the grid

the grid

Saturday 30 January 2021

2021 Session 1, Week 4: Noticing the sparkly bits

Good morning to all our crew and passengers! This week we are travelling through the region of space I like to call the “Honeymoon is Over Expanse”… It is far enough away from our departure that the initial excitement has waned, it is too far from the halfway point or the destination to have a real sense of progress, and it is usually inhabited by a fairly featureless cloud of gas that often makes the crew feel an urgent need for shore leave or induces a desire to retrain and work on organic farms in the outer reaches of the Galaxy…

But if we look closely at the cloud there are some wonderfully sparkly bits of planetoids, gorgeous cloud formations, and during some voyages we catch a glimpse of the spiral galaxy hidden in the cloud. We will gather in the observation lounge (yes, the one with the bar!) starting at 6pm to see if we can spot some of these phenomena, guided by our astronomy team. 

For this week’s check-in it would be wonderful if you can share your own sparkly bits that get you through the bland periods in your voyage.

Note: As a point regarding ship safety, PanGalactic Gargle Blasters should not be removed from the bar area. They tend to melt right through the bulkheads on the rest of the ship if spilled and since that happens with alarming frequency it is best to keep them in the bar where the floors are reinforced for exactly that eventuality and the new bartender is on hand to administer first aid.

GOALS from last week:

 First Mate T’Melnor

*Finish grad syllabus, write and post some new assignments.
*Stick to schedule for research, languages, teaching, admin.
*Make plans B and C for days with interruptions.
*Keep making progress with my Albatross.
*Sleep, stretch, walk, fun stuff (read, visible mending, jigsaw).

 Elizabeth Anne Mitchell

Edit at least 5 pages of Illuminated.
Write an hour x 5 finishing the outline for Translation.
Organize desk 1 hour x 5.
Renew my professional societies' memberships.

Captain Daisy

1) Revisions
2) Find the Earth Equivalent of a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster and drink the entire damn pitcher of them!
3) Keep it together… That’s all, just keep it together because I’m pretty close to losing it…

 heu mihi

1) Write 3 hours
2) Read 18 sermons and 2 essays
3) 2 hours of course prep
4) yoga x 2, sit x 5, language x 5
5) Journal catch-up (this week's task: revise submission guidelines)


1 write committee letter
2 submit old creative piece to new competition
3 spend 3 hours fitting tiny lit review items into outline structure
4 draft and submit Boredom abstract


-complete the reading list for new course
-circulate completed Hons documentation for feedback
-spend 2 pomodoros on research project


1. Try to get a bit ahead on class
2. Work on Famous Author every day - touch it
3. Admin stuff for prof org (lots of emails) and for work (that's all starting)
4. Keep up with exercise
5. Keep eating relatively healthfully
6. Take Mom to Dr.
7. Do one hour of garden work on weekend
8. Clear desk before it is defined as a superfund site
9. Start putting together tax stuff
10. Visit with friends

Sunday 24 January 2021

2021 Session 1, Week 3: what's your role?

It would be superstitious, not logical, to think that having said that the Demotivators in my sector had been rounded up caused them to shift shape and invade through the air ducts. When Shape-Shifting Demotivators get loose in a ship, they are very difficult to eradicate. Logically, one must remain alert and keep dealing with every sign of them. Logically, this is part of my duty as First Officer. However, I admit that I am not pleased to have spent several hours in the past week crawling through Jefferies tubes looking for Shape-Shifting Spotted Demotivator scat and nests. I do have other duties which I have not been able to attend to or to delegate. I will try to rearrange my time and duties this week.

In the meantime, if you are traveling with us, please indicate your chosen role on the ship. Are you a Science Officer, a Communications expert, the Pilot, or some other member of crew? Or are you (like JaneB) a passenger who is planning to spend most of the voyage in her quarters, perhaps with a cat for company, relying on the replicators for sustenance? Or a passenger who is social and eager to meet others on the ship?

The weekly reception for discussion of goals---past week, coming week, and voyage---is now open. Pan-Galactic Gargleblasters and other drinks are available from the bar near the viewing platform. A buffet of savoury items is to the bartender's right, with sweets on its left. Please serve yourselves and join the group. Live long and prosper.

