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2015: Let’s Do This!!

Happy New Year!  For some reason, I did not do a year in review post for 2013 or make any resolutions for 2014.  So let’s fast forward and do one this time.  This last year was an amazing year for me professionally: I moved to Atlanta, started working for an amazing company (Innovative Architects), traveled across the country speaking at different SQL Saturday events, and ultimately Microsoft named me a SQL Server MVP for 2014.  How do you top that?  I am not sure that it is possible, but I plan on trying.

So now I think I have a plan for 2015.  Are you ready?

I am planning on speaking for at least five out-of-state SQL Saturdays, helping coordinate our event here in Atlanta again, attending PASS Summit again in Seattle,  volunteering with the PASS organization again, and submitting to speak again.  As a speaker I will continue to grow, and I am doing my first pre-conference session in Nashville on January 15th with my good friend Mike Lawell (t|b).  In addition, I have been named an Ambassador for IA for 2015 and will continue to be vocal about our #WorkSomePlaceAwesome campaign, help with recruitment, and giving back to the community.

While we are on the subject, this company that I work for has a motto that ‘we work with people who do not suck.’ This mentality leads to an amazing and fun work place.  It is by far the best job that I have ever had and that is saying a lot since I once had a dream job around the turn of the millennium.  Anyway, since being named MVP by Microsoft, we now have three working at IA and I am going to try and help encourage a few others to be more active in the community and possibly grow some more MVPs.  In addition, there are a few other speakers in my Atlanta MDF user group that I believe can or should be MVPs as well.  The theme for this year professionally I believe will be to help others grow as I grow.

So let’s get to the fun resolutions while we are here.

I will double my live concert output from last year and see at least 25 this year alone (have tickets for four upcoming shows currently).  I am a season ticket holder for the Braves this year and that will double the amount of games that I went to last year.  I will also aim to do at least five other sporting events next year (Falcons, Hawks, Gwinnett Braves, the GT-UGA football game, and possibly the Gwinnett Gladiators hockey team).  Let’s also throw in a few Broadway shows and plays (I have tickets to Wicked already for February) as well as some cultural events as Atlanta has epic festivals and events such as Dragon Con.  Finally I also plan to try to finish my Atlanta bucket list (which has 50 items that every person should see or do in Atlanta…I did nine of them in 2014).

Oh I almost forgot that I am moving in a couple of weeks to the Old Fourth Ward area of downtown Atlanta which is a culturally rich area and will start a new chapter of my Atlanta journey.  I am moving into a renovated nearly hundred year old Sears & Roebuck warehouse, now called Ponce City Market which will be the epicenter of awesomeness in 2015 and has already been recognized in several publications.  If you are passing through Atlanta in 2015, come see me after the winter and the mixed use development should be completed and in full swing.  Then we can play putt putt on the roof or have a drink in an old train box car on the roof viewing the gorgeous Atlanta skyline as well as visiting some of the stellar restaurants located inside the building.

I hope you have an epic 2015!  Happy New Year!


Bucket List Finally Compiled

For years when someone has mentioned something really intriguing I would of course respond with oh yeah I am adding that to my bucket list, or things you want to do before you die.  Well a few weeks ago, I finally decided to actually compile a list just to more or less set some goals in life long-term that I would like to accomplish.  I have done many parts of these items, such as sleep in every state in the country, but I am going to reset the list and move forward from this day forth.  Enjoy!

