Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Not Dead

It was the third time in two weeks that I'd covered Ms. J's class. (The math department has a ridiculous number of inservice days. There is a reason for this that I won't go into. It's good for me as it means there are plenty of working days.)

One kiddo walked in, saw the sub, and declared that Ms. J was dead. Again.

That's been his go-to. That's why she's been out, he says.

Since I had seen the teacher about five minutes before the boy entered the classroom, I could with certainty tell him that Ms. J was alive and well. And on campus.

Then, I explained to the class exactly how the school handles the announcement of the death of a teacher. Because, um, yeah, I've been on campus when they had to do that. It includes an announcement to the whole school, a letter each teacher reads to their classes, and counselors on hand, especially for the class of the recently deceased teacher.

(Luckily, I was not called in to cover the class of the recently passed teacher. I don't know how I would handle that. It was bad enough that some in the class I was covering had her as a teacher.)

Oh, the eyes of the students as I explained this. I don't think it had occurred to them (especially not the boy) that this sort of thing has ever happened. (It's been a few years, so it happened before their time in high school.)

And bonus, Ms. J popped into class a few times during the day. So, verification.

I prefer days when the kiddos postulate that their teacher went to Vegas. Or skiing. I prefer the fun lies (although, many times those aren't lies).

Tuesday, November 29, 2016


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 all of our doorways were shorter? That is, what if every entrance to every room was low enough so that we all had to duck to enter?

Monday, November 28, 2016

Cyber Monday Knits

I had such plans for Thanksgiving week. I did manage to get a few of my ornaments listed...

Archery Target Ornament

Orange Beaded Ornament

Light Blue Beaded Ornament

And I did update the pattern for my cell phone mini purse things to include the larger size...

Knit Cell Phone Purse Pattern

But I didn't get the other two patterns I wanted to publish done. Nor did I get all the ornaments listed. Ah well.

So, I'm going to leave you all with a coupon code for my Etsy shop. It's LOGcybermonday16. It's good for 20% off any purchases over $20 for now through Christmas. Just in case you were looking but hadn't quite gotten the urge to go and purchase something.

Now, back to jellyfish. And writing up the pattern to the archery target hat...

Archery Target Beanie
 (Anyone have a good name for this? Archery Target Beanie doesn't have the right "ring" to it.)

Also, I'm over at Unicorn Bell this week. Come on by and challenge your wits with the quiz!

Friday, November 25, 2016

Badly Described

In the US, it's the day after Thanksgiving. And most of you are probably braving the stores and the Black Friday sales.

Not me. (And if you're like me and do most of your shopping online, make sure to check out my shop. Or, hit me up for a custom order. /end shamless plug)

Anyway, I'm taking the weekend off from blogging. So, I thought I'd give anyone still online a fun little movie quiz...

Match the Movie to Its Poor Description

This one is hard. So, make use of those "PREV" and "NEXT" buttons! 

I managed to get 30/30, but it took me the whole 8 minutes (and lots of skipping!). But there were some laughs to be had when I finally recognized what they were going for. (I won't spoil it for you.)

And, as a bonus...

Last year I posted this Christmas quiz on Christmas. When no one would see it. Now you have a whole month to try to figure this one out. (It's a hard one. I only got half of them my first try. I needed cheats to get them all.)

Merry Quizmas

I'd love to know how you did in the comments. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

A Few Gift Ideas

Christmas is coming.

While I do the occasional plug for my Etsy shop, I don't generally make this blog all about what I have for sale. Except for today. (Well, I'm sure I'll do this again in the future, but it won't be a weekly feature or anything.)

Some of you may be starting your Christmas shopping, so I wanted to let you know what you can get that's been handmade by me.

I finally got a few of the ornaments listed. You can find them here. I have about a dozen of them, so it'll take me some time to get them all listed. (If there's a color you'd like, I do custom orders.)

