Category Archives: Life

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.

Note to Reader:  To read more about Jasper Christensen and the Internet read this post:  Power Plant Quest for the Internet.

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.

Note to Reader:  To read more about the Birthday Phantom, read the post Power Plant Birthday Phantom.

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

Advertisements

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

Letters to the Power Plant #120 — Electrical Internet

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 twentieth letter I wrote.

10/4/05  —  Electrical Internet

Dear Sooner buddies,

Hey.  I was just reading an article about the Internet and it reminded me of one of our Power Ideas.  —  Oh.  You remember.  “We’ve Got the Power” in 1990.  And how it gave everyone that warm and fuzzy feeling for each other….and how it sort of brought everyone together in a wave of kindness…..  Well.  At least that’s the way I remember it…..or is it.

Anyway.  I remember one of our “way out there” ideas was to have our company invest in research on using the electric lines for Internet access, because that’s where the big bucks are going to be in the future.

But silly me (remember…this was pre-World Wide Web days).  I forgot that OG&E makes electricity, and even though they said that they wanted to do other things, the only thing they “really” wanted to do was spin those turbines and pour out the juice to the community.

Well.  Read this article:

Note to Reader:  I removed the link because it no longer works.  In order to read more about the “We’ve Got the Power” program read the post “Power Plant We’ve Got the Power Program” and “Power Plant We’ve Got the Power Stress Buster“.

‘Cause, here it comes.  —  Of course, I still hear our illustrious Supervisor of Equipment Support (Well.  He was over the Engineers at the time) telling Summer Goebel when she asked me how to setup her computer to use High Memory, “It doesn’t matter how much memory your computer has, it can only use the first 640K anyway.”  —  I can still hear the sound of Toby ducking under his desk in his cubicle when I gave Arnold my response.

Ok…. Note to Reader:  My response was “You may be stupid, but I’m not!”

I thought this would be an interesting article for you to peruse.

Your friendly Dell programmer.

Kevin

______________________

Kevin J. Breazile

Global Financial Services I/T

Dell Inc.

(512) 728-1527

Letters to the Power Plant #121 — Happy Thanksgiving from Dell

After I left the power plant and went to work for Dell on August 20, 2001, I wrote letters back to my friends at the plant letting them know how things were going.  This is the one hundred and twenty first letter I wrote.

11/21/05  —  A Happy Thanksgiving from Dell

Dear Sooner Plantians and friends,

It has been hard these days to find the time to write, but things are starting to ease up some.  I’m on vacation this week, so I finally have “some” time to write.  Notice that even though I’m on vacation I am still logging into work to check on things.

Old habits are hard to…..well….anyway…..I thought I would log in just to see what is going on.  I’m going to be in Stillwater this Wednesday night thru Friday night to visit my parents.  I think we will be staying at the Hampton Inn, since it’s about the only good Hotel in town.

I hope everything is going well with all of you.  I haven’t really heard much lately.  Is your new plant manager keeping you so busy that you don’t have time to write either?

We just went through another Reorganization / downsizing.  I’m still on the same team I was on last month when I wrote last.  Things are finally settling down so that I’m only doing two jobs now instead of three.  I’m still the Application Administrator of the Oracle Financials application.  That’s the program that is sorta like SAP, but only the Financial module.

So, how is it with your new plant manager?

I keep having strange dreams about the plant, but it has changed so much in my dreams that it has morphed into a sort of Dellish, Power Plantish, Universityish, Europeanish, 18 century villageish sort of mystical place.

I suppose you guys have those sorts of dreams too. —  Where you are going to work on some kind of a big piece of equipment (carrying the printout of your Task List), and being chased by some mythical creature that lurks in the boiler and comes out like the monster in Beowulf, out of the furnace to snatch unsuspecting hardhatted fellows.

Then you may stumble into a meeting room in order to have a one-on-one meeting with your foreman, only to find that all the meeting rooms are booked, and there isn’t anywhere to hide, so you go darting out of the room and find your self running down a cobblestone street in the dark trying to remember if you have already taken a clearance on the bowl mill, and whether or not Bill Robinson put the tags on the right one.

Then as you are climbing the ladder up the side of the bowl mill you hear a tap-tap-tapping coming from inside the mill and realize that some tinker is sitting on his three-legged stool tink-tink-tinking away at some wooden object outside the front of his shop where his family has been tinking for centuries.  And he is singing a song that sounds like the song that is sung by Intake pumps as they hum along.

And as you leap over the ash pipes by the Intake pumps and stumble and roll into the electric manhole because someone has left the lid off of it and didn’t put up a barricade, and fall splashing into the manhole since the manhole pump doesn’t work and water from Sooner Lake has seeped in and filled it up.

You know I watched a little open motored pump pump that hole dry one day.  It was the strangest thing to see that motor running under water.  Totally soaked with water.  That must have been some clean water.

Anyway.  You know how dreams are.  When you fall in the dark water of a manhole, you either get zapped by electricity and wake up, or you are suddenly transported to the top of the Fly Ash silo and the only way down is to walk the crosswalk across the top of the silos and make your way down the zigzag stairway since the elevator doesn’t seem to want to cooperate.

And as you walk down the railroad tracks into the dumper, you hear the pound-pounding of your feet on the metal hull of the dumper as you walk through it.  The deluge pump on the south side seems to be leaking water down the side of the dumper into the dark coal stained concrete.

As you follow the water down into the dumper and through the grid at the bottom, you crawl out through the hatchway at the bottom of the dumper hopper.  Rolling onto the floor you become drenched in the damp coal dust that soaks into your pores and heals your wounds, making you forget your cracked skull and bruised knees.

Following the faint dumper lighting, you make your way to Conveyor 2 and start the long climb to the surface.  As you climb higher and higher, you find yourself watching computers flowing by as the conveyor belt turns into rollers that swiftly and cleanly shifts computers this way and that sending them on their way to the customers waiting patiently at their door.

