Monthly Archives: May, 2021

Letters to the Power Plant #79 — New Name 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 seventy ninth letter I wrote.

7/18/03 – New Name at Dell

Dear friends from Sooner Plant and Beyond!!!

If you look at my signature tag at the bottom of the e-mail, you may notice that Dell has changed their name from “Dell Computer Corporation” to “Dell Inc”.  This is in order to keep up with the new movement that was started with the movie “Monster’s Inc.”

We have come to the conclusion that we are more than just a “Computer” company, and therefore it would be less “constrictive” if we didn’t have the word “computer” in our name.  Most people are used to just saying “Dell” anyway.  No one really says, “I think I’ll order a computer from Dell Computer Corporation.  So we changed our name to Dell Inc.

It is true that one of our main competitors, HP (which stands for Hewlett-Packard), is not much more than an “ink” company.  They make most of their profit by selling ink for their printers.  They sell computers below cost so that you will buy a printer from them.  Then they sell printers below cost in order to get you to buy their ink.  Which is where HP makes their money (that and selling servers and services).  Maybe we are thinking that if we put the word “Inc.” in our name, then people will think that we are an “Ink” company also.  Who knows.  It might work.  We do sell Dell printers now.

Yesterday we had a business group come over and serve us Ice Cream Sundaes and cookies and stuff.  I’m still full from eating all that.  They said they wanted to serve us something since we had been serving them so long.  —  Isn’t that precious?  Now I’m getting so fat, I can hardly push my chair away from my desk, because it’s embedded in the carpet.  Oh well.  That’s life in the Fat Lane.

Well.  You know what those guys were after, don’t you?  Serving us all that ice cream.  It’s not like I was just born yesterday.  —  You guessed it.  Just when all of us were so full, we couldn’t stand up, then they said that since they had been so kind as to come all the way down here from the Round Rock Campus (five miles away), that we should remember that and do anything they ask us from now on.

Uh Huh.  That’s what they said.  They also said that they were just joking, but they only said that was so that we didn’t get so upset that we started puking up all the ice cream that we had eaten.  But I thought that was the reason all along. —  If they only knew the truth.  We do just about everything they ask anyway, whether they give us Ice Cream or not.

You guys know what I mean.  When Arnold says, “Go in the boiler and fix that tube leak as fast as you can.  You don’t have to take all the safety precautions as long as you don’t get hurt.”  You just run right out there and dive right in, almost before the fire has been put out and it’s still 350 degrees in there.

Yeah.  I see you shaking your head saying, “I never do that.”  —  Really?  — Yeah sure.  You’re right.  At least you don’t ever “remember” doing that, since that part of your brain was permanently fried to the point that you have to eat some ice cream in order to cool your brain down enough to jog those memories out of there.

I think I still have an Ice Cream Headache from yesterday.  When I ate that Ice Cream, all these memories about working in the super hot areas all came back to me.  My hardhat melting on my head. —  You guys know what I’m talking about.  —  When it gets to be around 160 degrees and your hardhat gets so soft that you can squish it down flat just like a baseball cap.  —  Boy.  What a headache I have from thinking about that.

Note to Reader:  To learn more about working in the heat in the boiler read the post Luxuries and Amenities of a Power Plant Labor Crew.

Don’t think I have forgotten the time when Eddie Hutchins wanted us to stay in the boiler while they were dynamiting in there because it was taking too long for us to climb in and out every 15 minutes, so he just stood in there when the dynamite blasted off to show us it was safe (as if that would have convinced us).  —  After the dynamite went off, he came stumbling out of there all wobbily and said,  “I guess that might not be such a good idea.”  (It sounded more like “aaaa gesh tha my nud be uh gud I dee ur”)   —  And we looked at him like, “Did you really think you had to tell us that before we knew it?”  —  Gee,  Those Ice Cream headaches bring out some long lost memories.

Note to Reader:  To learn more about Eddie Hutchins standing in the boiler when dynamite exploded read the post Cracking a Boiled Egg in the Boiler and Other Days You Wish You Could Take Back.

I don’t think anyone is still around from that day except Chuck Moreland, and Larry Riley.  I don’t even remember if they were standing there when Eddie did that.  I remember James Kanelakos and Ronnie Banks, and Ron Luckey and Bob Lillibridge and Fred ….  Fred……. (Oh.  You know.  The tall thin guy on Labor Crew that moved to Diluth Minnesota), were there when Eddie did that.

Well.  I hope you guys had a great week.  Have a nice weekend.  I’ll talk to you guys later.  —  Crocker!!!!  That’s it!  —-  Fred Crocker.  —  It’s amazing how something pops in your head when you have decided not to think about it any more.  —  Later.

