Friday, June 30, 2006


We won! We Won!

I'm sure that this won't make any sense to most of y'all. But one of the products that I was responsible for was a big winner at TechEd. It's called Spotlight on SQL Server and it won Best of Show in the data management category at Microsoft TechEd.

Speaking of having some hard work pay off nicely, William Wilberforce, the English politician who helped to legally abolish the slave trade after 20 years of trying, wrote, "No one has a right to be idle. Where is it that in such a world as this, that health, and leisure, and affluence may not find some ignorance to instruct, some wrong to redress, some want to supply, some misery to alleviate?" As another Englishman so eloquently put it, "We make living by what we get; we make a life by what we give."



Wednesday, June 28, 2006


Some Funny Things On My Latest Travels

When I was at the TechEd party in Fenway Park, Boston, the entertainment that night was the band Train. You know 'em - "Drops of Jupiter", "Meet Virginia", "Calling All Angels", and "Drops of Virginia Calling Angels".

Well, at one point in the show, the lead singer called up ladies to dance on the first base dugout while he was singing. There were probably 30 women up there - about all of the women that attended TechEd, but I digress. Anyway, they had to stop the concert for a while because a couple of the women fell out the dugout. Here's the video:

In addition, Dylan has shown me a hilarious new website - The ninja videos are really funny. It reminds me of Homestar Runner, except that the videos are live action rather than animated. Really good stuff.

In addition, I just have to tell you about this guy working TSA security in Boston Logan Airport on the way home. He's pictured at center in the image above. Anyway, this dude has male pattern hair loss worse than me - basically nothing on top but plenty of black hair all around. For some reason, this guy thought it'd be a great idea to use a black Sharpie (or something like that) to color in the top of his head as if he had hair.

Note - this wasn't a combover. It wasn't a tupee. It wasn't even that gross spray-on fiber stuff. This was just simply black coloring directly onto the skin. You can even see the shiny spot on top of his head in the image above. I mean, Good God man, what the heck are you thinking?!?



Tuesday, June 27, 2006


Granery Cemetery near Boston Commons

Here are some more pics from the cemetery. Don't forget that you can click on the picture to see a more detailed version of the picture.



More pics from TechEd in Boston

If you want to see a TON of good quality pictures of our event, check out Joe Baguley (pronounced "Bagly") took lots of pictures with his very high quality digital camera. They came out looking really good, except for a couple close-ups.

The trip was a lot of work - a LOT of work. Plus, I got sick right smack in the middle of the week. But I did find a couple hours over the course of the week to see a bit of Boston. It's a very pretty city with an incredible amount of pedestrian traffic. That makes for some very nice people watching.

I did, for example, get to go to the TechEd party on Thursday night at the venerable and beloved Fenway Park. All the food booths were open, so there was lotsa beer and good eats. The entertainment that night was the band Train and they were quite good. I got seats that were really close. I could hardly hear the next day.

I also went to Boston Commons park, which was just beautiful. Just a block away from the park was the Granery Cemetery where lots of early patriots were buried including Paul Revere, Samual Adams (he did more than brew beer, y'know), Mother Goose, and Benjamin Franklin's parents. The old tombstones were easily 200 to 300 years old. It was very, very interesting to walk among them and read the epitafts. It was a very interesting place.

The weather was beautiful. And even though I only had a couple hours of free time, it was well worth the trip.

Monday, June 26, 2006


Some pictures from TechEd & Boston

I had a mixed week while in Boston working the Quest Software booth in the Microsoft TechEd exhibit hall. Our booth was really grand, perhaps one of the best booths there. And believe me there were tons of booths - easily a couple hundred. (There's a picture of me with my bud, Jason Hall, in the SQL Server kiosk of our booth.)

SQL Server was definitely one of the hottest technologies at the show and we got lots of traffic from the conference attendees. In fact, Jason told me that we had as many customer visits on day 1 as we had all week long at TechEd last year. Wow! Quest definitely had the appearance of one of the premier, if not THE premier vendor of the the event.

Another neat thing about this year's event was that one of the products that I was responsible for, Spotlight on SQL Server, won Best in Show in the database management division. Kudos go to the team who developed this product down in Melbourne, Australia. So my hat goes off to Cheryl Davis, Patrick O'Keefe, Scott Stone, and all the team. Awesome job!

