Sep 29 2016

Pitch Black, A Short Story

Published by under English 9 and tagged: , , , ,

Humanity has always been seen as an amazing thing. But there are always horrible things that they have done, and sometimes, we don’t know how to solve some of these problems. In modern day, people are starting to lose count of some of these horrible events. History shows us some of the most horrible things humans have done, and some people are yet to learn from it.

My short story is about a German soldier who is caught in the middle of a Russian counter-offensive. All sorts of things happen as he tries to stay alive, and he also sees things that he wished he wouldn’t have seen. WWII is by far one of the greatest tragedies in the modern world, and I believe many more people still need to learn and understand it. The theme of my piece is the horrors of war, and the horrors of humanity is some cases.

I decided to go with a limited omniscient perspective. Although this perspective provides more limits to how I describe things, I thought it was more appropriate for the content. I wanted it to be almost like a moving camera tracking my main character. I didn’t want the story to be a piece where you could know everything that was happening (where the Russian soldiers might be, etc.). This helped develop my theme more because *SPOILER ALERT* towards the end when the German soldier is about to die, this kind of perspective allows you to see both the Russian and German soldiers’ perspective.

I decided that a cool motif for this story would be the cold. The cold is symbolic of the constant pain and agony that people experience from these horrible events. The cold was also a very important factor in WWII. Being an important part in WWII and also for my story, I decided that it would be very fitting. “In the back of his mind, the cold was pulsating, radiating a promise of pain.”

 

Everything hurt. His ears were ringing. That moment when the shell exploded with a resounding, blood-curdling boom. He groaned. His eyelids opened slowly, his body caked in powdered snow and dirt. Time was taken to observe the surroundings. A snowy wasteland was covered in a maze of trees. The sky was darkening. Tracks from human feet and from armored vehicles littered the pristine snow. The snow was so deceiving. Such beauty, yet promising so much pain. Explosions constantly resounded all around, the sound of trees shattering filled the air together with screams. Then he noticed the massive smoking crater just meters away from him. As he pushed himself up, he saw a Tiger tank. His tank. Smoke still rose from the radiator, the armor peppered with holes, like how paper might look after being stabbed by pins. He shuddered, as he collapsed back onto the ground. He remembered his wife. “Never give up Günter!” She ruffled his golden hair, staring into his crystalline blue eyes. He remembered his wife helping him put on his uniform. Staring into the mirror at a long nose, twisted lips, a tall wide frame. He stood with his chest puffed out. He always was very militaristic. He sighed, as the cold overcame all other thoughts.

Moments later, he awoke in an erratic fury. He’d come to realize that if he didn’t find somewhere to hide, he would be dead without even knowing it. As he picked himself up, he focused on finding a spot that could be the difference between life and death. The sounds of shattering trees, artillery, gun shots, tank shots, it was overwhelming to the senses. He didn’t know the time, the sky was darkening fast, but lighting up from the horrors of war. His knees were weak, and he collapsed to the floor as fatigue took over his worn muscles. Then he started to dig. With each movement of his hand, the mountain of snow slowly caved in to a small but sturdy hole, like what you might find on the trunk of a tree.  His hands were covered in snow, yet he had lost his gloves. The tips of his fingers were already turning blue. He tumbled into his hole, shivering from the biting cold, the cold that slowly gnawed away at his fingers and face. It was quiet. Too quiet. In the back of his mind, the cold was pulsating, radiating a promise of pain. But nothing mattered more at that moment than staying alive. He refused to die here. The quiet and his fatigue slowly overtook him as he fell into a sleep.

Krcch. Krcch. It sounded like somebody crumpling small pieces of paper. Over, and over again. The sky was still dark. It sounded like men marching forward. He started digging again. Digging to go deeper into the ground, hoping not to be discovered. He tossed snow up towards the entrance of the whole in an attempt to cover his tracks. His body shivered and shook. Then his hands hit something solid. Bringing his hands up, he noticed patches of black. Uncovering the snow, he was thankful that the snow muffled his scream. It was hard enough to see in the darkness, but what he saw had scarred him. A corpse lay there, in a mummified fashion. Skin peeled off all around the face, revealing the yellowing skull beneath. The cold had preserved the body. Scrambling backwards, he tumbled out of the hole, stumbling almost drunkenly outside in the snow. The outdoors were faintly lit, only through small fires that were littered across the ground. He squinted down at his hands. They trembled, uncontrollably.  He started running, a desperate attempt to get away from the hole.

