Monday, December 31, 2018

Knitting and Chill

So, I pretty much missed Christmas. I realized this when I went out on an ill-advised outing on the 26th and noticed how not packed the stores were. But the day was nice and peaceful. I rested while alternating cheesy Christmas movies and the Doctor Who marathon on BBC America.

Knitting has been done, but nothing really blog worthy. I made some ugly slipper progress. I swatched a bit for some upcoming projects. And I made a little progress on this scarf...


It's a birthday present for eldest nephew. He turned 13 on the 26th. (So, yeah, still behind on the knitting.) The yarn slowly changes color, so there are some long stripes. I think this picture shows the texture better...


I had to rip back a few rows when I discovered a mistake. It was pretty glaring as it broke up the regular texture pattern. I realized it would be quicker to rip back than to do one of my usual laddering back fixes. I didn't lose too many rows.

The only "finished object" I have to show for the week was a custom order. She wanted my lip balm holders, but 2/3rds the length. That's easy enough...


I would have had them done days ago, but the cold slowed me down. I worked the cold into the timeline I gave her, so these aren't late or anything. Woo-hoo!

As for my cold, it's mostly gone now. I'm just a little stuffy in the nose. And I still have another week off, so I'll be good as new when school starts up again.

I mentioned last week that the blog was all scheduled until the 11th. Well, except for Mondays. This week's posts are a few "extras" from before the break. (I had a couple good stories that I saved just for this week.) 

I hope you have something fun planned for New Year's Eve. See you again in 2019. 😎

Friday, December 28, 2018

Rhymes with Bed


I think my favorite quizzes are the rhyming ones. The premise is simple. In a short amount of time (3 minutes), try to think of as many one syllable words that rhyme with the given one.

Today's word is "bed". (Anyone else exhausted by the holidays?)

Can you name the one-syllable words that rhyme with 'bed'?


I got 26/30 when I first tried this. When I previewed it for posting... I got 25/30. I forgot one! Ah well...

Good luck.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Looking at Christmas Lights on the Water

It's been a few years since I last did the Cruise of Lights. It's one of the things I look forward to in December, but various reasons had us missing doing this the last couple of years.

The cruise is about a half hour. We went on the first cruise of the night, starting at about 5:30 PM. We had good weather as it was only about 60 degrees. (It can get chilly, depending.)

The last time I did this, I had a whole lot of blurry images. This time I thought taking video would work better. The results were meh. People walking in front of the camera blocked out a bit. And we ended up at the stern of the boat, so I didn't get great straight-on images.

I thought I'd share a few of the videos. They are all very short. I think my longest might be two minutes (and I don't think I'm going to try uploading it.) But I have no idea if this will work.

First up, I like the line up of all these trees...


The theme was outer space related, so there was a definite space theme going. This house did Star Wars...


And another, this one with planets...


A couple nice houses next to each other...


And "the best tribute to the holiday season"...


I hope you enjoyed. (I hope the video worked.)

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Decorated Boats

It's been a few years since we last saw the holiday boat parade. This time we went on a Saturday, but we got there early and waited a good two hours for the boats to get to us. Sigh.

We've sworn to remember for next time that the boats don't get to this little cove until about 7 PM. Maybe we even will. 

That previous time, I took loads of pictures, but few of them turned out. So, this time I thought I'd try video. And... It didn't go as well as I would have liked. I did get some good images. Kind of. But it's not great video.

None of the videos are very long. And you can hear us talking in the background. (Feel free to keep it on mute. If I knew how to add music, I'd do so.) Also, I have no idea if this will work, so here goes nothing...


I think this was my favorite boat of the night. It looks like it has wings. This video is about a minute, but let it go so you can watch the boat turn around and really get a good look at it...


And finally, a cute little one...


(I had a longer video with several boats, but it's too big a file to upload. If I could figure out YouTube, and that includes figuring out how to edit this a bit, I would make a much better video to share.)

It's a learning process, right?

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

The Christmas List


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 may have mentioned once or twice that my favorite Christmas movie is The Christmas List. I lamented that I could not find it on DVD, and they no longer play it on TV. Then I got the brilliant idea (whoever gave me the brilliant idea--I have since forgotten who--thank you!) to check YouTube for it.

So, for this week's "what if?", I give you the "what if?" for this movie...

What if you got everything you asked for on your Christmas list?

