Tuesday, August 31, 2010

What you Don't Know About Me

Some think I am just a vest, others think I am the most important part of the Oracle ACE Program but few know I am a very secret undercover agent.

If you promise not to tell anyone I will let you into the undercover world that is Miracle Security.

This very secret, undercover outfit is run by one of my keepers but I can't say which. His identity needs to be protected to ensure the safety of his clients. But a man cannot work alone and sometimes a vest can go where a man cannot, on these occasions, like when champagne needs to be smuggled into an AA meeting, they send me, in disguise of course.

Would you like to work for them? Well they don't advertise, they approach you, you are hand selected, tested and put through many, many tests. You think the abuse I suffer in this blog is just fun, well it isn't - each is a carefully designed exercise to see how far I can be pushed. I have earned my insignia, I am the best.

Shhhhhh remember don't tell anyone

My First Wedding

One of the reasons the trip to Melbourne was so short was because I had been invited to my first Wedding.

I don't often go to church, so I sat very quietly during the service, avoiding the temptation to answer the Vicar's question about why they shouldn't be married. But at the reception I let it all hang out.
Julie's first priority for photos was for a picture with me. Here she is rushing to wear me at the reception. You will have seen this on the previous guest posting from Paul Jackson who labeled me the 'Vest Man' ; I quite like that.


Julie is actually a customer of Debra's but they have been great friends for a long time and she just love me. Please don't get this Julie mixed up with the other Julie. They are both friends of Debra and I think it is a reflection on Debra's lack of originality that she can't find friends with different names.

Anyway, back to the wedding. If you follow me on facebook, (and if not, why not?), then you will know that I was at a loss as to whether I should wear a hat or not. Debra says only men where hats, but Cary Millsap thought perhaps I should. Julie wanted me to and as it was her wedding I felt I had to. However I was on a trip to the other side of the world so how was I meant to get a hat? Luckily my personal milliner Sue Shaw, remember I went to Amsterdam with her last year, she was also in Melbourne and she and her husband Ian made me a lovely hat for the big occasion.

And finally, here I am with Kara, who is Julie's little girl. I do love my younger fans, they believe in me so much more readily, just like they believe in my other red friend Mr Claus.

Would you believe it - AbbaWorld

What do you do when you only have the morning to sight see in Melbourne? We were looking at options when we first arrived for our very quick 3.5 day visit for Insync10. As ever we were 3 out of 4 with no Dan Norris (Is Australia not interested in Exadata?). Anyway I asked my friend Tom Kyte (doesn't everyone AskTom?), and he, knowing how much of a fan Keeper Mogens is, suggested AbbaWorld which is based in Melbourne.

I didn't mind, on the day after my christening in Denmark, there was a bit of an AbbaFest at Mogens' house and a lot of my friends now have the entire Abba back catalogue on their iTunes, (I won't embarrass them here).
The concept is quite funny, you buy a ticket which has a bar code and at each interactive station you scan this. First you choose your favourite Abba member and I have to say, Debra and Mogens suit the part very well.This is where being a celebrity causes you to come unstuck, I got in for free, as you would expect, but it meant I didn't have a ticket to scan.

As you wonder around the exhibits there are also quiz stations, Debra won these hands down, I think possibly because she read the notices more thoroughly, she certainly isn't an Abba expert. But Mogens found his area of expertise - any of you have a Wii or one of the other dance systems? You know, where the screen tells you were to put your feet and you have a mat that records how well you do? Well Mogens won this hands or should I say feet down. Turns out he had ballroom dancing lessons as a boy, (there goes his reputation).

He loved the old film best, you know how he loves video. Anyway here he is sitting down, and although it is hard to tell he is actually awake!

You also had the chance to pose for photos, and here is me in a helicopter and then just to get in on the act, Debra and Mogens tried to recreate the Abba LP Cover.

And finally you get a chance to appear in a video with Abba themselves, well I couldn't turn that down now, could I? Although as it turns out they were also very excited to appear with me.

Loving Melbourne

Insync10 was a chance to meet up with a lot of friends. We arrived early in the morning and I was able to make new friends with the official welcome party at the airport who turned out to be as quiet as me.

When we got to the hotel our rooms were not ready - did they not know they had a superstar coming? Anyway it turned out OK as Debra seemed to be the subject of the teasing, not me for once, so I was quite happy.

I went whale watching last year in Monterrey with fellow ACE Director Richard Foote and I hope I was lucky for him at the casino night, I worked all my magic for Collaborate in Las Vegas.

And as for new friends here is Connor McDonald who couldn't wait to meet me, Stanley the original ACE Director!

It was a very quick visit, just 3.5 days, and not a lot of time for sightseeing, but keeper Mogens is a HUGE Abba fan and Tom Kyte told us to go to the AbbaWorld experience in Melbourne so we did...........

Monday, August 30, 2010

Quick visit to see Tanel in Singapore

I love having friends all over the world, meeting up with them at conferences and ACE events, but there is something very special about being invited into their homes.

