Saturday, 31 December 2011

Goodbye 2011, from Times Square, NY.

Yep - am about to go out and celebrate the passing of yet another year. I'm currently sitting in a hotel just yards away from Times Square, where the party's already started (it's just before 5pm local time) - perhaps the biggest party in the world: They're expecting a million people to come out into the streets around Times Square to celebrate. I, thankfully, will be nowhere near (but will be with friends in Washington Square, 2.5 miles south of here).

So how am I passing the last day of 2011? Compiling statistics on submission rates, rejection rates, triage rates, and all sorts of other rates, for Cognition, the journal I edit. You heard it here first: Despite gradual turnover of Associate Editors over the years, the rejection rate remains a steady 78% (I try, I really do, to reject more! Submissions that is, not Associate Editors). The triage rate is 38% (i.e. of all submissions, we reject 38% without sending to review). But I'm getting soft; my own triage rate was only 43%. We received the exact same number of submissions this year as last year (891 - thankfully, the increase in submissions has finally come to a halt). And I handled myself, personally, just over 35% of the submissions, with the remaining submissions being handled by the eight Associate Editors.

Actually, I did more than just compile a bunch of statistics today - that only took me about 15 minutes. The rest of the time I processed a few more manuscripts, shopped, walked, shopped some more, dodged the occasional wayward taxi, ate, napped (hey - I only got in yesterday - jetlag has another day to run!), drank coffee, drank some more coffee, emailed, and finally, flicked through the multitude of channels that is American TV. 

So this is it: the last post of 2011. To those poor people who have nothing better to do than read this: All the best for 2012 and beyond. And to my friends and colleagues on whom I rely perhaps even more than they know - a huge thank you. And to the future version of myself who might one day come back and read this - I hope the hangover didn't last!


Sunday, 25 December 2011

Merry Christmas!

Yesterday was a first. Never done it before. After years of resistance, I finally succumbed. I prepared 6, six, SIX different vegetables to go with dinner. S-I-X! Ingredients added to the different veggies included: butter (boring), lemon juice (conventional), tarragon (on veggies??), sugar (cheat!), parmesan (obvious), and Cointreau (original, no?). Another first: none were overcooked. A final first: I picked up my Peugeot. Apparently it's working. They'd had it 8 days. Almost as long as it took me to peel, scrub, prepare, cook, and digest, the Xmas Eve Veggies.

Happy Xmas to everyone. And Best wishes for 2012 and beyond!

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

that time of year...

Things to look forward to in 2012 and beyond:
  • never ever EVER buying another Peugeot. 
  • never ever EVER buying another Peugeot. And here's why:
I bought a brand new Peugeot 2007 in April 2009. In 2010 it starts to break down. Spontaneously loses its acceleration, and an engine warning light comes on. Then it seems to get better, by itself. But I take it in at the end of the year when it goes again. Everything fine, apparently - they just reset the warning light (i.e. turn it out). A little while later, it goes again. I take it in again. They (the Peugeot dealer I bought the car from) say they've fixed it. But it goes again. I take it in again. It goes again. I take it in again. But this time, they've definitely fixed it. That was this last September. Last week, I take it in for its service. The next day... it goes again. Even worse than before. The car's still under warranty. If this were a washing machine, they'd have replaced it if they couldn't fix it. But oh no. This is a CAR... one doesn't do that for cars. So far as they're concerned, I can just bring it back each time it loses its acceleration, and we can go on indefinitely like that. I bring it in. They tinker. I take it away. It fails. I bring it in.. and so on until the sands of time have run out.  But hey - they're the official Peugeot dealer. They know what they're talking about. And if they say it's acceptable to have me keep going for a few months until the engine fails, then I guess it must be. And it's probably just coincidence that these are the same people who, when they replaced two of my tyres earlier this year managed to leave three of them with such low pressure that the low-pressure warning light lit up. I was so stupid that it took me a while to figure out what was wrong - it never occurred to me, as I drove back from the garage, that they'd not known to pump up the tyres to the right pressure. So... no. I'm never ever EVER going to buy another Peugeot.

And just so you know, a guarantee means they'll repair it, but if they can't, there's a legal obligation to replace it. A warranty means they'll undertake to repair it but there is no legal obligation to replace it. That's why cars come with warranties and not guarantees. What's a little murky is whether Evans Halshaw (oops, I wasn't supposed to name them) are in breach of the warranty through not having actually repaired it. In which case, for the cost of considerably more than a new car (which I can't afford anyway), I could take them to court. Yeah, right. I'm better off saving for a new car.

Oooh. I SO needed to vent! Phew. All done. I feel much better now.

I may not want another Peugeot, ever, or even EVER... but I do want one of these. Who wouldn't?