They Say a Desktop Tells a Story : LUSENET : Naked Eye : One Thread

This question was asked on a list I once subscribed to and I liked it a lot because I got a good feel for what everyone was all about based on their answers.

What's on the desk in front of you? What stuff surrounds you when you do your computing?

-- Catherine (, October 22, 1999


To my left: a bottle of Tylenol Extra Strength, a box of dislettes labelled "photos" which I use to take pictures and transfer them to CD, a stack of recent photographs, a box of cleaning swabs (camera lens), a pair of fingernail clippers, a roach clip, a coffee cup, an old piece of scrap paper which I have been using as a coaster.

To my right: film scanner, pen tablet, halogen desk lamp, an assortment of sticky notes, pens, markers, tape and scissors. A box of disks labelled "photos" which I have not yet transferred to CD, a flatbed scanner, (on top of scanner: two camera lenses, a book "Fetish", three negative strips). Further to my right (I have an L shaped deak area) an air cleaner, a transcribing machine, two hand held tape recorders, a camera collection, two framed pictures (one of my kids and one of a flower from the garden), a miniature antique globe, a vase of roses, a rock with a small bunny glued to it (from Danielle), three pots with Scottish Heather growing (on the windowsill), several magazines, manuals and how-to books, a few CDs and cases, 3 beanie babies on loan from Danielle (to keep me company during the day).

Behind me: Books


-- Catherine (, October 22, 1999.

What an amazing thread.

You guys are all nuts! Holy moly - there's a lot of desktops out there.

Wait until we do bedside table drawer - then we'll see what we're all made of, no?



-- Catherine (, October 26, 1999.

I'm at work right now, so I'm surrounded by mauve and gray (ugh) cubicle walls. (aka - the veal fattening pen) My computer is to my left and there's a plastic Godzilla figure on top of the monitor. In front of me is a desk fan, a rolodex, a framed pix of my son Michael, a humongous coffee cup filled with way too many pens and markers, (I can never have enough of them!) a very old and dirty Rolm office phone, an external zip drive with a pile of disks that contain illict programs I'm not supposed to have on my pristine hard drive. Above that are(unattractive)metal office bookshelves which are filled with computer manuals, vitamins, hand lotion, carpal tunnel gloves and Tiger Balm. Oh and my Edward Tufte book collection. (Yay! ET!)

To the right are 2 printers, a fax machine, more shelves (computer magazines and newsletters) and a huge legal size file cabinet which holds copies of all the really interesting revenue reports I create Gah! Now I now why I never get anything creative done here!

At home I have a Powerbook. I lay on my bed and watch the play of light on the ceiling and create.


Hey ... Catherine here ...

I laughed out loud at the "veal fattening pen". Where do you people come up with this clever stuff?

Cubicles don't sound very nice.


-- Tree (, October 22, 1999.

Well, having just moved, this will not be exactly accurate, but here goes. To the left, a 10 gallon aquarium containg a giant goldfish and one red betta named "Wimp" who is HUGE and nothing of the sort.

Various computer things, tower, montitor, scanner, printer, etc, digital camera, several unwashed tea mugs, fish food, a stack of assignmetns to mark for two university classes, a purring kitty who is so happy to have someone home. Stacks of scraps of paper with little scribbled bits on them, names, URLs, numbers, doodles etc.

Also my watercolours, some half finished paintings, cat-chewed paintbrushes. About 5 computer game manuals from Chris (well and me too I suppose).

This changes quite often, but that is fairly representative of the "now".


Catherine here ...

On *any* day at *any* given hour you'd find a very different picture at my desk too. I ... um ... re-arrange a lot.

You let Chris use the computer??!!???

I have cat chewed slippers but no paintbrushes yet. Heh.


-- Kate (, October 22, 1999.

Heh. I like this question a lot, and can't wait to read all the responses. OK, I'm at work (in one of those Dilbertesque cubicles) - the monitor is sitting on some ergonomically correct black plastic stand, the keyboard immediately in front of it, the soon-to-be-history 90-M bernoulli to my left, then my printer beyond that. On the fabric-covered "bulletin board" behind the monitor are accounting calendars and organization charts (can't tell who to be afraid of without a program, heh), and a collection of yellow stickies telling me my passwords (don't ask), the acronyms used by the system I support, and the charge numbers for various work items. Nothing personal - I took all the personal things home, for some reason. The most personal thing in the cube is a Sheltie calendar on the cubicle wall to my right. (How *do* you insert a paragraph break, anyway??) At home, I have a laptop, which sits on my step-desk (an inherited item) all alone - what peripherials I have are in the closet until needed.


