The Three B’s: Bells, Birthdays and Bikes

This morning I was awoken by such a cacophony of bells it could only be attributed to the hunch-back of Notre Damme on crack.

I had had several extremely long weeks of work – the kind where sleep is lacking – and had been looking forward to having a morning off. Predictably this was snatched away from me by the neighbour’s triplets.

The intense ringing was high pitched, grating, and my fucking god was it tenacious. I laid in bed for a while wondering if it was even worth finding out what new toy they had, for surely sooner or later it would penetrate my life and I would come to resent it more and more each day. After 20 minutes of bell-ringing had gone by, showing no signs of stopping, I decided to get up and take a look.

I was horrified to find my predictions had come true. Someone had bought the triplets their very own bikes, equipped with bells. Individual bells.

Loud, individual bells.

As far as I could tell it was their birthday. This was tenuous link to make, as all I had to go on was some smeared icing across Thrasher’s face, a bedraggled grandparent in the corner of the garden, and a giant deflated balloon which had been burst and now remained slumped on the floor while the kids ran over it in their new death machines.

The only consolation was the fact that all of the adults seemed to be having as hard of a time dealing with this new development as I was.

Each parent added their shouting to the chorus of bells, while each grandparent meekly tried to swerve out of the kids paths. It was the sort of present a distant aunt would bestow on young children; to the kids this was literally the best day of their short lives, to the adults this present would cripple them if they couldn’t find a way to dismantle and/or destroy it. Cool Aunt would remain cool whatever the outcome was.

With my intended lie-in ruined I blearily moved downstairs into the living room. This is a good tactic when there is a particularly immense amount of noise coming from the garden, as the back door leading to our garden has a conservatory which acts as a welcome extra buffer for sound. Much to my dissatisfaction, the pitch of the bells managed to ring throughout the living room, too.

I hastily dressed and headed out of the house. My entire day was preoccupied by working out potential ways to somehow remove the bikes from my life. And, so, by the time the day was over I had achieved no work, but had a lot of budding ideas.

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The Characteristics of Peer Reviews

The chances are that if you are working in academia in any capacity you will have to publish your work. The old peer reviewing system employed by most conferences and journals eventually becomes familiar to you. Ingrained, almost.

Reviewer 1 – Between 100-200 characters long. minimum grammar. Little structure, if any. Probs good paper though, I liked how they had a title.

Reviewer 2 – Between 1,000-2,000 characters long. Often content written by reviewer 2 resembles an entire rant cunningly disguised as a peer review. It is imperative that their opinions on the research area are fully stated, and stated at length. Reviewer 2 tends to organise this into a single monster of a paragraph where basic grammar becomes a fleeting memory, lost in the timeless void of incandescent rage. What they lack in structure they make up for in sheer indignation.

Reviewer 3 – Between 800 – 1,000 characters long. Overly polite, reviewer 3 is simply pleased to be here. The paper was pretty cool, the research topic is pretty cool, there are probably maybe some bits that could be improved with infinite time and effort, but they realise that you probably won’t do these and instead flag up small errors to fix instead. The only one of the reviewers to focus on one point per paragraph following a chronological structure. Ends their review with “cheers”.

Regular Workplace VS. the PhD Workplace

 

Workplace Scenario

Regular Workplace

PhD Workplace

On not completing work on time…

“Sorry, I’ve been swamped with another project and HR messed up their resource allocation. I’ll get right on it.”

“Yo, I didn’t do the work because I was so depressed even a kinder bueno and sit down didn’t help.”

On having your work critiqued by a colleague…

“Interesting, why do you come to that conclusion if you don’t mind me asking?”

“Go suck a dick, Keith.”

On having a comment made about your workplace outfit…

“Oh thanks Linda, I got this top a couple of years ago but never had anything to match it with. I’m glad you like it!”

“Huh, thanks. I thought I should make an effort because I’ve literally worn my pyjama trousers for the past 9 consecutive days. You just can’t see them when I’m chained to my desk.”

On meeting a new colleague…

“Welcome to the team, it’s nice to meet you. Where did you work before? Maybe I can show you around later.”

“This is my coffee mug. If you use it I will stab you. If you move it I will stab you. If you consume coffee intended for this mug, I will stab you.”