Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Still Attending Class

Last week was Thanksgiving break. We had no school. This happened two weeks ago, the week before the break...

Because of distance learning, the district has revamped roll taking. One big change: teachers can input and access attendance notes. 

Before, only the attendance clerks could amend the attendance to note that a kiddo cut class or the kiddo had a doctor's appointment. And we teachers couldn't see that note.

Now, a little dialog bubble appears next to a student's name indicating something's up. 

I've had students tell me they had to leave class early for appointments. So, I input that info into the attendance myself. 

Eleventh grade English. I noticed the dialog bubble on Myra's name. It said, "out of town for funeral". So, I was surprised to see Myra in class. 

The English class was co-taught. The other teacher had given them a question to answer. They were to type into chat how they were feeling and why. Like, "I am happy because we got a new puppy". 

The answers were lots of tireds, a few happies, and some other random feelings. 

Myra: "I am tired because it is 1:40 AM here." 

I don't know where Myra went for the funeral, but it was clearly out of the country. (We're on the west coast. It was 9:40 AM. In New York, it would would have been 12:40 PM.) 

I'm not sure if I'm impressed Myra still attended class or if I'm horrified. 

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

A Dish Best Served Cold

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 set out to get revenge on someone for a great harm that befell you or your family? Then, what if it turned out that that person was not to blame?

Monday, November 30, 2020

Entrelac Scarf Progress, Part 7

I made a bit more progress on the scarf this week: 

At this point it's big enough to wear. But my sister-in-law wants it 8ft long, so I've still got a ways to go. Right now it's somewhere between 5ft and 6ft long. 

But I took a pause to knit something for my landlady. 

At one time I had these in my shop, but they were kind of a dud. The pattern does fairly okay. Lately, I've noticed that soft phone/tablet holders are popping up at various shopping sites. So, I figure it's time to promote mine again. 

(The original "rough draft" version appeared on this blog in 2013. The improved version is available on Etsy and Ravelry.) 

Next week I have a milestone post. I have no idea how I want to commemorate it.  

Friday, November 27, 2020

The Ultimate Christmas Trivia Quiz

Since it's Black Friday, it's time to start thinking seriously about Christmas, hence: 

The Ultimate Christmas Trivia Quiz

If you recall the Halloween quiz, this was done by the same website. Which means, some of these questions are easy, some are more challenging, and once you submit at the end, you scroll back up to see which questions you got right (answers in green) and which ones you got wrong (your answers in red). 

I got 17 out of 20. I did not know the ones I got wrong, so I'm happy with that result. Let me know how you did in the comments.

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Scenes from Turkey Day

Last Thursday was kind of a sad day for me. So many things have been cancelled this year due to the pandemic, but this one hit me hard. Turkey day. No students attending the continuation high school in person, so of course, no turkey day. 

So, I'm reposting last year's turkey day post that I posted on Thanksgiving of last year. Enjoy. 

Last Thursday was the continuation high school's annual Turkey Day. It's the day they serve a turkey dinner lunch brunch to the students and the school district community. I make sure that I have a gig there that day.

(I've written about Turkey Day before: 2008, 2013, 2015. Or just click on the tag "turkey day".)

The day is always rather catawampus. I've worked at the continuation high school long enough to know to go with the flow. Some of the crazy:
  • Period 1: Jordan (no, not that Jordan--there happen to be three of them) came into class with a classroom exchange pass. Only, the pass was to go to PE. (I was in the woodshop.) Apparently I was the preferred sub (PE had a sub, too). I told him to get a pass to woodshop. He left instead. (The office was not pleased he was not where he said he'd be.) 

  • They don't get to use the machinery with a sub, but I allowed painting. Elijah had painted his name plate blue. He went looking for red paint. While the blue was still wet, he painted over it with the red. (Me and another student warned him.) It came out a streaky purple. Which he tried to say was something he liked the look of. Sigh. 

  • I had snack duty, so I didn't get my bathroom break until after the bell. Of course, another teacher darted in front of me. So, I was late getting to third period. I felt bad about this until the teacher next door arrived at the same time. Whew! Not that late, then.
  • Bob arrived with a tardy slip half way into fourth period. He asked me to mark him present for third period. He claimed he had been in the office. When I called the office "to check", I was told he had only just arrived. I mean, nice try at fixing his attendance record, but perhaps actually attending would work better. 

