Friday, July 29, 2016


I'm a guest over at Chrys Fey's blog today. She asked me about where this blog got its name among other things. It's here. I'd love it if you went over and said hi. 

They don't give subs keys during summer school. This is for a very specific reason. They don't have spares.

This wouldn't be much of a problem normally. Security opens the door for me. I don't leave the room. The door is locked when I leave. Simple.

But, the health teacher gave the class projects. That they needed computers for. In a computer lab that's also locked.

(This is way more interesting and engaging than having them read the book and answer questions on paper, so I'm good with the assignments. Just not the getting there.)

Our first project was the AIDS/HIV thing I mentioned earlier. As I explained their assignment, they got ready to go. Not sure how long it would take us to get there (it wasn't far, but I had things to collect before we left, and they had to pack up their stuff), I said that security could take his time getting to us.

We got over to the lab and waited. And waited. And waited.


Finally, after way too long in the heat of the day, I decided to call again. (I may rail against cell phones, but mine saved me more than once this week.) Security got there very quickly after that. Whew.

He explained. When he was told he didn't have to hurry, he got talking to someone, and forgot about us.


But I learned my lesson. After that, I didn't say anything about taking his time. For it didn't take us long at all to get to the computer lab.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Eddie Haskell

I expect a certain level of disdain from the students. I understand. They think I'm old. And what I think is cool they generally roll their eyes at.

What I want from them is their cooperation when it comes to getting through the lesson plan. And when I have that, I'm good.

So, when a student acts like something I say or do is way cool, I'm skeptical. They're doing an Eddie Haskell to my Mrs. Cleaver.

Last week's Eddie liked my earrings and said I was the coolest sub ever because I deigned to give him a fist bump. Uh huh. Sure.

Now, Eddie did his work. Albeit a bit sloppily and in a hurry. And the bare minimum. His buddies were also a bit... Well, not wild per se, but a bit loud. And they were way too eager to get finished with things so they had some spare time to play basketball games on their phones.

Last Friday the topic was tobacco. And they were to do a presentation to the class. Eddie and his buddies wanted to know if they'd get full credit if they did the minimum amount of work. Well...

I knew. I just knew. Even when they volunteered to go first, I knew.

And I was right.

They got up in front, and they giggled their way through their presentation. They had done the work. Sort of. But they didn't really spend any time on actually talking through their points.

Good thing I came up with a grading system for the assignment. Because that wasn't going to fly. (I scored them from a low of OK, through good, very good, and one group got an excellent.)

Their presentation was OK. And no amount of buttering me up is going to change that score. Because they played around way too much.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Power Point Humor

I was surprised by a rare summer school assignment last week. (I got the notification for it the week prior.) It was to be one day (Monday) for a health teacher.

As I plotted out my blog posts for last week, I had a hole for Wednesday, so I figured I could slot something in about the day. And I did. Although, that wasn't from Monday...

Because as soon as I got home Monday, I got a message saying the teacher would be out all week, and could I continue to cover? Well, yeah... And that's how I got a whole week's worth of work in July. (Happy birthday to me? My birthday's this Sunday, if you're keeping track.)

(The teacher had a family emergency.)

I had the same group of 39 students for four hours. And while they acted much like 9th graders at transitions, they were diligent with their work. Which wasn't surprising. (The reason they were taking health in the summer was because instead of taking health during the school year, they were taking an AP class.)

On Thursday the topic was pregnancy and childbirth. They were to create a PowerPoint presentation detailing the development of a fetus during pregnancy.

As per normal, I walked around the computer lab and looked over their shoulders. They hadn't been at it very long when one group's PowerPoint caught my attention. (This is a recreation of what they did.)


That they were embarrassed when they found me looking over their shoulders made it even funnier. One accused another of being "disrespectful". I gave them a grim look while they deleted this and got on task.

I kept the laughter inside. Because, you have to admit, it's pretty funny. (It wouldn't be funny if it was true. It's not true.) But I didn't want them to know that.

(Perhaps they were just trying out that formatting?)