Your friendly Dell Inc. Programmer from down under,

Kevin James Anthony Breazile


Kevin J. Breazile

Programmer/Analyst III

Dell Inc.

(512) 728-1527

Letters to the Power Plant #78 — Happy Holidays 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 seventy eighth letter I wrote.

7/11/03 – Happy Holidays from Dell

Dear Sooner Plantians et al,

“et al” means “and others”, in case you were wondering.

I hope all of you had a great time during the Fourth of July.  I did.  I’m sorry I wasn’t able to come out and visit you guys.  What, with the “terrorist threat” and all, the Plant Manager or his faithful Equipment Support Supervisor, or the ever vigilant Business Support Supervisor decided it would probably not be safe for me to show up at the plant.  —  Let me tell you…..  I could feel the “Love” all the way down here in Austin.

Those guys just care so much about my health and well-being, it is really touching.  —  I suppose that if they are so concerned about my health, that all of you guys were probably given the whole day off of work in order to keep you safe also.  Who really needs a Safety Task Force with those guys looking after you?

Note to Reader:  To learn more about he Safety Task Force see the post Taking Power Plant Safety to Task.

It’s just as well that I couldn’t come out to visit you guys.  I was too tired on Thursday morning after driving all the way up there the night before, that I just slept in until 9:00 or so, and spent part of the afternoon sitting in the pool at the Hampton Inn in Stillwater (When I wasn’t in Tulsa picking up my grandmother from the airport).  —  It’s about time that Stillwater had a decent hotel.  That place is really nice.

Well.  I did learn something from all that “care and concern” that I received when the “You-know-who”s thought I was going to show up to their safety meeting.  I learned that those guys not only care a lot about my safety, but they also care enough to have someone show my letters to them.  —  That’s interesting to me, since when I asked who wanted to receive these letters, none of them said that they did.

Anyway.  It’s just good to know.  —  By-the-way, I did remove one name from my address list.  I thought, “What the heck”, if those guys want to read my letters, let them ask me.  I’ll add them to the list.  That way they can get their information straight from the programmer’s mouth.

I had to turn in my “Mid-Year” self assessment today.  —  That’s why I have time right now to write to you guys.  —  You remember me.  —  The “360 Assessment Counselor”.

Note to Reader:  To learn more about how I was a 360 degree Assessment Counselor at the Power Plant see the post 360 Degrees of Power Plant Grief Counselling.

For me, that stuff doesn’t take very long. —  I had a one-on-one meeting with my manager this morning, and he said,  “Tell me that story again about how you had to request a clearance 24 hours in advance of the time you had to have the hold tag placed on something.”  So I told him.

Then he said,  “Tell me that story again about how you used to have Quality Teams, and an Action Team and a whole Quality Process and you guys just gave it all up when your super-intelligent Equipment Support Supervisor took over.”  So I told him.

Then he said, “Tell me again how you used to sacrifice pigeons on top of the precipitator in order to get the precipitator to run better.”  And I said, “Did I say I did that?  Boy I must have really been drunk at our last team-builder.”

He just loves to hear all those great stories about Boiler Rats, and Sparkys and Bubble-Busters.  I think we both had sore necks after that meeting from shaking our heads so much in disbelief.  I know the sides of my mouth hurt from grinnin’ so much.

Well, maybe the next time I come to town, the whole plant can just go out to “Bad Brad’s” and eat BBQ.

Stay Safe.  Talk to you later.

Your friendly Dell Programmer,

Kevin James Anthony Breazile


Kevin J. Breazile

Programmer/Analyst III

Dell Computer Corporation

(512) 728-1527

Letters to the Power Plant #77 — Summer 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 seventy seventh letter I wrote.

6/30/03 – Summer at Dell

Hello friends from Sooner Plant (and other less fortunate souls),

I looked at my old e-mails this morning and I realized that it has been over 3 weeks since I wrote last.  That surprised me because it seems like it has only been 2 1/2 weeks.  I have been busy working with my summer intern (and going to meetings), so the time has been flying.

The Friday before last we had our I/T All-Hands meeting at some place way out in the country.  It was called “Fiesta Ranch”.  I think I mentioned it before.  Well.  It was a very hot day.  I didn’t bring my swimming suit so I wasn’t able to cool off in the “Waterin’ Hole” with those that had the foresight to bring theirs.

So after our team building activities, I just sat in the shade and talked with some friends who were equally as short-sighted as I was.  Our Vice President had his head shaved because he challenged all of us to turn in 95% of our “Satisfaction Surveys”, and we did.

He knew what he was doing.  It was at least cooler without any hair…..  I guess.  As long as he was able to wear a cool hat so that he wouldn’t get a sunburn on the top of his head (like I did —  because my hair is getting a little thin up there).