Hello - the other Catherine here ...

Funny that you should ask about those little paragraph break thingies - because I just figured out that you can do that. D'oh.

You type a "<" and a "p" and a ">".

How come you took everything personal home?


-- Catherine (, October 22, 1999.

I've just moved, and my computer on its brand-new desk isn't any more settled in than I am. But here goes- on my right side is an empty latte bowl, on a saucer balanced on a Victorian cookbook. Lined up on the top of the monitor are three Kinderegg toys, and three small plastic dinosaurs. Right under the monitor is the FIRST piece of snailmail I've recieved here; a caricature contract from one of my agents. There's another cookbook on the hutch, and Rob's computer-guy tools spread out on the desktop, and so far that's it.


Hey - Catherine here ...


Man! I love those things. You can get some very cool toys in the,m, eh?

I get my kids a kindertoy every year for their Christmas stockings. Wow, what memories that invokes!


-- Cameron Perry (, October 22, 1999.

I'm also at work at the moment.

Umm...on my monitor I've taped the phrase "Horrifying Vegetarian" that I found in a newspaper once and a Calvin and Hobbes cartoon in which Calvin is making snow sharks. To my right are several shelves of books--books I've worked on, dictionaries, style manuals, and books I've brought to work for some unknowable reason (includes the DICTIONARY OF CULPRITS AND CRIMINALS, Clive Barker's SACRAMENT, and Sark's LIVING JUICY). Also on the shelves are several gargoyles, three headless pigs, my sarcastic magic eight-ball, a vanilla candle and several stacks of cds.

On my desk there are various empty Snapple Peach Iced Tea bottles, caffeinated mints, my Nightmare Before Christmas day planner, color proofs for the plate section of my author-from-hell's book, a couple of issues of Publisher's Weekly, and a stack of files for various projects.

On the wall next to my desk, I've plastered pictures of my goddaughter and all the wacky postcards my friend Michelle sends me (mostly of Mongol horsemen) as well as a few I've picked up (one of Nina Hagen dressed as the Hindu goddess Kali and one showing what all the different lines on your hand mean to a fortune teller).

Hey, this was fun. Thanks Catherine!


Catherine here ... hey Moira ...

Um ... ecclectic mix you have there. I laughed and chuckled all the way through - and see, I do feel like I know you better. Heh heh.


-- Moira (, October 22, 1999.

Was it a question on journal-l? I think I remember asking a question like that....well, here at work I have three computers, win98, win95, and winNT. Their backgrounds are fine art---VAn Gogh's Starry Night, and other bitmaps from art. I have associates of the Quarter plaques and anniversary plaques with my company, and a testimonial as "most knowledgable". However, neatness is not my forte, and I have a large pile of papers pertaining to a project I'm on, a printer with letters to be mailed to client companies, a bunch of registered mail notifications, and hot chocolate in a spillproof cup. There are two books I brought from home, THE SILMARILLION and THE LAYS OF BELEARIAND, both by Tolkien, and my workout bag is under my table. My Dilbertlike cubicle seperates me from others.--Al


Hi Al - Catherine here...

Yes, it was a question on Journal-l and, yes - you did pose it. It was such a great one. So, I ... um .... stole it.

I see you've cleaned up your desk finally, though. LOL.


-- Al Schroeder (, October 22, 1999.

I'm at home in the kitchen (i don't fry up much so i think it'll be alright. In front is the printer, a pile of newspaper articles with website recommendations, the letters about my pension, a salt cellar, rather a lot of crumbs and the 64 page manual to Ancient Domains of Mystery ( )in which typographical symbols do battle. Insanely addictive. Behind me (same stool does for both) is the piano to my right the wall, to the left the table with some more crumbs and a bottle of ketchup, two little doll's costumes my friend's daughter left behind last week and two books returned by friends one on the eighteenth century navy, the other a spy story by len deighton. On the floor - crumbs. The vacuum cleaner is behind left but sort of awkward to get at.


