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Archive for the ‘General’ Category

5
Nov

Week in Review 11/5/17

   Posted by: jasoncbunn

November already… time keeps marching on.  It’s always a sad day when standard time returns; it gets dark so early.  This year one of the maple trees is hanging onto about half its leaves so it will be cold when the fall cleanup is done.  There’s so much more that can be done outside, but it is not a priority with four kids in school and both parents on their own education journeys, not to mention either full or multiple part time jobs.  Something has to give and often it’s the outside maintenance.  Frustrating for the neighbors (both of whom are retired) I’m sure, but they have to just deal with it.

There are news reports that Pope Francis is exploring the idea of a married priesthood.  I can’t imagine that being a good thing– there are so many burdens already on a priest’s shoulders.  They engage in the full spectrum of life’s journey, from baptism to funerals, highest joys and deepest sorrows, facing mankind’s greatest and worst endeavors, every single day.  So somehow it is a good idea to add the burdens (and joys) of marriage and family life?  I find it hard to believe this will do anything to solve the priest shortage without creating another type of crisis.  But, it’s just another reason I’m glad I’m not in charge.  Pray for the Holy Father.

The weight loss train is inching ahead after a couple month stall.  At least this week has shown some good numbers.  Our detox program with our functional medicine doctor begins tomorrow.  In a colossal act of poor planning, we signed up for a detox that runs through Thanksgiving.  No caffeine, grains, sweets, dairy, or eggs.  I’m scouring the internet for alternative recipes that don’t sound like you need a chemistry degree to sort it out.

As of this afternoon, I’m down to my last courses towards my MBA as I finished up Business Analytics.  The rest of the quarter will include the remaining weeks of the New Business class and the executive capstone.  Full steam ahead towards December 17.

21
Oct

It has been a long road…

   Posted by: jasoncbunn

…Getting from there to here…It’s been a long time…But my time is finally here (opening song, Star Trek Enterprise series).

I’ve heard that hard-core Trek fans hated that song.  I always liked it.  Anyway, it’s been more than 18 months since I’ve posted on this blog.  Somehow, letting it slide into history doesn’t seem right.  I will be restarting.  I have no particular agenda in mind and no thoughts about any particular message to share.  I have my opinions, many of which I’d rather not cement into cyberspace for all of history.  But I think it is good to reflect, recap, and document one’s journey through life.  Just since my last post,

  • In a worldwide surprise, the UK decided to exit the European Union.  Then, the USA, not to be outdone, told the Brits to “hold my beer” and proceeded to elect Donald J. Trump as the 45th President of the United States.  As a Catholic who strives to travel the orthodox road, this presents all kinds of conflicting thoughts.  As a paradoxical conservative with African American roots, even more conflicting thoughts.
  • I’ve lost 60 pounds since the beginning of this year.  It’s a long and difficult journey and I’ve been stalled for a month, but I feel like I’ve at least proven to myself it is possible to lose weight.  This was a comfort when I had a night’s stay in the hospital for some heart observation.
  • Our small business has, well, paused.  We were distributors for Wellness International Network for about 12 years.  For 11.5 of those years, we were more or less retailers, never succeeding in the direct sales recruiting aspect of the business.  Earlier this month the founders abruptly closed the company.  Luckily we were able to sell our inventory.  We will be refocusing on some broader angles in health and wellness.
  • I started an MBA journey through the Jack Welch Management Institute.  I should be finished by the end of 2017.  I will be standing up another site to reflect upon my professional experience at DataRocketScience soon

So I will use this blog to comment and reflect on whatever comes to mind.  I will not be the most eloquent speaker, nor am I looking for an audience.  But I will share success, learn from failure, and if that resonates with someone out there on the interwebs, so much the better.

3
Jan

A Sunday day of rest

   Posted by: jasoncbunn

I don’t suppose when the Church established the idea of a day of rest, we’re supposed to rest from our healthy living initiatives, but that’s what happened.  Started out well enough, but today was a special mommy and daddy day for DD2.  She had an outing with just the parents and herself, no siblings, as a Christmas gift.  So, lunch out, a movie, and bringing pizza home.  Not exactly a wonderful example of healthy living, but hey, it’s a special day for the girl, and Sunday.  Back on track tomorrow.