And the movie. Enjoy.



Edited to add: This is my 2500th post. On the 25th of December. Weird coincidence. 

Monday, December 24, 2018

Dragon Skin Hat

You're probably not going to hear much from me for the next few days, and that's not due to Christmas. Nope, a cold has hit full force, and I've hunkered down for the duration.

But don't feel sorry for me. The cold hit while I'm on vacation. So, I'm missing nothing. Well, except Christmas festivities. In other words, I'm missing nothing.

However, I do have a new hat to show off...


The yarn is mostly gray with pops of purple and turquoise. It's hard to see in the pictures.


If I was feeling better, I'd spend way more time on getting good images. Although, as you all know, lately getting good pictures has been a struggle, so there's no guarantee that I'd have improved on these.


The yarn is pretty in person. The hat... It is a Christmas present, the third I've completed. And yes, if you're keeping score, that means that my Christmas knitting won't be done in time for Christmas. Again.

And if I really cared, I'd be stressing about now. But I don't. I'm all Scrooge this year. Call me the Grinch. I'm embracing all the holiday villains, and I'm good with that.

As for the blog, it won't be dark. Someone, anticipating vacation time, went and prescheduled most of the next three weeks already. Besides Mondays, I've got posts ready for every day until January 11th. (Monday is my new knits day. The plan is to show off finished projects as they happen.)

Merry Christmas. I'll poke my head up and look around when I'm feeling up to it. I shouldn't be feeling too poorly for too long. I've got plenty of time to rest. 😎

Friday, December 21, 2018

How to Expand a Story


I was back in the Mandarin class. They were "working on their final". The final was a ten minute skit to be performed in class. In Mandarin.


The class got into their groups. They were writing and rehearsing.

"That was three minutes. We have four pages."

The pair's skit was unintelligible to me. (Although, Chinese sounds really interesting spoken.) But I do know something about screenplays.

"In a screenplay, each page is about a minute. So, you're going to need at least ten pages..."

This was not what they wanted to hear. They were out of ideas for what to add.

The plot was simple. The boy was home from college, worried about failing out. They went to lunch and then the library to study. The end.

I noticed a hole in the narrative. The girl could have a problem too...

Funny how it was my second time in this class and I could actually help them again. It's probably due to their assignments being of the writing variety. I do know a little something about writing.

Alas, the translations were all up to them.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Scenes from a Math Test


Integrated math 1. (Read: algebra 1.) It was test day.

I had my little clock out. But then I got a look at the seating chart. Lots of faces looked familiar... So, I put my little clock away.

A girl walked into the room, saw me, and walked back out again, cursing under her breath.

"What did I do?" I asked her when she returned.

"I was in the class where your clock went missing."

Uh huh. I knew that much. That's why I put my clock away. (I made it out of this day with my clock still in my possession.)

But not everyone was upset to see me. One boy told me that I had written a good note for his class.

Yes, I remembered covering Ms. G's class the previous week. I had asked them to work quietly. They worked quietly. I gave them credit for this in my note.

Apparently, their reward for a good sub note was a movie day.

The last two periods of the day I had a co-teacher. Normally, he'd take over the group. But as it was a test, he would take "his" kids out to another room for the test. (His kids were the special ed. kids who need a different testing environment plus extra time. Some of them get to use notes. It's in their IEPs.)

However, the last time they had a sub and a test, things didn't go well. (He told me the students "ran over" the other sub.) So, he was planning on remaining in class.

But then he saw it was me. (Mr. D and I have worked together before.)

I didn't have any issues during the test. It's a pretty simple lesson. They must remain quiet until all the tests are returned. As they cooperated with this (mostly), it was a pretty boring day.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

A Bonus Day


In a typical six-period school day, I cover five classes and have one period off. However, lately, more often than not, I'm asked to cover a class for that conference period.

Don't worry. I do get paid for this. In fact, once I've covered enough "extra" periods to equal hours in a day, I get paid a "bonus" day.

It was Tuesday. I was covering an English class. And, for the first time in a week and a half, I was looking forward to a prep period.

I had had days where the teacher doesn't have a prep period (they get paid for that extra hour, too) and days where I had been asked to cover a different class. I also had a day where I got off early as the teacher's prep period is the last period of the day. Getting out early is nice, but I don't get that break.

