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Kyle's Cube after the 2006 Cardboard Boat Regatta

The Great Cardboard Boat Regatta is an annual event in several cities (mostly in the Midwest) where contestants build and race boats made from corrugated cardboard. For the past three years I've attended the event in Cedar Rapids, Iowa as part of its annual Freedom Festival.

I participate in Class III, the so-called "instant boats" built the day of the race from materials provided by the event organizers. This year I finished in second place (but they misspelled my name).

In previous years I've brought video of my races back to Oregon to share with my co-workers, and since we're all engineers we all agree that cardboard boats are a really great idea. Everyone knew where I was going when I left on vacation at the end of June, and they made sure I'd feel welcome when I got back.

They selected an appropriate theme for my cubicle — cardboard boat building. Perhaps a little obvious, but still very effective. (The vacuum-preserved Peep deserves its own explanation, but it's not the subject of this gallery.) Kyle's Boat Building Factory Boat building factory announcement on whiteboard

It's easy to guess what they did to the interior of my cube. A cardboard boat factory needs lots of cardboard on-hand, right?

Cardboard on my cubicle floor

Here are some blurry pictures of the interior. I wish I could say I made them blurry deliberately in order to protect company secrets, but what really happened is that I turned the flash off and forgot I'd need to be extra still because the shutter would be open longer.

Cardboard on my back wall

Layered, uneven corrugated cardboard is a wonderful working surface. Just don't try to use the mouse or write forcefully. All the toys you see are regularly in my cube — they rearranged things, but added only cardboard.

Cardboard on my desk Toys on my desk More toys on my desk

They even re-upholstered my guest chair!

Cardboard on chair

They covered the wall by the chair, too, giving my cube a slight echo.

Cardboard on the wall by my chair

The crew was very busy. They actually decorated four cubes on that day. Besides mine, they also decorated the cubes of our 2nd-level manager (who just returned from a sabbatical) and two co-workers who just became fathers.

We take interior decoration pretty seriously. But we're engineers, so this is what happens. I suppose I'm fortunate that they forgot duct tape was an allowed construction material for my cardboard boat, or my cube probably would have been totally unusable.

Tiny Island