Where they eagerly open their computer boxes and madly assembling the monitor and keyboard and plugging it into the wall, connecting it to the generator that hums in the power plant, being spun by the steam that is made by the coal that came to the plant on the train that was dumped into the hopper and carried on Conveyor 2 up and up to the top of the stackout tower where it is dumped onto the coal pile.

Where brave men in their large yellow coal moving machines run like ants over the surface.  Packing and moving and packing again…..

Then the engineering professor points to the chalkboard with his long wooden pointer and his bushy moustache and eyebrows, and funny hat and glasses, and he says “that is the circle of life”.  And the crowd roars with applause, and the professor bows and the applause becomes more and more tinny until it is nothing more than a tink-tink-tinking sound that sounds like the sound of the tinker.

Or is it the sound of the footsteps of that horrible creature that lives in the boiler and comes out every now and then to snatch unsuspecting fellows in their yellow hardhats?  Creep-creep-creeping up on you.     —-  You know.  Dreams like that.  I’m sure you guys must have them all the time.  Or perhaps you “Live Them!!!”

Your Friendly Dell Programmer,

Kevin James Anthony Breazile

Letters to the Power Plant #122 — Job Battles 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 twenty 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.

3/3/06 – Job Battles at Dell

Dear Sooner heroes,

I know it’s been a long time since you’ve heard from me.  I have finally finished the “battle of the jobs”, and now I’m in quite a different position than the last time I wrote to you.  I have one arm and two legs all stretched twice as long as usual and that makes it hard to walk and eat, but I’m very happy about it anyway.

I am now called a “Technical Advisor” and I work in the Finance Department in Payroll.  It’s was quite a battle, but here I am…  —  Well.  Right now I’m actually in Denver Colorado getting ready to go back home.   I’ve been taking a class all week learning new things about Kronos.

I realized today that OG&E would really benefit from a timekeeping application like Kronos.  —  Do you realize that Dell has over 50,000 employees and only 3 people that support timekeeping? — and I’m one of them.

So, here’s the scoop.  There I was minding my own business…– working about 60 hours a week in I/T Support.  I was on a team that was redesigning the way that I/T rolled projects into production and I still supported the applications that I was supporting before because we were shorthanded —  When The manager of the Employment Services Group asked me if I would join their team.

My first reaction was that it was an absurd request.  How could I, who loves I/T with a passion ever make a conscious decision to leave it to go to the business?  I told the manager that it was tempting and that I would consider it (I was saying that to be polite), but I didn’t think I could justify it.

She said that she understood, but just wanted to give it a try anyway since their entire team, when they heard of the job opening said that the only person that could fill that position was me.  —  I was flattered, but didn’t give it much real thought.

I talked it over with Kelly (my wife), and she said I should do whatever I thought was best.

Daily I would receive e-mails and IMs (Instant Messages) from the team describing how better my work-life balance would be if I moved to their team.  I talked it over with my former manager and he thought it would be a good move for me.

The team invited Kelly and I to their Christmas party with the intention of talking Kelly into talking me into moving to their team.  —  The last time I had this much attention was when Jim Arnold argued for me to stay in Equipment Support instead of letting me have the Training Director position because he just loved me so much….

So we went to the Christmas party and everyone tried to convince Kelly why I should go to their team.  —  No more pagers, regular hours.  —  I could even work 4 – 10’s if I wanted to.

When I first told my former manager (from the Program Development group) that I had applied for the job, he quickly rushed me into a team room and told me that it had gone all the way up to his Vice President that they were going to force the I/T Support group to move me over to Development because they needed my skills and couldn’t find them anywhere.

He is a good friend of mine and I told him that I would like to go back to the Development group, but (and then rubbing my fingers with my thumbs) I said, “show me the money”.  He said that he understood and hoped that I got the job.

Well.  Also, when I applied for the job, I told my current manager that I had applied for it (I had told him about a month earlier that they were asking me if I would take it, but that I wasn’t seriously thinking about it), he said that he would talk it over with my director and let her know, but he didn’t think there would be a problem with it.

Then the day before I had an interview with the director over the new team, my own director took me into a room and told me that she wasn’t going to let me go because they couldn’t afford to lose me right now.  I told her that I was going to go one way or the other and that when I decide to do something, I do it.  She reiterated that she couldn’t lose me and wasn’t going to let me go.

So the next day when I went to the interview with the director for the new position, the first thing I told her was that my director had told me the day before that she wasn’t going to let me move to this job.  The director said that she couldn’t just say that without a valid business justification and that she was going to take it up to her Vice President to make sure that they didn’t let her get away with it keeping me back.

I told her that I appreciated any help she could give because I was beginning to look forward to this new position especially since I was looking forward to working a more regular schedule.

Well.  Needless to say:  I was being pulled in three different directions all at the same time.  It was almost as stressful as working at Sooner Plant on a Friday afternoon at 4:00 when you hear the shift supervisor calling the Equipment Support Supervisor, and visions of shoveling Coal all weekend pops into your mind!!!

I really like my new team.  They have a lot of work for me to do, and I stay real busy, but for some reason I feel like I’m playing all day long, because I’m really doing something that I know how to, instead of swimming up stream all the time working on so many things at once on things that I’ve never worked on before.

The team lead on the team that I left was really fighting for them to keep me there.  I asked him why, since the only thing I was an expert on supporting were applications like Kronos, Oracle Financials and Concur (our expense program).

He said that it wasn’t that I knew a whole lot about everything but that I was able to troubleshoot programs that I had never seen before faster than anyone else.  —  I told him that was a skill that I learned working at the power plant, because that is what we did every day as an electrician but that they couldn’t penalize me by keeping me in one place.