I was itching for a day to just sit for an hour. (And read blogs. Seriously, I usually spend prep periods caching up on emails and blogs.)

"My" prep period was fifth period. I had logged onto the computer and had answered a couple emails. Then the phone rang.

I cursed out loud.

I checked the caller ID. It was her. The secretary in charge of subs. I considered not answering...

It turned out she was looking for the co-teacher's sub from the previous period. Whew. I didn't know where he was, but at least she wasn't looking for me.

But then she called right back. I had a prep. Could I cover an extra period...?

I swore aloud again. After I hung up the phone.

It wasn't a hard period. Geography. One student "performed" for the class. (An email all about him to his teacher garnered a response of "he just returned from a classroom suspension for just that behavior" and the teacher would deal with him.)

It was just that I was looking forward to a period off. Sigh.

On the bright side, that was the last period I needed to complete a bonus day. So, feel free to chide me for moaning and complaining about it.

(I did not get a prep period at all last week. Sigh. That's what happens during the busy time. So, as of "press time", I have a day and a half of "bonus" pay for the month.)

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

A Viewer's Responsibility


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 sure you already heard all about the harassment allegations against the star of Bull. It's been a huge thing this year with this star and that executive accused of demoralizing behavior. It's something that should be rooted out and dealt with. But that's not my question for today.

What if you learned that the star of your favorite TV show was guilty of terrible harassment? Would you continue to watch the show? Would you still enjoy it? Or would you cut that personality out of your entertainment life? 

There is no right or wrong answer here. Just food for thought.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Preparing to Knit

Because knitting (or crochet) requires a certain amount of effort, not to mention the expense of yarn, I have given up guessing what those I knit (or crochet) for would like. I ask them directly. 

I am often surprised by what requests I receive. 

My 17-year-old niece finally responded to the "what do you want for Christmas?" text a couple weeks ago. And I have been trying to acquire the yarn ever since. 

Have you seen those really, really chunky knit blankets? Due to copyright concerns, I'll just link to a few images, in case you haven't seen these. Here are links to one, two, three, four, and five different examples. 

Yup, this is what she wants. I am, of course, familiar with this trend. I have been curious enough to want to try it, but I don't really have the room or need for such a thing. Now I have the perfect excuse to try it. But, the yarn... 

First, I found this yarn... 


Nice, right? (That's my hand in the picture for scale.) I got what I thought was enough of it, and then my niece told me how big she wanted the blanket to be. Yeah, not nearly enough. 

So, last week I went back to the yarn store to get more skeins. Did they have them? Of course not. 

I looked online to figure out which store had this yarn in this color (because I couldn't order it online or else I would have). The closest store that had the quantity I needed was a bit of a drive. And Saturday was the day to go as the yarn would be 50% off (with an added 20% off coupon on top of it). 

Traffic was terrible, so the distance felt all that much more. And guess what? They didn't have the yarn. 

(Yes, I should have called ahead to verify. I know this. I didn't do this.)

However, they did have another gray, a darker gray, in a heavier weight. 


This was the same brand of yarn, so the 70% discount would still apply. I have receipts for the other yarn, so I can return it. I might as well get the yarn that I could get in the quantity needed. 

I sure hope I got enough... 


I'll post pictures when I finish. (And don't ask how much this all cost even with 70% off.)

Friday, December 14, 2018

Not a Challenge


World history class. Friday.

Ms. G is one of the strict ones. She expects certain behavior, especially when there's a sub.

Sixth period. I'd been warned there might be issues. I passed out the reading. They did not settle to silence as the other classes had. But rather than telling them to shut up...

"I've never been able to talk and read at the same time..."

This usually works. Alas, this time it did not have the desired effect. They got louder.

"That was not a challenge," I said.

And then they did settle to the requested silence. Phew.

Note to self: must figure out a different thing to say to sophomores. They didn't catch the nuance.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

The Challenge


Last Thursday it rained. A lot.

The rain was pretty steady all day, and it had the students in a mood. Especially at the continuation high school.

Second period. English. Most of the students were on task, or at least making a pretense of doing their work. However, a couple frequent fliers seated right by the teacher's desk spent the period avoiding work.

I've mentioned Jason before. I have no idea if he ever figured out how to write a music review, but he's still trying to promote his album. It's on SoundCloud and all major outlets. He told me this several times.

