What It Is (posts below left; rate sheet, client list, other stuff below right)

My name is Bob Land. I am a full-time freelance editor and proofreader, and occasional indexer. This blog is my website.

You'll find my rate sheet and client list here, as well as musings on the life of a freelancer; editing, proofreading, and indexing concerns and issues; my ongoing battles with books and production; and the occasional personal revelation.

Feel free to contact me directly with additional questions: landondemand@gmail.com.

Thanks for visiting. Leave me a comment. Come back often.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

More Lattice

Just finished indexing a marvelous book: The New Space: Movement and Experience in Viennese Modern Architecture, by Christopher Long.

I write that, well, just about never -- especially when I've just sent in the invoice.

This story has a point. Maybe more.

The next PDF I open is Modernism and Opera. I won't mention the authors, just in case.

For the following, turn off your sound for five seconds. Those ads are obscene.

It's too bad that I'll be working on these books almost a month apart. I might begin to learn something. Only the strange and useless will stick after 30 days.

Something I have learned, however, in indexing the second of Prof. Long's books, is that indexing is much easier when the writing is crystal clear, as well as academic without being too scholarly or flowery.

I hope he's a professor somewhere. We're going to a graduation this weekend, and I suppose I'll see a few. Son and future daughter-in-law are receiving their MATs, and the University is finally deigning to award our son Harry the bachelor's he earned a year ago. Never quite figured that one out. Maybe he got it.

Don't come around the house. Two vicious animals will still be in residence.

My wife has recently spoken of perhaps taking possession of a young one of these . . . although nothing else is one of these:

Elvis, 1996-2015

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Crossing the Great Magnet

The good doctor Hunter S. Thompson cranked out a lot of great phrases. The one that serves as the title of this posting I've always taken to mean that when you interfere with the greater powers that control the universe, you're inevitably going to get sucked back across whatever line you've violated and slammed back down onto the pavement.

My technology update of a few posts ago? Well, well, what's happened since?

Old computer finally became unworkable, particularly due to the huge and steady flow of nonsense that Google Chrome forces on it. So I took it up to my computer genius, who explained to me that you can only put so much water through a hose, or whatever metaphor he used.

I also took up there the computer on which I'd had him disable the Internet when I purchased it a few years ago. It has more memory and enough additional processing power to handle my limited needs. I'm also using Firefox now, which helps.

But since I'd bought this computer a few years back and it's never been hooked up to the Internet, I had a few hundred (yes) and probably 24 hours worth (yes) of updates to install. I think that computer is finally working mostly OK, although I'm getting some undebuggable script message whenever I'm online too long. And the older computer now . . . I'd removed Office 360 from it, hoping to free up some space. However, in doing so, Mr. Gates reverted my system to the original Word 2003. While Mr. Genius found and downloaded the service pack for it, the 2003 -> 2007 converter is now missing. I'll need to take both back eventually, although now at least I'm able to work.

Paraphrasing Warren G. Harding, "My shredder, my goddamn shredder" -- the piece of equipment that prompted the other blog post . . . I tried to feed too much paper at once through the thing, and it jammed. I took out some not entirely sharp instrument to try to clear the jam, thinking, I won't hurt myself with this.

Uh-huh. The moral equivalent of a redneck's last five words: "Hold my beer. Watch this."

I ended up jamming some blunt force object from about the base of my index finger about two inches into my hand. Filled up four paper towels with blood, not to count the amount that I washed down the drain just letting water run over it. Pint of blood maybe? Who knows?

Three stitches later . . . and a tetanus shot tomorrow.

Let me go on record as saying I love technology. Absolutely love it.

PS: And just how stupid am I? My hand is swelling and turning purple (this is the hand I didn't break in December and let go untreated for a month, leaving me with a pinky finger that's permanently at half staff and something that looks like a double-size and slightly off-center knuckle), but what's the first thing I do when I get home? Certainly not attempt to get back on track with deadlines that were thrown out the window because of a week lost to exchange student, computer, and health issues . . . nooo, that would make too much sense. I'm obsessed with clearing the shredder, so I have out an exacto knife and a Swiss army-type knife to fix it. Mission accomplished and life is peaceful . . . until the next freakout, which'll probably be about three hours from now, if everything remains on schedule.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Back on Topic

Dear Bob, 

I have a couple of questions re the editing suggestions in CV, which I hoping you can help me with. 

