Thursday, 21 June 2007

Of Hope, Hopelessness, and Despair. In no particular order.

Hopelessness. So there I was, walking round Washington after a National Institutes of Health grants panel, with one of the other people from the committee... and what do we talk about? Science? No. Existentialism? No. The state of world politics? No. The state of our pension planning? Yes. Hopeless.

Hope. It may be leaking (but not for much longer - come September, we're going to re-line the pond and change a couple of things about it)... but that hasn't stopped the natural (no human intervention) arrival of tiny baby fish. I counted four so far. Of course, counting fish is a sad reflection of how I like to spend a few quiet minutes.

Despair. A week to prepare, a week out there (Washington), and two weeks in which not much happened at the journal. It just happened to be the two weeks with the highest submission rates this year. So at last reckoning, I've got around 35 manuscripts to send out to review, and around 15 to make editorial decisions on. It's not like I did nothing in those two weeks. I did deal with the journal correspondence, and I did allocate the submissions to the associate editors (or myself), and I did write personally to a few of the more tardy reviewers (who all responded). It's not even like I was on holiday or anything.

That pension, and the time in which to enjoy it, is looking more and more attractive each day.