Mitchell hasn't made the blog before. I've never seen him do a lick of schoolwork. Every time I see him he's "taking the day off". He was in the CAD class in August. Yup, he took the month of August off. Yet, somehow he claims to be within three credits of going back to his home school for second semester. In about a month, I'll know if this is a true statement.

So, it was raining. I had the door open, mostly because I like to watch the rain. But when it went from light to a bit heavier, Jason couldn't resist and ran outside.

Mitchell followed, ostensibly to bring him back.

Jason was disappointed he wasn't more wet. At least he wasn't looking to go back out.

But Mitchell spied a puddle, and he wanted someone (not him) to slide through it. Jason wasn't interested. Mitchell attempted to entice a couple other (quiet) students. He offered a bribe. No takers.

Then Mitchell turned to me. Would I go run through a puddle for $100?

My no needed a reason, he said.

I pleaded illness. I had a low level cold since the weekend. Not enough to stay home, but enough that I was taking it easy.

The conversation then turned to my car. (A comment that $100 could pay my insurance is how that started.)

But the point of all this is a warning. In case any of you are ever tempted to take a teen challenge--don't. Because I don't for a minute believe that Mitchell actually had $100 and/or that he would have paid up had I taken the challenge.

Besides, it was idiotic anyway.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Darkish


Monday. Chemistry.

They had a study guide for their final. They could use their book and their notes. They were talking but working.

It was a pleasant day. Chilly. (High of about 67 degrees. Hey, that's chilly for SoCal.) Sunny.

It was a find-something-to-keep-me-busy day. I read a submission to my writing group (finished the whole thing).

I was sitting back, watching them work...

Then the lights went out.

There was some confusion, but these were tenth and eleventh graders, so they knew what had happened. They lights blinked on, then went out again. Then the complaints began.

They couldn't work because it was dark.

The door was open. It was a bright, sunny day. While half the windows were blocked, I could see well enough at the front of the room which was the darkest spot. Most of them had a bit more light.

Of course, that was when someone requested the air conditioner. (It was comfortable enough. They really didn't need it.)

The complaints petered out. They continued to work.

It was lucky the assignment was straight up book work. Electricity unnecessary.

But, as the period drew to a close, I realized there was another issue. No electricity, no bells.

However, I know the bell schedule.

At 12:06 I dismissed them. I was not the only one. I saw the students outside, all hustling to class. At about 12:12, I started the next period, and I had no stragglers.

Sometime in the middle of that period, the power came back on.

After school, as we subs were checking out, another sub asked if we had had Lord of the Flies. Nope. But apparently I had lucked out with my group.

(The power outage took out the whole neighborhood around the school. I never did learn what caused it.)

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Local Celebrity


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. 😉 

So, this week's question is based on a true story. Sort of. 

What if you learned your next door neighbor was the parent of a rock star? 

(No, not me. I'm not telling you who I know who has the neighbor, and I'm not divulging the name of the rock star, primarily because I can never remember it...)

Monday, December 10, 2018

Zizi Rho Designs Listings Update

I should be cranking away on the Christmas knitting. Alas, I came down with a mild cold last week, so all I did was sub and rest. And look at my yarn and think, "I should pull that out and work on something".

So, for this week, just a few shots of some things I've listed since the last time I posted my new listings. As before, if you click on the pictures, it'll take you to the listing on Etsy.

Orange EOS Lip Balm Holder Cozy with Clip

Lavender EOS Lip Balm Holder Cozy with Clip 

Keyfob Lip Balm Cozy in Neon Green

Pink/Green Variegated Lip Balm Cozy

Fuschia Hot Pink Fluffy Furball Lightweight Firework Puff Ball Earrings

Light Blue Lightweight Firework Puff Ball Earrings

If this week goes well, I might just have my niece's Christmas request to share with you. Or perhaps just another pair of the ugly slippers. Fingers crossed...

Friday, December 7, 2018

Teacher's Favorite Number


My tenth grade geometry teacher's favorite number was 17. How do I know this? I think he told us on the first day of school. He had 17s posted everywhere. Students swiped 17s from Carl's Jr, and those were strewn about. Any time 17 came up, he make special reference to it.

It was Friday, and I was covering various levels of science. Fifth period was survey of biology. They had a test.

A student called me over. The question was, "What is Ms. V's favorite number?"

