Wednesday, April 2, 2008

April Fools Day Damage Report (UPDATED!!!)

So, April Fools Day has been over for a couple days now. I think it's safe to come out from your hiding places. I thought it'd be good to go over what I experienced on that most crazy of days.

But first, some background!

I used to hate April Fool's Day until 2002.

HATE it!

The reason for this is pretty straightforward. I've always been the fool. The April fool, as it were. I have memories of my father waking me up when I was a child, telling me in subsequent years that my bird, dog, grandmother, and mother had died during the night!

(Now, I'll be fair; I'm not sure if these memories are accurate - I don't remember very much about my childhood - but they're the only memories I have regarding the topic, so you better sort things out, Dad!)

And yet, despite all my efforts, I could never be the fooler. Imagine, if you will, a 10-year-old Andrew Schnorr walking up to you, saying in his choir boy voice (and this is verbatim):
"Say, how old are you?"
You: "Um, 25."
10-Year-Old Andrew Schnorr: "25? I thought you were 26......April Fools!"

...Had I a time machine, my first order of business would be to go back and slap myself.

Anyway, as I said, I didn't start tolerating April Fool's Day until 2002. The reason for that was because a website that I worked on at the time called (later changed to, which doesn't look like it's been updated in nearly a year) had an April Fool's Day prank in which the entire site was replaced by a background repeating image of Dark Helmet (from Spaceballs) and the entire text (in size-72 font) of a short story called "Repent, Harlequin," Said the Ticktockman, which I consider quite influential to me. The story brought about my creation of the "Temporal Master," which in turn got me started on my Chronicles of Fate storyline, which is (er, will be) seven books plus a prequel. Pretty damn influential, I'd say.

So, yeah, I became okay with April Fool's Day.

However, I would say it's only after I came to college and became more entrenched not just in internet usage, but in internet culture, that I actually came to enjoy the mock-holiday. April Fool's Day is basically the day when all bets are off on the Internet. It allows for much easier and more creative ways of pranking people.

That's not to say pranks should be relegated to the net, though. There's plenty of fun to be had in the real world, especially after I've become better at fooling people. I've also become more aware (that is, paranoid) of any potential pranks that could be pulled on me. And that's key: staying one step ahead of the game.

...Now, let's take a look at some of the things I was involved with this year.

Joke #1 - In the Halls:
So, the first April Fool's Day prank I was involved in actually began one-and-a-half before the day began. It was actually a collaboration betwixt some residents and I. ...Okay, it was their idea; I have to claim limited liability for, y'know, the job's sake. The last thing I want is an angry resident telling the powers-that-be that I'm ruining their life. So, my involvement, although limited, was strategic.

Here's the premise: We chose a resident of mine who is a really nice guy, and also extremely involved (he's actually going to be an RA next year, and he's also campaigning for the ASUC). So, he's not around terribly much. Basically, we wanted him to think something bad had happened. Namely, he got robbed.

So, at least half the floor was in on it. While the resident was out at campaigning rally with one of his roommates, his other roommate was messing up their room, opening drawers, moving stuff around, and - most importantly - removing all three laptops from the room and putting them in someone else's room.

Now, where did I come in? I was the one who set-up the last domino in the rally. After giving my advice on how the "crime scene" should look (based on typical thief habits), I sent a text message out at 10:30pm. It was sent to the resident and his roommate, but I made it seem like a mass text message. Here's what it said:
"Hey everybody! Sorry about the mass text message, but we've gotten reports that there are trespassers in the halls. We haven't caught anybody yet, but we're working on it. In the meantime, remember to lock your doors when you're not in your rooms, and to not let strangers into the halls. Stay safe!"
See? It's mostly just nebulous information coupled with some advice. Pretty believable (especially more believable than the original idea that I should call the resident personally to warn him). And it's good advice to follow anyway, with or without trespassers in the halls.

As fate would have it, the resident arrived at 12:15am (making a legitimate April Fool's Day joke) and found his room messed up. Unfortunately, he thought nothing of it; he's a college student after all. But after his roommate (who I was worried wouldn't be able to keep a straight face) asked where all the laptops were, he became...I guess you could say desperate. But before he could go report it, everyone appeared and showed him how he got prank'd!

He may have had a minute heart attack, but he'll be fine. ;)

Joke #2 - On The Lobotomist's Dream:
So, as some of you may remember, last year my April Fool's Day activity on TLD was my coming out of the closet. Of course, it was promptly changed the next day, adding a single - yet vital - word to it, so as to avoid any confusion.

I wanted to be a bit more all-encompassing this time, something a little less in-jokey. And, truth be told, I had thought this idea up last November. So it wasn't just a spur-of-the-moment thing. Basically, I thought to myself, "What if this blog was actually about Lobotomy?" And the rest fleshed itself out quite well.

You can read the post a little below this one (or just click here). However, you're still reading that with about 20 of my faces staring at you. Hence, I recommend you read it the way it was meant to be read, and that means going to the Alternate Lobotomist's Dream. (I apologize for the funky formatting; even though the Google Page Creator is cool, they don't allow you to control the base HTML of the pages.)

The most tedious part of this was making it so you couldn't see any of my other posts. On Blogger, you can do this by saving them, one by one, as drafts. Do that 230+ times (and again to publish them again) and you have yourself some grade-A frustration. The rest was relatively straightforward, and quite fun.

