Category Archives: Biography

Letters to the Power Plant #88 — Matrix 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 eighty eighth 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.

11/6/03 – Matrix at Dell

Dear Sooner Plantians (and others less fortunate than to be working at Sooner Plant),

It has been a couple of weeks since I wrote, so I thought I would let you guys know how things have been going for me down here in Dellsville (not to be confused with Dullsville —  Which this is definitely not!).

Well.  Last week and the week before, I had loaned my daughter’s movie camera to our Customer Experience team so they could make a video about how Dell deals with the Customer Experience.  Next Monday they are going to film Michael Dell talking on the phone to a customer that accidentally calls Michael on the phone when they were trying to get Customer Support.

Michael stops what he is doing to work with the customer (the customer is a dad who is calling for his son’s computer, and Michael speaks to the little boy) and then tells his secretary (we call them Admins down here) to tell Bill Gates (from Microsoft, — for those of you who work in the coalyard) he’s going to be a little late for his meeting.

The Customer Experience group asked if I could video tape my son Anthony talking on the phone to Michael Dell, and they would use his voice in the film.  —  So they are using my daughter Elizabeth’s camera to film the video, and Anthony’s voice for the little boy.  (That is pretty neat).

Well.  The last time I wrote, I think I told you guys that I had put together a PowerPoint Presentation for the extra boring class I had to teach.  —  Well.  We had the first class last Tuesday. —  After the class was over, a manager that had taken it called me up and told me that she thought that was the best class she had taken since she had been to Dell.

My manager came over to my cubicle yesterday and told me that people were going out of their way to let him know that they really liked the class.  (So I guess it went over well —  I wasn’t sure what the reaction would be).  Now, my Vice President has signed up for the class, either next week or the week after, so we’ll see what his reaction is to it.  —  Either way.  At least one class went well.

That is kind of interesting.  I started the last paragraph with the word “Well” and I ended it with “well”.  Well what do you know about that?

Now, that’s interesting.  I started the last paragraph with the word “That”, and I ended with the word “that”, I wonder what I’m going to do now?

Look at that!  I…… Oh, never mind.  Sometimes I just get caught in a loop.

Anyway.  I only have one hour to do work today, because at 9:00 I have a meeting, and then right after that, our whole team is going to go to the movies and watch the new Matrix movie that just came out.

After that we are all going out to lunch, and then our Vice President wants all of us to go to Dave & Buster’s (the big arcade, bar, pool hall place) for a team-builder and refreshments.  —  Well.  He called it an “All-Hands Meeting”.

That’s the place that has that electric chair game where it tests to see how much it can shock you before you let go of the handles.  After being an Electrician for 18 years, and having an extremely shocking experience with our Equipment Support Supervisor about every three hours, I can hang on to those handles while the juice on that electric chair goes all the way to the top. —  And then I win a whole bunch of tickets that I can redeem for a bunch of little prizes like you might get at a “Chuckie Cheeses”, only a little better.

I’ll let you know how that goes.

______________________

Kevin J. Breazile

Programmer/Analyst III

Dell Inc.

(512) 728-1527

Letters to the Power Plant #87 — Presentations 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 eighty seventh 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.

10/24/03 – Presentations at Dell

Dear friends from Sooner Plant and from other places far and wide,

I know I told you in my last letter that I was going to write to you when I was in Chicago, but with all the training I was doing, and all the eating, and watching all the people in the bar (oh, I mean, “The Restaurant”) watching the Cubs play their baseball games (and losing), and doing my regular job in the evening, I neglected to send a letter to my friends.

On Tuesday of this week I presented a PowerPoint to our Training Group, to show them how we are going to teach a class that is extremely boring.  Well.  Most of you know how I am when I get hold of a PowerPoint Presentation.  (Some of you may have seen my Switching School Presentation that I made at Sooner.  —  They used that for years later at the Norman Training Center to train linemen switching).

Note to Reader:  To learn more about the Switchman training course I created see the post Power Plant Men Learn to Cope with Boring.

Anyway.  I don’t think I told you this before, but a couple of months ago, I went to a class called “SCM Process Overview”.  SCM stands for “Software Configuration Management”.  —  Well.  That class was so boring that toward the end of the class it was actually getting painful to sit there and watch it.

