Surprisingly few new emails awaited me today; I last checked the work mailbox in the third week of December. 40-ish. And the majority were the result of book review editors sending my review after review, each in its own special, personalized message. Once I tallied them and shuffled them off to their own holding pens I was left with a handful of others to forward to my superiors. Sometimes I love the chain of command.
$DEMIURGE and I spend far too much of the lunch hour and beyond discussing the most trivial of matters, be they my trip to the cinema yesterday, the meat-on-a-stick at Samba, or the defects of our professional peers. We just need a water cooler. Ours is a peer-reviewed, refereed journal, with the refereeing performed blind. A manuscript is submitted, passes through the editorial office and, if not rejected for obvious reasons, is sent to an associate editor (responsible for the region the manuscript covers). The associate editor replies and recommends either summary rejection or sending it to referees, and, if the latter, provides suggested reviewers. The associate editor has the full file and knows who the manuscript author is, for example, but the referees do not. It it gets so far, the editor makes a decision on the manuscript based upon the referee reports (a decision that is one of Reject, Revise & Resubmit, Accept with Revisions, or Accept), and in any of those four cases the manuscript author generally receives the referee reports, which (for the author) do not contain the names of the referees. It should be obvious that in a large number of cases a manuscript can make it to "Reject" or "Revise & Resubmit" without having been reviewed by two blind readers—if the editor thinks it's shit, if the associate editor thinks it's shit, if either thinks it is interesting but in need of structural improvement, of if one of them thinks it would fit better in a different (often, more specialized) journal—, in which case one cannot return two blind referee reports. Especially in the case that the only report we have is the associate editor's, the editor is not going to reject the manuscript or ask for an R&R and tell the author, "the only person who read this was so-and-so, whose name you can easily google." So as far as the author is concerned, s/he is just getting one referee report back; similarly, if only one referee provides a worthwhile written report, then often it will be included and the associate editor's will be included as the second referee's. This provides anonymous feedback to the manuscript author.
The recipient of a recent R&R wondered why s/he didn't get two reports, and went on a mini-rant about how s/he had dealt with many peer-reviewed journals, always received at least two, etc., and then became more-or-less obnoxious in requesting more information & feedback, etc. Response: dude, get a grip, get some perspective, and don't pester people, lest they decide an R&R isn't worth it. Take the advice you were given and stop complaining. Alas, not to be, which just provides us with more drama to discuss; the other problem is that &$Uuml;BERBOSS is too generous or lenient, doesn't have a firm enough hand much of the time, etc., and should really just tell more authors to shove.
It's a good thing I only have thirty pages to go. Dude, do not be recalling fiction over the holidays. You do not need this book for your work, so do not disturb other readers, f*cktard.
MEMORIAL CIRC DESK
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Title: Road / Cormac McCarthy.
Author: McCarthy, Cormac, 1933-
Item ID: 89091985705
Call #: PS3563 C337 R63 2006
Due Date: 1/14/2008
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Location: MEMORIAL CIRC DESK
After work this afternoon I went back to Fair Trade for the first time in almost two weeks, and it was pleasantly non-full, populated at scattered tables and filled by a gentle background of conversation and white noise. I pulled out my current sketchbook and several old ones containing pencil doodles I wish to ink, but set them aside, for my hands/fingers were still too cold to handle the pen with skill, and instead returned to The Road, which to this point had been a bus book only. I'm still not done, but the pages flew by as I was able to concentrate without the constant interruptions of riders getting on and off, and so on. I jot down notes on the actual book and story once I'm done with it.
I don't know exactly when it began; I suspect with Polanski's "The Ninth Gate," which I rather adore but for a couple bad scene's with the director's much younger wife. I rewatched it a couple months ago; when I moved into my new abode the room I received was—and still is—rather small, but the TV I inherited (as well as the DVD player and night to house and support them) fit snugly into a corner easily viewed from the bed. Which is to say, viewing movies late at night from bed, especially in the colder months, was a very viable evening option, so I rewatched "The Night Gate," and then realized it had commentary by the director.
Polanski does a very good commentary. You get this feeling he's alone in his office, kicking back at his desk, smoking a cigar—he does take a smoke-break midway through, and it might be a cigar—just enjoying himself while he watches this film for the first time in years. There are no producers, costume designers, overpaid actors, etc. sitting in with him, and the man knows film. The man knows movies and acting and directing, and that's the key. To use yesterday's word of the day: it's glorious.
So I got it into my mind that when I needed late night and not too strenuous entertainment I should put on old movies I have on DVD and look for the commentaries. No commentary, no viewing. My brother moved in for a while so we watched the three LotR extended cut editions, but only the actors' commentaries. It's all about the hobbits. Quite entertaining, great anecdotes, all that, but not the movie making wisdom of, say, a Polanski. Later I did the same with some Sam Raimi flicks, but only rarely was he inspiring; Bryan Singer wasn't either. Tim Burton was surprisingly lucid and interesting when discussing his "Planet the Apes," and I enjoyed del Toro and Mignola discuss "Hellboy" (though not quite as amusing as the actors discussing the same film). A week or two ago I decided to return to LotR, but with Peter Jackson's commentary, and while there are flat moments, while listening to him you gain a new appreciation for the attention paid to crafting the narrative and making sure things worked (for some definition of worked).
I'm not praising the movies, per se, though I enjoy them a great deal, and I think they retain re-view value, but why I find them so worthwhile is that they show the thinking of a team of creators who worked hard for monthws (years in this case) to craft something, and while it's true they had a huge budget, you also notice how important the decisions of individuals were. And this is relevant when comparing them to the artistic failures that are the movies I've watched in recent weeks (watched and enjoyed, mind you). They, too, upon DVD release, will have director commentaries and will, almost certainly, belong in the Onion's Commentary Tracks of the Damned collection (hell, "Æon Flux" and "Ultraviolet" are already there). I want to know what the excuses for crappy script-writing, incompetent acting, and retarded editing are.
Speaking of bad movies, "In the Name of the King" (Burt Reynolds! Ray Liotta! Kristanna Loken! John Rhys-Davies! Leelee Sobieski! and more ...) will be upon us soon: January 11.
In terms of better movies, a trailer for the second Hellboy movie ("in theaters July 11 2008") is available, as is the second trailer for the next Batman movie. I'm probably not the only one who thinks Roland Emmerich's 10,000 B.C. is going to be a big-budget failure (though releasing it in March [the 7th] does scream "We know it sucks, but we're hoping there is no competition in the theaters that week, so give us money").
- Alchohol: 8
- Ice Cream: 8
- (nothing else to report, I guess ...)
"Su representante de MGE llamò cuando usted estaba fuera de casa."
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