Monthly Archives: April, 2017

Letters to the Power Plant #123 – Dell Me More

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 one hundred and 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.

3/16/06  — Dell Me More

My dear friends at the Sooner Power Plant Palace,

I could tell by my response to my last letter that some of you would like to know how I’m getting along in my new job……  Well.  Right now I have my headphones on and I’m listening to Louis Armstrong singing “What a Wonderful World”.

Alan told me that you guys are in the middle of the “Mother of all Overhauls”!!!  Gee.  I really miss those.

I miss dressing up in that fly ash suit and crawling around in the precipitator searching for plates out of the clips glaring through my full face respirator into the dark, or the bright reflection of my flashlight off of the pure white ash on the plates, blinding me to any hidden clip out of alignment.

Well.  Anyway. I can still dream about it.  I can romanticize it any way I want when I do that.  I can pretend that the dust isn’t running down my back and filling up my rubber boots, and that I’m not even breaking a sweat that doesn’t fog up my faceplate and run down my shirt causing it to become all caked with ash……  It just doesn’t happen when I dream about it.

I don’t even smell that strange odor that smells like…well.  I don’t know what it smells “like” since it has a smell all of its own….

Note to Reader:  To learn more about the strange odor at the Power Plant see the post “What’s that Strange Power Plant Smell?

Anyway.  I think back to those days with great happiness and while I do, I scritch-scritch the spot on my back where I used to have psoriasis that was “not caused” by the extremely dry conditions of being covered in Coal Ash or by the not-so-toxic gases that formed as the ash combined with the moisture from the “real world” causing it to fall gracefully from the plates in sheets.

I also miss working on the top of the precipitator where we had to clean and inspect and replace all those insulators.  And how we would take those gaskets that were 98% asbestos (2% wire), and stuff them into the plastic bag so that we could have some semblance that we knew how to handle the stuff.  I think I still have a few of those fibers lodged in my lungs there somewhere, just to remind me of the “good-ol-days”.

Hey.  This morning, (to quickly change the subject), I read an article in Information Week that said the following:  “Arizona Electric Power Cooperative Inc. (AEPCO) is turning to SAP AG’s “Safe Passage” program to support growth and consolidate legacy applications, the non-profit cooperative said Tuesday.”

What?  Didn’t they know that OG&E did that over 9 years ago?  Where have they been all that time?  That’s why OG&E was “Best-In-Class”.  —  Of course it would be nice if the Corporation Commission would let OG&E keep some of their profits.

Well. I better start work now.  I’m all done reminiscing about overhauls…..for now…  Maybe I’ll do that again in a few hours when I’m eating lunch and I can remember biting into my peanut butter sandwich and having flakes of fly ash or coal dust falling from my hair onto my bread to add that extra-special flavor only found in the Power Plant Palace.

Have a safe day.

Your friend from Dell,

Kevin James Anthony Breazile

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Letters to the Power Plant #122 — Job Battles 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 one hundred and 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.

3/3/06 – Job Battles at Dell

Dear Sooner heroes,

I know it’s been a long time since you’ve heard from me.  I have finally finished the “battle of the jobs”, and now I’m in quite a different position than the last time I wrote to you.  I have one arm and two legs all stretched twice as long as usual and that makes it hard to walk and eat, but I’m very happy about it anyway.

I am now called a “Technical Advisor” and I work in the Finance Department in Payroll.  It’s was quite a battle, but here I am…  —  Well.  Right now I’m actually in Denver Colorado getting ready to go back home.   I’ve been taking a class all week learning new things about Kronos.

I realized today that OG&E would really benefit from a timekeeping application like Kronos.  —  Do you realize that Dell has over 50,000 employees and only 3 people that support timekeeping? — and I’m one of them.

So, here’s the scoop.  There I was minding my own business…– working about 60 hours a week in I/T Support.  I was on a team that was redesigning the way that I/T rolled projects into production and I still supported the applications that I was supporting before because we were shorthanded —  When The manager of the Employment Services Group asked me if I would join their team.

My first reaction was that it was an absurd request.  How could I, who loves I/T with a passion ever make a conscious decision to leave it to go to the business?  I told the manager that it was tempting and that I would consider it (I was saying that to be polite), but I didn’t think I could justify it.