The first relates to use of hyphens and dashes. I see that in my efforts to make the CV look a bit more as though it is a printed, professional document, I have over-used the en dash. From what I can see through your suggestions, it should be used for page ranges, but not 'co-chair' and the like. Yet, when typeset, it would seem to me that hyphens look like en dashes. Any wisdom on this would be very helpful! (I haven't yet changed the hyphens/dashes in CV, hence my query at this stage). I do like your suggestions for em dashes - but again don't really know when to use them. I can see you have suggested them in cases where either colon is used up in the sentence, or is about to be used.. 

In a good font that's not trying to be fancy or too quirky, en dashes are clearly distinguishable between the length of an em dash and the length of a hyphen. En dashes are never used in place of hyphens for compound words. Where they occur in text would be joining two phrases, one of which might be a compound. The example that Chicago gives is a "New York<n>London flight." Use of the en dash indicates that the words "New" and "York" go together. It's not a new York-London flight. I hope that makes sense. I've seen some authors or maybe even a press style sheet indicate that an en dash should be used to connect two nouns of equal weight, but that's very subjective in my opinion -- and certainly not the norm.

As far as my rules, such as they are, for em dashes: to me they are never to be used in place of a semicolon -- that is, to join two complete sentences together. (Some writers do this.) Rather, they are more to make a subsequent or additional point to the original one, but without relegating the text after the em dash to a parenthetical. It's a softer pause than a full stop (to use the Britishism). Again, I hope that makes sense.

The other query relates to the use of the comma in, for eg, 'XXX, YYY, and ZZZ'. Almost everywhere it looks like I've omitted this comma, so I'd like your wisdom on the different (opposing) conventions around this, and why to go with the option of always inserting rather than omitting the comma - thanks. Also related to this is that if the comma is omitted in the original, such as the name of an organisation, should I be inserting it anyway for the case of consistency, or respecting the original? An example is:  Patagonian Department of Industrialisation, Competition, Science, and Research. In the case of the place of publication of a work, it seems a bit clunky to include the comma, as in: Abingdon, Oxon, & New York: Routledge - or perhaps it just looks this way to me because it is next to the ampersand. 

Among the reasons I loathe the AP style manual, which is to say US journalism and advertising conventions, is the absence of the serial (Oxford) comma. It makes for clarity in every case, which can never be said about not using it. If you want a great reason to use it, please see http://img.pandawhale.com/lCwkE7-why-i-still-use-the-oxford-com-QAUW.jpeg.

Another good example is "I'd like to thank my parents, the pope, and Mother Teresa" vs. "I'd like to thank my parents, the pope and Mother Teresa."

On organizational names or book titles and consistency, I always prefer to silently insert it in places such as bibliographies. Running text might be a different matter for recognizable organization names. And really, it's had to tell what a book title actually is without looking at the copyright page. I've seen publishers do different things with covers because the design looks better, but the Library of Congress info says something different. In the case of Abingdon, Oxon, and/& New York, frankly I like what Chicago says: Use only the first city and delete the others. As regards the comma next to the ampersand, APA (American Psychological Association) style, which covers a lot of the educational world in the US, doesn't mind it at all.

About the only organizations for which I and many publishers routinely honor the original spelling, capitalization, etc., is the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development; don't ask why) and the occasional UN Programme.

Lastly, in cases where there is a capitalised 'T' in 'the', should this be made lower case in a title, even if it appears as a cap in the original, eg, A Millennial History of The University of Eastern Patagonia. In this case the university's names is 'The University of... ' and the often make a point of emphasising 'The'. 

Once again, such organizations make things very difficult for editors. Here in the US we have The Ohio State University, not to mention The Coca-Cola Company (and as a 20-year resident of Atlanta who spent way too many hours laboring in design and typesetting shops, I learned to enforce the latter vigorously). These days, I'm rather moody about such things. As an editor, I always want to lowercase it (it's not my job to uphold the style sheet of every organization out there); on the other hand, there is honoring the brand. I typically lowercase regardless of the desires of the institution, because I have my own brand to uphold. I like a consistent look. (Again, Chicago allows for, if not encourages, silently making such changes.)

One more query: why should the superscript be removed in '2nd national conference on... '? Is that to make it ready for typesetting, if that were to be the next step in a publication process? Often printed books seem to have the superscript, and so I guess I'm wondering whether it looks more professional to make a rule that all these will stay as superscript in my document. 

