Tag Archives: Dell

Power Plant Final Presentation

August 16, 2001 was my final day at the coal-fired Power Plant in North Central Oklahoma.  I had stepped onto the plant grounds May 4, 1979, 22 years earlier.  Now I was leaving to change careers and moving to Round Rock, Texas to work for Dell Computers.  During my final day, a going away party was held in my honor by the Power Plant Men and Women that I had the privilege to work alongside during the past 22 years.

A few minutes before the party began, I slipped into the office bathroom/locker room and changed into a navy blue suit and tie.  Combed my hair.  Put on black socks with my shiny black shoe.  Grabbed my briefcase and headed for the break room.  When I walked in the room, it was packed full of Power Plant Men and Women all waiting to say goodbye to one of their family.

Many wondered who it was that had joined their party of one of their own.  Who was this person in the suit and tie?  Ed Shiever told me later that he didn’t even recognize me.  It wasn’t until I reached out and shook his hand that he realized that his was Kevin Breazile.  The same person he had known since he was a temp employee working in the tool room.

When the Power Plant Men finally realized that I was the person they had been waiting for, they broke out in applause as I walked around shaking their hands.  I would have broke out in tears if I hadn’t been thinking about what a great person each of them had been over the many years we had known each other.

I made my way to the front of the room where I had set up a computer and hooked it to the big screen TV.  I had a special surprise waiting for them.  One that would temporarily change the plant policy on going away parties after I was gone.  I had prepared a special PowerPoint presentation for them.

I set my briefcase next to the computer on the end of the table acting as if the computer had nothing to do with the party.  Then I stood there as the “going away” part of the party began.

It was typical for people to stand up and tell a story or two about the person leaving, so Jim Arnold (the Supervisor of Maintenance and part time nemesis) was first.  He explained how I had been working on SAP for the past three years creating tasks lists that are used to describe each possible job in the plant.

He turned to me and asked me how many task lists I had created in the last 3 years.   I replied, “About 17,800”.  Jim said that this boggled his mind.  It was three times more than the entire rest of the company put together.

Jim made a comment about how he wasn’t sure he would want a job where you have to dress up in a suit and tie.

Andy Tubbs stood up and presented me with my 20 year safety sticker and a leather backpack for working 20 years without an accident, which was completed on August 11, just 5 days before.  I had worked four summers as a summer help, which counted as one year of service, then I had completed 19 years as a full time employee that very same week.

I worked 20 years without an accident

I worked 20 years without an accident

I like being roasted, but that didn’t really happen.  A few other people told some stories about me, that I can’t recall because I was busy thinking about the PowerPoint presentation.  I had memorized my entire script, and the presentation was pretty much automatic and timed, and I had to keep to my script or pause the presentation.

Then Jim Arnold asked me (Bill Green, the Plant Manager was gone that day visiting the Muskogee Plant) if I had anything I would like to say before I left…. That was the cue I had been waiting for.  I replied, “Actually, I have a PowerPoint presentation right here, and I hit a key, and the TV lit up….

I will present each of the 26 slides below with the comments I made during each one.  Since many of the slides are animated, I will try to describe how that worked as I made my presentation… so, hang on… this is going to be a lot of slides….  I broke it down into about 45 pictures.  The Script is what I said for each slide:

Slide 1

Slide 1

Script:

Remember when Mark Draper came here for a year and when he was getting ready to leave he gave a presentation about where he thought we were doing well, and how we could improve ourselves?

I thought that since I have spent 20 years with you guys I might be able to come up with a few comments.  Especially as opinionated as I am.

 

Slide 2 part 1

Slide 2 part 1

Script:

In 1979, I came to work here as a summer help.  The plant was still being built and I was really impressed with the special quality of people I met and looked up to.

Slide 2, Part 2

Slide 2, Part 2

Script continues as these three pictures slide in:

Like for instance there was Sonny Karcher and another was Jerry Mitchell.  It has been a while since I have seen these two guys, and I know that Jerry has passed on, but this is the way I remember them.

And of course Larry Riley was there.

Larry was the one I worked with back then that seemed to know what was going on.  I will always consider him a good friend.

When I was on Labor Crew I would call him “Dad”.  He would never own up to it.  He said I was never the same after I fell on my head when I was a kid.

I used to get real dirty when I worked in the coal yard right alongside Jerry Mitchell.  He would stay perfectly clean.  He told me that I knew I was good when I could keep myself clean.  —

Well.  I have found a better way to do that.  And once again I would like to thank OG&E for paying for my education.

I encourage all the new guys to seriously consider taking advantage of the free education benefit.

Slide 3

Slide 3

Script:

Then of course there was our Plant Manager and Assistant Manager back then.

This is how I remember them.

 

Slide 4 part 1

Slide 4 part 1

Script:

After hiring on permanently as a janitor in ’82, and getting on Labor crew in the spring of ’83.  I was able to get into the electric shop in November 1983.

I vividly remember my first day as an electrician.  The first thing I worked on, I shorted it to ground.

Slide 4 part 2

Slide 4 part 2

Script continues as Charles Foster’s picture slides in:

With no prior experience as an electrician I was allowed to join the electric shop.  Charles Foster was instrumental in getting me into the shop, and I am grateful.  As everyone knows, Charles is a long time friend of mine.

For years and years Charles would tell the story about how he fought tooth and nail for me against the evil Plant Manager and His diabolic Assistant who wanted me to be banished to the Labor Crew for eternity.

Not too long ago I told Charles that if he hadn’t pushed so hard to get me into the electric shop, I probably would have left OG&E and went back to school years ago ( like my mom wanted me to do), and made something of myself long before now.

Slide 5

Slide 5

Script:

These are the electricians that were there when I first joined the electric shop.  These are the only ones left.  I think we started out with 16.

The electricians were always a tight knit group.  It amazed me to see a electricians who couldn’t stand each other sit down and play dominos three times a day, every day, year after year.

Jimmie Moore joined the shop some time later.

And of course.  Bill Bennett was around back then.

When I arrived in the electric shop I was 23 years old and I replaced Diana Brien as the youngest electrician in the shop.  As I leave, I am almost 41 years old, and I am still the youngest electrician.  As I leave, I relinquish the title back to Diana Brien who once again will be the youngest electrician.

