Friday, July 23, 2021

Mutiny

As a reward for good behavior, on Fridays the kiddos get to go out to lunch. Or, at least they did before Covid shutdowns. But as things are moving towards normal, the school reinstituted the practice. 

The permission slips were passed out on Tuesday. The kiddos returned them Wednesday and Thursday. And Friday we were all set to walk the not-quite-a-mile to the In-N-Out

The kiddos lined up, waiting for their phones... 

(Upon entering the school, all students are required to leave their phones. The phones are locked up for the day. They can do this due to the nature of the school and the fact that there are so few students.) 

Then the students were told they weren't going to get to have their phones for the journey. 

Oh, they were not happy. They were all like, if we can't have our phones, we're not going. They stalked off and sat on the lunch benches in the middle of the school. 

Mr. G, the math teacher, and Mrs. E, the principal, both went to talk to the kiddos. Nope, they weren't going to budge. 

Fine, then. They could stay in school. Brandon still wanted to go, and he was fine with not having his two (!!) phones. (Anson wanted to go, but he was peer pressured into staying.) 

So, Mrs. E and Brandon and I walked to In-N-Out. We had a rather nice lunch. 

After school I heard about how the other students who remained started to regret their stance. We'll see if they're more willing to go next Friday. 

(And Mrs. E has to look into the phone thing. She wasn't principal the last time they could do this, and legalities and things have to be considered.)

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Summer School 13

It's the first full week of summer school at the alternative education center, so I should have loads of good student stories, right? Nope. 

I mean, that's actually good news. This is the school where the misbehaving kiddos get sent, so a boring (blog-wise) week means I got to do my job with minimal disruptions. But this is the blog. 

Time for a Thursday 13, then...

1. At the moment, the school has nine students. This is the school they get sent to when they're expelled from their home school, so low enrollment is good. Besides, since the schools weren't on campus for most of the last school year, no one got expelled.

2. Of those nine, I have five students. One has been absent entirely thus far, and a second only showed up for the first two days, so I effectively have three students. (The first absent student is out for reasons the school is aware of. The second the school has been attempting to contact to find out where he is.) 

3. The schedule is four periods. First and second periods are two hours long. I have one student first, two students second, my prep is third, and I have one student fourth. He is also in my second period class. (One of the absent students is in first and one is in second, so that would up those totals if they ever show.)

4. Anson is in my first period class. He's a bright kid. 

5. I have Brandon and Vincent in my second period class. Vincent has missed a couple days. Brandon hasn't. So, there've been a couple days where I just had Brandon. 

6. I have Brandon only in my fourth period class. Brandon is pretty sick of the sight of me, I imagine. 

7. I had intended to keep the classes on the same schedule, but on Monday another teacher pulled both Brandon and Vincent from class for counseling, so that class is now a day behind. (Brandon does something else in fourth period.) 

8. As I mentioned last week, I chose The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy as their work. I found audio online, so we listen to the book, and then they get an assignment that goes along with what we read. 

9. I had attempted to keep the assignments light and fun, but Vincent and Brandon have stopped paying attention. So, now they get comprehension questions. At least for now.

10. Because of the nature of the school, when they arrive in the morning, they have to give up their phones and they get wanded down (metal detector). They are clearly used to this as no one makes a fuss. They wait until the last minute to come onto campus. They busily try to get all their messages attended to before giving up their phones.

11. At the end of the day when they get their phones back, they're all engrossed in them. We adults laugh at this. (Of course, we adults don't have to give up our phones during the day, but I know I'm barely on mine while I'm working.) 

12. The aide who wands them down and collects phones is also in charge of passing out the school breakfasts and lunches. The students complain about the food. Rightly so. The lunches are terrible and insufficient. But the food is provided from the district, so we at the school have no control over it. (The principal has been officially complaining.) 

13. Although, Vincent hasn't complained as loudly. See, he has a crush on that aide. (She's young and cute, so it's not surprising, really.) It was completely obvious to everyone but the aide. The principal gave her a heads-up, though.  

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

The Wrong Answer

First period. I have one student. (Well, I have two on the roster, but the second student hasn't yet shown up to school.) 

For the second hour of class, I have Anson working on the computer program Odyssey. The continuation high school has been using it for years, so I'm familiar with many of the issues the kiddos can run into. 

Anson finished an assignment, but it was telling him he got a zero. He informed me that the program wasn't working.

I had him pull up the assignment. The section he was on was about writing a report. The particular assignment gave him a topic, and then he had to choose whether the topic was more suitable for a report or an essay. 

(Like, for example, "the history of the railroad", or "my matchbook collection".)

We looked at his first answer. He had answered "essay". The topic was "history of the railroad". His reasoning was something about the length. I explained that reports were factual while essays were more of a personal explanation for things. 

So, it turned out that Anson got a zero because he got every single question wrong. All he had to do was reverse every single answer, and he got 100%. (He gets three tries on the assignment, so he was able to try again.)

Clearly Anson got the idea, he just had the words reversed. That's an easy enough fix.

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Haunted


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 your workplace was haunted? 

Monday, July 19, 2021

Out of Focus

I've been knitting away on the Calash... 

...but I've only made a little progress on it. I haven't been doing a lot of knitting this past week. 

It's not due to the weather. It's partly because I've been tired at night and not really in a knitting mood, but mostly it's been due to not being able to see very well.

Some idiot *ahem* accidentally switched her contact lenses around and is having trouble seeing things clearly. 

It's a long story, so suffice it to say that even though I've been wearing contact lenses for over 35 years (so I know how to keep my left and right contacts straight), I managed to mix them up somehow. And this is only a big deal as I am now doing the monovision thing (which I've only been doing since January), so it's going to take a minute for my brain to compensate. (It took about a month to get accustomed to this the first time. I'm hoping the mix up--which it took me three days to catch--won't take that long to settle again.)

Considering what I do for a living, the contact mix-up made for an interesting week.

Friday, July 16, 2021

Fashion Icons

On Friday, I was talking to the principal and Mr. T (he teaches social studies and the electives) as the students were leaving for the day. They noticed that Brandon's pants were sagging, and reminded each other that they needed to remind him of the dress code the next time they saw him. 

I remarked that I thought the whole sagging thing had gone out of style. (It used to be that we'd have to remind the kiddos to pull up their pants multiple times a day. It's been a few years since that was a major issue.) 

The principal explained that yes, that was out of style generally. However, Brandon might have been emulating the look of those just out of jail. Apparently, when they are released, they are frequently given clothes that don't fit, so when the pants are too small, they ride low.

The education I receive when I go to these schools. I learn so much about segments of society I would not normally interact with.

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Yay Books

Last year at this time I accepted a summer school-type class at the alternative education center (read: the kiddos who were expelled from the other schools). But things were different last year. Firstly, I had a couple weeks warning to prepare. This time, I got called the morning of their first day of school. 

Last year, it was all virtual. This year, we're all back on campus. 

So, I've got two-hour blocks to fill with kiddos in the classroom with me. 

For the first day, the principal set them up with online work. (It's a program that I'm familiar with via the continuation high school. They've been using it for years.) And while that was great for the first day, I knew that would get old, quick. 

English class. Summer session (18 days). There was a bookcase in the classroom with many books. Why not read a book? 

And guess what was in that bookcase? The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Since they're not going to like the book I assign, I'm going to like it. And, I know quite a bit about it. Score! 

I ran the plan by another teacher and the principal, and they both agreed it sounded like a good plan.

Now I just have to figure out things to assign to go with it. Any ideas?

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Early Morning Wake Up Call

Last Wednesday, 7 AM, my phone rang. There's only one person who calls me at that time of the morning... 

Yup, sure enough, it was the sub caller. In July. I debated picking up the phone. I had stayed up late (2 AM-ish) reading. But maybe she wasn't calling for that day? 

Could I work that day?, she asked. And perhaps the rest of the month? 

Okay, so you know how last week I said I was bored? But am I truly that bored? I mean, I have projects I should be doing. I get out for walks daily. And there might be some fun summer stuff that I'd want to do during the week. Maybe? 

These were the thoughts running through my head as I lay in bed talking to the sub caller. 

I asked when school started for the day. 8:30. It would be tight (as I had to get up and get dressed), but I could get there. Did I want to? 

There is only one school open now. The alternative education center. I know this because last year at this time I accepted a gig there for the vacant English class. Guess what gig I was being offered. But this year we're back on campus. 

In the end, I decided that I was truly that bored and that I'd regret not taking the gig, so I accepted. 

They have air conditioning, and it gets me out of the house. So, guess which blog is going to have subbing stories again? I know, crazy.

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

A Portal?


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 found a locked gate with no fencing on either side? (Assume the area feels weird, like "off" or like there's some strange energy.)

Monday, July 12, 2021

Curiosity Sated

A few years ago, I saw a thing about cutting up plastic bags to make "yarn" and then make a bag out of that. I stored that idea away. 

Recently, I cleaned out my car, and I had a bunch of shopping bags that I had collected. (Back in March and April of 2020, stores were all like, "don't bring outside bags in", so I didn't. Once that panic wore off, I went back to reusing bags.) I thought, why not try the bag thing?

Cutting the bags into strips turned out to be easy. Crocheting with those strips was a bit awkward, but doable. 

I decided to do the windmill pattern. And that's where I made my mistake.

The last time I tried it, the bag came out way too huge. This time? I went in the complete opposite direction. 

This would make a nice vase of some sort. It would probably hold a wine bottle nicely. (Alas, I don't drink, so...) 

It may be small, but it used up all the bags I had on hand, so it was basically as big as I could make it with the materials I have on hand.

Ah well. It may be a fail, but at least I learned lots of things from the attempt. I wonder if I can recycle this now.

Friday, July 9, 2021

Turtles

Last week's quiz went pretty well, but the previous few outings on Random Quiz Fridays have been largely passes, so I'm going to be lazy today... 

My condo complex has lots of water, and in that water live turtles. Here are a few sunning themselves one day. 

The question for the day: What should I continue to do for Fridays? Quizzes? Random photos? Or should I switch off between the two?

Thursday, July 8, 2021

A Random 13


1. It's going to be one of those stream-of-consciousness lists today. I attempted to come up with a theme of some sort (top contender: movies I can watch over and over again), but doing that planning ended up being too much work. Perhaps I'll attempt it another week. Maybe not.

2. I've been bored. It's not like I don't have projects to work on. I pushed many of them to when I'd have time over the summer. But wide-open days make me feel anxious, so little actually gets done.

3. We've been fighting with the internet. There was an outage. But, alas, that outage knocked out our box. The guy came and replaced the box, but in the process took the company's router, which led to all sorts of issues connecting to the TV. (We had an older router too. We kept the older one.) For days it was hit or miss with the internet connecting to the TV, which sucks when you've "cut the cord" and are just streaming. It appears to be fixed now, but I'm whispering this because I don't want to have another issue.

4. I also took my car in to have some maintenance work done. It was gone for eight days. Apparently, there were issues getting parts. Well, that, and the place was super busy. And my car is rather old. 

5. It seems like I'm only watching witch shows on TV. Motherland: Fort Salem started back up as well as A Discovery of Witches. And, of course there's The Good Witch, too. I've been sort of hate-watching The Magicians on Netflix (I missed starting it when it began on SyFy.) A sense a theme.

6. Although, I am also watching Renovation Island on HGTV and Making It on NBC, so it's not all magic all the time.

7. Does anyone have a good show to recommend? It's getting to that point in the year when I'm scrambling for something to keep me entertained in the evening. 

8. I've been walking my landlady's dog, Buttercup. Buttercup does not like to take walks. Once she gets going it's okay, but getting her going... 

9. Buttercup has a nemesis. Lucky. If those two dogs get within sniffing distance, the barking starts. They want to tear each other apart. 

10. Lucky is a little white dog. Now that we (me and Lucky's owner) know the dogs hate each other, we avoid each other when we catch sight of the other while out. (The other day I got close enough to ask the dog's name. Before, I was calling him Nemesis.) 

11. Walking the dog is a bit of a challenge with Lucky, the Canadian geese (they don't like us coming anywhere near them), and the ducks. The ducks actually went after Buttercup one time. (Guarding the chicks.) Although the Canadian geese should be leaving soon, and the ducks have calmed down since the chicks are no longer chicks. 

12. I think it may be time to knit myself a new purse. 

13. If I'm really thinking ahead, it is definitely time to start my Christmas knitting. I think last year's give-everyone-a-book didn't go over too well. (Although, I may do the book thing again. It was way easy for me.)

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Scrivener

Since it's IWSG day, I thought rather than reviewing a TV show, I'd review a word processing program. 

I remember hearing about Scrivener a while back, and at the time I thought that Word was doing an adequate job of allowing me to write. But those who were talking about Scrivener were raving. So, I kept it in the back of my mind for a future when I was ready to make the switch.

This spring I decided it was time. But, I knew I wasn't going to have time to learn a new program while I was busy covering classes long-term, so I figured it would be a summer project. Just after school got out, I took the plunge.

And it's so much better than I expected. 

I have an odd way of writing. I like to write in one document, including my asides to myself and just general things of "what do I want to say here?" (and seriously, I have written that more than once) along with writing actual story that goes into the novel. Then I copy the novel bits and those stay in a separate document. (It works for me.)

I can do this in Word. I split my screen and have two documents going at the same time. 

But in Scrivener it is so much easier to do just that. 

On the left, there's access to a bunch of files. I can jump between anything and pull it up to look at it as needed. That includes my outline or any of the other random research files I keep. I don't have to minimize a window, find a file, and then open that file. It's all at my fingertips.

The program encourages titles for chapters and scenes within chapters. Also, each scene within a chapter is given its own file. The program compiles it all into one document when needed, but while writing, it's easy to jump back to a previous scene to see if I wrote something there or not.

Each scene is also given an "index card" where I can write a quick synopsis so I know what's in that scene. Then there are the "notes". Each scene has notes and metadata and comments associated with it, so I can easily make a note to myself about something I want to do later.

The functionality of Scrivener is amazing. And I'm just starting out. I've had the thing less than a month, and I'm already a fan. 

I know I'm late to the Scrivener party, but better late than never. 

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Immigrant


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.
😉

I've got a very sci fi question for this week...

What if you found out about a group organizing a journey to another world to colonize/settle it? (Assume the world is human-friendly but unpopulated.) Would you want to go? (This is a one-way trip. But you could go with family.)

Monday, July 5, 2021

Calash

After finishing my niece's birthday present, I again found myself between projects. But then I remembered that there was another project that I could work on. 

Two years ago I saw a pattern in Knitty for a hooded scarf. It's called Calash. I rather liked the look of it, so I bought yarn, swatched it, and adjusted the pattern accordingly. 

(The purpose of swatching is to see if one's own knitting measures the same as the pattern writer's. When it doesn't, we're told to adjust needle sizes until we match. I don't do this. If my sizing is off, I adjust the pattern so I'll get the size I want.) 

But before I could cast on, something distracted me and I never started. (I have a couple guesses as to why I put off starting this, but I don't remember for sure what it was.) 

Last week I went searching for all the components. I was able to locate the yarn, my swatch, and the pattern. All I had to do was cast on. 

I haven't gotten very far yet, but I just started. How long will this take me? What will I do with it once it's done? Both good questions that I'll figure out at some point, but not today.

I may start a bunch of projects right now so I have stuff to work on. I have ideas for projects, anyway. We'll see what gets planned and started and what stays in my imagination for now.

Friday, July 2, 2021

Fun Trivia: 4th of July

Sunday is the 4th, so of course I'm going to find a 4th of July quiz...

Fun Trivia: 4th of July

It's multiple choice and untimed. You fill in the answers, and when you submit, it gets corrected and you can see how you did. I got 6/10. I think that's pretty good considering how many of them I guessed on.

Thursday, July 1, 2021

13 Blogs


Now that school is out for the summer, I find myself lacking for things to write about on the blog. To combat this, I created my "summer schedule" (which is in the "About Me" tab above). Thursdays have been #ThrowbackThursdays for a while now, but I have since found the Thursday 13 meme. 

I have done the Thursday 13 a couple times now. I may do it more frequently this summer. Or, I may repost things. We'll see what my mood is.

Today's list of 13 is bloggers I read regularly. Originally, I was going to write a bit about each blog, but I have found that I don't know what to say. They're all interesting in their own unique ways. 

But the main thing is, the last time I checked, these blogs are still posting regularly. Many blogs cut back for the summer. And several others have dropped off the blogosphere, whether for good or just for now, I can't be certain. 

This is not a complete list of who I follow, so if I missed your blog, make sure to add the link in the comments.

  1. Still Writing by J E Oneil 
  2. Songbird's Crazy World 
  3. Ramblin' with AM by bookworm
  4. Seaside Simplicity by Martha
  5. Life through the Eyes of my Scattered Brain by Pam
  6. AJ Blythe
  7. Dreaming of Elysia by Darla M. Sands
  8. BB Creations by BB
  9. Doesn't Speak Klingon by Red
  10. Time and Tide by Pradeep Nair
  11. The Contemplative Cat by Susan Kane
  12. Having Coffee with Peppy by Dora
  13. Lisa's Garden Adventure  

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Ted Lasso


It was February. Nothing much was on TV. And I was kind of feeling miserable (female troubles). This is when I stumbled across Ted Lasso

I found a couple Twitter threads praising it. And I needed something to watch. So, I tried it...

There are many TV shows that I enjoy. I watch them, I talk about them, and I recommend them. But I wouldn't rewatch them. I will rewatch Ted Lasso

It's a simple premise. (If you remember the movie Major League, you've already gotten the idea.) Divorcee gets sports team in divorce. To hurt the ex, she decides to tank the team. 

But, she makes one major mistake. While Ted Lasso knows nothing about soccer, he is an excellent coach. 

The thing about the show, though, is it's very, very nice. Ted Lasso is just a nice guy. Kind. Caring. Basically the antithesis of what you'd expect a pro coach to be. And he plays to the nice even while those around him aren't so nice. 

It's a great show. Now, I know no one has Apple +. This is the show you subscribe for. (Wait until July, though. Season 2 comes out near the end of July.)

Here's the trailer for season 1: 

And I can barely contain myself waiting for season 2: 

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

A Warning


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.
😉

I had the strangest thought in the shower the other day, and I thought it would make a good "what if?", so here goes...

What if you could talk to your younger self (and your younger self would believe it was you)? Would you warn them about 2020?

(I decided, while thinking about this, that my answer is no. But I have no idea if I'm in the majority or minority here.)

Monday, June 28, 2021

To Review or Not to Review

For my niece's birthday, I gave her a choice: she could have me make her something, or she could get a gift card, like I did for her brothers. But, of course, she was good with either.

She found a pattern, and I found yarn. 

It didn't take me that long to complete it: 

And it should be on its way to her when you read this. 

The thing is, I really had an issue with the pattern. It... I mean, clearly I made the thing. I could follow it. But, I felt like it had some omissions that made me have to guess a few times as to what the pattern writer intended. 

I might just be being overly critical. I had enough information. And others have made this with no problem, as far as I can tell. 

So, I wonder whether or not I should write a review on Etsy, where I purchased the pattern.

It won't be a glowing review. And as a creative, I don't want to do that to another creator. But, should I warn others about the issues here? 

I don't have to write a review. It's not required. But since I have the headspace (with it being summer and me not working at the moment), I've been tossing this around for a few days. Should I? Or should I just skip it? 

And now I am yet again between projects. Although, I have a couple ideas. We'll see if I get any of them started by next week.

Friday, June 25, 2021

Two Quizzes

It's summer, so that means that Fridays are all about the random quizzes. Although, they're not so random anymore, as I've found a couple of websites that specialize in these sorts of things. (I am looking for more go-to quiz sites, so if you know any, feel free to drop them in the comments.) 

Today I'm giving you two, because some of you have expressed a dislike of one or the other. First up: 

Rhymes with "Ox"

In five minutes, you need to find as many one-syllable words that rhyme with "ox" as you can. There are 42 possible. I only found 29. (Type the words in the box at the top. The quiz will take it immediately if it's a match. If it's not, it'll just sit there. Homonyms count.)

Then, another: 

Kennection #470

For this one, type in the answer to the five questions. (I frequently cheat on these.) If it's right, it'll take it immediately. Then, you have to figure out what the five things have in common. I'll give you a hint for this one: geography.

Good luck. And happy Friday.

Thursday, June 24, 2021

How to Make a Bad Impression


Since it's summer, I have no new subbing stories. So, time for the wayback files for #ThrowbackThursday. This one was originally posted on November 21, 2012. I have no memory of this kid or this class, just in case you were wondering how much these incidents bother me.

We had been in class for maybe 10 minutes and I was done with Kenneth. Already, he had been out of his seat and roaming the room three times. He interrupted other students who were answering my questions. And he was twisted around in his seat so he could bother the student behind him.

When Kenneth let it be known (loudly) that I was boring him ("Can I just start now?") I knew it was time for him to go.

(To be fair here, we were reviewing literary terms such as plot, climax, resolution, character, and point of view. They'd gone over these terms before. They made flash cards. But the lesson plan said to review the terms again so they'd be ready for a test on Friday, and they were 8th graders which means that they won't really study on their own.)

"Take your work. Go next door." I even pointed in the direction I wanted him to go.

"Outside?"

"Next door."

45 minutes later, I got a phone call from another sub. Kenneth had just arrived. Also, he slammed into a desk, laughed, and disrupted that class.

Two thoughts occurred:
  1. Why was I directed to send students out to a class with a sub?
  2. Where had Kenneth been for 45 minutes?  
Not five minutes later Kenneth returned to retrieve his stuff. I asked him where he had been all period.  

"Outside. There is no next door."  

The room we were in was at the end of a building. There was no next door on one side. But on the other, the way I pointed...  

(By the way, I later figured out that the room I sent Kenneth to and the one he went to were not the same. He disrupted the class at the other end of the hall.)  

At this point I tried to collect his assignment (the thing he was supposed to be doing in the other classroom), but he wouldn't give it to me. Because, of course, he had not done it.  

Kenneth was pleased with himself. I could tell. He had put one over on the sub.  

Of course, Kenneth doesn't know me very well. Because as he was playing this game, I was mentally composing my note. (I debated whether or not a referral would have been better, but I figured he would just toss it and go to lunch as lunch was five minutes away.)  

I spent half of the next class period writing all of this down. I got the impression that this teacher is of the strict variety. Yeah, I wouldn't want to be in Kenneth's shoes that next day.  

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Mythic Quest

With the end of the school year, the main source of my blog topics has evaporated. So, I'm left with the things that are going on with me, like what I've been watching on TV.

'Round about this time last year, I stumbled into a little show on Apple + called Mythic Quest. Currently, Apple + is dropping new episodes weekly with just a couple episodes left in season 2. 

With a title like Mythic Quest, you might be expecting fantasy characters, swordplay, and a medieval setting. What it actually is is a workplace comedy. Mythic Quest is the name of the MMORPG (video game) that the studio produces. 

There are conflicts between the creative team and the money people. The game's creator seems to think he's a genius, while those around him deal with his crazy. And the various employees interact in the ways you'd expect in this sort of situation.

Apple + is one of those streaming networks that is trying to attract subscribers. While I wouldn't subscribe for this show (I got a free subscription when I upgraded my iPhone), there are a couple other shows (along with this one) that make the subscription worthwhile.

Here's the trailer for season 1: 

And for season 2 (which is way funnier if you're familiar with season 1): 

Have you seen Mythic Quest? Do you subscribe to Apple +? 

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

The Price


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 someone had a way to take all your pain away (physically, mentally, and/or spiritually), but it would only work if you lost all of your empathy (caring, feelings, etc.)?

Monday, June 21, 2021

Dragon Complete

I finished the dragon...

I'm quite happy with it. It was a challenge of a knit, but not undoable.

I have some thinking to do before I attempt it again, though. And yes, I'm going to attempt it again. I don't know what I'm going to put it on, but I want to wear this or carry it somehow.

The pattern... I don't like the way the pattern was written. But this is a me problem. 

The instructions were all there. It was just all the flipping through pages and checking stitches and such. I would love to have a good chart that I could just prop up so I wouldn't have to pick up a page every few stitches, but that's just a matter of situating things.

And it did come with a chart. I attempted to use the chart. But I could not get my head around it. 

Like I said, a me problem.

Now that I know how the thing works, it'll be easier to do a second time. And I can anticipate some of the problems I had before. 

But first I need to figure out where I'm going to use the design.

Friday, June 18, 2021

Flowers in the Sun

Taken while out on a walk this past Saturday... 

Happy Friday.

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Avoided

Picture has nothing to do with today's post

About three weeks before the end of the school year, I got a piece of mail that had me groaning out loud. Jury duty summons. And sadly, it had my name on it. (Which was totally unfair as I had just gone in 2019.)

The date on the thing was for the Monday after the last day of school. Sigh. So, I had no reason to postpone it. (There's no getting out of these things. The only thing I can do is postpone to a more opportune date.) 

So, Friday before I checked in as soon as I could. Nope, I didn't have to report on Monday. 

Our jury service is one day/one trial. The one day we have to go in could be any day during the week we're summoned for. We have to check nightly to find out if we have to report the next day. (I don't know if other states do this differently. It used to vary county by county, but now state-wide it's pretty consistent from what I understand.) 

I made no plans for the week as I didn't know what day I'd have to report. I don't think I've ever reported on a Monday or a Tuesday. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, sure. So, when I didn't have to report Tuesday either, I wasn't shocked. 

The thing about reporting later in the week means that a trial could go on to the next week. This did happen to me. So, by Thursday I was straight up jittery. Would I have to report on Friday? (Wednesday was a no. Thursday was a no.) 

Then, Thursday night. I went online early. There was no button to click for reporting instructions. (It was there but grayed out.) So, I dutifully waited until after 7 PM. 

And the reporting instructions button was still grayed out. Huh? That's when I noticed the announcement next to it. I had been ignoring that box because it said the same thing day after day. But no. This time it said I had completed my jury service, etc. I did not have to report on Friday, and I was officially done. 

Whew. 

Now my summer can officially begin.

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Follow by Email

Image has nothing to do with today's post...

If you're on Blogger and you have enabled email subscriptions, you already saw the notice that the service is being shut down in July. The notice went out in April (or was it March?). 

At the time, I was busy with a long-term subbing gig, and I really didn't have the time (or the desire to make a priority) to take care of it. But school is out for the summer, so now I have some time. And one of the first things I wanted to do was deal with the email situation. 

Although, it's not like I really have all that many email subscribers. The last time I checked, I had two (my brother and my sister-in-law). Was it really worth it to even have the email subscription thingy enabled? 

I got an email about follow.it (and then I got two follow ups when I didn't deal with it right then--because I wasn't going to deal with it until now), and I've noticed a couple other bloggers have migrated to that. I figured I'd give it a go. 

I went to download my subscriber list so I could import it, and I was greeted with a shock. I had over 1400 email subscribers. Huh? 

Figuring out how to transition things took just about as long as I thought it would. (I gave myself an afternoon.) I bumbled about, and when it came time to import my subscriber list, I didn't notice the "Download List" button. Instead, I clicked on "Import Followers". 

This mistake is what made me look through that list of "followers". I was being "followed" by email addresses that could not possibly be people. 

They were all outlook.com addresses, and the names on them were... Well, let me give you a taste: 

rosadobqrioswwz
rosadobwantoniosg
rosadocgsjosepdu
rosadodacarolinaga
rosadofhsandratpj
rosadofwastridyuk

All up and down the alphabet these "names" went. One or two, I can see, but over 1000 of these were there. I have no idea what purpose these random email addresses have in following my blog, but importing them into the new email service seemed like a bad idea. 

When I had deleted all of them, I was left with nineteen subscribers. 

Nineteen. Yeah, that's way more reasonable. Way more than I was expecting (and I'm grateful to each and every one of you for subscribing), but that number makes sense. 

But the reason I mention this, before the Blogger email subscription goes away, is for anyone I may have accidentally deleted in the transition. By now you should be getting the emails via follow.it. If you are not, the "Follow by Email" in the sidebar has been updated with the new link. 

(This is only going to apply to anyone with an outlook.com address. Any other address made the transition.) 

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

New Acquaintance


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 someone seemed to know you way better than they should?

Monday, June 14, 2021

It's Complicated

A couple weeks ago, I previewed the Tahesha the Dragon(ess) cable pattern. And while I have absolutely no purpose for the thing, I purchased the pattern and printed out the massive PDF (29 pages). (Well, I went to a copy shop and had it printed. Totally worth it.) 

The pattern comes with a warning: 

Due to the many different and sometimes unusual techniques plus the necessity to work said techniques on right and wrong side rows, an advanced skill level is needed to knit Tahesha, and some practice and perseverance may be required at times. 

And then some...

I think at this point in my life, I can pretend to an advanced skill level as a knitter. The pattern includes pictures of the various "unusual" techniques, and I have reference materials for the specific stitches that I don't do on a regular basis. (The pattern requires certain increases that I don't do all that often.) 

All I needed was to pick a yarn from my stash, find the needles that went with it, and dig out a few alternate needles for the "unusual" techniques. Then I was ready to go.

Last week I knit the plain part before the pattern began in earnest. 

Once I was ready to begin, I sat down with my reference book, my pattern, and all the stuff I could possibly need. And I began. 

And... it's as difficult as advertised. 

It's not undoable. But I definitely wasn't paying attention to the TV. (I do need some background noise while I knit, but I was frequently pausing the show when I'd get into a tangle.) 

There is a chart, but it's difficult to read. I've been using the written instructions. Stitch by stitch. Cable by cable. Reading the instructions, copying them, and then double checking. Recounting. Finding I miscounted. Again. 

And then last Thursday I totally misread the pattern and was flummoxed for an hour just as the internet went out. 

(Streaming TV doesn't work without internet. And I'm the person in the household who knows how to fix said internet when it goes wonky. In the end, this required a service call and replacement of equipment.) 

I was thisclose to frogging and starting over. Sometimes it's good to be stubborn. 

So far, I've got this: 

I'm not quite halfway through. It's slow going and it requires way more concentration than I usually give my projects. 

Hopefully it'll be worth it in the end. We'll see. I still have absolutely no purpose for it once it's complete. 

Friday, June 11, 2021

Pandemic School Year Stats

Last Friday was the last day of school.

If you have been with me for a while, you know that means it's time for my annual listing of what classes I covered this school year. And whoa, it's been a year like no other. But somehow, I managed to remain employed throughout it all (a statement that I am incredibly privileged to make). 

There are usually 180 school days, and according to the district calendar, it appears that we did, in fact, have 180 school days. I worked 152 of them. That's not quite up to my best year of 164 in the 2018-19 school year, but considering the year, it was very, very good.

Of those 152 days, I covered an extra period on... 3 of them. Because of how things were set up this year, working extra periods just wasn't that common, at least for subs. (The majority of extra period assignments went to full-time teachers.) 

110 of those days were virtual. 40 were days when we'd gone to the hybrid schedule (1 day a week was fully virtual--Wednesday--but the rest of the week we had students in the room and students online). The 2 remaining days were the transition from virtual to hybrid (we were on campus, but the students didn't have to log in to a meet). 

36 days I worked from campus with fully virtual classes. 63 days I worked from home. 11 days were fully virtual but I bounced between on campus and at home. (These were in the long-term I started off the year in, and it varied as to whether I was on campus or not.) 42 days I worked on campus with hybrid classes (or on Wednesdays with them all virtual). 

I spent 91 of those days in high school classes, 42 in middle school classes, 12 at the alternative education center (plus those days for their summer session, which I don't count as they're technically summer school), and only 7 days at the continuation high school.

I covered both the first day and the last day of school. 

Because of the nature of this school year, my individual subject breakdowns are skewed from a typical year. As always "extra periods" also contain when the teacher only taught one period of that subject, for example, if they were the cheer advisor or if they only taught one period of economics. (Of my 3 actual extra periods, 1 was chemistry, 1 was intro to health care, and 1 was graphic arts.) 

  • English: 89 days
  • Math: 39 days and 2 extra periods
    • Integrated Math 1 (9th grade math) wins with 21 days and 1 extra period. This includes the alternative education center's class that I started off the year in (12 days) and the class I ended the year in (9 days). 
    • 8th grade math is in 2nd place with 17 days and 1 extra period. Those were part of the special ed co-teach thing I did back in September.
    • And 3rd place is Integrated Math 2 (10th grade math) with 12 days and 5 extra periods. The 12 days were the alternative education center's class, and the 5 extra periods were the last 9 days of school. (There was only one period of it, and I only had it every other day and Wednesdays.) 
    • As for the rest: 2 days in 7th grade math, and 1 extra period of business math (that was a special ed class where she taught various classes throughout the day). 
  • Science: 19 days and 2 extra periods
    • The top class here was chemistry with 16 days and 1 extra period. 12 of those days were at the alternative education center.
    • In 2nd place is biology with 14 days and 2 extra periods. Again, 12 of those days were with that class at the alternative education center.
    • The only other science class I covered was the intro to health care careers, where I covered 1 full day and 1 extra period. 
  • Social Studies: 18 days
  • Special Ed: 47 days
  • Miscellany
It was a different sort of year. But somehow we managed to make it through.

Previous years' stats:

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Final Boost

Because the special ed math class had been through so many subs (the students tell me the total count is four), I figured that a final exam cobbled together in a couple days would not have been a worthwhile endeavor. So, I came up with a different solution. 

Instead of a test, I gave them a "project" where they were to find me completed problems from their various assignments, ones that they thought were "easy" or "hard". (I ran this by a couple other special ed teachers, and they found this approach acceptable.) 

So as not to catch them unprepared on the day of their final, I made up "review" assignments where they were to go back through their assignments from the semester and find problems they could use for this "final". Alas, many of them chose not to do this. 

On the day, I went through an example I had created to demonstrate what I was looking for. Then I had them get to work. 

Many of them did exactly as I asked, and they got full credit. 

Jonah "finished" his final quickly. As I was doing with all the students, I graded it immediately. (If I marked points off for something, they then had time to fix the issue and resubmit. Those who did resubmit generally then got the full points.) 

Jonah gave me three complete problems of the same type. (They did a chapter on statistics, so all three problems were where he found the mean.) But I had asked for a problem that he found easy, a problem he found difficult, and a problem he found interesting. I can see two of those being the same, but not the third. 

Deep sigh. 

I returned the final to him, telling him what I thought. (I know he heard me as he was in the classroom with me, one of two students who were in person for that period.) I told him he could fix it. He went back to watching the video on his computer that he had started as soon as he submitted his final. 

Ah well. If he's good with not the full points... 

As it was, he ended up with a B- in the class, which was very good considering where most of their grades were. So many of them didn't even bother to do the final. This was unsurprising as they hadn't done any of the work in about two months. 

Those who did the final did see a benefit. I noted that pretty much everyone who turned in the final boosted their grade for the semester by one letter. 

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Grade Help

I was officially done with the eighth grade English class. They had taken their finals, their grades had been finalized and input into the system that generates their report cards, and their promotion activities were set for the following Tuesday. It was the weekend, and I only had to focus on the math class I was now covering for the last week of school. 

On Saturday, I got an email from a student: 

hi are you guys going to input the final into aeries?

(Aeries is the name of the gradebook software.) My reply: 

 It has been. Your grade for the semester has been finalized. 

Shortly thereafter, he asked another question: 

but how come i still have the same grade at a 78.4% i thought it would push me to a B at least 

This was a valid question. I checked his grade to see what might have gone wrong. I noticed that he had missed a few assignments, and he had only gotten a C on the project that was due the last week I was there. (The co-teacher graded it, and she was grading the projects "easy", so he had to have been missing major elements.) 

So, I replied that missing assignments and low scores had pushed his grade down. His grade had probably fallen to a D with the missed work. (He did well on the final.) I reminded him that all his classwork matters. (I hope he takes this lesson with him into high school.) 

Then, the following week, he sent me another email: 

hi ms a i was emailing you to ask if there is anything i can do to maybe push my grade up a bit?

I can't tell you how often the co-teacher and I reminded the students to do their missing assignments. We kept reminding them that missing assignments impacted their grades. We gave them three weeks' notice of a final due date for all late/missing work. And that date got pushed back when the system crashed.

I thought all of that, but I said none of it. 

Something had happened between his previous emails and that last one. Ms. R, his regular teacher, returned from her maternity leave. Even if I wanted to do something, it was no longer my place. And so, I referred him back to Ms. R. 

Knowing Ms. R's personality, I have a pretty good idea of how that interaction went. 

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

The Return


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" came back? 

No, I'm not going to specify what "it" is. I'm feeling vague at the moment, so I'll let your imaginations run wild.

Monday, June 7, 2021

Beginnings

I haven't been doing much knitting/crocheting the past couple weeks. Once I finished the seven (and a half) year cardi, I found I didn't have the mental bandwidth to figure out what I was going to make next. 

But now that the school year is over, I have some time to start some new projects. 

I began a swatch (in crochet)… 

And then I started another kind of swatch (in knit)…

And that's all I'm going to say about them at the moment. (I'll talk about them a bit more once they begin to look like something.)

Friday, June 4, 2021

Late Late Work

I had finished covering Ms. R's class the week prior. (I'm only allowed to cover a class for up to 30 days.) But Ms. R wasn't back yet. Because of the current sub situation (there's a shortage), I volunteered to remain in the class digitally to input the grades for the eighth graders' finals. (It was a multiple choice final, so it graded itself. All I needed to do was transfer the grades into the gradebook.) 

Okay, so really I remained digitally in the class because I hadn't finished the grading from my time in the class. We had that crash. And the deadline for their late work got pushed back because of it. Plus, they had a project due at the end of the school day on my last day covering the class. So, I needed a couple extra days to get all that done and input into the gradebook. 

It only took me until Tuesday to get it all done. 

So, on Friday, all I had to do was transfer their final exam grades into the gradebook. Basically, it was two clicks. (The scores just import into the gradebook. It's very cool.) 

But before I got to transferring their final exam grades, I got an email from Bentley:

I apologize for turning this in late. I've had a very bad cold and it made it hard to do much work. I understand this may seem like an excuse but please consider grading this. Thank you for your time.

Considering how much that project counted for, and considering how Bentley did manage to complete six late assignments, I figured why not? (She did lose points for turning it in late.) What can I tell you? I'm a soft touch. 

I transferred the kiddos' final exam grades. I finalized their grades for the semester. And that's when I got one more email from a kiddo: 

Hello Mrs.a, for my message to the world project it says that it's missing on this account and I turned it in on the other account before my account got restored. I was wondering if you can fix it or possibly regrade it. Thank you

Considering the mess with the Google Classroom crash, this is likely true. In fact, when I pulled up his project, it looked very familiar. So, of course I graded it. 

When I went to adjust his final semester grade, it went from a D to a C. 

So, I don't feel too bad about allowing these assignments. But don't tell anybody. If word gets out, more of them might try for the exception.

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Assistance

Last week I started covering a different class. A math class this time. One of my priorities was getting their gradebook in order. 

I had to figure out what had been graded, what hadn't, and what was in the gradebook. 

My next step was to grade all the ungraded assignments. (At the same time I was, you know, teaching the class. I mean, I had some time while the kiddos were working on their own, and there was time before and after school, of course.) It was doable. But it felt like so much.

But then I realized that the class had an instructional assistant... 

The instructional assistants (IAs) haven't been input into Google Classroom, so they can't actually access the students' work. But in normal times they would help out with the grading. And I wondered if the class' IA would be willing to try grading in Google Classroom.

So, I asked her. And she was willing. I input her into Google Classroom (I'm not sure if this was technically permitted, so don't tell anyone), and I gave her a brief overview of how to access their work (it's pretty simple once you figure out how to navigate it). 

Since the IA had worked with the teacher for a few years, she knew how Ms. F liked things graded. She knew just how strict to be, just how easy to be. 

And she finished the grading backlog (of two to three months' work) in two days. 

Such a relief. Suddenly, I had one less thing to do.

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

The New Mess

Transition time. 

There are two weeks left of school. (Actually, by the time you read this, there will be two days left. I'm always writing about last week.) The previous Friday was my last day in the eighth grade English long-term assignment as I had reached my maximum. For the last two weeks of school, I took an assignment in a high school SDC math class that had had a succession of subs for the last two months.

So going in, I knew things were going to be a bit of a mess. 

And it was as bad as advertised. 

But I chose this class deliberately. (I had a choice of four assignments.) I figured I could do the most good here, getting things organized before the end of the school year. 

On top of the whole lockdown/distance/hybrid learning thing we've been doing all year, these kiddos haven't had a steady teacher since February or March. (It was hard to tell.) 

Once I got their lesson plans sorted (at this time of year it's just prep for a final, but their final is going to be a bit different due to their circumstances), it was time to tackle their grades. 

They had been getting assignments. Those assignments were in their Google Classroom classwork feeds. Alas, no one had been grading those assignments or inputting them into the gradebook. It took a while to figure out what was in the gradebook and what wasn't. 

One class had a month-long gap of assignments graded. (Things were graded for the beginning of February and then the end of March, but not the month or so in between.) Two classes only were missing grades for April and May. 

(Oh, and then once I got that sorted, I accidentally added the math assignments to the English class. Those had to be deleted, deleting the assignments from the math class in the process. But that's a whole different story.) 

Surprisingly, it only took about a week to sort things out. Well, mostly. I can't give the students this past semester back.

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Blue Roads?


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.
😉

My father said this to me the other day, and I thought it applied...

What if our roads weren't made of black asphalt? 

Friday, May 28, 2021

Procrastinator

It was my last day in the eighth grade English class. (The way the subbing credential works, I can only cover a class for thirty days. Last Friday was day thirty.) I was hoping to get my grading done during the "office hour". 

The school established an "office hour" in the afternoons so the students could get extra help on assignments and such. For the most part, the students don't utilize it. But, of course, on the day I really need no one to attend, several students needed my help. 

Bentley had been doing well until the last couple weeks. She hadn't been in class for most of the previous week, and she hadn't turned anything in for a couple more than that. So, I was surprised when she popped up. 

Bentley explained that she had been sick for about a month. (She didn't say she'd had the dread plague, so I assume it was just a cold.) And she said she'd gotten lazy. She wanted to know if she could turn in her missing assignments as now she was concerned for her grade.

Sigh.

The due date for late work had been pushed to that Friday due to the system crash, so she could still get work done. And I do applaud her for wanting to get something accomplished. 

She's not the only one the procrastination bug bit hard this spring. 

They're down to the wire now. As you read this, they're taking their finals. The year is over.