This is an offshoot of the original Liam & Janet blog. That blog has become overrun by Liam's inability to keep his mouth shut when something annoys him. The serious rants there seemed incongruous with the humor columns. The plan for the humor columns continues to be to post a new one every Friday, plus occasional extras when the mood strikes.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

IOUG-A Live! 2005 - Day Two, morning

Before I begin, I finally found out the name of the “woman whose name I never caught” from last night’s review: Judi Hotsinpiller. Was this important enough to bother filling in? Yes, because I’m not feeling particularly funny this morning, and I’m hoping that I can make up with names like “Hotsinpiller” what I lack in personal sense of humor. (Judi is a very nice person, and one of the very rare attractive members of the technical community, so by no means should her last name be held against her. Nevertheless, being the sort of person who would sacrifice his own grandmother to make up for personal failings, she gets offered up as the sacrificial lamb to the gods of humor.) Hotsinpiller, Hotsinpiller, Hotsinpiller. It’s just fun to say!

Day two began poorly, I woke late, missed breakfast, got to the convention center only to find out there was no coffee to be had. Perhaps now you get an idea of why I’m not feeling funny. Checked e-mail, called my wife, posted the “last night” addendum, and then it was off to my first session of the day, “Denormalization Debunked in an Hour.” Pleasant speaker (entertaining, personable, and with the most important feature one can have in public speaking: An accent), but five minutes into the topic, I realized I was not going to agree with his conclusions. I’m sorry, Mr. Speaker, I’m not a normal guy, I don’t see why my table design should be. (As with many things in life, data normalization is a tool, to be employed when appropriate and set aside when not. A screw driver is an excellent tool, but you set it aside when the job you are trying to accomplish requires… sobriety.)

A half an hour break between sessions allowed me to spend some time in the vendor room (which was now open), and I found the Holy Grail! The lost tomb of King Solomon! The remains of Amelia Earhart! The Lindburg Baby! I found something even more exciting than all of these: COFFEE!!!!! Awake, alive and refreshed, time to chat for a short while with my friend Darryl and then head to my next topic: “Oracle Materialized View and Some Super Interesting Uses!”

A note to future speakers: Don’t bait and switch. If you use terms like “Super Interesting”, it would sure be nice if it was. Don’t get me wrong, the speaker knew about Materialized Views, and he happily told us all way more than we probably ever cared about. But there are some topics which are not and simply never will BE “super interesting”. Economics 101. Anyone else’s medical problems. Belly-button lint. And we can add to this list “Materialized Views”. That complaint notwithstanding, this was a reasonably useful session.

And then, I was faced with a quandary. The next session was a half hour “Quick Tips” session. I could listen to quick tips on Query Tuning, but as I am quite proficient in this area, I’d be most surprised if they could in half an hour cover anything new to me. Similar problems apply to the other available topics of interest, “Regular Expression Functions in Oracle 10g” and “Understanding Those Ugly Cursors”. OK, so let’s see who’s speaking. Loney, okay, he’s always a good speaker with great information. Mullins, don’t know him. Hotsinpiller. We have a winner. When the topics don’t decide for you, always opt for the best last name.

In this case, it really didn’t matter, because 5 minutes into the session, my loaner cell phone, set clearly (I’ve checked) on VIBRATE/SILENT mode, begin ringing at a volume normally reserved for airport landing strips. People three conference rooms down started filing out, certain that an air raid signal was sounding. It’s a good thing I’m happily married, because if I’d had any illusions of chatting up Ms. Hotsinpiller, I would have come across as less of a clod had she encountered me with my equipment stuck in the escalator. (For those with dirty minds, an earlier conversation had discussed that my pack was unzipped, and it looked like my laptop might fall out and become damaged on the escalator.)

My phone call completed (after all that, a wrong number), there wasn’t enough time left to the session to bother returning, so I got an early jump on the lunch rush. I’m happy to report, today’s lunch was even better than yesterday’s. I didn’t try everything, there was too much, but what I did have included: Caesar Salad, Marinated Mushrooms & Artichokes, Pene Pasta Primavera w/ Peas, Chicken Piccata and pizza. Desserts were Canolli, tiramisu and some sort of rum cake thing. If there’s anything about this particular conference which will be memorable (besides the name “Hotsinpiller”), it’ll be the food. I’ll be remembering the food for weeks as I strive to get back down to my fightin’ weight (a mere 250 lbs).

Lunch now complete, and a serious e-mail jones going, I’ll post this now and get back to conference life.

Later: Yet more sessions, more freebies in the vendor room, and tonight, the BIG PARTY.

Copyright © May 3, 2005 by Liam Johnson.


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