Catherine here

Wow, that's one serious crumb problem you have. I don't know where all the crumbs come from but if I didn't get at my vacuum ( and I almost fell on the floor laughing at your last tongue-in-cheek comment, lol) once a day they'd shut me down for health violations, I am sure. Heh.


-- Chris (, October 22, 1999.

my terminal sits on what was my cheerleading box from high school. a solidly constructed thing, its painted light blue. on one side the number '87 is painted in large blue block letters (numbers?). this side faces the wall, obviously. :)

on the left side of the terminal is an italian to english dictionary and an ancient well-thumbed thesaurus. on the right is a softcover websters and an english to french dictionary.

the keyboard, mouse, and'daily' book sit on a narrow rectangular piece of wood that ive mounted three black legs to.

i sit on a magenta meditation pillow on a hundred year old hardwood floor.

this entire set up is backed up to and adjacent to walls. a corner. behind me is a red and white marble fireplace.

-- emma (, October 22, 1999.

At home my desk is a small antique empire style library table affair of quarter sawn oak verneer. It's in the front sun-room area of a living room, facing two windows. On it is my bondi blue iMac (last year's model,) which I love. There's a scanner, my regular glasses, post it notes and the remote control for the TV on top of it. Next to that is a pad on which to elevate my broken ankle. Above that is a funky slag glass hanging lamp, with two mink skins draped over the metal arm the lamp hangs from. Also on the desk are a birch "tree trunk" style container with pens and pencils, and electric pencil sharpener, a glass of water, the mouse( which I hate) and mouse pad. To the right is a great big dracena marginata which I've had for years. Next to that a two drawer "wood look" filing cabinet with a printer on top. And just to the right of that is a catch all table with two blue fish dishes, fingernail clippers, a cactus plant, some plastic sleeves for notebook pages, various paperwork and a bag with funky pencils in it which I bought at a garage sale for my granddaughters.

At my studio my desk where my computer is is a mess... but I don't have to tell you about that today, since, luckily I'm here now.

-- Jo (, October 23, 1999.

My computer is in the dining room. I have a table that the monitor sits on. There's a basket beside the monitor that has computer related junk like, cds, disks, and my webcam sits on top. Right now there is red pieces of yarn all over the table from the Ragedy Andy doll my two year decided to scalp. There is a cartoon that my husband gave me yesterday. It's a picture of a pregnant woman at a PC. Her husband is saying "Your water broke? We gotta get you to the hospital!!" The wife says "Yeah okay, right after I check my email."

Underneath the table is the computer and usually two kittens laying on my feet sleeping or trying to play with all the cords.

-- Susan (, October 23, 1999.

Well, I'm behind on this question, but I can't resist. I am at home, so it is a little easier. My workstation at work is hectic, to say the least.

I have a huge old oak drawing table that holds my computers and peripherals. It is a lovely heavy thing covered with pinholes left by years of newspaper paste-up done by hand. A Valentine's day present from the Los Angeles Times basement, courtesy of my resourceful husband.

To the left of it: Rat cage. The top door of the cage is level with the table so that the rats can run out and play on the table top among the equipment and stuff when I have the patience to deal with them. Next to that is a lamp that we banished from the living room when we got better ones and beyond that is a wall of old books mostly collected by my husband when he lived in England. Sample book: Boutell's Manual Of Heraldry by V. Wheeler Holoman.

On top of the table: On the back left corner is the scanner, next to that at the back is a Wallace and Gromit clock that says "Time for walkies" in Wallace's voice when you press Gromit's dog dish. Next to that is the modem, squeezed in at a crazy angle. In front of the modem is my digital camera and its case and its associated cables. In front of that is my coffee cup (empty) sitting on a sandstone trivet. In front of that is an open yellow notebook containing printouts about DHTML and Javascript that I am consulting now and then as I work. Under the notebook are assorted diskettes and pens and writing pads.