Well (That’s a deep subject).  I am going to be in Stillwater late Tuesday evening.  I was thinking about visiting the plant on Thursday morning.  Are you guys going to have a Safety Meeting on Thursday morning?  —  I thought maybe us old “retirees” could drop by and eat a doughnut with you guys.  That is, if you had an accident-free month.

I had a class last week called “BPI”.  That stands for “Business Process Improvement”.  Does that sound familiar to any of you guys?  “Business Process Improvement”?  Yeah.  It’s the “Quality Process”.

Down here, when you do process improvements you can receive a belt like you do in Karate.  So you start out with no belt, and then if you make any kind of quality improvement (and turn in the paperwork), then you become a “Yellow Belt”.  Then you can become a Green Belt, and then a Black Belt if you save the company millions of dollars (which around here isn’t too hard to do.  You could practically sneeze and save the company a bunch of money just by the fact that we make so much).

Anyway.  When I was in the BPI training I met this guy there that was tall and thin and had a moustache.  He looked and sounded very familiar.  I kept looking at him and thinking that I had seen him before.  —  Let me describe him just one more time….  He was tall…. Thin….. And had a moustache…..  he acted like he was a mechanic or something.  —  I finally figured out who he reminded me of……  Stick.

I almost asked him if his nickname was “Stick”.  —  Anyway.  I wrote down his name so I wouldn’t forget it, and it wasn’t Gary McCain.  He did have a calculator with him, and I almost asked him if I could look at it so that I could see if I could program it for him, but I didn’t.

Note to Reader:  To learn more about “Stick” and Gary McCain read the post Making Power Plant Friends with Motor Alignment.

Evidently, the “Quality Process” has been going on around here for a long time.  Every year they have a “Quality Day”.  I told my manager that we used to do that same stuff at Sooner Plant before we figured out that we didn’t have to do it as long as we had a super-intelligent Equipment Support Supervisor.  He was all the quality that we needed.

Note to reader:  To learn more about the Quality Process at the Power Plant, see the post A Chance for Power Plant Men to Show Their Quality.

Yeah.  They still do “Fishbone” diagrams and “Root-Cause Analysis” and “Flowcharts” and stuff like that.  They haven’t figured out that they only need to tap into the unlimited intelligence of the “Super-Intelligent Equipment Support Supervisor” and his trusty Human Resource Representative in order to immediately have all the Quality you could possibly need!!

Anyway.  I took “Yellow Belt” training.  So now I need to join a team somewhere and come up with a way to improve a process somewhere in order to receive my Yellow Belt.  —  I’m looking right now.  —  I’m getting out my “Fishbone diagram and figuring it out.  I’m developing a Process Map!!  My Brain is Storming!!!  I’m fitting it all into a Pareto Chart!!!!  I’m applying a Root Cause Analysis!!!!!  —  Oh!!!!  There it is!!!!!!

Oh.  Wait.  I dropped my pencil……   Let see….  Where was I?   Oh yeah.  I was writing a letter to you guys.  It seems like I was having an idea.  But I forgot what it was.  Oh well.  I guess it wasn’t that important.

I look forward to seeing you guys later this week if I can make it out to the plant.  Will I be able to make it through the front gate?

See you later,

Your friend from Dell,

Kevin James Anthony Breazile


Kevin J. Breazile

Programmer/Analyst III

Dell Computer Corporation

(512) 728-1527

Letters to the Power Plant #76 — Diversity 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 seventy sixth letter I wrote.

6/06/03 – Diversity at Dell

Dear Sooner Plantians,

I understand the remorse all of you are going through with the recent retirements that have taken place.  I was told that Sonny Kendrick’s last day was last Friday and that Walt Oswalt retired some time ago.  —  I had been wondering what that hint of apathy was in the recent e-mails that I had received from Sooner lately.

Note to reader:  To learn more about Sonny Kendrick see the post Singing Along with Sonny Kendrick.

To learn more about Walt Oswalt read the post Power Plant Trip Leads to a Game of Frogger.

I know now that it was just the shock of losing two such highly motivating individuals from the ranks of Superstars that make Sooner Plant the most efficient power plant in the country (it still is the most efficient plant in the country isn’t it?).  There has been such a broad mixture of individuals at Sooner that have led to its success that when these individuals leave, it has such an impact on the way the plant runs that it is noticeable all the way down here.

Dell is very serious about creating an environment of Diversity because they see the benefits of having a highly diverse workforce.  They have a whole bunch of categories that people can be broken down to show what a diverse workforce includes.  There are some categories that are obvious such as Age, Gender, Language, Ethnicity, and Race.  Then there are some that you don’t normally think about like:  Smoker/NonSmoker, Religious Beliefs, Education, Work Background, Military Experience, Income, Marital Status, Communication Style, etc.

