[Twisted-Python] Twisted as a House for Sale

Matt Haggard haggardii at gmail.com
Mon Aug 19 11:38:24 MDT 2013

Please indulge me -- my reasons are at the end.

Twisted as a House for Sale

You double check the listing printout to make sure you're not lost.
On the drive in, you didn't see many other cars on the road or people
out on the street -- the neighborhood seems kind of deserted.

"Nope, it's the right place," you say as you turn the key toward you.
The engine stops, and the resulting silence is immediate.  Ronnie, the
agent who's going to show you the place, said he'll meet you inside.

You first notice the yard.  The grass is a little yellowed, except
where it grows abundantly at the base of the waist-high, once-white
picket fence.  There are a bunch of signs on the fence and in the
yard.  Many of the signs have, "Attn Construction Workers" written in
big red letters at the top.  You walk toward one to see what it says,
and then... in the middle of the front yard, you notice a freestanding
door.  It looks new.  Fresh paint.  Shiny knob and knocker.  Standing
at an angle, right in the middle of the lawn.


Forgetting the signs for a minute you walk to the fence, open the gate
and make your way up the walkway toward the freestanding door.
Standing in front of the door you read, etched into the knocker,

"Weird," you say again.  It almost feels like a tombstone.

You turn back toward the house.  There are lots of windows (way more
than at that other house on Amigofeed Drive).  And you notice for the
first time that there are three front doors.

"Umm...", you're beginning to doubt that this is really the house you want.

You step onto the porch and examine the doors.  From left to right,
they are labeled "reactor.listen," "TCP4ServerEndpoint" and
"serverFromString."  You reach for TCP4ServerEndpoint, but second
guess yourself and instead open the "reactor.listen" door.  You're
standing in a small entryway.  There's ample light coming from a
fluorescent fixture, though the light seems a bit sterile.  Kind of
like an old hospital.

"Oh man," you smile.  You just noticed the not-quite-lime-green shag
carpet.  Pretty sweet.

It still feels eriely quiet.  From how Ronnie described this place
over the phone, you were expecting a little more.  This dismal room
just seems so stagnant.  You glance at your watch, wondering when
Ronnie's gonna show.

"I guess I can poke around a little while I wait."

You build up a nice static charge shuffling toward the door at the
other side of the entry way.  Zap!  You get a short blue arc as you
grab the doorknob and turn.  You glance up and notice a small label on
the door as you push it open.  The label says "reactor.run()."

A huge wave of sound washes over you, startling you!  There are people
everywhere.  Some are running around, some are sitting and talking,
some are arguing loudly.  There's people on phones and on computers.
It's a madhouse of activity!  This room is huge!  It's cavernous.  It
feels like Grand Central.  The ceiling must be upwards of 30 feet
high!  The room is full of sunlight, streaming in through multiple
skylights and through the wall opposite you (perhaps 60 feet away)
which is made entirely of glass.  The glass wall looks out to a
beautiful garden, full of trees and flowers.

"Hi, I'm Ronnie!"

You swing around, surprised.

"This place is amazing!" you exclaim.

"Sure is.  Let me show you around!"

"But why is the front..." you start.

"This room is the event loop," he cuts you off.  "Everything goes
through here.  Well, not everything.  Deferreds don't, and some of the
other utilities" he continues, grabbing your arm and pulling you
through the room.

"De--whats?" you stammer.

He stops walking and turns toward you.  "Deferreds.  You know, like:
'I'm going to hit you'."  He pauses.

"You're going to wh... OWW!"  He slaps you hard across the face.

"Deferreds."  He grabs your hand and starts walking briskly through
the room again.  You rub your cheek wondering what just happened.

"Trap it next time.  Let me show you the library!"

"This place has a library?  Cool.  I hope it has one of those sliding
ladders," you think to yourself, still nursing your red cheek.


Ronnie takes you through a door at the side of the room.  It smells
like a library, but it seems awfully small.  For the asking price,
though, you can't complain.

"What do you want to know about?" he asks.


"What do you want to learn?  Fencing, cooking, horitculture, aviation,
rare-earth metal mining?  What do you want to know?" he asks again,
looking right at you and waiting.

"Uhh... cooking?"

"Alright, this way."  He grabs your arm and yanks you through a door
you hadn't realized was there.  You find yourself in a room no bigger
than a closet, smashed right up against Ronnie.

"Here you go."  He shoves a paper into your hands.

"Ye Olde Guide of Squirrels Cooking" reads the title.

"How old is thi..." you begin to ask.

Ronnie grabs the paper back, examining it with furrowed brow.

"Bah!"  He exclaims, "those kids keep messing with the index.  There's
not much we can do about that.  Let's go to the most recent version."
He leads you through a door to the right.

You're in another closet.  He shoves another paper into your hands.

"How to Cook a Squirrel" reads the title.  You start perusing it,
forgetting why, exactly, you are reading it in the first place.  And
it's a little uncomfortable being in these tight quarters with Ronnie.
 He's awkwardly silent and motionless standing there, smiling, staring
at you while you read.  After reading the first few paragraphs you
ask, "Is this the best thing you have on cooking?  I mean, squirrels
are nice, but..."

"We've got other stuff."  He pushes the opposite wall, which, it turns
out was a door, and you find yourself in yet another closet.  He
shoves another paper into your hands.

This one is "Proper Care of Cutlery."

"Umm...  so, anyway, this library is great.  But what else can you
show me in this house?"

"Oh, there's lots of things.  But you should really check out the
library some more.  It's full of great stuff.  And make sure you check
all the sources."

