Friday, December 29, 2017

Finish the 1987 Movie Title

How well do you know the movies of 30 years ago?

Finish the 1987 Movie Title

Somehow I managed 49/50. Not too shabby. How did you do?

Thursday, December 28, 2017

"New" Student

For today's #ThrowbackThursday, I picked a post at somewhat random. (To be truly random would have taken more trouble than I was in the mood for.) It's from January 6, 2010

"I'm a new student. Where do I sit?"

Oscar waited until after the bell rang to ask. Usually new students find me when they first enter the room. And he was sitting in the one empty seat in the room. This was my warning.

I assigned Oscar that empty seat, and then I began class. They were to outline the next section in the textbook. Then they were to answer questions. It was a pretty straightforward assignment--standard stuff for a sub day.

As this was a freshman class (health), I walked the room to make sure that they got started. I had to stand over a couple of them as they fumbled with their folders (before I got there they made no attempt to find their materials). As I passed by, Oscar waved me over.

"I'm new. What do I need to do?"

The student seated next to Oscar asked why he was playing. Oscar repeated that he was a new student. I took Oscar's schedule which was out on his desk (the schedule I consulted to verify that he belonged in the class), flipped it over, and pointed to the "returning student" handwritten at the top.

"But that doesn't mean I was in this class before."

Not more than two minutes later, a student a couple seats behind noticed Oscar. "Oscar, you're back," he said.

The students around them laughed. They wondered why it took the boy so long to notice that Oscar was there.

Just to make sure, I flipped through the roll book. Sure enough, Oscar had been enrolled in the class back in October. The seat I put him in had been his seat previously. I knew this because Oscar's name had been erased.

What was the purpose of him telling me that he was new? And why did he keep insisting he was new, all evidence to the contrary?

I explained the assignment to him anyway. He ignored me. He didn't do any work.

Sigh. Freshmen. Sometimes they make no sense whatsoever.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

The Gifted

I'm not sure if this actually qualifies as "under the radar" as it made a big splash when the fall season began. But alas, I haven't been watching anything "under the radar" lately, so this'll have to do.

(For those of you still in the blogosphere in the dead week between Christmas and New Year's, hello.)

At the beginning of the fall season, two "mutant" shows were on the schedule--one from Marvel and one from the X-Men universe. You may have heard the Marvel one was largely panned. (It got better, but I don't consider it worth touting.)

The X-Men one, however...

This show, The Gifted, takes place in an alternate present day. Some humans have become mutants with superpowers. But, superpowers are illegal. (The X-Men have "gone away" for some unexplained reason.)

The show focuses on one average family. The two teen children develop powers. So, now they're hunted by Sentinel Services. Which was the employer, kind of, of the father. He worked as a prosecutor. That is, he argued in court for locking up mutants. Who now include his children.

He changed his allegiances pretty quickly.

The family is on the run. Will they escape?

The Gifted returns from its winter hiatus on January 1st. You can catch the first half of the season on Hulu or on FOX's website. Here's the trailer...

I was not sure if this was a show I really wanted to watch. But it started at a time when I was low on shows but with some extra time. And there was something about it...

Then, at about episode 3, I saw the credit for Matt Nix, and it all fell into place.

Matt Nix also created a little show called Burn Notice. It aired on USA Network from 2007-2013. (I think now you can find it on Netflix.)

Burn Notice is a favorite show of mine. It's one I can watch over and over again. So, no wonder I'm enjoying The Gifted.

Are you watching The Gifted? Did you ever see Burn Notice?

Tuesday, December 26, 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 😉

I'm stealing today's question from LilyElement's Friday post. Or rather, the author of the book she reviewed. Anyway...

What if there was a dating app to set people up with paranormal creatures (vampires, werewolves, fae, witches, etc.)? 

Monday, December 25, 2017

Bah Humbug

No, wait. That's not right.

There's something I'm supposed to say today.

Don't worry, it'll come to me.


Oh, right. That's it...

Merry Christmas

Friday, December 22, 2017


"Oh no. He didn't!"

"You didn't, really?"

"Ewww! I saw him."

"He ate glue!"

"Why would you do that?"

"Who ate glue?"

"I was dared."

"But, but... You ate glue? Are you sick?"

"It's non-toxic."

