the grid

the grid

Saturday 27 February 2021

2021 Session 1, Week 8: Mid-voyage Goal Review

Well, it is that time of the voyage… We’re just about half-way and it is time to check in with ourselves and our voyage goals. Don’t know about you but these always give me a nasty shock and I always ending up feeling a mixture of pity and annoyance for the naïve sod who made my plans 2 months ago… So for this round I promise to treat that naïve sod with kindness and not be overly harsh when reviewing my goals. I also promise to be ruthless in throwing out the ones that I do not want to keep carrying with me on this voyage, there are other trips, other ships, and not everything needs to be dragged along this time…

We will be having a special baggage/goal jettisoning session in the aft loading bay at the end of the week. Please prepare anything that needs to be thrown off the ship and we will have it picked up in a cabin sweep before the ceremony. In order to minimize our contribution to space flotsam/jetsam pollution we will be chuck our excess baggage and goals, and then immediate vapourize them with the defensive laser array. If anyone who wants to press buttons for shooting at cargo please sign up below, I can highly recommend this as an excellent destressing activity. Our safety officer will be on hand to make sure we do not do any damage to innocently passing ships or planets.

The baggage ceremony will be followed by the official MidWay Ball where we will get a chance to wear our gorgeous gowns (or suits or leisure leggings of your choice) and dance with our voyage guests. The dance teacher will be offering refresher lessons on waltzes and maybe tangos for the brave, and medical team will notified to expect the occasional sprained ankle… The sign-up sheet for dancing with Captain Vorpatril is right next to the one for laser duty. In the interest of collegiality (and concern for the Captain’s health) please limit yourself to signing up for two dances only. If he’s still standing after those it will be first-come for the rest of the evening!


Elizabeth Anne Mitchell

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

 Captain Daisy

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

 heu mihi

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


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


Professional Survival – do all the things needed for this…

(Captain’s note: we’re sending someone to check on you in your cabin, they will deliver a selection of fresh healthy snacks and a bottle of something sparkly along with some Andorran bath salts for tired brains/bodies. We cannot replicate those because they cause small explosions so they are kind of a treat.)


-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


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.

 First Mate T’Melnor

*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.


GOALS from last week:

Elizabeth Anne Mitchell

Scan paper files for archiving.1x5
Work on peer review.1x5
Outline the proposal for the reference work on Famous Printer (for work but still fun).
Write at least 250 words a day on Translatio; Feminae; or UnnamedAsYet.

Captain Daisy

1) Make beautiful conference poster out of giant piles of gnarly data
2) Write a summary of everything in poster so that when paper-writing comes around I actually remember what was in it
3) Check in on the albatross egg and see whether it is ready to hatch, extend contract for babysitter if going well
4) Finish grading before next batch of grading arrives
5) Catch-up on all association business and meetings
6) Do all my research accounting
7) Take-out dinner treat for me and kid

heu mihi

1) Write 3 hours
2) Exercise daily
3) Service misc: Gen Ed review, job description for service position, LOR
4) Finalize paper and email organizer for March 1 presentation; get book from office so that I can finish it!
5) sit x5, language x5


Recover from disaster-ridden away mission.


-Finish contacting external peoples, get through week 1, plan week 2/3.
-Comments back to postgrads on messy article draft, complete exegesis.
-Respect research day - 4 pomodoros, 500 words.


2. Famous Author: 2 sessions
3. Try to get a bit ahead on LMS stuff and assignments
4. Start next task for organization
5. Get good sleep
6. Keep up with exercise
7. Pull some weeds, fertilize roses
8. Have some nice conversations
9. Be kind
10. Float like mist

 First Mate T’Melnor

Finish grading undergrad papers.
Write new essay assignment.
Load new grad readings.
Stretch & cardio daily; weights x3.


Sunday 21 February 2021

2021 Session 1, Week 7: Guest post from Ivan Vorpatril

Gregor and Miles have been trying harder than usual to kill me, so when I heard there was a minor diplomatic matter on Primavera that would benefit from a Barrayaran presence but not really time-sensitive, I jumped at the chance to get away for a bit. What I really want is a few weeks alone with my wife on a tropical island, but Tej hates space travel plus is all wrapped up in little Vorpatrils right now—who are also trying to kill me, via a combination of sleep deprivation, viruses, and mistreatment of Da-as-Horsie—I can see why Aunt Cordelia and Uncle Aral had Sergeant Bothari for Miles, and I wish I could get a Bothari for each of ours. I tried to express to Mamere how grateful I am that she let me live to grow up, but she gave me one of those Looks I have trouble decoding, but amounts to something like “I’m not sure that was a good idea,” or maybe just “I wish you would,” and asked about the youngest’s teething.