Christmas break is now over at the office, so we begin a new year with the dreaded season of performance reviews.  The system isn’t too bad at our office.  I’m pretty protective of my 1 on 1 meetings with my team, which we try to have weekly.  Thus, the annual review shouldn’t be a surprise.  The idea is to summarize what should be obvious during the year, and to set the stage for growth in the next year.  It’s more time consuming than anything else, but a valuable part of the process.

2
Jan

January Goals and Plans

   Posted by: jasoncbunn

So, it’s Saturday evening, the second day of the year.  Yesterday was not a bad start.  Of course, we ended up at a restaurant for breakfast and I didn’t go completely overboard, but it could have been better.  There is so much confusion about the right way to eat.  For some, the 500 calorie “fit fare,” or whatever it is called where you dine out, is the way to go with low fat franken-food.  For others, layer on the fat, but sugar is the enemy.  Add in the vegetarians and fruit-fanatics, and basically, you can conclude eating is hazardous to your health.  I’m still feeling the waters out in that department,  generally gravitating to a higher fat, low sugar and little to no pasta and bread as the way to go.  Of course, I grew up in Central NJ, with Italian food as a way of life, and pasta and breads are a big part of that.  Challenges galore.

So what are the goals for January?  First, I want to make the changes to lose 15 pounds.  It’s a lot, but back to my half-bodyweight comment earlier, it’s a drop in the bucket, maybe 10% of what I need to lose.  The trick will be getting it into my head that I need to approach this as if my life depended on it.  Because the reality is, it does. For the diet, that means getting rid of the soda, 64 or more oz of water each day, passing on the candy, sweets, and other junk, and portion control.  I should fire up myfitnesspal again to track the food each day.  Of course it’s a pain to deal with measuring everything, but it’s less painful than the consequences if I don’t get my act together.

Other goals for this month is to set up a meeting with a mentor for some advice regarding personal continuing education at the office, read nightly with my 8 year old, and get back to 10K steps per day.  I also want to post something here daily and read one management/leadership book.  I’m not sure I will ever have, or even want, an audience, but this is more like a place to collect thoughts and ideas and a place to look back on a phenomenal 2016.

2
Jan

2016 Roadmap

   Posted by: jasoncbunn

A new year, and a new attempt to record the journey. Ideally, this year either the idea takes hold and I am able to give back, and get something, out of this writing exercise or else I hang it up. The idea of capturing plans, successes, failures, musings, etc., still has a lot of appeal for some reason. There is a lot of accountability that comes with putting something “on paper,” even if it is electronic.

So, it is a new year, so let’s start with the objectives for the year. Professionally, I am in the position of leading ont of the most talented set of professionals in the organization. There are eight database administrators and two ETL platform administrators and together we’re essentially responsible for the availability and performance of several hundred TB of data assets across hundreds of servers. The details are not something the organization likes to publish, so I will be a bit vague about that. Suffice to say, we are heavily invested in SQL Server and are in a very strong position in the company. We have the ability to make such an impact on how the end user perceives the company. If the databases are running slow, if the ETL data loads are not running as they should be, there is a direct impact to the business. We had some great wins in 2015 and I’m looking forward to delivering more solutions in 2016.

Being the team lead has put me into an interesting position. I feel comfortable in the role, and do wonder how to best prepare myself for what other opportunities could be on the horizon. I don’t have any thoughts about leaving the organization; I’m pretty happy with the area and the quality of life it provides, but at the same time I hopefully have a good long career still ahead of me and don’t want to stagnate. This year I want to make some changes in that regard.

Personally, the objectives for the year fall into three categories– health, family, and personal growth. In the health category, without going into the details too much, I have a lot of work to do. Suffice to say if I were to lose half my bodyweight, I’d be barely, if at all, underweight. You can do the math. This is a lifelong struggle and I do wonder sometimes how it affected my career and especially my parenting. My kids have a couple of health challenges that are directly attributable to my generally failure in this regard. This must be corrected in 2016.

