Category Archives: Friendship

Letters to the Power Plant #108 — Support Rat 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 one hundred and eighth letter I wrote.

10/29/04 – Support Rat at Dell

Sooner Plantians and friends from Afar,

I know I just wrote the other day. And I know a lot has happened since then when I was asking what happened to the doughnut man.  And I am very sad for a person that I always considered a good friend, Gary Morris.

I just had to write today and let you guys know what I found in my cubicle this morning.  When I opened my cabinet a few minutes ago to change CDs in my laptop so that I could listen to Gregorian Chants instead of The Four Seasons (by Vivaldi), I found that someone had put a rubber rat  with a grimacing face in my cabinet all dressed up for Halloween.

The rat is about 8 inches standing up on its hind legs.  It is wearing a little felt wizard hat with a spider on it, and a little shawl with witches and stars on it and it’s tied together with a little red bow.  Pinned on it’s chest is a miniature Dell badge of the person that this rat was first given to (so I have found out).  Around the rat’s waist is an orange ribbon that is tied to a little pumpkin bag like the rat is going trick-or-treating.

Inside the bag is a packet of picante sauce from Whataburger.  On one of the ears, the rat has an earring that is holding the earplug of a little Dell radio strapped to the orange ribbon around his waste.  The Dell Radio is blue and says “Dell Memory” on the side.

It is actually a real radio that has a button on the side that you can push which turns on a little teeny flashlight (which would be great if you are in your storm shelter and you need to see something without going blind by turning on a ‘real’ flashlight’.  —  You guys in Oklahoma know what I’m talking about, but I don’t have a storm shelter down here).

So, why do I bother to tell you guys about this?  The guy across the aisle from me knew about this rat, though it was the first time I had ever seen it.  He said that it is given to “Support Rats”.  And now that I’m in support, I was fair game to receive The “Support Rat”.

Now some of you are already nodding your heads (and I’m not talking about you guys that are nodding off to sleep because you fail to see the relevance of all this).  Charles Foster, Scott Hubbard and I always worked on the Precipitator during overhaul while all you guys that worked in the boiler used to get all kinds of stickers and recognition by obtaining the extinguished honor of being called a “Boiler Rat”.

Note to Reader:  To learn more about Boiler Rats, read the post:  Sky Climbing in the Dark with Power Plant Boiler Rats.

Charles, Scott and I never had that privilege, and I always felt like we were being left out of that special club only because we were working on plates and wires while most of you guys were lucky enough to be in the boiler repairing boiler tubes and riding up and down on sky-climbers.

So when it was explained to me that I was given the honor of being the “Support Rat”, you can imagine how hard it was to fight back the tears that were welling up in my eyes.  —  Someone really does care about us guys after all!!

I knew you would want to hear about this so that it would brighten up your day as it has mine.

Your friendly Dell Programmer,

Kevin James Anthony Breazile


Kevin J. Breazile

Global Financial Services I/T

Dell Inc.

(512) 728-1527


Letters to the Power Plant #109 — Dellections are Over

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 one hundred and ninth letter I wrote.

11/5/04 – Dellections are Over

Dear Soonerites and other friends and Roomies,

Aren’t you guys glad that those elections are over?  Boy!  I know some of you must be licking your wounds, but all I can say is that “I’m sure glad that is over!!!”  Most of you know that I’m a die-hard Republican  (I didn’t talk to my dad for a month when I was 12 in 1972 when he voted for McGovern), so you have an idea how I feel.  Now I can go get some sleep.

You have probably noticed that when I start my letters to you guys at Sooner Plant, that I usually mention that I am sending this letter to other “Friends”.  You don’t see them because I send this as a blind copy because the list is so long that if you printed out the e-mail and I had included the names in the “To” section, the names would probably fill a quarter of the page.

I was thinking about it the other day, and I realized that of all the friends I ever had in my life, I can pretty safely say that they are my friends today.  —  Well, there’s one guy that’s questionable, and I haven’t talked to him in over 18 years so I don’t really even know what happened to him for sure.

Anyway.  The oldest (I mean “longest”) two friends that I ever had are on this e-mail list.  I met them when I was in the second grade.  They are still friends with each other and they live in Columbia Missouri where I grew up.  There’s actually a third person who used to live in Columbia that is on this list that I knew from the 3rd grade thru College.  We actually graduated together with Psychology degrees.  She went on to become a computer programmer, and I went on to become a janitor.

One of those friends.  I’ll call him Mark, since that is his name, was the first person that I met when I moved to Columbia when I was entering the 2nd grade.  I think when you’re about that age, you’re finally old enough that your friends become more important to you than when you’re younger.  I think that because I don’t remember having any friends before that age, though I know that I did have some.

