Friday, August 17, 2018

The Ungraduate

It was Friday of the second week in the computer aided drafting class at the continuation high school. I got a call from the counselor. It was about Travis.

I've had Travis in various classes over the years. He's nice enough, but with an Eddie Haskell vibe.

Week one in class Travis informed me that he was in class for "careers". (They are required to do five credits worth of careers at the school, the equivalent of a semester course.) He needed two more credits.

And this is where we all dropped the ball. I thought I was in the class for a week, so I didn't think too much of this. And Travis didn't press me on assigning him work worth two credits in careers. I thought he was getting those credits from another teacher. And Travis spent all his time in class playing computer games.

But on Friday, the counselor wanted to know what Travis had gotten done. He was supposed to graduate that day, and all he was missing were those two credits in careers.


Yeah, he'd done nothing in class. Well, he'd half-assed a couple assignments, but nothing worth two credits.

Contacting the regular teacher was difficult because he was on jury duty. He wouldn't be able to see what Travis had submitted to him (via online means) until he was done for the day.

So, Travis missed his graduation date.

The way the continuation high school works, the students graduate as soon as they have completed their credits. So, Travis could graduate the following Monday if he manages to get those credits done. Or he could graduate Tuesday.

While I feel a bit bad for having not followed up on Travis' credits, I'm not terribly concerned about causing him to not graduate. Because he will. Just a bit later than originally expected. (At this point he's a fifth year senior, so it's not the first time he's missed a graduation date.)

By the way, the trial the teacher is on is dragging out. I'll be back the next week. I'll let you know if/when Travis does manage to graduate.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Clearly a Lie

Seventh period. For a change I had more than one student in class. I actually had two!

Yesterday I mentioned how the software had been down. They had the career research assignment to do or a couple of hand-drawn drafting assignments. It wasn't what they'd usually do in this class (computer aided drafting), but it wasn't completely off-topic.

A boy in the corner of the room laughed loudly. I glanced at what he had on his computer screen and found that he was watching something on YouTube. It looked like video from a radio station interview. It could have been a podcast.

(There is software on the teacher's computer that lets me watch what each student has on their computer screen. I've mentioned the technology before.)

Whatever it was, it wasn't on task.

I kept an eye on his computer as well as the computer of the other student in class. Neither were doing any work. Ah well.

At the end of the period, I went to "collect" their drawn-with-pencil-on-paper assignments. (Hey, the boy could have done that work with the video in the background. I don't know how, but many students do work better with background noise.) Of course, his paper was blank.

Me: "You did no work today?"

Boy: "I worked on that." He pointed at the career assignment. It was written on the board.

Me: "No, you didn't. You were watching videos all period."

He didn't argue with me any further.

Apparently, he's not aware of the monitoring software. But even then, he was laughing out loud. Loudly. For the whole room to hear. And he saw me look over at him. He really thought I wasn't aware he was watching a video that he found funny? Seriously?

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Recipe for Disaster

It's the second week in the computer aided drafting class. Their teacher is stuck on jury duty. But at least this week the software is working...

Yes, last week was a bit of a nightmare. It was bad enough that the teacher was out. (Kiddos really don't like it when their teacher is out. They like consistency.) But then we had the computer issue.

Without going into too many boring details, the software that they use to do the drafting stopped working on Tuesday. And it took the tech guy until Friday to get the problem solved. It was a whole thing. Calls to software reps. Reinstalling on all the computers in the room individually. We were lucky that they got it to work, finally.

So, teacher out for days plus software not working plus students not very motivated... Oh, did I mention that the students feel like it's too early in the school year ("It's still summer"), so therefore they should not be required to do any work yet? And so many of them "didn't want" this class and didn't understand what this class was about.

Okay, then, if they were not sure what the class was about, I had an idea. Since the software wasn't working, they could do a career survey. I asked them to research a job that would use computer aided drafting in it.

I gave them a list of things to look for including salary and working conditions. If they knew what CAD could be used for, they might be more interested in pursuing it, don't you think?

Yeah, that could have worked. There was only one problem--they weren't going to do the assignment. They'd rather play games. Or watch YouTube. Sigh.

So, it's week two, and the software is working. And they... Well, some of them are working. That's progress, right?