"He really ate glue?"

A cacophony of voices. All on one topic.

7th grade world history. 6th period (naturally). They had a choice of four assignments to work on, and they had a test the next day.

But what do they do instead...?

Note: Our last day of school before the break was Thursday. For the remainder of the year and until we go back (for two weeks), I'll be on my "summer schedule". If you haven't gone on hiatus, I'll see you around.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Dollar Tree Grifter

I got called back to the adult transition center. It's been a while, but I remembered that they go out on Mondays and Fridays, so I wore my walking shoes.

It was Friday. The prior day, the class had voted on where they were going to go, and the Dollar Tree store won. It was less than a mile from the school, so we'd walk it.

Before we left, the instructional aide questioned each student on how much money they had. Then he told them how many things they could pick up. (Most were looking for coloring books.)

The students didn't take very long to make their selections. I stood at the front of the store, monitoring as they made their purchases. (The aide was still in the back, keeping an eye on the student who liked to go into the back, just because.) The line was long, so I kind of zoned out.

Then the cashier called me over. Naomi had handed her $3 for a purchase of over $6. Oops.

I asked the cashier to cancel the sale. Naomi and I needed to pare down her selections to two. Before the cashier could void the sale and before we stepped out of the long line, a woman behind us offered a $10 bill. She said she wanted to make up the difference.

Now, this was really sweet of her, but I declined. I assumed that the purpose of the exercise (them going out to a store and purchasing stuff) was for them to know how much they could afford and choose what they were going to purchase accordingly. I said something of the sort to the nice lady, and we moved aside.

Naomi picked out two from the six books she'd selected, and I had Naomi get back in line.

In short order, the rest of the class (on this day we had five students with us) finished their purchases, and we were on our way back to school.

While we were walking, I told the aide of Naomi's oopsie.

The aide told me that this was a pattern with Naomi. And not only that, this wasn't the first time that someone offered to make up the difference.

So, Naomi may have been anticipating some "help" with her purchase.

Sneaky girl.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

The Troublemaker

On Thursday, Caleb stormed into the classroom, bellowing that I had "gotten him in trouble" as he thunked into his seat.

I attempted to explain that all I had done was to report what he had done, and he was the one who had gotten himself into trouble. I say "attempted" because Caleb wouldn't let me get a word in edgewise.


I'm not sure why he was surprised. Or angry. Because, seriously, he should have known.

On Wednesday, I was covering the math class at the continuation high school. (On Thursday I covered the computer literacy class at the same school, hence seeing Caleb again.) Caleb was in 3rd period. 3rd period is right after they have a 15 minute snack break.

The school has a fairly liberal restroom pass policy. The only restriction is that they're not supposed to go for the first or last 10 minutes of class.

Caleb walked into 3rd period just about at the bell. He insisted that he had to use the restroom right then. I told him he could go in 10 minutes.

Oh no. This was not going to work for him. He had to go right now.

If it was such a dire emergency, why didn't he go during snack? He had a full 15 minutes.

He was "busy" he said. Well, if he was busy, he clearly didn't need to go that badly. Then it turned into he didn't need to go during snack. My response was the same. (Or it might have been the other way around. Either way, the story changed as I questioned him on it.)

Caleb... Yeah, Caleb doesn't back down. He's one of those students who... I don't know how to describe him. But I've dealt with him quite a bit, so I knew it was going to be 10 minutes of arguing, and I just wasn't in the mood.

I informed Caleb that I'd let him go, but I was going to let Mr. F know what had transpired. He said he was okay with that.

Mr. F, the math teacher, is one of the strict ones. And they all know this. I knew that writing down this incident would result in a consequence for Caleb. He should have known it too.

So, when he stormed into the classroom the next day, I wasn't sure what the problem was. He had agreed that Mr. F would be informed. So, really, he should have known.

(Before I get comments about restricting restroom usage, if it's clear it's an emergency I wouldn't have hesitated to let him go. This was more a case of a failure to plan as he had just had a break.)

Tuesday, December 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 😉

What if you already had super human powers, but you had no idea you had them?

Monday, December 18, 2017

Another Weird Santa Hat

Two weeks ago, I showed you my project in progress...

...and I said that if it worked out, I'd post it "next week". But "next week" came, and I hadn't gotten much more completed.

