the grid

the grid

Sunday 24 September 2023

TLQ: The Movie! (2023 Session 3) Week 3: Wardrobe, no malfunctions...

Overheard at office trailer…

Hello, I’m calling again from TLQ: The Movie… Yes, I did call a few times yesterday, you see, it is urgent that I get in touch with Dr. Spooky, he is supposed to be here on set and… Oh I see, he is away… This is his phone right? Are you his agent?.... Oh, I see, you are his “Cosmic Alignment Practitioner” and you have sent him off on a quest to align… Yes I see… He cannot be disturbed out there, he is living in a tree… Ok, do tell him we called, the accountants and legal will be following up about the whole breach of contract thing… Good for you, happy to hear you are not saddled and imprisoned by convention… Argh, nevermind… and a good evening to you too….

Hello Central Casting? TLQ here… Hi, remember our Doctor character? Anyway, the flake you cast for us is communing with nature up a tree somewhere so we need a replacement quickly! Call me back when you have an audition lined up… Kthanksbye!

Hello Joe, just calling about the location contracts you said were all lined up. Yes, a bit of an issue… Today when we tried to shoot at the local castle we were chased off by a gentleman with a large dog who yelled “go away and take your cats with you and never come back” Yes I’m paraphrasing, the original was a bit more pointed… Oh, there are two castles and you got them mixed up and switched our location this morning? Thanks for letting me know!!! Yes of course that was sarcastic!!! Oh nevermind, just send me the new schedule… No, not when you finish your puzzle, NOW please!!!

(Sound of beer can tab…)

To: cast@TLQMovie: Good morning cast members! Thank you for excellent preliminary interviews. Our production team got some wonderful footage. Due to a slight mishap with the location scheduling we will not be shooting castle scenes this week as planned. We will be doing the contemporary work and home background shots instead. Unfortunately wardrobe is not quite ready for us to do this so we’d like you to tell us about clothing preferences. We will do our best to source appropriate things. You will of course get to keep them after shooting.

So, let us know, what is your everyday preference? What do you like to wear when you want to be a bit fancy? What is your go-to outfit for days when you need a pick-me-up? Does your favourite outfit or style have a story? Are you a “clothes change your mood” kind of dresser? Or are you on the “yay it doesn’t have holes” side of the coin?

Have a great week!

Sunday 17 September 2023

TLQ The Movie (2023 session 3), week 2: preliminary interviews

Take one. We're just doing some on-camera testing, checking on lighting and so on, no pressure! Some of the local crew have supplied placid, friendly, outgoing cats for cat-lovers to interact with while we film your reactions to these interview questions. Meet Katja, Leon, and Minou!

CUT! Who let that dog on-set? If that belongs to someone on crew, they're fired. Animal wrangler, whatever your name is---get that dog out of here, then find the cat treats and round up our on-set cats. Not you, you're a camera person! Oh, Katja's yours? OK, carry on then. I thought these were supposed to be placid cats who can deal with other animals and people. How are they going to give the right relaxed impression when they're all poofed up? What are our stars going to think? We'll be lucky if they don't all poof up in sympathy, since they mostly seem to be cat people. 

Send them for a brisk walk on the beach followed by hot drinks while we get ourselves re-organized here. And listen: the only on-set animals I'm willing to deal with are cats. No dogs, no llamas, no alpacas, no goats, no snakes, emphatically nobody's pet tarantulas, no marsupials, no birds, no rodents. Are we clear? Cats. Only cats. Nothing that will chase cats or that the cats will chase. We want happy, relaxed cats who will contribute to the stars being happy and relaxed---nobody needs to be traumatized by critters getting mauled. Except that I will personally maul whoever brought that dog in.

Take two. Welcome, stars! I hope you've had a lovely walk on the beach and enjoyed your hot coffee, tea, or cider afterward. You look great, all energized and enthusiastic, ready for a wonderful day on set. We're going to do a little on-camera testing, checking on lighting and so on, no pressure! Some of the local crew have supplied placid, friendly, outgoing cats for cat-lovers to interact with while we film your reactions to these interview questions. Meet Katja, Leon, and Minou!

