New Deck

Our work is similar to this.

My dad has had plans to build a new deck for a very long time. We have also had the materials for a very long time. However, we have only recently started building the new deck in our backyard. It’s not completely new. I’d actually call it more of a renovations. We are taking out the old railings are floorboards and replacing them with newer, nicer looking ones. Earlier my dad and brother removed the pergola and trellis that was on our old deck. We are making good progress and have already put up the corner of the new pergola and trellis. Also, many of the floorboards have already been replaced. The biggest is yet to come however, as we are expanding the deck even further out. Last year we dug the holes that would hold the foundation posts for the new section, and once the beams are placed on the braces on the foundations, we can begin putting in the boards for the new area.

I helped mostly with the mesh that goes between the poles of the deck corner and the top pieces. Dad’s plan was to make it look sort of pagoda-ish. It turned out really well. Two trimmed pieces went on either side of the poles and then two fake end were placed on the outside. This was done to make it appear as if the wood beams intersected and continued through each other.

It will look really nice when it’s done.

8th Grade Graduation

graduationYesterday was the last day of my 8th grade school year… Yeah! On that day all we did was a graduation ceremony which was from 10:00 to 12:00. It consisted of a lot of talking (and congratulating) from the principal and some teachers, a slide show with pictures from throughout the year, and a name calling and award giving. It was fairly enjoyable if not for the thousand people in a small gym and the 90° temperature inside. Anyways, the day started when I got to school on the bus around 8:30 and everyone went to there Pride (homeroom) class. In Pride we were given doughnut holes and water and there we waited until about 9:30 when we all walked down to the gym where the ceremony would take place. Half way we took a class picture, then we went on and were quite surprised to find the whole 6th and 7th grades lined up around the sidewalk leading to the gym entrance. They were clapping for us and towards the end the parents were there as well. Once we got into the gym we filed into our seats. The ceremony started and one of the 8th graders sang the national anthem and the student council president said a few words. Then the slide show which I was in… Yeah! Then 20121227212940_42976the dreadful name calling. It also didn’t help that our class was called up last because we were the largest in the grade. When I was called up I was given an envelope and were circled around the gym back to our seats. After all was done all the students were lead out of the building around to the front of the school and back in where we were to meet up with our parents. While waiting for my dad I opened up my envelope and got out the two awards I got. One was the generic graduation certificate and the other was for getting in the 99th percentile on the Social Studies portion in my ITBS. At first I was proud but then I saw that I get very few compared to my friends. :( But I’m content… Then I met up with my dad and went to the car and went home. At home my mom got her stuff for work and we went out to eat at one of my favorite restaurants (which happens to have amazing prices :) ). Then we dropped my mom off at work and went home for good. The graduation was a good experience and I’m glad middle school is over and I’m going on to high school.

Catapult Lab

I finally finished school for this year and looking back I did a lot of fun, interesting labs yeas(most including food) in science this year. We did labs on gummy worms, twinkie compression labs, and the survival of a species depending on the mouth shape but my favorite has to be the catapult design lab where we had 15 minutes and a set of materials to design the catapult that could launch the marshmallow the furthest and most accurate. This was my post-lab report which shows how to recreate my design and how it did.

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Catapult Design Lab Report

Problem Statement: How can a catapult be designed to propel a marshmallow the farthest distance with the greatest level of accuracy?

Research/Background Information: A catapult is a machines that launches a projectile. Catapults were designed for warfare but were later used as toys or for launching airplanes. Original catapults were made out of wood and rope. Accuracy and distance are maximized in a catapult by launching at a 45° angle.

Variables:

Independent: design of the catapult

Dependent: distance and accuracy

Constants: size of marshmallow, starting distance, terrain

Hypothesis: If the design of the catapult is stable, then the marshmallow will be launched more accurately and the farthest.

Materials: 6 popsicle sticks, 3 clothespins, 10 rubber bands, 1 spoon, 1 marshmallow

Procedural Steps:

1. Using one rubber band and two popsicle sticks tie the sticks together in a V shape.

2. Add another popsicle stick and create a triangle shape tieing the sticks together with two more rubber bands.

3. Repeat steps 1-2.

4. With both triangles standing, clip a clothespin on the bottom right of each triangle.

5. With the triangles facing eachother insert the opposite clothespin to the unclipped side of the opposite triangle to create the base.

