December 9, 2018

Oracle Cloud Day 2018 in Dallas, Texas

Oracle Cloud Day 2018 in Dallas, Texas
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for December 9, 2018

I flew down to Dallas for a couple of meetings and a chance to attend Oracle's Cloud Day event at the Hyatt Regency next to Reunion Tower.  That's a big ball in the sky they have up there.

The cloud day event was a productive one.  I met with customers and colleagues while also experiencing keynote speakers and hands-on labs for some of Oracle's latest and greatest technologies.  I love technology so always have a great time at events like these.

Oracle's CIO, Mark Sunday, gave one of the keynotes and talked about how Digital Transformation is changing society and businesses and is generally making the world a better place to be for all of us.  He also talked about how Oracle has transformed our operations from on premise technologies to the cloud which is a pretty impressive accomplishment for a company with 137,000 employees.  Quite a fascinating talk.

I stayed at the same hotel as the event which was the Hyatt Regency Dallas.  It's right next to the Reunion Tower also known as that great big ball in the sky.  I love going to the nineteenth floor, standing at the railing and looking over it to freak myself out.  It's hard for me to stand there staring over the edge because I think it  would be just so easy to slide right over it and plummet to my death.  I would never do such a thing, but it's hard not to think about it when looking over the railing.  I have a weird brain.

The best part of visiting Dallas is having the opportunity to see much of my family who live down there.  My sister, Tracy, her husband, Dave, my niece, Bailey, and my niece, Mallory and her family, all came to Village Burger to meet me for dinner on Wednesday night.  It was so great to see them.  I hadn't seen Mallory's kids in awhile and they've all grown so much and are so well behaved!  It was really nice connecting with them all.

On Thursday night, I connected with my old mentor at Oracle, John Eder.  John and I worked together for a year and a half before I took on my current role.  He is a 20 year plus veteran salesperson for Oracle and I learned so much from him on how to be successful in enterprise sales.  It was great spending a few hours with him catching up on the good old days of 2017.

I came home Friday afternoon and had to jump back in the car to go out for the night with our good friends, the Zitzewitz Family.  They're such an attractive family that we try to spend as much time with them as we can in hopes some of that rubs off on us.

We were actually in St. Paul to go to the Ordway to see the new production of Elf The Musical.  We were on the edge of our seats with anticipation for an opportunity to spend a few hours with Buddy the Elf.

Our seats were on the railing of the balcony, so I had to spend a few more hours wondering what it would be like to fall from this distance.  It wasn't nearly as far of a height as I was seeing at the hotel, but it still would probably hurt pretty bad.  I just keep wondering what if I have some secret bouncing ability that I don't know about?  It would be sad if I didn't ever get to use it.

The play was fun, but ultimately not as funny as I was hoping it would be.  We are such big fans of the movie so had very high expectations.  I guess it's just not easy to be as good as Will Ferrell.

Back home, we are excited to have Luke home from college for winter break.  He wanted to take Blue for a walk out on the lake now that it's frozen.  My mom and sister were really worried about us going on the lake, but I promised them I'd have Luke go out there first to make sure it was safe.

Blue was so happy to finally get to go for a run and chase the ball.  He's really sick of winter already because we tend to choose staying inside rather than bundling up and going out adventuring.  We need to get better at that.

The critter watching around our house has been fabulous.  The birds and squirrels seem really fat so we've been wondering if we should keep filling up the feeders or not.  I think we will keep doing it.  They can lose weight for New Years.

December 2, 2018

Minnesota Timberwolves vs Boston Celtics 2018

Minnesota Timberwolves vs Boston Celtics 2018
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for December 2, 2018

We had a bunch of snow this week in Minnesota.  Blue gets very frustrated this time of year because we aren't quite as excited to do things like take him for walks, go to the lake or to the dog park.  He has to settle for me putting on  a coat and throwing the ball in the backyard for awhile.  Needless to say, he isn't very happy about it.

Our albino squirrel friends have to be excited to have snow on the ground because they blend in much better so the hawks and eagles can't see them.  This little guy needs to stop rooting around in the mud so much though, otherwise he's going to lose his advantage.

Miss Sheri loves Christmas so she was ecstatic to have the opportunity to meet one of Santa's official reindeer at a local bank.  I thought about telling her it's not a real Santa reindeer, but didn't want to break her heart. 

On Saturday night, we drove through a blizzard to go to Target Center to see our Minnesota Timberwolves take on the Boston Celtics.

We debated if the snow was going to be too scary to make the 45 minute trip, but ultimately decided to go for it.  Glad we did, because it turned out most of the snow had already passed by the time we got on the roads.  We were raring to go to watch some good basketball.

The last time we went to a Timberwolves game, Jimmy Butler was still one of our star players.  That is no longer the case as Butler was traded for Robert Covington as well as Dario Saric and Jerryd Bayless.  The trade has worked out well for the Wolves so far as they've won 7 of 9 games since it was completed.

Karl Anthony Towns seems much happier about things now that Butler is gone.  It's back to being his team again and all the drama is gone.  Now they just have to keep winning.

Former President George H. W. Bush died the night before the game and the Timberwolves had a nice moment of silence for him before the game began.  He was a good man.  May he Rest in Peace.

At halftime, they promised a special treat and we were pleased to see a former America's Got Talent contestant do his balancing act for the crowd.  It's pretty crazy how this guy climbs an ever escalating tower filled with large pipes that roll back and forth while he's trying to balance up there.  I have no idea how you discover that you have a skill like this, but I'm not going to check to see if I can do it.

Unfortunately for the home team, the Celtics proved to be the better team that night and ended up winning the game by a score of 118-109.  It was a fun game to watch, though, and I am excited about the team's future.  We'll see how they continue to gel with their new players.