Zizi Rho Designs knitted ornament
Light Blue Beaded Handknitted Christmas Tree Ornament

If you're just planning on gifting gift cards, you can get a little holder to put it in. And I'll even monogram it with any initial you'd like. (Check out my A to Z posts from April to see what each letter looks like. They're at the bottom of each post. )

Handknit Monogrammed Gift Card Holder

If there's a coffee lover in your life, why not get them something to put that takeout coffee cup in? (Of course, mine is covering a smoothie, but I'm weird and a coffee avoider.)

Reusable To Go Cup Cozy

I know a few of you are also knitters and crocheters. If you are planning on making some gifts, I have some patterns available. (The links here go to my shop on Etsy, but these patterns are also available on Ravelry.)

The above crocheted cozy is explained in about 24 pages of photos. And the pattern also shows how to make the longer version with a strap that can be worn cross-body.

A Sip on the Wild Side Cozy Pattern

I'm in the process of updating my knitted phone cozy pattern. (I hope to get that done this week.) There's also a version for eReaders or mini tablets. The one in this picture is still in use, covering my Nook. I love this thing.

eReader Cozy

And then, of course is the knitted tablet holder which has instructions for all three sizes: small/smartphone, medium/eReader, and large/tablet.

Tablet Buddy (and Smartphones) Knitting Pattern

The great thing about these patterns is that they don't take all that long to make. The eReader cozy probably takes the longest, unless you make the large tablet buddy.

(If you're not a knitter or crocheter and are interested in any of the patterns' items, I can make those up for you as well.)

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Crazy Talk

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 ;)

This week's question is brought to you by The CW's Frequency.

(I highly recommend this show. It's based on the 2000 movie of the same name with a couple tweaks to make it work weekly. If you like sci fi and timey-wimey stuff, you'll enjoy this. Hopefully. Before it's gone. The ratings aren't all that great...)

So, the setup: You're talking to a guy. About stuff. (I'm being deliberately vague here. Put in the most outlandish situation or the most mundane. Whatever you can think up.) This stuff is perfectly reasonable considering the situation. And it's stuff you want to believe...

But, what if the guy really is crazy? Does that negate the situation?

Monday, November 21, 2016

Jellyfish Assembly Line

Just when I thought I was done with the jellyfish...

You remember the jellyfish, right?

I finished this guy in June. (The design is by a very talented crocheter who blogs at One Dog Woof. Via her Instagram feed, I see she's come up with a humpback whale pattern. The pattern for this jellyfish is here.) I made a couple others...

And last week I mentioned that I was making some more (custom order). I finally got them finished (and delivered!):

Although, I had a bit of an issue photographing them. They need to hang to be appreciated, and it's kind of hard to hold something up and take a picture of it. (And no, I'm not selfie-ing them.) As you can see from the pic above, I used a hanger and some clothespins.

I attempted to photograph them inside, but lighting...

Then, finally, I just laid them down on my favorite photographing rock...

I guess these pictures turned out OK. I get to try again later. I got an order for three more...

(And I'm continuing to take orders, so if you want one, let me know.)

Friday, November 18, 2016


I was asked to cover an extra period. (Which is not at all unusual. Last week I only had one day where I didn't work that prep period.) The secretary gave me the room number, but it didn't ring any bells. But, eventually, I figured out that I had covered that class before. For a week. 

And I remembered 4th period. Not fondly.

I got there, and the kiddos went straight for the rats. I attempted to explain what the assignment was, but half the class was out of their seats and roaming around. Eventually, we got through the intro stuff, and they got to work.

Well, some of them. Most of them. A few did little to nothing.

Well, not nothing. There was the mock fight. One boy superglued a chair, so another boy had a wardrobe issue. Then there was the flipped backpack. You get the idea.

I was so glad to see the end of that class. I went back to my nice, peaceful class for the rest of the day.

6th period arrived. And I recognized two of the worst from the other class. (I guess they recognized me first.)


But Mr. H is a much stricter teacher than Ms. S. So, the two boys actually sat down, settled, and got quiet. Oh, they tried to sit next to one another (even though their assigned seats have them across the room from one another), but when I insisted, they sat where they should.

They were difficult, but it was a much more manageable difficult. I wrote down their names anyway.

While they hadn't done anything terrible in the ELD class, I was still reeling from forensics. And I stated that next to their names in the note.

