Tag Archives: Power Plant

Letters to the Power Plant #90 — Overtime 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 ninetieth 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.

12/24/03 – Overtime at Dell

Dear friends at Sooner Plant,

Merry Christmas everyone!!!!!  —  I know it has been a few weeks since I have written, but that doesn’t mean that I haven’t been thinking (and talking) about you guys every day.

I have been so busy working on the project that I’ve been working on that I haven’t had time to stop and tell you guys how things have been.  This is the project that I went to all those schools a few months ago to learn.  Dell gave us the date January 15th to have this project completed.

The Kronos company told us that we likely wouldn’t be done until some time next April. —  Well.  Right now, we are on track to have the project in production on January 12th. —  What I’m doing is a lot like what we did to put SAP in place at OG&E.

You have to reconfigure everything and determine all the rules and all to do business.  This is just the “Timekeeping” part of it, so it’s not anywhere as near as massive as SAP was, except that I’m the only developer working on it, along with one consultant from Kronos.

So if the project fails, there is only one person to blame, and if the project succeeds, well, then, it must have been because of all that superb training I received long ago while working for the most ingenious Equipment Support Supervisor at Sooner Plant. (And we all know who that is).

Today is a rather quiet day in the office.  For one reason, all of I/T has the whole week off for Christmas.  So I’m the only one here.  —  Actually, I’m sitting in a team room in Payroll doing my work.  —  But today there isn’t even anyone here either.  Just the Kronos Consultant and me.

We will work until noon today, and then take off for the rest of the week.  —  I have to go get the consultant at the front desk here in a few minutes, so this is the only time I had to stop and write to you guys.  I wanted to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas, and to let you know that I have been thinking about all of you.  Especially when the north wind is blowing outside, and the temperature drops down into the 30s.

We almost reached freezing the other day.  —  I feel like I’m on my own little mini-overhaul working on this project, and I have to get done on a certain date, and there isn’t any way around it so I just have to work as much as it takes to get it done.

Well.  I better run to the front desk to get the consultant (who’s name is also Kevin, along with the other 269 Kevins that work for Dell).  —  I hope all of you have a Very Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!!!!

Your friend,

Kevin James Anthony Breazile

______________________

Kevin J. Breazile

Programmer/Analyst III

Dell Inc.

(512) 728-1527

Letters to the Power Plant #89 — Freeeezing at Dell

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

11/24/03 – Freeeezing at Dell

Dear Soonerites, and friends,

It has happened again!  Once again, as I drove to work this morning, I experienced the puzzled looks on the faces of my fellow Austinians, as they try to figure out why their muscles were twitching and their teeth were chattering.

Yes.  The temperature has dropped to “almost” freezing down here, and since most people down here don’t own a real coat, they are running around outside with their thin sweater that they bought more for looks than for functionality.

Of course, I, being from the frozen tundra of Sooner Plant, where the wind comes whistling down the plain at 60 miles per hour, which brings the brisk 20 degree temperatures down to a -15 degree wind chill, know better. —  Except that I no longer own a “real” coat myself.

I just have a jacket or two that survived the move down here a couple of years ago. —  But at least I know how to shiver with dignity.  You know.  Stomp my feet.  Rub my hands together and blow in them like I’m trying to make a dove call.

Say.  That reminds me of the owl, and or dove calls that I used to hear over the gray phone years ago. —  You guys know what I’m talking about.  They always seemed to happen when a certain individual was taking a ride in the elevator. —  They sounded real good too.

I don’t suppose you guys use the gray phone anymore.  —  They have installed a PA system here for emergencies, and guess who makes it —- Gai-tronics (Yes.  The same that made the wonderful gray phone system at the plant).  —  When I first saw those here, I pointed at it and said, “I know what one of them are.”

Well.  I know it has been a few weeks since I have written.  That is because I have been so busy working on that project that they sent me to all those schools for.  Last week I was working with a consultant named Kevin.

We were both sitting in the same cubicle doing our work, and it was getting confusing when someone would walk in the cubicle and say, “Hey Kevin!”, and we would both look up from our respective computers and say, “Yes?”  So, we agreed that the other Kevin was going to be called “Kevin”, while I was going to be called “Kev”.

