Wednesday, January 23, 2008

What a rough life I have

2007 was a busy year for me.

Quest Software released Quest Code Tester for Oracle, a tool that will (according to me, anyway) revolutionize the world of PL/SQL testing and more broadly development. It hasn't yet taken the world by storm, but it is off to a solid start.

I wrote and O'Reilly published the 2nd edition of Oracle PL/SQL Best Practices, a very entertaining book that I hope you will enjoy very much (if you write PL/SQL code).

I traveled to Europe a half dozen times, doing trainings for Oracle in eight different countries and many seminars for Quest, and also visited India for the first time ever - quite an amazing country with a incredibly vibrant, rapidly growing community of PL/SQL developers.

In fact, I traveled so much that I got two pieces of really horrible news during the year:

** American Airlines upgraded my status to Executive
Premier (which means I traveled more than 100,000 miles in the year - actually a total of over 130,000 miles). That means I can usually get complimentary international flight upgrades, and can hang out in fancy airline lounges.

** American Airlines also sent me a letter right at the end of the year congratulating me on crossing the 1,000,000 mile mark on AA flights. This means that I get a new frequent flyer card with a special "1M" purple icon on it, and now I am assured that my AA status will never fall below Gold no matter how little I fly in the future.

And this was all horrible news, because all it did was remind me of how I was sacrificing time with my wife and children to be a "jet setter." It's kind of weird...I found this person, Veva Silva, who made (makes) me more excited and happier than anyone else in the world, and yet I spend more time with AA flight attendants than I do with her (of late).

This has got to change.

I think that 2008 will be may last "life on airplanes" year. I am going to start pulling back on travel and adjusting how I spend my professional time.

In the meantime, however, it is only January, and I have already visited Singapore and Australia, doing trainings for Oracle and seminars for Quest. And I am right now flying to Auckland to finish up my tour and then head back home in 5 days. I am home for 10 days then off to Europe for a week, home for two weeks, then off to Europe for another two weeks. Craziness!

Yes, what a rough life. Let me give you an example from today of how rough it is for Steven the Premier Executive 1M traveler. Took a taxi to the Melbourne airport. Came in to the terminal and was confronted by a long line for check-in. At this point in my traveling life, standing in a queue is simply not what someone of my status should have to do. So there. So I looked around and found the Qantas Club check-in line, which is also for OneWorld ruby cardholders and above. I am Emerald. Even higher. So I got on that very short line. And a moment later, a very pleasant Qantas lady came over and asked to see my membership card, and then asked me to follow her. Did I do something wrong? No! I qualified for going into the small and very private First Class check-in room.

Okey, dokey. That was nice. So I waited about 1 minute there, during which I had the fortune to be able to hold hands with a beautiful little one year old girl who was very friendly. I almost was able to hold her - that would have certainly made my day - but then her parents left and so did she. So I checked in, and another very nice young lady asked me if I had visited the First Class lounge lately. No, I hadn't. Oh, I was told, you will like it very much. Great! I replied.

So off I went through the express Immigration queue (almost no line) and made my way to the Qantas First lounge. Now, on my way over to Singapore, I stopped over in Tokyo and visited the Japan Air Lines First Class lounge. That was very nice - completely putting to shame even the AA Flagship Lounges. They even had a half dozen shiatsu massage chairs. I sat in one for 20 minutes. That was fantastic.

But the Qantas First lounge was the most amazing of all. First of all, it featured several living walls - walls covered with real, live, green, moist, growing vines and flowers. So beautiful and it smelled so nice. Complementary wireless, sit-down restaurant with cooked to order food. And...a spa with free massages! Well, I couldn't pass that up, so after checking my email for urgent matters, I visited the spa. More living walls, soft music, running water - and a 20 minute personal massage that left me feeling both relaxed and revitalized and even rehydrated (just like their materials promised).

Then it was time to board the plane. And even though I only had an exit row economy aisle seat, and even though the open seat next to me was after takeoff occupied by a guy who couldn't stand to sit near a family with kids....I still feel very relaxed. Somehow, somehow, I will manage to survive this flight without sitting in a business class seat.

And that, dear friends, is just a glimpse into my rough life.

If only Veva could be traveling with me.....

[Update: at the end of the flight as we were waiting to leave the plane and enter New Zealand, I did get to hold a very cute little 7 month old baby. That was so nice....]


Unknown said...

Dont small children just bring a smile to your face. I see them with their parent(s), brother(s) or sister(s) and a big old smile comes to my face thinking to my self "You are lucky to have such a bundle of joy in your life.". I have two kids and have been married 13yrs (going on 14yrs in march)and still youth brings such a joy to my heart. So, I had posted once I envy your traveling life but I will have to admit I would be sad being away from my family so much. May you get a break soon sir you deserve it!.

Shiva said...


I am one of your admirers. Your last year HotSOS seminar was very witty and enjoyable.

Your writing reminds me of one of my favorite songs in my language - the summary of which is "To yearn for what you don't have is life".