Sorry about that.

That was last week. This week, however, I did manage to finish it...

It's another Santa hat, this one more of a sketch, really...

It's been a few years since I saw someone wearing something like this. I saw it and decided that I just had to have one. And I could make it myself.

I'm not going to post a "pattern", but I'll tell you how I did it.

First, I took a 6 ft length of wire (that I got at Dollar Tree). I curled the ends (no sharp edges!). Then I "knit" (read: crocheted) an I-cord over the length of it, tying the yarn ends around the curled wire ends.

Then I picked up and knit around 2/3rds to 3/4ths of the bottom spiral. I cast on a few more stitches after that, joined in the round, and knit a 2 by 2 ribbing for about 2 inches.

I attached a "poof" to the top. (A pom-pom would work as well.) And that's it.

What do you think? (I think I like the headband better, but I'm glad I made this attempt.)

Friday, December 15, 2017

Library Famous

I was back in Ms. B's special ed class. It was Friday, but the lesson plans were from Tuesday. And she had taken her laptop computer with her.

(Later I learned that she was supposed to be out for a one-day training, but she had subsequently come down with the flu. The word "hospitalized" was bandied about.)

From my previous sojourns in her class, I pretty much knew what the drill was. We'd be fine. But I pondered the lack of computer.

What did I need the computer for? To take roll. That's no biggie, as I could just as easily input the roll via my phone. But then there was 5th period and their routine of watching CNN 10. Which we couldn't do via my phone.

I hemmed and hawed. Looked at the clock. I had time.

At the beginning of the school year, I learned that subs can check out Chromebooks from the school library. Some classrooms have no computer. Since we subs need to take roll via the online system, we actually need computer access during the day. This is the solution.

How many classrooms have no computer? Since the beginning of the school year, I've needed to check out a Chromebook three times, including this day. So, it's not a huge issue.

(Every teacher is issued a laptop by the school. Understandably, they don't always leave it in the classroom when they are not there.)

I headed into the library.

I should mention I was wearing a pair of my bauble earrings. (This is so common that normally it wouldn't merit a mention.) Mr. E, the school's librarian, took one look at me, declared me "festive", and insisted that a picture of me must be posted on their Christmas display. (They had a "fireplace" and "tree" built out of math textbooks.)

I blame the early morning. I allowed this.

At the end of the day when I returned the Chromebook, Mr. E informed me that my photo was on the display. I did not look. I took his word for it.

So, I guess students who venture into the library... Nah. No one pays attention to things like that. Do they?

(Having the Chromebook proved very useful several times during the day, not only to watch CNN 10. I'm glad I made the trip.)

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Instead of Working

On Tuesday (and Wednesday and Thursday) I was back at the continuation high school. English class. They had several assignments online.

(The entire English department in the district has switched over to this textbook/online system. Imagine an interactive textbook. That's kind of what it's like.)

They were supposed to be working on prelim stuff for "Song of Myself". And many of them were on task. The room was fairly quiet.

But then I noticed that several of them were focused on one student's computer. And they were laughing. So, clearly they weren't on task. They were watching something.

I didn't want to investigate. What were they watching now? Popular time killers include soccer games, fights, video games, and just random stupidness.

I meandered over to stand where I could see what they were all reacting to. (I can also make it clear I'm Going Over to Investigate, and in that case they stop whatever it is pretty quickly and pretend they were on task all along. Depending on what outcome I want--whether I want to know what they were watching or whether I just want them to get on task--determines how I approach.)

I was not expecting what I found...

I'm not sure if I'm annoyed or impressed. I mean, obviously I would have rather found them watching the introductory video for "Song of Myself" (the assignment). But as far as what could have been entertaining them, this is not bad.

I think they really liked the egg crate device holder.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The Snitch

Monday I was back at the continuation high school. Math class.

They do all their work on computers, so my main job is to monitor them and make sure they're on task. (I also occasionally am called on to assist with problems that they're having difficulty with.) There is a computer program to help with this, and on this day I found that more of them were off task than on.

Not surprising. Annoying. So, I kept a list of those who were off task.

For some reason, they think they're sneaky by keeping their video tab small. Nope. I totally see that and note it.

