Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Lucky Charm

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. 😉

With a local team going to the World Series, my mind turned to all those little rituals people believe bring their favorite teams luck. You know, like wearing your lucky shirt during a game or needing to spin around three times before a pitch or something. Perhaps you have one?

We all know, in our rational brains, that these rituals don't actually help the team. But...

What if that little ritual you do actually does help your team win games? What if the team found out about it (like, right before a championship tournament)?

Monday, October 22, 2018


I was just perusing some older pictures from the blog (while looking for a picture for a future post), and I stumbled across a couple Halloween-y ones. Like this jack-o-lantern... 

(Which I had at the craft boutique last week.)

And, of course, the spider...

As I don't have anything new for this week, I figured these would work for reruns. I'm sure I'll have a moment of finishing everything at some point. It's just not happening this week.

Although, there is one newbie...

(...that I've been "finishing up" for two weeks. No, it does not take two weeks to make one of these, unless one isn't doing much by the way of yarn work.)

Friday, October 19, 2018

Shrinking Middle Schoolers

It's a ceramics class, so while the kiddos are working with their hands, they talk. About all sorts of things.

I don't know how they got on the topic of middle schoolers. (The classes are populated with 11th and 12th graders.) But, I also don't know how they got on the topic of God, of tweezing eyebrows, of Bob Ross, or of when their parents had the sex that produced them. They talk about all sorts of weird things.

I generally don't butt into the conversations unless they are factually incorrect or they're talking about something that isn't appropriate for a classroom. But this one...

"They're so small. The middle schoolers are shrinking."

Me: "No, you're just bigger. You were that size once."

"No. I wasn't..." She thought about this. "Are you sure they're not smaller than they used to be?"

Me: "The middle schoolers are the same size as they have been. You've just grown."

She took my word for it. But it kind of blew her mind. She didn't think she'd grown that much, but today's middle schoolers were much smaller than her.

The difference between 11th grade and 7th grade is four years. To them it feels like longer. (Oh, don't even get them started on "little kids". They really have no concept of age.)

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Bright and Shiny

Wednesday morning. I opened the door to the classroom, flipped on the lights, and startled at how bright it was in the classroom. Whoa!

But I knew immediately what had happened. I looked up. Sure enough, overnight all the lights had been replaced.

My first assignment for this school this school year was a history class. And I noticed the new lights in that room. Instead of the old fluorescent flat panels, these have a column of light down the center. Apparently, these are LEDs, so they're more energy efficient.

Usually, when I enter a classroom, I haven't been in there in a while. So, I wouldn't notice the difference in the lighting. But, because I had been there the day before, I immediately saw it. And whoa, these things are so much brighter than the fluorescent panels.

Now I understand why others have said that getting used to the new lights is an adjustment.

This also answered a question I had had. I wondered how long it took them to install. (Some rooms have them, some rooms don't.) Now I know. Overnight. (The students said that they're upgrading a couple classrooms a night.)

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

20 More Minutes

I'm still in the same ceramics class from last week. At the moment we're told the teacher is only going to be out two more weeks. We're hopeful, but I won't be at all surprised if this assignment gets extended further.

The sub caller laughed about how I'm getting "the weird ones". To be fair, this is only the second "weird one" after the CAD teacher's jury duty kept getting extended in August. (I suppose she meant that usually these longer assignments are more expected, like a teacher is out for a scheduled surgery or maternity leave.)

What I find funny is that I stumbled into this assignment because I wanted 20 more minutes in bed.

That Wednesday I had nothing scheduled. So, I was happy to receive an early morning wake up call. I had a couple choices as to an assignment (which was much better than the day before when there had been nothing).

I had a choice between two sites. I picked the site with the later start time just because if I'd picked the other site, I would have had to get out of bed as soon as I hung up the phone.

So, I stumbled into this assignment out of sheer laziness. It's a strange sort of luck.

Tuesday, October 16, 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 just discovered that the Halloween costume you've been planning and putting together for weeks is similar to the one your worst enemy (or best friend) is also going to be wearing to that party that you'll both be at?

Monday, October 15, 2018

A Bit of Halloween

Another weekend, another show...

This time it was a small boutique. Luckily we were indoors, for it rained.

While I had my cold last week, I had an itching to make a Halloween headband kind of like my Christmas one. So, once I was feeling better, I got to it.

It was done just in time for the boutique...

It's supposed to be a little witch's hat. Perhaps I should make a bigger one?

Friday, October 12, 2018

He Likes Us

When I talked to the ceramics teacher's wife the day after his accident (where he broke his collar bone), she warned me that his period five was his difficult class.

They got the same intro as the other periods (namely, they were told what had happened to Mr. P and that he'd be out for longer than a couple days). Then we got into the lesson (which was busywork as Mr. P hadn't anticipated being out).