Anyway, I went to school with these guys through High School, except for three years when I went to Catholic School.  The one thing I remember about both of these guys is that they both were people that I didn’t have to think twice about whether or not I could trust them, because they always acted honorably. —  I know that they may remember times when they might not have done exactly what was right, but I know that they were both really good people.  —  Better than I was.  Anyway, I just thought I would mention them since they are always in my prayers, and I wish them both well.

Then there are those people on my e-mail list that work at other plants.  There’s my ol’ roomie that I lived with in a trailer during a long Muskogee overhaul.  Then there’s TOBEEEEEEE!!!!  And a handful of others that I consider friends who probably hit the delete button before they even open my letters because they don’t see the sense in reading my long rambling letters.  Then there’s my friend that we harassed down at Corporate Headquarters when Mike Gibbs and I were down there on the SAP project.

Note to Reader:  To learn more about my friend from Corporate Headquarters, read the post Corporate Executive Kent Norris Meets Power Plant Men.

For all of you who don’t know about Sooner Plant and have been wondering who all these people are that I keep talking about:  Sooner Plant is the best coal-burning power plant in the country, which probably means that it’s the best one in the whole world.

We used to get jackets and stuff each year because we had the lowest operating costs of all the power plants in the country.  We could produce electricity cheaper than anyone else (despite the attempts of some people in upper management that tried to impose failure).  Many of the people at this plant helped build the plant, and then were hired by the electric company once the plant was built in 1979 and 1980.

I started working there during the summers in 1979 and I was amazed at the diverse amount of hooligans that worked there.  They were brash, irresponsible, petty and disrespectful.  I got along with them real well and enjoyed every minute of working there.

An interesting thing happened during the years that I became an electrician and became married and raised a family.  The people at the plant became a part of my family.  They started becoming more and more responsible, and caring.

As each year went by, most people became a year wiser. —  There were a few that were stuck in the pettiness of being an old-style manager and they couldn’t break out of that mold.  That is why I refer to the Equipment Support Supervisor in less than “friendly” terms.  Maybe he’s changed over the past few years since I’ve been gone, because every year he gets one year older and closer to his grave.  Anyone who’s screwed with as many lives as he has, has got to begin to wonder what he’s going to be doing after he’s dead.

So, in case you were wondering about how I start my letters,  now you know.

I’ll write later.

Your friendly Dell Programmer,

Kevin James Anthony Breazile


Kevin J. Breazile

Global Financial Systems I/T

Dell Inc.

(512) 728-1527

Letters to the Power Plant #110 — Fall at a Rising 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 one hundred and tenth letter I wrote.

11/12/04 – Fall at a Rising Dell

Dear Sooner Plantians and Friends less Fortunate (not to be working at Sooner),

Well, it’s Friday afternoon, and it’s getting late, so I thought this would be a good way to ensure that I don’t ramble too much, because I’m in a hurry to go home.  It’s 51 degrees outside right now, and that’s pretty cold for “these here parts”  I think it dipped down almost to the upper 40s this morning.  I got out my winter light jacket this morning, so I’m equipped.  I suppose you guys are done with Overhaul up there by now.  I haven’t heard the latest.

Well.  Dell had their Quarterly report come out yesterday and we made 12.5 Billion dollars in the last quarter.  That makes an annual revenue of $50 Billion.  I have been here for a little over 3 years, and when I came here our annual revenue was $30 Billion, so we’ve moved up the ladder quite a bit.

All the ol’ timers that have been here for 10 years are more were all of the sudden hopping around because our stock finally went up above $40 a share today (it was $20 when I started here), making their stock options look a little better, so they were all of the sudden talking about retiring and stuff.

I’m afraid I missed out on the years when the stock split a whole bunch of times in a couple of years, so it will probably take a while longer before I become a “Dellionaire” (as they call them down here).

I heard Stick is retiring.  This makes me kinda sad.  I know that when I ever get to make it back out to the plant that there won’t be a lot of people around that I recognize.  Actually, a lot of you guys might still be there, I just won’t recognize you.  You know how you get forgetful over the years.  You saw how well I remembered Eldon Waugh and Bill Moler when I left.

I think I was writing a letter to Scott, or Ray about a month ago, and I couldn’t remember the last name of Bob.  The Bob that worked in Instrument and Controls, that all of the sudden one day Super Equipment Support Supervisor decided he didn’t want around anymore.  You know.  The guy that worked his tail off all the time.

