from chaos to slightly less chaos

November 28th, 2006 | Uncategorized

Today I decided I couldn’t stand the filthy rat’s nest of cables and AC adaptors and dead spiders under my desk for one more second. Here’s a before picture of one small corner of the maelstrom.


Here’s a sampling of the devices I unhooked and dusted off, my own personal electronics warehouse. What the hell are all these freakin’ things?

electronics warehouse

After. Ahhhh.


That made me feel so good, I also put down fresh duct tape on my splintering plywood floor.

fresh duct tape

34 Responses to “from chaos to slightly less chaos”

  1. angela says:

    My roommate and I call this area in the house our ‘Millennium Falcon’. Freaks me if I think about it too long. I am sure there some fire risk in all those cords and plugs.

  2. R says:

    Where did my posting go..offered to come round and help have my own tool box and jigsaw…u need to purchase some cable tidy device…they work. See

  3. Deb says:

    Speaking of dead bugs, did you ever get rid of all those flying bugs that we all had a grand conversation about? Looks alot better! I have no idea what all those electronic things are…….but what is that apple thingy you have on the wall with the green lights on the bottom?????!!!!

  4. Deb, I think that’s a UFO.

  5. Oh, and no, I didn’t get rid of the flying bugs. Thanks for reminding me. They seem to be in remission temporarily, but I’m gonna have to call an exterminator.

  6. Feminista says:

    My computer area looked similar to yours,sans the bugs,until my capable computer consultant,who accepts barter arrangements,straightened things.

  7. tallie says:

    eee! this just reminds me how much i have to clean!

  8. pd says:

    Tip for the wires: twist-ties.

  9. Danyell says:

    You think your splintering floor is bad? You should see my kitchen! We joke that we don’t have a floor…

    See, before my mom and dad split up (when I was 5) they were going to redo the kitchen, starting with the floors. So he pulled up the linoleum…and nothing’s changed since then. Do you know what happens to unfinished wood floors after they have linoleum taking off and have liquid spilled on them and feet trampling them for 18 years?

    They turn black and splinter-y. Do NOT walk around barefoot in my kitchen.

    On a happy note, we seem to have the same computer babies. Yay, Macbook!

  10. Katie says:

    Hi R,

    I found your previous comments in the spamfilter – It doesn’t like links, even though we do!


  11. *tania says:

    i’m sure you’re not trying to dupe us, but the “after” picture has way mellower lighting, which totally contributes to the improvement. oh, and nice crocs. i had a dream a few nights ago that i went to a kosher costco-type store and there was a whole wall of croc styles i had never seen before. what does it mean?

  12. liza from pine street art works says:

    I cannot believe that Orson – our beloved shared computer geek – let you get away with this for so long. When he does my computers he comes with pockets full of hair stretchies, the kind with baubles on the end, I kid you not, to bundle up the riot of wires.

  13. Aunt Soozie says:

    I love what you did with that flooring. Absolutely fabulous.
    You’re gifted with the duct tape. You could have been somebody’s Daddy. Cause where I come from…Daddies can fix anything with a roll of duct tape. Oh, sorry, maybe you are somebody’s Daddy.

  14. RI Red says:

    The UFO thing-ey is an Apple Airport Extreme wireless hub. I don’t know how I lived without Airport and my new MacBook Pro. Here’s to being Macolyte!

  15. shadocat says:

    Don’t feel too bad about the clutter-you should see the tangled mess under my desk!

  16. Andrew O. says:

    Alison I am sure your father would have been proud of youu.

  17. Jaibe says:

    oh oh oh!!! You could use wire ties & make sure it all *stays* neat! I LOVE using wire ties! I’ve kept big supplies of two sizes in my desk every since I was a sysadmin! But I hardly ever get to use them… just when I buy enough new equipment or move desks!

  18. Elisablue says:

    I love your electrical blue … euh … clogs ?


    And fighting against entropy just gives that neat and weird sense of satisfaction, doesn’t it ?

  19. Kat says:

    wow….looking at your before and after shots made me peer under my own desk……big mistake…..Instead of dead spiders, I’ve got boxed and paper shopping bags filled with stuff that I couldn’t find homes for elsewhere when I moved! Ugh….

  20. sksdurham says:

    I love it when you post stuff like this, Alison. Absolutely love it. And I love it that you are a Mac person and I think Katie is cool. Are you feelin’ the love today? Because I am really really liking just about everything. But especially your site. 😀 (Amazing what pulling out a lost cause at the last minute has done for my mood!)