That way, when someone would come in the cubicle and say, “Hey Kev….”, we would both pause for a second to see if they added an “…in” on the end.  Then if they didn’t, I would answer “Yes?”, and if they did, the consultant would answer “Yes?”, and so the whole thing worked out pretty good.

The best part about it was that we didn’t have to go through a whole lot of red tape to institute that “Business Process Improvement”.  It just happened, and it worked out great. —  As you can imagine.

Anyway.  I have some time this morning, because I was supposed to be on vacation all this week, only they were offering some classes this morning that I wanted to take, so I decided to come in this morning instead of sleep in.  —  after all, I didn’t want to miss all this cold weather.  This might be the last cold wave until January.

So I am now waiting until 9:00 to go to my first class.  I have four classes that I am going to take this morning.  They are:  Project Planning, Project Estimation techniques, and ….  And……  Oh, I forgot….  Hold on a second while I check……  Oh.  There are two more….  Risk Management, and Project Tracking and Oversight.  —  Oh Oh.  There’s that “Risk Management” one.

I wonder if it’s going to be like the Risk Management that they used at Sooner Plant when Jim Arnold was still around.  You know.  The one where you cross your fingers and make a Wish:  “Please let this last until the next overhaul”.  — (the Risk Management technique that I always referred to as “Wish Management”).

Oh.  Wait a minute.  I just had a frightening thought.  Wouldn’t it be bizarre if that old coot was still around making decisions like that?  Whoa.  —  Come to think of it.  I think he still is.  I hope he hasn’t burned down any more Turbine room floors lately.

I realized after I sent my last letter that I didn’t end it with my usual salutation.  That was because just as I was finishing the letter, a guy came in my cubicle to work on something, and we sat there and worked on it for a while, when I looked over at my monitor and realized I hadn’t hit the “Send” button yet.  So I just clicked the “Send”, and off it went, just when I realized I hadn’t said:

I hope all of you are being safe, and having a Happy Thanksgiving.  By the way (I only thought I was ending the letter), I am going to be in Stillwater on Tuesday night, so if anyone would like to get together for a late supper out somewhere, give my dad or mom a call at 377-9478, and we may be able to go out somewhere.

I’ll also be in town on Saturday night if any of you would like to try to get together then.  We are all going to spend Thanksgiving in Kansas City with my mom’s relatives, (and Jesse Cheng of the “Jesse, Come get your Chilli!!!” fame).

So.  Be safe, Work Safe, cause Bill Gibson Loves You Man!!!!  🙂  Hey Bill.  I just had to throw your name in there, because whenever I look up and see that sticker in my cubicle, I think about you saying that.

Note to Reader:  To learn more about hardhat stickers see the post “What does a Hard Hat Sticker Tell You About a Power Plant Man.

Anyway.  Toodles……   (I just had to throw that in there to, because that is how Kent Norris says goodbye).

Note to Reader:  To learn more about Kent Norris and Toodles, see the post Corporate Executive Kent Norris Meets Power Plant Men.

Oh.  As long as I’m on a roll.   “Hubbard Here”, “Donuts?” (said using Danny Cain’s voice), and “Whoo Whoo”, (That’s supposed to be an owl call that we used to hear over the gray phones when “you know who, who was in the elevator  — by the way, was that a dove call or an owl call?  Andy?  Do you know?).

Have a Happy Thanksgiving everyone,

Your Friendly Dell Programmer,

Kevin James Anthony Breazile

______________________

Kevin J. Breazile

Programmer/Analyst III

Dell Inc.

(512) 728-1527

Letters to the Power Plant #88 — Matrix at Dell

After I left the power plant and went to work for Dell on August 20, 2001, I wrote letters back to my friends at the plant letting them know how things were going.  This is the eighty eighth letter I wrote.  Keep in mind that at the time when I originally penned this letter I didn’t intend on it being posted online.

11/6/03 – Matrix at Dell

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’ll let you know how that goes.

______________________

Kevin J. Breazile

Programmer/Analyst III

Dell Inc.

(512) 728-1527

Letters to the Power Plant #87 — Presentations at Dell

After I left the power plant and went to work for Dell on August 20, 2001, I wrote letters back to my friends at the plant letting them know how things were going.  This is the eighty seventh letter I wrote.  Keep in mind that at the time when I originally penned this letter I didn’t intend on it being posted online.

