Monday, August 31, 2015

The Spider

The Halloween knitting crocheting continues. 

I went online in search of something seasonal to work on, and I stumbled across this pattern for an amigurumi spider in a web. I kind of like how it turned out...  

It still needs eyes. Or does it? 

The body worked up easily enough. And the legs, done in I-cords (although, I actually crocheted them, too), went easily enough. My troubles came later. 

The instructions have you insert wires into the legs and then attach those legs to the body. But my legs were flopping around like crazy. 

Turns out, the wires need to be attached to the legs somehow. If I hadn't wound in my ends before inserting the wire, I could have saved myself a world of grief by using those ends to tie down the wires. 

Then, the legs need to be really attached to the body. Not just tacked down. Once I went back and sewed those legs all the way across the bottom, the legs bent and molded just the way I'd hoped they would. 

So, mistakes made, but that means those mistakes won't be made on a second critter. Wish me luck.

Friday, August 28, 2015

90's TV Shows

This week I went for the TV trivia...

Can You Match the Actor with the 90s TV Show?

I got 100%. I only had to guess on a couple, but the funny thing was, many of those shows I did not watch. Seriously. I was aware of them, clearly, but only inasmuch as that the show existed and certain actors were on it.

How did you do?

Also, I'm at Unicorn Bell all this week. I'd love it if you'd stop by and say "hi".

Thursday, August 27, 2015

The 51st State

I covered Mr. H's class again this past week. And there was not a blog-worthy thing that happened. Unless you want to hear about kiddos talking rather than working. Yawn. So, I'm going #ThrowbackThursday to something that was blog-worthy. Mostly because as I was in the room, I remembered this incident and had to reshare. This was reposted on September 27, 2009.

It was near the end of the day. I had two students just sniping at each other as much as they could (though, to be fair, they spent most of the period quietly working). The boy was calling the girl stupid while the girl was berating everything the boy said.

It was a government class, and they were studying Congress. I tried to draw the conversation back to the topic at hand by asking where the largest congressional district was (it was a question on "Jeopardy" a little while ago). The answer: Alaska.

So, the girl comes back with, "That's our 51st state."

Now, I hate to have to side with the boy here. I was trying not to take sides. The girl wasn't really that stupid (she was on task, after all). But...

I explained that Hawaii is the 50th state. I explained that there are only 50 states. But the girl insisted. She was sure that there were 51.

"Count the stars on the flag," I said.

But then the bell rang, and she was out of there.

Sometimes, the students scare me a little.

Also, I'm at Unicorn Bell all this week. I'd love it if you'd stop by and say "hi".

Wednesday, August 26, 2015


Math class at the continuation high school. They all work at their own pace on a program that takes them through whichever course they're on (algebra or business math).

It's generally an easy day. Most of them can work on their own, going through the examples from the program. Occasionally someone will need a bit more help (which gives me something to do).

They are not to be surfing the internet. (He does allow them to listen to music, so most of them had a music site going in the background with their earbuds in.) And when someone would stray, I would stand over them, and that was generally enough to get them back on task.

7th period. I noticed one boy was on something that was definitely not math related. So, I approached.

Once I stood behind him, I saw that he was playing a boxing game. I said something about that not looking like the math assignment. No response.

He was sitting at the corner computer. I was directly behind him. And he had earbuds in. The way that station was situated, I couldn't get into a position where he could see me from where he sat. (Although, I would think that my presence right behind him would have been noticed.) So I tried again.

The girl sitting next to him tried to alert him to my presence. She tapped him on the shoulder. When he ignored that, she tried more emphatic means of getting his attention. Which he also ignored.

I waved a hand in front of his face. This he ignored, too.

Finally, he realized that I was behind him, and he took an earbud out. I told him to get back to the math. He attempted the stalling tactic. "Can't I just finish this game?"

Since he made some pretense of getting to work (he did turn off the game), I was going to let this slide. (The teacher is very strict.) But then at the end of the period, he really ticked me off.

I have this thing about students writing on the board. The boy pulled out the dry erase marker. I told him not to. But those earbuds were in again. And he completely ignored me (or didn't hear me, but I think the earbuds were an excuse) and wrote on the board anyway.

