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January's Journal



18/02/2019 [16:20] Busy day, busy weekend. I'm going to have to dash this off quickly as I need to go and get my hair cut. So, stayed home on Friday morning and did my run, which was pretty good. It had a 'parkrun' in the middle on the actual parkrun course near my house, so that meant I was close by when I finished. I showered, shaved, had some lunch and then cycled to the close train station to head to Doncaster to be met by Rachel and her mum who'd had a spa day together. We took the bus to the house and settled in for the night. In the morning Rachel set out an hour and a half before me to do some running, and then at her half way point she came by the house and we headed out so that I could do my session for the day. I ended up doing pretty much all of it in an abandoned railway cutting, which was nice and flat, level, and protected from the wind, whicn was good. Once we were done and clean we had a spot of lunch and then drove out to the hotel where we were going to celebrate Rachel's dad's 70th. The place was lovely, as was the smashing evening meal. We also got to have a bit of a play in the pool and sauna, which was just what the doctor ordered for my stiff neck. On the Sunday morning we lazed in bed for a bit and then had a huge breakfast before going to the attached golf course's driving range for a bit of ball smashing. For doing everything right handed I didn't do too badly. After that it was off to the train station for a number of trains home. Even with all of the maintenance work this weekend there were additional issues which meant that we ended up getting a train from York which was over an hour behind schedule. That was fine though as in the end we only ended up being about 10 minutes behind overall. My last train home stopped one station short because it too had been delayed due to a passenger emergency, so I had to change one more time before I got home. Rachel had headed elsewhere during the journey to see some friends for the evening. This morning I dragged myself out of bed and to work to face a barrage of emails and far too much stuff to do such that I didn't get the upgrade to Satellite even started. I'll be attempting that tomorrow, I hope. Especially now that I've got some filters in place on the content views such that the upgrade of the Tools repositories doesn't stamp all over the bits of Puppet people have installed about the place.

Now I have to dash off and get my hair cut. Luckily the thing I thought I'd have to be in early for tomorrow morning has been scheduled to happen automatically, so that's great. So long as it works... Other than that I've got a lot of stuff printed out for the trip, and done an hour's running at lunch time. I'm still not sure if I've settled down today at all. I need to do a test pack of the main bag we'll be taking on the trip tonight, just to make sure everything fits and it's not too heavy. Also, I ordered my anti-malarials. Probably some other stuff happened too, but I can't remember.

14/02/2019 [17:15] Everything went according to plan this morning. Which was nice. I mean, I had to get up early and get in to work early, but that was OK. I don't have to do that tomorrow as I have the day off. I'll probably end up getting up moderately early so I can get my run out of the way, but otherwise nothing too horrendous. That might mean I stay up a little later tonight, but I doubt it considering I almost fell asleep in a meeting this afternoon. After this morning's excitement (or lack of it) I settled down to a day of doing the usual stuff, ate my lunch at the recognised time, and then had an hour or so before it was time to go to a meeting on what technology we might adopt to give everyone thin client desktops. While actually quite interesting (despite the overabundance of buzz words) I began to drift off in it, so when we broke for a toilet break I ducked out and came upstairs to find that an update for Satellite 6.4 had come out. This caused me to make sure that everything was ready for an upgrade from 6.3.5 next week. As far as I can tell, everything is ready, so all I have to do is wait for next week, take a VMWare snapshot before I start and then follow the online upgrade helper.

Between now and then there are a few things happening. Tomorrow I have the whole day off, which means I can do my training run from home, which is helpful as the middle part of it is a 'parkrun', and I live close to an official parkrun course. After that I'll be getting a train in the early afternoon to meet Rachel in Doncaster, and then we'll go to see her parents for the weekend. While we're there we'll squeeze in a quick hour and a half of running on the Saturday morning (together or separately, I'm not sure), and then meet up with the rest of Rachel's clan to go to a swanky hotel for her father's 70th birthday. Definitely no running on Sunday as we'll either be lazing in bed, having a huge breakfast, sneaking a dip in the pool, or travelling home. Sadly, I won't be going all the way home with Rachel as she's got a theatre trip on the Sunday evening with friends.

And then it's Monday.

