Letters to the Power Plant Men #36 — Sunburned at Dell

After I left the power plant and went to work for Dell on August 20, 2001, I wrote letters back to my friends at the plant letting them know how things were going.  This is the thirty sixth letter I wrote.  Keep in mind that at the time when I originally penned this letter I didn’t intend on it being posted online.

05/23/02 – Sunburned at Dell

Dear friends at Sooner,

This has been quite a week.  I’m glad I have a long weekend to recuperate.  I have had to use my brain, and my back this week to accomplish all the activities I had to perform.  —  I’ll give you a run down of what my week has been like.

I know this won’t sound like much to the Sooner Plant Super Heroes who climb boiler walls like Spiderman, and Leap steam leaks with a single bound like Superman or rip your shirts open at the seams like the Incredible Hulk when Jim Arnold asks you to do impossible tasks, but for your average geeky computer programmer like me — this has been quite a week.

First, if you will recall.  I had a meeting on Monday in “The Board Room.”  —  That meant that I had to drive diagonally across the City of Austin during Going-To-Work traffic.  Which meant, I had to spent half of the weekend before, playing bumper cars at the carnival just to get back into practice.

Well, when I arrived at “The Board Room”, there was this big long wooden table that looked just like one you would see in a movie where all the old guys are sitting around looking at an even older guy at the end of the table telling them what to do. —  Only, there weren’t any “really” old guys there — except maybe me.

There were people from Japan, and Europe, and Malaysia, and ….  Oh yeah, from America.  We sat around for 4 hours and while all the other guys were discussing this and that (which I can’t say), I had my laptop out on the table, and I kept typing away, like I was keeping notes.

We can do that because we have mobile cards in our laptops that allow us to stay connected to the network even though we have to take our laptop with us, like for instance….. to the restroom.  —-  Anyway.  While I was in the meeting I did write a quick e-mail to Ray Eberle.

Then when the meeting was over I had to drive diagonally back across the City of Austin to Round Rock during Going-To-Lunch Traffic, which, even though it isn’t as crowded, the people that drive during Going-To-Lunch time seem to be a little more agitated than the Going-To-Work crowd.  —  Anyway.  By the time I was safely back in my cubicle, I was totally exhausted from driving to-and-fro, and sitting in the 4 hour meeting trying to look totally interested and busy at the same time.

The next day (Tuesday) was our I/T All-Hands day.  We broke up into teams with people we didn’t know and did a “Team-Building” thing.  Each team had to build a raft, and then we had a raft race.

In order to build the raft your team had to go solve certain puzzles and do activities at different places in order to get the parts to build a raft.  It was a lot of fun, and by the end of the day I was totally soaked, from the part where our raft fell to pieces when we were halfway across the pond on our second trip.  — It was rather fun.  — Nevertheless.

I wasn’t wearing my hardhat because I didn’t think I needed it.  Now I realize why I should have worn it.  —  It seems that over the years while I have been wearing my hardhat, the hair on my head has been quietly getting thinner and thinner.  —  I think this is the first time I have ever gotten a sunburn on the top of my head.  —  You know.  The part where the hair is supposed to protect it.

When I had finally limped home, I went in the house and put a bunch of Aloe Vera lotion in my hair to soothe the sunburn.  —  I wish Gene Day had warned me about these hazards!!

Well, Wednesday was a fairly quiet day.  I spent most of the day in my cubicle studying for my next project which is still in the planning stage, and moaning from my aches and pains, only when I had to move, which was about every 5 or 10 minutes to keep my legs from falling asleep.  So I sounded like this all day:  “Oooohhhhh, typetypetypetypetypeclicktypeclickclicktypetypeOooooohhhtypetypetypeclickdoubleclicktypetypeclicktypeOooooohhhhh.”

Then Today, we had another All-Hands meeting, with a much smaller group.  It was my Manager’s Manager, so we had only about 40 people there.  We had to play a game called “Jeopardy”, except that all the questions were about Dell.  Our team won one game and lost the final round.  Anyway, my brain is still sore from playing that, because we had to actually “Think”.

I was given an award for my “Outstanding Contributions to the Customer Recovery Team.”  They said that my Business partners said that I had helped them out so much that they wanted to give me something.  — I was pretty shocked, then I remembered that I had fixed all their computers, so now they think I am some great guy.

That’s kind of what I did at Sooner.  —  Of course, I never remember getting a $100 dollars just for doing something extra.  It seems I do remember being told that I was an Electrician, and it’s not an Electricians job to fix peoples’ computers.  — Anyway.  That made me feel good to actually get paid something extra just for “helpin’ the team.”

