Captain’s Log: April 2022

During the first weekend my partner had a friend up from London visiting so they went out and about leaving me with the kids on Saturday. This was really good because they were allowed to be without kids and to have a degree of spontaneity. They came home buzzing and it was nice to see.

On Sunday we went to the huge Victoria park in Glasgow and had a big explore around it. There are areas we had never visited before like the bit around the fossil grove. It is a wonderous area of natural beauty. Small. But really diverse in the trees. The kids had a lovely time bouncing off the little cliffs and running around in the trees. Then their friend became available again. So off they went spontaneously for a second adventure.

I enjoyed some extended video game time with the kids who are currently wanting me to play Dragon Quest Builders 2 endlessly. We all enjoy this but the days of me being able to play a game more than 4 hours are past! I eventually put it down and refused to touch it again that day.

The second weekend was written off. I was supposed to drive to the coast and see my parents. I think a hangover from the Covid that ran through the house last month I was exhausted and easily out of breath. The activity of the previous weekend was slow and deliberate in an effort to not exhaust myself. I was trying to push through and just drive away for the weekend but realised I really needed a lie down so cancelled it. I then spent the entire weekend lying down pretty much and felt much better by the end of it.

Easter weekend came around and I was feeling better. We do not know when we will find a builder for the loft conversion so we have started doing what we can ourselves. I smashed down an old wardrobe in the kids room, and built a bunch of Ikea furniture for my office. While still miles away from the goal of being tidy this has been excellent for my mental health. My office has nothing on the floor cluttering it up. My hobbies and work stuff are all at hand. So I have been inspired and made some music too.

Around about here in the month I popped a shell on a customer engagement. It has been a little while since I have had a less obvious vuln to play with. It was Java Expression Language (EL) and I think I will write a blog about that as it was fun.

For the fourth weekend we did the final trip to the tip dealing with the destroyed built-in wardrobe’s rubbish. The kids went off for a trip to the park with a babysitter and me and my partner got to eat a meal in peace al fresco in the sunshine. It was nice but could have done without the wind.

Pretty much all of Sunday was cleaning the house. One of the more depressing things about moving to this house is that it is exceptionally hard to clean. By tackling the storage issues we can finally expose enough floor to actually regularly clean it. Other than the regular quick clean. The house is starting to feel ready to actually live in which is nice.

The final weekend the in-laws flew in and we were treated to a flurry of cooked food. It was good but a little bit stressful since family staying is always going to be tense without enough space to give people alone time.

Media:

  • Dragon Quest Builders 2 – we really enjoyed DQB and this one is bigger and better. I really enjoyed it. The kids watched every hour of this over the last 3 months and it was nice spending that time with them.
  • Community – I have seen this show before but it is really really good isn’t it. Definitely worth the re-watch.
  • Parks and Recreation – first time for me watching this. It already feels like a nice comfy pair of slippers. Funny and ridiculous in the right places.

Hacking:

  • For work I hit a target pretty hard and achieved “root” on their server. It is still awesome to land a shell and demonstrate impact. I love my job!

Music

I made a track in an entirely different way. I took dialogue from a conference speech and cut it up to tell a story. Also working in my DAW (Reaper)

That was the month that was April 2022.

Captain’s Log: March 2022

We started the month still recovering from a round of illness in the house in February. So an excellent start.

First weekend of March we got away to Balloch and met up with my brother and sister in law who were in the area on holiday. We haven’t seen each other in over 2 years so that was great. A good meal out at Slanj Restaurant which is a beautiful building and good food. Other than that we went to the rather excellent park around the crumbling castle at Balloch and the kids enjoyed going feral in a wide open space. The play park there is magnificent 10/10 would recommend and while they are occupied you can enjoy views of Loch Lomond and surrounding hills.

The second weekend was going to be a busy one for me. My partner was scheduled to go to London to see friends so it was on muggins here to look after both kids alone. I get anxious about that because a wee voice from nowhere goes: what if you collapse when in sole charge of two kids?

Well.. I have trained the eldest to unlock the door and get help from neighbours, and I have survived the worry a few times before. Take that anxiety! There is ever increasing evidence that things will be fine. Actually I wasn’t really thinking about this nonsense this time so I was in a better place mentally.

Unfortunately (on Friday 11th) she tested positive for covid by LFT test moments before leaving the house. Then a bunch of days later Kid A tested positive. This dragged isolation over two weeks. With kids going spare. All of us feeling “meh” it was a great time.