  • We adults didn't get to eat until after school. (We got out at noon that day, so not a hardship.) Another sub didn't want to go. (I mean, I get it. It was hard for me to join in when I was a newbie.) Me and Mr. G (he was the teacher for the class I covered in August last year when he got stuck on jury duty) did convince her to peek in. She was eventually convinced to take a to-go plate.
I guess it wouldn't be Thanksgiving without a little drama. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2020


I live in southern California. We have a Mediterranean climate which means that we have very mild winters. If you've ever tuned in to the Rose Parade on New Year's Day (sadly, 2021's has been cancelled) and noticed the sunny day, yeah, that's pretty standard winter weather for us.

November isn't necessarily all that cold. On November 1st, I was still wearing my Capri-length pants and sandals to work. But the weekend before last, the weather took a turn towards winter.

The weekend was cold and rainy. Friday and Sunday we had gusting winds. It rained Saturday. 

The forecast for Monday the 16th was for a high of 85ish degrees (30ish degrees C). (My home city was more of an 82°, but the city the school is in was at 86°. I live closer to the ocean. Where I work is more inland. There's a temperature differential.) Spoiler: we actually got up to a high of 91°F (33°C).

Expecting warmer temperatures, I dressed for work in cooler clothes: Capri-length pants and sandals. Since we're doing school virtually, the kiddos don't notice. 

I arrived at school. The classroom temp was 61°F (16°C). I wasn't feeling cold, and I knew the outside temp would go up quickly, so I did not turn on the heat. 

Normally, I might have some temperature complaints, but I'd ignore them as the students would warm the room quickly enough. But as the students are at home, they weren't going to notice. 

A funny thing happened as the day progressed. The classroom didn't get any warmer. When I left to use the restroom, I was surprised at how much warmer it was outside. Upon returning to the room, I found the temp to be 63°F (17°C). 

By the time I left for the day, it was 9°1F (33°C) outside. Inside, it hadn't reached 70°F (21°C). 

I've complained in the past at how uninsulated the classrooms are. Turns out, I was wrong. The rooms can hold the temp pretty well. It's the mass of student bodies that heats things up.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Fix It?

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 it turned out you were doing "it" wrong all along? (I'm not going to specify what "it" is. Let your imagination go wild.)

Monday, November 23, 2020

Entrelac Scarf Progress, Part 6

I did not make a whole lot of progress with the entrelac scarf last week. I finished about another row of rectangles: 

It was just that kind of week.

As for the videos I tried to upload last week, no go. But, I did manage to post it to Instagram: 

This may or may not work for you. As for viewing the videos at my Etsy shop, the video thing is being rolled out slowly, so it's not available for everyone to see. 

I do intend to spend some more time on this, making videos and figuring out how to upload them so I can use them on the blog. I would have done some of it last week, but I was a bit busy at the day job, so that took priority. 

This week we have off, however, as it is Thanksgiving week here in the U.S. Once I figure out how to make green bean casserole (my contribution to our non-traditional Thanksgiving meal at home with the roommates), my week is wide open.

Friday, November 20, 2020

Bird Watching

Back in the spring, I mentioned that I've started regularly walking. Sometimes, those walks take me to local parks. 

There have been some interesting birds about. Alas, I only had my cell phone with me, so I didn't get great pictures. 

Two weeks ago I was at a local wetlands. (It's off of Pacific Coast Highway. On the other side of the road is the beach and the actual ocean.) The winds were gusting, but I managed to capture a couple interesting sights. 

I have no idea what kind of bird that is. Nor do I know what kind of bird this other one is. . .

But there were a few of them there. . . 

Then a few days later, I was walking in a park a bit closer to home when I walked past this bird. . .

I did not attempt to photograph the flying birds, though. There were many in the area, especially at the wetlands, but I did not think my cell phone camera was up to the task. I saw quite a few people with their fancy cameras with their long lenses. I'm sure they got some great shots. 

Are you still getting out for walks? (Or has it gotten too cold?) 

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Key Issues

Before the school year began, we subs were informed that for our assignments we'd be given "a socially distanced work location on site". Translation: we'd be working out of the teachers' classrooms. 

When I went to check in last week, half the staff was missing from the front office. (Two of the four were gone.) Why? Because their children had been exposed to the virus at their daycare (via the district), so they were isolating. One of them was the person I check in with. 

So, I got to check in with the sub for the sub desk. 

And everything was in disarray because the power had been knocked out (due to high winds). 

The sub for the sub desk went in search of keys for me. Usually when we check in, we get a key to the classroom and a key to the restroom. The adult restrooms remain locked. The students have a tendency to trash theirs. 

For reasons (which I know, but are way too complicated for the length of this post), the "sub keys" are configured so that each classroom key is already attached to a restroom key. However, the sub for the sub desk could only find me a key to the classroom. 