Captain Daisy

1) Revisions
2) Revisions
3) More revisions
4) Deal with extensive fall-out from other people’s terrible decision
5) Do rescheduled fun things

Elizabeth Anne Mitchell
Polish and send query letters for Illuminated.
Edit at least 5 pages of Illuminated.
Write an hour x 5 outlining Translatio.
Organize desk 1 hour x 5.
Ask for conference reimbursement, call for doctors' appointments.

heu mihi
1. 3 hours of writing
2. 2 hours of course prep
3. Sit x 5, language x 4
4. Read 3 Collection essays and 18 sermons
5. Service miscellany (submit letter, fix 2 students' registrations, 2 Gen Ed reviews)
6. Catch up on journal work [is now a chronic fixture on my list]

1 celebrate finishing things. And report back on it. Encourage others to do the same.
2 finish and submit TRQ book review
3 fill out index cards for tiny!
4 write committee letter to the board
5 take care of five administrivia items

-progress syllabi to complete draft expect for reading list
-provide feedback on all postgrad work/met/follow up with all postgrads
-document Hons progress to share next week

1. Try to get a week ahead for class
2. 4 sessions on famous author
3. Clear my desk
4. Keep up with exercise
5. Eat, mostly healthy (I've got a rich pasta dish I'm making tomorrow to celebrate having a President who actually wants to do the job, and my persimmon bread is only semi-healthy.)
6. Visit with friends, virtually
7. Follow up with Mom's doctor on home care

First Mate T’Melnor
*Finish grad syllabus
*Stick to schedule for research, languages, teaching, admin
*Keep making progress with my Albatross
*Sleep, stretch, walk, fun stuff

Sunday 17 January 2021

2021 session1 Week 2: The search is on

Hello everyone!

Welcome to the second week of our voyage! This is my first “crew update” recording from my cabin. Our departure went fairly well, we had very few issues with forgotten baggage but the replicators have been able to fill all emergency orders for critical things. All crew quarters are functional. I do apologize to the crew members who had to be relocated after we discovered the infestation of Shape-shifting Spotted Demotivators. They have been corralled and are isolated in the hold, but far away from the Albatross enclosures because there is anecdotal evidence that those species can cross-breed and we don’t want an outbreak on our hands.

Oh, what’s that? Uhmmm… blinking light, blinking light, oh, getting another call hang on… Hello? Yes, this is the Captain…. Really… Escaped? And you can’t find them? Ok, I’ll be there in a few minutes, keep the area isolated and I’ll authorize the additional force-fields you need right now…

Ok, got to go deal with the crisis in the hold – the Demotivators chewed through their enclosure and are playing hide and seek with the critter-care crew. I will have to post the rest of the crew update on the ship’s com system. Please join us for social hour (or day!) in the Top Deck Viewing Bar to tell us how your first week went.

For this week, please be on the look out for any Demotivators trying to nest in your quarters, it is easier to root them out early on, once they establish a colony they are very hard to eradicate! And in our check-in gathering this week, please tell us how you identify your personal Demotivators (they do shift their appearance fairly frequently so they can be hard to track), and share your favourite strategies for finding and evicting them. We can all use a little bit of help and advice on getting them under control!

Best of luck for the week!

(Also IRL, please take care of yourself, the world is a mess and everyone is struggling and we need to hang on, even if by fingernails.)

UPDATED with GOALS from last week:

 Dame Eleanor Hull

*Finish grad syllabus, set up Blackboard sites.
*At least 5 hours of research time.
*Tidy my study, I mean quarters.

 Elizabeth Anne Mitchell

Draft query letters for Illuminated.
Edit at least 5 pages of Illuminated.
Draft introduction to Translated.
Organize desk 1 hour x 5.
Pay bills, ask for conference reimbursement, call for doctors' appointments.


1) Open Albatross cage carefully and make a plan for tackling it
2) Sit down for a good planning session for the term and write everything down
3) Start on giant pile of revisions for paper from last session and give each co-author a list of the parts they have to do
4) Do figure revisions for another paper I’m co-author on and send first author nice figures and encouraging message
5) Get online course started with maximum interaction and minimum drama (also finish course outline!)
6) Write a couple of abstracts for online conferences that I am not excited about but will go to in order to support colleagues organizing them
7) Do one fun thing with any available friend

 heu mihi

1. Personnel Committee task
2. 3 hours of writing
3. Sit 5 times
4. 2 hours of course planning
5. 30 minutes of grant proposal planning
6. Catch up on journal work


1 catch up on teaching-related issues from internet outage
2 finish and submit current book review
3 create tiny project work plan
4 write and submit working group project for conference
5 submit creative piece by deadline


Will be updating when possible, with an excellent overall session goal of Professional Survival.


