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

Letters to the Power Plant #26 — Spring time 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 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.

03/27/02 – Spring time at Dell

Dear Sooner Friends,

The other day I had to go over to the manufacturing plant to show someone a program I had written.  While I was there, I was able to look out across the manufacturing floor and watch them building servers.  It was quite an experience.  It reminds me of what I used to think of when I thought of Santa Claus and his elves making Christmas presents for all the Children in the world.  —  This was one of the many manufacturing plants, churning out servers as fast as they could.

Tomorrow we are having a get-together with a couple of other teams for lunch.  We are supposed to play Pictionary, and get prizes and eat ice cream.  Then on Friday, we are supposed to take the day off and go to a team builder.  We are going to go Bowling, then lunch, then go to a movie.  We are going to wait until Friday morning to decide what movie we want to go to.  —  So you see, the rest of this week sounds like it could really be hectic.

I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. —  You know.  It’s like the Friday night before a Christmas weekend, when a big freeze happens and the unit trips for some unknown reason, and you end up spending your whole Christmas holiday trying to get the unit back on.  You know.  The same thing that happens at Thanksgiving, and Easter, and …..

Oh, and this week is probably going to be twice as disastrous.  Not only are we having an all-day team builder on Friday, but this is also Easter weekend!!!  —  I wonder if Dell is anything like OG&E.  I have spent the last three Easters at OG&E working on Easter day.

I’ll keep you posted and let you know if all of the sudden one of my programs goes hay-wire and causes the manufacturing floor to come to a grinding halt, so that I have to come out and work in the cold and the rain, and the coal dust and the fly ash with my fingers freezing as I try to tape up a piece of program with cold stiff electric tape in order to get the program back online as quickly as possible so that we can start making computers again.

Anyway.  I’ve never played Pictionary, so that will be a new experience.  It has been years since I bowled, so that will be an embarrassing experience.  I hope I bowl better than I play horseshoes.  One time I was playing horseshoes with Diana Brien, and her family, and I believe, that once I threw a horseshoe so wildly that it actually ended up behind me!!  —  I wonder if she remembers that.

I hope I can do better with bowling.  — I’ll let you know.  —  At least if I get it in the gutter, I know I won’t hurt anyone sitting behind me.  —  And to think we were talking about going Golfing instead!!  That would have been a hoot.  I probably would end up breaking someone’s window in their house with a wild golf ball —  Or maybe even the club.

Well,  I’ll let you know how it goes.  How is overhaul going?  Are you about to wrap things up?

Your Friendly Dell Representative.

Kevin James Anthony Breazile

______________________

Kevin J. Breazile

Programmer Analyst II

Dell Computer Corporation

(512) 728-1527

 

Letters to the Power Plant #25 — Faster 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 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.

3/13/02 – Faster at Dell

Dear friends up north,

It was fun dropping by this week and seeing the ol’ power plant.  It seems to make my job here just a little more enjoyable.  It was good seeing all my old friends (and getting older all the time).  You guys are always in my thoughts (as you can tell).  I know that was a quick visit, and maybe the next time I will be able to stay a little bit longer.

I have gotten used to doing things quickly since I have been at Dell.  Just this week I have finished writing the program for this quarter’s project.  I’m testing it now.  I’m about a month ahead of schedule. —  But that’s good.  They like to do things fast at Dell.

It just occurred to me the other day that Dell sells a computer somewhere in the world on the average of one computer every second (like the one they advertise on TV).  24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  That’s pretty fast.  See, they just sold another one…and another, and another. —  I’m going too slow.   —  Let’s see if I can keep up.  —  another.  another. another. nuther, nuther, nthr, nthr, nthr, nthr nthr nthr….

There, if I type “Another” like that (nthr), I can just about type that word as fast as Dell is selling computers.  Of course, I would have to do that all day and night forever, to keep track of all the computers they are selling.  —  Or, I can just look it up using one of the handy dandy programs we have.