13/02/2019 [17:05] I dragged myself out of bed early this morning so I could get to work and get my hill reps run done before 09:00. This was mainly because I had meetings on either side of lunch time which would make things rushed with regard to getting the run done and showering and eating lunch. The run was hard work, especially after yesterday's fast run. On top of that I somehow managed to pull a muscle in my neck/back which has now bothered me for the rest of the day so far. The meeting before lunch also got cancelled so I didn't actually need to do the run early, but that's just the way of things. The other reason I came in early was to see if the VM I'd started migrating from one type of storage to another (as well as a different host) 24 hours early had finished. It hadn't. In fact there's every chance it won't have finished by 22:00 tonight when one of my colleagues will see if it's done by then and he can turn it on so unison can start getting it back in sync with its sister server. In any event, I'll probably be turning it on tomorrow morning when it should have finished. This means that we won't be doing the other server at the other site tomorrow morning, but next Tuesday morning instead. Or at least starting it then at any rate. Otherwise today I had a meeting over at another site for about an hour after lunch to do with an upgrade of the financial systems we use here. It shouldn't affect me too much, except that I may have to work another weekend or so in a year or two. The big news, which I forgot to mention yesterday (or even Monday) is that my ex-ex-line manager who's very, very knowledgable and smart, and who holds a lot of the things we do here in his head... is taking a one year "career break" (but more than likely won't come back at the end of it) at the beginning of April. This more than likely means I'll have a lot more to do than I already have on my plate, and I won't have anywhere near as much of a safety net when I don't understand something or know how to fix something. It's definitely going to be an interesting period of time. I've been told I'll have plenty of support, etc. But most of that is going to come from a colleague who's already massively overloaded and is acting up to cover two positions as well as his own. So, interesting times ahead. And absolutely no chance of a pay rise unless and until a team leader role comes up and I get it if/when I apply. And that'll mean I have to take on even more responsibilities to justify the pay rise.

I'm going home before I sigh too loudly. Especially as I have to be in early again tomorrow morning when we take down the second half of the storage network and hope that everything happily resorts to using the half which got upgraded on Tuesday.

12/02/2019 [17:40] I did quite a bit before 09:00 today. It started with getting up at 06:20, doing some exercises, then getting ready for work and cycling in. As soon as I got in I took some VM snapshots, called someone to say I'd done it, shut down a VM and began its migration to another vhost as well as another datastore that wasn't on the same shared storage hardware (Dell Equalogic to Dell SC SAN), at the same time I kicked off one, and then a second OracleVM to VMWare vConverter process for two guests, deleted the aforementioned snapshots when they weren't needed any more, and helped work out/coordinate the taking down of half of the storage network backing everything else that I was doing at the same time. Amazingly, pretty much everything went off without a hitch, which was marvellous and did my blood pressure no end of good. I even managed to stay off the sweets, biscuits, and wine gums which seem to fill one end of the office at the moment (a 3kg bag of wine gums?!). After around 09:00 things began to calm down as one of my colleagues began to update the firmware images on the storage switches he'd removed from the fabric. At midday I went for an hour's semi-fast run and found that it wasn't anywhere near as hard or tiring as I thought it was going to be. And this afternoon I've been keeping an eye on all the servers I did things to this morning and discovering that the migration of the VM I started this morning is actually going over the management network rather than the storage network so it's limited to 1Gb/sec wire speed, rather than the 10Gb/sec I was hoping for. There's an outside chance it might be finished by the time I get in tomorrow morning, but we'll see. Given I have meetings either side of lunch tomorrow I might actually come in and do my hour's worth of fast (read: hard, tiring) hill reps before work so that I have lunch time to relax, rather than worrying that I'm going to have to leave a meeting early, or arrive to one late. We'll see how I feel in the morning.

11/02/2019 [17:35] A full and very busy weekend. On Friday I went home and collapsed for a while before heading out to collect a well-earned (I think) Chinese takeaway. On Saturday morning, feeling like I needed to get it done, I headed out at around 07:30 after a rushed breakfast to do my 2 hour run. I did it on the flat, and on road for the most part. I'd intended to do the final 5km at my local parkrun, but got the timings and distances wrong and ended up only getting back at just under my overall time. It didn't really matter in the grand scheme of things. After that I pootled around the house for a few hours, cleaning, tidying, and probably having too small a lunch. Eventually it was time to get a train to London where I then met Rachel and her parents in a hotel near Euston and Kings Cross. While Rachel took her mother to see something for the evening I had a quiet night in the hotel, and dinner with Rachel's dad in the hotel bar, which was far less stressful than you might imagine. On Sunday morning, after taking full advantage of the hotel facilities and a huge breakfast, Rachel and I got changed into running kit and got trains to Richmond Park, meeting with Fi and her dog Ellie on route. The four of us did two laps of the park together and then Rachel decided to do one more lap at high speed as part of her training. Given how much energy I thought I had left I thought it'd be fun to do it too. Rachel's very good at reminding me that I'm just not as good a runner as her at the moment/any more. If she hadn't circled back for me three or four times I think she would have finished the 10km lap about 1km ahead of me. She's just that good. All of us suitably shattered, with the park cafe closed, and the light fading, we took refuge in a pub between the park and Mortlake train station, watched the end of the rugby, and had a bit of food. After that we braved the trains back into the center of London (rugby fans everywhere) and then Rachel and I collected our bags from the hotel and got a train home. Despite having eaten in the pub, once we were clean and changed at home we had another meal and tottered off to bed at a moderately sensible time. This morning Rachel had to get a semi-early train, but texted me after I sent one to her to tell her how much I missed her to tell me there'd been a problem with her bike lock at the station. I cycled to work via there and managed to solve the issue and make sure everything was secure before heading into work by the quieter route, which was nice for once. At work today I've been very busy coordinating all the work I've got on tomorrow morning. There's so much I've had to write myself a bullet point list so I get everything done, and in the right order. Hopefully the storage network work put off from last week won't cause any issues with what I'm doing. Other than that I'm about to head home, put a huge load of stinky washing on from the weekend, go to Tesco, and then do the whole collapsing thing again. At least I don't have a run to do before breakfast before going into work early.

