Getting back in the saddle

I’m getting back into the swing of things after being offline for a week and a half! My first PASS Summit was an absolute blast! I have a ‘blog article in the works about my PASS Summit experience, so stay tuned!

I’m spending time getting caught up on emails and schedules. I walked into my office this morning and discovered that I’ve been assigned a new SQL Server-related project, so I might have some updates coming with that relatively soon.

So bear with me as I get back into my routine!

Monthly CASSUG Meeting — November 2019

Greetings, data enthusiasts!

Our November speaker is Michelle Gutzait! Her presentation topic is TBA.  For additional information and to RSVP, go to our Meetup event page at

Thanks to our sponsors, Datto, Capital Tech Search, and CommerceHub, for making this event possible!

Additionally, we will have our annual Holiday party at Brown’s Brewing on December 9!  Those of you who’ve attended our meetings are eligible for raffle prizes, such as the following:

Full Growler from Brown’s Brewing
Gift Certificate from Brown’s Brewing
1 Night at Residence Inn in East Greenbush
Gift Certificate from Chris’ Pizza in Wynantskill
1 year of free trash pick up from County Waste Removal

Hope to see you there!

#PASSSummit — Under 24 hours to departure

It is now less than twenty-four hours before I depart for Seattle and PASS Summit!

I still need to pack. From my quick little poll from last week, it looks like I’ll wear my fraternity hat, and I’ll pack lots of orange shirts! And don’t worry, Yankees haters; my baseball jersey is staying home.

Last week, I got an email from Southwest, saying that my flight plans have changed. I was originally supposed to depart at 6:20 am, flying from Albany (ALB) to Chicago (MDW) to Seattle (SEA). Instead, my flight leaves at 5:30 am and going through Baltimore (BWI) instead of Chicago-Midway. And if the earlier hour wasn’t enough, I now have a four-hour layover in Baltimore. Ugh. At least I’ll have plenty of time to grab breakfast and relax before my flight to Seattle. Note to self: bring a book to read (or something to do) while waiting for four hours in an airport.

Other than that, travel prep continues. By this time tomorrow, I’ll be on my way to the West Coast!

#PASSSummit — Little things

A tweet by Matt Cushing got me thinking about something that I figured I should plan for my upcoming PASS Summit trip: what should I pack? And no, I’m not talking about my poll asking you what to wear.

When I arrived at work this morning, temps were somewhere in the forties, and a strong wind was blowing (in fact, I believe there’s a high wind warning in effect), which brought wind chills down even more. I said to myself, I think it’s time to switch over to my heavier jacket. I did a quick check of the weather in Seattle. Although it’s not quite the chilly Arctic winter conditions to which we upstate New Yorkers are accustomed, it still looks like it’ll be cold autumn weather. So at the very least, I’ll bring my heavier jacket and at least one sweatshirt with me to Seattle.

It also got me thinking about all the little things that I need to think about any time I travel, much less go to a big event like PASS Summit. Other than the activities that I have planned for my trip, there are things like how am I getting to the airport (I’m still debating whether to drive myself and take advantage of the $6-a-day economy lot, or make my wife drop me off at 5 am), how well will I be able to navigate the light rail system, how long will it take to get to and from my AirBnB, and so on. Planning for the big things is important, but forgetting something little, such as forgetting to pack your presentation remote (which I’ve done plenty of times before), can be enough to sabotage your trip.

One helpful tip: create a checklist of what you need to bring or do. A checklist ensures that important little things are not overlooked. (I’ve written before about the importance of checklists. I’ve been meaning to talk more about them; I’ll make it a point to revisit it at some point.)

When planning, little things can sometimes make a big difference.

Four days until Seattle!

PASS Summit — Checklists, schedules, and itineraries #PASSSummit

With less than a week until I depart for PASS Summit, I’m starting to think about what I need to prepare for my trip out to the West Coast.

I signed up for, and was accepted, to host a Birds Of A Feather table! On Friday (Nov. 8), I will be facilitating discussion at the Storytelling and Visualization table! If you are into visual presentation of data analytics, come to my table! People who are into UX/UI and design/layout are also encouraged to join me at my table!

