Thursday, August 31, 2017

The Runner

Orientation at the continuation high school. This is the first class that every student who enters the school takes. (So, going in I know that all the kiddos are newbies.)

As they filed in, I stood at the front of the room. It seemed to take forever before the bell rang, but I don't start class until it does. I looked out the door, and I noticed a boy running through the front gate. He was headed our way.

I've mentioned before that the campus is small. The students don't really need the full four minutes they get for passing. At this point, the grounds were mostly empty except for the boy, who vaulted over the railing in front of the classroom.

He darted into the classroom and slid into a seat.

"Five. Blocks. Six. Minutes."

He was out of breath.

And the bell still hadn't rung. He had made it on time. Apparently after leaving very late.

He told his fellow classmates that he had run the entire way.

He turned to me and asked if he could go and get a drink of water. Which, of course, I let him get. So, he darted out to get it.

While he was getting the water, the bell rang to start class. (I still counted him on time. After that, he deserved it.)

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Not Overheard

The class was one of those leadership-type classes that isn't ASB. (It's a kind of character building thing that serves as an elective as well as some extracurricular stuff.) On this day, they were going over the behavior expectations (code of conduct and code of ethics stuff).

So, it was discussion time. And we were at the continuation high school. (The other schools don't start until this week.) The part of the code of ethics about reporting criminal activity didn't go over well. ("We're not snitches.")

The discussion meandered, as discussions usually do, and we were interrupted by the phone. A student needed to go to the office. He left, and then he returned in a bit of a worse mood.

"I got some bad news and some good news."

The class wanted to know. The bad news was kind of expected. As for the good news...

"I can't say," and he indicated that he couldn't divulge the good news in front of me.

The rest of the class protested.

"What's said in here stays in here," someone pointed out.

The teacher has set the class up as a safe zone, where the kiddos can talk out their issues. And they have to know that what they say isn't going to be used against them later on. I get that. So, after telling me I couldn't "snitch" on him, he let us know about his after school plans.

The class laughed. And they looked at me. Apparently, I had a good enough shocked face.

Great. Something I can't let slide?

Yeah, see, that's the problem. I had no idea what he said. He was turned away from me, and mumbling a bit (and my hearing isn't always the best, especially in these circumstances).

So, I played like I heard. Gave him a stern look. And we moved on.

I so shouldn't have let him say anything. Sigh.

(The next day I had the same class, and he repeated that he got to smoke a blunt after school. Sigh. I think I was better off not knowing.)

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

The Price

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 ;)

Two related questions today. These are not new questions, and in fact you probably have seen this play out in several stories (movies, TV, books, etc). As I was contemplating today's question, I couldn't decide which scenario would be worse, so I decided to ask them both. Pick either one.

What if the only way to defeat your enemy is to sacrifice yourself? What if the only way to defeat the awful, terrible foe is to sacrifice your closest, dearest friend? 

Monday, August 28, 2017

Updating Pictures

I haven't much felt like knitting lately. But I have been taking pictures. It's "update the photos" time (long overdue).

First, I finally got some of those keychains that I was making listed...

Lavender Beaded Keyper Keychain

Copper Colored Beaded Keyper Keychain

Black Marble Knitted Keyper Keychain

Then I took some new pictures of my lip balm holders...

Lip Balm Cozy in Lavender

Bottom View of Multi-Colored Lip Balm Cozy

It's still a work in progress. (And I discovered I can list things on my Facebook page. I had no idea.)

If you're on Facebook and don't follow Zizi Rho Designs already, I would appreciate the follow. Thanks. And I've also been playing a bit with my Pinterest, too, if anyone is there as well. 

Friday, August 25, 2017

A Little Physics Quiz

The other day this quiz popped up in my Facebook feed:

How well do you know the basic mechanics of physics?

And I had to try it. Because, I certainly hope I remember something from my college major... 

Turns out I do. Whew. Glad I didn't waste those years entirely. 

Try it. See how you do. Let me know in the comments.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Looking It Up

It was Friday in the 12th grade English class at the continuation high school. Since most of the kiddos who end up at this school aren't terribly academically inclined, any excuse not to work is taken. And Friday is enough of an excuse. So, most teachers use it as a make up work day.

The class is reading The Crucible. They are given time each day to answer questions that go along with the play, but of course many of them are behind. So, their task for the day was to get caught up.

Second period whined, of course. Not only was the play hard to understand, it was boring as well.

After suffering through them giving me that look while I tried to talk up the play, I left them to their own devices...

And the phones came out.

I wasn't surprised. I walked around the room, peeking at papers while looking over shoulders. And I noticed something surprising on the students' phones.

Usually I see Instagram or texting or music apps or such. Videos have become popular of late. And games are always around. But that's not what I saw.

They were looking for the answers to the questions.

Yup, their phones were on CliffNotes or SparkNotes and the like. They Googled the questions on the assignment.

(I frequently see students Google the questions on their assignments rather than looking for them in the book. On the one hand, I'd rather they use the books to find the answers as the teacher intended. But on the other hand, being able to glean information from the internet is the future of figuring things out.)

At least they were on task, and on a Friday. Win?

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


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


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.)


  • 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.


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


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... 


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


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?