Common Core Glitch – Fractions with Metric System

My daughter came to me for help with homework. At issue was a very odd question, it contained metric units and fractions. I discovered that she didn’t have the knowledge to convert fractions to decimals, which is the only acceptable way to do work this problem.  Obviously, Common Core is attempting to address two different needs with one topic – Fractions and Metric System. This the old problem of introducing fancy, hard to pronounce names into math problems, but it doesn’t actually work. Because fractions are unacceptable with metric system or SI units.

I was able to use this as a teaching moment as was able to explain how to convert fractions to decimals and then explain why you wouldn’t want to use fractions at all.

The next day my daughter reported that her math teacher told her to use fractions, not decimals because that was activity. She also could not find any reason not to use fractions and the metric system. She even used Google and could find nothing.

The metric system uses 10 base, you can’t use 1/2 of a centimeter because it is 5 mm or .5 cm. 17/21 of a centimeter is worse. Verbally you can say “one half of a centimeter”, but this is colloquial language not a math problem.

Here is a list of websites that explain the issues:

NIST - The National Institute of Standards and Technology., a writing style guide.
USMA – US Metric Association.
Dr. Math – an educational website.
Colorado State University, Practical Guide to SI units.

Let me sum this up, fractions are unacceptable with the metric system. It isn’t valid mathematical or in written works.

Posted in common core | Leave a comment

Back to Izea

I am thinking about returning to the IZEA ads.


Posted in Payperpost | Leave a comment

Latest Challenge

For three years running, I have failed at Nanowrimo. The reality is, November is a lousy month for writing. For the past three years, I’ve been in school getting ready for finals and then had a family member get critically ill.

So this year, I’m just not doing it.

Instead, I have signed up at Critique Circle. Writing is something I do everyday. Instead of trying to cram for a goal of 50,000 words in a month I should be pacing myself all year. As you can see, they have handy tools such as the word count meter and manuscript progress chart.

There are 150 days to Nanowrimo. I can get this done by then.

Posted in Books, Entertainment,, Updates | Leave a comment

The Unreality of Bunnies


A number of years ago, my wife, Jennifer and I took our youngest two children to the pet store. They were about 3 years old at the time and were completely overwhelmed at the number of animals. They ran from cage to cage, in total wonderment and bliss.

Dogs, cats, fish, spiders, mice, hedgehogs and ferrets all received their loving attention. But the bunnies were just too much for them. My daughter, Catherine, although smaller and further away than my son tried to beat Nate to the cages.

“BUNNIES!” Catherine shrieked and poor Nate was nearly trampled as she raced for the cages. Nate was swept along of his sister as she tried to reach the cage first. Ultimately, she squashed her brother into the cage. She locked her tiny hands on the cage and smushed her face into the bars above her brother’s head.

I was expecting howls of pain and fright from Nate, but no, that would be too normal. Nathan shrieked “AWWW! How cute! How are you?”

Catherine turned towards us, eyes bulging. “Dad, it talks!”

Nate, with his lips still pressed up against the bars, projected a question out of the cage: “It does?”

Catherine didn’t hear this as a question. The two of them pressed even closer to the bars and carried on a two way conversation, each believing that the distorted little voices from the cage was the rabbit’s.

To this day, the two of them look at rabbits in quiet curiosity, waiting for the conversation to start again.

Posted in Short Stories, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab Scents

Villain and Whitechapel

Villain and Whitechapel

Every year, I try to find my wife something unusual for special occasions. Last year, I found a poster of the Last Unicorn from Litographs.

This Valentine’s Day started an addiction to Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab scents. I started by selecting three scents for Jen: The Last Unicorn, Cheshire Cat and Caterpillar.

BPAL’s oils and perfumes are handcrafted and with a depth and complexity that is unrivaled by typical store-bought scents.

She was very pleased with my selections; In addition she enjoyed the “imps”, samples that came with her 5ml vials. To be honest, this time I had the right idea paired with a good guess. Next time, she will have a better idea of what to select.

In the meantime, I became jealous of my wife, like when someone orders better than you do at a restaurant. I had to purchase something for myself. I knew from the my wife’s order I wanted to try Villain. This scent has a citrus and lavender undertone, with deep leather notes. It’s like a favorite book on a hot summer night.

