Much Ado About Beanbags

I know a lot of you were curious about what my "office" looks like, so I hacked up this quick page to show you (and give you some thoughts on the matter of my new work environment). Below is a grab from the office cam someone here set up (you can also grab big version of the cam image).

That's me over in the corner, doing what I do. I've got my backpack and coffee on the right, and a sweater and a book on the left. Sitting to my right is Jim, a networking guy extraordinaire, and on his right you can see Scott Kennedy's (our fearless leader) knees. The population of the Beanbag Room in this photo is four people, which is a light load.

As you can see, I've stategically placed myself on a beanbag over in the corner, next to Beanbag Mountain. This is a simple yet essential trick to ensure that I don't have others being nosy neighbors. After all, Robert Frost was right (good fences making good neighbors, and all that), and I like to do things to keep honest people honest whenever I can. My philosophy on this matter was inherited via the Collective Unconsciousness, and I am far from being alone in this way of thinking. It's not that anyone has anything to hide, it's just a subliminal need for a little privacy (except for the gent under the cam -- you can see his laptop screen in the lower portion of the image -- who didn't know about the new office cam until about twenty minutes ago and has since moved). I think. When in Rome...

It's actually not that uncomfortable, except for four things:

  1. If you want to write stuff down (using paper, even!), there's really no flat, hard surface to use except for the top of the laptop. That makes it difficult, as you could imagine, to refer to what is on your computer screen as you write.
  2. My shoulders and wrists hurt more at the end of the day than they would otherwise. I think this is due to equal parts beanbag and laptop use.
  3. The vinyl on a beanbag is a perfect medium for the storage of microbes, since it's fairly impervious to water and other fluids. If someone who's feeling a little less than fresh sneezes on a beanbag, the sneeze goo will remain on the beanbag for some time, unabsorbed and waiting for the tender embrace of your skin. The upshot of this is that people here don't grouse about sick time being taken. It gets taken quite a bit. This has a tertiary upshot of telecommuting being an acceptable alternative to further speading the bugs about the office.
  4. I've noticed that prolonged periods of beanbagedness produce a certain, how does one put it delicately, "butt juice" between one's trousers and the surface of the beanbag. It occurred to me that I might not be the only person who has experienced this phenomenon. It would then follow that this residual butt juice would remain unabsorbed (see #3 above). Since one is most fresh in the morning, and has not yet produced any personal juice with which to saturate one's clothing, the first seating in a "pre-owned" beanbag would be the time at which one's trousers would best absorb the previous owner's leavings. I don't know what this means from a pharmacological standpoint, but the thought of spending the bulk of the day in a perfect vector for another's flora and fauna is unsettling nevertheless. I wash my hands quite a bit, and the undercarriage gets a good scrubbing at shower time.

As an added bonus, I've also set up a quick-and-dirty email beanbag color bounceback process. Simply send mail to and you'll get a message back stating the color of my beanbag du jour. Fun stuff, no?


Well, the beanbag room is gone -- as are the beanbags. I now spend my days in ergonomically incorrect office furniture which is older than me, in a building older than me, at a university in California. I have a lot of really fast computers at my disposal, so any anachronistic proclivities are well taken care of.

You can still send email to the address above, but you won't find out what beanbag color today is.


The beanbag room is back! Check it out. They aren't the same kind of beanbags, and they aren't at the same company or even in the same state, but they are beanbags in a workplace environment and therefore count for inclusion on this long-dead page that nobody ever sees.

I've update the email bounceback as a result of this newfound beanbaggery.