Trig Portofolio Creative Piece: One Shape to Rule Them All

The students who sit in the middle of the classroom are a peaceful, if lazy, sort. Too tame and fearful to sit in the back of the class, and too lazy to sit in the front, they claim hold to one seat between the extremes of rambunctious ne’er-do-well and elite try-hard, and stay there all year. While they can come in all shapes and sizes they tend to all wear unassuming clothes and dark colors, and devote much of their time to leisure (i.e., drawing, eating, or daydreaming) or making sure cozy existence is maintained. They are quite content to lie unnoticed by the teacher, all year keeping their grades at a level just good enough for them to not have to fear being singled out. However, as tame as they might be, no other clique (for the middle classroom dwellers do stick together against those from the outside) has as great a natural proclivity for sneakiness. For example, it is not uncommon to find one of them nibbling quietly on some contraband snacks in class or to see a hole one of them has made for themselves out of his/her textbooks to hide drawings from prying eyes.

Bill Gabbins is a sophomore who has resided in the middle of the classroom for all of his high school career. He has mastered the arts of building a proper home for himself in all of his classes and of keeping his grades a convenient, unremarkable level. Bill has never wished for a different kind of education;  he did not yet know that soon his way of life was going to change.

Bill was daydreaming merrily when he noticed a tall stranger heading towards him.

“Bill Gabbins,” the stranger said in a deep voice. Bill eyed him uneasily. The man was old compared to Bill, but he had a kind, intelligent spark in his eye and seemed slightly familiar, “do you remember me?”

“Aht,” a stoccato exclamation escaped bewildered Bill, “Yeah,” the stranger raised an eyebrow, “Oh, aren’t you Ganen, the senior who sets up the music for the dances? I didn’t recognize you for a minute.”

“Yep, and I came here to ask if you wanted to join a study group.”

“A-a study group? Um thanks, but I don’t think so. I’m fine by myself, in my seat over here. Also, please excuse me, but I must ask you to leave. I have to get back to work,” Bill pointed to an old worksheet written so sloppily that it was impossible to tell what subject it was for. The senior left and Bill went back to his old ways.

A few periods later Bill sensed someone coming up next to him. He turned to see a burly, unkempt fellow from the back of the class plop down next to him and start to furrow through Bill’s bag. Soon more of this intruder’s ilk filled in around Bill. Bill watched horrified as they found his stash of cookies in his pencil case and quickly devoured them.

“What are you doing?” Bill nearly screeched.

The unexpected guests paid no heed to Bill’s questions. Finally, their leader addressed Bill, “I’m Thorald. So you’re our thief. You don’t look like much, but Ganen said you could do the job. So what’s the plan?”

“Thief? I’m no thief! And what are you talking about?” Before Thorald could continue Ganen entered the class and sat by the group.

Bill learned that Thorald and his friends had lost their home in the back of the class because the teacher had moved them to the front in an effort to improve their grades. Their only hope to reclaim their lost kingdom was to ace this math test on trigonometry. Unfortunately, they did not think they could pull this off on their own. What they needed to pass were notes. Of course, only the fair, honor-roll students of the front of the class took good notes, and only the best notes, the notes of the fierce Kaida Haze would allow Thorald and his study group to be victorious.

Bill’s role in their journey was to steal Kaida’s notes. If Thorald passed, Bill would be rewarded graciously with pizza from the snack bar. Bill agreed to be part of Thorald’s study group for this one unit after which he would return to his peaceful, lazy life.

The study group set out immediately for Kaida’s corner of the research wing. They dodged assaults by unfriendly upperclassmen, the nagging complaints of unhappy group project members, and narrowly escaped the claws of helping hands prototypes. On their journey, Bill found a sticky note with a triangle inscribed with the words, “One Shape to rule them all, One Shape to find them; One shape to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.” Around the triangle “SOH CAH TOA” and “All Students Take Calculus” was written. At first Bill could not make sense of what was written on the note, but when he touched the note he was suddenly filled with a complete knowledge of trig. He knew that sin graphs had an amplitude of 1 and a period of 360  degrees and he knew how to use the law of cosines and the law of sines to solve a triangle.

