in to work for patching duties. All of that work went smoothly, which was a big relief given how important the systems are. After that I had a software developer camping out at my desk for most of the morning and the first half of the afternoon trying to solve a persistant problem we've had with the application he wrote. Long story short, it was my lack of experience with 'expect' and it's timeout that turned out to be the problem. Interesting failure mode for the application though. Still, I fessed up and made sure that the developer's email to the management committee made note that it wasn't his fault, but mine (although his code could have better reflected what was going wrong with better reporting of errors).

Otherwise it has been a day of lots of small but useful things, preparing for tomorrow's patching, and arranging dates for the last of the servers which hadn't got dates set for their patching. So, that's good. Once they're done I can start planning the patching of all the boxes which were patched before RHEL6.5 came out (today, annoyingly).

Tomorrow as I said, I've patching in the morning, then a RAID battery to swap out, then a few other bits and bobs. There's an outing tonight I'm about to leave for, and another tomorrow night (4+ tonight, 8+ tomorrow night). I'm hoping to get home moderately early tonight, get some food inside of me, watch a bit of television and go to bed at a sensible time. We'll see how that goes.

[16:40] So I went into town yesterday afternoon and made with the fixy-fixy for a building's VPN connection. Which coincidentally placed me close by the train station earlier than I thought I'd get there. So I got trains early and managed to make it to Rachel's a little earlier than I'd hoped for. Maybe it was the travel, or the hard couple of weeks I've had, but it took me a good long while to wind down from the day and relax for the evening. It was seriously nice to chill out for an evening though, rather than having a night outing, or weights or training of any kind.

Getting to work in the morning was interesting, but I managed it before 09:00 and have been Getting Stuff Done for most of the day. Rachel packed me the world's largest lunch, which I probably should have split into lunch and dinner to be honest. Even now at the end of the working day I'm still feeling more than a little replete. Which is good, I guess, as rather than weights tonight a whole load of us are doing a 30 minute AT erg, which is never exactly light in terms of energy expenditure. Given we're starting at 17:45 it does mean, thought, that I'll get home in time to have something of an evening.

I'm in early tomorrow morning to patch and reboot all the servers of a tier one application. So, here's hoping nothing goes wrong there...

[15:00] At weights last night we decided that a morning outing this morning was just going to be a bad idea considering how we all felt. So, after a hard weights session (when is it not?) we all went home safe in the knowledge that we wouldn't be out on the water at 06:00 this morning. Instead, two of us who'd not done Monday morning's erg got to the boat house for 06:45 instead and did two 6km ergs on sliders. That definitely woke us both up.

After that it was the usual belgian bun fix and then cycling into work. Today work has mainly been about fixing things that are going wrong for no readily apparent reason, working out if my graphics card will do the resolutions I want it to if I get new monitors, dealing with an insistent developer who needs a whole suite of new things installing on his workstation (and then permission to run them), and... some other stuff. Nothing Interesting. Just stuff.

Had lunch with Shaun and Cormac, which was a nice break from work. Have been logisticising travel down to London after work. And in a moment I'll be heading into town to work out why a network connection isn't connectioning like it should.

[17:00] A definite fully-utilised weekend. Friday night we had an outing in the 8+ and decided to change things up, putting me back at stroke, and the other four together in the middle of the boat. Saturday morning consisted of sitting on the river for considerable amounts of time in the cold and peeing out of the boat, and racing a 2.5km course, twice. The first race went really well, but we had to stop three times near the end due to catching boats in front of us. The second race wasn't so good, but because we didn't have to stop we were four seconds faster. That race got us a win in our category and hip flasks, which was pretty cool. I'll be collecting mine tonight, I hope. Rachel arrived in the evening and I met her in town to go to a friend's birthday meal. We didn't get a chance to talk to all of the people I wanted to introduce her to, but those she did meet she got on with well. The reason I couldn't collect my prize on Sunday is that Rachel and I went to run the St. Neots Half Marathon yesterday morning. For not having trained anywhere near as much as I would have liked to, to only be one minute off the time I posted last year on the same course was extremely gratifying. Rachel was only five minutes or so behind me, which was brilliant. We spent what remained of the day once we'd made it home watching television and ordering Chinese food.

