Vulcan’s Peak

Archive for the 'internships' category

Brain dump

August 3, 2006 4:57 pm

I spent a large part of my day proofreading an index. By the S’s and T’s, I was starting to get a bit on the punchy side (“effing numbers, effing numbers, semi-colon — how does Teg- come before Ted- ? Effing numbers. Semi-colon.). Also kept me there a bit later than usual. Which, to be honest, is not all that late, due to the fact that I was told the first day that “Most of our interns just work 10 hours a week.” Ooookay. (Probably just as well — there are three of us right now, and we are apparently too efficient for our own good.) So I go in on Tuesdays and Thursdays around 9am and work until sometime mid-afternoon, which translates to whenever I finish whatever I’m working on. Between not having a desk and not being in every day, there’s not really anywhere I can leave things I’m partly done with. So I clean my plate.

Been scribbling in my spare time. Have crazy ideas about resolving to finish a story per month or some such, as incentive to keep self writing — ’cause the deadline thing worked out pretty well for the fiction class I took last spring.

Anyway, I did finish off something that I’d been sort-of working on for a year or more as my “July story”. Planning to give it a month or so before any serious revising so it’s easier to tell what’s crap and what’s ok. I’ll post it now if anyone wants to take a look. Otherwise it’ll probably show up sometime this fall.

The “August story” is a thing I’d started for an assignment last spring, but just wasn’t working out. It still amuses me, though, despite the fact that it’s probably a no-plot-wonder. Toying with ideas of how to make it work as a story anyway. Something one characters says early on may tangent off into a tale of its own. I’ll put that up too, but only if you promise to offer me some good, off-the-wall suggestions.

Did you stay tuned?

July 6, 2006 9:31 pm

And here begins the tale of another summer internship. So let’s start with the point where I walked in the door yesterday morning. I had been told to come at 8:30 on Wednesday so that another intern and I could get the all the introductory explanations at the same time. We sat down with an assisstant editor, to get a run down of the steps that a book goes through while it is in the hands of the editorial department. We also met the managing editor and the woman I had been in contact with. (A nice lady, she is older, Australian–judging from her accent and her posters–and seems to be, like me, the sort of person who is awkward when talking to people she doesn’t really know.)

The other intern is a grad student in history from the Univ. of Mass. of all places. (I suddenly felt like such a local! –which turned out to be somewhat fallacious; he is originally from Louisiana. However, I DID feel less absurd for having gone all the way to NH for an internship last summer. It’s really nice to have a fellow college kid, a big contrast to being the only person under about 35 last year.

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Relocating again

July 1, 2006 12:49 am

Well, Sunday I migrate to my second home of the summer to start my next internship adventure.  Time at home has not generated a great many posts, despite all this supposed free time!  It quickly became pool time, movie time, sorting time, and (very importantly) dinner time.  So you see, not terribly newsworthy, but entirely worthwhile.  I might put up a few movie reviews, though.

News Hour

June 20, 2006 11:18 pm

aka, It might take you 60 Minutes to read this thing!
(I’m sooo good at attracting readers….)

The chronic problem with this thing is that I put it off and then I start to get intimidated by how long I’ve put it off. First, the news summary.

1. I graduated. (And there was much rejoicing.)

2. I’ve been to Boston.

3. I’m home. And I am calling Tae TOMORROW, because I’ve been a bad person and have let piles and boxes and unpacking/repacking get in the way of spending time with my friends.

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September 30, 2005 10:27 pm

The fruits of this summer are beginning to appear!

I did most of the captions for Techno Theater – can’t tell from the cover, of course…but it’s a cool cover! Come on, it’s Yoda!!

Remember my glee and chortling in this entry? The Civil War books are coming out in November and December. You can even look them up on and, though of course there’s nothing in stock.

Still pending: Real News.

Office fun and other tales

August 2, 2005 11:36 am

If you’re looking for tales of my weekend with Pug and my birthday, check his blog – he’s quite comprehensive about it, so I won’t try to duplicate.

Instead, a few more tales from my life as an intern.

The president of the company was here last week, which was rather interesting. An odd duck, by all accounts – I’m told he has his doctorate in philosophy, and you know what that’ll do to a person. Or something. He didn’t look at all like I expected. His given name is French and his family is rich, so I had pictured him looking very…I don’t know, French and fashionable and haughty. Yeah, so kill me for thinking in stereotypes. He is actually rather mousy, very plain with long hair and a bald spot and a nasal voice…and possibly haughty. I got a few glimpses and passed him in the hall a time or two (at which points he gave me an interesting “and who might YOU be?” look – I was not introduced, which is just fine with me. I got a good look at the infamous character, and that’s really all I wanted when I heard he was coming.

My great triumph of last week was finally finding a couple of photos of Indian houses for one of the editors – a “photo emergency!” Took me forever to get in touch with people at museums that have such photos, waiting for them to return messages, finally giving up and calling again…etc. etc. Had two days of good luck last week and spoke with helpful folks who immediately became my favorite people of the day, and am very relieved to have it settled. A small triumph, but nonetheless.