As a side note…. I don’t know why I forgot about Ben Davis.  He reminded me after the presentation… I don’t know how… Here is a picture of Ben:

Ben Davis

Ben Davis

Slide 6 part 1

Slide 6 part 1

Script:

I suppose you all remember what happened on February 15th, 1985.  The day we refer to as “Black Friday”.  The day that the “Drug and Theft” ring was busted at Sooner Station.  That was the day that a very dear friend of mine, Pat Braden, whom everyone knew as a kind easy going person turned out to be some evil leader of a theft ring.

Slide 6 part 2

Slide 6 part 2

Note:  As I was saying the above statement, This mummy walked across the slide…

Slide 6 part 3

Slide 6 part 3

Note:  Then Barney slide across in the other direction…

Script continued:

Well.  I know better than that. I will always remember Pat Braden with a smile on his face.  Mickey Postman, I know you would agree with me about Pat and just about everyone else who knew him well.

It has been 16 years since this took place and the company has gone through a lot of changes, but don’t ever think something like this couldn’t happen again.

Slide 3

Slide 3

Note… The hammers come in and stomp the images off the slide….

Slide 7 part 2

Slide 7 part 2

Script:

Then there was the first Reorganization.  The old people retired on October 1st.  That was the end of the Moler and Waugh regime.

Slide 7 part 3

Slide 7 part 3

Script:

At first we thought we were all on vacation. Our new plant manager came in the first meeting with us and told a joke.

We all looked at each other and wondered, “Can plant managers even do that?”

I’m sure you guys remember Ron Kilman.  Bless his heart.

Slide 8 part 1

Slide 8 part 1

Script:

The second part of the first reorganization allowed people without jobs to find a position in the company over a 8 month period.

Slide 8 part 2

Slide 8 part 2

Note:  Pictures of Scott Hubbard fly in along with the words:  “Hubbard Here!”  then each one disappears leaving this:

Slide 8 part 3

Slide 8 part 3

Script:

That is when Scott Hubbard joined the electric shop.

Scott and I drove to work together for a long time and we became good friends.

I’ll miss Scott when I leave.  I’ll remember that “Hubbard is Here”, while I’ll be down there – in Texas.

 

Slide 9 part 1

Slide 9 part 1

Script:

Do you remember the Quality Process?  They said it was a process and not a program because when a program is over it goes away, and a process is something that will always be here.  — Yeah right.

Note:  While I was saying this, the screen all of the sudden went dark as I kept talking… I could tell that people wondered if I realized that the presentation had suddenly disappeared….

Slide 9 part 2

Slide 9 part 2

Script:

This is all we have left of the Quality Process.

Note:

When I said the line “This is all we have left of the Quality Process”  pointing my thumb over my shoulder with a look of disappointment on my face, the room suddenly burst out into cheers and applause as they realized that the blank screen represented the current state of the Quality process at the plant.

Slide 10 part 1

Slide 10 part 1

Script:

The first reorganization was done in a somewhat orderly manner.

They retired the old guys out first and brought in the new management, then they informed those that didn’t have positions and gave them time to find a job before they let them go.

Note:  The sounds of gun shots were barely heard from the computer speaker, as splats occurred on the slide until it looked like this:

Slide 10 part 2

Slide 10 part 2

Script continued:

The second reorganization.  Well.  It was a massacre.

It was a very lousy way to do this, and very humiliating.

Note:

Jim Arnold at this point was about to jump out of his chair and stop the show, so I was quick to go to the next slide…

Slide 11

Slide 11

Script:

With the redesign came another Plant Manager.  One of the first things I remember about Bill Green was that one morning I was stopped at the front gate and given a 9 volt battery for my smoke detector.

I took the battery home and put it in my smoke detector, and – guess what? – The battery was dead.  And I thought, “Oh well.  These things happen.”

Well a couple of years later, there was Bill Green handing out smoke detector batteries again.

I checked it out and sure enough, it was dead also.

 

Slide 12

Slide 12

Note:  As I was talking during this slide, the marbles dropped in and bounced around then at the end the hat and moustache landed on Bill Green.

Script:

 

I am just wondering. I want to test out a theory I have.   How many of you was given a dead battery?

—  OK, I see.  Just the trouble makers.  I understand.  It all makes sense to me now.

Second Note:  Bill Green had a jar full of marbles and each color represented a type of injury someone has when they do something unsafe.  Most of the marbles were blue and meant that nothing happened, the other colors represented increasingly worse injuries.  Two marbles in the jar signified fatalities.

The numbers went like this:

Out of 575 incidents where someone does something unsafe, here are the consequences:

390 Blue Marbles:   Nothing happens

113 Green Marbles:  A First Aid injury

57 White Marbles:  A Recordable Accident

8 Pink Marbles:  Up to 30 days lost work day injury occurs

5 Red Marbles:  60 or  more lost workdays injury occurs

2 Yellow Marbles:  A Fatality occurs

Slide 13 part 1

Slide 13 part 1

Script:

The Maintenance workers are the best people I know.  Everyone one of them has treated me with respect, and I consider each of you a friend.

You are the people I will miss.  Not the coal dust, not the fly ash. —  Just the people.

Note:  Over the next set of slides, I showed the Power Plant Men I worked with… I will show you a couple of pictures of some slides to show you the animation that I had slide in and I’ll explain them.. I didn’t say much during the following slides.  They flashed by fairly quickly:

Slide 13 part 2

Slide 13 part 2

Note:  The circle with the slash over Bob Blubaugh represented him being recently fired… The story around this is on some of the last slides… and was a tragedy.  The military cap landed on Randy Daily (in the lower right) because he was an Army Medic and was always in charge when it came to safety.

Slide 14 part 1

Slide 14 part 1

slide 14 part 2

slide 14 part 2

The donut flew up to Danny Cain because if there was ever free food somewhere, Danny would find it… Especially if they were donuts.

 

Slide 15 part 1

Slide 15 part 1

Slide 15 part 2

Slide 15 part 2

The words “Huh, Huh?” flew to Jody Morse, because he had the habit of saying something and ending his sentence with “Huh, Huh?”

Slide 16

Slide 16

Slide 17

Slide 17

Note:  That was the end of the pictures of the Maintenance Power Plant Men….  I didn’t have pictures of the Operators, and they weren’t at the party…

Slide 18

Slide 18

Script:

Without these two, you wouldn’t get paid, and you wouldn’t get parts.