She said that she understood, but just wanted to give it a try anyway since their entire team, when they heard of the job opening said that the only person that could fill that position was me.  —  I was flattered, but didn’t give it much real thought.

I talked it over with Kelly (my wife), and she said I should do whatever I thought was best.

Daily I would receive e-mails and IMs (Instant Messages) from the team describing how better my work-life balance would be if I moved to their team.  I talked it over with my former manager and he thought it would be a good move for me.

The team invited Kelly and I to their Christmas party with the intention of talking Kelly into talking me into moving to their team.  —  The last time I had this much attention was when Jim Arnold argued for me to stay in Equipment Support instead of letting me have the Training Director position because he just loved me so much….

So we went to the Christmas party and everyone tried to convince Kelly why I should go to their team.  —  No more pagers, regular hours.  —  I could even work 4 – 10’s if I wanted to.

When I first told my former manager (from the Program Development group) that I had applied for the job, he quickly rushed me into a team room and told me that it had gone all the way up to his Vice President that they were going to force the I/T Support group to move me over to Development because they needed my skills and couldn’t find them anywhere.

He is a good friend of mine and I told him that I would like to go back to the Development group, but (and then rubbing my fingers with my thumbs) I said, “show me the money”.  He said that he understood and hoped that I got the job.

Well.  Also, when I applied for the job, I told my current manager that I had applied for it (I had told him about a month earlier that they were asking me if I would take it, but that I wasn’t seriously thinking about it), he said that he would talk it over with my director and let her know, but he didn’t think there would be a problem with it.

Then the day before I had an interview with the director over the new team, my own director took me into a room and told me that she wasn’t going to let me go because they couldn’t afford to lose me right now.  I told her that I was going to go one way or the other and that when I decide to do something, I do it.  She reiterated that she couldn’t lose me and wasn’t going to let me go.

So the next day when I went to the interview with the director for the new position, the first thing I told her was that my director had told me the day before that she wasn’t going to let me move to this job.  The director said that she couldn’t just say that without a valid business justification and that she was going to take it up to her Vice President to make sure that they didn’t let her get away with it keeping me back.

I told her that I appreciated any help she could give because I was beginning to look forward to this new position especially since I was looking forward to working a more regular schedule.

Well.  Needless to say:  I was being pulled in three different directions all at the same time.  It was almost as stressful as working at Sooner Plant on a Friday afternoon at 4:00 when you hear the shift supervisor calling the Equipment Support Supervisor, and visions of shoveling Coal all weekend pops into your mind!!!

I really like my new team.  They have a lot of work for me to do, and I stay real busy, but for some reason I feel like I’m playing all day long, because I’m really doing something that I know how to, instead of swimming up stream all the time working on so many things at once on things that I’ve never worked on before.

The team lead on the team that I left was really fighting for them to keep me there.  I asked him why, since the only thing I was an expert on supporting were applications like Kronos, Oracle Financials and Concur (our expense program).

He said that it wasn’t that I knew a whole lot about everything but that I was able to troubleshoot programs that I had never seen before faster than anyone else.  —  I told him that was a skill that I learned working at the power plant, because that is what we did every day as an electrician but that they couldn’t penalize me by keeping me in one place.

I told him that the only reason I became an electrician was because I was a good janitor and the electric department (Charles Foster) noticed and asked me if I would consider working for them.  What if they said that I was too good of a janitor to let me go to the electric shop?  This was the same situation.  I had worked writing programs and supporting applications for this group and that is why they wanted me.

So.  Here I am.  No longer in I/T, but a “technical consultant”.

Maybe now I will have more time to write.

Your friendly Dell friend,

Kevin James Anthony Breazile

Letters to the Power Plant #121 — Happy Thanksgiving 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 one hundred and 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.

11/21/05  —  A Happy Thanksgiving from Dell

Dear Sooner Plantians and friends,

It has been hard these days to find the time to write, but things are starting to ease up some.  I’m on vacation this week, so I finally have “some” time to write.  Notice that even though I’m on vacation I am still logging into work to check on things.

Old habits are hard to…..well….anyway…..I thought I would log in just to see what is going on.  I’m going to be in Stillwater this Wednesday night thru Friday night to visit my parents.  I think we will be staying at the Hampton Inn, since it’s about the only good Hotel in town.

I hope everything is going well with all of you.  I haven’t really heard much lately.  Is your new plant manager keeping you so busy that you don’t have time to write either?

