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My New Sit/Stand/Elliptical Desk

Okay… so, this blog has been totally neglected for two whole years. I know… I know… it just seems like with Twitter/Facebook/Google+ handling the small stuff, and Techdirt handling a lot of the big stuff, I haven’t had as much need for a personal blog. Plus, somewhere, a little less than two years ago our son arrived… and (shocking, shockers) pretty much any and all spare time has switched over to spending time with him, which is all sorts of awesome, but means less time for random musings here on this blog. Actually, it’s meant no time at all for such musings.

Anyway, I am still trying to figure out what to do with this blog, and I actually do have some ideas, which may involve some changes (finally), but in the short term, I did want to do a quick blog post about my sit/stand/elliptical desk, because I’d mentioned it on Twitter/Facebook and some folks have asked how it is… and I’d rather post it here than on Google+ where it might disappear.

First off, some background, I actually did a bit of an experiment about six years ago with a “standup desk.” I honestly don’t know what compelled me to do this, but I just tried putting my laptop on some boxes on my desk, and I kind of liked it. But that lasted just a short while and I went back to good, old fashioned sitting. Still, a few months ago, I started thinking more seriously about it. I know that it’s become kind of an “in” thing, but I honestly didn’t quite realize that until I started to do some internet searches to see what might be available out there. I know a lot of people say that they do it because they have back problems, and I did have some back issues like five years ago, but nothing in years. I just thought that, in general it’s probably not that healthy to spend so much of my life sitting.

Now here was the thing. Beyond just a standing desk, I was curious about the idea of a treadmill desk, because I thought it would also be nice to move a little during the day as well, beyond just designated “workout” times. But… I also wanted the flexibility of a sit/stand adjustable desk… in case I wanted to alternate between sitting and standing (or what happens if I break an ankle or who knows what?). So, I faced a dilemma: how can I have a sit/stand/treadmill desk. And… keep it semi-affordable. This conundrum actually delayed the whole process for a while, as I read up on various options, and thought of ditching the whole treadmill option for a while. I read tons of reviews, asked questions on Twitter/Facebook/Google+. Read a bunch of Instructables pages about building your own treadmill desk… all of it.

I realized two key things: (1) the really good sit/stand desks out there are crazy expensive. There are some cheap options, but the reviews aren’t great. (2) And there don’t appear to be any pre-made sit/stand/treadmill options that I could find, at least. The problem is the treadmill piece mainly. I really hoped there would be a good instructable on this, but even the instructables’ discussions on treadmill desks made them seem kinda flimsy.

And then… two key breakthroughs.

Breakthrough 1: wondering idly if there was such a thing as as mini elliptical machine without the arms. I honestly had no idea if such a thing existed, but two seconds of Googling “mini-elliptical” and I’d discovered the InMotion E1000 device. I originally saw it on the company’s own site, where they wanted $200 for it, but Amazon consistently has it for under $100 (sometimes significantly less than that). There are a few other similar mini-ellipticals, but this one seemed cheap and perfect for what I wanted.

Breakthrough 2: Discovering the Ergotron Workfit S line of devices — and specifically the model that handles both a screen and a laptop next to each other — since that’s my basic setup. These are absolutely awesome products for effectively turning any table or desk into a sit/stand desk at much less than the cost of one of those desks. It may be difficult to tell from the image below, but that whole contraption slides up and down the post keeping the screen and the keyboard mouse tray perfectly ergonomically aligned.

So I figured, with those two things, I could retrofit my existing desk, which I’ve had for over a dozen years, and make it a sit/stand/elliptical adjustable workstation. I’d just have to move the elliptical out of the way by hand when it wasn’t needed. And, amazingly, it worked! Mostly.

And I actually used this setup for about a month, alternating between ellipticalling (is that a verb?), standing and sitting. I actually got the hang of the basics pretty quickly, and within the first week, I was basically only sitting about an hour a day. However, I quickly discovered one key problem. The addition of the elliptical made me too tall. I had actually thought about this, but figured it was unlikely, since I’m pretty short already, and at most the elliptical might add six inches to my height — and I figured the Ergotron must be designed to work for people taller than that. Well, either it’s not, or my desk was really low. Whatever it was, even when the Ergotron was at its highest setting, if I was on the elliptical, it was just slightly too low. Just. You couldn’t exactly tell just by looking at it, but you could feel it. Especially if I was typing, I’d have to crouch just enough to make it work… and that was clearly uncomfortable.

