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.


  1. zomg! At last, my very own full featured sesquipedalis super cool story!

  2. You forgot to mention that he also looks like Shel Silverstein

  3. shel? no no. jaime from mythbusters!

    the tax deduction


  4. Damn-it-all-2-hell RICKROLLED AGAIN!!!!

  5. Jo,
    Yep, the poem was all me. I sort of love crappy poetry. But I think you already knew that.

    I have no idea what that means. Did I miss something? Been a while since I saw the movie.

    It could have been so much worse(The blog entry. Not the prank. The prank was pretty rough)

    I originally titled this "Operation: Where the Sidewalk Ends", but the backs tory was a bit much so I cut it.

    Jaime isn't far off either.

    It was partially a prank on you too :)

  6. I thought I recognized the "plan" from that first photo as being from something I had seen recently. I thought it was Owen Wilson's 75-year plan from the beginning of Bottle Rocket, but I just went back and watched the scene again. That is definitely not the plan. So I apologize and retract my comment.

  7. The plan in the beginning of this post is a reference to a South Park episode.

    That little plan(or the style) has gone on to be a Internet meme of sorts. There were actually a few of those in this prank. Most were a bit past their prime.

    The Rick Roll that TR pointed out is another.

  8. No wonder you guys can never shift software on time...

    Back in my day, it was fake email addresses...

  9. Where did you get the antiquated computer equipment from? A couple more years and it will be worth a small fortune!

    Top prank, 10 out of 10 for effort.

  10. Sorry for the late reply... We're a bunch of nerds.  People just had stuff laying around.