Category Archives: Travel

Leaving Today for SQL Saturday #132, Pensacola

SQL Saturday LogoThe day has finally arrived:  travel day!  I am leaving today after work for the six-hour drive to Pensacola for SQL Saturday #132.  We have a new John Grisham audiobook, Calico  Joe, ready for the ride.  This one sounds like a great book:  “A surprising and moving novel of fathers and sons, forgiveness and redemption, set in the world of Major League Baseball…”

Having experienced heavy rains all week in central Florida, I am a little concerned that we may not have a beautifully sunny weekend at the beach.  However, the hotel does have an indoor pool so my wife is not too worried because we do live in Florida after all and this is a common summer time event.

Last night I was invited to the speaker’s dinner, thanks to the coordinator Mark Holmes (twitter|blog) for including me.  In the past I have attended these speaker dinners as a volunteer, so I am moving up in the world.  Thanks again Mark, I really do appreciate it and the event sounds amazing.  I also want to thank Karla Kay (twitter|blog) for convincing me to take the leap and present as well as everything she does for the SQL community.  She really is wonder woman as represented in her avatar.

Tomorrow is also my first pre-con training: “Demystifying Database Administration Best Practices” presented by Microsoft Certified Masters Robert Davis (twitter|blog) and Argenis Fernandez (twitter|blog).  Some of my coworkers think that I am crazy for paying for this training and attending SQL Saturday’s out of my own pocket.  They have obviously never been and met the #SQLFamily.  Do yourself a favor and attend one of these event, you will not regret it.  Enjoy!


SQL Saturday #132, Pensacola

Wow, another SQL Saturday is coming up and I am über excited!  For this one I will travel up the panhandle to beautiful Pensacola with my lovely bride who will enjoy the sun and fun with me as we turn this into a four-day getaway.  After our daughter’s graduation a couple of weeks ago, we could use a break.

This SQL Saturday is different for me in a few ways.  First of all, I am going to the Pre-Con!  This will be my first ever pre-con training as I never could get the schedule right in coordination with my work schedule.  The stars aligned just right for this one, though.  This pre-con will be “Demystifying Database Administration Best Practices” presented by Microsoft Certified Masters Robert Davis (twitter|blog) and Argenis Fernandez (twitter|blog).  Being passionate about best practices, I am excited about this session as well as meeting two fellow tweeps.

The second difference is that I will be presenting for the first time ever!  Going old school MTV style:  This Saturday live at 1 pm come see the world-premiere video (er, I mean) presentation from SQLGator.  It is a lightning talk presentation which will be great for my first time to help me get over my stage fright and conquer my goal of speaking.  I am still considering submitting for SQL Saturday #151 Orlando and this will be a good test of whether or not I can do this.  I am confident I can do this, but I am having some serious nervousness.

Hanging out with #SQLFamily will be amazing and I am looking forward to meeting some new people especially some of the bigger names in the SQL Server community.  Come on out and enjoy the free learning.  See you there!

Boyhood Field of Dreams

Father and Son at Turner Field

Baseball is a family game where fathers teach their children the beauty of the Gentleman’s game.  We share memories, we share moments, we share stories and and we share statistics, but most importantly we share our passion for the game of baseball.  My son and I have a shared love of Atlanta Braves baseball.  There are teams in Florida now, but when I was growing up, the Atlanta Braves were the team of the South, they were America’s team.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the Tampa Rays because they are our hometown team, but my real passion is the Braves.  Growing up, I would come home from school and watch the Braves on the SuperStation TBS at 7:35 PM each night from Fulton County Stadium.  Then, I shared that love with my son as he was growing up.  I coached him for years and he ultimately played high school baseball before a broken leg ended his playing career.

With his baseball and football schedules, there was always something that got in the way preventing us from making a trip to Turner Field.  This weekend the opportunity arose as we travelled to Tennessee for him to begin a summer internship following his freshman year of college.  However, we could not catch a game as the Braves were in Tampa to play the Rays.  There has to be some irony there.

We did the next best thing, we took a tour of the Stadium, and it was amazing watching my son walk upon his field of dreams.  Moments like these are priceless for a parent.  Enjoy!

Chipper Jones

Chipper Jones Stands Right Here

The Braves Locker Room

The Braves Locker Room


Cody and his Field of Dreams

PASS Summit 2012, Join Me!

Pass Summit Logo

With only a week before SQL Rally in Dallas, there has been quite a bit of excitement and commentary in the twitterverse and blogosphere.  However, I cannot attend due to other commitments.  With all the excitement in the air, I cannot contain my excitement for the PASS Summit in November.  I have never been able to attend the Summit in the past and I am not 100% sure that I will be able to attend this year, but the planets are lining up and there is a glimmer of hope for my first Summit conference.  Sitting by last year and watching all of the action from the sidelines just about drove me nuts.  Here it is six months away and I have already scoped out the hotels in the area, looked around via Google’s man on the street, and my wife is even thinking about tagging along (I think just so she can see those flying fish at the market, no wait that is just me). 

I have been to Seattle once before in my youth for the National Mu Alpha Theta math competition.  It was there that my skills in advanced math were not as worldly as I thought, even though I placed (no I can’t remember but I think third place) in the state of Florida.  But, many schools from Florida and Alabama dominated the competition awards, interesting as I am sure most of the world does not think of Alabama and Florida as math powerhouses but in the late 80s when those respective states were battling neck and neck for last place in education those two states were advanced math geniuses, but I digress.

I know I won’t be able to take another tour of the King Dome and I wonder what else has changed since grunge and coffee took over that beautiful and friendly city some 25 years ago.  I wonder if I should ask someone at the hotel if I could walk to Mt. Ranier and have them laugh at me just for old times sake.  I am also excited about riding the monorail on the awesome two block journey.  Do they still have the theme park at the needle?  Maybe I can cross another item off my bucket list:  touring Forks and seeing all of the Twilight scenery in person (really just kidding on that one LOL).

Don’t get me wrong, I want to see SQLChicken do his gorilla impression and participate in SQLKaraoke.  I want to soak up all that is SQLAwesomeness and bask in the MCM and MVP glory that is PASS Summit 2012.  Won’t you join me?

Help Me Pick a Dream Vacation Spot

So the wife and I were looking at our Marriott Rewards points that we have been squirreling away for a once in a lifetime (or at least once in ten years) vacation opportunity.  My wife wants to go to Ireland.  On the other hand, I want to go back to Italy and see all of the marvelous historical sites that I missed when I went to Genoa in 1998.  Essentially, all I saw was the Riviera and Christopher Columbus’ birth place.  I thoroughly enjoyed it but being there a month, I should have capitalized on the opportunity and seen way more of the historically relevant sites.  Oh wait, I was working during the week so you can cut me some slack.

Interestingly enough, I thought she would have wanted to go to France and see all of the beautiful art and eat in a cafe, etc.  Being the good Irish girl that she is (or is descended from) she wanted to see her homeland.  Being part Irish and part Scottish and part Native American, I feel no real affinity to any particular homeland other than Ben Hill Griffin Stadium at the University of Florida or the Deep South.  I enjoy saying that I am part Irish, mainly in March but through my genealogy I am correct in my boasting.

This vacation getaway would cover a week in the respective country, paid for by our points.  We would just need to get there and feed ourselves.  Therein lies the rub.  I looked up flights to the various locations and a flight to Italy must be covered in gold because it will take a small fortune to get there.  Yikes.  In 1998 it was a mere $2400 for first class travel.  Now it is much more than that just for coach.

If you could go somewhere for a once in a lifetime trip where would you go?  Where would you send me?  Here is the bigger question, what is there to do in Ireland?  I thought we could compromise and go to London, say around the time of SQL BITS conference.  But then I would miss all of the sight-seeing as I get to meet all of my twitter friends from the UK.  It looks like you can take a ferry from Ireland to the UK.  What is that like?  Maybe five days in Ireland and a couple in the UK.  What do you think?