I agree with what Jerry Osborn said about Linda Shiever.  There isn’t anyone out here that can do the job Linda does every day.

Slide 19 part 1

Slide 19 part 1

Script:

The maintenance foremen have treated me with respect and I would like to thank all of you for that.

Note:  Then Jim Arnold flew in:

Slide 19 part 2

Slide 19 part 2

Script:

I realize that you have to do certain things some times because there is someone looking over your shoulders directing every move you make.

Note:  At this point, Jim leaned forward in his chair to get a better look… wondering if that was his face on this picture of God…

Slide 20

Slide 20

Script:

Yes, Jim Arnold does take care of us, and we know that he doesn’t want to retire and leave us to fend for ourselves.

Note:  There was a policy where you could retire once your age and years of service added up to 80 years.  Jim Arnold’s added up to 100, but wouldn’t retire.

Slide 21

Slide 21

Note:  Still talking about Jim Arnold:

Script:

Therefore he has devised a plan in case of an untimely death.

So don’t be smilin’ too big!!

Slide 22

Slide 22

Note: Still talking about Jim Arnold….

Script:

He will be able to direct the plant operations from his heavenly throne.

So don’t worry.  He is NOT going away.

Second Note:  At this point the PowerPoint presentation locked up on the computer… I had to shut down the presentation and restart it, and quickly go back to the next slide… I remembered the Alt-F4 closes the active application, so I was able to do this within about 15 seconds.

Slide 23 part 1

Slide 23 part 1

Script:

Do you remember when Bill Moler decided that you had to wear a hardhat to go fishin’ in the discharge?

He said it was because he wanted everyone to be safe.

As you can see, this made Johnny Keys rather upset.

Note:  As I was speaking, Hardhats dropped onto the people:

Slide 23 part 2

Slide 23 part 2

Script:

Some bird might fly overhead and  drop something on you.

Everyone knew the real reason.  He didn’t want anyone fishing out there so he was making it more difficult to do that.

He used “Safety” as an excuse.  Because of this, he lost credibility when it came to safety issues.

Slide 24

Slide 24

Note:  The Hard hats disappeared and Cell phones and pagers dropped down as I said the following:

Script:

When you start making policies that use safety as an excuse, but it isn’t the real reason, you lose your credibility.

Second Note:  At this point, Jim Arnold was jumping up from his seat… You see, Jim Arnold had fired Bob Blubaugh a few months earlier because Bob carried a cell phone with him when while he was working.  Jim told him he couldn’t use his cell phone during the day.  When Bob refused to stop carrying a cell phone Jim Arnold fired him for insubordination.

Today that seems crazy as everyone carries cell phones.  Jim’s excuse was that carrying a cell phone was not safe, though he couldn’t exactly explain why.

That’s why Jim jumped out of his chair… I thought it was over, and I had two more slides to go….  So, I quickly clicked to the next slide… and Jim sat back down…. whew….

Slide 25 part 1

Slide 25 part 1

Script:

I would like to say goodbye to Doug Black.  I have been blessed to have been able to spend time with you the past three years.

Note:

Then Doug slid off the slide leaving a picture of Toby:

Slide 25 part 2

Slide 25 part 2

Script:

I would like to say goodbye to Toby, you have been a good friend, and I’ll stay in touch.

Note:  Then Toby slid off and Ray Eberle’s picture was left:

Slide 25 part 3

Slide 25 part 3

Script:

Ray, I had to hide this picture from you, because you sat next to me as I created this presentation.  I just want to say that the last three years we have spent working on SAP have meant a lot to me and you will always be one of my best friends.  Thank you.

Slide 26

Slide 26

Script:

With that I will say “Good bye” to all of you.  Thank you!

Note:  This is a picture of Jim Arnold and Louise Kalicki stepping off of Air Force One.  I super-imposed their faces over Bill and Hillary Clinton.

This is the end of the presentation….  With that I was ready to leave the plant and begin the next stage of my life.  I will explain more in the post next week.

After I had left, I heard that when the next person had a going away party, Bill Green announced that PowerPoint Presentations are no longer allowed during going away parties!

The Heart of a Power Plant

I was considered the one that “got away”.  Power Plant Men don’t normally leave the Power Plant to go work somewhere else unless they are retiring, being laid off, or for some other compelling reason.  I freely walked away of my own accord August 16, 2001.  I left a job where I could have worked until the day I retired to step out into the unknown.  But… that was the way I had arrived on May 7, 1979, 22 years earlier.

Just as I had driven onto the plant grounds those many years ago, unsure what I was going to encounter, I was now leaving the coal-fired Power Plant in North Central Oklahoma to change my career and become an IT programmer for Dell Computers in Round Rock Texas.  When I arrived my first day at the plant, I had no idea what I was stepping into…  The day I left I was in the exact same boat.

The Intake is just to the right of this picture across the canal

The Intake is just to the right of this picture across the canal

So far, I have gone through my life accepting whatever happens as something that happens for a reason.  With that in mind, I have the belief that whatever the future holds, I just need to hang in there and everything will work out for the best, even though it may not seem like it at the time.  Let me tell you about this experience….

I had accepted the job offer from Dell early in January.  My start date had been set for June 4, 2001.  They were giving me $3,000 for moving expenses to move down to Round Rock when I finished college in May.  I was being hired as an undergraduate college hire.  I would be starting at a slightly smaller salary than my base salary as an electrician.

Dell-Logo

I was taking a considerable cut in salary when you consider the overtime that an Power Plant electrician racked up in a year.  I figured I was starting at the bottom of the ladder in my new job, where I was pretty well topped out at the plant with no opportunity to advance in sight.  Maybe in a few years my salary would catch up and surpass what I made as an electrician.

For about 10 weeks, we drove down to the Austin area and look for a house on the weekends.  It became apparent soon after our house hunting began that the cost of houses was somewhat higher than they were in Stillwater Oklahoma.  We finally had a contract on a house in Round Rock, just 10 minutes away from the main Dell campus.

While we were looking for a house in the Round Rock area, we kept hearing on the radio that Dell was laying off thousands of employees.  The Internet bubble had burst and the drop in sales of computers was taking a toll on the company.  Every time I called the recruiter, I would find that they had been laid off and I had been assigned a different recruiter.  This was disheartening to say the least.

