Category Archives: Life

Letters to the Power Plant #16 — A New Year 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 sixteenth letter I wrote.

01/03/02 – A New Year at Dell

Dear E-Pals from Soonersville,

I hope everyone had a great holiday.  I just came back to work yesterday from my vacation.  I was able to take the whole week and a half, from Dec. 21st to January 2nd.

Today it is cold outside.  I mean, it is really cold out.  The weather man called it a “Hard Freeze”!!!  I bundled myself up and stepped outside this morning ready to face the harsh weather of Austin USA.  The first thing I noticed when I stepped outside was that my cat’s water wasn’t frozen.  So I thought.  “Hmmm, has someone been putting antifreeze in my cat’s bowl?”

Then as I made my way through the blinding blizzard to my car, I thought it was strange that there was only a thin layer of frost on the windows.  I climbed into my car and turned it on to let it warm up, and began the tedious task of scraping away the patches of frost from my windshield.

Then my son Anthony came prancing out of the house, and told Kelly that he didn’t want me to drive him to school, he just wanted to walk.  I asked Kelly if he was sure, I didn’t want them to get lost in the blizzard between our house and the school a block and a half away.  She said, he was determined to rough it, and they took off down the sidewalk.

I went back in the house and turned on the news and there was a winter storm advisory.  The temperature was 31 degrees, with no wind.  The sky was clear and the sun was shining.  I have to keep reminding myself, I’m not in Oklahoma anymore.

In Oklahoma when the weather man says there is a winter storm advisory, there really is.  Down here, when the weather man says there is a winter storm advisory, then that means that you have to put on your jacket, or at least walk briskly to the car and rub your hands together a few times to keep them warm.

Now I am sitting in my cubicle with a long sleeve flannel shirt and a tee-shirt on underneath that.  It must be about 80 degrees in this building.  I have my jacket hanging behind me, just in case I get too cold.

My forehead is all sweaty from wearing too much clothes.  I made the mistake of wearing my better pair of shoes that are laced up, so I can’t easily slip them off under my desk, so my socks are getting damp from the sweat.  —  I have made three trips to the ice machine to cool myself off.

The sun is shining in the window, adding radiant heat to everything around me.  All I can think of is that there is a weather man taking a break in the newsroom chuckling with his buddies about how many people probably overdressed for the “Hard Freeze” today, and now they are all sweating out the day in their cubicles at Dell.

Anyway, I am looking forward for the new year at Dell.  I think Dell is supposed to run all of the other computer companies out of business this year.  It will be interesting to see.  I’m supposed to write a program that tracks the demise of all the other companies, and then schedules a fun committee party each time one goes under.

I’m writing a program that scans the news articles on the Internet and looks for certain keywords associated with certain companies, and then using some statistics, it figures out the exact date the companies will go under.  People are always trying to get the inside scoop from me, so they can win the office pool for guessing which day Hewlitt Packard, or Compaq, or Gateway disappear from the face of the earth. —  We’ll see if that statement gets past the DELLSECURE e-mail screening program.  — By the way,  think about that the next time you decide to buy a computer, and you are wondering who has the best warranty.  The warranty won’t be any good if the company is gone.

Your friend from Dell,

Kevin Breazile

______________________

Kevin J. Breazile

Programmer Analyst II

Dell Computer Corporation

(512) 728-1527

 

Advertisements

Letters to the Power Plant #17 — Project 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 seventeenth letter I wrote.

01/09/02 – Project Dell

Dear Sooner Buddies,

I hope all is going well with you, and once again, I hope everyone of you had a great holiday.  —  I forgot to tell you that last month when I climbed on my roof to fix a burned out Christmas light one night, I looked north toward Oklahoma, and I thought I could see Randy Dailey’s Christmas lights lighting up the horizon.  NASA said that during December they didn’t need to use the Global Positioning Satellites, they just pointed their view finder toward the easily recognizable Ponca City, and they instantly knew where they were.

Note to Reader:  To learn more about Randy Dailey’s Christmas Lights, see this post:  Power Plant Christmas Star Shines over Ponca City.