My last thought as I left the meeting was,  “What?  No Hardhat Sticker?”  —  You know.  No sticker saying that I was a “Boiler Rat”, or one that said that “I survived Sooner 2 in 2002?”  — Bummer.  Just a lousy Hundred Bucks?!!!! (I’m just kidding of course — I have to throw in that line for the DellSecure Program, so it knows that I’m “just kidding”).

I hope all is going well with you guys.  I hear that, at least in OG&E downtown, the Quality process is picking up again.  Is this true?

It’s been good to hear from you guys, keep in touch.

Your friend from Dell,

Kevin James Anthony Breazile

_____________________

Kevin J. Breazile

Customer Experience / Warranty Cost

Dell Computer Corporation

(512) 728-1527

Letters to the Power Plant #35 — Not Boring At Dell

After I left the power plant and went to work for Dell on August 20, 2001, I wrote letters back to my friends at the plant letting them know how things were going.  This is the thirty fifth letter I wrote.  Keep in mind that at the time when I originally penned this letter I didn’t intend on it being posted online (Boy.  Times have changed).

05/17/02 – Not boring at Dell

Dear Friends,

Since I have been told that my last letter to you was “extremely” boring, I thought I would make it up to you by writing another letter that is only partially boring, thus letting you face the weekend with a chipper attitude that will make your weekend fly by so fast that before you can turn around you will find yourself back at work ready to make the Equipment Support Supervisor a “Hand”.

The first item of interest is that big empty space on the other side of this floor.  You know.  That space that was about the same size as the maintenance shop, only empty and carpeted.  —  Well.  This week it is still carpeted, but it isn’t empty.  They have been putting up cubicles all week.

200 new employees will be moving in that room.  So…. We all know what that means.  —  Yes.  No more laptops in the bathroom stalls.  —  That’s right.  The bathroom will be twice as busy as it is now, so the bathroom stalls will be premium real estate.

We won’t be able to afford the luxury of writing e-mails while contemplating the meaning of the universe anymore.  So as I look  around at these four stall walls and realize that “Change Happens” (It says something else on one of the stall walls, but it sounds kinda similar), I know that change is good.

Yes.  Just think of all those new faces I will be seeing every day.  In the mornings I will pull into my parking space just ahead of someone else who will be waving wildly at me greeting me with all sorts of wild angry expressions, (which I know will just be some people’s way of saying how much they care.

You know the expressions.  Yes you do.  —  You’ve seen them many times.  The Equipment Support Supervisor and Business Support Supervisor really do care you know.  That’s why they makes those wild angry expressions.  Didn’t you know that?).

Yes.  As it is now, if you don’t show up by 7:45, the parking spaces around the building gets sparse.  Just think what it will be like when 200 more people are working in this building.  Luckily we have the “Dell Shuttle”.  You can park way off over the hill and have the Dell Shuttle come by and pick you up every 12 minutes.  —  I prefer to arrive a little early, so I am able to find a parking space close to the door.

Well.  I have an interesting meeting next Monday.  I’m not sure what it’s totally about.  I know what we are supposed to be doing, but I’m not sure why we are doing it in the room where we are going to be doing it.  From what I understand, this meeting will be in the “Board Room”.  —  Yeah, like in the “Board of Directors” room.

I know that they are interested in what we are about to do, but I didn’t think they would be interested in what “we” are doing.  —  We shall see.  The room where this meeting is being held is not on the Round Rock Campus.  It’s in a special building that is located just down the road from Michael’s house.

I’ve seen Michael’s house from the Highway.  His house is literally about the same size as the town of Morrison. —  Just to give you an idea.  Remember that Michael is worth about $11 Billion. —  Do you remember my last e-mail when I was talking to you about all those numbers?  Well that is the same as saying 11 GigaDollars!!!!  —  I know these numbers are boring to some people, so I won’t dwell on them.

Actually, since I am risking another Extremely Boring e-mail, I will end this letter now in order to avoid the dreaded “BORRING” notice I have received from one concerned citizen of Sooner.

I hope all is going well with all of you,

Your Friend from Dell,

Kevin James Anthony Breazile

______________________

Kevin J. Breazile

Customer Experience / Warranty Cost

Dell Computer Corporation

(512) 728-1527

Letters to the Power Plant #34 — Big Drives

After I left the power plant and went to work for Dell on August 20, 2001, I wrote letters back to my friends at the plant letting them know how things were going.  This is the thirty fourth letter I wrote.  Keep in mind that at the time when I originally penned this letter I didn’t intend on it being posted online (Boy.  Times have changed).

