Thursday, July 31, 2008

Migraine for my Birthday

A migraine just in time for my birthday. How special.

Well, the thing developed yesterday, so today I'm just dealing with the aftereffects (more memory of pain than actual pain). It's a good excuse to curl up in front of the TV and watch cheesy movies. I might even be feeling well enough to get some knitting done. But that's about it.

I enjoy other people's birthdays more. It's so much fun to find just the right gift, and if I'm lucky I might even get to knit something for them. Sure, I knit for me (I mentioned the sweater and the scarf, didn't I?), but I know what I'm knitting myself, and I know what it's going to look like. It's more fun to give it away.

Right, so enough whining. I'm going to go and rest now.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Harvest Festival

I was so thrilled. Yesterday I got the annual Harvest Festival flyer in the mail. This is the craft festival that happens during the fall every year. I can't wait.

Well, I can wait, but I'm looking forward to it. October.

Yep, I'm one of those. I love craft fairs. I'm crazy that way.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

My Earthquake Story

I got to work again today (at the continuation high school as the traditional high schools don't start up until September). English class.

They were reading Tuesdays with Morrie. Yesterday they left off just a couple chapters before the end, so we easily finished the book. Then we started watching the movie. My instructions were to end the movie at the same place for both groups (a standard instruction). Easy enough.

Well, not so much as it turned out.

The second group was watching the movie. We were about 15 minutes from where I stopped the movie for the first group when the shaking started...

"Oh, shi... Uh, shoot!"

I caught myself in time (barely). And then I was focused on other things, for the ground really started to shake. The floor shook back and forth, and it was shaking hard enough that my adrenaline started to pump. I was a little nervous. My eyes darted everywhere, looking for danger. I told the class that getting under the desks was probably a good idea. Only a couple of them did.

This was not my first earthquake. This was not even my first earthquake in class. So, I knew that we were going to have to evacuate.

We weren't outside for that long, really. It was near the end of the day for the "morning" students, so mostly they were concerned that they wouldn't get dismissed on time (they were). The boys all talked about how the earthquake wasn't a big deal, was fun, and didn't make them nervous at all.

Most of them had their cell phones out. None of the adults tried to stop them. As it turned out it didn't matter, because none of them could make a call.

We were allowed back into the classrooms about three minutes before the end of the period. Three students returned to class. Well, it wasn't like we were going to finish the movie anyway.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Due Process

I've got another story about this pair. This happened after the seal poster incident, and this time I was talking to the other guy.

I had given them paper (as they had none of their own), but their papers had remained blank. Then the other guy actually wrote down the first term that he was supposed to define. I was kind of shocked. He had actually found the term and wrote it on his paper? This was dangerously close to work.

Then he moaned that he couldn't find the definition. Well, he wasn't looking. I actually turned to the glossary at the back of the book, found the definition for him, and then he copied it down! I was shocked. I expected more of a fight about that.

So, a while later at the end of the period (plenty of time to have done another term) I collected the work. What more had he done? Nothing. The only definition on the paper was the first one: due process. Well, at least it was something (more than the first guy who didn't turn in anything at all).

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Seal Racing

"Where did that seal poster come from?"

Hmmm... That's a hard one, since the boy who asked the question was seated right next to it, had been rifling through National Geographic magazines earlier, and could not have missed someone sticking it to the wall right next to him. His desk was right up against the wall. He slept through that?

I looked at the boy incredulously for a bit, and then I told him to take the poster down and put it back where he found it.

"Mr. H. won't mind. He likes seals. He talks about them all the time."

I've met this teacher. I've had several conversations with him. He has never once brought up any wildlife topics. However, I do know about his love of NASCAR. So, I had my comeback:

"Yeah, right. He constantly talks of seals and racing."

"And seal racing."

I walked away at this point. This boy and the boy seated behind him were trying to find ways to entertain themselves (without doing the government assignment), and I was only helping them in this endeavor at this point. But I did hear them start on the topic of seal racing.

Seal racing? Kind of a difficult sport I would think. Do seals move all that quickly? Could you train them to line up and race each other? This would work better in the open ocean, but the visual of them lining up on a race track, readying for the starting gun is such a great visual.

