Monday, February 29, 2016

Clocks and Progress

Today I have a bit of a rant. But for those of you who are keeping up with that big ol' thing I'm knitting, my weekly progress.

I started at...

Last week I got to...

And this week, I'm at...

Also, I finished the earrings, and now if you are so inclined, you can purchase a pair...

Bauble Earrings Multicolored Knit

The link in the caption takes you to the listing. Okay, and now for the Rant:

I have one of those atomic clocks. You know the ones?

Atomic Digital Wall Clock

Rather than having to set the thing, it links with some accurate clock someplace, making sure the time stays pretty close to "official time".

Only, as with all technology, it doesn't always work as advertised. Occasionally, it likes to slip into Daylight Saving Time. Like it did on Thursday. Note, it's February. We've got a couple weeks until DST returns.

Yep, so occasionally, I'll have to set the the thing or ignore the fact that it's a whole hour off.

I thought that was the only clock I had that failed.

The other day, I was on my cell phone. Email. Facebook. Candy Crush. You know the drill. It said it was 1:05.

There was one big problem. It couldn't have been 1:05. I was in the wrong place for it to be 1:05. I glanced at my other, human set, clock, and it said 12:05.

Whew. I was worried for a minute there. But that meant that something was wrong with my phone.

After some fiddling with the thing, I found the problem. My phone had my time zone listed as Denver. Um, no. Nowhere near Denver. So, I manually set the phone to Los Angeles (close enough), and went on with my day.

At the end of the day, I checked the phone's settings again. When I put it back on automatic, it showed the proper time zone. I went to bed thinking the problem was fixed.

I use my phone for my alarm clock. Best alarm clock ever. I'm weird when it comes to how I wake up in the morning, and I have managed to configure the phone to handle this perfectly. (It only took 30 years for the technology to catch up to what I need.)

I bet you see what's coming...

My alarm went off. Only, my bedside clock showed it was an hour too early...

Yup. Phone thought I was in Denver again.

*grumble, grumble, grumble*

Okay, fine. So the phone is now permanently manually on Los Angeles. Because the alarm going off an hour early just sucks.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Not Going to React

Graphic arts class at the continuation high school. It was the last day to finish their current project. I had taken roll and was strolling around, doing my usual checking in on the students.

I stood over one boy. He had a box cutter in his hand. He was playing with the thing that pushed the blade out and pulled it back in.

I asked him what he was doing. He claimed that it was his box cutter and that he had brought it from home.

But he hadn't. Earlier in the day, I had noticed the box cutter sitting on a table in the middle of the room. I figured it was needed for various projects, so I had let it be. I didn't think I needed to hide the thing.

I think the boy was looking for some sort of reaction. A box cutter could be considered a weapon, and I could have gotten the administration of the school involved. It could have gotten ugly.

But I knew the box cutter wasn't his. So instead, I told him I knew where he had gotten it, and he needed to put it back.

He did. And that was that.

I don't think they think sometimes. Or perhaps they want to scare the sub. I've learned to underreact to things. It diffuses many a situation.

Some weeks I have so many good subbing stories, there is no way to get them all down. And then there are weeks like this one. A week where I have three days of 8th graders...who behaved. I mean, seriously? I ask a class of 8th graders to work silently, and they do? It made for a good week for me personally, but the blog... Ah well.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

A Different Prize

Incidents like this are why I have a blog. Because they are just too crazy to keep to myself.

5th period. 8th grade science. (No, not that class.) They had a study guide for their test the next day. Instead, they were playing Rock-Paper-Scissors. Loudly.

The prize for winning: the loser's soul.

Um, yeah...

Soon, the "winners" had souls to spare, so they started putting those up for grabs in the game.

It was amazing how fast this game went. Well, it was Rock-Paper-Scissors, after all. But I'm amazed at how far it went because I shut that thing down immediately.

I wasn't offended or anything. 8th graders can't be trusted with games of any sort. Things get loud and out of control rather quickly. As this had. (Which is why I jumped on it so quickly.)

Besides, they had a test to prepare for.

(Apparently, the penalty for losing one's soul was a prohibition against celebrating holidays. This they explained at the end of the period. After the game was long over.)

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Five Minutes

I was called in to cover an English class. I had 1st period prep (no students). As I slowly set up (I had an extra hour, after all), the phone rang. I groaned. I knew just what it would be...

