the grid

the grid

Monday 26 February 2024

2024 session one, week 7

Just as a heads-up, next week should be our midterm check-in, so at that point we'll re-post session goals. If there's anything you want to give a lick and a promise to now, or think about whether it should instead be taken up to the roof and dropped off with extreme prejudice, here's your advance warning!

I seem to have a ghoul living in my office, which Maintenance has declined to deal with for months on the grounds that it was hibernating and not bothering anyone. Everyone knows that that is exactly the time to eliminate ghouls! I'm hearing ominous rustling noises from that corner and I think I'm going to have to deal with it myself, since Maintenance has their hands full with the puddles of water left all over the dorms from students engaging in scrying practice.

Anybody willing to help out with the ghoul, or do you have your own infestations?

Last week's goals:

Contingent Cassandra

--Begin work on conference paper (probably due to panel chair in early March, so it’s time)
--Engage in some sort of purposeful movement – short or long walks, stretching, weight-lifting, stair-climbing, and/or gardening – at least 5 out of every 7 days

Daisy

All the grading
Record missed lectures
Post assignments for rest of term
Two thesis reviews and comments
Journal review
Data processing for student work

Dame Eleanor Hull

Exercise: swim x2 or x3, cardio + weights x3, yoga at least x4
Work: sample syllabuses for 1 course proposal; ~3-4 hours/day on research (reading, translating, outlining, writing); prep for Latin group.
Creative: write out story climax idea/scene
Planning: 2024 planning; make eye exam appt for me; get book for next book club meeting.
Technical: turn on old desktop, look for creative files and tax-related stuff.

heu mihi

No goals (get well soon!)

JaneB

1a - move intentionally three days
1b - do seven household tasks (check list in my bullet journal)
1c - quit refined sugar for Lent (other than 80%+ cocoa dark chocolate)
2a - spend some decent reading time (new Jo Walton purchase...) and do some doodling
2b - do some D&D preparation for a game I run, play D&D
2c - POST card to friend & another item
3a - be professional in check-in with Interim Head of School and maintain boundaries, do 12 hours, not more than 20% over
4a - meet with Senior Grad Student (who is returning to work from 2.5 months of burnout related sick leave) and set appropriate next steps
4b - if possible spend 1 hour on the paper I forgot we were working on
4c - PhD selection processes (this week - 2 hours interviewing for Northern, emails related to Consortium, any fallout from Exotic)

Julie

1. Teaching prep, keep to minimum.
2. Start marking huge batch of essays.
3. References for student.
4. Submit revised article.
5. Tedious admin: book room for meeting, organise alternative to oral presentation for difficult student, complete moderation report, organise another meeting.
6. Have some quiet reflective time (I may take inspiration from Ginger George here).
7. Enjoy weekend away!

Susan

1. Get intro more or less finished, and complete all the little things for Big Collaboration. Start uploading files to google drive.
2. Keep up enough with administrivia so that we can move forward on admissions stuff
3. Maybe get some work on the last chapter of Famous Author
4. Eat/sleep/ move
5. Maybe bring some grapefruit to popup food pantry

Sunday 18 February 2024

2024 Session 1, Week 6

 The toads are now officially banished.  Pest control will come and deal with any remaining ones.  Please call them and they will be here.  Um. Oh, they are not gone? I'm so so sorry.  We just need more time. Out, toad!  Maybe an elf will show up to help us.  Would you let us know if there have been any elves in your neighborhood?  Maybe elves that make your life easier?   If you have a spell to conjure elves, even better!  If you don't have elves, additional cute (cat) videos are welcome.  In the meantime, Ginger George may not speak Italian, but he knows how to live: 


Goals from last week:

Daisy

Lots of lab work for student analytical trip
Paper review for nice journal
Read and comment on student thesis draft
Set and grade three exams
Keep fire lit for new paper
Trip accounting

Dame Eleanor: 

Exercise: swim x2 or x3, cardio + weights x3, yoga at least x4

Work: sample syllabuses for 2 course proposals; ~3-4 hours/day on research (reading, translating, outlining, writing); prep for Latin group including setting up documents.

