Producing human readable SQL script descriptions with the OpenAI APIs and PowerShell (a.k.a ChatGPT: I’m here for the hype)

Learning should be a joy and full of excitement. It is life’s greatest adventure; it is an illustrated excursion into the minds of the noble and the learned.
Taylor Caldwell

Perhaps I should have instead started with a better quote like “rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated” or something like that – you look like you’ve all seen a ghost! Where have I been you ask? Places. What have I been doing? Things.

I needed a break from blogging, and may still take more time, but I really enjoy playing around with new things and when I saw the hype around ChatGPT I had to get in on the action; it has produced some rather fine results thus far…


But people have been building out examples of where they can use ChatGPT in wider life, whether it’s producing the easy 80% of content which they then sharpen up and add more unique ideas, producing the wireframes needed to begin some more code or even just looking for a recipe for a vegan Shakshouka; it can pretty much do it all. As someone who has never really played around with APIs all THAT much I wanted to see what I could do with it.

I failed dramatically – turns out writing REST calls is not my favorite thing ever, so I turned back to my good friend PowerShell as it’s much easier to play with and I already understood the syntax etc. etc. and this is the result.

The Idea

A while back I was given a SQL script by someone who wasn’t quite sure what it did and how and they asked me to look at it to see if I could figure it out – I did but it took me a little while, I wanted to see how well ChatGPT handles it and instead of copying and pasting I wanted to see if I could just pass the file across to the OpenAI APIs. All you need for this to work is a directory with SQL files in and an OpenAI API key (and free account unless you wanna pour some money in – keep an eye on that, don’t go crazy on the free tier and end up spending load on it) and this was the code I used:

# Authenticate to the OpenAI API
Write-Host "Authenticating to OpenAI API"
$apiKey = "YourAPIKey"

# Set the path to the directory containing the SQL scripts
$sqlScriptDirectory = "YourSQLDirectoryFullyQualified"

# Get the list of SQL scripts in the directory
Write-Host "Getting list of SQL scripts"
$sqlScriptFiles = Get-ChildItem $sqlScriptDirectory -Filter *.sql

# Loop through each SQL script
Write-Host "Parsing SQL scripts and generating descriptions"
foreach ($sqlScript in $sqlScriptFiles) {
  try {
    # Read the contents of the SQL script
    $sqlScriptContents = Get-Content $sqlScript.FullName

    # Use the OpenAI API to generate a description of the script
    $requestBody = @{
      model = "text-davinci-003"
      prompt = "Describe the purpose of the following SQL script: $($sqlScriptContents)"
      max_tokens = 256
    $jsonBody = ConvertTo-Json $requestBody
    $description = Invoke-RestMethod -Method Post -Uri "" -Headers @{
      "Authorization" = "Bearer $apiKey"
      "Content-Type" = "application/json"
    } -Body $jsonBody

    # Write the description to the console
    Write-Host "Description for $($sqlScript.Name): $($description.choices[0].text)"
  } catch {
    Write-Host "An error occurred while processing $($sqlScript.Name): $($_.Exception.Message)"

It does a pretty good job – I passed it a script from SQL Server: Sample Scripts – TechNet Articles – United States (English) – TechNet Wiki ( to get all the indexes in a database (Clustered and No Clustered), to see how it interpreted it, and you know it was pretty good:

> Authenticating to OpenAI API
> Getting list of SQL scripts
> Parsing SQL scripts and generating descriptions
> Description for V001__StoredProc.sql: This SQL script has the purpose of retrieving all constraints in a database and creating a script to drop them. The script uses an inner join to join the sys.indexes, sys.objects, and sys.schemas tables on their object_
id and schema_id columns, respectively. It also includes a WHERE clause to filter the results by type, primary key, index_id, schema name, and unique constraint. Once the query is executed, it will generate a script that can be used to drop the desired constraints.

The Application

I’ve thought quite a bit about what options we have here – the script itself was a 15/20 minute lunch project is very simple and doesn’t even recursively scan the directory of files… but the potential is so clear.