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Unbelievable Truth

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 ;)

Imagine that you're being questioned by some authority (the police, a military tribunal, a king, or someone like that). You want to tell the truth. You've done nothing wrong. But you're under suspicion because of something outside of your control. And that "something" is completely unbelievable (time travel, alien abduction, portal between worlds, magic, or something like that). What do you say? What do you do?

Monday, July 25, 2016

Pokeball EOS Lip Balm Holder Pattern

Over a year ago, I posted the pattern for the crocheted EOS lip balm holders. A couple months later, I made one that looked like a Pokeball. But I never got around to publishing the pattern.

Until now...

(Since everything Pokemon is big again, why not?)

This is pretty much like the EOS lip balm holder, except for one major alteration. Every time there's a color change, I bind off. This minimizes color jogs.

The preliminaries are the same as before...

This holder is crocheted using Caron Simply Soft Yarn (in white, red, and black) on a size G hook. The other things you'll need are a lobster claw clasp (big enough to fit over the yarn), a tapestry needle, a 5/8 inch white button, and a stitch marker. I'm not sure how much yarn this takes to make, but it isn't much at all. Color is important, so hopefully you already have the right kind of white, red, and black yarn on hand.

I'm using the usual abbreviations--sc=single crochet; sl st=slip stitch; ch=chain

Gauge: 17 sc and 18 rows over 4 inches
This is one of those projects that is so small that making a gauge swatch is kind of silly. What I suggest is that you keep an EOS Egg Lip Balm on hand and plop it in at about round 6. If it won't fit, add a stitch to the first round. If it's very loose (there should be a little ease, but not so much that it'll fall out), subtract a stitch from the first round.  

This is worked in a spiral, so make sure to mark the beginning of each round as you pass it. It's very easy to lose track if you don't mark it. (Not that I have any experience with that...)

The pattern:

Using the white yarn: ch 3. Sl st into the first chain, making a loop.
Round 1: Work 9 sc into the ch 3 loop.
Round 2: 2 sc in each sc from previous round (18 sc)
Round 3: *2 sc in 1st sc, sc in next sc*, repeat these 3 sc all the way around (27 sc)
Rounds 4 & 5: Continue working one sc into each sc (27 sc)

At the end of the round, cut yarn. Draw the yarn all the way through the loop. Then put that yarn on the tapestry needle, and loop the yarn around the base of the next sc and up and through the top of the final sc. If you've never done this before, here's a great video I found showing exactly what I'm talking about:

And what you have will end up like... 

Round 6: Using black yarn, pull up a loop anywhere on the holder. Ch 1. Then work a sc into each white sc (27 sc). At the end of the round, cut yarn and finish exactly like before... 

Round 7: Using red yarn, pull up a loop anywhere on the holder. Ch 1. Then work a sc into each black sc (27 sc)
Round 8: Continue working one sc into each sc (27 sc)
Round 9*(also see note below): *Sc into each of the next 7 sc, sc 2 together*, repeat 2 more times (24 sc)
Round 10: *Sc into each of the next 6 sc, sc 2 together*, repeat 2 more times (21 sc)

*On round 9, you'll also be attaching the claw clasp. It doesn't matter which stitch you attach it to (I usually attach it to the 4th stitch). Where you want to attach it, remove the hook from the piece, pull the loop out, slide the clasp (open part facing towards the piece) over the stitch, replace the hook, and continue crocheting. On the next round you'll need to push the clasp out of the way to work a stitch into that stitch, but then it's completely secure.

Finishing: Wind in ends. (If you crochet over the ends from the previous color, you can minimize how many ends to weave in at the end.)

Take the white button and a black permanent ink marker. Color the edge of the button. (If you can find an easier way of doing this, please let me know. This is the simplest way I've found to do this part.) Then, using the white yarn, attach the button somewhere on the black stripe.

This is a little more complex than the plain color EOS lip balm holders, but it's worth it for the wow factor. I'd love to know how yours turns out (if you plan to make one). You can comment here or tag me on Ravelry. (I'm ZiziRho, and I'll put up a pattern page for this soon.)