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Our Twitter Selves

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. 😉

Today's question was inspired by something I saw on Twitter:

(Which is funny as my Twitter password is the one I can never remember. The only reason I can log in is because that password is stored in my devices, but if I try to log in to Twitter from anywhere else, I can't get in.)

OK. So...

What if your memory was failing (amnesia, dementia, a magical spell that deleted your memory...), and all you had to go on to figure you out were your tweets from Twitter? (And your likes, I would assume.)

Monday, August 13, 2018

Crocheting Dishcloths

"Do you make crocheted dish cloths?"

The question was posted to my Facebook page. It was something I hadn't considered before. Could I? Certainly.

Dish cloths are just small squares crocheted (or knit) using 100% cotton yarn. And I have a stash of cotton yarn. It's the yarn I use to make the jellyfish.

Rather than spend hours (or days) perusing stitch dictionaries (which is what I would normally do, looking for the perfect stitch), I searched Pinterest for dish cloth patterns. It's cheating, I know. But I also know I could then spend days working on swatching for sizing, and the stitch I picked might not look all that great.

I found this Crocheted Textured Dishcloth pattern from Just Be Crafty, and here's what came out...

Yes, it's white. That was the color requested.

And now I have a great idea on how to use up the odd and ends of cotton yarn that isn't enough to create a jellyfish.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Door Monitor

CAD (computer aided drafting) class. The teacher is on jury duty, a trial that is scheduled to go a couple weeks.

Fourth period was the period. Every teacher has one. It's the class where the difficult students reside. In my case, it's the biggest class of the day, and half the class wasn't doing much in the way of classwork.

This was also the class right before lunch.

I generally give a three minute warning. ("We have three minutes left of class.") It's their cue to pack up and get ready to go. This group lined up at the door. The door opened, and a couple students slipped out. We still had a couple minutes before they should have been dismissed.

I was able to get them back. When they repeated this sneakiness the next day, I knew I was going to have to be a whole lot more proactive about this.

On the third day, I called the three minute warning from just beside the classroom door. No one bothered to line up. Success! It meant that I'd have to block the door for them near the end of the period, but that's not a big deal.

But, on the fourth day, it was buyout day. That's the day that students can get buyouts signed so they can be excused from attending school on Friday.

At the three minute warning, I was positioned by the door. I had signed the buyouts. But, of course, a student hadn't given me his earlier. He asked for me to sign it, which meant I had to leave my door position to get my pen.

Naturally, this is when the kiddos lined up at the door. And, of course, someone slipped out. (It was Ten Minutes.)

Of course, I stepped out to retrieve him. He attempted to hide behind the door. At that moment Elliot slipped out...

I got them back. I made them wait until the bell. But they're going to be tricky. On the bright side, they're the only ones that are doing this.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Ten Minutes' Rap Battle

Yesterday, I mentioned the sleeper is at the continuation high school. Of course, I had him in class. And, of course, he wasn't doing much in the way of working.

The class is computer aided drafting. They "draw" various objects in a computer program. But, this being the continuation high school, many of them don't really apply themselves to classwork.

Ten Minutes (I'm stealing Mr. T's nickname for him) had a buddy in this class. Elliot and Ten Minutes challenged each other to a rap battle. (I'm not sure who instigated this.) At least, that's what they told me later.

I became aware of the situation when Ten Minutes started rapping. Now, he wasn't loud, but in a quiet classroom, even a quiet speaking voice rapping is noticeable. First I dinged him on his language. Because, rap. Every third word or so was inappropriate for a classroom setting.

But then I understood what they were doing. Namely, they weren't doing the assignment. So, I put the kibosh on the rap battle.

They were upset. What? They couldn't talk? I said talking was fine, but not getting any work done... Oh, and there was the whole how-do-they-rap-without-cussing thing. They didn't see the problem. (That they didn't see why having a rap battle in class was inappropriate tells you quite a lot about these boys.)

Once they accepted the rap battle was called on account of substitute teacher, they had to figure out who won. They asked for my ruling. Which was rather ridiculous as Elliot didn't get a chance to compete, and I interrupted Ten Minutes' rap.

I declared a tie.

I told them that they could totally have a rap battle... after class, outside, and/or after school. If they did this, they did not tell me about it.

(It's amazing the things they have to do that suddenly aren't so important when they're not in the classroom.)

