Tuesday, November 18, 2008

#PASS Day 2

Day 2 - Which is actually t minus 1 to the true start of PASS.  The day before the summit starts is dedicated to volunteer training.  My first PASS event was in 2004, in Florida.  My family came along to attend Disneyworld while i was at conference.  At this summit, i was so new, i didnt know that there was breakfast served, nor a keynote.  So i would show up in time for classes, and attend, then bail.  I didnt meet up with many, or do much  networking at all.  The next summit i attended, i had been indoctinated in volunteering.  I loved learning about PASS board of directors, and some of the inner workings of hte summit and beyond.  I fell in love, and saw a huge benefit to volunteering.  I was a Chapter leader, and i volunteered to be on the Chapter Committee.  The next summit, i volunteered to be on a SIG, and had taken over a Regional Mentor role as well.  So, volunteer day is a busy one for me, and an enjoyable one learning so much.  I have not volunteered as much or as many years as some of the folks there, but we all remember each other, and know that we are making a small splash into this organization and helping it out.  Its great to learn the inner workings, learn about the finances, and ive attented enough of the volunteer trainings to see a wide variety of leaders and thier different ideas and personalities.  Its an amazing thing to see others doing similar jobs as predecessors in different yet very capable ways.  

As I set in the room, i would wonder over to the twitter world periodically, and catch up on the folks tweeting about what i was watching.  A little surreal.  the food is always good, and the networking is always even better.  Sharing ideas. stories, learning and fun times.  
We get an overview of the organization, its past directions and future directions.  We break out into groups in the afternoon, and get down to the nitty gritty.  I sat in the Chapter meeting with Greg Low and many other chapter leaders.  We all get to meet each other, and share ideas. 

Greg is a great leader and has such a keen eye for directing folks.  He is a gem to listen too and i always get great ideas from him.  As he is talking, i end up getting inspirations about how too run my chapter and be a better regional mentor.  I always come away with a list of items i can improve upon, implement, and attempt to be abetter volunteer.

After the Chapter meeting, i ended up talking with a few folks about ideas of transforming our user groups.  

I ran into Ben Miller and discussed our local chapters and issues surrouding them.  I have had a hard time the last 6 months getting presentors and a stable location to house my User Group.  We talked about some great ideas.  This actually made me late to the Opening Social and my manning the table at my Special Interest Group.  Luckily, not a lot of people were interested in the SIG, so i didnt miss a lot.  A few folks did stop by and talk to me, and i had a couple volunteer kinda.  I'm not sure that the SIG actually has been given a life, but at least a few were interested.  I had chances to meet up with some other folks, give away my MOO cards, and network.  This is what PASS is all about for me now.  The learing that i will get tomorrow thru friday will be great, but the networking is amazing.  

After the Opening Social, i made my way up to the SQL Server Central party.  Last year, i just showed up, and luckily Steve Jones let me in.  I didnt register with the SSC code, as i was sponsored with other codes, so i felt like i was cheating getting into the party.  I didnt play any of  the games, but just watched.  But this time, i paid my way in, got my book, shirt and chips for playing.  I ended up at a table playing 21.  I ended up getting 22 a lot of the time, and it was soon apparant that i had no idea what i was doing, but i had fun doing it.  I had others helping me out, even the dealer would raise her eyebrow when i suggested making a dumb move.  At a couple different points in the game, Steve Jones would stop by, and dump off some prizes to be given away at the next blackjack.  I watched Todd Robinson win and win and win.  Many a joke was made as his hugely accumulating stack of black chips, soon becoming yellow, and then finally blue.  I wallowed with my white and red chips, and the occasional green one i would trade for more red ones.  I bet slow and steady, and rarely won, but kept in the game.  Steve Jones stopped by one more time with a movie and an IPod nano.  It was blue, just like the one that my daughter Kylie picked out at the store as something she 'had to have'.  I made a few jokes about never being able to win it, but got close a couple times.  Each time i had a face car or an Ace, we would ramp up and cheer, hoping to hit a blackjack.  When it missed, there was oohs and ahs, and yelling.  The table next too us started wondering what they were missing.  After about 4 chances of getting the ipod, and missing, i ended up hitting it.  Got my only Blackjack of the night and won the IPod nano.  Woohooo.  An immediate direct tweet was sent to my family.
After the gaming was over, and we watched Todd Robinson win the 1st place chip leader, i headed home to the Sheraton with others.  After running into more PASS board folks i finally got to my room.  Now, im fighting getting iTunes installed and trying to get some songs to the ipod so i can use it on my morning run.

In any event, this is my report.

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