So, for about a month, I compensated by standing on the elliptical while reading, but as soon as I started typing, I’d step off the elliptical, lower the Ergotron a bit, and just be standing. For what it’s worth, after my feet started hurting and after seeing a recommendation on Twitter, I picked up a cheap anti-fatigue mat to stand on. This was… less than ideal.

Finally, over Thanksgiving, I gave up on my old desk, went down to Ikea, and picked up one of their simple modular, configurable desks… which have adjustable height legs, which I could set to the highest setting (amusingly, my wife also bought the same kind of desk that day too… but has it at its lowest setting, so she can sit on one of those exercise balls). Here’s the full setup with the new desk:

And… since then… wow. I cannot stress how awesome this setup is. The height is now perfect for the elliptical, and I will say that I have almost completely ditched the other two modes. I think that since Thanksgiving, I’ve probably sat on my chair for an hour or so (minus the fact that I sit in it each day to slip on some shoes to use on the elliptical). I’ve probably done a little bit of just normal standing work as well, but I’m probably 99% time on the elliptical as I work (and am there as I type this).

Amusingly, my one other (minor) complaint with the old desk, was that since it was an L shaped desk and I liked having the set up at the corner point, I couldn’t actually slide the Ergotron all the way down when I was in the sitting position (the keyboard tray would hit the edges of the desk). However, with the new Ikea desk, while also an L shape, the inner curve is a gentle curve, rather than a sharp 90 degree angle, and that gives enough clearance that I can lower the tray all the way (though I do have to slide in the mouse tray, which is easy to do). But since I’ve more or less given up sitting, this isn’t even that big of a deal.

The first few weeks definitely take some getting used to. The foot pain was definitely the hardest to deal with, but it gets better. These days, I don’t notice it at all. In fact, I kind of forgot about it entirely until writing this post. But getting the whole setup so that the height was right just made the whole thing feel… perfect. It feels like I should always have been working this way.

Basically, the whole thing is just comfortable. It feels great. I definitely have more energy and even though I didn’t have any pain problems in the past… I just feel better. I just kind of get into a zone and go, all day, every day.

There are a few key points that also seemed worth pointing out:

  • Potential downside to elliptical as opposed to treadmill is that you’re responsible to keep it going. With a treadmill, you can set the device to move… and you better walk or you’re off the machine. That’s motivation! With the elliptical, you have to be disciplined enough to keep on ellipticalling. So far this hasn’t been an issue — though there are certainly times when I’ll start concentrating deeply on something and pause on the elliptical for a while. But, for the most part, I’m just going at a slow easy pace (except during the SOPA hearings… that had me speed up the pace out of annoyance and frustration with stupid Congressional reps).
  • Breaking in the elliptical. About a week into using it, it started squeaking. That was a nuisance… and it lasted another week or so before disappearing. Since then it’s been quiet. However, on the right side, it has been “leaking” a fine black powder. I called the company behind the device, and they said that happens a lot during the break-in process and it’s not harmful at all. Just clean it up with a cloth and it’ll go away. Hopefully that’s the case. If I have to buy new mini-ellipticals every few months, that will make this a pricier option.
  • The view! This is a bit tricky to explain, but my house is on a hill, and there’s a road that heads up the hill directly towards our house… before making a right turn to continue up the hill. Or, you go straight, and that’s our driveway (which also continues way up the hill). Then, my home office is on the second floor, overlooking the front of the house… and that whole hill and the road. When I was sitting, I just had a view of the valley and the hills across the way. When I’m standing (and standing on an elliptical) I have a full view of the the road leading up to the house. At first, it felt kind of… awkward. It’s tough to explain, but it had a “lording over all I see” sort of feel to it. Especially at night, it seemed like basically every car heading up the hill was pointing its headlights directly at me, and I wondered if they were trying to figure out why there was a strange man bouncing up and down behind some computer screens. Thankfully, the new desk is a bit wider, which puts me further back from the road, and it’s less of an issue now, though I do much more easily see when my wife gets home with our son each night, which is nice, so I can go greet them.
  • The little details. I’ve had to rethink how I use the “desk space” now that most of it is a few feet below me. I did buy a little add-on for the Ergotron, which is a small platform that sits between the keyboard and the screens, which is perfect for a pad or a tablet computer (I switch back and forth). I also never removed the old desk stand from my LCD monitor before hooking it up to the Ergotron. I had intended to, but it actually acts as a nice ledge as well, and it’s where I store my phone when I’m working. The rest of the desk setup is a little more spread out (and I think I’m able to keep it more organized this way). I keep a water bottle within arms reach, and most other stuff is a bit further back.
  • Water bottle. Huge. Never drank that much water while working before, but if you’re constantly moving, staying hydrated is useful.
  • Shoes! We don’t wear shoes in our house, and I kind of like not wearing shoes, but the elliptical platform more or less requires shoes. It’s basically hard plastic, with a bunch of hard plastic lines jutting up. I’ve stood on it in socks or bare feet for maybe half an hour at a time, but it really gets to you after a certain point and it’s not that great. I’ve been considering buying another anti-fatigue mat, or some memory foam and cutting it into pieces that will go on the elliptical foot pedals, but for now I’ve just been using a pair of shoes. I’m actually using a pair of “negative heel” shoes that the wife bought for me years ago, which are easy to slip on and off, and are super, super comfortable, but which I rarely wore outside for a few reasons. First, they’re sort of a weird purple/blue, that doesn’t really match well with anything, and second is that the negative heel feels… a little awkward. But, on the elliptical, it just works. Don’t know why. So, these have become my elliptical shoes, and they just stay right next to the machine. I may need to buy more negative heel shoes in the future when these wear out.
  • Noise and conference calls. I know that I’ve heard of people using treadmill desks using them during conference calls, but I’m more or less trying not to elliptical while on the phone. First, any sound of being out of breath would just be weird, even if it’s just a minor breathing issue. Second, I do worry about the noise from the elliptical. It is pretty quiet, but I asked some colleagues early on, and they could hear a quiet swishing sound if I was ellipticalling at full speed. So I generally do still stand on the elliptical while on the phone (or just pace around the office — something I’d always done in the past too), and maybe will do an occasional spin… but for the most part, I’m not ellipticalling while talking on the phone.
  • Muscles and injuries. Definitely discovered muscles I didn’t know I had before. And there are days when I definitely feel sore. But that’s not too surprising. I’m a little more concerned about the possibility for injuries. There have been a couple of points where my knee has complained, but after a few minor adjustments in the setup, that’s mostly gone away. I think if it’s slightly off, it can have an impact, so I’m trying to be careful there.
  • Going backwards. One thing about an elliptical: you can go “backwards” or “forwards” and I’ve had a few people tell me that they get confused on the machines and don’t even know which is which. In the past, when I’ve used ellipticals in gyms, I’ve always used them only going forward. However, and I have no clue why… for this setup, I almost exclusively use it going backwards. For whatever reason, that’s just significantly more comfortable. I don’t know why. Every time I switch and go “forward” it just feels wrong. I know that one of the advantages of an elliptical is supposedly that each direction works different muscles, so perhaps I’ll start to experiment in forcing myself to go “forward” more often to see how well that works. But, for now, it’s all backwards.

I think that’s about it. All in all, it’s truly awesome. It’s a fantastic setup and I really should have done it earlier. I’m actually kind of wondering how I’m going to feel when I’m away from all of this. Unfortunately, much of January is going to be spent on the road for me, meaning far away from the elliptical desk. And I’m not sure what that’s going to feel like… Probably won’t be a big deal, but we shall see… Also, this is my home office setup. We do have a real “office,” but by tradition most of us don’t commute in to work that often. I’m usually there once (maybe twice) a week, which isn’t enough time to mimic this setup there. Though, one week I really felt the need to stand and ended up perching my laptop on a filing cabinet rather than sitting at my desk. If I end up in the office more often, I may at least have to pick up another mini elliptical. Unfortunately, they don’t look like they travel well… It may be mini, but it’s hardly portable.

Either way, it’s been great. For those who are thinking of such things, I recommend testing it out.

2009 In Cities

Ok, a little late on this (again). I realize this blog has become neglected, but hope to start posting a bit more again soon, but in the meantime, I need to repeat last year’s tradition, totally ripped off from Dennis about my “year in cities,” highlighting every city where I spent at least one night… So, here we go, in order of attendance:

San Carlos, CA (home, so multiple times)
Washington, DC (multiple times)
Lorton, VA
Many thousands of feet over the Atlantic ocean (multiple times)
Juan-les-Pins, France
Edinburgh, Scotland
Nashville, TN
Toronto, Canada
Huntington, NY (multiple times)
New York, NY (multiple times)
San Diego, CA
Stavanger, Norway
Wheaton, IL

Hmm. A fair bit of travel, and definitely a bunch of international travel. Shorter than last year’s list, but that’s because last year included a nice road trip. This year has already started off with a bang, but is going to be a much lighter travel year overall (very much on purpose).