Well.  Tomorrow night my Big Project goes into Production.  I’ve been working on this one since the beginning of November.  Since I have had two whole months to work on it, I was able to add extra features that weren’t called for in the original specifications.

Things such as:  When you double click the third letter in the first word on the main menu, then the web page starts playing the Star Spangled Banner and two people who look like they are getting on board of Air Force One popup and wave at you.

Second Note to Reader:  To learn the significance of the two people boarding Air Force One waving goodbye, see this post:  Power Plant Final Presentation.

If you leave a page open too long without doing anything with it, it starts to make a yawning sound.  When you are about ready to save your data, it asks you if you are sure, if you quickly click “Yes”, then it comes back and asks “Are You Really, Really Sure”.  You know, those things that make an application seem more like real life.

I even made the application work like a typical upper level supervisor.  When you click to make certain small changes that don’t really matter, the application randomly (that means just sometimes) comes back with a message that says, “No.”  If you click “Continue”, then it comes back and says, “I don’t need a reason.  No, No, No.”

Anyway.  I get to demo my new program in front of a bunch of high level guys next week.  —  I can’t wait to show them all the extra features that they didn’t ask for.  They will get a great big kick out of the way that I put this whirlpool in there with the picture of someone’s head being sucked down into it.  —  Don’t ask me why I did that. —  Ask Ray, He may be able to give you some insight into that one.  I just hope it didn’t use too much “resources”.

Third Note to Reader:  To learn more about the person in the whirlpool see this post:  Hitting the Power Plant HR Cardboard Ceiling.

I have had a lot of fun developing this application.  I’m sure everyone has been wondering why I’ve been giggling in the Project Issues Meetings.  —  Of course, they may think it’s because I’m on the fun committee and I’m trying to show everyone that we are having fun.  Which, of course, we are.

It has been good hearing from you guys.  Thanks for writing.  Keep me up on all of the good gossip.  I will write soon.

Your friend from down under,

Kevin James Anthony Breazile

______________________

Kevin J. Breazile

Programmer Analyst II

Dell Computer Corporation

(512) 728-1527

Letters to the Power Plant #18 — Project Update 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 eighteenth letter I wrote.

01/11/02 – Project Update at Dell

Dear fellow Soonerites,

Well, last night my new program went into production.  That means that people actually started using it today.  I thought I would go by the cubicles of those people that use my application just to see how things were going.

It seems that I overlooked a crucial aspect of one of my features.  I had put in a feature that turned on a snoring sound when the application sits idle for a few minutes.  — That means, if no one uses it for a few minutes.  Well.  It seems that someone went to use the facilities and while they were gone, their application started snoring.

At first, the person in the next cube over thought it was funny, until the snoring sound made that person tired, and they actually fell asleep.  Then their application started snoring, and other people started falling asleep also.

When the first guy came back from the bathroom, —  Oh, I mean, “Using the facilities”, the whole area of the building that was using my application was full of the sound of snoring employees.  Not only from my application, but from the users as well.  (Users are people that use programs, we also call them “Business Partners”).

So, I ran back to my desk and quickly brought up my development tool. (That’s what I use to write programs).  I made a few changes to my program and uploaded it to the production server.  Then I went back up to the cubicles to see how things were going.

Instead of hearing snoring sounds, there was the sounds of busy employees typing away at their desks, like good productive employees should.  —  Oh, they were still asleep, but at least now it sounded like they were all working.  I changed the snoring sound to the sound of typing keyboards.

Boy.  That was a close call.  It was a good thing that Michael Dell or someone like that didn’t walk by and find the whole group snoring away.  —  I guess the next time I put an extra “Perk” in my program I’ll test it out on some business partners before I actually put the thing into production.

Anyway.  It all turned out all right, and I was able to get it done a couple of days ahead of schedule.

I just thought I would let you know how things are going down here,

Write to you later.

Kevin

______________________

Kevin J. Breazile

Programmer Analyst II

Dell Computer Corporation

(512) 728-1527

Letters to the Power Plant #19 — The Young Dell Dude

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 nineteenth letter I wrote.

