Gon Crazy (OCTAgon That Is)

Octa (or Octo) is a prefix that comes from the Greek language and it means “eight.” Sometimes people refer to “eight” as “8,” but for the purposes of this article I’m going to use the “eight” option because it will make this post look longer. That’s one of the tricks I used in the fourth grade when Sister Mary Rosemond would assign a three-page paper. Along with writing my words in very large cursive and using as many beautiful, wonderful, magically descriptive adverbs and adjectives as possible, I would never use numerals instead of written-out numbers and I would never use abbreviations. Those techniques, then as now, could easily turn two pages of material into a three-page paper.

Now that I’ve shared that little secret to all my young readers who are still in elementary school through college, I am now ready to provide a little advice on how to remember that OCTA means “eight” — not nine, or seven, or six, or five, or four, or three, or two, or one, or even ninety-nine or ninety-eight . . .

(Oh man, I could have continued on and turned this into something that would absolutely amaze Sister Mary Rosemond. But you had to be careful with her. Had she caught on to my schemes, there is a good possibility she might have whacked me on the top of the head with a five-pound text book. I saw her do that to one of my classmates once. Of course, his transgression wasn’t so innocent as finding ways to turn a short report into a long report. He called her a “snake in the grass” right to her face.)

I got side-tracked there, as I often do. I’m sorry I didn’t get right down to how you can remember that OCTO means “eight.” I remembered it when I was a kid because I’d always think of an octopus, which has eight legs. With that knowledge you’ll always be able to figure out that an octopod has eight feet, and an octogenarian is in his or her eighties, and an octogon has eight sides, and October is the eighth month of the year.

HEY, WAIT A MINUTE! What happened there? My research on that contradiction tells me that the Germans wanted October to coincide with their annual Oktoberfest, which is so-named because it’s customary to drink eight big steins of beer per day to celebrate the autumnal season. That’s why they placed October into the tenth position on the calendar and August into the eighth position. Quite the switcheroo. Now you know THE REST OF THE STORY. [See footnote]

WOW! I never intended for that introduction to be so long. Sometimes I start typing and I can’t stop myself.

Let’s move on to my polygonist activities today. I was no longer satisfied with polygons that only had three or four or five sides. I wanted MORE sides. I wanted to find EIGHT sides, and I didn’t want to have to do it by resorting to one of the thousands of STOP signs in MY Town.

I started off easy by looking up into this six-sided figure at the local playground. I’m going to call it a SIXAGON.

Here’s another sixagon, but it’s a sixagon within a sixagon with triangles in the middle and parallelograms on the edges. MINDBOGGLING!

The face of this shed is one step up to a Sevenagon.

Eventually, I upgraded to a beautiful, wonderful, spectacular example of an Octogon. Plus, it has squares and triangles in there.
Another octagon with the added feature of me and my bike. I might have to call NuTech National and order an alarm system for my bike.

I almost rode right past this octagonal vent. Luckily I turned around and took this picture on the fly.

This little house has not one, not two, not three, but FOUR octagons. In the world of octagonal windows, it might be the ultimate mansion.

This side of the church roof is an irregularly-shaped octagon. Sometimes it’s hard to see all the sides in my pictures. For example, in my last post somebody questioned my basic arithmetic skills, as if I can’t count up to, like, ten.

I’ll count off all of the sides just for that un-named individual. I know the angles would be more well-defined from above. (If only The Reckless Mr. Bing Bong could fly.)

[Footnote: That information was obtained from the historical archives of The Journal of Nutty Conspiracy Theorists.]

Hi. My name is Greg and I ride my bike a lot. That is to say, I ride my bike almost every day. I go on long rides and short rides. Sunny rides, cloudy rides, and rainy rides. I like commuting, errand-running, day-tripping, overnighting, and touring on my bike. I ride on city streets, highways, gravel, single track, and snow with equal enthusiasm. Sometimes I ride fast and sometimes I ride slow. I try to keep my feet on the pedals at stop lights and I do not dismount when I hop up on a curb. I have a roadie bike, a mountain bike and a touring bike. I try to accept any challenge a bike ride can throw at me without complaint. But I don't like bugs.

8 response to "Gon Crazy (OCTAgon That Is)"

  1. By: Suzanne Posted: January 5, 2021

    My best breakfast read for a long time.
    Actually the October Fest starts in September when the basic minimum of beers is seven. Another big switcheroo with July.
    The architects in YOUR TOWN must be goners.

    • By: gregblood Posted: January 6, 2021

      I loved your “seven beers” and “goners” jokes. Now I’m worried that you’ll usurp my position as the resident Cycle365 joker.

  2. By: The Navigator Posted: January 6, 2021

    Well done and well-spotted! However, I cannot believe how many houses in YOUR TOWN have ‘boat windows’ in their walls.

    And gosh, Sister Mary was a big and lasting influence in your life. It’s not the first time we’ve heard of her and I bet she HATED being called a snake in the grass, and I’m sure she’d be okay with the absolute term in that instance. That made me LOL.

    • By: gregblood Posted: January 6, 2021

      Thank you for remembering my previous life lesson from Sister Mary. However, that lesson about being very careful when using words like “all” and “never” and “every” came several years later from a different Sister Mary. (I don’t actually remember that Sister’s name but I called her Sister Mary Whatshername because it seems like ALMOST all nuns are named Sister Mary Something-or-other.) But I definitely remember Sister Mary Rosemond’s name because of the aforementioned textbook-whacking incident. She was tough. She was a classic example of the old-school nun who demanded discipline in the classroom. As the new kid in a new town who had been attending public school from Kindergarten through 3rd-grade, she came as quite a shock.

      I attended Catholic school from 4th – 9th grade. It was the only option in an Iowa town that was about 90% German Catholic and I know it was a hardship for my parents to send my two brothers and me there. Otherwise, we’d have to be bused 20-miles to the nearest public school.

      • By: gregblood Posted: January 6, 2021

        I did it again; I exceeded my word limit. Here’s the rest of my reply to your comment:

        When my family moved again after 9th-grade, I went back to public school and was surprised that I seemed to be, like, two years ahead of my new classmates. I guess that Catholic education was pretty good. I wasn’t so good though. Instead of taking advantage of my advantage, I just slid through the rest of my high school years with minimal effort.

  3. By: BobinVT Posted: January 6, 2021

    Wow, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a house with more than one octagonal window.

    • By: gregblood Posted: January 6, 2021

      I hadn’t either, until yesterday. Like Emily, my immediate thought was that they got those windows from a boat or something.

  4. By: Lednar De Nalloh Posted: January 7, 2021

    I like the Oktoberfest conspiracy theory. And I thought Julius Augustus Caesar snuck July and August into the calendar for immortality and because he liked summer.

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