Friday, October 20, 2017

A Forced Computer Restart

Friday was a weird day. I got what is called a "roving" assignment. It was a training day for the English teachers. But instead of having them out all day, they split the group in half so half were out for the first half of the day while the other half were out for the second. And since the teacher I was covering the first half of the day had a 1st period prep, I was sent elsewhere for that period.

Which is why when I walked into the class I was covering 2nd period, I was not surprised to find the computer set up with the class' assignment.

The class had vocabulary words to copy down. This is something they do every day. All I had to do was turn on the projector.

Well, ideally that's how it would have worked out.

When I got into the room, I found a countdown clock on the computer. I had less than ten minutes before it was going to shut down.

I know this drill. The computer uploads updates. Then it tells you it needs to shut down. But you can postpone that. So, that's what I did. I told the computer to postpone shutting down for four hours.

Only, that didn't stop the countdown clock. Nothing would stop the countdown clock. I tried the exit button. I tried CTRL-ALT-DEL. I tried the escape button. I clicked on everything I could. But the countdown clock kept ticking away.

The only other trick I know is to shut down the computer. Which is what it was going to do anyway.

Unfortunately, it was going to take the vocabulary words with it. And I didn't have the teacher's log in, so when the computer restarted, I would not be able to access the teacher's files.

Ah, technology...

In the end, I could not stop the forced shut down. The students had maybe five minutes of the eight to ten that they needed to copy down the words. And with no other choice, I then just started them on the assignment for the rest of the period.

It was a freshman class, so I had the usual freshman problems. The teacher's computer finished restarting. And then I could log in to the computer under my log in.

And it turned out that the teacher had a back up for me. She had printed out the words (as well as the words for the next class), and her document camera was connected. So, I set that up, and about halfway through the class, we were able to complete the vocabulary that should have been done at the start.

Better late than never.

With that technical difficulty out of the way, I had no issues with the computer for the next class.

These are the joys of subbing. Unexpected issues always seem to crop up.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

All Subs

Tuesday and Thursday of last week I covered a "severe" special ed. class.

Rather than go into a long-winded explanation of what that means, let me reference some previous posts. Two weeks ago, I wrote about the class that these kiddos will go into once they've aged out of the high school. And I pretty much had the same group at the end of the school year when they were still in middle school (so, June 2016). (In fact, Kenya, Brittany, and the boy Kenya had a crush on were all in this class.)

Tuesday things went pretty well. And if that's all there was to the story, this wouldn't have made the blog. I figured Thursday would go similarly. In fact, when I arrived, the lesson plan for Thursday was pretty much identical to Tuesday's. (The math problems were of the same type, but different examples. The grammar lesson had different questions. The reading assignment was a different page. But otherwise, we did the exact same thing.)

But when class started, I was all alone with the class.

These types of classes always have instructional aides. The IAs know everything, and I lean on them heavily. This class was supposed to have two IAs with me in first period. And yet...

Luckily, I knew the drill as it was the same as it had been for Tuesday. We did their "journal" (which was a math problem... a story for another day). And then it was time to deliver coffee exactly the way they had done on Tuesday.

About the time we were getting ready to leave, an IA showed up saying that she had been sent to fill in. And while we were delivering the coffee, another sub arrived to help out. (He was actually a substitute teacher like me. The class he was supposed to cover turned out to not need a sub.)

By second period I had full IA coverage. But, opposite what's usually the case on these days, I was the one who knew what was going on in the class and I was directing the others in what to do.

Somehow we got through the day. (I did have one regular IA, but she worked the last three periods.)

When I was getting the assignments for this week, the sub caller almost gave me a different teacher for Thursday. When I realized that I could cover the same teacher on Thursday as I did on Tuesday, I made sure to request that placement. I shudder to think what would have become of another sub walking into this without the backup I had had on Tuesday (with IAs who guided me through the day).

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Punishment, Unusual and a Little Cruel

In the first year of high school math, certain students who are struggling are given an extra period of what is called "math support". All the struggling students. Together. In one period.

