Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Ready for Home

A good day at the conference, the chance to eat lunch with a friend, and chat with others. Now time for dinner with a few more friends and hopefully an early night tonight. I have a 7am cab, so I've got to be up again as early as the last few days to head home for one day of chaos and then back on another airplane.

These are good tips, and enjoyables ones. I get the chance to network and bond with people, shake some hands, and buy a few drinks. I used to wonder how much value I get, but the chance to gain other perspectives, get inspired and be forced to think more is incredibly valuable in my work. Especially when it's a bunch of geeks that talk about things that are common and of interest to me.

A long trip, and I almost wish I could be heading home tonight, but it would mess up my evening and I'd be stressed about the flight, so I'll go to sleep and get up for my early flight home.

Another Early Morning

Up again at 6 when the iPhone went off with "The Way It Is" to start the day. Somehow I got lost in snooze because I heard about 30 sec of the song and then woke again to a different song, 15 minutes later.

I managed to stumble down and run, and feel a little better, but tired eyes. One more day of conference life and then I am ready to head home.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A long, long day

I flew yesterday afternoon to Orlando, arriving after 11, and getting to the hotel around midnight. It was an easy flight, with an upgrade to first class that made it go smoother with about 4 glasses of chardonnay.

I hit the sack right away after checking the conference schedule and groaning at the 8am first session. My site is sponsoring a track, which means that I need to be there to meet speakers and people. That means that trying to get in a run so that I'm not jammed up all day means a 6am wake up and run in time to get to breakfast at a reasonable hour.

I made it, but I was beat this morning. I staggered to the fitness center, and woke up after 5-6 minutes in a run, feeling better as I ran. Coffee, some breakfast,and I was ready for sessions. However that only carries you so far. I blogged and tried to pay attention to the sessions, and it mostly worked, but I was feeling a little rundown by the 4:00 session. I worked a touch, then drinks with friends and the speaker's reception that was followed by more drinks.

Great fun, and I enjoy sitting down and talking with friends and people that I'll work with. I built some bonds, did a little networking to meet a few new people, and enjoyed some time, but I was tired. As the evening wore down, I could feel my eyes getting tired and a check in the bathroom mirror showed them to be pretty red. Time to call it a night.

So back to the room, 45 minutes of work, and I'm done. Ready for bed.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Playing Catch-Up

I haven’t had to work on the Database Weekly newsletter in a month, and I knew my time was coming, but for some reason I didn’t realize it was this week. My calendar didn’t remind me, or if it did I ignored it. When I closed down work yesterday I thought it was strange that I didn’t see a newsletter scheduled and after volleyball this morning I thought I should check.

Yep, my week.

So I’m jamming this morning, trying to get a newsletter built and scheduled.

Volleyball 2/3

Kendall had volleyball this morning. It was her second game, at an early 9am, and down in Castle Rock. After date night last night, getting up at 7:30am wasn’t what we wanted, but we managed to get the little ones up along with Kendall’s friend and head down.

It’s amazing to see the girls progressing. We only have 3 girls from last season, but everyone seems a little more mature and skilled. Still a lot of standing around, but a little more movement, and definitely more talent in bumping the ball over the net. Kendall had some good bumps, and some good dives or attempts that didn’t’ work, but showed a lot of effort.

They won the last two games after losing the first one and played well overall. Tia got really excited as they closed in on both wins. I was excited, but managed not to get too verbal about it after learning some lessons with the boys.

A good morning, even though it was really early.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

I hate this

I hate forecasts like this:


It does make me think we need a windmill, but it also makes me think that life will be miserable outside with wind in the forecast. I’d prefer it say 15F than 508F and windy.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

SQL Saturday #66 - Colorado Springs

Just saving a copy of this picture from a friend. Here I am up in the front of the room talking. With my hands.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Finally. After over a month of being too busy to get to the mountains, and lots of travel, I finally went today. Delaney went with me and we had a nice 1/2 day of skiing at Copper. It was cold, colder than I expected, along with wind and snow, and it felt like a Jan or Feb day, not a late March day.

Delaney was a little nervous at first, and I think he was scared after some of our last runs at Steamboat, so he and I worked our way to the North, easy side of the mountain, letting him set the pace and we had some good runs. Hopefully he enjoyed it and will want to go again.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Kendall and Milky Way

Kendall went to watch a DVD today on the iMac and pulled the bean bag over to her, grabbed a blanket and curled up. Milky Way, the cat, came over to lay with her, once Junior was gone, and she called Tia over to take some pictures.

