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May's Journal

14/06/2019 [17:00] A decidedly unearly start this morning, which suited me just fine. Rachel and I had a lovely evening last night finishing up our watching of Mad Men with me still getting frustrated at the raw, naked sexism in almost every scene, but then enjoying it for the story's sake. We also had a delicious (very healthy) dinner made by Rachel too, which is always good. After I eventually made it into work (still before 09:00 mind) it was straight into a meeting, which devolved into a great decompression/bitching session with someone from another group with whom it turns out I'm getting on very well with. After I emerged from that feeling like I'd deepened a professional relationship it was on with the actual working day. This revolved mainly around clearing up old VMs, working on the Satellite installation which was throwing up a few errors, doing things with the firewall and traffic managers, and sorting out permissions and package installations. Over lunch I managed to pop out and get a new pair of road shoes for the recently-begun marathon training season and autumn marathon. Happily they came in exactly the colour I was after, although I wasn't able to get another pair of insoles for them. I only got a second pair last time after the first ones tended to ruck up when running in heavy rain. Hopefully the ones in this new pair won't and I won't need any other insoles. We'll see. This afternoon I've mainly worked on rationalising the SAN volumes which're presented to the VMWare cluster. Names now match in both directions, and we've got rid of the volumes which weren't accessible to all of the hosts as well as the volume clustering (which we didn't have licensing for anyway). It really satisfies my sense of obsessive order to see it all laid out much more cleanly.

Now I'm off to have one of those rare things, a weekend at home with nothing in particular planned (except having fun times with Rachel). Tonight should be nice and quiet, followed by an hour's run tomorrow morning with a third of it being parkrun. I'm not sure what else we'll do with the Saturday, but I do know we've got a lot of logistics planning to do for various things happening in the next few months, so I imagine we'll spread that out over the whole weekend. On Sunday I've got a one hour run to do according to my coach, although Rachel's intending on doing a longer one so I guess I'll be back before her and will probably prepare lunch for us both. Other than that... Tesco, possibly some baking (by Rachel) and reading/Netflix. See you on Monday.

13/06/2019 [18:00] Another rainy day where I managed to get in to work early before the rain really started to come down, but got soaked at lunch time when doing my hill reps, and will get equally wet cycling home again shortly. Outside of those things, today has been a reasonable day of work. I came in in time to not have to do anything while someone tested a failover situation of their VMWare guests, then got stuck into a few tasks that've been pending for a while. I've still not finished one of the tasks, but it's now much more advanced, and if I think about it there's no real reason why I can't carry on and finish it tomorrow. I probably won't though as it's a bit of a leap of faith someone, in one regard. Anyway, after running some hard hill reps at lunch time (although I did start my jog back one rep short of what I maybe should have done) the afternoon was about getting some answers from people about VMs that were potentially not required any more, doing some configuration work (which I then duplicated in my Ansible playbooks), building and commissioning two new VMs, and getting on top of my inbox a little.

Now though it's time to go home and make sure the house is clean and tidy for Rachel's arrival, hopefully some time around 19:30 or so. I should probably have towels on standby as it's possible she won't have brought a waterproof and might be a little wet. She's working from (my) home tomorrow, so that'll be plenty of reason for me to leave actually on time tomorrow, even if she won't stop working until a good hour after I actually get home!

12/06/2019 [17:30] Today has been a day of things happening. I can't really detail everything that went on as it has mainly been about sitting by other people's desks talking about firewall rules and trying to make them work. I think that come the end of the day we've got something workable in place, but it's certainly not the end of things. My brain is fried at this point though so I'm not entirely sure there's much else I can talk about. I've made it through the day in one piece, it was a rest day from running, so that was nice, and I'm just about to head home and hope that I don't get drenched in a sudden rain shower.

Tomorrow I may or may not make it in in time to be around for a failover test, but I should. Other than that it should be another day of keeping things from coming apart at the seams for another few hours.

11/06/2019 [17:15] After a lovely evening with Rachel last night, I had an atrocious night's sleep (probably due to over-eating). Still, it meant I got to look at Rachel (apparently pretending to be) sleeping. We got up early, she to get a train to work, me to cycle into work so I could reboot a server which'd been semi-silently complaining about things for weeks. Both things apparently went off without a hitch. I didn't even get rained on when I cycled in. Nor when I went for a faster-than-slow run at lunch time, which was nice. In between all of that was a lot of puzzling at things, having helpful conversations with people, and a little bit of gant chart-like organising of 'this before that, those before this'-style stuff. Ducks have been put in various rows, and I think it'll all work out, eventually.