It was a real pleasure not to get up early this morning and go for morning ergs (I'll try to fit them in some other time this week). Work today has been pretty quiet and I've been able to catch up with almost everything that's been on my plate today. I'm plenty stiff, but the achilles tendinitis I was worrying about in my right leg never made itself know during my run... it was an ache in my left achilles which bothered me from 800m in. I also discovered a huge blister on my right big toe at the end of the race. That got lanced and taped this morning. Luckily it won't affect my rowing. I've got an early morning outing tomorrow, which means tonight's weights session is going to be a light one concentrating more on cardio and loosening up everything that's still tight from yesterday.

I hope you all had a weekend at least as smashing as mine was.

[16:30] Given how shattered I was yesterday, last night's outing was bound to be a bit of a bust/big ask. And it was. It didn't go exactly well. Although neither did it go terribly, either. It just wasn't as good as it has been, recently. We all came away agreeing that tiredness had played a factor. We'll have to see how tonight's outing in the 8+ goes. I'm hoping it's nothing too strenuous given tomorrow's head races and Sunday's half marathon. It'd be mad to do anything too hard tonight, thinking about it. It'll also be good for my left hand, which has a distinct hole in it courtesy of a blister coming off last night. I may have to tape it tonight and tomorrow.

Not much has happened today, work-wise. I mean, I've been busy doing stuff, but nothing really out of the ordinary. Next week should be a little more interesting.

So, this weekend is looking like it's going to be a tiring one. Although, when aren't they? Saturday morning I've got two 2.5km races to do. Shorter than the practice race pieces we did two weeks ago, longer than the ones we did a week ago. It should be fine. It's just how well we gel together, and how tired we still are. Saturday afternoon I need to go to Tesco and do anything and everything I might have been going to do on the Sunday afternoon, and then go to a meal out with friends and Rachel in the evening. And then on Sunday it's the St. Neots Half Marathon. That's going to be interesting, I think. My first race in my new shoes. My first half marathon since the one I did in the first quarter of 2013, and one that I really haven't prepared for, and am still carrying an injury going into (the achilles tendinitis). We'll just have to see how it goes. I can tell you that Sunday afternoon is going to be spent firmly embedded in the sofa, relaxing. I might even take Monday morning off from erging, even if I did do the same this Monday just gone, too.

And I think that's all the news that's fit to print for today, and this week. I'll be back on Monday, hopefully in one piece, uninjured, and feeling moderately energetic.

[15:00] I thought I was tired when I got up this morning. But that's nothing compared to how I felt after I got to work after my 30 minute erg finished at 07:30. I am pooped. I've been giving serious consideration to sleeping under my desk. This is probably due to last night's weights session, then dinner with Kate and two glasses of wine and a semi-late night, then an early morning, pushing hard on the erg, and probably yesterday lunch time's 10K run on top of everything else. So, it's good that I haven't had all that much to do today other than get things in order and do a little patching of non-critical machines.

I've got a bread delivery imminently, then a hair cut, then an outing this evening before Rachel comes over. I may just about survive the experience, but I can't guarantee that I'll be awake by the time I get home. Thank goodness tomorrow morning there's nothing happening at all. I can sleep in until 07:30! Wow.

[16:35] Early morning, patching, usual drill. Everything went perfectly, which was nice after last night's SAN debacle. Last night was saved, however, by an awesome outing in the 4+. Around 12km of really quite good rowing, in the clear and brittle night. A fullish moon and most of the stars were out. Everyone was pretty much bringing their A game. It was a good time. Getting home and having the other half of the leftover curry and tiramisu (separate courses) Rachel brought was exactly what I needed.

So yes, the remainder of today has been pretty quiet, really. I went for a good 10K run at lunch time. I have a few blisters, and a few aches, which I think will be gone and gone by, and then return twice as badly after Sunday morning's half marathon. But them's the breaks. Before then I've got weights tonight, an erg and an outing tomorrow (morning and evening respectively), an outing on Friday evening, and two races in our 4+ on Saturday. So, it's not like I get to do all that much tapering between now and the end of the week's run.

I'm heading off now though, as I was in early, and it's not even early to be leaving.

[15:00] I had a glorious staying in bed until 07:40 this morning. Closely followed by morning exercises, shower, lunch-making, breakfast, and a cycle to work. After last night's weights session and yesterday's lunchtime 10K I wasn't feeling the most flexible and limber this morning, but I certainly felt a whole lot better afterwards... even if I do think I'm getting tennis elbow in my right arm.

Work today hasn't gone too badly at all. Two jobs of fibre tracing with a psychology study and someone's retirement lunch between them, preparing eight servers for tomorrow's early morning patching, and watching someone else take down one of our important bits of infrastructure by accident. It's so much better when something bad happens and it's not my fault.