In my mind the most obvious options to extend this in the future are:

  1. Code Readability-> often we leave a legacy of code behind us (or certainly people I’ve worked with do) and it’s uncommented or unformatted and we’re not entirely sure what it does – this can help partway to making that headache go away so you can focus on value added tasks
  2. Data Lineage -> pairing this capability together with transformations and existing code could help give youa better idea of where your change may be disruptive in your pipelines
  3. DevOps pipelines -> as you deploy changes upstream, maybe with a technology like Flyway, you accumulate a list of scripts to be deployed that have a short description in the filename, and you can do some automated testing, but sometimes you just want the changes boiled down into a single easy to understand summary – you could use this capability to pass in all of the scripts pending deployment to provide a human readable deployment summary, making it easier to catch bad behaviors like where people drop tables, because it’s in clear English.

So maybe give it a try yourself and let me know where you see this capability coming in most handy for you in the future!

Time for a new beginning…

I’m leaving Redgate Software, and those… are some tough words to write.

Over the past 6 years many of you have come to know me as someone who will talk passionately about everything from Database DevOps to Data Masking and Provisioning. I’ve created countless videos, blog posts, podcasts, webinars… and I’ve loved every single one of them.

It’s very rare you get to work for a company where the ties between you and your colleagues are SO strong; a company where the job satisfaction is through the roof and where you really care about the problems you’re solving – any customer I’ve interacted with will tell you, I am deeply invested in the success of solving some of the hardest challenges out there in the database development world. Redgate has been so much more than a workplace for me since I started; it has given me the space and the opportunity to carve out my niche and to develop both as an employee and as a person. There are skills and friendships I would never have developed, and amazing experiences I would never have had if it were not for this glorious place. I will never have a larger advent calendar, that’s for sure.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a huge proponent of the growth mindset, pushing myself out of my comfort zone, trying new things and always growing, learning and improving. Something that has become clear to me over the past 6-12 months is that the time is now: I need something new; a new challenge, something different that will push me further.

Redgate will always be the place that gave me my chances and for that I am eternally grateful, but it’s time for a new chapter in my life… the Collibra chapter. I will be taking my passion for data governance, quality, and compliance to a whole new level as I join them as a Senior Solutions Engineer. I wouldn’t be leaving Redgate, DBAle, my awesome team and manager (and of course my beloved Data Masker) if I didn’t firmly believe I was heading to an amazing company with the most exciting solutions, and I’m thoroughly looking forward to embedding myself within the Collibra ecosystem.

I very much hope to still be involved with some of the amazing community I have built ties with – my love for the Microsoft Data Platform has only increased, and I’ve been able to work with some of the most amazing people in the #sqlfamily – too many to name individually, but you know who you are, and I’m so grateful for every single one of you, hopefully I’ll still see you at Relay, Bits, Summit and the like.

For now, today is my last full working day at Redgate until my last official day on the 31st December, and the new chapter will begin early in the new year; it promises to be one of the most incredible and exciting years of my life and I can’t wait to get stuck in.

Thank you Redgate – it’s been… incredible.

I will be running for the Ridge, will you?

“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.”
Anatole France

TL;DR: If you love to walk, jog or run – sign up to a fantastic cause here to support a shelter in need!

The Full Story: This is going to be a reasonably short post, because I’m hoping if you’ve made it this far, you’ll read to the end.

This August, I will be “running for the Ridge“. This is an event taking place (virtually of course) where one can run, jog or walk any distance you like, as long as it is above 5km (3.11 miles) for Adults or 2km (1.25 miles) for ages 12 and below, wherever you like, anytime throughout the months of August and September.

For the last 2 months, I have aspired to be a healthier version of myself – I have managed to adopt healthier eating habits; removing a lot of the processed sugars and oils I was eating, not drinking alcohol during the week, always exercising at least once a day etc. and as a result I have managed to lose just over 12kg (26.5 lbs) and I feel so much better for it.

Running has been an instrumental part of the improvement in my quality of life and now I’m happy to be supporting something close to my heart with it.

So why this? What makes “running for the Ridge” special?

Well, because it’s in aid of Jacob’s Ridge – an animal shelter in Spain that, thanks to the impact of one nasty global pandemic, is sorely in need of donations in order to stay open and safeguard the well-being of the animals that it looks after, a cause deserving of support all in itself.

So that’s why this is special – because you can directly do something to:

  • Positively impact the lives of rescued animals
  • Positively impact your own health and mental well-being (in the form of exercise)
  • Do something nice with friends or family (at a responsible social distance where necessary)

To me, this just sounds like the easiest decision ever; run/jog/walk a distance of my own choosing, on my own comfortable running route and animals benefit from that? Amazing.