Friday, July 22, 2016

English Vocabulary Size Test

My sister-in-law posted this one to Facebook, and I had to try.

Online English Vocabulary Size Test

And I got... 

...because I cheated. Yup. I looked up a couple words. (Although, it was only, like, three. I knew the rest of them. Really, I did. Without cheating I got 23,550.) 

How did you do? And did you cheat? Or is that just me?

Thursday, July 21, 2016


For today's #ThrowbackThursday, a post from February 28, 2008. Another day with the evil 8th graders. Just goes to show, the more things change, the more they remain the same. 

First period I was sent to cover a middle school special ed. class. Reading. Their word of the day was "failure". I was to give an example so that they could get a grasp on what the word meant. I had trouble coming up with something right off the top of my head. Too bad that that was the harbinger for things to come.

The rest of the day I covered an 8th grade U.S. history class. But the subject turned out to be irrelevant. I had a very bad day.

The teacher had been out all week. I was the third sub. That's never a good sign. And the room looked like it had been through numerous battles. I saw about ten books missing their front covers. These were hard cover books. They were new (well, about a year old). The books looked like they had been thrown at wolves to keep them from attacking.

I spent the day trying to keep the classes from running wild. And mostly I failed.

I had one kid throw sharp objects at the ceiling. He was trying to get them to stick up there. He succeeded. I had students who would not remain seated. They tried to play with their toys. One girl's pen got stolen at least five times; she was one of the roamers, so I didn't have much sympathy for her. And that doesn't even take into account the constant pencil sharpeners or the ones who suddenly needed to find paper/pencil more than half way through the period (why they didn't think of this at the beginning, I don't know).

I sent several kids packing. I should have sent many more. And they were loud. I couldn't hear questions asked of me even when I was standing right next to the student. It's amazing that anyone got anything done (some actually did).

It was the passing period before 6th period. I was wiped out. And one girl came up to me to ask me a question. She had heard that I was strict. She wanted to know if it was true.

They were calling me strict? Awwww. How sweet.

Too bad it didn't feel like I was being strict enough.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Not Quite Off Topic

Today's post is a little more risqué than I normally do, but I just couldn't resist...

I got called to cover a health class for summer school. Four hours with the same group. They all missed taking health during the school year, so they're making it up now. (They all just finished 9th grade.)

The topic of the day was HIV/AIDS. They were to create a PowerPoint presentation outlining the topic as if they were going to present this to a 5th grade class.

While meandering about the room, I heard two boys discussing their project. One mangled a term, so I gently corrected him. "Oral-genital."

Him: "What's that?"

Other boy: "A blow job."

I nodded a confirmation.

First boy: "What's a blow job?"

Probably the only time such a question would actually be on-topic.

(No, I didn't explain. I could have. Maybe I should have. But I didn't feel it was my place to go into it right then.)

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Planned Amnesia

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 ;)

A couple weeks ago, I asked if living too long led to insanity. But if someone figured out how to become immortal, then they would figure out a way around that, too, wouldn't they?

What if you could live "forever", but to do so, you would periodically have to lose all your memories? Would that still be immortality? Would it be worth it?

Monday, July 18, 2016

Last Jellyfish and a New Purse

It's been a couple weeks since I did a post on Monday. Because the whole knitting/crocheting thing hasn't been happening much lately. (Well, that, and I got a little behind on getting blog posts done.) But things have been looking up.

I finally finished the last jellyfish I'm going to do for a while...

As you read this, this little guy is in Arizona with Betty. You'll have to ask her how she likes it.

(Although, if anyone wants to order one, I could be persuaded to make another. But until that time, I'm working on other things.)

It's been more than a year since I knit myself a purse, so it's time for a new model. I found a yarn I liked, but I was having the worst time finding a pattern stitch to go with it.

Then, just last week, I stumbled on a stitch that looked like it might work. Considering how far I've gotten without the desire to rip it all out, I think this one might be the one...

We'll see how long it takes for me to get something big enough for what I need.

And because Pokemon Go, I just had to post this...

The EOS lip balm holder I made that looks like a Pokeball...