He ran until he was out of breath, until there were black dots in his eyes. Taking a moment to calm down, he took a look at his surroundings again. Then he noticed the bodies. He saw his fellow platoon mates, German soldiers in grey trench coats, the Nazi sign emblazoned on a red cloth tied around the right sleeve. Then, he saw the other bodies. Green trench coats. Heavy boots. They had rifles he had never seen before. That’s when he realized that they were Russian soldiers. More things were coming to light now. The Soviet counter-offensive had started, and he was caught in the middle of it. He shivered. His trench coat and boots were all wet, his finger black from frostbite, as if his finger was a canvas for a painter who only used black. He wanted to check on his fellow tank mates, before he lost his life. Staggering across this barren wasteland, he trudged back to his tank.

Reaching his tank, he finally realized the full extent of damage the Tiger had taken. The cupola had popped open, the radiator and filter in the back blackened from fire. Though he couldn’t see it, he knew the engine was dead. Fuel dripped from small openings around the tank, and it seemed other substances had also mixed with it. Slowly, he pulled himself up the tank, and peered inside. He was horrified. “What happened to them?!” He whispered to himself. The first thing that hit him was the stench. Smoke filled the cabin, climbing up through his nostrils. It smelt horrible. The smell of burnt flesh permeated the atmosphere. Then the sheer horror of the scene slammed into him. Blood painted the insides of the tank, like how a painter might splash paint upon a canvas. His fellow tank mates were slumped down in their seats, their eyes glazed over with a lost look. Blood had started to mix with the oil that trickled from the compromised fuel tanks. Bullets were embedded to the walls of inside the tank, and in the chests of his tank mates. He could see shrapnel from what he thought came from armor piercing tank shells. Bile started rising from his stomach, the stench becoming so nauseating he had to take a break. Pulling his lighter out from his pocket, he flicked it open, and dropped it into the tank. At the very least, he thought, he could give his friends a crude cremation. As he walked away from the burning mess in the cold, he finally realized how great of a mistake that was.

Smoke rose steadily from the burning tank, and he knew that was just a beacon for the Soviet Army. They would come rushing over here, looking for possible survivors. Hopefully, they would think that it’s Russian soldiers burning the tank. But he knew better than betting on that.  He started back towards his hole. No matter how much he hated the horrors within that hole, he knew that it was his best chance at staying alive at the moment. Half way through his journey, he heard hushed voices around him. Crouched behind a tree, he peeked out to scout the position. A small group of Russian soldiers, maybe four or five of them, were taking turns speaking. Huddled around a small fire, they were all pointing at a piece of paper, which he assumed was a map of the area. The cold had finally taken hold of his fingers as his fingers lost all feeling. He knew that they were thinking of a plan of attack to engage the area. Careful not to make any noise, he snuck out of the area, suddenly knowing the best spot to hide.

During Operation Barbarossa, when the Germans invaded the Soviet Union, German soldiers would dig holes in the ground and build small sunken bunkers. There might be one or two men in there with machine guns, ready to gun down enemy infantry. If he could just find one of those holes, he might be safe. The eerily dark night sky was finally reversing its cycle. He stumbled through the darkness in hopes of finding one of the holes. By the time he found one, he felt too weak to move. Everything hard started to hurt, and he just wanted to rest. Ducking his head down, he tumbled into the hole. The ominous silence had once again returned, and the only sounds were of his short wheezing breaths, the only thing he could focus on was the cold.

His heart pounded so loudly, that he feared the Russians would find him solely from that sound. He could hear the sound of the blood rushing through his head, like waves crashing over and over again. He trembled in anticipation and nervousness. He dreaded every moment that passed. And that was when he heard the foot steps. The snow crunched under the heavy boots of Russian soldiers. They would find him. For sure. He pulled himself into a corner, and cried. For the first time in a long time, he cried. He wasn’t sure why, but tears fell from his face as he imagined all the things he would never be able to experience again. He would never see his wife’s face again, her loving gaze. He would never see his children, smiling, filled with so much joy. He curled into a ball in the corner. How pathetic do I look? He thought to himself. Marching out of Berlin with such pride, looking so strong and confident. Now, look at what a mess I’ve been reduced to. He thought silently. As he lifted his watering eyes, he saw a gun barrel appear over the top of the bunker.

His breath stilled. The gun barrel slowly moved, from the left to the right. And a face peered down into the bunker. Then everything went black.

Faces looked down at him, guns pointed at his head. He pushed himself upon his elbows. Then using all of his energy, he stood up, raising his hands over his head.

“Please, I never wanted this. Please. Please! The Führer never gave ANYONE a choice! I have a wife. I have children. I know you understand, so please!” He pleaded with his life. From his pocket, he pulled out a family photo, and held it out to he Russian soldiers.

Then the Russian soldier
spoke.

“I’m sorry comrade.” He whispered into the air, his face contorted with unbearable pain and misery.

 

Then the soldier’s finger flinched upon the trigger.

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Jun 07 2016

Summer Reading Goal

Published by under Humanities and tagged: , , , ,

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Read at least 1 classic, and start the Harry Potter series.

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Jun 01 2016

Go Wild with Travel Wonder

Published by under Humanities and tagged: , , , ,

This magazine went through a complex process to reach completion. The whole group worked very hard. We originally went to the Chinese Ethnic Park to research our minorities. This started us on our travel writing piece, which was a main component in the magazine. We designed maps, and infographics to further the information on each minority. After the ethnic minorities were finished, the whole of 8th grade traveled to Ping Yao, which led us on a whole new part of the magazine: Featuring Ping Yao. People used different multimedia formats to design a piece that would provide information on Ping Yao’s culture and history. With all of these components, the magazine was an amazing work of writing and so many other things!

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May 09 2016

Polymer Project Journal #4

Published by under Science and tagged: , , , ,

The process of developing my polymer was great but was also filled with many obstacles. At the start, we had to define the idea, meaning we had to specify what our design question was going to be. We defined it to be “Creating a polymer that can clean glass, windows, screens, etc.” In order to develop a solution for this problem, we started off by thinking of characteristics that we wanted in our polymer. We ended with deciding that we needed a polymer that could clean smaller particles, that would leave no residue, but also be washable. We also hoped the polymer could be malleable because that would give space to work with in future products. We started off with Gloop, because it encompassed all the base characteristics that we needed. But, what we noticed was that Gloop never had the malleability we needed. We implemented different volumes of Borax, ranging from 1 mL to 8 mL, but whenever the Borax was added, it would become extremely stiff. In order to refine our prototype to meet all our requirements, we changed to Boogers. Boogers also encompassed the characteristics we needed, but it had the malleability we needed, which was perfect. Although Boogers left a small amount of residue, after kneading it for a little bit, it left no residue. During all my struggles and failures during the polymer project, I learned that I had to be open-minded to my options and observations. We were very stubborn on using Gloop at first, and we tested with it for two classes, but we really should have been open-minded, and thinking about other options at the same time when Gloop wasn’t working. During the Dream On presentation day, I learned that you have to be very specific with your work. When assessing other polymers, I had to be very specific in order to really understand the polymer, and find out what score I should give.

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May 04 2016

They have no idea.

Published by under Humanities and tagged: , , ,

Captain Henry and his crew,

Trudge ahead, thoughts a’brew.

Unknowing to them, a horror still lives,

A man who’s been mauled, who’s had his mind set.

The suspense rises.

The crew thinks the horror’s dead,

Thus treading ahead with an unfillable void.

“Inevitable or not, the men found it unsettling to confront Glass’s death” (Punke 127).