And while you get to know the cats, we'll just ask you a few easy questions, background stuff, we probably won't use it in the final film (but you never know). Ready? How old were you when you first became aware that your field of study was a professional field, as opposed to just reading or collecting pretty rocks? When did it occur to you that you wanted to work in that field professionally? When you went to graduate school, was that a long way from home for you, either in literal distance, or socially, or any other way you want to take that question? 

Don't mind the crew, we'll just be fiddling with light meters and so on while we film you answering the questions. Or if you want to skip the questions, just talk about your goals for this week and how you did last week---that'll be fine. 

Contingent Cassandra:

--Catch up with lit feedback/grading; catch up with comp feedback/grading
--Submit contract renewal portfolio (I actually did this a few hours ago, but I’m putting it on so I can celebrate being finished at the end of the week, too)
--Catch up with various online trainings that need to be up to date for contract renewal (all worthwhile, but they do proliferate, and I’ve been neglecting a few)
--Containerize items from cupboards as the containers I’ve ordered arrive, and temporarily stow most back in the cupboards
--At least begin moving books and bookshelf sitting where the refrigerator needs to temporarily live while I’m working on the area around/behind its usual spot.
--Exercise: stretching routine x 2; weight lifting x 2; walk x 1 if weather/pollen cooperate; swim x 1 if pool is open.
--Friends & family: meet up with friend if we can get our schedules to work; touch base with NY nephew


Make a weekly schedule with all major tasks blocked off
Put writing blocks into that schedule and ACTUALLY DO IT…
Finish writing newsletter and collection of people-managing things
Fun dinner out with kid
Finish reading/commenting for student thesis draft
Do two figures for in-progress paper
Do galley edits on paper I’ve almost forgotten writing

Dame Eleanor Hull:

- join the gym I decided on
- grade a set of papers
- do some other teaching prep
- research 1 hour x 5, mainly Alms chapter, also some time on Latin, conference paper project
- patch holes in kitchen wall

heu mihi:

1) Revise and finish grant application (due 9/20)
2) Read 3 articles and incorporate them into my chapter(s)
3) Finalize Assignment 1 prompt


Self-care: take proper lunchtime breaks since this is probably the last week I can for a while. Move intentionally for at least 10 minutes a day. Next weekend, get the house in order, lunches packed etc. ready for the first week of students. Go to various appointments - and continue to proactively ask for a plan to be in place if I can't cope with being back in person.

Teaching: Get every VLE and module handbook/syllabus ready. Work on first week materials for the three modules seeing significant changes this year. Feed back on draft for late MSc student, try to help student in a bit of a mess after resits sort out their choices for next year.

Research: do comments on Unexpected Paper. Two graduate student meetings. Add text from long report to consultancy paper draft (aiming to submit end of month, probably not going to happen). Possibly find an hour for Special Collection Chapter.

Admin: review minutes from early summer meetings. Ensure intern is keeping busy! That may be all I can do.

Fun: one each of a chunk of time reading, drawing, crocheting and playing D&D. Half an hour is enough to be a chunk. More would be good but only D&D is sure to be longer.


maximise archive time, keep focused on grant application (this is a taking soundings trip).



Sunday 10 September 2023

TLQ The Movie! Location location location (Fall 2023 Week 1)

Excerpt from Assistant producer's diary: Ok, I can do this... I can do this... deep breaths... calm... I AM SOOO EXCITED!!! I cannot believe I get to work with Director X!! This is a production of a lifetime! Sure, the director did yell at all the production staff a bit but that was just because we didn't get the special shipment of fancy truffles in time. And probably because the head carpenter's pet pig carried off her handbag and ate the expensive hand cream... I'm sure it will all go well tomorrow when we leave for our first location shoot... Ooooh must pack my swimming stuff, I hear there is a beach! Ok. Must write very professional, official-sounding e-mail to cast and crew now. (Digs around in shelf for pen...) Oooh, there is the missing box of chocolate that our star actress requested. Wonder how it got here... Is that a pig hoof print on the box...(googles pig hoof print). Yep, definitely pig... cannot deliver those with hoof prints on them... Packaging still intact, I'm eating them now, stress makes me want to eat chocolates! Will put a note in to re-order these..

OK... professional....

Subject: Welcome and production notes

From: Assistant producer

Hello and welcome to all our cast members, artistic and technical staff, and supporting personnel. We are very much looking forward to working with everyone on this independent production of “TLQ: The Movie!”

