Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Birthday Wishes

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 the number of Facebook "happy birthday" wishes you got determined what kind of gifts you received? 

(Tomorrow's my birthday [so I will be offline], but I have, like, five friends on FB, so this wouldn't apply to me...)

Monday, July 29, 2019

Knitted Case Progress

I have not touched my mini iPad case in a while...

What mini iPad case, you ask? Yeah, it's been a while since I mentioned it. A recap:
Since then, I did crochet an edging. I even took pictures, which is hiding in some file or other. (I don't remember what I blogged about that week instead. Probably the donut.) 

The above shot has the case folded up. That's what it looks like at the moment. On the inside...

The gray is fabric that I sewed down. Inside the gray fabric is a posterboard backing (with duct tape along the edges to keep things smooth...

...and a gap so that the posterboard can be removed in case I want to throw the whole thing in the wash.

The next step is to figure out how I want to position elastic to keep the iPad attached, and then to sew that down.

You can't tell from these photos, but there is a buttonhole on one edge, so I'll need to sew on the button as well.

I had thought of sewing in more of a lining, but I'm not sure if I'm going to do that now. I'll have to see how I feel after sewing in the elastic and sewing on the button.

As before, it's a work in progress. And it's been a bit too hot to think, so not much progress is being made.

Although, I had the brilliant idea of sewing in fabric that is as stretchy as the knitted fabric. Can you see the ribbing on the fabric? That means that the whole thing has a bit of give. It's lovely. 

Friday, July 26, 2019

Rhymes with Oak

It's Friday, so it's time for a random quiz!

This week, it's one of the rhyming ones. You're to find all the one-syllable words that rhyme with "oak".

You can type them in any order. If it's a match, it'll disappear from the answer box.

Rhymes with Oak

I was only able to get 17/24. I'm sure you can beat my score. Good luck.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Fake Amanda

I'm not great at detecting lies, but sometimes the kiddos are obvious. Today's #ThrowbackThursday post is from February 22, 2008, but I remember it well. 

Today I covered a 7th grade world history class.

I needed a silent room. I was not getting it. So, I warned them: "I will take down the names of those who continue to talk." This only works when I cover some teachers. This was one of them.

They fought me on it for a moment. I stared down the few whose names were going to be on my list. Then one of the girls (the talkers were all girls in this group) told me to write down her name. "I'm Amanda," she said.

She offered up her name way too easily. I was suspicious. I checked the seating chart. Sure enough, Amanda sat in that seat. But she did not look like an Amanda. She did not feel like an Amanda. I was sure I was being lied to.

Twenty minutes later (I had gotten my silence, so I didn't need to make my list) two other students were exchanging words. "Amanda, I have it here." The first student was talking to a different girl, not the one who claimed to be Amanda. I knew it!

After a quick perusal of the seating chart, I figured out who the fake Amanda was. Joanna. I was pretty sure. The two girls had probably switched seats.

Then someone called to the fake Amanda, calling her Joanna. I was right.

I don't know why they do this. I don't know what they get out of it. Today? They get honorable mention in my note to their teacher.

Ms. T recently retired. I miss her classes. She did not put up with this sort of nonsense. That girl was in serious trouble afterward.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Too Close

Considering how often I've covered for teachers who got stuck on jury duty (like for most of last August), I knew was about due to get caught. The summons wasn't completely unexpected. As always, I postponed to a more convenient time. Last week.

Our state is a one day/one trial state. I picked the week between the end of summer school and the beginning of the continuation high school, so I wouldn't be in danger of missing anything at all.

My reporting day ended up being Wednesday.

The hope is that I'll manage to duck getting assigned to a trial for the day. But, alas, at about 11 AM, I got assigned to a courtroom.

We waited outside for nearly 40 minutes. By the time we got in, we had just enough time for the judge to inform us that the trial (including estimated time for deliberations) would take about a week before she dismissed us to lunch.

While I did not want to be assigned to the trial, I admitted to myself that it wouldn't be a hardship. The continuation high school wasn't to open until Thursday of the following week. I'd miss nothing.

After lunch, from our pool of slightly less than 30 (they took a pool of 30, but a couple had already been dismissed as they had conflicts with remaining a week), they called up 18. I was juror number 15.

As the usual questioning proceeded, I could tell a couple of jurors 1-12 would be dismissed. You just kind of know. As #15, that meant that I'd end up in the box.

But, there was no way to get myself disqualified. Could I be fair in this case? Sure. There wasn't anything presented that I had any definite bias for or against.

At about 4 PM, it was time for the lawyers to get their peremptory challenges.

First, the prosecution bumped one. Then the defense. Then the prosecution...

Ugh. I was moved to juror #8.

Then it was the defense's turn again. He looked at the jury box and said he was okay with the jury as it was.

