Monday, November 12, 2018

The Purple Problem

I've been whining quite a lot about my new camera. First it was the lighting. Then it was getting things in focus. Finally, it was the purple problem.

It's kind of an issue when colors, like purple, don't show up and look like they look in person. This is especially troublesome for items I'm selling in my Etsy shop.

I had been flummoxed as to what to do. In desperation, I did a random Google search. I got no good answers, but the various blog posts and articles I found jarred something loose in my head. I could sit down and experiment, couldn't I? So, that's what I did last week.

I made an EOS lip balm holder with a mermaid tail in a variegated yarn that had purple and my other problem color, teal blue, in it. If I could get that to look pretty close to true to life, my problem was solved.

At first, the colors came out looking like mud...

Looks blue, doesn't it? That's the problem. Yes, there is blue, but there's also purple and teal. It's a beautiful yarn. Great colors. But they don't show up here.

And this is an improvement over where I started. For lighting, I fashioned a homemade lightbox. The focus issue eventually solved itself. I have no idea what I was doing wrong before, but now things just focus for me.

For the purple problem, I went into the camera's settings. Things like DRO, ISO, focus, and metering didn't have an impact on color detection. What did end up making a difference were the white balance and the exposure compensation.

Those were white balances that don't work. But...

You can kind of see the purple in those. Why are they so dark? Because someone *ahem* had the exposure compensation dialed down into the negatives. Which in retrospect is stupid, but at the time, I didn't quite know what it meant.

Once I dialed up the exposure compensation, suddenly things were looking up...

(I put away my lightbox at this point thinking I was done for the night. But then I wanted to take just a few more shots.)

And now that I had settings that worked, I could take some time (on a different day) and get some pictures that actually kind of look like the actual colors.

I did a little sweetening with photo editing, but this gets so much closer than I had gotten before. (The colors are a little deeper in person.) In fact, I'm happy enough with it that I finally listed this lip balm holder in my Etsy shop. (Click on the link to find the listing.)

Now, fingers crossed, hopefully this doesn't throw other colors into confusion. It's looking pretty good so far.

Friday, November 9, 2018

The Shoving Match

It's been a while since I had one of these.

Eighth grade science. Friday. Third period.

About a third of the class had left for a field trip. That middle school has been doing some reward things for kiddos who maintain a certain GPA and have no discipline issues. So, basically, the "good kids" had gone.

For those who were left, I told them what their assignment was, and they got to work.

We had been in class for a bit. I had finished taking roll. They were working, albeit loudly.

Then, Jeremy got up for something. As he passed Samuel's desk, he knocked everything off of it.

Eighth graders are clumsy. They're knocking things over all the time. I highly doubt Jeremy meant any malice.

But Samuel was seeing red. He jumped out of his seat and went at Jeremy. And the two were suddenly in a tussle. Arms outstretched, it almost looked like Samuel wanted to strangle Jeremy. They shoved each other back and forth.

Of course, when something like this happens, there's stuff between me and the combatants. Not that I really wanted to get in the middle of it anyway. I made a futile attempt to get them to stop. Some other students intervened to pull them apart. And while I hoped it would end on its own, I knew what I had to do.

It was time to call security.

Since I call security so rarely, I had to look up what number to dial. I got the voicemail of the first person I tried. (Security isn't really at their extension, so I really need to call someone who has a walkie-talkie to notify them.)

And this is where the altercation ended. Both boys were back in their seats.

However, that was a fight, and I have a zero tolerance policy regarding fights in class. If I let them stay after that, I've lost the rest of the class.

I dialed the phone again.

Jeremy approached. He begged me to not call security. It was all over. And no one had thrown any punches.

This was true, but I have a zero tolerance policy because of experience. (I don't mean horseplay or mock fighting. I mean actual anger in the altercation.) If I let them stay, an already difficult class would get so much worse.

So, I dialed again, and this time I got through. Both boys sat in their seats, saying nothing.

Security came and removed them from class.

Only later did I learn this was her difficult group. So, I totally made the right call.

Now, perhaps I'm good for another several years until another one of these happens on my watch.

Samuel stopped by after class looking for candy he had left in the room. He told me that Jeremy had accidentally knocked the stuff off his desk. I wasn't surprised. Maybe next time Samuel will ask for an apology rather than losing his cool.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

I'll Be Back

It was one of those days that I don't normally write about. Tenth grade English. They were reading and annotating a story. And the classes worked silently, as requested.