I had some annual leave when we were locked in. I used that time to do minor improvements to the house:

  • I installed a full run of compliant fire alarms.
  • I hung a fancy wall mirror.
  • I replaced the toilet seat (yea.. It needed it).
  • I built a new BBQ/Pizza oven for the garden.

Looky at pimping BBQ thing:

For the fourth weekend we were allowed out into society so we went straight to Blair Drummond Safari park and had a lovely time. Totally nailed it with the exact perfect weather and a long but eventually successful hunt for the fresh doughnut business (which has moved near the Dinosaurs). Not saying we only go their for the doughnuts, but definitely they need to happen.

In terms of exercise I was basically not at the races this month. I am learning to be kinder to myself by saying; we were sick, then covid trapped, and I now am still recovering from that. While I never actually tested positive I am definitely more out of breath than I was last month. So I have tried to ease back with walking again before getting the running shoes back on. The main thing is to ensure I do a little every day and then aim for fun weekends.

In the final week of March Kid A has managed four consecutive GOOD DAYS at school and home. This has never happened. They are trying things again (after being brave at Blair Drummond and doing a tonne of new things).

I have not felt this relaxed in a very very long time. If I can just get some exercise back on the agenda regularly I’ll be living my best life.

Media:

  • 24 Season 8 – I love 24. I think it is absolutely hilarious and dramatic and brilliant. I am not convinced I have seen Season 8 before though. Surely I would remember Katee Sackoff and president “Nixon” coming back for more villainy? Or it could be that I am just simply old enough to have forgotten it. I have definitely seen the movie set after it with Robert Carlyle in it (Redemption), so the chances are high I have forgotten Day 8. Which is… Kind of great. Because I got to watch it again a-new.
  • 24 Season 9/Jack goes to London – I finally saw this! It was everything I would hope it would be. The scene in Wembley stadium was particularly brilliant.
  • 24 Legacy/the one without Jack – I can see why this season was not as well received. It just seemed that literally everyone was endlessly incompetent. Which I do think is mostly true of most seasons tbf, it was just more acutely felt. Early doors this features my favourite ever terror cell that totally fucked up their own shit without any CTU involvement. I found it hilarious. Honestly bravo. They were the best. It had some great moments but it was also a little under baked I think. I wasn’t aware it only had a 12 episode run so I was sort of waiting for more when it just sort of ended.
  • Start Trek Enterprise – many people hate this series. I have always been a fan of it. You know that netflix can skip intros right? If you judge a series by its intro entirely then I think you might have missed some great shows. I think Season three with the Xindi is possibly the greatest single season of Star Trek as it has an overriding narrative with a mystery they are slowly piecing together. Then Season four is just criminally a short version of what should have taken 2 or 3 seasons to complete the narrative on.

Hacking:

  • After about 4 months Mitre hit me with CVE-2021-44082 for the Textpattern XSS to RCE finding. The patch and details were already out there on pentest.co.uk.
  • I posted a pentesting relevant blog on the physical security afforded by a Master Lock Key Box. I am in no way an expert on physical security. But I needed to crack the 4 digits to get one off a wall. Not going to lie, it was fun doing this. Doing things outside of your skillset is a great way to learn.
  • I met an actual colleague in person. This has not happened in a pretty long time. So that was nice. Dare I say I might try and open the door to folks again to come and work from my gaff once Kid B is in full time nursery. I’d like it but maybe nobody could take sitting on hard chairs for a whole day lol. So maybe a bit of prep for that, I have time.

That was the month that was March 2022.

Captain’s Log: February 2022

February was a curious month. I was buoyed by no longer feeling significant pain in my sore foot/ankle and was enjoying doing 3-4 morning jogs back from the school run. I could feel myself getting fitter and it was awesome! So I was sprinting into the month full of optimism.

Then, as tends to happen, there was a bout of illness in the household. As is tradition it happened over a long weekend that I had engineered by taking some days off work to be with the kids on half term. We went to a swimming pool for the first time in ages and then over the next 4 days we all eventually cracked and gave way to Norovirus symptoms. It was pretty horrific. I have never vomited with such force in all my life. 10/10 can recommend, go for the experience.

It took about 10 days for me to return to action and to sustainably be able to keep food down. Not gonna lie. I absolutely smashed the Uber Eats button about 10 times in 3 days after I could finally eat.

Now as we get into March I am tentatively back to exercising. The work engagement is busy and stressful and I am looking forward to two speaking opportunities during what happens to be Scottish Cyber Week.

In February I started watching Season 8 of 24. Because… I love 24 and how absurd it became. I was not entirely sure that I have seen season 8 so I have been cracking on with that. Also rewatching Star Trek Enterprise.

