By now, you should have already heard the big news. Red Gate Software is sending a DBA into space. When I first heard about the competition earlier this summer, my jaw literally dropped. It’s an unbelievable prize, and unfortunately one I am not able eligible to win. But that’s OK, as I was asked to “star” in a series of short films based around the nine space-related questions and five SQL Server-related tasks that participants need to get right before they can become eligible to enter the contest. To find out more about how the contest works, and its rules, visit www.dbainspace.com.
When I say “star”, that is somewhat of a misnomer, as I am not an actor by any stretch of the imagination. But with the help of professional actress Nell Mooney (who plays Miss Friday) and award-winning director Will McGregor, I had a great opportunity to secretly spend three weeks in England, attending pre-production meetings, costume fittings, rehearsals, sound studio recording, location filming, and getting involved in some post-production work. The film crew included over 40 people, using only the best camera equipment and special effects. I think you will find the production values of the short films higher than many theatrical films.
While Red Gate Software could have selected virtually any type of prize and competition, I think the DBA in Space competition is a great match for DBAs, as most DBAs grew up during the Apollo and Space Shuttle eras, and many of them have a keen interest in space.
I can literally remember the day when Alan Shepard first flew into space on May 5, 1961. I was only four years old at the time, but I can vividly remember watching his Mercury rocket blasting off from Cape Canaveral on our black and white television. Even at such a young age, I knew that flying into space was something that I wanted to do. Like many kids from my generation, I wanted to become an astronaut. And like many childhood dreams, this one didn’t become true. But what is amazing is that this dream can become true for one DBA who enters this contest. Heck, who knows, maybe I will still get the opportunity to fly into space as more and more private companies begin space tourism, and the price of space flights go down.
While I didn’t become an astronaut, my interest in space has not waned. I have subscribed to Astronomy Magazine for over 30 years, and I collect meteorites as a hobby. In fact, I even started a meteorite website called www.planetmeteorite.com, which I use to help make a few dollars to help pay for my ever growing meteorite collection, which I briefly refer to in the first installment of DBA in Space.
Even if you don’t have any desire to go into space, you will still want to play along with the DBA in Space competition, seeing how the story unfolds over the next five weeks. I think you will be in for some big surprises, and hopefully a lot of fun. The story line is a little goofy, and perhaps even a little corny, but I think you will enjoy it nonetheless. Just remember, I am not an actor, so please don’t critique my acting too severely. Instead, focus on Nell Mooney, who is a great comedy actress.
When I have more time, I’ll give you the inside scoop on the filming. Right now, at PASS this week, I am much too busy to go into more detail in this blog post. If you are attending PASS this week, be sure to stop by the Red Gate booth in the Expo hall and find out all about the contest. Nell and I will be hanging out at the booth all day Thursday, so come by and say hello.
Note: Here’s a little tip if you decide to enter the competition. Take your time answering the questions and performing the tasks. Don’t guess. Instead, take the time to research each question or task, and answer carefully. You have one shot at each question, so give yourself the best chance you can of getting them right.
Nell Mooney as “Miss Friday”, and me, playing myself.