Decent Office Chairs? And Friblogging

So the time has come in my life to invest in a home office chair. I’ve done all the rounds of Inexpensive Office Supply House chairs, and even special order ergonomic chairs you can request at $dayjob if you figure out the right forms to fill out. And still, I have persistent back problems. So it’s time to invest.

Before I blow several hundred USD on an Aeron, does anyone have specific suggestions for fully-adjustable, comfortable, traditional-ish office chairs?

No, I don’t like the knee chairs. Yes, I might someday consider a ball chair with a back. And yes, I probably need something that rolls; that has seat level and angle adjustments; has back up, down, angle, and lumbar depth and height adjustments. None of the normal chairs I’ve tried ever end up being at the right place of my back.

And now for the Friblogging. You were wondering what that… well, maybe not.

Death Defying Driving!
Yes, it’s true: I drove under the Longfellow today – twice! – and lived to tell the tale. Even more amazing: there were simultaneously 2 red line trains atop the Longfellow at the same time. I seriously considered waiting, but there’s no place on the little Memorial/Land Blvd turnaround loop to pull over, so I took my chances.
What’s with the recent invasion of little white “TownName SINGLES!” signs everywhere? I swear they’re worse than mushrooms after a heavy rain, or kudzu. Do my fellow readers to T/bike/walk ever see them? If you drive local roads in or near Cambridge, you can’t miss’em. I think one day I saw someone just walking by removing them just out of spite (or because they were DPW workers cleaning them up).
Bureaucracy stinks.
A project I’ve worked on is now suddenly – at the last moment – held up because of a missing approval. Sigh. Paperwork will get you every time, immaterial of actual work done. I think it’s time for everyone to simply have an unlimited mail store, so we can all save everything, just in case you need the records someday. (Yes, I realize that’s actually a huge issue for modern business).

Galleria:AppleStore:iPhone:Line:One week later

Galleria:AppleStore:iPhone:Line:One week later

Yes, Virginia, people have waited in line for ONE WHOLE WEEK just to be able to touch an iPhone. OK, just kidding, I keep going around lunchtime, so I’m sure it’s people who were only waiting an hour or so. I hope.
I was interesting, nonchalantly walking into the Apple store, right past the 3 mall security guards they had guarding the doorway. I actually needed to buy something that wasn’t an iPhone. There was still a line to pay, but not as long. Phew. Luckily, I had brought some food just in case I got trapped.

Trip Report: Who still smokes in California?

Spent much of last week in San Jose on a business trip.  While the work and my co-workers were great, the trip itself was rather painful since my back was still out.  Thank goodness JetBlue flies direct; although I appreciated the extra legroom, and the in-seat cable TV dulled my brain pleasantly, the seats really aren’t all that comfortable.  But the real pain came to the hotel…

There were a number of problems that combined resulted in me becoming nomadic for the trip: I slept in a different room every night.  First, due to an problem with our corporate travel tool, I was booked in the wrong hotel.  Luckily it was literally in the same parking lot as where I drove to, so I actually walked there after arriving.  Unfortunately it was the ‘cheap’ version of the brand.  And it was a smoking room.  That’s a sure fire way to get me smoking at the top, but no, the night staff swore they didn’t have any non-smoking rooms available.  It was nearly 10pm (really 1am body time), so I gave in for the night.

Lesson learned: I will never, ever stay in a smoking room again.  If necessary, I will call local information and call all the major hotels within a 15 min drive to see if any of them have an opening instead. My sweater still smelled after I got home.

The painful part was the bed: horribly hard.  In my tired confusion, I prayed that somehow the next night would be better, since the morning staff was desole, desole, and happy to give me a non-smoking room that evening.  As you’d expect, the bed was just as bad.  The next  morning I steeled myself for the argument, knowing they’d try to charge me for leaving early and what-not, don’t you know I’m staying on a corporate rate from a huge customer of your hotel, etc. etc.  But happily the morning staff was very pleasant, terribly sorry, and sent me on my way with no extra charges.