He pushes through to the door you came in, then through another door,
then another, and... you are not back in the first room, but another
closet.  Oblivious, Ronnie, pushes through another door leading to a
closet, then another, then another, then another.  You're not sure
you'll ever get back to where you were or that you'd have the
slightest chance of finding these rooms again.

"I think if I go with this house, I'll need to make myself a map of
this library," you think, as you follow Ronnie from closet to closet.

Finally, he pushes through a door and you walk back into the first
room of the library.

"Let me show you some more of the house,"  Ronnie smiles as you head
toward the event loop room.


Ronnie leads you on a tour of the home.  It's rather impressive.  And
expansive.  While in the basement, which is well lit and surprisingly
inviting, he points out the reinforced concrete foundation built
around massive steel beams which have been driven eighty feet into the
ground.  The foundation is incredibly strong.  You didn't realize it
from outside, but this house was designed to stand for years -- it's
commercial grade.

In the bathrooms and kitchen, Ronnie proudly shows you the plumbing.
It's solid stuff.  The craftsmanship is excellent, and it looks like
everything is built to last.

"But, just wait," he says, with a twinkle in his eye.  "We're getting
some new plumbing installed soon."

"Oh that's great.  Replacing plumbing is one of the best ways to..."

"I didn't say 'replacing.'  We're getting new tubes, but we'll still
have the old stuff, too."


During your tour, you go up and down stairs (it feels like some of the
staircases have one too many steps).  And oddly, there are a lot of
rooms with two or three doors leading into them from the same hallway.
 You notice small manhole covers in many of the hallways.  After
passing the fourth or fifth one, you ask Ronnie what they are.

"Oh, those are manhole covers."  He casually responds, not stopping.

Still confused, you try again: "What are they for?"

"Anything you want."

Thanks, Ronnie.  "For example?"

Not quite sure what's so confusing, Ronnie explains "Oh, you know.
You can fix plumbing, add new walls or rooms, elevate the roof,
activate the alarm, lock all the doors, release the badgers.  Just...
whatever you want."

Badgers?  Intentionally sidestepping the badgers, you ask "Don't
people get upset when you turn off their water to fix the plumbing?"

"Why would we need to turn off the water just to fix the plumbing?"
Ronnie asks, puzzled.

You decide not to press it.


Eventually you end up back in the event loop room by the reactor.run()
door.  You've got another appointment, and it seems like you've seen
most of the house.

"Thanks for the tour, Ronnie," you say, "I'm really impressed with the
quality of work in this home.  There's a lot of hallways and doors to
remember, but it's very nice."  You hold out your hand to shake.

"Are you going already?" Ronnie asks, sadly, "I was just about to show
you the sails!"


"Yeah, we're going to put out to sea any minute now."


"Of course."

"The house comes with a boat?" you ask incredulously.

"No, that's ridiculous.  The house *is* a boat," he says, like it's
the most normal thing in the world.

"The house is a boat?"

"The house is a boat."

"I'm on a boat?"

"Yes."  He says, a little hesistantingly.  Then, a little worried and
not sure what to do with his hands, "Is it... uh... strange that the
house is a boat?"

"Um...  well...  yes.  I've never looked at a house that was also a boat."

Ronnie seems disappointed.  "Really?  That's too bad.  It's really
nice having a house that's also a boat."  Then, with the smile coming
back into his face, he says "but you don't have to use it as a boat!
And it being a boat doesn't get in the way of it being a house!"

"Err... great..." you begin, but he interrupts in his excitement.

"In fact," he goes on excitedly, "you'll probably be happy with just
the air travel."

"Air... travel?" you ask, reaching for the door.

"Of course!" he shouts in complete disbelief.

"You've got to be kidding me," you say.

"YOU'VE got to be kidding ME!" he says, in shock.  "What are those
other people trying to sell you out there!?  Don't tell me the other
houses just sit on the ground!  They don't fly?"  Ronnie slowly nods
his head as if to coax the answer out of you.  But you don't mirror
his motion.

"I don't believe it!" he continues.  "Next you're going to tell me
that when they make an addition to their flightless, floatless houses
that they don't even test to make sure that the addition will stand."

He's serious.  The house flies.  You're dumbfounded.  This house, with
the unkempt front yard and shag carpet, located in a seemingly
desolate part of town can fly.  Why isn't anyone talking about this!?

Bzeerrpp.  Your phone is ringing.  You're gonna be late for your appointment.

"I really need to go, Ronnie.  But I'll definitely be back.  Thanks
for everything.  This house is amazing."

You turn toward the reactor.run() door and start turning the doorknob.

"STOP!" A hundred voices yell.  Panic-stricken, you jump back from the
door and whip around, breathing heavily from the surprise.  Everyone
in the room including Ronnie is frozen, staring at you.

"That was close!" he says, "you only go through that door once."  He
seems relieved you didn't go through.

"Here, come this way."  He shows you to a door labeled
"reactor.stop()" and sends you on your way.

I wrote this because it's frustrating to see people make new, shiny
toys out to be amazing and revolutionary when they're not built on a
solid foundation, are not new, and are not even as good as existing
stuff (Twisted).  Twisted can fly!

I would love for more people to step inside the house and see what it
can do, instead of judging it based on incorrect facts or uninformed
opinions.  Or, more to my point, judging it based on the website
(geared toward people working on Twisted), documentation, examples, or
multitude of ways to do the same thing because of backward

I want to mow the lawn, so to speak.  I want to plant flowers and make
the One Front Door more prominent.  I'm considering making a site
dedicated to people learning Twisted.  It would be cool if it there
were things showcasing running Twisted services (websockets + ssh +
irc or something).

Is there interest in this?

Also, what do you think of the story? :)


(Sorry for the long email.)

Matt Haggard

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