As I do, I strolled around the room. I overheard many interesting conversations.

"And he was just beginning to like us..."

After school, I got a text telling me that Mr. P was awake and wanted to speak to me.

He asked how his classes were. I told him things had gone smoothly, considering. (This was true.)

Then I related what I'd overheard in fifth period.

Mr. P laughed. Apparently, no, he was not warming up to them. But he was amused they thought so.

I felt no need to disabuse them of this notion, though. Perhaps they'll be on their best behavior upon his return.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

That Was Fast

It was one of those mornings. No lesson plans after an early morning wake up call. Luckily, I found one of the teacher's previous sub lesson plans with his phone number on it. Hurrah!

I texted him only to get a call back from his wife. The night before he had gone bicycle riding, and he'd had a bit of an accident. Broken collar bone. She called me because he was asleep.

High school ceramics. The majority of the students are juniors and seniors.

I asked Mrs. P how much I could tell the kiddos. She said I could inform them of the situation.

So, third period, I started class with the story. (I didn't get a chance to talk to Mrs. P until second period.) You'll be glad to know that when I related "broken collar bone", the majority of the class winced. (It's rather scary when classes cheer injury, but I've seen it happen.)

We got on with the lesson (Mrs. P was also helpful in helping me locate lesson plans). Class ended. Then it was passing period to fourth period.

Three or four students had arrived. One boy at the back of the class spoke to a classmate. "Accident. Broken collar bone."

My thought: "Man, that was fast."

You'd think we'd need a period before students came in knowing the story, but no. I guess we can blame it on cell phones. I'm sure someone texted someone and it got back to this kid.

I confirmed his story at the beginning of class. And every period after, there was at least one student who had heard. In sixth period, the girl was incredulous. She read her text. She looked at me. She shook her head relating what she'd read. I confirmed.

At least they know the real story. Those false rumors can quickly get out of control.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Sticky Fingers

Eighth grade math. The assignment: a shut up sheet. (Same teacher as the link. Although, I don't think the kiddos have learned the term yet.)

The lesson plan warned that the students should not be out of their seats. They were not to go anywhere near the front of the room. And for the most part the classes remained seated and on task.

But, they needed a lot of help. The kiddos were having issues with rounding, of all things.

Fourth period. There was this one kid. His desk "magically" slid forward. And his stuff wasn't where he left it, supposedly.

At one of the pauses, when none of the kiddos needed me at the moment, I happened to glance at the teacher's podium, and I found one of my supplies was missing. My eraser.

Before assuming one of the kiddos was a klepto (but these are eighth graders, so I was pretty sure it was theft), I took a look around the podium (that they weren't supposed to get near) to make sure it hadn't fallen somehow.

Luckily, it was mid way through the period. It wasn't too late. And as this sort of thing has happened before, I know how to get my stuff back.

I asked for it.

Now, no one admitted that they took it. And I didn't accuse anyone. I just announced to the class that I wanted my eraser back, and whoever took it needed to return it. I didn't even resort to threats. (Although, I totally would have called security if it had come to it.)

Another student needed help. Before I got back up front, someone "found" my eraser on the floor next to the podium. Imagine that.

Eraser returned. I was good. I said no more of it.

Well, not to the class. To the teacher... Yeah, that went in the note. I may have also pointed out who I suspected was the culprit. Because the teacher totally needs to know he has a klepto in his class.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Contingency Plans

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. 😉

Emergencies happen. It's part of the reason I have a job. And that was kind of driven home for me this last week. Which is what gives us today's question...

What if you were in an accident tonight? (I'm going to specify that while you were hurt, you'll eventually fully recover. However, you won't be going anywhere tomorrow.) What would happen to all of your responsibilities tomorrow? (Will they be covered? Will someone be scrambling? Will you have some stress trying to get things taken care of?)

Monday, October 8, 2018

Slow Week

Not much to report on the knitting/crochet front. I mean, I have projects...

My WIPs live in a box. The above picture shows the box.

I even made some progress on a crocheted mask...

That may not look like much progress, but as it had been sitting for a couple weeks, I consider that a huge improvement.

And then the cold hit...


Resting now. I hope you all have a clear (not stuffy) head this Monday.

Friday, October 5, 2018

The Wait

Called to cover an extra period after lunch, I figured I'd get a jump start on what they'd be doing by getting there a bit early. I called for someone to come and open the room for me.

I got to the classroom a good three minutes before the end of lunch. I waited. Then the bell rang.

Ah well. It wasn't like three minutes was going to make that much of a difference.

As the students arrived (eighth graders), they waited along with me. A few asked why we were waiting. I told them we needed someone to unlock the door.