Well, I couldn’t remember his last name for the longest time.  It was weeks later when we were driving in the car to go out and eat or something, and all of the sudden, I yelled out “Blubaugh!!!”  Well.  You can imagine the strange look my kids gave me.  My son Anthony asked me, “What’s a Blubaugh?  I don’t see it!”  My daughter just rolled her eyes, because she’s used to me blurting out seemingly meaningless phrases, especially since I’ve been getting older and I’ve been writing programs more.  I think a couple of months ago without warning I stood up from the kitchen table and said, “That’s it!!!

















Of course, you could imagine the feeling of euphoria that was spreading over me when I realized that this was what I was looking for.  It was so simple.  I think I saw tears come to Kelly’s eyes, but then again, we were eating Spaghetti, and it did have a lot of onions in it and she was choking on her food.  Well.  Not to make this too rambling of a letter, I think I’ll wrap it up here.

Keep writing and letting me know “Watt’s Happenin’ at OG&E”  —  Do you guys remember that?  Wasn’t that the name of a Newsletter or something that we used to get?  No.  Wait.  It was the videos that we would watch during the Safety Meeting about things that were happening around the company.  Are they still showing those?

I ought to come up with one for Dell, like “Where in the ~ell are we at Dell?”  —  Well.  Maybe I need to work on that one a little bit.  We’re a very ethical company and that one wouldn’t pass the test.  —  That’s one thing about this place.  It’s a real nice working environment.  Everyone is pretty “Ethical”.  It took a while to get used to it, but now I’m fitting right in.

I’ll write later,

Your friend from Dell,

Kevin James Anthony Breazile


Kevin J. Breazile

Global Financial Systems I/T

Dell Inc.

(512) 728-1527

Letters to the Power Plant #111 — Working at the Speed of 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 one hundred and eleventh letter I wrote.

12/7/04 – Working at the Speed of Dell

Dear Soonerites and friends,

It has been a few weeks since I wrote.  What, with the Thanksgiving Holiday and all.  Only now am I recovering from the Turkey Binge that occurred a couple of weeks ago.

I just finished reading an article online called “Living In Dell Time” that described what it is like working at Dell better than I ever could.  You guys ought to read this article, it will give you an idea of what it is like working here.  Here is the link:

I would suggest reading it all the way through, because it is so interesting.  You might want to print it out and take it with you when you go to the bathroom so you will have something to do while you are waiting for things to develop.  This was the best article about Dell I have ever read as far as describing how things are run around here.

I didn’t know how much they could actually mention.  I noticed they didn’t say anything about the leprechauns and Keebler elves that just twitch their nose to assemble computers.  That is still too much of a trade secret to make it into a magazine article.

I like the part in the article toward the end where it is talking about how we hold our supplier’s feet to the fire.  At one point it said how we gave a “Team Award” to Maxtor hard drive company for becoming our preferred hard drive company, and then about 10 seconds later, before the Executive Vice President that was receiving the award could get back to his seat, Dell was warning them that we were about ready to drop them if they didn’t meet our “new” expectations!!!!

That’s what it is like on these projects I’m on.  When you receive any recognition or anything, that’s all for things you have already done, and doesn’t count for anything you are doing at the moment.  —  Things sure do move fast around here.

You might remember when I first came here that the first project they gave me was to build a whole new web application that interacted with our Data Warehouse and that had a whole bunch of features and stuff and it was due 2 weeks before they gave it to me.  My manager at the time told me that I might as well get used to it, that’s the way things are done at Dell.

That’s how our company can have a Negative 36 day Cash Conversion Cycle (for all of you Finance people out there  — if any of you are.  Oh yeah.  Annette, you know what I’m talking about).  A Negative 36 day Cash Conversion Cycle is unheard of.  —  That’s in the article too.

All right.  I’ll quit “gloating” (or whatever I’m doing) about Dell.  I heard that you guys at Sooner have been just shy of being in Heaven since my last letter.  Yeah.  I heard the roar of applause from all the way down here when you received the glorious news that the most illustrious Equipment Support Supervisor has finally decided to retire!!!!

I can’t tell you how happy I am for you guys!!  This is so great!!!  Now you know how the abolition of slavery must have felt to the slaves!!!  I kept walking around the building that day with my arms going up and down over my head like people do at a football game when they are trying to urge their team on with a cheer.

I suppose it looked kind of strange.  Especially since I had this big goofy smile on my face and the only noise I was making sounded as if I had been slain in the Holy Spirit and I was speaking in tongues.  I have to admit, it did strike me in some way as a profound religious experience.  —  I think it had something to do with the virtue of Hope!!!

As if all bad things finally do come to an end.  Ok.  So I may be overdoing it a little.  I’m sure some of you are sad and forlorn that this era of Sooner management has come to an end; but only those of you that are a glutton for punishment.