Social: birthday dinner out; make cake for post-dinner celebration with friends.
Creative: write out story climax idea/scene
Planning: 2024 planning; make appointment for BC check-up; make eye exam appt for me.
Technical: turn on old desktop, look for creative files and tax-related stuff.

heu mihi
1. 1 hour a day (average) x 5 on research and writing
2. Finish current round of website edits/updates, since I am now apparently a webpage manager
3. Find reviewer for article
4. Read for class by end of Saturday
5. Figure out graduate student workshop; send out poll re. subsequent workshop
6. Set up sleepover for kid

JaneB
1a - move intentionally three days
1b - do seven household tasks (check list in my bullet journal)
1c - quit refined sugar for Lent (other than 80%+ cocoa dark chocolate, because it's hard this year...)
2a - spend some decent reading time (new Jo Walton purchase...) and do some doodling
2b - do some D&D preparation for a game I run, play D&D
2c - write at least one note/postcard to a friend
3a - be professional in check-in with Interim Head of School and maintain boundaries
3b - do 8 hours, not more than 20% over; advocate for myself and for my ongoing issues when I talk to the GP - maintain phased return, NO going back to full hours...
4a - set up meeting with Senior Grad Student (who is returning to work from 2.5 months of burnout related sick leave) to discuss thesis and publications
4b - if possible spend 1 hour on the paper I forgot we were working on
4c - do whatever urgent things have come in in relation to the PhD selection processes (this week that will be emails related to Consortium and any fallout from Exotic)

Julie:
1. Teaching prep - keep to minimum.
2. Feedback to students on oral presentations from last week.
3. References for two students.
4. Second round of article revisions.
5. Exercise - run x 2, Pilates x 1, more if possible.
6. Life admin - book trains for trips away, new football boots for daughter, open bank account for son.

Susan 
1. Revise 2 chapters that need some work for Famous Author
2. Re-read and comment on article for journal
3. Organize events for graduate visitation
4. Deal with graduate admissions stuff
5. Keep up with students in crisis
6. Meetings. All the meetings.
7. Make up lease for people who will rent my house/ care for my cat when I'm on sabbatical next year
8. 3 more journals
9. Eat/ sleep/ move
10. Get ready for trip to wintry climes next week.

Monday 12 February 2024

2024 Session 1, week 5

Toads. 

What toads have you dealt with in the past week? Have they dropped from your lips, or from someone else's lips in your presence? Have they been serenading from the damp patches around campus, or invading the damp patches in your house? Are they falling from the pages of books, or looking up at you out of cereal bowls? Do you see more of them at work, or at home? Do they ever turn into anything else? And if so, is the something else nicer, or nastier, than the toad was?

Susan

1. Read last two essays for Big Collaboration

2. Finish Epilogue on Famous Author and send to editor: I just need two or three hours

3. Deal with data disjunction with colleagues so it's not just me

4. Don't let administrivia overwhelm me. There will be meetings. There will be many meetings.

5. Three more journals/ enter readings in Zotero with notes

6. 15 minutes decluttering

7. Take stuff to Goodwill, take stuff to dump

8. List ramps on facebook marketplace

9. Move / Eat / Sleep

10. Do something fun

 

Julie

1. Teaching prep, keep to minimum.

2. Write new lecture for Monday.

3. Email backlog.

4. Write reference for student.

 

JaneB

1a - move intentionally three days

1b - do seven household tasks (check list in my bullet journal)

2a - buy, wrap & post birthday present for male parent along with the now very overdue urgent letters

2b - do some D&D preparation for a game I run, play D&D

2c - spend a chunk of time on some sort of art or craft - make a card for my Dad

3a - be professional in check-in with Interim Head of School and maintain boundaries

3b - do 8 hours, not more than 20% over; call GP practice to set up an appointment to review the phased return

4a - comments on Many Author R&R

4b - set up a meeting to go over edits for Never Ending Paper

4c - do whatever urgent things have come in in relation to the PhD selection processes (this week that will be related mostly to Exotic and to timetabling)

 

Heu mihi

1. Review four grant applications--I've been a grant reviewer for this organization for about 6 years, during which time there has been one application, total, in my field. Well, apparently this is The Year for Medieval Studies, and I have four! Due next week!

