Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Crazy and Names

I'm kind of miserable today. I've been dealing with a drippy/congested nose for a couple days now, but you don't want to hear about that. So, instead I'm recycling a post from January 19, 2007. Enjoy.

Today I had a middle school special ed. class. The good thing about special ed.--small class size. The problem--the kids are crazy.

During my first class, there was this girl who had a binky in her mouth. Mind you, she was at least 12. And she was sucking on a binky like a toddler. When I questioned her on it, she could not understand why I was bothering about it. Like it was normal. This is what I mean by crazy.

I suppose I shouldn't use that term. Understand that I don't mean that they belong in an institution or anything. Mostly they just need therapy, and I'm sure most of them get that.

But it's not just the kids. Some parents need help. I mean, you have to be a bit twisted to name your child Shine-on-me.

What is it with the "creative" names? Don't people realize that what seems so cute or clever on the birth certificate is going to be a burden to the child. I swear, roll sheets need pronunciation keys. And then when I predictably massacre some strange name, the kid gets all offended.

I started this list of all the strange names I encounter. Sometimes it's only the spelling. I've gotten good at deciphering names that are just spelled weirdly (Ekkoe=Echo), but sometimes the names are just entirely made up. And what's worse is when there are similarly spelled names, but the pronunciations are different. (Marquis--I've seen it pronounced like the French title, I've seen it where the "quis" is pronounced like it would be in English, and I've seen it pronounced "Marcus".) I end up using the wrong pronunciation for the student in front of me.

That's why I prefer seating charts. Then I don't have to try to figure out the silly names.

Of course, I'm not allowed to get offended when they mispronounce my name, but that's another topic altogether.

Some things never change. Have you ever met anyone with a strange name? Please share.  

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Edited for Content

One thing I do a lot as a sub is to play videos for classes.

Yesterday, I covered a 7th grade history class. The teacher left them a movie. It was sort of related to what they were studying, but it was more for fun than for study. It was rated PG-13.

The students were so excited when they saw the rating. They thought they were going to see something they shouldn't.

The teacher has an interesting DVD player. It's a ClearPlay device. It filters out all the objectionable bits. When the students claimed that I should select the non-filtered play, I knew to ignore them. (I wonder if they ever get away with that.)

All day, I heard students complain. "My mom lets me say that at home." Well, great. You shouldn't have to hear it at school.

Then, in 6th period, I got a surprise. After the rating flashed, one girl came up to talk to me. She didn't think she should remain in class for a movie with a PG-13 rating. She didn't want to see anything that showed blood.

At that point I had seen the first 50 minutes of the movie four times (plus I had seen the whole movie before), and I knew there was nothing that the girl needed to be concerned about. I explained what she would see, and I also assured her that the objectionable bits had been filtered.

(If I had had any worries on this score, I would have let her go to another room. I won't keep a student in class when they have those kinds of concerns.)

She stayed in class. After, I asked her if she had seen anything that she found objectionable. She said no.

I'm glad the filtering did its job.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

An App for That?

A little while ago, I was looking to do something with the blog (I forget what), and I stumbled across the Mobile setting in Template. (This is all on Blogger, by the way.) It turns out, you can set it so your blog shows up better on cell phones and the like. Mine was turned off, so I turned it on.

This was all before I got a smart phone. Now that I have one, I see the difference having the Mobile settings enabled makes.

I mention this in the hopes that if you were not aware, you are now. Go and fix it so your blog shows up a little bigger and easier to read for those reading your blog via their smart phones.

I'm such a newbie with my smart phone. I don't know what to do with it. I've figured out email, Facebook, and Twitter, but that's about it. There are so many apps out there, I don't even know where to begin.

(This came up in conversation yesterday. That's why I'm bringing it up.)

I'm looking for recommendations. What should I add to my smart phone? What cool stuff am I missing?

There is an app that I desperately want, but I don't know if it exists yet. If I had any idea how to do this myself, I would have long ago. As it is, I need to find someone who knows how to do this and hope to convince them to do it.

You know when you're watching a TV show (or a movie), and you see an actor that you know from someplace, but you just can't place where you saw this actor before? Sometimes you can figure it out, and sometimes you are with someone who can place the actor for you. But then there are times when it just isn't coming. This drives me crazy.