I told him that the only reason I became an electrician was because I was a good janitor and the electric department (Charles Foster) noticed and asked me if I would consider working for them.  What if they said that I was too good of a janitor to let me go to the electric shop?  This was the same situation.  I had worked writing programs and supporting applications for this group and that is why they wanted me.

So.  Here I am.  No longer in I/T, but a “technical consultant”.

Maybe now I will have more time to write.

Your friendly Dell friend,

Kevin James Anthony Breazile

Letters to the Power Plant #123 – Dell Me More

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 twenty 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.

3/16/06  — Dell Me More

My dear friends at the Sooner Power Plant Palace,

I could tell by my response to my last letter that some of you would like to know how I’m getting along in my new job……  Well.  Right now I have my headphones on and I’m listening to Louis Armstrong singing “What a Wonderful World”.

Alan told me that you guys are in the middle of the “Mother of all Overhauls”!!!  Gee.  I really miss those.

I miss dressing up in that fly ash suit and crawling around in the precipitator searching for plates out of the clips glaring through my full face respirator into the dark, or the bright reflection of my flashlight off of the pure white ash on the plates, blinding me to any hidden clip out of alignment.

Well.  Anyway. I can still dream about it.  I can romanticize it any way I want when I do that.  I can pretend that the dust isn’t running down my back and filling up my rubber boots, and that I’m not even breaking a sweat that doesn’t fog up my face plate and run down my shirt causing it to become all caked with ash……  It just doesn’t happen when I dream about it.

I don’t even smell that strange odor that smells like…well.  I don’t know what it smells “like” since it has a smell all of its own….

Note to Reader:  To learn more about the strange odor at the Power Plant see the post “What’s that Strange Power Plant Smell?

Anyway.  I think back to those days with great happiness and while I do, I scritch-scritch the spot on my back where I used to have psoriasis that was “not caused” by the extremely dry conditions of being covered in Coal Ash or by the not-so-toxic gases that formed as the ash combined with the moisture from the “real world” causing it to fall gracefully from the plates in sheets.

I also miss working on the top of the precipitator where we had to clean and inspect and replace all those insulators.  And how we would take those gaskets that were 98% asbestos (2% wire), and stuff them into the plastic bag so that we could have some semblance that we knew how to handle the stuff.  I think I still have a few of those fibers lodged in my lungs there somewhere, just to remind me of the “good-ol-days”.

Hey.  This morning, (to quickly change the subject), I read an article in Information Week that said the following:  “Arizona Electric Power Cooperative Inc. (AEPCO) is turning to SAP AG’s “Safe Passage” program to support growth and consolidate legacy applications, the non-profit cooperative said Tuesday.”

What?  Didn’t they know that OG&E did that over 9 years ago?  Where have they been all that time?  That’s why OG&E was “Best-In-Class”.  —  Of course it would be nice if the Corporation Commission would let OG&E keep some of their profits.

Well. I better start work now.  I’m all done reminiscing about overhauls…..for now…  Maybe I’ll do that again in a few hours when I’m eating lunch and I can remember biting into my peanut butter sandwich and having flakes of fly ash or coal dust falling from my hair onto my bread to add that extra-special flavor only found in the Power Plant Palace.

Have a safe day.

Your friend from Dell,

Kevin James Anthony Breazile

Letters to the Power Plant #124 — Time Warp 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 twenty 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.

9/26/06  —  Time Warp at Dell

Dear Soonerites and other important people,

Has it been forever since I have written?  I don’t even remember the last time.  I have been so busy with my new team that I haven’t had a moment of rest…. Except when I went on a three week vacation this summer.

So, here’s what has happened with my new team.  They immediately turned around and  “loaned” me back to I/T as a resource so that I could work on the projects that they wanted done.

You see.  I/T had said that they couldn’t work on the projects because they just didn’t have the resources, so they hired me, and then loaned me back to them and said.  “Here’s Kevin, he can do it.”  —  So, I have been doing more programming as a business person than I was doing as an I/T person….  Go figure.

But it has been fun, because you know how much I like a challenge.  —  Especially if someone says, “It can’t be done.”

Well.  We have just finished moving all off our European countries and a bunch of Latin American countries into our “Global” Expense reporting tool.  Besides that, we have upgraded Kronos again (that’s our Timekeeping application), (and I’m actually right in the middle of applying a Service Pack to it as I type).

This was the first moment in a number of months where I looked at my calendar, and I looked at my tasks, and I realized that I actually had about 1/2 hour where I could write a letter to my old friends in Power Plant Land.  —  I don’t mind.  They recently gave me a promotion.  So I’m happy.

So, Charles Foster told me that there is going to be a lot of construction goin’ on around there.  I read the article about the big plant that is going to be built.  That’s really exciting.  That reminds me of the days when the plant was being built the first time.

Everything was all muddy (because there wasn’t any grass) except for the parking lot which was very nice and clean, because our wonderfully insightful management realized that if we couldn’t park in the parking lot then it would stay cleaner longer.  —  Wasn’t that a brilliant idea?  I thought it was….

It is like the idea that Stanley Elmore had about not letting anyone drive that little blue Mitsubishi tractor for a year so that the warranty could run out before we could actually see if it ran.  — I was only a summer help at the time, but I do remember telling him that I thought it was a brilliant idea to let the warranty run out before you let Jim Heflin get on it.

Of course.  A few years later…. It was quite a site watching Ken Couri riding it around.  —  That was a good little tractor.  —  I was thinking about Ken Couri the other day.  I was remembering how he used to help teach the Safety courses.  That was one guy that usually had a big smile on his face.  — oh well.  I’m reminiscing again….  I guess the thought of Construction at the plant sent me back almost 30 years….

