Note: We have been featured in the news. w00t!
Taking a break from the entire OOXML saga, some of us decided to execute an elaborate April Fool's plan on Dinesh Arnold Nair, our collective QubeConnect boss and a (self proclaimed) Sith Lord. The plan ("Operation Coverup") involved wrapping up all items in the Sith Lord's office with aluminum foil. It's one those things that is actually a lot harder then it sounds (who knew wrapping cables in aluminum foil would be such a bitching effort, eh?).
I brought up the idea initially several months to some of the Sith Lord minions. It was initially a simple effort to wrap up all belongings of the Sith Lord. Over teh tarik (Malay sugared tea) and many beers, the idea expanded to wrapping his furniture in aluminum foil, plastering his walls with brown wrapping paper, covering his car with even more brown paper, adapting the Star Wars intro crawl text video for the finishing touch and dressing up in Ku-Klux-Klan style robes. At one point, we discussed involving his wife into a more elaborate scam involving wrapping up stuff in his apartment, but decided against it when we realized his wife is truly Sith and we may end up getting skewered in the process.
Anyway, as the plan grew and grew, before I realized, there were more volunteers then there was room in his office. No problem, we could always parallelize the wrapping tasks, right? I thought we could have been done in a couple hours with seven of us. Hah, that turned out to be woefully over-optimistic.
31st March 2008 arrived and three minions marched over to the nearest hypermart to buy the supplies. We ran into our first hurdle - who knew that there were so many grades of aluminum foil? We decided on the smartest engineering decision that made sense to us then and bought six rolls of the cheapest foil available. It later turned out to be not such a bright idea as the cheapest foil also was the thinnest which made wrapping a tad bit difficult. Oh well. We also bought a roll of brown wrapping paper which came with 10 pieces of 1x1 meter sized paper.
So, evening came and SMS's were flying wildly, planning this and organizing that, but mostly we were jumping with excitement. We waited for everybody to leave, and waited a bit more, and waited some more and everybody left except for the Sith Lord. Oh all days, he decided to spend this day running load tests on the QubeTalk (our IP-PBX). Grrrr. No matter, we left for an early dinner hoping that he would have left by the time we got back.
At 8pm approximat-ish, we get back (all seven of us!) and apparently he had left for the day, so we start in all earnestness. Fuck, it was tiring work. We wrapped, and wrapped, and wrapped, and wrapped. We wrapped his ashray, his loose change, his lighter, his papers, his laptop, his picture frame (hey Sith Lord, there's a surprise waiting for you underneath that foil), his wastepaper basket, his awards and god knows what else. And while we were wrapping, one of us was working on creating the Star Wars intro crawl text video (I had adapted the original Star Wars text earlier in the day).
After two hours, we were not even close to being finished and slowly running out of wrapping foil. Also, we realized that our decision to plaster the wall with brown wrapping paper was brilliant but we have clearly underestimated the number of rolls of wrapping paper needed. So, two of the minions were sent off to buy more aluminium foil and brown wrapping paper. The rest of us kept wrapping. The cables were incredibly difficult to wrap, each 3 meter cable taking 15-30 minutes to wrap. Looking back, I'm amazed we actually bothered to wrap all the cables in his room, it would have been simpler to just chuck them in the cabinet.
11pm came and additional supplies had arrived, and so, in a burst of energy, we started to plaster his office walls and wrapping the furniture. The adaptation of the Star Wars text was going well and 2814 frames had been rendered, waiting for final mixing. At some point, there was a power trip and the office lost electricity in the power points (although the lights were still on). I panicked slightly, wondering if our aluminum adventures were to blame but there was little we could do anyway to bring the power back, so we continued wrapping and plastering.
Before we knew it, it was 1-ish am and we were mostly done. Everything was wrapped and the walls were plastered, and we were dead tired so it was time to declare "Operation Coverup" a success. Then we discovered his shorts that were in the office and a set of balls, so we hung them up on his on his door.
The place looked fucking awesome all done up! Our KKK outfit did not really work (none of us were artistic in that sense), so we modified it to look like Terrorist outfits (you know, the type you see Bush railing against). Tired and happy, we took pictures and left for food and refreshments, wondering what tomorrow would bring.
April Fool's Day
We waited eagerly for the Sith Lord to arrive but he was late. I went out for lunch and apparently at 2pm, he arrived. This is what they tell me happened: he walked to his room and realized something was wrong. He looked in and quickly went over to a couple minions asking who was responsible. The minions kept their silence and SMS-ed me, so I quickly walked back to the office. I peaked in and saw that the Sith Lord was smoking furiously on his cigarrete looking thoughtful. It was time to put Part 2 into action.
Some of us who will remain unnamed quickly went over to his car and started plastering it with brown wrapping paper. We worked furiously and without rest. It was a windy, almost rainy day, and that hindered our effort but damnit, this was going to get done so we kept plastering his car and within 15 minutes, we were done. The Green Packet guys were looking at us strangely but I presume they figured something was up. In the process of plastering his car, we found out that he had left his car lights on, so clearly he needed to come out soon otherwise his car battery would die. That was the perfect reason to put into place Part 3 of the prank. To be honest, although the car plastering was not our best work (time constraints - Sith Lord could come out at any moment), I think we improved the look of the car by plastering it up :)
Part 3 of the Prank
With the car plastered up, it was necessary to get him to his car. So we forged an email from 163.com and sent it to all employees of QubeConnect:
Dear Evil Sith Lord,
Strong, the force is. Own the Sith Lord, team Arnold did. Over, the day is not. Turn on your car lights with the force, we did. Dead, your battery will be soon. Rush to your Wira, you must.
Join the rebellion, other employees must. Available, the video is: http://192.168.1.53/starwars.mpg
Yes, we were calling ourselves Team Arnold, for obvious reasons. The Star Wars video (which finished rendering only at 6am in the morning!!) was uploaded to our development server. We uploaded it to YouTube for your viewing pleasure (ignore the coupla grammar mistakes):
And we attached a Terrorist picture of ourselves:
And then we made ourselves scarce. Coming back to the office an hour later, we found that the Sith Lord had replied to our email:
rebel scum !
invade the lair of the sith, have you ? hmmm, impressed the sith are with your ingenuity and your effort. very impressed we are, for great promise you all have shown as apprentices of the sith. the sith's powers are strong and wide, and already we have identified two of the rebel scum, and soon, your homebase we shall obliterate. plus forget ye not, rebel scum,the sith hath your collective gonads.
Hah! In conclusion, this is what we have to say:
Supplies: RM 120
Effort: 42 Man-Hours
Owning Your Boss: Priceless
There are some things money can't buy. For everything else, there's Team Arnold!