05/17/2002 – Big Drives

Charles,

Do you remember the 20 MB hard drive I had on my first 8088 computer?  Then 200 MBs, Then 2 GBs (Gigabytes), Then 20 GB?  At home I have an 80 GB hard drive.  Well.  Anyway.  At Dell and Wal-Mart, and probably at OG&E, they are using drives that are Terabytes large.

Now.  To understand a Terabyte, it is 1000 Gigabytes.  A Megabyte is one million.  A Gigabyte is one Billion.  A Terabyte is one Trillion!!!  —  We have terabyte drives that store our databases.  We are moving over to a new database that will have a Petabyte (PB) of memory.

You can see where this is going.  1000 Terabytes!!!!  To put this into perspective.  That is 1,000,000 Gigabytes!!!!  No let’s go one step further, That is 1,000,000,000 (1 billion) Megabytes.  No, let’s call it what it is:  one Quadrillion bytes.  Or 1,000,000,000,000,000 bytes of information!!!!!!

Now I will say what I heard my dad say the first time he brought home a box of 10 low density 5 1/4 inch floppy disks, before there were hard drives.  “There are 360 thousand bytes (360 KB) on this disk!  Do you know how long it will take me to fill up just one of these?  I can put a whole book on just one of these disks, and I have 10 disks in this box!!!!  I will never use these up!!!”

Certainly, we will never use up a Pedabyte of space…….certainly not…….

I started writing this to just Charles Foster, but then I thought the rest of you might be interested in this exercise in Mathematics.

Note to Reader:  To learn more about Charles Foster, read this post:  Personal Power Plant Hero — Charles Foster

Your pal at Dell,

Kevin

______________________

Kevin J. Breazile

Customer Experience / Warranty Cost

Dell Computer Corporation

(512) 728-1527

Letters to the Power Plant #33 — Merry Christmas Power Plant Man — From Dell

After I left the power plant and went to work for Dell on August 20, 2001, I wrote letters back to my friends at the plant letting them know how things were going.  This is the thirty third letter I wrote.  Keep in mind that at the time when I originally penned this letter I didn’t intend on it being posted online.

It was not by design that my 33rd letter to the Power Plant just happens to be my Power Plant Man Christmas poem and today happens to be Christmas Day.

I have posted this poem in a blog post each year, and it was the first Power Plant man Post I posted when I began this blog on January 2, 2012.

Here is a link to the my latest version of the Power Plant Man Christmas poem:

05/13/02 – Merry Christmas Power Plant Man – From Dell

Dear OG&E Friends,

I know some of you have read this, and some of you haven’t.  I know it’s not the season, but I thought I would send this.  This is a poem I wrote to my brother a few years ago after he sent me a similar poem about a Marine.  Immediately when I read it, I realized that Power Plant Men were obviously in the same category as a Marine that offers his life for his country.  So I sat down at the computer and wrote this poem:

Merry Christmas Power Plant Men

Twas the night before Christmas, as I flew through the snow,

To a house full of kids, wife, dog and Jay Leno.

I came down the chimney with presents to share,

And to see what kind of he-man actually lived there.

 

I looked all about, and oh what a sight!

Four kids in their beds, without much of a fight!

A dirty pair of jeans, and a shirt full of holes,

Boots full of coal dust, worn shoestrings and soles.

A hardhat was hung by the chimney to dry,

With safety stickers, scratches, and earplugs nearby.

 

I felt that something was stirring in my chest,

And I knew that this man was different from the rest.

I had heard about men like this from watching Roseanne,

But now I was in the house of a Power Plant Man!

 

I looked down the hallway and what should I see,

A tool bag hanging behind the Christmas tree.

As I approached it to look at his side cutters,

I heard a strange sound, like a motor that sputters.

 

There on the recliner laid back as far as it can,

Lay the worn body of the Power Plant Man!

The hole in his sock showed a big toe that was callous,

From trudging all day through his Power Plant Palace.

His face was unshaven, his clothes were a mess,

He needed a shower, of that I confess.

 

I knew through the nation all people could stay,

Warm in their beds, until the next day.

From the power that hummed at the speed of light,

And silently flowed through the houses at night.

Day after day, and year after year,

Blizzards and storms with nothing to fear.

 

As the Power Plant Man lay on his chair fast asleep,

I thought about others like him that work just to keep,

Our world safe from the cold and the heat and the night,

By keeping us warm, or cool and in light.

 

I looked in my bag for a gift I could give,

To the Power Plant Man who helps others to live.