Why would a teacher put that on a test? Probably because she wanted there to be an even number of questions (for ease in grading percentages), but there weren't an even number of necessary questions for the test.

The student didn't know how to answer.

Um... I've never met the teacher. I figured if she put the question on the test, she probably has made mention of her favorite number on more than one occasion. So, the student should know it.

I told him to make his best guess. (It was multiple choice.)

As I was collecting tests, I noticed that test number 12 had a heart next to the number. And that's when it hit me.

I flipped through the test. The question as to what the teacher's favorite number was? Number 12.

So, I've never met the teacher, and I figured out the answer.

After everyone had finished the test, I asked them. What did you all get for favorite number? They didn't know. Well, some of them didn't know. When I pointed out that the question was number 12, several of them gasped in recognition.

Apparently, she had mentioned her favorite number. And on more than one occasion. I heard various examples. That they remembered after the test.

Considering their behavior during the test (not good), I'm not surprised they missed that. They don't seem to be very observant. Sigh.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

So Hot


World history class at the continuation high school. They're doing a unit on the Holocaust. They were working on a vocabulary assignment in Google Classroom.

Because it was the continuation high school, most of them weren't doing much of anything. I was doing my usual rounds, trying to get them to make some sort of progress.

I came up on one boy who was on his phone. I questioned what he was up to. He told me that he had started the assignment, but when he opened his Google doc, his assignment had disappeared.

I completely understood. Trying to troubleshoot the problem, I asked the usual questions. He opened the Google doc to show me his assignment wasn't there... And his assignment popped up. His work had saved.

"It made me so hot when it wasn't there. I wasn't going to start it over."

And my ears perked up. "Hot"? He meant angry. Mad.

I did not know that hot was now a synonym for mad. Okay, then.

And, wouldn't you know it, other students used hot to mean angry that same day. It came up a couple times. The usage makes a certain amount of sense.

So, as you go about your day, see if you hear someone using hot to mean angry. I'm curious as to how widespread this now is.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Her Most Hated Class


Eighth grade math, first period. It was a class called integrated math 1, which is basically algebra 1. So, while these were eighth graders, these were the good eighth graders.

They had a worksheet. I passed it out. They settled and got to silent.

I had just settled in for a quiet period when the teacher returned. Ms. J was on campus in various planning meetings all day. (They do curriculum things, meet with newer teachers, and have various administrative stuff to take care of.) She set about getting what she needed.

The students? Not a peep.

Ms. J was waiting for something to print. She came over to me.

"This class, it drives me crazy."

I looked out at the quietly working class.

"They're always like this."

I suppose, when one is lecturing, one would prefer interaction with the students. I can see that. But I've been in other eighth grade classes where the students are more lively. And loud. And wild. And crazy.

I was rather enjoying the group.

I don't know if Ms. J realizes how good she has it.

Ah well. At least not all the periods were silent. (They were all on task, however. It was a good day.)

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Learning Bots


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.😉

Occasionally, I get random comments on this blog for really old posts. Usually they're spam. They have a link to some weird website, and the comment is nonsensical. I delete these, of course.

(I do occasionally get real comments on old posts. Those I let go through.)

But lately, I've been getting a bunch of clearly spam comments (the English is so bad), but there's no random link on them. And they're all oddly complimentary:
I was reading some of your content on this site and I believe this internet site is really instructive! Retain posting. 
Or:
I do consider all of the concepts you have offered for your post. They are very convincing and can certainly work.
Nonetheless, the posts are very quick for novices. May just you please lengthen them a bit from subsequent time?
Thank you for the post.
And this got me wondering...

What if the spam bots are actually reading that which they are posting comments to? What if they started critiquing what they read? 

Monday, December 3, 2018

The Ugly Slippers

My great-grandmother taught me to knit when I was 16. (This was my mother's mother's mother.) The reasons why are a story for another day. She started me off learning the knit and purl stitch. Then she gave me my first project, a pair of slippers.

I knew the slippers. GramMavis made them for everyone in the family.

I no longer possess my first project. Those slippers wore out a long time ago.

But, over the years, I have made other pairs of slippers for me and for others in the family. (GramMavis passed in the early '90s.) Not for a few years, however.

Christmas is coming. Upon discussions with the family (where I threatened various things if they did not give me an idea of what to make them), the idea of slippers came up. I can knit slippers. I don't even need to go out and buy more yarn. I don't even really need to look up a pattern. I know this one by heart.

