the grid

the grid

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.


  1. Voyage goals:
    *Deliver quality classes online, keep up with grading, give my students a decent learning experience.
    *Finish the article that has turned into my Albatross and move on to something else.
    *Unpack all my books and do more settling in the new house.
    *Stick more or less to the work schedule I've devised, which allots regular time to teaching, research, reading, languages, service, exercise, and down time (the real question is how fast it will take for this to go completely down the tubes).
    *Prioritize sleep and physical health.

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

    1. Here's to getting all Albatrosses successfully resettled in appropriate reserves/journals!
      Meanwhile they can keep each other company in the hold and maybe get together and chat about how they could possibly make their resettlement easier on their owners... A girl can hope right?

  2. Nice to meet you, First Mate T'Melnor. I've been shedding excess baggage for several months now, but if there's still too much to fit in my quarters, I'll happily jettison it out the nearest airlock.

    Voyage goals:
    Reassess my 5-year plan.
    Get Illuminated out to a journal.
    Outline Translated.
    Organize quarters.
    Deepen and normalize self-care practices.

    The coming week:
    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.

    I'm delighted to be on this voyage with all of you. Float like mist, everyone!

    1. Crew can take your excess baggage, or we can make a ceremony of it, if you prefer.

      "Float like mist" really is the TLQ version of "Live Long and Prosper," and we owe its coinage to you, I believe, so thank you for that.

    2. Make a ceremony of the jettisoning, is what I meant. Maybe that would be a good midterm activity: the ceremonial jettisoning of goals that are not serving us, and other baggage.

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    4. I initially replied before seeing your reply, Dame Eleanor. I think a mid-term ceremony is a great idea.
      Also,"float like mist" is indeed my coinage, and I'm glad it resonates with the group.

    5. I love the ceremonial jettisoning of goals that no longer serve!

    6. I also kind of like the idea of making a ceremony of the baggage itself (which is how I first read it)!

    7. Done! We will have a baggage ceremony around the mid-voyage check-in, we will look through our baggage at that point, ceremonially thank the pieces we're done with for their company, and then have a full-on jettisoning ceremony! Possibly near a black hole where we can guarantee the baggage won't come back!

  3. Hello! I need this.

    Classes start in 3 weeks (a late start with no spring break--thanks, Covid); I only have 1 class this semester, but it's going to be complicated (mostly synchronous but with 1-2 students taking it asynchronously; 3 students taking an associated Honors independent study with me). So I'm going to need to be both very organized about this class *and* not allow it to take over too much of my time.

    As outlined below, I have several actual (conference) deadlines coming up. I'm finding it very easy to forget entirely about conferences and other upcoming due dates lately, which is troubling. Time is sort of a big mush with no consequences, isn't it? Or that's what it feels like sometimes!

    I succumbed to much highly targeted advertising this December and got myself a "Monk Manual" planner. It's sort of ridiculously complicated, but, as my husband said, I must have just *lit up* its algorithm (a day planner for the highly organized spiritual aspirant who has vague yearnings for the medieval monastery! Yes, that's me!). So I'm going to try it out this term. I kind of hope I don't like it, because it's expensive and only covers 3-4 months at a time, but it really is pretty, at least!

    Voyage goals:
    1) Research and writing:
    a. Public/private conference paper (due March)
    b. Pedagogy conference paper (due May)
    c. Collection intro
    d. Death essay
    2) Teaching: Have fun, be good, and don't let it take over my life
    3) Habits:
    a. Sit regularly
    b. Language study at least a few times a week
    c. Write/research three hours/week
    d. Try out Monk Manual for this term

    This week:
    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. I share your love of planners, so I had to check out the "Monk Manual." I hope it works for you! It would trigger my rebellious, cranky side and send me straight back to my own "demotivational" planner:
      which I offer only in the spirit of amusing my fellow crew and passengers, not as any sort of criticism of anyone's preferred planning methods. Your class does sound complicated and I hope you find ways of making it work well for everyone.

    2. Thank you for the laugh, Dame Eleanor! I also love planners, but they do often devolve into the demotivational realm.

    3. Yes, we'll see how long I last. I've become pretty good at obsessive self-scheduling and self-monitoring, but I also recognize that that can really cripple me (in terms of actually enjoying my life), so I need to be careful there.

  4. Thank you for the wonderful welcome! Love this!!! I’m especially looking forward to the viewing decks, particularly the ones where there are drinks and exotic snacks. I’ve tried very hard to leave behind the excess baggage, the big one I’m bringing on board is the Albatross which I did get clearance for under Regulation C.1254, sub-section 87.5: Obnoxious Shape-shifting Writing Beasts. I hope this is the last trip I take with it, I cannot share a cabin with it for the rest of my days!

    Voyage goals:

    My official Intention for this voyage is KEEP MOVING! This counts for physical movement and for incremental progress on all tasks. I’m hoping that it will be a reminder that all one needs to not be stuck is to keep doing the next thing and repeat that over and over to see eventual progress.

    1) Finish my Albatross paper! This has been an ongoing goal for ages but the paper keeps changing and is constantly being shoved aside for more urgent things.
    2) Analysis and Report on fun local project
    3) Do a good graduate course for lovely students
    4) All the revisions for all the things
    5) Figure out a way to have some fun with my courses instead of just surviving them

    This week’s goals:
    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

    Here we go, with our excellent travel companions! Weeeeee!!!!

    1. Of course, Captain, you have considerable discretion about what comes aboard, but may I respectfully suggest that the Albatross find housing in Shuttle Bay E. That will give you more space to deal with it, particularly if it morphs into some other type of beast, give you some distance from it (which should help with perspective), and facilitate a quick send-off when it's ready to go. I've appointed two crew to feed, water, and clean the cage of the Albatross, so you can focus on your higher-level Albatross-research tasks.

  5. Thank you, First Mate! I always pack too much, because you never know what gear you need.
    Goals for session:
    As I noted last week, I have only one course, and it's really my field, so *should* be relatively easy. But I hate recording lectures, and I'll have to do that; and given that it's a small class, I'll be adapting it to students. I'm working on a short synthetic book on Famous Author, and it's been a lot harder than I expected. It turns out that writing "what you know" takes a lot more time than I expect, and maybe we don't know this. Otherwise I'm now President of a mid-size professional organization (ProfOrg) which is taking on new work, so there's a lot of admin stuff related to that. This leads to the following goals:

    1. Finish chapter 2 of Famous Author, start chapter 3.
    2. Keep up with teaching, but don't let it take over my life.
    3. Finish big transition for Proforg
    4. Repeatedly going to the decks for relaxation and exercise programs
    5. Ensuring that I regularly "hang out" with friends (and maybe by the end of the session some of that will be in person!)
    6. Watch out for my mother (she's in assisted living, I can't visit, so. . .)
    7. Other duties as assigned.

    Goals for the week:
    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

    1. Remember that the replicators can provide you with necessary equipment for unexpected eventualities. Luggage not needed till we reach Primavera can go in the hold, where it will be force-field protected from Albatrosses and other cargo.

    2. Excellent! The outfit I'm packing in case I am invited to tea with the Queen can go in the hold.

  6. A deep bow to the crew in gratitude for such a fine welcome. I apologize for my late boarding but have been three days without internet thanks to a weather issue that overwhelmed resources here.
    I am looking forward to Klingon MMA. I expect this Holodeck program will be an excellent way to clear my mind when I get bogged down with all of the writing I plan to do onboard. This will likely necessitate both yoga and massage as a follow up remedy as well.
    It’s a “same as it ever was” semester for me: I want to make time for writing, and I have overcommitted to research projects. The upside is that most of those are conference presentations, many of which are already mostly finished. Thankfully they are all online conferences so I can present from the comfort of my quarters.
    Voyage goals:
    1 finished draft of tiny project
    2 keep up with teaching things
    3 present at three online conferences that unfortunately all fall in March
    4 submit Boredom to online conference
    5 write short death piece

    This week:
    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

    1. Welcome to the ship, I'm glad you can join us! And I'm really glad to see tiny project in your lists, it seemed to give you quite a bit of joy and satisfaction during the last session so yay for keeping it around! We need to find joy in whatever ways we can!
      I also am really looking forward to the Holodeck programmes! We do of course have a fully staffed medical bay for injury rehab...

    2. We are pleased to welcome you on board. You may wish to consider housing "Boredom" in Shuttle Bay E along with the Albatrosses: perhaps its company will help them settle down and behave amenably.

  7. Love the theme! Unsure if I will actually emerge from my cabin for many receptions on this voyage, as it's going to be worse than the last one, and I am already stick-a-fork-in-me-I'm-DONE burnt out and brain dead. My overall goal is professional survival: prepare and deliver class materials just-in-time, grade before the absolute final final deadline for grades, be kind to students, do research things that yell at me (basically, revisions for manuscripts that ECRs need, things for ECRs, things for collaborators who are less in the hole than I am, keep community thing ticking over - I am definitely Community Thing's Group Mom and it is a pain). Try not to lose myself in the chaos of my house, and continue to move and eat in a balanced way even if the overall total is excessive - it's got to be healthier to be eating one's feelings in a balance of fat/carb/protein and 5-10 fruits & veggies a day with limited dairy to restrict intolerance reactions than to be eating them in pure chocolate, toast and marmite and crisp sandwiches form, however much I would prefer to do it that way.

    Normally in 'vacation' and 'assessment weeks', I read a wide variety of things, literature, non fiction, and new frivolity and genre fiction. All I really managed this year was a bit of genre romance, and I found a nugget which was perfect for my particular mind-candy taste of the moment (Kai Gracen series, Rhys Ford - my mind candy tastes are always rather Low Brow, as long as the prose is well edited and the errors of continuity few, and this series has things I like - we have an angsty outsider pov character grumpily acquiring a new found family whilst being Extremely Competent at their job and hiding a Good Heart, and a very opinionated cat. I really approve of the writing of the cat, who stands on delicate parts and "screams" for food rather than meowing), and have now re-read all four books five times and can replay all the Good Bits in my head. This is bad - it usually takes me until late Feb to get to this level of "my brain is going to go super obsessive about adequately written fiction that hits my sweet spot because I am too stressed to handle the real world OR any novelty in my fictional world". It was late Feb when I started obsessively rereading The Witcher novels last year. Early Jan is kind of bad. Maybe I can lure myself back over to The Witcher, especially as that series is FINISHED whereas book four is the latest one out in this series but Kai experiences a Big Reveal in the epilogue so ::twitch::

    1. The replicator in your quarters can supply all your nutrient needs, and can be programmed to ration chocolate and toast to your minimum requirements, as well as to offer you fruit or protein options before proceeding to process requests for toast and marmite. Please consult your onboarding packet, section 4A, for instructions.

      You may also request to have your quarters serviced only by Vulcan personnel, to limit any potentially emotionally draining interactions with crew members.

    2. I would like to apply to borrow a cat for the duration. Cats and vulcans sound about my speed right now!

  8. Thank you for the welcome, First Mate T'Melnor and all the crew. Wishing you all a peaceful and safe voyage. I'm working on my optimised packing lists and will be grateful for support from the crew in refining them.

    Voyage goals:
    -Deliver new course with at least two weeks lead time in prep across the semester
    -Complete NTRO output
    -Hand over all service responsibilities esp Hons project
    -Get two postgrads through examination
    -prep the mighty kombi for long service leave

    This week
    -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