Then it was time for the prosecution again. "We thank and excuse juror number 8."

That was way too close.

As the judge instructed, I waited to celebrate until I had left the courtroom. But, as I was leaving, I heard one of the lawyers say for the new juror #8 to not get too comfortable. (And I celebrated again. The woman next to me as former juror #16 told me that getting off work for a week was going to be a problem for her.)

By the time I got back to the jury room (4:15-ish), the place was empty. Which meant I was done for the day. I checked out and headed for my car.

As I hit the escalator, I ran into the others from the courtroom I had just left also leaving. They still had their juror badges, so it appeared that they would all be returning the next day. I have no idea if the jury panel was complete or not.

But I was done. And I was quite happy about that.

Hopefully it'll be another few years before I have to do that again.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Religious Law

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 the U.S. became a theocracy?

Monday, July 22, 2019

A First Draft

I was not much in the mood to take pictures yesterday, so instead I played with making a collage.

The plan is to turn this into a pin for Pinterest. Or, at least, I'll turn the final collage into a pin. Consider this a first draft collage.

For the last year I've been getting pictures of all these lip balm cozies. How'd it take a year? I got distracted by things like Christmas and the deluge in my bedroom, as well as getting a new camera and a lightbox. The listings are done. (Finally!) But, looking back at the first pictures I "improved" shows that those need to be improved upon again. Sigh.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Commonly Misspoken Phrases

Wanna feel smug? This weeks random quiz should help you do just that...

Commonly Misspoken Phrases

In this one, you're selecting either column A or B. Just use those keys on your keyboard. And there's a way to skip questions. It's right around the answer box, so feel free to do these in the order you feel most comfortable.

I expect to hear perfect scores. We all got this, right?

Thursday, July 18, 2019

The Old in Coffee

It's time for a dive back into the way-back files. This post originally appeared December 8, 2009

12th grade AP English. They were working on some essay or other (I didn't have a lot of details, but they were AP kids and could be trusted to do their work without me having to prompt them). They were half working, half talking about random stuff.

One student started talking about coffee. He asked what people put in it. One of the girls mentioned cream and sugar. The boy said that no, that's what kids put in it. Adults put old in it.

That's not a typo. He said "old".

He continued with this reasoning. He said that coffee makes kids old. One girl complained that she drank coffee, but she wasn't old. The boy said that she might be 17, but the coffee made her older.

So, I asked what about older adults who did not drink coffee. He said that they just age normally, not extra aged because of the old in coffee.

It made only a smidgen of sense. Of course that was the point.

The stuff these kids come up with!

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Denied Access

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 the big pharma execs who are gouging drug prices (insulin prices!) could be tried for murder? Or, at least what if they could be held liable for all the lives damaged due to their reckless endangerment?

Monday, July 15, 2019

Called It

Do you finish things you start? I generally do. No matter how long it takes.

Over the last year and a month, I have been working, off and on, on an infinity scarf. It was a fingering weight yarn, and I was using size 2 needles. That means that I was using a very fine yarn, and each stitch was very small. So, the finished product was going to need a lot of stitches.

I cast on 324 stitches. I figured I'd work until the yarn ran out.

I've talked about the scarf as I've progressed. Here are the posts if you'd like to see it as it grew:
But then, almost two weeks ago, I took a look at the scarf. It was looking wide enough.

How wide should a scarf be? I decided I'd aim for 8 inches.

I measured my scarf. It was 7 inches across.

I was... gulp... almost done!

Keep in mind, I've been working on this puppy since June. 2018. (Ravelry is great for keeping track of these things.) I was beginning to think I'd never finish the thing.

8 inches is long enough. I was calling it. One more inch to do...

I pretty much dropped all my other projects and focused on this one. And on Friday, I finished.


Just to get an idea, I tried it on to show you how big it is (even though it's not for me)...

And I had a bit of yarn left over. I have no idea what I'm going to do with it. I'll worry about that later.

Now that that's finished, I can concentrate on the other scarf.

I started this one in November. So, totally doable by December, right?

Friday, July 12, 2019

Figure Out the Lyrics

Do you like The Beatles?

Today's quizzes are hard. Really hard. I've noticed that I tend to only post quizzes that I did well on. I think it's time to post some quizzes that I failed miserably at.

So, today, it's figure out the lyrics. No clues. You have 8 minutes to randomly add words in hopes of figuring out what Beatles song it is.

You can type in the words in any order. If it's correct, the word disappears right away. If it's not, it sits in the box. It'll fill in all the iterations of the word in the song at once (so you only have to type "and" once).

I totally cheated on this. I had a list of some Beatles songs up in a second tab. It didn't help. But, you might remember more songs than I do.