You will even get an awesome sustainable wooden medal for participating! And the cost? 12 GBP per person. That’s it. You can even get sponsored by friends, family and/or colleagues too if you want to contribute more!

So that’s it. That’s all I wanted to say. I’ll be running for the Ridge this August and you know – if you have a spare couple hours or you enjoy walking/jogging/running alone or in a group, think about putting it to good use and let’s get out, have some fun and do some good!

You can sign up here: – just sign up on the site and they’ll send you all the instructions direct to your email.

If you do sign up, tweet me @PlantBasedSQL with your entry number and I’ll give it a big ol’ like! I’m number 21 🙂

My wife and I started a food blog!

“Veganism is not a “sacrifice.” It is a joy.”
Gary L Francione

This is just a short one in the grand schema of things, you probably all know that I enjoy blogging but a lot of my posts end up quite long and rambling. This one however will be quite concise.

My wife and I started a food blog.

There. I said it.

She had been saying to me for some time that she wanted a place to take all the vegan recipes we make and to put them up on the interwebs for people to find and make and get as much joy out of as we do, so we finally did it. It stalled a few times and then eventually, like 2 weeks ago, we finally got the first couple of posts up.

If you’re interested in the sort of plant-based cooking we do at home, you’re looking to go plant based or just looking to help the animals out, you can find our blog right here:

We look forward to dining with you!

The Snug Vegans

Stop calling yourself an idiot.

“Be you, love you. All ways, always.”
Alexandra Elle

You’ve probably heard it a lot; in the workplace, at home, from yourself. The dreaded phrase “oh sorry, I’m just being an idiot.” It doesn’t always have to be “idiot”, it can be “moron”, “I’m being stupid”… the list goes on and on.

I’m going to say something you may or may not like, whether you do or not is irrelevant as it does not diminish it’s truth.

You are not an idiot. Nor have you ever been one.

Many people use this phrase to excuse mistakes they make or to emphasize that they know better but had followed a gut instinct to do something forgetting the best or ‘correct’ way of doing it, but that is neither stupidity nor idiocy. It is being human.

I work with so many intensely clever people, not just when it comes to knowing about DevOps, or knowing about SQL Server, but about things in general. Regardless of what the thing you know is, you know something and in many cases more about it than many people around you and you should take pride in that. I’m not by any means insisting that you should be arrogant or full of yourself, but you should be confident about the things you know and the experiences you have had that got you to that point.

Thinking less of yourself for simple mistakes (and that’s all they are, small, easily rectified things) is damaging not only to other people’s perceptions of you but it’s how you are reinforcing your negative perception of yourself. The more you repeat this to yourself like a mantra you undermine the self belief and self love you have for yourself, you are making a very simple but very effective statement to the world that you are not worthy.

Do you really believe that? If so, then it is time for introspection and a more fundamental soul searching exercise to lead yourself to acceptance and contentment. My feeling is though that 99% of people reading this will know that they are worthy, both of the love of other people as well as the love of themselves.

It is deeply rooted in the language we use and is an observed behavior that we grow up with and adopt into our own personal idiosyncrasies, so it is time to change up the language we use about ourselves. Take each mistake or negative feeling you have about your own knowledge, observations and/or performance and simply change the way you describe it to yourself, which can have a huge impact on how you remember and feel about that event. Challenge the use of negative terminology and use updated and positive self-affirming phrasing – you can find some great examples of this here:–talk

I’ll give you a key example as I am very guilty of doing this myself, in the hope’s that giving a personal context will allow you to more easily identify where you can give yourself some more love. Yesterday I had a meeting with the wonderful Kendra Little (who I have already spoken about a number of times on here, but yet again she comes to the rescue) where we were discussing an upcoming webinar that we’ll be conducting together. I asked Kendra for some additional time for us to sync up later in the week so we could best discuss the format for the webinar, do a run through and (ad verbatim):

“I need to know roughly when each of us should be talking, because whilst I would naturally be more quiet and let the super-expert speak, but I don’t want to come across as the creepy guy who joins a webinar and sits there in silence not contributing anything for an hour.”

Can you see what was wrong with that? The language I used to immediate diminish my own value, without even being conscious of it at the time?