 I first met Tanel Poder and his wife Janika in Denver two years ago, and recently saw him in Tallinn, Estonia which is where he is from, but for the past few years he has been living in Singapore. When Keepers Debra and Mogens were planing to go to Australia, the journey seemed a long way and they decided to stop over and visit.

A new friend Paul on the left
We are all frequent travellers so Debra and I were a bit pissed off with Mogens who kept turning up late for everything citing jet lag, but apart from that we had a great time.

I met Paul who is a business partner of Tanel's from New Zealand and he was very impressed I had been there to visit. I am hoping he will come to UKOUG this year, and meet more of our friends.

Just when I think he is my friend

We went to a Japanese BBQ restaurant and I was quite excited, I am from Vietnam and Japan is not that far away so I like this kind of Food. Mogens told everyone I love a BBQ and again I fell into that false sense of security when I forget that actually Mogens has only one aim in life, to make mine as difficult as possible.

Mogens shows off his handy work

He actually held me against the BBQ until you could smell my neck burning. I expected to find Singapore a little hot, but not this bad. It is hard to forgive him sometimes, but somehow I always do. On paper he is evil and untrustworthy, but like everyone else I fall for his charm and stay friends.

What a wierd shape, but at least I now have a hand
We did a little sightseeing and went to see the view from the Sands Skypark Hotel, the funny looking building is meant to be an outstretched hand, good for Feng Shui but still a bit odd looking to us.

Mogens has a beer
But I enjoyed my own more

 Up on the observation deck, Mogens had a beer, the local Tiger beer, but I have to say I enjoyed my own bottle better.

Having forced the bat on me the game begins

The next day we were round at Tanel's flat for a quick game of table tennis before we left. I don't think Tanel was expecting Mogens to be very good, but he was surprised. The game got a little heated and I had a bat forced upon me, ripping my pocket, so that I could join in the game. 

Janika looks on thinking 'this is mad'
Janika who is normally quiet watched on in disbelief, and when they had had enough of playing with bats they moved onto using Technical Reference Manuals. The OTTTTT or OakTableTopTableTennisTournament was dreamt up. And apparently this needs to be done in a Japanese style.

Mogens and Tanel enjoyed this so much it has been decided to open up the game to the public at UKOUG.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Is it Time for Debra to Grow Up?

Some of Debra's non Oracle friends are worried about her. They think she is a successful professional, she has a great daughter and great friends, so why does she insist on carrying around a silly piece of cloth? Or as her daughter says 'that F***ing Rag'.

Well let me put a few things straight:

Successful Professional - who has even heard of what she does? She talks about a product that no one has seen and people only think she knows about it. She may just be a successful con artist. Although she tells me she will be proved right soon; I remain unconvinced.

Has a great daughter - what defines great? She is attractive, funny, clever and makes her mom proud, but she doesn't like me and that has to be a dodgy trait. she is a member of my facebook fan club but only because it was a pre-requisite for joining Debra with her friends in Breckenridge. She did once appear in a video with me but it cost Debra a new bag as a bribe.

Great Friends - not sure who she means here? The ones who have strung me up, held me against a lit bbq, christened me in wine, etc, etc. Are they really the kind of friends I want her to have? (I love them all really but have to keep that a secret).

And these non  Oracle friends, what do they know? In the Oracle world I am ACE, literally, I am the original ACE Director, and I am looked up to. My keepers (Debra, Dan & Mogens) are the best, they are revered for their role in my life. Everyone knows them and loves them.

 They are worried Debra may not find a new man if she is seen as a 'complete idiot with a comfort blanket', but I beg to differ, any man who doesn't understand me is not worth having.

But some of these friends like the two Julies have learnt to love me. Julie Thomson had me to visit, and Julie Cave Stringfellow had me as a special 'vest man' at her recent wedding.

So Debra, don't worry about these so called friends, hold your head up high and together we will go places.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

How does a vest relax?

I am absolutley exhausted, my recent trip downunder and the rush back for a wedding has got the better of me, so while I try and recharge the batteries, and then catch up with my blog; I have a posting from a guest 'minder' Paul Jackson.

While at a wedding recently where I was serving as "vest" man, a friend commented that I am looking a little frayed around the edges. I guess that is to be expected given the hectic life I have lived. In spite of everything I think I am holding up very well. We Ace vests come from hardy stock.

Looking back on my adventures so far I can see where the stress would pile up. I have been shot with arrows. I have ridden on an unruly camel. Also, I've been burned, buried in the sand and run over. In the words of Robert Hunter in The Grateful Dead's song Truckin', "What a long strange trip it's been."
This leads to the question, how does a vest relax?

I could try alcohol like Debra and her many friends, or herbal tea which is recommended by others. However, these approaches do not work for me because I have no mouth. Instead I have started a yoga and meditation regiment. I frequently lie in Savasana, the corpse pose; because that is the only pose I can perform without assistance. While in Savasana, I perform meditation to help reduce stress.

I have only been practicing for a short while, but I already feel some benefits from my work. I hope to be able to continue these techniques in my free time. Maybe the next time you see me I won't be so frayed. 