I was glad when the class was over, and I thought that would be the last of “that” class, and I would never have to see that again.  But I was told later that I was on a team that was going to have to teach that class to a couple hundred other people.

We would have to update the SCM Plan and teach a class on it.  —  Well.  You know how I am with boring classes.  —  I don’t like them, so I decided that we were going to do this a little different.  So I put my own PowerPoint together and showed it to our team this past Tuesday.

Needless to say, when I was done showing the PowerPoint to our team, there was a “stunned silence” in the room, and most of the people were staring blankly with their mouths hanging wide open (I think in amazement — but I could be mistaken — they could have been waiting for me to toss little bite sized pieces of Milky Ways in their mouths — I also think they were confused by those two people that were waving goodbye on the last slide).

Note to Reader:  To learn more about the people waving goodbye at the end of the slide see the post Power Plant Final Presentation.

You see, as with most of my PowerPoints, I had to put things in there to make it more interesting.  So I gathered up some of my daughter’s friends from her Advanced Theater class and they helped me make a bunch of video clips out here at Dell to illustrate the different sections of the Software Configuration Management Plan.

I let them do pretty much what they thought would work, and they came up with some very creative ways to illustrate the different points.  — I tend to think that some of the “8th Grade” humor was lost on some of my audience.

Anyway, it wasn’t until yesterday that I heard any feedback, since right after I was done showing the presentation to them, they all just sort of stood up and walked out of the room while their mouths were still hanging open without telling me what they thought.  When I did hear some feedback, it was pretty good.

Word has gotten round that people should sign up for this class because it’s not going to be like any class they have ever attended before.  —  I consider that pretty positive, don’t you?  — You see, after working here for two years, I can still whip up a pretty good PowerPoint.  They have now decided that they want to include a whole other department in the training classes.

Now, my manager has told me that I have to present an overview of one of our application to our new director next Monday.  So I have to come up with something pretty quickly or that presentation will be equally boring.

I hate it when I have to stand there and say, “This is This.  And That is That.  And if you click here you see this.  And if you want you can see that.”  —  I’ll think of something over the weekend to make it a little more interesting.

Wish me luck.  It was good to hear from a couple of you last week.  I’ll write later.  Be safe.  Watch out for the other guy.  Do the Circle For Safety.  Think of the Yellow Flag before the accident happens.  Lift with your legs and not with your back.  Don’t let the bed bugs bite.  A penny saved is a penny earned.  Don’t take any wooden nickels.  Yada Yada Yada……..

Your friend from Dell,

Kevin James Anthony Breazile

______________________

Kevin J. Breazile

Programmer/Analyst III

Dell Inc.

(512) 728-1527

Letters to the Power Plant #86 — Dellightful Policies 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 eighty sixth 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.

10/10/03 – Dellightful Policies at Dell

Dear friends at Sooner,

I hope all is going well with you guys.  I realize it has been a couple of weeks since I have written, and I hope you don’t think I have forgotten to write, because I haven’t.  I have just had something scheduled every minute of every day for the last couple of weeks. —  Until now.  In 15 minutes, I have to do something else, but for the next 15 minutes, I’m FREE!!!!

Next week I will be in training all week in Chicago.  I’m going to be learning more of what I was learning before, only it will be different.  I’ll let you know how the food is up there.  Someone already pointed me to a good Italian Restaurant near my hotel.

Well, I’ll have to see about that.  After all, my Italian mom and my wife are both very good at cooking Italian food, and I don’t usually find food that is much better than their Italian dinners, so I’ll see.  — Enough about food.  I’m making myself hungry.

We had a new policy come out today, that I thought was really constructive.  It is so good that I thought you guys would like to hear it and maybe institute this policy back at the plant.  The policy reads like this:

“A zero tolerance policy on human error has been instituted since this can be managed.”

For some reason, this reminds me of something right out of a Dilbert Comic Strip.  Of course, none of us at Dell produce “human error”, so it really doesn’t apply to us.

So far, it has always been “Someone else’s fault” that caused all the errors.  I suppose this policy has just been put in place for any new hires who may join the company and think that they can produce “human error” without consequences.