More posts & pictures to come...



And I thought Huntsville drivers were bad...

I'm going to have to get the girls little digital cameras of their own. They've been snatching my cell phone and using it to take pics for quite a while now. Even Katie Jo is getting good at it - picture at left is evidence. I'd appreciate a recommendation for a good, cheap digital camera if you have one!

You just have to watch this video of driving in India. I'll never complain about drivers in Huntsville, AL again (for at least a little while).



Saturday, June 17, 2006


The Beach Nuns

Whenever Emily and Bailey got too much sun when they were out on the beach or at the pool on our trip to Orange Beach, they'd do their best to cover up. I was reminded of nuns in their habits, for some strange reason, so I started calling them the "beach nuns" whenever they'd wrap up to get away from the sun.

Another part of the Orange Beach trip was that folks had brought along a few "adult" beverages. So even though I hadn't brought any and didn't really drink much, there was plenty to be had and it sure did help me relax on the nights when I had some.

In some ways, it was a little more difficult to relax on this trip because I didn't have Kelly to back me up (or, as she often did, carry the heavier load with the kids). Now, I drink very seldom. But experience has taught me that applying an extra marguerita to the vacation on any given night adds a lot more R&R to the overall experience! (LOL!) But without a backup adult, there were plenty of nights where I couldn't drink at all because we'd planned a group dinner out or some group activity and I was the only driver for my family.

At the end of it all, though, I had a great time and hope to do it again!

Anyway, more posts to come...


Tuesday, June 13, 2006


Spring sprang past the gardener

Y'all know that I love to garden. I love both vegetable gardening and flower gardening. I also like trees a lot, but I'm not sure if that's gardening or something else (arborist?).

Anyway, I was never able to get in any new flowers into the flower beds nor was I able to till up any ground for a vegie garden. In fact, I've barely had time to keep the flower beds weeded. However, I'm happy to say that the old owners did a half-decent job of putting flowers in the beds. So we've had a few bright spots in the gardening world. For example, the daylilies bloomed just a few days ago and looked really pretty.

I hope to get in a bunch of perennials and blubs this fall so that I can enjoy beautiful flowers from last frost in April to first frost in October.



Monday, June 12, 2006


Fire in da 'hood

Emily had a friend spend the night last week and, after many hours of fun, we needed to drop her off in our old neighborhood, Hunter's Crossing. So we were passed by an ambulance and a fire truck, with lights flashing and sirens blaring, as we drove way to the back of the neighbor hood to drop Deanna off. (Note to self: don't go down into a no outlet street without knowing where emergency vehicles are going!)

Sure enough there was a fire at the old McNamie place and, because there were now so many emergency vehicles there, we couldn't get past them. We were stuck until the fire trucks and fire men decided to leave. So we got out of the car and watched the repairs. Evidently, one of the kids beds caught on fire in the upper left bedroom (in the picture). The fire men (and at least one fire woman) dumped the matress and boxsprings, plus lots of bedding, out the window. One corner of the matress and boxsprings were badly burned and smoldering. The smoke was horrible.

In a way, it was kind'a strange and surreal. The lights on the emergency vehicles lit up the whole place. And people throughout the neighbor hood came out to watch. Several even got out the lawn chairs and got comfortable to watch the spectacle.

I had a lot of things to do at home and felt anxious to get out of there. But as often happens, the Lord reminded me that things like this happen for a reason. Dylan, Emily, and the kids were able to reconnect with a lot of friends in the old neighborhood. And I got to talk with at least two families that I was friends with. So it was definitely good to see some of my old neighbors.

And, of course, I was reminded to be thankful for the things in life that really matter to me - my loved ones - and that I should let go of the material things in life that really aren't important.

Stay well!



Microsoft TechEd 2006, Monday

TechEd is Microsoft's biggest technical conference of the year. It's an educational conference for programmers (a.k.a. developers) and administrators (a.k.a. IT pro's) to learn about the newest software and techniques for keeping their IT organizations running at top efficiency.

This year is sold out, as have the last couple years, which means there are about 8,000 paying attendees and a few thousand more non-paying attendees such as exhibitors, speakers, Microsoft staff, etc. It is big! With such a large event, there are only a few venues big enough to hold the crowds - LA, Dallas, New Orleans, Boston, and Orlando are about all that come to mind. This year we're in sunny and not-so-hot Boston, which is a very welcome change from the blistering heat of Orlando.

