Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Breath of not-so-fresh air

I hope everybody got a chance to enjoy the holiday weekend. I know I did! From seeing an old friend on Friday to a(nother) charity 5K followed by a cookout on Monday, my long weekend was packed with fun and frolic.

On Saturday, my hubby and I went to the Columbus Museum of Art to see To Live Forever, a collection of Egyptian art and antiquities on loan from the Brooklyn Museum. It was interesting, and I even spotted a typo in one of the descriptive plaques (unfortunately, the "no photography" rule prevented me from snapping a quick pic to accompany this post).

Monday, as I was clearing off the patio in preparation for our cookout, I noticed a barnyardesque smell on the breeze. I assumed it was just decomposing vegetation in the woodier part of our yard . . . until my husband pointed out that the folks whose backyard butts up against ours had created a compost heap right against their fenceline. So now any time the wind blows from the north, we will get that lovely smell. Joy.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


The absolutely glorious weather we've been experiencing in central Ohio for the past two days has me thinking about the good ol' days when I didn't have any work and could sit outside in my backyard and enjoy the sun as I watched the butterflies drift about on a warm breeze.

Of course, back then I couldn't afford to enjoy the weather anywhere but in my backyard . . .

And there's the rub. Would I rather be working steadily and not see the sun until 5:30, or wile away the hours on my patio wishing I had a more lucrative way to spend the day? Definitely the former. The sun stays up for a good fifteen hours this time of year!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

It's a mystery to me

I has a major problems reading this . . . do you thinks AT&T has decides to outsource their synopsis writing to a non-English speaking countries?

Monday, May 18, 2009


And now for another episode of Short Attention Span Theater:

  • The Columbus leg of the Race for the Cure happened on Saturday morning. It was a beautiful day and a wonderful turnout--around 45,000 people registered, and judging from the crowd most of them actually made it downtown.
  • Something is going on with my web site. I will need to investigate that soon.
  • I get to work on another round of edits to my report today--they are much less intimidating this time around, which is a good thing!
  • For the past few nights, I've had nothing but unpleasant dreams. It's getting annoying.
  • My hubby and I went to see the Spinal Tap: Unwigged and Unplugged tour last night. Michael McKean, Christopher Guest and Harry Shearer performed acoustic versions of songs from the various Spinal Tap albums, as well as from the movies A Mighty Wind and Waiting for Guffman. The witty banter and film clips between songs were nearly as entertaining as the songs themselves.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Dress rehearsal

As part of the editing process for the report I'm writing, the draft was forwarded to a pharmacist who has not been privy to the study, presentation or report to date. When his edits came back, I was tempted to dismiss many of them for this very reason--and then I realized that if he had these questions, comments and concerns as he was reading, so would the report's intended audience.

That realization caused me to look back at some sections of the report with a fresh eye. I, and the people who read and commented on earlier drafts, were so close to the information that we made some assumptions we shouldn't have. For example, because we've been knee-deep in the process for months now, we took it for granted that the reader would know what factor analysis is. In this specific case, it was an easy fix. I reworded the first mention of factor analysis to include a simple definition, giving the reader just enough information to understand the concept without bogging them down with unnecessary, overly-technical statistical jargon. I had to work harder to address some of his other questions and comments, but the end result is a stronger draft that will be an easier read.

His edits served as a friendly reminder of who I was writing for.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

No rest for the wicked

I spent all of last week working with my agency client to complete the first draft of the medication adherence report. It was mentally exhausting, so I forced myself to take a break and come home for lunch every day (their office is about a mile away from my house). On Wednesday, I was looking forward to a nice brainless lunch . . .

. . . but I had barely gotten through the front door when I heard my husband calling from the computer room, asking me to edit an article he was supposed to submit to our neighborhood paper. So I ate my lunch while perusing his copy, and then dashed back to my client's to complete my day's work.

Do you think I should charge my hubby for my editorial services?

Friday, May 8, 2009

Interior decoration FAIL

My agency client shares space in a three-story office building with a bank, a restaurant and several other businesses. The lobby of this building recently underwent some remodeling.

Now, I understand the concept of "eclectic decorating"--but I'm not so sure whoever is responsible for this space does. Behold:

Distressed, antique-looking console tables (there are two--they flank the front doors). Modern light fixtures. Futuristic occasional table with yellow, hard plastic armchairs. This vestibule just screams for one of those "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" interventions.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Tag team

I am usually capable of translating fairly technical concepts into language a non-technical audience can understand. I've written training manuals for sophisticated software programs, and guides for navigating tedious web sites. But I'm not so great at technical writing when you throw math of any sort into the mix. This shortcoming has recently resulted in my first experience with co-writing.

The results of the medication adherence study for which I created a PowerPoint presentation are now being expanded into a full report. I am writing the bulk of the report, but there is a section dealing with statistical analysis that is completely beyond me. I understand the concepts of it well enough, but when I try to write about it, it just sounds wrong. In fact, that section sounds so different from the rest of the report that one editor commented on the change in tone.

So my client got me some help. The technical writer really knows her stuff, but we are struggling to find a way to work together. She isn't familiar with the topic, so there is a learning curve to overcome. We're both used to working alone, and there's a little bit of discomfort as we learn about each other's methods. It just feels . . . clunky. I know we'll figure it out, but right now we just seem to keep getting in each other's way.

Has anybody else had this experience when sharing some sort of project with another person? How did you overcome the bumps?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A nighttime visitor

The other night, a strangled cry from my husband caused me to look up from the book I was reading. He was standing on our front porch, with a surprised look on his face. "Come here," he said, "and bring the camera."

Assuming he had been surprised by a large spider, and fearing that said spider might try to perpetrate a sneak attack if I went through the front door, I approached the front porch by way of the back door.

As you can see from the picture below, it was not an arachnid that had startled my hubby. Drying its newly-hatched wings on our front porch was a luna moth. You can't tell from the picture, but the wingspan is around four inches.

Isn't he beautiful? I say "he" because a bit of internet research informed me that the male luna moth has bushier antennae.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Browse this

My new web site is up and running, but there seem to be inconsistencies in how it appears from browser to browser. On Firefox, for example, there's a black line on the bottom of the Contact page, but the rest of the site looks fine. On Internet Explorer, the issues are a little more noticeable. I've heard it looks fine on IE version 7.0, but it is pretty messed up on 6.0.

So that I can best troubleshoot these issues, can you swing by www.writtenexpressionsllc.com and tell me what you see? You can either comment here, or use the form on the Contact page of the web site to send me an email. Either way, if you can tell me what browser you're using and what version you're running, I'd greatly appreciate it.

Thanks in advance for your help!!