Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Liang Prank

Back in October, my coworker Liang was sent to Romania for a one month assignment. For him it was an opportunity to check out Europe and try out a new work place. For Sean it was the opportunity to pull the prank of a lifetime. We quickly assembled a team of super nerds from around the office and began plotting.

The "Plan" as viewed on Liang's new Newton.

Liang is the very proud owner of a three monitor set up. As I noted in The Developer Trap, monitors are at a premium around the office, and Liang loves to point out that he has three. We began by taking all of the technology out of his office and filling it with old and antiquated equipment. Whenever possible, something made by Apple was used since Liang has a bigger man-crush on Steve Jobs than I do on Steve Nash.


Liang also owns a large stuffed rabbit that sits in his office. We once considered an intervention, or at least investigation, but eventually decided that it's better to just not ask questions.


For my part of the prank, we stole the bunny and hid it in a ceiling tile. I then made several ransom note style newspaper cutout messages to lead him on a scavenger hunt from one point to the next. A cardboard X was taped to his window, and at 3 PM, the X would cast a shadow on the floor of where he should search.


Liang hates having the windows in his office open. You'd think having an office in one of the few Phoenecian sky scrapers would be incentive enough to look outside, but Liang stays true to his nerd roots and avoids the sunlight like the nosferatu.

We were going to steal and hide the blinds, but eventually decided that leaving them open with a surprise waiting would be a better decision. We printed out a large photo of us holding the bunny, cut it in to tiny strips, and placed it on his blinds so that when they were opened the picture wouldn't be noticed. When the blinds were then closed, the picture would reveal itself.


Sean wanted Liang to take it in the face like a boxer who doesn't know how to block, so we took a large, battery operated nerf gun and rigged it to go off when the door was opened. This would also trigger an 80's style tape deck which would then beging playing this song.


A bungee cord was then secured to the door to make sure he wouldn't immediately shut it to block the oncoming nerf barrage.


The final part of the plan was packing peanuts.


Lots and lots of packing peanuts.


It took two full nights after work to set up the joke. A webcam was placed inside of Liang's office, and on the morning of his return from his long trip it was set to broadcast to the our 50+ coworkers who were all "in" on the joke.

As he turned the handle and the door flew out of his hand I could hear a loud obsenity shouted from the general direction of his office. He immediately jumped back and out of range. Like a newborn baby, he stood for a few moments, his brain not fully registering what his eyes were seeing.

After inspecting and cleaning for a few hours, he finally had a path made to his desk.

"At least I can finally get some work done, maybe answer some emails" he told me as we returned from lunch.

It was at this point that he shut his blinds.

As I walked back towards my office I heard an exasperated nerd sigh, "You got the bunny too?"

A few notes:
  • The webcam feed was saved, but unfortunately the sound was not. You can view it here, although there's not much to see.
  • The packing peanuts were a bit of an optical illusion. The illusion can be seen here. Still, it was about 100 dollars worth of packing peanuts. Were you fooled? He certainly was.
  • You can see the full set of pictures on my flickr account here.
  • Next to Steve Nash, Sean is my vote for Canadian of the year. Make sure you let him know if you enjoyed the prank.

Friday, February 20, 2009


You'll have to excuse the slightly self serving nature of this post. I'd like to have something better put together, but today has been go-go-go nonstop, and yet I feel the need to say something.

I've re-written this post about three times now, but how do you follow something like Shaq? When I sent the story to Basketbawful and True Hoop this morning, I thought maybe I'd get a few extra hits, and maybe someone would enjoy the story. Turns out I did get a few more than my typical 30-70 hits:

Shaq Effect

I wanted to take a minute to thank everyone for the emails, nice comments, and "tweets". I hope to spend some time this weekend responding to everyone I can, but no promises. Despite my tongue-in-cheek bitching, I figure maybe I'll give this thing a shot. Feel free to follow me and tell me I'm a dork:

And please tell Sean he has a big head:

My email is on the right(As is my twitter now), so feel free to say hi.

Goodnight to the nerd-o-sphere, and congrats to Shaq and the Suns on the win. The Big Diesel's line for the night?

22 points, 9 boards, 36,986 hits.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Finally, A Use for Twitter

Sean informed me a few days ago that he had been following "The Real Shaq" on twitter. 

"You realize that 'The Real Shaq' is probably a 5'4 White, 14 year old emo kid who's getting his jolly's from the attention, right?" I asked him.