6. Clip one more clothespin at the top of one of the triangles and tie the unclipped side with a rubber band to the other triangle.

7. Using two rubber bands, to create more strength, tie the spoon to the top clothespin connecting the launcher to the rest of the catapult to finish the design.

Measurable Results and Observations:

Trial

Distance

Inaccuracy

Practice 1

1.52 m

1 cm

Practice 2

1.38 m

0 cm

Practice 3

86 cm

0 cm

Final 1

80 cm

0 cm

Final 2

20 cm

0 cm

Final 3

60 cm

0 cm

 

Anecdotal Notes

  • Marshmallow was launched horizontally in the final trials.

  • After the practice trials, rubber bands had lost strength.

Summary and Conclusion:

How can a catapult be designed to propel a marshmallow the farthest and with the most accuracy? Using a stable design to propel the marshmallow was a partial sucess. A stable design allow the marshmallow to only go a short distance, but it served great when the catapult had almost perfect accuracy with only 1 cm inaccuracy in one trial. The hypothesis was rejected. The stable design did not launch the marshmallow the farthest or have the greatest accuracy.

 

In Cold Blood

Untitled-2-RecoveredTruman Capote’s novel In Cold Blood is a very interesting account of the murder of a family in the middle of the Kansas prairie. In the book, two drifters come upon the house of a reputable Kansas rancher and leave the house to four bodies. The book follows the crime, capture, trial, and execution of the two men, as well as back stories of the important characters. The book has been criticized as being “pornoviolence.” I’m not sure how this conclusion was come to however, as it is an interesting look at the psyche of humans and morality as well. I read this documentary for class and have created a poster based on the book. The premise of the poster is that there is a movie of  that book and we have to give the poster good symbolism. Since there were already many movie versions of this book, I created something completely different. The lonely and dark road at the bottom not only represents the road the killers were traveling on the night of the murder, but also their lives after the crime, and for Perry Smith, one of the killers, it represents his entire life. The silhouette is of a parrot. This is because one of the characters dreams about a bright yellow parrot that saves him and avenges him. It sort of represents his belief (or lack thereof) of a higher power. Five into Fourteen is a quote from the book. All of this makes the poster.

A Tale of Two Birthdays

This coming Monday is my birthday (which is a school day :( ), so are celebrating it today on Sunday. Yesterday I also went to my friends birthday party, which was great! First my friend’s party… It was at an ice rink called The Cooler because this friend of mine plays Hockey. I arrived at 8:00 on Saturday at The Cooler and found my way to the room the party was taking place in. When everyone waited around a while, ate someiceskate candy, and went off to get our skates. When I got there everyone told the guy what size they were and got the skates. They took a while to put on and tighten but after that was done we were ready. When we first got onto the ice I was a little hesitant to get off from the wall. A couple kids stayed back with me (the ice-skating newbies) but most either had skated before or played hockey on my friend’s team. My friend, Addison, is fairly small and he is neither really good at school or very popular but when he got on the ice he was different. I was just stumbling around when Addison and all his teammates were gliding. After about an hour I had sort of got the hang of it and could do the motions of pushing with one foot and moving and then alternating feet. I took a couple breaks to go back to the room and either get some snow cones or gummies (yep… we had some good healthy food). Towards the end of the party I had almost mastered not falling. I had only fallen three times and only one of them was really bad. I fell on my tailbone which still hurts today… :( At 10:30 the rink was closed so we went back to the room and ate some delicious cookie cake and more candy. There were three bowls filled with unopened boxes of Dots, Twizzlers, M&Ms, etc. I took one box of Dots and two bags of Twizzlers. Before we left we were also given a bag of gum and a signed Hockey puck. The next day was my birthday celebration. Although it wasn’t as “fun” I still really enjoyed it. Around 1:00 we left to go out to a restaurant of my choice. I wanted to get some sushi but all the places we had gone to get sushi before only opened at 5:00 for dinner on Sundays, so we tried srisomething different. We went to Haiku which is a Japanese sushi and steak place. It turned out out be VERY good. I got an Angel Roll and a Mega Crunch Roll. The Angel Roll had spicy tuna inside and various fish and avocados on top. The Mega Crunch is just how it sounds. It had tempura shrimp inside with crunchy tempura bits on top with some spicy mayonnaise dribbled around it. Yum! After the DELICIOUS meal we went over to Target to get me some nice t-shirts as I didn’t have many and wore the same sort of clothes every day. I got five nice thin t-shirts, one of which had the Sriracha label design on the front, I had wanted it for a long while. I also got a nice long-sleeved camp shirt and a dark blue hoodie. Oh and socks! When we got home we relaxed a little while before eating some delicious Birthday Cherry Pie… I really loved these past two days and can’t wait for the next celebration/party thing next Friday. Phew… Exhausting…