Damn! Now they have me doing it.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

New Year, Same Attitude

Today was the first day of the continuation high school.

They're getting ready for the CAHSEE. There's a July administration date, and I guess it's next week sometime (likely on Tuesday and Wednesday--that seems to be the routine). So, everybody was on CAHSEE prep.

The entire schedule had been modified. Instead of the usual seven period day we had three two-hour blocks. Each student got two hours of English prep time and two hours of math prep time (they only had to go to school for their usual four hours). And they'll be doing this for the next week.

But not everybody has to take the test; some of them have passed either one or both portions. These were the students I got.

I had one block of government and one block of economics. Four assignments count as a half a credit, and they could easily have completed four assignments during the block. Did they? Of course not.

They complained that they had too much work to do. The block was too long. Their hands were cramping up. They were too tired. The room was too cold. Waa, waa, waa.

This is the attitude that got them sent to this school in the first place. They have five days to bust out some credits. The more they get done today, tomorrow, and the rest of this week, the fewer credits they'll have to complete after this CAHSEE nonsense is finished. I explained this to them. They understood. But still, many of them spent the time visiting with their friends.

I really shouldn't belittle all of them. One student finished a full credit's worth of work today (four assignments in government and four assignments in economics). Another student finished a half credit in the first block (in the second block--not so much). And many of them made some progress.

I guess it's just that I completely understand why the teachers at this school nag the students. And when the students complain about being nagged I have no sympathy for them.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Hunt

Last night I finally got around to watching "Quest for Dragons" (which had been in the DVR queue for a couple weeks). It was fairly interesting. I got a bit of my scarf done.

There was this section about how dragons could have been a way that ancient man interpreted the found bones and fossils of dinosaurs. So, they spent some time talking to paleontologists and comparing and contrasting dinosaurs and dragons.

I've never been a big dinosaur fan, but my nephew lately has gone dinosaur mad. So, as I sat there and knit I had an inspiration. Dinosaur sweater for Topher. Christmas is coming!!!

It's never too early to start Christmas knitting. Every year I swear I'm going to get to it earlier, but it's usually about this time that the gears start up. And, assuming that Topher will still be dinosaur mad in December, and that I can anticipate how fast he's growing (so that I don't knit a too small sweater), I may have a plan. Well, first I have to make a plan.

Where do I find a dinosaur sweater pattern? They have to exist. First I tried Ravelry. I was sorely disappointed. It had lots of stuffed dinosaur patterns, but only a couple sweater patterns, and those were unobtainable. Then I had to resort to my least favorite resource--my stash.

I've subscribed to three knitting magazines for nearly a decade now. The magazines only come out once a season, but that means that I have more than a hundred (I'm afraid to count). Plus, I pick up interesting ones when I see them. And I have no handy index of what patterns are where. The only way to see what a magazine has in it is to actually thumb through it.

It was about 1 AM when I started the search. At about 2 AM my eyes started to blur, so I gave up and went to sleep. Then when I got up I sat down with my entire pattern stash and continued the search. What did I come up with? Three not-quite-right patterns. Ugh!

I thought that mine was a common situation. Boys love dinosaurs, right? So, there should be some more patterns--any patterns--out there. I went back to searching the Internet.

I finally came across something that might work. But the pattern was from Norway. The website is not in English. And there is no way to obtain the pattern here. I checked. So, I guess I'm on my own.

Of course, the dinosaur phase could pass, and then I'm off the hook. Although, I'll still need to come up with some sort of gift. Well, two. Then I've still got to deal with his birthday.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Computer? Hello, Computer?

I like to turn the computer on before I have breakfast. I check my email and then I eat. So, that's what I did this morning. Unfortunately, that's where the trouble started.

The computer booted up all right, but then I couldn't get the mouse to move the cursor. That's a problem, but one that I have frequently enough. I tried the usual fixes. Then I shut down the computer to reboot. That's the last fix, but it usually works.

But this time, the computer wouldn't restart. I got this awful error message saying that some file was damaged and the computer wouldn't restart because of it.