I'm off for a much-needed haircut right now, then either back to work, or off for the day for an evening outing on the water (hopefully the weather will remain as nice as it is right now), more of Rachel's left over potato curry and tiramisu pudding, some quality downloaded television, and then bed. It's an early start tomorrow.

[17:20] Naturally, as I was about to leave for my haircut someone knocked out power to half of the live SAN. So I've been sitting here for the past two hours waiting to see if I'd be needed to do anything. I wasn't. Haircut rescheduled for Thursday when hopefully nothing will go wrong then. Now it's time for me to get out of here.

[17:15] The weekend went pretty well, all things considered. Saturday morning was all about the rowing. The weather cleared up into something quite nice and although we were interrupted on the second and third of our three runs, we got some good rowing in. The second outing netted us some really good training and we all left the boat house feeling tired, but happy. Food in the pub and then relaxing on the sofa until bed time (the whole rest of the day) and letting everything else go was the order of the day. This did mean that on Sunday, after another two outings (both of which were done in brilliant sunshine), I had to do everything. So after rowing I went home, cleaned and tidied most of the house, did the washing up, went to Tesco, did a load of washing and only then sat down for about an hour and a bit before Rachel arrived. Which was lovely. I even put the fire on for a bit, and we ordered pizza. Something I don't think we'd yet to do before last night.

This morning I actually didn't go and erg in the morning. It's a bit sad when staying in bed until 07:30 is considered a lie-in, but that's what I did. On the other hand, I did go for a 10K run at lunch time and, while I still have a little bit of achilles tendinitis in my right ankle still, I don't think it's going to bother me overmuch this weekend when I'm doing a half marathon. I hope. Other things that happened today consisted of getting a CPU fan swapped out in a server, lots of little technical things, watching people recover from a power failure that only affected us because our networking goes through the affected area, and eating a Twix. Which reminds me, I'm still hungry. Better get to the weights session and then home for dinner. Today's dinner was kindly and generously left by Rachel yesterday. So that's nice.

[17:00] No new PB for me in the 2K Test. But I didn't embarrass myself either, which is always a good thing. As far as I can tell from my records I got exactly the same time as I did this time last year. I don't know if that's a good thing or not, to be honest. I hung around afterwards and cheered a few people on and then went home to grab a quick bite to eat before Rachel turned up at shortish notice. She's full of cold at the moment so we basically just had a quiet night of eating dessert and catching up.

This morning I had more patching. Only one machine, so it wasn't too bad to get in and get it done. Over the course of the day I've managed to get another few servers scratched off the list, not to mention getting some firmwares updated, too. Which is always helpful. I'm well over half way now in getting everything patched, but there's a whole project/service's worth of servers that I may not be able to do until January because of a freeze on all work which could cause problems. Not so much of an issue for me, except that I was hoping to get everything out of the way as soon as possible so I could get some clear mornings for a while. As it is I guess I'll just be getting a break before I do them. The remainder of the day has been spent either cycling in the rain to a psychology experiment, doing said experiment, cycling back, having lunch, catching up on things, doing work, and heading over to the old server room to rack up the other two new servers I built this week, and a QNAP box.

There's rowing tonight. The weather is pretty unpleasant and I'm seriously not looking forward to it at all. I can only hope I'm in the stroke seat where the only water that'll be getting on me is from the rain, rather than backsplash from the rowers in front of me. Lots more rowing over the weekend, as always. Saturday mornings seem to be set in stone as the day we do 2.3K race pieces on the river (corners and all). Hopefully they'll see us in good stead come the regatta (and during the current 'head') season. Sunday I may also be going for a cycle ride with someone who's just bought a new road bike, but we'll see what the weather has to say about that...

[17:10] It's that time of the month again already; 2K Test day. I can't say I will do any better at it than I did a month ago, but I'm hopeful. Maybe the lack of running and the slightly heavier weights I've been doing recently will have a positive effect. We'll just have to see.

I think I've prepared fairly well by getting a reasonable night's sleep last night - even if I had to get up early this morning for patching. The weights session I did last night wasn't too hard, but I did then do some bank partying for a women's 4+ which was out in the dark.

Today has been mainly about catching up on a massive amount of web site backlog stuff, logging a lot of calls with Oracle, adding the machines I built (and have half racked) to the various monitoring systems we have, and trying to ensure I stay hydrated (failed utterly) and unhungry (not complete failure) in preparation for tonight. If not for the 2K, but for Rachel coming over later on.