This is how difficult classes are constructed.

But, I had two things going for me on this day. One: I had fair warning from the teacher himself and his co-teacher (who had taught all the previous classes that day). Warning and support. And two: another teacher "helped out" (read: did all the work) with the class.

One of the warnings I got was a little trick the teachers used to keep the class in line. Turning on the air conditioning was contingent upon the class' behavior.

I know many parts of the U.S. are getting into fall temperatures. However, I'm in southern California. On this day, our high was projected to be in the upper seventies. (Roughly 25 C.) With it being a sunny and warm day, and us being in a classroom with no open windows, the room got fairly warm. I had been running the a/c all day.

But, with the warning, I turned off the a/c before this class came in. (This class was immediately after lunch.)

Class got started. The other teacher who "helped out" showed up. (There was some question as to whether or not she'd be there on this day. As it sounds like she's doing this extra on her own time, I wouldn't have blamed her for not coming in.) I passed out their assignment, and they got to work.

Slowly, the temperature in the room crept up. And someone asked me to turn on the a/c.

The other teacher then used the a/c to her advantage. She informed the class that everyone had to complete two problems before she'd turn on the a/c. Several students had completed way more than two problems, but several others hadn't even written their names on their paper.

It took at least five minutes (maybe ten) before the stragglers finally finished their two problems.

I was urging them on. I run warm generally, and I was already dripping sweat. (This is normal for me.)

The class was still loud. Several only got those two problems done. But, that class could have gone a whole lot worse. I'm going to have to consider using the a/c to my advantage in the future.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Skipping Lunch

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 didn't need to eat?

Monday, October 16, 2017

Updating Pictures, Part 5

Another Monday. More pictures.

I have now got a backlog of pictures to sort through. This is a good thing. Now I just have to sit myself down and make the time...

This week I retook the pictures of my Halloween projects from a couple years ago. I made small amigurumi pumpkins, and then with puffy paint I made one a jack-o-lantern...

And then, of course, is the spider...

One of these years I'll get a whole bunch of critters made for Halloween. But when I should be working on them (August), I tend to be distracted by other things. Ah well.

Finally, I got working on the poncho that I talked about a few weeks back. The first panel is finally done. (And now that I went back to look at the original, I see a big mistake I made. Oops.)

This has taken me way too long to do. Not that it's all that hard. I just haven't been doing much crocheting (or knitting) lately. My usual yarn time keeps getting usurped by my desire to go to sleep early. I figure time will open up in the not too distant future. I hope.

(Pattern for the poncho is the link to the pin above. Here's the link to the pattern for the spider. And here's the link to the pattern for the amigurumi pumpkin.)

Friday, October 13, 2017

Friday and 13

It's Friday the 13th. The second and last one of the year. (In any given year there will be at least one, but never more than three. If there are three, they will be in February, March, and November. Unless it's a leap year, and then they'll be in January, April, and July. And they occur when a month starts--the 1st is--on a Sunday.)

Enough random calendar information...

Anyway, as last week was rather light on blog-worthy subbing incidents (good for my sanity, not so much for the blog), it's time for another random quiz Friday. And in honor of the day, I found a Friday the 13th quiz.

You can click the "prev" and "next" to skip around. If needed. This shouldn't be too difficult of a quiz. And if you can't work the embed, click on the link above.

Please let me know how you did in the comments 😎

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Out of Order

Seventh grade science. They had a test.

This teacher had assigned a couple students every period to be test helpers. Their job was to pass out tests and then to organize the tests after they had been turned in. And most of them did a pretty good job. (It's early in the school year. They'll get better.)

(I know the drill. I covered this teacher for four? weeks last school year.)

But in 4th period...

Each student got a "test" and an "answer sheet" (a Scantron page to fill in the multiple choice answers). The tests got reused every period. To make sure they all got returned, they were numbered. That makes it easy to see if one is missing.

So, the test helpers were to put these back in numerical order.

