Wednesday, 27 September 2006

our new water garden

Ok, so water garden it is not. But pond it most definitely is (it has water, a dead water-lily and 15 live fish, including two sturgeon). Previously, the garden was a rectangular thing with some old fruit trees at the end near an equally old shed. Now it's a rectangular thing with some old fruit trees, a pond, a new shed, and flower-beds liberally covered in horse manure. And worms. They make the horse manure not horse manure.

And now for the product placement. Tetra. They make TetraPond products (fish food, pond pumps, filters, and all sorts of other things pond-related). Why the product placement? Because a nozzle was missing from the pressurized filter they supplied. So I emailed Tetra; a complex process which involved joining something called the Tetra Members Club. I guess it's a club not unlike any other, except that you never ever meet anyone. Sad really. But, joining them afforded me the privilege of an email address to which I wrote to ask what to do about my missing nozzle ('go out and buy another', I hear you say.. but it was a non-standard size. Although seeing as it was non-existent, it's a moot point as to whether it had a size at all). So I emailed on Saturday. On Monday morning I received an email from someone saying they'd send me one. On Monday evening I received an email from someone else saying they'd contacted head office to check they had it and could send it to me. And today, Wednesday, it arrived. Now that's what I call customer-service. And unlike Apple, I didn't have to return the missing nozzle to them before they'd send out a new one...

And in case you now wish to rush out and buy anything made by Tetra, I can recommend - because, returning to Saturday night, I'd assumed that Tetra wouldn't ever respond to my original email, and so I also emailed aquatics-online (they'd been really efficient when I'd previously bought some stuff from them - amazing stuff, as it happens, but that's for another post ). And on Tuesday, I received an email from them (aquatics-online) to say they'd been in touch with Tetra who said they had everything under control. I mean... is this service or is this service?

Ok, just so everyone knows.. I realize it does not reflect well on me that on a Saturday night, Saturday night, I'm emailing not one, but two sets of people about a missing nozzle. Sad or what? I deserve to be a member of that Tetra Members-who-never-meet-anyone-because-they-never-go-out-on-a-Saturday-night Club.

Tuesday, 12 September 2006

An unexpected post

It's only unexpected because I've just noticed that it's almost exactly a year since my first blog entry here. Aside from that, not much to report in the last few weeks other than 2 weeks' holiday, a few days' conference, a new pond in the garden, 15 new fish, countless new plants, a surplus of sweet plums from one of the two (old) plum trees we have, and my first 100 days as Editor-in-CrisisChief of Cognition.

Friday, 8 September 2006

self-centred and depressed

Two colleagues offered their views on this blog. One said it was depressing because it was simply a list of things I hadn't accomplished (hey, that's life!), and the other accused me of being self-centred (hey, it's my life!). I can think of nothing worse than being self-centred and depressed.

Today's the first day that's certifiably autumnal (there... a certifiably not self-centred post... because I've deliberately not written down my feelings on the subject of autumn, leaf drop, damp dark cold evenings, heating bills, etc. etc.)

I've just upgraded to RapidWeaver 3.5 - and have added archiving. Previous posts, now archived, need re-formatting. But this is nothing to do with the archiving, or the upgrade - it's due to a previous stupidity on my part; if I intermingle photos, I need to set the page to fixed width (otherwise the width of the text varies as a function of the width of your browser window, in which case I can't control the relative placement of the text to the photos... obvious, really!) So when I've got a moment, I'll do that. The problem is, though, that I've already set it to fixed width, in which case I need to spend some time figuring out why the style sheet controlling the width isn't. But that's for another day. A cold, damp, dark, day.

Sunday, 3 September 2006

Yes it is (as bad as I feared)...

Boy was I optimistic! Two months have gone by since that last post. And in that time I did a pretty good job (as the new Editor of the journal Cognition) - sending papers out to review, writing to the occasional author... but then I made a mistake. An ENORMOUS mistake. I went on holiday.

Just two weeks. Immediately before a conference. So by the time I got back, three weeks had gone by without me doing a single thing for the journal (except write the editorials for the first issues of next year - each morning I'd get the laptop out before the kids woke up...). I'd cleared the queue before leaving. But now, there are roughly 60 papers waiting to be sent out to review, and 30 papers on which I need to make a decision (to accept, reject, or recommend revision). So I have to work out how to clear the backlog.

And that's the problem... Suppose I wanted to have everything cleared in the space of 4 weeks. I'd have those 60 papers already on the queue, and then another 80 or so that would come in during those 4 weeks. To clear the whole lot would require that I send out 5 papers for review each day (7 days a week), and with the 30 papers in the queue already requiring decisions, and another 40 (I'm being pessimistic now) accumulating over those 4 weeks, I'd need to 'action' (i.e. make editorial decisions on) between two and three papers each day (7 days a week).

Yes, I'm exaggerating. I know for a fact that the highest submission rate is over the summer. So I can relax. I can probably get away with sending out just 4 papers for review, and actioning just 2 papers, each day. 7 days a week. For 4 weeks. No worries...