Wednesday, January 18, 2017

What's on my desk -- revised

A question for writers that has been circulating the blogosphere recently is “what’s on your desk?” It's the same question I answered a couple of years ago but a few items have changed, so what the hell?

My iMac desktop computer (designed by my son and his team at Apple).

Mouse on a UCLA mouse pad.

brother printer.

Froggy Gremlin childhood toy.

Bob Hope in Dodger uniform bobblehead. (next to Koufax he was my favorite Dodger.)

Cup o’ pens.

Microphone and microphone stand for the podcast.  (Please listen and subscribe.)

High end digital ZOOM recorder.  

Fathers Day cards.

Family photos.

Seattle Mariners paperweight. 

A Gary Larson FAR SIDE card showing the BEWITCHED writing staff brainstorming in the fourth season. Brilliant notions like: “What if Endora casts a spell on Darren?”

Allstate accident report I was supposed to fill out in 2011.

Photo in Lucite of my granddaughter, Rebecca. (She's already gotten much bigger.) 

Box of Ralphs market Oyster Crackers. There are some things it's okay to buy the generic brand.

Plastic Bob’s Big Boy (I’m a Bob’s Big Boy fanatic and can never figure out why that checkered jumpsuit look didn’t catch on.)

Five old drafts of my play, GOING GOING GONE (with practically every page dog-eared).

Initial draft of my new play.  (with EVERY page dog-eared).

Ellen Sandler's TV WRITER'S WORKBOOK, which is required reading for my UCLA class. (Note to my students:  BUY IT) 

Lucite encased Real Don Steele KHJ business card.

A hard bound copy of TODAY WILL BE DIFFERENT (personally signed) by author Maria Semple. (Fun reading. I recommend it.  Actually, I recommend all of her books.)

My SPORTS ILLUSTRATED 2017 swimsuit model desk calendar. This week it's this picture of Hannah Davis.

A spec pilot from my rabbi.

A spindle of CD’s that includes albums from Frank Zappa and Joanie Sommers.  Who plays CD's anymore?  Why isn't this in the garage?

Dodger Stadium and Pauley Pavilion replica paperweights.  Both very dusty. 

50 GOING GOING GONE promotional postcards (now completely worthless).  

Lucite encased picture of me with AfterMASH writing staff (that includes Larry Gelbart).

Vintage typewriter from 1890 with the carriage return arm on the right side. No FINAL DRAFT version for that. 

93/KHJ Boss Radio mike flag.

Box of brads and paper clips.

My bobblehead collection that includes Harry Caray (pictured), Speedy Alka-Seltzer, and Jesus Christ.

And -- Oh God – I think there’s still a sandwich.


Paul Dushkind said...

So how does this typewriter work? From right to left like in Hebrew?

B A said...

Looks like Froggy G is trying to emulate his idol Sir Froggy. IF he only knew...

Stephen Marks said...

And a Christmas card from Whitney Cummings inscribed with "You were right!"

Wendy M. Grossman said...

Technology: Three monitors, keyboard, trackball, landline phone, mobile phone, travel laptop, four-way AC extension outlet, small box of USB sticks & memory cards, travel wifi router (to configure), spare phone battery (to charge), network switch, speakers, USB cables, ethernet cable to connect to laptop awaiting reconfiguration, spot lamp, headphones, microphone.

Paper: old bills, current bills and statements, pads, notes, old to-do lists (partially completed), current to-do lists, magazines, torn-out articles.

Book: Weapons of Math Destruction, by Cathy O'Neil (buy it! AND read it!)

Glasses cleaning cloth

CD cleaning cloth

small empty plastic bag

rubber band

two small notepads (last one, current one)

2 staplers (one full-size, one travel)

mailing labels

several Sharpies

small box holding various business cards

bottle of tap water

mug of tea

roll of paper towels

fountain pen

nascent book proposal

...and underneath it all: the crumb layer.

Pinned to monitors:

quote: "Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity"

New Yorker cartoon: a gravestone, reading, "George Appleton Harvey. 1928-2003. He never got around to writing that novel."


Michael said...

Bobbleheads of Hope and Caray but not Scully and Koufax? Oh, Ken ....

Mark said...

"The Far Side" is good, Ken, but you're telling me you don't have any faded "For Better or Worse" or "Family Circus" cartoons? You can't start your day without following that dotted trail after Billy or Jeffy.

Gwendolyn said...

Not really relevant to your post, but I FINALLY found a channel showing Becker. To top it off last nite's episode was written by
Ken Levine and David Isaacs. (The one where Richard Schiff plays Becker's cousin.) I hope the reruns go on for four years!

Glenn said...

My phone, which needs to be charged. My laptop, which also needs to be charged. My monitor, which is not plugged in. My portable DVD player, which is also not plugged in. I may have a problem.

By Ken Levine said...


Which channel? Thanks.

Ron Rettig said...

Ken, Becker on Antenna cable channel. Tonite there is a 2 hour Levine bloc. Wings 8PM to 9 PM Becker 9PM to 10 pm all times PST.

Gwendolyn said...