There is a rumor that at the manufacturing plant in Ireland, they have hired Leprechauns to make the computers.  That way, all they have to do is twitch their nose, or wink, or something like that, and “voila”, the computer is assembled.  (see previous letters to find out that “voila” means “There it is” in French. — That way I don’t have to keep repeating myself  — or get a French – English Dictionary.

That way you will find out that “voici” means “Here it is”, and “veni” means “we came”, as in “Veni, Vidi, Vici” — Which means, “We came, we saw, we conquered”  — Sorry, my mind seems to wander while contemplating the meaning of the universe).  Anyway, that leprechaun thing is a pretty good idea.

See. Here I am, all proud of myself for being done with my next program one month before I was scheduled to be done, and guess what.  They have already given me two other projects to do at the same time.  If I hadn’t finished with this one, I would have needed another computer at my desk, and I would have had to dream up some way to work on all three computers at the same time.

Luckily this scenario has been avoided.  — I was already working on a program in my spare time that would write programs for me.  I hadn’t gotten very far, because my spare time usually consists of going to the bathroom, and I didn’t think I should bring another laptop with me in there.

I already brought one, and if I was trying to work on two laptops at the same time AND contemplate the meaning of the universe (isn’t that what most people do while they are in the bathroom?  — at least when their mind isn’t wandering), I might drop one at the most inopportune time, and create a mess of things.  — So my program to write programs has been slow coming.  —  If only I could write a program that would write THAT program, I would be set.

Well, it’s time to go now.  Someone is out there tapping his foot impatiently.  I guess all the stalls are being used.  — Time to get back to work.

Your friend down south,

Kevin James Anthony Breazile

______________________

Kevin J. Breazile

Programmer Analyst II

Dell Computer Corporation

(512) 728-1527

Letters to the Power Plant #24 — Old Man 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 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.

03/01/02 – Old man at Dell

Hello friends from the Artic Tundra of Oklahoma,

I just wanted to fill you guys in on the oldest and ricketiest old man on our team.  Last week I told you guys that we had received two new people on our crew and that I am no longer the “New Guy”.  This week I wanted to tell you about the “oldest guy” on our team.  He is quite a character, and I don’t think he would mind tooooo much if I talked about him.  As a matter of fact, I told him I was going to write to you guys about him, and he didn’t seem to mind.  At least he didn’t tell me not to, so I took that as a “yes”.

I asked this old guy what he thought about being the oldest guy on our team and this is what he had to say:  “I don’t know what all the hubbub is about being the oldest guy on the team.  I don’t look all that old,” he said, as he checked to make sure his dentures were in straight, and his pants weren’t pulled up too high on his chest.

This guy dresses about the same as everyone else, but he does have a few indicators that he may be getting on in years.  —  Understand that when I say that he is old, I’m not saying that he was born back in the same era when Gene Day was a youngster.  —  In fact, he’s probably young enough to have Gene Day as his daddy (though, let’s not condemn him to that doom, even in our imagination.  — Gene knows that we all love him, and we understand that his alzheimer’s has gotten a little out of hand these past few decades, so we tend to overlook some of his — well, his blatant errors in judgement, as well as his drooling while he eats).  — I only say those things about Gene so that he will write more often.

Anyway.  Like I said, there are a few things that this old man does that indicates that he is getting a little on in years.  For one thing, he reminisces a lot.  —  That means that he talks about all the things he used to do.  —  This brings to mind an old man that worked as a contract helper at Sooner Plant once named “Bill Boyd”.

I’m sure those from the electric shop remember him well.  One day Bill was telling us about one of the many jobs that he had worked on, and Andy Tubbs said, “I don’t believe you did that!”  Bill Boyd was so taken aback that he asked Andy, “What did you say? What do you mean you don’t believe me?”  Andy said, “If you did all the things you say you did, you would have to be 150 years old!”

To tell you the truth.  He did look close to 150 years old to me.  I remember walking in the electric shop office one morning and hearing a ticking sound.  I said,  “Bill.  I think you’re ticking.”  — He said, “Oh.  You can hear that too?  That’s my pacemaker.”  It sounded like his pacemaker was made of a little wind-up hammer constantly doing CPR on his chest.

