Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Another Painting and Story

My uncle's been at it again.

A couple weeks ago I posted his videos depicting a trip to New Orleans in 1961. Today he's sharing another story from 1961, this one taking place in Little Rock...


If you'd like to check out his YouTube channel, his blog, or his Twitter, I'm sure he'd love your feedback.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Tattooed


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 ;)

Since last week's what if went over like a lead balloon (I forgot to mention the androids. That might have helped), I'm cheating this week and finding something from Twitter...

Monday, August 21, 2017

Key-per


I finally sat down and wrote out the pattern for the keychains. It takes me a while as I want to make sure I get it down as accurately as I can. So, I take my time, go back and reread, and go back and edit. (And hope that I caught all the errors.)

I'm doing something slightly different this time, though. The basic pattern is right here on the blog, and it will stay right here on the blog. But, I've also created a PDF for this that contains a few more pictures (illustrations of adding the beads and such), and that is available for sale on Etsy and Ravelry. (Click on the links to purchase from your preferred site.)

(This is something that One Dog Woof does with all her patterns, so I thought I'd give it a try.) If you'd like to support my designing efforts, or if you'd prefer a clean copy of the pattern that you can print out, I'd appreciate you purchasing the PDF download. (The PDF is eight pages long.)


Materials

  • Yarn used: Patons Metallic [63% nylon, 28% acrylic, 9% wool; 197 yds/180 m skein]; Colors shown: Metallic Orange, Burnished Rose Gold, Purple Rain, Black Marble (not a lot required—about 10 yds total)
  • 1 set of 2 US #8/5mm double-point needles (dpn)
  • 0.39-inch eyelets/grommets
  • Split ring key ring 
  • Tapestry needle
  • Crochet hook size G/4mm (optional)
  • Beads (optional)
  • Short length of 20 gauge wire bent in half (only if doing the beading) 
  • Split ring marker (optional)

Pattern Notes

I-cord: To make an I-cord, cast on a small number of stitches (for this project, it’s 4) on a dpn

Do not turn. With right side facing, slide stitches to other side of dpn. Knit them.

Repeat for desired length.

I-cord video tutorial or written tutorial

Crab Stitch: The edging shown is done using this crochet stitch. It is optional. (It can just as easily be sewn shut.)

A video tutorial or a written tutorial

Placing grommet: The recommended size grommet is used in the pictures, but a smaller or larger grommet can be used.

Take the two pieces of the grommet. Line up the holes in the key fob. (They may not entirely line up. It’s okay to fudge this part a bit.) Slip the grommet through. Then press down. (There is no need to buy the press just to make one of these. They also sell grommets with a small piece that you can use to hammer this together.)

Beading: Beads can be placed anywhere you wish on this project, or can be left off entirely. Select beads that will easily slip over the yarn. If you wish the beads to be on the outside of the piece, keep them on the 2nd and/or 3rd stitches of the I-cord.

To place beads:

Knit to 1 stitch before the stitch you want to place the bead on. Slip those stitches to the split stitch marker. (This is optional. However, the recommended yarn is a bit slippery, and holding two needles with so few stitches on them is a bit awkward.) Then slip the next stitch onto the wire. Slip the bead over the wire and pull down over the stitch.

Return this stitch to the needle. Return the held stitch(es) to the needle. Slip the stitch with the bead, and continue in knit to the end of the round.



Pattern

Cast on 4 stitches. Turn.

Row 1: Purl 4, turn
Row 2: Knit 2, yarn over, knit 2, turn

Note: At this point, you may wish to slip the first stitch of every row. This will make it slightly easier at the finish to attach the beginning of the loop to the end.

Row 3: Purl 5, turn
Row 4: Knit 2, knit 2 together, knit 1, turn
Row 5: Purl 4, turn
Row 6: Knit 4. Do not turn.

Now, slide the stitches back to the right side of the needle and continue as an I-cord.

Work the I-cord for the desired length. The shown piece was worked for about 10 inches from the beginning. If desired, add beads now.

Once the desired length is reached, on the next row, turn and purl back. (If you were slipping the first stitch of every row, return to doing this as well.) Then:

Row 2*: Knit 2, yarn over, knit 2, turn
Row 3*: Purl 5, turn
Row 4*: Knit 2, knit 2 together, knit 1, turn
Row 5*: Bind off purl-wise

Finishing

If using crab stitch (reverse single crochet), wind in ends.