  21. Deb says:

    Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh, Ok, an Apple Airport Extreme wireless hub thingy. It really did look like a small UFO stuck on the wall with wires coming out of it! 🙂

  22. judybusy says:

    I think we should start a new dedicated,contribution stream to get AB a real floor. It’s time. 😉

  23. AnnaP says:

    My kitchen was ones full of really small flying bugs. A small bowl filled with mixture of winegar and dish soap got them finished in a matter of hours.

  24. G in Paris says:

    Don’t get rid of the flying bugs, you never know they might come in handy sometime as props!

  25. Chris (in Massachusetts) says:

    Powerstrips for electrical cables, a PowerSquid for AC adaptors. and Amazon sell PowerSquids, among other online retailers.

    I have one and it is a godsend for me. The adaptors for the ancient HP-45 calculator, DSL modem, computer speakers and SpeakerPhone are all on the PowerSquid, safely tucked away under the computer table.

    It’s a central unit with 5 short extension cords, a longer power cord, a switch and a generic surge suppressor.

    Every six months or so, I crawl under my table and clean all the dust and hair and whatnot from under it.

    It’s amazing how many cables sprout from a computer and a few peripherals.

  26. Chris (in Massachusetts) says:

    One other thing, most power strips and the aforementioned PowerSquid can be wall mounted with a couple of small screws.

    I highly recommend this, as it keeps the diverse wires and cables and adaptors off the floor.

    There’s nothing more annoying than to catch a foot on a loop of cable when you’re trying to get up and walk away from the computer.

    Thinner cables, such as USB cables, the wires from AC adaptors, phone wire, etc, can be routed around corners and whatnot with simple screw in cup hooks.

  27. Silvio Soprani says:


    Do you think the bowl of vinegar and dish soap would be any good against a rather fat mouse? I don’t want to kill him, or squush him, or poison him; I just want him to go live somewhere else. In spite of my leaving the sink absolutely clean night after night, he persists in leaving his little calling cards all over the place. Also, late at night I see him running across the kitchen floor. Why me?

    I am fascinated by the elaborate systems readers of this blog seem to have created to keep the chaos manageable; surely one of you could suggest something to re-route this not-so-little mouse. (And no, he is definitely not a rat…)

  28. Silvio Soprani says:

    p.s. and just to give you a sense of the personality of this mouse, he chewed through the cork stopper on a spice bottle of PAPRIKA!!! Then he tracked the paprika all across the sink area. Little peppery paw prints everywhere!!! (Okay, I’m exaggerating–they were not paw prints…just a trail of red powder) Kind of spicy for a mouse, don’t you think?

  29. Chris (in Massachusetts) says:

    The BEST mousetrap, in my experience, has been a 40 year old plastic wastebasket with a counterbalanced, self-closing lid.

    It’s in the living room. The mice climb up the air conditioner powercord, smell the wrapper from a 2 for US$1.50 cinnamon roll, step onto the lid, which promptly drops the furry little sod into the wastebasket and the lid closes.

    This usually happens around 4 in the morning. I am awakened by the sounds of scratching and bumping.

    My disposal method is this:

    I open the living room window, hold the wastebasket out the window, tilt it 90 degrees so that the lid opens, and the mouse leaps from the wastebasket, falls the 4 floors to the mulch below and runs like hell in a random direction.

    Whether or not one of the feral cats that live near my apt building catch it, well, that’s not on my karma.

    As the weather gets colder, field mice seek warmth. You should check the perimiter of your home for holes and cracks in the foundation and/or basement windows. Stick steel wool in any holes you find. Mice can’t chew through it.

    As for trapping your mouse, here’s something you might try. It’s rather analogous to my wastebasket trap.

    Let’s hope this makes it past the spam filter!

  30. AnnaP says:

    My mom has this really weird looking electric dewise that`s suppose to shoo mice away with an ultrasound. I am not sure that it really works but it surely looks cool in the kitchen with a little flickering light on the side.

  31. Deb says:

    How about a cat??

  32. Pam Isherwood says:

    Silvio, if you can borrow a nice smelly tomcat, and encourage him to spray around the place, your little friend will move out pronto. No need for any actual executions. That just leaves you with the re-education process of experiencing cat pong as just a superconcentated musky smell. It really is, you can catch the musk undertone if you can stop thinking of it as tomcat.

  33. --MC says:

    Maybe you can get some dung from the zoo? I’m not kidding. The Seattle zoo sells Zoo Doo, which is rich in nutrients for plants, and also smells like wolverines or giraffes or whatever. Spread a lot of that on the ground around your home, and mice will be splitting themselves to get out of the area.