Talking about 30 years…  Do any of you remember Colonel Sneed?  —  Well if not, I’m sure you remember Gene Titus.  He was around a lot longer.

It’s funny, but for some reason, the two guys that I always think about when it comes time to pray for someone is:  David Hankins and Grant Harned.  I’m sure you ol’ timers remember David, but Grant wasn’t around very long.  He was the receptionist for a while before he moved to Tulsa, and later died in an automobile accident (I used to carpool with him when I was a janitor).

From what I knew of David, he was one of the kindest people I ever met.  —  I remember when I came back for my second (or was it third) year as a summer help and I was riding down the road in a yellow cushman cart with Jim Heflin, and I asked him, “Where’s David Hankins?  I haven’t seen him around?” and he stopped the cart in the middle of the road and said, “You didn’t know?  He died in a car crash last fall.”

For some reason — I often think about David and Grant.  Don’t know why.  I have a photo of each of them that I keep on my bookshelf.  —  Ok…. I guess I’m sounding a little like Randy Daily now.  Remember when he wrote a list of all the people that had died that had worked at the plant on the Chalkboard upstairs in the tool room?

I added Jerry Mitchell and Grant Harned to the list.  I figured most people didn’t realize Jerry had died.  I only knew because my wife took care of him in the hospital as he was dying.  She didn’t know him before he was her patient, but she said she thought he was a really saintly person during the time that she knew him…..

Note to Reader:  To learn more about Jerry Mitchell read the post “A Power Plant Man Becomes an Unlikely Saint“.

Which brings me to Eldon Waugh.  —  The last time I was in Stillwater (which was a little over a year ago), I met Eldon Waugh in the Hampton Inn.  —  He sneaks in there in the morning to eat a free breakfast with his friend.  — I introduced my kids to him so they could see the person that I pushed around in the elevator once when he came to a Men’s Club a couple of years after he had retired…

The guys at Mustang told me that when Eldon was a plant manager there, he would pick through the rags in the trash can and pull out those that he didn’t think were dirty enough to throw away. And put them back in the rag box.  — Now that’s being frugal…don’t you think?

When Ted Riddle and I were on overhaul at Mustang, one time we went to work on something and all the light bulbs were burned out, so we decided, “by golly”, we’ll just go around and replace all the burned out bulbs.  — The Electric Supervisor just about had a cow.  He was going to have to order more light bulbs, and that was going to stretch his budget, all because we replaced all the burned out lights.

He told us that we should only replace lights if we are going to be working in the area, and not go around replacing any lights needlessly….  — Can you imagine that?  How many lights are there at Sooner?  About 80 Ba-zillion?

I can see turning off some lights, or something like that, but leaving them all burned out seems a little strange….  —  Anyway, they figured they had to keep Ted and I busy the rest of the time we were there or we might come up with some other “bright” ideas.

Well.  I know I have been rambling enough for one letter.  I haven’t told my new team about Ramblin’ Ann yet, but I did warn them that that story was coming….

I hope all is going well with you guys,

Your Friendly Dell Technical Advisor,

Kevin James Anthony Breazile

Letters to the Power Plant #125 — Dell Kiosk Heaven

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 twenty 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.

11/8/06  —  Dell Kiosk Heaven

Dear Overhaulin’ Soonerites,

I figured this is overhaul season and that you are all in Overhaul Heaven, so I’ll try to be brief, since I know you are all “chompin’ at the bit” to climb back into that boiler and ride those sky climbers back up into the vast darkness of space…..

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

I was very sorry to hear about Floyd Coburn, as the first I knew something was up was when I sent my last e-mail and his address came back undeliverable.  —  Microsoft is working on it, but it will be a while before we can send e-mails to Heaven.  I’m sure Floyd is up there dancing with the Angels now…. Not quite wishin’ that he could be back in that boiler patching tubes…  Or….. Maybe he is (in there with you guys)!  He can help keep the boiler ghost at bay!

Well.  The title of this e-mail is about Kiosks….  And that’s what I should talk about…. Since that is the topic after all….  So…

Dell has Kiosks in malls all over the country.  And we have put Kronos clocks in those Kiosks so the employees can use them to clock in and out…. Using their finger.  —  How about that?  You just put your finger on the little reader and it clocks you in and out.  No time cards, no nuthin’.

I know that wouldn’t work exactly right at Sooner Plant, but a few weeks ago I was in Orlando Florida going to a Kronos Conference at Disney World and they showed me this nifty wireless device that you could wear on your belt and record your time right there with you.

I kept thinking about how when I was at Sooner, I used to say how someday we would be carrying our computers around with us on our belts, and “by golly” there it was.  It would allow you to log in and record your time and all, and if you had wireless at your plant, it would automatically be recorded in the system.

You could use it to log your time working on an M.O. (Maintenance Order for all you “non-plantians”).   If you don’t have wireless, then at the end of the day, you just go to the shop, plug the device into the recharging cradle and “voila” (remember.  That’s French for….well…it’s French for something that you say when you’re trying to say “There it is!”).

Anyway.  I just kept thinking about that and how it would be so much easier than filling out timecards every day….  It’s easy to interface Kronos to SAP, so that’s no problem….  It even has a barcode scanner on it, so you can print out your M.O.s for the day with barcodes, and just scan them.  You don’t even have to enter anything, just scan it.

So, I’ve been talking (e-mailing) to people in all these Malls all over the country.  The clock in Penn Square Mall in OKC was having an issue and I wrote back to them and told them that I wasn’t able to connect to their clock and I gave them instructions on how to fix it.

When I sent the e-mail I had copied our IT support people in Penang Malaysia, just to keep them in the loop.  A few minutes later, I received an IM (Instant Message) from one of the Penang folks (I call it “getting Penanged” when I am IM’ed from someone in Penang).  Asking me what we had to do when we can’t connect to a clock.