Family. I have a lovely wife and four wonderful kids, and we are what I’ll call orthodox Roman Catholics. Orthodox in the sense that we follow the teachings of the church, even when difficult. God established the pillar and foundation of truth not in the bible, not in a pastor’s message, and certainly not in my exulted opinion (thank goodness for that!), but in the Church. When I disagree with the church on matters of faith and morals, I do my best to submit to her will and strive to find the fault in my own. When it is not a matter of faith, I still strive to understand and weigh her opinion most strongly. In this regard, we can do better in our daily prayers, in habits of living the faith. We also homeschool two of the three oldest who are school-aged, and I want to get back on track there after a few sicknesses and a very busy December set us back.

When it comes to personal development, I need to read more and surf less. More writing, less TV. When the weather breaks, I want to do more outside and put in a garden, to take some steps in the realm of self-sufficiency. There’s a lot of problems in the world today and sometimes it seems like all it would take is a minor market correction and all we see around us can come crumbling down. I’m not planning to go off-grid and live in the woods somewhere, but being able to live for a few days or weeks without the crutches of modern day infrastructure isn’t a bad idea either.

At a very high level, that’s the lay of the land as I gaze upon this new year. I’ll focus in a bit more on January in my next post.

10
Aug

Turning a Page

   Posted by: jasoncbunn

Wow…big milestone today. Turned forty years old. 40 years since the summer of 1975 when I came on the scene in Newark, NJ. It has been a good ride so far. After 17 years growing up on the Jersey Shore, I was able to attend MIT for five years, graduating with a Master of Science in Aeronautics and Astronautics.

During that time, I was able to spend a few summers at JPL working on the Cassini spacecraft, which successfully launched in October 1997. By that time, I was in California working for Lockheed Martin, flying satellites for the Air Force. 2000 found me in Maryland working for Johns Hopkins University on several NASA projects, among them New Horizons that just flew by Pluto.

In 2001, the situation changed as I met my wife online. We were in Maryland for three years, and then moved back to her hometown in Wisconsin. That necessitated a change in career as there are not many aerospace opportunities here in the Northwoods. I moved into IT and found myself in the world of SQL Server database administration. Prior to 2006, I hadn’t working on any modern IT system and all of my programming work was in a quite different world of real time programming and embedded processors. But, I dove in and grew into a proficient DBA, advancing to lead a team of DBAs and Informatica Administrators in 2013.

Which brings me to today, almost two years into the management job, turning 40. I’m blessed to be married to a wonderful woman, we’re raising four children in a safe and vibrant community. We are proud to be Catholics and strive to make the faith part of our everyday life. I have a fantastic team of IT professionals working with me to manage nearly 100 TB of production data and an active Informatica ETL environment. Physically, I’ve arrived at 40 with everything working pretty well, although I do have quite a bit of weight to lose.

I’m restarting this blog for a few reason. I am convinced that taking the time to write and reflect is a good way to clarify your thoughts and emotions. It’s good to plan, and to see how far you progress. The occasional good idea is often lost when not put into writing. So we’ll see what happens. I usually conclude I don’t have anything to say, but once I conclude it’s for me, it may become easier to write and if it’s helpful for someone, so be it.

So I’ll be capturing the good ideas we have to advance the state of database administration at the company, sharing the journey to fitness for myself and the family, and probably share what it’s like to live as a conservative, orthodox Catholic in a culture that is increasingly hostile to such an opinion.

4
Apr

The blog- rebooted

   Posted by: jasoncbunn

It has bee a few years since I reserved this domain name and it has been difficult to get going.  There’s the primary question of what to write about, of course.  Do I keep it 100% focused on database administration and IT leadership?  Should it expand to other professional or personal interests?  Should I look to share my own ideas, or use it as a venue to promote the good ideas of others that I uncover?  Plus, do I have anything worth saying and can it be done in a way deemed useful to others?

Recently, I’ve decided to attempt to restart posting my thoughts and commentaries.  There are a couple of developments that led to this decision.  First, I read a great article at Success.com on how blogging changed the professional life of Jordan Fried.  While I currently have no plans to start my own business, the idea of branding, of developing clarity and focus, makes a lot of sense.