I found that nothing seemed quite enough,

For the Power Plant Man had all “The Right Stuff”.

 

As I looked through my bag for the perfect choice,

I suddenly heard a muffled cigarette voice.

The Power Plant Man had stirred with a shock,

And all that he said was, “just leave me some socks.”

 

Then he rolled on his side, and scratched his behind,

And a tear swelled in my eye that left me half blind,

And I knew that the Power Plant Man was selfless inside.

He lived to serve others with courage and with pride.

 

I pulled out some socks and put them under the tree,

Then I walked nimbly back to go up the chimney.

Before I rose to return to my sled,

I picked up his hardhat and placed it on my head.

It was then that I realized the soot on my brow,

Had come from his hardhat I put on just now.

 

I often get soot on my clothes and my face,

But tonight I had been blessed by the man in this place.

So as I flew through the night to finish my plan,

I took with me some of the soot from that Power Plant Man!

Kevin Breazile

______________________

Kevin J. Breazile

Customer Experience / Warranty Cost

Dell Computer Corporation

(512) 728-1527

Letters to the Power Plant #32 — Tough Questions at Dell

After I left the power plant and went to work for Dell on August 20, 2001, I wrote letters back to my friends at the plant letting them know how things were going.  This is the thirty second letter I wrote.  Keep in mind that at the time when I originally penned this letter I didn’t intend on it being posted online.

05/09/02 – Tough Questions at Dell

Hello Dear Sooner Friends,

I hope all is well with you guys.  I understand that the units are up and running and everything is going well. (Is that an overstatement? —  I think not).  It has finally turned into summer down here.  Today I had lunch with my fellow Bootcamp escapees (I mean “Bootcamp buddies”).  We went out and ate at a Mexican Restaurant right down the street from the Manufacturing plants.  We could almost hear those little elves tinkering away a few blocks down making computers for all the little boys and girls around the world.

I’m in a pretty good mood today.  I was just given a new project to program stuff in Oracle.  Since I haven’t done that before, this will be a great new learning experience.  I have started learning a new database language called PL/SQL.  It is similar to SQL (pronounced “See Kwul”), which I already (sort of) knew, but it’s different.  This project is similar to other projects that I have done before, but it is also different.

Oracle is somewhat like a SQL Server database, but it is different.  Actually, I feel like I’ve said this before, only different.  As a matter of record, the difference between each difference is the same type of difference that I’ve experienced in the past…. only different.  There.  Now I have said it, and I will repeat this later if you didn’t understand it the first time, only I will repeat it different.

Have you noticed that sometimes I seem to get stuck in a loop, and I have to struggle to get out of it?  I think part of that has to do with the way a programming language is structured.  When you write programs, it is common to write a loop where the same thing is done over and over, only each time the same thing is done, it’s done different (I mean, it’s done on a different set of data).

So you see, in programming, part of the program does the same thing over and over, only different.  — Just like I said the sentence prior to this sentence that starts “So you see…”.  It was the same as the sentence before it where it starts “When you write programs….” only different.  Luckily in programming you must always include a way to jump out of the loop so you aren’t perpetually stuck doing the same different thing over and over for ever.  In letter writing however, I have to include a jumping off point also, which I will call…. “the end of the paragraph”.

Whew.  I am glad I was able to get out of that.  I felt like I was looping so fast, my chair was starting to spin around — which was not only making me dizzy, but also making it extremely difficult to type.

Well.  Guess what?  Do you guys remember when our IT department spent the day at a place called “Reunion Ranch”?  The place where we went and played around all day playing all sorts of games in the hot sun?  Well.  Now the whole I/T All-Hands meeting will be held there in a couple of weeks.

We’re not just talking about the 500 people that were at the last one.  We’re talking about 3,000 I/T people all together in one place playing all sorts of stuff.  —  I think they should change the name from “Reunion Ranch” to “Geekville” at least for the day that we will be there.  I think I’ll bring my laptop so that I can program neat stuff while I’m waiting for our team to do “Tug-o-war”.

I received an e-mail yesterday telling me that I was on a particular team with a bunch of people I don’t know.  We are going to compete against other teams made up of people that also don’t know each other.  —  I can see that this is going to be real fun.  —  No one is going to know the names of the people on their teams, so everyone will be calling each other Kevin all day long, (since that is the most popular name at Dell).

I can see it now.  My head is going to be whipping around all day at every utterance of “Kevin!”  And my voice will be heard amidst the countless other Kevins saying, “Huh?” Whenever someone says “Hey Kevin!”  —  I’m thinking of changing my name to “Dave” for just that day.  I’ll just tell my team that my name is Dave, and so if you want to talk to me, don’t call me “Kevin”, just call me “Dave”.