We just went through another Reorganization / downsizing.  I’m still on the same team I was on last month when I wrote last.  Things are finally settling down so that I’m only doing two jobs now instead of three.  I’m still the Application Administrator of the Oracle Financials application.  That’s the program that is sorta like SAP, but only the Financial module.

So, how is it with your new plant manager?

I keep having strange dreams about the plant, but it has changed so much in my dreams that it has morphed into a sort of Dellish, Power Plantish, Universityish, Europeanish, 18 century villageish sort of mystical place.

I suppose you guys have those sorts of dreams too. —  Where you are going to work on some kind of a big piece of equipment (carrying the printout of your Task List), and being chased by some mythical creature that lurks in the boiler and comes out like the monster in Beowulf, out of the furnace to snatch unsuspecting hardhatted fellows.

Then you may stumble into a meeting room in order to have a one-on-one meeting with your foreman, only to find that all the meeting rooms are booked, and there isn’t anywhere to hide, so you go darting out of the room and find your self running down a cobblestone street in the dark trying to remember if you have already taken a clearance on the bowl mill, and whether or not Bill Robinson put the tags on the right one.

Then as you are climbing the ladder up the side of the bowl mill you hear a tap-tap-tapping coming from inside the mill and realize that some tinker is sitting on his three-legged stool tink-tink-tinking away at some wooden object outside the front of his shop where his family has been tinking for centuries.  And he is singing a song that sounds like the song that is sung by Intake pumps as they hum along.

And as you leap over the ash pipes by the Intake pumps and stumble and roll into the electric manhole because someone has left the lid off of it and didn’t put up a barricade, and fall splashing into the manhole since the manhole pump doesn’t work and water from Sooner Lake has seeped in and filled it up.

You know I watched a little open motored pump pump that hole dry one day.  It was the strangest thing to see that motor running under water.  Totally soaked with water.  That must have been some clean water.

Anyway.  You know how dreams are.  When you fall in the dark water of a manhole, you either get zapped by electricity and wake up, or you are suddenly transported to the top of the Fly Ash silo and the only way down is to walk the crosswalk across the top of the silos and make your way down the zigzag stairway since the elevator doesn’t seem to want to cooperate.

And as you walk down the railroad tracks into the dumper, you hear the pound-pounding of your feet on the metal hull of the dumper as you walk through it.  The deluge pump on the south side seems to be leaking water down the side of the dumper into the dark coal stained concrete.

As you follow the water down into the dumper and through the grid at the bottom, you crawl out through the hatchway at the bottom of the dumper hopper.  Rolling onto the floor you become drenched in the damp coal dust that soaks into your pores and heals your wounds, making you forget your cracked skull and bruised knees.

Following the faint dumper lighting, you make your way to Conveyor 2 and start the long climb to the surface.  As you climb higher and higher, you find yourself watching computers flowing by as the conveyor belt turns into rollers that swiftly and cleanly shifts computers this way and that sending them on their way to the customers waiting patiently at their door.

Where they eagerly open their computer boxes and madly assembling the monitor and keyboard and plugging it into the wall, connecting it to the generator that hums in the power plant, being spun by the steam that is made by the coal that came to the plant on the train that was dumped into the hopper and carried on Conveyor 2 up and up to the top of the stackout tower where it is dumped onto the coal pile.

Where brave men in their large yellow coal moving machines run like ants over the surface.  Packing and moving and packing again…..

Then the engineering professor points to the chalkboard with his long wooden pointer and his bushy moustache and eyebrows, and funny hat and glasses, and he says “that is the circle of life”.  And the crowd roars with applause, and the professor bows and the applause becomes more and more tinny until it is nothing more than a tink-tink-tinking sound that sounds like the sound of the tinker.

Or is it the sound of the footsteps of that horrible creature that lives in the boiler and comes out every now and then to snatch unsuspecting fellows in their yellow hardhats?  Creep-creep-creeping up on you.     —-  You know.  Dreams like that.  I’m sure you guys must have them all the time.  Or perhaps you “Live Them!!!”

Your Friendly Dell Programmer,

Kevin James Anthony Breazile

Letters to the Power Plant #120 — Electrical Internet

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 one hundred and twentieth 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.

