Tips for planning your ship party

Not saying how I know these things. Just making a little list for reference.

  • If you plan on staying dry, do not hold the party near a fountain. (Note that fountain avoidance is a necessary but not sufficient criterion.)
  • Corollary: If your team members have an armory of super soaker water cannons, and you plan on staying dry, then absolutely do not hold the party near a fountain.
  • Unrolled spools of bubble wrap are a poor choice of equipment when trying to climb from the lobby to the upper floor balcony.
  • After discovering that bubble wrap is unsuitable for climbing, do not upend a glass table in an attempt to gain a higher starting point.
  • A contest to see who can run and break through a plaster wall is not a recommended choice of impromptu amusement.
  • Do not throw a couch from the upper floor balcony. Not even if it's on fire.
  • Costco underwear does not count as swim trunks.
  • Do not have a tug of war over a vat of Jell-O.
  • The expensive sculpture outside your building is not a water storage tank in need of refilling.
  • Exercise caution when driving your motorcycle through the halls. The carpet damage from your burnout can be repaired, but the patches never really look the same.
  • On the day of the ship party, do not wear a nice suit. You might be thrown into the back of a pick-up truck and buried in ice.

Bonus: Other lessons learned.

Comments (31)
  1. John says:

    I'm confused.  Is the first tip about getting wet or getting drunk?

  2. Mott555 says:

    "Not saying how I know these things."

    It's not fair to say that before posting that list! It sounds like a great story.

  3. devdimi says:

    Man I wish I worked for Microsoft…

  4. Wladimir Palant says:

    Now we only need to know which product Microsoft finished around 18 months ago. I first thought of Windows 7 but that is too young for your blog queue. :)

  5. Christopher says:

    Happy anniversary, Windows 95!

    Raymond, I think you forgot the rule: "Do not taunt that other big product group who hasn't shipped yet, even if they are only a few buildings away."

    [And its corollary: "If you are still dripping wet from having jumped in a fountain, then definitely do not taunt the other big product group by running through their building screaming at the top of your lungs." -Raymond]
  6. fahadsadah says:

    Can I come to your next ship party?

  7. AngelBlaZe says:

    Pics or it didn't happen.

    Aside. If this did happen at Microsoft a) more software would ship more often b) recruitment would be up.

  8. I'm either amazed or saddened about the number of events listed above that I personally witnessed.  Of course the first two could apply to any number of parties so…

  9. Aaron says:

    I was a college intern during the Win 95 ship party.   This sounds like an accurate description of everything that happened then.  I'll also throw in:  Do not allow Motorcycles in the hallways. They leave deep burns in the carpet, and melted/burnt carpet smells REALLY bad.

  10. CodeOrDie says:

    For a good two minutes I understood the title as "Tips for planning your party which will be hosted on a boat."

    By the third tip, I was utterly baffled.

  11. Bob says:

    These all sound like fantastic ideas.

    That is, at long as you plan to be the sober one keeping out of the way and taking pictures, rather than the one going to be taken away in an ambulance. Most of them sound like they had to be thought of by drunk people.

  12. benjamin says:

    I'm with CodeOrDie. The prospect of a burning couch on a cruise ship is kind of terrifying. As far as I know fire (and iceburgs, I guess, nice dichotomy there) is the number one threat on ships.

  13. Neil (SM) says:

    Okay, who invited the Minnesota Vikings to this ship party?

  14. Toaster says:

    WTF? *completely confused*

  15. [ Not saying how I know these things. ]

    Now you *must* tell the whole story. :)

  16. JamesNT says:

    Mr. Chen,

    Words cannot express the horrific jealousy I am feeling at this moment.  To work for Microsoft, creating software used by BILLIONS of people, must be a daily adrenaline rush.


  17. Nick says:

    "Costco underwear does not count as swim trunks."

    What is this I don't even

  18. Cooney says:

    So, um, Raymond… Are there any pics floating around of some guy in the back of a pickup buried in ice?

    My money's on either you or valentine.

  19. Miral says:

    My mind boggles.  Especially since I too first read the title like CodeOrDie.

  20. Mike Dunn says:

    This wasn't a ship party, but the mention of "break through a plaster wall" reminded me of something my team once did. We had an old lab that was the size of about 6 cubes. A new larger one opened, and the team members got to go into the old lab with hammers and other assorted tools and tear down the walls. This was a jolly good idea.

    We even found some spray paint and started tagging the walls, until we realized that the paint was getting into the air conditioning vents and drifting into neighboring offices.

    And coincidentally, I later ended up sitting in a cube in the space formerly occupied by that lab.

  21. Max Lybbert says:

    I had the same problem as CodeOrDie.

    I would amend the item "Do not throw a couch from the upper floor balcony. Not even if it's on fire." to "*Especially* if it's on fire.  If something is on fire, use a fire extinguisher, fire hoses, or something else to put it out; this makes far more sense than spreading the fire to more places."

    ["Not even" is funnier because it implies that somebody thinks that the couch being on fire is a valid excuse for having thrown it over the balcony. By explaining the joke, I've now ruined it. -Raymond]
  22. Worf says:

    Damn… I'm guessing should I be around for one of these things to bring my Nomex flightsuit (= fire protection) and rain gear or something.

    Bubblewrap? Couches on fire? Glass tables?!?!

    I think productivity at Microsoft would drop now as everyone hunts for the machine holding the pics.

  23. Worf says:

    Whoops. Forgot about motorcycles in the hallway too… wtf?

  24. Craig says:

    Wow, Microsoft makes college seem tame! :)

  25. Mister Go says:

    Do you have "End of Support" parties in Microsoft?

  26. Morten says:

    I'll have to say like they usually do at Playmobil reconstruction or it didn't happen. Create a diorama (or possibly several – sounds like there was much incident and plenty of fracas) and take it out whenever someone is interviewed for a new position. "Do you think you could survive this? No? Thank you for coming."

  27. Dave Whitney says:

    I've got video of the Jello tug-of-war. Need to get it into the computer somehow…

  28. peterchen says:

    Sounds like you / the guys had a lot of fun!

    re: Now I've runined the joke – Raymond

    On the contrary, you enabled massk market exploitability with a whole range of jokes appealing to different market segments (burning pregnant wombats, burning lawyers, burning X collectible cards). Which might ruin the joke.

  29. Erik Schwiebert says:

    I'll add "Do not leave large vats of salad dressing around where drunk engineers can find them."  Bldg 17 atrium reeked of ranch dressing for weeks after the Office 97 ship party.

  30. Bear & Bunny says:

    Being stuffed is not a reason to disrespect an animal.

  31. Hasta la vista says:

    Definitely not Vista release party.

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