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November's Journal
January's Journal

[17:35] I spent the entire day in the same room with two other people interviewing a succession of people for a role which will hopefully support what I'm doing in my team (as well as other people in the team, of course). Of the six people, five weren't too bad, and one was a bit of a dud, maybe two of them, actually. We still need to interview one more person in January, but otherwise we think we've made the decision as to who to offer the job to first, and then if necessary, second.

Otherwise, I think that's it for the day, the week, the month, and the year. I'm off home now to collapse. Tomorrow Rachel's doing a cross country race in Croydon and then heading to me. We'll spend the night at my place, then head to her parents for Christmas. After Christmas we'll go to Manchester to see my parents, and then be back at my place for the new year and the race we usually run on New Year's Eve. On the second of January it's all hands back to the pumps again to see what broke while we were away. Have a great festive period, a happy new year, and I'll see you in 2020.

[17:10] For being allowed to go home straight after the work Christmas lunch, the fact that I'm still here after 17:00 is annoying. I even got in early so I could do my hill reps run before 09:00. The morning was both fruitful and frustrating in that the problem that solved itself yesterday remained solved, so I was able to renew all the SSL certificates which were going to expire over the festive period... But I don't know why I could, given the issues previously. The Networks team don't know either. It may break again, at which point we'll potentially at least have a head start on where to look when troubleshooting. So yes, got in early, ran to the hill in the morning gloom and did the reps, then ran back to work again. Had a morning, did the Christmas lunch thing and even made conversation with a few people (although not really anyone I didn't know), left before the Christmas costume judging, and fully intended to come back to the office and leave in short order. I was still in full work mode when one of the web developers came in with an issue which took me a good ten minutes or so to solve because it was a surprise as to what the breakage/solution was. Still, I did it.

Tomorrow I've been requested to come in in long trousers and a shirt as I'm interviewing all day. I will go with jeans and a polo T-shirt because there's no way I'm wearing a shirt at work. I fully expect the day to be dull, boring, and unenjoyable, but them's the breaks, I guess. Still, it's also my last day before 2020, so I should probably be happy for that, at least.

[17:35] A slightly better, but still frustrating day today. The issue that's been at play for the last few days was still at the front and center of my working day. I even had the co-worker from yesterday come in for a few hours to help troubleshoot it. Despite all that, and the involvement of someone from the Networking team we were still unable to solve the issue. And then the process we wanted to fix just started working again. Which meant that we've been unable to troubleshoot it any more as we're not getting any failures. It's really, really frustrating. My only solace is that I might be able to do all the things that need doing to keep things from breaking over the Christmas break tomorrow. Speaking of tomorrow, I'll be in early to get my run done before 09:00 as the work Christmas lunch is happening and I can't fit that and a run in. Hopefully the weather will play ball. We'll have to see.

[15:55] My entire day has been about getting this certificate issuance thing fixed. I've spent hours on the phone with my ex-team leader, who's on long-term leave, trying to get it fixed. We've narrowed down where the issue is, but are no closer to understanding why the issue is, as it were. He's coming in tomorrow morning to see if being on site and with better access to things (we block certain things through the VPN) helps. It's very odd. I had to take a break at midday to go and clear my head. Luckily I had a run to do, so spent an hour or so sprinting around the running track doing sprintervals before coming back for a lightning fast shower and then trying to eat lunch without crunching too loudly down the phone.

I'm off for a routine doctor appointment now, collecting three year overdue Christmas cake, and then going home to try and forget about things until tomorrow.

[18:10] I've had a horrible day filled with issues at work. I haven't been able to solve many of them, but they're semi-solving themselves sometimes, which is infuriating as it means I don't know why they're broken, or fixing themselves. Honestly, I haven't had time to do anything but work on them all day.

The weekend was good for the most part. There was running (although I forgot to do a run on Saturday, which was disappointing), me doing a semi-reasonable job of applying sealant to the kitchen work surface edges/joins/etc., and Rachel being with me to make the weekend just a bit nicer. I'm on a bit of a down at the moment, if I'm honest. Hopefully I'll cheer up soon and not feel quite so glum about everything. We did some fun things in town, and had chelsea buns, which is always nice. Otherwise, keeping warm and/or doing running things.

