Three More To Go

Matthew Freeman Characterization          Another one discovered.

          In the novel Evil Star (book two of The Gatekeepers) by Anthony Horowitz, the second gatekeeper out of the five, Pedro, is found. Matthew Freeman, along with Pedro and Nexus (the group that protects the gatekeepers), tries to stop Salamander from opening the gate. With his vivid blue eyes, dark colored hair, he looks just like a normal American teen, but he has unique characteristics a normal American teen would never be able to imagine. 

          In the “real world”, mutations could give a person unique characteristics. A few kids may have Progeria, causing accelerated aging, others may have Hypertrichosis, causing excessive hair on the shoulders, face, and ears, or even the Proteus Syndrome, in which bones, skin, and other tissues overgrown. (Image below showcases what a person with Progeria may look like.)

NANTUCKET, MA - JUNE 29:  Sam Berns attends the 18th Annual Nantucket Film Fesitval on June 29, 2013 in Nantucket, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images for The Nantucket Film Festival)

           Matthew has supernatural powers, a power that only five teenagers have. The unique characteristics mutations could bring to a child is unimaginable for a normal person, just like how no one could believe that five teenagers in the world could have supernatural powers

          For my multi-media post, I have created a mind map listing the characteristics of Matthew Freeman including basic information, physical appearance, personality, others attitude towards him and his attitude towards others. 

          Matthew, along with the other gate keepers characteristic is a key to the world. As long as one of them chooses to give up, our world could be destroyed. They, just a few teenagers, determine the fate of the world. Destiny will, one day, bring them together as the threat coming from the Old Ones grows. What would happen once all five gatekeepers are found? 

Sam Berns: Progeria Aging Disease Victim Dies at 17. Digital image.Newsmax. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 May 2016. <>.

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Polymer Journal #4

          Repeating the same process over and over again could get pretty boring, but at least, after all our effort, we have created a successful fire blanket.

          To start off, we came up with our idea: to create a polymer that could act like a fire blanket but is stretchy. We then started thinking of ways to create a polymer with all the characteristics we wish for it to have.

          Our first prototype was created using cornstarch, water, liquid cornstarch and glue, but it was too liquid-like, for too much liquid cornstarch was added. For our second prototype, the liquid cornstarch was replaced with guar gum, glue was replaced with PVA solution and the amount of water was lessened so our prototype won’t be sticky or liquid-like and could be slightly rubber, but once again, it was too liquid-like. The third prototype, being the one that works, consists of 11.01g glue, 5ml liquid cornstarch, and 2g borax. We simply created the polymer boogers (which contains glue and liquid cornstarch) but added in borax since researches show that borax isn’t flammable.

          Through our failures, we have gone through the designing process once after another, trying to use the mistakes learnt from the last trial to create a better polymer. A smaller amount of water was added in our second prototype for our first was too liquid-like. Even though it still didn’t work, but it wasn’t like water, for it was somewhat moldable but was way too sticky. For our third prototype, we have returned to the materials in our first prototype. Cornstarch and water were removed so it wouldn’t be a failure again and the amounts added were changed along the way to make sure it isn’t like water. Through research studies, we have figured out borax isn’t flammable, so that was then kneaded into our polymer. Through multiple tests (by lighting a match in a crucible), it appears that this polymer actually does its job.

           After the “Dream On” presentation day, I have learned many things about doing group work. I’ve learned the importance to work well in groups, communicating my own ideas to the group, working more efficiently, etc. Engineering was hard, not only because you need to have an idea in mind, but you also need to find ways to create it. If it weren’t the successful teamwork in our group, perhaps, we would never be able to design this polymer. This also applies to the other groups, for without teamwork, there wouldn’t be such success.

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No Pain No Gain

          Opposing is useless, whether it’s resisting your mother, your father, your sibling, your friends or even a stranger. Don’t even try fighting back cause all that you will receive is failure. In the novel Boot Camp by Todd Strasser, the protagonist, Garrett, opposes Joe, but his resistance only brings him horror.