I'm not a computer expert. I'm not even close. So, this is where I panic.

I retrieved my Windows disc, but the computer wouldn't read the CD-ROM. I attempted other versions of Windows saved from previous computers, but they wouldn't work either. I had exhausted all of my technical skills, and I had gotten nowhere. And of course I couldn't call for help because the Windows CD refers you to their website for technical help (a fat lot of good that was going to do me).

Well, at least my brother knew what to do (thanks Chris!). And once I got the computer to read the CD first and boot off of that, I got the damaged file fixed (I hope).

First thing on the agenda? Back up the hard drive (it had been a couple months since I did it last).

I have no idea if I'll have the computer tomorrow or if I'm going to have to wipe the hard drive and start from scratch (I'm shuddering just thinking of this). So, it may be a while before I get back here. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Recently, I joined Facebook. Well, by "recently" I mean a couple months ago (or more, I can't remember, and the site won't tell me when I joined). I haven't done much with it. It was a spur of the moment kind of thing, a "why not?" impulse.

So, today after updating my etsy page, I logged on and started looking around. I ended up looking for old high school classmates. I must be feeling a bit nostalgic.

It's not like I miss high school. I never even considered subbing at my alma mater, and considering some of the hell days I've had as a substitute teacher, that's saying a lot. But there are a couple people that I lost touch with (within weeks of graduating, actually) that I'd kind of like to reconnect with. And so occasionally I look for them (first on MySpace, now on Facebook too).

I was startled to actually find one of those people on Facebook today. I don't know if she'll respond or not, but I added her in hopes that she doesn't hate me. (Who knows? It's been nearly two decades since we last spoke.)

Okay, so I should get off the computer now. Who knows what other trouble I could get myself in to?

Monday, July 14, 2008


I had been expecting the call. It came this morning.

I sub at the continuation high school a lot. Before the end of the school year, one of the teachers told me of his summer vacation plans. He and his wife were going on a cruise. It was only after they had purchased their tickets and confirmed the dates that the school calendar for the next school year was released. Oops--vacation overlapped with first two days of school.

The sub caller called me today with the assignment. The continuation high school starts back pretty early--in July. The students hate it, but they get compensated for the early start. They get three weeks off in October. They get three weeks off for winter break. They get three weeks off for spring break. And they only attend school for 3-4 hours a day. So, when they whine about it, I have no sympathy for them.

Besides, I'm happy. When they're in session, I could sub, and that means that I'll get paid. Yeah!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Closed Captioning

Today my mother and I went to see "WALL-E". We hadn't planned on going to the movies. It was a spur of the moment thing.

We were in the car on the freeway (going west on the 91 to be exact). We did not have Internet access, a newspaper, or the phone number of the movie theater. We weren't even sure if there was a movie we wanted to see. So, we played movie roulette. Luckily, "WALL-E" was playing, and we had 20 minutes to spare.

I could barely hear the girl selling us our tickets. As we walked away from the box office Mom repeated what I did not hear. We had bought tickets for the captioned showing.

I did not know that they did this, but I guess it makes sense. The entire movie was captioned.

Of all the movies to see with captions, this was probably the strangest. It really doesn't have all that much dialog. So, for most of the movie, we saw things like: (electronic whirring) or (mysterious music plays)--the parentheses were theirs.

There are some movies that would be better with captions. I know that for some British shows I'll turn on the captioning on the TV--any show where the accents are too thick or the dialog is too fast. But for "WALL-E"? It was kind of annoying.

Mom enjoyed the captions. She found it fascinating how various sounds and things were described.

Closed captioning for the movie theater. Who knew?

Friday, July 11, 2008

Not Hot

Yesterday I only had the windows half open due to how cool the breeze was. The night before that, I slept with the covers on. The day before yesterday, I don't think the sun came out at all. It's been rather cool here.

I keep hearing things, though. Flex-alert stuff. The power grid is at capacity. Turn off the air conditioner (mine hasn't been on in a couple weeks, and it wasn't needed this week at all).

