"Why Hello, and Welcome to my Home."

(As Brenda Dickson would surely say.)

What, you still haven’t watched that Brenda Dickson video I recommended a while back?  Why not?  Is it because you hate laughter and joy?  Well fine then, if you hate laughter and joy so much, go see Mamma Mia!; it will render you unable to feel happiness ever again. And yes, the exclamation point is part of the official title of that film – proof, as my friend S. says, that we should know they are trying way too hard. If, on the other hand, you do not hate laughter, go on and watch the Brenda Dickson video.  It is priceless entertainment.  She has a whole row of knee-high red leather boots in her closet, just like Wonder Woman!

And now, moving on to the actual subject of this post: my furniture.  I know it’s an enthralling topic, so try to keep your pants on there.  (Yes, you.)  I have so much furniture in my living room now it is almost obscene in its excess.  I normally like to keep things minimal, but I think I could host the entire department for cocktails if I wanted to.  Here’s what I’ve got going on:

All extremely fancy, self-assembled, cheap Swedish goods.

In the above shot, please note the giant paper lantern on the upper left.  It is huge and glorious like the sun, and was formed about four and a half billion years ago by the rapid collapse of a hydrogen cloud, which is to say that I bought it at a yard sale for ten dollars.

And yes, I took the photos on the wall, with the exception of one that was taken by my friend M. and one that is merely a contact sheet made from a roll of film taken by my parents sometime in the 1970s.

Oh, and what’s that we have here to the left of the futon?  OH YES, IT IS MY FAINTSY NEW COUCH, BITCHES!  My friend K. passed this gem on to me when she moved out of her apartment (and now she is gone, sniff), and I feel extremely lucky to have it.  I love the squared-off shape, clean lines, and overall modern design of it.

(Also: did you notice the top edge of ANOTHER futon in the background, by the doorway?  That one’s not mine, lest you start thinking I am some greedy, couch-crazed freak.  That one I am storing for a friend who’s out of town this summer.)

But let’s look more closely at the upholstery fabric, shall we:

Here you can see why my friend K. refers to this as the “Kama Sutra” couch – the illustration style with those exaggerated profiles looks quite similar to the most traditional Kama Sutra illustrations, doesn’t it?  But surely, nothing dirty or untoward is going on here!  Well, maybe not.  As one of my flickr friends commented, “I believe this is the first piece of furniture I’ve ever seen with a captivity narrative woven into it.” And later, “This is a rare and important piece of sofa history you’ve come across.”  Isn’t it, though?  What do you think?

And now, please, welcome to my campus office!

Before I left town for my short vacation, I had to go into school and pack up all my things in the office (books, files, desk doo-dads, and so on) so that they department could have new furniture installed.  All of the folks on my floor are being newly outfitted for next year, and the excitement, it has been large. Finally, on Friday, I was able to come in and get things unpacked and set up. (I had to do this before Monday, so as to beat my new officemate to the prime desk locations, etc., though it turns out I needn’t have rushed: she has yet to make an appearance.)

Here’s what the new stuff looks like:

Please note the clean desktop, the empty in-and-out trays sitting on my bookshelf, and the general neatness and orderliness.  This is a truly rare moment, and will likely not be observable again during this academic year.  But isn’t it lovely?

Now, however, please note my ridiculous new filing cabinet.  I call it The Monster:

You’ll see that I could not fit the entire thing into the frame of the photo.  It is so big, and my office is so small, see, that it was physically impossible for me to back far enough away from it to photoraph it properly.  It is fucking huge.  It’s almost as tall as I am — I’m estimating it’s about 5’7″ tall (1.7 meters).  It towers over some of my more petite collagues.  How are they supposed to use the top drawer? Or reach anything on top of it?

With two of these, two desks, two bookshelves, and an extra computer table in our tiny office, it was a game of real-life Tetris trying to put it all into a reasonable arrangement.  I will also note that the furniture delivery/installation guys gave up on this project completely.  They simply stacked the computer table on top of one of the desks, upside-down.  That was a real pleasure for me to fix by myself, I assure you.  They were like Ned Flanders’s Beatnik parents: “We’ve tried nothing, and we’re ALL OUTTA IDEAS, MAN.” Thanks for that, Beatnik furniture guys.

And now you’ve heard my thoughts about my own furniture, but if you’d like to see some of the furniture I only wish I could have, check out my post on the fabulousness that is the Mad Men set.  That show is just so pretty.


  1. I think you should slowly start modifying the Monster. Some paints (or stickers if you’re not allowed paint), ribbons, that sort of thing. Maybe some plastic vines. Whatever. Hide it.


  2. You should paint that filing cabinet black and you’ve got the black monolith from 2001 A Space Odyssey in your office. When your students come to see you they would all hunch and grunt around it like in the opening to the movie…


  3. Mel – don’t worry! It will devolve into a paper-encrusted hell-hole soon enough. It’s already significantly messier and classes haven’t even started yet.

    Jair – Yeah – I have already started with magnets and pictures and stuff. It’s just so BIG and so BEIGE. It will take a lot of work.

    John – Better yet, I can just use it as a place to store the students’ bodies after I have to cruelly murder them for failing to follow directions. I think I could fit one, maybe two in each drawer.


  4. I think it would start to smell if you stored bodies in there…well, that and the whole storing bodies thing is kind of creepy too…Kama Sutra captivity theme on the couch, bodies in the cabinet at work…oh dear.


  5. OK, I just went over there and looked at her blog, and OMG! The paranoid rants (LENGTHY ONES) are bad enough, but in one post she responds to a fan who wrote to her about having suicidal thoughts: she tells the fan to take vitamins and get some sunshine and exercise! She’s just as crazy as Tom Cruise! And the recent photos!!! What a wonderland of insanity!!


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