Wednesday, August 12, 2020


Lately, I have been partaking of streaming TV. Netflix. Hulu. Apple +. I've been starting a bunch of new shows, and. . . When I'm checking the time to see how much longer until it ends, it's a sign that that might not be a show for me (*stares meaningfully at For All Mankind*). Or when I find myself fast forwarding through a fifteen minute stretch because I just can't sit through the idiocy (*side eyes Hollywood*). 

But occasionally, I've hit gold. 

Marcy Hatch mentioned Travelers to me, so when it popped up as I was scrolling shows on Netflix, I figured I might as well give it a try. And I'm hooked. 

Travelers is a show about time travelers from the distant future. They've come back to our time to "fix" things. But they don't come back in their own bodies. The hand-waving mechanism of choice involves quantum entanglement whereby they take over the bodies of people who are about to die. The consciousness transfer is fatal to the host, but they were about to die anyway, so it's kind of okay? 

Like many Netflix shows, this only has three seasons. I'm currently through season two. (I'm deliberately holding off on season three partly because I don't want it to end.) 

It was created by Brad Wright, who worked on shows from the Stargate universe, which might be one reason I took to it so readily. Or it just could be that it's an interesting show. 

We get to see how they finance things (betting on horse races and lottery numbers), how they figure out how to live as their hosts, and how they get instructions from the future (consciousness transfers to children apparently aren't fatal). 

If you like this kind of show, you should check it out. 

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

A Redo

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.

I rediscovered Good Eats on the Cooking Channel. I've been recording and rewatching episodes for months now. Alton Brown even has a "new" show called Good Eats: Reloaded where he takes one of the episodes and reworks the recipes. Which got me thinking... 

What if you could go and redo/re-edit/revamp your finished (published) work from bygone years? Would you? 

Monday, August 10, 2020

Mystery Project Reveal

You know the project that I've been working on? The one that I didn't want to talk about, but I managed to write three blog posts about? (The posts: The New Toy, The Tangle, and Frogger.) 

Guess what I finished this week? 

Before I get into the pictures, I should explain the why. I bought a light box a year or so ago. It helps with my pictures. 

But I was having one small, tiny, minuscule problem with it (aside from avoiding using it due to how long it takes to set up). And you can kind of see it in the above photo. I didn't have a good background for my photos. 

It came with a long piece of plastic, but that doesn't cover the sides of the box. If I aim my camera straight in, it works fine. However, I usually like to change angles, and it's easier to do that from my end rather than repositioning what I'm photographing all the time. 

So, I'd been using a piece of fabric to cover the sides, but it was awkward to use. Recently, I bought white cardboard, but that didn't work much better. I thought about pulling out my sewing machine and making something up, but my sewing skills aren't all that great, and I have a tendency to put things like that off. 

Then it occurred to me: why don't I try to knit a backdrop? 

It took me way less time than I expected. 

As you can see, I didn't bother to set the whole light box up for this photo shoot. I think it's easier to see just with the light box frame, anyway. 

Yes, it's a bit smaller than the frame, but that was by design. It'll stretch a bit. I used stockinette stitch for the plainest background, and that's also why I used white. 

Alas, the seams are kind of visible. But still, this is better than what I was using before. 

I even included tabs to hold the thing onto the frame. . .

How well it will work will be determined the next time I need to have a photo shoot. It solved the problems I was having before, but we all know that new problems can crop up with the new solution. 

But I'm happy with it. 

And it was completely a stash project. Those buttons? Yup. According to the packaging, they were 15 cents. The yarn had been purchased for a sweater I was making myself that went horribly wrong, hence the game of yarn chicken

Obviously, I won the yarn chicken. . .

Yeah, I cut it kind of close. But it was a great project to use up that yarn that had been sitting in my stash for years. 

Friday, August 7, 2020

Worst Movies Ever?

I've been rather liking the list site for quizzes, so I went back there this week. I'll have to change it up sometime soon, but not quite yet. 

This list is one I disagree with, mostly. I mean, they don't have Dear God on it. I can't take a worst movies ever list seriously if it doesn't have the worst movie I've ever seen on it. (The premise was interesting, but the execution...) 

But, they do have Jupiter Ascending. Seriously, don't. I'm giving you some excellent advice here. Don't bother with either of those movies. Ever. 

Of the 38 listed, I've seen 15. And about half of those I don't regret. Your mileage might vary. 

Worst Movies Ever?

So, how many have you seen? Do you agree that those are the worst movies ever? What's a really bad movie you've seen that isn't listed here?

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Taken Care Of

School support staff are amazing. They keep things running, even in these times. 

So, normally, when I sub, I get a time sheet. Most districts in the area have computerized the system, but not my district. When I arrive for the day, I give the site secretary my time sheet. She fills it out, has the principal sign it, and returns it to me. At the end of the month, I sign it and turn it into the district office. I've been doing this for years. 

But what do I do when I'm not going to campus daily? 

I figured this would be an issue, so I discussed it with the sub caller. I imagined having to go down to the school and get someone to fill out a sheet. It was doable, but it would take some coordinating. After discussing it with her people, the sub caller said that I wasn't going to need to worry about that. (And I got that in email form, so there's a paper trail.) 

I thought no more about it. 

But the last day of summer session, I got an email from the site secretary. She had actually written out a time sheet for me, and she'd submitted it to the district (probably via email as well). 

I really should have realized that she'd be on top of that. 

So, now I've got a couple weeks off before the official start of the school year. Whatever will I do with my time?

Wednesday, August 5, 2020


Summer school at the alternative education center ended last week. It was only 18 days. The school year officially starts mid-August. 

(Well, if it starts. We're still not sure if we're doing in-person or distance. Apparently the district is discussing, but there is no official word. Yet.) 

And, with the end of the summer session came the grades. Which is something I've never had the opportunity to do. Yay? 

There is a program that kind of does school for the kiddos. I'm familiar with it as they use it frequently at the continuation high school. Each assignment is graded in the usual percentage manner. Using those programs, one can just look at the grade and transpose it as the grade for the class. 

But, I was not in charge of either of those classes. The kiddos were enrolled in two, and the other two (permanent) teachers oversaw them. My class was called "study skills". 

Now, I did answer questions about how to log into the program. I spent one day helping the kiddos complete an assignment about creating a budget (sort of). But I didn't have specific work for them to do. I hadn't assigned anything worth points. They had nothing to turn in. 

How was I supposed to give them grades? 

In the end, I came up with a participation point system. 

I figured that would be as fair as anything else. If they showed up and participated (which they kind of had to do as I asked each student specific questions), they got the day's points. If they didn't... 

But then there was the Brandon clause. Brandon showed up about half the time. And he participated... about half the time. There were two sessions where he logged in, but when I asked him a question, he stubbornly left his feed on mute. And he had his camera off. So, for all I knew, he had logged in and walked away. 

Or fell asleep. 

So, full points? Nope. But giving him a zero when he went to the trouble to "show up"? That's not fair, either. 

I figured half points would work there. 

Once I added everything up, I had grades that really did make sense. Brandon got a D. Missing one class dropped the grades from an A to a B. (If we had had more sessions, missing one class wouldn't have made as big an impact.) And most of the students, who hadn't bothered to show up at all, got incompletes. 

I was quite pleased with my solution. Once the school year starts in earnest, they'll be doing actual work with actual points, so the grading won't be as weird. But summer school sessions are a bit weird.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Assigned Spouse

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.

While watching something or other on TV, I saw an ad for that show where two people get married the first time they meet, and it got me thinking... 

What if you were assigned a spouse if you were not married by a certain age?