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March's Journal



18/04/2019 [15:50] Happily, today was another quiet day in terms of things going wrong, or being asked for stuff I didn't know how to do. There's one thing to do with the SAN and snapshotting I have almost no idea where to start with, so I'm going to leave it until a colleague comes back next week and then ask him to help me troubleshoot/diagnose it. I went for a run at lunchtime and it was hotter than I would have liked. We're getting to the part of the year when I just can't run as hard as I would like (or for as long as I would like) without getting more dehydrated than I would like. Them's the breaks, I guess. Must try and drink more and take more of my 'horse pills'.

Other than that I slightly mis-packed for this Easter weekend's escapades as I think the weather's going to be hotter than I was expecting. I'm going to ditch a pair of tracksuit bottoms and hope that I have enough pairs of shorts with me and at Rachel's to be useful. I'm off to Croydon this evening, we're then running a chunk of the North Downs Way tomorrow morningish, on Saturday we're marshalling a parkrun and then getting trains to see my parents. Sunday we'll be running slightly less long than tomorrow, and then doing fun things with my parents until Monday when I'll be coming home and Rachel heading to see her parents and friends for a port and cheese evening. Then I'm back to work early on Tuesday morning to do patching and rebooting and things like that.

I think that's everything, so I'm off to catch my train. See you after Easter.

17/04/2019 [17:20] Let's see... I got in this morning to find that our alerting system was almost entirely quiet, which was nice. Over the course of the day, and with people actually using things it has become somewhat more shouty, but I don't think there's anything particularly terrible being flagged up, which is nice. As a result there hasn't been all that much for me to do, except get a few ducks in a row for next week's various patchings, rebootings, VM resizings, and otherwise. I did a hill reps run at lunchtime consisting of backing off a bit on the ups and then hammering (at least my version of hammering) down while maintaining good form and not turning my ankles. I think I managed all of the above quite well (for me).

I think that's it for today. Time to go home and download a few things.

16/04/2019 [17:20] Happily, despite getting in horribly early this morning to patch and reboot two servers (including firmware updates) today has been far quieter than yesterday. Not that I would have minded if it hadn't been as pretty much all of my colleagues were in today to help if there'd been a lot of things to do. So, I've been able to concentrate on some of the things I had to let slide yesterday (like building three new VMs for one group, and logging some support cases for some software). I even had time to walk over to one of the server rooms to replace a HDD, rather than dashing over and back by bike. Plenty of emails sent, including getting three servers' ports on a FEX put in the right port profiles (or at least asking for it to be done). Once that's done I should be able to start thinking about getting them kickstarted.

Honestly though, I think I'm done for today. I might save my early doors for Thursday afternoon as I'll be heading to Rachel's that day and an earlier train would be nice.

15/04/2019 [17:40] I had a great long weekend, thanks for asking. Rachel came home on Thursday evening from London and we had a lovely evening together. On Friday morning we got up lateish and went for a run together, although Rachel had to turn back early due to a muscle issue. Once we were back we got ourselves together and cycled into town to have a remarkably filling afternoon tea/lunch at the hotel we'd be staying at for the night. We walked to the center of town and did some paying in of cheques and then spent some time in Rachel's favourite book shop getting some books with the voucher my parents gave her for Christmas. After that it was back to the hotel for a bit of relaxing and then out to a favourite restaurant for a nice filling dinner. We ambled back to the hotel and got a semi-early night. In the morning we made it to breakfast in time to have a slow and steady feed and then checked out and wandered into town to ensconce ourselves in Waterstones for a drink and a chance to read the papers and some books. Once we were done (and felt like we were just hogging a table someone else might want) we headed home and spent the rest of the day doing relaxing things at home. After we'd been to Tesco Rachel did some baking and cooking. On Sunday morning we set out at the same time to do longish runs and then headed off in different directions to do our own things. I got back long enough before Rachel to do some washing up and tidying. Once Rachel was back we had a tasty lunch and then did some more not-very-much for the rest of the day.

This morning was the usual getting up, seeing Rachel off, and then heading to work after all of the morning routine. There was no-one else in the office until 10:30 or so, so I had a mountain of things to do (two of them very complicated and difficult) so I felt a bit stretched. Luckily nothing truly major or emergency-like reared its head, so I was more than able to cope... I think. There's plenty of things I've had to let go by the board today, but one thing I was hoping to do I managed to get someone else to do, so I might be able to make some progress tomorrow on the next phase of it. Lovely run in the sun at lunch time, even if I slightly over-egged the pace a bit. Still, it was nice to push a bit harder than usual. Rest day tomorrow, then hills on Wednesday when I have to dial back the ups and really run the downs, which should be interesting!

Off home now, but I'm in early tomorrow morning for patching and rebooting. It'll be odd to go to bed without Rachel.

11/04/2019 [16:50] Got home last night, Rachel came home on an earlier train because it was my birthday, we had a lovely evening together doing very little except probably eating a bit too much. But that's OK. That's what you do on your birthday when you're old. We went to bed at a sensible time, too.