2. 1 hour a day on my actual research and writing

3. Reread article with diametrically opposed reviews

4. SCHEDULE TAX MEETING

5. Read ahead for class

6. Schedule yet more meetings

7. Get caught up on non-university volunteer service work

 

Dame Eleanor Hull

Exercise: swim x2 or x3, cardio + weights x3, yoga at least x4

Work: sample syllabuses for 2 course proposals; ~3-4 hours/day on research (reading, translating, outlining, writing); prep for Latin group.

Social: make reservation for a birthday dinner out

Creative: write out story climax idea/scene

Planning: 2024 planning; make appointments for feline check-ups; make eye exam appt for me.

 

Daisy

Record and post lectures for snow days

Drive home and not end up in snowy ditches

Dust off old paper and do revisions

Paper review for nice journal

Read and comment on student thesis draft

Contact coauthor on other old paper and light fire under collective backsides to do something about it

 

Contingent Cassandra

--Begin taxes (putting research work on pause this week to try to forestall an April trainwreck by getting this done earlier than usual)

--Engage in some sort of purposeful movement – short or long walks, stretching, weight-lifting, and/or stair-climbing – at least 5 out of every 7 days


Sunday 4 February 2024

2024 Session 1, Week 4

 Thank you everyone, we've taken care of the dragon in the boiler room: it turned out it was a vegetarian dragon, so the sheep and even the virgins (or the Admins) were unnecessary.  An amazing feast of middle eastern and south Asian foods was put out, and he's been happy as can be.  You may think hummous and saag paneer don't go together, but you're not a dragon.

Meanwhile we have an emergency: the instructor for Advanced Magineering has had to take a medical leave, and we need volunteers to cover the next 3 weeks.  (This can be 3 separate people.)  Unfortunately, due to budget issues, this is just a work overload and there will be no extra compensation.  Please explain the creatures that you will work with your students in magineering to create.  Bonus points for creatures that help people and do not cause chaos.  

It is obvious that we all work at universities, all of which have slightly temperamental or erratic buildings. (There's probably a bonus section on the particular monstrosity built on campus in the 1960s that is an Architectural Treasure but completely non-functional.)  But somehow we all function, and the universities do too. If the higher admins at NEWSCOMI had to deal with this, they would never manage.  

Anyway, people have been doing lots of impressive things, and here are the goals for this week:

Contingent Cassandra:

--Make further progress on the research project: set up spreadsheet and add at least one source and/or set up Omeka site and add one source.

-- Engage in some sort of purposeful movement – short or long walks, stretching, weight-lifting, and/or stair-climbing – at least 5 out of every 7 days

Daisy

One small internal grant application (good chance to get)
Make figures for lovely coauthor
Student posters and talks for conference
One conference talk and lots of organization
Enjoy conference!

Dame Eleanor

Exercise: swim x2 or x3, cardio + weights x3, yoga at least x4
Work: sample syllabuses for 2 course proposals; ~3-4 hours/day on research (reading, translating, outlining, writing); prep for Latin group. Meet with collaborator on one conference paper.
Social: karaoke party Saturday night! Prep, attend, be good sport.
Planning: 2024 planning

JaneB

1a - move intentionally (which is what we are calling exercise for now because exercise sounds tiring just saying the word) three days
1b - do seven household tasks (check list in my bullet journal)
2a - write a letter to a friend and get some urgent post items into the post (Cunning Plan - buy a second hand copy of The Golden Bough which nibling really ought to read (according to me, their loving Aunt), send it as an unbirthday present, that means I have a parcel to send so can book a pick up from the post man instead of trying to get the brain squirrels to actually go to a postbox, which they seem to find very tricky right now)
2b - do some D&D preparation for a game I run, and do my best to make sure my character survives the really stupidly dangerous mission we've all decided to tackle this coming week in the game I play in
2c - spend a chunk of time on some sort of art or craft
3a - be professional in check-in with Interim Head of School and maintain boundaries
3b - do 8 hours, not more than 20% over
4a - spend at least an hour on the Mixed Volume Paper
4b - do whatever urgent things have come in in relation to the PhD selection processes (this week that will be preparing for a shortlisting meeting for another programme)