When my manager sent me note that said, “We should all take note that John has instituted a zero tolerance policy on human errors.”  I sent him back a reply that said,  “I have notted that Jhon has institooted a zer0 tallerance on whoman errers, and it will knot happin agin.  Beecuz this can be manitched.  Kevin.

My manager came over to my cube (that means “cubicle” in case you were wondering), and told me that he thought I needed “Sensitivity Training”.

By the Way.  I spent all morning in “Conflict Management” training, so I told him.  “I know.  I just took Conflict Management training, but I still have a problem with ‘sensitivity’.  So I’ll see if I can sign up for a course.”  —   That’s just what I need….. More training.

Well.  I can see that my 15 minutes is almost up, so I better wrap this up.  I’ll write next week from Chicago.  I hope “Overhauls and stuff” are going well with you guys.  It has been a couple of weeks since I’ve heard anything from up your way, so I figure you are all too busy just like me, overhauling one of the plants.

Let me know how it’s going.  Talk to you later,

Your Friend from Dell,

Kevin James Breazile

______________________

Kevin J. Breazile

Programmer/Analyst III

Dell Inc.

(512) 728-1527

Letters to the Power Plant #85 — General 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 eighty 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.

9/17/03 – General Dell

Dear Sooner Plantians,

I am in Dallas, and I have finished my homework for the evening, so I thought I would write and let you guys know how things are going here.

I just heard that my brother Greg (the Lieutenant Colonel in the Marines) was told by his boss General John Thomas that he had to write an important speech for him.  Last year Greg wrote a speech for the General when he gave one to the heads of NATO.  This year he is giving an even more important speech and he asked Greg to write it for him.

Yes.  It’s true.  You see….  Next week General John Thomas is going to go to Round Rock Texas and give a speech to the executives at Dell Inc. —  Yep, that’s right.  And Greg is going to write the speech for him.  —  Isn’t that a neat coincidence?

I guess it’s fitting that a General from the greatest Armed Forces in the world should come and give a speech at the greatest computer company in the world and that my brother ought to write a speech for his boss to give to my boss.

We all know that if the General was going to give a speech at the greatest Electric Company in the world that he would probably give it while standing atop of #1 Boiler at Sooner Plant.  I’m sure he would praise all the hard work and determination that you guys have had keeping Oklahoma from having a blackout like they had in the east.  (You guys are calibrating the protective relays I hope).  They still haven’t figured that out, have they (in the east I mean).

Well,  I guess I’ll keep this short, since I have to get up early in the morning —  Well, not as early as I did when I was working at “The Plant”.  Anyway.  I thought you guys would like to hear about that “neat coincidence” since I’ve been having “neat coincidences” a lot lately.

Oh, that reminds me.  I went to visit the “Grassy Knoll” this evening.  You know.  The place where John F. Kennedy was killed.  It was strange, because after all this time, you can still feel all the sorrow that is there.  It feels the same as it does when you go and visit the spot where the Murrah Building was blown up in Oklahoma City.

It surprised me, because it has been 40 years since that happened, but there are still people standing around staring up at the book depository and the parking lot with the wooden fence.  There was even a guy standing out in the street with a professional movie camera making some sort of a documentary or something.

Well.  That’s kind of a coincidence, since my brother Greg used to work in the Murrah building and here I was visiting the Grassy Knoll in the middle of Dallas, and it felt just like it does when you visit the spot where the Murrah building used to be, and at the same time, my brother’s boss is telling him in Washington D.C.to write a speech to give to my boss in Round Rock Texas.  And there seems to be a big “conspiracy” going on here, when there isn’t, but there probably was when John F. Kennedy was shot, and there you have it.

Well,  like I said, I’m keeping this short, so I’m not going to be rambling in this letter like I do in most of my letters.  I’m just saying a few short sentences so that you know how things are going in Dallas, and that’s it.  Well, since I’ve done that, I’ll be talking to you guys later….

Your friend from Dell,

Kevin James Anthony Breazile

______________________

Kevin J. Breazile

Programmer/Analyst III

Dell Inc.

(512) 728-1527

Letters to the Power Plant #84 — Dilbert in a Dell Shirt

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 eighty fourth 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.