10/4/05  —  Electrical Internet

Dear Sooner buddies,

Hey.  I was just reading an article about the Internet and it reminded me of one of our Power Ideas.  —  Oh.  You remember.  “We’ve Got the Power” in 1990.  And how it gave everyone that warm and fuzzy feeling for each other….and how it sort of brought everyone together in a wave of kindness…..  Well.  At least that’s the way I remember it…..or is it.

Anyway.  I remember one of our “way out there” ideas was to have our company invest in research on using the electric lines for Internet access, because that’s where the big bucks are going to be in the future.

But silly me (remember…this was pre-World Wide Web days).  I forgot that OG&E makes electricity, and even though they said that they wanted to do other things, the only thing they “really” wanted to do was spin those turbines and pour out the juice to the community.

Well.  Read this article:

Note to Reader:  I removed the link because it no longer works.  In order to read more about the “We’ve Got the Power” program read the post “Power Plant We’ve Got the Power Program” and “Power Plant We’ve Got the Power Stress Buster“.

‘Cause, here it comes.  —  Of course, I still hear our illustrious Supervisor of Equipment Support (Well.  He was over the Engineers at the time) telling Summer Goebel when she asked me how to setup her computer to use High Memory, “It doesn’t matter how much memory your computer has, it can only use the first 640K anyway.”  —  I can still hear the sound of Toby ducking under his desk in his cubicle when I gave Arnold my response.

I thought this would be an interesting article for you to peruse.

Your friendly Dell programmer.

Kevin

______________________

Kevin J. Breazile

Global Financial Services I/T

Dell Inc.

(512) 728-1527

Letters to the Power Plant #119 — Dell Me About It

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 one hundred and ninteenth 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.

9/16/05 — Dell me about it

Hello Friends from Sooner and beyond,

Remember me?  Someone reminded me the other day that it has been two whole months since I wrote to you guys.  Gee.  Has it been that long?  I thought it was only early last week.  Boy does time fly when you’re having fun (or whatever I’m having).

Well.  Things have been going well with me.  I’m on a different team now.  I’m in what’s called “Release Management”.  That means that we deploy all the applications into production for our area.  Our area has grown, so that we not only have all the Financial applications at Dell, we also have all the HR and Product Group applications also.

I’m still being asked to write programs real fast that do things that they need right away, and that’s probably the reason I have not had time to write.  I now have three computers on my desk and I’m using all of them most of the time.

It keeps me hopping, but then, that’s what my cube mates like to see.  It keeps them entertained.  —  They ask me why I enjoy working so much, and I tell them.  “This isn’t hard.  You ought to try shoveling coal with my buddies up at the power plant for a while.  That’s hard work.”

They just roll their eyes around and act like I’m crazy.  —  Well.  I might be crazy, but I don’t see what that has to do with anything.

So.  Now that I’m on Release Management, I’m expected to be involved on a lot more projects now.  So I’m having to learn a lot of different things.

I’m also called an “Application Administrator” for Oracle Financials.  That’s like the Financial Module of SAP.  —  Yep.  They finally decided that since I could figure out how to access everything anyway, even though Jim Arnold had told the world many years ago that no one needs Internet Access except for him and Summer Goebel, they might as well make me “Application Administrator”.

I think it’s a good title to have, since when I pass by, people seem to bow in my presence.  —  Of course, that could be because my deodorant has failed because of all of my nervous energy, and they are trying to keep their lunch down in their stomach.

I have missed you guys terribly, and I have been having some more crazy dreams of the power plant.  I heard you guys were putting up better security around the plant.  It’s about time.

You never know when an old retired Maintenance Supervisor might try to make an appearance when it’s not even “Men’s Club”.  I don’t think they should allow him into the plant, for his own safety.

I remember when he cared so much about my safety that he told Andy to tell me that I couldn’t come out for a visit a couple of years ago because it wouldn’t be safe.  —  At least I was able to get in there in time to wish him well on his retirement.

He was probably thinking about what I said about safety in my PowerPoint presentation when I left.  I was going to make a website and put the presentation out there so that he can go look at it any time he wants just in case he forgets.

I suppose one of the reasons I don’t feel so compelled to write to you guys lately is because I know that things are looking up for most of you.  Before; I thought you might need a little cheering up every now and then.  Now that the dumbily duo have gone, I know you are doing a lot better.

