Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The Obstacle

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 needed someone "out of the way"? (For the sake of argument, let's say that this person is a major threat to you in some way. Like, they have dirt on you and are blackmailing you. Or, they are the one thing standing between you and some long sought out goal, like taking over a company or a small nation. I'm talking about the type of thing where you might do anything to get them gone.) Now, let's assume that having them killed is completely out of the question. How do you get rid of them?

Monday, July 24, 2017

A Side Project

A member of my writing group just had a short story published. If you'd like to read "Once Time", click on the link. (It's not terribly long and totally worth your time.) And she recently started a blog. If you have a moment, go on by and say hi. (You can tell her I sent you ;) )

On Friday (or it might have been Thursday. The days... They start to run together...) TCM was showing Rear Window, and the last thing I wanted to do was work on my current knitting project. Or watch Rear Window again, truth be told. I was antsy. And I remembered that I wanted to make a new key chain for myself.

I had a clear idea of what I wanted to do, so... I waited until Saturday to try it. Turns out I didn't have the grommets on hand. (I started it a bit on Friday, but I didn't get very far. I set it aside. Then on Saturday I had to rip out what I'd started with on Friday. This is how these things normally go.)

Before I went to bed, I had this...

And a prettier shot (without my hand)...

Prototypes are good things, it turns out. I discovered that there were a couple things that I could have done better that'll make the final product turn out better. Things that I'll try with the next one.

If this were a sweater (or something that takes more than two hours to complete), I would be a bit more upset at this prospect.

Anyone feeling as antsy as me?

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


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


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?