(Yes, I do have many days where the kiddos work. They make for boring blog posts.)

It was the beginning of third period. The attendance office called. They asked for a student to be sent up as he was leaving.

This is another so-common-I-don't-mention-it thing. You should see the looks on the faces of the kiddos when that phone rings. They get this "Is it for me?" look. Hoping. In actuality, most of the time the kiddo in question is expecting the call.

As it was in this case. The kiddo in question was ready to leave.

"Make sure to take the story with you," I told him.

"Oh, I'll be back," he replied.

Um, the attendance office said he was leaving. He was being checked out by a parent.

I considered the timing. Third period is 58 minutes long.

I insisted that he take the story with him so he could do it for homework. I have no idea if he did or not as I got busy with other things, like getting the class started.

Third period was the class I had been warned about. "Rowdy" was the term used. But they settled after a fashion, and they worked for the period.

Less than ten minutes before the end of the period, the boy returned.

Okay, he was right.

But, I was right, too. He couldn't possibly do a period's worth of work in less than ten minutes. He didn't even try.

So, it was homework for him.

But, what got him checked out of school for less than an hour? That's a new one for me.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

The Wrong Episode

It was Halloween. So, the teacher left them a video. An episode of The Twilight Zone.

(It was "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet". Here's the link. Unfortunately, it's mirror flipped, so all the words are opposite.)

Then, because students will ignore videos, they had a "quiz" after. It wasn't so much a quiz as just something to verify that they hadn't been on their phones. Ms. S said that they could work together on it.

Of course, some of them were on their phones. They didn't even attempt the "quiz". In fact, they were surprised by it when I passed it out. I don't know why. I announced it as I intro'ed the video.

Ah well.

Sixth period. They were awful. A group of boys was just loud. And obnoxious.

The loudest and most obnoxious of the group then complained that he had missed some of the first ten minutes (because he had been talking and such). He pulled out his phone, searched his Netflix, and found that the series was available.

Um, it was being projected on a big screen at the front of the room. But somehow, this wasn't the quality that he liked. He'd rather watch it on his phone.

As long as he watched it...

The episode was over. I passed out the questions (which were multiple choice and obvious). The boy was still watching on his phone. I looked over his shoulder.

I'm sure you won't be shocked if I tell you he wasn't watching "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet". However, he was watching The Twilight Zone. Yes, the black & white original series.

He was watching the "Living Doll" episode. You know, talking Tina.

I mean, great selection. I applaud the choice. But later. You know, after he'd completed the questions for the episode that was assigned...

Sigh. Let's just say that Ms. S wasn't shocked when that boy's name came up.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Open Vote

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. 😉

It's election day here in the U.S. Midterms. As I was driving to school one morning, this question popped into my head, and I figured it would be perfect for today...

What if your ballot wasn't secret?

Monday, November 5, 2018

Improving Pictures?

I've been playing with my new camera again. I've almost got the lighting thing figured out. At least, I've got something that kind of works for the moment, until I go and buy some professional photographic lights. (Which will happen once it's in the budget.)

I got some decent pictures of the newest mini backpack...

And a view of the back...

Then there's another mermaid tail lip balm holder, this one in salmon...

But I still can't get a good photo of anything purple (I won't subject you to what I got) or teal...

That picture should have a bit more green in it. Sigh.

Ah well. I have plenty to take pictures of.

And since it is now November, it's time to pull out the knitted Christmas tree ornaments again. These two are listed in my Etsy shop (just click on the pictures and they'll take you right there)...

 Orange Knitted Christmas Tree Ornament

 White Knitted and Beaded Christmas Tree Ornament

Maybe this week I'll actually do some knitting. Or crocheting. (Don't hold your breath...)

Friday, November 2, 2018


We made it to Friday. So, here's a quiz...

Rhymes with Truck

This one is pretty simple. Just put in all the words that rhyme with truck. Well, not that one. That one is "considered offensive". 

Find the other twenty words that rhyme with truck. You don't have to type them in any order. The quiz will alphabetize them for you. You have three minutes.

(I got 19/20 my first go. Then when I was writing up this post, I got 18/20. I forgot one. I wonder which one that was.)