I arrived fairly early on Sunday so that I could avoid the big crowds at the airport. I'd heard from several friends who will be working the Quest booth with me that there were a lot of cancelled and delayed flights coming in to Boston. I think that the added load of umpteen thousand extra people coming in may have contributed to the air traffic problem.

TechEd is always an extremely busy time of year for me. You can get a taste for what I mean by taking a look at my Outlook calendar for the week. No rest for the weary!

The really scary news for me is that I've started to come down with a head cold and cough. I doubt I'll be able to make it through the week without getting sick. :^( Wish me luck!



Monday, June 05, 2006


Gulf Vacation - Hangin' in the Shade

When you're out there in the sun for long periods of time, you simply MUST take shelter occassionally and chill. Here are some cute pics when we decided to get out of the sun.


The girls just loved for me to tuck them in for a snuggle in the shade. And next year, assuming that we have a trip like this, we will definitely get a huge beach umbrella.

We had a great balcony where we kept the pool toys and inflatables.

The girls were always such a lift! Emily was such a help. She made dinner for us on at least two different nights. She babysat for me and for others. She did manage to get a pretty bad sunburn, though, which is pretty unusual for her.

More to come!

Sunday, June 04, 2006


Gulf Vacation - Pool Pictures

We spent more time in the pool than on the beach. That was because we were better able to deal with sunburn in the pool and could even skip to the indoor pool to completely avoid the sun when we wanted to.

For some reason, Dylan was a real pill this trip. While Emily could be pretty darn grouchy at times, she was generally great to be with. Dylan, on the other hand, was generally unpleasant to be with while occassionally shifting into a good mood. The above picture, taken in the indoor pool area, shows Dylan and Emily bickering - as usual. (sigh)

On the other hand, Katie Jo and Anna Lynn were excited and happy about everything we did. And as you can tell, the weather was awesome! You can see Katie Jo in the foreground, with Emily and her best friend, Bailey Lyttle, in the background.

Katie Jo was such a brave swimmer. But she always had her Big Bird Floaty close at hand, if not wrapped right around her.

Anna Lynn was inseperable from her goggles. You can see John Bartow and some of the other kids from Grace church in the background.

Dylan really didn't swim very much. He mostly stayed up in the room and played video games. Tanner Parson is also in the picture with us and, personally, I think he looks really cute. LOL!

More posts to come!



Gulf Vacation - Beach Time

Naturally, when you go to the beach you, well, go to the beach! We spent so much time on the beach that I thought we were going to grow gills.

The little girls especially enjoyed digging up the little clams that lived in the surf and watching them dig back down into the sand. Oh, you can also see that Anna Lynn practically LIVED with her goggles on. For some reason, the goggles reminded me of that kid in the "Christmas Story" movie who was in the line to see Santa and wore the bi-wing pilot goggles and leather cap. Teehee! The second picture was taken by Emily with my Treo 650.

Emily found a lot of hermit crabs out in the water with her goggles. She was also a major hero! Mark Rowe had somehow managed to lose his wedding ring in the surf and Emily found it. Way to go Emily!

Here I am working on my non-existant tan. Remind me to straighten up in my next shirtless picture. You can almost see four outta six in my six-pack!

More pictures in the next posting...



A Great Gulf Vacation! Part 1

We took a full week, from Saturday May 27th all the way to the next Saturday June 3rd, to enjoy some fun in the sun down in Orange Beach, Alabama. Even though I brought my laptop down to the condo, I hardly ever cracked it open. In fact, I think the kids used it more to check their accounts than I did. AND THAT'S A GOOD THING!

The condo company, Brett-Robinson, put us up in a fantastic condo up on the twelveth floor. And I knew that the condo was perfect for us when I saw the safari decorating theme and all of the ZEBRAS!

The kids were into the pool almost immediately and soon we were down at the beach. We proceeded to spend the next several days at 1) the indoor pool (especially after the sunburns set in!), 2) the outdoor pools, and 3) the beach. Each evening, we tried to do something fun. And since we went with about a dozen other familys from church, the kids and I had lots of friends to hang out with.

We did tons of other fun things over the course of the week. I'm going to post pictures for all of other activities in separate postings because Blogspot is acting kind'a weird.

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