10/24/03 – Presentations at Dell

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Your friend from Dell,

Kevin James Anthony Breazile

______________________

Kevin J. Breazile

Programmer/Analyst III

Dell Inc.

(512) 728-1527

Letters to the Power Plant #86 — Dellightful Policies at Dell

After I left the power plant and went to work for Dell on August 20, 2001, I wrote letters back to my friends at the plant letting them know how things were going.  This is the eighty sixth letter I wrote.  Keep in mind that at the time when I originally penned this letter I didn’t intend on it being posted online.

10/10/03 – Dellightful Policies at Dell

Dear friends at Sooner,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Your Friend from Dell,

Kevin James Breazile

______________________

Kevin J. Breazile

Programmer/Analyst III

Dell Inc.

(512) 728-1527

Letters to the Power Plant #85 — General Dell

After I left the power plant and went to work for Dell on August 20, 2001, I wrote letters back to my friends at the plant letting them know how things were going.  This is the eighty fifth letter I wrote.  Keep in mind that at the time when I originally penned this letter I didn’t intend on it being posted online.

9/17/03 – General Dell

Dear Sooner Plantians,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Your friend from Dell,

Kevin James Anthony Breazile

______________________

Kevin J. Breazile

Programmer/Analyst III

Dell Inc.

(512) 728-1527

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

After I left the power plant and went to work for Dell on August 20, 2001, I wrote letters back to my friends at the plant letting them know how things were going.  This is the eighty fourth letter I wrote.  Keep in mind that at the time when I originally penned this letter I didn’t intend on it being posted online.

9/12/03 – Dilbert In a Dell Shirt

Dear friends from Sooner Plant and beyond,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’ll write later,

Your friendly Dell Programmer,

Kevin James Anthony Breazile

______________________

Kevin J. Breazile

Programmer/Analyst III

Dell Inc.

(512) 728-1527

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

After I left the power plant and went to work for Dell on August 20, 2001, I wrote letters back to my friends at the plant letting them know how things were going.  This is the eighty third letter I wrote.  Keep in mind that at the time when I originally penned this letter I didn’t intend on it being posted online.

9/2/03 – Dell Programmer in Training

Dear Sooner Plantonians,

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

ASP.Net programming

MBA Course:  Economics of Management

Answer First Presentations

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

Training Seminar on Microsoft Project 2002 and Visio 2002

Business Acumen

Financial Acumen

Programming in C#

Mentoring Awareness for I/T

Finance for Professionals

Winning with Integrity

MBA Course:  Ethical and Legal Environment of Business

Business Process Improvement Yellow Belt Training

Requirements Management with Use Cases

Work/Life Effectiveness

Advanced D3 Training (Data Warehouse Reporting Tool)

Managing Your Performance For Individual Contributors

Oracle Database High Availability

Project Office Express Training

Software Configuration Management Process Overview

DevPartner Studio training

MBA Course:  Financial Decision-making

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

Daily Operations

Pay Period

Scheduling

Setup and Administration

Then the course that I am taking this week:

Kronos Connect Basic Interface Programming

Those are all the courses I have taken since February.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Your friendly Dell Programmer in Training,

Kevin James Anthony Breazile

______________________

Kevin J. Breazile

Programmer/Analyst III

Dell Inc.

(512) 728-1527

Letters to the Power Plant #82 — More Training at Dell

After I left the power plant and went to work for Dell on August 20, 2001, I wrote letters back to my friends at the plant letting them know how things were going.  This is the eighty second letter I wrote.  Keep in mind that at the time when I originally penned this letter I didn’t intend on it being posted online.

8/22/03 —  More Training at Dell

Dear Sooner Plant Friends,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Talk to you later,

Your friend from Dell,

Kevin James Anthony Breazile

______________________

Kevin J. Breazile

Programmer/Analyst III

Dell Inc.

(512) 728-1527

Letters to the Power Plant #81 — Things are Happenin’ at Dell

After I left the power plant and went to work for Dell on August 20, 2001, I wrote letters back to my friends at the plant letting them know how things were going.  This is the eighty first letter I wrote.  Keep in mind that at the time when I originally penned this letter I didn’t intend on it being posted online.

8/7/03 – Things are Happenin’ at Dell

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Your Friendly Dell Programmer,

Kevin James Anthony Breazile

______________________

Kevin J. Breazile

Programmer/Analyst III

Dell Inc.

(512) 728-1527