[16:55] Well, that's that, then. We'll have to see how the future pans out now that the results are as they are. Not a whole lot I can do about it here, so it's onwards and (hopefully) upwards. Trying not to pay attention to the day and date combination I headed into work and got on with things. Not much happened today, thank goodness, other than a slew of updates on a few servers I thought I could get away with doing it on. Even sneaked in a few reboots where I thought it wouldn't be noticed. One server had some issues with a MySQL upgrade, but after giving it to someone else I took it back again and managed to solve the issue (performance_schema directory had the wrong ownership). But other than that the day's been fairly quiet.

This weekend Rachel will arrive in town just after midday, hopefully. We'll use a Christmas voucher from last year for lunch/delicious snacks, a birthday voucher for Rachel to buy some antique books, and then maybe a gift card to buy some modern books. Before all of that I'll give Rachel a small present she may or may not need, depending on a conversation she might or might not have had, and afterwards we'll go home and get warm (and dry, if it's been raining). In the morning I may finally get around to redoing the translucent grout around my kitchen work surface, as well as going to Tesco. On Sunday there's a long run planned, and then perhaps some relaxing and watching of The West Wing... although at some point Rachel (and potentially I) will be heading out for drinks with some donors to the charity she supports.

[17:40] If you're in the UK I hope you've voted today, or will this evening. I voted by post weeks ago, so that's that. I feel like I might wake up tomorrow very disappointed with my country, but we'll see. I'm going to bed without listening to the radio past about 22:30, I think. I'll wake tomorrow morning and find out what's happened then.

In other news, I got in early this morning to do the job I was supposed to, only to find that the DBA I did the work for invalidated most of it because he didn't tell me the most important part of the configuration requirements. This was... irritating. In any event, I've fixed everything as it's supposed to be, things are neat and tidy, and I can get on with the rest of my life/work. Which has mainly consisted of trying to fix the variety of things people have randomly and supposedly accidently tried to break today. I won't go into details, but I think I've stayed on top of things for the most part. I had a hill reps run at lunch time. It only really started raining properly as I was about a mile from the office on the way back, so I didn't get too wet.

I intended to leave at 17:00 today, but something's been going on with the HR system application servers so I've been stuck here trying to diagnose what might be going on.

[17:30] Bucketloads done today. Mostly it revolved around getting the right PHP packages and Oracle stuff onto two servers and then handing them back to the developers who needed them, whilest at the same time creating four new VMs and getting them set up. In the process of doing that I managed to solve a long-standing issue with one of my Ansible roles, and even sorted out some firewall stuff and some traffic manager things for tomorrow morning. At the same time as all of that I had to pop out for a meeting about the technical interview questions I'm going to be posing to candidates next Friday (if they can make it), and also fix a variety of other small and large things which went wrong over the course of the day. Then there were the interactions with the DBAs and developers throughout, and trying to fit in lunch at my desk at a sensible time. I think I managed everything.

I'm going to go home now and try to relax for a little while. Then I'm in early tomorrow morning for what will hopefully be a relatively simply job that I've already got everything set up for (I think I mentioned it yesterday?).

[17:35] I forgot to mention that I had a meeting yesterday where I was allocated an interviewing spot for an upcoming post we've advertised. I think I dislike being an interviewer even more than being an interviewee, but these are the cards we're dealt sometimes. Anyway, this morning headed to work, determined not to rush and get all hot and sweaty. I nearly managed it, but there's something about cycling slowly I just don't seem to be able to do. I think it's something to do with no-one around me cycling at exactly the same speed as I am. At work I've had a day of doing more small things, installing someone's new workstation, doing a run in moderately high winds at lunch time (on the track, so at least one part of every lap was headwind, tailwind, or side wind), attending a meeting about our VMWare estate and upcoming plans for it and HCI stuff, and generally getting on with everything that keeps the place going. Just before I log off for the day I've finished setting up a whole load of stuff for Thursday morning to do with the traffic managers and our OCM infrastructure. I don't think anything I've done will call any issue before then, but what I've done should make the morning's work fairly trivial... if the DBA I've done it for has set up everything at his end properly.