Well.  I can see by the old clock in the bottom right hand corner of my computer screen that it is time for me to go home.  I’ll write later.  I hope everything is going well with you, and I’m sorry that I will have to miss the going-away party (that should be a great party —  With songs like “Ding Dong the Witch Is Dead” and other classical songs being sung throughout).

Talk to you later,

Your Friendly Dell Programmer,

Kevin James Anthony Breazile


Kevin J. Breazile

Global Financial Services I/T

Dell Inc.

(512) 728-1527

Letters to the Power Plant #112 — Happy Dellidays

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 one hundred and twelfth letter I wrote.

12/15/04 – Happy Dellidays

Dear friends from Sooner Plant and friends from afar,

I hope all is going well up there at the ol’ plant.  I suppose you know that someone left the gate open at the Red River and some of that cold air actually blew all the way down here to Austin.  That’s ok.  I guess it’s expected to happen during this time of the year.  We actually went down into the 20s last night for the first time.

Well.  If I’m not mistaken, tomorrow is the big day for you guys.  At least that’s when the party is taking place for the “big day”.  I suppose you have hired all sorts of caterers to come out (Bad Brad’s BBQ or something similar), to celebrate the passing of a legend (in his own mind).  I wish I had a present to give him…..Maybe a picture of him waving goodbye as he is about to board Air Force 1 with his favorite HR Supervisor.

Note to Reader:  To learn more about the Equipment Support Supervisor and the HR Supervisor waving goodbye from Air Force 1, see the post Power Plant Final Presentation.

Well.  In about 20 minutes I am putting a “Change” into Production.  So I have both my computers poised to start processing as soon as the clock strikes 5pm.  That is when I thought.  Gee.  I have time to write to all my friends up north.

I have been trying to stay awake all afternoon.  After our manager took us all out to the Olive Garden for lunch (it was a “Happy Holidays” thing), and I ate a big meal and even a bigger dessert, it has been very difficult keeping my eyes open.

A little while ago a project manager dropped by my cubicle and said that we were all going to the Cheesecake Factory on Monday to celebrate the successful completion of another project that I have been on.  —  So you see what I have to look forward to.  —  Yep.  Another afternoon of struggling to stay awake.

I plan on being in Stillwater late Monday night December 27th and leaving early Thursday Morning on December 30.  So maybe while I’m in town I will have the pleasure of running into some of you guys.  It has been a long time since I have seen most of you, so you probably wouldn’t recognize me since Thanksgiving was just a few weeks ago, and I haven’t “downsized” yet.

The day after tomorrow I will finish with my MBA (Masters of Business Administration).  I will finally graduate after about 2 1/2 years of working on this.  That will be a great relief, and I have told Kelly that I will start exercising more since I won’t have to be doing homework every night.

The excitement has been building up the last couple of weeks in anticipation of finishing that it is almost driving me crazy.  —  But then again, driving me crazy is about as hard as driving from my garage to the end of my driveway, so what do you expect.

Well.  Let me know if any of you guys are going to be around the week after Christmas.  Maybe I can drop by the plant if it is on a day when “you-know-him” and “you-know-her” are gone on vacation (You know.  The two waving goodbye as they were entering Air Force 1) and one of you guys invite me out there.  —  I would like to see the plant to see what kind of changes have been taking place.

Well.  I have about 10 minutes before my changes go into production, so I better go mentally prepare myself for the improvements that are about to take place.

I’ll write later.  Let me know how things are going up there.

Your friendly Dell Programmer,

Kevin James Anthony Breazile


Kevin J. Breazile

Global Financial Services I/T

Dell Inc.

(512) 728-1527

Letters to the Power Plant #113 — A visit from a Friendly Dell Programmer

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 one hundred and thirteenth letter I wrote.

1/20/05 – A Visit from a Friendly Dell Programmer

Dear friends at Sooner Plant and beyond,

I hope everyone had a good holiday.  I was reminded yesterday by a friend that I haven’t written a letter in quite a while so I thought I would take the time to do that now.  Actually, I started one yesterday, but then I became involved in helping someone out with a problem that by the time I was done doing that it was time to go home.

Anyway.  It sure was good going by the plant and seeing everyone that I was able to see.  I had a very good visit, and I’m glad that I was able to wish Jim Arnold a “happy retirement” before he left.  I’m sure that even though Jim Arnold may not enjoy his retirement very much, that others will be enjoying it for him (if you know what I mean).

