Wednesday, February 28, 2018

In Search of Black

High school art. They had a "busy work" assignment...

The last thing a sub ever wants is a class with nothing to do. But there are times when the class isn't in the midst of anything (like a Tuesday after a four-day weekend after a big project was due), and the teacher has a last-minute necessary absence (like either she or one of her kids got sick). So, the class needs something to keep them busy.

The teacher had a word search and color page for just this contingency.

The color page was an interesting geometric figure. They could color it in or draw designs all over it. Easy points.

Fifth period, one girl went searching through the colored pencils looking for a good black. There were plenty of browns and navy blues, but the black pencils were all about an inch long (or shorter).

Me: "Black seems to be popular."

Student: "Well, this is a high school."

So true.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

The Long Game

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 I'm going to go with another sci fi standby, the time loop. Specifically, I'm talking about the Groundhog Day loop, where characters replay one day over and over and over again... (Warning: link goes to TV Tropes. Click on links at your own risk.)

What if we're living in a Groundhog Day loop, but it's a really, really long one? That is, what if this loop started, say, at the beginning of recorded time? And, what if something resets the world every time? (For argument's sake, let's assume we've done this loop of time at least a dozen times so far.)

Monday, February 26, 2018

A Nordic Super Simple Scarf

I made another one.

For this version, I reversed the shaping.

And I used a different colorway (called "Nordic").

This time, I ended with the same 21 stitches I started with.

(The other one's colorway was called "Dragonfly". For comparison...)

They're for twins. (Their Christmas presents.) I couldn't make the exact same one for each.

So, tell me, those of you who have winter, is it still winter? Or did I finish these just in time for them to pack them up for next year?

(We're having a southern California winter cold snap at the moment. It's been really, really cold for us. But I heard the rest of the country is getting warmer. I mean, I hope for warmth for you all, but my timing just kinda sucks. Ah well, that's on me.)

Friday, February 23, 2018

How Not to Review an Album

When I took over the journalism class (because the teacher was retiring), I was told that hopefully the counselor wouldn't add any students for those last two weeks.

Alas, she did.

Jason needed something to do, but all the articles had been assigned. So, I flailed about for something to give him. I hit upon the idea of a review, as the movie reviewer had been absent for days. But he wasn't into movies. However, he was into music.

(I've read the school newspaper. Several issues, in fact. So, I know they occasionally have an album review. It wouldn't be out of place.)

Jason wanted to review his own music. He couldn't comprehend why I would object to that.

But eventually, I got him to understand that he could review any other album by any other artist he liked.

So, for three days he worked on his review. Once he finished it, he submitted it to me.

It had the usual grammatical errors. Those I was expecting. I was also expecting that I might not have heard of the artist or the album. (I hadn't. He reviewed Huncho Jack, Jack Huncho.)

What I didn't expect is that he didn't actually review the album. He put together three paragraphs that are obviously cobbled together from that Wikipedia page I linked to. Nothing about what the album sounds like. Nothing about what he thought of it. Nothing that sounds like an album review.

He had no idea what I was talking about when I gave him back my notes.

I attempted to explain what I meant by an album review, but it was like I was speaking to him in Greek. He didn't get it. So, I searched out some examples of album reviews. I gave him a link to Rolling Stone's page of album reviews. He balked until I explained I just wanted him to take a look and use those as examples.

A couple days later he resubmitted his article to me. He had added a paragraph on the end about the music.

While I would really like to just copy and paste what he wrote, copyright and all attaches, so I won't. Suffice it to say, he wrote a sentence saying what kind of music it was, and not saying a whole lot more.

Hopefully the new journalism teacher can get a better album review out of him. I tried. I really did.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Dropping a Mixtape

Apparently I've never written about Earvin before. Funny. He's been a thorn in my side for a while. I guess he's not done anything blog-worthy until now.

It was week two in the English 12 classes at the continuation high school. Third period was journalism. (Read: the kids that write the school paper.) Ms. M had dropped Earvin from the class before she retired to make things easier for me, but the counselor put him back in.


Earvin is one of those students who has no concept of proper behavior. Oh, he pays lip service to it, but when I actually want him to sit down and let me start class, he'll "do it in a minute". He just needs to finish whatever he's talking about right then. And that something is rarely, if ever, classroom appropriate.

On this day, Earvin was all about the rap song he had just released into the world.

He had to play it for everybody. Repeatedly.

And no matter how much I protested that it was inappropriate for school and that we had classwork to do, Earvin needed "just a minute" to "finish up".

