Several faculty in my department were recently awarded a big, collaborative grant - just under two million dollars across five "projects" over the course of however many years. My advisor is on this grant. My advisor is still in the process of attempting to renew the "main" grant under which I have been funded for the past few years. Although I had been guaranteed summer funding, and paperwork was complete, my advisor asked me if I would be interested in doing one of the big grant's experiments to lessen the upcoming budget squeeze.
It's not quite as incestuous as it sounds. (Actually, it could be more incestuous than it sounds. The part of the grant I'm being funded under is headed by my advisor's spouse). The project I'm working on is in my broader interests, although not directly relevant to my comps/planned dissertation work; the project also meets my stated end-of-year review goals of expanding the content of my research and my work with other faculty. So it is a generally interesting and beneficial arrangement, although it does put me in the position (horror of horrors) of most other graduate students out there, technically being employed to do work that is not related to my dissertation. I expect no sympathy for this. I'm not sure it's even possible to spend 40 hours a week on this project, so I'm at least partially getting paid to do my dissertation work.
All of this translates into projects in the very beginning (theoretical, comps), beginning (design, this project), middle (data collection, a mentee's project) and end (last data collection / analysis, my other project). I technically have a project in very end stages (attempting publication), although with any luck that will just be formatting rather than additional shopping around for publishers. It's not a bad place to be.
There's a PhD Comic strip for this, but I can't find the specific one and actually don't want to spend several hours re-reading the entire archives right now.