01/18/02 – The Young Dell dude

Dear friends from Sooner,

I have had a pretty good week.  I am in what is called, “Stabilization”.  That is what happens after an application starts to be used, and you have to sit around and see if it breaks.  So I have spent the week learning new programming languages.

The new languages I have been learning are:  VB.Net, ASP.Net, ADO.Net, and C# (Pronounced “See Sharp”).  Hmmm.  Well the first list with all the Nets in them seem to have something to do with Tennis or Basketball or fishing, but that C Sharp one definitely sounds like something to do with music.  Well, these are the new languages that I will use when I write applications to use with Windows XP.  I think the XP stands for “Expensive”, but I’m not sure.  It’s pretty neat anyway.

One thing I noticed today while I was sitting in the front lobby waiting for someone that was taking me to lunch, is that unlike Sooner where the average age of the employees is somewhere around 47 years old, here at Dell, the average age of the employees must be somewhere around 25.  This makes for quite a different atmosphere.  I had a conversation with a fellow Dellite while I was waiting, and it went something like this:

“Hello Man!  Howsit goin?”

“Fine.  Everything is going well.”

“Rad man.  That’s really Tight.”

“Oh.  Well.  I suppose so.  How are things with you?”

“Like, cool as a mombo jombo dude.  It doesn’t shake any more foam than this.”

“Oh, well.  That’s great.”

“Say, man, weren’t you the dude that had that bucket man?”

“Oh.  Do you mean that bucket in my cubicle?”

“Yeah, man, like I freaked when I spied that man.  I thought I was like dreaming or spacin’ man.  You should have seen me shakin’.”

“Oh.  Yes.  I do seem to remember that now.  I was the guy that helped you to the rest room.  Remember?”

“Remember?  Remember what?”

“Oh…  nothing.”

“Say man.  I was just thinkin’ that this floor looks really shakin’.  Look at how those stones go that way, and these stones do that square thing, like that.”

“Oh.  Yes.  I see what you mean.”

“That took some wild talent.  You know it did, ’cause someone must of been dreamin’ to come up with that man.”

“Yes.  — I suppose it did.”

“You know it man.  Real talent.  Talent, that’s what it took.”

“Well.  I’ll see you later.  Take it easy.”

“Sure man.  Stay cool dude.  Yeah, that bucket thing.  huhuhuhuh.  That was great man.”

Does that sound anything even remotely similar to conversations at Sooner?  I sure don’t remember any like that.  That’s one computer language I haven’t learned yet.  The one where you communicate to each other in some foreign language that remotely sounds like English.  I would try to learn it, but I haven’t found a dictionary or a book to teach me what it all means.

Everything is going well here.  It is good to hear from you guys.  Keep writing.  I’ll write soon.

You Friendly Dell Programmer,

Kevin James Anthony Breazile

______________________

Kevin J. Breazile

Programmer Analyst II

Dell Computer Corporation

(512) 728-1527

Letters to the Power Plant #20 — Dell-lightful

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 twentieth letter I wrote.

01/24/02 – Dell-lightful

Dear Sooner Friends,

For a person that has been doing this type of job for their whole adult life, this may not have seemed like a great week.  I, on the other hand, have found this week to be fascinating!!  First of all  —  Or “Last of all”, we have a meeting with “Michael” tomorrow.  —   We call Michael Dell, “Michael”.  It gives us that chummy feeling, like we are all one big happy family.  (I’m sure you know the feeling — The “One Big Happy Family” feeling).

Anyway.  We have a meeting with him in the morning.  I’m not sure what he’s going to talk to us about.  My guess is that he’ll bring Ben Curtis along with him (The “Steve” Dell Dude on the Commercials), and do something to cheer us up.  I don’t think we really need cheering up.  We seem to be doing real well.  (Of course, I can’t say anything about how well we’re doing  — That Insider thing you know.  —  At least until our next Quarterly report comes out).

I figure that “Michael” will bring the Dell Dude guy along, because he has been doing that around the company lately.  Especially during the Holidays when we were swamped with so many orders, that I can’t tell you about, that people had to work a lot of overtime on the manufacturing floors.

Anyway.  Tomorrow he wants to meet with the IT guys around here, so we will all get in some tour buses and take a trip into Austin and go to some convention center meeting place where there will be some kind of a presentation.  —  More on that to come, since that will be tomorrow.