I'm just off now to help Cormac move a server and then I should head into town to go to someone's birthday drinks for a little while before I head home and collapse for the evening. Although I didn't feel all that tired all day, and definitely not while I ran (it was a good run), I'm suddenly feeling quite pooped and wish I was just going (or was already at) home.

10/06/2019 [17:05] A good weekend, thanks for asking. I managed to make good food choices pretty much for the whole weekend barring the final meal on Sunday, and that was only because Rachel didn't arrive until late into the evening for reasons I'll get to in a moment. So on Saturday morning I misread what my coach asked for and only jogged to and from parkrun, as well as doing what was required in terms of 'on' and 'off' efforts. This only amounted to half the amount of time I was supposed to be on my feet. I remedied that with a fun bit of running on Sunday morning. The remainder of Saturday was spent cycling out to get a new bike lock for the one which got broken apart while I was in watching a film at the cinema on Friday night. Happily - for the second time - even though the lock was broken open, the thieves didn't take the front wheel of my bike. The last time this happened it was in the cycle park at the main train station. Either way, after checking the bike over for things having been losened or taken, it seemed fine. So, new lock, and also a quick cycle into town to get one of Rachel's last two birthday presents. Hopefully the other one will arrive here at work shortly. After I'd been out and about I went home and aired the house out a bit, as well as doing a tiny amount of housework and going to Tesco. Sunday started with a run, then I just lazed around a bit as I'd been up early in the morning (although not out of bed) watching the GPS tracker attached to the person Rachel was pacing for the last 30 miles or so of the South Downs Way 100. I'd followed them late into the night, but then kept the laptop on the bed so I could power up and check again at around 05:00. They seemed to be doing OK, so I went back to sleep again. In the end they finished at around 09:45, which was very impressive. Rachel eventually made it home, but was so tired from having been up the day before (Saturday) with a full day of meetings and travel, then going through the night as a pacer, then getting home again on the Sunday morning, that she needed to get herself together before coming to me (although I did tell her she didn't need to come, I promise). In the end she made it on to a train that should have got her to the local station for 21:08, only there was a points failure, so I didn't meet her at the station until around 21:45. We went home, she had a snack, and then we went to bed.

Today, aside from getting soaked on the cycle in to work (and I expect the same to happen on the cycle home) I've had a very busy day being pulled in about nineteen different directions doing things. I think I've solved almost everything I was asked to do, and even learned a few new things in the process. We'll have to see if I got them right or not. For now though I'm heading home to see Rachel and have a nice quiet evening. Tomorrow morning's a moderately early start to reboot a server which has been complaining (quietly, no-one noticed for at least two weeks) to see if that fixes the issue. I hope so.

07/06/2019 [17:15] Another early start day as I wanted to get in and get a server rebooted (to clear some orphaned multipath mount stuff) and work with one of the more cleverer firewall people to work out why something networky wasn't networkying. In the end both things happened, and I also got to clear up a nasty bit of DNS/firewall clutter that was part of the problem in the first place. With all of that done and it still not 09:00 I was able to settle down and plough through my inbox for a few hours and make some progress in clearing it down somewhat. That's always a good thing for a Friday. Lunchtime happened, then an afternoon of discovering that there's a good chance my officemate turnover will increase somewhat in the next few months... maybe. How, who, and why remains to be seen.

Speaking of things remaining to be seen, I'm off to see the latest John Wick film this evening after having a burrito with Cormac (who's managed to force back the time of dinner to 17:45 or so from the 18:30 I was hoping for). After the film I'll head home and hope it's not raining too hard, then be up in the morning for a coach-manadated parkrun before potentially doing a lot of housework which hasn't so much been piling up as neglected for quite some time. There'll probably be a Tesco trip at some point over the weekend, and then on Sunday Rachel will arrive after having run 30 miles or so pacing a friend of hers who's doing the South Downs Way 100 mile this weekend. I don't think I'll be running on Sunday, so that may be when I catch up with the last two episodes of Chernobyl, which has been holding my attention recently. So that's the weekend covered. See you Monday.