She also took a few herself.

As I was getting the pictures, I got this one of the puppy. He’s a lot bigger now

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Painting in the air

It was a little windy when I  got home from baseball, but I wanted to get something done around the house, so I headed out and grabbed the ladder from the barn. Then setting up from here:

I climbed up and started painting the backside. The railing is actually there on the house, just not in this picture.

The wind was howling a bit, and my eyes were getting tired as I tried to work my way down, completing the first primer coat.

It got chilly while I did that, so I bailed on starting the actual trim color. I'll work on that this week, go out there a day or two during the week and finish that up.

The Start of Baseball

I've had three practices, but today felt like the start of the season. We scrimmaged the Stars today, which has a number of guys I like on the team. I headed over a touch late, arriving just in time for infield/outfield, and had to warm up before the game. We played like a real game, except no umpires, though we didn't keep score. I think it was a close one, both of us having good innings where we cleared the bases at least once.

My back was a little sore after all the up and down with painting and trying to get a target finished for Kendall, so I just played third, electing not to do any quick twists that might tighten it up. That was fine with me as I would have seen the 322 fence and tried to swing hard.

I missed a grounder in the 2nd or 3rd that was to my left.  I managed to get over to it, but it skimmed the ground and I couldn't quite bend over that far on the run. I got a slow roller that was a mis-hit a few innings later and ran up, grabbed it, but pulled Sean off of first base to the inside. I warned him of that, and it was an OK throw, just to the side. At least I managed to make a good throw. In the last inning I also picked up a short grounder to the left and started a double play. A close one, but I think we got him and that was good.

Over all a good day, but each side wanted to get 4 pitchers in, so we ended probably playing 10 or 11 innings, moving a little slow and being out there for 3+ hours.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Back Railing

I posted some notes on the project over at the Sawdust and Splinters blog, but I finally added a back railing to the house. I got it up last week and today Kendall and I went out and primed the railing.

Well, she did the top rail and the fronts of 6 or 7 balusters before the wind chilled her and the effort of going back and forth got her tired. I’m hoping to get her back out there later and do the matching trim paint that will fit it into the house.


Friday, March 18, 2011

A long, long day

Tia feeling sick, no skiing, a lack of sleep, it's been a busy day for me trying to work and take care of people. Ran errands with Kendall and Kyle, getting them to Hobby Lobby and a little grocery shopping in between and just did a run to get a little "me" time before the day goes away.

I am so looking forward to the weekend and sleeping in a bit.

Thursday, March 17, 2011


This has been a hard day. Busy as I’m trying to get things done and get ready to ski tomorrow. I travel in two weeks and so it’s a lot of stuff that I’m juggling. Add to that Tia is stressed about work and that adds to my stress. Kids are home as well and they’re bored.

Life is hard some days.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Great Conference for Kendall

We had Kendall's parent teacher conference today and it went great. She's doing really well, she's enjoying school, and she's really blossomed this year. Her teacher (Delaney's old teacher) loves her and says she's using Kendall as an example for some of the writing work (proud Dad).

Great to see her doing well, hitting grade level on the standardized stuff, and impressing the teacher with her work ethic and attitude.

While we were in there, Kendall was back at the book fair, this time with her wallet and allowance in there. She spent $18 getting two more books, some school supplies that she wanted, and a couple posters for her room. Cool to see her spending money on that stuff and not more toys or stuffed animals. Here she is, getting change back and managing her money.

Well Said, Grant Hill

I’ve always admired Grant Hill, a guy that comes from money, made money, and could have retired a long time ago due to injury. He continues to come to play every night.

His response to the Fab Five documentary

Monday, March 14, 2011


Daylight savings caught up with us today. I forgot to reset clocks yesterday and we woke up late. Actually I don’t know who woke up, but either Tia or Delaney got going late and Delaney was the one that came back to get Kendall and I to get up at 7:25. Delaney had already missed the bus and Tia was driving him. I got Kendall going, and we actually managed to get to the school just before the last bell rung. Everyone was inside from the school, but she likely was only a minute late getting to class.

I like having more daylight in the summer, but do we need to keep changing the time in the winter? That’s  what it feels like to me and it seems unnecessary.