While the test helpers were taking their tests, I'd keep things neat. I ordered the tests, mostly because I can't abide disorder when I can do something about it. But when the test helpers were ready, I left them to do their job.

The first thing the 4th period helpers did was to take my nice, neat stack and turn it into five or six piles of chaos. Their method made no sense, but I figured they had a plan.

Turns out, I was wrong.

At the end of 4th period, the helpers handed me the stack of tests. Initially, I thought just a couple tests were out of order. But then I took a closer look.

(4th period was right before lunch. By the time I'd taken a closer look, the kiddos were all gone.)

I don't know what order they were going for. It would be one thing if they just weren't in order at all. That I could somewhat understand. But this?

I took a picture to send to their teacher because I couldn't not share...

The top of the pile was test #2. The bottom was test #20. (Click on the picture to get a closer look.) And in between...

It's like they started to put them in order, but then they didn't finish? Or they had them sort of in order, but then they didn't order the smaller piles? I just don't get it.

As I told their teacher, those helpers either need to be retrained or replaced. Although, I think there's hope for them. Probably.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Updating Pictures, Part 4

I've been taking a lot of pictures lately. This is good as I've needed to update my listings in my Etsy shop for some time now. But, the more pictures I take, the more pictures I have to go through, and that's what's been bogging me down as of late.

(Well, that and the school year getting underway...)

This week I made a stab at photographing the cozies I made for the fidget spinners...

I like that image of all of them, but I think the close ups aren't too bad either...

And it's getting close to time when I'm going to want my knitted and beaded Christmas tree ornaments to be available...

None of these are listed, however. (If you're interested in purchasing any of these, just let me know. While it will take me some time to get them listed, if I know someone wants one, I can put up a custom listing immediately.)

What I did finally get listed was the pattern for the Bullseye Beanie on Etsy. (It's been available on Ravelry for a couple weeks now.)

More pictures coming soon.

If something seems different today, it is. If you came here looking for a story from the #subfiles, I posted the one that would normally have appeared today on Monday. I've been a bit behind with the editing of the photos and the knitting and the crocheting, so rather than going dark on Monday, I swapped the posts. Hopefully, next week all will be back to normal.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Up in Smoke

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'm writing this Monday afternoon. I had a whole different post ready to go for today, but I'm changing it for a more timely question.

Around noon today I noticed a distinct odor in the air. "Where's the wildfire?" I asked. Turned out it's about a half hour away. (We discovered this after turning on the TV.) As the afternoon progressed, the light got darker and darker (and more orange-tinged). As the news crews watched, houses burned. (The firefighters were on scene doing their best.)

And we began speculating about the residents. How many of them had left home to go to work and now have no home to come back to? So, now you know what the question is...

What if while you were at work your house burned, and you lost everything?

Monday, October 9, 2017

Dragging his Feet

Seventh grade math. Their assignment was a review packet for an upcoming test. And because they were seventh graders, I spent most of my time trying to keep them settled.

In a class of seventh grade crazy, Jairo stood out. Literally. He refused to sit for much of the period.

So, when with 15 minutes left of class Jairo had packed his stuff up and was ready to go, I noticed.

I informed him that he still had time to get work done. It wasn't clean up time. And he'd better get his work back out and do... something...

He ignored me. He told me he was going to do it for homework.

(At this point, I normally would have made the assignment due right then, but it was a test review. Plus, there were enough students on task, and it wouldn't have been fair to them when Jairo was the only one being difficult about doing the assignment in class.)

Luckily, this was the last class of the day. If he wasn't going to work for the last 10 minutes of class, I'd have him stay 10 minutes after school.

Jairo unzipped his backpack. I prompted him to keep going. He thunked his binder onto the desk. Right direction, but not complete. He opened his binder.

Yes, I had to prompt him at each step. Then the assignment came out, but he said he didn't have a pencil.

There was no work on the paper, but his name was at the top, and there were various doodles in spots. Clearly he had had a pencil. He began a convoluted story of how he had borrowed a pencil from one student for one thing and another for...

Okay. Fine. He would have to remain in class until he finished one problem.

