The First Christmas Present

The man walked to the bottom of the stairs and yelled up to his wife.

“Honey! I need a present!”

The man’s wife yelled back, “A present? You want me to give you a present?”

He said, “No, I need to give a present. I’m going to this thing and I need to bring a gift. For a baby. Or for his parents. It’s not clear. But I have to get rolling; Bob and Pete are out front waiting for me.”

His wife came to the top of the stairs. She said, “So you want me to suddenly come up with a great present. Any reason why you couldn’t have given me more notice than this? Like maybe you could have mentioned this when I went shopping yesterday? Or — I know! — you could have actually gotten this yourself, instead of relying on me! Wouldn’t that have been the wise thing to do?”

He said, “I know, I know. I’m sorry! But honestly, I didn’t know until just now. Bob and Pete just showed up and said we gotta go, and I need to take a gift.”

His wife stared at him for a few seconds. “Alright. I’ll see what I can do. Who’s the gift for?”

“Like I said — a baby.”

“Whose baby?”

The man said, “I don’t know.”

She said, “Wait, you don’t know? And you’re supposed to bring a gift? What is this, some kind of Secret Santa thing?”

He said, “No, it’s more complicated than that. It’s just — we’re supposed to go see this kid and bring him gifts.”

His wife stared silently again. “I… don’t get it. I mean, what’d he do that’s so special that you have to bring him something?”

“Apparently he’s the son of God or something.”

She said, “Rrrrrright. And where is this kid?”

He looked sheepishly at her. “I don’t really know. The guys said we just follow this star, and…”

She interrupted, “A star? You follow a star? Can you not — just once — ask directions? Or at least get an address and take a map? It’s like a desert out there! You could totally get lost. This makes no sense.”

He said, “I know, I know. Look, I don’t know any more than what I’ve told you. But I have to go, and I need something to give the kid.”

His wife walked downstairs. “Alright, alright, let me think.” She paused. “Wait, you remember that thing we got from your parents last year?”

He said, “Oh, you mean the… what was it?”

She said, “Myrrh. It was myrrh.”

He said, “Right, that. And… what was it exactly?”

She said, “I have no idea. Which is why it’s been sitting on the shelf in our garage since then. Still in its gift bag.”

He said, “But if they gave it to us, are we allowed to give it to someone else? Isn’t that like cheating?”

She said, “Who’s gonna know? The present police? Look, you want a present. And I have a present. It’s even still wrapped in that bag. It’s perfect.”

He said, “Except we don’t really know what it’s for.”

She said, “Well, that’s not our problem — it’s his. And what’s he going to do, complain? He’s a baby!”

He said, “Okay, okay, fine. I don’t really have a choice, anyway; I’ve got to go now. Where is it?”

She said, “I’ll get it.” She went out to the garage and came back with a colorful bag. “Look, doesn’t that look nice? It’s even got pictures of balloons on the gift bag. Babies like balloons. I put a new tag on it; they’ll never know.”

He said, “Yeah, that’ll do. Thanks, hon. Okay, I’ll see you soon. I think. Depends on where that star is headed.”


Oh Dog of Shitty Posture

Oh dog of shitty posture
Listing to the right.
A vision of a crumpled mess
In coat of dingy white.

Oh dog of shitty posture
Slumped upon your hip.
A broken, melted candle.
A slowly sinking ship.

Oh dog of shitty posture,
What happened to your pride?
Why don’t you sit up on your feet,
Instead of on your side?


National Donut Day

Some holidays get a
Big, loud parade
Or concert halls where
Music is played.

Some holidays get
Flags a-waving
At monuments with
Marble engraving.

But my favorite day
Gets none of this stuff.
The fact that it’s here
Is joyous enough.

Just to eat a good donut
At work or at play
Is the best way to honor
National Donut Day.

Happy National Donut Day, everyone!
May your joy grow with your waistline!


Exit Code

Lately, I've been writing longer-form humor pieces over on Medium. Like this one:

Exit Code


A Donut for Christmas

A donut for Christmas is all that I want
In fact it is all that I need.
I don't need more games or gadgets or toys
Or movies or big books to read.

I just want a donut, with sprinkles on top,
For that I will beg and then plead.
And if you do not bring me this one little thing,
Then Santa, get ready to bleed.


Video: Practical Best Practices

It's my favorite time of year - the Devoxx presentations from last year are now all free on parleys.com!

Of particular interest to serious students of computer science might be the software process talk I gave last year:
Practical Best Practices: Totally Better Best Practices for Practical Practicers

This is the same talk that I gave at the Big Android BBQ and Droidcon London (which were both posted last November). But each one is a unique snowflake, because my complete lack of rehearsal guarantees it. Also, there's a part at the end (my favorite part) where I take questions from the audience. I did that all of the times I gave that talk, but all of the questions were different (it would be odd if they weren't, since they were all given to different audiences in different countries. If I'd gotten the same questions, it would be odd and slightly disturbing and I might hire a bodyguard to protect me from geek stalkers).

Also, I like the Devoxx version because the recording and presentation quality of all of their talks is so high. When you're done with this one and you've learned everything you can from it (actually, that will be true without watching any of it), check out the other talks for the conference; it's a great developer conference that I highly encourage people to attend if they can.