"I don't know. I think it's really him"

Today Sean and I were discussing rumored trade situations over IM, and the possibility of Shaq being traded to Cleveland.

"Well, I just got a twitter from The Real Shaq, and he's at 5 & Diner right now," Sean informed me.

"Let's go then" I said, assuming that I'd finally put this "Real Shaq" crap to rest.

Twenty minutes later we were pulling up to the restaurant and looking for the big black truck that he's rumored to drive around town. "Maybe that's it" Sean said, pointing at an older, but nice Van and laughing. As we pulled up I saw the Superman symbol on the grill.

Maybe that is it?

We went in, and to my surprise the MDE(Most Dominant Ever) was sitting in the corner booth by himself. We gave the man a nod and "Hey" as we walked to our table and were soon whispering back and forth like 12 year old girls at the 7th grade dance.

"You go talk to him" I said, while tugging nervously on my dress.
"No, you go talk to him" Sean replied while flipping his hair.

We placed our order, and spent 10 minutes trying to work up the sack to go say something.

"Should I tell him I'm glad he's sticking around?"
"Go tell him you're his twitter buddy"
"Should I ask for a picture?"

Given another 2-3 years, I'm sure we would have worked up the nerve to go talk to him, but before that could happen Sean's iPhone buzzed with a "tweet" from Shaq.
I feel twitterers around me, r there any twitterers in 5 n diner wit me, say somethin

"Hey" Sean said, with a slight bit of confidence.

Returning to our hushed whispers I asked Sean, "Should we go talk to him now?"
"I don't know, should we?"

"Yes, you should" a very deep voice entered our conversation from 2 booths over.

We quickly hopped up and rushed over like like two eight year olds who had just heard the ice cream truck pass by.

"I know it's dorky man, but can I get a pic with you?" I asked, slightly intimidated.

"Of course" he said, "Pull up a seat" The behemoth slid over and patted the booth next to him. As I pulled out my phone to take a picture he snatched it out of my hand and inspected it.

"What's this got? Windows Mobile?"
"Um... yeah"

Jesse and Shaq
Doing my best to look tall. Thanks for slouching, Shaq.

He gave it the once over before handing it back and showing off his Google Phone. We talked for a bit, and snapped a photo for both Sean and me before shaking hands and returning to our table. I almost got the feeling he wanted us to hang out, but we didn't really want to push our luck.

"Make sure you put that on your web page" he said as we walked away.

After he'd left, our young waiter came over. We asked if Shaq had actually eaten anything since his table was empty when we'd gone over.

"He ordered like 20 dollars worth of food" the kid stammered out, obviously thrilled to be talking about it, "And he left me a 160 dollar tip. Then he asked for a Sprite and gave me forty bucks for it."

Sean and Shaq
Sean and the big Shaq-tus.

We got back to the office, and saw that Shaq's last twitter was basically calling us a bunch of panzies:
To all twitterers , if u c me n public come say hi, we r not the same we r from twitteronia, we connect

Not to be outdone "The Real Nash" wrote:
Diesel, 5 n diner has great chili and milkshakes but i know you're on a diet so you had a salad!!

Twitter accounts for: Sean and Jesse.  Feel free to follow us.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Five Lines or Less

You're currently reading this post for one of a few reasons. Please read the appropriate section, and only the appropriate section, for a personalized message just for you!

You're a loyal supporter of the blog, and read everything I post-

How's your work day going? I'm considering going out of town this weekend, but if I don't, wanna hang out and maybe catch a movie?


You received something in the mail with this web address-

Dear Sir/Madam,

I'm sorry. You were probably hoping it was some romantic gesture from that boy/girl you've been crushing on for the past few weeks, and it turns out to be a gift from a short nerd living in Phoenix. I would have fully explained on the card, but they only give you 5 lines to use on those things. How ridiculous is that? Asking me to write something that short is like asking Tim Burton to direct something bright, shiney and fluffy.  It's just not possible.

The reason you received something in the mail is most likely because someone entered you in my contest (click here to view the contest). I'm sorry to say that you didn't win the grand prize, but as I'm currently not paying girlfriend tax I thought it appropriate to send out some consolation gifts. I hope you enjoy them.


You did a Google search for anyone famous I've written about and the word "feet"-

Dear Sir/Madam,

The number of hits I get each day for "Felicia Day Feet" and "Shirley Manson Feet" is getting out of hand. My blog name has the word "foot" in it and apparently Google is smart enough to translate that to "feet". I respect that everyone has their "thing". I myself like short nerdy girls, but I'm not out constantly Googling around looking for them. Knock it off.


