Polluting Lake Louise

I’m not sure why I did it. Probably because I figured out how to do it and thought that it was pretty cool.

A coworker who sat across from me at the time had a picture of Lake Louise as the wallpaper on his computer. He, let’s call him Edgar, said that it was from a family vacation a few years ago.

Gosh knows why, but I got it into my head that it’d be cool to edit the picture so that Lake Louise looked all polluted. I also wanted to surprise Edgar with this.

Edgar didn’t usually walk away from his computer for extended periods so I needed a way to do this in multiple short steps. My plan was to:

  1. Get Edgar’s picture
  2. Take the copy home and edit it so that Lake Louise was all polluted
  3. Load the picture back onto Edgar’s computer

This was a simpler time back when Windows 95 ruled the earth and everybody had administrative rights to everyone else’s computers. To access Edgar’s computer, I needed its name. Fortunately, it was printed on a label on the side of the computer in large friendly letters, it became pretty easy to get a copy of lakelouise.jpg.

I emailed the file to my personal email account and edited it at my leisure at home. I was not using PhotoShop. I just used mspaint to crudely (ha!) paint a black oil slick and a black trapezoid that I labeled “Exxon Valdez”.

I sent the updated file back to work and tried to figure out how to make the polluted file Edgar’s wallpaper. I copied the original file on Edgar’s computer to something like lakelouise.jpg.unpolluted and then loaded my polluted version back where original had been.

When Edgar rebooted, the Exxon Valdez and its oil slick were all over Edgar’s computer screen.

For reasons that seem obvious to a lot of folks, Edgar immediately blamed me.

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