[17:00] Busy busy busy long weekend again for Rachel and I. Although it started nice and gently on Friday morning when we didn't get out of bed for a run after all the planning to do so. We did get a series of trains to Rachel's parents later on in the morning though, all of which went according to time, which was a nice change from the last time we did the same journey and ended up sitting in a Waitrose for two hours after we missed a connection. At Rachel's parents we had lunch with them in a local village cafe, then headed back to the house. Not a lot went on for the rest of the day, which was nice as we needed the downtime after the week we'd had. On Saturday morning Rachel and I went for a nice steady 45 minute run around the village, then made sure we were ready when the rest of the family turned up. A few people went out to pick out a Christmas tree, which was then duly put up and decorated. In the evening, given it was Rachel's mother's birthday, we went out for a really delicious meal at an upscale pub/restaurant. On Sunday morning, after the extra family had headed home again Rachel and I went out for a two hour run (although Rachel finished early so she and her mother could go for a nice walk together). After that there was time for a spot of lunch, to put up some more Christmas decorations, then dash out in the car to make it to the train station to get trains home again, all of which were properly on time again, which was nice. As were were late enough home that Tesco had closed we had to get Indian takeaway for dinner, and then began our rewatching of The West Wing for... maybe the third or fourth time. We binged a few episodes, then headed to bed before it got too late.

This morning Rachel was up and out of the house before 07:30, and I left soon after 08:00. When I got to work there was already someone waiting for me as I climbed the stairs to my floor. Dealing with his issue took about five minutes, but then I immediately had about two dozen other things to fix, which meant I didn't really get around to settling in to the day until around 11:00. Still, I got a lot done and things are a lot more stable than when I arrived. I'm extremely grateful I didn't have a run scheduled for today as I'm still pretty tired from the weekend. However, I do have one planned for tomorrow, and I think it's going to be raining quite a lot when I do it. Between now and then is cycling home, then out again for the week's groceries. Then hopefully a quiet night in and a better night's sleep than I've had for the last few nights.

[16:50] I had a very odd night's sleep last night. Some very odd dreams which I really couldn't remember on waking, except that I know that I had them. Strange. Anyway, I had to get up early so I could get in and do some work. So I did the whole getting up and going to work thing, at which point I ran into some fairly problematic problems with regard to the work I needed to do. Amazingly, with the safety net of VMWare snapshotting I was actually able to overcome the issue (although one of the things I did I'm not 100% certain I needed to do) and get the task finished before 09:00, which was the deadline. There were a few things to fix after the fact, but I left them to the technical team responsible for the server I'd been working on.

Otherwise today was split in two by a hill reps session in what turned out to be almost perfect conditions for me again (although there were a few too many slippery leaves in places). Around that I've been doing the usual jobs that keep this place running semi-smoothly, and looking forward to Rachel arriving this evening.

I'm not in work tomorrow as we're heading to Rachel's parents for her mother's birthday (back on Sunday). If the weather's OK and we get up in time we'll go for a 45 minute run tomorrow morning before the train, and some time on Sunday do a longer run of about 2 hours. Probably earlyish in the morning before we head home again. Standard Monday on Monday, I think.

[17:10] Semi-slight-vaguely early start today so I could be in to work through a firewall change with one of our estate management people. It all went according to plan and things are a lot tidier in the aftermath. After that, at around 10:00 we had a fibre channel change which hopefully will see things behaving a little better. The person who did the change for me completely blanked on the instructions I gave him, but luckily everything went as hoped for, so there was no real harm done.

The rest of the day was spent in meetings about various things to do with our Active Directory, the NetApp, NFS mounts, and things of that nature. I also managed to squeeze in some upgrades of PHP and MySQL on two servers, learned a bit more about how 'yum' works (and/or doesn't), and generally prodded other people into making things which were broken (but I didn't know how to fix) work.