Only I’ll probably forget that my name is Dave, so I’ll just sit around all day thinking that everyone is ignoring me and doesn’t want to talk to me, and I’ll feel that I’m being left out of all the fun.  Which may make me feel aggressive enough to try to knock my Vice President in the Dunk Tank.  (He’s so tall, if he fell in the Dunk tank, he would probably never get his head wet.  He would just stand up).  And everyone would be yelling, “Go Dave!!!   Go Dave!!!

Then I would remember that I told everyone my name was Dave, and then I will feel like a goof for thinking I was being ignored, and I will begin to feel foolish.  —  So what should I do?  Get a sore neck and keep my name Kevin for the day, or change my name to Dave and feel foolish?  —  Tough Questions at Dell.

Life used to be so simple.  Now…. It’s different.

Good to hear from you guys.  Someone needs to tell Gene Day that he should stop pouting and write.  Linda, Since the Birthday Phantom said his birthday is on the same day as yours, — You can tell him.  After all.  He’s your twin  (Only 30 years older).

Your friend from Dell,

Kevin James Anthony Breazile

______________________

Kevin J. Breazile

Customer Experience / Warranty Cost

Dell Computer Corporation

(512) 728-1527

Letter to the Power Plant #31 — Latin at Dell

After I left the power plant and went to work for Dell on August 20, 2001, I wrote letters back to my friends at the plant letting them know how things were going.  This is the thirty first letter I wrote.  Keep in mind that at the time when I originally penned this letter I didn’t intend on it being posted online.

04/26/2002 – Latin at Dell

Dear Friends up North,

I hope everything is going well with you guys this week.  The weather has been great the past few days.  It has cooled down and the grass in my yard has actually turned green (just in time to keep the Home Owners Association from coming by and slapping me with a fine for having yellow grass).  —  Yes.  Green lawns are important in my new neighborhood.

When I lived out in the country and I didn’t mow the grass, the neighbor would come over and knock on my door.  And as you might suspect, he would ask me the obvious question that I’m sure many of you have experienced, or you yourself asked your neighbors when their grass got a little too high.  He would say, “Mind if I let my cows loose on your yard?”

Of course I always refused, since I didn’t want his cows leaving big presents all over the yard, so I would say, “Naw, (My neighbors seemed to like it when I spoke their language), but you could mow it and bail it iffen you want, and I won’t even charge ya fer it.”  —  Well.  That worked in Oklahoma, but it doesn’t work in Texas.  At least not with my neighbors.

‘Round here (That’s in ‘Round Rock),  people don’t seem to see the benefit in having tall grass.  When people get a knock on their door around here because their grass is tall enough to be waving in the breeze, it’s not to see if they can let their poodles loose in your yard to leave little presents for you, it’s to tell you that if you don’t mow it soon, you will be in trouble with the “Home Owner’s Association” or otherwise known as the H – O – A !!!!

Of course, I have found mowing the grass in my neighborhood to be quite a different experience than I’m used to.  For one thing, you have to schedule the time you mow the yard with your neighbors, so that you aren’t mowing the grass at the same time as your next-door-neighbors.  This isn’t a requirement or anything, but if you mow your grass at the same time as your neighbors you run the risk of bumping your lawnmowers into each other as you attempt to turn the sharp corner at the edge of your lawn.  Did I mention that the yards here seem to be rather small.

I think I can mow my entire lawn three times with one tank of gas.  —  That’s probably a pint of gas. —  And that’s not because I have a super efficient lawn mower.  —  Sure I have to mow my grass often, but when it only takes about 10 minutes, what’s the big deal?  I could just get the weed-eater out and stand in the middle of the yard and spin around a couple of times and “voila”.

Did I mention that “Voila” means “There it is”?  —  Oh yeah, I did.  I also told you that “Voici” means “Here it is.”  And in Latin, “Veni, Vidi Vici”, means, “I came, I saw, I conquered.”  —  You actually use Latin a lot, but you might not realize it.

For instance, “Vidi” from the phrase above is the root for the word “Video”  You see how Vidi, means “I saw” and Video is something you watch?  “Veni” is the root for “Adventure”  which literally translated would mean “To go … ture (sure)”.  “Vici” is the root for “Vicinity”, which in Latin means, “I conquered you, you Nity”  (or something like that).  You see how much you can learn in just one e-mail.  All this wealth of information.