As a result of losing approximately half of the month I haven’t really got any photos so this months image is essentially a magnetic play toy that entered the house. I can recommend it the kid and I have had a lark making faces.

Captain’s Log: January 2022

This year I do not have a table load of targets to hit. It is much simpler. Get fitter, and be happier. For me one definitely leads to the other.

Ever since a kid was born that I was responsible for it was impossible for me to find the time. My health, both mental and physical, clearly took a lot of dents since. I have periodically gotten back to exercise and always felt way way better. But… Then I had a run of bad health which kept knocking me back by immobilising me for weeks and months at a time. These were not training injuries, just things that happened.

Progress is not a straight line. I tell myself that a lot now. Before we could all walk we fell a million times. So now I just tell myself that each attempt is the direction of travel. Travel always has delays :D.

The thing holding me back in 2021 from doing the same thing was an injury around March. I really did not want to risk injuring it further because I had been immobilised a few times in the previous years. That really, really, really sucked. So I rested it and went to the GP when the pain hadn’t gone after a few months.

I have seen a physio in December 2021 who set me right. I have slowly worked stretches, bounces, and now jogging back in. By the end of January I have jogged back from dropping kids at school most days for about three weeks. I have to make that journey. I am now making it work for me. It is a much healthier choice.

The result is that I have significantly reduced the pain in my right ankle/foot. I am getting fitter and the endorphins are helping me in literally every area of my life. So here is to feeling like me again. It took a while.

Slight gear shift

A love note to lost friends. My friend Rintu Basu sadly left this mortal plain early in January after a short battle with pancreatic cancer.

He was an absolutely top guy. Smart, caring, kind. Free with actually useful advice that was delivered in a way that you listened and could accept.

I am imagining the joy of him meeting Paul Mason (who we sadly lost over a year ago now) and having a conversation. The two of them were big big characters and into so many overlapping things that I know they would be a riot together. It seems absurd that the two didn’t know each other.

It has reminded me that we all eventually leave our friends and loved ones some day. If we can manage to trigger 1/10th of the love and respect these two have then we will truly have lived and loved well.

So I am going to get fit not because that’ll mean I live forever. But for certain my time here will be more fun. Living for you lads too so I need the extra energy.

Captain’s Log: December 2021

December was mostly a roaring success. I started to feel more like the me of old. I enjoyed time with my family and my partner. It was honestly a great end to the year. With a blip of being ill via Covid Booster in the last week of work. But C’est la vie. Progress isn’t a straight line and roads all get bumpy.

Time for the sort of monthly/annual summary:

TargetSummary
11k steps a dayThis was a target I set 12 months ago. After I had managed a full 365 days of doing 10k steps a day. It seemed like a minimal increase and one that was entirely achievable. Having moved myself so regularly in 2020 I was ready for massively increased activity and to finally lose weight again. Sadly I hurt my foot/ankle in March and I never really recovered. This was dead from the first quarter basically.
150 active minutes per weekThis was the “real” target for 2021. Yea I had done raw movement but now I wanted to structure genuine exercise back on a regular basis. I did manage this from December 2020 until the “injury”. Then it was unachievable while I adopted a strategy of resting up until the pain went away.
1 technical blog a monthI started 2021 with about 8 posts in draft and figured I would just put those out. When I delved into it some of the posts were now more-or-less irrelevant as the technologies were pretty much retired, dwindling, or when I googled found others had been quicker at posting the ideas. If we substitute this ambition for “do more security research” then I definitely managed that.

I was involved in three research projects which generated 17 CVE vulnerabilities blogged out of my employers website. There has been a slow down at getting CVE numbers issued by Mitre noticeable in the back end of 2021 which has held my final disclosure posts up.
Support my partner to exerciseThey stopped asking for this and I now am just taking the kids on wild adventures on Saturday mornings.
Record five songsI have definitely managed this and then some. So well done me. Still got many years of learning to do here but it really helps to set aside time to make music.
OSWEReplaced this with sitting an exam that work needed me to do. One attempt was aborted last minute due to waiting on a kid’s negative COVID test meaning I could not travel to sit the exam. I did get to sit the exam in December and as I am writing this I await the result.
Panic AttacksDecember was an excellent month. So lets start with that. I got a lot more sleep than usual. I was far more relaxed as a result.

However, I did have one panic incident. This was triggered by the stress of travelling to London to sit the exam. I knew this one was going to come because I have been stuck in the house so long. The thought of getting on a plane was low key terrifying me for months. So obviously I had some proper white-knuckle terror moments after I checked my bag in at Glasgow airport. I just wanted to get in a taxi straight home and write off whatever was in my bag. You can make your own fight or flight joke here because I certainly have! It is plainly ridiculous to the cold logic engine which normally runs my brain.