Smooth out piece so it doesn’t twist, and put beginning and end together. If sewing together, have right sides facing and use ends to sew together using tapestry needle. If using crab stitch, have wrong sides facing, and starting at one end, crab stitch around piece.

Wind in remaining ends.

Insert grommet into the hole left by the yarn over.

Slide keyring through the grommet. (This can be a bit fiddly, but once the key ring is attached, it’s not going anywhere.)


Friday, August 18, 2017

Lead Singers of the 1980s


Since the last music-themed quiz I did was a hit, why not another? This one is all about lead singers. I'll let you try it out first...



I only missed three, but as someone who grew up in the '80s, that kind of tells you how much attention I was paying to some of these bands.

How'd you do?

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Odd Egg

I had just gotten back from the grocery store. I wasn't feeling great (this cold is mild, but it lingers), and working roofers snarled traffic, so parking my car became more of an issue than it usually is.

Oh well. I was home. 

As I walked into the house, I managed to just miss the door, but cushioned by the bag of groceries held in front of me. The bag of groceries that housed the dozen eggs... 

Naturally. 

Yup, I had smashed the egg carton, but luckily, I only managed to break one egg. A minor miracle. 

I managed to put the groceries away with no other incident, and I went on with my day. But one thought lingered. I now had an odd number of eggs. 

Silly, I know. But I never use just one egg. It seems like everything requires two. Which meant that unless I found some use for it, I would forever have that extra egg out there. Lingering. I'd never be able to get to even.

Ah well.

The next day at breakfast, I scrambled two eggs. After, I went to rearrange my eggs. I lost the carton they came in, so there was a bit of a juggle to house them in some way. And as I went to put that last egg somewhere... Splat.

It slipped out of my and and ended up on the floor in a big yellow mess.


This is what I get for complaining about one odd egg. Here is where I roll my eyes.

(Yes, it was a slow week. This is the sort of thing that would make an excellent stick figure comic, if I could do that sort of thing.)

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Turned


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 ;)

For today's question, I'm positing a scenario. You've been rescued from certain death by a group that's at war (literally or figuratively) with your "family". (That family can be the one you were born into or the one that you've gathered around you.)

What if the group that saved you now expects you to do their bidding? Do you? Or do you find a way to become a double agent?

Monday, August 14, 2017

Jellyfish No. 23

Last week was a low and slow week for me. I had hoped to finish writing up the pattern for the keychains I've been working on. I've got most of it done, but not enough to be able to post it this week.

So, instead I'm posting a picture of the latest jellyfish. I finished this guy about two (three?) weeks ago. And I just spent the better part of 20 minutes verifying that he is #23. Sigh.


(Link to the pattern.)

Note to self: perhaps one should number the jellyfish inventory to help with this count in the future.

The colors on this one are for a very specific purpose. I had a request for one for the newly born granddaughter of the lady from the farmers market. She wanted it to match the colors of the baby's bedroom. But we had a pink/coral problem. I posited this color combo. She didn't think it sounded like a good idea. So, I made the color combination she requested. But then I had to make this one just to prove it would also work. And here it is.

I had the colors in yarn already. Why not?

I wish you a good week.

Friday, August 11, 2017

All Out Podcast Episode

I'm changing things up today. My SIL did a podcast...

Image may contain: 2 people, text

I've mentioned her struggles before (here, here, and here). If you've got about 43 minutes, go ahead and take a listen. The episode is here.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Misread the Schedule


The continuation high school is back in session. Their first day was last Tuesday. I was there on Wednesday.

(The teacher had a training for the district. The rest of the district is on summer vacation, so she was the only one who needed a sub.)

2nd period. I hate calling out the roll, so when possible, I do the "reverse". That is, I walk around the room with roster in hand and ask each student his/her name. They tell me, and I mark them down as present.

Because it was the second day of school, schedule changes continue to happen. So, when a couple of the students' names were not on the roster I had, I wrote them beneath the list. After making the rounds, I sat at the computer to input the roll. And that's when I discovered that Brian was not in the class.

Okay. No problem. I went over to him and explained that he was in the wrong class. I did it gently.

"No. This is my class. I'll prove it to you..."

And he pulled out his schedule.

Mind you, I was not accusing him of "visiting". I assumed it was an honest mistake.

As soon as I saw his schedule, I understood the problem.