Working at Dell, I have had to change a phrase I used to use.  I have told some of you that I can speak every language in the world except Greek.  —  Of course, all those languages in the world that I don’t know IS Greek to me. (I actually told that to my mom once, and she didn’t believe me, so she started naming off different languages like Russian, and Chinese, and Turkish, and each time I would say, “That’s Greek to me.”  —  She must have named 10 or more countries before she finally gave up).  Well, since I’ve been working at Dell, I think I can understand every language in the world except “Geek”.  Some of the Geek dialects take a little getting used to.

I have finally figured out how to decorate my cubicle.  As you may remember, I never put my hardhat stickers on my hardhat (You know.  That safety concern about safety stickers hiding cracks in your hat).  Well.  I did save most of them.  So I have started putting Hardhat stickers up along the inside of my cubicle, as I find them at home.

I put up my 20 year and my 15 year safety stickers, and a couple of big round safety stickers.  The Red one that says, “Anger is one Letter away from Danger”  —  Which always made me think that “Cain is only one letter away from Crain”, and the one with the blue arrow pointing down that says, “Safety Starts with Me”.  —  I have noticed a lack in hardhat stickers around here.  I wonder.  What’s up with that?

You know, now that I’ve mentioned it.  I haven’t seen anyone around here wearing a hardhat.  I wonder if I need to be wearing my hardhat?  No one else seems to.  I’ll leave mine at home tomorrow and see what happens.

Like I said at the start of this letter, “I hope everything is going well with you guys.”  Keep in touch.

Hmm.  Haven’t heard from Gene Day lately.  What’s up with that?

Your Friend from Round Rock,

Kevin James Anthony Breazile

______________________

Kevin J. Breazile

Programmer Analyst II

Dell Computer Corporation

(512) 728-1527

Letter to the Power Plant Men #30 — Driving to Dell

After I left the power plant and went to work for Dell on August 20, 2001, I wrote letters back to my friends at the plant letting them know how things were going.  This is the thirtieth letter I wrote.  Keep in mind that at the time when I originally penned this letter I didn’t intend on it being posted online.

04/18/02 – Driving to Dell

Dear friends,

This morning I heard a conversation outside my cubicle that I thought was very interesting.  It was this morning after I arrived at work.  On my way to work I noticed that a policeman had pulled someone over apparently to give them a speeding ticket.

After I arrived at work, and opened my briefcase and took out my laptop and slid it into my docking station, the stairway door near my cubicle opened and someone came walking in, just in time to meet a friend of theirs right next to my cubicle.  They stopped and started to talk.

The guy that had just come in the door told the other guy that he had been pulled over by a “cop” that morning, just down the road.  I realized that this must have been the guy I had seen on my way to work.  —  He continued to tell the other guy that he was never going to do that again, not after the “B–t Chewing” he had just received from that policeman.

The other guy said, “You mean you aren’t going to speed anymore?”  (About this time I was standing up rather straight so I could look over the top of my cubicle, —  You know, so I could admire the wonderful new morning that was emerging out the window — That’s how I knew that…) The guy that had the ticket looked at the other guy rather puzzled and said, “H–L No!!!  I’m never going that SLOW again!!!  Not after that policeman explained to me the hazardous situation I was causing.”

Now the other guy looked puzzled, and asked him what he was talking about.  The Ticket man continued by saying, “The cop explained to me that I was going 40 miles per hour in a 45 mile per hour zone.  At first I thought, ‘so what’, then he explained to me, that I was creating a driving hazard for the rest of the people on the road.

He took me over to his squad car and showed me how the average speed of cars on that road was between 65 and 70 miles an hour.  If I kept driving that slow, there was going to be a bad accident, and I was going to end up dead, or even worse, ‘In the hospital!!’  I saw his point, so I told him I wasn’t going to do that again.  He let me off with just a warranty, because I was pretty new in Texas and didn’t quite understand these things.”

Then the other guy expressed that he was pretty new in Texas too, and now that he knew that, he was going to make sure to stay with the “flow of traffic” as it is called down here.

Then they each went their separate ways, and I sat in my chair and began to think about what they had said.  How many times have I just been dawdling along on my way to work, not paying attention to my speed, and causing a road hazard by only driving the speed limit?  I was probably lucky to be alive today, and (apparently) Really lucky I hadn’t ended up in the Hospital!  I consider myself fortunate to have learned this important safety tip “before the accident happened” (to take a phrase from the Yellow Flag film).  —  The things you can learn when you least expect it.