I was very happy that I was able to visit everyone unhindered (that is, I didn’t get thrown out on my ear).  I have missed all of you guys since I have left and even though I am glad that I don’t have to work in all of those extreme weather conditions and dusty environment, I wish I was able to see all of you more often.  I have replayed my visit over and over again in my mind, and here are some highlights of my trip out to the plant:

First of all.  I had run into Jimmie Moore at Joseppi’s the night or two before and he was the first person I met as I walked in the Electric Shop.  My thought was that I would go to the Electric Shop to see if I could find a Hard Hat and visit any electricians that may be hanging around the shop.

Then I went to the Control Room because I thought that would be the safest route early in the morning.  There I visited with Jeff Meyers, Pat Quiring and Alan Moore.  While I was there Theresa Acedansky came in and I talked with her for a while.  —  I didn’t even know that she was back at Sooner plant (and that she was married).

Then I went over to the Office area and I talked with James Doyle and Alan Kramer and Not Doug Black (because he wasn’t there).  Then I went down the elevator with Alan Kramer and he went in the foreman’s office to run interference for me while I went through the maintenance shop and saw a whole bunch of you guys there.

I remember talking with Johnnie Keys and Bill Gibson and Andy Tubbs, Byron Hoetzel (I think was there –  yeah.  I think he was, because I was thinking about the time when I misspelled his name  — Oops.  I did it again.  It is spelled  “Byron Hoeltzel” – there I think I got it right now), Floyd Coburn, Eddie Shiever, and Joe Alley.

Then I talked to —  Was Noe there (no way!  I’m not sure), but I’m pretty sure that Walter Negelein was there.  I went in the tool room, but Darlene Mitchell wasn’t there.  Then Andy told me that Diana Brien was working on the logic room air handler, so I headed in that direction.  And I found her when the elevator stopped on the second floor.

We went to the electric shop and talked for a few minutes and Larry Riley (my first Foster father — Before Charles Foster) came in.  It was good seeing him again.  It had been a long time.

Then I took some of my old programs that I had left in the electric shop (that only work on a very old computer — which I have because I’m kinda collecting that sort of thing), and brought them out to my car and went in the front entrance and back up the elevator.  There I talked with Linda Shiever, Annette Schmunk, Denise Anson and Stephanie Erwin.  Then I went back by the X-File room and talked for a while with Ray Eberle some more.

Then I went back downstairs to visit Jim Arnold.  So I talked with Jim for about 10 minutes and like I said, I wished him a happy retirement.  He started asking me computer related questions.  He wondered if I felt comfortable using my credit card online.  It told him I did.  Then he wanted to know if I do my banking online, and I told him I don’t.

On the way out of the office I stopped by Charles Patten’s office (if that still is his office), and said “Hi” to Curtis Kinsey.  Then I left because I needed to meet my family at IHOP in Stillwater —  You know  “Never-ending Pancakes” and that sort of stuff.

So, I missed seeing Charles Foster and Scott Hubbard because they were gone.  I didn’t see Ben Davis, but I’m not sure if he was there or not I just didn’t see him.  I didn’t see Tony Mena either.  —  Well.  After all.  It was Christmas Holiday.  What could I expect.

Well.  The reason I haven’t written earlier is that I have been very busy writing programs that I haven’t had a moment to stop and write.  I should actually be writing something right now, but I thought I could spare a few minutes.  I think I have written 8 different programs since the first of the year.  So you see.  It’s a New Year at Dell and we’re still plugging away.

It was nice seeing the plant again.

Your friendly Dell Programmer,

Kevin James Anthony Breazile


Kevin J. Breazile

Global Financial Services I/T

Dell Inc.

(512) 728-1527

Letters to the Power Plant #114 — Dell and OG&E

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 one hundred and fourteenth letter I wrote.

2/11/05 – Dell and OG&E

Dear friends from Sooner Plant and other worthy friends from of old (not meaning that YOU are old),

I was just sitting here twiddling my thumbs…..Well actually, I have just finished putting three of my programs into production, and now I have a moment of silence before moving on to my next project…..and I thought “isn’t it interesting that both Dell and OG&E have 5 characters in their name?”

Is this just a mere coincidence, or is there more to it?  After all.  I have spent my entire adult life working for companies that have 5 characters in their name!  Is this some kind of omen or something?

Should I pick lottery numbers that all are multiples of 5?  Should I go work on another degree so that I will have 5 little titles after my name?  Is this why I have 5 fingers on each hand?!?  My curiosity just will not sit still until I figure out what it all means!

Oh.  Wait….  I just realized that it isn’t really important, and that I should drop all of this foolishness and move on to something more exciting…..

Like a new paragraph!!!!  So…Here I am on a new paragraph, and I’m beginning to think that I should make this letter 5 paragraphs long, but wait.  I stopped thinking about that already because I was dropping all of that foolishness.  Anyway.  Things are going well down here.  How are things up there?  I feel like I’ve been living in Seattle the last few weeks because it has been cloudy and rainy almost every day for over two weeks.  —  Kind of dreary weather, but it’s not too bad.