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Self Own

I was back at the continuation high school. Yes, their school year starts early. (They get extra weeks off at Christmas and Easter, so don't feel too sorry for them.)

It was the computer aided drafting class. Some were making better use of their time than others.

Near the end of fifth period, a student remarked, "You were my sub for Mr. T's class in summer school."

Students end up at the continuation high school because they need to make up credits. They are strongly encouraged to attend the summer school of the traditional high schools in the district, because they can pick up as many as 15 credits. (They need 220 credits to graduate.) So, I was not that surprised to see some of the students I had seen not too long ago.

This boy had been in the class with the sleeper.

The sleeper slept for Mr. T, too. Mr. T called him "Ten Minutes", because apparently he would sleep those two hours every day only waking the last ten minutes of class. Then he'd scribble something on a paper and turn it in.

I have a feeling summer school was a waste of time for the sleeper.

Apparently, Mr. T went over my sub note with the class. (Some teachers do this. It's a learning opportunity for the students. They get to learn what got reported so that in future they can behave better for subs.) And the sleeper's dishonorable mention was talked about.

That's when the student who related this story piped up. He told Mr. T he was probably mentioned in my note for being on his phone.

I vaguely recalled this student. I can't recall if I asked him to put away his phone or not. But it was clear he was working. So, he didn't reach the threshold necessary for me to feel he belonged in the note.

(If I asked him to put away his phone and he did, I don't feel the need to report it. If he was listening to music or occasionally doing something on the phone while working--phone as background--I don't feel the need to report it. I only report phone usage when that's all they're doing, and after multiple warnings to do something, they don't.)

Mr. T informed the student that I hadn't reported him. "I owned myself," he told me.

Yup. That's the best thing about detailed notes to the teacher. Students tend to assume more is in them, and they do the work for me.

(Oh, and the sleeper? Was also in class with me on this day. Yup, he's a student at the continuation high school, too. And no, he didn't sleep in class. He didn't do any work, either.)

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Watching You

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 found out someone was watching everything you do on your computer screen?

(This week's question pulled from my life. Long story. But I was the watcher, not the watched.)

Monday, August 6, 2018

Four More Jellyfish... Again

Remember the jellyfish I made for my nephews' birthdays? The jellyfish never made it. They are lost somewhere...

I took some time to be sad about this. And mad. And then I got to making them again. (This time I'll give them to a person to take. Hopefully that'll take care of the problem.)

Now, I have pictures of jellyfish...

These should look familiar. I used the exact same colorways as before.

Although, the tentacle placement is probably different. I place them via formula, but that formula isn't exact. It's kind of hard to explain.

And so, I'll leave you with these shots of the jellyfish. Hopefully this time they'll make it to their intended recipients.

Friday, August 3, 2018

The Last Day of Summer School

It was the last day of summer school...

(Before anyone wonders about "time off", the continuation high school started up that same week. Guess what I'll be writing about next week.)

It was one of the "severe" special ed. classes. Their summer school program was more of a summer day camp situation. With air conditioning.

The last day was about cleaning up the room. During the summer, the custodial staff takes every stick of furniture out, cleans the floors, and brings it all back in again. (They've already started on the rooms that weren't used for summer school. It's fascinating to peek in to see these rooms that I've been in all empty.) So, anything the kiddos left behind would likely get lost if not tossed outright.

It really doesn't take that long to clean the room.

So, somehow I managed to work the first and the last day of summer school. And many days in between. Weird.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Splitting Early

Chemistry. They had the class for four hours. (There was a fifteen minute break in the middle.) And it was a very quiet four hours.

They were working on their "final". They had the final for the semester they were making up, and they could use their books and notes to find the answers. And they had four days to complete this.

Yeah, many of them weren't doing much of it. Some were chipping away at the questions. Others... Well, there were lots of phones out. (One boy had started his summer homework for AP US history.)

At the break, they left the room. At the start of the second two hours, I again checked attendance. In situations like this where they essentially are in the class for two classes, I am in the habit of verifying that everyone returns. It's rarely an issue.

However, on this day, it was. Eighteen students left the room. Seventeen returned. I triple counted. But luckily, I had a seating chart, so I was easily able to identify the girl who did not come back.

No, I have no idea where she went. As it's summer school and students are not necessarily taking a full day's worth of classes, they open the gates at the breaks, so the girl could have easily just left.