Second, I am finding that there is a lot of value in recalling how events transpired and how obstacles were overcome and how progress was made.  There have been a number of situations where a past solution has become the basis to solve a current problem, and I’d like to capture these developments as they occur since they could help others.

So with that said, I will see how things go this time.  I am not the Australian viola musician, nor am I the monopoly champion of the same name.  And no, I’m not affiliate with the Bunn family of coffeemakers, either.  So who am I and just what will I be writing about?  Primarily, I will aim to share lessons learned, war stories, victories and undoubtedly some defeats in my professional life as an IT professional.  Specifically, I lead a team of database administrators and ETL administrators for a midwest insurance company.  We help ensure the availability and performance of over 4500 databases in both test and production systems.  My job is to make sure the team accomplishes our objectives, while building confidence and camaraderie within our group, making sure that each individual is growing into the best professional they can be.

While the focus will be technical and IT related, I’d like to consider that I live a well-rounded life with interests outside of work.  Thus, I may veer off to talk about raising children (we homeschool our four kids- two boys and two girls), Catholic fatherhood and faith (I am a life-long Catholic and I consider my faith an integral part of who I am), or even health and wellness (I have a long running struggle to win the battle of the bulge, and may occasionally share how that is going or other insights from our small business that has sold over $1.5 million in wellness products online over the last 10 years).

If in the end there is an audience for my musings, and even better, a conversation, that’s great.  But at present, my primary motivation is to make this a habit, to produce a body of work that can be a record of growth and achievement, and to gain those insights that come from an examined life.

23
Mar

Pondering direction

   Posted by: jasoncbunn

This blog has been out there for over six months and so far, it hasn’t been much.  I haven’t posted much.  But I still think there is value in blogging, whether personally or professionally.  It has certainly been interesting in trying to ponder what to write about.  There basically three things that I could, and probably should, write about, for different reasons.

First of all, I’m a database administrator and a good portion of the SQL Server community give back in some why.  Many people write about their experiences, their trials and triumphs, in the professional IT community as a way to help someone that may run into that issue in the future.   I’ve started to do that and will try to do more.  I’ve actually had my first article posted online, Populating a Vertically Filtered Replicated Table, on SQLServerCentral.com.  So the blog is a good thing to do as a way of giving back, and also as a way to distinguish yourself as a professional.  If someone in a position to help you wants to see what you’ve done, just show them your blog.

A second reason to write is that I’m a Catholic father of four, ages 10, 8, 5 and 10 months.  Plus, we’re one of those wacky Catholic families that actually believe and try to follow what the Church teaches.  You know, all the hard sayings about contraception, abortion, divorce, co-habitation, etc..  While some medical issues have intervened this year to prevent us from having any more of our own biological children, we’ve always views children as a gift from God and adoption is a possibility down the road.  Catholics online are a small, but growing, group and it’s good to share what little reflections or insight I’ve gained, or what mistakes I’ve make (mostly the latter).  After all, it’s hard to raise saints, but that, quite literally, is what God calls us to do.

A final reason to blog is that social support and inspiration is key when you are trying to get healthy and lose weight.  I have about 150 pounds that I could lose.  That may be a bit too much, but let’s just say that the first digit on the scale is a 3.  I’ve struggled with this for a long, long, time and maybe, as I finally start to succeed, the story can help someone.

So there are plenty reasons to blog away.  The biggest obstacle is time, and a second is convincing myself that what I have to say is worth saying.  As for time, I can’t use that as an excuse, even with four kids.  I have the same 24 hours given to everyone on the planet, and at some point you just make the time if it’s important, even if you have to write a post with a 10 month old sleeping on your chest, as I’m doing now.  As for writing something worth writing, I did read today that you basically have write for yourself, from your heart.  Readers who resonate with what you say will continue to read, those who don’t will not, and so what?  In the end, it’s my blog, and if blogs started out as basically online personal journal, then its worth is ultimately measured by me.

So that’s my Saturday morning reflection, a first post for 2013.  We’ll see how it goes.