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 seventy 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.
4/23/03 – Recovery At Dell Computer Corporation
Dear Soonerites (and others),
Is overhaul over yet? I lost count of when it was supposed to be over. I hope everyone is being safe. There was an accident at the Holly Power Plant here in Austin. A contract worker fell off of the Diesel Oil Storage tank and died. I hope all of you are wearing your safety harnesses when you’re supposed have it on.
Well. I reminded myself the other day that whenever I used to say “Well” around Charles Foster that he would always reply with “That’s a deep subject.” At least for the first 4 years that I was in the Electric Shop. I would say, “Well”, and he would say, “That’s a deep subject”. “Well” — “That’s a deep subject.” — It’s funny some times the things you remember.
Note to reader: To learn more about Charles Foster read the post Personal Power Plant Hero — Charles Foster.
Today we’re having a meeting to meet our new Vice President. He’s not really a new Vice President, he’s just new to us. We just moved over to a different VP for whatever reason. I think because it was time to change again.
After all. We just changed buildings a few months ago, and a few months before that we changed teams from cross-functional to functional teams. And a few months before that we swapped managers, and a few months before that we swapped 2nd level managers, now we’ve gone and done it all. Actually, there’s only one guy on my team that was here when I got here a year and a half ago. — Has it been that long?
I think the reason I have been thinking about safety and about “Well”, “That’s a deep subject” is because we went to our team-builder last Thursday and spent the day riding all sorts of “Team-building” rides. It was interesting to study the safety features of the various roller coasters and other terror enhancing rides that we had to ride.
We rode this one roller coaster called Superman. It pulled you up this big hill and then let you go and you dropped all the way to the ground only to whip you back up in the air around these big loop-de-loops. I could hear people screaming, and some laughing, and there was this one older guy hanging on for dear life screaming stuff like, “What’s this Cookie?”, “Jesse! Come Get your Chilli!” and “Well — That’s a deep subject” and other phrases that flash back into your mind as you see your whole life passing before your eyes.
All in all, the rides were a lot of fun. It’s kind of neat being able to come so close to having a heart attack and then surviving just long enough for the ride to end, only to blurt out, “That was a lot of fun!!!! Want to do it again?” from some unknown area of the brain that gets a kick out of watching you say “What’s this Cookie” over and over again uncontrollably while waving your hands in front of your face.
Anyway. They had this other ride that was called the “Scream”. It rapidly lifted you straight up in the air about 120 feet, then it dropped you straight down about 90 feet, then lifted you back up again a few more times. There were a lot of people screaming on that ride. It was kind of boring to me. It was like riding the stack elevator up and down while standing on top of it.
I had done that so many times that this ride was nothing to the thrill of drop testing the stack elevator after you had disabled the governor and the brake. — Now that was a thrill. — Or shimmying around the top of the smoke stack to repair the ground cables 500 feet up in the air with nothing around you but air. — That’s thrilling.
Note to reader: To read more about elevator drop tests see the post After Effect of Power Plant Drop Tests.
To read more about shimmying around the top of the smoke stack read the post Power Plant Blackbirds and Smokestack Jumpers.
Then they had this one roller coaster called “The Rattler”. It shook you up as it had you going around and around in circles so that you ended up with a pain in the neck by the time you finished. — Hey. I had enough of that when I was working for the Sooner Equipment Support Supervisor. I didn’t see the point in riding that one again.
Well. A guy just came by my cubicle and asked me if I could help him out with something. I’d better go. — I think he wants me to explain to him about “Jesse! Come get your Chili!” — Since he was sitting next to me during our special team-building event.
I’ll write to you later,
Your friend from Dell,
Kevin James Anthony Breazile
Kevin J. Breazile
Dell Computer Corporation