Friday, July 31, 2009

Texting Impressions

I was in a big craft store today (read: yarn run). I was checking out. I had swiped my card through the reader, and I stepped back towards the cashier. That's when I caught her on her cell phone. She was texting.

The cashier was young. She wasn't much more than a teenager. She had her back to me. She had turned so that if I hadn't moved, I wouldn't have seen the cell phone. I doubt she even realized that I caught her at it.

I was shocked. I wasn't so much shocked that she was texting, but I was shocked that she thought that this was appropriate when she was working.

Sure, she only delayed my checkout by seconds. And perhaps I'm just old. But I kind of doubt that her boss would appreciate that sort of thing by an employee.

This got me to thinking, though. Do these kids really think that we're so oblivious? I see it at school all the time. A kid will have her hands under her desk in her purse. Does she think I don't know she's on her cell phone? Perhaps because I don't call them on it, the kids think that no one sees. But they're seen. And it gives off a bad impression.

I wonder how long it'll take the craft store to notice the texting on the job. I wonder if they'll do anything about it.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Affirmation Passwords

A couple days ago I linked to this article in Slate about password safety. And ever since it's been on my mind. What sort of statement should I use to revamp my online passwords?

Today it came to me. Positive affirmations!

It's a New Age-y concept (currently popularized by The Secret): your thoughts create your reality. So, the idea is to repeat statements that reflect the reality that you wish to have (putting it all in the present tense), thereby changing your thoughts to change your life.

You're supposed to put cards with these affirmations on them up. On your mirror so you see them when you get ready in the morning. In your car. Anyplace that you will repeatedly encounter them throughout the day. And as you see them you repeat them, and slowly they become second nature to you.

What a way to use a password.

So, you take an affirmation that you want to repeat (such as "Every day in every way I am getting better and better"). Break it down as in the article so that it's something like EdewIagb&b. Add a number or another symbol in there somewhere to personalize the month (so you can change the password up periodically) and the website. And voila.

Not only is it a password, it's also an affirmation that you'll repeat to yourself whenever you log on to a particular website. You don't have to try to remember to repeat the affirmation to yourself. It'll automatically happen as often as you access your websites.

Now the question is: what affirmation to use?

Monday, July 27, 2009

Password Safety

I saw this article on Slate the other day, and I thought it was important enough to pass along.

Chris, did you get a chance to check this out yesterday? I can't recall.

Happy Monday.

Saturday, July 25, 2009


Yesterday just after I finished writing the last entry, the assistant principal stuck her head in the classroom. It was 5th period, my prep, so the room was empty of all but me. The AP was taking a head count of students on campus.

Things had been pretty light in the afternoons. The school was like a ghost town. Empty. Quiet. Sure, a few students were there, but not very many.

"No one came to class, or is this his prep?" the AP asked.

I told her it was a prep period. Because of course I would have students in the periods that had classes. Right?

The next period was 6th. There were three on the roll sheet. Two had shown up on Thursday. One of the boys explained that he had been the only student in class all week. The second boy was there for the first time (but then he went to see his counselor and did not return to class--probably because he switched classes). So I expected that the first boy would be back.

The bell rang. I opened the door. I waited. And waited. The bell rang to begin class. And the room was still empty.

Now, this sort of thing has happened to me before, but it's always a shock. Suddenly I had an hour to myself.

I kept looking up, hoping that the boy was just late. He never showed.

I realized that the AP had jinxed me. If she hadn't said anything about a no show class...

Then I had two show up for 7th period. One transferred out. Well, at least the "class" was well-behaved. One student usually works and keeps to himself. Especially if he's still showing up to his afternoon classes.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Not Feeling It

It's day two of a two day subbing gig. Today's classwork is pretty similar to yesterday's. Yet, yesterday virtually everyone finished the assignment while today practically no one did.

Maybe it's because it's Friday. Yesterday was just so much easier. They worked. Today they talked.

