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.

Friday, July 6, 2018

The Chromecart Key

Some days I really should stay in bed.

When I checked in for the day, I was given the lesson plans and class rosters. I was told I was in room 115, which was next door to the office. Then they called for someone to come unlock the door. (They don't have extra keys for summer school, so we subs are out of luck.)

I got in the room and started looking for the Chromecart key.

Over the last two years, Chromecarts have become ubiquitous. It's a small cart that houses 36 Chromebook computers. The Chromebooks have little slots where they live, and they can be plugged in in there. The carts have a lock on the outside, so we can keep students from borrowing a Chromebook when it's not a computer day.

I am very familiar with the Chromecarts. I have frequently locked and unlocked them.

So, when the lesson plan said "find the Chromecart key and unlock the Chromecart", I knew what to look for and I knew what to do.

Only, there was no Chromecart key. Anywhere. I looked where the lesson plan said it was, but there was nothing there.

Then I happened to look up at the door...

Room 116. I was in the wrong classroom.

I ran back to the office, asked for them to call for someone to open the correct door this time, and I headed back out to wait.

By the time the door was unlocked, I had students waiting with me. (The guy who had the key was busy doing his job, so it took him some time to get back to me. To unlock another door for me. Since I wasn't paying attention to which room I should have been in in the first place.)

We all got in the room. And the Chromecart key was exactly where the lesson plan said it should be. I went to unlock the cart...

I put the key in the lock. I turned the key. I went to press the catch to release the door... Nothing. It was still locked.

I repeated this procedure several times. There was nothing for it. The door wouldn't unlock.

So, I called the office, and I got the summer school principal. I told him of my issue, and he said he'd send someone in a few minutes.

At this point, the kiddos were getting restless. So, I attempted to explain what was going on. I offered to let the kiddos try.

And wouldn't you know it, one of the kiddos managed to get the thing open... just as an administrator arrived.

Yup, so I looked like a complete idiot in front of a class of 30, school security, and two administrators. And the day hadn't even started yet.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

The Bribe

It was one of those special ed classes--you know, the ones where the middle school age kiddos can't read. Their summer program is a three-hour day where they do a little reading, a little math, and they paint paper towel rolls to make rainsticks out of them.

There's always that one student who we have to keep an eye on. For this group, her name was Sophie.

Sophie did what she wanted to do when she wanted to do it. One of the instructional aides, Ms. R, called her "princess". (Well, she was "princess" behind her back. To her face, Ms. R called her "mija".)

Sophie liked to hit. She would also run. (She only ran once this day.) But for the most part, we got through the day with few issues.

Until clean up time.

Everyone else in class had packed up. They sat in their seats, waiting patiently to be dismissed.

Sophie decided she wanted to explore the teacher's desk. She had to touch everything, including the expensive electronic tools like the document camera and the copier. And it was less of a touch and more of a pounding...

Nothing any of us did could get her to leave the teacher's desk and go back to hers.

So, Ms. R decided to try another tactic.

"Everyone who's sitting at their desks gets chips."

Ms. R grabbed a bag of chips and gave everyone else a handful. The other kiddos got down to munching. Sophie appeared not to care, but she left the teacher's desk and went to sit at hers. For a bit.

Victory. For a moment.

(Sophie wouldn't leave the room at dismissal time. The only reason she's not still there is because one of the instructional assistants went to the parking lot and had her mother come in and take her out.)

Tuesday, July 3, 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. 😉

You've heard of dark matter, haven't you? How about parallel universes? So, today let's combine both of these concepts...

What if the unseen matter of the universe belongs to these parallel universes? What if the reason the matter is "dark" is because it is out of phase with our reality?

Monday, July 2, 2018

The Flip-Flop Keychains Are Available

I made some more flip-flop keychains. (Here's the link to my last post about them, including the video for the pattern.)

Here are the colors I've finished so far. (The listing is now live if anyone wants to purchase one. Here's the link.)

With a three more for a custom order...

I've been taking lots of pictures. Three different photo sessions so far. This guy was supervising the last one...

I'm probably going to do some other color combinations. At the moment I have the yarn in black, white, blue, red, yellow, green, orange, sea green, and pink. (Although, it's not really yarn yarn. It's considered crochet cotton, the kind one would make those delicate doilies with.)

Yeah, I went a little crazy. This is the same crochet thread (yarn) that I made the Halloween mask out of. And it'll be perfect to make some cute earrings...

I'm going to stop now. I might get carried away.

I'm open to color combinations. What should I try next? (And there is a purple available. I've been able to hold out buying it for the moment. But I'd be open to getting it...)