9/12/03 – Dilbert In a Dell Shirt

Dear friends from Sooner Plant and beyond,

I had to stop and take the time to write to you guys.  For two reasons.  One is that I will be in training again all next week in Dallas, and I don’t know if I will have time to write to you then.  The other reason is because I was just given another Dell Shirt that says, “One Dell.  One Community” on it, and it has a picture of a globe with the emoticon 🙂 written across the globe.

For those of you who don’t know what an emoticon is; it is the smiley faces that are sideways when you write e-mails.  They are used to express emotion.  So when someone says, “Ice Cream”,  I write:   🙂   When someone tells a joke, I write:    😀  because that shows that I am laughing (you see, you turn your head sideways to see the smiley face).

I know most of you already know this, but there may be one or two people on my e-mail list that may not quite remember all this. —   Of course, when I start rambling, like I usually do when I’m writing these e-mails, then I might write something like:   😦 )  Because my mouth is wide open.

When you guys reply to me and tell me all the fun things that the Equipment Support Supervisor makes you do (I used to say, “Under penalty of Waugh”), then I might write something like this:    >:-<   Because it might make me kind of …well… you can see.  Ok.  Enough with the emoticons.

Anyway.  You guys know what I’m writing when I write it.  You remember the “Gene Day, Bless his heart” phrase don’t you?  Well.  I could say the same thing like this:    Gene Day, ♥ ♫ but someone might get the wrong Idea.  —  Anyway.  Now you know what’s on my latest tee-shirt from Dell.

Next week I have to go to training again all week.  So I will be back in Dallas, as I mentioned.  I suppose I will be bored all week, but I’ll be checking my e-mails every evening, so if you write, I will respond.

This week I wrote an upgrade to a program that I wrote almost two years ago.  It was the first big program that I wrote when I came here.  It is an ASP application (That means that it is a web-based program — which means that you use Internet Explorer to run it).  —  Since I didn’t have any training this week, I actually had time to sit and program something.

So I added a fun-filled feature to the program and the business partners that use it told me that it would save them 75% of the time it takes for them to do their job, just because of this one feature.  So guess what I did.

I told you guys a few weeks ago about how I had to go to “Quality training”.  Well.  I put this in as a Quality idea, and now when I put this into production this weekend, I will be able to get my “Yellow Belt”.  You might remember that that is how they measure your “quality performance” down here, by giving you different belts like they do in Karate.

So, for about 4 hours of sitting and playing on the computer writing a new feature, and about 2 hours of testing it, I will now be able to get my Yellow Belt.  I’m sure you guys are all beaming with joy for me.  —  Yes.  I can feel the love all the way down here.  —  I just looked up at the sticker I have mounted in my cubicle.  —  The one that says, “Be Safe, Work Safe, cause I Love You Man ♥”

—  Yep.  I feel the love all the way down here.

I miss getting hardhat stickers down here.  All they ever give us are tee-shirts.  I mean, how many tee-shirts can you wear at one time?  You can probably get 20 or more hardhat stickers on your hard hat, but when I get more than three or four tee-shirts on at once, I begin to get the feeling that I’m a little too confined.  I don’t know about you guys.  But that’s the way I feel.

Well.  It’s Friday afternoon.  I hope everything is going well with you guys.  Stay Safe.  Remember.  “Anger is only one letter away from Danger”, and “Cain is only one letter away from Crain”.  —  So watch out for that Tim Crain guy.  You never know……..  I’m just kidding Tim….  Oh, wait.  I don’t have Tim Crain on my mail list.  Never mind……

I’ll write later,

Your friendly Dell Programmer,

Kevin James Anthony Breazile

______________________

Kevin J. Breazile

Programmer/Analyst III

Dell Inc.

(512) 728-1527

Letters to the Power Plant #83 — Dell Programmer in Training

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 eighty 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.

9/2/03 – Dell Programmer in Training

Dear Sooner Plantonians,

I hope everything is going well with you guys.  I was in training last week in Kansas City, and this week I’m in Dallas for the rest of the week.  My manager told me that he never saw one person have as much training as I have had in the past 7 months.  Let’s see.  Just to give you an idea, here is a list of the training I have had since February:

ASP.Net programming

MBA Course:  Economics of Management

Answer First Presentations

Memory Improvement Seminar (I don’t quite remember what that was about).

