Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Math Team Names

Before my subbing gig last week, I went through my school bag. Every so often I like to go through and clean out the detritus that I seem to collect, and it seemed like that would be a good opportunity to do it. I found a lot of trash and one treasure.

I'm not sure when this was, but I do remember it was a middle school math class, and they were doing review. For the state testing if memory serves. The teacher had them all get into teams, and those teams were in a sort of competition.

The teacher had each team name themselves.

I was going to blog about this at the time, but something more interesting must have happened to push this list from the blog (I don't recall what). But it's the middle of summer, and I found the list.

So, here is a list of some of the team names that these middle schoolers came up with...

  1. The Lakers
    • This is L.A. County. Even in an off year, the Lakers are still popular.
  2. The Mafia
  3. Batota
    • Your guess is as good as mine.
  4. Migrants
  5. The Oranges
  6. White Stripe
  7. The Defs
  8. The Real Ones
  9. The Fries
  10. Chunky Monkey
  11. Team I
  12. Team Pena
  13. Tyweenies
    • A play on the name of one of the students in the group.
  14. Pinkie's
  15. Team Math
  16. Raiders
    • Even after leaving L.A., the locals still like the team. Because, we no longer have football in L.A.
  17. The Eagles
  18. Miss A
  19. The Mail People/Heavenly Smells
    • They changed their name during the period. In fact, I think they did more discussing of what to name themselves than actual math review.
  20. Pen 15
  21. Craycrayhunnybuns
    • Um, uh...
  22. Red Vines
    • I get the feeling they were hungry.
  23. The Natives
  24. Hawaiian Punch
  25. Nameless
    • Another team that spent more time debating names than reviewing math. I guess the first name they came up with was vetoed by the teacher.
  26. Pro Era
  27. Pro Club +1
  28. Wonderland
  29. Rainbow Moonshine
If you have any theories as to the other names, feel free to leave them in the comments. (Because some of them make no sense to me.)  

Monday, July 29, 2013

An Empty Class

"Don't know how you're going to be able to handle his classes."

The secretary was joking as she handed over the roll sheets. Mr. L's classes had two students enrolled in each period.

Yes, this is a new subbing story. In July. That's because the continuation high school is on a year-round schedule. And Mr. L needed the day.

In first and second periods, I had a full house (that's what I call it when I have no absences). Then in period four, I had no one show up...for 30 minutes. Turned out that the only student who had been showing up to class was testing (CAHSEE).

The last period of the day had two students enrolled, and no one showed up.

Normally, two absences is no big deal. It's a good average. But when the class only contains those two students...

What to do? Do I hang out? I am contracted through the end of the school day. Or do I try to go home early?

(I stayed. I couldn't go home anyway as we were having a scheduled power outage.)

Friday, July 26, 2013

A Twinkie Conversation

A couple weeks ago, I picked up my niece and eldest nephew from the archery range. As we headed out to my car, the topic of bacon came up.

Bacon? Yep. Not sure why. I think nephew started it. Because niece is not a fan, and she said so. And nephew talked about chocolate covered bacon.

Which made me think of fair food. You know, deep fried everything? Deep fried bacon. Deep fried ice cream. Deep fried Twinkies.

Nephew: "What's a Twinkie?"

The eldest nephew is seven. Niece is twelve. Niece and I looked at each other, flabbergasted.

So, we described the snack cake known as "Twinkie" to nephew. He dismissed us pretty quickly. He knew what that was. (Although, he has a tendency to claim knowledge that he doesn't have, so whether or not he knew what we were talking about is debatable.)

By this time we had loaded up, were in the car, and I was pulling out. I mentioned how Hostess had gone bankrupt and how Twinkies were no more (note: this was just before they came back, although I was aware they were coming back and said something about it).

At this point, niece was amazed. She had not heard about the demise of the Twinkie.

I'm not sure whether I'm troubled or impressed. Troubled that a thing I thought was ubiquitous isn't. Impressed that Twinkies aren't a day to day occurrence in their home. I guess I'm a bit of both.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Aliens are Here

While checking my Twitter feed, I came across this tweet:
and it got me thinking...

What if space aliens are among us, but have found a way to blend in?

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Purse Preview

I've been working on various projects. One of these is a new purse I hope to have finished soon.

It's made with plain old wool and novelty yarns. I felted the whole thing, so the wool makes the fabric stiff and sturdy, and the novelty yarns add some shimmer.