Persuade the reader

The end of the school year is coming fast and with that also comes all the final tests and assessments. And in Language Arts my final paper was a very interesting one. We had to choose a topic from a list of about 10 topics and write a persuasive paper about it. I choose to do a paper about if alcohol should be banned from public advertising. But before we could do any work, we first had a one day lesson on plagiarism and how to make note cards and source cards to avoid it. Then to start the research for our paper we had to find two articles relating to the subject we choose and create source cards and note cards for it. After that we started the real writing work. This is how my final turned out.

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Have you ever thought deeply about the issue of alcohol being promoted on television before? This could prove to be a big problem in the society and youth today. Alcohol should be banned from public advertising in the United States. Alcohol is the leading cause of death among young men and these advertisements are known to cause underage drinking and youth to develop serious drinking habits.

Presently, advertising alcohol can be very harmful to the youth in the United States. And surprisingly enough, alcohol is also a very serious problem in Britain as well as these researchers have found. “Evidence submitted to MPs shows that alcohol has become the leading cause of death among young men, responsible for 27 per cent of fatalities among those aged 16 to 24” (Donnelly). It is known that kids do not have a fully developed brain yet and they cannot make the most conscious decisions. So when teens are drunk, and they have the ability to drive, they might not make the best decision and decide to drive home. This puts themselves and all the people driving on the road near them in danger. Now, some people might say that teens have the willpower to make the right decision and they could easily make that decision because they have already been informed not to drink and drive many times before. Well, since these teens do not have fully developed brains yet they might not choose the most suitable answer for the situation they are in, especially when they are drunk.

These alcohol advertisements can also be tied back to the youth drinking alcohol before they are of age and abusing it later in life. To back this point, a study by Sir Ian Gilmore, chairman of the Alcohol Health Alliance, showed some familiar results. Advertisements for alcohol can cause children to drink underage and develop alcohol habits later in life (Donnelly). Although it may not seem that these advertisements could be influencing a teen harmlessly watching television on the couch to become an alcoholic, most of these ads are actually marketed towards the youth. We know that teens like a thrill, or to be beerfunny, or to be the head of their social life. These ads show people having fun while drinking and make kids think they need to drink to have fun. Now hold on a second, how could theses advertisements be influencing a teen on the couch and they have been explained the responsibility of drinking many times right? Well, these advertisement producers use techniques like catchy jingles to get their product names stuck in people’s heads. And when it comes to a time where the people are offered one of these drinks, they will most likely choose the one they saw the ad for because they would remember the actors having fun while drinking it. And the youth in the U.S. were lots more likely to see an alcohol ad than to see an ad for responsible drinking (“Advertising Youth”). And after hearing about the powers of influencing, anyone could deduce that these alcohol ads are much more influential to the youth than a bland, monotone voice telling teens to drink responsibly.

It is not hard to believe that alcohol is the main cause of death in teens. But what cause them to drink in the first place are the ads for alcohol that can influence the teens to drink or even become alcoholics. This is why alcohol advertising needs to be banned from the public, If we got rid of the mind-controlling advertisements this would save so many innocent lives of families that just want to get home after a long night but happen to encounter a drunk teen driving a car. We also do not want our own children’s minds brain washed with false thoughts that alcohol creates fun. Alcohol advertising creates many of the holes in our ever sailing boat of society today. We need to take action and call for a ban today so we can patch these holes before the whole ship sinks.