Another student (on the way out the door) said that I was going to "give" them a bad note. Nope. Just the ones who were clearly not getting anything done.

Also, I'm at Unicorn Bell all this week. I'd love it if you'd stop by and say "hi".

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Not So Innocent

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 ;)

What if that one seemingly innocuous thing you did the other day actually helped out "the enemy"?

Also, I'm at Unicorn Bell all this week. I'd love it if you'd stop by and say "hi".

Monday, August 24, 2015

Not Cute Creepy

Busy week ahead. I'm over at Unicorn Bell all week, talking about writing groups. Feel free to drop on by and tell us of your experiences.

I've been kind of between projects. I'm not sure what to work on, so I went in search of some Halloween patterns. I pulled out the pumpkin pattern as these got lost in the move...

And I went to try again the jack-o-lantern version...

Which still looks creepy. And not in a good-creepy way.

I guess I have to bite the bullet and figure out how to...gulp...embroider some eyes and mouth holes. Does anyone have any embroidery experience? Any ideas? Help...

Friday, August 21, 2015

#1 Movie

Not a quiz today, but something fun to do. I found this via Entertainment Weekly. You put in your birth date, and it tells you what the #1 movie was:

#1 Movie on Your Birthday

I was born on a Saturday, and the #1 movie was Shaft

What was the #1 movie when you were born?

Thursday, August 20, 2015

She Asked What?

I was perusing my "random thoughts" tag to find the link I used on Monday (the one about how I don't lose things), and I stumbled across this gem. This is the second time I've reposted it, but it's worth the repost. It originally appeared on September 7, 2008.  

Since the kitchen has been down, we've been going out to eat a lot. It's easier than trying to wash dishes in the bathroom sink. Tonight we ended up at Chili's.  

I was fighting off a headache, so I was a bit more cranky than usual. Unfortunately, we got seated right behind a group of girls who were out to have a good time. Loudly.  

Chili's is normally loud. These girls were louder. And they were cackling like they had had a bit too much to drink. When they laughed, they just had to hit the back of their seat which was right up against my seat. It was worse than the day I was at Ruby's behind the young child who would not sit still. (At least in that case I could forgive the child for not knowing any better.)  

Because our tables were back to back, we had the same server. After he had brought us our drinks, he went to take their order.  

I guess the girls thought he was cute. They were very obviously flirting. They asked if the server was married.  He was. Then they asked his age and how long he'd been married. These questions were getting more and more personal. And then one of the girls came out with this impertinence:  

"Have you cheated on her yet?"  

Seriously. They asked that. My jaw just about hit the table. (I was so astonished I did not hear how he responded. I hope he gave them a very rude answer.)  

Some people. I mean, really.  

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Sneaky Sub

I was strolling around the classroom, collecting names...

Nope, this is not #ThrowbackThursday. This is an actual new subbing story. The continuation high school is on a different schedule than the rest of the schools (they go back at the end of the month), so they've been in session for a couple weeks.

The assignment was to read a couple pages from their literature books, and then they had questions to answer. My first reading volunteer wanted to know if they'd get "credit" for reading. I told them I'd leave the names of readers so their teacher could give them "credit" if she wished. (She has in the past.)

So, this class actually volunteered to read. Unlike the other periods.

The first girl who volunteered was well known to me. So was the second boy. But the third student was not. And since I hadn't been asking for names and I didn't have a seating chart, after they finished reading I needed to take down the names of the readers I didn't know.

Rather than be an adult about it and just ask their names outright, I played sneaky. They all had an assignment to work on that they should have put their names on. They also all had folders with their names on them.

Well, I needed to walk around the room and check on them anyway.

I meandered to the back of the room. I wasn't looking for anything or at anyone in particular, but the boy in front of me jumped.

"I didn't see you there."

I guess I was stealthy.

He wasn't doing anything he shouldn't, except he hadn't started doing any of the questions. Me standing there got him started, though. And then another student asked for my assistance.

And my mission was forgotten. For a while.