Quite rightly, I was met with silence on Kendra’s part which was immediately followed up with: “Chris. You just managed to describe all of the key benefits of this model over the more traditional single models in detail, in a way that people will understand. I don’t think you have anything to worry about.”

That stuck with me all evening and on reflection on how I spoke about myself I realize how right Kendra is. I am here for a reason, I was invited to participate in the webinar for a reason, and people care what I have to say.

So take some time for you, take a good hard look at how you speak about yourself, your accomplishments and your mistakes and realize, you are anything but an idiot. You are wonderful.

Not letting stress take over, give yourself a moment

“The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it.”
Sydney J. Harris

I work in a bustling, high-pressure environment. As a Sales engineer I could be called on to do, well, pretty much anything at the last minute – and particularly at the end of quarters when there are big pushes to try and hit various targets you never know quite what you’ll be doing day to day. Will I be on site with a customer this week? Will I be doing 6 product demonstrations in a single day or one long 3-hour remote troubleshooting session?

It could be anything.

It makes my job exciting and I love the prospect of having to be on my metaphorical toes, but for me and those around me it can be exhausting. Yes it’s exciting, but never getting what I like to call “work down time” i.e. time you can use to learn something knew, tinker with a problem you’ve been thinking about for a while, can become detrimental to your mental state as the pressure starts to build.

This problem isn’t restricted to a sales environment – it can occur anywhere there is a high pressure workload, deadlines or unpredictability.

Stress is a hormonal response from the body. Adrenaline and cortisol (and others) force your body into this “ready” state where you’re constantly ready to fight or flee and it is a state that should be reserved for occasions we require it. To be in a high pressure, high stress job where you constantly feel worn out, over worked and anxious for what the day holds in store can be not only problematic for your workload as you try in vain to keep up with everything (and potentially let standards slip) but it can also have big ramifications for your health, including (but not limited to):

  • Less and/or worse quality sleep
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart problems
  • Skin irritation
  • Anxiety
  • Headaches / Migraines

It’s obvious when you’re giving in to stress because you start making excuses. When we’re most stressed that’s when we find ourselves identifying ways to put off tackling the thing that is causing us the issue(s) or normalizing and rationalizing the problem. We’ve all been students at one point, putting off working for deadlines “well, I can pretty much get it done next week I’m sure” and even now as adults we start figuring out how much time we can sacrifice around it “well if I come in at 5am and just crack on with it, because no one else will be in the office…“. This is just another way for stressful activities to play on your mind and eat into our personal time and even our sleep. But that stuff is muy importante and actually, you don’t have to put yourself through that; many people consider stress to be a normal part of the job they lead like prison guards, astronauts and doctors. The key is to use stress to your advantage, be focused on the job at hand, but don’t let it overwhelm you, whatever it is you do.

Stress has always been something I’ve had difficulties overcoming and it wasn’t until 2019 when my wife and I ran an Action For Happiness “Exploring What Matters” course (check here for any courses running near you – they’re super cool!) that I realized I didn’t have to be a slave to stress.

There are so many coping techniques for stress but I wanted to just share 1 with you today (and maybe others in the future), but this is a technique I discovered in that Exploring What Matters course that you can put into action right now.

It has long been proven that meditation can have incredible health benefits for those who practice it, but the common feedback I hear on it is “but I don’t have time to meditate in the middle of the day! I have a job to do!” – whilst this may be true, meditation doesn’t just have to be sitting in a quiet room, cross-legged saying “hummmmmm” whilst sniffing incense for an hour until you find inner peace.

The video below will walk you through taking just a moment in the middle of your day to re-focus, to help you deal with stress. Sometimes we carry stress with us from call to call or meeting to meeting and all it can take is for us to deal with that build up to prevent it from affecting us and our work. I loved the course because it made me look at stress for what it was – not a big ball of mess that I had to carry everywhere with me and could do nothing about – rather, something I could choose not to feel if i didn’t want to.

I hope this video helps you as much as it’s helped me.

One thing I will say in closing though, and that is if you find stress is a big part of your daily life and it makes you agitated, anxious and weary, meditation might not be enough to help you get through. Stress can be like a big heavy ball you constantly feel is hanging from your neck, pulling you down and restricting your airways. However, things can change and you can change them. Speak to your boss, your friends and family, even a therapist about what is stressing you out; they may hold the key to help you unlock the root of the stress and therein lies the way to releasing it.

You are not alone, ever.

