RailsConf 2006: why the lucky stiff and the Thirsty Cups

(This article also appears on Tucows Farm.)

The Ruby community are a bunch of lucky stiffs because why the lucky stiff is among their number. We’re lucky enough that why has given us his book-in-progress, why’s (poignant) guide to Ruby, the most whimsical programming book ever. Somehow, it manages to be both entertaining and still useful as a tutorial. We’re doubly lucky that why is also a gifted entertainer, who came to RailsConf not to deliver a keynote, but to give us a multimedia show.

Accompanied by his band, the Thirsty Cups, why treated us to a show that alternated between Ruby-themed musical numbers whose lyrics included unit tests and David Heinemeier Hansson dying at the hands of Robert Scoble, strange but amusing stories about koalas and “obidience lacquer” and sentient puddings coding viruses, and Flash animations, one of which was an amusing comparison of Java’s and Ruby’s exception handling (Java is wussy, in that it will try to catch you, while Ruby is more movie hero-like: it will begin a rescue mission).

Here’s a quick sample: a QuickTime movie of a number whose chorus is “Am I a Programmer Yet?” [11 MB]

A scene from why’s crazy multimedia show. Click the image to see the video (11MB, QuickTime)

“You know, you’d never see this kind ofthing at JavaOne,” I said to someone beside me during one of why’s songs, which are a sort of Ween-meets-Danielson-sounding.

I got to chat with why for a little bit after his performance. The moment was captured by Sebastian Delmont, probably around the time when why saw the accordion slung around my right arm and asked “Wait a minute…aren’t you the Accordion Guy?”

I meet why. Photo by Sebastian Delmont. Click the image to see it on its Flickr page.

If you ever get the chance to see one of why’s performances, do it! And why, if you’re reading this: if you ever need an accordion player to sit in, you know whom to call.

One reply on “RailsConf 2006: why the lucky stiff and the Thirsty Cups”

I have to respectfully disagree… one year at the After Dark party at JavaOne they had a big room set up and there were a lot of attendees jamming until late into the night. Of course, I haven’t been to JavaOne since 2002, so maybe it’s changed, but still, there have been plenty of fun, community events at JavaOne over the years in addition to all the generic corporate stuff.

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