I called my wife who talked me off the ledge. I splashed some water on my face and I took it one task at a time. As predicted the flight was actually fine and, as always, the journey home was an absolute riot where I felt none of the ill effects.

If we talk about the entirety of 2021 then I had fewer and much less impactful bouts than 2020. This is because I have coping strategies and I am exposing myself to triggers to challenge the absolute nonsense that is going on in the silly part of my brain. I think the trend will remain downwards in 2022.

Other bits

Audiobooks – still plodding on with the Shoal series. I have completed Nova War, and have moved on to Empire of Light. As I have gotten back some mobility I have been able to walk around listening to audiobooks. This has massively helped improve my mood. I listened to several hours of this on my trip to London.

Television 1 – Babylon 5. My partner (probably a bigger nerd than me) had never seen B5. So I halted my re-watch around season 3 and started it again with them in the evenings. It has been really nice seeing them predict the plot twists several times and use their fantastic talent of spotting any jobbing actor that has ever been in Star Trek within moments regardless of how heavily made up they were in either show. This is an honest to god super power! Sometimes the voice is enough. It is amazing.

Television 2 – Star Trek (Original Series). Such melodrama. I live for the musical cues. Episodic content where every character resets between the end of one show and the next week is kind of jarring in the modern age. I cannot get over how Ltd Uhura had her ENTIRE MEMORY ERASED in one episode. They start to teach her basic skills and by next week she was totally over it! If you have any example of a character being reset harder than that I would love to hear it!

Video Games 1 – Wolfenstein: the new colossus. What a wild ride! I am only a few hours into it and have massively enjoyed the story. It is absolutely nuts.

Video Games 2 – Football Manager 2021 (not the latest one). I do enjoy spreadsheets and I have certainly got my monies worth out of this over the last 12 months. I have a save game where Scotland won a Euros championship about 4 years from now. Lets hope life imitates that save game ūüėÄ

Family – Kid A has been improving their behaviour by virtue of finally maturing. Progress is not a straight line and we are still getting frequent calls from the school about them. But there are more good days than there were before. The penny is starting to drop. Kid B is now showing a hilarious and much more chilled personality than Kid A. They are very different beasts.

House – planning permission and drawings all done for a loft conversion so we are going to have to find building companies to give us quotes. Finding trusted partners to do projects is always the real challenge. We are fighting whatever Brexit nonsense RE: materials and labour so the project might be dead before it is off the ground if the prices are out of range.

  • Plan A is “top down” – loft conversion. If the quotes are reasonable. Otherwise…
  • Plan B is “bottom up” – the ground floor is an absolute mess and we can get significantly better living conditions by replacing the kitchen and bathroom which we definitely have the budget for. Annoying that the home report lied so hard about the condition of the place that this is now necessary to replace floors that are marked as “category 1 – Excellent”.

Health – saving the biggest bit for the end. I went to a private Physio twice before Christmas. I had been waiting several months for a GP referral to land before resuming exercise. I had put on weight due to inactivity and it was making me more miserable. The Physio has confirmed that the pain is now most likely because I have rested an injury too long and allowed that area to atrophy. A few stretches and exercises chucked my way and I have already significantly reduced the pain. The main thing I needed was confidence that resuming exercise was not going to risk further injury and I was told categorically this was not the case. So I am taking baby steps back to jogging which is an activity that always improves my physical and mental health enormously. I have been given a green light to do the thing I wanted to. I am already seeing early results and cannot wait!

Regards

Captain’s Log: November 2021

This month was remarkable for the joy of walking again! It is truly a simple pleasure to be able to go places. Last month I broke a toe and it is now ok to walk again.

TargetSummary
11k steps a dayI am not really aiming for this as I recover from the various injuries. I have managed two or three 10k steps a day per week this month which is a step in the right direction.
150 active minutes per weekNowhere close. But I managed about half from the walking. A huge improvement from a month of being stationary. My mood and everything is so much better.
1 technical blog a monthFinally published research via the work blog covering 10 CVEs in OpenCMS 11.0.2. These were found in collaboration with my colleague Sam Moore. I also published a Proof Of Concept for the ClickJacking vulnerability which resulted in admin level access.
Support my partner to exerciseThey stopped asking for this and I now am just taking the kids on wild adventures on Saturday mornings.
Record five songsI have probably recorded more than 5 songs for the year. So lets smash that goal this month.. *woo*.