I want an app for that. There's got to be a way to input the show or the role (or a picture) into something and get a list of everything that actor has been in. What I do now is to remember to go onto IMDB when I'm on my computer (if I still remember by then), and look it up the hard way. That is, if I manage to get the actor's name in the credits of the show (not always possible).

(I know. I've mentioned this before. I will continue to bring it up until someone manages to program this app.)

Do you have mobile settings enabled on your blog? Have you seen the app I want? (Can you program it for me?) And what apps should I get for my smart phone?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Freaky Weather

It's been another one of those days, so instead of boring you with it, I'm reposting this old one from March  27, 2007.  

This morning when I got out of my car the sun was out and the sky was blue. It did not look like rain. But something told me to take my umbrella anyway.

At the beginning of 5th period the sky was still blue, though the wind was blowing and clouds were rolling in. The white, fluffy clouds turned into bigger clouds, and those clouds eventually turned into dark, ominous clouds. Then it was time for lunch.

Things were just threatening for the first few minutes, but then the wind kicked up (even more, which didn't seem possible) and the rain started. And by "rain" I mean a pounding of water on the unsuspecting students who were all outside by this time.

It rained for 15, maybe 20 minutes. The wind practically tore my umbrella apart. I got quite wet, and I was outside for less than 5 minutes.

At the warning bell, I opened the classroom door. This is when it stopped raining. Everybody came into sixth period wet and dumbfounded. Apparently a tree near the soccer field had been blown over.

So, all during sixth period I watched the clouds blow away. The sun came out. By the time it was time to leave, there were white, fluffy clouds in the sky. The pavement was even mostly dry. Weird.

We're having another freaky weather week. Yesterday it was cold and rainy. Tomorrow it's supposed to get into the upper 70s. This has been one bizarre "winter". 

Monday, January 23, 2012

Background Noise


Okay, he wasn't shouting, exactly, but it felt kind of like shouting when he spoke loudly in a silent classroom. Yep, the room was silent, and the student couldn't handle it.

It was that kind of day. Fairly mellow. I didn't go after the headphones.

A strange thing happens when teens plug in their music players. Or perhaps you won't find this so strange. They put on their headphones, turn on their music, open their books, and get lost in their own little worlds. And do their work. It's kind of miraculous.

I'm not supposed to allow them to listen to their music in class. But half the class was plugged into their mp3 players, and they were working. So, I let them be. It made my day much easier.

I wish those that make the rules would change this one.

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Bickersons

Today I covered 8th grade science. The teacher has been out all week (his son's been sick). Today ended up being a finish-yesterday's-assignment day (I guess yesterday's sub made a mess of things...).

I explained what needed to get done to each class. Then I sat back and waited for where my presence was needed. In 3rd period, I didn't have to go far.

A boy and a girl sat at the table right next to the teacher's table. Everything started innocuously enough. The girl hid the boy's reading book. When the boy didn't notice its absence, the girl pointed out that he was missing something.

8th grade science is physical science. The class was doing work related to the periodic table. The boy and girl were on task. The girl had some questions.

I showed the girl where she could find what state each element was in (at room temperature) on the periodic table. She then checked for each element on the assignment. The boy made fun of her for double checking.

Chlorine? The boy knew that was liquid. He was wrong: gas. The girl then went after the boy for being wrong. Actually, she went after him for being wrong about everything. (For the record, he wasn't. He was wrong about half the time. She was wrong the other half.)

There was bickering over why she needed a new saxophone. The boy was shocked that the girl wasn't sure that copper was a metal (she was double checking, she said). And on it went.

I asked them if they bickered like that every day. I wouldn't think a teacher would put two people next to each other who irritated each other so much.

(I considered telling them to date and get it over with, but that only leads to vehement denials. I know this. From experience.)

It was kind of entertaining to watch. Does that make me a bad person?

Thursday, January 19, 2012


On Tuesday I was back at the continuation high school. It was the day they got new schedules. (They get new schedules about once a month. They are supposed to be earning credits quickly enough so that they need to switch classes often. For some this is true. For others, not so much.)