I could totally make Pokeball Christmas tree ornaments! Or beanies! My mind's reeling...

Friday, July 15, 2016

Find the U.S. States

I was having a bit of an online quiz binge. I found this quiz where you had to name all the presidents who had five letters in their names. Then six letters. Then four letters. (The site was clever in how it tempted with just another click.) And then I saw this quiz:

Find the U.S. States-No Outlines

I got 100%! After something like a dozen tries. See, this quiz "blows up" on you if you get one wrong. That is, get a wrong answer, and you're done. So, I went back and retried and retried and retried. Ahem. 

What's really tricky is getting your cursor in the right spot for each state. If you're off by a hair width, it's wrong, and BOOM! So, I skipped states, a lot of states, until I got ones that I could easily find via coastlines. Then from there I filled in the interior. (Just a suggestion.)

Let me know how you did. I'd love to hear. 

Thursday, July 14, 2016

A Name Swap

Once again, it is Thursday, and I've taken a trip into the way-back files. This post originally appeared on January 15, 2011

The bell hadn't even rung yet when I noticed the three boys in the back far corner of the room. Instead of entering the room, going to their seats, and getting ready for the period, they were playing around. As I couldn't get to them quickly (due to the teacher's bench, the distance to them, and the new student who was checking in), I had to yell at them to stop that right now.

I was ready for a bit of a battle with this group. The class was called survey of biology, and it was for the students who couldn't handle the standard biology curriculum. The rest of the Friday (regular biology classes) had gone relatively smoothly; the classes were a bit loud but on task.

I was not expecting the three boys in fifth period.

I finished taking roll and getting the new student squared away, and then I gave the class the assignment. Then I could walk around the room. I headed for the three boys. They were playing, and I needed to get them working.

The largest of the three introduced himself as "Tom". Then he introduced the boy sitting next to him as "James". "Tom" explained that "James" never does any work in class, so I should expect nothing from him.

However, I knew he was not Tom. It was luck, though, for I had marked Tom absent, and now I knew that Tom was present. Tom was the boy introduced as "James".

The third boy, so far unintroduced, was James. I knew this. For some reason, I remember James. I'm not sure why. I had him in class on Tuesday (where he was quiet and unremarkable). I remember noting that I hadn't seen him in a while, so when I saw him again Friday, I knew who he was.

I turned to the actual James and said, "Hello, James". James claimed that his name was Benz.

Not-Tom was Benz. He's another boy who I've known a while, and I couldn't remember his name until James claimed to be him. (I remembered it was distinctive, but that was all.) So, I said hello to the actual Benz, and he claimed to be... Oh, now I can't remember.

They attempted to confuse me, or maybe they were confused themselves. Benz flipped the introductions around, only making sure that he was using the wrong names for each of them. If I hadn't been sure of who they actually were (from having them in other classes) I might have been fooled. But Benz couldn't confuse me on this. (Besides, I've dealt with this sort of thing before.)

Once I made it clear I knew who was who, I walked away. I returned a couple times to check up on them. I thought about writing them up, but I couldn't figure out how to word the referral. And once the initial idiocy was over, they kept to themselves and didn't rile up the class (the rest of the class was working pretty well).

I guess they didn't remember that they'd had me in class before. Then again, maybe they did. Perhaps they thought that if they denied their names long enough, I'd believe them. Yeah, not so much.

Come to think of it, I haven't had a good name swap in a while. I don't know if it's the online attendance (with photos!) or if they know me and I know them just too well. (Of course, now that I've said this, it's sure to come up in the fall.)

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Alternate Here

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 was reading a book by a favorite author the other day, a story that was lightly linked to other books she had written. It was a stand-alone, but it existed in the universe she had created in her other books. (The main character was familiar with the main characters of other novels.) And this got me thinking.

A lot of authors sort of create these little universes where all their characters reside. There's even a theory that all of Pixar's movies inhabit the same universe. So...

What if you ran into a favorite character from one of your favorite novels? And what if you then realized that you had fallen into the world where your favorite characters reside (or the world your favorite author keeps his/her stories)?

