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The Raven 2.0

RavenThe other day, during the course of my web browsing, I stumbled upon "The Raven" by Edgar Allan Poe. I love that poem, if you've never read it, go ahead and do so, it's a classic. For some reason I was feeling a bit creative at the time (that happens to me sometimes), so I decided to write my own version. Now, I know "The Simpsons" did a version of it, but that was for mass consumption, mine was going to be strictly for programmer consumption :). Anyway, I few hours later (many more than I would have expected, it a freaking long poem), I ended up with the following. Hope you like it (it really helps to read the original before you read this).

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary,
Over many a steaming pile of spaghetti code galore,
While I nodded bored and napping, suddenly there came a tapping
As if some asshole sharply rapping, rapping at my office door
"'Tis my manager," I muttered, "tapping at my office door -
I'll ignore him, nothing more."

Ah distinctly I remember frantic unit test refactors
As my dual screens and laptop cast their light upon the floor
Eagerly I wished for coffee, vainly I had sought for hours
From the web some help or answer for Issue number 424
For that stupid, f*cking issue that Jira named 424,
I had solved it once before.

And that blinking red uncertain, of the build-light by the curtain
Galled me - filled me with annoyance I had never felt before;
With my flow interrupted, at the screen I harshly swore
"Tis my manager the asshole, whose very presence I abhor -
What's he doing at this hour, rapping on my office door; -
I will kill him, that's for sure"

My annoyance growing stronger; hesitating then no longer,
"WHAT!" I thought "just enter, will you, but stop knocking or I'll kill you
Fact is, I was trying to fix this stupid Issue 424
Then my flow was interrupted, when some asshole started rapping, loudly on my office door
How about you knock some more - cause I don't think they heard you on the 22nd floor"
Here I opened wide the door; - Darkness there, and nothing more.

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there scowling, sneering
Dreaming up four-letter words, no mortal dared to dream before
But, the silence was unbroken, so with a final vulgar token
I turned around a whispered loudly, "Back to Issue 424"
And the silent gloomy office echoed - "... Issue 424"
Merely this and nothing more.

Back to my computer turning, with my indignation burning,
Soon again I heard the rapping somewhat louder than before
"WTF, it's my computer, not some asshole at my door
Let me look then at this problem and this mystery explore -
I'll take some deep breaths for a moment and this mystery explore; -
F*ck!!! The build just failed once more!

I cracked my box without a stutter, but then my heart did do a flutter
As with a final fateful sputter a fan fell out on to the floor
And without even trying, it rolled across the whole office
And stopped itself against the wall in a corner by the door
Right below the pic of Dijkstra in the corner by the door
Stopped, and fell, and nothing more.

Then this broken fan beguiling my annoyance into smiling
I thought - "laying in the corner it enhances the decor"
"That was perhaps not unexpected, since I’ve oft before suspected"
That the hardware we're using is from the saintly days of yore,
Tell me how I'll now deal, with Jira Issue 424
Since the build without doubt was as broken as before

Much I marvelled at the errors on my laptop screen so plain,
Though they to my addled brain - little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Should be ever cursed with seeing errors at 12:44,
Using nothing but his laptop to fix Issue 424
And the build as yet remained just as broken as before

So there I was just sitting lonely, staring at my laptop only,
Flinging curses, as if my soul in those words I did outpour
"Stupid management", I uttered, "Buys crappy hardware", I muttered
Now any chance I had of sleep was in the corner by the door,
On the morrow I planned, to give those bastards the 'what for'
And the build then failed once more

Startled at the stillness broken by the build-noise loudly spoken
"Doubtless," said I, "this issue - seems a little too hardcore
This code is a complete disaster, I should revert it all to master"
The dudes to blame for this regression have a lot to answer for
"No! I can't waste the work of hours, I know I've solved it once before"
So, I'll revert it nevermore

But the errors from compiling, were still my tired brain beguiling
So I went and got a Coke and slammed it down before the door
Then upon my Aeron sinking I betook myself to thinking
Maybe there was a header that I forgot to link before
Or maybe I forgot an option when I built the code before
But I think that's unrelated to Jira Issue 424

Thus I sat engaged in guessing, it was really quite depressing
And it seemed I'd never find, the key to Issue 424,
This and more I sat divining, was it variable assigning?
No, I have been down that track, 9 hours before
"Just start working!!!" I implore, then I try to build once more
But the build-light remains, as red and blinking as before

Then, methought, the air grew hotter, did the aircon stop working?
Cause that's exactly what I needed, it's as if I'm in a war
"Sh*t," I cried, "what's next, an earthquake - that would make things much simpler
It's as if some deity hates me and is invoking Murphy's Law!
I give up; I'll quaff a Coke and watch my code explode once more",
Sure enough - it dumped the core.

"Laptop, laptop on the table, am I really, truly able
Will I ever comprehend how I solved it all before?
Full of Coke but still undaunted, in a deserted office haunted -
By smelly code full of horrors - tell me truly, I implore -
Will I ever find the key to Issue number 424? - tell me - tell me, I implore"
But the build just fails once more.

"Laptop, laptop on the table, am I really truly able,
By the space that bends above us - by the science we both adore -
Tell this soul with sorrow laden, if within the next few hours,
It shall find by intuition the key to Issue 424 -
Or maybe I just need more tests to cover Issue 424?"
But the build just fails once more.

"Screw this crap!" I shrieked upstarting, "That's my cue to be departing -
This can wait until tomorrow, for new hardware galore!"
I should have left it for tomorrow and saved myself a bunch of sorrow,
When the fan from my computer rolled across the office floor!
"I am leaving!" I announce, but then to spite me to the core,
The build decides to fail once more.

And the broken fan unwitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
Right below the pic of Dijkstra in the corner by the door;
And the bug still needs resolving, but my brain isn't working,
And the red and blinking build-light still casts shadows on the floor;
I'm still sure I'll fix the issue that Jira named 424
But only after I've calmed down, and only once I've slept some more!

That's it, I'd love to hear what you guys think, just general thoughts or if you have adaptions to make it better, any feedback is welcome. Don't forget to subscribe to my feed if you haven't already :).

Image by Atli Harðarson

  • http://toddwill.blogspot.com Todd

    /me applauds

    Awesome. Now someone with more spare time than me needs to put together a video for this, narrated dramatically.

    • http://www.skorks.com Alan Skorkin

      Hey Todd,

      Well, there is an idea :), unfortunately I know nothing about video, and a dramatic narrator I am not :).

      • http://toddwill.blogspot.com Todd

        Alas, neither am I. I’m more of an idea guy :-)

  • Edward

    A much older take, with fewer verses: http://w2.eff.org/Net_culture/Folklore/Humor/abort_retry_ignore.poem

    For young’uns, “Abort, Retry, Ignore?” was the prompt displayed by MS-DOS, when it could not read your disk. In the case of floppies it generally meant your data were gone forever and you might as-well give up trying to get it back. Later versions offered the equally useless options “Abort, Retry, Fail?” and even “Abort, Retry, Ignore, Fail?”.

    • http://www.skorks.com Alan Skorkin

      Hey Ed,

      Haha, I remember reading this one years ago, I had forgotten it existed, cheers for reminding me, it’s brilliant. Although you do need to be old enough to have used DOS to fully appreciate it :).

  • http://www.collegebookrenter.com/selltextbooks.cfm sell textbooks online

    Nice! I have never seen in any area a remake of the Raven. Edgar Allen Poe is one of my favorite authors. He actually has a museum of one of his houses in Richmond, Va. Its really neat but besides the point.

  • http://curiousdale.com Dale Botha

    Love this! Super quirky revisit to super creepy poem