29 September 2017


 Well, how about that? It's my 11th blogaversary.

According to Blogger, my first post was 11 years ago today, and in that interval I've done just over 2,200 posts. However, in the past couple of years, my output has slowed down considerably due to various time constraints. I don't think I'll ever get back to posting every weekday; life just consumes more of my time these days, and the days go by faster than ever (a side effect of growing older). But I still have things I want to write about, so you're not rid of me (yet).

I get a couple of emails a month from people who have found their way here because of a post I did three and a half years ago about the ramp we had built for our dog, who want to know where they can get one built for their dog, how much it cost, if I will build one for them, etc. (Somehow one of my photos ended up on Pinterest and some people reference that, but in order to contact me directly they have to find my email address.) I always respond to these inquiries, because I want to help other dog owners if I can, so that's another incentive to keep the blog active, even if I'm not posting a lot.

Also, I started posting on Instagram about a month ago. I've been meaning to add a link over on the right, but I haven't gotten to it (surprise!). For now, you can find my contributions here; in the app, search for someassembly_required.

One more thing: if the title made you think this was going to be about Netflix's Stranger Things, sorry. But hey, season two is only four weeks away, and if somehow you didn't catch season one, it's only eight episodes and a lot of fun, especially if you're a fan of the work of Steven Spielberg, John Carpenter, Stephen King, or any of the other '80s sci-fi/horror/supernatural stuff to which it owes a great deal.

Anyway, the blogging will continue, albeit more sporadically. Now, I gotta get back to work...

25 September 2017

Festival of Disappointment

When George Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic are playing at a festival a couple of miles from your house--with food trucks and local craft brews--you go. But when your significant other has reached her crowd tolerance point and the headliner still hasn't gone onstage despite being half an hour behind schedule, you leave, unwillingly. At least I had a banh mi and a very tasty IPA...

09 September 2017

Cube Logic

I've found myself frequently thinking about posting, but obviously I don't do much here these days. My workload is lighter than it was last year, though I am wasting spending too much a significant amount of time commuting again.

So what's different? Since I am back at the same employer as before I was laid off (and back then I was posting something almost every weekday), I've been considering what's different this time. I would say the way this job is structured, I'm doing a little more than when I worked there before, but not a great deal more.

I think I know what it is: I was more physically isolated from my coworkers. For a good part of the time I worked there I was in an area where almost on one came into my cube, or if they did I would have heard them approaching. Even after I moved to another part of the office, there wasn't much foot traffic in my area, and even if someone did pass by, our cubicles had higher walls.

Now I work in an open area in a cube that's completely open on one side and has lower walls on the other three. Someone sits directly ahead of me and someone else sits directly behind me. Until yesterday someone sat directly across the aisle from me, and the person who sits in front of her and the person who sits in front of me both pass my desk numerous times a day. I have a larger monitor, and it's much more exposed to others.

How much a person can see of my screen depends on what angle they are looking from, but I still feel a lot more self-conscious about what I'm doing at any time during the day. People probably look at my screen less frequently than I might think they are; I don't pay much attention to what's on my coworkers' screens when I'm moving around the office. But still, it does feel like we're under greater scrutiny, or at least that it's possible to be, and this affects my online activity.

I could take advantage of my lunch hour to work on posts, and I'm going to see if I can do more of this. But now that summer is fading, I feel more inclined to go outside during lunch, to get some air and move around. I'm more aware of my health than I used to be, and I know that getting in some activity, even just walking, is beneficial, and it's also nice just to get away from the desk for a while.

But that still leaves the dilemma of when to post. I also go to bed earlier these days, and I spend time before bed getting my clothes ready for the next day. This is mainly so I don't have to get up quite as early. I used to prefer ironing my clothes in the morning, because it allows for last-minute changes of mind about outfit choices, but I've found that being able to get dressed quickly is also an advantage. With the unpredictability of the T, almost anything can ruin a commute, and it's better to leave earlier, both for a margin of error and because traffic and crowding aren't quite as bad.

So I get up a little later and I leave the house a little earlier, but it turns out that having a more compressed morning routine helps keep me focused, making it more likely that I'll hit my target time for being ready to leave. My weekdays are more structured in general, but I still don't have as much free time as I used to. I can probably still find time to write, but it means I'll have to exercise greater discipline.