Here I was in a perfectly secure job as an electrician at the Power Plant and I was leaving it to go work for a company that was in the middle of laying off employees.  My wife Kelly and I had been saying one Novena after the other that we make the correct decision about what we should do, and we had chosen Dell Computer.  It just seemed like the right place to go.  So, we decided to just go along with it.

We prayed the Infant Of Prague Novena every day that we made the right choice.

The Infant of Prague is a statue of Jesus as a Boy in a Church in Prague in the Czech Republic

The Infant of Prague is a wax statue of Jesus as a Boy in a Church in Prague, Czech Republic

I gave the plant a 3 month notice that I would be leaving in June.  We had timed the purchase of the house in Round Rock for Friday, June 1.  I would start work the following Monday.  Dell was going to send me my moving expenses on May 4th, one month before my job would begin.

On the morning of Thursday, May 3rd, our realtor in Stillwater called and said she had a contract to sell our home in Stillwater and was going to head out to our house for us to sign.  I had stayed home that morning for that reason.  We were expecting her to arrive at 9:00 am.

At 8:30 I received a call from Dell computers that went something like this….. “Kevin, I am calling to inform you that your offer for employment has changed.  Your first day will no longer be June 4, but will be August 20 (2-1/2 months later).  The good news is that you still have a job with Dell, it just doesn’t start until August.”

Since I was expecting the moving expenses the following day on May 4, I asked the recruiter about that.  He said that since my start date was moved to August, I wouldn’t receive the moving expenses until July.  I told him that I was in the middle of buying a house in Round Rock and that I was counting on that money.  He said he would see what he could do about that.

I hung up the phone and looked at Kelly who was standing there watching my face go from a normal tan to a red glow, then an ashen color all in the matter of 20 seconds.  I explained to her that Dell said I still had a job, but it wouldn’t start until August.

The Realtor was going to be arriving in about 20 minutes for us to sign to sell our house.  Everything was in motion.  It took Kelly and I about 5 minutes to discuss our options before we decided that since we had been praying to make the right choice, we were going to go with this new development.

I called Louise Kalicki, our HR supervisor at the plant and told her that Dell had moved my start date from June 4 to August 20, and I wondered if I could stay on the extra two and a half months.  I was surprised that she had an answer for me so quickly, but here is what she said, “We can keep you on until August 17, but after that date, we will no longer have a job for you.”  I thanked her, and hung up the phone.

Our realtor arrived with the contract for us to sign to sell our house with five acres.  When she walked in the kitchen, I told her what had just happened 1/2 hour earlier.  I could see the sick look on her face after she had worked so hard for so many months to find a buyer for our house.  Here I was telling her that Dell was postponing my hire date.

When I came to the part about where we decided to go ahead with our plans and sell the house and move to Round Rock, I could see all the tension that had been building up behind her ever increasing bulging eyes suddenly ease off.  We signed the papers and our house was set to be sold on June 29.  I had to swing a loan for the month where I bought the house in Round Rock and I sold my house in Stillwater (and hoped that the house was actually sold on time).

A few hours later I received a call from the Dell recruiter saying that he had pulled a few strings and I was going to receive my moving expenses the following day.  The following week after that, the recruiter that had helped me had been laid off as well.

When my final day had arrived on August 16 (I was working 4 -10s, and my last work day that week was Thursday), I was given a going away party (see the post “Power Plant Final Presentation“).  The party was over around 1:30 and I was free to leave.

I said my goodbye’s to my friends in the office area and went down to the electric shop to gather up the rest of my things and leave.  Scott Hubbard asked me if he could trade his Multimeter with me since I had a fancy True RMS Multimeter and he was still using an older version.  So, I traded him, and picked up my tool bucket and headed for the parking lot.

Scott Hubbard

Scott Hubbard

As I approached my car, I could see that Diana Brien was out there waiting for me to leave.  She gave me a Chocolate Chip Cookie the size of a pizza and said she wanted to say goodbye to me and tell me that she had enjoyed being my bucket buddy all those years.  I told her I was going to miss her and everyone else in the shop.

My Bucket Buddy Diana Brien

My Bucket Buddy Diana Brien

With that I climbed in my car and drove away.

When I was selling my house outside Stillwater, I thought that the thing I was going to miss the most was the wide open spaces where we lived.  Our house was on a hill in the country overlooking the city of Stillwater.  We had an Atrium in the living room where you could sit and look at the city lights at night and watch thunderstorms as they blasted transformers around the town.

I was moving into a neighborhood where the house next to ours was no more than 15 feet away.  I thought I’m really going to miss this house….  I thought that until the moment I drove out of the parking lot at the Power Plant.

Then it suddenly hit me….  What about my family?  What about all those people I have just left behind?  When am I ever going to see them?  The thought of missing my house never entered my mind from that moment on.  It was replaced by the great pain one feels when they pack up and walk away from their family not knowing if you will ever see them again.

My heart was still back there with the Power Plant Men and Women I left behind.

The seven hour drive from the plant to Round Rock Texas was a blur.  I knew that I had just closed one door and stepped into an entirely new world.  I didn’t even know if I would like being a programmer when it came down to it.  I had always just been a hacker and I knew I had a lot of holes in my knowledge.  I wasn’t sure if I was going to be any good at my job.

To make that long story short, I have never regretted my move to Round Rock Texas.  I have just gone with the flow knowing that whatever happens, it happens for a reason.  After 12 1/2 years working at Dell, I changed jobs again to work for General Motors in their IT department where I am currently working with the Onstar team.

My friends at Dell asked me the past few years… “Are you going to write about us like you do with the Power Plant Men?”  My reply to that question was “I don’t know… Maybe I will.  I haven’t thought about it.”

That was the same thing I told Sonny Karcher the first day I arrived at the Power Plant and he asked me what I wanted to do when I graduated college.  I told him. “I don’t know.  I was thinking about becoming a writer.”  His next question was, “Are you going to write about us?”  I replied, “Maybe I will.  I haven’t thought about it.”

Letters to the Power Plant #1 — Working 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 first letter I wrote.  Keep in mind that at the time, I didn’t intend on it being posted online when I originally penned this letter.

8/30/2001 – Working at Dell

Sooner Plant employees,

I thought I would drop you a line and let you know how things are going in Round Rock Texas.