"Could you cover an extra period...?"

I whined and complained in my head, but I said yes. It's not like I really had anything to do, and they do pay me for it. Turned out the class I was to cover was right across from the room I was in. So, I didn't even have to walk very far.

We waited outside for security to let us in. Once inside, I looked around for what to give the kiddos to do. I found the roll sheet, so I took roll immediately.

Now I had to figure out how to keep the kiddos busy. It was the wood shop class.

Over the phone I had been informed that the teacher was running late. So, he hadn't left lesson plans. He was going to be there. But what do you give a wood shop class to do to keep them busy? Working on wood shop was out--safety concerns.

I hemmed and hawed. And then I heard a key in the back door... The teacher had arrived.

Whew. Saved.

(The teacher got stuck in traffic. It happens. Not frequently, but it happens.)

Their teacher there, I could leave. I was probably there for about five minutes.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Marital Secrets

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 you just learned that your spouse killed someone before you both were married? What if that person (that your spouse killed) was known to you? (This question is going read very different depending on if you are married now or not.)

Monday, February 22, 2016

Keeping on Knitting

Yeah, so new background image for the blog. Not what I was intending that piece for, but it seemed rather fitting. Not sure if I like it. I'll have to play with it a bit to get the image about where I want it. It's a work in progress.

I didn't do much knitting this past week. I was dealing with headache issues. But I did start a new pair of earrings...

They just need the hardware. I plan to put them up for sale. And I have a question for all of you: If you were going to look for a pair of these, how would you describe them? (I'm trying to figure out what keywords to tag them with. Knitted earrings and knitted beads don't give me earrings that look anything like this.)

And since it's kind of become this weekly thing, mostly because I like to see that I'm actually making progress, the backdrop last week...

And where it's at this week...

That's just about the whole skein. (It's a one pounder.)

What do you think of the new background image on the blog? Should I keep it or go back to the old one?

Friday, February 19, 2016

Better to Ask Permission

It was 7th period at the continuation high school. The bell rang. One boy stood at the door, looking out.

I urged the boy to sit down. It was time to get class started. He informed me that he didn't feel like sitting. So, I went over and closed the door.

(That was only half about him. I had the air conditioning on. I leave the door open between classes to urge the students to come in, but once class starts, I want to keep the cool air in.)

I passed out the assignment. I turned to the class to explain what they were to do, and the boy walked out.

Um... Okay...

After explaining what they were to do, I called roll. When I called the name Nathan, someone informed me that was the name of the boy who had left. Okay. I had a name. But I was marking him absent, because he wasn't in class and didn't have permission to be gone.

About a half hour later, Nathan returned. With the assignment. Not complete, because he hadn't been in class to get the instruction as to what all needed to be done.

I asked him where he went. He told me that he went to work in another class. Why? Because he didn't feel like being in the room we were in. (He might have been irritated with me.)

Have you heard the expression: it's better to ask forgiveness than permission? It seems like there's a lot of that going on at the continuation high school lately.

But it doesn't work there. Because, if he had asked to work in a different room, I probably would have let him. I did, in fact, give permission for five different students to work in different rooms that day. Each one of them asked to go.

Nathan? I informed the office about what happened, and he was marked as cutting class that period. Because, in this case, it is much better to ask permission.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Bargaining for Five Stars

The conversation from yesterday's post did not quite end there...

Eventually, the girl let the listening to music issue go. Primarily because others in the class urged her to. I wasn't really paying attention at that point. But something one of the boys said perked my ears right up.

The boy informed the girl that I do, indeed, leave notes for the teacher. And they are detailed notes.

After some prompting, he informed me that he had been in the class I covered the previous day. Algebra 2.

You may have noticed that I have not posted a story about them. It's because I had no good stories about them. How can I possibly make a story about a class that worked silently without me having to do anything besides pass out the assignment interesting?

So, I didn't think my note to the previous day's teacher was all that detailed. What more was there to say other than the classes did what they were supposed to do?

The boy told me that Ms. C had gone over my remarks. He explained to the girl that I gave the classes a rating.

The girl now wanted to know what sort of rating her class would get. I looked around the room. They all appeared to be on task. (They were doing a timeline of World War II.) They were talking, but I hadn't asked for silence. So, I told her they'd get a 4 out of a possible 5.