I explained to her that the problem will have to be corrected at the clock since we can’t talk to the clock until it has been setup on their end.  She asked me again.  “So, what do we do when we can’t connect to a clock”.

So I spent about 15 minutes walking her through logging into the server and testing the clock, and how she could see that we couldn’t connect to the clock….  Then she asked me again, “What do we do when we can’t connect to a clock”.

So, I told her to open a browser and go to the Dell Home Page.  Then click on “You and Dell”, and then click on “Travel And Expenses”  Each time waiting to make sure she was following my directions.  Then I told her to go to the “Online Booking Tool” and make plane reservations for Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA.

She said she didn’t know her logon name.  Then she asked why she would have to go to Oklahoma City and I told her that the only way to fix the clock so that we can connect to it is to fix it at the clock.  That’s what she asked me, so I was just showing her how she could fix it if that is what she wanted to do…..

I have the Penang folks all confused about me anyway.  I told them I was very old and very fat.  I told them once that I kept making mistakes while I was typing because my long grey beard kept getting caught in the keyboard.

Then one day, one of them asked me about a server and I said that it was old and probably would have to be replaced soon since it was over 3 years old.  She said that her computer at home was 5 years old, and I said, mine was too, but my daughter had one of those new XPS computers and it was new and very fast.

She asked me how old my daughter was and I told her she was 53 years old.  The Penang person just about had a cow.  She said, “How old were you when you were married?”  I told her that I was married when I was 26 years old.  She said.  “You’re not 79 years old!”  I said.  “Golly Gee No!  I was married 4 YEARS before I had my first child!  I’m not a young whipper-snapper you know.”  —  So they don’t know what to think about me….

I was training them online one night and I had them all on the phone for about 2 hours doing a Live Meeting.  Toward the end I started talking using an old man voice, and I quickly stopped and apologized.  I said, I usually just use my young person voice when I’m training people, because it’s hard to understand me when I talk normally….  They didn’t know what to think about it…..

Anyway…. I can see that I’ve been rambling again….gee…  When my shirt gets all wet from drool, I can tell I’ve been talking too much, or I just fell asleep for a while and drooled over all my shirt before I even knew I was asleep.   I’m not sure which, but I should probably just get back to work.  I still have about 100 more clocks to configure.

Talk to all of you later.  Have fun, but be SAFE!!!!

Your Pal from Dell,

Kevin James Anthony Breazile

______________________

Kevin J. Breazile

Global Employment Services Support

Dell Inc.

(512) 728-1527

Letters to the Power Plant #126 — Travelin’ at Dell

This is my longest post ever, so make some popcorn, sit back and read the one hundred and twenty sixth letter I wrote to the Power Plant.  I wrote it over a two week period and I probably could break it down into about 5 posts, but below is the way I sent it back to my friends at the Power Plant:

4/9/07 —  Travellin’ at Dell

Dear Sooner Plantians,

I finally have a few minutes of spare time to write to my favorite buddies up there in the frozen tundra of Oklahoma.  Right now I am sitting in the airport in Los Angeles waiting for a plane to Singapore.  From there I have to fly to Penang Malaysia to train the IT support team for a week.

I don’t know if I mentioned them before.  They are waiting to meet me because I have been telling them that I am really old with gray hair and a long gray beard that gets caught in my keyboard every now and then.

A few weeks ago one of the Penangers (That’s what I call it when they send me an IM – Getting “Penanged”), was IMing me a few weeks ago and was complaining about how Global Warming was causing all the weather to change.  I told her that it wasn’t as bad as it was in the 1930s.  It was really bad back then.

Then I said,  “Oh, but you probably weren’t around back then, were you?”  Then one time when they were “Penanging” me, I didn’t reply for a few minutes because I was working on something at the time.  So, they started to give me a hard time for not replying right away, and I told them that I am so fat that my hands can’t reach the keyboard when I’m sitting back in my chair  because my stomach is in the way and I was just taking a rest.

I asked the Penangers how far away is their workplace from the hotel where I am staying.  They told me it was about an hour and a half walk if I wanted to walk there, but that I should take a Taxi.  I told them if it was too far, then I would probably have to take my walker with me on the plane, so I could rest on my way to work.

They asked me what a “walker” was.  One of my IT friends calls them Penanguins, but I probably told you that already.  It has been a while since I wrote last, and as old as I am, my memory isn’t what it used to be.  At least I don’t think it is what it used to be, but, I can’t really remember how that was, so I’m just “speculating”.

I’m sitting at a table by some restaurants, and out the window are a couple of palm trees and a bunch of airplanes.  —  All big ones.  They are the planes that fly over the Pacific ocean.

I think my next flight is supposed to be 18 hours long!!!  Then I change planes and fly another hour and a half.  Arriving in Penang on Sunday morning.  (Right now it is Friday afternoon).  —  I am not writing this “online”.  I am just writing it in Word, since the wireless connection in the airport is not being “User-friendly”.

Anyway.  I will be teaching the IT support over there how to take care of the applications that I am in charge of maintaining.  I tried to get them to send a couple of people from there to come to the U.S. instead of having them send me over there, but they had a big “cat fight” about who they should send, because everyone wanted to meet me, so they decided that it was cheaper to send me than to have their entire IT department fly over to Austin.

One of the items on the agenda is called:  “The proper use of the Elvis Wand”.  I am bring an “Elvis Wand” (which is a fan with Elvis’s face on it that I use when all else fails.  —  It has the same effect as when I lay my hands on the monitor and yell “Heal!!”).

I am returning to the U.S. this upcoming Friday night.  Then I have to leave again on Sunday morning to fly to Boston where I am a speaker for a bunch of companies that want to know how we do Time and Attendance.  Kronos (the timekeeping software that we use) is paying my way.