I still need to line it, add a magnetic clasp, and add a strap. But I rather like how it turned out.

What do you think?

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Just in Time

I have been witness to three fights in school since I started subbing. This one is my favorite. (I think this was the third.)

10th grade English class. They were supposed to be reading silently for a half hour. They were silent, but not everyone was actually reading. But as I had silence, I was happy enough.

Then, out of nowhere, one of the girls started yelling at another girl. (Seriously, it went from silent to yelling in an instant.) I didn't catch all of it. Something about "saying things" and "tell me to my face".

I recognized that level of anger. I tried to calm and shush, but the angry girl was having none of it. The other girl appeared shocked at the whole thing.

Yelling and posturing followed. I made my way over to the classroom phone and called for help. At this point, the rest of the class had gotten into it, encouraging the two girls to fight it out, so when I finally got another person on the end of the line, she heard that trouble was coming even though the actual fight hadn't started.

I suppose I should have gotten into the middle of this. I could have yelled (but I would have been drowned out by the chaos of the room). And angry girl was very, very angry. She was having none of my calming, so I stood and waited.

The room was set up with three groupings of chairs--one along the back wall, one along the door wall behind the door, and a small one in front of the door wall in front of the door. In the middle of the room was a big open space. Perfect for a fight.

At this point, both angry girl and quiet girl were in the same row in the grouping behind the door. They were close to each other (maybe two chairs separated them), but the rows were too close together for anything to start. They would have to position themselves in the open space in the middle of the room.

Angry girl threw down her binder and stood.

The door to the classroom opened. Security had arrived.

Angry girl had started moving forward, but the door opened as she was moving, so instead of turning left and heading towards the center of the room, she turned right and walked out the door. As if that had been her intent all along.

Security looked at the other girl. "You too."

And the fight was over.

One of the boys who had been encouraging the fight said to me: "Why did you have to call security? I wanted to see the fight."

A second security person arrived. (It had been so loud that the teacher next door also called for backup.) And somehow we managed to get the class settled.

Of course, I ran into the teacher a few days after this. I did not get the reaction I expected.

The teacher knew a fight was coming. She was surprised at the combatants. Mostly because quiet girl hadn't been coming to school, so her even being there that day was unusual.

I don't know if I ever saw quiet girl again. Angry girl ended up at the continuation high school the next year. As did the boy who wanted to see the fight.

To this day (and it's been a few years), I can still vividly see angry girl standing, throwing down her binder, starting forward, and then walking out the door. Security had perfect timing.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Thumb Drive Jewelry

I just replaced my thumb drives. Flash drives. USB drives. Whatever they're called.

Since I store my stories on them (as well as everything else), I like to have backups. And they were on sale, so I figured it was time.

But they're tiny.

I got a little worried. What happens if I lose them?

Which is silly. I don't lose things. Not generally. I tend to know where I put things, and I put those things back in the place they belong when I finish with them.

But still, I thought I should have some insurance...

A little addition to make sure that these things aren't too small...

This should make them harder to lose, don't you think?

Friday, July 19, 2013

A Grown Up Treehouse

I don't normally watch Animal Planet. So, when it was on in the background the other day, the commercials for this show, Treehouse Masters, caught my attention. Then I happened to catch an episode.

This guy builds tree houses. (For some reason, I can't get the code to embed full episodes--to see those, go through the previous link.) Here's a timelapse video of one of his builds.


Have you seen this show? Do you have any off-the-beaten-path shows that I've been missing?

Thursday, July 18, 2013


Sometimes I get these strange thoughts. This one has several suppositions and caveats, but as I try to figure out how to explain them, I find I don't have the words. So, I'm just going to put out the question and I'll let you interpret it as you wish.

What if we are not from this universe?

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Leaning Tower of Markers

Ever have one of those weeks that just kind of gets away from you? A weekend where you're going to write up your blogs for the week like you normally do, but one thing follows another, and suddenly it's Sunday night, it's time to make dinner, and there's no way the blog is going to get written?

Yeah, that was my week. So, I'm kind of scrambling. (Because wouldn't you know that it's also my week at Unicorn Bell?)  