The girl felt they should get a 5. I explained that 5s are earned for silent classes. But as I hadn't asked for silence, they wouldn't be in trouble for a 4. She countered that since I hadn't asked for silence and they were all on task, they should get the top score.

I wonder what line of work she's going to go into. Because she certainly argued well.

Not that I gave the class a 5. Each number means something, a something that I include with my note. But she was entertaining.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Her Rules

As a sub, sometimes I have to explain to a class that as I am the one in charge for the day, the class may have to do something different than they are used to. But it's okay because I'm instructing them differently.

Sometimes the students try to turn this to their advantage.

Normally, if a class asks to listen to music (via their phones using earbuds), I say okay. If it's a general individual bookwork assignment, this is the quickest way to get them on task and focused (and not talking to a neighbor).

But, I know Ms. M's reputation. She is a fairly strict by-the-rules teacher. I know she doesn't permit her students listening to music. So, her room, her rules.

(Classes run better when the rules are consistent. For a sub to get the best behavior from a class, that class needs to run like it would normally if their teacher was there. So, I try to enforce the rules the teacher normally has. As long as I know what those rules are.)

"But this is your class today. You can let us."

Well, yeah. True. But I wasn't going to.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Newest Feature

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 we had car to car communication? (So I could tell the idiot honking behind me that I couldn't make the left turn due to the pedestrians in the crosswalk. Geez.)

Monday, February 15, 2016


Back in January when I was knitting Christmas ornaments, I got to thinking earrings. Because they were small enough. A week ago, I decided I needed them right now. And knit them that night...

...and wore them the next day. And the day after that. And the day after that...

Because, why not?

Wednesday, I was over at the continuation high school. It was a break time, and a couple students wandered in. One of the boys noticed my earrings. First he asked if they were cotton balls. Then...

"Oh, those are crocheted."

Me: "No, they're knit."

Him: "No, they're crocheted..."

And I just looked at him. He explained that his aunt or grandmother or someone was a crocheter. Which is cool.

I explained that I had made the earrings myself. And I knew perfectly well what craft I had used. I was there, after all. The earrings had been knit. There must have been something in my tone which finally got him to back off. Sheesh.

Kids. They think they know everything...

And since I've been updating my backdrop weekly, here's where I was last week...

This week, it's finally gotten too large to sit in my projects spot, so I began hanging it up...

It's 25 inches long now. I figure I'm aiming for 4 to 5 feet, depending on how it looks. So, progress.

What have you made progress on lately?

Friday, February 12, 2016


this week it's my turn at Unicorn Bell. I'm discussing weekly bloghops you may be unfamiliar with. I'd love it if you'd stop by and say hi.

There was a lesson plan. The 7th graders were going to watch videos. It was a Friday, so a completely reasonable assignment.

The equipment was there. I logged into the computer. (It's all done via computer and projected onto a screen nowadays.) And then I went looking for the videos.

They weren't there.

I didn't panic. I figured someone would be by to help me out. Usually, when a teacher hasn't left something, it's because she's contacted a teaching buddy who will come by and have the thing I need.

Class started, and... Nothing. Um...

The class informed me that the teacher usually found her videos via YouTube. I searched... Again, nothing.

So, I made do. We played the game. And things went pretty well. (For the record, their team names were: #SquadGoals, The Ipliers, The Cactus, and Team Alpha. The Cactus killed the competition.)

I stood at the door during the passing period before 4th period. One of the other science teachers happened by. She took one look at me... Oh, the look of horror on her face. She explained. She had forgotten to come by. The teacher had asked her to come by and get things set up for me.

Well, that explains it.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

New Rules

This week it's my turn at Unicorn Bell. I'm discussing weekly bloghops you may be unfamiliar with. I'd love it if you'd stop by and say hi.

Integrated Math 1. Basically, this class used to be called Algebra 1, but the district has changed some things... Anyway, they had a worksheet, and most of them were doing it.

In the lesson plan, the teacher had designated the assignment as classwork/homework. Which meant that when they asked if it was homework, I hedged. "Get as much done in class as you can." Because, from experience, I knew this was coming...

Halfway through the period, I found a girl with an empty desk. Nothing on it. Not even the assignment. Where was her assignment? In her backpack. Why?