First, and most importantly.  I have learned how to drive like a Texan.  I regularly and randomly swerve into other lanes.  I pass only when there is a yellow line.  I fly through yellow lights, (one note — I never noticed before, but at 98 miles an hour, when a yellow light turns red, it actually looks orange for a millisecond as it flies over your head).  I fall asleep while waiting at red lights, and only wake up just in time to watch the green turn to yellow.  To keep myself from getting bored, I play with the turn signals by turning them left and right and watching the little green arrows on the dashboard turn on and off.  I can tell everyone else on the road is getting into what I am doing, because they keep cheering me on by honking their horns.  It is really a friendly atmosphere on the road down here.  People wave a lot.  There is a lot of team spirit.  They keep indicating that “We’re number one” with their hand gestures!   — They have all made me feel real welcome.

Second.  In Austin, I finally figured out why there are so few trees.  It usually goes for a month or two without any rain, and then all at once it floods the whole countryside.  It is only then that you realize that everyone ELSE has built an Ark in their backyard.  — As you see them lifting up over the roofs of their houses.  On Monday we had 5 1/2 inches of rain in about an hour.  Today I think we’ve had another 4 inches.

Which reminds me.  They also have all the mailboxes down at the corner where you use a key to get your mail.  I thought it was for security, but it is really so they can secure the mailbox to keep them from floating down the river.  I wondered why the neighbors had strings tied to the mailbox post, but it all made sense to me when the jugs on the end of the strings were floating in the temporary river, and the neighbors went floating by in their arks checking their jug lines for fish.  These guys take advantage of every opportunity to get the best out of every occasion.

There are many other ways I have adapted to Texas life, but I will save that for another day.  Let me know how things are going up there.  I’ll write to you later.

Kevin Breazile

Programmer/Analyst

Letters to the Power Plant #2 – Everything is Fast in Texas

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

9/7/2001 – Everything is fast in Texas – Dell Update

Hello everyone at Sooner Plant,

I miss you guys, when I find time to stop for a moment to get a drink of water, (from my sponge that I use to wipe the sweat from my brow).  I am finally receiving my computers and stuff for my cubicle.  I have been using a borrowed laptop from my manager up to now.  I have two computers with two keyboards and monitors.  I use both of them at the same time.  — They are made by Dell by the way.  — Since Compaq went out of business –  🙂  .   With two computers I am able to program in two computer languages at the same time.  On one computer I may be programming using C++ while on the other computer I am using JAVA, or composing an ASP page for the intranet.  This is great!!!   The next thing they are working on for us programmers is to put on headsets that connect directly to our brains so we can write programs in our sleep.  I can’t wait!!!  All these years I have been dreaming about all sorts of programs, and now they will finally be captured and made into something useful.  — Things like:   Birthday Phantom 2.0 !!!!

Note to Reader:  To learn more about the Birthday Phantom, see this post:  Power Plant Birthday Phantom.

It is interesting to work in a place where security is such a big issue.  You wouldn’t believe how many companies would like to know what Dell is doing.  All sorts of security measures are taken to ensure that spies aren’t infiltrating our environment.  Not only do they check all of our e-mail (like this letter), but they also filter out everything that is flushed down the toilet or spoken in a restaurant.  There are actually spies from other companies that sit in restaurants and listen to Dell employees out to lunch.  How do we know?  Just say, “Do you know what my manager told me today?”  And you will see people in nearby tables stop talking and lean in your direction.

The reason is similar to Sooner Plant’s position of being the best plant in the country.  Dell is able to sell computers cheaper than any other computer company in the world,  and only they know why.  The secret to their whole success is  ******SECURITY VIOLATION******** THIS PORTION OF THE E-MAIL HAS BEEN DELETED BY DELLSECURE—-IT CONTAINED PROPRIETARY INFORMATION.  ******SECURITY VIOLATION********   Isn’t that neat?  Who would have thought that the solution would have been so simple.

Well, I have to go, two big bouncer types just showed up at my cubicle tapping their feet with their arms crossed across their chest, and for some reason they don’t look too happy.   —  Did  I say something wrong?????

Write to you later,

Kevin Breazile

Programmer/Analyst

Letters to the Power Plant #3 – Learning new things 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 third letter I wrote.  Keep in mind that at the time, I didn’t intend on it being posted online when I originally penned this letter.  So please ignore the bad grammar and the overuse of the word “Got”, “Get” or “Gotten”.

9/17/01 – Learning new things at Dell

Dear friends,

I have been learning a lot of new things at Dell.  I spend half of the day in “bootcamp”, ( a place where we learn a different computer language each day), and I spend the other half of the day working in my cubicle.  They are teaching me a lot and I am grateful.

I found out today that I have been teaching them a lot too, without realizing it.  When I first moved in my cubicle, I didn’t have a chair, so I did the most obvious thing.  I went out to my car and got my tool bucket.  I placed it in my cubicle and sat on it while I worked.  It wasn’t until today when I received a chair that I found out that people around here don’t sit on tool buckets while they work.  — They told me that I would have gotten a chair a couple of weeks ago, but that they were so intrigued by my use of a five gallon bucket that they thought they would hold off giving me a chair so they could study the benefits of working while sitting on a bucket.

Many of my cubicle mates have shown an interest in my style of writing code (that means, programming).  They haven’t seen anyone splice code fragments together using wire nuts and a pair of strippers before.  One guy down the way asked me what brand of dikes I liked best because he was going to go out and buy some after he saw me trimming some clip art with mine.  Of course I told him that there was only ONE brand of dikes — Kleins.

I have also taught my fellow computer nerds the benefits of butt splices when copying and pasting computer code.  With a good pair of crimpers and some electric tape, copying and pasting takes on a whole new dimension.

At first they thought I was just joking when I whipped out my electric tape and started wrapping up my code into a three-tier business model.  Their first response was, “What kind of Duct tape is that?” (actually, I think they said, “Duck Tape”).  I showed them how a properly wrapped piece of code wouldn’t short out the program causing it to crash.

They have shown me a few things too.  I had to go get a can of skoal and keep it on my shelf.  Whenever the monitor overheats, I whip it out, squish it around in my mouth for a few seconds and spit in the back of the monitor, and voila!!!  (voila is french for,  “There it is”).