Which is my long winded explanation as to why I'm doing a repost today (even though it's Tuesday, and I do reposts on Tuesday). This one was originally posted on June 17, 2008

The last day of school is tomorrow. Today they are on a block schedule for finals. The seniors took their finals last week. The math analysis class had a large percentage of seniors (none of them at school today), so they all took their final last week. That meant two-plus hours of nothing-to-do.

The teacher left me a movie selection, and I let the students pick which movie they wanted to see (again). But, of course, many of them weren't pleased by the selection, and they had to find other things to entertain themselves.

Suddenly I heard a commotion. Each student was throwing something towards the boys in the back corner of the room. Then I saw it, and everything made sense.

Each desk had a small dry-erase board, a dry-erase marker, and an eraser under it. The items being tossed--dry-erase markers.

The boys had taken several markers and attached them end to end. At this point they had enough markers to reach about three feet. And with the new markers that had been tossed their way, they were making a go of reaching from the floor to the ceiling.

These were the thicker markers, but at three-foot tall that makes for a very thin "tower". So, the inevitable happened--the thing swayed and broke. The boys would not be deterred, however, and they picked up the markers and continued.

One boy held the bottom steady so it wouldn't break, and a second boy continued to add markers to the top. The "tower" got so tall that the boy had to stand on a chair, and then a desk to reach the top. More markers were tossed their way. I suggested that they might need a third to hold on to the empty section so that it wouldn't break and fall. Eventually someone did.

The "tower" failed several times before the boy got up to the ceiling. He didn't reach the ceiling, but he was within inches. Another marker wouldn't have fit in the space between the last marker and the drop ceiling. One of the girls in class snapped a photo, and the boys let their handiwork fall.

Why didn't I put a stop to this? They didn't have an assignment. They weren't doing any harm. And it was entertaining.

Besides, it made for a great story to put in the note to the teacher. And now the markers have been collected and put in one place (which I'm told is on the agenda for tomorrow).

Monday, July 15, 2013


Back in January, I posted pics of the tortoise and hare costumes I made for my soon-to-be-born nephews:

The boys were born April 25th.

I was so ecstatic that it fit. (Then. The boys have grown by leaps and bounds since then.)

So, apologies to Max, the younger of the twins. Although, the hare costume doesn't make him look any less like a boy, does it?

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The End of It All

As I was perusing Flipboard the other night, I ran across an article in the L.A. Times: Mysterious radio bursts in far parts of the universe hint at cataclysm. (Wow, I spelled "cataclysm" right on the first try. Without spellcheck.)

I ignored the article. The headline was the thing that got me thinking...

What if the universe has already started dying? What if it takes a very long time for it all to end? Would it be better to know the end is coming, or would it be better to be surprised by the end of it all?

Yes, the question is a bit twisted, but it opens up all sorts of interesting story possibilities.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

A Little Housekeeping

I've been meaning to do some blog updates for a while. Months. And last week I finally found some time.

First, I'd been meaning to update my patterns page. If you're on the blog (and not a reader), look up at the top of the page. The tab used to say "Knitting Patterns" and it had links to two patterns. Now, it says "Patterns: Knit & Crochet", and it has links to all the patterns I've "published".

To be fair to myself, when I made the page, I only had the two patterns out. But as I've put more out there, I didn't update the page. It's current as of today. (You can find that page here.)

And as long as I was at it, I figured I might as well update the "About Me" page. My schedule just needed a bit of a tweak--that is, it was mostly right, but it wasn't precisely right. It's now closer to precisely right.

And finally, I managed to make the "Friends of LoG" widget work. I found this on someone else's blog (I've forgotten whose blog it was, so if it was yours, let me know and I'll give you the proper credit) and thought it was way cool. It's the penultimate thing on my sidebar (I should move it up. A blog tweak for another time).

How the widget looked when I wrote this post (in case you're still on that reader and haven't clicked through to the blog).

When I put it on the blog, I made all the required changes. (If you click on "Get this commentators widget" you'll find the code as well as the code changes you need to make.) But it still wouldn't work properly, so I let it sit until I could spend some time on it.

Turns out, the thing I had to fix was to eliminate one little character (for the record, a "/"). I thought I had it all right, so that little tip must have been added since the last time I looked at the instructions. (That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.) Once I did that, everything loaded, and it works now. Hooray!

I probably should update a few other things, but for now, this is going to do it. What do you think?

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

A Student Thief

Occasionally, a student will report to me that he/she is missing an important item. Not a pen or pencil or the like, but something of value. Because of this one time when a girl had her fundraising money stolen, I know enough to get back the stolen item without having to call for backup.

