Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Xmas eve resentment

Yes, I shall admit to resenting, big time, that I had to spend an hour today working on the journal because of a problem with production that I was alerted to today. Today. Christmas Eve. Unbelievable.

Saturday, 20 December 2008

geek heaven, and marijuana

Am in Geek Heaven. I recently purchased a wireless remote pond thermometer. These things are hard to come by (ok, so they’re a niche item...) and so when I found one, I couldn’t stop myself and I hit that ‘buy’ button like my life depended on it. Didn’t notice that the rest of the website was devoted to drug paraphernalia. Turns out, the guy sells all sorts of precision balances (you can guess why), and evidently thermometers and balances go hand in hand. You’d have thought I’d have been tipped off by the name of the website: (actually, it was linked to from the equally tell-tale site So it was with some relief that I actually received the thing. And now I can tell at a glance, and from the warmth of my living room, just how cold the fish are... I should add that I think that the canvas RIZLA+ bag is rather attractive...

More upmarket, but equally nerdy, is the watch that Silvia has bought me for Xmas. Titanium, and very thin. I fell in love with it the moment I saw it. Here’s what it looks like:

Yes: it only has one hand. How cool is that? I’ve not actually opened the box in which it arrived - I’ve decided to wait to open it in front of my family, so that they can gaze upon it in collective wonder... more likely, though, they’ll utter a collective ‘wtf?’

So Xmas is upon us. The tree’s up, the lights are on, the turkey’s booked (I so hate turkey, but hey... it is Christmas), and the presents are... oh. I guess I’d best go and buy some...

And in case I don’t actually do anything of bloggable interest between now and then. HAPPY XMAS!

Friday, 5 December 2008


It’s late Friday afternoon. After a marathon two weeks I’ve cleared a ton of papers at the journal. The queues had built up because of various trips (Chicago and Geneva/Lausanne). But as of a few minutes ago, there were no more papers requiring an editorial decision (accept/revise/reject/etc), and no more papers that needed to go out to review. Of course, come Monday that will all change. But at least I can breath a sigh of relief and look forward to a weekend during which I can remind myself of the other things in my life.

But before I do that: 396 is the number of manuscripts this year which I have designated “accept” or “reject”. So given that today is the 340th day in the year (apparently), that means that I’m making an accept/reject decision more than once each day. I have also made, in those 340 days, 194 “revise” decisions (some of those ended up coming back and becoming “accept” or “reject” decisions). Fortunately, help is on the way. There’s beer cooling in the fridge.

Not in the fridge, but cooling just as effectively, is the pond. The fish are enjoying a spot of hibernation, or whatever it is that fish do when it’s so cold that they just float motionless at the bottom of the iced-over pond. Actually, they don’t hibernate - their metabolism just slows down to a rate approximating my own... And in fact, the pond isn’t quite iced-over - it’s amazing how many holes can be poked in the ice by an over-active 11-yr old. Just as well, though, as a fully-iced over pond isn’t good for the fish. I’m not sure that all the noise made by banging through the ice is much better for them, though...