The continuation high school has this thing called "advisory". They meet once a week, kind of like what I understand a home room used to be. They get announcements. Important papers are passed out to them. That sort of thing.

But, with the software that generates schedules, they have no way of marking "advisory", so they call it period 0. And the students should learn that period 0 is for their advisory class. But newbies to the school are still learning their way around.

Brian had this English class 1st period. 2nd period he was supposed to be elsewhere. But, he didn't look at the periods; he only counted down lines from the top. (Why his advisory teacher didn't realize he shouldn't have been in his class 1st, I have no idea.)

I explained where he was supposed to be. And he was not pleased. He stormed out of class, angry. I let the teacher he was supposed to have know what happened, and then settled in for the rest of the period.

Turns out having Brian leave mellowed the table he was sitting at way down. (They weren't terrible, but they were way more quiet once he was gone.) So, bonus!

I worry about embarrassing them about things like this. I guess I shouldn't worry so much.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency


This is my occasional foray into the TV shows I watch that you may have missed...

Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency started out as a book by the late, great Douglas Adams. You've heard of him. He wrote The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and its sequels.

When I was in high school, I went through a Douglas Adams phase. I started with the Hitchhiker novels, and then I read the other novels he wrote. It's not a long list. But so much of the books stayed with me. Dirk Gently introduced the idea of Zen navigation.

Anyway, when I heard BBC America was doing a TV show, I knew I had to see it. It had been decades since I'd read the books, but as the series wasn't following them anyway, that didn't much matter.

The show was on last year. And it's weird. Very weird. Just recently (while catching up on Doctor Who), I saw that they were doing a marathon of the show. And that led to me discovering that there's a season two coming. Hooray!

So, anyway, what is a holistic detective? There's a bunch of gobbledygook about the interconnectedness of all things to solve the whole crime. Or not. It's been a while since I read the books. It's all an excuse for the plot to be all over the place.

And it is all over the place. There's time travel. Body swapping. The murder that starts off the show takes place in a hotel room, and it apparently happened by shark. Finally, there's a small black kitten that ends up being incredibly important.

The freaky thing is, all the loose ends do tie up at the end. By episode two or three you might not think so. You might have trouble following everything that's happening. But there is a coherent thread throughout, and the final explanation makes the whole season make sense.

I will warn you that some of this is very violent. There's a "holistic assassin" who racks up quite the body count before the ending. And I did mention death by shark in hotel room?

But if you keep with it (and you like weird), you will be rewarded. It may not appear to be sci fi at the beginning, but it is. Way out there sci fi, naturally.

If you get BBC America, it is available on their OnDemand and on their app. (Although, my OnDemand only shows the first two episodes.) And my cursory internet search shows that it may be on Netflix and Hulu. (Same search shows new episodes starting in October.)

The trailer for season 1:


Willing to give this a try? Or does it sound too weird for you? Have you heard of it before? Or seen it?

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Uh Oh...


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 again appropriating a question from Twitter. Because I couldn't think of anything this made me laugh. And it gives me story ideas...

Monday, August 7, 2017

Monday Again

So, um, yeah, it's been a few days since I visited you all. I'll be by soon. I hope. 

(I'm not sick sick. Just a mild cold. And rather than pushing through it, I've been laying low. Lots of TV watching. Not much else.) 

So, a pretty picture for today. More beads on keychains. 


What color is your keychain?

Friday, August 4, 2017

A Painting and a Story

My uncle has been making YouTube videos. (He posts them on his blog from time to time.) Today I thought I'd share them with you.

The story is true. The painting was done by him. He said that he's been experimenting with getting all the images on one painting. See what you think. 


The story continues in the next video...


Have a great weekend.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

At the Orange County Fair

Last week I made my annual trip to the Orange County Fair.

I'm not much of a ride person. Or really, an eat-all-the-crazy-things person. But, I was hungry, so I got a simple "little" hot dog...


And I got to share in the Australian Battered Potatoes (a fair favorite)...


It wasn't terribly hot. A bit humid. We looked at all the exhibits. Someone had done a version of Girl with a Pearl Earring, only this "girl" had "pearl" earbuds and an iPod.

But the exhibits I look forward to the most are the knitting and crochet. Naturally. And there always seems to be one that grabs my interest. Or makes me laugh. Or both. This year...


As you can see, she won a ribbon for her work. Well deserved. (I'm looking at the octopus hat.) I'm in awe of her creativity.

Before we left, we had to have dessert. I thought about the s'mores donut. And the deep fried Twinkies got a look. In the end, we went for the traditional funnel cake. (I forgot to take a picture before it was eaten, so I got a picture of the booth.)


Then we went to Baskin-Robbins for ice cream. (Much cheaper than the fair.)

And I didn't get sunburned! (This is huge. For me.)

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Cutting it Close


The attendance rules for summer school are a bit different than for the regular school year. On a student's third absence, he/she is dropped from the class. And three tardies count as one absence.

But, the student only gets that tardy if he/she is more than 20 minutes late. (Classes are two hours long.)

I was back in the health class. I took roll, I got the class started on their assignment, and I settled in for the duration. At about 20 minutes into class, there was a knock on the door. A student had just arrived.

So, dilemma. He arrived at the 20 minute mark. Roughly. (Depending on which clock I looked at, he was either at 20 or 21 minutes late.) Mark him tardy or not?

While I was pondering this, one of his friends got to talking to him. What happened? He had overslept. But then when he arrived, the entrance he usually used was locked (they lock the gates while classes are in session), and he had to go all the way around...

Overhearing this, my decision was made. He'd have been earlier if the gate wasn't locked. He was trying his hardest to get to class as quickly as possible. I erased the "absent" and marked him present.

Five minutes later another student arrived. And two minutes after that a third showed up. Those two, they got the tardy.

Later, the boy asked me if I had marked him tardy. Or absent. I told him no. I know how important that is, even in the last week of summer school.

Summer school, and the summer school subfiles, is over. The last day of summer school was last Thursday. However, the continuation high school started their school year yesterday. (And I'm scheduled to work today.) So, the subbing stories will continue in August.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Entertainment for the Trip


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 right now you're on a long distance space journey, and everything in your "life" is just a program running to keep you sane?

Monday, July 31, 2017

A Birthday Post

Last week I showed off my prototype for a keychain...


(I needed to replace my keychain. And some things I just have to make myself.)

I made a couple modifications, and it's done...


But, of course, I wasn't done with one. I have a few skeins of this metallic yarn, so I then had to make another...


And another...


I showed these to my roommate, and she said it needed "bling".

Bling?

Um... Yeah, I can do bling...


And one more...


This is what happens when I get in the right sort of mood. I'll be selling these. I hope to get them listed in my Etsy shop this week sometime. Ideally. I'll just have to see how this week goes.

In case you're wondering about today's post title, today is my birthday.

Friday, July 28, 2017

What Song Do You Hate (or Not)


I'm not a big fan of Playbuzz quizzes. They are clearly clickbait. They have so many extraneous pieces, and the questions take forever to load. But I was just meandering around my Facebook feed and this one popped up. And I got curious, so I took it.

Go ahead. Try it. (Assuming your internet connection is pretty good. These quizzes are a nightmare if you're having loading problems. Or, even if you're not sometimes.)

Back now?

How'd you do? Did you get a song you hate?

I'm curious. There are a couple songs that I can't stand. I have to turn off the radio when they come on. I knew this quiz wasn't going to pinpoint any of those, but I had hopes. Not high hopes, but tepid hopes...

And... The quiz chose a song I actually like. It's not a favorite, but it was high up on my "I like this" list when it first came out. Now, it's pleasant enough. So, the quiz failed miserably at finding a song I hate.

How did it do for you?

What song did it think I must hate? (Must have been because I said I like rainy days...)


Have a happy weekend :)

Thursday, July 27, 2017

(Not Quite) Wide Awake


It's time for #ThrowbackThursday, where I recycle and old post. It's summer, so I've been doing a lot of reading. Just the other night I was again up way too late. At least this time I didn't have to get up in the morning. This was originally posted on May 6, 2014. And, for the record, I was not sleeping in class. I wasn't even dozing... 

The girl waved her hands in the air and then clapped loudly. Huh? I went over to investigate.

"I woke you up," the girl explained.

Woke me? I wasn't asleep.

"Yes you were. Your eyes were closed."

Um, no, they weren't.

I may have been yawning widely, but I wasn't asleep. I really should know better than to start reading a new book before bed on a school night. I can read for hours, even when I need to be up in the morning. And I drag through the next day. But I have never, ever fallen asleep in class.

I've heard horror stories about subs who sleep in class. If I feel like I might nod off, I'll get up and walk around. I anticipate a prep period where I can close my eyes. I whimper and moan to myself. But sleep? Absolutely not.

Soon, the discussion turned into my denying it and her insisting that I had been asleep.

When 8th graders think they're right...

So, I walked away. What was I going to do, write her up for accusing me of sleeping?

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Longmire


This modern day western will end a six season run on Netflix sometime this year. Alas, I do not have Netflix. (One of these days I'll subscribe, and then I'll get all caught up.)

Longmire began its run on A&E, and that's where I first saw it. When A&E cancelled it, Netflix picked it up. So, I'm behind, but I'm still willing to recommend this show to anyone who might not be familiar with it.

Based on the Walt Longmire mystery novels by best-selling author Craig Johnson, Longmire is about a long time sheriff in a wide open area in Wyoming. While solving local crimes, he deals with a rivalry with the nearby Indian reservation, a friendship with the local bar/restaurant owner, and a deputy who is running to replace him as sheriff. (And that's just season one.)

Of course, there's more going on here. Turns out, there's a bit of a mystery surrounding the death of his wife, although the fact that there's a mystery there doesn't come out right away. He's too busy trying to hold on to his job while still being the boss of the man who is running to unseat him.

I've never been a big fan of westerns. And I'm a bit weary of procedurals. This is both. But it still manages to entertain. It's familiar while managing to be fresh enough to be interesting. If that makes any sense.

Have you seen Longmire? Have you read the books on which the series is based?

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The Obstacle


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 needed someone "out of the way"? (For the sake of argument, let's say that this person is a major threat to you in some way. Like, they have dirt on you and are blackmailing you. Or, they are the one thing standing between you and some long sought out goal, like taking over a company or a small nation. I'm talking about the type of thing where you might do anything to get them gone.) Now, let's assume that having them killed is completely out of the question. How do you get rid of them?

Monday, July 24, 2017

A Side Project

A member of my writing group just had a short story published. If you'd like to read "Once Time", click on the link. (It's not terribly long and totally worth your time.) And she recently started a blog. If you have a moment, go on by and say hi. (You can tell her I sent you ;) )

On Friday (or it might have been Thursday. The days... They start to run together...) TCM was showing Rear Window, and the last thing I wanted to do was work on my current knitting project. Or watch Rear Window again, truth be told. I was antsy. And I remembered that I wanted to make a new key chain for myself.

I had a clear idea of what I wanted to do, so... I waited until Saturday to try it. Turns out I didn't have the grommets on hand. (I started it a bit on Friday, but I didn't get very far. I set it aside. Then on Saturday I had to rip out what I'd started with on Friday. This is how these things normally go.)

Before I went to bed, I had this...


And a prettier shot (without my hand)...


Prototypes are good things, it turns out. I discovered that there were a couple things that I could have done better that'll make the final product turn out better. Things that I'll try with the next one.

If this were a sweater (or something that takes more than two hours to complete), I would be a bit more upset at this prospect.

Anyone feeling as antsy as me?

Friday, July 21, 2017

Too Much Time on Their Hands


It was Friday. Summer school. Modern world history. They were to finish all chapter five work. According to them, they were all done. So, they found ways to "entertain" themselves.

Inappropriate ways...

To be fair, it was only eight of them. In a class of thirty. Everyone else either worked or found something quiet to do.

At this point in the summer school (the end of the fourth week), they should be fairly used to the routine, and if they knew they'd have time, they should have brought something else to do.

But, once I got through roll (which was a challenge in and of itself), the eight of them went into play mode. I already told you about the hair clippers. And I had the usual problems of students who would not stay seated. (That is, the boy decided it would be a good idea to amble about the classroom--at least until I put a stop to that.)

One boy left to use the restroom. The others hid his backpack. (I kept an eye on them. I was expecting them to flip it.)

A couple of them got way too interested in the wall behind them. Vandalism? They found a tack. The tack now resides on the teacher's desk.

Someone was playing with a condom. At least this one remained in its wrapper. Still, they were grossed out by it, so I put it in the trash.

When they finally settled in to watch something on their phones, they couldn't just sit still. No. Everyone had to watch the same video on one phone, crowding around it. (If they're done, I don't mind them being on their phones. It mellows them out. Until they're all sharing whatever one is doing.)

I was so glad to see the end of those two hours.

