Sunday, December 6, 2009

The boomerang effect

I didn't end up blogging this past week because everything was making me cranky. When just one thing in particular is making me cranky, it's great blog fodder. When everything is making me cranky, it's only a matter of time before I discover that I'm the problem, and feel really bad about bitching at such length, not to mention breadth and depth. There has been more awful budget news for next year, and a Wiki-plagiarist. But I was thinking that readers might be bored of hearing about it. Certainly I'm bored of talking about it.

So, in lieu of that, I bring you the odd news that, in the past week, just as I was coming up on about 96 hours of breathing room, several of my boomerang projects came whizzing back, all within a couple of days of each other.

We all know about the boomerang effect: You "finish" a project, send it out to someone else who needs to act on it, and wait for it to come back. Throw, wait, catch, repeat.

This often means that you can't really do much scheduling. You send out projects in one sequence, they come back in another. In the past 10 days, I have received:
  • Grad student thesis: begun, 2006; last thrown, September 2009
  • Journal of Excellent Studies article: begun, April 2007; last thrown, May 2008
  • New Article Project: begun, September; last thrown, one week ago
I've managed to crank these all out more or less as they've come in, alternating them with the end-of-semester grading. In the next month, the book MS will boomerang back as well. And just 24 hours ago, I got a request to review a book for a journal, with a February deadline.

If you're looking for me over the next two months, I'll be right here, juggling boomerangs.


Anonymous said...

This is very familiar, but I like your metaphor for it better. I've just had two back for revisions in the past fortnight that I'd hoped were now final and the book is hanging around somewhere in the stratosphere waiting to drop. It's also comforting, in the wrong way, to see that someone else is also dealing with three-year lead times to print. It doesn't help, does it? Best of luck with those boomerangs.

Comrade PhysioProf said...

If you're looking for me over the next two months, I'll be right here, juggling boomerangs.

At least they're not flaming knives!