Immediately, Jairo opened the front pouch of his backpack, produced a purple mechanical pencil, and filled in an answer on his page. (A correct answer.)

It's amazing how he put so much effort into resisting doing anything constructive. If he were to apply that single mindedness to work for him...

Too bad I didn't ask Jairo for five problems.

If something seems different today, it is. Monday is usually the day I post my latest knitting or crochet project (although lately I've just been posting the new pictures I've been taking of older projects), and my subbing stories I post later in the week. However, as of "press time", I had no new projects or pictures ready to go for the blog, so rather than going dark like I did last Monday (due to the same issue), I'm rearranging my schedule for this week. I should have some pretty pictures for Wednesday 🤞.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Cheer Fan

A middle school art class on a Friday. It didn't go that badly, considering.

Some kiddos are just oblivious. The bell had rung. I was trying to start class. But Andie wouldn't get in her seat until other students pointed out that that's what I was hinting at. By saying, "Okay, class, let's get started."

Yeah, Andie was an issue. And apparently a well-known one to her teacher. Mr. S had left names of those I should "keep an eye on". Her name was at the top.

On this day, Andie decided that she just had to watch the cheerleaders.

She was astounded by them. She could see them practicing though the window, but only if she was standing right in front of it. And she had to watch them.

I told her she could watch them after school. She complained they weren't going to be there after school.

I've been subbing a while. The cheerleaders practice in the same spot every day. And they continue to practice after school. They did this last year. They're doing the same thing this year.

While it may be the beginning of the school year, we're a good month in. Football season is well underway. I'm certain the cheerleaders have been there every other day that I wasn't the sub in this art classroom. So Andie's arguments don't hold water.

And yet she did everything she could to get back to that window at every opportunity.

Middle schoolers. They obsess about the strangest things.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Not a Real Word

Some classes I cover more than others. (I hear there are going to be a lot of English curriculum trainings this year...) So, this particular PLUS class and I are well-known to each other.

The day's lesson was about vocabulary. They were to take words like team, values, character, and role model and define them "through a PLUS lens". (That is, they were to give examples of those qualities in action.)

I had a list. The lesson plan said to assign a word to each student. So, I did. I went down the class roster and down the list of words. And they were okay with this. Well, everyone except one student.

He got assigned "paradigm".

"That's not a real word."

Since the assignment had them creating a Google slide for the word, the students had computers. And I had just spelled the word for the boy. (Never mind that the word was in the book that was open in front of him.)

He had typed the word into Google, and the definition was right there on the screen in front of him.

So, yeah, of course I just made the word up... *eye roll*

He eventually completed the assignment. I think. But not after he challenged me to use the word in a sentence. (Which I did. Not a great sentence, mind you, but passable.)

How about you? Want to try to use paradigm in a sentence?

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Lost at the Mall

Last Monday I went to the mall. And got paid to do it.

It was the first time I went to the adult transition center. It's the place they send the severe special ed kids who age out of the high school program. On Mondays they do their CBI or community based instruction. That is, they go to the mall.

We exited the school and got on a city bus. One girl said she needed to get her Halloween costume, so we headed for the pop up Halloween store. When we arrived, the rest of the class was reluctant to go inside. So, I volunteered to go with the girl while the aides took the rest of the class to the Costco food court.

Turns out the Halloween store didn't have the costume the girl was looking for. So, we went in search of the rest of the class. We got to Costco only to not find the class.

Did I misunderstand? Did they mean the mall's food court?

It was a bit of a trek, but we made it to the mall's food court. Only... Right. Not there either. So, back we went.

Oh, did I mention it was warm that day. The high was in the upper 80s. Ahem.

Okay, so we get back to Costco, and there's the rest of the class. Naturally. (Apparently, they went inside the Costco for something.) We should have just waited. (Oh well. That's half on me.)

And that was just the beginning of our adventures.

I never get to go on the "field trips". So, this was kind of fun. We were gone for more than three hours, and we took the bus back.