I was thinking about a program that I was going to write way back when I was still working up there.  It was going to be a program that had a picture of the inside of the boiler and you could rotate it around (3D like) and point your mouse at different parts of the boiler tubes and it would give you all the information about that section of boiler tubes so that you could see the thickness and which tubes had been replaced, with their tube numbers and all that sort of stuff.  You could even drill down and look closer at each tube.

I would have written it, but I never could get all the information together that I needed to make it work.  It seems that I remember Mark Fielder having a tube of prints that he used to keep all of that stuff updated.  That was what I was going to use for most of the information.  —  Don’t know why I was thinking about that, I just was.

Next Monday we’re adding India to the Timekeeping application.  We will have about 50,000 employees using it then.  I’m basically the only person that supports this application so I’ll be putting that into production.  I’ll be crossing my fingers that everything will work out well.  So I expect that next week will be an interesting one.

There is someone from Employment Services over there teaching them how to use it now.  The Employment Services people this week called me the “Super Kronos Man”.  They said they were going to give me a cape and have someone walk in front of me with a fan blowing on me so that the cape would stay flowing out like I was flying all the time.

I don’t know if I have mentioned this to you guys or not, but I have been keeping an “Elvis Wand” in my cubicle, so that when someone has a serious problem with their computer, I just get out the Elvis wand and wave it over their computer to fix their problem.

Well, Last January 8th, which you all know is Elvis’s Birthday, I went to this Mexican Restaurant named “Chuy’s” and I picked up another Elvis wand (it’s really just an Elvis Fan on a stick that you can punch out the eyes and look through it so that you look like you have an Elvis Face), so I have had two Elvis Wands in my cubicle lately.

This has allowed me to fix twice as many computer problems than before.  Every once in a while I will take one of those Elvis faces and just slide it up over the cubicle so that my old manager, or the System Administrator will see it, and then slide it back down and go on like nothing has happened.  —  People are beginning to wonder.  —  It’s funny how Power Plant Humor just isn’t properly appreciated in the rest of the world.  I wonder why.

Well.  Just so I don’t make this letter 15 paragraphs long, I’m stopping now to say that I miss all you guys and I hope everything is going well up there.  Keep up the good work.  Stay Safe!!!, Watch out for the Yellow Flag and the 4 imps and don’t let the bed bugs bite!!!  I’ll write later, let me know how things are going up there.  —  It was good hearing from you guys.

Your friendly Dell programmer,

Kevin James Anthony Breazile, BA, BS, MRE, MBA


Kevin J. Breazile

Global Financial Services I/T

Dell Inc.

(512) 728-1527

Letters to the Power Plant #115 — Cruisin’ 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 one hundred and fifteenth letter I wrote.

2/18/05 – Cruisin’ at Dell

Dear Sooner Plantians and other friends,

Ok.  It has been a whole week and not one of you replied back to me to tell me that neither Dell nor OG&E have 5 characters in their names.  Gee.  I would have thought I would have gotten a rise out of at least one of you.

It struck me suddenly the other morning when I was in the shower, (where I usually have my great revelations), that Dell and OG&E both only had only 4 letters in them instead of 5, and I had made such a big deal about it in my last letter to you guys.

So after I was finished with my shower, I went and put a band-aid on my forehead so no one would see the bruise that was developing after I had banged my head several times against the shiny tiles in the shower.  Anyway.  It’s much better now and so am I.

Well.  This has been a fairly good week.  The weather has been all right and the traffic hasn’t been too bad (for Austin anyway).  It has been a quiet week as far as my projects have gone.

Monday was a little hectic as we put all the people from India into the Timekeeping application.  That all went well, so I got “Atta Boys” for that.  But I will always remember the phrase that I learned while working at Sooner Plant; “One ‘uh oh’ erases all the ‘atta boys’, so I don’t get too excited when something goes well, because I know that there is always another hour after that one where everything can go to pieces.

I talked with my manager yesterday and told him that one of my goals this year was to become a First Responder.  They have classes here that I can take, and then they give me a red flag to put up on my cubicle so that people can look around real quickly in case they are having a heart attack or something and I can grab my “Elvis Wand” and run to the rescue.

I’m already a “Starpoint Responder”, which means I can zap people with the Defibrilator and do CPR and first aid and that sort of stuff.  So I immediately knew what to do the other day after my revelation in the shower.  So I have a purple flag on my cubicle and an Orange Vest.