Okay okay, kidding aside, the contest is over and the stuff has been sent. I'm surprised by how many people were curious about it, so I created this mini-faq:

Q. Did I win?
A. Short answer: No.
Long answer: Nobody actually won. Somebody will receive the "big prize" though. That person gave me a very solid reason to send him/her flowers, and as such I did. It just wasn't necessarily contest related.

Q. So you ran a contest, got everyone to enter, and then changed the rules?
A. Not exactly. I stuck to the letter of the rules, and one of the entrants will receive flowers. Others may receive a consolation prize. I hope that everyone is happy in the end. That's the point after all.

Q. So who did get the "big prize"?
A. I'm not telling. If he/she wants to discuss it publicly here be my guest.

Q. But I got flowers. That means I'm the winner?
A. Not unless there's an absolutely horrible poem attached to them.

Q. Did you send that poor inmate something?
A. No. While the whole thing was rather amusing, even I have limits as to the amount of potential crazy I'll invite in to my life.

Q. So when does this "consolation" prize arrive?
A. Having something arrive on Saturday was like 15-25 bucks more, so "prizes" should be arriving between now and Friday.

Q. The consolation prize is probably something crappy right?
A. Probably

Happy Valentine's day everyone.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Nerd Her Word(s): Boyfriend Tax

Note from the editor: My friend Nikki posted this as a response to my entry about Girlfriend Tax.  It's pretty solid, so I'm cleaning it up and posting it.  

If I'm reading it correctly she's saying the average woman will oftentimes willingly trade sex for money.  I believe there's a word for that, but I don't recall at the moment.

Boyfriend Tax
- noun

1. The physical activities that a woman feels obligated to perform as repayment of girlfriend tax.

[ Origin: Nikki, apparently ]

- usage
1. “OMG…you will not believe how tired and sore I am this morning”
“Why? Did you stay up late again last night?”
“Yes, Tommy still thinks that I owe him BF tax to pay him back from the trip to New York last month”
“Really? I thought he did that to be spontaneous and romantic?”
“Please, you should know that he only spent the GF tax just to get some BF tax”

2. “I’ve had to go to the chiropractor 6 times in the last month because of the BF tax I’ve been putting out”

- see also

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Nerd Word(s): Girlfriend Tax

Girlfriend Tax
- noun

1. The extra amount of money spent just by having a girlfriend.

[ Origin: I have no idea.  I'm thinking Marloue though ]

- usage
1. "How come Liang didn't want to come to lunch with us?"
"He's been trying to cut down on costs."
"Oh, that's right.  He's got that trip to NY, and then that trip to Miami next month."
"Yeah.  Girlfriend tax is hitting him hard."

2. "You know I'd kick in on the keg bro, but February is the worst month for GF tax and I'm tapped"

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

A Very Bailey Birthday

Okay, this entry got a little out of hand length wise.  I cut a bunch out, but I'm leaving a decent amount in.  I can't tell you how thrilled I was to find someone who actually laughed at a joke I made.  I probably should have proposed.

The thing about my family is that we all like joking around and being funny.  And we're really funny.  To each other.  On our own, we're all a little bit obnoxious, but when we hang out together we Voltron our obnoxiousness into something else entirely. In private I'm usually the most vocal, but in public I tend to take the back seat and make sure it doesn't get too out of hand. I am, after all, the responsible one.

The other night my siblings, their respective others, Stacy(Without an e) and I went out for my birthday. I chose P.F. Chang's because I love the Mu Shu Chicken. I don't speak Chinese, but I feel quite confident in my assertion that Mu Shu is Chinese for "Burrito". The fun part is that they come out and make the burrito in front of you.

My brother Josh made sure to let our waitress Bailey know that we were going to be that table as soon as she came and introduced herself.

"We're all celebrating" he told her, "We lost our jobs today"
"Well, as long as you can still tip" she joked back.
"Tip?" I asked as if the word was new to me.
"Whoever runs the slowest gets to pay" Miranda's boyfriend Andrew added.

Bailey was freakishly cute, so I immediately hid under the table to avoid any accidental eye contact. The rest of my family kept up with the "funny", but she handled it well.