Why I avoided going to this school before, I have no idea.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

The Big Silence

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 ;)

My "what if?" from two weeks ago garnered this interesting response from Bookworm:
I am cynical enough to believe we will never find any intelligent life (or their probes, or anything else). I fear all intelligent races end up destroying themselves before they can leave their home solar systems. Just like we might just well do.
And then I saw this tweet...
The two ideas combined in my brain, and this is what came out of it... 

What if "intelligent life" is doomed to anniliate itself? What if the reason we haven't encountered a space faring race is because no race has ever managed to evolve that far? 

Friday, September 29, 2017

That Doesn't Count

All last week, the library was having a book fair. During the morning announcements, we were invited to go over and see what they had. We were told there were lots of great books to buy...

"Who buys books?" a student asked.

It was a special ed. English class. So, I kinda knew where the question came from. But still, I was speechless.

One of the students (not the student who asked) had a one-on-one aide. The aide said what I should have said...

"I buy books."

So, I seconded, saying that I buy books, too. Of course, this didn't count.

"Yeah, well, you're teachers..."

(We spent the week reading a simplified version of The Swiss Family Robinson. I probably don't have to mention that I had a group of reluctant readers.)

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Wrong Room

All last week (well, Tuesday through Friday) I was covering a special ed. English class. The teacher left us reading to do, so all period I was engaged in teaching. (Shocking, I know.) So, when the phone rang in the middle of class, I wasn't fully listening to the caller when I answered.

(The student did keep reading, but these things can go sideways when I'm not fully alert.)

The office called to ask if I could cover a class on my prep period. The answer to this is always yes, so I noted what room number she said and got back to following along in the book.

But... I thought she said room 212. The school doesn't have a room 212.

I waited until class was over to call her back. No answer. I wasn't too worried. I had another class to go before my prep, so I'd just call her then.

So, passing period right before my prep period. I had six minutes to get to another class, but I didn't know which one. I tried calling the secretary. Repeatedly. She wasn't there.

The minutes were ticking away. Who to call? I called a couple other secretaries in the main office. It took several calls before I finally got someone. By then the bell had rung.

Turns out, the secretary in charge of subs had stepped out for a couple hours. Someone had to go to her office to check her list. Again, more time passing while some class had no teacher. I finally got a room number. 512.

Um, 512 was right next door to where I was...

At least it wasn't a long trek to get to there. And then I had to mellow a room full of freshmen.

And the problems were just beginning.

I have no idea if I misheard the secretary or if she misspoke. Could be either.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Completing the Name

Last week I covered a special ed. English class all week. (Well, Tuesday through Friday.) I wasn't sure what I was walking into, so luckily I ended up with a pretty good week.

Apparently, this school, for the month of September, is having an "attendance is important" event. (They always stress maintaining good attendance. I guess they wanted to start the year off right.) They were having a competition amongst the first period classes.

Any day that first period had perfect attendance, they got a letter of the school's mascot's name. (It's 10 letters long.) The first class in each grade level to spell out the name gets a donut party.

Of course, I knew none of this on my first day with them when one of the students asked if he could just spell out the rest of the name on the page attached to the board. But, having done this subbing thing for a while, I knew not to let that sort of nonsense fly. I may not have known what the paper was for, but the way the student asked let me know that the answer had to be no.

They were three days away from completing the name when I started covering the class. So, by Thursday they had achieved it.

Perhaps I should mention: there were only six students in the class...

I kinda think I should be invited to the donut party. (Not that I will be even if I am on campus that day.) Ah well.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

A Patriot?

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 were tasked with creating a weapon of mass destruction by your government? While you are qualified, there are others who are more qualified. Unfortunately, your government has made it necessary for them to leave the country. You know if you don't succeed, dire consequences will await you. What do you do?

Also, make sure to check out Nick Wilford's "what if" (and his new book Black & White) over at Unicorn Bell today.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Updating Pictures, Part 3

At this point, I have so many new pictures I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed. That's probably why I haven't been doing much in the way of crocheting or knitting. (Although, I have managed to make a few unicorn horns.)