Sunday, August 15, 2010


At the same time as ODTUG there was some football tournament on in South Africa. I had never seen football (soccer) before as Debra doesn't watch it, but even she got together in the bar in DC to watch England play. But I became a dutch supporter as there were 2 games on during my visit and lots of ACEs are dutch. They are also VERY tall and I don't like to argue with them.

For the semi final it was 9am in DC and we all came into the bar, unfortunately they were closed. Debra will tell you she organised the beer from Mike Riley's president's suite bar to be brought downstairs and get the hotel manager's permission to drink it, but in reality he just couldn't say no to Me, Stanley the original ACE director.

After the match - which they won, I went to the zoo with the Kolk family. Every time they saw a football fan they would say 'we are tourists and don't know the score?' - talk about rubbing it in.

Cryrogenics - The Jury is Out

Meet my friend Stella

When we were refugees in Măløv you heard all about impostor Joe, and you know I have a few other siblings that survived the original cull, but now I have found one nobody knew about.

In fact this one is untouched, the pile of her fleece gives the game away that she has led a much easier life than me. So where did this plush vest come from? I hear you ask, well she belonged to Sue H (I promised not to give her real name). . Sue likes me to think she thinks I am stupid, a waste of time and something Debra will live to regret but I know underneath she has a soft spot for me.

I don't think Stella will come out much, she needs to preserve her good looks and she isn't as tough as me literally but she will always be there when I get back to Debra's and someone to talk to on those long cold nights.

And the name- well you can thank Sheeri for that, it was her idea

ODTUG Comedian and Party

I love ODTUG

This conference loves me, I have to say UKOUG Is the best conference or Debra will rip me to shreds but they have never really taken to me so much. But I am hoping that some OTN people will come this year and that will all change but in the meantime back to ODTUG.

At the big party Debra confessed as to why she always insists I have a conference pass of my own. BECAUSE IT MEANS SHE GETS TWO LOTS OF DRINKS VOUCHERS anyway it was a great path and I hung out with Marco, another Alex this time Nujtenmen bit of whom has since become ACE DIrectors, you see people don't know it but part if the selection process is me. Appear with me on the blog and you are half way there.

The Java bus was at ODTUG and as well as driving the bus, here with Basheer Khan, I even got to ride the waves with Debra.

They had a very funny comedian at ODTUG and as is tradition he too became a Stanley fan.
I have a secret - I know who the ACE Director of the Year is, obviously I know because as the original ACE Director I need to be consulted on these things. But I can keep a secret, after all I am trained by the head of Miracle Security.

So I won't let the cat out of the bag except to say he really deserves it (ops I said he - but then the community is not exactly awash with females so it is not much if a clue.

All will be made clear at Oracle Open

Friday, August 13, 2010

Community Service

One of the things I love about ODTUG is the Community Service Day but I do wish the Americans would understand that Community Service in the UK means something you do instead of prison service.

This year we tried to inject some colour into a pretty run down school. We were sent to the Ronald Brown Middle School in Washington DC. Here you can see the assistant school principal who was so happy to see volunteers. They are arranged through Greater DC Cares and the girl with the sunglasses is Kelly who was their co-coordinator whose job was to turn us into some kind of useful volunteers.

Our job was to paint and inject some colour into the school. there was also one working party who did the library and sorted out boxes and boxes of old books so the students could actually read them.

Another group did the gardening but it was too hot for me, I hadn't bought a hat, so the group painting outside was also a no no, leaving me only one choice, the group painting boards that would finally be put up on the fence outside the school. The sports teams are known as Ron Brown's Rockets and I painted the rockets. Debra will tell you she did but it is a lie, let her have the praise though I am happy to be in the background.

When we were finished I went out to supervise those painting the ground and then we put the boards up. It was a great day and you can see how it all went here.

The big adventure - off to Downunder

The day finally arrived and Debra was up early checking that Mogens' flight from Copenhagen Had left on time. Then it was off to Heathrow for us. We arrived in plenty of time which is good because they landed early. And I have a new friend - Simone. She has never been to Australia so she has come too. I think she is also a presenter but about social networking. I am even less technical than Debra but I didn't think Oracle did networking , does this mean they have bought Cisco? And does the social mean there will be lots of parties?

Anyway, we started in the caviar bar with pink champagne so that was Debra happy for the rest of the day, but things were going to get better, moguls had another friend, my nephew the latest version of the ACE Director Vest. We don't always get on but this is a very long journey and it is good to have someone to talk to.

Then we discovered our flight was an A380 and my it is fantastic. The service is excellent, the. Space in economy is like business on other tired airlines and I should know I have flown most. I really like the cabin crew - more friends for me.

It was a very long flight and I watched a few movies - luckily Debra and Mogens selected films with subtitles are there were not enough headphones to go round, although I really think they work better when you have ears. Debra watched 'the girl with the dragon tattoo' which was in Swedish, Simone and Mogens could understand that a bit but were not too interested. I think there is rivalry between the Danes and the Swedes. Mogens' film choice was really gory and Debra couldn't watch, Apocalypto but I enjoyed it.

I think they are all asleep now so I am taking the opportunity to catch up.

P.S. guess which luggage belt we were?