Figure out the lyrics (Beatles 2)

I managed to get 49 of the 131 words. You may not be surprised that words like "the" and "and" come up a lot. 

Then try: 

Figure out the lyrics (Beatles 6)

On this one, I managed to get one word that was all the clue I needed to know which song it was. (Like, if I were to stumble on "strawberry" or "Lucy" or "paperback".) And, I got 152 words of the 200. Because it turns out that less than 3 minutes is not enough time to recall the whole song. (Yes, it took a good 5 minutes to stumble on that one word that broke it all open.) 

Good luck. Without giving away the song in the comments (don't give anyone a hint!) let me know if you figured it out. Don't worry, I now remember which song was which.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Didja Feel That?

You may have heard, we had some earthquakes around these parts last week.

Lucky for us, the epicenter was way-the-f-out there in the middle of nowhere. (Not great for the residents of Trona and Ridgecrest as they got the direct hit.) 150-ish miles makes a huge difference in intensity.

The foreshock (what they're now calling it) on July 4th hit while I was lazing in bed, playing Candy Crush on my phone. It was that same phone that I then went to Twitter on to find out what we all want to know right away: epicenter and Richter scale magnitude.

You make initial guesses. It was a gentle one, with everything swaying. It was almost like being on a boat. But just when it should have been over, it wasn't. Length is a good indication of how big it is as it could be far away.

I follow a couple earthquake bots on Twitter. They pop up with information right away.

I had never heard of Searles Valley, so I knew it was a distance. And the initial 6.6 (it was downgraded later) was big.

The news goes a little crazy with earthquake stories. We shrugged it off. We were far enough away that we had sympathy for the woman whose house was totalled (it totally went off the foundation), but we weren't in the mood to watch the local stations fill news time with all the minutiae that they find to fill time.

I read blogs and later watched a movie on Netflix.

Friday night's earthquake was bigger. I posted all about it on Twitter:
That's the second time I was in the shower during an earthquake. I blogged about it the first time. (Oh my, that was ten years ago.) This time I wasn't all soapy, but I was in a good spot. I held on as the world swayed around me.

The earthquake finished. I finished my shower. What? I wasn't going to interrupt my shower once the shaking was all over. There was no immediate damage.

7.1 is huge. But again, over 150 miles away.

We seriously lucked out.

Trona and Ridgecrest, not so much.

(My other earthquake stories are filed under the label: earthquake files. You can find them here.)

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

American Princess

It's Wednesday, and it's summer, so it's time for my "Under the Radar TV Show". This is a show that you probably have not heard about. If you're looking for something to watch, here's a show you might consider.

I don't watch Lifetime much. The last show they enticed me into watching was You. (Totally creepy. I don't know if I'd recommend it.) But when I read a short piece on American Princess, I figured, why not?

American Princess follows Amanda. It starts on her wedding day. She's gone full bridezilla. And then she catches her fiance... Well... I won't say what she catches him doing as I'm trying to be all PG here.

Upset, she wanders into a Renaissance faire.

And she stays.

The Renaissance faire she ends up at is filled with all sorts of quirky characters. It's totally something you've seen before. (Warning: links to TV Tropes. Beware of rabbit holes...) We've got a New York character ending up in the sticks. The faire is populated by eccentric townsfolk. There, she experiences a very light humbling.

Nothing here is new. How it's done is where the fun is. And that's the point. It is fun.

Because, don't we all need a little fun?

The show had its finale on Sunday. (Sorry. I probably should have recommended it sooner.) It looks like right now you can see it via Amazon. If they do what they did with You, it may end up on Netflix sometime soon. And it may still be available OnDemand from Lifetime.

Have you seen American Princess? (Did you see You?) What's a good show on Netflix that I should check out? (Seriously, I have no idea what to watch now that I've caught up on Longmire.)

Tuesday, July 9, 2019


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 criminals were required to fix what they "broke" as their punishment rather than being jailed? (This wouldn't work for all crimes, of course, so consider this as the default idea and mostly for the crimes this would work for.)

Monday, July 8, 2019

Half a Donut

The other day I was in Dollar Tree. While looking around, I saw a donut keychain. And I thought, I can do that...

Long time readers will remember when I crocheted a donut. That donut was way too big for my purposes, but if I halved the pattern...

So, I set about to do that. In the back of my mind, I wasn't really thinking keychain, though. I was thinking bag charm. But they're basically the same thing. Same size, anyway.

I located my pattern. Instead of chaining 15 sts, I figured I'd start with 8. Then I followed the pattern as is. Which made the thing way too wide around. (I should have realized that at the time. I'll blame it on summer brain.)

Starting over...

This time, I made the bottom half 4 rounds and the top half 6. And that made it come out just right...

Because this doesn't give you a good indication of size, I posed with it also.

It's tiny. Only a couple inches across.