The way the campus is configured, not having a restroom key was going to be a problem for me. But not to worry, she wasn't considering not giving me a restroom key. 

So, I suggested she give me the key to another classroom. It wasn't like another sub would need it, and I was just going to use the restroom key on that chain, anyway.

Solution found, and I was on my way. 

As happens, later that day I needed to use the restroom. So, I pulled out the proper key. Fit it into the lock. But, nothing. 

I double checked the key. It was the right key. I played with things a bit.

Then I realized the problem. The restroom was unlocked. 

I mean, it's not like there are kiddos on campus to mess with the restrooms now.

So, all that, and I didn't need the key at all. Sigh.

(To be fair, the prior day, that restroom had been locked. And all the other staff bathrooms have been consistently locked. So, this was a new development.) 

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Cursed Catcher

Another subbing day, another wonky internet connection. 

Eleventh grade English. They were reading Catcher in the Rye. The teacher had left links to the story being read (on YouTube), and we were to listen to the story (chapters three and four). Then they had questions to answer. 

I had enough time to play the chapters with about ten minutes to spare. 

That, of course, is not how things turned out. 

I don't know if it was because the wind over the weekend had knocked out power, or if it was that I was working from a Chromebook, or if I'm just doomed. Because it just did not work all that well. 

I've done the whole show-the-class-a-video remotely before. This time, it took for-ev-er for it to load so I could present the thing to the class. I had two screens going. I had set up the video ahead of time. Once I had intro'd the lesson, I went to present (which is just a thing I click on screen), and it would not load. 

And it would not load. And it would not load.

Finally, it loaded. And I started. And then I got booted out of the meet. 

Over two days I had to do this four times. And four times, I spent more of the period trying to get the video to present than actually having the video present. I gave up trying to take attendance while class was going, but that didn't help. In fact, I got to the point where I wasn't doing anything other than letting the video play. 

But still, one period I got booted from the meet SIX TIMES. 

After I had trouble the first time, I warned the classes that it might happen. I told them if I fell out of the meet, I'd be right back, so to just hold tight. And for the most part, they did. 

(I had a few bail on me, but with the attendance extension I have running in the background, it was easy enough to know who.) 

When I emailed their teacher, I let him know of the issues. And that a couple of the classes didn't finish listening to the book. (The links were in their Google Classroom, so they could listen on their own later.) I also let him know if the students complained that they had every right to complain, because it was a mess. 

I even apologized to the students. It wasn't their fault that my wifi (on campus) was wonky. 

But, they weren't too upset. In fact, several left messages in the chat for me: 

u did amazing


I'm glad you were patience :^)

You did good

have a good day, stay safe

I did what I could. It's all I could do.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Purloined Protection

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.

Last week I watched all of the Netflix show Warrior Nun. It's a strange little show about nuns with swords who fight demons. Have you seen it? 

Anyway, I'm borrowing again for this week's question. . .

What if you acquired something that belonged to someone else (through no fault of your own), but if you returned that item, it would mean your death (probably)? 

Monday, November 16, 2020

Entrelac Scarf Progress, Part 5

How it started: 

How it's going: 

If someone could explain where the how it started/how it's going meme thing started, I'd appreciate it. But I figured it was appropriate for the entrelac scarf. It's now at about 4 ft long (122 cm). Half way there. 

While chugging away on the scarf, I've also been working on doing some listing videos for my Etsy shop. They just added the capability of including short videos (5-15 seconds). 

Edit: So, I had uploaded the videos so you could see them, but for some reason, they didn't work. Sigh. If you're interested, you can see them in their listings: lavender lip balm holder and the beige EOS lip balm holder

Maybe next week I'll try to upload the videos again. I'm not sure what went wrong.

Now if I could just figure out a good configuration to show myself knitting stuff, I could make some how-to videos. I actually just bought a cell phone clamp thingy that might do the job. I should get it in a couple weeks. 

Friday, November 13, 2020

What's the Kennection? #445

I had fun with last week's random quiz, so I'm doing another this week: 

#445 What's the Kennection?

If you didn't attempt last week's, I have a couple tips for you. If you've gotten the correct answer, the box automatically takes it, but that's only for the five questions. Those answers all have something in common, and that's what goes in the last box. You can click on "I Give Up" if you have no idea or "Submit" if you have a guess. Then the whole quiz gives the correct answers. 

For this one, I knew three of the answers. I didn't get two of them. But, the three I did get gave me enough info to figure out the "Kennection", and I was right.

So, how'd you do?

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Make-Up Day

Special ed English. They had a "make-up day". 