In one class, a student decided to apply for a job online. While I applaud his determination, job applications are best filled out when one is not in math class (when one should be doing math). I told him something of the sort.

"But I need a job. I don't need math."

I should mention that he was applying to work in a retail environment.

I pointed out that math has some bearing on selling things. He argued that he didn't really need algebra.

Perhaps. Perhaps not. We did the usual argument. He refused to get back to work. I walked away (because belaboring the argument doesn't help). And, of course, I noted the exchange in my note to the teacher.

The next day I was back at the continuation high school but in a different class. Naturally, the job seeker was my classes this day, too.

He had a bone to pick with me. Apparently, his math teacher wasn't pleased that he was applying for work instead of doing his math.

"I thought we were chill. Why'd you have to snitch on me?"

I'm not sure what part of our conversation led him to believe that I was okay with him not being on task. Or why he'd think I wouldn't report what did and did not get done in class.

Deep sigh. Just another day dealing with teenagers.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

A Whole New World

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. 😉

If you've been watching Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency (the second season has been airing on BBC America for the past nine weeks), you'll know exactly where this question came from.

What if your dreams created a whole new world/realm? Would you want to live there?

Monday, December 11, 2017

Mini Santa Hat Headband

As of "press time" I had not completed the project with the wire covered in knitting (crochet?). I got sidetracked...

It's a mini Santa hat on a headband!

I saw a kiddo wearing one a year (two years?) ago, and it's been sitting on my "knitting to-do list" since then. I noticed it the other day, and I realized I had all the pieces I needed. I repurposed the white headband I'd already made (the kitty ears came off easily), and I found a mini Santa hat pattern on Pinterest.

Et voila!

In case any knitters want to take a stab at this, I'm including all the links you'll need:

The headband pattern I posted this past February.

The mini Santa hat pattern is here. I used Caron's Simply Soft yarn (I had this on hand already) on size 6 double pointed needles. (I ended up with a gauge of 6 sts per inch.) My hat ended up bigger than the pattern intended, but it was about the size I wanted.

I can't find the link for the "poof" on the tip of the top. I used Lion Brand Fun Fur and made a knitted bead. (If I can track down the pattern I used, I'll edit this post and include the link.) However, the hat pattern has a "pom pom" part, or you can improvise something different.


Once the headband and hat were complete, I put a little fiberfill into the hat (just enough to fill the bottom half lightly), and I grafted the hat to the headband using white yarn. (It was the same yarn I used for both the brim of the hat and the cover of the headband.)

Then I folded the hat so it had that jaunty angle, and I tacked the top to the middle.

This thing is too much fun. If you make one, would you please tag me if you post it to Instagram, Twitter, or Ravelry? I'm @ZiziRho. I would love to see other people's interpretations of these.

Friday, December 8, 2017

The Easy Way

"Look at this. We have to write all this down. It's too much work. I'm going to drop out."

10th grade world history. The assignment the boy was referring to was something about PowerPoint notes. It was two full pages long (or front and back of one page). In the grand scheme of things, it wasn't huge.

However, it was more than the boy wanted to do.

His friend, sitting next to him, concurred.

"You know [I forget who he named] dropped out, and look at him now."

I responded much as you'd expect. The gist was "stay in school". When I pointed out that most dropouts don't end up famous (or even comfortable), the boys responded with, "You don't think I can make it?"

Deep sigh.


They explained their plans. They want to be YouTube famous. (I did point out that they could be in school and make YouTube videos on the side. I did point out that becoming YouTube famous wasn't a sure thing and/or all that easy. You can imagine how they responded to that.)

Ah well. It's better than planning on becoming a drug dealer.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Gross Anatomy

Anatomy and Physiology. They were working on a review for their Integumentary System unit. (Yeah, I have no idea what that means, either.)

They had laptops "for reference" as well as their textbooks. And as I do, I walked the room and specifically looked at computer screens to make sure they were not watching a soccer match, a fight, or playing that pool game that they all seem to be on about these days.

I didn't see much of that. However, what I did see was kind of disturbing. And gross. And completely on task.

Part of their assignment was to look up various skin ailments. And illustrate them.

Some were drawing. Others had printed pictures and were cutting and gluing them down to their papers. And the images...

I'm squeamish. I found it best if I didn't look too closely.

