Thursday, October 29, 2015

After the Summit, there is the descent

After a bit of wrangling, my boss managed to get both of us out to Seattle for the week-long Data Nerd Disneyland SQL PASS Summit. He arrived late Tuesday afternoon for the ‘regular’ sessions Wednesday – Friday, and I got here Sunday so that I could also attend the full-day pre-conference sessions in Extreme Nerdiness on Monday and Tuesday.

Which were FANTASTIC. The speakers were excellent, and the information presented…well, usable. Immediately, directly usable on things that have been bugging me for a while now; and a lot of new information for me, which was tremendously exciting.

I’ll be honest, such things are becoming increasingly rare for me personally; when it comes to the basics of my job, anything that falls in the ‘expected knowledge’ for the DEVI – IV range, I not only already know it, I already know it rather thoroughly.

Put it this way: I actually ditched out of a ‘300-level’ seminar earlier today because honestly I was a bit bored (yeah-yeah-yeah, row vs. page compression, c’mon, I know all this…oh, but, clearly I am just about alone in that, because everybody else sure seems to have a lot of questions about it, ugh…maybe I’ll just check the Warcraft auction house app while they all talk amongst themselves for a bit here…) and getting very sleepy / restless, and also between you and me I fall more than a bit onto the “introvert” side of the personality scale so all this networking has been steadily draining me all week.

I mean, I’m a bit a-typical of the breed in that I actually like other people, and enjoy chatting with new people and getting to hear their stories and such – but I do still have that “one way valve” when it comes to interpersonal energy: Always flows out, never back in.

In fact, I often think that it is actually the fact that I do value and care about other people, and am interested in getting to know more of them, that causes the problem for me: I find it impossible to not be keenly aware of allllllll the people who are around me. I’m reading their expressions, tones of voice, body posture and so forth, and can’t seem to help but notice – and then feel obligated to do something about – even the slightest signs of stress or emotional turmoil.

It’s ridiculous and impossible and not technically “my” problem, but, no matter how carefully I try or how logically I explain to myself that I cannot possibly fix every stranger’s problems or help every mildly ticked off person have a better day, I just can’t seem to actually turn off that valve; the best I can manage is to force myself not to actually take action on the impulse, beyond the very small things like letting someone who seems to need a “win” right now go ahead of me in line.

But, you know – it’s OK. I’d rather care too much than not at all, and frankly I have managed to avoid or defuse situations that could have become very-very bad in a hurry precisely because that hyper-sensitivity to another person’s existence tipped me off that they were a walking time bomb of pent-up frustrations and/or sadness and/or rage, sooooooooooo, I wouldn’t really trade it for the sweet peace of typical obliviousness.

But I digress.

Tomorrow is the last day of the conference, so I’ve already started the process of packing things up to head back home.

It feels good. It’s been a great conference and I’ve had a fantastic time, but I’m definitely reaching the end of my leash in terms of being away from home.

I can handle 2-3 days just fine; 4 days I’m starting to miss the family pretty badly; 5 days and I find myself getting more and more irritable about minor inconveniences and such.

Much beyond that, and I’m probably going to be spending every waking minute grousing to myself about increasingly idiotic non-issues. Probably aloud to myself while scuttling around on city streets trying to find a fast meal that doesn’t give me indigestion or cost me $75.

For example, my internal diatribe this morning in re: the alarm clock in my hotel room, which went something like this:

Gah, I HATE this alarm clock! This snooze button is STUPID-SMALL, and who the hell designed this on/off switch? Damn thing must either need fingers like SAUSAGES or maybe a pair of TWEEZERS to use…also who makes an ALARM clock that goes ‘meep-meep-meep’ like a newborn chick with a sore throat? I’m a developer, dammit, I need something that sounds like a LIGHTHOUSE HORN before it’ll penetrate the ‘I was up until 2:30 in the morning trying to figure something out’ fog!

Yeahhhhh, that’s a pretty strong hint that I am getting a bit past my max-tolerance for not being home.

Still…Seattle is a cool city, even for a California delta-rat like Your Faithful Correspondent; it feels a lot like home for this San Francisco native, but also has its own unique vibe that prevents me from thinking for even a moment that I’m actually stomping around “my” city, or that the water I can see from my hotel window is “my” Bay.

The cities are more like siblings than twins, you know? Similar, but also very unique. Very walk-able, lots of interesting shops and unexpected splashes of color, and Puget Sound is a wonderful place to rest your eyes after a day of staring at computer screens and such. Watching the sun set over the water as ferries scurry to and fro carrying their precious cargo home is somehow a very satisfying way to spend an idle hour. Much more entertaining than whatever the television might have to offer, for sure.

I don’t think I could live here, given that I am solar-powered and prone to “inexplicable” bouts of vague “I dunno why, I’m just kinda blue” sensations when I’m not getting a fair amount of sunlight every day; but it’s definitely a place I could visit again and again without complaints.

And with that, I’m going to get back to packing up all my cords and cables, books and handouts, and other scattered possessions. See y’all back in California tomorrow…


Michael Irwin said...

No PASS for me. Oh well. SQL Saturday in Montreal in three weeks instead - that's driveable from here. PASS isn't. Good to hear you enjoyed things - was there lots of stuff about SS2016?


Mother of Chaos said...

Not as much on 2016 as I expected, honestly - although to be fair, my emphasis was mostly on 2012/2014 internals so I probably missed a lot of what was going on for that version. They did have a TON of stuff about Cloud / Azure / changes coming to columnstore indexes etc.

One of the things I found really interesting was actually a side chat I had with a guy from Microsoft around how they are planning to switch to having monthly or quarterly releases-as-such rather than the current "you get {current version}, there are patches and service packs here and there, and then 1-3 years later a whole new version." MegaBank specifically has a LOT of hoops to jump through and red tape to cut before we are allowed to upgrade core software; we only just got 2012 a couple months ago, not because we didn't want to upgrade but because it just takes that long for a "new" version of our stuff to get through all the red tape, testing, blah blah blah.

If they were releasing core changes to the engine itself every month, and deprecating support on a quarterly basis (so if your version is over one year old => no support from Microsoft), we'd be in a world of hurt for compliance unless the folks in charge of Such Things figured out how to 'fast track' our upgrade paths. #JoysOfWorkingForBigBanks

Unknown said...

I think in cloud powered. I live in Tucson and after a million days of 110+ degree weather I have no energy. I seriously want to throw a party when the temp drops below 80.