They have also taught me that keeping a cowboy hat in your cubicle is a useful tool.  Whenever someone yells, “Hey You!”, the first thing you do is toss your hat up over the cubicle, just in case someone is shooting a rubber band across the room.  It is an old cowboy trick.

I call it a room, but where I work is really about the size of 4 basketball courts.  Cubicles as far as you can see.  Being tall is a great advantage (which I’m not).  It changes your perspective from being in a maze to being in a wide open prairie.  I think I saw Dilbert (or is it Dellbert?) working down on the far end the other day.

It is good to hear from you guys, I’ll talk to you soon,

Kevin Breazile

Programmer/Analyst

Letters to the Power Plant #5 – Programming 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 fifth letter I wrote.  Keep in mind that at the time, I didn’t intend on it being posted online when I originally penned this letter.

9/27/01 – Programming at Dell

Dear Sooner Plant,

I have been trying to get along with only 2 computers.  Annette asked me earlier if I use one hand on each keyboard, or do I use both hands on both keyboards, or do I use one keyboard for both computers, or ….something like that, I don’t remember which.  Anyway, here is what I have done:

When I’m just typing away totally absorbed in what I am doing, I can type about 105 words a minute according to Mavis Beacon.  So I tried using one hand on each keyboard, and found that I had to set up a new set of home row keys, (places to put my fingers on the keyboard).  I thought I could manage 50 words a minute on each computer, and that would still be pretty good.

Unfortunately, when I measured my speed I was only getting about 30 words a minute per computer, and I didn’t think that was very productive.  — I finally realized that I had to keep stopping and using the mouse to point and click at different things, and each time I did that, I had to re-position my fingers back in the middle of the keyboard, and I took my eyes off of what I was typing, and it was a total distraction. —

Anyway, what I finally figured out was that I could drop both mouses (mice) down through the little hole in the back of the desk and put them on the floor.  Then I could slip off my loafers and put one mouse under each foot.  After trying that for a while I realized that I needed to cut holes in my socks so that my big toe could stick out so I could click the mouse efficiently.

I had to swap my left foot mouse functions so that the right button functioned like the left button, because my big toe on by left foot kept clicking the right button, and that was wrong. — That was easy to fix.  then, I realized that my foot would keep sliding off my mouse, especially when I used by big toe to scratch the calf on my other leg.  I would have to completely stop typing and look down on the ground and position my foot back on the mouse.

So I figured out the obvious solution!!!  Take off my sock and cut a small hole in the sole, feed the mouse through the hole in the toe, then put my sock back on!!!!  Then my mouse would stay on my foot whenever I had an itch.  The only problem is when my manager comes by and asks me to step into his cubicle, I have to take my socks off and put my loafers on sockless.

Anyway.  It seems to be working fine except for that and I am almost up to 50 words a minute on each computer.  Now I can use one hand on each keyboard, and one mouse for each foot.  I suppose I look like a little kid throwing a tantrum while I’m working, since I’m shaking both my hands and feet and whipping my head back and forth to look at both monitors.  It must be catching on, because whenever coworkers come by my cubicle their heads automatically start moving back and forth just like mine as I stare at both monitors at the same time.

In the morning I have a meeting with the CIO (Chief Information Officer) of Dell.  His name is Randy Mott.  He used to be the CIO of Wal-Mart.  I’m not sure what the meeting is about, maybe he wants me to show him how I do the mouse-in-the-sock thing.  Just in case, I’ll bring a pair of scissors.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

Anyway, I’m about done for the day.  I’ll send you another update soon.

Please let me know how things are going up there.  I enjoy hearing from you guys just as well.

 

Kevin Breazile

Program/Analyst II

Letters to the Power Plant #6 – Meeting with the CIO

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

09/28/01 – Meeting with the CIO

Dear Sooner plant,

I went to a meeting with Randy Mott this morning, our Chief Information Officer (CIO), who, by the way, was named “CIO of the Year” in the world this year.  I think it was a productive meeting.  The first thing that I noticed was that his cubicle was TWICE as big as mine.  Yes.  He does NOT have an office.  He works in a cubicle just like everyone else.  Even Michael Dell, the CEO of the company has a cubicle.  Michael doesn’t even keep a chair in his cubicle, He works standing up at a drafting table. — And Dell is more than 20 times bigger than OG&E!!!!

Anyway, back to the meeting with Randy Mott.  He told me that he thought I would have to stop doing the mouse in the sock thing because it was shocking my coworkers.  I told him that I thought they would get used to it, and that they might even start doing it themselves.  He said,  “No, I don’t think you understand.  You are “shocking” your coworkers!!!”

Apparently, by rubbing my socks on the carpet when I move my mouse around, I am putting a static charge on the cubicles, and when my coworkers lean against their desks, they are getting shocked.  — It was at this point in the conversation that I learned that our CIO was named “CIO of the year” and that Randy was rather proud of this accomplishment (which he should be).

I thought about telling him that if the cubicles were properly grounded this wouldn’t happen, but I decided not to mention it.  So I suggested that maybe I could wear grounding bracelets around my ankles to bleed off the static charge.  He told me he knew I used to be an Electrician, but that I should find some other way to manipulate my mouse, or that I should learn to use the “hot keys” like most programmers do.  (You see, Randy Mott used to be a programmer at Wal-Mart where he worked his way up to CIO, so he knows about those sorts of things — this was something else I learned about Randy in our meeting).

Why of course!!!  Hot keys!!!  That is when you press the CTRL-C to copy, and CTRL-V to paste, and things like that.  There is a “Hot Key” for just about every operation.  The advantage of that is that you don’t have to take your fingers off of the home row keys, and it doesn’t slow you down.  —  So I returned to my cubicle feeling rather foolish and put my unused scissors back in my drawer, and pulled my socks off of both mice and slipped them back on my feet.

Then my Vice President came by and said, “Hey lets go out to lunch!”  So he took all the new guys that were under him (6 of us) out to lunch.  We went to a Mexican restaurant named, “On The Border”.  I was thinking the whole time, “Oh No, not another one of these torturous meals where we get so stuffed that we can’t move, then we have to do some sort of physical activity to make us barf it all back up again.”  — But that didn’t happen.

We spent so much time talking that we didn’t eat that much.  So even though we sat there for an hour and a half, and kept eating chips and salsa, we didn’t get too stuffed.  —  When I got back to work my whole team and a couple of other teams were all throwing a football around in an area in our building across from our cubicles that is the size of the entire maintenance shop at Sooner, except without any furniture.  I realized that if I had eaten too much for lunch this activity would have been devastating and I was wondering if that had been intentional.