New Years Resolutions: Be more good.

“Work on your strengths, not your weaknesses. How many of your New Year’s resolutions have been about fixing a flaw?”
Jonathan Haidt

On New Years Eve just after midnight, my wife asked our teenager and I what our New Year’s resolutions are and that got me thinking. I’m famously very very bad at this.

Like. Really bad.

My resolutions in the past have always been about fixing a flaw, which is why I like this quote and why this year I wanted to change things up a bit. My wife’s advice, naturally because she is a superstar and very good at setting herself goals, was to set S.M.A.R.T goals (more on those here, pretty good for meetings!) so that by the end of the year I could measure success.

But I’m going a slightly different direction with 2020. It’s a big year and I would like to change for the better this year, but I should point out early that I’m happy. I’m happy with how I am, who I have in my life and my work. Contentedness is not to be feared, it doesn’t mean that you have just accepted a fate and you’re going to sit back and let it happen, and it’s not to be underestimated because it means that you can more easily fight the stresses of everyday life. I realize I need to lose some weight, but that’s not really a NYR, it’s a lifestyle change down purely to how I eat/drink and move.

So after some thought, here are my 3 New Year’s resolutions:

1 – Spend more quality time with those who mean the most to me

I have the most amazing family. My wife is incredible; people meet her thinking I’m nice and then they’re like “Ooh Chris is an OGRE by comparison!”. Our teenager is wonderful; she’s smart and driven and just generally going to smash 2020, of that I’m sure. My sisters, mum & step-dad, dad & step-mum, best friend and my close group of friends enrich my life and without them I would be no where near as happy and fulfilled as I am today.

I want to make sure I prioritize time with all of them when making decisions, but that’s not to say I’m going to be able to spend a lot MORE time with them necessarily – I will certainly try, but I want the time spent with them to be quality time. That means putting my phone down more often, listening better and offering help where it may be needed, making a conscious decision to work on my relationships and to think more about what I’m saying and doing to try and make their lives as wonderful as they make mine.

So this decision isn’t SMART in the sense it’s not really measurable. But it’s a conscious choice I’ve made and one I have already started to work on.

2 – Do more of what I love / be good to me

This may seem in direct conflict (or indeed the same as) the previous resolution, but it is in fact very different. The goal of this resolution is to take some of the time that was otherwise “dead zone”. You get 168 hours in 1 week – take away 56 hours for sleep at least, 40 hours for work, 10 for commuting and 2 hours a day (14) for sundries like showering, getting ready, food prep etc. and what are you left with? 48 FULL hours! What do I even DO with that?

I don’t even know.

But it’s time that changed. I’m going to do more of what I love, like blogging, cooking, walking, playing video/board games, learning Romanian and spending time with friends / calling loved ones. From now on, I’m going to walk in the door from work, or wake up on weekends and I’m going to ask myself how long I have before bed and how I want to utilize that and it’s going to be something that ultimately makes me smile.

Again, not super measurable, but a concerted effort to choose to be happier is going to do a world of good for me and everyone around me.

3 – Be a better human

Ok, this one is kind of an obvious one but I feel if you don’t specifically address it and call it out then it’s almost like you’re not taking accountability for it.

I’ve made concerted efforts over the past year to be vegan, primarily on the grounds of trying to lead a cruelty free lifestyle, but the one animal I want to help this year more so than ever (and we jolly well need it) is ‘people’.

As we enter 2020 we enter an era of unprecedented change. The climate is at crunch point, Brexit is causing a huge amount of uncertainty and people are struggling to be happy, healthy and loved.

So this point is a very simple one. I want to take every opportunity to:

a) Make a climate conscious decision – greener choices from removing single use plastics to ethical, sustainable foods and beauty products.

b) Volunteer for and donate to more charities who are helping the planet or helping those in need and don’t necessarily have the ability to help themselves

c) Make someone smile. Simple as. Try to spread some of the happiness wherever possible.

This is perhaps the simplest resolution in terms of scope, as every action is easily definable, but it’s going to the the hardest to enact. So that’s why this isn’t a SMART goal, because if I manage to do at least a little bit of the above, certainly more so than I have done in previous years, then I’m moving in the right direction and adding a little positivity and sparkle to the world.