Pete has me working on expanding the text for a Civil War timeline. It appears in its current form in each of the Civil War books, but they’re going to make it into a poster too, which will be bigger, thus have more space, thus needs more text. I’m looking forward to working on that, though I have a few picky little things to finish up first for Deb. The books themselves are almost out of here at last, as are the animal books for younger readers – I saw the covers for those the other day – very cute and colorful.

I tend to always have something to do for Deb now that Sarah’s had her baby (a boy). Deb is still a bit daunted at having to do everything on the magazine for the next few months, but she seems to be doing fine. I do what I can for her, and Claire, the secretary (not the correct title, sorry), pitches in as well.

Pizza party here at lunch on Friday for a lady in the call center part of the office who is retiring. Mary is absolutely adorable in the way that little old ladies can be, which is enhanced by her Boston accent. We’re all sorry to see her go! So of course I had the allergy conversation with Pete (who already had some idea, having seen me deal with it at restaurants twice), and that was taken care of. Fed again. I’m happy.

Weird computer story. I was downloading pictures onto Ellen’s computer this afternoon – an ancient Mac, poor old thing. And granted, internet hexplorer and hadn’t been playing well, but then suddenly – I have NO idea how I/it did it – the cursor disappeared from the screen!! No, the machine didn’t freeze – sometimes, you could still see the cursor around the edges of the screen, and better yet, you could still see links and icons react as the cursor passed over or clicked on them…but you couldn’t see the cursor itself! A ghost! Would be a phenomenal April Fool’s Day prank…if only I knew what had happened… Had to restart the machine, then it was fine.

They’ve been paving the road between home and work, which has been a bit of a nuisance, but the new road is nice. Supposedly, they’ll finish tomorrow, hurrah for that. I have found an alternate route and used it a few times, but it is much longer. A new view is nice, though. That route takes me through Greenville, NH – MUCH smaller than it’s SC counterpart! But it IS next to a small lake…

Over the weekend, I went down to Salem, Mass., which is an odd place. It’s a weird mix of honest history, modern wicca (many shops selling incence, spellbooks, bags of dried herbs, and other oddities), and tourism (midnight graveyard tours for thrill-seekers, etc). Interesting, though!

Quote of the day:
“I like naked-tattoo-man”
Don’t ask. I still haven’t stopped laughing.

Quote of yesterday:
“Christ, it’s only his lordship.”
Say it in a Scottish brogue – yes, I’ve started another mystery featuring the eccentric Lord Peter Wimsey, by Dorothy Sayers. Wimsey! So fun to say. Almost as much fun as “Christ, it’s only his lordship.”

Dumbledore’s man, through and through

July 18, 2005 3:51 pm

I suspect no one will be surprised that I gave into temptation on Friday and joined the small crowd at the Toadstool bookshop here in Peterborough to wait for midnight and Harry Potter 6! They had a magician for the younger kids and it was a lovely evening. Plus, they were selling the book for 30% off, which was nice. I finished it Sunday around dinner time and look forward to comparing notes will all of you as you finish it! Harry is definately a year older than the last book – he makes some very mature decisions (like who he takes to the Christmas party) and I’m really rather proud of him! Will shut up now before you yell at me to give nothing away! Look for posts concerning book 6 sometime in the next few weeks – I will put spoiler warnings on them when applicable.

Saturday afternoon I took Harry and went off to the beach, which was lovely! The first public beach I came across was fairly crowded and parking required paying through the nose, so I went a little farther and found a quiet spot (and free parking). This was by and large a pebbley beach, though there was some sand it was up away from the water. And of course, not white – more dark brown with black specks. I was surprised at how much the color affects the temperature! – the sand was almost too hot to walk barefoot on. Down by the water, the ground was entirely rocks, tiny little pebbles, not as comfortable to walk on as sand. I waded some, but mostly I sat on my big flat rock and read Harry.

I came home in time to eat dinner and shower and then went off (same highway, other direction) into town for a concert I’d found out about the day before. Part of a concert series in the Town House (same sort of architecture as the local churches, only with a stage at the front), this was a vocal ensemble specializing in Renaissance polyphony. There were ten of them, mostly men, and they sang for a good hour and a half or two hours and were VERY good. Good accoustics, too, which helped – I had a great seat in the balcony.

Ha, just heard the AC is back on in this building, after having been out since Thursday. I didn’t even notice until people started complaining of the heat late Thursday and Friday (It’s been warm here, but nothing like post-Dennis in FWB without AC, I know.). Amusing. It WAS getting stuffy by late Friday, though, so when I was invited to leave early, I scurried out.


July 15, 2005 12:41 pm

I love the variety I get here. Yesterday it was Ellis Island immigrants, the day before it was Bolivia or Reconstruction, and the morning it has been Native American houses. Just works out that way, since I’m always working on this or that for several different editors, and each has several different issues going at once.