I am making it a pretty regular hobby now. Considering upping my game with collaborations, or maybe biting the bullet and getting singing lessons and such. I have never taken it seriously but it is kind of fun.

I have not practiced playing guitar so often in my entire life and can feel lots of gains.
OSWEThis was a personal goal. I was asked by work to pursue another exam so this is probably not going to happen. If we are honest I am getting the joy of studying and improving my technical ability anyway. So this has changed to be “study to get better at the technical side”. I have been smashing through some more stacks so it is paying off.
Panic AttacksNovember was a pretty clear month. One or two moments where I needed to remember to hydrate and rest.

Other bits

Panic Attacks– I have not been on a train in years. The last time I did, I had a panic attack. Now I know that it was entirely unrelated in my conscious mind. But it is undeniable that I have chosen to avoid trains since. It was very unpleasant to be stuck on a train for 3 hours panicking back at a time I had no coping techniques at my disposal. I do have tools now. Soooooo… I went on four different trains this month. Not going to lie. There was definite uneasiness on the outward journeys. But I *always* came home smiling and full of the joys of life. Exposure therapy in action. The image for this post shows my face on the way out and back on my first trip.

Audiobooks – still plodding on with the Shoal series. I have completed Nova War, and have moved on to Empire of Light. As I have gotten back some mobility I have been able to walk around listening to audiobooks. This has massively helped improve my mood.

Television 1 – Doctor Who was back with a bang! On Halloween an opener to the Flux story line left me thirsty for more. Then this month it continued to deliver joy. It was nice to properly watch this with the kids. They have mostly sat there politely and let us watch it.

Television 2 – I watch all of Kim’s Convenience this month. It was joyous. Let some of this into your heart.

Public Speaking – I did a talk at Edinburgh Defcon for the firs time. I always figured I would be drinking beers in Edinburgh when I did. But… It was good to get off the fence.

Video Games 1 – Hollow Knight has been a bit of an obsession the last 2 months. I have sunk around 60 hours into it. I was attempting to get the PS4 trophies and also generally just loved getting lost in it. The platforming was joyous, the art gorgeous, and the boss battles challenging. I could have completed the story much faster but I kept hunting around for more to do. I am letting this linger on and refuse to end the story until I have done the fools challenge.

Video Games 2 – Wolfenstein: the new colossus. I somehow missed that this came out. The story is absolutely WILD. I am surely not even half of the way into this and it is such a roller coaster. I write this after a very powerful scene. The plot twist was absolutely brilliant.

Family – I played a lot of board and card games with the kids. We went to the park several times. Their granny visited. The eldest had some play dates. I taught my eldest literally everything I know about playing the piano, then we jammed! They are getting good at singing and hopefully getting confidence from it. We put the Christmas decorations up together. It was all rather nice.

House – We have tried to get builders to quote for an attic conversion. Not many have come to view the project. None have as yet delivered a quote. We still have no idea if we can even afford to do this. I have gone with doing smaller things myself regularly to feel progress. This month we built a new cabinet for the kitchen and finally gained the counter space and storage we needed to put all of our kitchen stuff into the kitchen. The next project will be to sort through the things in the kitchen so that they are to hand where they should be. This will be a big change.

This was mostly a great month.

Regards

Captain’s Log: October 2021

First, a highlight. I recorded a wee video which should speak to parents everywhere:

I was waiting for paint to dry with the front door open for air flow when I made this. As a bonus the neighbours have left me alone since!

This was a month marred by breaking my big toe on my left foot. It was sore but I have had worse. The featured image is the first day I managed to brave putting a shoe on. I have now healed up and am raring to start a bit of walking again.

Here is how I did in the new condensed table format.

TargetSummary
11k steps a dayI hurt my right ankle in March so this took a backburner. I started October getting back to decent mobility. Then guess what? I broke the big toe on my left foot! A temporary set back. By the last week of October I was able to walk about without flinching so I am hitting November with delusions of walking around again. I need to. I have put so much weight on with all these setbacks.
150 active minutes per weekNowhere close. The broken toe really made this impossible.
1 technical blog a monthI sneaked out a short blog post about finding missing patches in .net applications where you don’t have the source code.