You Can Go Home Again… But They Might Build Yankee Stadium There…

So… I actually wrote most of this post in July of 2008, while I was traveling somewhere on a plane. It sat in a text file for all this time, because I was too lazy/busy to get the images. I figured, however, now that it’s spring training (whoo hoo!!), I might as well finally get it posted. I did some editing on what I originally wrote so that it makes sense now — i.e., saying “last year” instead of “this year.”)

As some of you probably know, I’m a pretty big Yankee fan from a pretty young age. I have no idea how/when it happened. I first started to become aware of baseball in the mid-1980s, at which point the Yankees were really bad. The Mets, on the other hand were at their best. But I just could never get into the Mets. I went to plenty of games at either stadium (more at Shea, because it was easier to get to), but definitely remember going to Yankee games as a kid.

Nowadays, I tend to see the Yankees when they’re in Oakland (or on the rare occasion that they’re in San Francisco to play the Giants). But last year was the final year that the “old” Yankee Stadium would exist, so when I realized I was going to be in New York in June, I figured it would be great to get one last game at the Stadium. I mentioned it to my Dad, and he bought some tickets for a nice father-son night at the game.

While the game was fun, perhaps even cooler was getting a chance to check out the neighborhood where my Dad grew up. I’d always known he grew up in the Bronx not far from Yankee stadium. I remember one time going to the game as a kid, as we were walking up the stairs beyond the left field bleachers he pointed out exactly where his apartment building was — but he also told us that his old neighborhood was “too dangerous” now to visit again, so I never thought I’d get to see it.

However, a few days before the game, he suggested we head to the game early and check out the old neighborhood, so that’s what we did. We drove up to the Bronx nice and early, and I got a nice look at “the old neighborhood” he hadn’t been to in 35 years. As with any childhood memory, he noted that everything was “a lot smaller” than he remembered. What amazed me was how close it really was to Yankee Stadium. It really is just blocks from the Stadium.

Birds Eye View of the Bronx
The little red box/arrow is where he lived. The stadium at the bottom is the “old” Yankee Stadium. The construction zone above it is where the “new” Yankee Stadium is today.

Perhaps the best moment, though, was as we drove down Jerome Ave., and my Dad pointed out the park where he used to play in, and said “and up here is where I used to play baseball in the sandlots…” and paused as he realized his old sandlot field is the new Yankee Stadium. While the new Stadium looks beautiful, I don’t think my Dad is all that happy that his old sandlots have been replaced.

“Oh, this is awful.”

“But, Dad, that means you’ve played baseball at Yankee Stadium.”

He didn’t seem to take much consolation in that fact.

Either way, it was a great experience getting to see his old neighborhood, and learn a little bit about his life growing up, from moving two doors down from one apartment to another, to the fact that his apartment had previously been a doctor’s office (my Dad’s bedroom was the former examination room).

If I remember correctly — and I’m doing this 8 months later — I think this is the one they moved to, and the one down the street is where he lived before. Dad, if this is wrong, let me know… :)

Then we got to walk around the Stadium a bit, and he pointed out where the players’ entrance used to be (and the hotel where the players all used to live, back before they were all multi-millionaires). He said that as kids, all his friends would line up and get autographs, but that he was too shy. So… no Joe DiMaggio autographs to hand down…

And, oh yeah, the game was pretty fun as well. We had pretty good seats out towards right field. We got to see an A-Rod homerun, two Giambi homeruns, a nicely pitched game by Pettite, and a good old-fashioned blowout against the hapless San Diego Padres. All in all a fun father-son bonding experience. (later added: though, now as we enter the spring training of A-Roid, I’m realizing all three players I mentioned are now connected to performance enhancing drugs. Yay, baseball.)

I look forward to doing it again later this year at the new Yankee Stadium, so I can see where my Dad played baseball as a kid. And this time around, it looks like we’ll be bringing a whole bunch of relatives along as well. Should be fun.

Behind the Scenes at MidemNet

My presentation at MidemNet last month in Cannes has received more attention than I ever imagined (nearly 17,000 views on YouTube at this time!). If you haven’t seen it, here it is:

However, being that this is a personal blog, I wanted to discuss some of the behind-the-scenes stuff that went on and answer some of the other questions that have been asked by some folks.