As they were leaving, three girls (not of the party of eight) were a little slower getting out of the room. So, I asked them if that group was misbehaving especially for me. I was told that the group did goof off when Mr. B was there, but they were a little quieter for him.

Ah well. I wonder if they're actually passing the class this time around.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Barber Shop


Some things should go without saying. But with some students...

"Put the electric clippers away."

These students? Instead of complying, they had to double down. The boy turned the clippers on...

"Would you like me to cut your hair?"

He took no for an answer the third time. He handed the clippers back to their owner. Who then turned them on...

"Turn that off. Put it away. If you can't leave it put away I'll have to confiscate it."

Still, I watched them. These are the types of students that would then take the clippers back out because they found some sort of loophole in what I had said. Or, they'd create a loophole.

Did they really plan to shave their heads in class? Unlikely, but considering what else they got up to, I wouldn't've put it past them. (Curious about what else they got up to? Tune in tomorrow...)

For the record: yes, I could have confiscated the clippers the minute I saw them. I did not primarily because I didn't want to deal with the drama that would have inevitably followed. But if they had kept up with it, it then would have been worth it to get it out of their hands. 

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Frequency


Based on the 2000 movie, the series Frequency was about a woman communicating with her father from 20 years ago via a CB radio. I'm not sure if this is considered fantasy or sci fi.

Frequency is one of my "go to" movies. I'm a fan. If I catch it on TV, I'm pretty much watching it to the end. So, when I heard they were doing a TV version, I was in.

Sadly, I was mostly alone. Frequency was cancelled, but as with No Tomorrow, an epilogue was released in May tying up loose ends. So, while it's only a season, it is a complete season.

The premise: 20 years ago, Frank Sullivan was killed in the line of duty. (In the movie he was a firefighter. The TV show made him a cop.) Raimy Sullivan is one day messing with his old CB radio when she ends up talking to her dad. (In the movie the Raimy character was male.) From 20 years ago. Just before her father's death.

Spoiler: Frank survives. Raimy gives him enough information so that he can avoid his death. But, now Raimy's mother (who had been alive before) is gone, murdered by a serial killer. Can Raimy and Frank (working together via the CB radio, because Frank is still dead in the present) save her? And what else has changed in Raimy's world now that Frank avoided his fate?

Frequency aired on The CW, and it now appears to be streaming in the usual places like Amazon and YouTube as well as Netflix. It was 13 episodes. And that last episode (with the new epilogue) means that there are no cliffhangers or loose ends.

Have you heard of the TV version of Frequency? Have you seen the movie?

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Encoded in Our DNA


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 stole today's question. When it popped up on Twitter, I just knew it was the question for this week.

First, the background. From the New York Times article from July 12: "Who Needs Hard Drives? Scientists Store Film Clip in DNA":
[One of the very first motion pictures ever made] is now the first movie ever to be encoded in the DNA of a living cell, where it can be retrieved at will and multiplied indefinitely as the host divides and grows. 
Since I'm stealing the question, I'll let the tweet speak for itself:
(If you have access to Twitter, check out the whole thread. There are some interesting ideas there.)

Monday, July 17, 2017

Compare

Last week (although it feels like eons ago) I posted some pyramid pillow pictures. I asked for opinions. A couple of you thought I should retake the photos and use a plain background.

I've seen that advice before. And normally I'd agree. However, with this I hesitate. There's something about this pillow that I think needs a little something more. A plain background doesn't really give a good sense of scale.

But, this is just my opinion. I could be wrong.

So, first the pillow with a plain white background.


Then, with a bit of scenery.


(These photos aren't as good as I would like. I'm working on a new computer. The photo editing software I'm used to is no longer available, so I'm in the process of figuring out what to replace it with. Please bear with me while I adjust to the new. And, if you have photo editing software that you like, I'm open to suggestions.)

Which do you prefer?

Friday, July 14, 2017

False Witness


It was the end of the period, and the kiddos were on their way out. One boy, who was in a group on one side of the room, called out to a boy on the other side.

Boy 1: "Am I in football?"

Boy 2: "Yeah."

Boy 1: "I'm in football?"

Boy 2: "Yes. I mean no. No, you're not. I thought you wanted me to lie for you..."

Now we all know who to call if we suddenly need an alibi witness...

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Rules of the Game


Yup, another day in summer school...

