Letters to the Power Plant #95 — Dell News is Good News

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 ninety 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.

2/23/04 – Dell News is Good News

Dear friends at Sooner Plant and Outlanders,

It is interesting that I just wrote to you guys about a week and a half ago and I happened to mention the “fire of ’96”, and lo and behold, not three or four days later, you guys have another big explosion at the plant.  —  I tell you.  That has to be about the 50th time that Sooner was lucky someone wasn’t killed.  I can think of about 3 or 4 of the times right here on my left hand.

I am just glad you are all ok. —  I am also reminded why I decided to go try a career in computer programming.  — Let’s see…  I think it was because I couldn’t take all that excitement every morning in those highly motivated morning meetings when we found out what we were going to have to work on that day.

No wait.  I couldn’t take all that anticipation wondering which restaurant was going to cater the Barbecue for the next Men’s Club.  —  No.  It’s coming to me. —  I think it had something to do with the way OG&E would pay for all my education no matter how much I wanted to take.  — Yeah, that’s it.  —  It wore me out taking all those classes.

I couldn’t stay with a company like that.  I never had enough time with my kids, because I was always taking college courses because OG&E kept reimbursing me for them.  I think they had around $100,000 lifetime limit for reimbursing you for education.  —  Actually, I think I was getting pretty close to that amount.

Down here they don’t do that.  They only pay for $3,000 of courses each year (outside of all the courses they send you to).  That way, if I want to take some college courses, then they will only pay for about 1 1/2 of them until the money runs out, and then you have to go begging your Vice President to pay for the rest.  This makes one hesitate a little bit before signing up for the next course.  —  But you know me.  I’m a glutton for punishment.

Anyway.  I heard that you guys are also on overhaul.  Gee.  Could that have been another reason I’m down here programming on the computer in this climate controlled cubeville.

To tell you the truth, my e-mail archive was getting so full last week that I had to spend about 3 days cleaning it up.  I went through all the letters I have received from you guys since I came down here.  There were over 800 e-mails.  I went through them trying to decide which ones I could get rid of.  So as I was reading them, I started missing all those fun times I had working on the roof and inside those precipitators, all covered with either pigeon droppings or fly ash.

Boy.  That was fun.  But on Friday, we had to go to an I/T All-Hands meeting at some Performing Arts Center and listen to all the good news about Dell.  Then we had to go out to lunch someplace and eat Mexican food and go to a movie called, “Along Came Polly”.

So that took all day, and it got my mind off of how much I missed working all those long hours during overhaul, where your mind was brain-dead by the end of the day after working those 12 hour shifts dressed up in a fly ash suit and a full face respirator and rubber boots with a flashlight hanging from around your neck. —  Whewwww.  I just got the shivers.

I wonder where that cold chill came from.  There must be a little glitch in the air conditioning system or something.  I’ll call facilities and have them look at it.

When I was working in the Payroll department on that timekeeping application, I developed a new method for solving people’s computer problems.  Some of you may remember my technique of “laying on of the hands”, when I would just put my hands on the monitor, and then the computer problems would go away.

Well.  I have obtained two paper fans down here that have a picture of Elvis Presley’s face on them, and I have found that if I wave one of these Elvis Presley fans over the keyboard, the same thing happens.

So when I was in that team room in Payroll, I had one of the fans stuck in a harness that was taped to the door, so that when someone came in and said something wasn’t working on their computer, I would just grab the Elvis fan on the way out the door and wave it over their keyboard, and 9 times out of 10 their problem was solved.

This works especially good on what are known as “PEBKAC” errors.  PEBKAC stands for “Problem Exists Between Keyboard And Chair”.  So I would wave the fan like a wand, and voila, the problem would go away.  If the person asked me what was wrong, I would just tell them that they had a PEBKAC error, and that it shouldn’t happen again.

Well.  I better get back to work now.  I think my break time is over now.  —  How do I know?  Well.  This letter seems long enough, that’s how I know.  I don’t want to ramble too much in one letter.  If I did, this might be mistaken for junk mail.

I hope all is going well with you guys.  Let me know how you’re doing.

Your friend from Dell,

Kevin James Anthony Breazile

______________________

Kevin J. Breazile

Programmer/Analyst III

Dell Inc.

(512) 728-1527

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