Besides I wanna be Clark Griswold going around the circle saying look kids Big Ben, Parliament House.  Enjoy!

P.S.  If you are interested in joining Marriott Rewards, send me your e-mail address and I will send you a referral whereby I can receive some points to use on this vacation, if you feel so generous.  The Rewards program is free but I will receive some points for referring you.  This is not a pyramid scheme.

Savannah Weekend Getaway Day Three

The final day of our getaway, the saddest day, the trip home.  The long and winding road leads back home.  We are glad to be home, but sad to leave our little getaway.  Being a history buff, I enjoy getaways of these sort of locations and I enjoy spending time with my wife away from home.  Now I am looking forward to our next getaway, Pensacola in June for SQL Saturday!


Savannah Weekend Getaway Day Two


Haitian Monument in Franklin Square


Francis Bartow, Colonel CSA

Day Two of our great weekend anniversary getaway was more subdued than day one.  We walked around Forsythe Park and saw some wonderful statues including the one here of Colonel Francis Bartow of the Confederate States of America.  A fascinating piece of information about the statues in Savannah is that all of them are facing their aggressors.  For example, all Civil War battle monuments are facing the north.

Near the City Market area, we met some old friends who were also here for the weekend.  Having been to Haiti, the Haitian Monument next to the city market was extremely fascinating.  During the Revolutionary War, many Haitians fought with the colonists to help us gain our independence.  That is utterly fascinating to me as I did not know that.  The detail in this sculpture is fascinating.  Of special note, Henri Christophe, depicted as the drummer in the monument, fought in the war and later became King of Haiti after he led them in their independence from France.


Paula Deen was happy to greet us!

Later in the day, we went to Paula Deen’s The Lady and Son’s restaurant.  It was worth the wait as the southern cook was as good as advertised.
Later we returned to the hotel and jumped into the hot tub to relax and unwind.  Tonight we plan on going to the River Street for the nightlife.  Details will follow tomorrow.  Enjoy!
We had originally planned to scour River Street, however halfway between there and our hotel was the City Market area which appeared to have a vibrant night life of its own.  There was a live band in the market place and several bars and restaurants were outside in a cafe type configuration.  We started at Pour Larry’s, an underground Pub, and then went to the Wild Wing Cafe to devour numerous wings and libations while still listening to the band.  A good time was had by all and that’s all I can say about that.  Enjoy!

Savannah Weekend Getaway Day One

Well we are waiting for dinner at the Pirate’s House restaurant in historic Savannah so I thought it would be a good time to catch everyone up on our adventure!

We arrived in Savannah in the late morning and walked right onto to our Oglethorpe Tour bus. For the next 90 minutes, we enjoyed the beautiful historic district with all of the colorful tales of Revolutionary and Civil War (better known as the War of Northern Aggression) history which was amazing for a Civil War buff like myself. At the conclusion of the tour we were dropped off at the City Market and we were famished on this cool spring afternoon.

After seeing the three block line for Mrs Wilkes restaurant, we decided to take in a cafe with great southern cooking. I had Cajun shrimp with grits and collard greens. My wife had a corned beef sandwich and pasta salad. The food was great.

We then walked a half mile looking through shops to the Leopold’s Ice Cream shop and soda fountain, which has been in Savannah for almost a 100 years. Later we went back to our hotel and enjoyed the hot tub. Tonight we are eating at the Pirate House and then taking the Ghost Tour! Enjoy!


Movie Memorabilia at Leopold's


Soda Foundtain at Leopold's

Long Weekend Ahead

Having projects I need to wrap up today before I head out-of-town for the long weekend, I’m having a hard time staying focused.  Traveling for me is like my children going to Disney World, wait a minute I act just like my kids when we go to Disney World.  If I were to win the lotto, I would travel everywhere possible.  Did I mention that I love to travel?  Oh, yeah I think I just did.

This weekend, my wife and I are headed to Savannah, and so are you.  This weekend I plan on blogging about our weekend getaway, well not all of the details.  This will be my first time travel blogging and I am excited to bring you along on our little adventure.  Won’t you join us?



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