Oh, the class was so enthusiastic about the song. They're sure he's going to be famous. And they told him how brilliant it was.

Personally, I thought the song was profanity-laced, misogynistic, violent, and rude. Of course, I'm not into rap music, and when every other word is either an f-bomb or that n-one, I'm left totally cold.

But Earvin was so proud. And he had to promote it. He needed a credit card. He asked me if he could use mine.

And then he was shocked that I wouldn't let him use it. (He only needed $5, and he was going to give me the cash.)

Some students are just so clueless...

Earvin seems to think I like him. I have no idea what gave him that impression.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Going Over My Head

I got called into the assistant principal's office. Twice. In one day.

It was week two of the two week assignment at the continuation high school. I was covering the English 12 class. The teacher had retired.

The first time, I had sort of requested the interview. Student issue. The second time, however, took me by surprise. I was sure I was in trouble.

And I was in trouble. Sort of.

The students had complained to the assistant principal (AP) that I had been giving them too much work.

So, I told the AP exactly what I had assigned. I even emailed her copies of the all the assignments. She looped in one of the other English teachers, and I met with this other English teacher the next day to go over stuff. (I've subbed for Ms. S many, many times.)

Neither the AP nor Ms. S thought I was being unreasonable in my assignments. And it wasn't like I wasn't giving the students ample extra time to make things up.

In the course of our conversation, I mentioned to Ms. S that the AP had received complaints, and I wanted to make sure I wasn't overburdening the students. Ms. S then told me who the student was that complained...

I recognized the student's name. Because the school is so small, I know her face. But only because the school is so small. Not because I had seen her in class...

Ms. S and I had this conversation on day seven of my nine days covering this class. The student who complained? Had been absent all of those seven days. (She actually had the journalism class, too. She showed up for that class once. On a Friday. Twenty minutes late.)

Apparently the girl had asked what she missed of her fellow classmates and balked at the amount of work...


I'm not sure what she was thinking, but she hadn't spent any time discussing classwork with her classmates. That would have required effort.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Annual Cross

At the heart of much speculative fiction (and fiction in general) is a question. What if? On Tuesdays I like to throw one out there and see what you make of it. Do with it as you please. If a for-instance is not specified, feel free to interpret that instance as you wish. And if you find this becomes a novel-length answer, I'd appreciate a thank you in the acknowledgements.😉

Let's go a little high concept this week. Parallel universes. (Warning: link takes you to TV Tropes. Click, and follow links, at your own risk.)

Have you heard of the concept? It's the idea that there are an infinite number of universes, called the multiverse, that diverge in small (and sometimes large) ways. It's been used in various ways in just about every sci fi TV show.

What if these parallel worlds could only intersect (so one could cross over into them) on specific days of the year (like, their orbits are completely different around the sun, and they only coincide in the same physical space, albeit in a different dimension, one day a year)? 

Monday, February 19, 2018

Evolution of the Smartphone Walking Purse

Once upon a time, I got an iPhone. It was shiny and new. And I decided it needed a cozy.

(This was less of me being a weird knitter and more about not wanting to scratch the thing as it bounced around in my purse. And I wanted an easy way to carry it around if I was just carrying it and not my whole purse.)

I used my favorite cable pattern, and it turned out really nice. I knit more, and I offered them for sale. I even wrote up the pattern and made that available.

Then I got the plus size iPhone, and I had to modify the pattern to accomodate the larger size.

I even knit these for others in the family.

So, when I was offering I'll-knit-you-what-you-want gifts for Christmas, this was requested. Since she uses it as a small purse when she goes out walking, the one I made her before gets lots of use. And this time we agreed that I should line it.

I finished the knitting on this a good month or so ago. It's taken me this long to finish lining it. And now it's done...

I do love knitting these things.

With that complete, it's time to start on super simple scarf 2. I can't knit a scarf for one twin and not the other, can I? But I will not go matchy-matchy, so this one is in a different colorway...

What projects do you have going this week?

Friday, February 16, 2018

Grading Surprise

I'm covering an English class at the continuation high school for two weeks. Their teacher retired. So, that means I have to make sure the assignments get graded and recorded. Which hasn't been too difficult since the majority of the classes aren't bothering to attempt the assignments.

On Friday I was caught up with the grading. I had returned the papers to the students. I explained that any papers that hadn't gotten over 70% weren't getting credit. (This is the policy of the school. They can redo and resubmit for credit.) Alas, the two girls who had completed the assignment had only gotten 30% correct.

