Monthly Archives: April 2007

What I Read This April

Betrayal by Grace, Lady Cavendish
Conspiracy by Grace, Lady Cavendish
Firebirds Rising ed. Sharyn November
The Rest Falls Away by Colleen Gleason
Melusine by Sarah Monette
Mia Tells It Like It Is by Meg Cabot
Victoria and the Rogue by Meg Cabot
The Hours by Michael Cunnigham (reread)
Dead Man’s Ransom by Ellis Peters
Princesses by Flora Fraser
A Long Shadow by Charles Todd
Un Lun Dun by China Mieville
Magic’s Child by Justine Larbalestier
The Earth Path by Starhawk
So You Want To Be A Wizard by Diane Duane

Wow. Busy month. But spending two to two and a half hours commuting every work day gives one lots of time for reading.


My review of the Tarot of Jane Austen Kit is currently 1,075 words. (Two and a half pages, single-spaced — argh!) This is, erm, unacceptable, as my target range is between 300 and 500 words.

One could argue that I’m reviewing two things, the deck and the book, but I don’t think that would fly with either of my editors.

I’m going to bed; I can’t think straight any more. I’ll keep on editing it tomorrow night and wrestle it down to something more manageable. (Madame Guest Editrix — I am deeply sorry it’s going to be late.)


Shock of shocks: I am actually at my home computer. Liam is napping, and I have a review to write, which is due… yesterday? — WHERE has the this year gone? I don’t get a chance to be here often; I don’t have the time in the mornings and I generally fall into bed directly after dinner these days, which in turn follows dinner for Liam, his bath, and putting him to bed. (I was asleep at 8:30 last night. Seriously.)

So naturally, I am hopping about on the net while I think about how to phrase things properly.

(Later: If you run the questionnaire and the daemon’s form shifts, do me a favour and let me know what it morphs into so I can track the changes? Thanks!)

It is very odd to be working with an ergo keyboard again, because of course, my keyboard at work is a regular one. Speaking of work, as of Friday I have been on this contract for one whole month (see above re. ‘where has the time gone’). I got to invoice for another very nice amount.

We did a $250 grocery order today. It feels very, very good to have a full pantry and fridge, and even overflow in the garage. And HRH has headed off to the hardware store to buy a French door for my office, because the cats have officially demonstrated themselves as untrustworthy in it and I’m tired of how dark it gets when the office door is closed, as it shuts away the light of one of the few windows we have. We’ve been talking about a French door for this room since we moved in; it will be nice to finally follow through on it.

The general feedback I’ve been getting from people is confirming my suspicion that the Shorter OED is more useful, so that’s the one I’ll end up buying. This is fine; it means that I can buy myself an older edition of the Compact for the geek factor at some point in the future as a completely unnecessary gift.

I have a babysitter for the gig night, which means both my parents and my in-laws can come to the show! (Thank you Sam, and thank you Scarlet for suggesting her!)

Back to the review. This is the first bit of writing I’ve done in, well, a month. (Yes, that means exactly what it says, for all of you who have asked for work from me. Full time work plus toddler equals no time for anything else.)

Scratch Pad Apr 27


Damn. We may have just run into a problem that might affect the quality of what we’re trying to provide. Damn, damn, damn. It also possibly renders the work I did for the first two weeks I was here useless. Now we need to find another solution.


I just deleted the o, then the l, instead of the u from colour. Argh. Definitely lunch time.


Just loaded Meallanmouse down with piles of mini Cadbury eggs. Heh heh heh.


We could buy a Wii so that we would be able to use the product I’m working on, and if we get bored with it we could always use it to build our own robot.


Er… there are words in our database and we’re not sure where they came from. I think they have bred. My colleague thinks a test failed at some point and words that should have been rejected were instead added.


I enjoy my life. I mean really, how often do you get to use the word declension several times in one day, in casual conversation?


Goodness – I’ve now been here for a month. *blink blink*


Isn’t “in unison together” a redundancy? *beats dictionary*


I’ve offered to work on this at home over the weekend. I only have another two weeks, and with the two wonky discoveries today regarding words in the database which oughtn’t be there and the need to add new words that can be found in the source dictionary as opposed to the supplemental words I worked on the first two weeks I was here, we suddenly need to have a clean product to start from next week. The good thing I get to charge for my hours, whereas if I were salaried I wouldn’t.

Postscript: So much for that idea; I didn’t get the file I needed emailed to me after I left, only the updated supporting file. Oh well.

Scratch Pad Apr 26

I am wearing my RED SHOES today!

Also, it is my father’s birthday. Happy birthday, Dad!

“baton: a stick used by a conductor to help control the performance of a group of musicians”. I laughed, envisioning a conductor whacking away at a group of musicians desperately trying to follow the sheet music.

I’m using all the same words in a definition, I just… move them around a bit to make things clearer. And I add punctuation. (Mostly.)

