Tag: OUP

I want to be a gastrophysicist

Today, I came across this news item on the BBC News website. It’s about a growing field which blends food technology, psychology, neuroscience with physics: gastrophysics.

What a pretty Venn diagramme

What a pretty Venn diagram

If I wasn’t a publishing project managing artist blogger, I’d love to be a gastrophysicist.

My main employer

My main employer

I’ve looked into the physics of food-related things before with the physics of the teapot. I think it is a fascinating area. This particular news article, however, looks specifically at the science of the spoon. It includes an interview with a man, Andreas Fabian, who actually specialises in spoons. He has a PhD in spoons. He has made spoons his life. In his words ‘its probably the first thing we use when we are born, we are fed, and probably the last thing when we die.’ How wonderful to be so passionate about a single object.

A spoon

A spoon

The gastrophysicists don’t just look at spoons though: there’s a whole load of stuff they study: colour, what you should watch when eating, who you should eat with to name but a few.

Perhaps when I come back in another life I’ll pay more attention in physics lessons at school and get into gastrophysics. It seems such fun.

Weird thought: what do people think I really do for a living?

Recently, I read a book about an art project by Miranda July and Harrell Fletcher which ran from 2002 to 2009. The project, which was a crowdsourced collaborative art project, aimed to engage random people in arty activities. The two artists asked people via their website to complete assignments, which could involve a variety of media such as pens, paint, collage, video and audio, and post the results to the website. The book is fascinating and shows just how creative and open about their lives people can be. Assignments included: no. 6) Make a poster of shadows; no. 9) Draw a constellation from someone’s freckles; no. 14) Write your life story in less than a day; and 39) Take a photograph of your parents kissing.

Miranda July - a quirky artist

Miranda July – a quirky artist and writer

One of the assignments that I felt like trying myself was this one (no. 35): Ask your family to describe what you do. This assignment asked for descriptions of people’s day-long activities by three family members. However, I wanted to focus it on work as nobody seems to get what I do for a living. So I asked a few friends and family to describe what they think I do (age range from 5 to 75). This is what they came up with:

‘You do things on a laptop.’

‘You write book blurbs.’

‘You seem to spend a lot of time on your laptop, I think that you read through new books and correct mistakes, grammar and spelling. I also think that you write the blurb at the beginning of the book, though not totally sure about this. You seem to spend a lot of time doing conference calls, I am sure these are work related. I am sure there is more to your job than I have described, but I guess I have never asked you.’

‘I think you edit writing for a living. I imagine you sitting, having to read lots of boring technical or factual drafts of books or papers.’

‘I think you’re a proof reader  (not even sure that’s actually the proper name) you check things for spelling mistakes and grammar issues but I’m not sure what you check , I know its not novels like 50 shades of grey haha and you have meetings on the phone. You also paint but not nearly as much as you’d like. Am I at all close?’

‘I think you edit text books for Oxford press .You have to write the resume I presume and what goes on the cover and all sort of other technical things. All this on your computer and telephone meetings.’

‘I used to know what you did – proof reading non fiction books for OUP.  Now you do something to do with project managing them being published but I admit I always get a bit lost!’

‘I think you make VSIs on lots of different subjects.’

One family member thinks I write these

One family member thinks I write these

Some elements are correct, clearly taken from snippets of conversation I’ve had with people. But nobody has quite got the full job description. I hope that more people respond and if they do I’ll post here as it amuses me that my job is hard to describe.

The Big Book of…

There are two books that I wished existed in real life.

The first is, The Big Book of What People Say and What People Mean.

I get quite confused by the things people say when they actually mean something different. Why do people do this? Do they do it just to challenge me? What I mean by this is that I need a book which lists those coded messages that the Japanese are so good at and the English are just as good at, along with their actual meanings. My favourite Japanese phrase that belongs in this book is Tabun chotto muri da to omoimasu which means ‘I think that might be a little bit impossible’. Actual meaning = no. Often I wish people would just say what they mean and not say it in code. I think that many other people automatically ‘get’ the code but I don’t. I’m always telling my husband off for speaking to me in this ‘code’ that I don’t get.

This book would be my constant companion if it existed

This book would be my constant companion if it existed

The second is, The Big Book of What We Should Never Do. This relates to the weird thought I had the other night as I went to bed before nightfall. It was only 10pm but it was still light. So I said to my husband ‘I’m sure it says in The Big Book of What We Should Never Do that we should never go to bed before nightfall, at least not after the age of 10 years’. He laughed at me and informed me that such a book doesn’t exist.

I wish I has this book on my book shelf

I wish I has this book on my book shelf

Other entries in this invaluable reference work would be:

  • Get up before 7am on a Sunday No Matter What.
  • Say no thanks to More Wine when offered.
  • Drink wine out of a mug, that is never, ever acceptable.
  • Wear yellow. I don’t care if you think it suits you, it doesn’t.
  • Anger a cat.
  • Go clothes shopping after a lunchtime tipple (never, ever do this).
  • Gatecrash a funeral (although a wedding reception is perfectly acceptable, I’ve only done this once).
  • Say ‘that’s ok, I can make you cheese on toast instead’ to your child who won’t eat vegetables.
  • Go to the toilet before leaving the house in a hurry on a day when you are wearing a skirt or dress (yep, done this a few times).

As, sadly, such books do not yet exist, perhaps I should write to my good friends at Oxford University Press and suggest they commission these titles. I, for one, would definitely purchase.