Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Secret Bookcases and Conspiracy Walls: Modern Office Decor

My house is now about as Christmasy as it's going to get. I'll probably swap out my tablecloth and put out my Christmas cookie jar as a centerpiece, but that will be it. I think next year I may make some modifications in the decor, since this is my 14th Christmas in this house, and I've been doing things more or less the same since I moved in. I did change the way I did the tree in 2000, but nothing else has changed. The main modification will likely be the garland on the loft and staircase railing. It's a (fake) pine garland with small white lights. I originally had also wound a metallic garland through it -- a gold wire with little gold mylar snowflakes on it. But this year I took that off because most of the snowflakes had come off and those things won't go away. I'd still be finding them in August because they'd cling to something and lurk, and then pop out. I may pick up some ribbon at post-Christmas sales and try something with that next year.

While I'm talking about stuff to do with my house, I found instructions for making a hidden door bookshelf and now I desperately want that. Unfortunately, there's no way to do it in my current house, since I barely have doorways (it's hard to have secret rooms with an open floor plan). But if I ever get a house with walk-in closets and use one of those bedrooms as an office, I think I will have to put bookcases on the wall with the closet door and make the closet door the "secret" bookcase door. It would go well with that "conspiracy wall" thing I kind of want to do -- you know how in TV series or movies, if a character has a conspiracy theory or is obsessed with something, there will be a secret or hidden wall collecting and connecting all the information, with photos and newspaper clippings and lines drawn between them. That would be a fun way of organizing information for my books, though I guess the conspiracy wall would have to be in the office itself instead of hidden in the secret closet or it wouldn't do much good as a reference. Maybe I could get a moving whiteboard that I could stash in the secret closet. Or I could start my day's work by triggering the secret bookcase door, going into the secret closet, pulling the string to turn on the single bare bulb (because it has to be a single bare bulb) and then studying the important aspects of the Book Conspiracy Wall before closing it up again. I could probably do a good Conspiracy Wall on the mirrored closet doors of my current office, but it wouldn't be as much fun without the secret bookcase door.

Meanwhile, today marks five months without comment since I sent a project off. I'm torn between nagging and letting it go and seeing how long it does go without nagging, since I've got plenty to work on (that may even be more profitable) and seeing how long it goes will give me valuable data points in any decisions to keep working with this organization. The people I'm about to start working for are very big on deadlines and timelines, which sounds lovely. And they aren't a state agency, which has its own administrative frustrations (you've got to love bureaucracy, unless you're relying on it to pay you in a timely manner). In general, as a self-employed writer you're usually either fighting with corporate or government bureaucracy or you're dealing with the glacial pace of the publishing world. I suspect that's a big reason self-publishing sounds appealing to a lot of people. To me, that sounds like I'd have to deal with even more of the business end of it that I'd rather let a publisher take care of. In my ideal world, I'd prefer to hide in my cave and write stories, and then a publisher would do all the work of getting them out into the world, occasionally sending me a check. Sadly, I'm not sure the world works like that anymore.

Tonight we get the SyFy summer series' Christmas episodes. I think I'll be making some pizza and then I may even turn out the lights and just have the Christmas lights on when we get around to Haven, since that one's bound to be at least a little spooky (even if they're going with the funny side of it in the promos). I'm not crazy about the way they do the "out of continuity" Christmas episodes that take place sometime in the past of the previous season, but then I guess they can hardly resolve the cliffhanger of the previous season, jump forward to Christmas, and then have a Christmas story, all in one episode. They manage it with Doctor Who because they really wrap up their seasons, without cliffhangers, and then they have a time machine that allows the Doctor to jump right to Christmas from whenever he was. With the SyFy way, it's a little disconcerting to have to do a mental rewind and disregard whatever changes happened near the end of the season. And you know there can be no consequences for the Christmas episode, or we'd have already noticed the fallout. I'm not going to complain about bonus Christmas stuff to break up the wait for summer, though.

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