I have heard about Ray Eberle’s wife and about Jimmie Moore, and my family is keeping them both in our prayers every day.  Keep me updated on how they are doing.  I haven’t heard much news coming from your way lately.  Let me know how things are going.

Your friendly Dell Programmer,

Kevin James Anthony Breazile

_____________________

Kevin J. Breazile

GFCS, HR, and PG IT

Dell Inc.

(512) 728-1527

Letters to the Power Plant #118 — Things are getting Hot 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 one hundred and eighteenth 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.

7/6/05 – Things are getting Hot at Dell

Dear friends from Sooner Plant,

Has it really been two whole months since I have written?  Wow.  That must be a record for me keeping my mouth shut!  I did have a vacation during that time and I did go to training, and we did have a couple of holidays and I did forget to write most of the time, even though I think about you guys and the plant about EVERY DAY!!!!

I had this real weird dream where I was at the power plant and it was in the evening when it is kind of dark.  I’m not sure what I was doing there, but I was really amazed with this new conveyor system that you guys had.

It ran all over the plant and it moved equipment and barrels around automatically and the way it worked, it could move anything anywhere on the plant grounds where they needed to go, because the entire ground was made up of strips of conveyors that looked like asphalt sidewalks, but they moved along like conveyors.

Then in-between the sidewalks was grass, but the grass moved between the conveyor systems so, for instance in my dream I was watching this barrel go by and it went down this asphalt conveyor and was pushed out into the grass, where the grass carried it over to another conveyor and then to another patch of grass until it hit an asphalt conveyor that was going in the direction where it needed to go and off to the coal yard it went.

So it was like the plant was running all by itself and people didn’t have to move stuff around.  They just moved themselves.  —  It was actually a little creepy.

I heard that your honeymoon with Wendling has already come to an end.  —  I suppose that’s too bad.  I guess he came and did what they wanted him to do, and now that Jim Arnold is gone, he can go do other things.  —  Maybe that’s why I haven’t felt the urgent need to write to you guys before.

I knew you were all in bliss in your Shangri La Palace at Sooner since you were relieved of a few trouble makers.  I hope your new plant manager is acceptable for you guys.  I know that the times I had to deal with John Parham they weren’t always the most pleasant.  But I can chalk a little of that up to my attitude at the time.

I do know that he insisted one time that the heat energy being lost out of the top of the precipitators at Muskogee equaled only around 4000 watts of power (or so).  Which was so ridiculous, I knew there wasn’t any sense in arguing with him…but you know me.  I can’t keep my mouth shut.

Anyway.  I went to see the Grand Canyon on my vacation and that was a lot of fun.  Everything went well.  When I got back after being away for over 2 weeks, it took me about a week to read all my e-mails.

Then I had training for another week.  I took a week long database course called:   Oracle PL/SQL advanced programming and performance tuning.  —  Now every time I turn around I’m looking for something to tweak to make it better.  —  I think I’m getting on some of my “cubicle mate’s” nerves.  Maybe I should stop making that squeaky “Tweak” noise every time I try to Tweak something.

Well.  Let me know how things are going up there.  What’s the latest?

Your friendly Dell programmer,

Kevin James Anthony Breazile

Letters to the Power Plant #117 — Taking a Breath 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 one hundred and seventeenth 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.

5/5/05 – Taking a breath at Dell

Howdy Folks (That’s Texan for “Dear Sooner Plantians, and friends”),

It’s been about 5 weeks since I wrote last, and this is the first time I have had a moment to stop and take a breath.  Like Gimli said in the Lord of the Rings, “Keep Breathing.  That’s the Key”.

Things went well with the Kronos upgrade.  —  That’s the one where we didn’t have any consultants on site to do it.  I had found most of the reasons why “no company had ever upgraded without the consultants on site before”, but not all of them.

Their installation instructions left a lot to be desired and their code was all wrong, but that’s all behind me now and everything is running better than it has ever run before, so everyone’s happy, (except for some report formatting issues — which I’ll deal with shortly  —  You would think with a name like “Crystal Reports” that the format would be “clear”.  Like “Crystal”.  —  You know.  From the movie with Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson, where Jack says, “Am I clear?” and Tom says, “Crystal”  —  Oh.  Nevermind.  I’m ramblin’ again…..).

So our business partners gave me great Kudoes and they refer to me now as “#1”.  They gave me an “On-The-Spot” award for $100 and told everyone from my director down in our All-Hands meeting last week that I had done all these wonderful things and how I had solved all of their issues, and that I was such a great person to work with……

Boy.  I was just glad no one saw me slip that pocket watch on the chain back in my pocket after I had hypnotized them all or I might not have gotten away with such praise.

Gee, I haven’t had that much attention since Jasper Christensen called me to his office to tell me that I couldn’t have access to the Internet because the staff had decided that no one at our plant needed access to the Internet except for Jim Arnold and Summer Goebel, and they only needed it so they could have “e-mail”.  —  Oh.  Those were the days.

I used to receive so much attention.  —  Almost as much as “The Birthday Phantom”.  —  I actually used part of that program in another program I wrote here a couple of years ago that sent out e-mails to users with links in it to PowerPoints and Excel sheets every Monday morning.

Instead of getting hardhat stickers down here, they give us other things instead (since we don’t wear hardhats).  Today when I came to my cubicle I found a nifty key ring that looks like it is made from pewter and has a picture of the world with Dell written across it and it swivels around inside of a ring.  It says:  “America’s Most Admired Company” for 2005.

They gave us that because Fortune Magazine named Dell as America’s most admired company.  —  It reminded me of when we would get those jackets that would say that Sooner Plant was the most efficient plant in the country.  We had the lowest operating cost of over 300 or so different power plants.

I’m just glad I’m working for a company with such integrity.  —  Gee.  Now I’m sounding like a commercial.  —  We really do everything we can to be a real ethical company.  That’s refreshing.

You know.  I’ll bet no one on the staff ever figured out that one of the main reasons Sooner could produce power so cheaply was because the precipitators were so properly tuned that they hardly used any power. (hu hu  —  That’s me breathing on my fingernails like I’m acting cool.).

Normally the Precipitator uses more power than anything else in the plant  —  Normally, it uses about as much power as the rest of the plant.  —  But not at Sooner.  — Nope  —  The whole idea that a preciptator needs “Power” to work is all wrong to begin with.

That was the hardest thing to convince people who had real thick skulls (like Bohny-Headed Engineers are opt to have.  —  No.  I didn’t misspell that), because they just couldn’t accept the fact that in order to move particles of airborne ash an average of 2 1/4 INCHES to the collection plate didn’t require as much 1,000 times the energy it takes to pump that same ash 1/2 MILE in a pipe to the Fly Ash silo up at the coal yard.

It makes sense to me that the precipitator doesn’t really require “Power” to operate (well.  A small amount).  It just requires “voltage”.  —  That’s what STATIC is anyway.  It’s VOLTAGE, not POWER.  —  And that is an ElectroSTATIC precipitator.

If it’s using Power it’s not Static!!!.  Geez.  This is only “Rocket Science”.  And rocket science isn’t all that hard these days with computers.  Geez.  —  Oh.  Sorry.  Ramblin’ again.  —  You can tell I’ve been dreaming about Precipitators again.  —  Don’t you just hate it when that happens?

Well.  I better go work on my IDP (Individual Development Plan) while I have the chance.  —  I’m supposed to take tomorrow off since I was on call last week.  —  Isn’t that neat?  When you are on “Hots”, they let you off a whole day the following week.  —  I’m not complaining.  Sometimes it takes me so much by surprise that I forget to breath.  I need to remember.  “Keep Breathing.  That’s the key.”

Talk to you later,

Your friend from Dell,

Kevin James Anthony Breazile

______________________

Kevin J. Breazile

Global Financial Services I/T

Dell Inc.

(512) 728-1527

Letters to the Power Plant #116 — Upgrading 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 one hundred and sixteenth 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.

3/30/05 —  Upgrading at Dell

Dear Friends from up North and beyond,

Gee.  I was reminded this morning by Steve Blansett that I haven’t written for a while.  When I went to look how long, I see that it has been about a month and a half.  That must be some kind of record.  Don’t think that just because I haven’t written that I haven’t been thinking about you guys —  like you really sit around and wonder if I care or not.

Anyway.  I’m in the middle of upgrading our timekeeper application to the latest version.  Last year when we did this, it was a major project and we had consultants here for about 3 months and we worked and worked in development in order to upgrade this application.

