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March 6th, 2010 - Dormancy

Geez, talk about disenfranchised. Every time I think that I'm part of something, it turns out that it's actually "just down the road."
So now where does that leave me? Am I a 'Nawtheastana...?'

Anyway, as you may have noticed owing to the serious gap between postings (exactly a month, the shame. Cover my face to the paparazzi) that it looks as though things may have become, shall we say, 'a bit dormant' in the Infinite Universe.
The definition for dormancy is "a period in an organism's life cycle when growth, development, and (in animals) physical activity is temporarily stopped."  The beginning may be true, but I can assure you, the bit about physical activity is not. Again, harking back to my last post, we are in the middle of "The Great Move," which is taking us from Minneapolis to Milwaukee after bring planted, rooted, and seeded in the same house here in Minneapolis for eleven years.
I have been finding out every day for the last few weeks just how deeply embedded we actually were. The roots go down, down, down. As deep into the mini-storages, basements, and cobwebby closets of material possessions and things that 'seemed to be a good idea at the time' as you can go. I have devolved about as far back into a Cro-Magnon scrap-dealing, metal-hauling, drooling hulk of a crazed shop-vacuuming hunchback as I can go, without becoming an invertebrate, which is probably my next stop along the de-evolutionary railroad line. That is if I even attempt to stand up straight and walk on two legs again, which I'm finding may not be all that efficient for this sort of thing anyway.
Just two people, various cats, and a dog in one house for eleven years wouldn't be bad, or I should say, would be bad enough, but when one of those people (yours truly) has a specialty photographic parts and service business involving several thousand pounds of um, 'metal stuff', a workshop, a bicycle obsession, a photography obsession, collections of various vinyl record albums, comic books, doo-dads and bric-a-brac, two libraries, and a pack-rat complex, all bets are off. Things multiply exponentially. Logarithmically. Repeatedly. Ludicrously.
Today I woke up thinking, "I wonder what our 'saturation density-factor' in this house actually was...?" I mean, it's a finite space right? It's not the Tardis. There is probably a 'saturation density-factor' for kitsch-hoarding little old ladies, and we were WAY past that. At what point do you become a solid?
Anyway, there has been a lot of moving involved in this move.
Even though I knew I would be paying the piper some day, I just never thought it would be for all my sins at once, but I guess that's how it works.
Enough about that. The mass-reduction goes on. I have until the end of March. Then the universe implodes. Sorry to ruin the surprise for you.
On the 'up side', the shifting about of the tectonic plates of personal crap has scared the dog but freed up both space and materials to consolidate various pieces of furniture into a new desk for myself.
Since Sharon has decided to break from the herd and get her OWN DESK, (some cheap piece of Target junk or the like, that I will most likely end up assembling and cursing the whole time, see, this is what I have become) I took this opportunity to create my own custom-made, 'Desk To End All Desks' (hey, that's "DEAD" heh) as it's been called by Hannah, the volunteer at the Wood Lake Candlelit Ski Nights when she heard tell of my plan.
Since I am giving up my current glorious workshop in our move to the new ignominious apartment compartment, I am trying to take any opportunities 'in my free time' to get my last sawing, pounding, and mess-making in before I turn back into an apartment-dweller again.
So here is the latest morph of my 'ultimate desk' (with what I currently have to work with.)
It's actually (at least) three pieces of furniture cobbled into 'one'. It began as a two computer work table that Sharon and I shared, I built it to fit the wall space and to have both of our desktops side-by-side.
Here you can roughly see it in the background. It's that big flat thing with all the stuff on it. No, not THAT one, the one behind that. It served the purpose pretty well, but I had always visualized building the ultimate computer desk as sort of a retro-throwback to a roll-top desk, with the pigeonholes and cabinetry made to fit a computer setup and brought into the 21st century. With a roll-top to keep the dust off the monitor, and cats and visiting children out of my stuff and everything.
I later found that you can buy unfinished pre-made roll-top louvered assemblies from woodworking places to make your own roll-top desk, and ultimately, this is what I would like to do, given a blank check and all the time and space in the world to build it.
For now, this is what I came up with:

(#1) I cut down the old table and contoured the front so that I could roll my office chair in further, enabling me to put my feet up on the rear cross-piece during typing, regardless of chair height, a crucial requirement. To this cross-piece footrest I added two inches of Ensolite high-density campmat foam (#2), for barefoot comfort. I rounded off the corners of the desktop (#3). I don't know why I didn't do this earlier, I think because I wanted to get away with just putting a straight piece of wooden molding across the front instead of some type of flexible desk edging, which can be problematic and what is really the missing link right now.
I also cut apart this weird army green shelving unit (#4) that we used to store cassette tapes in, (I know, cassette tapes, look it up if you don't know what they are, kids) this was a cool thing I bought at a thrift store a long time ago that was full of pigeonholes for the keys to an entire insurance company on one side (at least that's what it says on the bottom) and nice straight, narrow shelves, perfect for tapes on the other.
Basically I cut it in half, flipped around one side to create an upright that is half pigeonholes and half straight shelves, and bolted that whole mess to the new desktop with 1/2" threaded rod, hidden from view due to the cool nature of the depth of the shelving.
I also chopped up an ancient three-tiered drawer unit (#5) that came from the parts department of the local Montgomery Wards store (look it up) that my dad worked at in Ashland, Wisconsin for over half of his life.
This I inset into the drawn-in framework of the old table, so that it sits directly on the floor. This is nice as it adds to the stability of the whole rig, and you can pull out the entire cabinet assembly separately to move the desk without moving added weight of the cabinet, or to get easy access to the back for wiring, etc., something that always pisses me off about furniture for computers: it's never easy to get at the crucial wiring and make changes to your machines without crawling into a little cave and smashing your head on something or necessitating taking the whole thing apart.
Cursed things. This got me thinking that I should also swap my computer over to the left side so that the side of the CPU box that opens is exposed, so I did that (#6). It's weird to turn your computer on with your left hand after years of turning it on with your right, but hey, it's for the greater good.
To add some final functionality, I of course designed it to put my scanner and printer within handy reach without compromising  too much desktop space (#7)(god help me if we ever buy new equipment), and included my usual little custom doodad hangers for the iPod charger cable, cell-phone charger, camera-battery charger, charger-charger, etc. (#8)
Not shown are the power outlet strips implanted along the bottom framework, and bolted down because I hate when you pull a plug out and 19 other things get yanked off of the desk with it, and the mouse hole in the center of everything cut big enough to pass any size cable and connector through to avoid those "hey, I got a new gizmo, I'd really like to plug it in but it won't fit through the friggin' desktop hole" moments. I also offset the tabletop hole with the hole in the cubbys, so that you're not looking down at your toenails.
It ain't exactly a Spanish Colonial oak masterpiece, but at least it's the beginning of form following my function.
Next time, I'm bringing out the spindles and parquetry.


buthidae said...

Where's the cup holder?

dignature said...

That comes out of the computer when I push the button.

buthidae said...

Ah, Of course. You must drive a PC.