08/02/2019 [17:05] The trains all went wrong last night. By the time I was home, showered, shaved, and with dinner ready to go Rachel was stuck on a train behind a broken down train and wasn't getting any closer. After an hour or so of waiting at a station a good 20 miles from here she got a train home and eventually made it back to her house four or so hours after she left work. Deeply disappointing for the both of us. I ended up snacking too much while waiting for her, but still had a proper meal, but a much more lonely night than I was hoping for. The only small plus side was that neither of us had to get up horribly early in the morning to do my run (which we were going to do together before Rachel left for London). Instead I got up at a more sensible time and after a morning of standard work stuff did my run at lunch time. It was still windy and drizzling, and I still felt both mentally and physically like I really didn't want to do it, but I did, and it was... OK. I'd say I'm glad the week is over, but I've got a 2 hour run tomorrow (after which I'll head to London to meet Rachel and her parents and stay there overnight) and then on Sunday I have a 3 hour run with Rachel (and maybe Fi, too), probably in and around Richmond Park. After that we'll get back to the place we're staying, try and have a shower, and then head to my house for the remainder of Sunday.

I think that's everything. Have a good weekend. Mine's going to start with a Chinese takeaway and watching Netflix until it's a little past my bed time. Oh, I tried to find out of my tax code had been reset yet. I had a lot of trouble getting through to anyone. Have to try again on Monday.

07/02/2019 [17:25] I did need to be in work early this morning. But not for all the reasons I thought, which was a bit disappointing. I did get up and do my 45 minute run before breakfast, but it was somewhat earlier (and windier) than I would have liked). Once I did get to work it was at the right time and useful that I did, but the two servers I thought I was migrating I'm actually supposed to be doing next Tuesday morning instead. Still, I was around to make sure that the testing of the storage network redundancy actually worked a bit more as advertised, which was a big plus. Other than that the day has been, happily, quite empty of Issues. I replaced a hard drive in an array, made major inroads into my inbox clearing, and spent a lot of time working on an Ansible playbook and associated roles for a server build that's been hanging over me for months (mostly not my fault). I should, at some point, make inroads into the six physical servers I need to Kickstart for the NetBackup upgrade, but I'm not sure that'll be tomorrow. In the meantime though I'm off home to prepare the house for Rachel's arrival this evening, which is going to be lovely. We're doing my hour's run tomorrow morning before work, so it won't be late night.

06/02/2019 [16:50] A tough day, running-wise at least. It started early with a steady 45 minute run before breakfast. The weather was lovely and, aside from plenty of puddles underfoot along the river, I was able to just get out and back at a nice quick but not too quick pace. At work there was plenty of discussion about the failures during yesterday's attempt to bring down and upgrade half of the storage network. After I left last night my colleagues found all kinds of oddnesses in the cabling up of the SAN and storage switches. Most of that should be fixed before we try again, so that should be good. Over lunchtime I did my 1 hour hill reps running session for the week. I'm not going to lie; it was hard work. Oddly though, when I got back my watch said I'd done various parts of it faster than usual, despite me feeling pretty tired from the first step. I guess the reserves I began to realise I had when I was deep into my marathon training last year have started to reappear again. Here's hoping they're the kind that last for 50 miles over steep terrain, rather than just 26.2 miles of flat road. This afternoon I've mainly been getting things ready for tomorrow morning (more servers to move from Oracle VM to VMWare, and moving the VMWare vCenter to a location where the next attempt at bringing down half of the storage network won't affect it), having a right good clear down of my work inbox, and thanking Rachel for getting our travel insurance sorted. As soon as I post this I'm off home to meet my favourite plumber person who's going to advise me on the cold spots on my tall and thin radiators, and also the tiny ones I have in the bedrooms upstairs. Tomorrow morning is another 45 minute run before breakfast, and then getting to work before 08:00 to do those server conversions. Oh, I nearly forgot that I changed a HDD in a RAID set today, and have another one in another chassis to do tomorrow. For now though, home time!