Other than clothes for four days (you can still pick my wardrobe before I leave!*), I need to make sure I remember to bring certain items, such as:

  • My presentation clicker
  • Lots of business cards
  • A tie (not to wear, but for my presentation — those of you who’ve been to my presentation know what I’m talking about!)
  • My laptop (for general use, not my presentation — they’re providing a laptop for that)
  • My presentation on a flash drive

Am I forgetting anything?

(*Speaking of picking my wardrobe, I pretty much just threw the poll together. That said, after one day, based on some comments I’ve received, it looks like I’ll be wearing my fraternity hat and lots of orange. And there are a lot of Yankee haters out there!)

So, as of right now, my tentative PASS Summit schedule looks something like this (and I’m posting this mainly for my own reference):

Tuesday, Nov. 5

Wednesday, Nov. 6

(*I am by no means limiting myself to just these sessions; rather, these are the ones that seem to interest me.)

Thursday, Nov. 7

Friday, Nov. 8

There are probably other items on my itinerary that I’m missing, but that’s pretty much the gist of my plans. I reserve the right to change it at my whim! I’ll be keeping an eye on the activities page and the #PASSSummit Twitter feed as I go along.

Only five days until I depart!

PASS Summit — Vote to help me pack for #PASSSummit #sqlfamily

While finishing up my last article, I came across an older article by my friend, Andy Levy, in which he talks about his personal branding — namely, The Hat. I’m going to take a cue from his article, and come up with a branding of my own. I think this is a great strategy; I’ve written before about how your own clothes can be a conversation piece. I hope to use this strategy to be recognized at PASS Summit.

So, I’m going to come up with a wardrobe so that people can recognize me at PASS Summit!

I have to admit, though, that I’m undecided as to what I should do. When it comes to wearing something by which people will identify me, I tend to go by one of three associations: that I’m a big Yankee fan, that I’m a loud and proud Syracuse Orange alumnus, and by my fraternity.

So, I’ll let you decide! What should I pack for Seattle next week?

Should I go with the Yankees jersey?
Image may contain: Raymond J Kim, drink
Shall I display school pride?
Image may contain: one or more people, closeup and outdoor
Or should I wear my fraternity letters?

Your turn! What should I pack next week?

PASS Summit — one week (!!!)

I actually began writing this article a couple of weeks ago. I had every intention of finishing it, but alas, family issues got in the way. With only a week to go until I leave for PASS Summit (at this time next Tuesday, I should be on a flight somewhere between Chicago and Seattle), I figured that I should revisit what I’d started writing. I’m picking this back up where I left off, so I’ll likely do a lot of edits to this article. I apologize for anything I miss (e.g. anything that says “in three weeks”).

Does anyone become paranoid when they make travel plans? Yeah, me too! Every time — without fail! — that I leave for a trip, I always have a feeling like, what did I forget (even despite meticulously planning every little detail)? It isn’t unusual for me to dream the night before a trip that I missed my train or my plane, and wake up the next morning saying, “oh crap!” As I mentioned in a previous article, I plan every little detail whenever I travel. I want to make sure that I’m prepared for nearly anything that a trip tosses at me.

I finally heard back from my PASS buddy, Anthony. (I’m leaving off his last name for privacy reasons.) He hails from northern California, and is a regular attendee of the Sacramento SQL user group. He included a plethora of information and tips about PASS Summit. We traded emails. I’m looking forward to meeting him and shaking his hand.

The fact that he’s affiliated with the Sacramento group means he likely knows the guy who runs my fantasy football league.

Speaking of tips, I’m finding that there’s no shortage of information for preparing for PASS Summit. (Admittedly, these links are for my own reference; some of these articles I haven’t yet read.) My friend Andy Levy wrote a few articles to prep for Summit (here are the links to his first, second, third, and fourth articles). My friend Matt Cushing is involved with a number of activities, including an abbreviated version of his networking presentation and hosting the Thursday games night. (Unfortunately, it’s the night before I’m scheduled to present in the morning, so it’s unlikely that I can attend. Sorry, Matt!) I also saw a recent post from my friend, Steve Jones that looked like it’d be helpful. I’ll take a look at it later when I have a chance!

Only a week to go! I’ll see you in Seattle!