          Although Garrett knows that “they have all the strength and we have none, we fear them and do whatever they want,” (Strasser 72) yet he still tries to oppose them. Not listening to Joe’s orders, breaking the rules, fiddling around, Garrett has done almost everything he possibly could to get them angry. “I’ve lost count of how many days I’ve been here and how many times Ron and Jon have come in to twist my legs and arms and leave no visible marks or bruises.” (113) His resistance hasn’t brought him any good, only sending him to the TI, one time after another. Chin going numb, pain in the stomach, I think in his entire lifetime, there won’t be any other time where he would go through this pain. Continuous going “back in the TI,” (146) Garrett gets annoyed of Joe and wants to leave this awful place. They plan to escape, but when he gets caught and thinks of all that he has done, he realizes that resistance is pointless. He deserves all that torture. He deserves pain.


          According to physiologists, without pain, you are unable to gain. Suffering could actually make you a better person and this has happened in the novel with Garrett. Garrett gets punished, suffers from pain, but he also changes. After many times of going back to the TI, getting punched and forced to do things, he finally admits his mistakes.

          I decided to create a children’s story to showcase the theme: resistance is pointless. It describes the main events that occur throughout the entire novel but emphasizes the ending when all that he has done before ends up useless.

Aaapain. Digital image. RoseKeith. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Apr. 2016. <>.

“Enjoy the Largest Collection of Free-to-read Publications from Incredible Publishers around the Globe.” Digital Publishing Platform for Magazines, Catalogs, and More. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Mar. 2016. <>.

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Polymer Journal #3

          Polymers and fire blankets. These two words just never seem to match up with each other, but our group will be designing a “Stretchy” Fire Blanket made out of polymer. Three different prototypes are made to accomplish our goal.

          Our first prototype, designed by Raymond, contains guar gum, PVA solution, cornstarch and glue. All the materials will be mixed together as a base, and if it ends up too dry, water will be added to moisturize the polymer. This prototype, however, ended up to be liquid-like and wouldn’t work as a fire blanket.

          Alex’s design, being the second prototype, contains PVA solution, liquid cornstarch and premade Oobleck. The PVA solution would make Oobleck stretchy and to make the polymer lose its stickiness, liquid cornstarch would be added. It was planned to be Oobleck that is stretchy and not as sticky, but like the first prototype, it was liquid-like.

          The final, and only prototype that is successful is the third prototype. It is created using 11.01g glue, 5ml liquid starch, and 2g borax solution. Using booger and kneading it into the borax solution, which isn’t flammable, creates a polymer that actually works like a fire blanket. Other than the fireproof characteristic, all it has to do is be stretchable, which is achieved through booger. After lighting a small piece of this prototype on fire, we discover that it actually works like wished, being fireproof. Sheets of paper was then lit on fire and placed in a crucible. When the prototype was stretched and covered over the crucible, just like a lid, trapping the oxygen to make the fire extinguish.

          To create our final polymer, the materials used in prototype #3 will be multiplied by five, creating a size that would work in a real-life scenario. The instructions to create the final polymer would be exactly the same, just more materials to create a larger sized one.


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Taking Control

          Everyone must’ve been controlled in his or her life. Being forced to do something, being forced to say something, being forced to make something… It’s not enjoyable.

          Joe, a faculty member of the boot camp, Lake Harmony, controls Garrett, the protagonist of Boot Camp by Todd Strasser. Fear controls Garrett. Whenever Joe passes by, every kid in the Boot Camp goes quiet, scared of the punishments that he would give because of one word said, one action made or even one eye contact with someone else. Sit-ups, push-ups, running laps, getting punched, every punishment given to the teenagers make them afraid. The plot of Boot Camp is similar to the song “Playing God” sang by the band Paramore, with both texts explaining of someone being controlled.