In the middle at the back is the computer monitor. On top of the monitor from left to right are: a small stuffed lion, a tiny model of the Mars Lander, a small stuffed panda bear, an Aboriginal carving of a monitor lizard, a replica of Inspector Morse's wonderful old Jag, and a lovely yellow and white shell from a beach in Australia. Behind that (causing my monitor to overheat, I suppose) is a billed cap that says "Cassini Misson To Saturn" on the front.

In front, sitting on the desk between the keyboard and the monitor from left to right are: a bronze mouse bookend, a crystal ladybug, a plastic horse, a soapstone frog, a calculator, the small black case that holds my earphones, a rock that looks like a hotdog, and the other bronze mouse bookend with a green plastic man-drawing-outline template thing stuck in it in a pose like he's dancing. In front of them is my keyboard (Microsoft ergonomic) and mouse (Logitech trackman marble)

On the right hand side in back are layers made up (bottom to top) of a diskette drawer, the CD turbowriter, the laptop's external floppy drive, the speakers for the desktop, a leopard-spotted mini beanie baby from McDonalds, and two more small stuffed animals in various states of falling over because I have to push them out of the way to use the equipment.

In front of that layer is my laptop sitting in its mini-docking station, and in front of that, directly to the right of my keyboard and mouse is the mouse that I can use for the laptop if I feel like it.

To the right of the table is a small table that holds the desktop's CPU, the printer, and the keyboard that I can use with the laptop if I feel like it. To the right of that are more bookshelves, mostly containing writing, computer, programming and math related books along with my journal and writing notebooks. Sample books: _Writing Fiction_ by Janet Burroway (great book!!!) and _The Metaphysics of Virtual Reality_ by Michael Heim.

Behind all of this are more bookshelves, accessible only by squeezing past the table with the CPU. On top of the bookshelves are various items like old clocks, lamps, picture frames, candle holders, collectible toys and wooden boxes. Sample books: _Genet_ by Edmund White, _The Odyssey_ by Homer.

Behind me are: my desk (crowded with stuff and papers) and my husband's desk (likewise crowded), my violin and music stand and more bookshelves. There is also a tank with a Duprasi in it and a tank with an Alligator Lizard in it sitting on top of bookshelves.

This room is called "the study". It is a very crowded space, but it has big bright windows and I feel safe and secure and creative in here.

-- (, October 23, 1999.

Well, I don't have a desk per se. We keep the computer on what ought to be the table (we eat on our laps or in bed, mostly). What's on the table? Hmm. Computer, keyboard, monitor, mouse,speakers, ergonomic mouse pad.

Left side: CD's and game CD's; Jay's (husband's) watch, nailfile; pipe tools and pipe filters; a lot of assorted important or non-important papers; 2 books (Galileo's Revenge - Junk Science in the Courtroom by Peter W. Huber, and Adventures in a TV Nation by Michael Moore and Kathleen Glynn); Many Many more papers; some sunflower seeds (in their shells); the subwoofer for the computer speakers; a lot of cords and wiring.

Right Side: vase (currently empty and waiting for flowers); box of Cheez-its; cinnamon 3-wicked candle, pine candle, black cherry candle; empty Swan matchbox; cereal bowl serving as pipe ash holder/match recipient; invisible tape; a grocery receipt; Jay's keys; a large box of Diamond Strike anywhere matches; Jay's pipe; a pouch of cat treats; very few papers; some pipe tobacco; a business card for Rocky Mountain Auto Glass, Inc.; the computer microphone I haven't attempted to use yet.

The computer room is our main room, so I won't try to describe *all* the stuff in the rest of it. There are a lot of books, papers, and various types of music. And some comfy chairs. and the un-put-away laundry. and my saxamaphone. Those are the important parts.

-- Marianne Aldrich (, October 24, 1999.

oof, it's a long list. a very long list, because i am a creature of clutter. can i cheat, and give you an URL? it's an old entry, but it's basically the same collection of lovely junk...

Hey Katie :)))

Um, yes, I've checked with the managers and the supervisors, the board and the president. We've held a meeting and taken minutes (copies in the mail) and, indeed, passed a resolution.

Cheating is allowed on Naked Eye.

A quorum was present and it's official.

Who knows? Someday it might become mandatory. Heh.

Nice to see ya :)


-- heyoka (, October 26, 1999.

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