  1.  Go to Idaho and declare it to be “My own private Idaho” to everyone I encounter, no exceptions.
  2. Spend at least one night in every single state in the Union.
  3. Visit the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Grand Central Station, watch the ball drop in Times Square, grab the bull’s balls on Wall Street, dance on the Big keyboard at FAO Schwartz.  Sing New York, New York at a karaoke bar, laugh at people falling while they ice skate in Rockefeller plaza.  Take a cab and tell him he’s going the wrong way, and jog through Central Park.
  4. Have a beer and a dog at every Major League Baseball stadium.
  5. Watch when the Braves win the World Series from the stands.
  6. Watch when the Gators win the National Championship from the stands.
  7. Take a selfie on the top of a mountain that I hiked.
  8. Visit every port of call in the Caribbean.
  9. Have a place that when I walk in they yell “Ed” because it’s a place where everybody knows your name!
  10. Take a Mediterranean cruise.
  11. Sing “We Are the Boys of Florida” and the Alma Mater from the top of my lungs at every SEC stadium.
  12. Take an Alaskan cruise.
  13. Dress up like Gene Simmons from Kiss in full regalia  and go grocery shopping.
  14. Attend the European SQL Bits conference.
  15. Attend a SQL Saturday on four different continents.
  16. Pack our bags and drive with no destination in mind stopping in random places.
  17. Take a vacation along route 66.
  18. Parasail into some blue water source.
  19. Zipline down a mountain.
  20. Visit Oklahoma and sing “Surry with the Fringe on Top” to everyone you encounter, no exceptions.
  21. Take a selfie in front of Mt Rushmore, the Grand Canyon, Buckingham Palace, Eiffel Tower, Musee du Louvre,  Arc de Triomphe,  the Great Pyramid of Giza, Stone Henge, the Colisseum, and the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
  22. Ride the Cable Cars in San Francisco and sing the Rice A Roni song.  Visit the Golden Gate Bridge and tell everyone not to jump.
  23. Sing along with the Opera in Sydney.
  24. Go to Carnivale in Rio de Janeiro.
  25. Go cage diving in South Africa with a great white.
  26. Visit the Alamo and run across the field yelling “I remembered the Alamo!”
  27. See the northern lights.
  28. Learn to scuba dive.
  29. Tour Europe from a train.
  30. Eat chocolate in Switzerland.
  31. Ride in a sleeper car on Amtrak across the country and occasionally sing the Gambler in the dining car.
  32. Spend days getting lost in Italian and French art museums.
  33. Ride in a gondola in Venice.
  34. Find all the David statues in Florence and take a picture with his junk.
  35. Walk in Caesar’s footsteps and constantly shout out “Et tu Brute!”
  36. Take a European vacation and drive around the circle yelling “Parliament House, Big Ben”
  37. Visit a beach on five different continents.
  38. Take a polar plunge.
  39. Get over my fear of ice skating.
  40. Bungee jump and yell “she pushed me, please stop this ride”
  41. Ride in a hot air balloon.
  42. Make a difference in someone’s life.
  43. Experience a sunset and sunrise on four different oceans.
  44. Visit the volcanoes in Hawaii and calling it Hav-a-ee the whole time.
  45. Visit at least five Castles.
  46. Go to the real comic con in California.
  47. Having dinner with SQL Server friends in their neck of the woods.
  48. Steal someone’s bacon.
  49. Write a new bucket list because you cannot die if you still have items on your list.

What Motivates You?

What motivates you?  Every time I think about work and motivation, I am reminded of the quote from Office Space:

Peter Gibbons: The thing is, Bob, it’s not that I’m lazy, it’s that I just don’t care.

Bob Porter: Don’t… don’t care?

Peter Gibbons: It’s a problem of motivation, all right? Now if I work my ass off and Initech ships a few extra units, I don’t see another dime, so where’s the motivation? And here’s something else, Bob: I have eight different bosses right now.

Bob Slydell: I beg your pardon?

Peter Gibbons: Eight bosses.

Bob Slydell: Eight?

Peter Gibbons: Eight, Bob. So that means that when I make a mistake, I have eight different people coming by to tell me about it. That’s my only real motivation is not to be hassled, that and the fear of losing my job. But you know, Bob, that will only make someone work just hard enough not to get fired.

I see this all the time. When I started at my current position and I worked hard on projects, everyone said: “Why bother, it’s not going to get you anywhere.” After working here for two years, I am starting to understand that logic sadly enough.  However, It goes against how I was raised.

In addition, money is the ultimate motivator, but not the only motivation.  For me it is growth, I am not out to break the bank.  But, I do want to be acknowledged with regular raises.  I personally need something to work for, a goal whether it be financial or a clear path for potential growth.  Currently I have reached a glass ceiling, there is nowhere to go and without raises, I must rely on personal motivation.  Yet, everyone around me is performing less and less due to the lack of motivation.  It is difficult not to become Peter Gibbons.  Maybe it is time to move on?  However, I must fight to remain motivated.