Unfair? Probably. But I just couldn't help myself.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Can't Follow Directions

Freshman English. It was an honors class (read: advanced). The teacher left them an article to read and annotate. There were questions to go along with it. Standard fare, really.

In the lesson plan, though, the teacher made an interesting note. She said that the kiddos were having trouble following directions, thereby making more work for her. So, she had typed out the instructions for the class, copied it, and I was to distribute these copies to each student.

Okay, easy enough.

Fifth period. I passed out the articles. I explained what they had to do. I passed out the instructions. And still...

"Wait, are we allowed to write on these?"

"Why do I have extra paper?"

"When is this due?"

They did eventually get to work. No behavior issues. They worked quietly. And then at the end of the period, I called for their work.

The instructions clearly stated that they were to staple their questions on top of their articles. Yet, half the papers turned in had them stapled the other way around.

*shakes head*

Lest you think I'm being nit-picky, just keep in mind that that was not the only thing they missed in the instructions. That were printed out for them. And that I went over. (And they were listening. The room was quiet while I explained things.)

Please don't tell me the now-freshmen are going to be like this their entire high school careers. (Don't tell me, but I have a feeling this might be a quirk of their class.) 

Wednesday, November 16, 2016


Special ed, sophomore math. (They recently revamped the math sequence in the district, so this was an algebra/geometry hybrid that is aimed at the 10th graders.) They were finishing a test they had started the previous day. (Friday. This happened on a Monday.)

The teacher's lesson plans had a whole page devoted to the class' cell phone rules.

Certain populations have bigger cell phone addiction issues than others. Special ed classes and the continuation high school tend to be where I see the most issues when it comes to students not being able to put their cell phones down.

This teacher had created a "parking lot" where the students could stow their phones for the class period. If they chose not to "park" their phones, any instance of them using the phone was grounds for immediate confiscation.

I passed out their tests, and they got right to work. About halfway through the period, I noticed one girl had earbuds in her ears.

Now, normally if they're working on something quietly, I let the listening to music thing pass. But not during a test. And, the teacher had specifically said phones were to be put away. So, there was no reason for the girl to be listening to anything. 

I pointed this out to the aide. She went to confiscate.

"I thought it was okay. I'll put it away..."

Okay? After I had informed the class to "park" their phones? And during a test? Um, no.

The girl claimed she had not heard my announcement. But this was SOP for the class, so the aide had no sympathy. She held out her hand...

The girl held her phone back. The aide informed her if she wasn't going to give up the phone, security was going to be called. The girl began packing up her stuff.

I went to call security. But the phone listing in the class was out of date, so I didn't have the correct phone number...

The girl put her test in her backpack and walked out of the room. (Tests do not leave the room.)

I kind of want to know what happened to her the next day. Her test was null and void. And then there was defiance thing. All over a cell phone that she knew she should put away.

Deep sigh.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Your Very Own Theorem

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 saw this interesting article on Facebook. "10 Rules, Laws, and Theorems You Should Know" via Mental Floss. These are not your math-type theorems...
If you're tempted to leave a comment to correct someone’s grammar or spelling, beware of Skitt’s Law, which states, “Any post correcting an error in another post will contain at least one error itself.” While such an occurrence appears to be karma, a different wording shows a more generous view of the poster’s intentions: “The likelihood of an error in a post is directly proportional to the embarrassment it will cause the poster.” Skitt wasn't the first to propose this law. It appears under other names as far back as 1990, when Bell’s First Law of Usenet was proposed. The easiest-remembered name for this law is Muphry’s Law, which is a typo of Murphy’s Law, first proposed in 1992.
Some of them are better than others. The article is worth a look. Anyway, that leads us to today's question...

What if you had such a "law" named after you? What would it be?

Monday, November 14, 2016

Odds and Ends

I've been working on some jellyfish. Slowly.

These have been in process since August. It's not that they take that much time. It's just I've been distracted by other projects. And other things.

I told you about the larger version of my cell phone cozy I made for a customer.

And I just knew I had to make one for myself. In orange (naturally).

But just before I did this, I got a request to make something just a tad larger in black.