One of the girls, after I had explained said, "Wait. You're grading this?"

Um, yeah. What did she expect? Why would I give an assignment and not check it for completeness and accuracy?

Deep sigh. I guess she just wanted me to give her credit for writing words on paper. But that's not how I roll.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Not the Heat

The weather in southern California last week was pretty nice. We had chilly nights (down into the high 40s/lower 50s) and warm days (upper 70s/mid 80s).

So, about mid day I needed a bit of the air conditioner. And while the room was a bit cool in the morning, I didn't think it was that cold. I'd walk into the room being at 64 degrees. (This is Fahrenheit, in case you're reading this from outside the U.S. That's about 18 degrees Celsius.)

With student bodies, that temperature creeps up all on its own. (That and the warming day outside.) So, I didn't feel the need to turn on the heat.

But the students... Oh, they were freezing. I had to put on the heat.

(Which just seemed like a waste of time and energy to me. It wasn't that cold. And it was warming up all on its own.)

When I refused to do this, a student decided he'd turn the heat on himself. Only...

Notice how it says "cool setting"? And 83 degrees? That's overkill.

(When I took the picture, it was 69 degrees in the class. When he was messing with the thermostat, it was 66-67 degrees. And that time? Yeah, it's not set correctly. It was closer to 11 AM when I took the picture.)

He has since figured out how to put it on the heat setting. But he's still not getting it to work. Because of other issues, the HVAC is turned off at the breaker box. However, I'm not about to tell him that. No. I just told him the heater is broken. 

Cheating? Perhaps. But at least I'm not being blasted with unnecessary heat.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Refusing to Leave

I'm covering two weeks of 12th grade English at the continuation high school. The teacher retired.

Third period is the journalism class. And they're a challenge. They're not working on their articles for the newspaper, and not even the threat of getting zero credits for these two weeks are managing to push them to work.

So, when Arlo took a seat in class, I wasn't having it.

Arlo is in the second period, but he's not in the journalism class. Why was he there? Because he didn't like his third period teacher. Who was out that day and had a sub of his own.

In second period, Arlo was a pain. He was "done" with the class, so he was more of a disruption than anything. But he was enrolled in my second period class. I had to put up with him then. I didn't have to put up with him for another period.

I told Arlo to go. He had another class. But he wouldn't leave.

He wanted a reason why he had to go. That he wasn't enrolled in the class and had another class he should have been in wasn't good enough. Nor was my telling him that I was asking him to leave. Oh no.

"I won't leave until you give me a good reason why."

So, we went back and forth a couple times. Then I called for security.

Security arrived. I told Arlo his escort was there. And still, he refused to budge.

At this point, there's not a lot to do. No one could grab the student and drag him out. I wasn't going to attempt it, and I didn't expect security to do so either. Security left. And I busied myself with other things.

Shortly thereafter, the principal arrived. (I had thought he was off campus at the time, so I didn't expect to see him.) Apparently, that was enough for Arlo. He willingly left then.

Well, sort of willingly. He told the principal that I was wacko. Apparently, I was being unreasonable asking him to leave. And I was called other names...

Alas, Arlo's departure didn't make third period any easier to deal with. But at least my issues were now with those enrolled in the class.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

A Cheat

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 won the game (or competition, or contract, or promotion, etc.) only to later discover that you had inadvertently cheated?

Monday, February 12, 2018

Not So Simple Scarf

I finished the super simple scarf...

Although, it turns out that even with something as simple as this, I can make a mistake.

Do you see it? Here's another view...

See it now? No?

Neither do I.

And that's a problem.

I cast on 21 stitches. Somewhere near the end, I had 22 stitches on the needle. Which means somewhere I gained a stitch.

I looked for it and looked for it. Ripped back several rows a few times. Still, I could not find the mistake. So, I chalked it up to a "design feature" and finished it off (while watching the opening ceremonies of the Olympics).

If you do happen to see where the mistake is, please don't tell me. It's now a finished object, and it's going to stay finished. If I know where the mistake is, I'll be tempted to go and fix it, and I really should send it off to its intended recipient.

Friday, February 9, 2018

The Back Row

Kids don't like to sit in the front. If there's a choice of seats, the back row gets filled first. The front row gets filled last.

In the computer-aided design class at the continuation high school, the front row was for the "new" students. The "advanced" students had to sit in the back row. (The computers had different software loaded.)