Actually, there were only two students whose names I did not know. But I did know them when I looked at the roll sheet. (Don't ask how that works for me. I don't know. I just realized that I did know the names of the two students when I had a list to work from.)

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Alternative Is Us

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 ;)

The other day I saw the doc The Bomb on PBS. It's all about the development and history of the atomic bomb and how it influenced recent history.

So many near misses and almosts that it leads me to wonder. How did we get so lucky (during the Bay of Pigs)? Or unlucky (missing a disarmament agreement in 1946)? It's almost like...

What if this is an alternate reality? What if the unthinkable actually happened, and someone managed to go back in time and "fix" it to create the world we now live in?

Monday, August 17, 2015

Missing Credit Card Reader

I was having a good morning at the farmers market. I managed to get my canopy set up all by myself. I got my table set up, and I was ready to settle in for the day. 

And that's when I found it, or rather, I didn't find it. My credit card reader. 

It wasn't in its little case. So, I tore my boxes apart. I went through my bag. Twice. I went out to my car and searched it. I even touched each of my items that the thing could have perhaps fallen into and hidden. 

No luck.  

It was about this time that I remembered the last thought I had before falling asleep the night before. Something about checking for my credit card reader. But I dismissed the thought, thinking that it was safely in my stuff which had already been packed in my car. I wasn't about to get up, go out to my car, and verify that the reader was where it should have been.


I even asked if anyone had found it after the last market I had been to. Nope.  

There was nothing to be done about it. I beat myself up a bit, because I don't lose things. And I do have a backup reader, so it wasn't like I couldn't take a credit card.  

Not that it came to that, actually. No one has asked to use a credit card. I've offered a couple times, but everyone pays cash. 

It was a hot day. But somehow, I managed not to get sunburned. Which was a minor miracle. I was careful to put sunscreen on all the spots that I missed on previous occasions, including the back of my neck. 

I got home. Then on a hunch I went and checked that place where things get stacked until I can deal with them later. And what popped out, but my credit card reader!  

Then the memory flooded back. I hadn't put the reader back in its case in the midst of packing up from the last market. I meant to do it after arriving home, but I was so tired... 

I blame #IdiotSummer. At least I didn't have to try and acquire a new credit card reader.  

Friday, August 14, 2015

Don't Count Your Chickens...

This week's quiz comes from Oxford Dictionaries. They've given us the first half of 10 "common" English phrases. Okay, okay, most of them are common. A couple of them I'd never heard before.

Complete the Phrase

I got a respectable 80%. Two of those phrases I'd never heard before. Or it might have been three, and I just made one really lucky guess. 

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Restraining Order

For #ThrowbackThursday, I'm sharing a post from May 11, 2011

It was second period. I was taking roll via my preferred method--using a seating chart. It was a science class (7th graders), so they were grouped into tables of four.

There were too many students at one of the corner tables. According to the seating chart there should have been three students sitting there. That group had an extra boy. So, I asked the boys their names to determine who was not where he was supposed to be.

The first boy I questioned was in the right seat. The second boy informed me that he was new. Earlier, I saw a name added to the roll sheet and the seating chart. Sure enough, this new boy did have an assigned seat--on the other side of the room.

I pointed out where he needed to go. He balked.

The boy explained that he couldn't sit at that table. The girl with the glasses was at that table. He had problems with her. He had taken out a restraining order, and she wasn't allowed within...and here's where he stalled. I guess it's a good thing that 7th graders aren't good at estimating distance.

The girl in question was minding her own business. She looked as confused, too.

Restraining order. I haven't heard that one before.

The boy moved to his assigned seat. The rest of the period I kept an eye on him. There was an issue with a tennis ball. Anyway, I'm glad I noticed the boy, because the boy he sat next to at first also had issues. I'm glad they were as far apart as they could possibly be in that room.

I'm back with this group for two more days. At least I don't have period two tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Not Quite Your Friend

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 ;)

What if your best friend started acting strangely? Not planning-a-surprise-birthday-party strange. More of a body-taken-over-by-aliens strange. Like, they're trying to act normal, but it doesn't quite ring true. What do you do?