"Wow, you're a pro at this" my brother complimented as she wrapped my Mu Shu in to a nice little pocket.
"Don't call me that. I don't want to be a professional waitress" she said with a smile.
"Okay fine" I said, rolling my eyes and holding up my hands to make air quotes, "Actress"

Since she had other tables waiting I offered to help, "Want me to take care of those?  I can't do the fancy fold, but I can roll them in to tacos"
"If you rolled it in to a taco it'd be a burrito" she shot back without missing a beat.
"Yeah, stupid" my ever-supportive sister chimed in.

By the time dessert came around Bailey had been putting up with our crap for quite some time, so I offered to let her have my complimentary birthday dessert.  She declined so I asked her to surprise me with something and got up to use the restroom.

When I returned, the not-professional waitress was standing over my seat and lighting a green candle in a thing of cheesecake. She didn't see me come back so I pulled up a chair from a neighboring table and sat down beside her.

"Oh, it's got green stuff all around the bottom now" she said, referring to the wax that had been melting.
She still wasn't aware of my presence when I responded, "Don't worry, I've got some pills that will fix that up."
"Oh. You're a quick one" Bailey laughed.

After she left I asked my sister, "Do you think I should tell her to hold on to the candle?  You know, for her scrapbook.  For when she tells the story of how we met to our kids."

She returned a few minutes later and asked, "Do you want that last Mu Shu boxed up to go?"

I don't normally take leftovers because I have a tendency to just let them stink up my fridge for a week before finally relenting and throwing them out.  She didn't give me a chance to answer though.   

"I worked hard folding those things up. It's going home in a bag with you, or in your belly."
"You know what.  I think I will take that home after all. It is a lovely Mu Shu."

I felt pretty bad about the amount of crap we had put the girl through, so after everyone left I slipped another twenty on to the table and headed for the parking lot.  By that time the Chang's was empty, and there were just employees left.  

One of the cars in the parking lot was empty but had its headlights on, so I walked back in to let someone know.  The hostess was long gone, and the front deserted, so I walked back towards our table to find Bailey clearing it off.

"You forgot something" she said before I had a chance to speak.  My heart?  How did you..  She held up the doggie bag of Mu Shu.

Oh yeah.  In my attempt to be decent and leave an extra tip I'd completely spaced on the leftovers."Thanks.  Someone left their car lights on by the way.  I would assume it's an employee here since the place is empty."

"Oh, I'll let them know.  You didn't have to leave the extra tip.  Thank you though"

"Well, you didn't have to put up with our shit.  Thank you."

"Happy Birthday"

I told my sister the postscript to the story over the phone while driving home.

"You know," she explained, "if you had grown a set and asked her for her number, worst case, you'd be driving home alone right now."

Monday, February 02, 2009

25 things

In my post Super Bowl depression I decided to do something I've never done before. I filled out an Internet survey/meme. I'm usually very much against these kinds of things, but as many people on Facebook that I know did it, and I found them interesting, I decided to go ahead and participate.

In my general fashion, I wrote more than most do, but I tried to add things that not many people know about me. There's at least one item that I don't think anyone knows, so hopefully someone enjoys this. Maybe some of these will turn in to real blog entries some time, but probably not.

1. I spent ages 3-7 in Germany. While I forgot the language over the years, my mother claims that I spoke German in my sleep for many years after the fact.

2. One summer in my youth, faced with no new Nintendo games, or money to purchase them, my best friend and I started making video game challenges to each other. In one of these challenges, I successfully beat Super Mario using only my big toes.

Yes, I realize how big of a dork I am.

3. I once ran a half mile through downtown Phoenix half naked with big goofy hat on for a bet. I lost the bet, but Matt was decent enough to buy me an Ultimate Cheeseburger at Jack in the Box as a consolation prize.

4. a. I once fit 6 oreos in my mouth at once and successfully ate them without spitting them out on a bet.

b. My entire fist will fit inside my mouth.

5. I'll do almost anything on a bet for laughs.

6. In my college years I decided to write a screenplay. One of the key figures in my movie was to be a character who's parents died in a horrific accident. He wins a huge insurance settlement and promptly heads to Vegas. During a comedic hypnotist show, the hypnotist dies. The character is left changing personalities whenever a bell rings or whistle blows throughout the movie.

Halfway through writing this movie, Office Space by Mike Judge came out. In it, the main character is hypnotized to relax, and the hypnotist dies. I quit writing movies after that.