I knew Villain would be dark, almost heavy and I wanted to balance that with a lighter selection – Whitechapel. This one is everything Villain isn’t: bright lilac, citron and lime are powerful like a spring thunderstorm. Unexpectedly, Whitechapel is now my new favorite.

Posted in Rare Finds and Finer Things | Leave a comment

Phil’s Basic Flashcards

I created three sets of flashcards, multiplication, subtraction and addition.

Flashcards Addition

Flashcards Subtraction


Posted in School, Useless Trivia, Worksheets | Leave a comment

AndrewSS7′s deviantART Gallery

AndrewSS7 is a talented artist who loves movies. I love his Star Wars Episode 7 teasers.

ep7 two

ep7 one

Posted in Art | Leave a comment

A Funny Thing Happened on Our Way to… a Place I Don’t Know

This is one of those funny true stories, from a place that is really not all that funny. Last year, my wife, Jen had her thyroid out due to cancer.

Trust me, it gets better. Trust me.

My wife had to under go something called a “surgical freeze”, where the doctor brings in a pathologist to check for malignant cells in the operating room. If malignant cells are found, the surgeon will become much more aggressive in his cutting and sampling of tissues. This saves time and lives.

Interesting, but not really funny. Because of this “freeze” my wife’s doctor was able to come out and talk to me. He said:

“We got this under control. Your wife _______ cancer.”

I swear he stopped talking for the word between “wife” and “cancer”. It happened two more times. I asked him to repeat himself one more time and again the word was just not there. My sister in law couldn’t hear it either. The word wasn’t there because I had it and I had to let it go.

“My wife has cancer.”

“Yes.” the doctor confirmed.

“OK, thank you.”

It gets better. Trust me.

The rest of that night slipped by. The next morning I was back at the hospital to bring her home. She was barely able to sit up. As near as I could tell, she had the biggest shot of morphine the hospital had on hand. She would need some time to recover enough to ride the elevator.

I left briefly to get the car ready for her. When I returned, two nice women were in the room with her. They were dressed up as clowns. The odd bit was, the taller woman was easily recognizable as my wife’s grandmother’s neighbor. How weird is that?

The taller clown was saying “Would you like to see a card trick?”

Jen’s eyes were as big as saucers as she nodded. The neighbor clown complied.

Jen picked a card, the seven of clubs. The clown hunted and hunted for it. Three guesses were wrong. Finally, the card was found, in the hall, on a cart. Surreal.

“Would you like a balloon dog?” asked the other clown. Jen nodded again.

“Me too, but they’re a choking hazard. How about a Mardi Gras bead dog, instead?”

“Ok. Phil, do you see these… ah, clowns?”

“Yes, I see.” I answered.

“That one lives next to my Nana.”

“Yes, I know.”

The clown finished twisting the beads into a small dog with a clownish “TA-DA!”

The next day, Jen said “You know, I dreamed about clowns. I dreamed you couldn’t see them but I could.” I told her they were real. I dug out the bead dog.

Her jaw dropped. “Oh my gawd, you have it!”

“I was afraid you were going to freak out, so I didn’t say much of anything to them. They gave you so many pain meds, I bet you thought you were hallucinating.”

“I thought I was…”

That was three and half months ago.

Today, we’re back to Roswell. And in the lobby my wife snapped this picture:

They are real!

They are real!

She told me the picture was for fun.

I am convinced that the picture is affirmation, that she had something, that she was someplace few people know.

Posted in Entertainment, Essay, Short Stories | Leave a comment

Updates – Chromebook

I received a Chromebook for Christmas. It is so much fun and easy to use, I made a few blog posts on it.

Unfortunately, I posted to the wrong blog. Now, you can read all about it at

Posted in Computers | Leave a comment

From the Doctor’s Desk

I turned in a form to my doctor’s office. They filled it out for me. It included my height, 172.5 cm.

Someone took the measurement from cm directly to feet by 172 cm/12 inches=14.3333 feet. They crossed that off and replaced it with 4′ 4″.

I want to cry for a lot of reasons. Being short isn’t one of them.

Posted in humor, Short Stories | Leave a comment