But, they are rather ugly...


Once they get washed and worn, they stretch and mold to the feet.

The only concern was that the soles are yarn, and they have non-carpeted floors. I looked online for a solution, and I'm going to attempt to add a bit of a nonslip sole to them, but that's a project for another time...


I'll do the soles all at once. I'm making four pairs of these.


If you've noticed, these have two colors. Red and purple. And yes, I did that deliberately. I mean, they are ugly slippers. So, I double down and look for the most glaring color combination I can find. I'm particularly fond of purple and orange, but I make the combo for me.

Perhaps I should offer these in my Etsy shop. Do you think anyone would want a pair?

Friday, November 30, 2018

Not a Word


"That hurted me."

Tenth grade English. It was the Friday before Thanksgiving break. They had a project having to do with Macbeth, and so they were talking and working.

If I had a dollar for every time a student used the word "hurted", I would not need to sub. Normally, I don't say anything about it. There are many of them who are English language learners, and I don't feel the need to correct every one of their grammar errors.

However, this didn't start with me. Another student pointed out that "hurted" isn't a word.

The boy who had said it said of course it was.

Um, no. No, it's not proper usage. And now it was time for me to jump in and point that out.

Oh no. He apparently knows English usage better than I do. He informed me that it was correct.

We went back and forth. I told him to go ahead and look it up. He got out his phone. He found this entry from Wiktionary...


And somehow he seemed to think this proved his point. I asked him what century we were in. He got it right on the second try. I pointed out the "archaic" part.

Still, he would not be dissuaded.

Okay, fine. You can't convince someone who won't be persuaded by proof. So, I walked away.

I did, however, make a point of telling the teacher all about this at the end of the day. (She was on campus, so she returned to the room after school.) I mean, it's an English class, after all. Teaching proper usage is part of her job.

She knew exactly who I was talking about. And I have a feeling "hurted" is going to be on the agenda upon their return from Thanksgiving break. If only I could be a fly on the wall on that day...

(If you want a good laugh, look up "hurted" on Urban Dictionary. Apparently this issue is more widespread than I thought.)

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Not Math


I was covering an English class that day. Two periods of tenth grade and three periods of twelfth grade. At some point during second period I got a call. Could I cover a third period? I never say no to that.

I was told what room. I vaguely knew the place. I was pretty sure the teacher taught math. I may have subbed for her in the past. Although, I haven't covered her class this year.

When I arrived, the teacher was in the room. Apparently she was on campus all day at meetings, but she had forgotten something that third period was going to need for class, so she was hurriedly getting that ready.

Because no one told me what class it was, I asked the question, wondering if she taught algebra or geometry. "What class is this?"

"Mandarin."

I was not expecting that answer.

It was the Friday before Thanksgiving break. Their assignment was to write ten sentences about their plans for the week. I explained the assignment. Then my usual follow up was not going to work, so instead I told the truth.

"Normally now I'd say, 'If you need any help, let me know, I can help.' But unfortunately, I can't help you with this."

They laughed.

I roamed the class. One girl was stumped. She informed me that she was doing nothing over Thanksgiving break.

"So, do you plan on sleeping all day? Watching TV? Playing video games? Those are things..."

Apparently I was wrong. I could help. Of course, she was on her own for the translation.

(The teacher does teach math. And Mandarin. She teaches three periods of math and two periods of Mandarin. I just happened to luck out. Judging by the teacher's accent, I assume that she is an immigrant from China.)

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Girl Assembly


The assembly was called "No Girl Left Behind", and it was scheduled for third and fourth periods. I took roll, and the girls all left.

Leaving me with four boys.

Well, it was AP English...

Fourth period was considerably larger. (Third period had 13 students enrolled. Fourth period's total was more like 34.) I had just over a dozen boys.

They were not happy to be missing out on the assembly.

"They're having a rave."

Apparently, the girls were posting to social media, and the boys were following along.

"They're having a concert."

The classroom was steps from the gym, and we could hear it when things got loud, but it wasn't loud at that moment. I said something about the presenters needing to get the girls interested, so it probably wasn't all fun and games.

"I don't know why girls need an assembly anyway. Girls already have full equality."

I'll just let that comment sit there. I didn't at the time. He would not be dissuaded. But he and I have had political conversations in the past. He clings to certain beliefs.