There is one category of diversity that they are missing and I have always thought that it was an important one.  I have been trying to convince them that by ignoring this range of diversity and actually trying to eliminate it, Dell has been missing an opportunity to reap the benefits from it.  That is the category of:  “Hard-Working vs Laziness”.

Dell has been trying to weed out those people that are deemed, “Lazy” and keep those that are “Hard-Working”.  By doing this, they are creating a workforce that is less diverse and less efficient.  —  “Why?” you might ask.  —  Well.  From my experience at Sooner Plant, we had a lot of hard working people, and we had a few who were kind of lazy (or people categorized them as such).   I noticed something over the years, especially when I had worked around the “lazy” people for a while, (or actually took on that role on a ‘few’ occasions), that those “so-called” lazy people were actually the ones that came up with an easier or better way to do things.

Sure the “Hard-working” people didn’t mind slaving away doing it the same way for 35 years!!  But the lazy ones had a whole shelf full of special tools and techniques for making the work a lot easier.  They were the ones that were constantly looking for ways to get out of work.

Yes.  It’s true that some would work harder trying to get out of work than the work actually was, but that was pretty rare.  Most of the time when someone said, “Do we really have to do that?” it was not one of the “hard-working” people that said that, it was someone on the other end of the spectrum.  Often, though, there really was a better way to do a job, and the lazy person came up with it.

Down here at Dell, just about everyone is a work-a-holic.  I fit in with them well (believe it or not).  But I see people wearing their fingers out on the keyboard trying to get things done as soon as possible, and I think, “Maybe there’s a better way to do this.”

I have told my manager that I think we should keep a handful of lazy people around just to come up with the good ideas to get out of work.  He told me that he had never heard such a thing.  He also didn’t think that it would be something that they would like to do. —  I told him that since we are focusing on Diversity that we should be open to a diverse workforce that has both lazy and hard-working people.

I don’t know.  Maybe this idea is just a little before it’s time.  —  I suppose after a few lawsuits from lazy people being discriminated against, things will change.

Well.  I have been rambling long enough.  Today I am driving up to Lawton, Oklahoma to bring Kelly and the kids to visit Kelly’s sister for a week.  Next week I have Jury Duty, I don’t know what will become of that.  —  I know.  I’ll suggest that they should have just as many daydreaming people on the jury as alert people in order to make it diverse.  —  Maybe they will just tell me to leave and go back to work.

I hope everyone is enjoying their summer…..

I’ll write later,

Your friendly Dell Programmer from the Diverse Dwelling at Dell,

Kevin James Anthony Breazile


Kevin J. Breazile

Programmer/Analyst III

Dell Computer Corporation

(512) 728-1527

Letters to the Power Plant #75 — Dell Interns and Stuff

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 fifth letter I wrote.

5/30/03 – Dell Interns and Stuff

Dear Friends from Sooner Plant and others,

It has been brought to my attention that I haven’t written a letter in a few weeks….   Well.  When I looked back at my “Networking” folder I can see that it has been 3 whole weeks since I have written a letter to you guys.  Gee….  Has it been that long?  Well.  It seems like just yesterday.

It’s interesting how time flies when you’re having…..  Now what is that word?…….  Oh yeah,  “when you’re having fun.”  Well.  Before I tell you about my day, I would like to congratulate you guys on an Accident Free Overhaul. (It was accident free wasn’t it?).

I hear that Scott Hubbard and Charles Foster did a great job on the Precipitator.  Everyone should give them “High Fives” for their great work.  I know from the past that when the Precipitator is working well, no one ever gives any recognition for that, but when it’s fouling up real bad, it’s all the Electrician’s fault.  —  Good job you guys!!!!

Well (That’s a deep subject).  I now have my own personal “Summer Intern”.  I’m the only one in my organization that has an intern and everyone is trying to figure out how come I get one and no one else.  So I just say,  “Well, did you fill out a requisition for one?”

No.  Not really.  I don’t know why I got one, but I’ve been teaching him all week how to program in VB, VBScript, ASP, Oracle, and HTML.  He doesn’t have any of these skills, and he’s going to need them if he’s going to follow me around this summer.  I’ll let you know if we make an “Intern video” of all the “brilliant ideas” he comes up with during the summer (like those interns on the commercials).

Well.  We were going to have a team builder with our group, and our Vice President told us that he would rather we have one big team-builder with everyone in his group, so we are combining the whole thing and having some sort of “All-Hands” meeting at some place called “Fiesta Ranch” in 3 weeks. (So instead our 2nd level manager gave us a half day off last Friday, which is why I didn’t write to you guys last week).

