Friday, August 31, 2007

Some thoughts on proofreading

Or, I knew the prowess that allowed me to win that spelling bee in grade school would come in handy some day. I just finished a freelance proofreading job, the latest volume of Methods in Enzymology. Although I am a medical copy editor by day, that doesn't mean I know every word in the medical lexicon, and it's possible that no other publication could have made this quite so clear as "MIE," as we're fond of calling it. For proofreading, you need a basic sense of what looks right in English and for scientific proofreading you need to learn a whole lot of syllables so that when they endlessly recombine in new and interesting ways, you still recognize the words as being, well, at least feasible.

I have access to an excellent medical dictionary, but not everything is in there, and so I resort to Google half the time. And you know what I always say -- if it's been misspelled once, it's been misspelled 125,419 times on the web.

Zogby (sign up with them now!) recently sent out a survey on spelling and vocabulary, to which I responded "not sure" on a number of questions. That's because they were asking things like "which is more important, spelling or vocabulary?" I think the answer is "for what?" I know a lot of really smart people who have great vocabularies but don't spell very well. Their large vocabularies serve them well in their fields, but they probably wouldn't make great copy editors or proofreaders -- for that you need vocabulary and spelling.

Anyway, MIE has returned to the publisher and I have a free weekend. I learned a lot though, about enzymes and hypoxia and hypoxia-inducible factor. I also missed a lot, because I couldn't absorb it all; I just had to push through and make sure everything was spelled and punctuated correctly and formed into proper English sentences. It's a strange kind of reading, in which I wasn't really processing the information in a completely meaningful way.

I look forward to taking up Claire Messud's The Emperor's Children once more, and, I hope, absorbing it in a much more meaningful way.

The Very Blue Blue Ridge Mountains

Somehow, near Asheville, the Blue Ridge seemed even bluer than it does up in our neck of the woods.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Black Mountain, NC

My dad and I went to Asheville, NC for a week this summer. While there, we went to Black Mountain to look around at all the little artsy shops. This picture was taken looking up the street from the old train station.

The traditional dances of Pomerania live again

Max is much better, thank goodness.

You notice, when someone is sick, that you miss little annoying things they do. Who knew I would be happy to hear Max yapping at every passerby? It's normally something I'm trying to break him of. But this morning it was very, very welcome. It would be nice if I could maintain this perspective whenever someone is annoying me (as opposed to some thing -- it's still ok to hate the fax machine and not care if you never see it again -- you will not miss the way it jams your paper and spits out no-can-do "confirmations").

Max is back to dancing and barking and exhibiting his somewhat zany zest for life, so all is right with the world again.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

A day of dreariness

My little dog, Max, is sick in a lethargic and messy way. I am watching and waiting, because usually these things just take a bit of rest. If his little droopy tail, which is quite inappropriate for a Pomeranian, doesn't go back up soon, it's off to the vet.

Naturally I have tons of work to do and I don't work well when I'm worried. I wish I could focus better. I wish I could be one of those people who throw myself into my work. I wish I could finish reading The Now Habit.

Here's a picture of Max on a better day.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

And now, a picture

I only wish that I had taken it.

I need a title? The pressure, the pressure!

I have no idea what I'm doing.

Really. I'm sure you've heard that before, though.

For my first post, I will explain the blog title. It is a nickname I have given to one of my dogs.

I don't know what I want to write about, or how often I'll write, or why I'm doing this, unless it's just to be a part of this big, crazy, blogging world in which we live.