I can’t decide between getting the two-volume shorter Oxford dictionary, which is a selection from the complete OED, and the Compact OED, which is the 20-vol complete dictionary in one volume, in microscopic print on thin thin paper used with a magnifying glass. The completeist geek in me wants the Compact, but the Shorter would probably be more practical. The price isn’t that much of a factor, as I can get a secondhand Compact for around the same price as a new Shorter. (I love eBay and abebooks; sure, it’s the previous edition, but how much has changed, and do I really need to pay another three hundred dollars for a new edition?) I’m really leaning towards the Compact because of its completeness; I look up archaic words a lot. (Who, me? Word geek? Never.)

One of my biggest tasks is making sure the tense of the definition matches the tense of the word. Life is very exciting, I tell you. Satisfying, though.

It appals me that a dictionary doesn’t understand the that/which differentiation.

Have I mentioned lately that PUNCTUATION COUNTS? Sometimes necessary punctuation is missing; other times there are extraneous commas in places they have no business occupying. Maybe someone was trying to make up for the lack of commas elsewhere by putting on after every second word in certain definitions.

Nothing like finding misspelled words in the dictionary. Not in the definitions; the actuals words themselves. Five so far. I’m hoping it’s an importation error.

“A large bird that feeds on dead animals from South America” is not the same thing as “a large bird from South America that feeds on dead animals”. Sentence structure ALSO COUNTS.

Um. I’m talking to myself again. I’d take a break but I promised this would be done by tomorrow afternoon and, well, it might not be. (Checks status.) Just less than halfway through. Nope; maybe Monday morning.

Huh. Did more than I thought today. Still not certain this will be finished by tomorrow afternoon, but I can sure as hell try.

Scratch Pad Apr 25

Un Lun Dun is reminding me of Neil Gaiman and Charles de Lint (not to take anything away from the genius of China Mieville himself). It’s like Gaiman and De Lint got together in Mieville’s brain and used it to write the book, only it’s not like any of them. (Really, this makes sense to me. It’s like, but not anything like. Honestly.)

Sorting this alphabetically was a good idea. There are doubles, and I can also see how many words have the same definitions for slightly different variants.

Oh, I see. It’s the air in here. I’m falling asleep. And it’s not that I’m tired; I went to bed at eight last night, fell asleep reading, was woken up by HRH to eat pizza at 9:30, then fell right back asleep again. I got plenty of sleep.

Editing! Actually editing! And now I look at things that I marked to be edited and wonder, “What’s wrong with that?”

Now watching the numbers skew madly as I start to adjust the levels on those words that really belong in another level of the dictionary. Oi. They should settle as I continue on, but for now there’s an awful lot of red of and blue on the totals page (these being the colours that indicate below or above our target number).

Yay – we’re back to the “huzzah!” feeling of succeeding in a good edit. I am such a geek.

It’s because I’m problem-solving. That’s why it’s so satisfying. I’m not just scanning lists of words to flag them for something to do later; I’m actively problem-solving.

Why is it that a lunch of fries, gravy, and cheese would send most people into torpor, but I am more awake than I’ve been in days?

Mellanmouse has given my name and contact info to her supervisors to proof her script when it’s locked, and has also suggested that I be kept on the permanent roster of freelancers. Am dizzy with opportunity.

For the past week I have had the oddest desire to go shoe shopping. What’s up with that? I hate shopping for shoes.

Scratch Pad Apr 24

Nothing like Brian Setzer rockabilly first thing in the morning. Thank you, t!.

… and for the neoPagan filk that is developing out of it.

Just sent off my declination of the electric cello. A little sad, but there we are. I asked her to keep it, and to take lessons when she ends up wherever she’s going. I think the cello is an important symbol to her; now she just needs to use that symbol and allow it to transform her life.

The cello vendor responded with heartfelt thanks for an encouraging letter, and says I read her mind. I have done A Good Thing for someone today.

Pandora radio! I Know I Could by Drugstore has lovely cello work in it, and interesting words. Wonder if the band could do this one. There’s a second guitar theme that the sax would sound excellent playing. (Hiatus, hiatus, hiatus…)

“Cello rock” is an actual term. My head hurts.

So is “cellobop”. Ouch.

This cold (or bad bad allergies, now that spring has hit us like a ton of bricks) is making me miserable, and killing my concentration.

Finally — I get to hear some Bonfire Madigan! I love Pandora. (And can I say that “Saddle The Bridge” is one of the best titles ever? For reasons that most non-string players won’t understand, beyond the obvious image that pops to mind?)

I really miss Liam. I love what I’m doing, but one of the points of being freelance is to have time to spend both working and being with the boy at home. Neither HRH nor I are happy about having Liam with the caregiver every weekday. It’s only for another few weeks, though, until my contract is over, or until HRH drops down to the intended part-time work when the original push to catch up with the landscaping season is over (thanks so much again, winter, for your stubborn insistence on crowding spring back). Working full-time is not something I want to resume, the main reason being I’ve established a decent freelance editing/writing career and if I go full-time somewhere I’ve effectively ended the freelance thing and left clients in the cold.

Focus gone, gone, gone. Sore throat, draining sinuses, glasses hurting the bridge of the nose. Am tired of all these words.

Kind of neat to look around the room and realise that every single person here is working on a different aspect of the project, and to think that it will all come together at some point soon.

Feeling remarkably cut off from everyone and everything at the moment. I wonder why. Beyond the being sick and weary from it, that is. Probably just that the tiredness is looking for support.