70-457 and 70-458 Game Plan Part Uno

Being methodical and logical as I am, I have set forth a plan to achieve my Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate as noted earlier in my goals for 2013.  Having not found much in the way of preparation material as noted in this post , I decided to rent the 70-462 Training Kit from Amazon and transpose some of the objectives there to fit the 70-457 and 70-458 since I am taking the upgrade exams the materials for the regular exams should suffice in preparation.

Now I have outlined a calendar below and the hard dates to hold me accountable to the task especially since the book has to be returned in June.  Let the journey begin!

70-462 Training Kit – 70-457 Objectives
Objective Chapter Lesson Date
Install and Configure
Plan Installation 1 1 1/20/2013
Install SQL Server & related services 1 2 1/20/2013
Implement a migration strategy 4 1 1/27/2013
Configure additional SQL server components 3 1 1/27/2013
Manage SQL Server agent 11 1 2/3/2013
Maintain Instances and Databases
Manage and configure databases 3 3 2/10/2013
Configure SQL Server Instances 2 1 2/17/2013
Implement a SQL Server clustered instance 8 1 2/24/2013
Manage SQL Server instances 2 2 3/3/2013
Optimize and Troubleshoot
Identify and resolve concurrency problems 10 2 3/10/2013
Collect and analyze troubleshooting data 9 1-6 3/17/2013
Audit SQL Server instances 6 3 3/24/2013
70-462 Training Kit – 70-458 Objectives
Manage Data
Configure and maintain a backup strategy 11 2 3/31/2013
Restore databases
11 3 4/7/2013
Implement and maintain indexes
10 1 4/14/2013
Import and Export Data 4 2 4/21/2013
Implement Security
Manage logins and server roles 5 1 4/28/2013
Manage database permissions 6 1 5/5/2013
Manage users and database roles 5 2 5/12/2013
Troubleshoot security 6 2 5/19/2013
Implement High Availability
Implement AlwaysOn 8 2 5/26/2013
Implement database mirroring 7 1 6/2/2013
Implement replication 7 2 6/9/2013

T-SQL Tuesday #38: Speaking of Resolve

This month’s topic for T-SQL Tuesday #38 hosted by Jason Brimhall (b|t) is an aptly themed variation on the word resolution.  I personally chose the word resolve.

In 2012, I made a resolution to begin presenting at the local level.  That sounds like a normal enough resolution for most, however being an introvert standing in front of people is quite terrifying.  After attending many user group meetings and SQL Saturdays, I decided that since I have met many of these speakers and they are not much  different from me, I should be able to stand up and do that too!

In the past, when called upon to speak in public or in front of a group my fight or flight instinct would kick in and generally I would want to run with every fiber of my being.   Sometimes, I did run shamefully.  Interviews are no different in many cases therefore it is safe to assume that I do not interview well.  In the past, I have probably missed out on some good job opportunities simply because they thought I was an idiot based solely upon my presentation skills.  It is because of this that I resolved to improve upon the skill.

Sounds good, huh?  Make a resolution and then you do it, right?  Easy as pie.

Not so fast, my friend.  I still wanted to run Forrest run!  Karla Landrum (b|t), the SQL Community Evangelist for SQL PASS, realized what was going on and she gently nudged me along to speak at the Pensacola SQL Saturday last summer.  This is not unusual as historically I have been talked into doing stuff by women (and I probably should not have put that out there, so now you know).

That day in Pensacola, my fight or flight instinct kicked in again all morning long, but now I was on the hook and I did not want to disappoint Karla.  Plus many of my colleagues knew I was speaking.  Quite honestly this held me accountable for I did not want to ruin my reputation in the SQL community before I really even had one.  My resolve that day held firm and I spoke quite nervously.  But I did not run.  I climbed the proverbial mountain and planted my flag upon its peak.

Since that time I have spoken at SQL Saturday Orlando and a user group meeting.  It is getting easier with each event, but I still need to resolve myself to get better each time.  Maybe one day I can speak at the PASS Summit?  I will resolve myself to accomplish that goal and now you can hold me accountable.  Enjoy!

