SQLPam's Blog

December 16, 2010

SQL Saturday #62 Tampa – progress report

Filed under: SQL Saturday — sqlpam @ 8:33 pm

Yesterday was a busy day for Jose Chinchilla and I.  We did a tour de force of Ybor City – all the points of interest for Day of Data and SQL Saturday #62

Jose has never been to our venue at KForce national headquarters – so we started there.  We toured the facilities, got room capacities and worked out some details with KForce partners.  We have 4 great rooms on site at KForce.  Knowing that is not enough, KForce secures 2 additional rooms from the Centro Asturiano next door. 

So our next stop was next door at the Centro Asturiano to tour these rooms.  Wendy showed us around.  One of our rooms is fantastic – the other meets our need – which is the point.  The building is GREAT!  Older architecture that is full of details from the tiles on the floor to the moldings at the ceiling.  They have a small cafe upstairs where club members come to play dominoes.  Our guys love the Cuban coffee they serve.  I saw for the first time that they have a theater that seats 1000 – phenomenal details – absolutely beautiful.  Downstairs, they have a cantina that got rave reviews last year – so of course – they will cater for us again this year.  There is nothing like local flavor to make for a great event.  So Jose got to meet Denise of Latam at the Centro Asturiano Cantina.  She is taking care of our catering.  She is a joy to work with.  Last year at the last moment she gave us a great deal and made the top of the list for favorite things about SQL Saturday. 

Our next visit was the Italian Club.  Another taste of Ybor City history.  The building was raised in 1819 and it is beautiful.  Catie showed us the Ball room and the theater which is where we will be hosting the Day of Data on 1/14/2011.  We have not yet determined who will be where.  Both rooms are great.  Downstairs is a cafeteria where we will have lunch and have a space to hang out for breaks to allow both groups of attendees to network.

Our next stop was the Rock N Sports where we will have our after event again.  We had lunch after discussing arrangements.  Like I said it was a busy day.  But it was not over yet.

We headed back to the KForce area and visited the Children’s Board of Hillsborough County.  We were attempting to secure additional rooms – hoping to expand the number of slots we are able to offer.  We met with the Latino Coalition of Tampa Bay.  Alas, they were not able to assist immediately since the building is shut down during our event for Martin Luther King weekend – but they are still pushing to assist us with rooms.  We are hoping to hear soon.  We did have a wonderful meeting that brought a new addition to our SQL Saturday – we will be having a canned food drive for the needy in the area.  They assisted us in determining a partner in the food drive.  They are also interested in working with us on a program to get under privileged kids introduced to programming.  I am excited to see where that can lead to in the next year.  I will probably write up more on this group at a future date.  They were so eager to assist.  You could tell they are all about making life better for as many people as possible.  They are even going to promote Day of Data and SQL Saturday to their members.

All in all it was a productive day.  We got a lot of plans finalized for January and met new friends.  Now to get on with the rest of the planning.


OPASS Holiday Social

Filed under: Uncategorized — sqlpam @ 6:54 pm

I made the trip over to Orlando for the OPASS Holiday Social.  It was going to be some time to see Karla and make a push for Tampa’s upcoming Day of Data and SQL Saturday in January.  I was able to meet Karla’s beautiful daughter and help get the gifts to the meeting.  It was great to see everyone – many with spouses – at the meeting.  I had not realized it was the reorganization meeting of the group – where the details of the new organization process were being unveiled.  I was intrigued by the way they have organized sponsors.  I like the idea – not sure if it is an option for us.  With us not paying for our room – I am not sure we need it to the level they have it.  It is bold and looks sustainable.  They are having national sponsors set up on a quarterly basis.  It looks like they handle the major expenses like the room.  Then they set up local sponsors on a meeting basis.  It definitely adds some longer term stability to the process.  It gave me something to think about.

They are also splitting off a west branch of the meeting – MagicPASS.  I love the name!  Kendal Van Dyke will be leading that group.  Having lived in Orlando for 2 years – I understand the reasoning.  There are now a couple of options – but they are still limited and usually painful for getting from one of town to the other.  With it being a tourist town – it get ugly fast.  By setting up meetings on both sides of town – people are more likely to be able to attend one or the other – if not both.  I think it is great idea and wish both groups great success.

I got an opportunity to pass out some flyers for my events in January and to talk them into signing up.  I even had someone volunteer to assist with my registration process – BIG WIN!!  Thanks Brooke.

The Dirty Santa /  White Elephant portion fo the meeting was a blast!  Karla had placed gifts – mostly swag with a mix of Christmassy treats – in bags.  It was funny to watch as techies asking spouses to “steal” things they had no clue about.  Techies stealing from techies and watching as people debated about which book or shirt they wanted with their gift slips.  It was a good time by all – thanks Karla for pulling it all together.  The big prize of the night was an Xbox with Kinect.  Jack Corbett relayed how his kids were like my Ryan – “how could you have that in the house and not let us have it”.  Everyone should have gone home with something and all had a great time.

It was a long a drive going and coming – but well worth the time.  It was a real boost to my Christmas spirits.  Thanks to all who helped put it in place – especially Karla.

December 8, 2010

Belated birthday ramble

Filed under: Uncategorized — sqlpam @ 5:45 pm

I turned 50 on Monday, 11/29/2010.  A half century is a lot of life.  I think this one hit harder, not only because of the number but because I realized I was not where I thought I would be at this point in my life.  Here I am between jobs at a point when I thought I would be more stable.  I find myself saying more often than ever before “It is what it is.”  It is more than a phrase these days.  It is evidence that I am accepting that it is OK to not fit in a box and not fit even my expectations.  I am seeing this as an opportunity to redefine myself.

Being out of work does not mean I am idle.  It just means that I am not being paid for work I am doing these days.

My main task has been the organization of SQL Saturday #62 – Tampa.  This year I have more help than in the previous 3 years.  Jose Chinchilla (@SQLJoe) has been working with me.  We got a later than usual start this year due to nailing down dates and the venue.  Plus we have added a Day of Data.  So we are planning – not one – but two events.  Things are coming together.  We have selected our speakers and are now narrowing down the sessions before attempting to set a schedule.

My other task is cleaning out stuff that has been accumulating around the house.  Some of that is trip down memory lane, but for the most part it is painstaking.  I sort the stuff by which room it belongs to – I swear the stuff travels around the house.  Then, it is a matter of sorting what to keep, what to donate and what to trash.  Finally, if something makes it to the “what to keep” list – we need to find where it will live.  It seems so trivial – but the 50 year mark put some of this into perspective and started the process.

I had someone joke that turning 50 was better than the alternative – meaning dying before I turned 50.  I have to agree with that observation.  But I also see it as a kick in the butt.  There are things I had hoped to do by this stage in my life.  It is time to get them done.

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