If she could afford the absence, she could afford the absence. Maybe she thought I wouldn't notice?

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

The Adventure of English

There's a treasure trove of programming on YouTube. Many shows I remember fondly have ended up there. On subbing-free Wednesdays, I'll present a random video that I loved back in the day. Some of these may not have aged all that well. If you have some time, come on and take a trip down memory lane with me.

Today's YouTube offering is of much more recent vintage than the last one. This was a ITV series that aired in 2003. I think I must have seen it a year or so after on Discovery or TLC.

The Adventure of English is a history of the English language, from its earliest development through its current use all over the world. If you find any of this interesting, I would urge you to seek out and watch the whole series. It's not a long series; there are only eight episodes.

The episode I'm linking to is called "Speaking Proper", and it's about the fight to keep English from becoming some sort of unwieldy language and to keep it from changing. Yeah, they failed. It's just over 50 minutes long, but definitely worth your time.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

What Day Is This?

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 "they" decided to revamp the calendar? (By "they", I mean people who could do such a thing, tell us they did such a thing, and make it so we had to adopt it.)

I may not be around much today. It's my birthday, so I might be busy. 😄

Monday, July 30, 2018

For Pretty: A Water Bottle Cover Pattern

Back in January, I previewed the water bottle cover I'd made.

What I didn't mention was that I had submitted the pattern to a publication in hopes they would publish. Alas, they passed. But, they gave me an interesting note. They said that the pattern would have been better if it had been more of a formula so that anyone could cover any size bottle.

Well, that's something I can work with.

I sat with the idea for a while. How could I come up with such a formula? I knew what I had done to figure out how to make my knitting fit my water bottle. How could I put that in pattern form?

This is why I'm only putting this pattern out now, in July, when it was initially completed before January.

The solution I came up with was to create a worksheet-style addition. And by self-publishing a PDF, I could make the pattern as long as needed. (Publications have space considerations.)

The pattern is now in three parts. Part one contains the basics of construction. Part two has the instructions on how to complete the math to figure out how many stitches are needed. And part three is a fill-in-the-blank worksheet where the math can be done. Oh, and then there's the stitch pattern and such.

Whichever parts someone needs can be printed out, and the unneeded sections can be ignored.

I think it's a rather elegant solution. But time will tell if I'm alone in that opinion.

I created a Pinterest-type photo to make pinning the link easier...

Here are the links on where the pattern can be purchased:

Friday, July 27, 2018

Finishing It Up

U.S. history, second semester. It was the last block (two hours) of the day. I had a class of fourteen. They had bookwork, and they spent the time in near silence.

Mostly they appeared to be working. Well, except for two boys who had their heads down on their desks.

It seemed to be one of those days that don't make the blog. Until...

End of the day. They packed up and left. I had taken the turned in work and stacked it neatly in one pile and left it on a desk at the front.

I was finishing packing up my stuff when I noticed I still had one straggler. He was one of the boys who had been asleep. For a moment, it looked like he was going to slide his paper into the stack, so I went about my business. (I don't consider the work late if they turn it in as they leave. If he had handed it to me right then, I would have put it in exactly the same spot.)

But, instead of sliding his paper in, he pulled another paper out. And then he was busily writing something...

Um, no.

I shooed him away. He had only managed to copy one answer, leaving two full answers on his paper. (He had done one on his own earlier.) He sought about for a good lie, but he couldn't come up with one.

Student logic. He had slept for much of the two hours, and he figured he could make up in the work in what? Five minutes after class? Seriously?

Of course, this didn't take into account the other three assignments for that day. (He was copying the worksheet, but they were also assigned four questions from the book and an outline of the chapter.)

Perhaps I should have let him copy. The page he had pulled? It belonged to the other student who had been sleeping.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

A Fortuitous Mistake

As I stood in front of the classroom door waiting for security to arrive to let me in (they don't give keys to subs during summer school), the teacher arrived. He was going to be out the next day.

Upon conferring with the summer school principal, he figured out that he had written the wrong day on the request. ("I'm bad with numbers. That's why I teach history.")

Several thoughts went through my head. What was I going to do with my day now? I got up and dressed this early for nothing? But before I could contemplate driving home, the summer school principal had turned her and my attention to a different teacher.

