the grid

the grid

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)


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)


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


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


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.


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


*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. 


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.


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


(no weekly goals but good to see you!)


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


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?

Wednesday 3 January 2024

Happy New Year!

 Happy 2024, everyone.  I hope the first few days have been good, and the rest of the year follows suit!

The Winter Session of TLQ will begin with goal setting the week of January 14,  with a final report in on April 28.   We promise you encouragement and maybe some magic.  

Meanwhile, enjoy the remainder (if any) of your holiday break, which may not have been as much fun as our final party at the castle, but I hope offered some rest and refreshment.