          The German politician, the leader of the Nazi Party, the dictator of the German Empire…Everyone has heard of Hitler, right? His voice must have been powerful to take control over everyone. In this novel, Joe’s voice is compared to “Hitler’s when he was rallying the Nazis.” (Strasser 23) To be compared to a man like Hitler must have meant that he was fierce, evil and believing that everything he cared about was allowable. It was someone like Hitler who was taking control over Garrett. No one was allowed to disagree with Joe, no one was able to replace him, and no one was able to escape the harsh punishments received after getting Joe angry. Whether someone was purposefully getting Joe angry or accidentally, a fist would always land on his or her face and to stay away from the punch, everyone listens to Joe’s commands. After Joe yells at them, telling them to shut up: “like well-trained dogs, they instantly obey.” (39)

          Joe plays the role of a Chinese “Tiger Mom”. “Tiger Mothers” limit their child’s social lives, shame them as a punishment and force them to practice until they are perfect. They demand perfection in their child’s behavior, but research has been shown that this method barely works. A unique grading system (which can be viewed in the image below) is also used to pressurize their children.11758076034_d4be95f389_z

          Joe uses a similar method to the “Tiger Mom” parenting. Although it does control Garrett, but it also made Garrett decide to leave that awful place.

          “Playing God” has a similar plot to Boot Camp, explaining what it feels like to be controlled. Although the lyrics explain God controlling them instead of an adult, but the feeling must have been the same as Garrett’s. The lyrics: “Yeah how could that be logical? / Just keep on cramming ideas down my throat” would have been what Garrett thought after hearing Joe’s commandments. Through the song “Playing God”, you can really get to know what Garrett thinks and feels. Both texts aren’t exactly the same, but they are talking about the same element: control. In the novel, Joe is controlling Garrett through fear, giving punishments just so Garrett would listen to him and follow his instructions. Garrett changes. Instead of disagreeing with Joe all the time, he admits his mistakes and follows the orders given. Even though in “Playing God”, no one is punished, but it describes the people on earth being controlled by god, being forced to do what he wants you to do. At the beginning, the people listen, but once they’ve had enough of it, the lyrics are: “Next time you point a finger / I might have to bend it back / Or break it, break it off.” Unlike Garrett, who admits his mistakes after being controlled, the song lyrics are of someone who believes they are right and wish to gain the power to have the ability to be free and away from God’s orders.

          Two texts, two different stories, two different authors, yet, they are so alike. Someone, in both texts, is always stronger than the protagonist and it’s also that someone that changes the attitude of the main character, whether it’s in a good way or in a bad way. In the novel, at first, Garrett though that he shouldn’t be here, believing that he has never done something wrong so he rarely obeyed Joe’s commandments. Using fear, in this case, punishments, Joe got him to follow his instructions and change his opinion towards this situation. In the song, God has more power and his power is able to force anyone, anywhere, to do what he hopes him or her to do.

          Imagine if you were being controlled… What actions would you make?

Samataa. Asian Grading Scale. Digital image. StaticFlickr. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Apr. 2016. <>.

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Polymer Journal #2

          Oobleck. Booger. Gloop. Super Slime. All these polymers have their own properties, whether it’s moldable, stretchable or able to stick to a surface.

          Oobleck is a polymer that is neither solid nor liquid, depending on the amount of force applied, it could be either. Booger has a smooth and slightly sticky texture, but it could be stretched into a large, thin piece. Gloop is like clay, being moldable, not slimy, but it breaks in half when being stretched. Super Slime is just like jelly, but once again, like Gloop, it is unable to be stretched.

          For our Stretchy Fire Blanket, we will need to create a polymer that is fireproof, stretchable, slightly moldable and slightly rubbery. With a little research, our group discovers that borax is fireproof but it decreases stretch. It can be seen through the polymer Gloop and Super Slime, for they both require borax and both are unable to be stretched.

          By combining Gloop and Boogers, we would achieve all characteristics wanted. We will start off by mixing glue and liquid starch to get a stretchy polymer. The borax solution will be used, like we have done when creating Gloop, to get the fireproof characteristic. Booger will then be placed into the borax solution and kneaded to achieve the end result of a stretchy, fireproof polymer.

          To make sure our product actually works, we will be setting a small fire in a crucible with a fire blanket, the crucible lid and a beaker of water ready, in case it doesn’t work. Adjustments would then be made if our product doesn’t work.

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Polymer Journal #1

          Have you ever thought that a fire blanket takes up too much space in the science lab cupboards? Have you ever set off a fire without access to a fire blanket? For the Polymer Project, our goal is to design a heat insulator: the fire blanket.