This isn’t the same place we went to last summer.  That was called, “Reunion Ranch”.  —  Notice how a lot of places down here have the word “Ranch” in them?  Isn’t that interesting?  I suppose that we should expect horses and cowboys and pasture when we show up.  —  If I remember correctly, Reunion Ranch didn’t have any horses there when we went there last summer.

I haven’t heard anything about “Fiesta Ranch,” where we are going next.  My guess is that it won’t be a ranch at all.  —  It’s like these roads down here that are called “Ranch Roads” (Or “Ranch to Market” roads).  These roads are right in the middle of town and there isn’t a ranch anywhere in sight.  I think it gives these guys a feeling that they are out on the prairie chewin’ on a piece of hay or something when they drive down “Ranch Road 620”.

They might say something to their friend while they are sipping their coffee at Starbucks like this, “Hey Luke.  How’s about us takin’ a ride down the ol’ Ranch Road an’ see iffin’ we can catch us a sight of some coyotes (pronounced “kye – oats”)?  Then maybe we can drive across the north 40 (Which is a highway, not a bunch of acres on a ranch) and catch us a bite ta eat at “Cheddars”, (which is a restaurant like “Chili’s” not some greasy spoon run by an ancient hispanic character that has only one eye and a game leg — like it sounds).

They talk like that because they want to believe that they are living in the “Old West” and not sitting in a Starbucks getting ready to get on the highway during going home traffic with a million other cars in a large metropolis in south Texas.

Well.  —  You guys know what I’m talking about.  You work at Sooner Plant.  —  Yes.  That place out in the middle of no where where you have to make your own lake and purify your own water to drink, and you have to stand out there in all sorts of weather doing your “chores”.  And you have to bail the hay out in the pasture for Ken Scott to come and steal.  And you have to chew on a piece of hay to keep from saying things to upper management that you know you would like to say, but it just wouldn’t get you anywhere if you did.

Sooner Plant.  The place where the workers at the other plants do not want to go on an overhaul in the winter because there is nothing between Sooner Plant and the 60 mile an hour wind blowing down from the Rocky Mountains (brrrr.  I’m getting chills just thinking about it).

Well.  Keep up the good work at Sooner.  I’ll write to you guys later.  Let me know how things are going.  —  Say.  I noticed that “Richard Maxwell’s” e-mail is no longer valid.  —  He wrote me and told me that he was going out in the Texas Panhandle to work for some company that was going to pay him more money.

Have a great week,

Your friendly Dell Programmer,

Kevin James Anthony Breazile


Kevin J. Breazile

Programmer/Analyst III

Dell Computer Corporation

(512) 728-1527

Letters to the Power Plant #74 — Money Matters 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 seventy fourth letter I wrote.

5/9/03 – Money Matters at Dell

Dear Friends at Sooner Plant,

Do you guys remember when we had those Money Matters meetings?  They gave us a water bottle, or a cup or something that had Money Matters on it (oh, I remember, it was a coffee mug).  I’m sure you guys remember that.  We went to a workshop where they had a poster that had a bunch of cars and trucks racing down a road with the names of different power companies written on the side. —  How could you forget that?

We also went to one like that where there was a big canyon and management was on one side and the workers were on the other side and some people were trying to build a bridge across while some managers were just staying on their own side of the canyon yelling across trying to tell the workers what to do.  —  Do you guys remember that?

Note to reader:  To read more about Money Matters at the Power Plant see the post Power Plant Men Learn how Money Matters.

Well.  The reason I’m asking is, because I went to a class this morning called “Business Acumen”.  It was about how Dell is competing in our industry.  Instead of vehicles racing down a road, they had sailboats and ships at sea racing to their customers.

There was a wind blowing the ships toward their customers, and our competition was all there trying to get their first.  It had a whole bunch of things to look at on the picture that had to do with how we stacked up against our competition.

The whole time I was looking at this, I kept thinking, “I’ve seen this before.”  —  Yep.  It had the same design as those “Money Matters” posters where they were trying to teach us where our company stood with our competition and where our revenue came from and all those other “Money Matters” matters.

I just thought I would share that with you guys, in case you were wondering if OG&E was the only company that had workshops like that.  —  Of course, that was quite a while ago when I last went to a “Money Matters” workshop at OG&E.  Are they still doing stuff like that there?

Next Month I’m supposed to go to another one called “Financial Acumen”, which sounds a lot like “Money Matters”.  It has the same type of poster with the symbolism of people climbing a cliff or some such thing.  That one kind of reminds me of the canyon one we had at OG&E when the Managers were all on one side and the workers were on the other.

Well I’m glad OG&E worked that out and built that bridge across so that Managers and Workers could all communicate a lot easier….or was it where they threw up their hands and all walked away….. I don’t quite remember.

