High Tea 2014

For inquiries, concerns, suggestions, retributions, recriminations, ambiguations, etc. etc. regarding High Tea 2014, please see this: http://www.midnightdba.com/Jen/2014/09/high-tea-2014/

Thank you.


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High Tea 2013 – Charlotte, NC in October

High Tea: The only underground session during the fall summit…so far as we know.

Hi all!  Our annual, coincides-with-the-big-fall-SQL-conference event IS happening again this year!  This year, and probably forevermore, this event shall be named High Tea. Because we’re a bunch of classy, classy people.

If you’re unfamiliar with it, High Tea is our annual nonsanctioned, after-PASS event where we get to swear and be vulgar and truly disgusting. The original idea was to present sessions that just won’t fit in a regular conference – sometimes that means bad language, or something suggestive, and sometimes because it’s simply way, way off topic.  It’s way fun, and it’s held for charity (charity TBD).  It will be held on Wednesday evening at 10pm, in Charlotte, NC….likely in walking distance of the conference.

If you’d like to go,

  1. If you’ve never been before, get approval: Email Nic at SirSQL.net with a short essay. The topic should be anything vulgar, or full of swearing. We just want you to show you’re one of us…
  2. Buy tix: Once approved (or if you’ve been to one of these already), submit your $20 contribution to PayPal (see the PayPal button below).
  3. Spread the word: Tell others like you about this event. This is VERY important! We need people at the event for this to be a continuing success.
  4. And then: Bask in the glow of impending High Tea-osity. Also, maybe buy a top hat and monocle. CLASSY, I said!

If this just isn’t your thing, don’t go! We want attendees to have fun.

Call for Speakers: Email me (Jen at MidnightDBA.com) if you’re interested in presenting a 5-10 minute talk, poem, silent slide show, or whatever. Think, “anything I couldn’t present at a con, but really want to”.   We’ve had some brilliant and/or disgusting presentations in past years…none of which I can mention, because we have a pretty strict code of secrecy.

IF you want to present but you’re nervous about ruining your reputation, email me. We’ll talk.

Edit: SPONSOR! We have a sponsor again this year!

Thanks to Pluralsight, who are as generous as they are pretty. Also, useful and awesome!

Pluralsight Training!

Pluralsight is a global leader in high-quality online training for hardcore developers and IT professionals. Pluralsight provides flexible and cost-effective subscription plans for individuals and businesses starting from as little as $29 a month. See what you can learn at pluralsight.com.

Love and slightly inappropriate-for-work kisses,
Jen (and Sean’s hair)


Only after we approve your application, buy your tickets here (1 ticket, $20…additional donations are just more money for the charity):

Tickets and Extra Donations

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InapproPASS 2012 Gives Back!

The November 2012 InapproPASS event was some big fun! This is just to thank all attendees for, well, attending. Thanks also to the generous folk who could not attend, but donated anyway.  And a BIG thanks again to TrainSignal for their generous sponsorship!

Remember to check out TrainSignal’s SQL Training vids or find out how to become a SQL instructor.

So after all that, plus paying for the venue and nomz, our “profit” this year is $208.30!  This has been duly sent along to Shriners Hospitals for Children:

Money for charity, raised by being vulgar!!

I know this isn’t as impressive as the $1,000+ we raised last year. BUT it totally beats the 2010 event (which wasn’t for charity), and considering all the troubles and hurdles we had this year, we’re pretty pleased with this outcome.

Good job, guys!

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Season 4, episode 2 – 9/14/2012

Show Date: Sep 14, 2012

Show Name: Infected Oats

Show Number: 2 .

News – My Top 5

Talking about stuff

  • Recap from last week – fallout from the Fishboy show
  • Sean is “not as polite as other people”
  • MidnightDBA Code of Honor! See www.MidnightDBA.com/Jen for the blog (starting Monday)…
  • “We need to get off of SQL backups…they’re legacy!”
  • Sean’s filming the basic SQL course for TrainSignal!
  • Season cliffhanger resolve – Jim’s job!
  • Ready Player One review – Earnest Cline
  • Sean’s Powershell tech tip time!
  • Outside blog: The Professional Employer – http://blog.markrendle.net/2012/08/23/the-professional-employer/ 
  • Sean: “I think I’m calm enough now to talk about it…”
  • Jen: I had to tell a recruiter to piss off recently…


  • Kudos to the VP who moderated the in-office fallout from the Fishboy show.


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Season 4, episode 1 – 9/7/2012: “FISH BOY”

I’m putting up the show notes BEFORE we actually have the show, so this is sort of the plan we made for the show. Actual show probably varies.


Show Date: Sep 7, 2012

Show Name:____________________

Show Number: 1 .