AP Exams

Last year when I was a sophomore, I took an AP class known as AP World History. Everyone was toting about how it was supposed to be a very difficult class, and it was, but not because it contained high level material or required intuitive thinking. It was difficult simply because there was so much information that is was impossible to remember it all. The culmination of the AP class was the AP exam given at the end of the year. The point of the AP exam is to test your knowledge on the subject matter as if you were a college student. You can get from a 1 to a 5 on the exam. A 5 corresponds to an A in college understanding, a 4 is a B, and so on. The test itself was a little stressful for me because I had never taken an AP exam before. I did well on the essays, but on the multiple choice I had realized — too late — that I had skipped a question and many of my answers were off. I escaped with a 3, which is technically a pass, but some colleges do not accept a 3. What I mean by this is that if you get a certain score on the exam, many colleges will give you college credit or exemptions from classes. For example, if I score a 4 or 5 on my Computer Science exam, Georgia Tech will give me credit for the class without me having to take it. Since it is free and in high school, AP exams save time and money.

Last year I took one AP class out of my six total classes. This year, I took five. It is quite a stressful experience: five classes means five exams… and it’s exam week. However I have already taken three and have two more to go. I feel confident about my abilities and am sure to do well. They are supposed to be designed so a majority of students get a 3 and the rest is a normal distribution curve, but over the years either it has been getting easier or classes have been getting better.

School “Break”

From Tuesday the 6th to Saturday the 10th of May, the Eighth Grade took a field trip to Washington D.C. where they visited many different places. However I did not get to go for various reasons but I did not mind because I would have some much wanted relaxation and study time. As well as studying and relaxing I help my dad do some DIY home improvement projects in our backyard. We removed the sandbox which my brothers and I had played in when we were very little. We also removed the overhanging “walls” on the back porch, I don’t really know what to call them but they were old and deteriorating. The plan is too extend the porch out and replace the stairs and floor panels of the old porch area. We have already dug holes for and poured concrete for 20110402_ldd001the supports of the porch extension. I feel we had accomplish much in the few days I was off from school. For studying, I read through and completed all the practice quizzes in my 5 Steps to a 5: AP U.S. Government & Politics workbook. We were given one at school and we also ordered one from Amazon… woops. I any almost done doing PowerPoint chapter reviews which my teachers have done a couple in class. I feel ever more confident about the upcoming exam after every study session I do. I really hope it will pay off. In my time for relaxing between studying, working, and doing other things, I sit down and play some video games. My favorite, which has been my favorite for many years, is Europa Universalis IV. The premise of the game is to guide your selected country through the years with diplomacy, trade, war, and other means. Because the game developers are pretty awesome, they coded the game in very simplistic and easily modifiable text documents, and image files. That means it is extremely easy to change the game or “mod(ify) it”. A couple months ago I dipped my toes in the waters of Europa IV modding and change some the aspects of the nation of Friesland. I did some research about it and its history and renamed it too its regional name, Fryslân, and eu4_3created a new culture for it, Frysk, and added some new national ideas (which are unique bonuses each nation gets) and events it receives. I messed around with it for a while and soon forgot about. I uploaded it to the EU IV Forum and got some feedback and help. Months later after I checked the forum again I saw I had a message saying someone wanted to use what I created in their massive mod. I said sure and moved on. But now that I looked at it the mod which mine was included in is the most popular mod of the forum and through another way people can download mods, the Steam Workshop. More than 16,000 people look at my works when they launch the game, a couple hundred might even play my modded nation and I think that’s really cool. :) But that’s not all I did during the “break”. My dad and I walked around the mall and stopped by the food court. We got some Chicken Teriyaki from one of the restaurants. I really enjoyed these few days and I wouldn’t mind having them extended but I need to take that Exam… After that there are only two more weeks of school left and those will be a breeze.

Hound of the Baskervilles (Finale)

After weeks of reading the book The Hound of the Baskervilles, I have finally finished the book and wrote my mandatory literary analysis paper about the book. We had 4 topics we could write our paper about and the one I chose was to explain why Sir Arthur Conan Doyle used John Watson as a narrator in the story and how it created a sense of suspense and intrigue. This is what I came up with.