I took some new Bullseye Beanie pics...

Turns out the better pictures came from my phone rather than my camera. Interesting.

I also ended up taking some more pictures of my smoothie cozies...

And I did take new pictures of the new unicorn gift card holder...

But my big project this week wasn't done in crochet or knit. I've been doing a little Pinterest perusing, and I ran across a s'mores bark recipe.

I've been obsessed with s'mores lately. I think it's the only thing I ever liked about camping. So, when I saw the recipe, I knew I had to try it. And... It's interesting.

S'mores Bark (not the best shot, but the only picture of the seven that came out)

I made quite a few mistakes in the assembling of this, not least of which I got the layers a bit too thick. But I know what to do differently next time. Because in all likelihood, there will be a next time.

Have you ever tried a recipe from Pinterest? How did it turn out?

Friday, September 22, 2017

Math Charades

First year high school math. (What used to be algebra.) They had an interesting assignment.

In their book, they had 18 different graphs. They were to note a feature of some of the graphs, and then they were to list all the graphs that had that feature.

Once they had generated a list, other students in the class were to guess what feature they'd noticed by only looking at the list.

It was a group assignment. I had to explain it a few times.

As I walked the room, one girl asked the same questions. I explained it again.

"Oh, this is like math charades..."

Yep. Pretty much like that.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Not Feeling It

It was an intro to engineering class. They had an assignment on computers.

So, naturally, someone had to not be on the assignment...

Lucas and I had met before. He's not usually an issue. But he was in full on play mode, claiming he had no idea how that game got on his screen.

Yeah, right.

The second time I told him to go ahead and exit completely out of the tab so he wouldn't be tempted. The third time he claimed it was just magically appearing.

I don't know if it was Friday, if it was the fact that I'd been on my feet all day, or if it was a woman thing, but I had had it by then. So, I let him know I was displeased and his teacher would be hearing about this.

My next time by, Lucas had a story for me. He explained that he was having problems (that he wasn't going to tell me about, not that I was going to ask), and school work wasn't important to him at the moment.

I get it. I really do. And perhaps I didn't need to lose it like I did. (I didn't yell at him or anything. I only told him that I was done asking him to get off that game.) But he was having way too much fun. The game was "addicting" (his word). He couldn't stop playing. And he was laughing and joking about it all.

Ah well. His teacher can sort it out.

(Apparently the class is going to "receive the wrath of Xerxes". Uh oh...)

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

The Missing Assignment

The lesson plan stated that the students could find their math assignment on the school's website. As the students were filing in, the teacher called to inform me that this class hadn't ever done this before. (It's the third week of school, so things are still getting up and running.)

No problem. I understood. And this was 3rd year high school math. The kiddos should be able to handle it.


Class started. I informed the class that they needed to log onto the school's website and find the teacher's page.

There was no assignment.

The kiddos had no problem finding the school's website, the teacher's page, and their class' page. They showed me. Blank.

But the teacher said she'd posted it.

I frantically clicked around the teacher's page. Under the calculus class I saw an assignment. I clicked on it, and it was the assignment that had been described in the lesson plan. At least, it looked like it.

I figured that must be it...

So, I told this 1st period class to go to 3rd period's assignment. And voila. It was the right assignment for them.


(I got a chance to talk to the teacher at the end of the day. She discovered the error after first period. I assured her that we found it eventually.)

If only things had gone this well for 2nd period...

Tuesday, September 19, 2017


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 past Friday, the Cassini spacecraft was deliberately crashed into Saturn. It had been sending back data from Saturn and her moons for seven years, on a mission that's lasted twenty.

The reason the Cassini was crashed into Saturn was so that it wouldn't contaminate any of Saturn's moons. A couple of them have a possibility of life, and the scientists didn't want any of Earth's microbes (which probably lingered on the spacecraft as it was built by people) to accidentally pollute them.

(There was an excellent NOVA on this.)

Which got me to thinking...