What's funnier is in this class, the teacher doesn't stand at the front of the room. There's barely any room between the front row and the board. There's more room behind the students so he can look over their shoulders easily.

No matter. The students still avoided the front row. Which wasn't an issue until 4th period, where there were three students more than seats in the back row.

And the one girl who was "new" had claimed a back row computer. She pretended not to hear me when I told her to move.

It's not like they were working, anyway. (I know. I watched what they were doing from the spy software.) Deep sigh.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

The Comfy Chair

C.A.D. Computer-aided design. At the continuation high school.

Occasionally a class will have one. A padded, wheeled chair.

Usually it's behind the teacher's desk, and I can easily shoo the kiddos away from it. (I claim the teacher's chair.) But this one was in addition to the teacher's chair. It was over at the side of the room. I didn't notice it until the first kid into class spied it.

He let out a yelp of pleasure as he ran to it and quickly switched it for his hard chair.

What usually happens in this circumstance is some other kiddo will arrive, complain that the student stole "his" chair, and an argument will ensue. I braced for it...

But it didn't materialize. Each period someone claimed the chair, and no one said anything against them.

I found out about this odd occurrence after school. The teacher arrived to teach his after school classes. (His reason for being out was "personal", but I had heard he'd been sick. Probably the same ick I had.)

I was taking the above picture. Mr. G explained that there's a firm rule about the chair. If it becomes an issue, he'll get rid of it.

As it hadn't been an issue, in fact, it had been surprisingly issue-free, I made sure to say I was pleasantly surprised how well the chair sharing had gone. After how well they handled it, there was no way I was going to have it be taken from them.

Now, if they'd only actually gotten some work done...

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Intelligence Test

Feeling much better after my cold (not 100% better, but I'd put how I felt at about 85%), I returned to work on Wednesday. Integrated math 3. (This is the class that used to be algebra 2.)

I was not the only one getting over a cold. 1st period went through half a box of tissues.

The teacher had left the class three worksheets. Usually, either the teacher would have collated and stapled these, or she would have left me three discreet piles. This time one of the piles was collated but not stapled.

I assume when she copied the worksheets she had the copier collate them. And as I had four periods with the same assignment, that was a lot of pairs of worksheets. I completely understand why she would not have had time to staple them by hand, and I'm assuming that if the copier stapled them, that function was broken.

No matter. The post-its on the piles of assignments explained, and a quick perusal got me up to speed. Now, to explain matters to the kiddos...

1st period. I told them I'd be passing out the first two pages of their three pages first. My explanation made little sense, so I finished it up with, "It'll make sense when you see it. It's an intelligence test."

A student replied, "Great. That I'm sure to fail..."

It was 7:30 in the morning. I probably was asking too much by calling it an intelligence test.

I had been right, however, about them catching on once they saw what I was talking about. The whole day, I only had one student not get all the worksheets assigned.

Tuesday, February 6, 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 discovered that someone took something of yours without your knowledge and then used it to make a huge scientific discovery?

(Yes, I know this book has been written. This book is the classwork of the class I'm covering this week.)

Monday, February 5, 2018

Simple Knit Hats, Try 2

I'm feeling much better, thanks for all the well wishes. And that means I had the energy to go and retake the pictures of the knit beanies. They came out a whole lot better this time.

First, the purple "beehive"...

With another view in portrait (for those work better on Pinterest, or so I'm told)...

And just from the top...

"Hat #2" was very popular last week. Here are some better shots of it...

The portrait view...

And from the back...

I didn't do a whole lot of knitting this week. (I did a lot of TV watching and trying to breathe.) But I did get a bit more done on what I'm calling the super simple scarf. And this week I managed to get a picture...

As you can see, it's still on the needles. The yarn is variegated, so those stripes just kinda happened. It's the perfect thing to work on while I'm not feeling well, if I were to want to work on something. (Turns out when I'm not feeling well, the last thing I want to be doing is knitting.)

I hope to have more finished projects, or at least something new, for you next week. As the cold is no longer an issue, this is possible.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Flower Child or Punk Rocker

I'm feeling a whole lot better (thanks for all the well wishes 🙂), but I'm going to call this blogging week a wash. (Maybe next week, too. Didn't work much...) Which means it's time for a random quiz...

Are You a Flower Child or a Punk Rocker

This is one of those click-bait quizzes. I apologize in advance for all the ads. 

Since I knew I wasn't one or the other, I was rather curious as to my final result... 

If you're interested, click on the spoiler button. I'd love to know what you got. Tell me in the comments.

Happy Friday.