Today there is just me.  No consultants. No months of planning.  Just me.  The consultants keep calling me and asking if I have started the upgrade yet, and I hear them snickering in the background.

According to Kronos no company has ever successfully upgraded this product without consultants before.  —  They want their “big bucks”, and we aren’t going to pay them unless we have to.

So, Everyone is looking at me to do this without any help.  —  I started the upgrade this morning at 7:00.  It is expected to take about 34 hours or so to do this.  So….If I still have a job in a few days, you’ll know that everything went well.  If not, then…..Well.  —  I won’t think about that now.

—  Oh.  You just reminded me of something I should do for this upgrade!…………There.  I did it.  That will help.

It does help to have spent over 34 hours starting up the precipitator before.  Having experienced walking back and forth in the T/R Cabinet Room for 36 hours makes it a little easier to spend only 34 hours upgrading this application.

Oh.  Gotta run.  The database has been backed up.  Time to go to work!!!

Wish me luck.

Kev

______________________

Kevin J. Breazile

Global Financial Services I/T

Dell Inc.

(512) 728-1527

Letters to the Power Plant #115 — Cruisin’ 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 one hundred and fifteenth 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.

2/18/05 – Cruisin’ at Dell

Dear Sooner Plantians and other friends,

Ok.  It has been a whole week and not one of you replied back to me to tell me that neither Dell nor OG&E have 5 characters in their names.  Gee.  I would have thought I would have gotten a rise out of at least one of you.

It struck me suddenly the other morning when I was in the shower, (where I usually have my great revelations), that Dell and OG&E both only had only 4 letters in them instead of 5, and I had made such a big deal about it in my last letter to you guys.

So after I was finished with my shower, I went and put a band-aid on my forehead so no one would see the bruise that was developing after I had banged my head several times against the shiny tiles in the shower.  Anyway.  It’s much better now and so am I.

Well.  This has been a fairly good week.  The weather has been all right and the traffic hasn’t been too bad (for Austin anyway).  It has been a quiet week as far as my projects have gone.

Monday was a little hectic as we put all the people from India into the Timekeeping application.  That all went well, so I got “Atta Boys” for that.  But I will always remember the phrase that I learned while working at Sooner Plant; “One ‘uh oh’ erases all the ‘atta boys’, so I don’t get too excited when something goes well, because I know that there is always another hour after that one where everything can go to pieces.

I talked with my manager yesterday and told him that one of my goals this year was to become a First Responder.  They have classes here that I can take, and then they give me a red flag to put up on my cubicle so that people can look around real quickly in case they are having a heart attack or something and I can grab my “Elvis Wand” and run to the rescue.

I’m already a “Starpoint Responder”, which means I can zap people with the Defibrilator and do CPR and first aid and that sort of stuff.  So I immediately knew what to do the other day after my revelation in the shower.  So I have a purple flag on my cubicle and an Orange Vest.

What I do is when we have a fire drill or a real fire for that matter, I put on my orange vest (so I look like a crossing guard) and I walk around all the cubicles in my area and make sure that everyone is out of the area before I leave.  They call me a floor sweeper when I do that.  So you see, I haven’t really gone that far since the days when I was a janitor sweeping up the Turbine Room Floor.

I think that one of 4 things is happening here.  One thing could have been that you guys never read these letters and so none of you noticed that I had said 5 letters when there was only 4.

Or maybe it is the case that last week there was 5 letters in these names and now there are only 4.  Or maybe you saw that there were 4 letters and you knew that I was so hard-headed that if you told me that there was 4 letters instead of 5 you realized that I wouldn’t believe it anyway.

Or maybe now you are reading this and wondering why am I giving you 5 things now that is happening here when I said that there was one of 4 things is happening here.

Just for that, I figure that I should end this letter with 5 paragraphs instead of 4.  Maybe next time I will just write a letter to myself because it has been so long since I have heard from some of you that I wonder if you are getting my e-mails at all.

I haven’t heard from my old “Roomie”, and I haven’t heard from my “Foster Father”, I have heard from my friend that always calls me “Little Buddy”.  It has been so long since I’ve heard from Doug Black that I figure he might be Doug Gray now for all I know.

I haven’t heard from my “Bucket Buddy”.  I haven’t heard from my “Carpool Buddies” or even from my “Pigeon Training Partner”.  —  Oh.  All right.  I’ll quit my whinin’.  It hasn’t really been that bad.  —  I hope all is going well with you guys.  Maybe no news is good news.  —  I’ll write later.

