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.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Brief Movie Quotes: 1980s

This week I found a movie quiz. '80s movies.

The quiz gives a brief quote, and you need to name the movie. As you can see, a bit of the quiz is cut off due to the width of my blog (although, it looks like I figured out how to get the scroll slider to work, so maybe it'll be OK). It might be easier to take the quiz directly on the website.

Here's the link:

Can you name these '80s 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. Two of them... Yeah, I just didn't have. Good luck. I'd love to know how you did in the comments.