T’was the Astronomer’s Sys Admin’s Night Before Christmas

Posted By Pamela on Dec 24, 2007 | 5 comments

‘Twas the night before Christmas, and clouds filled the sky
Not an object was twinkling, not even Iota Tri;

The telescope was parked in its dome with great care,
In hopes of spying a star on which it could stare;

My students were nested all snug in their beds
While visions of data danced in their heads

And I in my office, my Mac at my side,
Was Googling for gifts – no bargain could hide.

When on the network, there arose a great clatter,
I popped up an xterm to ping what’s the matter

“CONNECTION FAILED” was all it said back to me.

The lamp on the screen of the Mac Book Pro
Illuminated too many processes refusing to go.

When, on what should my wandering eyes obsess,
But a remote client, and eight shared processes!

With a little old driver, and each program taking its time,
I knew in a moment it again must be Dr. Belstein.

More rapid than Windows, his executions they came,
As he typed, and compiled, and called languages by name;

“Now, Java! Now, Python! Now, GNU C++!
On, Cobalt! On Pascal! On, Visual C++!”

Make software to formulate where Santa shall go!
Now make away! make away! make away -o!”

As old ‘puters not updated cease to fly,
My processor whirred and proceeded to die,

Up to the network panel, my fingers they flew,
As I typed IPCONFIG /Release and /Renew

And then, in a second, I heard from the hall
Some cursing and a keyboard tossed like a ball.

As I leaned my head out, and looked all around,
I heard from his office the most amazing of sounds.

He was dressed all in tweed, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were chalky and somehow dusted in soot!

A bundle of disks he had clutched in his teeth,
And he was a bit manic, as the sys admin he beseeched.

His eyes — how they twinkled! The promises he made!
For Beowulf access, bonuses would be paid!

His droll little mouth was drawn down like a bow,
And his chin quivered as if he stood in the snow;

The loop of a flash drive he held tight in his hand,
While his desktop sent death encircling the LAN;

He had a broad face and a little pot belly,
That shook, as he begged (like a bowlful of jelly).

He was tenured and sage, a right powerful prof,
No non-tenured faculty dared tick him off;

In the sys-admin, however, there was no dread,
The passwords were contained just one place: His Head!;

He spoke not a word, ignoring the old bloak,
To the Beowulf he gave not even a poke

He just proceeded to open the main system node,
And with a click, updates he began to upload

Belstein stomped to his desk, letting out a great sigh,
Another year lost, (I thought he might cry).

But I heard him state, as if he couldn’t care less,
“Next Christmas I’ll find Santa using GPS.”

Merry Christmas!


  1. That is just way too brainy for me.

  2. Excellent. One of the better variations I’ve heard. (but then I spent time as an engineers sysadmin)

    – Colin

  3. This is new. For once, I thought something went wrong with my feed reader and created a duplicate, but it’s not! Another very intriguing literature.

  4. Very COol poem

    I didn’t know you were soo tech savey very nice, made me laugh at a couple.

  5. Pamela, that is great! I collect some of the more interesting and literate versions of the ‘Night Before Christmas’, and you can bet this’ll go into the collection.

    Thanks for sharing it with us.

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
    Russ Yeagley
    (ryeagleyjr on Facebook and Twitter)

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