Well.  I hope everyone is doing well up there and that everyone has been able to avoid the recent round of Tornadoes.  —  I know Austin gets a tornado here and there, but it’s nothing like up there in Oklahoma.

The weather reporters down here are not as good as those in Oklahoma.  They are usually right about the temperature within 10 degrees down here.  So when they say it’s going to be 85 degrees tomorrow, you can usually count on it being anywhere from 75 to 95 degrees.

I remember in Oklahoma those guys on Channel 4 would say it was going to be 85 degrees the next day, and if it made it to 86, the weather man Mike Morgan or Gary England on Channel 9 would look embarrassed for missing it.  Down here all the stations just rely on the National Weather Service to tell them what their weather is.  It’s not like in Oklahoma where each TV station has their own weather computers that are the best in the world.

I’ve noticed that when they give the weather report down here, about half of the time, they don’t even tell you what the weather is going to be like today. —  So in the morning when I am watching the weather to find out what is going to happen today, they will often skip today’s forecast and tell you what it’s going to be like in two days (as if they know — because they change it every day).

They have a 5 day forecast, and it basically is the average temperature for that day of the year for this area.  —  I think the Farmer’s Almanac would be just about as accurate.  —  Not that I’m complaining.  I realize that I have been spoiled by Oklahoma Weather Forecasts.

Well.  I guess I better get back to work.  I need to hang up my “Business Acumen” poster in my cubicle.  I think I’ll put it over here right next to my Hardhat safety stickers from OG&E.  —  Let me know how things are going up there.  I’ll Write to all of you later.  —  Next week I’m supposed to be in training all week (this is for the course that was cancelled about 2 months ago for C# — pronounced “See Sharp” —  As in “See Robert Sharp Run”), so I’ll be back after that.

Your friendly Dell Programmer,

Kevin James Anthony Breazile


Kevin J. Breazile

Programmer/Analyst III

Dell Computer Corporation

(512) 728-1527

Letters to the Power Plant #73 — Recovery at Dell Computer Corporation

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.

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

Programmer/Analyst III

Dell Computer Corporation

(512) 728-1527

Letters to the Power Plant #72 — Cards 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 seventy second letter I wrote.

4/11/03 – Cards At Dell

Dear Soonerites,

I can’t believe another week has gone by already.  Before I know it we’ll be having our “Team-Builder” down in San Antonio at “Fiesta Texas”.  Our whole team is looking forward to the break.  A chance to get away from all the hustle and bustle of corporate life.

A day when we don’t have to worry about responding to e-mail.  We don’t have to sit in our cubicles and program neat stuff.  We don’t have to go to meetings and sit there looking at the overhead projector while someone explains why they wrote their program one way, when we would have written it another way.  —  Oh well.  Just think of all that fun stuff we will be missing when we have to go spend the day at a boring ol’ amusement park.

Our group has been doing a little “reorganizing” this week.  Randy Mott, the CIO (Chief Information Officer), decided that it would be a nice thing if our area changed Vice Presidents.  So our group moved over under another vice president.

None of the managers knew it was going to happen until we all received an e-mail announcing to the world that GFACES (That’s our group’s name now), is moving to another Vice President.  We will still remain GFACES (which stands for Global Financial And Customer Experience Systems), however, we will not be part of “Corporate IT” anymore (Remember IT stands for Information Technology).  We will be “Financial IT”.  I suppose that’s ok.

I think we should have another team-builder just to get used to the fact that we are a different kind of “IT” than we were before.  Otherwise, some of us might go on feeling like we are still Corporate, when we should be feeling like we are Financial.  That might leave some of us feeling rather Financially deficit, and Corporately unfulfilled at the same time.  — A good team-builder might just take care of that little problem.

Note that the team-builder we’re having next Thursday was not specifically designed to alleviate the Corporate to Financial Changeover challenges.  It was designed to further enhance our Team-member to Team-member communication skills in a way that will increase productivity and develop us into focused verbal and nonverbal communicating powerhouses!!!!  It would be hard to fit in a team-building event in this team-builder that would help with the “Transitional impact” of swapping from a Corporate to a Financial IT environment.

Anyway (or Well, as the case may be),  my manager told me today that he wanted me to get a Corporate Credit Card.  He said that I never know when I may have to go travel somewhere, and if I do, I have to charge everything on the Corporate Credit Card or I won’t be reimbursed for it.

So when I was filling out the form for the Card, there was a place on the form to indicate whether you are a “domestic” traveler, or an “international” traveler.  So I asked my manager which one I should put down.  He told me that I should put down “international traveler” because I may need to go to India some time in the future.