The first thing we do on these days is to pass out their new schedules to them. It was then that I realized something. I couldn't figure out their names.

I've never been good with names. And I don't know all of them. But I do know some of them, and I recognized many of their faces. I just couldn't come up with their names.

I didn't really have to. I could just call out their names and pass out the schedules that way. It was like I had forgotten them, though. It hadn't been that long since I had been there last, but it was as if I had been away years.

I had to call out roll. There are several students with "interesting" names. Most of them I have learned. I don't stumble over all of them. On Tuesday? It was as if I had never met these students before. Even though I had.

I was rather worried. What had happened? How could I forget?

As the day wore on, I started remembering names again. I started remembering pronunciations. It was as if I needed to get warmed up first. Then I got back into the swing of things.

It's a good thing. I was starting to worry.

Friday, January 13, 2012

V Not L

I was glad to get the call this morning. I've been spending way too much time by myself, and the result hasn't been pretty. It was good to get out of the house.

I got to school, got the key, and I headed to the classroom. On the way there, I spotted the teacher on his way to the classroom. Uh oh.

Turns out that he wasn't going to be out today. So, I trekked back to the office.

The secretary was surprised. She searched through her paperwork. The teacher hadn't requested today off. She had no idea how she had made such a mistake.

The secretary wondered if she just requested a sub for the wrong teacher. We had to wait until the final bell to figure that out. At that point, they were looking for a bunch of students standing outside waiting for a teacher who wouldn't show. When we didn't get notified that a class was missing a teacher, the secretary sent me to the library.

When the school or the sub caller makes the mistake, I still get paid for the day. Many times, the school can find enough individual periods where a teacher had to leave early, had a meeting to get to, or some such to fill out a day. If, like today, this was not the case, then I get sent to the library.

I like the library. It's a nice assignment.

The library assistant showed me what I'd be doing: attaching bar codes to a set of workbooks that just arrived. But before I could get settled, a call came in from the secretary. They found the class.

The secretary wrote down the wrong name. They weren't close in pronunciation, but I could see how she could write one down for the other. Instead of covering a math class, I was sent to cover chemistry. Not a bad switch.

I got to the class. One of the assistant principals had started things. He got them going and he took roll. The class looked at me questioningly as the transition took place. As soon as the AP left, they all breathed a sigh of relief.

I explained the mix up (they were sophomores and juniors). They were as entertained as I was.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

What If? Hearing Voices

It is again Thursday, and I have nothing interesting to report. (I'm not going to bore you with more talk of my knitting. Besides, I'm in the middle of a few things, but nothing ready to photograph.) So, instead I'm going to pose another one of my "what if?" thoughts.

What if schizophrenics really are psychic? What if the voices that they hear are actual voices? Voices from beyond?

But just because they're real doesn't mean that they should be listened to.

There are people in the world who are good at finding followers. These are the ones that can talk anyone into anything. Some become politicians. Some go into sales. Some start cults. Some of these individuals have ideals. They are striving for the greater good. But some of these people are dangerous.

Now, imagine a person like that who is not alive, or at least not part of the plane of existence that we consider real. Most of the world can't hear him/her/it. But our schizophrenic individual can. And this disembodied voice now has someone to talk to.

(Kind of sounds like a horror movie.)

What do you think? Do I have way too much time on my hands? Perhaps I should spend my time pondering other things.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Accidental Calls

There are some days that I really shouldn't write anything that's ever going to be read by anybody. This is one of those days. So, today I'm reposting an old post from July 26, 2007. 

I was back at the continuation high school today. This is rather early in the school year for them. The other teachers were shocked that anyone was out so soon. They started back on Tuesday.

A funny thing happened in first period...

They don't have phones in the classrooms there. What they have is an intecom system. Push the call button once and the office responds. Push the call button multiple times and security comes running. I use the intercom sparingly.

So, it was near the end of first period and the intercom went off: "Office."

I didn't call them. That's when I saw the student sitting on a stool right in front of the call button. The stool was right up against the wall. The button was back height.

Me to him: "Did you lean against the button?" Then, me to the office: "Oops, sorry. Hit the button by mistake."