What if an ancient (prehistoric) alien probe was uncovered here on Earth? 

Monday, September 18, 2017

Bullseye Beanie Pattern Now Available

I finally finished writing up the pattern for the Bullseye Beanie (thanks for the name, Alex :)

Bullseye Beanie, modeled by middle nephew
If you're interested in knitting it, you can find the pattern on Ravelry (link) or Etsy (link).

Why did it take me so long to write up the pattern? Because I had a time trying to figure out how to explain a few things. While this is a basic beanie in shape, there are a few considerations that come with getting it to look just right.
  1. Because it was supposed to look like a target, I didn't want lined up increases to mar the look at the top. (Usually increases are stacked to create a swirl pattern. Which can be cute. But not what I wanted.) But how could I explain what I did? It made sense in my head and on the needles, but how do I convey that in print?
  2. How do I explain how not to get a jog at the color change? (It's something that happens when knitting in the round.) 
  3. Do I write the pattern assuming that the knitter who wants it knows all the ins and outs of working a pattern like this? 
In the end, I found videos on YouTube of all the techniques I used. It was easier than trying to explain what I did. 

It's amazing what you can find demonstrated on YouTube.

Friday, September 15, 2017


I'm a sucker for these. I can't say for sure why. These are simple, but harder than you'd think.

Words that Rhyme with Stressed

The idea is to find all the single-syllable words that rhyme with stressed. You can type them in any order. Good luck. 

Let me know how you did in the comments.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

The Easy Way

It was only the second week of school, so call outs are light. And, they're unplanned, so I wasn't shocked that the lesson plans were rather sparse. While I could have had them go on to the next section (math class, so the next section was about exponents), enough of them were still working on the polynomial section that I didn't feel it necessary.

I did my usual walk around. Several students had finished the assignment. One boy had two assignments on his desk. One complete and one not.

As it wasn't a test, I didn't mind them working together. And, if a student wanted to check his work against a neighbor's, I didn't have an issue with that. But these were not simple problems, and the boy appeared to just be copying his neighbor's work...

I asked the usual question. The boy said he understood the assignment. Okay, fine. "Explain how you do this to me," I challenged.

He hemmed and hawed. But not for too long. Pretty quickly he relented and admitted that he didn't understand how to do the assignment.

Okay, then. I can help with that.

I don't think they get how bored I am when they don't need my help.

And besides, they can copy the answers to the assignment, but this practice thing isn't going to be graded. And if they don't figure out how to do it during the practice, they won't have any idea what they're doing when it's time to take the test.

I think that's a lesson some of them are going to have to learn for themselves.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017


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 ;)

In the vein of last week's question...

What if your most strongly held religious beliefs were suddenly denigrated by the in-power majority? And what if that powerful majority was telling lies about what you believe, and everyone believed their version? 

Monday, September 11, 2017

On the Hook this Week

I am continuing to redo my pictures, but this past week I actually got some projects in as well.

I found this pin on Pinterest, so I had to try it. I'm just swatching at the moment, using yarn I already have. And I'm not quite finished yet. But so far...

It got quite large fairly quickly.

Last week I had said I wasn't sure if I was going to list the unicorn gift card holder or not. (A couple links: first, the post where I talked about making it. Second, the actual pattern via the pattern designer, One Dog Woof.) Well, I did. List it. On Etsy.

And it sold about six hours later.

Right, then. This means I should probably make another. By Saturday night, I had...

...finished. I stopped here Friday night as this is the point when the face gets embroidered on. So, I embroidered the face...

...and... There was something wrong. He looks angry, doesn't he? I was going off the picture I had of the last one I did. But still. So, I ripped out the eyes and tried again...

Better? At least he doesn't look angry any longer. Satisfied, finally, I finished up the head...

I then managed to finish the arms, but I still have feet and a horn to do. And then assembly. So, not quite done yet.

(I have not forgotten what today is the anniversary of. I don't have anything to add to the conversation, so I'm staying out of it. Although, if you'd like to feel old... It happened before this year's sophomores were born.)