Training Seminar on Microsoft Project 2002 and Visio 2002

Business Acumen

Financial Acumen

Programming in C#

Mentoring Awareness for I/T

Finance for Professionals

Winning with Integrity

MBA Course:  Ethical and Legal Environment of Business

Business Process Improvement Yellow Belt Training

Requirements Management with Use Cases

Work/Life Effectiveness

Advanced D3 Training (Data Warehouse Reporting Tool)

Managing Your Performance For Individual Contributors

Oracle Database High Availability

Project Office Express Training

Software Configuration Management Process Overview

DevPartner Studio training

MBA Course:  Financial Decision-making

Then there are the courses that I took last Week.  They are all Kronos Application courses:

Daily Operations

Pay Period

Scheduling

Setup and Administration

Then the course that I am taking this week:

Kronos Connect Basic Interface Programming

Those are all the courses I have taken since February.

So what are these guys at Dell trying to tell me?  Either that I’m important enough to send to every training course that comes along, or that they are trying to find something that I’m good at, so they keep sending me to training until I finally learn something.  I think they might change my job title to “Professional Trainee”. – Or “Perpetual Trainee”.

So.  The big news is what happened last week when I was in Kansas City.  I ran into my best friend from High School.  Some of you may remember me talking about him before.  His name is Jesse Cheng.

For those of you who know the stories, This is the same Jesse in the phrase  “Jesse!  Come get your Chili!!!”  Yeah.  He’s my very smart friend who has his Engineering degree from Yale, his Medical Degree from Missouri University and his Masters in Public Health from Harvard.  So needless to say, I spent all my spare time last week catching up with my old friend.  I hadn’t seen him for 16 years.  He lives only 7 miles from where I was going to training.  Isn’t that a neat coincidence?

It’s also a neat coincidence that Jesse picked a barbecue place to go eat dinner named Fiorelli’s Jack Stack Barbecue.  Why is that neat?  Well.  When I talked to my mom about it, she told me that the restaurant is owned by her cousin Carmen Fernano’s brother Jack Fiorelli!

I thought the Barbecue tasted familiar.  I used to eat there when I was a kid.  It’s better than KC Masterpiece which was in the same parking lot as the hotel where I was staying.  Isn’t that a neat coincidence?

Well.  Now I’m in Dallas and there is no “neat coincidences” here.  Unless you think that it’s a neat coincidence that the traffic in Dallas is almost as bad as it is in Austin.

Or maybe it’s a neat coincidence that the last time I was in Dallas for training was when I came here for Advanced Protective Relay Training and one of the guys in our class (Randy Loesing) was from my High School class back in Columbia Missouri (the same High School where Jesse Cheng went), and now there has been a major blackout back in the east where this guy was working (Well, not exactly where he was working), and the root cause of the blackout has to be because the protective relays didn’t operate properly. —  A neat coincidence?  Or have I just entered “The Twilight Zone?  Bee Boo Bee Boo…..

Well. I guess this letter has rambled on long enough and strange enough.  So I will end it here.  Keep in touch.

Your friendly Dell Programmer in Training,

Kevin James Anthony Breazile

______________________

Kevin J. Breazile

Programmer/Analyst III

Dell Inc.

(512) 728-1527

Letters to the Power Plant #82 — More Training 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 eighty 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.

8/22/03 —  More Training at Dell

Dear Sooner Plant Friends,

I have a few minutes while a database job is running to stop and write to you guys.  It has been a couple of weeks since I wrote, and I thought I would let you know how things are going.  “Thanks” for those of you who told me about Diana Brien’s accident.

I trust that she has recuperated, and is back at work lugging her tool bucket around repairing all the electrical equipment with lightning speed.  That was a close one.  I’ve been in on a few of those, and when I think about those times, I still get the shivers.  (well.  I get this tingly feeling that runs up and down my spine anyway).

Next week I have to go to Kansas City to go to school.  I leave on Monday morning and get back late Thursday night.  So that about takes up the whole week.  I’m going to be trained in our timekeeping software.  It’s called Kronos (So this guy in a cubicle catty-corner from me has been calling me “Mr. Kronos”, because he wanted to go to all the training I’m going to, and now he’s sore about it).