What I Miss About March Madness

I’m not much of a bracket guy, and I don’t miss the time in the office working over brackets with people. However I do miss the eight eights tournament that my boss used to run.

Once upon a time I worked at a small company where the owner was a huge college basketball fan. This week, after Selection Sunday, was basically a time when a section of the office, including all the IT staff, was shut down and working on the tournament. My boss engineered one of the biggest private tournament pools I knew, calling our customers, friends, getting 300-400 people to jump into a $20 pool with the top three people taking home large prizes. We were sending out tons of brackets on Mon/Tue and then manually grading these over the next 3 weeks. My boss would even bring in a TV to watch on Thur/Fri the first two weeks and we were allowed to go watch if we had time.

However the highlight was a private, 8 person only contest. Another $20 each, and the 8 from the previous year had the right of first refusal to participate again. New people were invitation only. My second year there someone dropped out and I was invited. The rules were simple. We draw numbers out of a hat for a draft order, and we go around the room, each person “picking” a team in the tournament.

Eight people, each gets eight picks. You get one point per win, and the most points after 3 weeks wins the entire pot, $160.

Not as profitable as winning the brackets, which would be over $1000, but much more fun. Small, intimate, only 8 people that you can harass and joke with for 3 weeks.

I played for 3 years, and it was great. One of the things I remember the most. I tried to organize one a few years later at a new company, but couldn’t get interest. I’d like to do one remotely, but the draft online might be hard to pull off. I might try it at SSC as it was a lot of fun in the past.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Nuclear Setback

It's a horrible tragedy in Japan with the earthquakes, and I hope that they are able to find and help survivors over there. Watching images yesterday and today, it's an awful situation for people to be in and it reminds me of the tremendous power of nature.

One thing I do think will live long after this is the nuclear power issue. There are problems at a plant over there as the cooling system is not keeping up. There's a real danger of meltdown, and this showcases one of the major issues with nuclear power. When there is an issue, or a potential for meltdown, humans can't easily get close to determine what's wrong. Exposure of the fuel is deadly. A person trying to run 5 ft inside the reactor to punch an emergency switch (if there were one), would likely be dead by the time they hit the switch.

That's scary. And I'm worried this type of disaster, even without a meltdown, will make people in the US more wary about expanding our nuclear power options. I'd like to see more nuclear plants, since I think it's a good fuel, but the hysteria, and all the news coverage plays on people's fear of radiation. The ignorance about what radiation is, how it works, and how it's transmitted means that more and more of the public is against nuclear power just because of that fear.

I can understand it, but I hope this doesn't set the US nuclear program back another 20 years.

Running with my boy

Delaney has a friend coming over today, so he declined to go hiking with Tia and Kendall. They were going to Castlewood Canyon with the dogs to enjoy the 65F day here in CO. I declined as well, thinking I might do a few things around the house and run.

I also made Delaney come run with me, to get him some exercise and get him out of the house. I asked him if he wanted to go from the house or the mailbox and he said house. So we jogged up the driveway and road, and he almost made it, running out of gas near the last neighbor’s driveway. It’s quite a climb, and I know he struggled, but he kept going.

We made it to Kendall’s bus stop, and he had to walk a few times during the run, but he kept jogging again and worked hard. I told him at the end the run hadn’t killed him and he was stronger. He told me he wasn’t sure he was still alive Smile

Friday, March 11, 2011

Country Life is Fun

It's a beautiful day in Colorado. 60+F today, and I had a great run around the neighborhood at lunch. Tia knocked off work a little early and decided to go pick up Kendall on a horse. Kendall gets a kick out of that, so she got Gemini ready and started down the driveway to meet the bus.

I had the dogs here, who I had to lock in the house so they wouldn't chase her down and upset Gemini. Delaney comes about 15 minutes later, and I wasn't sure what to do. I had his bike in the back of the Prius, but getting the Prius out of the garage without dogs chasing down the yard looked tough. So I loaded up Deuce and Junior, and we headed out, with my hoping Oscar would stay home.

We got to the bus stop and met Delaney, trading his bike for his cello and letting him head home. We met Tia and Kendall at the gate, and the dogs jumped out to walk home with her while I drove home, chasing Delaney who'd passed us while we were chatting.

