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.



Father's Day: It's All About the Donuts

Warm and dripping,
Super glazy
Perfect food for
Super lazy
People, I go
Super crazy
When the donuts come.

Dozens by the
Cardboard box,
With only paper
Flaps as locks,
I’ll fill myself down
To my socks;
I think, in fact, I’ll have some.

Does anyone know what this Sunday is? No? Nobody?
Sunday is Father's Day.

That's right, it's the one day every year that we set aside for making every child feel guilty for what their father's have done for them while simultaneously making every father feel guilty that they haven't done enough for their children.
It's like Mother's Day except that, face it, Dad's just kinda suck more at the job.

So why not make everyone feel better. Give the man a donut.
Oh wait - he's eaten too many of those already? Well how about a book instead?


Coffee: Grounds for Change

Is it really that hard to make a cup of coffee?
(An article I posted on Medium)




Food for Thought

This important project was sponsored, in part, by the organizers of the Devoxx developer conferences. It represents years of research and days of indigestion.


Training Day

This important documentary gives a glimpse into the difficult training regimen of competitive presenting.


Husband and Father is Leaving Senior Family Position to Spend More Time at the Office

Keith Sturbender is leaving his job as caretaker of his family to spend more time as an accountant at a small local company.

“Mr. Sturbender has office situations that need his attention,” a co-worker said. “There are many important meetings that he could be attending, and bureaucratic office politics that would benefit from his pedantic point of view. He is putting the needs of the corporation and of his colleagues first.”

“My family has been very supportive of this change,” said Mr. Sturbender in a prepared statement. “If it weren’t for the love and strength that they have offered to me in this stressful time, I don’t think I could have found it in me to leave them behind.”

Mr. Sturbender started his tenure with his family two and a half years ago, when his wife gave birth to their first child. “My place,” he said at that time, “is at home with the children. They need a nurturing environment in which to grow and learn.” The family has since had twins; all three children are still in diapers.

In his prepared statement, Mr. Sturbender said, “I just can’t take it any more. The incessant need for attention and the godawful crying All the Damn Time. And the idiotic sing-alongs? Don’t get me started! I look forward to getting back to what I do best: sitting at my desk organizing calendar appointments and revising meeting minutes.”

“When Mr. Sturbender told us that he wanted to move on, we respected his decision. Family life isn’t for everyone, and the family understands how important his agenda meetings and internal Fiscal Statement memos are to him. Sometimes, you just have to understand life’s priorities and put the company first.”

The family is currently searching for a new husband for the position recently vacated, according the family’s divorce lawyer.


Round & Holy: The FAQ

As a prospective buyer of Round and Holy: An Homage to Donuts, I am sure that you have important questions about the book that you'd like answers to before spending the entire $4.95 that it would take to own a copy.

I can't answer those questions, but here are some other, completely different questions, along with adequate answers. Maybe they'll help.

Q: Why did you write a poetry book? What about another programming book? Or humor book?

A: Please constrain yourself to one question at a time. This format completely breaks down if everyone's shouting multi-part questions at me at the same time. This is an FAQ, not a presidential press conference. Nevertheless, I will, just this once, answer this question with a multi-part answer:

A1: Why poetry? Because I want to do the best I can at every endeavor. When it's was clear that I was being successful at writing humor books that don't sell many copies, I realized that I had to go further, and be better than I had before. If I'm going to publish books that don't sell well, I should publish a thin volume of poetry, because that kind of book doesn't sell better than every other kind of book. I fully expect to not sell many copies of this book and, in so doing, it will be my most successful humor book yet.

A2: Because programming books take a lot of effort. Seriously. You lose like six months of weekends and evenings, and editing the book is slightly less pleasurable than gouging out your eyes with a salty oyster fork. Poetry, on the other hand, is fun to write.

A3: This is a humor book. It's just a lot shorter. And it rhymes.

Q: Why donuts?

A: Er, uh, um, ... because donuts. Obviously.

Q: What's your favorite kind of donut?

A: The one that's in front of me.

Q: Why is the book so short?

A: Great question, thanks for asking! There are a couple of answers to this one:

a) Because it's a poetry book. Have you heard the term "slim volume of poetry"? Of course you have, especially if you read my answers above. But have you ever heard the term "monstrously long volume of poetry"? Of course not. Nobody wants a huge volume of poetry; it will just sit there on your end-table, weighing it down and making you feel guilty for never picking it up and actually reading it. What we really want from a poetry book is something like that we can pick up, enjoy, and put down again easily. And it can double as a drink coaster. This is another book in this classic tradition; it has just the right amount of poems in it for a poetry book.

b) Because donuts. Whenever you have donuts, you think you're going to want a lot of them. You plow through the first one without even noticing it. Then you take on a second and really enjoy it. Then somewhere in the middle of the third donut, you realize you've probably had enough. You might, in some critical situations (like, for example, you wanted to) go for four donuts. But you'll feel and probably regret that decision for the rest of the day.
This book, about donuts, realizes that fundamental truth about its subject and offers just enough poems to satisfy, but not so many that you'll feel stuffed, obese, and nauseous.

Q: Why is there no electronic version of this book?

A: Can you consume donuts on your Kindle? Obviously not. Likewise, you'll need the physical form of this book to really enjoy it.
Honestly, I could have published the electronic version of the book, just like I did for my When I am King... books, but I don't think that electronic books do justice to illustrated books. And the illustrations are such an important part of this book that I didn't want to lose that dynamic in turning to digital. Sometimes, old-fashioned is best.

Q: The art in this book looks different than the drawings on your two When I am King... books. Did you take classes? Or practice?

A: Again with the multiple questions. But I'll overlook this and rephrase your questions as a simple "What gives?"
When I realized that I would need to provide illustrations for every poem in the book, sometimes more than one per poem, I soon saw that: (a) it would take me a long time to draw illustrations I was happy with and (b) I was incapable of drawing anything but my own self portrait. So I sought the aid of an old friend of mine, Jim Bias, who was able to work through the material with me, figure out a style that we both liked, and quickly deliver all kinds of options for the book.
I hope this marks an important change in the direction of my books; whenever there's an illustration that's not my self-portrait, maybe it will be done by Jim.

Q: Could you give us just one poem here?

A: Can't rhyme. No time.


Round and Holy: An Homage to Donuts (The Book)

Q: What's better than a donut in the morning?
A: A donut book in the morning. And a donut.

Once in a generation, a book comes along that will change your life.
This is not that book.

These richly illustrated poems celebrate humanity's greatest achievement: the donut.

Round & Holy: An Homage to Donuts: Now available from Amazon:


The Fine Print

I've never read the label of my scotches before; drinking whiskey and reading fine print aren't really activities that go well together. But I I finally managed to decipher this one.