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Louis Davidson

50ths… SQL Saturday and Life

This week I will experience a couple of events associated to the number 50.

SQL Saturday Atlanta

The second will be my 50th SQL Saturday Event! (49th speaking, 1 attended in casual mode… 50th speaking Saturday will be in August at SQL Saturday Louisville).  This weekend is SQL Saturday Atlanta. It is one of my favorite events, not just for the great people I have known for over 10 years, not just for the mid major conference feel, not even because of the awesome theming.  Well maybe it is the theming, because I can say the rest of those about all of the SQL Saturdays I have attended!

And awesomely, for my 50th event I will be doing my good old standard database design session:

Database Design Fundamentals

Data should be easy to work with in SQL Server if the database has been organized as close as possible to the standards of normalization that have been proven for many years, but are often thought of as old-fashioned. Many common T-SQL programming "difficulties" are the result of struggling against these standards and can be avoided by understanding the requirements, applying normalization, as well as a healthy dose of simple common sense. In this session I will give an overview of how to design a relational database, allowing you to work with the data structures instead of against them. This will let you use SQL naturally, enabling the query engine internals to optimize your output needs without you needing to spend a lot of time thinking about it. This will mean less time trying to figure out why SUBSTRING(column,3,1) = 'A' is killing your performance, and more time for solving the next customer problem.

This is by far the session I have done the most times through the years at SQL Saturday and PASS Summits, and it is the topic that got me into the whole speaking, writing, and SQL for a hobby/living situation I have lived for the past 20 years.


But before I reach 50 SQL Saturdays, I have another milestone to scoot past. 50 years of life as of July 12, 2017. I have whined written about my travails over the past 20 years that make me feel old: gray hair, grandkids, hip replacements, knee problems, just to name a few. Reaching the decade when my father passed away in his life is mildly scary to me also (even if he died of an illness). Don't get me wrong, not afraid to pass away some day, but I am not looking forward to it either. (If I was, I wouldn't be consistently going to the gym for 50 minutes a day, and I would eat a lot more fried chicken from Chef Big Shakes!)

While I certainly do not feel like I did when I was 20, I don't exactly feel old. Sure I can't stand up without making that middle aged groaning/grunting noise, but who can really? Sometimes I feel like just a big kid, and the SQL community is a big part of that, and the reasons are really twofold. First, in having a community of people who shares SQL Server with me, my world has stretched a lot since I first attended a conference and didn't leave the hotel where it was held. I have also learned that all of the seemingly "kiddie" stuff I like to do is not abnormal. Some of my favorite things to do are:

  • Legos - I can see 7 sets of Legos from my desk without turning my head (in which case there are several more sprinkled around my home office.
  • Sci-Fi/Fantasy - I love Star Wars (Movies, Comics, TV Shows), Marvel (Movies and TV Shows), Planet of The Apes (Going to the see the new trilogy on my birthday!), Lord of the Rings (Movies), to name just a few of my favorites
  • Kids movies - Way more than 1/2 of the movies I go to see are animated, and the same can be said of those I stream.
  • Theme Parks - My wife and I plan our vacations like two pre-teenagers would. Resort time? Nah, that is taking up ride time.
  • Roller Coasters - I have some challenges with them, but if I can ride it, I will ride the heck out of it. I currently hold the record for number of times to ride the Tennessee Tornado at Dollywood in a day (52 times).

Every one of these are things that I have in common with some of the members of the SQL community, and often discuss them on Twitter with them. Then add on the stuff I do in my "hobby" SQL community, learning, writing, blogging, tech editing books, I don't exactly sleep 15 hours a day anymore.

If I just had my father, mother, grandparents, and other (what were at the time) old people that I have known as my guide, I have no idea what I would do with my time. I love sitting down and watching copious amounts of TV, but something that makes watching TV better is that it is a break from doing way too much work. Looking back at my childhood, I have a much greater appreciation for just how hard my father had to work for a living compared to the amount of work I have to do as a data architect.

What is kind of cool is that even those things that technically make me feel old help me feel young sometimes. Grandchildren makes you sound old, but kids are generally fun. My oldest likes roller coasters as much, if not more, than me. And while your own children getting older sounds bad, watching them grow up to be something awesome is worth getting older for. And hey, in 20-30 years she will get to become my parent, hopefully :)


What does the future hold? Who knows? I still like working with SQL, and I love the SQL community. Travelling to 5+ events every year? Most likely if they will still have me, I will continue to put in to speak. When I am tired of that, I will probably still show up. I do at our local user group, even when the topic doesn't seem like it will be one I am initially keen on.

Age is just a number, though as the saying goes, 50 is a big number. The only people who will tell you otherwise are either too young know or too old to be trusted…

Note, this is the second in my trilogy of personal blogs, the next will come later this year. Technical stuff will resume when I am finished with some editing work that is kicking my rear end. I don't want people to think I am just getting old and reflective. Just some events kind of lead you to bring them up and discuss. The SQL Community has been a part of my life now for 20 years, and for the past 10 or so, it is not only growing, but becoming more tightly knit due to social media and blogs. I just want to say thanks :)

Published Tuesday, July 11, 2017 6:30 PM by drsql
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