In Depth Analysis: CalculatedRisk Newsletter on Real Estate (Ad Free) Read it here.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

A Very Nerdy Christmas

by Tanta on 12/25/2007 09:27:00 AM


From Mortgage Pig™.

I suppose this requires some explanation. Many years and versions of Excel ago, I was in some interminable conference call--I believe we were discussing general ledger interface mapping for HUD-1 line items regarding undisbursed escrow items on the FHA 203(k) in the servicing system upload, or perhaps we were watching paint dry--when I experienced one of those evolutionary breakthroughs for which the human race is justly famous. I stopped doodling on my legal pad and started defacing my spreadsheet. In a word, Excel Art was born.

An entire running gag developed, centered on the character of Mortgage Pig and his Adventures. The Pig you see above is a newer version; the old Pig didn't wear lipstick (old pig was developed before we started selling loans to Wall Street). You can, of course, print these images, but outside of the context of viewing them in Excel, they simply become primitive, childlike doodles of no particular resonance. Viewing them as a spreadsheet, on the other hand, makes them profoundly amusing. Really. There's just nothing like sending someone a file named "GL Error Recon 071597" and having a pig pop up when the workbook is opened for a knee-slapping good time. If you're a hopeless Nerd with no particular aesthetic sensibilities.

Our own regular commenter bacon dreamz, who is also accomplished with Word Art, has (woe betide his employer) become adept at Excel Art as well, under my provocation, and has developed a way cool variation, Excel Movies. This involves creating a large number of worksheets with tediously copied and edited images that, when you ctrl-page down rapidly, create crude animation. It takes a very long series of conference calls to produce a really good Excel Movie, but it can be done. Unfortunately they're hard to display on a blog post. You'll have to take my word for it that they're hysterical.

I wanted to give you all a little Christmas present. Those of you who spend large portions of your day on conference calls with a spreadsheet in front of you and have no consciences will, I hope, be inspired to create your own Excel Art, so that a drab, utilitarian, sometimes soul-destroying corporate existence may be enlivened with wit, creativity, and expropriation of exploited labor. For those of you who don't use Excel, I hope Santa brought you a new box of crayons.

Happy Holidays to all of you.

UPDATE: Because you wanted to know what was on sheet 3.