Drive Safely everyone,

Your friendly Dell employee,

Kevin James Anthony Breazile

______________________

Kevin J. Breazile

Programmer Analyst II

Dell Computer Corporation

(512) 728-1527

Letters to the Power Plant #29 — Dell’s Directions to Reunion Ranch for All-Hands Meeting

After I left the power plant and went to work for Dell on August 20, 2001, I wrote letters back to my friends at the plant letting them know how things were going.  This is the twenty ninth letter I wrote.  Keep in mind that at the time when I originally penned this letter I didn’t intend on it being posted online.

4/11/2002

Hey Guys,

This is just a quick note:  Do you remember that I said that in Texas, they like to have a number for all the roads.  Here are the directions to Reunion Ranch from where I work:  Take I-35 north, then turn Left on 29, then right on 183 then right on 3405, then left on 255.    —  See!!!  What did I tell you?  If you want to see for yourself, you can go to http://www.reunionranch1.com .

Just another note:  I-35 is an Interstate Highway (as you already know).  29 and 183 are Highways (HWY).  3405 is a FM (Farm to Market) road, and 255 is a CR (Country Road).

Texas Trivia.  Isn’t it fun?

Kev

______________________

Kevin J. Breazile

Programmer Analyst II

Dell Computer Corporation

(512) 728-1527

Letters to the Power Plant #28 — Evolution in Texas

After I left the power plant and went to work for Dell on August 20, 2001, I wrote letters back to my friends at the plant letting them know how things were going.  This is the twenty eighth letter I wrote.  Keep in mind that at the time when I originally penned this letter I didn’t intend on it being posted online.

04/11/02 – Evolution in Texas

My Sooner Friends,

Do you remember a long time ago, how there was this discussion about whether they should be teaching evolution in the schools?  You know.  There was an argument about whether God created the world in seven 24 hours days, or he made our world in some long drawn out process that took Billions of years to get to this point — since God created Time, and is not bound by it.  —  Anyway.  I have found “Evolution in Texas”!!

This is not the same kind of evolution, but it may be something that happened in England many years ago.  —  I’m sure you all remember the guy from Texas last year that would race up Highway 177 every morning on his way to work in Ponca City, and race back to Stillwater every evening.  —  You know, the guy that drove on the wrong side of the road most of the time because he was passing cars so fast.  —  Well.  I think this guy was involved in this evolutionary process that is happening to the Texans around here.

You see, there is a big traffic problem in Texas.  19 million people are all trying to get somewhere else as quickly as they can, so they can get done doing what they need to do, so that they can get back to where they were when they left.  And they are doing this everyday.  —  As you may have noticed with this green car from Texas that was zipping down Highway 177 every morning and evening, when he was driving in the other lane he was going just about twice as fast as when he was in the normal lane.

I think the Texans have noticed this on a grand scale.  There seems to have been an evolutionary thought process that has taken place, where Texans realize that if they drive in the wrong lane, they can go twice as fast.  —  Now, at first, what they had been doing, was driving down two lane roads in the wrong lane, and whenever they met an on-coming car they would both swerve back over into their own lanes just before colliding with each other and slow back down to about 30 miles an hour above the posted speed limit.  Then as soon as they passed each other, they would swerve back into the wrong lanes again and speed up.

This process of driving in the wrong lane at ridiculously high speeds has begun to evolve into one where the drivers don’t pull back into their own lanes when they meet oncoming cars.  If the oncoming car is in the wrong lane, they just stay there, and the two cars pass each other on the wrong side.  This way, neither car has to move over into their own lane and slow down.  —  I can see where this is going.

Eventually everyone will be driving on the wrong side of the road going twice as fast as before, and then (supposedly), the traffic problem in Texas will have been solved.  —  It seems to make sense to them.  — So I suspect that in a few years, Texas will be just like England, where everyone is driving on the wrong side of the road, and that will be the right side ( I mean the left side will be the right side — Well.  You know what I mean).  — I think that the traffic problems in England are not as bad as in Texas, and now I think I know why.  — We are just driving on the wrong side of the road!!!!!

I say this is an Evolutionary process, and if you remember what Darwin taught, it had to do with the “Survival of the Fittest.”  That means that whoever was best equipped would survive, because they would eat up or kill the weaker or slower animals.  — Well.  The evolution of driving in Texas has the same effect.

Those drivers that don’t use the right signals to the other drivers about their intentions of staying in the wrong lane as they pass each other, or those drivers that move over into the right lane at the last minutes and have a head-on collision with the person in the wrong lane, will eventually all be killed off, and then, only those people who are with the program will be driving.

So if Texas keeps evolving the way they are now, I suppose that in a short time Texas will have solved their traffic problems by having everyone driving on the wrong side of the street at twice the speed.