Yet the man who’s been mauled, still lives.

The suspense rises.

The man who’s been mauled, has sworn on his life,

To take revenge, and end his mind’s strife.

And yet

He does not know of what that crew will do.

“They would abandon Fort Union” (Punke 181).

The thoughts are crystal clear,

Both sides plagued not only by the mind.

The suspense rises.

And still, no side knows.

Based of only previous ideas,

Past knowledge,

They don’t know what’s happening.

And closer he draws.

Closer,

Closer,

Closer…

–break–

This poem is based off of the book The Revenant by Michael Punke. The prompt I focused on was how different points of view in a story can create suspense.This multimedia format works very well at describing the increasing suspense. This is because by formatting the poem and picking the vocabulary carefully, we can create suspense in the poem as well. That fits the prompt of the blog post very well.

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Apr 28 2016

Polymer Blog Post #3

Published by under Science and tagged: , , ,

In total we created four prototypes in total. Three were based off of Gloop, while the other one was created using Boogers as a base. We used Gloop as a base at first because it had many attributes we liked: it left minimal residue, catches dust easily, and retains form. The problem with Gloop; however, was that it was impossible to engineer a satisfactory malleability into the polymer. As a result of that, we decided to test Boogers. What we found was that it contained the same attributes as Gloop, with the extra malleability that we needed. The first three prototypes made from Gloop were always problematic because it required Borax. In one prototype we even tested 1 mL of Borax, but it still resulted in a low malleability polymer. With the Boogers, the result was great, but it was slightly slimy. However, it still did not leave residue. Obviously, the prototype that we chose was the Boogers prototype. It could clean as efficiently as the Gloop prototypes, and it was stretchy enough to create cleaning products. The design for our final prototype was the recipe for normal Boogers. It was approximately 18.2 g of glue, and 15 mL of starch solution.

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During our design process, there was a mishap while we were gathering glue. The result was we had 41.6 g of glue. Consequently, we had to do some math to calculate the ratios, and find the correct amount of starch solution needed in order to produce a correct batch of Boogers. After calculation, we found that 34.2 mL of starch solution was needed.

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Apr 25 2016

Polymer Journal #2

Published by under Science and tagged: , , ,

During this class, we tested out Gloop characteristics. We created two samples, one with 8 mL of Borax, and one with 6 mL of Borax. We were looking for differences in the two samples. In the end, we didn’t find many differences, but it did show us how much Borax affects the polymer. The data that we obtained was that the Gloop left minimal residue, retains properties after washing, and is sticky enough to catch smaller particles. But, the cons that Gloop provided were that it was extremely stiff, not easy to mold. We decided that minimal residue, retaining properties, and stickiness were all attributes the Gloop had that we liked. The problem was for one of our product ideas, the Gloop needed to be malleable in order to be wrapped around a cylinder. Our plan is to develop a form of Gloop that does not use Borax, and see how that alters the characteristics of the Gloop. We want to develop a form of Gloop that still retains old good properties, but is no longer a stiff polymer. We also want to experiment with other materials such as PVA solution in the place of white glue. After the samples are successfully created, we will be conducting stretch tests, poke tests, as well as testing the residue and retaining properties that the polymer will have.

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Apr 19 2016

A World of Hurt

The Revenant is a page-turning book written by Michael Punke depicting real historical events. The main character, Hugh Glass, is mauled by a bear, and then betrayed and abandoned by his very team. Through Michael Punke’s dialogue, we can analyze Hugh Glass’s mindset and actions, thus identifying Hugh Glass’s character.

Glass is a man of loyalty. He cares very much for his team and understands the importance of good unity and teamwork: “’This is a poor excuse for a weapon, Captain, give him a decent rifle and we’ll have fewer problems on watch’” (Punke 20). Through this line of dialogue, we can see how Glass not only thinks of individual teammates, but also the efficiency, health, and overall effectiveness of the team. In this scene, a member of the team named Bridger accidentally fired his rifle while on watch. The problems that could arise from this are Indian search parties heading their way. The misfire was mainly caused as a result of a faulty flint and overall rifle that Bridger had. As a result of having a faulty rifle, not only is the team endangered, Bridger could have harmed himself. Glass took it on himself to get better resources for his teammates. By getting Bridger a better rifle, he not only ensured a higher chance of survival for Bridger, but also for the team as a whole. That demonstrates his loyalty toward individual team members and the team as a whole.

