Open Letter to Tony Stark!

Wassup Tony!


I get it, I get it. “Go away kid! Find someone else as awesome as me to get an autograph from. Oh wait! There isn’t anyone that’s more awesome than me! Oh well, good luck!” I hear you saying that right now, as you read this. Ha! Who’s the mind reader now? Anyway, I would like to ask you a few questions about your often called crazy lifestyle, and how you started off.


1.) How do you get to a point in life like you are right now? Anyone can be born into a wealthy family, but how do you instantly know exactly how to build everything you build? Can school really teach you that much? Also, where did the money come from? Sure, the US Military is paying you to make basically every weapons they own, but still, there must be a certain amount where that stops! I mean, a skyscraper and billion dollar houses just to have them? How are you able to get to this amount of pure wealth?

2.) How are you capable of building the CRAZY machines? In anyone’s world, how is it possible for one human, and the help of a stationary arm robot to assemble complex war machines in just a few hours?? I just don’t get it! Also, where do you get all of the materials to build the suits and drones? I imagine each piece has to be specially cut to fit on each area of the robot or suit, and it just seems like a really long process.

3.) How did you come up for the idea for the suit? It’s not like something like that can magically pop into your brain! I mean sure, you are Tony Stark and were captured in an active war zone….but still I feel there should be some sort of limit to how much a human brain can really think, and the amount of detail is just too much to comprehend! Also, how did you know off the top of your head how to build a miniature reactor to power yourself?? Come on!


After all that you’ve been through, what was your favorite experience? To be honest, if I had the opportunity, I would be just like you one day! You’re my favorite Avenger! My final question to leave you with is: “How did you start?” Were you just a little kid when you found your passion for machinery like you have now, or were you older? Did you have the materials available when you were younger? What can someone do to become like you?



Sincerely your biggest fan,

Chronicles of Billy (Original Edition)

“The walkers are here!” shouted Johnny.

He spun around and screamed at everyone to get to their stations. All the survivors ran to their sides of the castle and looked over the edge of the roof. Zombies seemed to be the only thing in sight besides the zebra skeletons lying across the horizon that the zombies had left.

The zombies surrounded the Goblin Juice Castle. The humans were cornered for good. It was the end.

Billy attempted to kill one of the zombies by tossing leftover barbecue chips off the rooftop at the zombies’ eye. But the tactic proved useless and Billy ran from the roof’s edge to join his friends.

“Okay, guys,” Bertha explained, “we’ll have to fire used body casts and bandaids at the walkers if we want to defeat them.”

Everyone nodded and stripped off their sweaty socks, used band aids (from zombie bites), and Billy’s body cast. Bertha picked off the scab on her knee and flicked it in with the rest. Johnny pulled out chunks of his neck-beard hair and clumped them together in the foul pile of their human remains and bandages.

Johnny stuffed the items into a grenade launcher and blasted it all into the crowd of zombies. There was beautiful explosion of bodily-fluid, teeth, skin, blood, and mud; and half the wave of zombies was quickly decimated.

But there were too many. Billy tried to explain that they had to sacrifice someone to get away. They all sat quietly in contemplation while the growling zombies groaned a groaning groan.

Johnny stroked his gelatinous neck-beard. “Fine,” said Johnny, “but we must also throw Billy into the canal to succeed.”

Bertha and Billy looked pleased and thrilled with the plan. They all hummed in agreement. Billy seemed overly enthusiastic and he started humming louder. Bertha yelled at him to shut up.

“Alright, let’s do it!” exclaimed Johnny. “To our positions, men!” (which wasn’t a good statement considering that Bertha wasn’t a man [and also since Billy was more of a man-child than a man]).

They all hopped to it and ran in circles for no particular reason. Then Bertha shouted at everyone to stop and then they raced to their stations. Billy tripped on a zombie carcass and landed face first in front of Bertha.

Bertha lifted Billy by the neck-hair and poised to throw him off the side of the building. “Yahoo!” shrieked Bertha as she chucked Billy into the Southern Canal. Billy laughed hysterically with a gleam in his eye, but soon he started choking and seizuring because he was drowning in -10 degree water.

Bertha and Johnny glared down into the grey canal that was congested with zombies. Nothing seemed to happen. Why had they thrown Billy into the surging water anyway?

Soon, they were all panicking, though. The zombies were now tearing away at the bricks of the Goblin Juice Castle. The building began to crumble and crack, leaning this way and that. It shook with rage and the two survivors stumbled, nearly falling off the edge. This really was the end.

But just as it seemed that all hope was lost, the canal erupted and Billy emerged holding what looked like a deformed trident held together by scotch tape. Billy bellowed a battle cry and blasted the remaining zombies to bits. He wiped the floor with their wisdom teeth, he vanquished them up to vertebrae, and he zapped their groups down to the collar bone with every last portion of energy inside his DIY pitchfork.

Bertha cheered for their salvation, but Johnny suddenly brought them back to attention as he pointed out the zombies. They were piecing themselves back together!

Billy could only do one thing to stop them. With the power of the Southern Canal, he grew and swelled to a gigantic magnitude and scooped up a handful of zombies… and stuffed them in his mouth. He swallowed them in one huge gulp as if they were tater tots from your local McDonald’s ($5.99 for a limited time. Only at participating locations. See website for details) and burped, “Mhmph… tastes like chicken…”

He then lobbed handful after handful into his drooling mouth, crunching and chewing and intaking them into his enormous stomach.

Eventually, Billy became uneasy and queasy from devouring extensive quantities of rotting flesh and began to heave and retch. But before he was able to vomit, Billy exploded into a shower of mayonnaise and canal water, leaving his immense skeleton still standing in the canal. Johnny and Bertha gazed out as it toppled into the rushing canal—and Billy was never heard from again.

Bertha and Johnny, the very last of humankind, stood there while shivering with fatigue as the watched the last drops of sunlight dip below the horizon. In the vast wasteland, all that stood left was the dry and sandy ground (with an exception for the zebra carcasses dotting the canvas). Bertha breathed, “Well, the apocalypse is over with. You reckon that Subway is open at these hours?”

Johnny just nodded—and together they strolled down from the Goblin Juice Castle and walked away…

Without Billy.


Here is Nic’s post on our story. It also includes his amazing illustration he created.

The Chronicles of Billy (Original Edition)

Coming Back to Soccer

I love soccer! I play for FC Westlake as a goalkeeper.

Last year, I had to have two foot surgeries, one on each foot. This put me in casts and boots, but I got this cool scooter too. This put me out of soccer for almost 2 years!!!

So far I have gone to a good amount of goalie  practice since they started back up after winter break, and I really like playing! There is some new coaches that I had not met yet, but I am getting to know them and am getting used to their practice routines. Last week, we worked on shot stopping. You might think, oh, that’s what goalies do anyway right? Well I’m going to tell you, that’s not all it.

First of all, you have to get dirty. Even if you are playing on turf, you come back as stinky as a sock that has lived its life on the bottom of your shoes. You get lucky if practice is on a muddy grass field because you won’t get scratched and scraped as much as on the turf. You also get a ton of bruises from hitting the ground so many times.

Aside from that, goalkeeping is really fun because you are like the final line of defense for your team. People on your team really appreciate when you save a great shot, and if you don’t, then oh well. The game goes on. People have to score somehow.

Why Diving On The Ground Again, And Again, And Again, And Again, And Again, And Again, And Again, And Again, Is Quite Painful

Save_Football Match_Spencer Park_Coventry_May09 Ian via Compfight

First of all, diving to save a ball is not blocking the ball (at least to me). It is more like forcefully throwing yourself onto the ground, with the side effect of possibly changing the balls direction of movement.

Now, you might think this might not be so bad. “I once fell and it didn’t really hurt Ethan! You can’t be complaining about something like this!” Well let me tell you. If you ever wind up in Goalie practice and you hear coach say: “All right everybody! This weeks focus is on diving!”…

Your hip bones will never be prepared for the traumatizing experience that lies just ahead.

Dive after dive, whistle after whistle, “ouch!” after “OUCH!!”, again and again and again. The turf burns like a match you forgot to blow out, and then landed on you toe. It burns like brake pads coming into the hairpin at Canada (for all my F1 peeps out there). It BURNS like the suns core, slowly biting away at you skin. It’s not quite the movement that hurts, it’s the repetition that slowly forms the impeding bruise on your side.

With this evidence, along with experience, I thing this might, just might, hurt.



The Phantoms Lair

As he takes me down the long, elegant hallways, I notice something I have never noticed here before. The hallways, they were not lit by a physical object. The Phantom himself cast an eerie light that stretched down the dark corridors.

This made it impossible to see without him with you.

As we approached the chambers, the door ahead magically swung open to reveal a very, very large room. Along the center was a colossal fireplace. The walls, decorated with banners, torches, and and beautiful medieval stone which would make even the richest man jealous.

The chandeliers above were as large as an elephant and bright as the sun, lighting up the room with a cheerful mood.

The boat was covered in roses, and smelled of a sweet summer afternoon, but as he pulled me close, the room turned dark, and we descended downward….

Into the depths we go, spiraling, downward. To a secret room we arrive, where there is a door.

It magically opens.

We walk through, and appear on stage! ”Sing!” He tells me. I sing, and a round of applause shakes the theatre, and we disappear into the depths of his fortress.


Formula 1: 2018

With a new year comes changes. As the 2017 season is completed in Abu Dhabi, a new season is coming soon with many surprises and editions to the sport.

One of the new additions is the “hypersoft” and “superhard” tires. With these new compounds, the cars will have more options on both sides of the spectrum. The hypersofts will have a pretty short lifespan compared to other tires, but will also be faster. The superhard compound will last the longest out of all the tires.

Probably the most noticeable difference to the sport in 2018 is going to be the requirement to have a “halo” over the cockpit of the car. This is an addition to the body of the car. It goes over the cockpit and is wishbone shaped. This was designed to help protect the driver if in the very rare case of a rollover, the driver is more protected. This also helps protect them if, say a tire flew off and hit them on the head.

There are differing opinions about this. Some say it is a visibility issue for the drivers. Some drivers like Max Verstappen agree that the device is “useless”. Romain Grosjean claimed to make him “sick” and “hated it”. Lewis Hamilton says it is the worst mod in F1 history ever. Other drivers agree that it is much-needed for the safety of the sport. Among the is Sebastian Vettel who says that it is “Greatly Welcome” after last year he rolled over and it took a long time to get him out.

What do you think about this?

The Start

Here is the poem I wrote for our poetry assignment. It is about the start of a race. Hope you like it!


The Start

I was waiting, waiting, waiting,

I’ve been waiting a whole, slow lap

Warming tires,

Strong desires,

To win this race for the team

I have raced on this track before,

But adrenaline surges as engines roar,

Like machine gun fire across the open track

We take our places, on the grid

Mercedes pole,

And Ferrari not far behind

As for the red lights,

Five they reach!

And off we go,

Tires screech

The race is


Authors note:

My main inspiration for this poem came from David Croft, who retired this season. He was probably Formula 1’s favorite announcer appearing first in 2006 and continuing his famous words: “Lights out and away we go” at the start of every race. I also have a large respect for the sport in general and I hope his legacy will live on in the history of the sport.

Formula 1: Aerodynamics and Pit Strategy



Renault R.S.17

Aerodynamics is a key to winning a Formula 1 Grand Prix. Certain tracks like Canada and Baku have long straits and might require a lower downforce setup to gain more time on the longer areas of the track. Or circuits like Monaco you will want to go for a high downforce setup so you can make more time on the sharp corners and chicanes.

Another consideration is the weather. This ties in to tire choice when deciding what setup to go with. On rainy Grand Prixs you will probably add more downforce to accommodate the amount of oversteer and understeer you can get from a wet track.

Pit strategies are very important with planning a race. You need to figure out what tires you are using throughout the race. To make a good strategy, the teams need to figure out how the tires wear on the track.

Some tires such as ultrasofts wear a lot faster than supersofts and softs. Some tracks the teams start with the ultrasofts and move into the supersofts. The goal is to make the ultrasofts last the longest so that you can get the majority of faster lap times.

If you get a half a second faster on ultrasofts, that might be the determining factor of the winner because the managed their tires better and pitted later. If you start on a harder compound, you will have to time your pit to exactly the lap maximum of your softer tires.


Quick Fact About Aerodynamics:

Every track in the Formula 1 calendar has at least 1 DRS (Drag Reduction System) strait. Before the strait, the cars gap is measured. If they are less than a second apart the DRS systems on the car behind are allowed to be used. DRS is a flap on the back wing that opens while on the strait to reduce downforce and therefore, increase the speed of the car behind so they can pass the car ahead easier.

PixelGhostClyde via Compfight

Formula 1: Tire Management

When racing in Formula 1, there are many ways to increase your speed and grip. Though what I am about to explain to you might seem simple, there is a whole other side to this. You can learn more about the advanced science here.

The Formula 1 FIA regulated tires come from Pirelli. Pirelli makes 4 different tire compounds to use in a race by the Formula 1 teams. The dry tire compounds are ultra soft, super soft, soft, medium, and hard. The other tires are intermediate and wet for use in rain. Each tire is used differently.

The wet and intermediate tires are only used in heavy rain conditions or on a very wet track. They are also used in somewhat wet weather. They offer a lot of hardness and ridges for grip in the water. However, when introduced to a dry track, they slow the car significantly and degrade in just a few laps.

The dry tires are used in dry conditions but also slow the car in wet weather. Super softs, and softs are used as a slightly slower alternative to the ultra softs and the medium and hard are used on different track surfaces. These dry tires which normally only work well in dry conditions and have almost zero grip in the wet. They are usually used as 2 together so they are alternatives if the weather changes, (more on that later). The ultra softs are the fastest, offering the most grip in a dry race.

During the duration of the race the teams must cycle through 2 different tire compounds. I have no idea why this rule exists but it does so the teams have to follow it. This then provokes a whole new concept of race strategy for planning pit stops and when to change tire compounds. They create a whole new system that can determine whether you win, or lose a race in the first or last few laps.

Tire wear on ultrasofts:

Photos: Wikipedia Commons CC0