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How could using a man like Watson as a narrator create such a sense of uncertainty at times for the reader? This query is clarified in the book of The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Near the beginning of the story, Holmes, while investigating a strange case tied in with a myth, sends his trusted partner, Watson, to Devonshire to keep an eye on the people there and report back to London. Later, without Watson’s knowledge, Holmes secretly travels to Devonshire to catch the murderer in the act. Doyle uses Watson as a narrator in the book to create an engaging and suspenseful story line because Watson is always left in the dark. This also gives Doyle a chance to explain Holmes’ cunning plans to the reader as they occur, through the eyes of Holmes’ loyal companion.

sherlock

 

Doyle shows this during Watson’s encounter with Holmes in Devonshire. “And then at last I heard him. Far away came the sharp clink of a boot striking upon a stone. Then another and yet another, coming nearer and nearer. I shrank back into the darkest corner and cocked the pistol in my pocket, determined not to discover myself until I had an opportunity of seeing something of the the stranger. There was a long pause which showed that he had stopped. Then once more the footsteps approached and a shadow fell across the opening of the the hut. ‘It is a lovely evening, my dear Watson,’ said a well-known voice, ‘I really think you will be more comfortable outside than in’ ” (Doyle 412). Watson, the narrator, is left in the dark about Holmes’ plans in Devonshire. Upon hearing the stranger approach, he is tense and prepared for a confrontation. This stressful scene creates suspense for the reader. In contrast Holmes using his powers of observation, is fully aware of the situation this he is relaxed and in his normal state.

Doyle then shows the matter again when Holmes, Lestrade, and Watson are sneaking up on the suspect’s house, ” ‘You’re might close about this affair, Mr. Holmes. What’s the game now?’ ‘A waiting game’ ‘My word it does not seem like a very cheerful place,’ said the detective with a shiver, glancing around him at the gloomy slopes of the hill and at the huge lake of fog which lay over the Grimpen Mire” (Doyle 432). Here, Doyle uses Watson’s point of view to contrast the clinical, to the point, non emotional, character of Sherlock Holmes to an “ordinary” man’s fearful, uneasy reaction to a stressful, dark scene depicted here. One of Doyle’s greatest assets in the novel was John Watson. As the narrator, he could create mixed feeling of anxiety and uneasiness at times for the reader. And by using this style of writing, Doyle’s books are still widely read today.

Pen Spinning

Pen Spinning, like Rubik’s Cube, Juggling, Yo-yo, Coin Tricks, Hula Hopping, and Footbag, is a type of “object manipulation”. Object manipulation are tricks and feats of dexterity used in play or performance involving one or more object which the performer manipulates around there body. Pen Spinning is thought to have started pre-World War penspinningII Japan by students. At this time there were simple tricks, now considered fundamental on crenelating combos or new tricks. It is considered a form of self-entertainment. I had started pen spinning in school when one of my friends show me how to do the Thumbaround, which is simply spinning the pen or pencil from a writing position around your thumb. Another friend and I had learned from him so we began learning it together and comparing what we had practiced and how to do different tricks. As of now I can do a small amount of “fundamentals” such as the Thumbaround, Reverse Thumbaround, Charge, Sonic, and Twisted Sonic (and yes they ALL have names like that. :P ). Although you can do most all of these moves with a regular pen or pencil, at a point it becomes too difficult due to the unbalancedness and insufficient length of the pen. This has led to people making pen modifications or “mods”. These include adding length to a pen, or adding weights to the tip and endpoint of the pen to create momentum. Since all pen mods are created with normal day-to-day pen parts, people spend (way too much) time creating and modifying their pens. I had created a simple mod with a couple old BIC Round Stics and some Pilot G2 Grips which we have plenty of. There is one mod which I have really been wanting to make… That is the Waterfall mod. It was designedwater white by a user name Waterfall on the UPSB (Universal Pen Spinning Bulletin). It requires one Pelikan Super Pirat body, two Uni-Ball Signo tips, two Pilot Dr. Grip grips, and two Reynolds 094 caps (which can only be found in France :( ). You can buy individual parts on a site called penwish.com but for now I don’y really need a fancy spinning pen. I really love spinning because I just feels really great to learn a new trick and successfully performing it. I does help me think sometimes when I’m reading something in class or doing my homework. I’ll try to keep on practicing and get better.