Life at the ranch is fun. How many other kids get picked up on horses from their bus stop?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Long Road Keynote

I just re-read my keynote from last year at SQL Saturday #28 in Baton Rouge: The Long Road. It was my first keynote talk, a non-technical talk to a large group, and I enjoyed it. It went well, and was well received.

No slide deck for that one, just me walking around and talking, but I enjoyed it.

Unlike the Rocky Mountain Tech Trifecta keynote, I recorded this one:

Keynote Part 1

Keynote Part 2

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Puppy Pix

Our little puppy hanging out with me today.


and his attempt to get away. A left hook to the nose


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Getting to Know Each Other

The cat, Milky Way, is very interested in the puppy, but also wary. The puppy surprised her the other day and ended up with a scratch on his nose. Not bad, but enough that’s he careful.

However the puppy is interested, too. So while we were hanging out in the bathroom for a few minutes, Deuce and the cat were relaxing.


However Junior couldn’t leave well enough alone and walked over to see what the cat was doing. No scratches, but the cat let him know in no uncertain terms that jumping on her or moving too quickly isn’t well tolerated.


It’s nice to see the other animals getting used to Junior and playing with him a little.

My Rocky Mountain Tech Trifecta v3.0 Keynote

I posted this over at the Modern Resume blog, if you’re interested.

Keynote Speech

Sunday, March 6, 2011


The stress of last week, with travel to Seattle and 3 talks at the Rocky Mountain Tech Trifecta yesterday is bleeding off. Starting to feel a little more relaxed now.
The MVP Summit is fun, and it's a good use of some of my time to meet with people, see some technology, make contacts, and build up my Microsoft network for the future. However it's also a bunch of long days, poor sleep in the hotel, and too much alcohol. I never got tipsy, but having 2-3 drinks a day is a lot for me and it wears me out.
To top it off, I left early and started immediately stressing about my keynote for the Rocky Mountain Tech Trifecta. I had the main keynote, and expected 300-400 people there, plus Tia. She's never seen me speak, and so I was nervous about that. It's also a tough way to talk for me since I love feedback from the audience, but in this case it's not interactive. The audience is sitting there, while I talk for 40 minutes and not responding a bunch.
It was a good crowd, and I was on a real stage, standing backstage as they got started and introduced me. I snapped a picture as people were coming in from the stage as I set up my laptop and iPad.

I think between Wed and Friday I rewrote pieces of my keynote 10 times, trying to get a flow working and providing some motivation for people.  As a result, I knew the topic well, but the wording and ordering were a pain to memorize. So I set up my teleprompter on the iPad and used that to keep me going. A small podium, a fixed microphone, and fitting my laptop for Powerpoint and my iPad for prompting was tight.
It went fairly smoothly, and I got to do something on the spur of the moment that is rare. It's not often you get on stage with a captive audience for something like a keynote and also have loved ones in the audience I've done three keynotes in my life and this was the first time this happened. So just before I used a short story from my life that included Tia, I stopped and took a moment to thank her publicly for all the support I've gotten. It was cool and the audience applauded for a moment.
I felt like a stumbled a few times, but overall I think the keynote went well. I got some nice complements all day long for it, and both my sessions later were busy and worked out well. It was a good day, but full of stress. I was very glad to get home last night and be able to unwind a bit.

Puppy Power

The puppy was tired yesterday, but up at 5:30 today. I took him outside, and then walked around a little later around 6:30 to try and tire him out a bit. I did, and managed to tire myself out as well. Tia snapped this photo.

He woke up around 7:30 and we walked around outside with Kendall, fed horses, and then went for a short ride in the Porsche, which I had to jump start.

Now he's off selling Girl Scout cookies with Tia and Kendall. Hopefully he's a help and not a nuisance.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Random Pix

Found a few of these while I was looking for something and decided to post them since they caught my eye

Bus. busy, busy

The puppy has really added a load to our life, keeping track of him and ensuring that he's going outside regularly for housebreaking. It's going well, with relatively few accidents, and he is letting us get some sleep at night, but it's still hard.

To top it off, it's a busy week for me and Tia. She's always busy and this week doesn't help. I have three presentations tomorrow, including a keynote I'm trying to finish editing for the 10th time and practice. I'm nervous about the delivery, since the last time I did this I had technology issues. I've been practicing a bit with the iPad, and we'll see if that works out for tomorrow.