05/02/2019 [17:25] So I got in earlyish this morning so all kinds of things things could get done. It turned out that it was good that I did as we had all kinds of issues with the storage network due to strange configurations that appeared out of the woodwork. My work with converting two OracleVM VMs to VMWare VMs went perfectly, other than a brief outage due to the above storage network issues, so that was good at least. Otherwise today I've not run (thank goodness), done a lot of very useful coordinating of other people in working out what steps need to be taken to resolve the storage network issues, and learned a little bit about how one creates and assigns new volumes from our Dell SC to linux servers via FCAL. So not a total loss.

Now I'm going to go home and attempt to rationalise the kitchen/dining area, which is full of washing up, washing, and stuff left over from me unpacking when I got home from the weekend away and went straight out to Tesco. Now that Rachel's wonderfully coming to see me on Thursday evening I have to make the place look presentable at the very least.

Tomorrow's a big day, running-wise at least. I've got a 45 minute run before breakfast and then an hour of my 'favourite' hill reps session at lunch time. That's going to make me very hungry by the end of the day. Maybe I should have had the mammoth pizza I had last night tomorrow night instead. Too late now.

04/02/2019 [17:50] The weekend was pretty full now I think about it. I met Rachel in London in the evening and we walked through the rain to the flat of a couple of her friends where we had a proper grown up dinner with adult conversation and everything. I think we left there at a sensible enough time to get home before it was too late. Not that that mattered on Saturday morning as we didn't have a whole lot to do considering Rachel's hockey game was cancelled due to the weather. I don't really remember much of what happened during the day other than I think Rachel caught up on work and I read a lot. Towards the middle of the afternoon we got a train into London so we could have dinner at a GBK and then head to the Royal Albert Hall to see a performance of Cirque du Soleil, which (aside from the weird unfunny bits between the main acts) was pretty darned impressive. After that we dashed home so we could be in bed as early as possible. That was because on Sunday morning we got a train out to Worthing and then ran from the train station up to the South Downs Way via the official SDW50 route and then about thirty miles to Falmer train station (coming off the SDW at Housedean campsite). I think I got my nutrition (and nearly my hydration) right, and Rachel kept us at a good pace such that we weren't dead by the end of it. I certainly felt fitter than when we did the same thing just before Christmas. The weather was perfect, but warmed up a little too much such that some of the frozen/icy stuff had melted and we got wet feet in places. It was still a good day out, but one we were glad was over even as we got the rail replacement bus to Brighton and then the train back to Croydon. Rachel had already prepared dinner, so it just needed heating up while we collapsed (well, I did, Rachel did the food work) for the evening. I made the mistake of doing an update of the laptop's operating system after we'd finished watching Netflix for the evening, so didn't get to bed until close to midnight. In the morning we put back the alarm a few times, which meant that we eventually just had to get out of bed and leave almost straight away (although still having breakfast and making lunch for me). It was a weekend of ups and downs for me mentally. I think I'm coming out of the far side of this current Down, but I'm not totally sure yet. I certainly hope and want it to be the case.

After getting the train back this morning I've had a day of doing useful coordinatory things, cleared down my inbox somewhat, fixed (I hope) a recurring issue with antivirus updates not being downloaded, and even attended a meeting. On top of that I managed to struggle through a one hour run without totally collapsing, and even felt reasonably strong and capable during it (aside from a shooting pain in the bottom of my right glute/taint). Even so, I'm very glad tomorrow's a rest day, even if I have to be in early for various bits of work. I'm heading home now though to make sure the house is in on piece, go to Tesco, and then collapse again.

01/02/2019 [16:00] February. Here we are. We made it through January more or less intact. Mostly. Maybe. I'm here anyway. I appear to have an OK day, aside from knocking a chunk of my knee scab off last night with my bike pedal. That was "quite painful". Otherwise I had a restless night's sleep for no readily apparent reason, made it to work safely, did some useful admin work in terms of getting more physical hosts connected in all the ways they need to be, ran for an hour at lunch time without slipping or being run over by traffic, and will very shortly be leaving for London to have dinner with Rachel and two of her friends. Over the weekend I intend to do very little on Saturday morning until it's time to head into London from Croydon to have dinner at a GBK and then attend a showing of Cirque du Soleil at the Royal Albert Hall. That should be pretty good. On Sunday, weather permitting, Rachel and I will be running a significant chunk of the South Downs Way and attempting not to freeze, slip over, or otherwise come a cropper. Making it home without frostbite, covered in mud, or more than normally exhausted would be lovely. That won't leave much more than an hour or three to relax on Sunday evening and then it'll be back to work on Monday morning.