Your Friendly Dell Programmer,

Kevin James Anthony Breazile

______________________

Kevin J. Breazile

Global Financial Services I/T

Dell Inc.

(512) 728-1527

Letters to the Power Plant #114 — Dell and OG&E

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 one hundred and fourteenth 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.

2/11/05 – Dell and OG&E

Dear friends from Sooner Plant and other worthy friends from of old (not meaning that YOU are old),

I was just sitting here twiddling my thumbs…..Well actually, I have just finished putting three of my programs into production, and now I have a moment of silence before moving on to my next project…..and I thought “isn’t it interesting that both Dell and OG&E have 5 characters in their name?”

Is this just a mere coincidence, or is there more to it?  After all.  I have spent my entire adult life working for companies that have 5 characters in their name!  Is this some kind of omen or something?

Should I pick lottery numbers that all are multiples of 5?  Should I go work on another degree so that I will have 5 little titles after my name?  Is this why I have 5 fingers on each hand?!?  My curiosity just will not sit still until I figure out what it all means!

Oh.  Wait….  I just realized that it isn’t really important, and that I should drop all of this foolishness and move on to something more exciting…..

Like a new paragraph!!!!  So…Here I am on a new paragraph, and I’m beginning to think that I should make this letter 5 paragraphs long, but wait.  I stopped thinking about that already because I was dropping all of that foolishness.  Anyway.  Things are going well down here.  How are things up there?  I feel like I’ve been living in Seattle the last few weeks because it has been cloudy and rainy almost every day for over two weeks.  —  Kind of dreary weather, but it’s not too bad.

I was thinking about a program that I was going to write way back when I was still working up there.  It was going to be a program that had a picture of the inside of the boiler and you could rotate it around (3D like) and point your mouse at different parts of the boiler tubes and it would give you all the information about that section of boiler tubes so that you could see the thickness and which tubes had been replaced, with their tube numbers and all that sort of stuff.  You could even drill down and look closer at each tube.

I would have written it, but I never could get all the information together that I needed to make it work.  It seems that I remember Mark Fielder having a tube of prints that he used to keep all of that stuff updated.  That was what I was going to use for most of the information.  —  Don’t know why I was thinking about that, I just was.

Next Monday we’re adding India to the Timekeeping application.  We will have about 50,000 employees using it then.  I’m basically the only person that supports this application so I’ll be putting that into production.  I’ll be crossing my fingers that everything will work out well.  So I expect that next week will be an interesting one.

There is someone from Employment Services over there teaching them how to use it now.  The Employment Services people this week called me the “Super Kronos Man”.  They said they were going to give me a cape and have someone walk in front of me with a fan blowing on me so that the cape would stay flowing out like I was flying all the time.

I don’t know if I have mentioned this to you guys or not, but I have been keeping an “Elvis Wand” in my cubicle, so that when someone has a serious problem with their computer, I just get out the Elvis wand and wave it over their computer to fix their problem.

Well, Last January 8th, which you all know is Elvis’s Birthday, I went to this Mexican Restaurant named “Chuy’s” and I picked up another Elvis wand (it’s really just an Elvis Fan on a stick that you can punch out the eyes and look through it so that you look like you have an Elvis Face), so I have had two Elvis Wands in my cubicle lately.

This has allowed me to fix twice as many computer problems than before.  Every once in a while I will take one of those Elvis faces and just slide it up over the cubicle so that my old manager, or the System Administrator will see it, and then slide it back down and go on like nothing has happened.  —  People are beginning to wonder.  —  It’s funny how Power Plant Humor just isn’t properly appreciated in the rest of the world.  I wonder why.

Well.  Just so I don’t make this letter 15 paragraphs long, I’m stopping now to say that I miss all you guys and I hope everything is going well up there.  Keep up the good work.  Stay Safe!!!, Watch out for the Yellow Flag and the 4 imps and don’t let the bed bugs bite!!!  I’ll write later, let me know how things are going up there.  —  It was good hearing from you guys.

Your friendly Dell programmer,

Kevin James Anthony Breazile, BA, BS, MRE, MBA

______________________

Kevin J. Breazile

Global Financial Services I/T

Dell Inc.

(512) 728-1527