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 sixty seventh letter I wrote.
2/26/03 – Confusing Looks at Dell
Dear Sooner Plantians,
I hope you are all keeping warm in your igloos up there. — And Thank you for seeing to it that we are able to experience some of your cold weather. Yesterday the temperature actually dropped to 25 degrees.
That mixed with the rain made for some real slick roads on Monday night. We just called off work yesterday and stayed home and relaxed. I don’t even think they docked me a day of vacation for not showing up at work because of the weather (like had happened to me in a prior lifetime when I was known as a “wire twister”, or a “sparky” or a ……. — Well never mind).
So we had ice. You would think it’s no big deal, but down here whenever there is anything that even remotely looks like snow, people go haywire. They run outside (and slip and fall down), and they make a Texan equivalent of a snowman (which is really an “Iceman”).
They slip and slide down the highway at the same speed they do when they are normally going to work. — I came to work this morning, and even though there were few people on the roads, they were all driving at the same speed that they do when there is gridlock.
I think even if it was a clear sunny day, and there wasn’t anyone on the highways, that people would still only go about 15 miles an hour during rush hour, because they have never experienced anything different.
Last week on Monday morning, I came in to work and put a new program into production (it was an upgrade to the program that I wrote back in October that they said saved them $53 million).
Well. I put it into production, and there was some issues with it, but before I could look into them, my manager told me to go to some training that someone else had signed up for, but they called in sick for the week. So I spent the week in training learning more about ASP.Net — which is made up of two programming languages that go together rather well.
The only problem was that I still had to fix the “issues” with the program that I had just put into production and take the class at the same time. Luckily I have a program on my laptop, that allows me to connect to Dell whenever the laptop is connected to the Internet anywhere.
So I was able to plug my laptop in at the school to a computer jack and connect to my desktop computer back at work. At the same time, I could keep nodding my head in agreement whenever the teacher said something, so that I appeared to be paying attention. — Which I was (sort of).
Anyway. I took the class, and my new program is working well, and everyone would be happy, except for the ice, which has left everyone with a confused look on their faces.
Well. I have a meeting with my manager this morning at 11:00 to go over my “Performance Appraisal”. Wish me luck. This is the big “Yearly” performance appraisal. — The one that really counts.
I hope everything is going well with all of you. I haven’t heard much from you guys the last couple of weeks. I’ll talk to all of you later.
Your friendly Dell Programmer,
Kevin James Anthony Breazile
Kevin J. Breazile
Dell Computer Corporation
Heh. You just brought back some memories. I was living in Texas from July 2002 until May 2011. I actually went for a job interview at Dell in August 2002. Dell didn’t hire directly. They had a third party “Manpower” type organization that screened applicants for them. Talk about layers of bureaucracy. I had to laugh at the local jokes about “Dellions bowing in the direction of the campus like Muslims” or “You can recognize a Dellion. They are all tagged like Longhorns.”
I went to work for the state…General Land Office/Veterans Land Board…Stephen F. Austin building…right beside the Texas Museum. It was a cool job, until it wasn’t.
I’m from North Carolina and grew up with snow & ice storms, particularly in the 70s. Driving in bad weather is an acquired talent. Texans never mastered that. In the years I lived in Round Rock (or, really, Brushy Creek), I saw two ice storms & one light snow (2008). The freakout over these minor events was amusing to me. They don’t have salt/sand trucks so, they just close up I-35, stay home and drink margaritas. And, you are right about the slow driving. I found three reasons for that behavior:
1. In that particular area (Central Texas Hill Country), it doesn’t rain much. Armadillos frequently sleep upside in the middle of the road. Skunks, too. It makes driving difficult without obstacle-course training. Then, when it does occasionally rain, all the oil on the roads is activated and conditions get slick that way. I was rear ended by a texting teen one morning on my way to work. It had just started to rain and she shoved me up under another car. I had just taken possession of a new car a week before. I was wishing for the 1999 F250 I had just traded in.
2. Allergies. I worked with a lady that was married to a Federal judge. They came up from San Antonio. She lamented the fact that her three sons were all on allergy meds and she was thinking of taking them, herself. She stated that the allergies in the Austin area were off the charts and San Antonio had no such issues. I did some research and found that the terrain was bowl-shaped. Austin was nestled in the pit of a geological dip. The limestone gently rose up from the sea and joined into the mountains (Hill Country). Every irritating particle settled there in the scoop. Quarrying for building materials didn’t help nor did all the importation of non-local Cedar trees (or the poor Arizona Ashes, either). I perpetually had a white film on everything in my house. A rather large portion of folks are jacked up on allergy meds. Being stuffy-headed, sneezy, blurry-eyed and woozy from the meds makes it hard to drive.
3. Pot. Many of Austin’s drivers are stoned out of their minds. When reality blurs & bends, vehicles move slowly. Drunk drivers lose control. Pot smokers drive pretty well but, time, itself, slows down…and so do they. Many a day, driving to & from work, common sights were guys driving & shaving or others rolling joints at stoplights. I eventually gave up and road the bus in to downtown from Lakeline. The back of the bus is comfortable and the drivers know how to navigate the feeder roads.
I still have close friends there and shall return one day. The big snow storm that hit them recently was wild. It exposed a terrible energy structural weakness. My friends were freaking out. “Now you know what I grew up with.”
LikeLiked by 2 people
Thanks Hin for the memories. I came after the Dellionaires had made their money. Temp companies are still the way to be hired at Dell. That was a crazy freeze. We were without power for almost 3 days. It was quite an adventure.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Call me Vic. I take it you are still in Texas, then?
LikeLiked by 1 person
Vic, I still live in Round Rock, only I work for GM in a building that used to be owned by Dell.
Wow. I miss RR. I lived in the subdivision behind the HEB on 620 & O’Connor…in the area close to Cat Hollow Park. I miss my life there but, don’t miss my ex. Glad he disappeared to other pastures…
A friend & former co-worker has kept me up to date on Congress Ave. being closed to a walkable park thing. That’s crazy to me. They already had traffic issues and they close off streets?
I also miss going to concerts at the Austin Paramount Theater…Frank Irwin Center…Alamo Drafthouse Movies… The Dog & Duck Pub (The Quack & Bark…😆) got torn down…😭
Sorry for rambling…
LikeLiked by 1 person