I glared at the student.

Seconds later, security showed up. He burst into the room.

"What's wrong?"

I glared at the student again. At this point the student realized that sitting on that stool--not such a good idea. He found himself another seat. And I had no more accidental office calls.

After this, I never saw that stool in that spot again. Although, I am a lot more careful about the call button.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Weekend Knitting

My niece got a Kindle for Christmas. Of course she needed a cover for it.

Something has happened to ereaders since I designed my cozy--they've gotten smaller. So, while her Kindle fit into the cozy I have, it had a bit too much wiggle room for my taste. The cozy should fit snugly.

My nook fits snugly in this:
New Nook Cozy

Time for a redesign.

Initially, I thought I would just make something that was a bit shorter. But as long as I was doing that, I might as well pick a different cable, something that was a bit narrower. I looked through my stitch dictionaries. And then I found it.

Purple Kindle Cozy

(Apologies for the lack of quality photo. I couldn't get the lighting right.)

There are so many cable patterns out there. I might as well try something new.

I started it on Friday. I finished it Sunday afternoon. I'm rather pleased with the result.

What do you think?

Thursday, January 5, 2012


It's the 5th of the month, so I have a little post over here. I'd appreciate it if you checked it out (and left a quick comment).

Last night, I was pondering a story. This is another one that may never actually get written, but as I visualized two of the characters talking, one of them said something interesting. And it led me to a "what if?" 

What if there is a singular consciousness? What if we only tap into a small portion of that consciousness? What if all our minds are linked, but we are just unaware of this link?

(What if I actually used these questions to finish a story?)


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Another Crazy Cozy

I got a new cell phone for Christmas. (I got it in October, so it was a very early Christmas present.) And me being me, I knew I had to knit it a cover/cozy/carry case. My last cell phone had one. My nook has one. Yes, I'm crazy that way.

After my panicked Christmas rush, I finally had some time to sit down and knit me something. I had time to think about what I wanted to do with this one. My last cell phone was considerably smaller than the one I have now, so I knew I was going to have to rethink the last one's concept.

I started with this...

iPhone cozy try 1

Isn't it ugly? I try to avoid the ugly first try, but this time I couldn't help it. Although, this gave me sizing ideas, so my next one turned out so much better...

finished iPhone cozy

It's not quite there, but it's so much closer. I can make due with this until I figure out how to make it just the way I want it. (First, I'm going to need to get some yarn in a brighter color.)

What do you think? Will a bright orange make all the difference?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

About a Cell Phone

New year, and nothing to say. What else is new?  

Several years ago, I started my blog on MySpace. After a few too many technical glitches, I moved my blog over here, but I didn't move the old posts. From time to time, I like to repost these old ones. I originally wrote this on January 23, 2007. 

Cell phones are not allowed at school. Well, technically they're allowed as long as they're put away. The actual rule states:
Students may not use or display cell phones during the regular school day... Cell phones must remain out of sight and powered 'OFF' throughout the school day. Failure to comply with any portion of this policy will result in immediate confiscation of the cell phone...

I don't generally make an issue of it unless they do. One time I was having a terrible time with this 5th period--they were turning off the lights after I told them not to (no windows--pitch black room), throwing things that hit me, and generally being as horrible as they could. Just as I almost got them settled, a cell phone rang. I confiscated it. It was the principle of the thing.

But that's an extreme case. Usually, someone has a phone out, and I remind them that visible or audible cell phones are fair game for confiscation, and the offending piece of equipment magically vanishes. Case closed. No sweat.

Today I covered a French class. They had crossword puzzles using food vocabulary (well, that was for French I; French II, III, & VI had other work). It was a pretty dry assignment, so they were talking as well. A typical day for me. And then the cell phone issue came up.

"Want to see my cell phone?" a student asked the class one student at a time. This "cell phone" got passed around the room. He called it a Blackberry, and other students marveled at its access--he had MySpace on it.

Of course I got a look at it. He had drawn a sort of phone looking thing on a fourth of a piece of paper. Freshmen!

Remember when Blackberries were the big thing? Remember when everyone was on MySpace? This wasn't that long ago, but in some ways it was.