          Fire blankets have been designed a while back and are an item that is located in almost every science lab, but ours is different. The “Stretchy” Fire Blanket is small and compactable so it fits right in your bag and/or saves up storage in the science lab. Anyone is able to bring it along with them or place them in a lab in case of emergencies. By simply removing its plastic wrapping, stretching it out, it can be used just like a regular fire blanket and should work just as well.

          It will most likely be created out of the polymer booger, for it’s stretchy enough to cover a large area and could be molded back into a small ball after being used. Boogers have most of the characteristics we wish our product would have, being stretchable and slightly moldable, but experiments will still have to be done using the other polymers. Currently, this product will come in the colors red, green, blue, yellow and white, but of course, they could be mixed together to form the color of your desire.

Below is a video comparing a normal fire blanket to the fire blanket we hope to achieve.

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12 Lines by Gordon David

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          No pathway leads to escape.

          Other than going to the bathroom, Garrett is unable to leave this “small, windowless room with a military-style, metal-framed bed.” (Strasser 7) Guards sit in front of the door, blocking him from the only exit. Why is Garrett here? Has he done anything wrong? He remains standing for hours, confused, till a man brings in his new clothes, ones identical to all the other children here.

          Garrett, the protagonist of Boot Camp by Todd Strasser, is sent to Lake Harmony, a boot camp for troubled teens. Children are sent there to be changed and become the child their parents hoped they would be. There, all the children are beaten, humiliated and abused just to get them to admit their mistakes and start behaving, only then, will they be allowed to return home.

          Garrett gets good grades, born to be that smart kid or nerd at school. Sounding out words at the age of 2, scored off the charts on the Chester Scale at the age of four, figuring out square roots and adding radicals at the age of 6, he was the boy that everyone spoke highly of. He was too smart, smart to the point where he no longer concentrated in class because all that was taught, he knew. Garrett’s behavior was worsening, until he met his new math teacher, Sabrina. They fell in love, but Garrett’s parents had never accepted the fact that their son is dating a teacher.

          If it weren’t Sabrina, Garrett wouldn’t have ended up in this awful place. Garrett now lives in a “windowless room with the metal bed,” (18) far away from home, in a forest where no one would come visit unless knowing that Lake Harmony was here. It was probably even hard for a Lake Harmony employee to leave this place without getting lost. Living in a windowless room is pretty uncomfortable, with no access to fresh air. Sleeping on the metal bed must have hurt Garrett’s back, yet he doesn’t notice cause all he wants is some rest.

          Lake Harmony may have been gloomy for Garrett, but outside the Lake Harmony building, it is just as it was back at home and maybe even better. “The air is cool and smells like pine. The chatter of crickets is almost as loud as traffic on a city street.” (5) It all feels that nice and relaxing. The parents who come visiting once in a while will never notice the harm their child has been through, just as the Lake Harmony employees wish. Lake Harmony is like a wolf in sheep’s clothing, being all welcoming and friendly, but the inside is full of fear and pain.

          This specific boot camp, Lake Harmony, mentioned in the book is made up, but there are boot camps that actually do exist in our real world. Crosswinds have a boot camp for teenage boys, specifically. They tell parents that if they’re consistently fighting with their son, their son is becoming rebellious or if they are scared they’re son would harm himself or others if he continues doing a certain action, their son should be sent to a boot camp that could get him back on track, and of course, in this case, the boot camp would be Crosswinds. Not saying that Crosswinds is like Lake Harmony, but who actually knows? It’s just like the mistake Garrett’s parents have made, sending him to a boot camp because of positive comments or maybe even the great photos online, but they are clueless of what it really does. Do you think they knew the harm their son would be going through?

          Living in Lake Harmony lowered Garrett’s self-esteem. Perhaps it was the employees that have done the job, but what really affects someone is the environment they live in. It’s just like someone living in a mansion compared to someone who doesn’t even have a bed to sleep on. Who you are could be effected by where you live. With Garrett living in Lake Harmony, his personality changes, being gloomy, unhappy, depressed and miserable, but does this environment really allow him to admit his mistakes?

Garrett’s living conditions in my opinion.

Interior 1. Digital image. American Sabbatical. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Apr. 2016. <>.

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Seeking for the Correct Puzzle Piece


If you find me,

Where I belong in the dark winter,


Stay with me. 

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