So those are my resolutions

I decided I don’t really want them to be measurable because I don’t want to compare me as I am to my ideal version of myself. The moment I compare me to how I wish I was, I feel regret or shame for not achieving that ideal, two things no person should feel, because we should focus on our triumphs. If you have struggled with shame in the past, I highly recommend this video from Brené Brown.

Happy New Year! So. What’re your New Years resolutions?

Why I dont work on planes, and why I dont think you should either.

“Work, love, and play are the great balance wheels of man’s being.”
– Orison Swett Marden

I’m a big supporter of mindfulness, and treating yourself with the kindness and compassion you deserve, and which we as human beings need. When you go to work I’m sure many of you (like I do) give the metaphorical 110% to make sure that when you get a job done, it is done well… but it shouldn’t be at the cost of your mental well-being.

Some countries and businesses practice 4 day work-weeks to help people maintain a work life balance; others provide longer breaks, mindfulness rooms or meditation sessions (among others). Why do you think they do this? First and foremost, we can trace it back to the old saying “happy workers are productive workers” and assuming we, the employees, don’t get complacent with the benefits / perks our employers provide us, this really rings true and it enables us to do the best work of our lives and feel valued doing so.

I love what I do (notice I didn’t say my job). Having the ability to help people tackle some of the hardest problems they face in day-to-day life is a benefit all in itself, and hearing about your input being revolutionary to someone else just really can’t be beaten. So when I frequently come into the office at 6am to answer a tide of emails or prepare for multiple back to back demonstrations, or when I reply to colleagues in offices across the globe from my phone at gone 9pm at night; I don’t resent that fact… I thrive on it. I feel like I truly make a difference.

But what about when I’m asked to travel for work?

“Chris, can you take the train down to London? There’s an event we’d like you to be at!”

“I need you to fly to LA/Austin in a couple of weeks to help with some inter-office training”

“We’re attending an event in the Netherlands, can you fly out Friday and spend your Saturday on site?”

That’s great – I can’t wait!

But. Travel is work too. It involves taking you out of your routine, away from your family/friends for any length of time and genuinely requires you to be “on”. The whole process is exhausting; waking up early, getting home late, bustling airports, overcrowded train stations, uncomfortable hotels and sitting in traffic for hours on end – does that not sound like work? Especially for those of you (us) who suffer with anxiety in these sorts of situations. Even if you get that time back in lieu, it is time you will never really get back.

When you work whilst you’re travelling you just add stress to your existing stress and double-stress™ yourself – and the effect of stress on our body is well documented and blogged about (see here and here and all the smart people here!) and this creates negative associations and resentment. Resentment kills your passion for the thing you love to do, and turns it into “just work”.

So what do I actually do when I travel instead of pulling out my laptop and replying to someone’s questions about database deployments?

I stop. I relax.

Invest your time in what brings you joy and actually turn something tedious, time-consuming and stuffy into a fun and exciting journey. For many this could be anything from watching a film or reading, to personal development and learning something new, or even just watching the trees go by out of the window (not so easy on a plane but you get my point!) – but it should be something that makes you happy, we can thank Stephen R. Covey for this nugget of wisdom: “Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough time on what is important.” and this is something we can all stand to be reminded of occasionally.

You don’t need to feel guilt at the thought of not working when travelling, 7/8 hours at work followed by 4, 5, 6+ hours travelling is still at the very least an 11+ hour work day. Ultimately, taking time for yourself is the very least you deserve when you are travelling for your business.

If you’re struggling with this same stress though, you might well take the opportunity to explore what matters in your life and build a happier you. Happiness is a choice we make for ourselves.

So, what’re you going to do on your next business trip?

The 2020…ish blogging challenge

“Embrace each challenge in your life as an opportunity for self-transformation.”
– Bernie S. Siegel

I’ve always been a fan of a challenge and my family and wife will attest to the fact that I can be highly competitive. So needless to say on that day I sat with Kendra (see previous post) when she mentioned any kind of challenge I knew I would try and rise to it!

The idea behind this was that Kendra and I would blog every single week starting from… well, now actually! This is my (official) first blog in the 2020 series and it’s going out *hastily checks the date* on the 29th November 2019. “Why now?” I hear you ask, well it’s a great question. Kendra and I agree that having this challenge as somewhat of a “New Years Resolution” just gives us an opportunity to fail, like many resolutions do. There is no time like the present and we very much intend to live by that! So from now until 29th November 2020 I will (hopefully) be blogging… Every. Single. Week.