The passing period ended with no security in sight. Um...

(I should mention that eighth graders do not wait patiently. They wait loudly. And now all the other classes were in session.)

I called again. "I'm still waiting for someone to come and unlock this door."

Apparently, someone had forgotten to make the walkie-talkie call...

Since I had no desk to thump my head on, I'll call this a headwall.

(Security spends their time on campus, observing. Transporting. And such. So, to get into contact with them, one needs to contact them via walkie-talkie. This is easy enough to do as the front office staff has a walkie-talkie or two. Ideally, they grab the walkie-talkie right after someone calls them. Not this time, though.)

Security did arrive shortly after this. Well, two different people arrived. Then there was the whole different issue of getting the kiddos to settle down and get to work, but that's a different story altogether.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

For Show

Government class. They were working on an outline of the U.S. Constitution. (It was actually a great way to make them go through it carefully.)

Certain teachers are fairly strict about things like cell phones and eating in class. Ms. M is one of those. She even has it posted in her class rules:

Note Rule #5
So, when I caught students in fourth period eating in class, I asked them to put the food away. They argued that Ms. M was okay with them eating in class.

Really? That's not what it says in her posted rules.

"Oh, that? That's just for show. Because it's a school rule. She doesn't mean it."

Uh huh. Sure. Let's see how Ms. M reacts to that little tidbit. They really should know by now I write down things like that.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Not Today

It's district writing assessment time. Oh joy...

During the prep/lunch period (at the continuation high school, one prep period is considered lunch), the counselor came in to deliver three writing assessments for students in the next period. She pointed out one, mentioned the boy by name, and said he really needed to work on this in class. Okay, then.

The next period arrived. I passed out the writing assessments. The boy had turned on his computer and had Krunker going. (This is the game of the moment at that school.) I realized he was the one the counselor had told me about. (I'm slow with names, but at a certain point I realize who is who.) I handed him his assessment.

"I'm not doing this today."

Me: "Ms. D said you need to write this."

"No, I talked to Ms. D. She said I don't have to do this today as I'm leaving at 1:55. I'll do it tomorrow."

Me: "That's about a half hour away. You have plenty of time to start."

And around it went. He wasn't having any of it. He was going to play his game.

Of course, on my way out, I ran into Ms. D. I told her all about what the boy had not done in class. (The principal was there, too.) She confirmed that she had told him to start writing the essay. Apparently, he doesn't realize I talk to people at the school.

Deep sigh. There's a whole lot of apathy and not doing any work going on at the continuation high school right now. We'll see if they get any more motivated the closer they get to their projected graduation date.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

A Radical Change

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. 😉

The other day on Turner Classic Movies I caught a bit of Watermelon Man. After reading the premise, I thought, what a great what if. So, here it is...

What if you woke up one day to find that you were a different race?

Monday, October 1, 2018

The New Camera

I bought a new camera a couple weeks ago. I'm still not convinced I really needed it.

My old camera was a Christmas present several years ago. I've had it for at least twelve years. Maybe fourteen. So, yeah, it can be argued that since the technology was clearly outdated, it was time to upgrade. But it did the job still.

I mean, the old camera had some issues. There was a lag between the time I'd press the shutter button and the image was captured. But I mostly take product photos now, so that wasn't a big deal.

And, the camera required AA batteries. Batteries that it went through quickly. I was lucky if a set of two batteries lasted through two photo sessions. So, I could get roughly 200 pictures out of a set (and that's a high estimate as to how many pictures I'd take in two photo sessions).

Still, these were known issues and I was dealing with them.

A couple years ago (okay, maybe five), the camera no longer held onto the date and time. So, every time I was ready to take pictures, I had to set the date and time. No biggie, really. And if I had to change the batteries mid-photo shoot (the camera ate batteries, so having to change batteries mid-shoot was common), I'd have to reset the date and time.

Again, I got used to that. At least I didn't have to remember to fix the time when Daylight Saving Time started or ended.

Then, about two years ago, the LCD screen stopped showing images. That is, when I take a picture, it would flash briefly on the LCD screen so I could make sure the image captured. But no longer. When that first happened, I thought the image wasn't being stored on the SD card. But it turned out it was.

So, the camera had some issues that I had learned to deal with. I still got fairly decent images. It still worked.

The new camera has a rechargeable battery (yay!) and its SD card holds over 10,000 images (as opposed to my old camera's 515). The new SD card even fits into my laptop. (No more dragging out the cable to connect the camera to the computer.)

But I'm still not convinced that I really needed a new camera. (Especially as I struggle to learn how to operate the new camera and I fight with the focus--getting images to come out in focus isn't working as easily as I would like.) Someone, please, talk me off this ledge.