Note to Reader:  To learn more about Bill Boyd, read this Power Plant Man Post:  Power Plant Raven Comes Home to Roost

Anyway.  I heard this old man on our team telling the new hires the other day that for years and years he used to be the youngest guy on his crew, then one day he looked around, and everyone was younger than him.  What a thought.

There is another thing that this old man does that tells me that he’s not the spring chicken he might suppose.  He drives a fairly old, kind of grungy car, and he’s not embarrassed parking it right next to everyone else’s Jaguars and Corvettes and Mercedes in the parking lot.  He just pulls up with his loose squealing fan belt and the squeaking struts, and grinding brakes and comes clunking along into the parking lot every morning, just as proud as can be.  —  A sure sign that this old man has a loose screw somewhere else than just on his car.

Which reminds me.  When I have time, I need to get my brakes worked on.  When driving on the freeways in Austin, brakes are very important. —  I think they call them Freeways because when everyone leaves work at the end of the day, they have this attitude that they have just been freed from prison, and they are all excited to get home as quickly as possible, and nothing is going to stop them.  Not even the 400,000 cars in front of them.

It is at times like this where good brakes are essential.  — Forget the advertisements about how a car can go from Zero to 60 miles an hour in 5 point 2 seconds.  Around here you need one that will go from 80 to Zero in 40 feet!!!

Anyway.  What was I talking about?  Sometimes I just can’t remember like I used to.  Oh yeah.  I was talking about this old man on our team.  Ok.  So you probably have already guessed.  Yes you are right.  I am the oldest person.

Yes.  I found out the other day that the guy that looked like he was about 55 with gray hair and wrinkles was actually only 37 years old.  He just smokes a lot.  So guess what.  I left Sooner Plant as the Youngest electrician for 18 years, to become the oldest programmer on my team at Dell.

I hope everything is going well with all of you guys.  How will the place run without the quick thinking determined decisions from Jasper Christensen?  I hope he has an enjoyable life —  in the “real” world.

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 #23 — Six Months 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 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.

02/22/02 – Six months at Dell

Dear friends,

This week marks my sixth month as a Dell employee.  The time has really flown.  It seems like just the other day I took off my coal stained jeans and put on a pair of khaki slacks.  —  My steel toed boots have been sitting in the garage unused (except for Halloween when I dressed up as Frankenstein).  — The calluses on my hands are gone, and my fingernails are properly manicured. —  The watch on my arm is no longer the plastic black electric resistant watch with the black plastic strap.  It is a gold watch with the gold watchband that I received for my 10 year Service Award from OG&E.  —  I carry a briefcase instead of a tool bucket, and it is not very heavy, as it includes only my laptop, a calculator, a breath freshener, and a spare floppy disk.  I can come to work when I want.  Leave when I want.  Go to lunch when I want.  Schedule a meeting whenever.

Another group of college graduates have started their career with Dell this week.  Our team received two of these “new hires”.  One of them came from OSU and was in three of my classes last year. —  They are the “New guys”.  —  I’m an old hand now.  — In the power plant, it took about 2 years to become fluent doing my job.  At Dell, responsibility is heaped upon you from the first day you exit the hallowed halls of boot camp.  —  You learn things very rapidly.  — The new employees are coming to me and asking for direction.  —  I show them the programs I have written, and tell them how Dell works.  —  They have sponsors that help them learn how Dell operates, but all of us “Old guys” help them also.

Next week I am starting a new project.  We have been planning it for the last couple of weeks.  It has to be done by April 18.  We have planned what we will do on a daily basis.  It is a lot like planning an overhaul at Sooner, but we won’t have to cut it short because we need the unit on line as soon as possible.  We won’t have to delay it because the parts didn’t arrive when we expected them.  We won’t have to change it in the middle because we ran across some extra work that is more important.  —  On Monday I will write this part of the program, on Tuesday, I will write that part.  On April 16th we will be done, so that we will be done 2 days early, and everyone will say, “Look!  They beat their schedule by 2 days!”  All of that is planned.