The assignment was to make up any work they had yet to turn in. I've been hearing from teachers that students not turning things in has been an issue. And since they can't stand over the kiddos, it's harder to keep them on task. 

With the way things are set up, I have the ability to check what the kiddos have done and what they haven't done. So, I let them know that if they didn't know what they still needed to complete, I could look it up for them. 

Period four. There were two students who had turned in all their work, so as a reward, they didn't have to remain in the meet. The rest of the students asked what they needed to finish. 

I looked through June's assignments. She had missed that Monday's assignment. A second later, that assignment was submitted. June told me that she had just forgotten to submit it. 

June wasn't the only one to quickly submit work. Three of them went from having a couple of missing assignments to having none. 

Their teacher had said the two students who were done didn't have to remain in the meet. She did not say the students who finished during class could leave early. So, I told the kiddos they could work on other work, but they had to keep the meet on. 

But June did not hear me. She said she had finished, and "bye". . . Poof. She had logged out before I could tell her not to. 


Well, it wasn't like she had work to finish, anyway. And I could mark her as having left the meet early. (They've modified the attendance so I can note who was late and who left early without having to mark them as not having attended class.) 

Wednesday, November 11, 2020


Monday at the continuation high school. They had a video. (This was the Monday before the election, so it was about the candidates.) 

First and second periods had gone smoothly, so I had established a routine. I introduced the video, explained the assignment that went along with it (notes followed by three questions), and then I started the video. While watching the first ten-ish minutes, I input the roll (I had two computers going). Then I stopped the video so we could do the notes together before continuing on. 

Third period. A couple of the boys greeted each other in chat, but it wasn't anything major, so I didn't think anything of it. Then I did my intro and started the video. 

We were a couple minutes into the video when one boy turned on his mic and made a noise. 

I looked up from my roll taking to figure out who it was. I went back to my roll taking.

The same boy turned his mic back on and played music. It was something with a strong beat. 

I muted him. (It's a simple thing to do. Usually they mute themselves. And once muted, only they can unmute themselves. But I can mute them if necessary.) 

He turned his mic back on and the music was still playing. 

I muted him again. 

We did this one more time. I was just about ready to stop the video and warn him that disrupters would be removed from class (I have the ability to remove anyone from the meet) when he logged out. 

That solved that problem. And with the attendance software I have running in the background, I have a record of when he was there and when he left. 

But, of course that wasn't the only issue. While that boy was entertaining the class, the class was on the chat, commenting on it all. 

A1: who that

i hear a cat

im very confusion.

A2: lol

J1: lmaooooo

A2: im ball of confusion

hate that song





A3: lmfaooo

A1: love is a b****

thats a pretty good song

very soothing

J1: oml

L: *choke me like you hate me*

A1: ew

J1: stop


J1: lol

J2: lmaoo

J1: you are me

A1: 1v1 mw

J1: i am you

A1: j1 1v1

snipers only

A2: everyone lets play duck duck goose


L: j1 2 good

Rather than come up with replacement names, I've designated them by their first initial. And since those initials repeated, I just designated them 1, 2, or 3. 

With the loud boy gone, I could deal with the chat. I typed in that they needed to stop playing around and that the chat thread would be reported to the teacher. Then I delivered my coup de grรขce. I disabled the chat. 

At the beginning of the year, I lamented the goofing off via chat. I came up with a solution for the class I was in that seemed to work. Since then, Google has added a couple dandy little controls for us meet runners. There's now a little "switch" I can toggle to take away their ability to use the chat. 

I had no more issues while the video was playing. (Then I had to restore the chat so the kiddos who were on task could answer my questions, but by then the problem was solved.) 

And how do I have such a precise transcript of the chat? I took pics on my phone so I could email them to their teacher. Because, I don't threaten things I'm not going to follow through on. 

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Moving for Love?

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.

Have you seen Soulmates on AMC? They take a what if: What if there was a test one could take that would match one to one's "soulmate"? Each episode in this anthology series then explores various instances of people taking that test. This is less of a light romantic series and more of a Twilight Zone show with a limited premise. 

It's an interesting show, especially for those of us who like speculative fiction. (If tempted, you can stream it here.) And this week I'm borrowing their premise for my what if. . .

What if you took the Soulmates test to find your soulmate. . . and your soulmate lived on the other side of the world? Would you consider moving to be with them? Or would you expect them to come to you? (If you are already in a happy relationship, you can be exempt from today's question. Although, those in happy relationships on the show have taken the test. Let's just say things don't turn out as they'd expect.) 

Monday, November 9, 2020

Entrelac Scarf Progress, Part 4

I made more progress than I did the previous week. . .