"She can cover your class."

After a bit of confusion, what was happening became clear. The other teacher, Ms. M, had just been discussing with the summer school principal getting a sub so she could leave that day. Her husband was in the hospital. And while she was just hoping to leave early, since I was already there, she could leave immediately.

Perfect timing. And a mistake that turned out to put me right where a sub was needed.

This is not the first time this sort of thing has happened. (Luckily I was on hand on a day when a teacher learned her brother had just died in an automobile accident.) I just didn't expect it to happen in summer school.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Their Usual Work Ethic

Two hour class. Four students.

It was special ed. science. Their assignment was what you'd expect in a summer school class--lots of writing, answering questions from the textbook.

I caught a boy on his phone.

"I'm taking a break..."

Um, yeah, that's the sort of behavior that got you stuck in summer school in the first place.

Half an hour left, another boy started to pack up. Nope. He could do something still.

"I'm done."

I informed him he could start on the next chapter.

I know two hours can be long, but that's the only class they had, and they weren't using the time well.

Well, naturally. I suspect that's what necessitated them having to take summer school in the first place.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Don't Look Behind the Curtain

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 this is all a big, fat distraction?

No, I'm not going to specify from what. Or which. I had no idea what to ask today. This is the best I could do. I'm going to let your imaginations run wild.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Blame It On the Heat

The jellyfish are coming along...

I don't have a complete jellyfish at the moment. But these pieces will go into the four that are in process.

I could be totally done with them except: (1) It's been warm, so I haven't been doing as much yarny stuff as I would do when it's cold, (2) I've been working many days (which is such a shock as I don't usually get so many summer school days, but I'm so very, very grateful for the work), and (3) It turns out that the heat is making me stupid.

How is the heat making me stupid? The other night I thought it'd be fun to do some different color combinations of the flip-flop keychains. I needed a bit of a break from the jellyfish. And while one came out really nice...

...I managed to make stupid mistakes on the other two. This one in orange and purple... for me, so I'm making myself live with the mistake. Can you see it?

As for the other...

...I was going to put it up for sale, but I can't sell this. Can you see the mistake? How about here?

Yeah, so I'm going to have to remake this. Ah well.

I did manage to list a couple more lip balm cozy colors. (If you click on the pictures, it'll take you to the listings on Etsy.)

 Keyfob Lip Balm Cozy in Yellow

 Keyfob Lip Balm Cozy in Orange

As I was doing some research, I saw lip balm cozies with mermaid tails on them. What do you think? Should I attempt such a thing?

Friday, July 20, 2018

Cutting her Losses

I was taking roll by seating chart.

"Where's Sarah?"

A girl raised her hand. She was sitting three seats behind and three seats over from where she should have been. But, was the seating chart accurate or had she been recently moved? I decided I wasn't in the mood to fight the battle.

I updated the seating chart and continued checking for missing students.

"Where's Angel?"

No one replied.

I knew Brian was absent; I remember him. By my head count, everyone else should have been there.

"Okay, so Brian and Angel are absent..."

No one corrected me. This is usually where someone chimes in with "I'm over here" so they don't get marked absent. Especially during summer school where they only get three before being dropped from the class.

Sarah had moved to sit beside a boy. I removed the phone they had been giggling over. The giggling continued. As the boy was in his assigned seat, it was the girl who needed to move.

I directed her to a seat at the front of the room (near where her assigned seat was). She agreed with no fuss. She packed up her stuff. Then she walked out of the room.

Um, I wasn't kicking her out. Just adjusting her seat.

Okay. Fine. It's summer school. She's absent. I noted this and wrote a note to the teacher about Sarah.

The rest of the class went smoothly. As I collected work from them at the end of the period, I glanced to make sure their names were on their papers.

That was when I saw "Sarah" at the top of a paper.

And suddenly I understood. "Sarah" was Angel. (Sarah was in her proper seat. But because Angel wasn't in hers, the whole row was in question, hence why I called Sarah's name even though she was where she was supposed to be.)

I guess Angel wasn't thinking through the whole lying-about-her-name thing. And she hadn't conferred with Sarah about swapping names. (It must have been the boy. Apparently she couldn't resist getting a chance to flirt with him.)

So, when I asked her to move, Angel must have figured she had nothing to lose by just leaving. She was already marked absent.