Personal Development Plan for 2013

After yesterday’s review of 2012, it is time to set the bar a little higher for 2013.  Let’s soar to new heights!


  1. I will post daily during the work week to this blog in order to give back to the SQL community.  Last year I had planned to blog 365 days of the year, but there were many days when the content was less than stellar because I was on vacation, holiday, or simply having fun with my family.  I think this year if I limit it to the days that I am actually working on SQL Server then the content should stay consistent.
  2. I will spend time daily helping people on twitter, SQL blogs, and various SQL-related websites such as SQL Server Central.  This was hard to do last year but it is still a noble goal and thus should be listed.
  3. I am setting a goal of 600 followers on Twitter which would increase my existing followers 33%.
  4. I will attend at least ten of the twelve Tampa Bay SQL Server User Group meetings.
  5. I will attend three to five other User group meetings, such as the Tampa BI group, Orlando’s MagicPASS, or the Tampa VMUG.
  6. I will attend at least one other event that interfaces with SQL Server such as the Orlando IT Pro Camp.

SQL Conferences & Training Events

  1. I will attend at least one formal Microsoft SQL training course this year.
  2. I will attend every SQL Saturday offered in the Orlando, Tampa, and Jacksonville areas.  I would also like to attend some others, if possible, within driving distance.
  3. I will volunteer to help with at least one SQL Saturday this year.
  4. I will attend the SQL PASS Summit in Charlotte.
  5. I will submit to at least two different SQL Saturday events in addition to SQL PASS.  Hopefully, I will get the opportunity to present somewhere in 2013.


  1. I will be in better physical shape in time for Summit 2013.
  2. I will lose 100 pounds by the end of the year.

Five Year Goals

  1. I will continue to take at least one to two classes a semester online in order to complete my degree in Business Administration from the University of Florida.  All those Engineering and Computer Science classes I took 20 years ago are not relevant today and I would like  to possibly return to consulting in five or ten years and that degree would be more beneficial in that long-term goal.
  2. I would like to become a Microsoft Certified Master within five years.

Personal Development Plan, End of 2012 Review

With today being the first day of 2013, I thought it would be good to review my goals for the year and see where I finished.  I will italicize the updates at the end of each of the original items.