This is the continuation high school, so each assignment is worth a fraction of a credit. With this in mind, the teacher left extra credit assignments for them to work on if they finished their classwork early. They could have earned almost a half a credit these two days (10 credits needed to be done with the class).

One girl finished her assignment. I gave her the extra credit. She gave it back to me. "I don't feel like doing it."

Explains why they ended up at the continuation high school, doesn't it?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Comfort Levels

It reminds me of an episode of the failed sitcom It's Like, You Know.... The gang went to see some woman in the valley (for what reason I don't recall). They were so hot they were miserable. They couldn't understand why the woman seemed comfortable.

Then later in the episode, the woman from the valley came to their place. And she was freezing.

The continuation high school is back in session. Today is my first official working day of the new school year. While it's been a fairly mild summer, it's still summer, and it's still warm.

The school is several miles more inland than where my home is. There is a temperature differential. It's a bit warmer more inland than it is closer to the coast.

I'm already at a disadvantage. I'm wearing more clothing than I'm used to--I'm in a shirt with sleeves instead of a tank top, capri pants instead of shorts, and I'm actually wearing shoes.

So, I turned on the air conditioning. It is set at about 72 degrees, so it's not unreasonable. But still, the kiddos complained that it was too cold. Too cold?

That's when the sitcom popped into my head. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that these kids live in a slightly warmer place than where I live. They've gotten used to warmer temperatures, so what I consider comfortable is too cold for them. Perhaps 72 degrees is too cold for them.

Then again, only a few students were complaining about the cold. The rest complained that someone had turned off the a/c.

I should be used to this by now. No matter what temperature I have the room at, one of them always complains. I can't win!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Solar Eclipse

I guess there's a big eclipse tomorrow. We won't get to see it here, but apparently, it's very big astrologically. I could use some big changes in my life, so cool. But, I would have loved to see the actual eclipse. I guess they'll have pictures on the news, so I'll have to make do with that.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Naming Police

I was perusing the top stories on AOL earlier, and I ran across this. I just had to share.

After subbing for cough cough years, I can say that I find this to be true (although I only have anecdotal evidence to back up that assertion). The more "creative" the name, the more likely that the student is going to be a problem.

Usually, I don't talk about this too much. Since I deal with minors, I don't use real names when I name a student (all names are changed to protect the not-so-innocent). This is the Internet after all, not the teacher's lounge.

The other assertion made in the article (at the bottom, below the picture) about socio-economic factors being at play also made sense. I do notice that the AP classes have fewer "creative" names than the remedial classes do. Not that there aren't "creative" names in the more demanding classes or mainstream names in the less demanding ones. But there is a trend, and it is noticeable.

Articles like this help. The fewer "creative" names out there, the easier it will be for me to call out roll.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Opening Day

I went to see Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince last night. Well, it was more like yesterday afternoon. 5:10 PM. Is that considered afternoon or evening?

To make sure the movie wasn't sold out, I bought the tickets online. And we got there early--about 4:20. There was a line, of course, but they let us line up inside (a plus since I wasn't wearing sunscreen) and the line wasn't terribly long. When we got into the theater, it wasn't full.

The movie was long (brilliant, but long), and we got out near to 8 o'clock. There were security guards along the line (there were no security guards for us). And that line that we had been in was now along the inside of the lobby, around to the doors, and out the doors. It didn't curl too far out the doors...well, at least not that I saw (and I wasn't really looking). I'm sure that the 8:whatever showing was packed.

I learned something yesterday. 5 o'clock showings are good. Well, not on the weekends, I suppose, but on the weekdays they're ideal.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Crazy Project Follow Up

A few days back (okay, so it was 11) I promised to post a picture of my beads once I had felted them. Remember? I hadn't forgotten. It just took some time.

First I had to felt the little beads. They are knit out of wool, so they need hot water, some soap, and a lot of agitation. I put them in the laundry with a load of towels (the beads were in a zippered pillowcase so as to not get fuzz all over everything).