There is also one that is still ready and waiting on some CVE references to get assigned.
Support my partner to exerciseThey stopped asking for this and I now am just taking the kids on wild adventures on Saturday mornings.
Record five songsI have probably recorded more than 5 songs for the year. I am making it a pretty regular hobby now. Considering upping my game with collaborations, or maybe biting the bullet and getting singing lessons and such. I have never taken it seriously but it is kind of fun.
OSWEI’ll be honest I think this is a Winter time activity. I was due to sit an exam this month so I took on the Portswigger Academy labs for a while. I really appreciate that these labs existed and that they are available for free. I still have lots of them to get through but I might actually do that exam instead of OSWE.
Panic AttacksThe start of October was pretty brilliant. I was getting back into the zone. I was sleeping, I was eating right, and exercise was in the right direction. The foot injury had the possibility of dragging me into depression but I chose to tell myself it was a brief delay and it worked. It was a tough month but I weathered it well.

Other bits

Audiobooks – still plodding on with the Shoal series. I am at Nova War. Without massive stretches of the day where I am walking about outside I did not really get the time for this it deserves. But it is good.

Television 1 – Deep Space 9. I finished this again. There are episodes that need to start with “warning; contains Gul Dukat and Kai Winn kissing”. Still a very entertaining show. Some really amazing episodes.

Television 2 – Watching Another Life season 2. I am completely bemused as to what happened in Season 1. There was no recap and me and my partner in crime were significantly confused. It is a good show. I love that the aliens are clearly Scottish “Ach-aye-ians”? You cannot hide that from me.

Television 3 – Doctor Who was back with a bang! On Halloween an opener to the Flux story line left me thirsty for more.

Television 4 – I re-watched Kimmy Schmidt. An excellent show. Lots of laughs in there and yet they covered quite a lot about mental health and inclusivity too. Honestly joyous.

Family – Unfortunately my foot injury happened the day before I had days booked off for half term. Instead of jollies I ended up with my foot up and yelling at the kids to please stop hitting it (which appeared to be their chosen activity) ! Classic. Then when I was back to a bit of mobility there was a cold/flu that ran through the family sticking us in several staggered periods of isolation awaiting COVID tests. It was a very tough week the one before Halloween. I upped the interaction with my eldest by getting off the bench and playing the Pokemon card game several times. With my partner being ill I was doing a lot of extra things and it was challenging.

House – I have started doing small DIY projects in the house. One a week. I have stared at damage I am capable of fixing for the entire 12 months we have lived here. The problem has been we know there will be a massive building project (attic conversion) and anything I do will likely get destroyed then. It has been depressing since the chances are a decent building firm will be booked into 2022 or 2023. In finally accepting that. I have decided to do minor patching and decorating myself. It is certainly making me feel better about the place. The plaster work is so bad that if we ever properly “do” a room, we are going to need it to be ripped back to brick and plastered before anything is done. Until doing that everything is just mucking around.

That is the log for October. I am looking forward to November. All the bad luck is officially over because I have decided it is.

If you have kids. I wish they eat their food for you.

Captain’s Log: September 2021

Here is how I did in the new condensed table format.

TargetSummary
11k steps a dayI hurt my ankle in March. Working on it with stretches and am back to walking about a bit. Hit several 10k steps days in the month too.
150 active minutes per weekNowhere close. But I was closer than last month so positive.
1 technical blog a monthIt is written but waiting for the vendor patches which are in mid-October.
Support my partner to exerciseThey stopped asking for this and I now am just taking the kids on wild adventures on Saturday mornings.
Record five songsI still don’t know how to use reaper but I have found the odd hour long slots to write and record some stuff. It is all rough and cringey but I guess you don’t get anywhere without practice.

Smiles
Cowboys Have Metaphors
No Manual

There was also a Webinar that I did for work where I ended with a song. I have linked to that bit of the video at the end.
OSWEI’ll be honest I think this is a Winter time activity.
Panic AttacksSeptember was a very stressful month at times. We were ill in a loop after the kids returned to school/nursery. There were several negative covid tests and many many lost hours of sleep. As always. The panic attacks come when there is a lack of sleep. For the September weekend we got away some place. It was invigorating so I ended the month really probably the happiest I have been in a while. Hence the music getting made.