“India?  Why would I need to go to India?”  I inquired.  He said,  “Well, you did such a good job working with the Data Warehouse guys last summer and fall that we thought you would be just the kind of guy to send to India. (not that we have made any plans, because we haven’t — yet)”.

“Me?  What does working with the Data Warehouse have to do with going to India?”, I inquired further.  Then my manager said,  “Well.  What are some of the names of the people you worked with when you were working with the Data Warehouse?”

So I answered, “Do you mean, Venkat, Murthy, Srinivasa, Kotamraju, Devika, Radha, Nanda, Liming, Ravi and his other brother Ravi, and Jichuan, Venu, Sohan, Ragini and Azeem? Or are you talking about when I was working with Sev, Subba, Linh, Galen, Nagavalli, Thuy, Hemanth, Radhakumari, Sandeep, Arnoud and Xu?”

He said,  “Yep.  My point exactly.”  —  I guess I missed something there.  Maybe it will become clear to me later.  As for now;  I faxed in the form and should have my card within 7 to 10 business days.

I hope all is going well with you guys.  I know overhaul must keep you very busy.  Let me know how things are going.  I’ll try to write next week —  Just to let you know how things are going.

Talk to you later.

Your Austinian Friend from Round Rock,

Kevin James Anthony Breazile


Kevin J. Breazile

Programmer/Analyst III

Dell Computer Corporation

(512) 728-1527

Letters to the Power Plant #71 — Interns at Dell Computer Corporation

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 first letter I wrote.

4/4/03 – Interns at Dell Computer Corporation

Dear brave Soonerites,

By now, I suppose you are in the middle of an overhaul.  I wish all of you well.  Work safe.  Think of the “Yellow Flag” before the accident happens.  Lift with your legs and not with your back.  Do the circle for safety.  Watch out for the other guy, and don’t take any wooden nickels.  Oh, and finish your work two weeks early so that you can “Help the team!!”

I cleaned out my cubicle this morning.  —  I mean.  I took out the Windex, (Well, actually it’s called “Screen Guardian”, and sprayed some paper towels and wiped off my desktop, and wiped off my computers and cleaned off my whiteboard (That’s a white chalkboard where you don’t use chalk).  —  When my neighbors were wondering what I was doing, I said, “What? —  It’s Friday. —  You know.  Shop Clean-up. — Don’t you do shop clean-up?”  I guess around here I should call it “Cubicle Dusting Day”.

Well.  This weekend is the time when we move our clocks forward one hour.  Now we all know what that means.  —  That’s right!!!  That means that yesterday, Bill Green handed out “Smoke Alarm Batteries!!!!” at the Monthly Safety meeting!!!  —  Am I correct?  I’m just curious.

How many of those batteries were already dead when he gave them to you?  He always managed to give me a dead smoke detector battery.  At first I thought it was just because he was handing out old batteries that had expired past their useful life span.  But as I pointed out in my going away presentation, it appears as if only the “troublemakers” were given dead batteries.  —  That would also explain the box of matches he handed out to my kids. (No.  Not really — I was just kidding — about the matches, that is).

Note to Reader:  To read about my Final Presentation when I left the Power Plant see the post Power Plant Final Presentation.

Well.  (Hey.  I like using “Well” at the start of the paragraph better than “Anyway”, — at least for now anyway).  Yesterday I went to a High School and taught the teachers how to use Microsoft Word.  — You would think that would be an easy task, since it is just a “word processing” program.

Well.  I taught them how to use more advanced features in Word, so they were learning new stuff.  —  In our next class we are going to integrate all the Office applications together, so you may have a form letter in Word, that uses an address list in Excel or Access so that they can use Mail Merge features, and a presentation in PowerPoint that has updatable links in Excel and Word, and that flashes funny things up on the screen real fast so that you’re not sure whether you actually saw it or not.  —  They will have fun I’m sure.

Well.  My manager came by the other day and told me that he wanted me to be the “mentor” for the new interns that we are getting.  I guess in about a month our team is going to be getting some interns to help out around here.  I asked him if he thought it was wise to assign me as their mentor, instead of some younger team member who could speak their language a little better.

He told me I would do just fine, and that I would probably pick up their language quickly.  —  Well.  If I start writing strange letters to you guys in about a month.  You’ll know why.  —  I mean strange in the sense of the words I’m using.  Not Strange in the sense of these letters that I’m already writing.  — Yes.  It’s true.  Dell really does have Interns.

Well.  I hope everything is going well with you guys.  It’s good to hear from those of you that write.  I’ll try to write back soon.

Your Friend at Dell,

Kevin James Anthony Breazile

Letters to the Power Plant #70 — Team Building at Dell Computer Corporation

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 seventieth letter I wrote.