Bill thought of showing his study group what he had found, but something stopped him. He was afraid that they would take it from him. He felt that since he found it, it was his. Then he thought of just teaching them the trig so that he wouldn’t have to risk his neck to steal from Kaida. This was tempting, but he knew that they would wonder where he acquired all his knowledge. So he pocketed the note, and pretended that he hadn’t found anything.

Eventually, the group arrived at Kaida’s spot in the research wing. Bill waited for her to start reading her history textbook before he slowly crouched down and moved towards the bag lying behind her chair. To him, her golden notebook was shining like some ancient heirloom from a time when kings and queens ruled the lands. He reached out to touch it, but the rustling sound caught Kaida’s attention who turned to see the thief. Bill watched as a fire grew in her eyes. He fled. He knew he would not be able to return.

When he related his tale to Thorald, Bill was crushed to see the disappointment of his study group. Thinking fast he told them that he had seen a glimpse of Kaida’s notes and told them all he knew about trig. In reality he was really just teaching them what the note he had found had showed him. Everyone believed his tale except Ganen who remained suspicious. After the study group had returned to class and Bill was back in the middle of the room, Ganen pulled him aside.

“I know what you found,” he said as Bill denied finding anything. Unable to get a confession out of Bill or convince him to get rid of his treasure, Ganen left him with the following words, “take care. Do not let your academic integrity be corrupted by the things around you.” Bill folded the note and put it into the farthest corner of his book bag. He couldn’t bare to part with it, but he wouldn’t use it to cheat. Bill was a different person than he was before, for one of the first times he studied for his test seriously, trying to prove to himself that anyone, even he, could learn trig with a few tricks. He memorized the cheater chart, SOH CAH TOA, All Students Take Calculus, and the trig graphs.

He finished his trig test with time to spare, and was hopeful when he saw that Thorald had too. A few days later Thorald was back to his home in the back of the class. The day after that Bill walked in to find two whole pizza pies lying on his desk. They all had passed. Bill returned to his life as a middle-classroom dweller, but tales of his daring theft separated him from the rest of his lazy, tame neighbors. Bill was more than he once was; he was the most surprising of heroes


Utterly Uninspired

So I was planning on blogging a poem I had written when I had some spare time a few days ago, but I don’t have that notebook with me. It’s a shame. It wasn’t the best poem, I really don’t have much talent writing in verse with rhythm and structure and all the things that I learned were elements of poetry besides rhyming, but it was something I was inspired to write. And today I feel utterly uninspired.

I have no right to feel this way. There is so many things going on, and so many different platforms of the world to look at. From current international events, to issues in my local community, to nature, to the common day to day events, there is a plethora of things to spark a story or blog or any type of interest. However, I can’t seem to make myself write something that I can get excited about. I just feel rundown. It’s like I’m in the final stretch of a marathon with another mile to do, and I’ve never been one who enjoys running in the first place. And of course the next events, the dashes and sprints start right after this.

Creeping Deadlines

I thought I was finished with all of the projects, group efforts, looming deadlines, and other obligations. I was wrong. Unfortunately life doesn’t stop moving after major accomplishments. A new challenge will just stand up to take the defeated one’s place. It’s like my field hockey coach told my team, “You can’t stop moving when you make an awesome block or goal, because then in the time you spend congratulating yourself  the other team will get the ball and you’ll look really stupid standing there and your handwork will be for nothing.” (Actually I don’t know if those were her exact words, but I definitely remember a speech that had the same effect and the word awesome)

And now writing this I realize…maybe its for the best. The end of one project is really just an opportunity to start something new. If too much time is spent sitting idle one might get use to their complacency. It reminds me of Newton’s first law of motion:

“Every object in a state of uniform motion tends to remain in that state of motion unless an external force is applied to it.”

or in other words, an object that is in rest tends to stay at rest while an object in motion tends to stay in motion. Besides, finishing something still feels better than just sitting around. Progress in any field is something to be happy about, and now that I finished this main project I can start making progress on a project that I designed.

Also my friend Jane is siting next to me and wants me to say hi.

A Little Perspective

One thing I learned today: The average woman lives 73.5 years. Assuming the world is 4.1 billion years old that means that the average woman lives for 0.00000179268293% of the time the Earth has been alive. For men who live around 68.5 years; the percent is even less.