Although, why Sarah didn't speak up...

Once I discovered my mistake, it was easy enough to fix Sarah so she was marked present and change my note to reflect the correct name. And all it needed was one more tweak where I mentioned that Angel had lied about her name.


Thursday, July 19, 2018

Worst Case Scenario

English 10, first semester. They had a "character worksheet" to do for half an hour. For the remaining hour and a half, they had a story to read and questions to answer.

Only, it turned out, the story assignment was going to be thwarted by technology.

The schools are getting more and more high tech. The English department has an online textbook called StudySync. They can read stories (or have the stories read to them), watch videos (that go along with the stories), and answer questions (with fun drag and drop capabilities) online. It's a nifty system. I've seen it in use many times.

But on this day it was gone.

Cue panicking sub.

I only discovered the problem when a student called me over. He had logged in to the system, but his student screen was blank. I tried my usual troubleshooting tricks (restart the system), but to no avail.

Time to call for help...

In the end, I got the summer school principal involved. She pulled in the librarian and another English teacher who also uses the system. And from there they pulled in district resources.

It turned out that they had "flushed" the system for summer. And they'd need to repopulate the database. But these were not things that they could do for the sub for the day.

Deep sigh.

But I had two more blocks of students. And there was no way I was giving them an hour and a half of "free time".

I made up something for them to do. I had them pair up and create a dialog. That's where my writer brain went. I don't think they appreciated my writer brain.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

A Quick and Dirty Scare

Sometimes I'm lazy. I'll do a quick head count of the students in a class. I'll note that that number matches the number of students on my roster. That means they're all present. Right? Roll done.

I call it my "quick and dirty" roll call.

However, there are a couple of circumstances that could muck this up. If I had a "visitor", I would still be missing a student. And for summer school, there's one other small issue...

It was the last block of the day. (The day is comprised of three two-hour blocks.) English 10, second semester. 17 bodies in the room. 17 names on the roll. We were good to go.

About an hour in, we were to read a story. The teacher had left index cards with student names, so I didn't have to find volunteers. (Getting volunteers to read... It's torture. I love index cards.)

I was about half way through the stack of cards when I called "Fiona".

"She's not here."

Oh crap! That meant that someone in the class had been dropped and didn't realize it. (They're dropped from class on their third absence.) And as we were in the middle of something, I wasn't about to stop and call roll.

Luckily, there were only 17 students, and the story was way longer than 17 paragraphs.

I finished the cards. "Did anybody not get a chance to read?"

A girl raised her hand...

We finished up the story. I went back to the roll. I looked for Fiona. She wasn't listed.

Wait. So my roll was okay after all?

I asked the girl who had raised her hand about why she didn't have a card.

Except she did.

At the beginning of class they were to respond to a quote. As I had called on her (via the cards) for that, I had put her card into the "read" pile. (She already participated in class.)

Whew. My "quick and dirty" was accurate. This time. But with a bit of a scare.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Fine Tuning

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've been a bit klutzy lately. Losing my balance and swaying (not falling). Running into doorways. Nothing out of the ordinary, just a bit more so. But what if it isn't me...

What if the world makes little shifts in matter around us? Nothing we'd notice, necessarily. Just occasional adjustments that only effect those in motion at that moment.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Updating Listings

Last week I decided to update a bunch of photos for my shop. (In an effort to get more views, I'm following some advice I saw online and listing different colors of items separately. It'll take a while to get it all done.)

I pulled out a few things...

...and by the time I was finished, I had 279 photos.

Doing the listings takes a bit of time as well. So far, I've listed the orange and pink flip flop keychain...

 Flip Flop Keychain Sandal Zipper Charm in Orange and Pink

...a neon yellow lip balm holder...

 Keyfob Lip Balm Cozy in Neon Yellow

...and a gray lip balm holder.

 Lip Balm Holder in Gray

(If you click on the pictures, it'll take you to those listings on Etsy.)

What I'm working on this week is more jellyfish. Yeah, there'll be pictures when there's something to show.

Friday, July 13, 2018


The week of the 4th of July was a holiday week for the summer school. This incident happened two weeks ago...

Ninth grade English. They were writing a 300-word story.

As there was no seating chart, I took roll the "reverse" way. That is, I walked around the room, asked each student their name, and then marked them present on the class roster.