The rest of my week.  That is, the part that I’ve already had, (I guess I did that backward.  I did “First of all” and told you about the last part, and then said “The rest of my week”, and now I’m talking about the first part),  has been kind of slow.

I’m between jobs, and I’m in the Stabilization mode, as I have mentioned before.  So I have been studying those computer languages that I told you about last week.  —  Well, this has been great.  I have been reading away, and learning, and taking it fairly easy.

Then today, a guy came to my cubicle and asked me if I knew why some new hires were not able to log into a particular Database, and could I help him out, and so, instead of studying today, I have been helping install new users on servers and installing users on computers, and since they made me a Mail Exchange Server Administrator the other day, I even installed people’s e-mail systems for them.  —  This is not my normal job, but it was fun.  — You guys know how I enjoy fixing people’s computer problems.  I almost like doing that as much as I like writing programs.

So I had to contact Server Administrators, Database Administrators, install programs, run back and forth, smile at my customers, apologize to the Database Administrator for asking them to do the wrong things, run back and forth, write a bunch of e-mails, write trouble tickets to get things done, and say “Your Welcome” when everyone said “Thank You”.  —  So, you see, every once in a while, I have to do the same sort of stuff I had to do at Sooner Plant.

It just kind of reminded me of the days when I was at Sooner Plant, and Darlene would call me and ask me if I could run by the tool room because she was having trouble with her SAP, and Linda would call me on the radio and ask me if I could drop by her desk, because she was having trouble with her Outlook, and Jody would call me and ask me to drop by the foremen’s office, because he was having trouble logging on, and Gene Day would call me and ask me to drop by the Control Room for a few minutes, only to forget why he wanted me, when I finally arrived.

Note to Reader: For more information about Gene Day and jokes I would play on him, see this post:  Power Plant Humor and Joking with Gene Day.

Oh yes, and Jasper would call me and tell me that, “We decided that no one at Sooner plant needs access to the Internet except Jim Arnold and Summer Goebel and only then to use e-mail”, and Jim Arnold would tell me that it doesn’t matter what you do, it is impossible for a computer to use more than 640K of memory.  (yes.  he said  K, not Mb or Gb —  That was when he got mad at me for calling him stupid – Some people just get mad for the funniest reasons).

Note to the Reader:  for more information about these stories, see this post:  Power Plant Quest for the Internet.

Anyway.  Yesterday it was 80 degrees.  Today a cold wave moved in and it’s getting down to the 40s.  Brrrrr.  There’s even “Wind” today!!!!  What’s going on?  And me in short sleeves!!!!  At least I’m inside all day.

Thanks for keeping in Touch.  Congratulations to George Clouse.  (I guess he’s to be congratulated, — The poor guy).

I’ll write later,

Kevin James Anthony Breazile

______________________

Kevin J. Breazile

Programmer Analyst II

Dell Computer Corporation

Letters to the Power Plant #21 — Michael 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 twenty first letter I wrote.

01/25/02 – Michael at Dell

Dear Friends from up North,

I thought you guys would like to hear about my day.

Well.  We had our meeting this morning with Michael Dell.  He’s one of the richest people in the country.  He’s 36 years old.  When he showed up at our meeting he was wearing a tee shirt and jeans.  He talked to us for about an hour and answered questions and told us what we were going to do to compete in our industry.  It was pretty neat seeing this guy because he acts so normal.

A few weeks ago when I was walking over a few rows to another cubicle to talk to someone, I turned the corner to walk down the end of the cubicles, and I saw some guy walking by, so I said “Hi” to him.  As we continued walking, I thought, “Boy, that guy sure looks like “Michael Dell”.  So I turned and looked at him again (walking alongside me), and sure enough.  He was just a regular Joe (or Mike) walking along just like anyone else.  He was dressed casual just like me.