As well as that, Glass is definitely a man filled with determination and perseverance. This can be seen from his crazy journey of survival. His path was filled with danger, yet he kept pushing forward, conquering all the obstacles in his way. In the end, he had to take desperate measures to finally get his revenge: “’Better to take the risk than to die of starvation’” (Punke 87). In this scene, Glass has found a buffalo carcass, and he is starving. He needs to eat, or else he will die. In his state of injury, everything is hard to do, and with his throat ripped, eating is extremely hard. The carcass was rotting, but he knew that if he didn’t eat he would die. Because he was so determined to get his revenge on the team mates that betrayed him, Glass ate the marrow from the largest bone he could find. His determination allowed him to do something that normal people would never do. As a result of that, he was able to stay alive until he found more food. This is a clear sign that Glass is a very determined man that will stop at nothing to obtain what he needs.

From many scenes of dialogue featuring Glass, it is evident that Glass is a man of loyalty, and a man filled with determination. These attributes are what allowed him to achieve in his goal in the end. The dialogue was a key part, which really accentuated the characteristics that Glass embodied.

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Apr 18 2016

Polymer Journal #1

Published by under Science and tagged:

The original design question we received was a polymer that can clean anything. We decided to define it as a polymer that cleans glass screens, windows, etc. We decided to create a polymer that has the properties similar to Boogers, with a slight amount of the stickiness from Super Slime. This gives the polymer the ability to catch light dust films and other things on the glass. This makes the polymer very efficient in cleaning these screens. This creates a polymer that meets the needs of cleaning screens and windows and other glass objects. Our target market audience is higher economically developed families, especially families that own lots of electronics. This is because they have a higher demand for this polymer because they want to keep the multiple electronic screens they have clean from dust. For smaller screens such as phones, we have a small amount designed to fit the properties of cleaning a phone screen. For bigger screens such as a TV, we have a roller style cleaning cylinder that will have the polymer wrapped around it. The person merely has to roll the cylinder around the screen to clean off the dust. Our product at the same time will be easy to was, making the polymer reusable and eco-friendly. Once saturated with an amount of dust and other objects, you can simply wash it under water and the dust will come off easily, leaving you with a reusable cleaning object.

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Mar 20 2016

Perfectly Presenting Parabolas

Published by under Algebra 1 and tagged: , , ,

Parabolas can be seen everywhere in real life, but most of the time, they are restricted parabolas. In modern society, there hasn’t been a way devised to create something that is infinite. So obviously, anything in our life right now is restricted, so are the parabolas. It is merely that some parabolas are restricted to different degrees. In the unit scale of meters, some parabolas are much bigger than others, such as a small wooden bridge to a huge steel beam suspension bridge. In real life, there are many examples of quadratics and parabolas that we are able to calculate. One of the greatest examples of parabolas in real life are suspension bridges. Many suspension bridges require accurate parabolic calculations in order to get the curve of the steel beam at the top correct. The steel beam is critical to the stability and functional ability of the bridge. Also, we can see the parabolic assesment of tennis ball flight paths during competitions such as the Wimbledon. When the ball is hit, there is usually a camera and calculator that can calculate and mimic the flight path of the ball. A parabola is required to properly generate the flight path of the ball. Finally, another parabola that we can see commonly in life is a lens piece. In concave lenses, the lens piece has a parabolic curvature in. This curve has to be extremely precise in order to reach maximum effect. The only way to achieve this is through careful parabolic calculations using extremely precise measurements in the parabola. These are all examples of parabolas. But, as stated before, none of these parabolas are infinite, they are all restricted parabolas. If the parabolas were infinite, so would the objects, and that would not be true.

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