First, I have no idea how I got asked to do this presentation. Despite writing about the music industry for a while, and pissing off numerous lawyers who work for the industry, I very rarely hear from the business folks. I don’t think they have any clue who I am. However, I apparently got onto someone’s radar screen, and they called me out of the blue and asked me to present (they picked the topic).

I wasn’t joking (at all) about the jetlag. When I gave the presentation I had a killing throbbing headache the whole time. I wasn’t working on very much sleep. I arrived in France about 24 hours before I was to give the presentation — and I barely slept on the plane at all. I tried to do some work in my hotel room, but it was crazy hot (turns out there’s no way to turn off the heat, despite it being warm outside). Everything I did to try to turn off the heat (or get the AC on) seemed to increase the heat. I finally slept for an hour before heading out to meet with the conference organizers.

Due to my original hotel closing down, I ended up in a hotel about 10 km away from Cannes itself. During the conference there was supposed to be ongoing shuttle service between the conference and the hotel (in practice, it existed, but wasn’t as trustworthy as promised). However, that first day the shuttle was not running. I was told I could take a train… but the train was apparently on strike (this turned out not to be true). Instead, I ended up taking a bus. While waiting at the bus station, I kept my streak alive: whenever I am somewhere new and taking public transportation *someone* will ask me for directions. I babbled in English, and the woman walked away in disgust. Lesson learned: if you can’t speak French, at least learn how to say “My French is really really bad” in French. Then they treat you much nicer.

The conference organizers were *awesome*. I really can’t say enough about the crew, who were amazingly well organized, professional and super friendly as well. It still amazes me, though, that they put me on the mainstage on the morning of the first day of the conference, having no idea if I’m any good as a presenter (though, they had been nervous and kept asking for my presentation well before I was ready to share it). They also kept repeating over and over again that I *really* was limited to 15 minutes. They were quite afraid I’d go over it. So I promised to practice my talk to get it within those 15 minutes, without fail.

An offshoot of the Midem event is the NRJ Awards, which is sort of the functional equivalent of the MTV music awards here in the US (though, with the same musicians, basically). So, security was crazy tight, and just to get backstage to see where I going to speak, I had to wear a special badge, as the backstage area intersected with the backstage for that show (some friends later got tickets to the Awards show and got to walk up the red carpet with 1000s of screaming teenie boppers). There were a lot of teenie boppers around trying to photograph famous musicians (Chris Martin, Katy Perry, some others were around).

The night before my talk (the night before the event started) there was a dinner for all the speakers. My original intent was to (a) not drink (b) go home early (c) practice my talk and (d) get plenty of sleep. None of those things really worked out as planned. First, it’s France, where there is no such thing as an early dinner. Dinner wasn’t until 8:30pm. Then, I was told that the guy who sponsored/organized the dinner was a wine connoisseur and had picked the wines himself… so I had to partake somewhat, especially with the awesome French cuisine. On top of that, I was having such great conversations it was difficult to get away. Eventually, though, Martin Thornkvist and I agreed to head back to Juan les Pins (he was staying in another hotel nearby as well). He had taken the train over (strike apparently wasn’t real) and had looked at the schedule, saying that there was another train back to Juan les Pins a little before midnight. We walked to the trainstation where that turned out not to be the case. There were no more trains to Juan les Pins, but there was a train to Antibes, one town over, where we were told we could catch a cab.

We took the train and discovered… no cab. So, we wandered. Generally following the street signs and made our way successfully back to Juan les Pins, after wandering through unknown French villages past midnight. I was very thankful to have Martin along as well, as it would have been a bit more frightening on my own (Martin was great company — and it was great to have that time to chat).

So… back at the hotel at approximately 12:30… and exhausted. Sort of half practiced the presentation once and fell asleep. Got up early, took the shuttle (I was the only rider on a full sized coach bus) back to Cannes, and watched the morning sessions. There was the opening debate, then a short 15 minute presentation, and then a coffee break. Then me.

The opening debate was great. Then the 15 minute presentation began. Assuming you’ve seen my presentation, you know that the one thing I depend on is having those slides change when I click the button. So as I’m watching the guy on stage go through his presentation, I begin to notice that he seems to be talking about things that aren’t showing on the slides. In fact, it looks like he’s stuck on a single slide. After about 5 minutes, he notices this as well, and has to actually stop his presentation and call out the tech support guys. This happens 3 times, after his slides refuse to proceed when he clicks.