Other bits

  • Research – Vendor is releasing patches in October so I will be able to speak about this on various blogs next month. I have invested ¬£99 in a bit of hardware just to go looking for vulns to mix up the target for the next time. That has not panned out great so far. It has actually been a pretty hard target given the limited number of features enabled and real effort being put into disabling all the androidy options that you would usually be able to flip on.
  • Work Stress – I had a very stressful time at work early in September where I put in an ungodly amount of hours over a week. I got the thing done so eventually feel good about it but living through it. But I was pretty close to burning out. I did get support from colleagues when I put my hand up so remember to work places where you can play that card and know you will get assistance.
  • Audiobooks – Still plodding on with the Shoal series. I am at Nova War. Without massive stretches of the day where I am walking about outside I am not really getting the time for this it deserves. But it is good.
  • Television 1 – Deep Space 9. Really close to the end of it. There has been noise about Netflix losing various Star Trek franchises soon. Initially that seems to just be in the US but I guess the writing is on the wall. A fair amount of Netflix’s appeal to me is because it has ST properties. So lets see.
  • Television 2 – Man Down. I finally got around to watching it all. What a great show that was. Disappointed to not get a resolution to the cliffhanger ending. It made me seriously crave more Rik Mayall energy. His part in the first series was absolutely electric.
  • Family – First weekend we did play date on the Saturday then a nice breakfast at caf√©. This was nice because I actually met some dad’s for a change. Usually I head along to the park for the exercise. But hey there I was debating whether a 36 year old Cristiano Ronaldo would have earned his transfer fee back in shirt sales already. I think yes. Kid 1 is getting to an age where they can almost watch a game of football with me staying up late to do so having survived the Scotland vs Moldova game.
  • Family 2 – We managed a long weekend away from the house. I am dubbing this the anxiety buster. After years of cancelled or hectic and horrible holidays we managed one where I mostly relaxed. I came back more positive and more able to sign up to things.
  • Car Upgrade – Got a new car stereo fitted. Because who knew that phones would be made one day in the future without Aux cables??? Had to join the Bluetooth revolution eventually I guess.

For those who stuck to the end. Here is the outtro song from the Webinar I did:

Yes that is majorly product placement for my current employer. But that was the gig. Technically I was paid to write a song there so I am now semi-professional.

That is the log for September.

Captain’s Log: August 2021

Here is how I did in the new condensed table format.

TargetSummary
11k steps a dayI hurt my ankle in March. Working on it with stretches and am back to walking about a bit.
150 active minutes per weekNot found an exercise I can get done with my ankle like this. There is quite limited availability for swimming pools atm due to covid and my exercise bike would put pressure on the ankle. Waiting on a referral to see whats what with it. Though just at the end of the month I got back on the bike as the ankle had felt better for several days.
1 technical blog a monthIt is written but waiting for the vendor patches.
Support my partner to exerciseThey stopped asking for this and I now am just taking the kids on wild adventures on Saturday mornings.
Record five songsI played with Reaper a bit more. But no completed songs. I still don’t know how to use DAWs because I am fairly chaotic and have zero sense of timing.
OSWEI’ll be honest I think this is a Winter time activity.
Panic AttacksI have been well clear of panic attacks. Probably because I mostly got sleep when sleep was good to be got. But to clarify I feel a sense of dread literally every time I go to do something. It is exhausting to push through that sometimes but I always drive home happy and singing from every jaunt out.

Other bits

  • Research – Waiting on a vendor to patch vulns before I can toot about the next batch.
  • Audiobooks – Still plodding on with the Shoal series. I am at Nova War. Without massive stretches of the day where I am walking about outside I am not really getting the time for this it deserves. But it is good.
  • Television 1 – Deep Space 9. This is probably the 3rd time I have started watching it through. This time I am seeing it through the lens of racism. The whole show seems to be about hating the Cardassians at the start. Even from Miles who is supposed to be an enlightened Human member of Star Fleet.
  • Family – Still working on fun for family, fun for me and my partner, and fun for me. Not doing too badly at it. We have been out and about more for food. To a few museums. It has been pleasant. We even made it to a swimming pool in Glasgow for the first time this year. It has been impossible to book slots all summer. When they stopped taking bookings we rocked up at 9am to be told there was an hour to wait and we were entirely unprepared for that. So it was a victory to finally get into a pool.
  • Family 2 – With the return to school we have gained a less stressful work-life balance (aside from odd drop off and pickup times). My partner (and primary child herder) has enjoyed a few weeks of afternoons free of childcare and has thoroughly and deservedly chilled out. The much delayed thinking about returning to work is now back on the cards. It is rarely spoken about how childcare can be monotonous and unrewarding for some people. But because of love, and covid, they have stuck ably to the task for years beyond the age nurseries would take the kids. Not to be a martyr, but because we believed it was right to do it this way for us. That has come at a cost to our mental health at times. The last time there was light at the end of this tunnel lockdowns started and punched that back down hard for over a year. Living a life waiting for time to tick is exceptionally hard.
  • Pentesting – I found a target with “.svn” folders and used svn-extractor to get the win.
  • Housey stuff – Most weekends this August we do about an hour of tidying up as a family and get the place pretty decent. Many hands make light work and all that! That is what this months featured image is about. The fact we were tidying stuff regularly. As a result I was also able to do some of the DIY tasks and get things variously recycled, gifted, or out of my life for ever as appropriate. My home office has had a re-orientation and I am considering getting a second desk for “hobbies”. We have also paid for a new floor for the kitchen and are waiting on an installation date. It will be great to finally be able to mop a surface. I could rant for hours about how this house has broken flooring everywhere but I won’t.