"Because I'm going to do it for homework."

And I lost it.

I didn't go all screaming banshee or anything. This wasn't the first time I'd encountered this. It probably wasn't even the 100th time. But I'm done with this game.

There's always one. Usually more. He or she puts the assignment away because "it's homework", and we get into a debate. It's technically classwork. What is not finished in class may become homework. But that's not the way they see it.

They see it as getting a free period to do nothing. And to get that "free period", they'll give me any sort of crazy excuse. They like homework. They'll be bored at home. Their parents "need" to see them doing work at home. Seriously, they trot these out every time.

And when they have nothing to do in class, they get into all sorts of mischief... (The mischief keeps this blog in stories.)

I'm done with the excuses. The debate. So, my response to the girl was an announcement to the class. I was collecting the work at the end of the period.

She immediately got her worksheet out and got to work.

And I realized I had a winner. The rest of the day, I explained the situation. It was classwork. What they didn't finish in class was homework. But, if any one of them (and it only had to be one) put the assignment away (incomplete--some actually do finish) and told me they'd "do it for homework", I'd collect everyone's assignment at the end of the period.

You know what? Not a one of them gave me the "I'll do it for homework" excuse. Score!

Of course, some of them didn't put any writing on those assignments...

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Not Staying Here

This week it's my turn at Unicorn Bell. I'm discussing weekly bloghops you may be unfamiliar with. I'd love it if you'd stop by and say hi.

English class. At the continuation high school. They had a paragraph to write in response to an article they read. As per normal, some worked while others... well... they had the work out on their desks...

"...When you're in the back of a police car, you know they drive all like..." and he mimicked sliding from side to side.

The four boys discussed not-the-assignment in a volume more appropriate for a busy restaurant. The stuff they discussed... Cops and not giving cops information. Getting arrested. Drugs.

I informed them that they had an assignment. That they were talking too much. Too loudly. That they needed to get on task. Which they ignored. Even while I stood there, hovering.

The next day, I had these classes again. Their teacher, who was nearby at a meeting/training/whatever, was there setting up before the school day, and we discussed how things went. Harrison and his group were well known to her. Considering how little attention they paid to my instructions, she thought it'd be a good idea to have them "work" elsewhere. In the principal's office.

The class arrived. Of the four boys, two were absent. One sat away from Harrison (the loudest of the group). And Harrison found another boy (who I had had in a different class and I knew to be just as loud and obnoxious as Harrison) to sit next to.

I got class started. Which Harrison ignored. He was up and walking around. Talking loudly to the other boy. Talking over my instructions to the rest of the class.

Once the rest of the class was settled with the assignment for the day, I had time to deal with Harrison. I approached. I explained that he was to take his stuff and go and work in the principal's office for the period. (As the other boy was at least making a pretense of working, I decided to let him be.)

He wasn't having it. Oh, he howled. I "hadn't warned him". It "wasn't fair". They "weren't doing anything wrong". He refused to budge.

Well, I wasn't letting him stay in class. I could tell that this day would be a repeat of the previous one. And I didn't want to hear any of it.

So, I explained he had a choice. He could go, now. Or I could call the principal and have him escort Harrison out. And I wasn't bluffing. I would have done it.

But Harrison finally relented. And left.

Ah, the peace. It was lovely. The rest of the class got really, really quiet (even though I wasn't concerned if there was a little talking).

Harrison did return a couple times. To ask questions. About the assignment. It was clear from what I saw that he was actually making progress. Which was more than he had done the previous day.

So, success. Sort of. At least, I hope he got his work done.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Naming Rights

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 ;)

I just had this dream, and I woke up with this question. Don't ask about the dream. Like most of my dreams, it was disjointed, weird, and defied description. But I don't mind, because the what if I was going to use this week was pretty pitiful.

What if the name your partner picked for your child was the name of a nemesis of yours? But, you have to use it, because that name is linked to something big--like it's a family name and/or it's tied to a very large inheritance.

(In my dream, it was a full name--first, middle, and last. Or something like that. The details have gone a bit murky.)

Also, this week it's my turn at Unicorn Bell. I'm discussing weekly bloghops you may be unfamiliar with. I'd love it if you'd stop by and say hi.

Monday, February 8, 2016

A Few Things...

This week, I'm also over at Unicorn Bell. I found a couple weekly reading and writing bloghops you may not be familiar with.