Julie

1. Teaching prep, continue keeping to minimum.
2. Start work on postponed new lecture to avoid temporal dysfunction in two weeks' time.
3. Project proposals.
4. Feedback on oral presentations from last week.
5. Prep for job interview panel on Thursday.
6. Tax return - URGENT!!!
7. Other admin stuff.
8. Exercise more than last week.
9. Organise weekend with friends.

heu mihi

1. Process and probably reject journal submission; read another, more promising submission; reread submitted article that got two diametrically opposed reviews (sigh)
2. Three General Education reviews
3. Review and revise abstract for plausibility of argument (due 2/15)
4. Very roughly pull material for conference paper (due 3/5)
5. Begin ch. 3 revision
6. Reread part 2 of ch. 6 and try to do some revising or whatever

Susan 

1. Deal with Administrators and figure out where the data gap is
2. Don't otherwise get overwhelmed with administrivia
3. Do 4 hours on Famous Author, send to editor and friend reader
4. Do 4 hours on Big Collaboration introduction, read (very late) chapter
5. Do Letter of Rec #2
6. Three more journals
7. 15 minutes de-cluttering
8. Move, eat well, sleep enough
9. Organize housing for next year
10. Do taxes
11. Do more garden work
12. Do something fun

13. Take stuff to city dump, take stuff to Goodwill.


Sunday 28 January 2024

2024 Session One, Week 3

Apologies for the chill in here; the heating system isn't working, that is, the dragon in the basement is on strike.* Apparently bitcoin shares are no substitute for gold, and sheep are all very well but every now and again a dragon needs a virgin or two**,  so there will be no heat until either negotiations with the dragon union get somewhere or the Powers That Be give in and get some mundane heaters. I have some students I'd be willing to sacrifice, but I'm not sure they meet all dragonly requirements. The home-schoolers are more likely to be virgins, but they're also the best students, so I don't want to give them up. However, if the Philosopher's Stone people get on the stick, we may be able to supply the demands for gold.*** 

Furthermore, several of us are dealing with temporal dysfunction of various kinds, such as "next year" seeming more than a month away back in December, so it seems that the Student of Temporal Misuse and Dysfunction is making†† good progress on her project. Let's give her a round of applause, and make sure our congratulations go in the minutes so that she can consult†† them at her leisure.

At any rate, six footnotes in two paragraphs suggest that I need to focus on the goal-setting and checking-in part of our meeting, so if anyone else has announcements, please put them in the Chat when you let us know how you did and what you have coming up. Do the best you can to stay focused on the next seven-day period in this world, not in the Fae Lands or at speeds approaching or exceeding that of light.

Contingent Cassandra

--Try to figure out why the Omeka install is sending error emails, and resolve (fix the current installation, or, since it’s currently empty, reinstall and see whether that solves the problem).

-- Engage in some sort of purposeful movement – short or long walks, stretching, weight-lifting, and/or stair-climbing – at least 5 out of every 7 days (while avoiding opportunities to fall on icy pavement)

Daisy

Write section and make figure for small part in local review paper and send back to main author
Submit giant regional paper
Submit smaller local paper
One small internal grant application (good chance to get)
One small-ish external application (zero chance to get but making a point)

Dame Eleanor Hull

Exercise: swim x2 or x3, cardio + weights x3, yoga at least x4
Work: sample syllabuses for 2 course proposals; ~3 hours/day on research (reading, translating, outlining, writing); prep for Latin group
Social: last week's events, rescheduled; get book for next library book group meeting and read it
Planning: 2023 review and 2024 planning

heu mihi

1. Scan readings for seminar; rethink day 1; re-enter teaching headspace just a little bit (my first class isn't until 2/7)
2. 2100 words of chapter 6: enough to step back from it/start re-reading/rethinking/reworking it in future weeks
3. 15 minutes of brainstorming for ch. 5
4. Reread and edit Mourning article (needs quick revisions which are due 3/1)