I'm in Manhattan... Time Warner (excuse me, Spectrum)... channel 1260 which is some version of channel 11, PIX. I think it may be called Antenna but can't find any such listing in the NYT's tv schedule. Only problem is that show runs from midnite to 1 a.m. and is followed immediately by Frasier (on another channel.) And they wonder why I sleep late.

tb said...

A Pauley Pavilion paperweight? That sounds like a rare item

Covarr said...

Most of what's on my desk is papers I need to go through, very little particularly noteworthy except perhaps my Tascam DR-40 recorder (I use it to record voiceover for news videos sometimes). But one thing that stands out as unusual is my giant tea collection. I've got twenty-one boxes of the stuff stacked on the edge of the desk against the wall, a healthy mix of herbal, black, green, chai, medicinal... all sorts of stuff, so that I've always got something to suit my moods or needs.

Most importantly, I make sure that I always keep at least a couple boxes of Throat Coat. If I know I'm going to have a show or rehearsal on a given night, that's the last thing I drink before I leave work. Goes a long, LONG way for the quality of my performances, doubly so in musicals.

Unknown said...

Mind posting that MASH writing staff photo. I'd love to see it.

YEKIMI said...

Unemployment forms. Lots of pill bottles. Doctor's appointments. Crumbs of food. Ants [Guess I'd better clean]. Laptop and desktop computer, monitor, external hard drive, speakers and subwoofer, cords, cords & cords. Music CDs. Fan.

Gwendolyn said...

Sorry for mistake... the episode was Drive, They Said.

Johnny Walker said...

Book ordered! Thanks for the recommendation.

benson said...

Ken, A Friday question, if you want to ponder this...

Some friends (all north of 55) had a discussion on Facebook about reboots, prompted by the White Men Can't Jump news and the Will and Grace story.

I remember series' director Richard L. Bare saying he wanted to reboot Green Acres. Was that show so unique to the original actors that it would be near impossible to reboot.

My thought is someone like a Megan Mullaly could pull off an American Lisa Douglas, since Lisa was essentially Gracie Allen's character in Burns and Allen. But then would the actors playing the townspeople be essentially imitating the originals?

And writing for the logic of a Gracie Allen character would be though, you'd think.

It may be a silly FQ but a much beloved series.

MikeK.Pa. said...

If that a desk you have, or the deck of an aircraft carrier?

Cap'n Bob said...

It would take me a week to inventory everything on my desk.

Charles H. Bryan said...

Zappa! I listened again recently to JUST ANOTHER BAND FROM L.A. It always makes me laugh.

Finibus Bonorum said...

Acer 27" monitor; Microsoft mouse; Creative Fatal1ty keyboard;
artisanal mousepad from some little island owned by the cruise line;
encased baseball autographed by (dad's WWII army buddy) Mel Allen;
OontZ Curve speaker (smaller than the baseball);
Ye olde landline phone with CallBlocker® device to blacklist telemarketers;
index cards; ballpoint pen with tip not made in China;
HunterDouglas remote for window blinds;

D. McEwan said...

I no longer use a desk to write. I write in a recliner, with either a laptop on my lap, or the keyboard for my larger computer on my lap and the mouse on a book balanced on the chairarm. (Sounds like the mouse perch is precarious, but this system has worked for me for 18 years. I used Roget's Thesaurus for the bookrest.) The monitor for the big computer, and the printer and the scanner, are on a tabletop beside the chair on the right. The table beside the chair has books stacked all over it. And here's the big sin, though it works for me, the chair faces my TV. The books currently stacked there are:

Stack 1: The Daily Show (The Book): An Oral History (Which I will finish reading tonight), The Vault of Walt Volume 1, The Unauthorized Story of Walt Disney's Haunted Mansion, and It's a Crazy Business: the autobiography of Pinto Colvig.

Stack 2 (All novels): Dracula's Demeter, Rebecca, The Bad Seed, Israel Rank: The Autobiography of a Criminal and Moby Dick.

Stack 3: So Anyway by John Cleese, Lolita and The Norton Book of American Autobiography.

Additionally, a copy of my first novel, My Lush Life, lies on the scanner, for consultation, along with a rhyming dictionary and a copy of The Elements of Style by Strunk & White, which should be at the writing station of anyone writing in English.

And there's generally a large, mostly white cat lying either on the footrest or the headrest. He's on the headrest at this moment.

D. McEwan said...

Oh, and the TV, cable and stereo remotes are on the table with the books.

Xavier said...

Prior to it being your desk, was it the Hollywood Palace?

And on a Frasier episode this evening, Lilith and Niles sleep together, and, oh, there's food in the bathroom? One of my all-time favorites!

Wendy M. Grossman said...

They already remade GREEN ACRES. They called it SUBURGATORY and traded the society wife for a disgruntled teenaged daughter.


Brian said...

Can you get a page to fly out of the typewriter and land on a pile so that "By Ken Levine" shows?

Cute picture of your granddaughter. That is one happy smile.

thirteen said...

Wow. That's Froggy from Andy's Gang! Hadn't seen the little fly-eating d-bag in decades. Thanks, Ken.