Normally, I'd do blog tours, but... um... well, I kind of wasn't aware my week was imminent until it was on top of me, so to speak. But, my next week is April 4-8, so if any of you have a book to promote, let me know.

In other news, I have a pair of fingerless texting gloves/mittens that are up at my Etsy shop...

Lacy Fingerless Texting Gloves--80s Inspired Handknit Gauntlets
Lacy Fingerless Texting Gloves
...that are getting no views. Nada. Which means I'm doing something wrong. But I'm not sure what. 

So, I have a couple questions for all of you. What would you call these things? I've been calling them lacy fingerless gloves, but that isn't getting them found. And secondly, does the picture detract from these gauntlets in any way? (And if you see anything else that I could fix, let me know.) 

I finally finished the hat from two weeks ago. It didn't quite work out. Although, it might look good on a child. Back to the drawing board. 

And since I've been showing off my backdrop as it's grown from...

...this... this...

This week, it's... 

...this big.
It measures about 20 inches long now. So, progress. 

Do you know of any good bloghops? How are your projects going?

Friday, February 5, 2016

Find Your Hogwarts House

Last week was finals week. And things... Well... I just didn't get very much material to work with. Good for me work-wise, but sad for the blog.

Luckily, I found this quiz from Entertainment Weekly (via Facebook--I find the majority of my quizzes via Facebook).

Harry Potter Sorting Hat Quiz: Find Your Hogwarts House

Yup, if you want to find what house you'd be sorted into, this is the quiz for you.  

Me? Well, I'm rather shocked to have gotten...


I'm curious. What house did you get?

Thursday, February 4, 2016

A Student's Lament

I mentioned yesterday that I got to administer finals to a 9th grade English class. The teacher also taught honors classes. If you're unfamiliar with the term--honors are classes that are a bit more academically rigorous. Meaning, the classes tend to be filled with students who are a bit more... well, easier to work with.

The "regular" classes got The Wizard of Oz for their final. The honors classes had just finished reading Lord of the Flies, so the first part of their final was to watch the movie version.

Then they had a writing prompt...

They... Well, they hated the movie. This boy's paper was right on top, and some of what he said made me laugh. He didn't mince words...

And I just love this. He included a P.S...

(You can click on these to make them larger.)

This is why I hate showing videos to classes. I don't care if it's the best thing ever put to film. They'll hate it.

(By the way, he complained that the 12-year-old characters looked 7. No, they didn't. They looked 12. At least, they looked 12 to me.)

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Let's Not Go There

9th grade English. Finals.

I'm not sure if this would have normally been what this teacher did for a final for this class, or if it was a special occasion due to her knowing that she'd be out this week. It was easy for a sub to administer, anyway.

The students were to watch The Wizard of Oz. As they were watching, they were to analyze the film as an example of The Hero's Journey.

But... they whined. It was in black and white. It was old. (I had told them ahead of time what to expect, but they seemed to have heard a different movie.) It was a musical.

They heckled the screen.

I'm sure you remember this scene. If not, fast forward to 2:45 where Dorothy is watching the winds swirl around...

"What drugs is she on?"

I kept my mouth shut. I don't think he had any idea what can of worms he could have opened with that question.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

New Supervillain

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 you discovered you had a superpower, but it was evil? (By "evil", I mean something that caused destruction or harm to others without a discernable upside.)

Monday, February 1, 2016

It's Growing

Last week...

This week...

So, progress. I got a circular needle as the straight needles were a bit too short.

As for the other thing I previewed last week, it's made enough progress that it would now be recognizable. And one of the criteria for submission is that the piece hasn't been "...previously shown in any form [even just a picture] in another mag or on any website, including Flickr or Ravelry...". So, I won't be mentioning it again until it's had its chance at publication.

In other news, I did sign up for the A to Z Challenge again this year.

At the moment, I'm #195 on the list (but that's subject to change). I know there's a theme reveal day and all, but this year it'll be like all my previous years. Business as usual. So, nothing changes here in the month of April, except for the whole letter thing, and posting on Saturdays. 

The other project I completed last week...

phone cushion, pillow, holder

I probably should have made the phone cushion in black before now. It's kind of obvious when I think about it. 

Did you sign up for A to Z? What number on the list are you?