And yet this morning I felt every year of my new age. The weather was cold but clear though, so the early cycle to work for patching made me feel a bit fresher. The patching went well other than a bit of a panic when one server decided to forget which device it was supposed to boot from and I had to go into the BIOS and remind it. Everything was still done by 08:00 though, so that was OK. The remainder of the day I've been prodding people to do what I need them to do, fighting the good fight with regard to decommissioning things that should have been gotten rid of well before now, and generally scheduling things for myself for the next few weeks. I even attended an almost-all-hands meeting this morning as Chris wasn't in today. I've left him plenty of emails to work through when he's in tomorrow and I'm not because Rachel has organised a day and a bit of fun birthday things to do together in town. She's so wonderful. I hope when her birthday comes along this year I can make it equally awesome.

10/04/2019 [17:00] I was hoping today would be a relatively quiet day, what with it being my birthday, but it hasn't really been. Again, let's start with the previous evening. Rachel arrived after a fairly annoying set of public transport journeys and that annoyance spilled over a bit into how we spent the remainder of the evening, sadly. I should have made more of an effort, but I didn't. That's something I'll try to do better about in the future. By morning all was much better and we got my morning 45 minute run done together as I ran with Rachel part-way to the local train station and then turned around at 22:30 and ran home again. It felt much better than the run on Monday evening, so that was reassuring that I'm on the mend/recovery. After that it was shower, breakfast, other morning stuff, and then cycle to work. At work today I spent all of the morning in various meetings, at least one of which was a complete waste of time me being in. There was another meeting where we learned more about how various structures within the institution are going to be altered, but for the most part the bottom line for me and my group is "more work, but potentially more money and maybe eventually more staff, but nothing but more work for the moment". Same old, same old, then. This afternoon I've been adding monitoring stuff to various servers to see if we can get more information the next time something odd happens on a set of them. I've also prepared the production servers I'm patching tomorrow morning for that, done some load balancer and SSL certificate work, accepted the fact I'm deputising at a set of change boards tomorrow morning, and decided on my birthday dinner with Rachel. All I need to do now is go home, and hope Rachel comes home soon too.

09/04/2019 [18:25] I've had a very long, but I think fairly productive, day today. Before I get into that let me tell you briefly about last night, which involved me getting home, going to Tesco, coming home, going for a veritable plod of a 30 minute jog, showering, and then having dinner. The jog was far harder than I was expecting, and despite a relatively low heart rate, I felt pretty winded and tired by the end of it. Unsurprising, really, but still disappointing. I've got a 45 minute run tomorrow at the same pace which I'll do at lunchtime, I think. Anyway, back to today. I got up early and headed into work to patch and reboot a dozen or so servers (a mix of physical and virtual). That all went without a hitch, thankfully. Then the day became one of trying to dissuade people from continuing to use OVM (Oracle's virtualisation technology), solving a lot of people's technical problems, creating one of my own which I've only just solved (but not the way I wanted to), and getting a couple of chunks of old kit removed from the network, which is always a good thing. I'm going to head home now and wait for Rachel to arrive quite late this evening. It'll be wonderful to see her. I just hope she arrives safely.

08/04/2019 [16:50] Well, I did it. I achieved both of my goals. Not only did I break the 9 hour target for running the SDW50, but I smashed it at the same time as keeping up with Rachel for the entire route. So, entirely awesome. Of course, we were both pretty shattered afterwards and didn't feel all that great for a day afterwards, but by now I'm pretty much on the mend and indeed have a 30 minute jog planned for this evening when I get home, on top of going to Tesco, and trying to get some relaxation in before tomorrow morning's early start for patching and stuff. The weather on the run was kind, mostly (there was a persistent headwind), with reasonable temperatures and no rain or overly strong sun. I ate almost everything I planned on eating, drank almost enough, and didn't ever really think about dropping out. Sunday was all about resting, although we did go for a long walk to collect the bikes from the train station (we got a bus home from it the night before) so we'd have them for this morning. Otherwise it was eating, drinking, watching television and doing a bit of washing.

This week is (and has already been today) pretty rammed. Meetings abound, there's a ton of work to do, or is coming down the pipe for me to do, and I'm not even in on Friday. Hopefully everything'll work out OK in the end. Tomorrow and Thursday are early starts for patching, I've got three meetings on Wednesday, two of them back to back in the same room, Rachel's here on Tuesday night, Wednesday night, and finally Thursday night into Friday (for what reason I don't yet know...), I've got three gentle run/jogs this week, and a longer run on Sunday. Somewhere in all of that I'll get some sleep, I hope. Just not like last night when I had a really horrible nightmare about my mouth and teeth.

05/04/2019 [15:20] OK, just a quick one. I have everything packed for the race tomorrow, I've done a full day of work despite the fact I'm leaving early to get the train to Rachel and Worthing, and I'm stressed that I've forgotten something both with regards to work and the race packing. I have to dash off to the train now so if there is anything I'll mention it on Monday. Friday in Worthing, racing all of Saturday to Eastbourne, then back to Croydon, recovering on Sunday, back to work on Monday!