[16:50] So by the time I left work last night I was in a real strop. Cycling to the boat house took place at super high speed (out of frustration, and because I wanted to get there in time to erg with other people). As it was I still arrived and got changed a minute too late to start with everyone else, but I started erging straight away and was able to row with them for the majority of what turned out to be a pretty good 2K prep (1250m). In fact I almost wish I'd carried on another 750m. Still, I can do that tomorrow instead when I'm not quite so het up. Doing it all in one big rush seemed to work for me though.

Anyway, after that there was the fireworks display, which Rachel managed to get to in time to see it all. It was a little odd to stand on the balcony with two parts of my life together at the same time. Still, I think it was a good thing in all kinds of ways. We didn't end up staying for the curry as I was far too hungry to wait for twelve people to get themselves together in one group, get to a curry house, order, and then wait for food to arrive. A lovely evening was had anyway.

This morning I was patching again. Everything went as it should, despite me really not wanting to get out of bed this morning, and having forgotten to have prepared everything before I went home last night. The remainder of the day has been spent talking support with one of our software vendors, getting a developer's linux PC delivered, connecting up wireless access points and Apple TV devices, and moving servers into racks.

I should/could have left hours ago, but now I have to as I'm being a bank party to a crew tonight, so need to get my weights session done as soon as I can.

[16:55] Probably as some kind of karmic balancing out for last night's totally awesome weights session (I'm pretty sure I got a new PB on the deadlift, which is no mean feat for me considering I've pulled my back at least twice doing them, and may have caused my not-hernia issues with the same lift), today has been a total shitstorm of annoyance, bad weather, work, and stupid people. It started off with me arriving at work early for patching and fracturing my access card so that I wasn't going to be able to park my bike, or get into the building. Luckily both the bike park and the building's front door were for some reason unlocked. I was able to bypass the internal security doors by dint of security being a joke internally. The patching seems to have gone perfectly, which is about the only plus I can think of at present. But then I had to cycle into town to get a replacement access card. It hammered it down with rain the whole way there, which wasn't very nice. I came straight back to the server room to pick up with the work I was doing all of yesterday afternoon and spent a good few hours getting kickstarts to kickstart properly. Once they had I then had to sit on a phone with an extremely annoying person trying to get DNS to behave. I'm still not sure what the issue is with the DNS server I had been told to use, but once I switched to another one things went a whole lot more smoothly. That's the short version of what was about four hours work and me seriously considering violence against another person. Back in the office things have gone a little more smoothly, but given I got in at 07:10 this morning I could have done with leaving a lot sooner than now.

I'm doing a 2K Test preparation erg in about half an hour, then helping to prepare the boat house for Guy Fawkes Night. Rachel's coming up to see me, and she'll be meeting a whole load of people as we're having a curry afterwards.

I'm in early tomorrow morning to do more patching, obviously. Hopefully it'll go quietly and I'll be able to get on with dealing with my huge backlog of email and work.

[16:00] And I'm back. The running holiday was pretty good, even if a whole lot of running didn't go on owing to incipient injury, no trains on Monday last (because of the wind), bad weather, and basically just having other things going on. It didn't matter; a good time was had by all. There was at least one good clifftop run, and a rather lovely hike along a different bit of cliff, which made everything worthwhile. Not that just being there, in lovely company, and away from work wasn't worthwhile anyway. So yes, some nice places stayed in, some good exercise gotten, and a pleasurable amount of time spent away from everything else going on in my life.

So now I'm back at work. And with a whole mess of things to do today on the sysadmin front. Luckily nothing went horribly wrong while I was away. At least in any way that I have to care about and hasn't already been covered by other people in my team. However, there's still lots to do, including this new round of patching, of which I'm barely half way through. There's an interesting set of machines to do tomorrow morning. And by interesting I mean "oh, I hope nothing goes wrong with them or there'll be hell to pay".

I managed to stave off thinking about work even into this morning, by going down to the boat house and doing an erg. It wasn't my first return there since I got back from Cornwall; I arrived home on Friday evening, so was able to get a whole weekend's worth of rowing in, which was pretty good. Even if it left me (and everyone else, in fairness) pretty shattered by this morning.

So anyway, here I am, back again. I'm going to have lunch and then head over to the server room to potentially rack up and set installing four new servers for a Moodle project we're doing. Two of them, once they're built, will be KVM hosts for another two guests.

There's a weights session tonight, then I'm off home for an early night. Just back from holiday and I'm already quite tired.