I’ll still have access to e-mail and stuff in the evenings.  Actually, the way we work here, all we need is a telephone or a cable modem in a hotel room, and we are hooked up to Dell!  It’s pretty neat.

They have been working on a “Flex Plan” where I can work from home 20 hours a week.  Or work 4 -10s if we want (so I could work 2 days from home and 2 days in my cubicle).  When I have some spare time, I’m going to look into this a little closer.  Some days I work from home anyway, since I can hook up to my cable modem and it’s just like being connected at work.

Anyway.  The week after next I have to go to school in Dallas for 3 days.  Wednesday through Friday.  That’s Labor Day week, so I will only be in the office on Tuesday.

That reminds me.  I have this pager that they gave me about 8 months ago.  They asked me to wear it so people can page me when they want to find me.  The only time it goes off is when someone is looking for me so that we can go out and eat lunch or something like that (or to find out what room the meeting is in).

The pager only works when I am in the Austin area, so it won’t work while I’m on vacation…… Oh, I mean “Training”.  But if you guys would like to send me a text page you can go to http://www.arch.com/message/  and then enter my id which is 5129070340  (which happens to be the phone number for the pager) and you guys can send me a page whenever you want.

I keep it on “silent mode” all the time, because I’m always in meetings or something and I don’t want my pager going off just when my VP is telling me how he hates it when he’s in a meeting and pagers are going off the whole time.  —  Which you know will happen the minute I turn the beeper on, on the pager.

Anyway.  I’m telling you about my pager because no one ever pages me, and when I’m sitting in a meeting and my pager goes off I can quietly whip it out and look at it to see what you are saying, and get a look on my face like something is really important, but it can wait until the “very important meeting” that I am in now is over.

Oh look!!!  My database job has finished running.  I guess I can go look at the data now and see if it looks like I want it to look, or fix it and run it again.  Anyway.  You guys keep in touch.  It was good to hear from many of you that last couple of weeks.

Talk to you later,

Your friend from Dell,

Kevin James Anthony Breazile

______________________

Kevin J. Breazile

Programmer/Analyst III

Dell Inc.

(512) 728-1527

Letters to the Power Plant #81 — Things are Happenin’ 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 eighty 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.

8/7/03 – Things are Happenin’ at Dell

Dear Sooner Plantians, and other less significant people (in the eyes of the Sooner Equipment Support Supervisor),

I hope all of you are having a nice cool summer sitting around in the shade of the boilers sipping on some refreshing Lemonade, and watching the dust devils drifting across the coal pile — Remembering those days when Walt Oswalt used to drive the big dozer back and forth pushing coal around before he left for his retirement.

Yes.  I still remember those days.  I remember once when a big black dust devil kicked itself up on the coal pile and grew to the size twice as tall as the smoke stacks (about 1,000 feet tall), and headed right down the 10 – 11 Conveyors and went right between the two smoke stacks.

It was on a Sunday afternoon in 1980 when I was a summer help, and I was out watering the mud so that someday we would be able to mow some grass around that plant.  There was a Pinkerton Guard riding around in his jeep, and he stopped his vehicle and sat on the hood and watched the Dust Devil glide across the Intake.  It was poetry in motion.  Unless of course you happened to be one of those pigeons that was floating around up there when that thing came barreling down on the plant.

Note to Reader:  To learn more about when I was watering the grass and saw the huge dust devil see the post When Power Plant Men Talk… It Pays to Listen.

Well.  In a couple of weeks I will have been here for two years (August 20).  I think they feel like that was long enough to be treating me like the “new guy”.  Actually, they stopped doing that after I had been here about 3 months.

I’ve told you in the past about how fast paced they are around here.  Well.  It is still that way.  Right now I’m on three different projects all at the same time.  I’m supporting an application while another guy is on vacation, and this darn program keeps messing up. (Who wrote this thing anyway?  —  Not Me!!).

I’m allocated 50% of my time on a project where I need to rewrite an application that is in ASP, and I need to make it in ASP.Net, and C#.  At the same time, I need to add a whole bunch of new stuff and make it more secure.

