WOW!  What an amazing time this has been.  I can’t say “Thank You” enough to Microsoft and all the generous sponsors.  The laptops are amazing.  Thank you so much, HP.  To a person, we’ve all said how awesome they are.  Back to Microsoft, you put on an amazing show.  I am honored to have been a part of it.

All and all, I guess I’m pretty pleased with my showing.  Technically, I never came in last for any challenge.  Even Mike, who won the thing, came in last once.  My goal when entering the competition was to not ‘look like a fool’.  I feel I did a good bit better than that and maybe even impressed a few people in the process.  The stress of the cameras, the clock, and a strange environment cannot be overstated.  It was tough. 

Sometimes we are our own worst critics.  We all worked extremely hard during and after the challenges.  We would come back to the house afterwards and study and compare notes on the day’s events.  Always looking to improve and not caring about the consequences of helping a ‘competitor’.  It’s a theme that plays over and over again throughout my career.  I can honestly say that egos and agendas were checked at the door.  It was some of the best training that money can’t buy.  If Microsoft Learning could bottle this up and sell it, they’d make a killing.  It was a great experience.  Because of that, I feel I’ve made friends that will last a lifetime.  To badly paraphrase a Top Gun quote, "Stacy, Mike and Alex can be my DBAs any day."  Congrats to Mike for being named the Next.  He definitely deserved it.

So where does that leave me?  I still love my job at the Texas Natural Resources Information System; I also teach a GIS data management class at Austin Community College.  In my spare time, I think that I’ll pursue an MS certification.  Meeting Bob Taylor was very cool.  Maybe some day, I, too, could be a SQL Certified Master.

Congrats again to Mike and all the other contestants.  Thanks again to Microsoft and HP.  Thanks to the production crew, Mark, Fred, Mikal, D'Artanian, all the Speeds (A, B, and C), Charlie, Mimi, Jaimie, Lindsey, Erika, and the rest of the crew.  You were great.  It's gotta be a tough job to make a bunch of database dorks look good on camera. Thank you so much! I had an AWESOME time!

Lastly, a special 'Thank you' to my wife for being amazing and allowing me to pursue a dream.

Here's a pic of one of the vegatable stands at Pike's Place Market.  It's the real deal.  Alex and I were there grabbing breakfast at Lowell's.  Great grub.  Highly recommended!

Also, check out my last video blog.  Please excuse Alex's potty mouth. ;-p