7. My arms and hands are double jointed. I can place my hand on a table and rotate it a full 360 degrees. My thumbs and wrist bend funny as well. I can clap with one hand(In two different ways). I'm also able to lick my elbow, which some claim is "impossible".

8. In a doubles ping pong tournament at work I was paired up with the owner of my company, "Buzzsaw". I convinced him that we should dress up in tights and bumble bee outfits to "throw our opponent off". We would be the "Buzzsaw Bumble Bees" Eventually he agreed. We ended up pitted against a team that wasn't easily shaken and lost 21-19. We promptly signed the outfits and "retired" them on the wall in his executive office.

He's since left the company, and my bumble bee outfit hangs on my office wall to this day.

9. For 3 years I wrote flight simulator software for fighter jets for the Air Force. While I did get to do some cool things in that time, it was overall a far less exciting job than writing printer software, which I do now.

10. From ages 11-14 I saved 1000 dollars to purchase my first PC, which was really the catalyst for my current profession.

11. As a child I had a terrible temper. My brother drove me absolutely crazy. Since growing up, the exact opposite is true. I've only yelled at someone once in the last 15 years that I remember, and I don't think I've lost my temper in that time. It's so bad that most of my friends are thrilled when they see me even mildly upset.

12. I've never been drunk in my life. I only drink under very very special circumstances.

The most I've ever had to drink was an entire beer on my friend Stacy's birthday. Her friend Megan had passed out in the restroom, and after the fact someone ordered her another round. I decided it wasn't a good idea for her to have another, so when she was distracted and looking the other way I drank the entire thing. She never noticed.

13. There is absolutely no reason for #12, although #12 and #11 are probably related. In my adulthood the idea of losing control is a bit scary, and something I'd rather avoid. I do however like to make up stories as to why I don't drink, since "I don't want to" is unacceptable for most.

14. I'm usually more amusing when consumed in digital fashion. While I'm a fairly smart little dude, my brain is more of the "slow and steady" kind. I usually get to the right answer, but I'm not nearly as quick witted as most. I compensate for this by having most situation/jokes planned out ahead of time.

15. I once found myself face to face with my long time crush Shirley Manson(Lead singer of Garbage) before a concert. In my complete shock, the best I could come up with was to offer her the hamburger I was about to eat. Of course I even failed at saying this as I said it so low under my breath that she didn't even hear me. It was probably for the best.

16. In college, tired of people asking what kind of girl was "my girl", I started replying that all I wanted was a "Little Redheaded Girl". This was a reference to Charlie Brown.

Oddly enough, a few months later I wound up with a crush on a short redheaded girl. Somehow, the joke has stuck.

17. I'm a huge Nintendo fan, but not crazy enough to wait in line for many things. When the Wii came out, I found a target distribution list online, and went to a Target in the north valley that for some reason was getting over 100. I arrived 30 minutes before the store opened, and got one with plenty of room to spare.

18. I wrestled my sophomore year in high school, but was unable to get my weight over 93 lbs. The lowest weight class 103, and I lost every match. At one match, the opposing team didn't have anyone in my weight class, and they offered to let me wrestle a weight class up, against a girl. When I saw her snarling and hitting herself in the head before the match, I declined to wrestle the girl who out weighed me by over 20 lbs.

19. I was a lifeguard/cashier for 3 years during the summers of high school. Despite my small size I was an exceptionally strong swimmer, and enjoyed besting the big strong jocks at most of the life guarding challenges. After those 3 years, I don't really enjoy the pool that much.

20. I delivered pizza for 2 years, and still consider it one of, if not the best jobs I've ever had. Since that time, I don't really enjoy Pizza Hut pizza.

21. As a kid I had numerous tests run on me to figure out why I was so short. This included monthly examination of my little boy parts, and frequent blood drawing. After years and years of this they finally told me, "You're just short"

22. In high school I designed and built a hovercraft that didn't completely function. After I got a real job and had the money I purchased a gas powered blower and made one that worked.

23. I was born a month early with a double hernia, which wasn't repaired until I was a year of age. My mother says I have a big chest due to the constant crying.

24. When I was very young we had an Atari, and one night my dad forgot to tuck me in because he was busy playing Pac-Man. I was quite upset and on that day decided that I hated video games and would never play them myself. Boy was I wrong.

25. I tend to write a lot when I sit down to write on the computer. I jokingly say it's because I type really fast, but the real answer is probably that I'm overcompensating for my height.

I'm sorry.