It was a 10th grade world history class. And the lesson plan was pretty light. So, mostly they sat in their seats and talked. And I made sure they didn't do any damage to the room.

It was towards the end of class when the girl told me her fundraising money was missing. Students sell various food items all the time for various extracurricular activities. They're supposed to keep an eye on the money, but for whatever reason, this time the girl wasn't paying as close attention as she should.

There was no help for it. I had to call security.

Of course, since it was the end of the period, the bell rang before security got there.

Luckily, there was only one door to the room (some rooms have two doors), so I could stand in front of it and prevent any students from leaving. Which they protested. Loudly.

I also made sure the next class didn't come in.

It was still passing period when security got there. She explained to the class that if the money wasn't found, every student would be searched. But she wasn't allowed to search, so they'd first have to call an administrator. Which would take time. Making them even later to their next class than they were already.

It wasn't long before someone noticed an envelope in the trash. Containing all the money.

Once the girl verified that all the money was there, we let the students go. They weren't more than five minutes late to their next class. I wrote the whole incident down in the note to the teacher, and I hoped the girl had learned not to trust her classmates where money is concerned.

The next day I was on campus, and that class's teacher found me. I thought I was in trouble. (I should have been paying better attention. I should have noticed someone going through the girl's fundraising box.) But he wanted to tell me that he was pretty sure he knew who the thief was. And the thief was going to be dealt with.

I never did find out who the thief was. But it's been a few years since this incident, and that teacher is no longer teaching. He's now the principal at one of the high schools in the district.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

A Holiday

Uh oh. It's a holiday. Isn't it?

No fair! A holiday and a Thursday...

Oh, wait. I know.

What sort of holidays/celebrations do your fantasy worlds have? Do they have any? What are they like?

(Yeah, so not so much a what if. I hope you don't mind.)

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Felted Purses

A while ago, I made these purses

and I put them up in my Etsy shop. Well, not exactly these purses. See, for the last little while, I've been making some modifications. I added the magnetic clasp.

And I lined them.

I'm debating whether or not to list them again. So, I'm posing the question.

What do you think of the purses?

Should I put them up for sale?

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

On OR Off

Tuesdays have been my repost days. The whole point was to import the old posts from a previous blog. But last summer I managed to go through and import all the posts that I cared to save. (Some are better off being lost in the aether.)

So, I've decided to delve into the past a different way. I've been subbing longer than I've been blogging. And certain pre-blog incidents just have to be written.

Like the time I was covering this 7th grade Spanish class.

Normally, I avoid Spanish classes. I took the wrong language in high school, and I figure the subject it best left to experts. But occasionally I end up in one of these classes.

Luckily, this day the teacher left them a video.

It was an icky day. It was rainy outside. I had a battle with the air conditioner. It was too warm for heat, too cold for air, but with 35 warm bodies in a room, I needed some air circulating. So, I attempted to turn on the bit that lets the outside air blow in, keeping things from getting too stifling.

(It would just be easier to open windows, but the windows aren't accessible, and there was only one door.)

But it smelled like something had crawled up and died inside the air conditioning unit, making having the thing on awful. 7th graders don't react well to things like bad smells. Or stifling temperatures.

Somehow things were going pretty well. I got the video started. The kids were quiet and somewhat attentive. And I stood at the podium updating my note.

I turned my head to the right to scan the room, and that's when I spotted him. The boy wasn't doing anything but watching the video quietly.

Except his pants were around his ankles.

He wasn't indecent. Like many boys at the time (when sagging pants were all the rage), he wore his gym shorts under his jeans. So, he was dressed.

Sort of.

I went over to question him about the state of his wardrobe. Why were his pants around his ankles?

He explained that he was warm.

Okay, I get that. If he wanted the pants off, he could take the pants fully off. But why leave the pants on just puddling around his ankles (taking sagging to a new low)?

I don't remember what he ultimately did. I think he just pulled the pants up. And the whole conversation was quiet enough that we managed not to alert the rest of the class to the situation. (That would have been a whole other level of chaos.) The rest of them continued to watch the video.

I walked back over to the podium, and that's when the laughter started.

I don't know how I didn't laugh in front of the boy. But as soon as I walked away, I couldn't stop.

And to this day, I can't think of this incident without cracking up.