(I got a little artsy with the photo. Have you tried Prisma?)

Right. So back to the jellyfish. (I now have a deadline to complete them by, so that'll get them finished.)

Friday, November 11, 2016

Saved by the Internet

12th grade government class. Their assignment was a video. So, knowing how these things can go, the first thing I did after reading the lesson plan was to put the DVD into the laptop.

(Gone are the days where one put a VHS tape into a player and then hit play. Now, there is a projector setup that one can plug a laptop in to. I think I've commented on this before.)

The DVD drive made a strange, mechanical noise. Like it was struggling.


I ejected and reinserted the DVD. A couple times. Finally, the menu screen popped up. Just in time for class to start. Whew.

I got class started, went to start the video, and poof... It disappeared.

No, no, no, no, no...

I managed to get it to reload, but it wouldn't play. It was like it was frozen.


I took a deep breath. I realized the DVD was from C-SPAN. It was a tour of the White House. Surely, I could find that online...

Thank God for the Internet.

Google. I typed in the full title. And guess what popped up? (In case you're interested, here's the video.)

Ah, a laptop connected to the Internet. We can just stream the video instead. That could have gone a whole lost worse...

Thursday, November 10, 2016

What Number Am I?

8th grade English. They were reading an article debating whether or not school should start later in the day.

Reading something together as a class has some special concerns for a sub. Since I don't know the kiddos, it's hard for me to pick readers. I prefer a randomizing agent of some sort.

Some teachers leave cards with student names. This day I was out of luck, however. But I did have a class roster with numbers.

After the first kiddo (a volunteer) read, I said, "Pick a number between one and thirty-six".

He did. I found the number on the roster and read out that name. (While I could have them pick a student on their own, this can become problematic depending on the day. These classes were a bit wound up, so I didn't want to add in that excitement.) A couple times students picked numbers of absent students. Then I'd just go one up or down.

I thought my system was rather transparent. Apparently not.

When one reader finished a paragraph, the rest of the class started calling out numbers. The reader would pick one. And invariably, the reader picked would be surprised. As were the students calling out numbers.

"But I'm 21..."

The boy pointed to the number etched into his desk. I hadn't realized the seats were numbered. But no, I wasn't going by seating chart.

Even after this, they still shouted out numbers. Ah, 8th graders.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

An Abundance of Christians

I don't normally use students' real names on this blog, but I couldn't let this pass without commenting.

I was called in to cover an extra period on "my" prep. 9th grade special ed. English. Small class--there were about 13 of them. And as I was going through the roll, someone clued me in.

"Which Christian do you mean? There are four..."

Yup. Four boys named Christian in one class.

I once had a class that had three Abigails, but that was a full-sized class of 30-something. And then, of course, there was the time that there were seven Joses on the soccer team.

And two of the Christians had the same last name.

Because that's not going to be confusing at all.

This reminds me of the Jose Lopez cluster of '06. One school had like a dozen of them. (I'm exaggerating. But only slightly.) There were multiple times that I had two (I think once I had three) Jose Lopezes in the same class.

One Christian informed me he went by his last name. (Understandable.) He was actually very well behaved. The second didn't make much of an impression (which means he wasn't an issue either). The last two... Well, they have made appearances on this blog before...

And, they kind of look alike. Not exactly, but close.

I'm not saying any more. Privacy and them being minors and all.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016


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 ;)

It's election day in the U.S. It's been a long, drawn out election season, and I am so ready for it to be over. So, rather than rehash the presidential race (let's just not go there, okay?), I thought we could think about the other races. Races like for Congress, the Senate, or state and/or local offices.

What if you personally knew one of the candidates? A long time ago, this person did something despicable (possibly criminal), but got away with it. You have first-hand knowledge of this. Would you take the story public? (Especially if you knew that no one might believe you.)

Monday, November 7, 2016

Scenes from the Farmers' Market

Yesterday at the farmers' market...

Left Side of Booth
Right Side of Booth
Close Up
Recognize what all those earrings and Christmas ornaments are hanging on? (Hint: look at the wallpaper surrounding this post.) 