I checked them after they had been in the wash for a few minutes. Then I checked them when they had been in there a few minutes more. It took a while. I had to restart the wash three times, and it probably took 45 minutes.

Then they had to dry. It took about two days (no, I can't throw them into the dryer).

And finally I had to take the picture, load it onto my computer (is that an upload or a download?), and upload it to a picture hosting site. This always takes more time than you think it will (and I had a busy week last week).

Anyway, here are the beads...

beads after felting

The project doesn't still sound crazy, does it?

Saturday, July 11, 2009

An Orange County Week

Although I no longer live in Orange County, I'm still Orange County adjacent. And summer is when some of the fun stuff happens.

Monday I made my annual pilgrimage to the Sawdust Festival. Well, it's not actually annual as I miss some years (can't recall if I made it down there last year), but I try not to miss two years in a row. I love all the jewelry. There used to be more bags, but this year there was more pottery and jewelry and art than textiles.

Then Friday I went to the opening of the Orange County Fair. Because you could get in free for the first hour, we got there just after noon. Of course the place was packed. It wasn't as hot as in previous years, but I still managed to drink about two liters of water.

And I managed not to get (very) sunburned. I have fair skin, so I have to be aware of the sun. While Sawdust has a lot of shade, the fairgrounds do not. I got a little pink at Sawdust. I made sure to have sunscreen for the fair, and as of now, only my forehead is red. Success.

If you're local, you should check out both events. I recommend them highly.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Sequential Numbers Day

I'm poking my head out of my hidy-hole in migraine land to check in. I wanted to make note of the passing of today, sequential numbers day. What am I talking about? Today is 7-8-9.

Yes, I know it's silly. And it's only true where we put the month first in dates (in Europe sequential numbers day will be next month as they write the day first). But it's been a couple days since I posted anything, and unless you want to hear about the joys of pounding headaches... Yeah, I thought not.

So, happy sequential numbers day. We'll celebrate again next year on August 9th.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Freezing Fourth

I rarely get cold. Tonight I was freezing.

It has been a mild summer so far. It was a very mild spring. I fear that August is going to make up for the nice weather we're having now, but that doesn't keep me from enjoying the cooler temperatures now.

When I got ready to go out today, I put on a tank top. I thought about taking a jacket, but it's July. I didn't think I'd be cold. Usually I'm either comfortable or a little warm while watching my brother set off fireworks (they're legal in that city).

I regretted my thoughtlessness as I sat outside waiting for the festivities to start. It was only in the 60s, so I wasn't actually freezing, but I was colder than I should be in the summer. I eventually got a blanket which helped.

A few of the neighbors set off fireworks that were not legal (there's always someone...). When the cops arrived we were a bit surprised. We continued with our activities--our fireworks were legal. The cops ignored us, heading for another house.

Funnily enough, the neighbors who were doing stuff that was not legal suddenly were not doing anything illegal. But as soon as the cops left...

I warmed up very quickly after we finished with our fireworks. It was a warm day, so my house had retained a lot of heat. I have my window open now. But I'm still surprised that I actually needed long sleeves tonight. What a strange summer!

Friday, July 3, 2009

The Cool Stuff

Occasionally I stumble upon interesting shows. Earlier this week I recorded a show about Stephen Hawking called Master of the Universe. I finished watching it tonight.

Singularities. String theory. 11 dimensions. M theory. 'Brains.

Man, I miss physics classes!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Crazy Project?

I went to see my dad the other day. I told him about my latest knitting project and he looked at me like I was crazy. Crazy! I only said I was knitting beads...

I saw the project on a show that is on every Saturday. I saw this and I just had to try it. For some reason, explaining the project makes no sense to non-knitters. Sigh.

So, I made a bunch of beads...

bunch of beads

My next step is to felt them. I'll do that either today or tomorrow, and I'll post pictures then.

The ultimate goal is to create a necklace, although I don't know if that's how these will end up. Sometimes I see things that look interesting to try, so I try them just to try them. I can't wait to see how these things look once they're felted.