I’ve been wanting to introduce you to some of the personalities that make it interesting around here, but I always fret about using people’s names and whether they would want a name used or whether someone could use their identities to figure out mine (which they probably could anyway), so I’m sidestepping all that and making up pseudonyms as I go.

I like working with Ellen – she’s sweet and can always find something for me to do – and is charmingly unorganized. She’s the sort of person who might clearly think she handed you a stack of articles, but they’re just as clearly still sitting on her desk… She’s fun, though. I really like working with Amy too, who is very efficient and keeps an eye out for me. We had a design meeting for the Edison issue recently, which was a fun one for me because I had helped her sort out the photos and written the captions, so I was more familiar with the material that I have been at other design meetings. Pete seems perpetually stressed over these Civil War books, I sometimes feel sorry for him. He’s very friendly, though, and will strike up conversations on totally non-work-related subjects, which I (never much good at making small talk) appreciate. At any rate, the books are looking really nice – the first pass of book seven, ‘Jefferson Davis’ is sitting on my desk at the moment for proofreading. I’ve seen the design for it’s cover – with my text on the flap – I am STILL tickled pink over those. The article I mentioned a few posts back died an unmourned death, but it’s not a loss.

In a more physical sense, I keep spending my weekends rambling around the region. Small towns, fun little downtown areas, cute shops (and weird ones), lots of hills and trees and pleasant weather (I thumb my nose at Florida!). Last weekend was Amherst, where I visited the house of Emily Dickenson, which was very nice. The organization that runs it also owns the house next door, where her brother and sister-in-law lived, which is fascinating because it has never been redecorated since the last time Mrs. Dickenson did it in the 1880’s! Same flooring, same wallpaper (now peeling off the walls of course), everything. They’ve only had the house for a couple of years and are still working out how to go about preserving and restoring it.

This weekend I’m planning to go check out the New Hampshire coast and find another kind of beach. And next weekend, I have a visitor! Pug is coming on Wednesday!!


July 1, 2005 1:06 pm

Found this page while researching for an article on Outward Bound (couldn’t care less about the topic, but am thoroughly pleased and gratified that I’m being asked to write it, so will do my damndest!). Nice design in general, but I really like the box that pops up (a hidden layer) when you click on “six declines”. Yet another reason to learn some Java!

And oh – this is my 100th post!

Dogs, optimists, and FDR

June 27, 2005 12:25 pm

Last week, I spent a couple of days writing the text for the cover flaps of the last five of the Civil War books, which was neat. An exercise in condensing information and following a pattern! Then spent a couple of days writing captions for an issue on Thomas Edison. We started by sorting through the pictures – we were able to get loads from the National Edison Historic Site, and unusual surplus, apparently! There was even one group shot that – to our surprise – included a young and dapper-looking FDR! Turned out to be the Navy Consulting Board, which Edison headed for a while during WWI – which explain’s Roosevelt’s presence as he was Secretary of the Navy at the time. I’m now writing more captions – this time for an issue on Techno Theater, which has some neat stuff in it on CG-characters like Gollum and Yoda (in the 2 most recent movies) as well as 3-D movies and holography and good movies (debatable) that use baaaad science. The more science-minded of you might enjoy checking out some Insultingly Stupid Movie Physics

I didn’t wander too far away this weekend – Anne was gone for the weekend, leaving me to sit for the dogs, which was fine. Frieda spent Saturday acting like a child for whom the babysitter is really not good enough, but was more friendly on Sunday. Silly little yappy dog. She’s sweet, though. The bigger dogs are much calmer, though Bronson tends to be a bit unsteady on his legs in his old age.

I did go into town Saturday afternoon, though, with thoughts of going further and maybe hiking a bit, but it was so hot that the thought was not very appealing. Instead, I discovered the local library (not a word from the peanut gallery, thank YOU!) and spent a couple of hours enjoying the cool. I also discovered a fairly extensive natural food store which to my glee does carry my ice cream! (My convenient grocery store seems not to, though it does have soy milk.)

Sunday morning found me back in town – there is a Unitarian church and while there are a whole row of churches around the corner, THE big church on Main Street, the one that chimes the hour so the whole town can hear…is the Unitarian church. I get a great kick out of this. So I thought I was going to church, but as it turns out, they only hold services from Labor Day through Father’s Day (last week! Ooops!). During the summer, they host a lecture series on art, politics, or whatever, supported by the church, but the speakers are not necessarily affiliated with it. So I turned out to be at the first of these, but that was neat anyway. The speaker is the CEO of Stoneyfield, which makes organic yoghurt and is located up in this part of the country. He had a lot to say about his personal success story with Stoneyfield (it is apparently the #3 yoghurt manufacturer in the nation and is rapidly gaining on #2, Yoplait), linking it directly to their good environmental practices, which are apparently quite economic. Gist was that big buisness will see how evective this is, will adopt these practices, and this will make everyone healthier, improve the environment, and save the world. Very optimistic – as he acknowledged – but interesting. From what I’ve seen and heard in general, this is a very liberal, and very green area! Except for the persistence of “Vote for Kerry” stickers here and there, I like that.