3/28/03  — Team Building at Dell Computer Corporation

Dear Soonerites (and Later-ites),

Well.  It’s Friday afternoon, and a number of people around me are gone because they went to their “Team-builder” Activity today.  Gee.  My last team-builder must have been pretty boring.  I can’t even remember what it was.   —-  Oh yeah.  I looked it up in my Outlook calendar.  It was when we went to the “Adult Arcade” place and I sat in that “Electric chair”.  — No wonder I didn’t remember.

I remember now walking around for hours after that experience looking like that frizzy-haired guy on Seinfeld.  Well.  We had a meeting the other day to discuss where our team is going to go on our next outing —  Oh.  Did I say “Outing?.”    I meant to say ” …our next company-sponsored corporate team-building event.”  We decided to go to this place called “Fiesta Texas”.  It’s in San Antonio.  It is a Six Flags Theme park.

We already discussed some of the different team-building activities we are going to take part in while we’re there, but we’re up for suggestions I’m sure.  We thought our whole team would get on one of the bigger roller coasters all at the same time, and then when we go over the hills, we’ll raise our hands in the air and act like a bunch of cool frat boys and sorority girls by hooting and hollering some such slogan like “Dude, You’re getting’ a Dell!”.  We figure that will get us in the team-building spirit.

The team decided that only those people who took part in this particular team-building activity would be given their “lunch voucher.”   That way, they figured that we would have full participation.  —  I’m not really sure that I will want to eat lunch after that anyway, but I suppose I’ll go on it.  That way everyone can yell,  “Hey!  Look at that ‘Old Man’ riding on that Roller Coaster!  Doesn’t he look funny with all of that stuff all over his shirt and face, and ….eeuuuww, is that what I think it is!?!”

We’re going to carpool down there since it will take about an hour and a half or so.  I was able to con someone into driving me by promising them that I will tell them stories about the place where I used to work.  I think everyone likes hearing stories about when I worked at this great big power plant full of all this equipment and these great people who used to do the funniest things.

I can only remember a few funny things, but that’s ok.  You guys know how it is when you get older.  You start telling the same ol’ stories over and over again.  —  I wonder how many times these guys down here have heard the story about Bud Schoonover the Tool Room guy and how he would never let you have something if it was the last one he had so he would never have to order any more of anything?  Or the story about how I played this trick on Gene Day, and it turned out to be so funny that I almost died laughing before Gene could choke me to death.

Note to reader:  To learn more about Bud Schoonover read the post Elvin Power Plant Tool Room Adventures with Bud.

To Read more about Gene Day choking me, see this post:  Psychological Profile of a Power Plant Control Room Operator and Power Plant Humor and Joking with Gene Day.

You know what?  I just realized something.  Do you remember how I went to a team-builder last year and I had to tell them stuff about myself, and I told them that the two most interesting people in the world that I knew was Walt Oswalt and Bud Schoonover?  Well, since that time, there are only two other people on my team that were on my team back then.  — We reorganize a lot down here.  —  Anyway.  You know what that means?  That means that I can tell the same ol’ stories over again and most of the team will not have heard it before!  Boy.  This is easier than I thought.

Well.  We’re planning on going to our Team-builder event on April 17th, so if one of you guys want to come down and meet me there, that would be great.  Especially if we can stage a great team-building event right in front of the Roller coaster ride just before we are supposed to get on, where you act like you’re having a heart attack, and I administer First Aid to you, and check your pulse, and shake your shoulders and say, “I’m medically trained.  I can help you.”

And I can whip out a stethoscope and start listening to your lungs and looking off into space like I’m really trying to listen to that gurgling noise when you breathe.  —  That way, everyone will go on the Roller coaster ride and leave me behind to take care of you, and I’ll be able to hear them going over the hills yelling with their hands up in the air, while I’ll be rolling over laughing because they will think that I was being some kind of “hero”, when actually I was just doing what we used to do when we took those CPR courses every year.

Oh.  My manager, just walked by my cube and asked me if I’m rambling again.  —  How does he know?  —  He must be Psychic!!!  —  It must be all that “Team-building” vibes I was sending out.

Well.  I guess I’ve rambled on long enough.  When you see Gene Day, tell him I said “Hi”.  —  He gets a copy of this e-mail, so he’ll know why, but it would still be a great “Team-building” event if everyone would just do something special for him today.  —  Don’t you think?  Just say something like “Hi Gene!!!!  I think you’re a really Great Guy!!!  Oh,  by the way.  Kevin says ‘Hi’.”

Write and let me know how things are going.  I guess you guys are starting Overhaul this weekend, unless the finger-crossing didn’t work and you had to start it early.  Let me know what’s happenin’.

Your pal from down south,

Kevin James Anthony Breazile


Kevin J. Breazile

Dell Computer Corporation

(512) 728-1527