06/06/2019 [18:15] A long day today. It started early as I didn't want to stay in bed past 06:00, especially as I needed to be in work to do some very important upgrades. The whole morning routine went to plan and I was in work a little after 07:00. The first set of servers to upgrade went almost without a hitch, I just had to reboot a server or two rather than just letting the upgrade process do everything automatically (and without any reboots). The second set of servers went off without a hitch, and much more quickly owing to how much less busy their configuration is. In any event, the upshot was that everything got done without issue, and the upgrade even fixed the problem which had precipitated the decision to upgrade in the first place, which was great. Not that we'll be going back to using these servers for the thing which was a problem. Or at least not yet. So anyway, after that was done I was able to get on with some of the dozen or so things which were pending for me to do. I worked through them as much as I could, stopping at lunch time to go for a hill reps run, which didn't really go as I'd hoped, but was potentially what I was supposed to do, as it were. We'll see what my coach says when he reviews my week's running on the weekend. In the afternoon I returned to work, did a few more things, then was handed a helpdesk ticket that completely stumped me, and even the head of Networks, who's a very clever chap. I've written down everything we know so far, and emailed him, the person who knows the most about the firewall, and myself. That means we should start from a position of knowing everything we've already discovered tomorrow morning. Whether or not what we know is actually of any use remains to be seen. The reason there's such an issue is because of people not cleaning up after themselves network-wise, and then bodges having to be put in place, which then multiply until the whole unworkable mess comes collapsing down around someone's ears. Mine in this case as I'm the last person standing in terms of who does the stuff in this area.

But enough about all that, I'm going home.

05/06/2019 [18:05] I made some progress today on a present I'm hoping to get Rachel. I think I'll be making the decision as to which of two to get tomorrow, and probably ordering it then. Just one more data point to collect. Actually no, I've decided to get both and then see what Rachel thinks of them. Maybe we'll keep both. Anyway, they should arrive/be collected before the end of next week, which'll be good.

Otherwise, I've spent the day helping people with their technical problems and, for the most part, succeeding. There were a couple of hairy issues which took a bit of thought to get right, but I think at the end of the day (and it's just been confirmed by one of the people I helped walking past my desk on his way home) everything's gone as it should have done. Hopefully this'll mean that the very important work I'm going to be doing tomorrow morning with both traffic manager/load balancer clusters will go just as well. We'll just have to see.

04/06/2019 [18:25] A slightly less frenetic day today, as I seem to have broken the back of the things I was behind on yesterday. This meant that I've been able to concentrate one some harder/trickier firewall and load balancer-related things today. Fewer things done, but what I have done was more complicated, and with a more satisfying pay-off. I even managed to get a run done at lunch time, and even ran somewhere I barely ever run, which was a nice change. I've spent the time after work (when I should have gone home) looking at a final birthday present for Rachel, and debating which showing of a film I should go to with my last free cinema ticket... Although I've just this minute decided and booked the ticket for Friday night. It'll mean I either have to pack a dinner or... go for a burrito (yes!) in town beforehand. I think I'll do that. I haven't had one in ages.

Anyway, time to go home and hopefully not get too wet doing so.

03/06/2019 [17:25] I'm back from holiday! It was great, thanks. A whole week away with Rachel (and her family) in the New Forest. Kayaking, various other water sports, mountain biking, running, tennis, croquet, and lots and lots of eating. Seriously, massive amounts of amazing food. I started to cut back on what I ate by the Tuesday as I was worried about putting on too much weight. It was an amazing trip, with lovely company, and with all kinds of fun and excitement. The only fly in the ointment was how hard the ten mile race we attended on Sunday was for us both. Rachel (of course) beat me by a good six minutes or so (twice what I was hoping for)), but it was very hot, there were hills, and I really didn't feel in shape after a week of barely running and big meals. I'm going to make an effort to lose a little bit of excess over the next few weeks and months as well as slowly getting back into a marathon training mode for an autumn marathon (not sure which yet). That starts with my grocery shopping at Tesco this evening once I've been home and made sure the house is in order.

Today hasn't been quite as bad as I was expecting after a week away. Plenty of things to do, but I believe I've pretty much done everything that was massively urgent or seriously outstanding. There's obviously plenty more to do, but I'm going to take tomorrow to have a good look at what it all is and start making some decisions. Until them I'm going to head home before it's too late in the evening.