Friday, July 8, 2016

Movie in Three Clues

Happy random quiz Friday. It's summer. What's more summer than movies?

I found this quiz on Mental Floss. They give you three words. You type in the movie title:

Name the Movie in Only Three Clues

A few tips if you haven't tried a Mental Floss quiz before: 
  1. You don't have to answer in order. If the first one you know is somewhere in the middle, just type in the correct answer for that one. It'll automatically fill in the correct blank.
  2. Don't worry about capitalizing anything. 
  3. You can leave out "the" or "a".
  4. A partial title will work, but only if the movie is commonly referred to as that title, such as typing in "Star Wars". The program will automatically turn it into "Star Wars: A New Hope". 
  5. But, you must spell it correctly. One letter off and it won't read it as correct. 
I missed three. One of which I should have known. (The other two... They weren't coming to me.) Which is 90%. Did you do better?

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Poison Ivy Fight

Has the internet decided that it's now Flashback Fridays? I don't know anymore. I first started doing reposts on Tuesdays, but then someone started #ThrowbackThursday, so I moved my day to repost old blogs posts to Thursday. I suppose I could start doing them on Friday if that becomes the thing...

Until someone tells me differently (or I decide to jump on that bandwagon), I'll repost on Thursdays. 

Sometimes being a sub is like being a fly on the wall. The kiddos will talk of things as if I'm not even around. Then sometimes, they come up with outrageous stories that I think they would have told to their teacher. This is one of those. They swore it was a true story. This was originally posted on February 12, 2010

"We once had a poison ivy fight. It was sooooo painful afterwards."

6th period hadn't started yet. (11th grade U.S. history.) The students were finding their seats. After this utterance, I happened to look over at the TA, and he started laughing. There was no help for it. I couldn't hold the laughter in.

The TA asked the question. The boy explained:

"We were weeding. We were wearing gloves. Then somebody happened to touch someone else's neck, and his neck got all red, and then..."

The boy who had prompted this story had left the room to get some water. (The topic started when he told of an ice fight.) The TA was still laughing. And then the period started.

Sometimes... I do not understand the reasoning of 16-year-old boys. At least the TA got a kick out of it. He said that the story made his day.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Crochet Updates

Normally, I would have told of my farmers market day on Monday,

but Monday was a holiday, and I decided to take the day off.

I managed to finish two more jellyfish,

and if you follow my shop on Facebook or you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you've already seen these guys. One of my fellow vendors bought the little blue guy, and that left two hanging around my booth.

And finally, I connected with the requester of

so, I have a better picture

but her picture turned out better.

I am in the process of making one more orange jellyfish, and then I think I'll be out of the jellyfish business. Unless any of you would like to order one...

And that puts me between projects. Again. Sigh.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Too Old

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 ;)

Immortality is a common theme in fantasy. Vampires. Angels. Highlanders...

They always seem to look young, but they never feel "old". At least, not in the portrayals I've seen/read. And decades or centuries of living don't seem to be a detriment. But I wonder. At some point, they would have to leave everyone they know behind or they would watch them all die. (The other option would be for them to live with a bunch of others like them, but that would pose its own issues.)

Is the human brain wired for immortality?

What if living too long (as in, more than 150 years) led to insanity?

Friday, July 1, 2016


The grammar topic of the day was commonly confused words.

As someone who spends time reading self-published novels, I am way too familiar with the wrong word being used. Well, even just on the internet. Blogs. You know what I'm talking about, I'm sure.

So, I dove into the topic with gusto.

When it was it's/its turn, I explained when to know when to use the contraction. And one boy wondered about labor contractions...

Then, out of nowhere (well, not to his mind), someone else wondered why we have C. I agreed that it could probably be done away with. That he wasn't the first to question it. And that other letters had been dropped from the alphabet. (I mentioned ampersand and thorn.)

It was a weird sort of lesson. You'd think that going over the difference between loose and lose wouldn't generate such questions, but then again, it was Friday.

Capital/capitol brought out why we call them uppercase and lowercase letters.

Peace/piece brought out where the peace symbol comes from.

I spend way too much time reading random articles on the internet.