News – My Top 5

  • @RachelAppel The first song played on Mars: Across the Universe by the Beatles http://bit.ly/NWsyHL #curiosity #fb
  • @YourAnonNews No person is born great; great people become great when others are sleeping. -African Proverb
  • LifeHacker: FindTheData compares tons of data side-by-side and is a research gold mine: http://lifehac.kr/3ipsZho
  • scalzi: THIS IS WHY YOUR ARGUMENT IS INVALID, featuring @neilhimself: http://bit.ly/Pn63Yk
  • joshacagan: Dirk Diggling #RejectedOlympicEvents /
    paulandstorm: [P] Fuck, Marry, Kill #RejectedOlympicEvents

Talking about stuff

  • Our famous screen actor, George Maselli!
  • DBA vs .NET throwdown
  • Takedown bots: wired article. Note how Sean’s self hosting our videos has, in this sense, saved us a lot of headache. Really forward thinking.
  • Season 3 cliffhanger resolve – Jim’s job!


  • Cornhole of the week: Recruiter who asked several questions about my recent work, then asked if I primarily work with SQL Server, then asked if I would be interested in a technical position. “Did you just confirm that I’m a SQL Server DBA, and ask me if I’m interested in a technical position?!??


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Are you a functional DBA?

I’m going to publish this in some form or other on my primary blog, I’m giving you the draft first because I looove you…

I’ve worked with SQL Server long enough to have interacted with several hundred database professionals, one on level or another. I’m going to take that as license to tell you this, one internet friend to another: You’re probably not the DBA you think you are.


If you’re just starting out as a DBA or SQL programmer, then you likely know that you don’t know much. You’re spending your days working out the ways to do different tasks, looking up best practices, and stumbling over “Oh, wow!!” moments in various blogs and books. Good for you! Never stop studying, my friend.


You have a few years of SQL Server on your resume…maybe even several. You’ve worked for long enough, and/or for enough companies, that you feel like you’ve got the basics. You probably have a sense for your strong points…”I’m good with query tuning.” “I’m really an admin guy.” “I’m happiest elbow-deep in SSIS.”  You might be on a team with other SQL folk, or you might be the only DBA/dev/BI guy in a smallish shop.  Backups, security, user requests…got it covered.

The thing is, you don’t (bless yer heart).  Yes, I know you passed your MCITPLDLOMP last year, or whatever the latest test is, and good for you. But you haven’t picked up a book since, or made a conscious effort to learn a new thing.  Reading blogs is nice, and I’m glad you do…but reading blogs is not the same as studying.

This doesn’t apply to you? I see. Then you won’t mind answering a few questions…

  • What’s the difference between char and varchar?  Between nchar and char?
  • What are the requirements for an indexed view?
  • What should you do about blocking? How about deadlocking?
  • What does the sp_ prefix signify for a stored procedure?
  • Name three DMVs you use on a regular basis.
  • What’s the syntax to expand a data file? (No fair reading the last blog.)
  • Name three things that really bother you about the product.
  • Have you looked at SQL 2012 yet? Great. Now, have you installed it? Played with it? Explored Filetable, or any of the new cool features?

There’s tons more, but that’s a start. The thing is, at least 80% of DBAs I encounter in the wild* will get most of those questions wrong.  If you have 5-10 years of SQL Server administration on your resume, and these questions lose you, start studying.

High level

High level guys? I’m not going to presume to offer you advice. I suspect you got here by study and experimentation, so you’re most likely in the habit. Just, you know, be sure you’re not fooling yourself.

Happy days, Jen McCown http://www.MidnightDBA.com/Jen

*In the wild meaning, away from conferences. Conference DBAs are often better educated, because they give a flying shit about their education. So say we all.

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Season 3 Episode 51 – “The Kingmaker”

Preshow: Where the hell is Matt? http://weowls.wordpress.com/2012/07/19/new-book-where-the-hell-is-matt-by-matt-harding/

Stuff and things…

Stuff we talked about in show:

  • Story: decommissioned server, misused protocol
  • Discussion: Inspired by Scalzi, a word about us and our credo…
  • The Kingmaker (new award!), and mini-rant
  • Email in response to fan mail
  • SQLIO unexpected results…
  • Hiding C# code
  • A beautiful argument re: deadlocks
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Tonight’s show – setlist in progress

  • Bits and pieces
  • Our dual rant on bad user interfaces, that turned into a big rant about Apple vs not.
  • Announcement: We’re starting to update iTunes again with our videos (both training and show).
  • Nice fan email: “I recently discovered you and your husband’s podcast/blogcasts and have become an instant fan.  As a new DBa (note the little “a”), I need all the help I can get.  I really like your playfulness and sometimes irreverent comments (keeping it “real”).  I am a firm believer that we need to learn from the mistakes of others because we don’t have the time to make them ourselves.”
  • Story: Sean teaching a coworker about scripting objects with Powershell. The guy laughed.
  • Bob Puserati’s “Eight Ways To Avoid Retaining Top Talent
    (‏@AdamMachanic Ladies and gents, nice to meet you. I’m “some guy on the Internet.” RT @SQLBob 8 Ways To Avoid Retaining Top Talent: http://bit.ly/PLuIdM )
  • …and the “not invented here” syndrome.
  • RANT! I can’t actually even categorize this one.
  • Also? A new Windows 2000 cluster.
  • RANT! The chew out that Sean slept through.
  • SQL Cruise – register now!
  • Non-fixing Vendor deadlocks, and their (not at all) BRILLIANT FREAKING SOLUTION.
  • “I put data in Office.” And?