My heart sinks. My headache starts pounding even worse. I have 280 slides to go through with, if not precision timing, at least a decent sense of timing.

By the time the other guy has finished his 15 min presentation, it’s taken nearly 25 minutes, in part due to all of the requests for tech help. I head to the speaker’s lounge to convey a… polite sense of worry. I’m told, repeatedly, that I shouldn’t worry. My presentation is fine. The problem with his had to do with (a) last minute changes to the slides and (b) the use of different views (on the laptop it had a notes view, rather than the presentation view on the screen). Still, I’m nervous. With a headache. And tired. Really, really tired.

I’m given my special pass, escorted backstage, where the tech guys insist (again) not to worry. Everyone in the theater is out getting coffee, so I run a quick test, and indeed the slides do seem to be working. Since the last presentation ran long, the Midem folks want to make sure people have enough time to have some coffee and get back into the theater. So they say they’ll wait and won’t start my presentation for about 10 min after the scheduled time (11:45am). But Ted Cohen, the MC of the event shows up and is bouncing up and down saying that we gotta get going… even though people aren’t back in yet. In fact, they’re just starting to stream in, and only a few have taken seats. The Midem people suggest waiting… which lasts about 30 seconds before Ted says he’ll just head out and talk to the audience for a bit to encourage them to come in. His talk lasts about 20 seconds (“how’s the show going this morning so far? Good?”) before he says, “Now I’d like to introduce…” and I’m on.

When I walk out, there are probably only about 1/4 of the people actually in the theater, and mobs of people streaming in and talking, but the big red clock on the stage has a 15:00 on it, and I’m not supposed to go over on the time, so I say something along the lines of “I see people are still finding their seats, but, let’s just get going…” and that’s where the video starts.

As you can see, it mostly did go off without a hitch. Mobs of people were still streaming in the doors until about 5 or 6 minutes in (a lot of people contacted me afterwards noting they had missed the beginning), but overall it worked. I also freaked out around the 11 minute mark when I started mentally calculating in my head how much more I had in the presentation and if I could do it in 4 minutes. You can sorta see that I shift into a different gear as I start “chapter 4.” I went just slightly over on time, but no one seemed to mind.

I finished, Ted shook my hand, told me how much he liked the presentation, and I walked back stage and collapsed. They gave me a bottle of water and told me to relax until I felt ready to go back to the speaker’s lounge, which I did about 10 minutes later, at which point I asked for something (anything) for my headache, and was given a packet of some sort of medicine to dissolve in water. That seemed to work… and I finally began to feel good again.

So… there you go. The story behind the presentation.

The rest of the time I was there was great. Without having to worry about my own presentation, I got to see a bunch of other great presentations, meet a ton of fantastic people, and explore just a little bit of that part of France. All in all a great experience, despite the stress, the headaches and actually trying to get through 280 slides in 15 minutes. I’m hopeful that I get a chance to present again in the future.

My Murderous Ex-Boss Goes To Trial…

Long time readers of this blog (all three of you) may remember my post in 2007 about how Bob, my boss at Super Bagel — where I worked throughout my high school years — had just killed his wife, Ann, with whom I also worked. The story is really tragic. I’d received a couple calls from TV magazine show producers thinking of doing an episode on the case, and I occasionally have looked around for updates, and to see whether or not a trial was underway. Thanks to my sister for sending over the news that the trial has, in fact, begun, and it’s already off to quite a start, with allegations that Bob offered an employee at Super Bagel $5,000 to kill Ann, saying:

“it’d be cheaper to kill Ann than divorce her.”


In talking with one of the TV show producers, the woman had asked me if it surprised me that Bob was capable of killing Ann. What kind of question is that, really? Bob certainly played the role of a tough guy as long as I knew him, and I had no doubt that he really was a tough guy. I wouldn’t want to get into a physical altercation with him. But, there’s a huge gulf between being a tough guy and killing someone… especially your wife.

These were certainly two strong-willed individuals, and I’d seen both of them clash with plenty of people. But, no matter how much of a mean streak Bob may have had at times, I never thought he’d actually reach the level of killing anyone — especially not Ann, and especially not in a pre-meditated manner. The whole story is so insane.

I still recall all of those crazy bagel store stories working with Bob and Ann — but they all seem to be coated in a form of muck that wasn’t there before. They were fun stories, about bigger than life personalities, working in crazy conditions in a small bagel shop in NY. It was the stuff that sitcoms were made of, not police or court dramas.