Wednesday, January 17, 2018


Back from winter break, I was called to cover "culinary arts". (Not the picture above. Someone *ahem* forgot to take a pic of the classroom...)

Period three was "culinary arts 2", or those who were taking a second year of cooking. Surprisingly, Kevin was enrolled.

There were seven students enrolled in the class. Six were present. And basically this is the class where they do competitions and things. (There are all sorts of programs through the county for various technical and vocational programs.)

It was a make work assignment, but they were on task. Even Kevin.

He figured out what he thought an answer was, and then he asked the class if he was right. And on that went for a while. Until he needed a restroom break.

A bit later, another student asked to use the restroom. That's when I noticed that Kevin had been gone a while. I mentioned that Kevin was out...

"Oh, he's not coming back."

Apparently, the other students are familiar with Kevin's lack-of work ethic.

Although, Kevin did return. After a while. At which point he gave up doing the assignment. Sigh.

(Which is not surprising considering what I saw the last time I had Kevin in class. If you go back and reread that post, Ms. S in #3 is this class.)

Tuesday, January 16, 2018


At the heart of much speculative fiction (and fiction in general) is a question. What if? On Tuesdays I like to throw one out there and see what you make of it. Do with it as you please. If a for-instance is not specified, feel free to interpret that instance as you wish. And if you find this becomes a novel-length answer, I'd appreciate a thank you in the acknowledgements. 😉

Is it just me, or has everyone noticed a slow down of comments posting to Blogger? I thought it was just me, and then I was on a different computer at a different location where the same thing happened. Now I'm wondering...

What if computer glitches are happening as a way to check security? That is, what if the annoying slow downs are to check that the person posting is really human (and not some bot that wouldn't noticing spam not posting)? 

Monday, January 15, 2018

The Russian Poncho, Final

I finished it.

If you had told me last week that this week's post would have the finished Russian Poncho, I would have laughed. Hard. I wasn't that close to finishing.

Apparently I was...

The front.

The back. It kind of reminds me of a butterfly.

Apologies for the awful pictures. Finding a spot with a plain background and good enough lighting proved to be impossible.

So, yeah. Tuesday, I rewatched the video because I was curious as to how she assembled the piece. And later that night I figured, "I have four squares, I might as well assemble the body". Somehow that gave me enough momentum to get that final square finished. And suddenly Friday night I was attaching the hood. All that I needed to finish Saturday was an edging along the bottom.

Now on to the next project...

In case you're keeping track, here's a bit of a timeline:

Friday, January 12, 2018


I dislike Christmas music. Eleven years of working for the evil toy store took much of my Christmas spirit. (And Christmas music... Burned out. So burned out.)

But when on the Wednesday before winter break during the other calculus class (the non AP one mentioned yesterday) a student started playing Christmas music via his phone, I let it pass. It wasn't too loud, and half the class was in the middle of a discussion about some anime show.

Some days are like that. It was a battle I wasn't in the mood to fight.

The girl in front of Scott wasn't so sanguine about it all, though. She told him that it was too loud. That perhaps he shouldn't by playing the music at all.

They were all the way across the room from me, in the opposite corner. And I heard all this. The room wasn't terribly loud even though everyone was talking. A fairly mellow day.

Scott replied that no one was complaining. He said it was days before Christmas and everyone wanted a bit of Christmas cheer.

The girl wasn't so sure. So, she started asking various classmates if the music was bothering them. After her fifth or sixth no, I figured it was time for me to jump in.

"Is the music bothering you?" I asked the girl.

Because I was totally ready to have that battle if she wanted the music off.

"No, it's fine," she said.

I rather doubt this. If she was actually fine with it, she wouldn't have started the conversation.

But that ended her questioning the rest of the class. And we were stuck listening to the Christmas music for the rest of the period. Well, I was stuck. I think the other students kind of tuned it all out.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Gunning for Number 1

AP Calculus. It was the week before winter break. They had an assignment, but it was due upon their return from winter break, so they weren't doing it. Well, mostly not doing it. (A couple of them had books out.)

(I had the usual conversation with them. They were going to be busy being off, and they wouldn't even think about their homework until Saturday the 6th at the earliest. And it would be Sunday the 7th at 8 PM when they finally opened their backpacks and wondered about what homework they needed to do. They'd be up all night finishing work that they could have gotten done before the break.

This story is from a kid in a different calculus class a couple years prior. But I think it's likely what most of them do, so I pointed out that perhaps they should get some work done in class. Hey, at least I warned them.)

What did they do instead? Well, on Monday they debated who was ranked #1 in the junior class.

One of the girls in class was ranked #2. And she wanted to know who had the only GPA that was better than hers.

The class only had 13 students. (One was absent.) So, they all got into this discussion. Even the seniors. They posited ideas and shot them down. They knew it was no one in the class with them. (Apparently, they all knew each other's ranks.)

They thought it might be this one boy, but they had no way of checking. And apparently he wasn't telling.

The girl was trying to figure out how this boy could have beaten her. And how she could get a #1 ranking.

There are things to take into account. Certain classes are weighted, but one can't take a fully weighted schedule. (Things like P.E. and art classes aren't weighted but they are required.)

I'm not sure how, but this conversation took the whole period. And they resolved nothing. (Well, they did figure out #1 wasn't the boy they thought it might be.)

If you've ever wondered what it's like to be a fly on the wall around teenagers, kind of like this.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018


For the last week before winter break, I covered a math class. (Ms. C teaches four different classes--well six, but four, kinda. Long story.) Before lunch was the statistics class.

The assignments for the week were also "winter break homework". And also, for the most part they were online (so, technically they were due Sunday night). So, while I encouraged them to get something done ("No homework over the break!"), I wasn't terribly concerned with getting everyone on task.

(Some classes can't have this kind of leeway. The kiddos will tear the room up. But these students... These were the advanced math classes. They wouldn't get here unless they generally do their work. And many of those not on task were actually doing work for other classes. So, yeah, they get laissez faire me.)

It wasn't until the bell that I noticed the sleeping student. (I really should have noticed him earlier, though.)

"Bell rang. Lunch time. Time to go."

He didn't budge. So, I gently shook his shoulder. When that didn't wake him, I slammed a door (the door to the computer cart). I tried his shoulder again...

I mean, it's lunch time. He has to want to go to lunch...

(I want to go to lunch. And hit the restroom, which I can't do until after the room is empty of students.)

I kept at it, and eventually he woke. Groggy. It took him a bit to get to coherent. The empty room probably startled him, too.

All he wanted to do was go back to sleep. And now I felt bad. I thought he'd want to know class was over, but he didn't much care.

But I kinda needed the restroom. And I only had that half hour to myself. If I let him sleep...

Sometimes I gotta be selfish. At least, that's what I tried to tell myself.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

A Different PSA

At the heart of much speculative fiction (and fiction in general) is a question. What if? On Tuesdays I like to throw one out there and see what you make of it. Do with it as you please. If a for-instance is not specified, feel free to interpret that instance as you wish. And if you find this becomes a novel-length answer, I'd appreciate a thank you in the acknowledgements. 😉

You may have heard that marijuana is now legal in the state of California. It's something I was peripherally aware of, but I didn't think much of it. And then, on January 2nd, I heard my first "don't drive high" commercial.

My reaction involved a bit of eye rolling.

(I was going to link to the commercial, but I can't find it online. It's pretty typical for the genre.)

But that got me to thinking...

What if a previously illegal activity was decriminalized in your state (like prostitution, marijuana, or similar)? What sort of new commericals might you see?

Note: I'm drawing the line at violent crimes like robbery and murder. While that might make for an interesting "what if" for a later date, I intend for this question to steer clear of those thorny issues.