I thought.  Hmmm.  Should I ask him if he has ever heard of the most Omniscient (all-knowing) person on the planet Earth?  (You know.  The one that works at OG&E.  The Equipment Support Supervisor at Sooner Plant).  I decided not to.  I thought one of the most wealthiest people on Earth would certainly know the most intelligent person, so then I thought.  Maybe I should ask him if he has gotten any advise recently from the intelligent being aforementioned. (That means, that I just mentioned above).  Then I thought.  No.  I probably wouldn’t be able to understand the advice, because it would be so intellectually superior to my brain that it would seem like pure gibberish.  —  At least that’s what usually happened in the past whenever I heard about said person’s Super Intelligent Ideas.  So I just walked along down the rows of cubicles, and decided to mind my own business.  I had already done the right thing by saying “Hi” to him before I realized who he was.  So I left it at that.

Note to reader:  The Power Plant Men all knew I was referring to our Maintenance Supervisor Jim Arnold.  For more information about him check out this post, especially slide 20:  Power Plant Final Presentation.

All in all we had a lot of fun talking about the other large PC companies and how they don’t have long with this world.  Anyway.  Dell’s revenue is now about 1/8 the size of Wal-Mart.  And Wal-Mart is now the largest company in the world as far as revenue.  That means that Dell is really raking it in.

I’ll talk to you later,

Your friend at Dell,

Kevin James Anthony Breazile

______________________

Kevin J. Breazile

Programmer Analyst II

Dell Computer Corporation

(512) 728-1527

Letters to the Power Plant #22 — Ice 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 twenty second letter I wrote.

02/07/02 – Ice at Dell

Dear Friends,

I’m sorry I haven’t written to Sooner sooner.  Early last week I encountered a temporary change in job description.  The other day they found out that I had the ability to heal computer related problems by just laying my hands on the monitors (which you guys at Sooner have known for a long time).

So they had me running around fixing computer problems a good part of the week.  Last Friday, I spent the whole day doing nothing but fixing computer problems for people.  They even had me setting up training room computers for new hires.

They were talking about putting me in the manufacturing plant, and having me lay my hands on all of the computers as they went down the conveyor belt. — but then they might have to lay off some of the Tech Support people.  — That’s not my normal job description, which is creating programs to dazzle and impress my business partners.

Then, this Monday through Wednesday, I was in class at a training center somewhere in the heart of Austin learning the new programming languages which included: ASP.Net, ADO.Net, VB.Net, and C# (pronounced “see sharp” — Which makes me think that this has something to do with looking at Robert Sharp — though I don’t know what).  — So, now I’m the resident expert on these languages, and I’m supposed to present them in a “Code Review” tomorrow.

Anyway.  I heard you guys had a lot of Ice up there in Oklahoma last week.  —  I just wanted you to know that here at Dell, we have our share of Ice also.  Just across the way, and over yonder, there are Coke machines and candy machines.  And right next to the candy machine is an Ice Dispenser.  I use it a lot.

There is also an Ice dispenser in the break room which is located in the middle of the floor that I’m on, in this wing of the building.  Also, there is an Ice Dispenser in the cafeteria.  —  Now, that’s Three, (count them, — Three) Ice dispensers on just the 1st floor!!!  —  So when you guys think you are having a lot of Ice, just think about us down here, with all of our Ice machines!

I think today was the “third” day this winter that I’ve had to scrape Ice (yes – Ice.  —  Some may refer to it as “Frost”)  off of the windows on my car.  It was only 35 degrees this morning!!!!  Brrrrrr….  I had to put on my “heavy” jacket!!!  I noticed that the people around here don’t really know when to wear jackets.  I’m not sure that everyone “owns” a jacket.

Yesterday morning, it was about 45 degrees, and I noticed that some people were walking around outside with short sleeve shirts, and no coat (and a confused look on their face – wondering why they had this strange sensation causing their teeth to chatter).  Not me.  I don’t own a winter coat anymore, but I do have a “heavy” jacket.  — I have a pair of Carhartt coveralls around somewhere too, but I’m not sure where.

I suppose that things are going well with you guys.  I have removed Bill Robinson from my e-mail list, since, as I understand it.  He retired.  Bill was always one of those guys that whenever you talked about him, it usually helped to end your sentences with “Bless his heart.”  —  You know.  You might say something like:  “Oh, I heard that Bill accidentally tripped the wrong Bowl Mill again, bless his heart.”  Or, “Oops, Bill ran the pickup into another one of those yellow posts, bless his heart.”