-restart work and open inbox
-write up draft of Hons ideas and set up time for discussion with a couple of key people
-begin syllabi for new course


1. Finish syllabus and post intro videos
2. Return to Famous Author for 3 writing sessions
3. Schedule board meeting for ProfOrg
4. Keep up with exercise on both expensive bougie equipment and January yoga challenge.
5. Cook at least one healthy thing
6. Visit friends
7. Call mom

Sunday 10 January 2021

2021 session 1, week 1: welcome!

Greetings! I’m First Mate T’Melnor, and on behalf of Captain Daisy, I welcome you to the Starship T.L.Q. Perseverance. We are a science and research vessel, dedicated to exploration and education. Our current voyage is scheduled to last sixteen weeks, ending at the planet Primavera. We will have excellent views of various interstellar phenomena on the way. You are encouraged to take full advantage of the various viewing lounges and onboard equipment to enhance your journey or, indeed, to advance your research.

A crew member will escort you to your quarters, which should have adequate space for the luggage allotted you by Regulation C.1254. If you have excess equipment, please advise your escort. Your onboarding packet includes a summary of all relevant regulations, as well as a map of passenger decks. Please respect the signs that indicate crew-only areas. The ship has three state-of-the-art holodeck suites, with a full range of exercise programs including Klingon mixed martial arts, as well as war-game exercises. The holodecks also have an extensive collection of programs for relaxation and meditation, in addition to leisure programs designed by previous passengers and crew, which you are welcome to use. We encourage you to contribute to our program library; please see your onboarding packet for details of the programming languages recognized by our facilities.

At 1700 hours ship time, researchers and crew members are invited to the main lounge for an introductory reception. Please be ready to give your goals for the voyage and for the next seven days. The ship keeps Earth-standard 24-hour days. The reception will be repeated at least weekly, for further reports on goals, progress, and adventures along the way. If you have any special requests or needs, you may communicate them at the reception or to any member of staff.

Welcome aboard. Live long and prosper.

Saturday 2 January 2021

Intersession hello, new session schedule

 Hello everyone!

We have a brand new TLQ session starting next week on the weekend of January 9/10. We’ll go for 16 weeks, ending the first weekend in May. Right now that feels very far away! Your hosts will be Dame Eleanor Hull and Daisy.

Shameless borrowing of text below from those who have been good enough to host here previously... 

The format will be the same as ever. Next week we will set goals for the whole session and then continue with weekly goals. 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 ok too, and process goals are also most welcome.  Each week there will be a discussion topic or prompt to write about if you feel so inclined.  We’ll remind everyone of their big session goals about midway through the session, I for one always find those quite a surprise when they pop up… 

Anyone new or old is welcome to join. And finally, don't worry if you miss a few check-ins. Life happens. This is a supportive, generous space with no intimidation factor so enjoy it!

So for this week:

1. Tell us a bit about yourself. What's your main focus at the moment? You are welcome to be vague and mysterious in the interest of maintaining anonymity while still introducing yourself to the group.

2. Think and speculate and dream (out loud if you want!) about goals for this session, but sit with them for a week or so and we’ll officially post them next week. Feel free to throw out a whole bunch now and pick from those next week or think about the things you want to clear out of the way to make room for the bigger goals.  

3. I loved DEH’s prompt (corrected, it was heu mihi's!) at the beginning of the last session to set an INTENTION for the whole session, so if that’s something you want to do this is a great time to think about it. 

4. Or just come say hello and tell us how you’ve been over the break and then come back next week for introductions and session goals. 

Our dates are listed below because I usually forget the schedule a quarter of the way in, this will keep it handy for reference.

Jan 2/3 (preliminary announcement)
Jan 9/10 (official start)
Jan 16/17
Jan 30/31
Feb 6/7
Feb 13/14
Feb 20/21
Feb 27/28
March 6/7 (week 8, mid-term post)
March 13/14
March 20/21
March 27/28
April 3/4
April 10/11
April 17/18
April 24/25
May 1/2 (week 16, end of session)

Have a lovely week!