I’m not saying it’s done, or that it will ever be “done,” but my new post-laser-cutter desk is up and running. I’m thankful for two things: One, not having that laser stare at me and telling me that I should make more use of it. And two, having a whole category of my life lopped off brutally, allowing me to focus on other things. If there’s a three, it’s about having a little financial slack to solve a few problems, thus clearing my endless mental list even further. I can thank my good friend Kevin for buying the laser, which is the best of both worlds. I can still get to it if I need it, but I freed up enough space in my overtaxed garage to create a decent space to write. These are, incidentally, the very first words written on my new desk. Yep, in classic Jim fashion, I built it myself. I like design, and building, and the problem solving that goes with it. Also,. in classic Jim fashion, a large portion of the thing is built from reclaimed material. In this case, our once-greenhouse is now incorporated into my desk. As my friend and master builder, Dan, says, “Never throw away plywood.”

The plywood in question came from cabinets in the potting room. I gave them a coat of hideous pale green paint a couple of years ago, you know, that thick paint that will happily cover anything from wood to spider egg sacks without hesitation, which I now get to remove laboriously with a fine tuned block plane and random orbital sander. All of which is now holding up a nice 1.5mm plywood veneer that, ironically, would have been effortless to cut with the aforementioned laser cutter, but I had to cut with more traditional methods. Hello again, router and plane and sander.

Anyhow, this desk is for two things. Writing and media production, mostly music. In a real way, this is a major backtrack for me. I’ve always built things, but the last five years has been intense in terms of high precision building. Lesson learned. I’m good at it, but Dan and Kevin are both better. Neither one of them can write or market or produce media, though. Back to what I do best, I guess.

Once again, It has been awhile.

I’ve been known to say that writing is mostly about the art of mind management. If I’ve said it here, then I apologize for the repetition. Having not been dedicated to keeping this blog fresh, I could have said almost anything and wouldn’t remember.

Interesting how tricky that art actually is…

My mind has been wrapped in two concepts for the past five years, which just incidentally – or not so incidentally – encompasses the span of time since I published the Renewal series. Concept one has been about the short term next paycheck. I’m sure we all live in that space. Concept two has been about making things. In particular, making drones, UAVs, all of which amounted to a bizarre string of availability of technology and my ethic of obligation, which in turn became an ethic of not throwing away hard won expertise.

Well, the lessons from that evolution come down to a simple disaster. One, don’t start a business with good friends. The one who dragged me into it has disappeared from my life and I can’t for the life of me figure out what I did wrong. Two, everyone short of Paul Allen trying to make a go of the drone industry is bug nuts crazy. Run away! Having become something of an expert in the field, it’s hard to walk away, and it gets harder with every passing day. However, I find myself spread as thin as one of those restaurant foil wrapped pats of butter on an entire loaf of toast, and I finally came to terms with just walking away from five years of dedicated effort. I sold my laser cutter. I’m selling my UAV parts and pieces, and I am looking forward to a nice clean slate for sitting down and finishing up a whole lot of writing.

Thanks to the proceeds from the laser, I have a nice new office chair which allows me to sit down without an intricate dance of leaning fore and aft, waiting for the woefully inadequate upright pin to slip loose, hoping for a comfortable position without bringing in the auxiliary pillow. Sorry $80 Costco chair: you suck! It’s amazing how much comfort can help, particularly in the throes of middle age. When discussing the subject of working comfort, the apparent fashionable thing  nowadays is to say, “You should get a standing desk.” Thanks. If you knew how much of Renewal was written while standing, you would understand that I did standing desks before they became a “thing” that falls into the same exalted category as political correctness. I get it. Sitting is the new smoking. Frankly, being of yeti genetics and bigfoot stature, it would be far easier to forget about sitting altogether. The only problem is that standing is not as comfortable as sitting. For me, it’s also not as conducive to thought or flow. All to say that some company is going to collect money from me for the rest of my life, since I can destroy a “Big and Tall” office chair in two years with no real effort on my part. The current victim of my mass is a Serta Hensley, known at Office Depot as an executive 10-12 hour per day chair. Given the $100 dollars off for Labor Day, I’ll take a risk on their definition. I have the same problem with office chairs that I do with shirts. Massively long torso and stubby legs. Someday, I’ll find a chair with a back high enough to support my head, and  on that day, I will have found nirvana. Until then, we’ll see how long she lasts. Feel free to start a betting pool.