Do you see how helpful it is when you add “Bless his heart” to the end of the sentence?  It’s a remarkable phrase.  I have found that it comes in real handy when talking about Gene Day also.  With Gene, all you have to say is:  “Gene Day?  Bless his heart.”

Toby mentioned the other day that he might send some coal dust down, just so that I could enjoy playing in the stuff every once in a while.  —  Well, he doesn’t have to.  If I need a “coal dust” fix, I just go in the garage, and pull an old tool out of my tool bucket, and my hand will come out all black from the accumulated coal dust in my tool bucket.

I’ll write later,  it is good to hear from you guys.

Your Pal at Dell,

Kevin James Anthony Breazile

______________________

Kevin J. Breazile

Programmer Analyst II

Dell Computer Corporation

(512) 728-1527

Letters to the Power Plant #23 — Six Months 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 twenty third letter I wrote.

02/22/02 – Six months at Dell

Dear friends,

This week marks my sixth month as a Dell employee.  The time has really flown.  It seems like just the other day I took off my coal stained jeans and put on a pair of khaki slacks.  —  My steel toed boots have been sitting in the garage unused (except for Halloween when I dressed up as Frankenstein).  — The calluses on my hands are gone, and my fingernails are properly manicured. —  The watch on my arm is no longer the plastic black electric resistant watch with the black plastic strap.  It is a gold watch with the gold watchband that I received for my 10 year Service Award from OG&E.  —  I carry a briefcase instead of a tool bucket, and it is not very heavy, as it includes only my laptop, a calculator, a breath freshener, and a spare floppy disk.  I can come to work when I want.  Leave when I want.  Go to lunch when I want.  Schedule a meeting whenever.

Another group of college graduates have started their career with Dell this week.  Our team received two of these “new hires”.  One of them came from OSU and was in three of my classes last year. —  They are the “New guys”.  —  I’m an old hand now.  — In the power plant, it took about 2 years to become fluent doing my job.  At Dell, responsibility is heaped upon you from the first day you exit the hallowed halls of boot camp.  —  You learn things very rapidly.  — The new employees are coming to me and asking for direction.  —  I show them the programs I have written, and tell them how Dell works.  —  They have sponsors that help them learn how Dell operates, but all of us “Old guys” help them also.

Next week I am starting a new project.  We have been planning it for the last couple of weeks.  It has to be done by April 18.  We have planned what we will do on a daily basis.  It is a lot like planning an overhaul at Sooner, but we won’t have to cut it short because we need the unit on line as soon as possible.  We won’t have to delay it because the parts didn’t arrive when we expected them.  We won’t have to change it in the middle because we ran across some extra work that is more important.  —  On Monday I will write this part of the program, on Tuesday, I will write that part.  On April 16th we will be done, so that we will be done 2 days early, and everyone will say, “Look!  They beat their schedule by 2 days!”  All of that is planned.

Gee.  Six months, and I already sound like I know what I’m doing.  Well.  I do.  Because it is programming, and that’s what I love to do.  Every day when I arrive at my cubicle.  I open my briefcase, and take out my laptop, and slide it into my docking station and power it up. —  I turn on my other computer, and log in.  I sit in my chair, and I look around at my fairly undecorated cubicle, and I feel like I’m on vacation.  I feel the same as if I am at the beach lying in the sun.  I start typing away at the keyboard, checking my e-mails, going to meetings, and programming — and programming.

Programming is like making toys.  You tinker around with it for a while, and when you are done, you have something to play with.  —  Next Monday, my main “business partner” from my last project is taking me out to lunch, because he is grateful, because I wrote a program for him.  It saved him a lot of time, and now he’s happy.  —  He has a better toy to play with. — It is very satisfying.  — I think in the Quality Process, they called it…..  —  What was it?  That was so long ago, and they didn’t do that part very well anyway……  —  Oh yes.  “Celebration.”  — I’m sure you guys remember that.