The girls returned half way into fourth period. And their review was that the assembly wasn't all that. Too much marketing happening, they said. The singer was too full of herself. The actors were promoting their stuff too much.

Still, the boys didn't like missing out. The girls didn't like missing class. So, success. No one was happy.

(They're teens. There's always going to be that attitude. If the girls got something out of the assembly, they're probably going to keep it to themselves.)

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Money for Nothing


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 an enemy (or at least someone who's not a friend) gave you five million dollars, no strings attached? 

Monday, November 26, 2018

Some Christmas Knitting

Christmas is less than a month away, and I'm plugging away on a couple scarves. That were gifts for last Christmas.

Ah well...

It's been a while since I posted a picture of this scarf. I'm slowly making progress...


And here's a close up where you can see the detail a bit better...


I finally started on the purple skein last week. I had to rip it out and start over (naturally). I got most of the work done on Thanksgiving. (What? You don't bring your knitting with you for family get togethers?)


And both the purple and the teal came out on camera! Woo-hoo!

With last week off, I managed to get a few new listings done. I'll leave you with those. (Click on the pictures to go to the listings on Etsy.)

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Mermaid Tail Lip Balm Holder in Blue and Green Variegated

Neon Yellow EOS Lip Balm Holder Cozy

Keyfob Lip Balm Cozy in Navy Blue

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Pom Pom Dangle Drop Red Lightweight Firework Puff Ball Earrings

Friday, November 23, 2018

The Final Word


Since school is on a break, I thought I'd take a break from subbing stories. So, a bit of a musical quiz for you...

Can you pick the final word in these song titles?


4 minutes. 40 songs. 

The first time I tried this, I got 30 right. As I wrote the post and redid, I got 32. Still, music is not my strong suit. You're likely to do better.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

God Friended Me


The schools have the week off, so I'll return with last week's subbing stories next week. Today, it's another edition of "Under the Radar TV Shows". That is, a TV show that isn't getting a lot of attention.

This time, I'm here to tell you about God Friended Me.

If you're like me, you probably rolled your eyes when you saw this in the fall lineup. The title? The premise? Really?

In case you didn't hear about it, the show is about a Millennial who gets a friend request from God on Facebook. (A Millennial on Facebook? Already, my suspension of disbelief is strained.) And then he's given friend suggestions. These friend suggestions turn out to be people who need help...

But here's the thing. It's really well done. It's on Sunday nights (on CBS), and it's a very nice show. I mean nice in a good way.

Miles (the Millennial) is an atheist and son of a minister. He has a podcast called The Millennial Prophet where he rails against religion. And he's dubious about the whole God thing. He resists the friending and the helping until he kind of gets into it.

In fact, Miles recruited his friend to hack into the God account and figure out who's behind it. Finding this person or people is proving to be way harder than they expected.

It's a nice show with the whole helping people thing, but the stories aren't as straightforward as you'd expect. It's a very retro premise, but they don't conclude the stories in that retro way. A woman comes to New York to find "the love of her life", but it turns out that the guy is gay. It's still a nice reunion between two old friends. (They'd met at a summer camp when they were kids.)

If you're not watching, you should give it a try. Just one episode. Right now, it's nice to have a nice show. It's a great balance to some of the other darker shows out there. (Because if you want dark, I could tell you all about YOU...)

And let me know if you're watching it, too. I hope I'm not the only one.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

A Different Kind of Tourist


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 meeting time travelers was an ordinary occurrence? 

Monday, November 19, 2018

Christmas Tree Ornaments and Mermaid Lip Balm Holders


I got all the knitted and beaded ornaments listed, at least I got the ones listed that I have pictures for. (They're here if you're interested.) I'll just add the ones not listed to the pile of stuff I still need to photograph.

If you recall, a while ago I made a mermaid tail lip balm holder in teal blue. Only, I couldn't get the color to come out right in the photograph...


It turns out that the fixes I used to get purple to work also helped with the teal. Now I get pictures that look like this...


Which is such a better representation of the actual color. I was happy enough with it that I got it listed, too.

I also managed to make and list mermaid tail lip balm holders for the EOS lip balms...


I just like the way it looks when upside down. But hanging from a lanyard, it looks like this...


I'll be listing more of these as the week progresses. You can find all these lip balm holders here.