It's about three feet long now. I am just about out of the first skein of yarn (those yarn cakes are big). So, it's coming along. 

I did get distracted by an order last week, though. The customer who ordered the Rasta lip balm holder back in July wanted another one. 

But, I was not happy with the color combo on it, so I decided to play around a bit. 

(If you follow me on Instagram, you've already seen this.) 

Number 1 is the color combo I did before. Personally, I like the brighter yellow. Which do you think is a more Rasta combination?

Ultimately, though, it wasn't up to me. I let the customer decide which one they wanted. (They couldn't decide and took all three.)

Friday, November 6, 2020

Kennection #435

I'm doing something slightly different this week. It's a different sort of quiz. . .

Kennection #435

If any of you are Jeopardy fans, you might remember Ken Jennings and his 75 wins several years back. He does a weekly quiz that's posted on Mental Floss' website

There are five questions. (Just type your answer in the box. If it's correct, it'll turn green.) Then at the bottom is the "What's the Kennection?" That's the thing that all five answers have in common. Sometimes it's obvious. Sometimes it's obscure. But generally I groan at the revelation.

For this one, I knew two of the five, had to search for a third (I knew it, but couldn't quite recall it, so I looked it up), and the last two I consulted Google for. Cheat, don't cheat, it's up to you. 

Alas, I did not get the Kennection this time. But sometimes I do. It just depends. 

So, how'd you do? And did you get the Kennection? (No spoilers, please.) 

Thursday, November 5, 2020

13 Grammar Faux Pas

Last week was dead on the subbing front. And as I write this over the weekend (all of my posts are written the weekend before), I've got a bit of nervous energy going, so I'm channeling it into a grammar post. 

From reading blogs to tweets to everything else on the internet, I encounter many grammar faux pas. Some are just typos. Others are because those doing the writing don't know better. In the interests of general education, I'm going to point out 13 such errors that I run across frequently.

This is a Thursday 13. I learned about this meme via Barefoot Susie

I don't intend to call anyone out, so if you recognize yourself, I do mean these kindly. And, I'm fully aware I'm tempting Muphry's Law (or any of the other variants of this theme) wherein any post written about grammar will have at least one grammar error in it. Feel free to point out my mistakes in the comments. 

So, in no particular order: 

1. Plurals vs. possessives

If the word is plural, add an S. If the word is possessive, add an apostrophe plus S. 

2. Plural last names

On your Christmas cards, say "Greetings from the Smiths". Not "the Smith's". The second is a possessive. Sometimes pluralizing last names can be a challenge if your name ends with an S already. Jones would be the Joneses. Just don't use an apostrophe. Please. 

3. To/too/two

Ah, the commonly confused homophones. These are frequent fliers. It's pretty simple to tell them apart, though. First, is it a number? If you mean 2 of something, it's "two". 

Next, do you mean also? Or, is it an intensifier? That's "too". The weather is "too cold". Harold borrowed a sweater. Then Jane did, "too". 

If it's neither, then it's "to". "To" is a preposition. You went "to the store". Oh, and you can use "to" to end a sentence, so long as it's this one you want.

4. They're/there/their

While we're on homophones, this one is a biggie. Start with "they're". It's a contraction of they and are. So, if you reread the sentence in your head, replace with "they are". If it works, it's "they're". (This works for all such contractions. I've been doing the rereading thing ever since high school, so more than 30 years. I'm correct 99% of the time.) 

Next, is it a possessive? That is, are you saying that something belongs to them? Then it's "their". 

And then we're left with "there". It can mean a place. Or a state of being. Or sometimes it's kind of a place holder. So, eliminate that you mean they're or their, then it has to be there. 

5. You're/your

Second verse, same as the first. Start with "you're". It's just you and are. So, if you replace in your sentence with "you are", then it's "you're". 

"Your" is possessive. (Reread the previous sentence replacing my "your" with "you are". Sounds wrong, doesn't it? That's how I knew it was "your". Seriously, I do it every time.) 

6. Should've/would've/could've

Yes, it sounds like "should of", "would of", and "could of", but it's not. It's the contraction of should and have (and would and have, and could and have). It's not "of", it's " 've". 

7. Then/than

This is one I've seen a lot of lately. Everywhere. "Then" is when you're talking about time. "Than" is used for comparison.

8. Choose/chose and loose/lose

Choose is "ch-ew-zzz". Chose is "ch-oh-zzz". "Choose" when you're trying to pick between things. "Chose" when that decision has been made. 

