Letters to the Power Plant #94 — Dell Time and a Half

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 fourth letter I wrote.

2/11/04 – Dell Time and a Half

Dear Sooner Plant and friends,

I realize it has been a while since I have written.  I feel like I have been in a time-warp working with this Kronos timekeeping application.  Finally we are getting to the point where I will pass this application off to support in a couple of weeks and start a new project.

Already people are trying to get me on their projects because I’m now known as the “Escalation man” because we had to do everything so quickly with this project, so we escalated everything.  That is, we had to do it faster than was possible to get it done on time.

Everyone is still happy with the application, and my manager gave me another “Atta Boy” last week since I solved a problem the program was having with load balancing across 6 servers so I got another High Quality “work” shirt from that.

The Kronos Company couldn’t figure it out, and the load-balancing company (F5 Networks) couldn’t either, and our own Network Services people kept saying there wasn’t anything wrong with their load-balancing stuff, so there had to be a problem with the program.  So, no one was going to fix it.  Well.  I just did what I used to do when I was an electrician.

I pulled out some blueprints, and then went poking around in some junction boxes, and checked things with my voltmeter, checking for any broken wires, sat back and talked to Charles Foster about movies we had seen (well.  I pretended to anyway), and voila.

I stumbled upon a solution.  —  Now everyone just stares at me all amazed.  —  Not because I solved that load-balancing problem, but because I spilled some soy sauce on my shirt when we went to eat at a Chinese restaurant for lunch.

So, things have finally settled down enough where I can write to you guys.

I was talking to the Kronos consultant today, and I was telling him about all the tricks we played on Kent Norris when a group of us went to work at Corporate Headquarters in Oklahoma City when we were on a team of 10 or so to work on the SAP installation.

Kent is on the list of people that get this e-mail, and I’m sure he won’t ever forget all the fun things we did during those 10 weeks.  Mike Gibbs and I were the two that were there from Sooner Plant.  —  It was so fun to play tricks on Kent because he just took them so well.

He was the only person in our group that didn’t come from a power plant, and didn’t quite know how to take “Power Plant humor”.  We had his boss, Wayne Beasley, Jack Coffman, and Bill Green all in on some of the “jokes” (for those of you that aren’t from the great company of OG&E, Jack Coffman is the Vice President, and Bill Green is the plant manager at Sooner plant).

So I was recounting a few of them this morning to the consultant, I think that may have had something to do with spilling the soy sauce on my shirt.  It’s hard to open up those little packets of stuff with your teeth when you are laughing so hard.  By the way.  My fortune cookie said, “You will accomplish more if you take time to have a fun weekend”.

I won’t pass on the Kent stories to you at this time.  I will give Kent time to respond if he has any objections.  Just in case he doesn’t want me to tell the story about when we went to the Mexican restaurant with his boss (Tony DeArmond), and we told the waiter it was Kent’s birthday when it wasn’t, and they made him stand up and wear a humongous Sombrero while the waiters all sang a Mexican version of “Happy Birthday” to him, while we all clapped and Tony DeArmond almost choked to death because he was laughing so hard.  He might not want others to know about that, so I’ll save that story until Kent says it is all right to tell you guys.

Note to reader:  To read more about how we played jokes on Kent Norris read the post Corporate Executive Kent Norris Meets Power Plant Men.

I was sure glad to have worked on that SAP team for those 10 weeks because Mike and I left to go do that the day after the “Arnold Fire of ’96” when half of the Turbine Room floor was just about burned away.  That fire was on August 1, 1996 and Mike and I left to go work in Oklahoma City on August 2 for 10 weeks.

Note to reader:  To learn more about the turbine room fire read the post Destruction of a Power Plant God.

So by the time we returned, you guys had already rebuilt the whole turbine room.  You guys did a great job.  They didn’t think we could finish that SAP installation in 10 weeks, and we did, and they didn’t think you guys could get Sooner all put back together in 10 weeks, and you did.  So, it all worked out for the best.

Well.  I guess I had better go do something about my shirt.  Someone may think that I’m into tie-dying shirts and ask me to make one for them.  I’ll write later.  Let me know how things are going with you guys.

Your friendly Dell Programmer, and Chinese food taste tester,

Kevin James Anthony Breazile


Kevin J. Breazile

Programmer/Analyst III

Dell Inc.

(512) 728-1527

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