Wednesday, 21 January 2009

my first time ever...

As a child, I was hopeless at anything requiring physical activity - I couldn’t climb the rope, jump the vaulting box, or clear the hurdles. Inevitably, in any team sport that required two of my schoolmates to choose their teams, I was chosen last. Nice. So imagine my delight when, for an impromptu karate contest in my club earlier this week, I was chosen first!

Other highlights:
  • fantastic new postdoc in the lab, likely to revolutionize our eye-tracking facility
  • fantastic page proofs for my most recent paper (I’m being ironic, or is it sarcastic? - the wrong figures were typeset, and even if they’d been the right ones, they were in the wrong place - but the words were all in the right place, and seeing as I wrote them, I can attest to just how fantastic they are)
  • fantastic progress on the journal front (I’m being neither ironic nor sarcastic - just untruthful)
  • fantastic progress on all other fronts (if turning up 10 minutes late to a committee I chair counts as fantastic)
  • fantastic over-use of the word ‘fantastic’.

Sunday, 18 January 2009

it's not fair...

...that I feel guilty at only having dealt with 35 manuscripts in the past 5 days – which involved working on the journal today (Sunday) and yesterday, as well as each of the previous 3 days. I also wrote a couple of NIH reviews, ordered a ton of groceries (online), fantasized about buying a new coffee machine for my office, and a new multi-function printer for home. I did neither of the last two things. Am now thinking it’s about time I could stream music from my laptop to my home hifi. Easy in principle except that I tend to work in the kitchen and the hifi there doesn’t have aux input. Unlike folk I know who spend thousands of dollars on amps, speakers, and Sonos controllers, I’m more inclined to go for a low-tech solution - streaming music from iTunes via my wireless network. But that’s for another day, or more likely, another life, in which time does not slip away like water through a sieve. Hmm. I need to buy a sieve also...

Saturday, 10 January 2009

the nutcracker suite

An assorted list of Xmas highlights and New Year realizations and resolutions:
  • My new watch (there’s a photo in last month’s post), branded by some as ‘pretentious’... I don’t understand why it is pretentious to have a watch with just one hand – surely having an additional hand is pretentious when one hand is just as good?
  • My new nutcracker. The nutcracker I am in fact referring to is not the one I received this year as an xmas present, which just happened to be the world’s worst nutcracker. In fact, words cannot express just how bad it is. So after a bit of research, I discovered this one, which I promptly bought. And believe me when I say it is the bee’s knees. You can buy it on Amazon, though I in fact bought it here (just in case you want to get it cheaper). I have thus far tried it on hazelnuts, almonds, and walnuts. Jamie’s addicted to it, and won’t put the thing down. This is the ultimate nutcracker - be very confident that I am likely to recommend all sorts of things to all sorts of people in the course of my life, but none will be as good a recommendation as this one.
  • Jamie’s remote control car that really does drive up walls and across ceilings (the link takes you to a video). I thought it would be total junk, but I was wrong, and it would certainly be high on my list of recommendations (though not as useful as the nutcracker nor as smart as my minimalist and unpretentious watch).
  • Clearing the queues at the journal just in time to have them fill up again as everyone submitted manuscripts or reviews in advance of the Great January Hangover.
  • Spending Jan 1st compiling all sorts of statistics about the journal: 725 submissions in 2008; 35% rejected without sending out to review; an overall 81% rejection rate; 2267 requests to review sent to 1439 reviewers, with 65% of these requests resulting in an actual review.
  • The sudden realization as New Year celebrations reverberated around the pages of Facebook that it (Facebook) is not all it’s cracked up to be: Sure, you get an immediate sense of a whole bunch of people doing a whole lot of stuff, but it’s a whole lot of stuff which you’re not a part of. Kind of defeats the purpose, doesn’t it?
  • My New Year’s resolution to be the first to start up a Psycholinguistics Research Laboratory on Second Life. Perhaps others will follow suit, and then I can start up and edit the first Second Life Virtual International Journal of Cognitive Science (aka ‘Cognition’ in our first life). How cool would that be? I reckon almost as cool, but not quite, as my one-handed watch which, through freeing my other hand, gives me plenty of opportunity to crack my nuts deploy that nutcracker...

Thursday, 8 January 2009

putting the eye in psycholinguistics

Don’t even ask how long it took me to figure out how to create this, let alone embed it on this page. In case you’re curious (in which case you’re too nerdy for your own good), it started life as a photograph of an iris around which the 3D eye was created in Maya by Andreas Argirakis. This was rendered for me as an HD movie, which I then embedded in a background, saved as a movie, and then converted to Flash. You’d think I’d have better things to do with my time...

A quick summary of my Xmas excesses will follow shortly. In the meantime, Happy 2009...

[update] Some folk have wondered what the eye is doing in place of the ‘y’ when it should, according to them, be in place of the ‘o’. So just to spell it out: