Friday, July 22, 2016

English Vocabulary Size Test

My sister-in-law posted this one to Facebook, and I had to try.

Online English Vocabulary Size Test

And I got... 

...because I cheated. Yup. I looked up a couple words. (Although, it was only, like, three. I knew the rest of them. Really, I did. Without cheating I got 23,550.) 

How did you do? And did you cheat? Or is that just me?

Thursday, July 21, 2016


For today's #ThrowbackThursday, a post from February 28, 2008. Another day with the evil 8th graders. Just goes to show, the more things change, the more they remain the same. 

First period I was sent to cover a middle school special ed. class. Reading. Their word of the day was "failure". I was to give an example so that they could get a grasp on what the word meant. I had trouble coming up with something right off the top of my head. Too bad that that was the harbinger for things to come.

The rest of the day I covered an 8th grade U.S. history class. But the subject turned out to be irrelevant. I had a very bad day.

The teacher had been out all week. I was the third sub. That's never a good sign. And the room looked like it had been through numerous battles. I saw about ten books missing their front covers. These were hard cover books. They were new (well, about a year old). The books looked like they had been thrown at wolves to keep them from attacking.

I spent the day trying to keep the classes from running wild. And mostly I failed.

I had one kid throw sharp objects at the ceiling. He was trying to get them to stick up there. He succeeded. I had students who would not remain seated. They tried to play with their toys. One girl's pen got stolen at least five times; she was one of the roamers, so I didn't have much sympathy for her. And that doesn't even take into account the constant pencil sharpeners or the ones who suddenly needed to find paper/pencil more than half way through the period (why they didn't think of this at the beginning, I don't know).

I sent several kids packing. I should have sent many more. And they were loud. I couldn't hear questions asked of me even when I was standing right next to the student. It's amazing that anyone got anything done (some actually did).

It was the passing period before 6th period. I was wiped out. And one girl came up to me to ask me a question. She had heard that I was strict. She wanted to know if it was true.

They were calling me strict? Awwww. How sweet.

Too bad it didn't feel like I was being strict enough.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Not Quite Off Topic

Today's post is a little more risqué than I normally do, but I just couldn't resist...

I got called to cover a health class for summer school. Four hours with the same group. They all missed taking health during the school year, so they're making it up now. (They all just finished 9th grade.)

The topic of the day was HIV/AIDS. They were to create a PowerPoint presentation outlining the topic as if they were going to present this to a 5th grade class.

While meandering about the room, I heard two boys discussing their project. One mangled a term, so I gently corrected him. "Oral-genital."

Him: "What's that?"

Other boy: "A blow job."

I nodded a confirmation.

First boy: "What's a blow job?"

Probably the only time such a question would actually be on-topic.

(No, I didn't explain. I could have. Maybe I should have. But I didn't feel it was my place to go into it right then.)

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Planned Amnesia

At the heart of much speculative fiction (and fiction in general) is a question. What if? On Tuesdays I like to throw one out there and see what you make of it. Do with it as you please. If a for-instance is not specified, feel free to interpret that instance as you wish. And if you find this becomes a novel-length answer, I'd appreciate a thank you in the acknowledgements ;)

A couple weeks ago, I asked if living too long led to insanity. But if someone figured out how to become immortal, then they would figure out a way around that, too, wouldn't they?

What if you could live "forever", but to do so, you would periodically have to lose all your memories? Would that still be immortality? Would it be worth it?

Monday, July 18, 2016

Last Jellyfish and a New Purse

It's been a couple weeks since I did a post on Monday. Because the whole knitting/crocheting thing hasn't been happening much lately. (Well, that, and I got a little behind on getting blog posts done.) But things have been looking up.

I finally finished the last jellyfish I'm going to do for a while...

As you read this, this little guy is in Arizona with Betty. You'll have to ask her how she likes it.

(Although, if anyone wants to order one, I could be persuaded to make another. But until that time, I'm working on other things.)

It's been more than a year since I knit myself a purse, so it's time for a new model. I found a yarn I liked, but I was having the worst time finding a pattern stitch to go with it.

Then, just last week, I stumbled on a stitch that looked like it might work. Considering how far I've gotten without the desire to rip it all out, I think this one might be the one...

We'll see how long it takes for me to get something big enough for what I need.

And because Pokemon Go, I just had to post this...

The EOS lip balm holder I made that looks like a Pokeball...

I could totally make Pokeball Christmas tree ornaments! Or beanies! My mind's reeling...

Friday, July 15, 2016

Find the U.S. States

I was having a bit of an online quiz binge. I found this quiz where you had to name all the presidents who had five letters in their names. Then six letters. Then four letters. (The site was clever in how it tempted with just another click.) And then I saw this quiz:

Find the U.S. States-No Outlines

I got 100%! After something like a dozen tries. See, this quiz "blows up" on you if you get one wrong. That is, get a wrong answer, and you're done. So, I went back and retried and retried and retried. Ahem. 

What's really tricky is getting your cursor in the right spot for each state. If you're off by a hair width, it's wrong, and BOOM! So, I skipped states, a lot of states, until I got ones that I could easily find via coastlines. Then from there I filled in the interior. (Just a suggestion.)

Let me know how you did. I'd love to hear. 

Thursday, July 14, 2016

A Name Swap

Once again, it is Thursday, and I've taken a trip into the way-back files. This post originally appeared on January 15, 2011

The bell hadn't even rung yet when I noticed the three boys in the back far corner of the room. Instead of entering the room, going to their seats, and getting ready for the period, they were playing around. As I couldn't get to them quickly (due to the teacher's bench, the distance to them, and the new student who was checking in), I had to yell at them to stop that right now.

I was ready for a bit of a battle with this group. The class was called survey of biology, and it was for the students who couldn't handle the standard biology curriculum. The rest of the Friday (regular biology classes) had gone relatively smoothly; the classes were a bit loud but on task.

I was not expecting the three boys in fifth period.

I finished taking roll and getting the new student squared away, and then I gave the class the assignment. Then I could walk around the room. I headed for the three boys. They were playing, and I needed to get them working.

The largest of the three introduced himself as "Tom". Then he introduced the boy sitting next to him as "James". "Tom" explained that "James" never does any work in class, so I should expect nothing from him.

However, I knew he was not Tom. It was luck, though, for I had marked Tom absent, and now I knew that Tom was present. Tom was the boy introduced as "James".

The third boy, so far unintroduced, was James. I knew this. For some reason, I remember James. I'm not sure why. I had him in class on Tuesday (where he was quiet and unremarkable). I remember noting that I hadn't seen him in a while, so when I saw him again Friday, I knew who he was.

I turned to the actual James and said, "Hello, James". James claimed that his name was Benz.

Not-Tom was Benz. He's another boy who I've known a while, and I couldn't remember his name until James claimed to be him. (I remembered it was distinctive, but that was all.) So, I said hello to the actual Benz, and he claimed to be... Oh, now I can't remember.

They attempted to confuse me, or maybe they were confused themselves. Benz flipped the introductions around, only making sure that he was using the wrong names for each of them. If I hadn't been sure of who they actually were (from having them in other classes) I might have been fooled. But Benz couldn't confuse me on this. (Besides, I've dealt with this sort of thing before.)

Once I made it clear I knew who was who, I walked away. I returned a couple times to check up on them. I thought about writing them up, but I couldn't figure out how to word the referral. And once the initial idiocy was over, they kept to themselves and didn't rile up the class (the rest of the class was working pretty well).

I guess they didn't remember that they'd had me in class before. Then again, maybe they did. Perhaps they thought that if they denied their names long enough, I'd believe them. Yeah, not so much.

Come to think of it, I haven't had a good name swap in a while. I don't know if it's the online attendance (with photos!) or if they know me and I know them just too well. (Of course, now that I've said this, it's sure to come up in the fall.)