Second thing I realized: Although we live for a short period of time in relation to time the Earth has been around every person has the potential to make a profound impact on the world. Even if we aren’t literally reshaping the world by ourselves on the grand scale, as a whole  species we do so. And the actions of the whole population are of course effected by the actions of individuals. This might seem a little cheesy; the routine look at all we can accomplish.

In a way this reminds me about the importance of time. No matter how insignificant a portion of time may seem it can be used to start something, create, spend time improving yourself, or brightening someone’s day. In the same way one life time can change the world, one day (roughly 0.003821753% of a woman’s life) can change the future of a person. I will remember that next time I’m in a negative mood, stultifying mood.

Somewhere Else

I long to be somewhere else under this unfinished sky. I want to disappear into a world of stories. A world where things are simpler yet a million times more mysterious. To immerse myself in its environment, letting the cool, misty, air brush against my skin and chase away the recent stupor I have been in. Today I wish to submerge myself in a world of my daydreams.

First, I would leave to a forest covered in a thick fog. Trees tower high above me and their branches create a dark green and brown lace over the endless white sky. A luscious moss covers large, slate-gray, rocks that are scattered across the forest. Besides that the floor is composed of a patchwork quilt of leaf litter from deciduous trees that completely obscure the rich soil lurking beneath. The forest is endless. The perfect place to sojourn for a therapeutic time of isolation. I would wander until I am ready to leave and rejoin “reality.” But I wouldn’t go home quite yet.

I would emerge into a new world. One with adventure and possibility, and unknown places. A world of endless possibilities and no expectations. The world would have everything from mountains that touched the sky to cliffs that were embraced by foaming waves to towering cities with architectural marvels.

I wish to be in this fantastic world. I know however, I can find it anywhere. That’s all I need to remember when my days are dull.

Pet Peeve (a rant)

I don’t consider myself to be a high strung person. I am not easily aggravated by people (especially if they are outside of my own family.) I didn’t even freak out when my diorama for math class made out of Lego’s fell to the ground and shattered as I was heading out to school a while back. I just picked up the pieces and tried to fix the damage that had been done. However, I recently discovered that there is one thing that can really get under my skin: when I am talking about something and someone says everything is going to be okay.

This might sound innocent, and I wouldn’t mind if when people said it to me they actually meant it. What annoys me is when people say it in the patronizing way. They might as well be saying, “Look at how silly _____ is. I don’t really want to listen to what ____ is saying so I’ll tell ___ not to worry so _____ will shut up.  ____’s problems/concerns/life/ and goals are so unimportant.” Now this might be a dramatization, but people ( well really one person) says this to me all the time.

It bothers me for a few reasons:

  • The majority of times when I am told this I am not worrying about anything. I am just stating what I have to do. For example, if I ask someone what work needs to be done or if someone asks me what work needs to be done I will tell them what I (or we depending on the case) have to do.  I’m just not so anxiety ridden that I need to be reminded to calm down.


  • I don’t like being brushed off. When people repeatedly say this to me it becomes clear they just don’t want to hear me talk. I’m far from chatty (which is probably hard to tell from this blog) and what if I am saying something important. For example, what if I am trying to talk about  a group project and timing. Just make the effort to be polite enough to listen. I promise I will not continue to talk about it for hours. In fact, listening will probably take 30 seconds to a minute. I don’t like it when people dismiss what anyone has to say.


  • What if I was seriously worried about something? Being told nonchalantly that I worry to much and everything is going to work out by someone who couldn’t even wait for me to finish explaining the situation is not helpful. While, I understand that one might say that they were just trying to help or make conversation by that statement, it would have been just as easy for them to actually make a suggestion or something related to the topic.

It feels so good to finally get that out. Please comment with your pet peeve.

Wow… I missed my goal by a lot

So first things first: I am shocked by how far off I am from my blogging goal, well actually I knew I wasn’t going to hit it I really am a bit more ashamed at my lack of reliability. I will do better next month, and I don’t feel like going through my list of excuses as to why I am too busy to write.