Utter madness, I know!!! But exciting nonetheless, and I can’t wait.

The rules are very simple:
1) Blog every week
2) You can blog about whatever you like, and
3) If you miss a week £10 (or $10 for Kendra) goes into a pot that at the end of the year gets donated to a charity of your choice.

I’m going to go ahead and supplement the 3rd rule with the fact that I intend to meet this challenge, and as that really only helps me, I will be donating a MINIMUM of £120 (£10 for each month) so that whatever the outcome I am still able to contribute to a great cause.

The charity that I have chosen is Mind, a fantastic UK based mental health charity which provides advice, support and information to help you through whatever mental health issues you may be facing. It is a charity very close to my own heart, not least because it’s a subject that affects us all but because Mind themselves have helped many people; not just in general but those close to me, and myself directly. They helped me to do the very thing I found impossible at one time, talk about it, and I will be forever grateful for that.

With this all in mind I look forward to steaming ahead into 2020 and (hopefully) filling this page with exciting and informative posts – just a sneak peak at what I have lined up, you can expect posts on:

  • Living a plant based lifestyle
  • DevOps
  • Data Masking
  • Azure
  • PowerShell
  • Travel and Culture
  • My feeble attempts at learning Romanian
  • and much much more…

So. Let’s go.

A retrospective on blogging and my journey so far

“We are products of our past, but we don’t have to be prisoners of it.”
– Rick Warren


It’s not how I thought I would truly begin my blogging journey but there you have it. Woefully unoriginal and yet beautifully simple. Just like me (!)

Once upon a time (aha, a slightly better start!) I actually had a blog. It was called CupcakesAndCircuits and it was to be a combination of the things I loved most which were: getting my head into the tech world and baking. This started out as a Tumblr blog (this was 2013, be kind) where I wrote my own posts and also re-blogged things shared by others, but as I rapidly sped down the Tumblr rabbit hole it became more about the queuing of blogs to go out at certain times, and getting as many followers as I could – at one point i reached over 1000 people with what I wrote but the quality of things deteriorated from there.

So I came to WordPress.

I ported everything that I would consider was ‘me’ to a new blog format and spent money (even though I had little at the time) and had a nice shiny page that looked great, was easy to find and over which I had significantly greater control. I published my first post and… got distracted. I only ever made it to about 5 posts, garnering a solid 10 or so likes and falling directly out of the start gate.

Why? I couldn’t say. There was a bit of an upheaval in my life and things went a bit… squiffy for a time. All I know is that it never went anywhere, despite still having the ideas for posts.

Roll forward a few years to PASS Summit 2019 in Seattle – I’ve been at the Redgate pre-con all day and gotten to know some lovely and inspiring people, talked about nothing but DevOps all day (whoop!) but I’m still feeling beat because, you know, Jet Lag is a thing. We all head out for some post-pre-con drinks and everyone is talking about getting some food but at this point there’s nothing left in the tank; I look to make my polite excuses and head back to my room (post something greasy, quick and convenient) but then hear Kendra (the almighty, inspiring, wonderful, incomparable Kendra Little) was doing the same.

So we decided to excuse ourselves together. Defeats the point of an early night but hey-ho off we went. We settled into a lovely stool at MOD Pizza just around the corner (hats off to MOD for one of the best vegan pizzas I’ve had!) and we talked about life, the universe and everything.

For a while I had been mulling over the idea of starting a blog, some kind of independent page that I could host my thoughts and posts on – these thoughts had been inspired by conversations with Alex Yates (DLM Consultant, rock star, all round fantastic guy) and Kathi Kellenberger (one of the loveliest, most incredibly knowledgeable people you’ll ever meet, and I hope you do!) but I had never acted on them due to the failure of my previous blog.

But Kendra wasn’t having any of it. She came up with the most fantastic idea for a blogging competition of sorts (more on that later!) and really pushed me to not let the past be my prison. I have learned so much, come so far and if I never fail, then I’m never trying anything new!

So do you know what I did? I went back to my hotel room, enthused and reinvigorated. I purchased some domain names, I set up a new WordPress blog and I got to work, no matter how tired I was.

Thus, PlantBasedSQL was born and this is where we find ourselves today. Will this fail? Will anyone hear what I have to say? I cannot be certain. But I am certain that I am trying something and I am very glad I am.