The Desk of Holding

Given that I have little or nothing to report on today (yet again), I thought it might be fun to pull one of the “amusing to the author” exercises out of my ass. I’m going to describe the contents of the desk I’m sitting at in the junk room, sweeping from left to right.

First we have our middle daughter’s mobile phone, which has been absent mindedly left on the corner of the desk. If I was an overtly controlling parent I would be reading through her conversations with friends to see what she’s been doing, but I’m not quite that bad (yet). We don’t really have that much to worry about – she’s not 13 yet, so hasn’t been allowed to join any of the social websites such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or whatever. Yes, we are those parents that read the terms and conditions, and use it as an excuse to protect her from the vapid, shallow, mean, horrific children that she crosses paths with every day. If I had my way, Facebook would have an 18 entry bar.

Next up is the “Bazinga” wallet my eldest daughter bought me for Christmas a couple of years ago. When I get in from work each day I invariably drop everything on the corner of this desk (if I can get to it – sometimes little people hog the computer to watch TV shows on Netflix). The wallet raises smiles in meetings if I have to get anything out of my pocket – you just don’t expect somebody in a suit to pull a bright red wallet from their pocket with the Flash logo on it.

Alongside the wallet is a phone handset that should really be on a base station in the kitchen. It isn’t there because I called the Chinese takeaway twenty minutes ago to get them to deliver something for dinner. The kids ate earlier this evening – for once we have split the meal times – a very rare event around here.

The wallet is accompanied by my keys. I don’t have many keys – perhaps four or five – and they are attached to a carabiner (rock climbing clip thing). Also attached to the keys is a keyring with a block of binary code on it. If you’re really nerdy, you quickly figure out the binary represents the ASCII codes for “DADDY”. The kids bought it me for my birthday one year.

Behind the keys is an oversized mug emblazoned with “Life Begins at 40” in giant writing. The mug is filled with an assortment of earphones for mobile phones, pens, pencils, and assorted detritus from the desk. I’ve just spotted a memory card for a Nintendo Gamecube nestled among the jumble of bits and pieces.

Behind the mug stands a weird figurine of Superman that came with a LootCrate many moons ago. LootCrate is a company that sends out boxes filled with random crap every month to subscribers. I had a subscription for a year, mostly by accident because we either kept forgetting to cancel it, or because we couldn’t figure out how to cancel the subscription. Most of the stuff that arrived in the boxes has been given away to friends.

Next up are two external hard drives with glowing strip lights on the front that makes them either look like 1980s vintage Cylons from Battlestar Galactica, or components from Michael Knight’s car “Kitt”. I’m not entirely sure what’s on them any more. There used to be three hard drives, but one got cannibalised when the old desktop machine (affectionately known as “Trigger’s Broom”) last had a hardware failure.

Skipping past the monitor and keyboard, because there’s nothing of consequence to really say about them, we arrive at the Raspberry Pi. The little computer that can. It’s been switched on more-or-less constantly since the day it arrived in the post, and is filled with all manner of educational stuff for the kids. Our middle girl has been learning “Python” at school, so I really should get her using it again. For some time I considered using it as a desktop computer replacement – it’s easily powerful enough.

The Raspberry Pi has a spare keyboard attached to it, that leans across the back of the desk on a stack of “desk tidy” shelves. Here’s the thing about the neat stacks of shelves people buy to put on desks – they slowly fill up with old letters, magazines, and printouts until there is no more room, and then you never use that part of the desk again, aside from stacking more and more stuff on top of the already full shelves until it threatens to topple over and kill somebody.

In front of the desk tidy are a pair of bike pedals (random, I know) – bought when I replaced my bike because I read somewhere that the bike might not come with any. Of course it arrived with pedals attached, so now I have a spare pair.

Finally, the far side of the desk is covered with a “Procrastinator” pad that my other half bought me for Christmas. It’s kind of a big desk jotter pad, but the margin is filled with things to do in case you get bored. Time wasting prompts, if you will. The pad invariably gets filled with menu selections for take-away food, or unintelligible scribbled doodles while waiting for the computer to do things, or while talking on the phone.

So there you have it – a tour of the random stuff that populates the desk in the junk room. The desk I’m sitting at right now. With a little luck the Chinese food I ordered earlier will arrive in a few minutes, so I should probably wrap this up.

If you read this whole post, you possibly need to review how you spend your time – or ask me for a medal. I don’t have any, but you can ask.

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