They were handing out free root beer, so I drank some of that.  — I also found out that I had missed their breakfast this morning because I had that meeting with Randy Mott, but I had lunch and they didn’t, so it kind of made up for that.  It turns out that every Friday they have breakfast for us and they call it “The Breakfast Club” and everyone dresses any way they want and they call it “Casual Friday”.

Anyway.  That is how my day went.  The weekend is here, and I am done for the day, and my Manager just walked by my cubicle and said, “Hey I thought I told you that you could leave early.”  So, I suppose I should go home.

I would still like to hear how things are going up there, so keep me informed.  I sent this with the mailing list as a blind copy, that way you shouldn’t have to have a header with everyone’s name listed on it, let me know if that worked.  If anything it may have Ray’s name listed on it, since I don’t have him on the long mailing list, (mainly because I never heard back from him when I was making it – but I thought he would appreciate the reference I made to Walt Oswalt in the update from last week).  — Is Ray doing ok?

Kevin Breazile

Programmer/Analyst II

(512) 728-1527

Letters to the Power Plant #7 — The Straight Scoop

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

10/1/01 – The Straight Scoop at Dell

Dear PreOverhaul workers,

Linda asked me how much of what I had said in my letter about my meeting with the CIO was true.  I wrote this letter back to her.  Then when Annette told me that she had tried the mouse in the sock thing, but couldn’t quite get it to work, I thought I would send everyone a copy of the letter, so everyone could get the straight scoop.

My Letter:

Well, let’s see.  I did have a meeting with the CIO Randy Mott, and he does have a cubicle just like everyone else including Michael Dell and their cubicles are twice as big as mine.  Randy was named CIO of the Year this year.  He talked with a handful of us for about 2 hours, where we sat around a table and chit-chatted about all sorts of proprietary things that I can’t talk about.  He did start as a programmer at Wal-Mart.  —  A couple of weeks ago we had a BIG meeting with Randy, and when the first person asked a question, Randy gave him a Hundred dollar bill, right out of his wallet.

I did have lunch with my Vice President, along with 5 others, and we did go to a restaurant called, “On The Border”, and he paid, and we did sit and talk for an hour an a half.  I did eat a lot, even though I said I didn’t.

My team was playing football when I got back from lunch, and they did have free root beer.  And the room is as big as the entire maintenance shop, except that it has carpet.

We do have breakfast every Friday morning, and we may dress casually on Fridays, except that I don’t.  I enjoy being dressed up (for a change).

My Manager did walk by my cubicle and say that he thought he told me to go home early.  I told him that I was just writing a letter to some friends of mine.

I didn’t really do the mouse in the sock thing.  I already knew how to use Hot Keys, so Randy didn’t tell me that.  I only made that up to make the story more interesting.  Since all that other fun stuff must seem boring to Sooner employees who have an adventure every 15 minutes.  It is very fun working here, and very fast paced, and the Managers clear up to the President try to figure out how to make our jobs better all the time. (Quite a change huh?)

Your friend,

Kevin

Letters to the Power Plant #8 — Overhaul 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 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.

10/5/01 – Overhaul at Dell

Dear Sooner friends,

I think I need to get more sleep.  Sometimes I think that I’m not quite aware of my surroundings.  This morning while I was eating breakfast and staring at the calendar, I realized that it was the first Friday in October.  Now, we all know what that means.  So I grabbed some plastic trash bags and duct tape and left for work.  I guess I got there a little early.  It was around 7:00, and no one stirs around here until around 8:00.  So I just started working.  By the time my Manager came in the door, I had covered all the lights and receptacles in my cubicle with plastic and I had my one of my monitors on the floor in pieces with a makeshift hold tag tied to the electric cord.

He immediately became interested in what I was doing.  I could tell by the increase in the volume of his voice that he was excited.  Which is to be expected at a time like this.  He asked me why I was doing what I was doing and I reassured him that I was only going through one computer — of course.  I figured I would do the next one sometime in April or May, or I might even postpone it until NEXT October if I had to.  I explained to him that I didn’t have a true RMS multimeter, because I gave it a coworker (Scott) when I left OG&E, but I could calculate it on my other computer because I had written a program to do that.

He had a strange puzzled look on his face so I said, “It IS overhaul, isn’t it?”  He shook his head in both horizontal directions and when I lifted up on my feet and looked around at the cubicles, I noticed that no one else had covered their cubicles with plastic to keep washdown water off of their computer accessories and fixtures. — When I looked up at the ceiling where the ceiling tiles have been removed to make room for the surveillance cameras, I could easily see spotlessly clean cable trays full of pretty yellow network cables. My manager grabbed me by the shoulders and started to shake me. — It was about that time that Kelly woke me up to go to work and I realized that I had just been dreaming the whole thing.

I still wasn’t sure it had all been a dream while I was on the way to work because I began to notice that everywhere I looked it appeared as if bottom ash had been scattered all over the ground.  I was puzzled when I arrived at work and I asked our Administrative Assistant, (that is ‘clerk’ in Soonerese, we recognize their importance by calling them “Administrative Assistants”, anyway, I asked her…), what that stuff was all over the ground.  She asked me to explain to her what I was talking about, so I went outside and got a handful of the bottom ash looking stuff and brought it in the building.  She looked at it.  Then looked at me.  Then she said in what I thought was a rather arrogant tone, “It’s dirt.”

What!!  I thought dirt was Red!!!  What kind of pallid pasty dirt is this?  It looks like dirt that has had all of it’s useful minerals squeezed out of it until all that is left is…. well…. bottom ash!!  I wonder how they get anything to grow here.  I guess they just fertilize the heck out of everything. — “Oh,” I said, “Dirt”.  — “I knew that.”  — “I’ll just go back to my cubicle now, and program something”  “Have a good day”.  Then the Administrative Assistant, I’ll call her Ginger from now on, since that is her name, said, “Remember.  At one o’clock today, we are all singing Happy Birthday to our Vice President in the Houston Conference Room.”  I told her I would be there.  And I was.  And we had cake and Ice cream, and sang Happy Birthday, and he acted surprised, and I just got back from there a little while ago and I’m still wondering what to do with my pointy party hat.