At least they were on task. And it was pretty easy to spot those that weren't. I could actually look at what they were doing.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Rushing Through

Middle school art class. They were assigned an activity based on the flower paintings of Georgia O'Keeffe. Well, sort of.

The students were to observe photos of the paintings. Then they were to observe real flowers. And then they were to sketch a flower, hopefully influenced by O'Keeffe.

It's a great concept, but these were middle schoolers. Middle schoolers don't observe.

I'd barely finished explaining the assignment, and several were already "finished". Had they even looked at any of the flowers--real or painted? Nope. Several didn't have cell phones.

As happens sometimes, the students were encouraged to use their cell phones to find the images online. But many did not have cell phones. Half the class "needed" to go to the library.

I may allow a student or two to go to the library on occasion. But more than that, and I'm kind of pawning off my class on the librarian. I won't do it. So, once it became clear that they wouldn't be able to find the images on their own (and didn't have someone who would share with them--I find that claim dubious), I found a way to find images and project them for the whole class to see.

They were "finished" before I got the first image on the screen.

Mostly, ignoring the instructions, they traced the flower on the handout outlining the activity. And then played for the rest of the period. Typical.

Oh, and protip: Searching Google Images for Georgia O'Keeffe flowers yields some not safe for middle school results. I eventually found a video that did a decent job of giving an overview without my having to worry about the kiddos reading captions.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

The Same Idea

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 discovered a newly released book by a famous author was significantly similar to the novel you just finished writing? 

No, the famous author didn't steal your idea, nor vice versa. There's no plagiarism involved.

Not that this has happened to me... At least, not just...

Monday, December 4, 2017

Updating Pictures, Part 8

Last week... I had hoped to have different pictures to post today, but alas, all I was able to do was to finally relist my felted purses...

Small One of a Kind Handknit and Felted Shoulder Handbag
Handknit and Felted Small Shoulder Handbag in Black, Orange, & Purple

The pictures turned out better than I expected. I was kind of thinking I'd have to redo them again, but these are good enough for now.

In other news, I have listed several fidget spinner cozies...

Light Blue Knit Fidget Cover

But they're getting no views. Have I missed the fad? Likely. What would you call these things? (I'd like to try some new keywords, but I'm out of ideas. Any help you can give would be appreciated.)

And finally, a preview for next week, if I'm finally able to finish what I'm working on...

The picture isn't the best. (I think about posting to Instagram at the oddest times, and I make do with what I have on hand to get as plain a background as I can for what I'm working on at the time.) So, a description: I am working an I-cord over a length of wire.

Any ideas what I'm thinking for this? Bets if I'll actually pull it off?

If it works out, I'll have photos next week. If not, we'll just pretend this never happened, okay?

Friday, December 1, 2017


Seventh grade science. Friday before the week-long Thanksgiving break. Their teacher had left them a simple assignment: they were to label all the parts of an animal cell, state what each part's function was, and color in the cell.

Unfortunately, this was not enough work to keep them all busy all period.

(I suspect that many of them rushed through the assignment. They tend to.)

Because this happens frequently, I have a list of things that I tell them to do if they finish early. It includes things like reading a book, getting ahead on homework, studying for upcoming tests, etc. Stuff that older students would automatically just do. But at that age, they haven't yet figured out that extra time is time they can use to get ahead.

After getting the "What do I do if I'm finished?" question and repeating the list several times, I figured it was time to write the list on the board. Not that I wouldn't have to still answer the question, but at least then I could point.

I turned to the board. Opened the dry erase marker. Began to write "Assignment" on the board...

(As long as I was writing things down, I figured I might as well write what they were supposed to finish first.)

I got three letters in when a student called out to me. I turned...

I heard the titters behind me. 7th graders. 12-year-olds.

Um, yeah. That was going to get ugly. I turned back to the board, finished writing "Assign", and turned back to the student. I got about five more questions before I could return to the board and finish writing "Assignment". I got about halfway through the cell page explanation before I got called away again.

It took several tries before I got to "What do I do if I finish early?", and then a few more before I had a full list written. Because 7th graders.

And I was so glad I had that written for later classes as I referred to it frequently. Because even after pointing it out and reading it to them, they still asked what they should do when they finished. Because 7th graders.