Last night I went to Tesco when I got home, and put some washing on (although missed a few bits which should have gone in). So I'm feeling semi-justified in not doing very much this evening when I get back. Rachel's coming tomorrow evening, but she'll be late enough into the evening that I can do the cleaning and tidying for her arrival tomorrow, rather than tonight. I would like to work out why my upstairs radiator(s) aren't getting as hot as the ones downstairs, though. I've turned off a few downstairs to see if that helps with the redistribution of hot water around the central heating system.

[16:50] I woke at around 05:00 this morning to find my area in the midst of a power cut. Initially I thought it was just my house that'd blown a fuse or similar, but all the street lights were likewise out. I was seriously hoping that the power would remain out all day and I might somehow, legitimately, claim I needed to stay home, but by the time I'd gone to the toilet and gone back to bed for a bit the power came back. Disappointing. I still stayed in bed until 08:00, and then got up and got on with the day.

Happily, nothing much of consequence has gone on today at work. I have, as usual, done a variety of things to keep the place turning, solved a few weird SSL certificate issues, and generally prodded the things that needed prodding. As often happens, I've also secured an early start for myself on Thursday morning to bring down a VM, expand its storage, and bring it back into service again. Hopefully that'll all go without a hitch.

When I got home last night I very much did not want to go out to do any grocery shopping, so I was lucky that there was enough in the house to make an edible and healthy dinner, as well as lunch today. I've brought my panniers with me so I can stop off at Tesco on the way home this evening as I can't really leave it any longer than I have. I also need to do at least one load of washing, and maybe even two if I can stand it. For the most part I just want to go home, put the heating on and relax. Maybe it's something to do with the slightly faster sprintervals session I did at lunch time (at that end of my range, a tiny increase in pace is an almost exponential increase in effort). At least the weather was absolutely perfect for it (clear skies, nice and cold, no wind to speak of). Still, another short week this week, so only tomorrow and Thursday to go, with a Rachel arriving on Thursday evening, which makes the day even more smashing.

[17:15] And just like that we're into December. This year has by turns passed incredibly quickly, and extremely slowly. But that just seems to be par for the course more and more now.

Anyway, on Friday afternoon I headed to Croydon to meet up with Rachel at the tram stop right outside the station. With a delayed train and a bit of jogging I was perfectly-timed to just skip straight on. We took it to the end of the line in Wimbledon, and after a 15 minute or so walk in the dark, through Wimbledon Village and then a bit of greenery, we arrived at the Hotel du Vin where we had a really, really lovely time, some delicious food, a fairly good night's sleep, a fantastic breakfast, and then a nice walk back to the tram stop and back to Rachel's house again. Rachel had to get turned around quickly to head out for a hockey game, so I stayed at home getting the 'new' laptop we use to play Netflix and downloaded content to see its network card and generally be ready for use. It's somewhat slower and less powerful than Rachel's old one, so it creaks a bit when pushing out the native resolution of the external monitor, but it's fairly acceptable at a lower resolution, so we're using it at that. On Sunday morning Rachel headed out on the train to do some trail running and I stuck to the roads around her house so as to be able to do a more measured set of effort levels. Once we were both done, home, and showered, we had a lovely lunch, watched a bit of television, Rachel did some administration and cooking and we generally chilled out for the remainder of the day. Sadly, the minor leak in the front room's bay window had developed into something that had left a puddle on the floor, so I cleaned that up and the water now collects in a glass until Rachel can get someone in to fix the roof, or whatever the problem is.

This morning we got the same train into London, before Rachel got out and I continued on. At work today I've managed to get up to speed on the week fairly quickly, and have solved at least five problems people were having, attended two meetings, had a delicious lunch made by Rachel, and am just about to head home, get some food from Tesco, and settle in for the evening, hopefully. Tomorrow's another day filled with all manner of things to fix, I shouldn't wonder.