Friday, September 8, 2017

Brief Movie Quotes: 1990s

Last week the movie quotes were from the '80s. Today we're moving up a decade and hitting the '90s...

As with last week's, the quiz gives a brief quote, and you need to name the movie. The scroll thing works, but you might find it easier to try the quiz from the website (link below).

If you'd rather take this via the website, here's a link to it.

Can you name these '90s movies based on their brief quotes?

Just a reminder, you don't have to type these in in order. You don't need to use "the". But you do need to spell everything correctly.

I got 18/20. Again, two of them were just not there (in my memory). Good luck. I'd love to know how you did in the comments. 

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Lesson Plan Suggestion

Graphic arts at the continuation high school. The students have various projects to work on on computers. So, when there were no lesson plans, I figured no big deal. They had a project to continue, I was sure.

When first period walked in, I asked them what they were working on. And they told me that Mr. A gave them new things to work on daily...

(They have all the equipment to do things like engrave plaques and embroider insignias on shirts. Frequently they're doing projects for various district employees and official district-type stuff.)

One of the joys of modern communication--I emailed Mr. A and asked him what he wanted his kiddos to do. Some time later, he showed up, and he gave the class an assignment. (He had meant to write the plans on the board before he left the prior day, but he had forgotten. The prior day had been back to school night, so he was understandably busy.)

So, for that period and all subsequent periods, I knew what they were to work on. And it was a brand new assignment, so no one was "done".

The next class came in. "Oh, that's not for us." The following class? They didn't pretend the assignment wasn't theirs. They just made no pretense at all of doing it.

Um, yeah. If I had known they were just going to ignore the assignment, I wouldn't have worried. Or contacted their teacher to get an assignment. Sigh.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Turning it Around?

English. Continuation high school. They were still working on The Crucible. Or, at least they were supposed to.

There were only three students who had finished the assignment already. I had their names. Two of the names didn't surprise me. The third? My jaw just about hit the floor.

Marcus and I are well-acquainted. I met him for the first time in opportunity. He's... Well. How do I say this? I wonder why he still attends school as he doesn't appear to do anything. And, well, he's probably pretty well up in a gang...

Don't get me wrong. I don't worry about my safety or anything. But he has spent an entire period talking about how his gang and a rival gang got into it over... Oh, I don't now remember the catalyst.

So, I was shocked that he was one of three who was up to date on his work.

When he got to class, he talked. And talked and talked. Turns out, he's now regretting not having gotten more work done before this. He's decided he wants to graduate. But, the teachers are being less than helpful (his words).

(Did he work on the extra credit that Ms. M. had left for them? Of course not...)

This was promising talk. He can still graduate. He's just now a senior. He has a year. If he applies himself and works, he can totally get it done.

The next day I had him in class again. Did he do any work? Of course not...

(At least he's started. Sort of. Change takes time. I hope he keeps at it.)

Tuesday, September 5, 2017


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 ;)

Let's suppose that you just got involved with an organization whose ideals you wholeheartedly believe in. You've gone to their events. You've participated in their protests. You've touted them to all your friends and family...

What if this group is suddenly declared a terrorist organization by the government?

Monday, September 4, 2017

Updating Pictures, Part 2

I've been taking more pictures and updating more Zizi Rho Designs listings. (I actually spent some time on a new project, but I don't have enough to show off yet. Maybe next week.)

Last week I showed the stick lip balm holders. I also redid the EOS lip balm holder cozies.

EOS Lip Balm Cozy with Clip

And a couple of the water bottle carriers.

Lavender Water Bottle Carrier

I even took some pictures of the unicorn gift card holder. (I may or may not list this. I'm not sure yet.)

Alas, the pictures of my lacy gauntlets didn't come out quite right, but I rather liked this close up.

But I did manage to get a couple more keychains listed.

Keyper Wrist Strap in Purple Rain

Copper Beaded Keyper Wrist Strap
And once again, links to Zizi Rho Designs, my Facebook page, and my Pinterest page.