Monthly Archives: December, 2016

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

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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