That is the log for August.

Captain’s Log: July 2021

Here is how I did in the new condensed table format.

TargetSummary
11k steps a dayI hurt my ankle in March. I have basically given myself a free pass and seen my health decline as a result. Now I am back to doing more exercise. Mixing YouTube videos with the kids and other activity. I have seen my steps back up to around the 10k a day mark. This is progress but it is slow. Then right at the end of the month my ankle has started hurting again. Time to get a GP involved.
150 active minutes per weekStart of July was a nightmare in terms of hay fever. I figure better cardio health is probably a good tool for bad days. So I have resolved to increase this again. Now the battle is getting what fitbit determines to be “Active Zone” minutes. Several times I have been out murdering parts of the garden dripping with sweat only to find that hour didn’t count. Logically I was definitely working hard. Not sure how to be measuring this now.
1 technical blog a monthI have failed to achieve this.
Support my partner to exerciseThey stopped asking for this and I now am just taking the kids on wild adventures in and around the house for Saturday mornings.
Record five songsI did not make anything ready to release. I have acquired a new DAW (Reaper) but have not had time to go through any tutorials for it. This is in the wake of Audacity going to the dogs and because I never quite got along with Ableton Live Lite which I have used before. I have done a lot of playing guitar in the garden but have not recorded anything.
OSWEI’ll be honest I think this is a Winter time activity.
Panic AttacksI had the start of a panic attack after gardening and probably reacting badly to all of the pollen. When you cannot breathe that is a good time to start a panic in my opinion. I got over it pretty quickly.

We went to Edinburgh for a weekend and the start of the drive definitely had me feeling the panic rising. This is possibly because I have not been further than 3 miles all pandemic. The hotel was worryingly about 5 degrees C hotter inside than outside in a heat wave. I have sensitivity around being too hot and if I cannot cool down then I am not really able to relax. Eventually we did what we had booked before we arrived and then checked out as soon as possible and went home. The thought of a second night not sleeping in the furnace of a room was not great.

Other bits

  • Research – Having cleared the Fedena stuff I finally went hunting for more CVEs. As part of a team at work we have found 10 new CVE worthy vulnerabilities in another bit of Open Source software. The vendor has been responsive (result!) and hopefully I can turn this around in way less than 12 months to disclosure like Fedena was. There is scope for a blog and a talk at DC44141 for September IF they can get the patches out in time.
  • Euro 2020 – What an amazing tournament this was. I really enjoyed it. Scotland’s cameo showed we needed a striker but that is life. Our players have experience now so lets go for more qualifications.
  • Audiobooks 1 – as I have picked up the exercise and steps again I have finally completed Stealing Light: Shoal, Book 1 by Gary Gibson. This was really entertaining and had some nice ideas in there. I am now a couple of hours into the second book in the series.
  • Television 1 – Deep Space 9. This is probably the 3rd time I have started watching it through. This time I am seeing it through the lens of racism. The whole show seems to be about hating the Cardassians at the start. Even from Miles who is supposed to be an enlightened Human member of Star Fleet.
  • Movies – We watched Parasite. It was a fun couple of evenings (because parents can rarely watch a film in one sitting).
  • Family – I have made an effort to ensure each day has fun for me, fun for me and the kids, and fun for me and my partner. I think the pandemic really had done a number on my happiness. This seems to be the way to go. We went on a trip to Edinburgh (the first time I have gone more than 3 miles since lockdown 1). This was largely a success.
  • Outside 1 – We travelled more than 3 miles for the first time since lockdown 1. We went to Edinburgh to see the Ray Harryhausen exhibit. I thoroughly recommend it if you have enjoyed any of his movies growing up. It has many models that made me go *squee*. Highlight of the trip for the kids was a go in a swimming pool at the hotel. This was a great weekend because I didn’t have a major freak out and this is progress. It gets easier as the kids get bigger.
  • Outside 2 – Last weekend of July we went to the Glasgow Science Centre. This is always a joyous experience and you should also give that a go. The soft play part on the middle floor is closed (probably because Covid would make that a nightmare to police). There is still oodles to see and do. We gave the cafe a go and rate it pretty highly.

That is the log for July.