The third night was spent 2 miniutes down the road at a hotel that had a pool and a hot tub.  Much better.  Well, really only a mostly warm tub, but it still helped.

Oh, and the meeting really was great: good food, excellent company, and great teambuilding ideas.  Now, afterwards, comes the hard part where we have to actually go do some work and actually execute the ideas!  Sigh.  Working by yourself (my whole team is remote, at least from me) does get a little lonely sometimes.

While JetBlue supplies a cute little “Buh, bye, red eye” kit, unfortunately it didn’t work for me.  Miraculously, however, my daughter and wife very kindly let me sleep in at home until 11am the next morning.  Thank you!

Exciting flights, boring flights

Actually, neither flight was exciting, which is just fine with me.  I spent the past half week in RTP at a business meeting, which was actually quite fun, considering you’re on the go from 8AM to 10PM each day.  Luckily my back pain had cleared up enough that I was down to a single dose of ibuprofin, so the flight was fine, although the office chairs were a little stiff.

Travelling for business is fun – as long as you don’t do it too often.  Except for this month (several trips unfortunately planned very close together), I’ve been successful in travelling just enough to still be exciting.  I must admit that having a big company travel agency really helps.  While the policies are byzantine, and you can get really strange looks if you try to do something out of policy, the travel website is actually pretty easy to use, and has a good variety of flights and hotels.

Stupid benefit I enjoy almost out of proportion to it’s value: we get a Hertz #1 Gold club membership just for signing up.  Along with earning miles or something that I’m not too sure about, the coolest thing is that Gold members have the cars waiting for them at the lot: your name is on the board (an interesting privacy issue, I suppose), you walk to your spot and drive away.  Much cooler, somehow, than standing in yet another line at the rental counter.

I was also almost absurdly lucky with dinners: a local co-worker suggested a place called Piedmont that turned out to have excellent food, the two people I went with each had a love of good food equal to my own, and a manager paid for it, saving me the trouble of putting that line in my expense report.  Yum and simplicity all in one.  And the team dinner the next night was at a kitchy place called Bogart’s, so we saw The Maltese Falcon in the background, although we were having too much fun to bother watching.  The food was surprisingly good, nearly as good as the first night, too.

The one disappointment was the bar staff.  What would you order at a place called Bogart’s?  I suppose there are a couple of valid answers to that, but if you love Casablanca as much as I do, you’d order a Champagne Cocktail.  Disappointingly, the waiter (who was pretty funny) came back and said the bartender didn’t know how to make it, what should he do?  I will admit at this point that I myself neglected to mention the bitters when I told him how to make it.  The result was pretty good nonetheless, probably because he ended up giving me a generous amount of a decent cognac.  Whoo!

Coming home, I was again struck by the oddity of air travel.  I rush out of one meeting, wait in lines at the airport wishing I had worn shorts and a lighter colored shirt.  Just two hours later, I walk off of the plane to sleet and frozen rain atop a dusting of wet snow.  Very discombobulating for the body to make the change.  I think it really struck me since I’ve been reading the Aubrey/Maturin novels, and was thinking about the human condition in a much earlier time.


Sorry for the quietness: I pulled my back out early this week, and haven’t been able to sit at a computer for several days.  That, plus work that really needs to get done these two weeks, means I have been neglecting my “personal networking” duties.  Sigh.

Lesson: take care of your body, because you will really need it to work later on in life.  This applies throughout life, although as many adages about human aging go, the young are the ones with the most to benefit, but the least likely to heed.  It feels like my youth was definitely wasted on my younger years!

Heck, that’d be one of the best reasons to invent time travel (backwards, that is).  Sending yourself back to advise your younger self would have to be the best thing most people could do for themselves.

Gods, I never even knew (I didn’t know until just now; I have been in a state of not being aware of…) that Asimov wrote more articles about Thiotimoline!  I must start thinking about reading them soon!