I hope all is going well with you guys.  Tomorrow is our All-Hands meeting at the Amusement Park,  I’ll let you know how it goes.  According to the Agenda, all the managers have to take their turn at the “Dunk Tank.”  —  That should be fun to watch.

I’ll talk to you soon,

Your Friend from Dell,

Kevin James Anthony Breazile

______________________

Kevin J. Breazile

Programmer Analyst II

Dell Computer Corporation

(512) 728-1527

Letters to the Power Plant #27 — Another Friday at Dell

After I left the power plant and went to work for Dell on August 20, 2001, I wrote letters back to my friends at the plant letting them know how things were going.  This is the twenty seventh letter I wrote.  Keep in mind that at the time when I originally penned this letter I didn’t intend on it being posted online.

04/05/02 – Another Friday at Dell

Dear Friends from Sooner,

Here it is, another Friday afternoon in Dellsville.  Not much has been happening today.  Next Friday we are spending the whole day at a place called “Reunion Ranch”  There is a poster just outside my cubicle about the place with a Reunion Ranch balloon stuck to it.

Some guy dressed up like a cowboy came around yesterday and pasted the balloon on the poster, and said, “Howdy!!  Are you going to the party next Friday?  I told him I was planning on it.  Then he said, “Well, Pardner, I’ll be a lookin’ for ya.”  Then he sauntered off, with his spurs a clankin’ and his chaps a-swayin’.

The poster says that they have all sorts of fun stuff to do there.  They have canoeing, and a beach, and a bunch of games, like Horseshoes, and softball, and basketball, and Indian Tepees, and Pony rides, and miniature golf and wagon rides, and trolley rides, and an obstacle course (this whole thing sounds like an obstacle course if you ask me), and a whole bunch of other things too numerous to mention.

We are supposed to spend the whole day there, just playin’ around and eatin’ BBQ.  They told us not to eat dinner the night before, because they want us good an hungry, so we can really enjoy ourselves.

Anyway,  like I said, not much has been happening today.  I have been doing bug fixes on a program that I helped modify, and now our customers are testing it out.  When they find a problem with the program, they write us a detailed description of the problem, and we go through the program code, and find out why it’s doing what it’s doing, and then fix it, and then test it again to make sure it works.

Anyway, like I said, not much has been happening today.  I have been writing a screenplay for the commercial that our team is making for the “Team Commercial” contest for next week.  —  All the teams are in a contest about who can make the best 30 second commercial about their team.

I wrote the thing, and we have been gathering up props to film it.  Then we’ll edit it on the computer.  The whole thing has to be on the computer when we submit it.  —  We have to drive around town and film stuff for our commercial.

It’s due next Wednesday, so we really only have next Monday to finish filming it, then edit it on Tuesday, so we can turn it in on Wednesday.  The big prize for the winning team is a two foot tall stuffed Mr. Potato Head that the team can display in their area of cubicles!!!  —  And of course the prestige of winning the contest.

I’m afraid that since my cubicle isn’t too decorated, that if our team wins, they will vote that I keep the Mr. Potato Head in my cubicle for the next year until the next contest comes around.  —  We are competing with over 35 other teams, so the likelihood of that happening is quite slim.

Anyway, Like I said, not much has been happening today.  I also finished planning for my next project which is starting on Monday.  It’s a project where I have to upgrade a bunch of software that is really shaky.  Whenever anyone does anything with this software it quits working.

So our team decided that they would let me do the upgrade for it, because no one else had time to try to upgrade it, only to have it fail, and then have our business partners all upset because the application doesn’t work anymore.  So, I start that on Monday.

Like I said, Not much has been happening today.  This is the first time I’ve had to sit down and write a letter to you guys all week.  My manager just popped in his head around my cubicle and looked at his watch, like I was crazy for still being here, (since this is Friday afternoon, and it is just about 5 o’clock).

I get the hint.  —  A couple of weeks ago, (the Friday before last), he invited our team out for a beer at a Mexican Cantina.  We sat around and ate nachos and drank beer and I listened to all the “Old Timers” tell stories about the “Old days” when things were very different at Dell  — Like 9 years ago when Dell was still a young company.  After a while I thought my wife and children would be wondering where I was, so I went home.

Anyway.  That’s what’s been happening here.  How are things up there?  It’s good to hear from you guys.  I hope everything is going well with everyone.

I’ll write soon,

Your Friend and Dellite from Austin,

Kevin James Anthony Breazile

______________________

Kevin J. Breazile

Programmer Analyst II

Dell Computer Corporation

(512) 728-1527