So eight weeks on a research vessel with a bunch of lady scientists, with my duties being to help them measure things in nebulas, organize their projects, and dance with as many of them as possible at the Ship’s Ball, sounds like a blissful break from my usual routine. Even if they take to hollering “Vorpatril!” at me like Countess Vorinniss, it can’t be any worse than assisting Mamere with the Imperial Wedding. I checked: there are no Cetagandans on board. None of the ladies is from the Durona Group or Jackson’s Hole. They’re mostly from Earth, in fact, maybe a couple from Beta Colony, and I hear the first mate is a Vulcan. If they’re anything like Professora Vorthys, it should be lovely: she’s really good at making you feel smart while she tells you something you ought to know already.

What could possibly go wrong?

Esteemed Professoras, please join me in the main lounge and fill me in on your projects! You can also meet the new dancing master, and we have a new cook (about half as good as Miles’s Ma Kosti, which is as good as you can get for an interstellar trip) who is preparing a range of sweet and savoury canapés, including some traditional Barrayaran delicacies. I look forward to meeting each of you. 

I have a handout with your goals from last week:

1) Finish research talk
2) Finish teaching talk
3) Plan out grad projects and conference poster for early March
4) Catch up on some teaching prep
5) Fun thing with kid on weekend

Elizabeth Anne Mitchell
Finish up with backing up/combining/archiving the various electronic files. 1x5
Begin comparing files: paper with paper, paper with electronic, shredding/recycling madly. 1x5
Write at least 250 words a day on one of the following: Translatio; Feminae; or UnnamedAsYet.

heu mihi
1) Review article
2) Catch up (again) on essays for the collection
3) Write 3 hours, working on a semi-final draft of March 1 paper
4) sit x5, language x5, exercise as weather allows
5) Mini-course on maintaining good habits
6) First payment on beach house for summer vacation

-Have week 1, task 1 complete. Contact all external contributors.
-Set up folder with all master documents for admin project
-Return comments on full draft for first-cab-off-the-rank student
-respect research day (4 pomodoros)

1. Get announcement out and all related things
2. Grade papers
3. Get class for the next two weeks set up (she says optimistically)
4. Famous Author: do at least two hours on three days
5. Delete 100 more emails.
6. Keep up with exercise
7. Try to get good sleep (the cats have been getting me up before 5, so. . .)
8. Do something nice with other people.
9. Be kind and patient with other people

Do the minimum and recover.
Suck less!

Monday 15 February 2021

2021 Session 1, Week 6: Resupply stop


Hello everyone!

I am glad you all enjoyed the extra holodeck time last week. I am hereby using my executive powers for good and decreeing that we SHALL have a ship-wide ball as suggested! It just sounded too good! We do have a mostly female-identifying crew, so the general conventions for dance partners are out the airlock and anyone who wants to lead is most welcome! For the evening the crew babysitting the albatrosses will be replaced with a force field so they can dome join in the fun too.

We will be stopping at StarBase 423 Alpha for a few hours in a day or so. This is a good chance to replenish things you may need, or pick up any critical equipment you forgot on Earth. We also have a chance to add some personnel to the crew roster so if you have requests we can check if those can be fulfilled. I will prepare a list so below please report on anything you need for the remainder of this journey. What (or who) would you like to have with you? What will make your cabin feel more like home? What would help make this journey more fun and productive for you? (I should add that if this particular batch of space-credit does not get spent it will expire… so go wild, and keep in mind that our replicators do well with the basics but are a little bit reluctant to think outside of the box. So if you’ve always wanted a monkey butler or a palm-frond hammock now’s the time!). What do you need to be successful (and remember you get to pick your own definition of success)?