Production notes for the week: Your trailer requests have all been logged, you should find all the requested items when you check in this week. Please note that not all requests could be accommodated; the request for a stress-relief llama had to be turned down because our set coordinator had an unfortunate experience with one of those on his last production (who knew they could eat scrims?) and threatened to quit if we brought back the llama. To make up for the lack of large ruminants on set we have arranged for everyone to have visiting privileges at the local petting zoo for the duration of the production.

Schedule: We will be spending the first few weeks of filming on location. Our precise location is currently undisclosed for legal reasons but I can tell you that there are a range of accommodations and landscapes in close proximity to our film locations (think coastal but with mountains nearby). Because this is an independent production (aka cheap) we will not be flying anyone back and forth during the location weeks so you need to be prepared to live on-site for a few weeks.

Please fill in the reply form with: 1) your preferred accommodation type (cabin, tent, trailer, yurt, or large shared lodge, or make one up and we can see what we have in the set trailer) and 2) your preferred landscape location, we will do our best to match everyone with their first choices. You should also have a schedule of your daily call times and task at this point, please update that weekly going forward and report on your progress as we proceed. 

Have a great first week on set!

Monday 4 September 2023

Announcing TLQ: The Movie (2023 session three), week 0

Welcome to the set of TLQ: The Movie, starring participants as themselves. By the way, don't forget to check out the artist Heu Mihi's house book, on display downstairs!


Take two. Welcome to Top Left Quadrant: The Movie, directed by Dame Eleanor Hull, assisted by Daisy, and starring most other participants as themselves. Some weeks we'll be in the studio and at times we'll go on location, so be prepared to hit the road! Metaphorically speaking, of course.

Scheduling details: We'll have the final check-in on 16 December, midterm check-in on 28 October (so long as the appropriate underling remembers to set it up), and will make next week the official first weekly goal-setting post. Make-up and costuming---that is, introductions and setting session goals---can start now. 

As a theme question this week, what essential items are you stars going to demand to have in your trailers, for when you're there taking a break rather than on-set? We'll send the interns out to go shopping---where's the set manager?


Get the set manager over here to collect shopping lists and talk to the interns about organizing the travel trailers. Also the assistant producer---what are you people doing, anyway? We need to make the stars feel at home so they'll look relaxed and natural when they're talking on camera! That doesn't mean crew gets to relax! But we'll take a break before we try for take three. Or maybe we should just leave in the question---I'll look at the rushes later.

Opening text, adapted from earlier iterations!

The format will be the same as ever. We will start setting goals for the session this 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. Each week there will be a discussion topic or prompt to write about if you feel so inclined, but skip it (sulk in your trailer!) if you don't feel like it. We’ll remind everyone of their big session goals about midway through the session, so we can do re-takes as necessary, or let some footage hit the cutting-room floor, before it's the last minute.

Anyone, whether new to the group or an old friend, is welcome to join. I would love for people to consider inviting a friend or acquaintance or colleague to join in: we would be thrilled to welcome new guests and expand our circle. 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! If you are not up to regular check-ins we would still love to hear from you occasionally.

Saturday 2 September 2023

The house-book, in pictures

Hello all,

This is not meant to detract from the intercession post, but I did want to share pictures of my house-book before we got into the next session, and I don't seem to be able to post pictures in the comments. So please bear with me!

I also want to say that I feel like I wasn't very connected this past term, or at least the past month or so. Life felt very off-schedule. I hope to check in and read what you all have been up to (which is very much my favorite part of this group) much more often this fall.


I have many pictures. I tried to upload a video of me actually opening it, but it didn't work.

To review the process: I bound (and decorated) the pages; I gilt the pages (which I regret, for it was very messy and took a long time, but at least it came out okay); I constructed the house out of book board; I glued on wall paper and plants and curtains; I needle-felted the cat in the cat bed; I made a bed out of a twig; I sewed a little mattress (matches the curtains!); I knit the quilt; I constructed a bookcase out of book board; and I made "books" out of bits of book board and scraps of leather. The carpets are from some fancy papers. I also cut out pictures to put on the walls, and "framed" them by gluing them onto brown paper.

The dormer window was an unexpected addition, and I'm really happy with how it came out!

So you can see why the silly thing took all summer...and it's only about 6" tall!