A Quick Stroll Through Belfast

Ireland is a country on the move. As I departed by train from Connelly Station in Dublin, I could see out of my window at least 27 big cranes doing construction around the city. I can't recall ever seen that many big cranes in action at one time. And that was only 1/2 of the city! I couldn't see the other half, since the train cut my view in half.Everywhere you go in Ireland, you can see evidence of the Gaelic or Irish language. It's not a hard language to sound out, but it's impossible IMO to sound it out properly using standard English pronunciations.Other cities in Ireland were also showing … [Read more...]

More about Connemare County

One of the things that constantly brought a smile to my face as I toured Connemare County was the livestock. The sheep were allowed to roam free and only the colored marks on their wool enabled the farmers to differentiate theirs from the next mans' flock. The ewes often rested in the verge while the little lambs frollicked around. It was really cute.Another element of humor for me were the cows. Now, these cows seemed just like the cows of TN except that they were always, without fail, laying in the grass! I seldom see that back home. So it made me laugh and watch expectantly every time I saw … [Read more...]

Galway, Connemare County, and the Kylemore Abbey

I had the greater part of Monday to explore Galway and its surrounding county, Connemare. I was very lucky to have good weather and relatively clear skies. I decided to keep things as simple as possible by signing up for a tour rather than try to do things myself.The main things that I wanted to see in County Connemare and County Clare were the Kylemore Abbey and Cliffs of Moher (pronounced "more"), respectively. Each site, in turn, was spectacular in its own way. The Abbey is actively run today by nuns and serves as both a boarding school for girls and the headquarters of the Benedictine nuns … [Read more...]

Beautiful Galway Ireland

I landed in Dublin to a beautiful sunny morning. I have to say, the Irish are splendid hosts. The leader of the Dublin SQL Server/.NET user group and fellow MVP, Niall Flanagan, met me at the airport. We enjoyed breakfast together and took a tour of the city center. We even got out for a walk in one of Dublin's two beautiful public parks.After breakfast, it was off to the train station for a 2-3 our ride out to Galway. Niall was very knowledgeable and helpful with the travel plans. He had all of the train schedules on hand and put me on the best one. On top of that, he knew all of the tricks … [Read more...]

A Day at Ground Zero

It'd been probably 10 years since I was last in NYC. The last time I came to NYC was to visit the Deloitte offices located, then, in the World Finance Center immediately adjacent to the World Trade Center. (The World Finance Center Deloitte was in then was the background building to the left with the round top. Deloitte has since moved to other digs around the city.) I had the pleasure of visiting the WTC, seeing the observation deck, and seeing the marvelous sights of downtown Manhattan.This trip brought me to Manhattan to speak at the local SQL Server user group and visit some friends and … [Read more...]

A week in CA

Once again, I was called back to HQ for a big series of meetings for our Q1 yearly kickoff. In previous years, I'd been very active in actually compiling the content of several of the meetings in the SQL Server business unit for Quest, and also for assisting in deciding on key strategy for the SQL Server business unit overall in conjunction with other top decision-makers of the company. (At that time, my title was senior product architect and, later, director of technology for the SQL Server business unit.)But since I ceded that component of my job so that I could focus more on family time and … [Read more...]

Book Reviews

I've been traveling way too much this year already and it's only February. The bad news is that my heavy travel schedule is set to continue for a couple more months before it calms down again. The good news is that I've been reading some great books that have been a lot of fun.First, I have to give props to Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West. This books was a blast to read. It tells the story of Elphaba, the infamous green witch of Oz, and how she came to be so imfamous. I won't spoil the story except to say that you'll want to watch the "Wizard of Oz" all over again … [Read more...]

A Tour of Jaffa

Jaffa is a delightful old town on the south side of Tel Aviv. (You could see the lighthouse of Jaffa way off in the distance in the earlier picture taken from my hotel window as the tallest building on the right side of the horizon.) Jaffa was practically a ruin after then war for independence here. So the city of Tel Aviv decided to revive Jaffa by making it an artist's retreat. The artists, sensitive souls that they were, didn't tamper with the old Ottoman architecture and narrow, pre-automobile streets.It had been raining for the past few days here in Israel. So I was really afraid that I'd … [Read more...]


Maybe I'm just getting old, but long trips seem to just be harder on me both physically and emotionally.However, I have to say that notes like this one from my little Anna Lynn fill me with joy. It reads... "I love you. Your awase in my heart!" And the exclamation even has a little heart where the dot goes.SO SWEET!!! … [Read more...]

In Israel

Tel Aviv is located on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. It's climate is lovely. Today, it's cool and foggy in the morning (probably 45 degrees Fahrenheit), but a balmy and sunny 71 degrees in the afternoon.The Israelis are working hard to change the rocky and barren terrain into something much greener. Everywhere you go, there are new forests - many of them less than 20 yrs old. The introduction of new trees improves the environment in a variety of ways. For example, each tree stores 30-40 gallons of water in its trunk and branches. That added water is perspired gradually and, thus, … [Read more...]