Lets bridge the gap from my last post to now here is what I learned:

  1. I have a family of raccoons  living in a tree in my back yard next to my shed.
  2. Apparently the word “raccoon” could be considered plural or singular.
  3. Coffee is good for motivating myself to study math over spring break. (I was trying to self study a subject so I could skip that course next year and move on to the next math.  Also, this was the first time I tried coffee.
  4. Understanding the material is only half the battle on a major exam the other part is time management.
  5. Raccoons can create a home for themselves nearly anywhere. They will adapt to their environment because they do not create their own nests.
  6. I am not good at lacrosse.
  7. My dog also likes coffee and caramel.
  8. html is not as confusing as I once thought it was
  9. Sometimes small things can bring the most joy, like sitting outside for lunch surrounded by all the trees that have finally bloomed and become laden with flowers.

“Flowering tree bright purple flower” on tree by Rosendahl on Wikimedia commons 

   10. I did not have as much to say today as I thought I did.

I know this is a irrelevant post.  Here are some facts about raccoons. 

April 4th: My Never Ending Scarf

People change. We are shaped by the environment around us and the experiences we have gone through. It seems like the adolescence is a catalyst for change in many ways. During this time people go through many developmental changes to become the adults that support our community and sometimes family in the future. I have decided (all of the seriousness of the last few sentences are wasted on my real topic) to document the next four years of my life with something that will literally grow as I go on. It also fits into something that I have been unable to do ever… no matter how many times I restarted… after stopping… for no reason. This thing is knitting a scarf and finishing it. I have started countless one before in many colors, blue, red, white, black, but I have never finished.

I started this blue scarf in my school. We actually have a knitting club in school, and I still haven’t finished it. I decided it is going to be a four year long project. Right now my scarf is about 3 feet long, and I am determined to continue. I still have 3 1/2 years to go. I am so excited to see how long it will get! On the last day I am going to wear the scarf no matter how long it is.


April 2: Sounds Surround Us

I realized today how much sound is really around us. The sound of wet sneakers thumping nonchalantly against rough concrete.  The quick speech of peers made just unintelligible by distance. The sounds of birds singing. The hushed roar of cars passing by on a road far ahead. All of these noises are in my daily life, and I normally don’t recognize them. They become white noise, which is helpful at times such as when I am trying to focus on what others are saying or am deep in thought, but some times I feel like by tuning into only a few sounds I miss a lot.

For example, for just a few minutes this afternoon I found myself paying more attention to all the sounds around me. There was chatter both in front and behind me, but nothing I could really make out. I noticed a chorus of birds in the trees to my left. if I hadn’t paid attention to the sounds around me I wouldn’t have any proof was any other type of life besides humans around me at all. I was surprised to hear the variety of the bird calls even in that short time; there were at least three different types. I found myself pleased by the plopping sound my toe made as it caught the surface of a previously still puddle. It felt surreal paying attention to all of these things, like I was in a world very different from the one I normally inhabit.

The white noise that surrounds us could be heard as a single track or sound or as a million instruments playing together, it all depends on how you listen.

April 1: I Have Returned With Mild Confusion

I feel like I have climbed a mountain, because I have returned! I know I said I would before, but it still feels good to be writing outside of Slice of Life. Although my blog will still probably contain the same type of daily randomness. Perhaps the mountain thing is a bit of an exaggeration. It feels more like it did when I got through the longest run for my preseason conditioning without stopping. That was a big improvement from the first and maybe even the second attempts at that run.

But even if this is extremely over dramatic I am going to run with it. I feel like I am on the mountain and my path is clear; I can continue. However, some parts of the path are unclear. For example, I didn’t know what to title this blog. I couldn’t really say “Slice of Life 32.” The whole point of my Slice of Life blog was to cover the month of March. It feels weird to extend it to April. I also can’t use the #slice2014 tag anymore. These are minor changes, but they surprised me.

Now that the awkwardness and self pleasing paragraphs above are finished. 

Today I started to learn HTML. It seems really interesting, but honestly I’m a bit lost. It probably didn’t help that I missed the first class, and that my class was behind to begin with so the teacher had to rush through our lesson. So that adds to my general feeling of confusion today. Things seem off; absolutely wonderful (the weather has really effected my mood today along with my tired giddiness.) but off. Unfortunately, I am not able to foresee what is alluding me.