04/04/2019 [17:10] Couldn't sleep in past around 05:00, so dozed intermittently until 06:40, when I got up, got dressed, and headed out for a decidedly relaxed hour of running along the river and back. Not a total confidence-booster for Saturday, but it was good to make it home and not really feel like I'd been for much of a run. Headed into work and have had a day of doing things just a smidgen outside of my comfort zone. I think all of them have come off without a hitch, or making anything worse, so I'm counting them in aggregate as a win. I've sent a bunch of emails about various things, been to at least two meetings, fiddled with the firewall, the load balancer, and the DNS a bit, and generally tried to keep things from falling apart. I even had a smidgen of time to look into where Rachel and I will be eating dinner tomorrow evening as our last big meal before the race on Saturday morning. I'm going home now to stare at my race pack and wonder how it got so heavy, then pack it and everything else for the weekend into a rucksack for tomorrow as I leave for the station straight from work in the middle of the afternoon. Hopefully I'll have time to do a quick journal entry before I go.

03/04/2019 [17:20] Today I had meetings. Not until the afternoon though, so I got the morning to make some notes, get ready for them, and do a whole load of really useful small jobs that no-one will notice, but make things run just a little more smoothly for me and everyone else who interacts with the systems where I did stuff. After lunch the first meeting was about getting a whole load of servers replaced or otherwise moved from one virtual place to another. In the end there'll be a lot of work to do, but I'll only be doing about four fifths of it, rather than all of it, so that's a reasonable result. I had to write a fairly long email detailing everything that was discussed in the meeting so that final fifth will actually get done by other people, but that's OK because it's in people's inboxes now, so they can't pretend they didn't have anything to do. The other meeting was boring and was all about what's going to be happening in the wider institution in the next little and long while. Mostly it doesn't affect me as I'm a grunt at the bottom of the food chain (where I'm happy for the most part). However, it does mean one or two things might change for me eventually. I'll mention them as and when and if they do. Otherwise I got to turn off another physical server today, send an email asking for nine physical servers to be deracked and removed, and generally happily reduced my physical estate, which makes things easier for me in the future. Not that I don't like physical hardware. It's just that it takes more effort to get it up and running than virtual servers.

I'm off home now. Tomorrow morning I intend to do my (last) 1 hour run (before the race this weekend) before breakfast and work, and potentially with my race pack race kit loaded. It'll also give me a chance to check the bottles I want to use work as I hope. Then I'll shower and head into work.

I went to Tesco last night, so I don't have to go tonight, which is good as I really don't feel in the mood to do anything more than go home and flop on the sofa. I know what I should make for dinner tonight. It's the same thing I should have made last night but I couldn't be bothered then either and went with pizza instead.

02/04/2019 [17:20] A slightly busier day today. Mostly it was about trying to track down what a thrice-renamed server was in terms of asset tag and details such that it could be added into our asset tracking system. This involved sending someone to check a number of chassis' twice, and even sliding one out of the rack it was in slightly to find the asset tag. Couple that with having to work out how to extract the out-of-band management IP from VMWare ESXi so we could actually connect to it and confirm that it was alive and it took a fair chunk of the day to do so. In the middle of it I went for a very wet run in the rain. My second last run before this weekend's race, which I'm almost looking forward to at this point.

I didn't go to Tesco last night, so I'm going to have to go this evening instead. I figure I don't need all that much, so I'm going to go on the way home rather than getting home and coming out again. Hopefully that should cover me for the (short) week given I'm away on Friday evening until Monday morning again.

01/04/2019 [17:10] Welcome to April. I spent the last of March mostly relaxing, but also doing outside things, too. On Saturday morning Rachel and I went for a nice gentle 2 hour run together. Nowhere special, but it was nice to have a confidence-boosting run where we both felt perfectly fine after 2 hours at slightly faster than race pace for the ultra. Once we were back and showered the shower room fitter guy came over and replaced the broken shower knob. Unfortunately he put one piece in upside down, so the directional flow (overhead head or pipe head) is now reversed. I'm going to have to ask him to come and switch it round when he comes back to do some waterproofing work as I don't have the right tool (or trust myself not to break something) myself. Once that was done and dusted we cycled into town and had lunch at a place where I'd been given vouchers for Christmas. And then after that we got trains to Croydon. We spent a little bit too much time fiddling around when we got there, but still had time to have a delicious evening meal courtesy of Rachel. On Sunday we got up and marshalled for the Croydon Half Marathon. This mainly involved standing on a street corner in the cold and cheering people on. I headed home after the tail runner had gone by while Rachel went for a sports massage. Then the rest of Sunday was relaxing and doing very little. We're well into our taper for the ultra next Saturday, so feeling like we should be up and about and doing things somewhat. I have a run tomorrow lunchtime, so that should help in that regard.

This morning Rachel and I got the same train into London, and then I headed on back to work on train and then bike. Mostly my day has revolved around dealing with delinting a lot of Ansible stuff again as the tests have been upgraded and generally made more stringent. I'm pleased at how clean everything seems to be now. I've got a good few meetings and important things coming up in the next two weeks or so and I'm hoping I'm properly prepared for them all. I'm going to take a good long look at my inbox tomorrow and maybe spend the day looking at things and researching so that I don't have any significant gaps in my knowledge. In the meantime though, I'm off home.