KSCOPE 2012, San Antonio in June, Yippee-Ki-Yea!

Yes, it was HOT! We are not talking just the conference here, but San Antonio in June, especially this June, which meant the conference could only held at a resort with a water park onsite. If you hadn’t taken a gander at the JW Marriott resort in San Antonio, please enjoy one of my pictures from the fifth floor of the resort:

The Lazy River Water Park at the JW Marriott

This was a welcome release from the heat on many a day, (yes, some of us attended the “Lazy River Symposium” on Sunday instead of the ones offered through the conferences…:)) and after the sessions during the weekdays.

Tim and I arrived on Saturday, quickly settled into our room and took a taxi down to the riverwalk. I’ve been to San Antonio once before and loved the riverwalk, but was unaware that it was almost airfare to take a taxi back and forth from the conference location. Yes, we learned… 🙂

Upon only a short walk along the river, Tim and I heard our names being called and were greeted by Chet Justice, Jeff Smith and friends, (that I quickly realized I have tweeted with on a regular basis) already partaking in beers and wonderful Mexican food. Chairs were quickly pulled and we joined in, but Chet was sad to finally realize, that upon our meeting, that I was indeed, not 4’6″, as he’s been claiming for years now.

Sunday was jam packed with an incredible array of symposium sessions, but Tim and I have been on a whirlwind busy time as of late and I won’t lie, we just decided we needed a break and headed for the water slides and lazy river pool area. Once refreshed, we headed on in for the welcome session, where I was a tribute in the “Thirsty Games”. I was partnered with Chet Justice as part of District Database (if you haven’t read the book or seen the movie for Hunger Games, none of this will make sense… :)) where 12 teams of two, offered as tributes, compete against each team and then against each other as the games get more difficult.

The first challenge was a combination bouncy horse/tricycle race. I was to ride the bouncy horse down and would have won if David Peake hadn’t kept grabbing the tail of the horse I was riding (that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!) Chet had some challenges on the tricycle, (something about not riding one since you were three years old will do that to you…) and I had to explain to him after they eliminated 70% of the tribute teams with the lowest times, that if we had been in the actual movie, we were lying dead in the carnage during the opening game scene… poor Chet…

Throughout the three day event, I enjoyed presentations by Jonathan Lewis, Jean Pierre Dijcks, Alex Gorachev, Cary Millsap, Steven Feuerstein, Dominic Delmolino and Maria Colgan, along with others. I attended after-sessions get-togethers with friends and groups, including Monday’s ACE event and a second one for ODTUG in the beautiful suites at the JW Marriott. The food was wonderful, no matter if it was part of the event or eating at one of the great places at the resort.

Where at Monday, I stayed close to the booth, only attending two sessions and the ACE event, Tuesday, was a full day, starting out with my own session, first thing in the morning. I was actually surprised to have as many attendees as I did, joking that I didn’t think there were 20 DBA’s at the event! I spoke on EM12c, (of course, it is the subject of the year for me…) doing a bit more of a deep dive on EM12c features and it went extremely well. I was satisfied with the attendance- thank you for your support Jonathan Lewis, Dominic Delmolino and Tim Gorman, who also served as my room ambassador. A special thanks to Dominic who tweeted up my session, (causing me to have to silence my phone immediately, as I had forgotten to beforehand!) and Niall Litchfield, who responded via Twitter in regards to the tweets on my session making him wish he could attend! Jonathan is about to embark on his own EM12c installation, so along with offering his comedic touch to the session, I appreciated his insight and interaction with the audience.

I returned and did my duty at the Enkitec booth post my session, talking to folks as they came by the booth. The Enkitec booth was consistently and proudly packed during each session break throughout the entire conference. Doug Gault and Scott Spendolini, our new team members, really drew folks in with their Apex knowledge.