I understand that Toby has left for another position with Enogex, and that Jasper, and Bill Thomas, and Max Thomas are retiring soon.  Gee.  Toby’s name was really Thomas, so it’s like losing three Thomases in one month.  Thomas A. O’Brien, Max Thomas, and Bill Thomas (The name Thomas means twin, so I suppose you could think that since Max and Bill are leaving at the same time that they are like brothers. —  The Thomas Twins — which would mean, the “twin twins”).  I wish them all well in their new lives.  I hope that they have at least as good of a life as I am having.

Your friend from Dell,

Kevin James Anthony Breazile

______________________

Kevin J. Breazile

Programmer Analyst II

Dell Computer Corporation

(512) 728-1527

Letters to the Power Plant #24 — Old Man 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 twenty fourth letter I wrote.

03/01/02 – Old man at Dell

Hello friends from the Arctic Tundra of Oklahoma,

I just wanted to fill you guys in on the oldest and ricketiest old man on our team.  Last week I told you guys that we had received two new people on our crew and that I am no longer the “New Guy”.  This week I wanted to tell you about the “oldest guy” on our team.  He is quite a character, and I don’t think he would mind tooooo much if I talked about him.  As a matter of fact, I told him I was going to write to you guys about him, and he didn’t seem to mind.  At least he didn’t tell me not to, so I took that as a “yes”.

I asked this old guy what he thought about being the oldest guy on our team and this is what he had to say:  “I don’t know what all the hubbub is about being the oldest guy on the team.  I don’t look all that old,” he said, as he checked to make sure his dentures were in straight, and his pants weren’t pulled up too high on his chest.

This guy dresses about the same as everyone else, but he does have a few indicators that he may be getting on in years.  —  Understand that when I say that he is old, I’m not saying that he was born back in the same era when Gene Day was a youngster.  —  In fact, he’s probably young enough to have Gene Day as his daddy (though, let’s not condemn him to that doom, even in our imagination.  — Gene knows that we all love him, and we understand that his alzheimer’s has gotten a little out of hand these past few decades, so we tend to overlook some of his — well, his blatant errors in judgement, as well as his drooling while he eats).  — I only say those things about Gene so that he will write more often.

Anyway.  Like I said, there are a few things that this old man does that indicates that he is getting a little on in years.  For one thing, he reminisces a lot.  —  That means that he talks about all the things he used to do.  —  This brings to mind an old man that worked as a contract helper at Sooner Plant once named “Bill Boyd”.

I’m sure those from the electric shop remember him well.  One day Bill was telling us about one of the many jobs that he had worked on, and Andy Tubbs said, “I don’t believe you did that!”  Bill Boyd was so taken aback that he asked Andy, “What did you say? What do you mean you don’t believe me?”  Andy said, “If you did all the things you say you did, you would have to be 150 years old!”

To tell you the truth.  He did look close to 150 years old to me.  I remember walking in the electric shop office one morning and hearing a ticking sound.  I said,  “Bill.  I think you’re ticking.”  — He said, “Oh.  You can hear that too?  That’s my pacemaker.”  It sounded like his pacemaker was made of a little wind-up hammer constantly doing CPR on his chest.

Note to Reader:  To learn more about Bill Boyd, read this Power Plant Man Post:  Power Plant Raven Comes Home to Roost

Anyway.  I heard this old man on our team telling the new hires the other day that for years and years he used to be the youngest guy on his crew, then one day he looked around, and everyone was younger than him.  What a thought.

There is another thing that this old man does that tells me that he’s not the spring chicken he might suppose.  He drives a fairly old, kind of grungy car, and he’s not embarrassed parking it right next to everyone else’s Jaguars and Corvettes and Mercedes in the parking lot.  He just pulls up with his loose squealing fan belt and the squeaking struts, and grinding brakes and comes clunking along into the parking lot every morning, just as proud as can be.  —  A sure sign that this old man has a loose screw somewhere else than just on his car.

Which reminds me.  When I have time, I need to get my brakes worked on.  When driving on the freeways in Austin, brakes are very important. —  I think they call them Freeways because when everyone leaves work at the end of the day, they have this attitude that they have just been freed from prison, and they are all excited to get home as quickly as possible, and nothing is going to stop them.  Not even the 400,000 cars in front of them.