Humming42

Finish and post syllabi (no new preps!)
Complete faculty activity report for calendar year
Catch up on uni-related email
Make a comprehensive plan for Squares

JaneB

1a - move intentionally (which is what we are calling exercise for now because exercise sounds tiring just saying the word) three days
1b - to do seven household tasks (check list in my bullet journal)
2a - write a letter to a friend
2b - do some D&D preparation
2c - spend a chunk of time on some sort of art or craft
3a - ensure that I get a meeting scheduled with Head of School and soon to be Interim Head of School (SUPPOSED to meet once a week during phased return...)
3b - do 8 hours, not more than 20% over
4a - spend at least an hour on the Mixed Volume Paper
4b - do whatever urgent things have come in in relation to the PhD selection processes

Julie

1. Teaching prep (keep as minimal as possible)
2. Start writing next new lecture
3. Finish dissertation draft and organise meeting with student
4. Read project proposals
5. Finish preparations for son's birthday on Saturday
6. Exercise
7. Organise weekend away with friends.

Susan

1. Keep up with administrivia
2. Finish edits to Epilogue of Famous Author
3. Revise co-editors draft introduction to Big Collaboration
4. Write two letters of rec for students
5. Read 3 journals from the huge pile
6. Set up interviews with students applying to undergrad alma mater
7. Get back into regular routine of sleep, exercise & healthy eating
8. 15 minutes de-cluttering
9. Do something enjoyable/ fun

NOTES

*And apologies to JaneB for shamelessly ripping off her dragon-in-the-basement idea, particularly as I'm sure I'm not handling it nearly as well as she would.

**I told the Physical Plant people that ages ago, but would they listen? no, just because this has been How Dragons Work since the classical era doesn't mean anyone in Lit of Magic gets any respect.

***Cat knows what that will do to the inflation rate, though. I suppose that's a project for the Econ department.

December indeed now seems like a year ago, not just a month.

††Has made? will have made? had already made? 

††Has, will have, had, shall had might whatever: I need to ask the linguists about modal verbs and their tenses in a temporally disturbed nexus.

‡24 hours in a day, of which humans normally spend about eight hours asleep; 60 minutes in an hour.

299,792,458 meters per second: NEWSCOMI wants to remind you that it's not just a good idea, it's the law, and unless you have filled in all the requisite paperwork to request an exception, the university cannot possibly defend you against InterStellarPol.#

#And two more footnotes in the final paragraph, and now a footnote within a footnote: someone stop me.

Sunday 21 January 2024

2024 Session One, Week 2

 

Welcome to the first faculty meeting of the semester at NEWSCOMI.   A few announcements to get us started.   First, I’d like to welcome new and old faculty members, and provide a few reminders. Julie, in Applied Magic will help manage charms, and be helped by Daisy, who not only teaches Applied Magic but also Esoteric Spellwork.  We are very excited to have her helping with Chaos Goblin Control.  But first, we have a student in Temporal Misuse and Dysfunction, but no one to teach it.   I understand the pressure everyone is under with the shortage of faculty, but we need someone to teach that class. 

Otherwise, Associate Dean Fluff is in need of support, so all salmon flavored treats are welcome.  Dean Tabitha would also like some, but she’s more placid.   But it seems to me that we need more Adminicritters to help with Administrivia, so if you have critter colleagues you wish to nominate for any one of our associate dean, assistant associate dean, and assistant associate assistant dean positions, please send your nominations.   It is probably good to have a balance between species in these roles, but we want to avoid too many rabbits: we have as many adminicritters as we need.

Any announcements? 

Back in the real world, adminicritters may make your life difficult, and may help you.   I was rescued a week ago from peak overwhelm by one such person, so have been reminded that they are not all bad.  Anyway, time to catch up on our goals from last week. 

Daisy

No weekly goals, other than survival and finding keys, phone and kid

Dame Eleanor

(Somewhat tentative, because I feel like I might be coming down with something, and if I do, I may wind up not doing much):
- Devise and turn in Dreaded Annual Review documents
- Prep for Latin group
- 3 hours a day of research (reading, writing, outlining, whatever)
- if well enough, 5 social engagements and at least 4 trips to the gym

heu mihi

1.     1. Write teaching rec for colleague who has been nominated for some awards.
2. 2500 words of chapter 6.
3. Enter revisions to chapter 2.
4. Graduate applicant interviews (parts of two days).
5. Scan readings for seminar.