Gee.  Six months, and I already sound like I know what I’m doing.  Well.  I do.  Because it is programming, and that’s what I love to do.  Every day when I arrive at my cubicle.  I open my briefcase, and take out my laptop, and slide it into my docking station and power it up. —  I turn on my other computer, and log in.  I sit in my chair, and I look around at my fairly undecorated cubicle, and I feel like I’m on vacation.  I feel the same as if I am at the beach lying in the sun.  I start typing away at the keyboard, checking my e-mails, going to meetings, and programming — and programming.

Programming is like making toys.  You tinker around with it for a while, and when you are done, you have something to play with.  —  Next Monday, my main “business partner” from my last project is taking me out to lunch, because he is grateful, because I wrote a program for him.  It saved him a lot of time, and now he’s happy.  —  He has a better toy to play with. — It is very satisfying.  — I think in the Quality Process, they called it…..  —  What was it?  That was so long ago, and they didn’t do that part very well anyway……  —  Oh yes.  “Celebration.”  — I’m sure you guys remember that.

I understand that Toby has left for another position with Enogex, and that Jasper, and Bill Thomas, and Max Thomas are retiring soon.  Gee.  Toby’s name was really Thomas, so it’s like losing three Thomases in one month.  Thomas A. O’Brien, Max Thomas, and Bill Thomas (The name Thomas means twin, so I suppose you could think that since Max and Bill are leaving at the same time that they are like brothers. —  The Thomas Twins — which would mean, the “twin twins”).  I wish them all well in their new lives.  I hope that they have at least as good of a life as I am having.

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 #22 — Ice 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 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.

02/07/02 – Ice at Dell

Dear Friends,

I’m sorry I haven’t written to Sooner sooner.  Early last week I encountered a temporary change in job description.  The other day they found out that I had the ability to heal computer related problems by just laying my hands on the monitors (which you guys at Sooner have known for a long time).

So they had me running around fixing computer problems a good part of the week.  Last Friday, I spent the whole day doing nothing but fixing computer problems for people.  They even had me setting up training room computers for new hires.

They were talking about putting me in the manufacturing plant, and having me lay my hands on all of the computers as they went down the conveyor belt. — but then they might have to lay off some of the Tech Support people.  — That’s not my normal job description, which is creating programs to dazzle and impress my business partners.

Then, this Monday through Wednesday, I was in class at a training center somewhere in the heart of Austin learning the new programming languages which included: ASP.Net, ADO.Net, VB.Net, and C# (pronounced “see sharp” — Which makes me think that this has something to do with looking at Robert Sharp — though I don’t know what).  — So, now I’m the resident expert on these languages, and I’m supposed to present them in a “Code Review” tomorrow.

Anyway.  I heard you guys had a lot of Ice up there in Oklahoma last week.  —  I just wanted you to know that here at Dell, we have our share of Ice also.  Just across the way, and over yonder, there are Coke machines and candy machines.  And right next to the candy machine is an Ice Dispenser.  I use it a lot.

There is also an Ice dispenser in the break room which is located in the middle of the floor that I’m on, in this wing of the building.  Also, there is an Ice Dispenser in the cafeteria.  —  Now, that’s Three, (count them, — Three) Ice dispensers on just the 1st floor!!!  —  So when you guys think you are having a lot of Ice, just think about us down here, with all of our Ice machines!

I think today was the “third” day this winter that I’ve had to scrape Ice (yes – Ice.  —  Some may refer to it as “Frost”)  off of the windows on my car.  It was only 35 degrees this morning!!!!  Brrrrrr….  I had to put on my “heavy” jacket!!!  I noticed that the people around here don’t really know when to wear jackets.  I’m not sure that everyone “owns” a jacket.