Now it's just a matter of attaching the hardware. I figure a chain. I'm debating whether to add a keychain ring or just a claw clasp. I guess it would depend on how one wanted to use it. What do you think?

As I was working on this, I realized that I'm right on time for my summer project. It seems that I've been making keychains every summer.

Last summer:

And the summer before:

(Yes, these are in my shop here. I also take special requests for colors and such. If you're curious, just message me, and we can work something out.)

Now that that's out of the way, I suppose I should start thinking about Halloween...

Thursday, July 4, 2019

U.S. Citizenship Quiz

In honor of the 4th of July, I'm doing a random quiz on Thursday. I've been saving this one for just this occasion...

U.S. Citizenship Test Sample Questions

This is not the actual citizenship test that those hoping to become naturalized citizens take. It's a sampling of the questions. But for our purposes, it works. (Apparently only one in three Americans can pass it per this article.) 

(Apologies that this post is U.S. centric. For those of you who aren't in the U.S. (or who would rather have something cute and easy), here's a happy puppies quiz.)

Type in the answers in the box at the top. Don't worry about going in order. The correct answer will find its correct box. Incorrect answers sit there.

Let me know how you did. (I missed one. The last one. Feel free to gloat if you know it.)

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

In the Dark

It's Wednesday, and it's summer, so it's time for my "Under the Radar TV Show". This is a show that you probably have not heard about. If you're looking for something to watch, here's a show you might consider.

Endings are important.

There are myriad movies that I thought were okay as I was watching them, but then the ending hit, and I lost all respect for them. In fact, many of them I hate to this day based solely on those endings.

But, an ending can make something that was so-so totally worth the time.

That's what happened with In the Dark.

Murphy is blind. She also is cranky all the time. This is what almost turned me off the show initially. How many times have we seen a person with a disability act like a jerk in a story? It's practically a cliche.

In the Dark began when a bunch of other shows I watch were ending. I had an opening in my schedule. And it wasn't terrible.

So, anyway, Murphy is blind. And she's not happy about it. She has a best friend named Tyson, only he was just murdered. She thinks.

Murphy found Tyson in the alley where they always meet to hang out and talk. He felt dead to her. She went to the cops. When they returned to where she was, there was no body.

Murphy is bound and determined to find out who killed Tyson. And to find his body. She has some help from her other best friend/roommate. Drugs and drug dealers are involved. Murphy drinks too much, smokes too much, and is pretty awful to just about everybody. But she bulldozes those around her into helping her.

Season 1 was 13 episodes long. (I have no idea if there'll be a season 2.) And we did find out who killed Tyson and why. And...

I like to think of myself as intelligent, but I did not see that ending coming. Not at all. In fact, when the show revealed who did it, my jaw hit the floor.

And it was then that I knew I was going to blog about it.

You may see that ending coming. I don't claim to be an ending expert. But the show works. And if you have some time, you might want to check this one out.

It was on the CW. It is still available on the CW's app. And according to some random article I saw on Facebook (so take that for what it's worth), it's due to hit Netflix on Friday. As in the day after tomorrow. So, just in case you were wondering what you could watch this weekend...

Bonus: Murphy has a guide dog named Pretzel. (Just sayin'...)

Have you seen In the Dark? Does it sound interesting to you if you haven't seen it? (If you have seen it, did you see that ending coming?)

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Winter Fireworks?

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. 😉

Thursday is the 4th of July. In the U.S., Independence Day. Fireworks. Barbecue. Summer celebrations...

What if our Independence Day was February 4th?

Monday, July 1, 2019

Contemplating Next Steps

Last week I showed off my latest knitting mistake. Since then, I ripped it out, fixed it, and then ripped the whole thing out and started over.

The piece was just a touch too narrow for my purposes.

I started over, making the piece about an inch wider than before. And on Saturday I bound it off...

Now the real work begins...

I mentioned that it's going to be a mini iPad case. It's hard to visualize it in this context. What I'm planning to do...

...is to fold it over so that the iPad fits in like this...

Before it's finished, it'll need some sort of edging (I'm leaning towards a reverse slip stitch in crochet, but we'll see). I'm planning to sew in a bit of elastic to hold the iPad in place. And I'm contemplating lining it with some sort of cardboard to hold it stiff.

It'll need a button and buttonhole to keep it closed. I was thinking of adding a handle or strap somewhere, too.

As I was planning this out, I knew I wouldn't be able to imagine how it was all going to work until I had the long strip of fabric to work with. Now that it's here, it's time to plan.

I'll welcome suggestions, but a warning: I have a pretty good image of what I'm going for. I'm just not sure how I'm going to get it. I may have to let this sit for a couple weeks.

I got a question or two last week about my lightbox...

I bought if off Amazon. It's this one.