Anyway.  It may be that I’m not getting enough sleep, or maybe it’s that I’m getting too much.  I’m not used to getting up so late in the morning.  I guess it’s just something that I’ll have to get used to.  Also, my drive to work is so short (7 minutes), I feel like driving around the parking lot a few times when I get to work, just to give myself time to prepare for the day.  But then, it’s easier to get ready for these days, than the ones I am used to.

Well, I know that overhaul is starting for you guys, and I am really sorry I can’t be there…. no really…….  oh ok…. So I’m not.  Anyway.  Everyone work safe.  Don’t let anyone rush you into anything unsafe.  Watch out for the Yellow Flag.  Keep away from the 4 imps, (improvising, impunity, impatience, and imp….  uh, imp…..  Oh, I can’t remember it.  I guess I’ll just say it’s “impossible”  — maybe one of you guys could jog my memory.)

Note to Reader:  To learn more about the four Imps, see this post:  Power Plant Imps and Accident Apes.

Anyway. (I have found that starting a new paragraph with the word “Anyway” has become a habit).  I’ll talk to you later.

Your Friend,

Kevin James Anthony Breazile

Programmer/Analyst II

Letters to the Power Plant #9 — Boot Camp 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 ninth letter I wrote.  Keep in mind that at the time when I originally penned this letter I didn’t intend on it being posted online.

10/16/01 – Bootcamp at Dell

Dear Friends at Sooner,

Today I officially end my training at Dell’s Bootcamp.  It has been 8 weeks since I started my job here and I can still remember my thoughts the first morning when we had to attend Bootcamp.  Silly me.  I thought, “Bootcamp?  No sweat!!  I’ve been wearing boots for the last 19 years.  Steel toes none-the-less.  This Bootcamp stuff should be a cinch.”

I still didn’t quite understand after the first day when the training coordinator said,  “Kevin, we expect, ‘Business Casual’ attire for bootcamp.”  I said, “No problem.”  I bent down, untied my bootlaces, pulled out on the tongue a little so my feet could breathe better, and pulled my shirt tail out of my pants.    The coordinator became very reverent, and bowing his head ( I think he was praying), he walked away.  I couldn’t figure it out.  I was the only one wearing boots!!!  “What kind of place is this?” I thought.

Anyway.  Bootcamp didn’t have anything to do with boots.  We all wear loafers or some kind of dressy shoes that you can easily slip off under your desk to cool your feet while you program away.  Sometimes you feel like you are in a locker room with the aroma of sweaty feet wafting through the air.

Bootcamp is all about Computer Programming.  I guess they call it Bootcamp because the first thing you do in the morning is go in the training rooms and boot up the computer.  Anyway.  In the last 8 weeks I have been learning new programming languages, and going over some I already knew.  Each Programming language is like speaking a whole different language.  You learn different words that mean doing the same sort of stuff.  Just as in French you may say, “Merci Beaucoup” (that’s pronounced “boo coo” in Oklahoman).  In English that means “Thank You a lot”.  Well programming languages are the same.  In Java I might say something like:

if ((tag.background == ‘#E5E5E5’) || (tag.background == ‘#e5e5e5’)) { tag.background = ‘#CCCCCC’; }

while in Visual Basic this would mean:

if  tag.background = “&E5E5E5” or tag.background = “&e5e5e5” then tag.background = “&CCCCCC” End If

So you see.  You are actually saying the same thing in two different languages.

Well, in bootcamp we have learned a whole lot of different languages in the last 8 weeks, as I have said earlier.  I have put them into different categories so that I can explain them to you further.

The first set of languages I learned, I called the “What!!!” languages.  These are called “C” and “C++” (pronounced “see plus plus”).  That was my first reaction when the instructor said, “Kevin, today you have C and C++.  I said, “What!!!  For 4 years I have made all A’s and I’ve been here only one week and I only have a C and a C++?  By the way (I wondered), is C++ the same thing as a B- (B minus)?”

Then I have what I call the “Shirt Size” languages.  That is XML, XSL, HTML, XHTML, and DHTML.  I figure that XML means, “Extra Medium Large”.  XSL means “Extra Super Large”.  HTML means “Heavy To Medium Large”, XHTML means “Extra Heavy To Medium Large”, and DHTML means, “Damn Heavy To Medium Large”.

Then there are the “Screenplay” languages.  They all have the word “Script in them:  VBScript, JavaScript, and JScript.

Then there are the “Coffee” languages:  Java, Java2 and JavaScript (Ok, so that is in two categories).

Then there are the languages that like to be seen.  They have the word “Visual” in them:  Visual Basic, Visual C++, and  Visual J and Visio.

Then we learned the Dyslexic version of SAP.   We call it:    ASP (which has nothing to do with a snake).

Then we learned the hyperactive languages:  Hypertext Markup Language, Active Server Pages, ActiveX Documents.

So you see, I have become two things in the last 8 weeks.  I have become “Multilingual” (which means I can speak many languages), and I have become very confused.

I started programming an ASP page on one computer and developing a Visual Basic program on my other computer.  The left side of my brain, which controls my right hand is telling it to type one thing, and the right side of my brain which controls my left hand is telling it to type another, and my ASP program is accidentally getting some Visual Basic stuff in it, and my Visual Basic program is getting ASP stuff in it, and I’m falling asleep and dreaming about only getting a C++, and in my dream, my C++ is getting HTML and I feel like I’m wearing a really big shirt and drinking coffee, and getting all hyper, and I keep thinking about the Reeses commercial where they kept getting peanut butter in the chocolate, and chocolate in the peanut butter, and that maybe if I merge it all together I will come up with a whole new language that will not only do all the jobs you want to do, but will taste great at the same time.

And all this leads to some confusion.  Especially when I present my programs to my Manager, and there is chocolate and peanut butter and coffee stains all over the keyboard and I pull out a really really big shirt from one of my drawers to wipe it all off.

Anyway.  Bootcamp was over today.  We had a party.  Ate Cake.  Received Diplomas.  Had a group Picture.  Gave High Fives.  My manager shook my hand (then wiped the chocolate off on my long shirt tail).  Now I am back in my cubicle getting ready to go home.

I hope everyone is doing well at Sooner.  Keep in touch.

Your Dell Buddy,

Kevin Breazile

Pro-Rambler/Analyst II