Letters to the Power Plant #9 — Boot Camp 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 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.

10/16/01 – Bootcamp at Dell

Dear Friends at Sooner,

Today I officially end my training at Dell’s Bootcamp.  It has been 8 weeks since I started my job here and I can still remember my thoughts the first morning when we had to attend Bootcamp.  Silly me.  I thought, “Bootcamp?  No sweat!!  I’ve been wearing boots for the last 19 years.  Steel toes none-the-less.  This Bootcamp stuff should be a cinch.”

I still didn’t quite understand after the first day when the training coordinator said,  “Kevin, we expect, ‘Business Casual’ attire for bootcamp.”  I said, “No problem.”  I bent down, untied my bootlaces, pulled out on the tongue a little so my feet could breathe better, and pulled my shirt tail out of my pants.    The coordinator became very reverent, and bowing his head ( I think he was praying), he walked away.  I couldn’t figure it out.  I was the only one wearing boots!!!  “What kind of place is this?” I thought.

Anyway.  Bootcamp didn’t have anything to do with boots.  We all wear loafers or some kind of dressy shoes that you can easily slip off under your desk to cool your feet while you program away.  Sometimes you feel like you are in a locker room with the aroma of sweaty feet wafting through the air.

Bootcamp is all about Computer Programming.  I guess they call it Bootcamp because the first thing you do in the morning is go in the training rooms and boot up the computer.  Anyway.  In the last 8 weeks I have been learning new programming languages, and going over some I already knew.  Each Programming language is like speaking a whole different language.  You learn different words that mean doing the same sort of stuff.  Just as in French you may say, “Merci Beaucoup” (that’s pronounced “boo coo” in Oklahoman).  In English that means “Thank You a lot”.  Well programming languages are the same.  In Java I might say something like:

if ((tag.background == ‘#E5E5E5’) || (tag.background == ‘#e5e5e5’)) { tag.background = ‘#CCCCCC’; }

while in Visual Basic this would mean:

if  tag.background = “&E5E5E5” or tag.background = “&e5e5e5” then tag.background = “&CCCCCC” End If

So you see.  You are actually saying the same thing in two different languages.

Well, in bootcamp we have learned a whole lot of different languages in the last 8 weeks, as I have said earlier.  I have put them into different categories so that I can explain them to you further.

The first set of languages I learned, I called the “What!!!” languages.  These are called “C” and “C++” (pronounced “see plus plus”).  That was my first reaction when the instructor said, “Kevin, today you have C and C++.  I said, “What!!!  For 4 years I have made all A’s and I’ve been here only one week and I only have a C and a C++?  By the way (I wondered), is C++ the same thing as a B- (B minus)?”

Then I have what I call the “Shirt Size” languages.  That is XML, XSL, HTML, XHTML, and DHTML.  I figure that XML means, “Extra Medium Large”.  XSL means “Extra Super Large”.  HTML means “Heavy To Medium Large”, XHTML means “Extra Heavy To Medium Large”, and DHTML means, “Damn Heavy To Medium Large”.

Then there are the “Screenplay” languages.  They all have the word “Script in them:  VBScript, JavaScript, and JScript.

Then there are the “Coffee” languages:  Java, Java2 and JavaScript (Ok, so that is in two categories).

Then there are the languages that like to be seen.  They have the word “Visual” in them:  Visual Basic, Visual C++, and  Visual J and Visio.

Then we learned the Dyslexic version of SAP.   We call it:    ASP (which has nothing to do with a snake).

Then we learned the hyperactive languages:  Hypertext Markup Language, Active Server Pages, ActiveX Documents.

So you see, I have become two things in the last 8 weeks.  I have become “Multilingual” (which means I can speak many languages), and I have become very confused.

I started programming an ASP page on one computer and developing a Visual Basic program on my other computer.  The left side of my brain, which controls my right hand is telling it to type one thing, and the right side of my brain which controls my left hand is telling it to type another, and my ASP program is accidentally getting some Visual Basic stuff in it, and my Visual Basic program is getting ASP stuff in it, and I’m falling asleep and dreaming about only getting a C++, and in my dream, my C++ is getting HTML and I feel like I’m wearing a really big shirt and drinking coffee, and getting all hyper, and I keep thinking about the Reeses commercial where they kept getting peanut butter in the chocolate, and chocolate in the peanut butter, and that maybe if I merge it all together I will come up with a whole new language that will not only do all the jobs you want to do, but will taste great at the same time.

And all this leads to some confusion.  Especially when I present my programs to my Manager, and there is chocolate and peanut butter and coffee stains all over the keyboard and I pull out a really really big shirt from one of my drawers to wipe it all off.

Anyway.  Bootcamp was over today.  We had a party.  Ate Cake.  Received Diplomas.  Had a group Picture.  Gave High Fives.  My manager shook my hand (then wiped the chocolate off on my long shirt tail).  Now I am back in my cubicle getting ready to go home.

I hope everyone is doing well at Sooner.  Keep in touch.

Your Dell Buddy,

Kevin Breazile

Pro-Rambler/Analyst II

5 responses

  1. Ummm…..I think I’d rather be sweeping bugs in the cable spreading room.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Super good to the core…

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Great post 🙂 What you said in the letter rings true in so many ways 🙂 Keep up the great work as always 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  4. So agree it’s like learning a whole new language!

    Always fun to swing by Power Plant Men to hear your stories =)
    Which is why I nominated you for A Lovely Blog Award 😉 =)!
    Deets are @ https://unibookworm.wordpress.com/2016/07/24/my-nominees-for-a-lovely-blog-award-are/

    Liked by 2 people

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