11th grade English. Some of them were doing more talking than working. For the third time, I went over to insert myself into the conversation. I asked, "How's the work going?"

The group was centered around Terrence...

Yes, I do mean Terrence from the continuation high school. And no, I was not at the continuation high school.

The continuation high school is closed until August. But they allow their students to go back to their "home" schools to attend summer school where they can earn up to 15 credits. I was at the continuation high school when they were signing up for summer school, so I was not surprised to run into some of them. Although, I would have thought Terrence wouldn't attend.

You should have seen the look on Terrence's face when he walked into class and saw me. Oh, and he was late...

Anyway, I was hovering, hoping that Terrence would do some work. He brought up the "Flipping Starbursts" incident.

"Didn't you call that 'Rolling Starbursts'?" I asked.

Terrence regaled the class with tales of how mad Mr. J was the next day...

"You told me he didn't care," I reminded him. He said Mr. J wouldn't care at the time, and when I saw him next, he said he hadn't gotten into trouble over the incident.

Then the group (all non-continuation high school students) wanted to know all about this game. And considering I was curious, too, I listened in.

They each started with two or three Starbursts. The player would toss one. If it landed opening side (where the paper folds over, so where you go to get at the candy) down, he'd win another Starburst. If it landed opening side up, he lost his Starburst. Terrence said by the end they'd all ended up with 10 or more Starbursts.

(There were only four in the game, so they must have replenished when someone lost.)

Terrence did turn in work, although it looked sloppily done. Ah well. At least I wasn't the enemy this time.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Humans


This British import takes place in a near future where human-looking robots/androids (synths) have become ubiquitous. These synths do the kinds of jobs you'd expect (dangerous mining) and some of you might not (child and elder care). But they're just programmed machines.

Or are they?

The TV show Humans finished its season two just this spring (winter?), and while looking up links for this post I learned that a season three is planned.

(At this point I'd tell you where you can stream this, but I'm having computer/internet issues at the moment. Let's just say that getting around online has been quite a challenge for the last week or so. So, I broke down and bought a new computer. It was way past time. It should arrive by the weekend. If anyone knows where to stream Humans, please feel free to mention it in the comments.)

Our main characters are a band of renegade synths that seem to have a conscious will, but they were being hunted. And, there's a family of humans. Of course the two groups intersect, which leads to some interesting conflicts.

Anita/Mia is bought by the family after she's been captured and reprogrammed. Niska is also captured, but she isn't so lucky. She's sent to work as a prostitute. (This show has some adult scenes, so keep the kiddos away.)

What happens to the two of them, the family that owns Anita/Mia, and the other synths in the renegade group is the overarching story for season one. Season two picks up a bit after season one left off. And it adds a couple new dimensions to the story.

If you like sci fi, especially sci fi that could be our world, you'll probably enjoy this show. I would recommend getting to the beginning, though, for there's a lot of story to keep up with, and it'll be hard to jump in the middle. It aired on AMC in the U.S., but I did not see access to it on my cable's OnDemand. (Normally I'd include a link to AMC, but unfortunately, internet... It's the same channel that airs The Walking Dead.)

Have you heard of Humans? Have you seen any episodes?

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Intelligent Machines


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 assume that we're living in an age where android technology has progressed to such a point that we have human-looking machines to help us with our everyday lives. Or we're telling a story set in a future where robots are a part of the society.

These machines have been built by humans. They've been programmed by humans. They do the mundane jobs we don't want to do and/or they do the dangerous jobs that we can't do.

What if we could give these machines the ability to reason and think for themselves? Would you allow your android/robot to become self aware?

Monday, July 10, 2017

Photo Session

I struggle with photos. Getting the right view of my knits can be hard. I have a big issue with them getting enough light. So, I snap a bunch of pics. Then I load them on the computer, and meh.

The pictures I have for my pyramid pillow pattern (the one that props devices so one doesn't have to hold them) are in serious need of updating. Of course, I no longer had the model, so first I had to make another. And last week I finally got around to taking some pictures.

Today, I'm asking for your opinions. Which pictures do you like better? Or, should I start over and retake them all?

Side View 1

Side View 2

Front View 1

Front View 2

Back View 1

Back View 2

Top View 1

Top View 2

Help. Are these good enough? Should I start over? Do I need a more interesting background? A plainer background? (I'm working on getting them lit better.) Any constructive criticism would be greatly appreciated.