Hey!  No need to pass up a free lunch.  —  So I am going to see my family in passing, on my way to bed, then on my way back out the door when I wake up early Sunday morning.

I have been getting to know people all over the country since we have been putting Kronos clocks in our Kiosks in the Malls.  If you are ever at Woodland Hills in Tulsa, or Penn Square mall in OKC, if the team lead is there, most likely they have talked to me a few times.

I have become pretty familiar with the names of malls lately.  It is interesting to see what kind of names they have.  Some of them sound pretty fancy, like “The Mall at Wellington Green” in Florida.  Some of them sound rather dull, like “Tucson Mall”.

There is one that sounds like a foreign country in Pennsylvania.  It is called “Plaza at King of Prussia”.  I suppose they have to come up with unique names.  There are two malls called “Independence Mall”.  Which doesn’t make me think they are “That” independent.

I figured I would make this a fairly long letter, since I have nothing to do for the next couple of hours except sit here and watch the people.  The interesting thing I noticed about this airport is that it really seems old and simple.

After taking a trek though the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport a few times, this airport seems way too small.  For instance.  When I arrived, I was in Terminal 4.  My next flight is in Terminal 2.  Now, in the DFW airport, you know what that means….

That means that you have to get on the sky link train which takes you around to the place where you get on the shuttle, that takes you way out to some parking lot (because you got on the wrong one!  —  don’t you hate when that happens?), Then you have to hitchhike back to the airport where you follow the signs to Terminal 2, which must be near the Red River and almost into Oklahoma.

So I was thinking….. “Oh great.  I have a lot of time today to go from Terminal 4 to Terminal 2, but when I’m coming back, I only have an hour and 45 minutes.”  And that means, going through customs, going out of the secure area and getting my American Airlines boarding Pass, (since I will be on Singapore Airline), then hoofing it to Terminal 4 and going through the security check, all in time to just see the plane taking off without me (or so I imagine).

So, as I exited my last plane, I made my way out of the building to a man standing there looking like he was trying to help people.  So, I asked him.  “What is the fastest way to get to Terminal 2?”  He whipped out a map and said, “See this blue line here?  That is this sidewalk.  If you walk around this sidewalk, you will see Terminal 3, then you will see Terminal 2, and there you are.”

I’m thinking… “Boy.  If that is the fastest way, then the traffic around here must really be bad, or all those buses only take you to parking lots out in some field somewhere.  So I said, “Thanks a bunch”,  and I headed around the sidewalk.  I hadn’t walked 50 yards, and I was already at the main terminal and I could see from what his map had showed me that these terminals are not very far apart, and they aren’t that big.  For instance.  In terminal 4, I came in at gate 48, and guess what?  That’s the biggest number.  48.  This is Los Angeles, after all, isn’t it?  Isn’t this like one of the biggest cities in the country?  —  The distance around all these terminals doesn’t look much bigger than walking around the two boilers and T-G building.

Well.  I’m going to stop here, to save my battery, until I can find a place to plug my laptop in.

Ok.

Now that was very fun.  I made the long trek (not really), to the gate where my next ride is going to arrive in two hours or so.  I noticed that a few gates down from my gate there was a plane going to Moscow, so I thought I would watch the people boarding the plane, just to see the kind of folks that were heading that way.

There were a handful of serious looking people wearing bland clothes, and the rest looked like regular Joe’s, so I thought, “now would be a good time to test out the camera on my new mobile phone.”  So I stood alongside the line of people getting on the plane, and looked around at them through the camera lens on the phone for about a minute.

Then I zeroed in on two of those bland blokes and acted like I was taking their pictures as they boarded the plane.  Then I put my phone back in the holster and picked up my bags and walked off.

So, after doe-see-doeing (imagine that.  My spell checker didn’t have “doe-see-doeing” in it  — does now) around quite a few pillars, I finally found a place to plug in my laptop.  So now, I’m sitting at a gate going to Guadalajara Mexico.

This is definitely a different set of people taking this plane.  I suppose it is spring break and some of these people are just heading to a beach somewhere.   A much more laid back crowd.  This gate is more fun than my own gate.

Besides, I can tell what they are saying over the intercom…. Oh, wait…. They just said something that sounded like “Dos es los quervo por favor”.  Does that mean they have Margaritas on that flight?  The word Quervo caught my attention.

Looking outside, I see a seagull flying by.  It had the appearance of admiration as it flew over those jumbo jets out there.  I wonder what must be going through its mind when it sees a big plane like that.  —  Probably, “The bigger they are, the harder they fall.”

I suppose there must be an ocean around here someplace.  —  At least, there is when I watch Perry Mason.

I suppose I should be taking a nap right now.  After all, it may be 4:30 pm here, but it is 7 tomorrow morning over in Penang right now, and I just stayed up most of their night.  I’ll try to make it up on that long plane ride.

Hey, they just announced over the intercom that the plane to Dublin is now boarding.  I should go watch them.  That should be interesting…… No, I should probably head back to my gate to make sure they didn’t make any last minute changes and move my gate over to Terminal 6 or something like that….

————————————————————————————————————–

Well.  It has been a while since I added anything to this letter…. Actually, I’m on my way back home and I’m sitting in the Singapore Airport.  Yep.  It’s Friday again, and I have spent my week in Malaysia.  —  Boy.  Was that an adventure.

So, here is the scoop.  If you have to fly over the Pacific Ocean, the way to do it is with Singapore Airline.  They treat you real nice, and keep giving you drinks (I mean the alcoholic type) and they have foot rests that come up so you can sleep better, and they have a TV screen right in front of you where you can watch Movies On Demand, and play video games, and even make a play list where it plays the songs you choose over and over again.