Loose is "l-oo-ss". Lose is "l-ew-zzz". "Loose" is the opposite of tight. "Lose" is when something goes missing.

9. Breath/breathe

Breath ends on a harder "th". You take a breath. Or you breathe. Breath is the noun. Breathe is the verb.

10. Cloth/clothe

Cloth is fabric. Clothe is when you wrap yourself in clothing. Cloth is a noun. Clothe is a verb.

11. Shelf/shelve

You may have a bookcase full of shelves, but if you only have one, it's a shelf. To shelve is to put something on a shelf. 

12. Something/some things

You can have something. Or some can have things. There is no "somethings". If it is, then it should be written "some things".

13. Peak/peek/pique

It's not so much the peak/peek thing. Most of us get that right. Peak is the top of a mountain. Peek is to quickly look at something. But some use either peek or peak when they mean pique. Pique is to stimulate interest or curiosity. I hope I've piqued your interest in the third homonym of number thirteen.

Wednesday, November 4, 2020


Last week was dead on the subbing front, so I have the space to share my new excitement: Animaniacs is being rebooted! 

Animaniacs was a half hour cartoon from the mid-90s. The premise was that the Warner brothers (and their sister, Dot) were 1930s Warner Brothers stars until they were locked away because their movies made no sense. At least, they were locked away until the '90s. . .

It was a great cartoon, and one I enjoyed immensely. And I was in my 20s when it was out, so this isn't childhood nostalgia. 

Recently, I saw that I can access the episodes on Hulu. I haven't. I'm not sure why. One of these days, probably. But then I got word that they've made new episodes. And I'm thrilled. 

There's even a trailer. . .

They return November 20th. I can't hardly wait. 

Did you watch Animaniacs back in the day? 

Tuesday, November 3, 2020


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 a supernatural being appeared to you. . . and asked for your help?

Monday, November 2, 2020

Entrelac Scarf Progress, Part 3

Not much of a change from last week. . .

In my defense, I got sucked into The Umbrella Academy on Netflix. I can knit while watching, but for some reason I didn't do as much knitting as I might have. Oh well. (I'm glad I don't have a deadline for this.) 

So, now it's November, and I really should take a look at my Etsy shop. Is there anything any of you are looking for for Christmas presents? I take custom requests.

Friday, October 30, 2020

The Ultimate Spooky Halloween Trivia Quiz

 Halloween is tomorrow, so how about an easy Halloween quiz? 

The Ultimate Spooky Halloween Trivia Quiz

While some of these questions are challenging, the decoy multiple choice answers are so clearly wrong that it's hard (on most of the questions) to pick the wrong one. I'd say you might have to think on five or six of them (out of 20).

I got one wrong. How did you do?

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Bubble Gum Physics

Last week was kind of slow, so I went back into my archives for a #ThrowbackThursday post. I searched "Halloween" and found this post from November 2, 2007. Funny thing is, I remember this day. It was a cool assignment. And the kiddos behaved as eighth graders would for such a thing. 

As you know, Wednesday was Halloween. And I covered an 8th grade science class.

The teacher left them a lab assignment. "Bubble gum physics." The object was. . . Well, I think the ultimate object was to learn about speed (measuring it and figuring out how to find it) and all the calculations that go into it. What they actually did, though, was to chew gum.

Gum is not allowed in school. So, using gum in a class experiment was a treat. It's just that it would probably have been a better treat if the assignment wasn't overseen by a substitute teacher!

Well, all things considered, it went pretty well. I actually spent the day reminding them how to round numbers and how to take averages. And I had to make sure that they didn't take more than one piece of gum. Unfortunately, at that I failed. How do I know? I was given 380 pieces of gum. By the end of the day, I had four. 35 students per period, 5 periods. . . The math just doesn't work out, kind of like most of the math they were trying to do.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Becoming Routine

I was back at the continuation high school for the first time since the new school year began. It had been late February the last time I was there. (The last continuation high school blog post before the shut down is here.) 

I was covering a teacher I had covered many times before. (I've subbed for all the teachers there.) It did not look like she'd been on campus since the shut down, but that's getting to be kind of usual now. Not many teachers are coming to campus. 

But apparently the teachers at the continuation high school haven't been taking many days off. I was told I was the second sub they'd had this school year. 

I could kind of tell. They weren't sure how to log me into the teacher's Google Classroom. And I had to ask for a Chromebook and bell schedule. 

I've subbed enough days now in this virtual thing that I knew what I needed. And I got to the school with enough time for everything to be good to go. 

The day went smoothly, actually. While I didn't have access to the Google Classroom to make sure the kiddos were working, I had the meet links and all the information to describe the assignment. If they didn't work, it was on them. (I imagine they worked like they generally work. Some got a lot done. Most didn't do anything.)

It was weird hearing little kids running around outside. There's an elementary school across the street, and they've been using the campus for the students that they do have. (There's a day care kind of thing going. Mostly the elementary kiddos are at home as well, but some families need the day care, so that option is available. With safety precautions in place.)

Another subbing day during the pandemic. 

Tuesday, October 27, 2020


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 received a random check for $5000? (It's your money. Legally. No mistake was made.)

Monday, October 26, 2020

Entrelac Scarf Progress, Part 2

Since last week. . .

I've added. . . 

And. . .

So, it's coming along. 

Friday, October 23, 2020

The Wrong Assignment

It was one of the "very" special ed classes. Fifth period was math. 

The teacher had left no lesson plans for me. In Google Classroom she had posted what she wanted the kiddos to do. 

Luckily, the earlier classes were co-taught, so I got the idea of how things were set up. They'd divided the classes into two groups. Group 1 started at the beginning of the period. After about a half hour, they were left to continue the work on their own while group 2 logged in and got a different assignment. 

Some from group 2 would log in at the beginning of class, and some from group 1 would remain if they had questions. As the teachers know who's in which group, this isn't a big issue for them. 

At the beginning of fifth period, I pulled up group 1's assignment and started going over it. We did the work together. 

At the half hour mark, I looked for new students to log in. No one did. So, I continued on with group 1's assignment as the students were clearly having difficulty with it. 

At the end of class, I dismissed them. I input the attendance. And I wondered why group 2 didn't show up. So, I checked the names on who was assigned what. . . 

And I discovered that I had not had group 1 in class at all. They were all absent. Then I looked at group 2's assignment and understood why they were having so much difficulty. It was much easier than group 1's assignment. 

Deep sigh. 

So, I messed up. But, I maintain this was not my fault. Yes, I probably should have checked the names before class, but besides that not occurring to me, I really did not have the time. Not if I wanted to start class on time.

I did not have a list anywhere of who was in group 1 versus group 2. In Google Classroom, if I went into each assignment, I could access who was assigned what. It took about three steps to get to, but only if you know where to look. 

Ah well. At least the kiddos were busy for the whole hour. Hopefully they understood their work well enough to complete it on their own. (They could access it in Google Classroom and turn it in for their asynchronous work.)

Thursday, October 22, 2020

A Very Different Evacuation

Desk with chair and two computers

I really, really hate emergency drills. But we're doing the distance learning thing with no kiddos, so we're exempt now, right? Uh. . . 

Every year, California does its Great California ShakeOut. The district I work for always does it. And last Thursday was the day. 

Usually, I know it's coming. But this year is so different. I didn't even realize it was the day until the assistant principal came over the speaker system beginning with, "Attention all teachers who are on campus. . ." 

I happened to be co-teaching on this day, so I let the other teacher know something was going on. As she was working from home, she kept going while I evacuated with the rest of the staff on campus. 

I wasn't the only one in my immediate vicinity, it turned out. Three other teachers exited classrooms in that wing. One got five steps away from her classroom, noticed that we were all wearing masks, realized she wasn't wearing hers, and turned around to go back and get it. (I think we've all done this once or twice this year.) 

When we got out to the evacuation staging area (outdoors, in the PE area), I heard more than one teacher say the very thing I was thinking. "I didn't realize there were this many people on campus." 

I'd guess there were about fifty of us. Now, compared to a student population of 3000ish plus 170ish teachers plus instructional aides plus security staff plus administration, that's really nothing. But considering how empty the place feels, it's really a lot of people who are actually around.

We hung out until we got the all clear. When I got back to the room, the class was still going. (I left the meet on.) It's amazing how long it did not take when we did not have the whole campus population to deal with.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Distant Musicians

chair and desk with two computers

Have you been wondering how they're conducting music classes distantly? Only me? 

Last Tuesday I was called in to cover band (and music appreciation). Last Wednesday I was called in to cover choir (at a different school). 

It turns out that the marching band is actually learning a parade march. I mean, that's what they always do every year, but they generally do that with the expectation that they're going to perform it while marching in various parades. 

Rehearsing distantly with the wonky wifi connection is odd. The drum major did the conducting while everyone else had their cameras and mics off. (I'm sure there's got to be a way that a band can rehearse this way, but the technology apparently doesn't exist yet.) The drum major had various section leaders play their parts, but not together. At least they'll know their individual parts when they can meet in person? 