Humming42

Finish and post syllabi (no new preps!)
Complete faculty activity report for calendar year 2023 (weird, because don’t normally think of the year as August--->May)
Catch up on uni-related email
Make a comprehensive plan for Squares

JaneB

(no weekly goals but good to see you!)

Julie

1. Seminar prep.
2. Write one new lecture for next week.
3. Read three dissertation drafts.
4. Meet PhD student.
5. Half a day on grant application, ask colleagues to peer review.
6. Organise birthday celebrations for mother and son.
7. Exercise

Susan

1. Keep up with the first week of school Administrivia deluge
2. Get emails re Famous Author off to presses
3. Spend time with Tiffany, be willing to let her go.
4. Pay attention to physical wellbeing - sleep, eating, exercise
5. Do something nice - with friend, or who knows!

Monday 15 January 2024

2024 Session One, Week One

Hello, and welcome to the first meeting of the Ad Hoc Research Support Group at North of the East Wind State College Of Magical Instruction! I know all of us here at NEWSCOMI are looking forwardokay, I heard that, I know, "same as the Old Scummy," but this is a faculty-oriented group with absolutely minimal involvement from adminicritters. Your facilitators are Susan, whom you know as the Chair of History of Magic, and me, Dame Eleanor Hull, the longest-tenured member of Literature of Magic, so we've heard all the Scummy jokes. In fact, we probably inaugurated some of them. 

We're hoping to forge stronger bonds between faculty in Applied Magic fields and those of us in more, ah, abstract areas, and also to welcome participation from colleagues teaching the Magricultural Extension classes. Some of you may not recall that NEWSCOMI used to be a Magricultural College focusing on Witch Hedgery and Magicritters, but those areas are historically important to us, our students, and the North of the East Wind region. I know we sometimes feel like red-headed stepchildren compared to the State University of Magic (they always get the SUM total of whatever the state has to offer, right? ha ha), but this group is here to help us help each other! We may not have all the resources of SUM, but we haveow, what was that? Get off me!

Oh. I guess the Applied Magic syllabus has got around to the dragon-flies again. If you're new here, that class is only offered once every four years (it's a bit like cicadas), and when the flying critters are done right, they're very pretty and unlikely to set anything on fire, but we need to get this one back to the Mag Quad. I will need an adminicritter for this. No, not you, Associate Dean Fluff, I want a dogin fact, a retriever, not a terrier or anything like thatno, I DON'T trust you with small wounded flying things, you're absolutely right about that. For once. Go hiss at Dean Tabitha, if you must, she likes to snooze on my desk AND she lives with a dog. Who's a good boy, then? You are, you're a good boy, you're going to take this not-quite-working dragon-fly back to the Mag Quad and find the prof who's teaching Engineering Flying Magicritters this term, aren't you? Yes, you are. Thank you.

Anyway, that's enough from me! Let's hear from you! Please introduce yourselves and set some goals both for this session and for the coming week. Goals can be in any aspect of life, although the key focus is often writing tasks that are personally and professionally important but that never quite tip over into important AND urgent. Urgent things sometimes find their way in here too; that is completely okay, and process goals are also most welcome. Most weeks there will be a discussion topic or prompt to write about if you feel so inclined, but skip it if you don't feel like it.

We'll have fifteen goal-setting weeks, a mid-term check-in on session goals, and a final "party" reporting on session goals on 28 April. Anyone is welcome to join! Bring a friend! We aim to be supportive of and generous to all participants, whether they're every-week types or just drop in from time to time. 

If you'd like to take on a persona for this session, please do: Dean of Dragon Studies? Clerk of Rare Books and Grimoires? P.I. for the Philosopher's Stone? Professor of Alchemy? I look forward to hearing from all of our members! Probably introductions and goals are enough for this week, but if you want a discussion topic, tell us about your holidays: did you get into any magical trouble?