So here is how I spent the 18 hours:  I spent 6 hours sleeping.  6 hours playing video games.  3 hours talking to the guy next to me, and hour and a half watching a movie (The Night at the Museum) and an hour and a half eating and looking around at what other people were watching on their TVs.

So, I have something I would like to talk to the Electricians and Instrument and Controls guys, so the rest of you can skip the next few paragraphs:

I was sitting next to a guy that works for “AutoDesk”.  You probably don’t remember, but that is the company that makes AutoCAD.  The blueprint drawing program.  They have this real neat program now for Electrical Schematics, and PLC drawings and you name it.  The guy showed it to me and it was impressive.

You can actually have a drawing of a Junction Box, with all the relays in it and wiring (which you can build by selecting the correct model of relays and stuff), and you can click it and go to a schematic diagram or even a Parts List.

You can view PLC programs as a Ladder Diagram and look at the parts, or even look at the layout of the wiring to the different contacts, based on the model number of the PLC.  I told him about our meager attempt to come up with a Red Lining Program, back in the Ron Kilman Regime.

Now I want to talk to just Toby O’Brien:

I asked him if AutoCAD had something like that for Piping, and you should see what they have.   It was real impressive.

You can build 3D images of piping, then look at the layout diagram, or click on a section of pipe and have it give you all the part number information about it.  When designing something, all you have to do is pick your parts, and put them together and it builds a 3D image on the screen.  If you want to modify it, you just choose different parts or rotate something, and it builds the thing before your eyes.

Now I want to just talk to the Boiler Rats…  Oh yes.  You know who you are.

I told the guy that works for AutoDesk about how they need to build an application that would have the racks of boiler tubes that are in a boiler, where you have the ability to remove sections of tubing and put in new tube, with all the serial number and ASME data that you have to keep track of, so that your boiler tubes are “certified”.  You know what I mean.  I just don’t know the correct term to use.

I explained to him how it is important to keep track of all the tubes sections that go in the boiler, and if they could build something where you could just move your mouse over the different sections of the boiler, then zoom in, then rotate it and zoom in some more, and then just hover your mouse over the tubes and see all the information about that section of tube.  —  He said he would pass that on to the people who make those decisions.

Ok, for all of you that I haven’t been talking to….. I’m back to just my regular rambling again.

So, I arrived in Penang last Sunday Morning after leaving home on Friday Morning (it was Saturday evening Austin time when I arrived in Penang).  I was only there about half an hour before the Penangers called me and told me they wanted to take me out to eat and to look around Penang.

So, instead of resting up after my long trip, I quickly took a shower, and met the team I was going to be training.  They took me to a Mall that is much like a regular American Mall, except for a few things.

They wanted me to eat every kind of food they could imagine, so I actually spent most of the week eating whenever I wasn’t teaching.  After we ate lunch, they took me to go see a Buddhist Temple on a hill.  It has the biggest bronze statue in the world of a god that I think is called something like “Look-See”.

So I started climbing the long winding path up to the temple through all the souvenir shops that literally created a tunnel all the way up the hill.  The weather was like Oklahoma in August.

Every once in a while I would turn around and find that I had left the Penangers, somewhere down the hill through the maze of souvenir shops.  —  It wasn’t that they had stopped to shop.  They just weren’t in very good shape.  They were all as thin as a rail, (unlike me, who has the distinguished look of a miniature Buddha or Alfred Hitchcock, or both), but they were not in very good shape.

The last leg of the journey, they insisted on taking a cable car.  So we did.  We came to a temple where it was packed with people all kneeling and praying with a big pile of shoes outside.  There were monks inside praying real loud and it reminded me of watching Kung Fu, because the monks were wearing robes just like the monks in Kung Fu.

The team tried to take me to see the temple where there was a statue of “Sleeping Buddha”, but it was closed.  Across the street from that temple there was another temple, and when we went in it there was a monk sitting on a chair to one side of a very tall statue of some god that I don’t know…

So I went over to him and asked him what was the significance of taking off your shoes when you entered the temple.  He was a Burmese Buddhist monk, and knew very little English, so after waving my arms around and talking real slow, and making gestures like I would think Kwai Chang Caine would make, I finally gave up trying to find out, though I think by what he tried to tell me in the language of a Burmese Buddhist monk, I think he said that it was to keep the floor clean.

When people drive in Malaysia, it is quite different than driving in the U.S.  For instance:  They drive on the wrong side of the road like England…  So, they were probably an English Colony at some time or other.

The other peculiar thing they do, is that the lines that distinguish between one lane and another lane does not have the same meaning as it does in the U.S..  I think in Malaysia, the dashed lines in the middle of the road is more of a “suggested” boundary that can be ignored whenever you want.

So, even though you are traveling down the road in one lane, it doesn’t mean that two other cars may not decide to come up right alongside you in the same lane at the same time, while a string of little motorcycles go weaving back and forth between the cars.  —  The whole act of driving reminded me of a large flock of birds all flying in a whirl, but not running into each other.

I think in Malaysia, they drive more by instinct than we do in the U.S.  —  Oh.  They have accidents.  I think I counted three that I saw just on the way to the office and back.

When you get a ticket for doing something wrong, you can usually just give the police some money to go buy coffee and they will let you go.  One guy I was with did get pulled over, because I think it was lunch time and the Police needed some extra cash to go out to lunch.  – Pretty weird, huh?

So, my entire week was spent eating, teaching and being driven around the island (Penang is on an island, just off the coast of Malaysia).  I ate every kind of Asian food they could find.  Most of which I can’t pronounce.

One guy (let’s call him Farid, because that is what everyone else calls him, because, well, that’s his name), asked me if I felt nervous when Soo Yuen was driving.  I told him that after the first day, I just realized that everything was in God’s hands at this point, and I would just let him take care of me, so I didn’t have to worry about it.

