hey, you! psst! need some colored plastic bricks?

We need an appropriate thug handle for this guy, who got busted for sticking his own bar codes on LEGO boxes and then fencing the discounted sets on eBay.

The puzzling part is that he’s a VP with SAP in the Bay area. The article says that he sold thirty grand worth of LEGO sets on eBay, but that’s chump change for someone who likely makes a quarter million a year. I’m guessing it’s a mental thing–some people have weird compulsions. Either that, or it was for the thrill–a middle-aged exec version of base-jumping. Having sold stuff on eBay before, I’m not sure I’d want to deal with shipping thirty grand worth of plastic bricks to hundreds of buyers if my day job nets me 20k+ a month.

What a German White Boy crime, though. I wonder how he’ll rank in the prison hierarchy?

“What are you in for?”

“Armed robbery, aggravated assault. You?”

“Uh…fencing LEGOs.”

the standing desk, one year later.

Last May, I started the big standing desk experiment to help me beat my by-then chronic sciatica into submission. I started out with a coffee table on top of my regular desk, and a month or so later, I liberated two standing desks from Borders at their Everything-Must-Go sale. That means I’ve been using a standing desk as my main workspace arrangement for twelve months now, so I figured it would be a good opportunity for a long-term opinion on the whole standing desk thing.

After a year of standing up to work, I wouldn’t want to go back to a chair. In fact, whenever I do sit down in an office chair, my lower back and butt start to get progressively more uncomfortable, until I get to the point where I have to stand up and move around again after ten or fifteen minutes. It took about two or three weeks for my legs and feet to get used to all the standing, and for the first month I had a bar stool nearby so I could rest my lower chassis for a bit whenever things started hurting a bit. After a month or so, my legs adjusted, and then I was able to stand pretty much for eight or ten hours without problems.

You don’t really stand for that long in front of the standing desk, which is sort of the point. You shift your weight and change positions all the time, and it’s very easy to step back from your work, stretch or do a lap around the room, and then get back to your work, all without the inertia inherent in having to push back the chair and getting out of it. I feel less fatigued during the day, and the afternoon slump is no more.

What has it done for my back? I am pain- and symptom-free the majority of the time. In the last few months, I’ve had two instances of careless lifting where I tried to move heavy boxes by myself without help, and both times I gave myself that stabbing pain in the lower back that usually gets progressively worse and then sidelines me for a few days. This time, I kept moving and walking after the incident, and in both instances, the pain had subsided completely within a few hours. I really do think that standing at my desk for a year has strengthened the muscles in my lower back enough to keep things on the straight and narrow, as it were, although I’ll always have to be careful with heavy lifting and remembering to bend the knees and not the back.

So yeah–standing desk? Huge fan, and definite convert. If you have lower back issues at all, you may want to give the standing setup a try. Just give it a week or two at first, because during the first few days, your brain and your feet will definitely insist that it’s a dumb idea, that you OMG CAN’T WORK LIKE THAT, and why don’t we sit the hell down already? Also, get one of those rubber anti-fatigue floor mats to stand on, and your feet will thank you, especially if you have laminate or hardwood floors in the house.

I mentioned that I have two standing desks from the old Borders in town. I got to keep one, and the second one has been confiscated by my dear wife, who is also a standing desk convert now. She’s thinking about requesting a standing setup for work as well. And a bonus benefit is the fact that the standing desks clutter up the place less than the regular desks we had in the living room before. The standing desks have a smaller footprint–both of them side by side are just a little bigger than my old office desk by itself–and you don’t need to use the space in front of them for chairs.


a good dog.

With the current construction at Castle Frostbite, a large part of the porch area is strewn with various bits of handyman detritus. On Thursday, our old dachshund matriarch Guinevere took advantage of an open door and went out there to explore. She came back in with a three-inch gash in her chest, inflicted by a nail sticking out of a board somewhere. While she was very unconcerned about the hole in her chest, being able to look into your dog is generally a cause for owner concern, so I went to the doggie ER with her at 10pm.

Guin has always been a tough-as-nails dog. She shrugs off injuries, and getting poked with needles at the vet doesn’t even make her flinch. The vet examined her as she was on her side on the table, and she didn’t even stir when the vet poked around the wound.

“This doesn’t seem to bother her at all,” the vet said. “I bet she’d let me stitch her up with just local anesthetic instead of having to put her under.”

“You don’t know this dog,” I said. “She’d probably let you do it without any anesthetic at all.”

So they scooped her up and brought her into the surgery room in the back, and fifteen minutes later, Guin was all sutured up. When the vet brought her out, they praised her incredible stoicism.

“I clipped her nails when we were done with the stitches,” the vet tech said. “The expression on her face when she saw the clippers was all like, ‘Are you freakin’ kidding me?’ Then she just put her head back down and sighed as if to say, ‘Whatever, let’s just get this over with.”

Guin will be fifteen this year. She’s still the queen of the pack, but these days she delegates much of the perimeter security patrolling to her offspring while she takes long naps in warm and cozy spots. She gave birth to seventeen puppies, three of which are living with us. She has raided countless trash cans, and she’s the only dog I’ve ever known who has figured out how to open child safety latches on cabinets. I hope she’ll be with us for a bit longer, and we’ll miss her when she’s gone, because there’s no other dog like her. Proudly defiant, bold to the point of rashness, yet loyal and loving and entirely admirable for her almost cat-like independent spirit.

Here she is, hanging out in front of the pellet stove:

And here’s young master Henry photobombing his grandmother:

housekeeping note.

To keep comment spam down, I’ve set the control panel to require comment approval for your first comment. Once you’ve left a comment and it has been approved, further ones don’t require approval. So if your comment doesn’t show up right away, have patience–I have to manually clear them.


tiny dinosaurs.

The girls are getting big. They’re now roaming outside of their coop, but they tend to stay very close. (For the chicken experts–we have five Barred Rock hens and five Ameraucanas.)

hello there. mind the moving boxes.

I’ve moved the blog over to its own domain on the server space we already rent. Hosting my own blog gives me a little bit more latitude with WordPress, and it means you won’t get served with ads at the bottom of each post.

My old blog’s export file is too big for the WordPress import tool, so until I can figure out how to get all the old content imported into the new blog, you’ll need to go back to the old digs to search for archived content.