I’m allocated 50% of my time on another project where we are upgrading an application because it’s old and doesn’t run on the new operating systems.  For that project I have to go to about 2 1/2 weeks of training.  Then I have a project that I have allocated 50% of my time where I have to rewrite a program so that it no longer pulls data from Oracle, but from Teradata (which are two types of Databases).

Then I have to spend about 75% of my time babysitting this guys application while he’s off on a cruise in the Caribbean.  So.  You can see.  I still have time to stop and write a quick letter to my buddies up in Oklahoma (and beyond).  — Life is sure rough.  —  Oh wait.  I only have allocated 225% of my “time” for these projects.  Not 100% of my “soul” like some Equipment Support Supervisors demanded.  —  Isn’t life swell?  —  Thanks for cheering me up guys.

I better get back to work now.  I haven’t heard much from you guys lately.  If it’s anything like it is here, everyone’s gone on vacation.  —  Well.  That’s what’s Happenin’ at Dell.

Your Friendly Dell Programmer,

Kevin James Anthony Breazile

______________________

Kevin J. Breazile

Programmer/Analyst III

Dell Inc.

(512) 728-1527

Letters to the Power Plant #80 — Bridge over the River 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 eightieth 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.

7/25/03 – Bridge over the River Dell

Dear Soonerites,

I have a few minutes of my busy day free, so I thought I would write to let you know how my week has been, since it has been a little interesting.  I hope everything is going well with you guys, and that the “heat” hasn’t been too “Hot” for you.  I hope you guys haven’t been having too many pastures on fire around there.  I would hate to think that the Fire Department might run out of water or something…..

Anyway.  I was in training for three days this week.  I was learning the fun and exciting technique known as “Requirements Management with Use Cases”.  Yes!!  That’s right!!!!  I actually was able to attend that training!!!  After trying for so many years to go to “Requirements Management with Use Cases” training at OG&E, Dell has sent me to that class!!!

I’m sure you are all impressed that I have finally received training in “Requirements Management with Use Cases”.  —  No wait a minute………  It was Precipitator Training that I was always asking for when I was at OG&E.   —   Silly me.  That’s right.  It’s all coming back to me now.

For 17 years I was requesting Precipitator training and they kept telling me that I didn’t need it.  Then 4 months before I left the company they not only gave me precipitator training, but they told me that I had to take the class. —  Boy do I feel silly.

All week I kept thinking that I was finally getting that training that I had been requesting for so long.  Now I realize that I have never requested to go to “Requirements Management with Use Cases” training.  —  Well, at least I thought I wanted it when I was taking it.  I’m sure that helped me to pay more attention since I thought I was learning something that I thought I wanted to learn.  — Oh well.

Well.  Yesterday we had an “I/T All-Hands meeting. (again).  We went to this place called “The Alamo Cinema Draft House”.  It’s a movie theater where you can eat dinner and watch a movie at the same time.  So they gave us an unlimited supply of pizza and drinks and popcorn and we sat there and watched a 3 hour movie. (Which meant 3 hours of eating pizza and drinking cokes and eating popcorn).  The movie we watched was called “The Bridge Over the River Kwai”.  —  I’m sure a lot of you have probably seen that one before.

They told us to watch this movie and think about Dell as we did.  —  It was funny how, when you do that there are a lot of times in the movie where it’s supposed to be rather serious, but it comes out being very funny when you think about it as if it was your company saying and doing those things instead.

I suppose you could say that we were watching the movie as part of our training curriculum.  —  You know.  It might be a fun team-building activity for your next Men’s Club if you showed “The Bridge Over the River Kwai” during your next meeting.

Oh.  I forgot.  Men’s Club is only 1/2 hour long.  Well.  You could save up a few Men’s Clubs and then show the movie and make popcorn and enjoy yourselves for three hours and you might recognize a lot of things in the movie as things that happen at work all the time.  —  It’s really rather funny.  —  Especially the last line in the Movie.

Well.  As always, I better get back to the grind.  —  You know.  All this paperwork and stuff.  I’ll write to you guys later.  Have an enjoyable weekend.

Your friend from Dell,

Kevin James Anthony Breazile

______________________

Kevin J. Breazile

Programmer/Analyst III

Dell Inc.

(512) 728-1527

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.  Keep in mind that at the time when I originally penned this letter I didn’t intend on it being posted online.

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