I gave the team I was teaching the Elvis wand and showed them how to use it correctly.  Now Farid has it sticking up above his cubicle so that the whole team can feel blessed by Elvis’s presence when they have a difficult issue they are trying to resolve.

So, now I’m on my way home.  I will try to send this e-mail to you guys sometime on Saturday, if I remember, or I might just continue it on my way to Boston on Sunday morning.  —  I will be back from there next Wednesday.

While I was in Penang I went to the website of my High School and found a few of my friends from my High School and grade school days in Columbia Missouri, so I’ll try to remember to include them on this e-mail as well.  They haven’t seen me since High School and don’t have a clue what I’ve been doing with my life, so this can help fill them in.

From what I gather, one guy named Tim (Knight) is a brain expert in Washington State (so I should probably call him Doctor Tim —  Like I sometimes refer to my friend Jesse as Doctor Jesse  — “come get your Chili!!”), another guy also named Tim (Collins) is in Florida working on a SWAT team at the Kennedy Space Center.  How cool is that?

Boy.  I never realized how much trouble those astronauts were causing down there.  Matt Tapley, my other friend just happens to be getting his Masters in Math down here in AUSTIN!!!!  Isn’t that neat?

So, by the way…. I am sending this letter to my friends at my previous job where I worked for 20 years.  18 of those years as an electrician.  Sooner Plant is a large coal-fired plant that makes Electricity for the folks in Oklahoma (I said that for the benefit of my “old” friends that don’t understand why I was calling you “Sooner Plantians” at the beginning of this e-mail).

By the way, I include Mark Schlemper and Brent Stewart on these e-mails.  They are in Columbia still.  And a couple of other people here and there that you know, and some that you don’t.   —  But they know who they are. —  I hope.

Some lady just came up to me while I was sitting here typing this letter and told me that if I have a long wait in this airport (which is more like a shopping mall than an airport), then they actually have a free tour of Singapore while you wait.

Well.  I better start making my way toward my gate.  I won’t have time to stop and write when I’m in Los Angeles.  I will barely have time to make it between flights.  —  I’ll let you know if I missed it when I finish this letter later…

————————————————————————————————————–

All right.   To make a long story a bit longer, I’ll try to be brief for the rest of this letter….  (yeah…  Like that is going to happen).

I made my flight just fine.  I didn’t lose any bags, because I carry everything on the plane with me.  I arrived back in Austin around 11 pm, and was home by midnight.  I slept most of the next day and had to get up around 3 in the morning to get to the airport to catch my flight to Boston to attend a Kronos Tech Summit where I was a guest speaker.

I spoke to 350 engineers that developed their Timekeeping application.  I talked for two hours to them, and then they came up to me after it was over to ask me a bunch of questions.  Then the following day (which was a Tuesday), I flew back home.

Because it took me so long to write the last part of this letter, I might as well continue….  I knew I couldn’t keep this short….

Last week, (April 3), three of us on our team drove up to Dallas to accept an award from Kronos for “Best Practices”.  We spoke to over 250 people about how Dell uses Kronos and why we are so good.  They gave us a big award and then I met with people from all sorts of companies (including the Oklahoma State Government) that wanted to know more about how we did this or that with Kronos.  Then we drove back home (on April 4).

My wife was wondering why my voice was so hoarse when I returned from my trip to Dallas.  I told her that my voice became hoarse while I was listening to the guy that was driving the car tell stories all the way to Dallas and back…..  —  Yeah.  Right….  She didn’t believe it either.

Needless to say.  My friends in the car (as Ed Shiever can testify), now knows a lot more about you than you know about him.  — Specifically, they know a lot more about Walt Oswalt than anyone else at the plant, because by the time we made it to Dallas (about 2 1/2 hours later), I was just about done telling stories about Walt.

Three times I had to grab the steering wheel because the car was swerving off of I-35 while Stephen (that’s the guy that was driving), was laughing so hard he couldn’t stay on the road.  — I have only started to introduce him to Bud Schoonover!!!!!

So, now I have finally filled you ‘all in on all I have been doing the past month.  It has been real crazy.  I hope things will finally settle down now so that I can catch up with the 3,000 e-mails I have in my Inbox!!!!

I hope to hear from you soon.

Your friend,

Kevin James Anthony Breazile

Letters to the Power Plant #128 — Figured it out

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 twenty 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.

11/30/07  — Figured it out

Dear Power Plant Men (Women and Old Timers),

Thanks Ben for remindin’ me.  Larry Wyskup was the other guy, and Don Spears was the Electrical Supervisor at Muskogee.   —  But there was another thing…..

Early this morning I woke up in a cold sweat when I realized that it wasn’t Bob Kennedy that was on that overhaul with us, it was a guy named Joe Flannery.  I had him confused with Bob Kennedy because they were both very tall.

There were a couple of things that I remember about Flannery.  One was that he was real strong (and I don’t mean in an odor sort of way).  If you needed your car moved over one spot in the parking lot, all you had to do was ask Flannery and he could move it over for you.

I also remember that he was always arguing with someone in the Muskogee Electric Shop (I think it was Ellis Moore  —  At least I think that’s his name).  —  Bein’  the good ex-janitor that I was (and Psychology School Graduate), he asked me to help him out with his personality.

He wanted to know why people didn’t like him very much even though he had the innocent face of Goober on the Andy Griffith Show (and we all know how likable Goober is —  Especially when he grins).

I told him that it wasn’t enough just to be helpful by carrying their 2 ton motors over his shoulder for them, but that when he set it down he had to make sure he wasn’t crushing someone’s toolbox.  —  Well.  It was something like that anyway.  We worked on it over the three months we were there.

I just thought I would clear that up for all of you who really didn’t care in the first place…..

Your friendly Dell Programmer,

Kevin James Anthony Breazile

Dell Inc.

Application Management Analyst

512-728-1527