Yesterday morning, it was about 45 degrees, and I noticed that some people were walking around outside with short sleeve shirts, and no coat (and a confused look on their face – wondering why they had this strange sensation causing their teeth to chatter).  Not me.  I don’t own a winter coat anymore, but I do have a “heavy” jacket.  — I have a pair of Carhart coveralls around somewhere too, but I’m not sure where.

I suppose that things are going well with you guys.  I have removed Bill Robinson from my e-mail list, since, as I understand it.  He retired.  Bill was always one of those guys that whenever you talked about him, it usually helped to end your sentences with “Bless his heart.”  —  You know.  You might say something like:  “Oh, I heard that Bill accidentally tripped the wrong Bowl Mill again, bless his heart.”  Or, “Oops, Bill ran the pickup into another one of those yellow posts, bless his heart.”

Do you see how helpful it is when you add “Bless his heart” to the end of the sentence?  It’s a remarkable phrase.  I have found that it comes in real handy when talking about Gene Day also.  With Gene, all you have to say is:  “Gene Day?  Bless his heart.”

Toby mentioned the other day that he might send some coal dust down, just so that I could enjoy playing in the stuff every once in a while.  —  Well, he doesn’t have to.  If I need a “coal dust” fix, I just go in the garage, and pull an old tool out of my tool bucket, and my hand will come out all black from the accumulated coal dust in my tool bucket.

I’ll write later,  it is good to hear from you guys.

Your Pal at Dell,

Kevin James Anthony Breazile

______________________

Kevin J. Breazile

Programmer Analyst II

Dell Computer Corporation

(512) 728-1527

Letters to the Power Plant #21 — Michael 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 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.

01/25/02 – Michael at Dell

Dear Friends from up North,

I thought you guys would like to hear about my day.

Well.  We had our meeting this morning with Michael Dell.  He’s one of the richest people in the country.  He’s 36 years old.  When he showed up at our meeting he was wearing a tee shirt and jeans.  He talked to us for about an hour and answered questions and told us what we were going to do to compete in our industry.  It was pretty neat seeing this guy because he acts so normal.

A few weeks ago when I was walking over a few rows to another cubicle to talk to someone, I turned the corner to walk down the end of the cubicles, and I saw some guy walking by, so I said “Hi” to him.  As we continued walking, I thought, “Boy, that guy sure looks like “Michael Dell”.  So I turned and looked at him again (walking alongside me), and sure enough.  He was just a regular Joe (or Mike) walking along just like anyone else.  He was dressed casual just like me.

I thought.  Hmmm.  Should I ask him if he has ever heard of the most Omniscient (all-knowing) person on the planet Earth?  (You know.  The one that works at OG&E.  The Equipment Support Supervisor at Sooner Plant).  I decided not to.  I thought one of the most wealthiest people on Earth would certainly know the most intelligent person, so then I thought.  Maybe I should ask him if he has gotten any advise recently from the intelligent being aforementioned. (That means, that I just mentioned above).  Then I thought.  No.  I probably wouldn’t be able to understand the advice, because it would be so intellectually superior to my brain that it would seem like pure gibberish.  —  At least that’s what usually happened in the past whenever I heard about said person’s Super Intelligent Ideas.  So I just walked along down the rows of cubicles, and decided to mind my own business.  I had already done the right thing by saying “Hi” to him before I realized who he was.  So I left it at that.

Note to reader:  The Power Plant Men all knew I was referring to our Maintenance Supervisor Jim Arnold.  For more information about him check out this post, especially slide 20:  Power Plant Final Presentation.

All in all we had a lot of fun talking about the other large PC companies and how they don’t have long with this world.  Anyway.  Dell’s revenue is now about 1/8 the size of Wal-Mart.  And Wal-Mart is now the largest company in the world as far as revenue.  That means that Dell is really raking it in.

I’ll talk to you later,

Your friend at Dell,

Kevin James Anthony Breazile

______________________

Kevin J. Breazile

Programmer Analyst II

Dell Computer Corporation

(512) 728-1527