And, a link provided from the masses regarding “the subtle science of penis metrics”: http://io9.com/5925851/a-totally-worthless-map-of-european-penis-sizes

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S3 ep48

Today I learned there are apps for timing your poop, and better yet, for calculating how much you earn during a BM.

This week on the show, we talked about some of these things:

The main show:

  • me: Recruiters: We will get along a whole HELL of a lot better if you ask, at the start of the call, if I have time to talk. #ShutUp #Breathe
  • Sean: Give up the idea that you’re on the same team.
  • Me: my rant on work-life balance
  • sers who create databases with spaces.
  • 0la’s scripts – flaws?

And random bits, links and pieces:

    • Phil_Factor@Phil_Factor Microsoft: We tried to use Azure ourselves last year, and couldn’t http://zite.to/MAyuAG
    • @patrickdba New blog post: http://tinyurl.com/7573kkw – How to Create Reporting Services 2012 Report Templates
    • @HanSQL Perhaps you mean Run For Your Lives, the zombie-infested 5k? http://bit.ly/pPwTtz
    • @NTSSUG RT @cognitivebi: Remember to sign up for the unofficial #sqlsat125 precon with Joe Celko http://www.cognitiveinfo.com/2012/sql-class/ #sqlpass
    • @SQLSocialite Thanks for being and ambassador for the SQL Community! RT @NikoNeugebauer: SqlSaturday in China http://bit.ly/MLuJut #sqlpass #sqlsat148 #in
    • @lifehacker Facebook’s jerk move of the day: they just changed everyone’s email without their permission. Here’s how to fix it: http://lifehac.kr/zcWp
    • @paulandstorm [S] Scream all you want, babies seated all around me on this airplane. EARPLUGS, muthafukkas!
    • @datachick Genetically modified grass blamed for mass cattle deaths in Texas http://zite.to/NxakKh < Really?
    • @SQLServerIO for those people that want to build a business on the back of other FOR PROFIT businesses using their data and API’s http://goo.gl/Px4Wi
    • @lifehacker DIY Outdoor Kitchen: http://lifehac.kr/RtXI
    • @SQLHA @SQLSoldier That’s what I was in the middle of when trying to watch @MidnightDBA last night.
    • @SQLHA [Blog] Even HA Guys Do Dumb Things http://tinyurl.com/7e656xo #sqlblog
    • @scalzi In four decades of the Internet, there has never been an article as maw-dropping inane as this one: http://bit.ly/KESll7
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Setlist for 6/22/2012

These are the things I’m thinking about talking about, with links and all…we talked about more than this, I’m sure.

Quick hits / preshow stuff:

  • Grant: Oooh, fun session to put together sometime, “Query Tuning as taught by Jules from Pulp Fiction.” Or maybe one on backups… (I said feel free to use this)
  • wilw: At this point, I have to believe that FunnyJunk’s douchebag lawyer is doing an Andy Kaufman bit. He’s suing CHARITIES: goo.gl/sceyo
    The lawyer is suing charities.
  • CraigyFerg: CBS, announces new reality series ‘Dancing On the Stars’ http://t.co/Iiw1zpnt” Yeah! Suck it ABC. #theycancelledthedrewcareyshow
  • @okgo says: Awesome new single-take video by OK Go friends @EytanTheEmbassy, setting a world record for most costume changes. bit.ly/LiNLZ8 (that is pretty cool)
  •  @scalzi – Just posted excerpts of one-star reviews of Redshirts. BECAUSE THEY HAPPEN, and one should just deal with it: bit.ly/M5l0Ag

Actual news:

Talking points:

  • Sean’s teaching our 7yo to use computers
  • Sean has a resolution to the vendor that put SA in INI files.
    “If you knew better, why are you still pushing this?”
    “Because nobody hardly ever complains.”
  • One guy tries to ruin work from home for EVERYONE.
  • NTSSUG meeting, Sean did NCC 1701 DBA part 2
  • The recruiter that pissed me off…
    Destin, in chat: “anyone had a recruiter go the interview with you to take notes?
    yeah and after the interview he make a list of postive and negatives to take the job . the manager at the company had to tell him not follow me around.” Daaaayum, man…
    We reccomend recruiter Brian Vice, with Teksystems.
  • Sean’s database mirroring story…
  • SSRS 2005 issues, IIS
  • “Show us how to script this.”
  • I wrote a great blog about what scares me off in interviews.

Other stuff we didn’t get to:

  • http://duolingo.com/ language learning / web translation project.
  • Via petri, free bandwidth monitor
  • Blogging: stop caring
  • SQL Cruise call for speakers has begun
  • Why bad jobs happen
  • RT @grrl_geek: I keep reading “nonkey columns” as “monkey columns” today. < #BetterSQLnaming
  • Instead of Abe Lincoln, vampire hunter…what about Dubya, Vampire Hunter?
  • Bit: What if IT folk acted like sales folk! Lots of loud cheering and high-fives every time we make a big tech win…

Note to self: Let’s do an entire webinar about work from home.

Idea for a short video: recruiter goes with you, cleans your face.

New award: Validation of Jen

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