Tag Archive for office

Achievement Unlocked: New Workspace

After fixing two separate sinks with two separate problems this week, I decided to keep on with the handyman routine and build the new home office desk I’ve been thinking about for some time now.

New Floating Desk

Quick shot with the smartphone before I bury the surface with office stuff.

Total cost: about fifty bucks after I return an extra bracket I didn’t need. This is a 6′ x 23 1/4″ bullet-nose shelf from Menards, supported by a trio of commercial shelving braces mounted to the wall studs with cabinetry anchors. I thought I’d need more support toward the front of the desk, but I found braces long enough to do the job. I’ve inadvertently leaned on the edge a couple of times now and it doesn’t budge, so I’m calling it good.

I have a few extra holes around one brace because stud finders are bullshit. Turns out Bob Vila agrees, and I used his advice to measure from an electrical outlet to find the right location. Boom, braced. And it just now occurred to me that I put the stud finder right back in the tool kit it came with, apparently so I can make the same mistake next time. D’oh.

I have to thank my sons for helping me out, particularly the eldest who installed the last few wood screws to anchor the shelf/desk to the braces. We had a light lunch and were starving after the Menards trip, so we hit Taco Bell quick. The Volcano Burrito I ate gave me a huge headache and had me feverish and puking within an hour. We’d have been done a lot faster if I didn’t need breaks to worship at the porcelain altar between measuring, drilling and leveling.

I’m very happy with the result so far. It takes up far less space in my office, I mounted it at a more comfortable height, and it will give me a lot more work surface to play with. I also see now that I need to rethink my wall decorations; everything is up high due to the huge frame of my old corner desk. 

My original vision included a small space to use as a standing desk for occasional work on the iPad or laptop, but that would take up far too much workspace and would require more carpentry work than it’s worth. It also turns out I can buy an Ikea Norbo for $30 and mount it in a separate spot if I really want one. The Norbo wouldn’t match my desk surface, but I’m typically a function-over-form guy. Heck, look at the sand-colored walls and blue carpeting I inherited from the previous homeowner; one year I really will get around to changing all that. I can live with the paint, but there’s also a birdhouse wallpaper border that has to go.

It wasn’t the lazy Sunday I’d originally planned, but I’ll call it a successful Sunday despite Taco Hell. I’m looking forward to putting this thing to the test with some writing sessions over the next few days.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Photo Friday 2: The Guardian

And now an extra entry to get back on track now that vacations and trips and such are all over.

The Guardian

The Guardian

This guy used to sit on my old CRT monitor. However, he’s too big for LCD monitors and iMacs, so now he keeps watch on my bookshelf.

Shot with 50mm prime lens, natural light. I see I have some learning to do in regards to noise reduction, but I like the gargoyle’s texture.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

“This Office… is Clean”

I’ve been working on my organization skills since I last talked about it a month ago, and I’ve been making some progress.

The day job office now looks like this:

This Office... is Clean

The wires are supposed to look like that. Really.

I’m kind of shocked myself. I don’t think I’ve even seen the floor since summer. Here’s another look at the “before” picture:

Disaster Area

Actual quote: "Mike, this is a fire hazard."

The only reason it took this long is I’m a one-man shop for three buildings and I’ve been insanely busy, especially with some new testing programs. I just tackled a little bit at a time and made my way around the whole office, and finally got to the point I can actually walk around again. It already feels a lot better.

The home office is next. I’ve made some progress there, too, but I’ve still got a little way to go. There’ll be some more shredding, some more bookshelf organizing, and then I’ll be just about done. Then I guess I owe you a picture.

On the plate for the rest of December? Time management. I’m not waiting for a New Year’s resolution to start, I need to get my ass in gear. I’ve got to deliver The Pack: Lie with the Dead and I’ve got two short stories due before February. I think a big help here will be ditching DirecTV, but most of it is just going to be me redeveloping good work habits. I’ve been sweating way too many things that are largely out of my control, and losing sight of the Big Picture of my writing career. Now that I’ve reined in a lot of that crap, my motivation is returning.

Speaking of motivation, good reviews don’t hurt. Check out what Musings of a Dark Intruder had to say about The Pack: Winter Kill. I can’t wait to hear what guys like Neal have to say about Lie with the Dead.

Guess I best get back to work on it.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Disorganized & Discombobulated

I’ve always been an organized chaos kind of guy. My desk tends to be covered with paperwork, for example, both at work and at home. I also keep tools nearby, be it computer repair gadgets, note-taking and outlining tools, or photography gear. Most people look at it and see a mess, but to me I’ve got everything close at hand.

The problem with a “system” like that is the moment you fall behind, the piles get bigger and quickly overwhelm the rest of the office. Following the events of the past few months, I now have two offices overflowing with crap.

Disaster Area

This is where the bodies are hidden

The organized chaos then becomes an impediment to productivity. My home office then starts to feel like a burden rather than a blessing, and the day job starts to look overwhelming. It doesn’t help that the kids sometimes play in my home office, thus adding to the mess, and at work I just came off the busiest time of year, the start of the school year. Pretty soon I look around and don’t even know where to start, and I’m tempted to just turn on the television or open up Firefox and veg out.

I’ve finally had enough (again). Clean-up started in the home office yesterday and at work today. By the end of the week I hope to have an After picture that looks much nicer, and maybe a picture of the home office that doesn’t make me look like a total slob. Old books that didn’t sell at the garage sale will get packed away so the bookshelf will be neater. Old electronics — in both offices — will be hauled to recycling. All the old paperwork gets tossed, shredded, or burned, depending upon their content.

I’ve only made small dents so far, but it already feels a lot better. I kept telling myself I’d get to them after the major projects I’ve been concentrating on, I’d get to it when I have time. The problem with thinking like that is there’s always another major project. If it’s not rolling out computer images, it’s installing a lab or preparing for testing. If it’s not the Winter Kill sequel, it’ll be Sick Day or Chimaera. Time to end that backward thinking.

Any other writers out there in the same boat, it may be a good time to join me in the fall cleanup because National Novel Writing Month is a week away! I’ll be wrapping another book so I won’t be eligible this year, but best of luck to those of you participating. Start stacking the deck in your favor now.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Snow Day!

The snow came in heavy last night, resulting in a school closing today and a day off for me. With tonight’s high winds, I may even have the day off tomorrow, too.

The trick, then, is capitalizing on the bonus time and being productive with other projects. Today I decided to get back to work on my pig sty of an office. I put a dent in things, but there’s still a ways to go.

As much as I like having an office, I don’t spend near enough time in there. I’m trying to get to the point where I get some writing business done every day, be it writing, plotting, editing, or even just research. However, I’ve not been very successful due to a combination of both things outside my control and a general lack of discipline. I’ve been trying to do it from a laptop in the living room, but the temptation to spend time with the family or stare at the television has trumped discipline.

When I go into the office, though, I only see all of the other work that needs to be done. I see the mounds of paperwork on the desk, and the comics the kids scattered around the floor. I see the unopened comics shipments and stacks of books that don’t fit on the shelves. I see the miscellaneous junk the wife finally got tired of seeing in the kitchen, and the various electronics I’ve squirreled away for no particular reason.

I don’t stare at the monitor, I stare at all that other shit.

It’s time to shake things up. There’s no guarantee it’ll solve my discipline problem, of course, but it’s a step in the right direction.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.