To me, superscripts have no place whatsoever in text, unless it's mathematical copy. If Microsoft Word didn't have a default setting for superscripts, I don't think it would occur to people to go in and manually change it. I think 2nd with a superscript looks very amateurish. As I tell people about Word's spell check, I don't want Bill Gates doing my editing, any more than he would want me doing his coding.

I ask all these minor questions just so I can settle on my own rules in the CV and also to learn from you about what are the conventions and reasons. 

Thanks very much!

No problem. I think you and I just wrote my next blog post. I'll change all the specifics.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Technology Update

Flip phone? Check.

Word 2003? Check.

Adobe Acrobat 9.0. Check. Maybe it's 7.0. I don't know. It works, and I have the disc if it doesn't.

Unable to intuitively or at a glance operate the televisions in my house? Check. The last time I voluntarily turned on the TV was to watch the Masters a few years ago to help me get to sleep. (I actually have enjoyed watching golf on TV. No stress. Nothing bad happens, except some gazillionaire only makes $60,000 this week for finishing 35th.)

iAnything? Nope. I used to have one of those tiny iPods years ago. I put about a dozen albums on it and lost all interest.

I seem to catch the blame for this, but the -- uh, sh!t, what's the opposite of receptive? (see, you few blog readers; it all comes together) -- end of a plug-in music-type device snapped off in the receptive part of my dashboard while someone related to me by marriage was plugging it in and I was supposedly making a sharp turn. Ehh . . .

Anyway, this little nub is as deep in there as you can get (not far), and according to the geniuses here in the home of the World's Fastest Half-Mile, you'd have to take the whole dashboard out to fetch the thing. About $400 of labor for something that they'll actually fix in about two seconds. I never listened to music much anyway in recent decades. I've been driving around in silence for years, even before that -- and that's Bristol silence in the car, baby, not Brooklyn silence. I think I turned off the radio when Sean Hannity went to New York from Atlanta. I might not be making that up.

[Speaking of which, turns out that Bernie Sanders's boyhood home was about a tenth of a mile from my last known NYC address. Right down the street, make a little turn, two houses down. Have I already mentioned this?]

The problem is that I think my younger son will be taking this v-hikl to Colorado with him. The man needs some music. As did I at that age. But I've always got AM radio, where few people dare to tread.

But the car. It seems to me that if I parked on a steep enough hill and got a little vacuum action going on . . . or a magnet. . . .


So yeah: AM radio.

What prompted this post is that Tere bought a shredder a year or two ago and had it up where she does some work, but she never uses it. I have all kinds of uses for it. I moved it down to the LoD headquarters a week or two ago. Used it yesterday. What fun.

Shredder. Check.

It's May 1, 2016, and I'm happy to have a shredder at hand. This century is just passing me by. I'm not really complaining.

Facebook. Assumed name. Five friends. Wife, two sons, one future daughter-in-law, one ex-girlfriend. I've received two friend requests from people who know me, who know the name from Tere's posts. One I friended for about a week and told him, Look, you know I love you, but I can't do this. He understood perfectly. The other friend request is just sitting there. Completely wonderful guys. Love 'em. Facebook is a rats' nest, or can be.

Younger son doesn't post at all. I think his last activity was changing his relationship status four months ago. I enjoy seeing my older son's posts, as it's mostly Chicago antics with a very nice group of people around various arts scenes.

But if Facebook were to go away tomorrow, I'd know less about what's going on with my son (well, and his ex), and that's about it. We can always talk on the phone, which he's happy to do. Which is a hell of a lot more than my parents got from me at age 26. I'd talk to my mother once a week and my father every few months. Not like they were after me, either. Well, actually they were hearing more from me at age 26 because I was fixin' to get married. . . .

Geez . . .

Maybe I'll do a post about my bar mitzvah.

That's not me, but it might as well be, except I of course had the Coke-bottle glasses. And the rabbi was a lot younger, and my great-grandfather (who I think appeared in the picture) was a lot older. And shorter. Grampa Isaac was a little guy. About 4-10. Always told me to move my legs so that he didn't have to step over me. If anyone stepped over me, I wouldn't grow. That's the kind of advice you take seriously from a 90-year-old guy who is 4-10.