  1. I will post daily to this blog in order to give back to the SQL community that has helped me so much over the years.  I published 364 blog posts for the year!  It was difficult on holidays and weekends, but I am glad that I persevered through it.  It became a habit and I think my writing improved because of the effort.
  2. I will spend time daily helping people on twitter, SQL blogs, and various SQL-related websites such as SQL Server Central. I have tried to do this regularly, but it is harder than blogging daily. I thought this one would have been easier. I simply did not have enough hours in the day.
  3. I am setting a goal of 300 followers on Twitter which would double my existing followers for 2011. I am at 465 followers today, thanks everyone!
  4. I will attend at least ten of the twelve Tampa Bay SQL Server User Group meetingsIn the end I only missed one and it was due to illness, goal accomplished!
  5. I will attend three to five other SQL User group meetings, such as the Tampa BI group or Orlando’s MagicPASSThere is a new Hillsborough SQL Users Group that I have attended every session. However, I did not get the chance to attend MagicPASS or the BI group this year!
  6. I will attend every Tampa VMWare User Group meetings which occur quarterly. I am 100 percent on this one (mainly because there hasn’t been a meeting since December of 2011! There is hope as I believe there will be a meeting in February.
  7. I will attend other events that interface with SQL Server or VMWare such as the Orlando IT Pro Camp scheduled for January 21, 2012. I missed the IT Pro Camp.
  8. I will attend one Microsoft SQL training course this year, but I cannot say at this time what that course will be as that will depend upon my employer ;-) .  I would like to attend Course 2778a (Writing Queries Using Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Transact-SQL) and Course 6234 (Implementing and Maintaining Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Analysis Services. I did even better than that, I attended a class and I am also attended the PASS Summit in November.
  9. I will attend every SQL Saturday offered in the Orlando, Tampa, and Jacksonville areas.  I would also like to attend some others, if possible, within driving distance.  I am already registered forSQL Saturday #110 in Tampa on March 10, 2012. I missed the Jacksonville SQL Saturday but made up for it with Pensacola. I attended the March one in Tampa, the one in Orlando in September, but missed the BI one in Tampa in November due to the flu.
  10. I will volunteer to help with at least one SQL Saturday this year. I volunteered in March and spoke in June and September.
  11. I would like to attend SQL Rally in Dallas this year and I would definitely like to attend the SQL PASS Summit, but with one child in college this year and two more entering over the next two years, I may have to pass on this one for a couple of years until they are situated and my bank account returns to normal. I did not get to go to Rally, but I was able to attend the Summit and I cannot imagine myself ever missing that event in the future no matter what the cost! The friendships made were priceless.
  12. I will continue to take at least one to two classes a semester online in order to complete my degree in Business Administration.  All those Engineering and Computer Science classes I took 20 years ago are not relevant today and I would like  to possibly return to consulting in five or ten years and that degree would be more beneficial in that long-term goal. I am still on track here and was accepted to return to the University of Florida for the Summer of 2013.
  13. I will continue SQLAndy’s recommendation to meet at least three people at every SQL event.  This is a great recommendation for networking.  It is hard sometimes to break out of our introverted ways. I have been working hard to do this every time and it pays off so much so that when I went to the Summit I had no trouble walking up to strangers and introducing myself.
  14. I will attain my VMWare Certified Professional 4 certificate this year for VMWare. This did not happen as VMWare came out with a new version before my window closed to take the exam. Now I will have to take a version 5 class in order to take the exam. Personally, I am not that interested in pursuing this certification anymore choosing instead focusing primarily on SQL Server.
  15. I would like to speak somewhere this year, my local SSUG, VMUG, or even a training session at work.  I need to get over my fear of public speaking. 2012 is the year to step it up and take it to another level. I have spoken at my user group and SQL Saturday and it is addictive.

This has been a great year for me, and I hope it has been for you too.  Enjoy.

Great News for my Goals

Today I received word, after a lengthy four-month process, that my petition to return to the University of Florida after 23 years has been approved.  This was one of the major goals that I set for myself last year and this year and now it has been accomplished.  I have always felt a gaping hole inside having never completed my degree, not because I really needed it, but because it has always burned inside of me as a personal failure.  At this stage in my career it is probably not necessary, but it is something I set out to do and never accomplished.  It will be completed, I will not leave this world willingly without accomplishing this goal.

Moving On Up, To the Eastside

Yesterday was a good day, I was officially promoted to Senior Administrator late in the afternoon.  Same job, a little more pay, but mainly recognition by my employer that they appreciate my performance.  That is always a great feeling and a great way to start the weekend.

How will that change my day-to-day routine?  It will not, except maybe that I will walk a little taller and have a bounce in my step.  It is interesting to note that there have been rumblings of creating additional pay grades so that technical people like myself can advance further without going into management.  However, if that does not happen then I have reached the proverbial glass ceiling as I prefer to be a DBA instead of  a manager, to be honest.

I truly cannot see myself at the same pay grade for the rest of my career.  Money isn’t everything, but raises on a regular basis say that you appreciate me and my work and that you value my performance.  Always the optimist, I think everything will work out for the best, so no worries.

Enjoy your weekend!

Roll of the Dice

My wife and I are confronted within the next year with an interesting quandary.   Come August, we will be empty-nesters at a young age.  Our children will be either on their own or in college.  This puts us in a unique position to move onto the next stage of our life.  We still have around twenty years left in our professional careers, but where do we want to spend that?  Do we stay in our beloved small town?

At this point, it does not look like our children will stick around to start families here so there is really nothing other than a lifetime of friends holding us to this town.  We will however, keep our house and possibly move back here for retirement.  Do we take the plunge and move somewhere totally outside of our comfort zones and reap the rewards.  Do we live the life of nomads moving every couple of years to a new town just for the sake of new and exciting opportunities?  We almost feel like high school seniors trying to pick the right college.  What do you think?


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