What I do is when we have a fire drill or a real fire for that matter, I put on my orange vest (so I look like a crossing guard) and I walk around all the cubicles in my area and make sure that everyone is out of the area before I leave.  They call me a floor sweeper when I do that.  So you see, I haven’t really gone that far since the days when I was a janitor sweeping up the Turbine Room Floor.

I think that one of 4 things is happening here.  One thing could have been that you guys never read these letters and so none of you noticed that I had said 5 letters when there was only 4.

Or maybe it is the case that last week there was 5 letters in these names and now there are only 4.  Or maybe you saw that there were 4 letters and you knew that I was so hard-headed that if you told me that there was 4 letters instead of 5 you realized that I wouldn’t believe it anyway.

Or maybe now you are reading this and wondering why am I giving you 5 things now that is happening here when I said that there was one of 4 things is happening here.

Just for that, I figure that I should end this letter with 5 paragraphs instead of 4.  Maybe next time I will just write a letter to myself because it has been so long since I have heard from some of you that I wonder if you are getting my e-mails at all.

I haven’t heard from my old “Roomie”, and I haven’t heard from my “Foster Father”, I have heard from my friend that always calls me “Little Buddy”.  It has been so long since I’ve heard from Doug Black that I figure he might be Doug Gray now for all I know.

I haven’t heard from my “Bucket Buddy”.  I haven’t heard from my “Carpool Buddies” or even from my “Pigeon Training Partner”.  —  Oh.  All right.  I’ll quit my whinin’.  It hasn’t really been that bad.  —  I hope all is going well with you guys.  Maybe no news is good news.  —  I’ll write later.

Your Friendly Dell Programmer,

Kevin James Anthony Breazile


Kevin J. Breazile

Global Financial Services I/T

Dell Inc.

(512) 728-1527

Letters to the Power Plant #117 — Taking a Breath 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 one hundred and seventeenth letter I wrote.

5/5/05 – Taking a breath at Dell

Howdy Folks (That’s Texan for “Dear Sooner Plantians, and friends”),

It’s been about 5 weeks since I wrote last, and this is the first time I have had a moment to stop and take a breath.  Like Gimli said in the Lord of the Rings, “Keep Breathing.  That’s the Key”.

Things went well with the Kronos upgrade.  —  That’s the one where we didn’t have any consultants on site to do it.  I had found most of the reasons why “no company had ever upgraded without the consultants on site before”, but not all of them.

Their installation instructions left a lot to be desired and their code was all wrong, but that’s all behind me now and everything is running better than it has ever run before, so everyone’s happy, (except for some report formatting issues — which I’ll deal with shortly  —  You would think with a name like “Crystal Reports” that the format would be “clear”.  Like “Crystal”.  —  You know.  From the movie with Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson, where Jack says, “Am I clear?” and Tom says, “Crystal”  —  Oh.  Nevermind.  I’m ramblin’ again…..).

So our business partners gave me great Kudos and they refer to me now as “#1”.  They gave me an “On-The-Spot” award for $100 and told everyone from my director down in our All-Hands meeting last week that I had done all these wonderful things and how I had solved all of their issues, and that I was such a great person to work with……

Boy.  I was just glad no one saw me slip that pocket watch on the chain back in my pocket after I had hypnotized them all or I might not have gotten away with such praise.

Gee, I haven’t had that much attention since Jasper Christensen called me to his office to tell me that I couldn’t have access to the Internet because the staff had decided that no one at our plant needed access to the Internet except for Jim Arnold and Summer Goebel, and they only needed it so they could have “e-mail”.  —  Oh.  Those were the days.

I used to receive so much attention.  —  Almost as much as “The Birthday Phantom”.  —  I actually used part of that program in another program I wrote here a couple of years ago that sent out e-mails to users with links in it to PowerPoint presentations and Excel sheets every Monday morning.

Instead of getting hardhat stickers down here, they give us other things instead (since we don’t wear hardhats).  Today when I came to my cubicle I found a nifty key ring that looks like it is made from pewter and has a picture of the world with Dell written across it and it swivels around inside of a ring.  It says:  “America’s Most Admired Company” for 2005.

They gave us that because Fortune Magazine named Dell as America’s most admired company.  —  It reminded me of when we would get those jackets that would say that Sooner Plant was the most efficient plant in the country.  We had the lowest operating cost of over 300 or so different power plants.

I’m just glad I’m working for a company with such integrity.  —  Gee.  Now I’m sounding like a commercial.  —  We really do everything we can to be a real ethical company.  That’s refreshing.

You know.  I’ll bet no one on the staff ever figured out that one of the main reasons Sooner could produce power so cheaply was because the precipitators were so properly tuned that they hardly used any power. (hu hu  —  That’s me breathing on my fingernails like I’m acting cool.).