The office had given me updated rosters when I arrived.

Summer school has a strict attendance policy. They can be absent twice. On the third absence, they are dropped from the class.

I got to the end of the room. The boy gave me his name. It was not on the roster...

"Does that mean I can leave?"

Me: "Have you been absent three times?"

He had.

Oh, he was so excited. It was like he had won the raffle. "I'm done." He was packed up and out the door so fast.

Of course, he had enrolled in the class because he needed English 9 credits, which he'll have to make up at some point. So, not really a victory.

But that was one less student in the class.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Bad Neighbors

There's this family that lives in my complex. They arrived in the spring. And they are the very worst neighbors.

They are obnoxious. They roam the sidewalks as if they own the place. They make a mess. And if I want to pass by them, they give me ugly stares and hiss at me. Yup, the father likes to hiss.

Yes, I'm shaming them on the internet. Here's what they look like:

I've never meant them any harm. But if I come close...

They gather around, ready for a fight. See the kiddo just chillin' on the sidewalk. Just sitting there. My complex houses lots of people, and they like to walk their dogs. But these neighbors object to that sort of activity.

It's so bad, if we see them in our path, we turn around and go around the long way. It's easier than a confrontation. There's no telling how violent they might get.

Yet, somehow the ducks, turtles, and lizards seem to have figured out how to live amongst them. I wonder if they give them as wide a berth as we do.

I hope they leave soon. It'd be nice to take a stroll outside without worrying about running in to them.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

The Day the Universe Changed

There's a treasure trove of programming on YouTube. Many shows I remember fondly have ended up there. On subbing-free Wednesdays, I'll present a random video that I loved back in the day. Some of these may not have aged all that well. If you have some time, come on and take a trip down memory lane with me.

The Day the Universe Changed. When I saw various episodes on PBS as a teen, I remembered how much I had enjoyed science back when I was a kid. It's one of the reasons I majored in physics in college.

It's a show about the history of science. It takes some "modern" concept (the show came out in 1985, so now their modern is 30 years out of date) and traces how it came to our understanding. Many times, it's almost a miracle that we know anything at all.

What I loved about this show was how funny it was. At least, I found it funny in how various ironies played out. James Burke had a way of describing things (in that very British way) to highlight how very human the scientific process can be.

Once upon a time I wanted to get all of these episodes on video, then DVD. Now, some are on YouTube.

(Turns out that I can buy this now. Isn't the internet grand?)

This episode is titled "Infinitely Reasonable", and it's one of the reasons that my blog title resonated with me. (I can't say it's why I started calling my blog Laws of Gravity, but it was definitely a contributing factor.) It's 45 minutes, but it passes fast if you enjoy this sort of thing.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018


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 only able to eat food you hate? 

(I'm not going to specify a why, but some possibilities are allergies, a diet, or perhaps a post-apocalyptic scenario where food is scarce.)

Monday, July 9, 2018

My Week in Projects

Last week was a holiday week in the district. Yeah, the whole week. Did I get any knitting done? Nothing spectacular. In my defense, there was this holiday. And it got kinda hot at the end of the week. And then there was that day I had to stand in line at the DMV... (Yeah, I know, make an appointment. Someone waited a bit too long to make that appointment.)

When it's summer, I do more crocheting. Crocheting is cooler. When I knit in the heat, my palms sweat. So, I made another flip-flop...

In pink and orange... Because pink and orange...

In case you hadn't realized, the sole is in the trim color...

And then there was a little key-per keychain that was for a custom order. (This was knit, for the record.)

Colors chosen by the customer...

And I finally took some pictures of... a pom pom. I broke down and bought a pom pom maker a few weeks ago. And I went a little crazy with it.

It turns out that making pom poms is kinda fun. I followed a pattern with the intent of making it look like a watermelon...

It needs a bit more of a trim. And someone who's had a bit more practice. (After this, I practiced doing a little color blocking. Pictures of that I'll post another time.)

I'm also in the process of collecting pom pom patterns. I have them collected on a Pinterest board.

Oh, and one last jellyfish...

Not the last jellyfish I'll ever make, mind. (I have to remake the jellyfish for my nephews. Theirs... got lost in the mail.) Just the last jellyfish picture for today.

Happy Monday.