It is at times like this where good brakes are essential.  — Forget the advertisements about how a car can go from Zero to 60 miles an hour in 5 point 2 seconds.  Around here you need one that will go from 80 to Zero in 40 feet!!!

Anyway.  What was I talking about?  Sometimes I just can’t remember like I used to.  Oh yeah.  I was talking about this old man on our team.  Ok.  So you probably have already guessed.  Yes you are right.  I am the oldest person.

Yes.  I found out the other day that the guy that looked like he was about 55 with gray hair and wrinkles was actually only 37 years old.  He just smokes a lot.  So guess what.  I left Sooner Plant as the Youngest electrician for 18 years, to become the oldest programmer on my team at Dell.

I hope everything is going well with all of you guys.  How will the place run without the quick thinking determined decisions from Jasper Christensen?  I hope he has an enjoyable life —  in the “real” world.

Your friend from Dell,

Kevin James Anthony Breazile

______________________

Kevin J. Breazile

Programmer Analyst II

Dell Computer Corporation

(512) 728-1527

Letters to the Power Plant #25 — Faster 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 twenty fifth letter I wrote.

3/13/02 – Faster at Dell

Dear friends up north,

It was fun dropping by this week and seeing the ol’ power plant.  It seems to make my job here just a little more enjoyable.  It was good seeing all my old friends (and getting older all the time).  You guys are always in my thoughts (as you can tell).  I know that was a quick visit, and maybe the next time I will be able to stay a little bit longer.

I have gotten used to doing things quickly since I have been at Dell.  Just this week I have finished writing the program for this quarter’s project.  I’m testing it now.  I’m about a month ahead of schedule. —  But that’s good.  They like to do things fast at Dell.

It just occurred to me the other day that Dell sells a computer somewhere in the world on the average of one computer every second (like the one they advertise on TV).  24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  That’s pretty fast.  See, they just sold another one…and another, and another. —  I’m going too slow.   —  Let’s see if I can keep up.  —  another.  another. another. nuther, nuther, nthr, nthr, nthr, nthr nthr nthr….

There, if I type “Another” like that (nthr), I can just about type that word as fast as Dell is selling computers.  Of course, I would have to do that all day and night forever, to keep track of all the computers they are selling.  —  Or, I can just look it up using one of the handy dandy programs we have.

There is a rumor that at the manufacturing plant in Ireland, they have hired Leprechauns to make the computers.  That way, all they have to do is twitch their nose, or wink, or something like that, and “voila”, the computer is assembled.  (see previous letters to find out that “voila” means “There it is” in French. — That way I don’t have to keep repeating myself  — or get a French – English Dictionary).

That way you will find out that “voici” means “Here it is”, and “veni” means “we came”, as in “Veni, Vidi, Vici” — Which means, “We came, we saw, we conquered”  — Sorry, my mind seems to wander while contemplating the meaning of the universe.  Anyway, that leprechaun thing is a pretty good idea.

See. Here I am, all proud of myself for being done with my next program one month before I was scheduled to be done, and guess what.  They have already given me two other projects to do at the same time.  If I hadn’t finished with this one, I would have needed another computer at my desk, and I would have had to dream up some way to work on all three computers at the same time.

Luckily this scenario has been avoided.  — I was already working on a program in my spare time that would write programs for me.  I hadn’t gotten very far, because my spare time usually consists of going to the bathroom, and I didn’t think I should bring another laptop with me in there.

I already brought one, and if I was trying to work on two laptops at the same time AND contemplate the meaning of the universe (isn’t that what most people do while they are in the bathroom?  — at least when their mind isn’t wandering), I might drop one at the most inopportune time, and create a mess of things.  — So my program to write programs has been slow coming.  —  If only I could write a program that would write THAT program, I would be set.

Well, it’s time to go now.  Someone is out there tapping his foot impatiently.  I guess all the stalls are being used.  — Time to get back to work.

Your friend down south,

Kevin James Anthony Breazile

______________________

Kevin J. Breazile

Programmer Analyst II

Dell Computer Corporation

(512) 728-1527