The Slightly Less Temporary Temporary Office

As noted earlier, for my office I am currently waiting on a desk and bookshelves, and while I wait, rather than reintroduce the previous massive and now esthetically incompatible desk (which sits, in pieces, in the basement), I went the other direction and got a laptop stand. As it happens, the laptop stand is the perfect height for typing while standing, and for when I want to sit, I got myself a nice little stool. And the laptop stand is finished in cherry wood, so it matches the flooring. Truly, the best of all possible worlds. So I’ve gone from maximum clutter to minimum necessary materials. We’ll see how long that lasts. But for now it’s nice.

43 Comments on “The Slightly Less Temporary Temporary Office”

  1. So then are you one of those folks who can actually type competently on a laptop keyboard?

    for me it’s much harder than typing on a standard setup.

  2. Mark:

    What sort of crazy laptop do you have where the keyboard is that different than a regular desktop model? Other than the number keypad, there shouldn’t be a whole lot of difference. Unless you’re one of those weirdos who uses an “ergonomic” keyboard.

  3. I actually like the laptop keyboard on my Toshiba, enough so that the next time I go looking for a keyboard for my desktop, I’ll want one that’s like it.

  4. The can of Coke Zero in the background is a subtle touch. It’s art and a refreshing beverage in one package.

  5. Keith, laptop keys are not “klickey”, have less travel, and the top surfaces are coplainar rather than slightly staggared. They also tend to have less tactile feedback.

    My touch typing is much faster on a normal keyboard, and I make far fewer errors.

  6. As it happens, the laptop stand is the perfect height for typing while standing, and for when I want to sit, I got myself a nice little stool.

    Two fun facts about stand-up desks:

    1) Hemingway preferred to write while standing.
    2) So did Donald Rumsfeld.

    Discuss …

  7. Curiously, what type of laptop stand are you using? I’ve been considering a standing desk for a while, but haven’t really done too much research into them except to note that they’re rather rare and expensive. A laptop stand might do the trick for me, though.

  8. That picture started loading from the top down. For a second there, I thought you were posting your weirdest sunset ever.

  9. My legs fall asleep if I sit up that high for very long. Probably because I’m short.

    Love the flooring. Take a shot of the room once it’s filled with the correct furniture and turn off the ceiling light. I want to see the colors of the walls with the flooring. From what I can see now, it looks like it’s going to be a very comfy setup.

  10. I agree with crayonbaby @16 about turning off the ceiling light before shooting the picture. It appears to throw off the color balance for the whole picture.

  11. I’ve used a laptop stand for some years as my regular desk, mostly because I really prefer my desk higher than can usually be obtained with a regular desk. I don’t have to hunch over, I can get the screen into non-eyeglasses range, and if I want to move the hole mess to another spot, it’s easy to do.

    I should warn you, Mr. Scalzi — laptop desks attract cats. One of mine likes to lay across the back part, behind the computer, which (what with the usual spreading action of your average cat) means the computer eventually ends up in my lap. Being as your desk is near a window, I expect you may have more than your fair share of this kind of trouble.

    You might also find a small table next to and just under the laptop desk handy for holding the kinds of things that tend to accumulate in one’s workspace.

  12. You’ve mentioned in the past that you might consider and/or desire a higher physical activity level; a treadmill desk setup might then fit well here.

  13. That looks almost exactly like (with the exception of about 1000 books on shelves) my permanent office. Even the colours are close. A shame it has as yet failed to inspire me to write as well as our gracious host.

  14. What brand laptop stand is that? I’ve been considering getting a standing desk for light work. (The downsides of having two good ergo chairs, at home and at work, are starting to make themselves known.)

  15. love the room, but I could never use it as a “den” or “office” Too much respect for the floor.

  16. standing while working is actually a good way to keep your bones healthy–because they’re being forced to hold up your full weight, your body makes sure to keep them in better shape than if you’re sitting all the time. Granted, this tends to be important for people much older than you, John, (I know because of my grandparents), but it certainly couldn’t hurt at this age, or any age

  17. John, I know you have a new desk all picked out and en route, but those who are interested in working while standing, or stand up desks may want to check out . Everything is Ohio-Amish made, and the guy who runs it is very nice. (Note, I have no affiliation to them, nor do I actually own one, but I have read a lot on the subject of stand-up desks, and am slowly coming around.)

  18. It might take a few days for your cats to recalibrate their stopping distances & cornering speeds on the new hardwood floors.

    Comedy gold for you & the family.

  19. Do you remember where you found the laptop desk? I have been looking one that I can use while standing up.

    Is your office now two colors? 2 walls red and 2 green?

  20. You can find lap top/standing desks in most office supply stores (the two I’ve had over the years came from Office Depot). If you want high end, you can always check (the source for all things reader/writer porn-y).

  21. Ooh… that’s a good idea! I need an option for standing and typing and my sitting-the-laptop-on-a-box contraption isn’t ideal. I just saw a laptop stand at the Goodwill for like 9 bucks. I’m going back for it!

  22. After doing some Internet sleuthery, it appears that the laptop desk in question is the Windsor Laptop Stand, which is available — among other places — at for $67.03. What’s less than clear is whether the one in John’s room is Dark Cherry or Regency Walnut.

  23. I’m actually curious about your OLD desk down in the basement.

    Any chance that you might put that up on eB … well … somewhere where bidding could be done on a desk that was used previously by a famous writer?

    All proceeds could go to charity of some type.

    To cut down on shipping you could even pull a “tearing down the old ballpark” theme (think Comiskey or Yankee Stadium) & chop it into 40,000 pieces & then ask for $5 a piece.

    Goofy request, but I’m full of goofy.

  24. It’s just particle board and veneer. I doubt it’s worth much of anything. Also, ten years of eating at my desk has made it, well, not exactly sparkling.


    Actually, it’s this one, which I got at Staples for $40. The entire TempOffice suite (rug, stool, stand) comes in at about $70, because spending any more for things I don’t plan to use once the actual office furniture is installed didn’t seem to make much sense.

  25. Have you found the water proof top to the laptop desk to be a useful feature?

    “Durable, waterproof top accommodates most laptop computers”

    I suppose if you spill a drink on it, you’ll be happy to know that at the least you won’t have to replace your forty dollar laptop desk.

    Just seems like a really odd feature to insert into the product description on the website.

  26. Instead of Walden Pond, you’ve got Walden Corner; it should be very productive with so few distractions. Other than all the time you spend on and Facebook.

  27. Might want to save your old desk setup and computer. You know, for your exhibition.

    “At the Emory exhibition, visitors can log onto a computer and see the screen that Mr. Rushdie saw, search his file folders as he did, and find out what applications he used. (Mac Stickies were a favorite.) They can call up an early draft of Mr. Rushdie’s 1999 novel, “The Ground Beneath Her Feet,” and edit a sentence or post an editorial comment.

    To the Emory team, simulating the author’s electronic universe is equivalent to making a reproduction of the desk, chair, fountain pen and paper that, say, Charles Dickens used, and then allowing visitors to sit and scribble notes on a copy of an early version of “Bleak House.”

    “If you’re interested in primary materials, you’re interested in the context as well as the content, the authentic artifact,” Ms. Farr said. “Fifty years from now, people may be researching how the impact of word processing affected literary output,” she added, which would require seeing the original computer images.”


%d bloggers like this: