Friday, July 21, 2017

Too Much Time on Their Hands


It was Friday. Summer school. Modern world history. They were to finish all chapter five work. According to them, they were all done. So, they found ways to "entertain" themselves.

Inappropriate ways...

To be fair, it was only eight of them. In a class of thirty. Everyone else either worked or found something quiet to do.

At this point in the summer school (the end of the fourth week), they should be fairly used to the routine, and if they knew they'd have time, they should have brought something else to do.

But, once I got through roll (which was a challenge in and of itself), the eight of them went into play mode. I already told you about the hair clippers. And I had the usual problems of students who would not stay seated. (That is, the boy decided it would be a good idea to amble about the classroom--at least until I put a stop to that.)

One boy left to use the restroom. The others hid his backpack. (I kept an eye on them. I was expecting them to flip it.)

A couple of them got way too interested in the wall behind them. Vandalism? They found a tack. The tack now resides on the teacher's desk.

Someone was playing with a condom. At least this one remained in its wrapper. Still, they were grossed out by it, so I put it in the trash.

When they finally settled in to watch something on their phones, they couldn't just sit still. No. Everyone had to watch the same video on one phone, crowding around it. (If they're done, I don't mind them being on their phones. It mellows them out. Until they're all sharing whatever one is doing.)

I was so glad to see the end of those two hours.

As they were leaving, three girls (not of the party of eight) were a little slower getting out of the room. So, I asked them if that group was misbehaving especially for me. I was told that the group did goof off when Mr. B was there, but they were a little quieter for him.

Ah well. I wonder if they're actually passing the class this time around.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Barber Shop


Some things should go without saying. But with some students...

"Put the electric clippers away."

These students? Instead of complying, they had to double down. The boy turned the clippers on...

"Would you like me to cut your hair?"

He took no for an answer the third time. He handed the clippers back to their owner. Who then turned them on...

"Turn that off. Put it away. If you can't leave it put away I'll have to confiscate it."

Still, I watched them. These are the types of students that would then take the clippers back out because they found some sort of loophole in what I had said. Or, they'd create a loophole.

Did they really plan to shave their heads in class? Unlikely, but considering what else they got up to, I wouldn't've put it past them. (Curious about what else they got up to? Tune in tomorrow...)

For the record: yes, I could have confiscated the clippers the minute I saw them. I did not primarily because I didn't want to deal with the drama that would have inevitably followed. But if they had kept up with it, it then would have been worth it to get it out of their hands. 

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Frequency


Based on the 2000 movie, the series Frequency was about a woman communicating with her father from 20 years ago via a CB radio. I'm not sure if this is considered fantasy or sci fi.

Frequency is one of my "go to" movies. I'm a fan. If I catch it on TV, I'm pretty much watching it to the end. So, when I heard they were doing a TV version, I was in.

Sadly, I was mostly alone. Frequency was cancelled, but as with No Tomorrow, an epilogue was released in May tying up loose ends. So, while it's only a season, it is a complete season.

The premise: 20 years ago, Frank Sullivan was killed in the line of duty. (In the movie he was a firefighter. The TV show made him a cop.) Raimy Sullivan is one day messing with his old CB radio when she ends up talking to her dad. (In the movie the Raimy character was male.) From 20 years ago. Just before her father's death.

Spoiler: Frank survives. Raimy gives him enough information so that he can avoid his death. But, now Raimy's mother (who had been alive before) is gone, murdered by a serial killer. Can Raimy and Frank (working together via the CB radio, because Frank is still dead in the present) save her? And what else has changed in Raimy's world now that Frank avoided his fate?

Frequency aired on The CW, and it now appears to be streaming in the usual places like Amazon and YouTube as well as Netflix. It was 13 episodes. And that last episode (with the new epilogue) means that there are no cliffhangers or loose ends.

Have you heard of the TV version of Frequency? Have you seen the movie?

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Encoded in Our DNA


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 stole today's question. When it popped up on Twitter, I just knew it was the question for this week.

First, the background. From the New York Times article from July 12: "Who Needs Hard Drives? Scientists Store Film Clip in DNA":
[One of the very first motion pictures ever made] is now the first movie ever to be encoded in the DNA of a living cell, where it can be retrieved at will and multiplied indefinitely as the host divides and grows. 
Since I'm stealing the question, I'll let the tweet speak for itself:
(If you have access to Twitter, check out the whole thread. There are some interesting ideas there.)

Monday, July 17, 2017

Compare

Last week (although it feels like eons ago) I posted some pyramid pillow pictures. I asked for opinions. A couple of you thought I should retake the photos and use a plain background.

I've seen that advice before. And normally I'd agree. However, with this I hesitate. There's something about this pillow that I think needs a little something more. A plain background doesn't really give a good sense of scale.

But, this is just my opinion. I could be wrong.

So, first the pillow with a plain white background.


Then, with a bit of scenery.


(These photos aren't as good as I would like. I'm working on a new computer. The photo editing software I'm used to is no longer available, so I'm in the process of figuring out what to replace it with. Please bear with me while I adjust to the new. And, if you have photo editing software that you like, I'm open to suggestions.)

Which do you prefer?

Friday, July 14, 2017

False Witness


It was the end of the period, and the kiddos were on their way out. One boy, who was in a group on one side of the room, called out to a boy on the other side.

Boy 1: "Am I in football?"

Boy 2: "Yeah."

Boy 1: "I'm in football?"

Boy 2: "Yes. I mean no. No, you're not. I thought you wanted me to lie for you..."

Now we all know who to call if we suddenly need an alibi witness...

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Rules of the Game


Yup, another day in summer school...

11th grade English. Some of them were doing more talking than working. For the third time, I went over to insert myself into the conversation. I asked, "How's the work going?"

The group was centered around Terrence...

Yes, I do mean Terrence from the continuation high school. And no, I was not at the continuation high school.

The continuation high school is closed until August. But they allow their students to go back to their "home" schools to attend summer school where they can earn up to 15 credits. I was at the continuation high school when they were signing up for summer school, so I was not surprised to run into some of them. Although, I would have thought Terrence wouldn't attend.

You should have seen the look on Terrence's face when he walked into class and saw me. Oh, and he was late...

Anyway, I was hovering, hoping that Terrence would do some work. He brought up the "Flipping Starbursts" incident.

"Didn't you call that 'Rolling Starbursts'?" I asked.

Terrence regaled the class with tales of how mad Mr. J was the next day...

"You told me he didn't care," I reminded him. He said Mr. J wouldn't care at the time, and when I saw him next, he said he hadn't gotten into trouble over the incident.

Then the group (all non-continuation high school students) wanted to know all about this game. And considering I was curious, too, I listened in.

They each started with two or three Starbursts. The player would toss one. If it landed opening side (where the paper folds over, so where you go to get at the candy) down, he'd win another Starburst. If it landed opening side up, he lost his Starburst. Terrence said by the end they'd all ended up with 10 or more Starbursts.

(There were only four in the game, so they must have replenished when someone lost.)

Terrence did turn in work, although it looked sloppily done. Ah well. At least I wasn't the enemy this time.