GOALS from last week:

 Captain Daisy

1) Finish research talk
2) Finish 2 teaching talks, one for honours class thing, and for other thing
3) Write small grant application
4) Review grant applications for committee
5) Do something fun with kid, and something fun with friends

Elizabeth Anne Mitchell

Final edits on Illuminated.
Start a section of Translation. 1x5
Continue with filing. 1x10
Begin outline of Feminae. 1x3

heu mihi

1) Write 3 hours
2) Write paragraph of old conference paper/now March 1 paper to replace the current 4 pp. on the topic
3) Run or ski x5, sit x5, language x5
4) Grade batch of low-stakes thingums
5) Find new reviewer for article; read essay for other journal
6) Read LAST 20 sermons

Humming42 (held over)

1 write terribly late committee letter
2 spend 3 hours fitting tiny lit review items into outline structure
3 read book for upcoming review
4 catch up on teaching things

Karen (held over)

-complete reading list, have welcome section, task 1, and week 1 content online.
-respond to all postgrad writing received by end of Wed
-close out last year big online unit inbox and set to bounce
-research day enforced (4 pomodoros)


1. Keep working on FAMOUS AUTHOR: look at it daily
2. Post readings for class next week
3. Grade drafts students turn in Wednesday
4. E-mail: delete another 200 emails
5. Do tax stuff in preparation for appointment
6. Do Church paperwork.
7. Keep up with exercise
8. Keep up with healthy eating
9. Hang out with friends
10. Try to float like mist!

First Mate T’Melnor
*Make a list of all the class stuff; do something daily.
*Revise schedule to reflect some changes; stick to it.
*Visit the Albatross daily.
*Go to bed by 10.
*Daily stretching, languages, fun things.


Sunday 7 February 2021

2021 Session 1, week 5: The Holodeck Escape

Life on a starship can be monotonous: same hallways, same crew members, nearly the same view, day after day. You can shut yourself in your quarters to get away from people, but the cabins are small and minimalist. The best we can do for a sense of getting away is to use the holodeck programs, whether for adventure or for relaxation. 

You can enter an Old West saloon or a Raymond Chandler dive, dance at a Gilded Age ball or tour Versailles, go fishing in Florida or climb Mont Blanc. You can walk with Virginia Woolf or have a dinner party with Disraeli, Marcus Aurelius, Indira Gandhi, and Catherine the Great. 

The above programs are set on Earth. Similar programs are available for Andor, Bajor, Betazed, Cardassia, Denobula, Ferenginar, Kaminar, Kronos, Trill, Vulcan, and Xindus. You can also devise your own program; see your onboarding packet for the languages recognized by our systems. Hologram-technicians are available to help if you have any difficulties.

If you feel so inclined, tell us what program you plan to use this week (planet, setting, participants, type of action). Also please join us in the main lounge for the weekly reception and check-in, reporting on achievements and setting new goals.

Goals from last week:

Captain Daisy
1) Take a day and finish all association stuff and admin for student thing
2) Do a morning of Albatross planning
3) Tackle one part of Albatross
4) Make arrangements for grad student class projects
5) Do something fun with kid, and something fun with friends

Elizabeth Anne Mitchell
Edit at least 5 pages of Illuminated.
FINISH the outline for Translatio.
Organize desk and files 2 hours x 5.
Write exploratory notes about two possible topics 1 hour x 5.

heu mihi
1) Write 3 hours
2) Journal work: read over and find reviewers for 2 essays, editorial guidelines, check-in with co-editor
3) Write up my part of internal program assessment
4) Read over paper due 3/1, which I haven't looked at in about a year
5) Firm up plans for asynchronous and honors students in my class
6) Read 20 sermons
7) Sit x5, language x5

1 write terribly late committee letter
2 spend 3 hours fitting tiny lit review items into outline structure
3 read book for upcoming review
4 catch up on teaching things

-complete reading list, have welcome section, task 1, and week 1 content online.
-respond to all postgrad writing received by end of Wed
-close out last year big online unit inbox and set to bounce
-research day enforced (4 pomodoros)

1. Keep on doing *something* with Famous Author every day
2. Keep up with class things
3. Write memos for committee
4. Review proofs of article from last year
5. Try to keep desk under control
7. Keep on working out
8. Keep up with healthy eating
9. Hang out with friends.

*Final bits of grad syllabus, write and post some new assignments.
*Stick to schedule for research, languages, teaching, admin.
*Write two sections of my Albatross.
*Pay bills, other financial stuff.
*Sleep, stretch, walk, fun stuff (read, visible mending, jigsaw).