Has it been hot? Or rather, has it been hot where you are at? It hasn't been hot here. Not at all.

I've been enjoying the cool weather. It's nice to have a mild summer, especially after those very hot weeks a few weeks ago. I just figured that it was the same all around, at least in Southern California.

Yeah, things have been pretty slow for me. Can you tell? I'm talking about the weather.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


I was in a book store yesterday. At one point I was in the New Age-y area (a section I like almost as much as the science fiction/fantasy section), but I had the hardest time finding it. I almost missed it entirely as I bypassed the Christianity section.

Who put the Tarot Card books next to the Christian books? And why would they do that?

I know there's an argument to be made for this. I can kind of see the logic. But the juxtaposition of the thing struck me as funny.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Sweater Progress

Sorry, Chris, this one's about my knitting.

I haven't talked about my sweater in a while. That's because I've been steadily making progress. I finished the last sleeve about a week (two weeks?) ago, and I've been staring at the pieces.

I don't knit too many sweaters. Not because I can't. Not because I lose focus or have problems finishing what I start. No, the reason I don't knit very many sweaters is because I rarely need one. And since it's been pretty warm, the idea of working on a sweater has not been all that appealing.

But that's my pattern. I'll finish the thing just in time for the warm weather.

So, one of these days I'm going to break down and start putting the thing together. I'll post a picture when I finish.

Saturday, July 5, 2008


There are way too many idiot drivers out there.

Today we were getting off the freeway. We were making a right turn into the left lane (it was a busy enough off ramp that this was permissible), and there was a lot of traffic. The guy behind us was trying to get into our lane, but there was no way as there wasn't any room, so he just sat there at an angle waiting. Never mind that the lane to the right of us was completely empty from where he sat to the intersection.

Well, this idiot with Nevada plates finally realizes that he's blocking the intersection, and he moves up to the car in front of us (another idiot, this one with Colorado plates), and when the light turned green, the idiot from Colorado lets the guy in. And they both sat there.

We were in the left-most lane, but not the left turn lane. But these two out-of-state idiots decided to make our lane a left turn lane, too. And this just pissed off the guy behind us. At least, that's what I think he was feeling as he blared his horn at those of us who were in this situation with him. He practically rear ended us and almost side swiped us as he got over into the lane to the right of us. (Yes, we were stuck--at a green light!!)

So, when the left turn lane got a green arrow, the idiots moved on--both made a left turn and got on the freeway--and traffic was unblocked. This is why we have road rage. We have too many idiots on the road.

Where is a cop when you need one?

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Vague Question

"Remember that terrible movie with the two really good actors?"

My dad asked me this question while we were watching this trailer before "Hancock" today. In the darkened theater I couldn't give my dad the blank stare that that question warranted. Instead, all I could do was snark about how that was a pretty vague question. I mean, wasn't there more than one?

I know where Dad was going with the comment (watch the trailer). I just wish I knew which movie he was referring to.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Another Search Function

Recently the DVR's software was upgraded by DirecTV. A couple new features were added. One was something that I wanted--a way to search a specific station for all of its upcoming programs. But the thing I really want? I'm still waiting.

I will probably be waiting for a while. I've been asking for this for years. I would do it myself, but I don't have the technical skills to make it happen. So, I'm stuck just whining about it. As it's been a while since I've whined about it in public, I figure that I'm due.

Have you ever been watching some show on TV only to see an actor and wonder where you've seen him/her before? And you just can't place him/her?

This happens to me all the time. First I try to remember everything I've seen lately. Usually this doesn't work, mostly because if I had just seen the actor, I would have placed him/her right away. Then I'm stuck resorting to imdb. Actually, that's not a bad method, assuming that the computer is on and I'm not busy with other things. But I have a different wish.

There has got to be a way to program the DVR or other device to do that search for me. I see an actor who I know I've seen in something before. I push a couple buttons on the remote. I get a listing of all the actors in the show. And then from there I can select the actor who I know I've seen before. Then a filmography pops up, and I'm no longer going, "What was that actor in before?"

Really, is that too much to ask?

I know, I'm living in a dream world. But I can't be the only one who wants this.