Some fun facts:
-The picture of "Dr. Frank Corlin" is actually some random doctor that got arrested for buying sex with pain medication (or, um, selling pain medication for sex; whatever, it's all bartering). I found it on, like, page 26 of an image search of "old doctor".
-I actually learned quite a bit about Lobotomy when researching for the joke.
-I don't know if you can tell, but there are several places that I would have used italics that Doc C used bold. I don't know, using bold for emphasis just seems like an old-person thing to do.
-I'm not sure, but someone may have actually thought it was legit. Look at this one comment I got:
It's an interesting argument..."why alter all of the brain when you can create an effect with a localized solution." I think that actually has merit.
I suggest you pursue this argument in your defense and compare the two with brutal honesty.
Now, this could have been someone I know continuing the joke (how could I tell; it's anonymous). However, if it was someone who did think I was for real, then that made my week! :D And perhaps I (or Doc C) will end up writing an argument to this extent.

THE JOKE'S ON ME 1: Okay, this is a little aside for things that happened that, while pulled by nobody in particular, came back to bite me in the butt. I kept my Alternate TLD up for two days. Why? Because I thought that nearly nobody had seen it on April Fool's Day. Why would I think something like that? Well, look at my Analytics report on visitors.
That's, like, a 98% drop in readership. I was livid! Why would people abandon me on Fun Day? It wasn't until I got the site back in normal working order that I realized the truth: when I switched the format of the site, I inadvertently deleted the Analytics measuring tool.


Joke #3 - On Elderly Apple:
Oftentimes, comics (both the traditional and web- variety) will do something crazy for April Fool's Day. However, Elderly Apple's a tough nut to crack. How exactly does one do a "crazy" comic when the whole goddamn series is just one big non-sequitur?

So, I decided I should change my medium. Instead of my normal marker/colored pencil combo, I went with Photoshop painting and a picture (a real picture!) of an apple (you have to stay true to your roots, dawg).

But, even as whimsical as EA usually is, there is some logic to the madness. I decided to throw that out the window, though, when I created WAAAAAAAHHH!!!

There's three instances of the word "WAAAAAAAHHH!!!" that I put in the comic; one in the picture itself, one in the picture's title (which you see by holding your cursor over the image on the main page; if you never knew about that, you're missing out on some of the better jokes), and of course, in my comment.

(P.S. If you have a good memory, you may remember me using a similar phrase before...)

Interestingly enough, an enlarged version of this comic is my current desktop background.

Not My Joke #1 - Youtube:
I probably got Rickrolled a dozen times on April Fool's Day.

What's that, you've never been Rickrolled? Here, let me assist you. Enjoy.

In case you didn't know, that was Rick Astley singing his hit 1987 song "Never Gonna Give You Up." As far as internet "trap" pranks, this is probably safest, cleanest, most wholesome of them all (and trust me, you don't want to know about the others). Basically, you set up an unrelated link that tricks people into watching Astley's soulful performance.

So, Youtube decided to pick up on this. On April 1st, every single one of the videos on their front page went to a video of "Never Gonna Give You Up." They even had created an entire profile for it.

Good fun. Except now I have a cheesy 80s song stuck in my head. The horror.

Not My Joke #2 - Google + Virgin = Virgle:
Google is always decent with their jokes, but I really have to hand it to them for their work this year in creating a much broader, more interactive prank. As always, it was simple; when you went onto Google, you saw a little link for something called Virgle, which is a cooperative effort between them and fellow giant company, Virgin. To do what, exactly? Well, to colonize Mars!

You know what, it's too involved for me to explain. Here, just go read it yourself. Go on. I can wait.

Finished reading? Good. Now, if you went through the whole thing, you'll be able to see that there were introduction videos by the co-founders of Google and Richard Branson. Now, I really like Richard Branson; always have. However, the Google boys (especially the gray-haired one) desperately need to work on their public speaking abilitities.

Now, you'll also see that you could send in a 30-second video response as a sort of "application" to become a Virgle pioneer. Now, there were 300+ videos responding to this. Half of them were well over 30 seconds, and about 85% of them were either totally crappy or the people didn't seem to understand that the whole thing was a joke. I decided to join along. Here's my entry.

(Oh, and here's a copy of that flag.) The hope was that I would get a "At least he's honest" acceptance into the program.

THE JOKE'S ON ME 2: Unfortunately, things didn't go as smoothly as planned. For some reason (and I still cannot figure out why), there was some technical problem preventing my video from being used as a reply to theirs. So I went through all that work, blood, sweat, toil, and heartache for nothing except a 3-star rating from some random jerk (I would have given it a 4, personally).

Okay, that's all. This is by no means the full extent of all that occurred on April Fool's Day, but it is a healthy sampling. And to think that I used to hate this holiday, an opportunity to have so much fun...shameful. In any event, I hope you enjoyed your April Fool's Day shenanigans. From Doc C and all of us here, take care and God Bless.


Anonymous said...

Ya know, I wouldn't never thought you would've emersed yourself in the internet culture, but yet, it is completely logical.

Yet, the majority of the internet culture is not for me. If I hadn't read this and I was Rickrolled, I probably would reply by saying they have the wrong link up. I guess I'll stay to political blogs, and of course this one and EA.

-Comrade Chavez

Anonymous said...


Most cheesey 80's music is better then what passes as good music today.

-Comrade Chavez