Last two sessions of the day, I ensured that Jean Pierre Dijcks and Alex Gorbachev sessions were well cared for, handing out evaluation forms and even gave out my business card in the end of one of Alex’s “Metric Plug-in’s for EM12c” for some features that were outside of Alex’s presentation but fell into my arena. Jean Pierre is now heading up Oracle’s Big Data arena and his session was fantastic, discussing big data, hadoop with Exadata and database technology in general. It was a great ground-up session that I felt many really need to attend to get a solid understanding vs. just knowing the buzz words. Post the last session, we had a great Enkitec meetup with friends and then the Enkitec folks went out for a wonderful dinner. As I rarely see my actual coworkers, it was a great chance to visit with Veronica Stigers, Kerry Osborne, along with peers and my new coworkers, Doug Gault and Scott Spendolini.

Wednesday was hoe-down day. I did attend Steven Feuerstein’s session that day, adding what was another ribbon to my already, “my coat of many colors” as coworker Julia Gibson had referred to it. I was disappointed when Steven asked the DBA’s in the session why wouldn’t they give permissions to V$ and DBA views to developers and the archaic, bizarre statement was stated even by the DBA sitting next to me, “…then they can see other people stuff..” I immediately started a disagreement, as my take is this, “No DBA is allowed to complain about lack of quality in code if they do not allow the developer to view the same valuable performance data they can view.” Post this statement, the DBA next to me scooted his chair away from me, (yeah, I was real disappointed by that…) Yes, there will be an article on this subject very soon to follow.

I was originally scheduled to present on Wednesday afternoon, but was moved at the last minute to the early Tuesday slot. I decided in the end, although some folks told me that they missed my session due to the abrupt change, that I was happy about the change as many, in preparation for the rodeo that evening, took the afternoon off to swim. I was one of those and couldn’t get over the amount of KSCOPE folks in the lazy river and on the slides. Tim and I went out with Alex Gorbachev, Lisa Dobson and Dominic Delmolino. We also found out why they recommend the smaller person be in the front of the double-sectioned intertubes. Tim was in front, we hit the end of the slide and Alex Gorbachev just about fell over laughing when I catapulted out of the back section of the intertube, (no, there isn’t any video of that…)

After cooling off sufficiently, we all met up to head out for the rodeo. They directed us in groups to buses that dropped everyone off at the Knibbe ranch, a full running ranch and rodeo. We were then treated to a great barbeque dinner, live band, armadillo racing and mechanical bull rides, (yes, there are videos of this, have a few I’m holding hostage in exchange for my own not going up on the web… Working out some deals with other folks, maybe a movie night with the rest! :)) We found out that there isn’t a lot that Alex Gorbachev isn’t good at…

Alex Gorbachev and the Bull

…but that sooner or later, the bull gets to even those that pick things up so easily….

The Bull from then on was known as “I’ll have the White Russian”

and that Chet Justice would prefer to keep his feet on the ground, but was brave enough to take a run at the mechanical bull…

The Bull, “There is no Justice in Texas”

With that said, yes, there are pictures of me on the bull, too. I’m proud to say that I think I was the first female to ride the bull, but did I ride well? Nope… between my weak wrists and the heat, I was probably the lousiest bull rider to be found and although I may have been on for 8 seconds, most of it was side-saddled and I don’t mean because I was being lady like- I did have shorts on under my dress!

No one said bull-riding was pretty!

My only disclaimer about the above picture, is this has got to be the most unflattering photo of me in a long time, but it’s still funny.

KSCOPE is one of the best conferences I’ve ever attended. I would say it’s my favorite so far, as every conference I go to seems to be better than the last, but due to the first part of the statement, that wouldn’t be sincere and I’ll keep my current, happy contentment with this conference as is. I was incredibly impressed with the great event that Team YCC, Kathleen, Lisa and their folks put on with ODTUG. It was top-notch and second to none!

Thank you, KSCOPE and I look forward to KSCOPE 2013, New Orleans!

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July 1st, 2012 by

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