Still tweaking my setup. I like how this turned out. Now I just need to find a better way to create some shade for me (so I'm not in direct sunlight all day). Ah, the trials of the fair skinned... 

Also, I'm in the process of getting my Christmas ornaments listed... 

If you're interested in purchasing, let me know.

How was your weekend?

Friday, November 4, 2016

Juan, a.k.a. Julio

It was the kind of math class where I had the students for two periods, because the students needed extra help with math. So, naturally, none of them really wanted to be there. Which, of course, means that I was spending all my time on behavior issues rather than getting any time, really, to spend on math.

The boy introduced himself as Juan. And I spent much of that first period with them calling on him. Not to answer any questions. I just wanted him to settle down so I could go over the assignment with the class.

He wasn't the only one, of course, but just one of the most vocal.

Between their first period in class and second, they had lunch. Upon returning from lunch, I went back over the roll to make sure all the students had returned.


"Juan" answered.

It was then I remembered "Juan" from a previous class. He had told me to call him Juan then, too. Juan is not his middle name either (his middle initial is not J).

No wonder the rest of the class had so much fun calling him Juan. Oh well, whatever.

But for the second class, he was done with Juan. He said to call him Julio.

Okay, fine. I'll call him whatever he likes (well, within reason). I just had to make sure to call him Caleb in my note (for the not settling in class, not for using a different name).

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Red Handed

Survey of biology. 4th period. I had covered the class the prior week, and things had not gone so well.

I insisted on silent attention while I was going over instructions. They would not stop talking. In these circumstances I can be a bit stubborn. What should have taken me two minutes took me fifteen. And that made me the enemy.

This day I still didn't have their attention, but I had less to say. I passed out their papers and left them to it.

Later, I did my circuit of the class, checking on the various students. Kareem wasn't doing anything. I reminded him that his work was due at the end of the period. He complained that he had no idea what to do. He said I had not "taught" them. (I'm not sure what he wanted taught. It was a worksheet to complete.)

Deep sigh.

They left. Then 5th period came in. Same assignment. Much more well-behaved group.

One student went to staple something, and he found the stapler empty. I found staples, and I went to put the staples in the stapler. Only, the stapler was broken. The spring thingy was missing.

Oh! That's what that long, tightly coiled spring was! I knew where I'd seen it.

While Kareem was telling me I was a failure as a teacher, he wound a long spring through his hair, around his head, and just generally pulled it apart. At the time I didn't know what it was.

Kareem was long gone, but I at least had the name of the one who broke the teacher's stapler. Too bad he made himself memorable. If he hadn't spent so much time doing nothing, I might never have noticed.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016


"He hit me."

I had been warned about Rafael. There was a whole paragraph in the lesson plan about him. He had a one-on-one aide. If Rafael acted up three times, I was to instruct the aide to take Rafael out to the office.

7th grade world history. They had a packet to work on. I meandered near Rafael several times, and never did I see anything written on his packet. He wasn't even trying. Well, he was trying to play around. But as most of the rest of the class was ignoring him, all he could do was dance around in his seat and make loud observations.

When Rafael accused his aide of hitting him, my attention had been elsewhere. But while I wasn't looking directly at him, my head was turned in his general direction. I would have noticed movement if there had been any. (It's like when a student raises a hand. I may not be looking at the student, but the movement gets my attention.)

The aide had a full seat between himself and Rafael. The aide did not hit him. I would have noticed that sort of movement.

I went over to Rafael. He repeated his accusation. I told him I didn't believe him. (He wasn't holding a body part and moaning. I saw no marks on him. None of the other students in the vicinity chimed in as witnesses.)

"I've known Mr. C a while," I said. "I know he did not hit you."

Rafael admitted he hadn't been hit. So, I moved on.

I wonder about these kids sometimes. How do they get this way? I wonder if he'll ever calm down or if he's going to end up in an alternative placement.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Ancient Aliens

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 ;)

Today's question was inspired by Robert Bennett's Xenophobia, which he's writing over on his blog...

What if we sent archeologists to Mars? What if they found evidence of an ancient civilization? 

Oh, and if you haven't been following the story, you should go right now and get started.