Monday, August 10, 2015

Kitchener Stitch Fail

I learned to knit when I was 16, which means I've been knitting for the better part of three decades. I've tried many different types of stitches. I've completed many, many projects. If it's knitting and I haven't done it, I probably have seen it done, and I could probably do it.

But not Kitchener stitch.

Kitchener stitch is a way of grafting two pieces of knitting together so that the piece then looks seamless. It's a great idea in theory. And it's not really that hard to do. I've seen it demonstrated many, many times. I've attempted it many, many times.

And every time the thing comes out looking sad and pathetic.

So, I was between projects, and I saw this hat demonstrated on Knitting Daily. It was cute. And I knew I could do it. Only, the thing was bound off using a tubular bind-off, which requires the use of Kitchener stitch.

Oh, maybe I'll be able to make it work this time.

After working the four set up rows and preparing everything, I did the Kitchener procedure and this is what I got. Not how it's supposed to look.

Rather than make myself crazier, I ripped that all out (including the four set up rows) and just did a bind off that I knew would work. It doesn't look as nice as the tubular, but at least I maintained my sanity...

It's still a pretty beret...

(I haven't had a chance to block it, yet. But you can still get the idea.)

Of course, I have no need for a lacy beret, so I have no idea what I'm going to do with it.

Friday, August 7, 2015

The Quiz

For this week's quiz, you need to identify which movies should have "the" in their titles as the first word.

Movies That Start with "The"

Some of these are obvious. Some... not so much. 

I got 92%. How'd you do?

Thursday, August 6, 2015


It's not only this summer that I've had my idiot moments. For today's #ThrowbackThursday, I found another time I did something so brilliantly stupid I blogged about it. This post originally appeared October 6, 2010.

Today was day two of the CAHSEE, the math day.

It was session 1. The students were working, the room was silent, and I was feeling yesterday in my legs. I needed to sit down.

I took an unused chair and moved it to the back corner of the gym. I had a good view of all the students.

Then, a girl raised her hand. I jumped up...only to get my pencil caddy caught on the chair, tipping it over and dumping all the pencils on the gym's hardwood floor. Did I mention it was silent in the gym? I made a bit of noise.

I hadn't taken two steps when one of the other proctors got to the girl and answered her question (she needed to use the restroom). I bent down to pick up the dozen or so pencils that were all over the floor.

Surprisingly, only one pencil broke. Yesterday, I dropped two pencils (just clumsy) and both got their points broken off.

After that, I figured that I should probably remain standing. Although, I probably could have just put the pencil caddy away. I gave out very few pencils today.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Trusting the Enemy

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 ;)

What if the only person you can trust with/for (insert problem here) is your lifelong nemesis?

I'm keeping the problem non-specific on purpose. I'm sure you can think of a time when this could happen.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Idiot Summer

It started with the three sunburns. Although, maybe that's just one manifestation of it. I don't know. I don't know much of anything at the moment.

See, I've discovered that this summer I've turned into a complete idiot.

I already mentioned how I forgot to bring a chair to the farmer's market I did a couple weeks back. I did not mention how I managed to scrape the side of my car so bad that I could not open the passenger side door. How did I scrape my car? I misjudged the turn in the garage. Of course, you'd think I could manage to park my car in the garage I always park my car in, wouldn't you?

A couple days later I did something I've never done before. I locked my keys in my car. And didn't realize it until hours later.

It's gotten so bad I've started labeling my mishaps #IdiotSummer on Twitter.

The reason I'm mentioning any of this has to do with a discovery I made the other night. You've all seen the pillow I knit to prop up my ereader...

This pillow, while useful for things like keeping my knitting patterns propped up, has never really worked for its intended purpose. I wanted something to prop up my ereader so I wouldn't have to hold it while reading in bed.

The problem: I discovered that I like my ereader to be at an angle.

(The above pillow worked great with my old Nook, but the newer version goes all the way to the bottom of the device, so this pillow ends up covering up the last couple lines, making it annoying to use.)

But just a couple nights ago, I tried something different...

So, the thing I knit so long ago... can actually be used for its intended purpose...

I won't make this any worse by trying to figure out how to embed a gif here.

So...done anything interesting this summer?