It was a good thing the drum major was doing the work, because I got kicked out of the meet six times. Yup. Six. At least I was accessing the attendance software via a different computer, or I might have been kicked out of the meet more than that. 

The music appreciation class allegedly watched a video. They turned in the questions before the class was over, so they did something. (They were given the YouTube link for the video, so I didn't have to show it to them.) 

As for the choir, they were to do rehearsals via various websites, and then they were to record themselves via another website. So, unlike the band, their teacher could hear what they were doing. (Although, I assume the band director was having them play individually for him at various times. They had a "test" coming up where they were to have their parts memorized for various sections.) 

It'll be interesting when we get back to in person classes. I wonder if they'll be performance ready. It's a different way to learn their music, to be sure.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Missing a Day

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 woke up this morning with no memory of yesterday? (At some point after you woke up, you realized that it was a day later than the day you thought it was. This is not a case of quarantime, or you thought it was Monday but it's Tuesday. Nope, you've actually lost a day somewhere.)

Monday, October 19, 2020

Entrelac Scarf Progress

Last week I just knit along on the scarf for my sister-in-law's birthday. Her birthday was at the end of September. She got to choose what she wanted. 

Last Monday I showed you this. . .

Since then, I've progressed to. . .

Then. . .

And as of Sunday. . .

The color changes are all from the yarn. It's a simple enough pattern, so for now it's just a matter of knitting along until I finish it. 

I think right about now I need a project that I don't have to think too much about. This is that. 

I hope you have a good simple project to keep your mind off things. Do you?

Friday, October 16, 2020

75 of the Most Popular Films of 1980-1995

Since the horror movie list from last week went over so well. . . 

This is a quiz for those of you who are about my age. Well, I mean anyone can try it, but for those of you who are about my age, this is our movie sweet spot. 

75 of the Most Popular Films of 1980-1995

I got 52 of the 75, or 69%, mostly because I'm just contrary that way. There are very popular films (*cough* Jurassic Park *cough*) that I refused to see. (There are stories behind some of them, mostly long stories.) 

How many have you seen? Are there any on the list that you refuse to see?

Thursday, October 15, 2020


Period six was the biggest period of the day, thirty plus students. Because we are on a modified schedule for distance learning, I only had the class twice in four days. 

On Wednesday, I had gotten them started on the assignment. I went to input the attendance when, poof. Suddenly I was kicked out of the meet. 

The internet was still working, so I just rejoined the meet. And it was all fine.

The exact same thing happened on Friday. 

I think since more of them had their cameras on, it was taking up more bandwidth? Perhaps. And it only occurred while I was accessing two things online by taking attendance. 

This is why when students drop out of the meet, I'm not concerned. Especially when they rejoin a minute or two later. Because it has happened to me. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

An Obvious Fix

desk with computer

I got the Google extensions so I could see all the students on screen and so I could track whether they stayed in class all period. I was all set. Not so fast. . .

The prior week I included the attendance files in my email to the teachers. I thought the files went through. Now I know differently. 

Last week I covered a French class for four days. (The teacher's father passed away.) Because it wasn't a one-day thing, I wanted to save the attendance files and send them all at once. 

Upon attempting to save the files, I discovered a small, teeny issue--I couldn't retrieve the actual data in the saved file. 

After trying every trick I knew, I admitted defeat. And that's when I had the bright idea to take a screenshot. Not ideal, but it gets the job done. 

The attendance extension is really cool. It gives a graphic that looks like this: 

sideways bar graph with green bars

I cropped this to cut out all identifying information. The pink row is an absent student. Green means they were "in class". You can see who came late and who left early at a glance. There's even a student in the middle who left and returned. (He let me know it was a wifi issue upon his return.) 

Alas, those green bars did not make the transition when I emailed this to the teachers. And those green bars are kind of the whole point.

To get a bit technical, this thing saves as an .html file. But to save to Google Drive, it opens as a .doc file. I could not find a way to get it to open as an .html (the extension I tried wouldn't work on the school Chromebook), and if I tried to save it as a PDF, the green bars didn't save. 

And then two days later, I noticed a little note at the bottom of the screen. "If you want a printed copy of this report, make sure that the More Settings --> Background Graphics checkbox is checked in the Print dialog". 

The easiest way to save stuff as a PDF is to go as if to print the screen, but rather than selecting a printer, select "Save as PDF". No converter or extension necessary. 

At that moment, I realized I was an idiot. All I had to do was save the file via the print option as a PDF, and voila. The checkbox was very easy to find. 

Well, at least Thursday's and Friday's files were easily saved. And from now on, I can save those files as PDFs and email them to the teachers. 

I'm learning. Slowly.