Normally the Precipitator uses more power than anything else in the plant  —  Normally, it uses about as much power as the rest of the plant.  —  But not at Sooner.  — Nope  —  The whole idea that a preciptator needs “Power” to work is all wrong to begin with.

That was the hardest thing to convince people who had real thick skulls (like Bohny-Headed Engineers are opt to have.  —  No.  I didn’t misspell that), because they just couldn’t accept the fact that in order to move particles of airborne ash an average of 2 1/4 INCHES to the collection plate didn’t require as much 1,000 times the energy it takes to pump that same ash 1/2 MILE in a pipe to the Fly Ash silo up at the coal yard.

It makes sense to me that the precipitator doesn’t really require “Power” to operate (well.  A small amount).  It just requires “voltage”.  —  That’s what STATIC is anyway.  It’s VOLTAGE, not POWER.  —  And that is an ElectroSTATIC precipitator.

If it’s using Power it’s not Static!!!.  Geez.  This is only “Rocket Science”.  And rocket science isn’t all that hard these days with computers.  Geez.  —  Oh.  Sorry.  Ramblin’ again.  —  You can tell I’ve been dreaming about Precipitators again.  —  Don’t you just hate it when that happens?

Well.  I better go work on my IDP (Individual Development Plan) while I have the chance.  —  I’m supposed to take tomorrow off since I was on call last week.  —  Isn’t that neat?  When you are on “Hots”, they let you off a whole day the following week.  —  I’m not complaining.  Sometimes it takes me so much by surprise that I forget to breath.  I need to remember.  “Keep Breathing.  That’s the key.”

Talk to you later,

Your friend from Dell,

Kevin James Anthony Breazile


Kevin J. Breazile

Global Financial Services I/T

Dell Inc.

(512) 728-1527

Letters to the Power Plant #118 — Things are getting Hot 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 one hundred and eighteenth letter I wrote.

7/6/05 – Things are getting Hot at Dell

Dear friends from Sooner Plant,

Has it really been two whole months since I have written?  Wow.  That must be a record for me keeping my mouth shut!  I did have a vacation during that time and I did go to training, and we did have a couple of holidays and I did forget to write most of the time, even though I think about you guys and the plant about EVERY DAY!!!!

I had this real weird dream where I was at the power plant and it was in the evening when it is kind of dark.  I’m not sure what I was doing there, but I was really amazed with this new conveyor system that you guys had.

It ran all over the plant and it moved equipment and barrels around automatically and the way it worked, it could move anything anywhere on the plant grounds where they needed to go, because the entire ground was made up of strips of conveyors that looked like asphalt sidewalks, but they moved along like conveyors.

Then in-between the sidewalks was grass, but the grass moved between the conveyor systems so, for instance in my dream I was watching this barrel go by and it went down this asphalt conveyor and was pushed out into the grass, where the grass carried it over to another conveyor and then to another patch of grass until it hit an asphalt conveyor that was going in the direction where it needed to go and off to the coal yard it went.

So it was like the plant was running all by itself and people didn’t have to move stuff around.  They just moved themselves.  —  It was actually a little creepy.

I heard that your honeymoon with Wendling has already come to an end.  —  I suppose that’s too bad.  I guess he came and did what they wanted him to do, and now that Jim Arnold is gone, he can go do other things.  —  Maybe that’s why I haven’t felt the urgent need to write to you guys before.

I knew you were all in bliss in your Shangri La Palace at Sooner since you were relieved of a few trouble makers.  I hope your new plant manager is acceptable for you guys.  I know that the times I had to deal with John Parham they weren’t always the most pleasant.  But I can chalk a little of that up to my attitude at the time.

I do know that he insisted one time that the heat energy being lost out of the top of the precipitators at Muskogee equaled only around 4000 watts of power (or so).  Which was so ridiculous, I knew there wasn’t any sense in arguing with him… but you know me.  I can’t keep my mouth shut.

Anyway.  I went to see the Grand Canyon on my vacation and that was a lot of fun.  Everything went well.  When I got back after being away for over 2 weeks, it took me about a week to read all my e-mails.

Then I had training for another week.  I took a week long database course called:   Oracle PL/SQL advanced programming and performance tuning.  —  Now every time I turn around I’m looking for something to tweak to make it better.  —  I think I’m getting on some of my “cubicle mate’s” nerves.  Maybe I should stop making that squeaky “Tweak” noise every time I try to Tweak something.

Well.  Let me know how things are going up there.  What’s the latest?

Your friendly Dell programmer,

Kevin James Anthony Breazile