larryhammer: yellow origami butterfly (origami)
Realization while talking with [personal profile] branna: I've been folding origami for 40 years. My usual personal marker for no longer being a youngster is my time online (35 years, starting with dial-up BBSs) but this is an even longer measure. And in its way more impressive.

Since, however significant this may be to me, that's not enough to make a post, here's a couple recent results of all that practice:

Three-headed dragon

Folded from a 10" (25cm) square, no cuts: three long necks with dragon heads, four legs, wings, and a tail. This was something like the 5th or 6th time I've made this model, and despite it being several years since the last one, it was not the technical challenge I remembered -- just long and complicated. Huh.

The apatosaurus was a very small dinosaur

A tiny apatosaurus* folded from 3" (7.5cm) paper from memory, by way of stretching myself. I can hold about a dozen models in my head at any given time, and this is the most complicated one I've ever memorized. With TBD old enough I don't have to pocket a tissue pack everywhere I go, I now carry small folding papers. I managed this model without resorting to a toothpick or the like, for working the smaller folds. And then repeated the feat in light green (not shown).


* AKA the Artist Formerly Known As Brontosaurus.

Subject quote from "Let's Go Crazy," Prince.
larryhammer: a symbol used in a traditional Iceland magic spell of protection (iceland)
“When you’re trying to change the world, sometimes the roof collapses,” [Pasternak] said. “It’s normal. It’s absolutely normal.”
As quoted in "Helium Dreams," a profile of modern airship builders.

Viking ships had woolen sails -- large woolen sails specially woven and treated, which required a lot of sheep. Without sheeps, no ships. (via)

Tiny origami on fingertips for scale. More, including "nano-origami" (spoiler: is really more milli-origami). (via)


Subject quote from "Calls from Springfield," Hillary Scott.
larryhammer: a woman wearing a chain mail hoodie, label: "chain mail is sexy" (chain mail is sexy)
Oh, right, it's that time of year -- we'll be at our local SF con this weekend. I'll be doing an origami tutorial for all interested, as well as a panel on the practical aspects of three-act structure. Janni's on a couple panels herself. A light con schedule for both of us as parents with a toddler in tow. Or towing us, as the case may be.

Say "hi!" if you stop by.


Subject quote from "Black Balloon," Goo Goo Dolls.
larryhammer: a low-fidelity picture of a man, label: "some guy" (Yotsuba runs)
What I've recently finished since my last post:

Poems of Places volume VIII -- there's not enough last bits of Scotland to fill out a volume, so miscellaneous Scandinavia was tucked into the remaining space like packing material. The Iceland section is particularly thin, starting with a burst of American cultural imperialism ("We claim thee kindred, call thee mother, / O land of saga, steel, and song!") plus only one local poet in translation -- the other countries manage a bit more than that. OTOH, this is an amusing bit of fairy lore, where the mortal price for interrupting a night-long fairy revel is -- to be tired from pulling an all-nighter. Ooo-kaythen.

Mushoku Tensei ("unemployed transmigration") volume 1 by Rifujin na Magonote ("irrational backscratcher" -- is there a pun I'm not getting or is that just an obvious pseud of silliness?), in which 34-year-old hikikomori at the end of his rope dies saving the lives of some strangers and is reincarnated as a newborn infant in a fantasy world with memories intact, whereupon he resolves to reverse the mistakes of previous life and do things right this time. A self-published web-novel picked up for print, and I see why it's popular. I can't actually recommend it, though, as much of the humor comes from the incongruity of a small boy with the knowledge and attitudes of a thirtysomething otaku perv -- which often means being deliberately offensive for the funnies, including a backstory rape being treated as only marginally problematic. I may try the next volume to see whether deepens this schtick or abandons it as part of character growth.

Gakusen Toshi Asterisk volume 5, which picks up with the battle interrupted by the end of the previous installment and finally completes the first tournament arc. Plot all too predictable (very few tournament arcs use original plots) but the story was enjoyable nonetheless. Excellent teamwork.

What I'm reading now:

Mandan no Ô to Vanadis volume 9, also picking up mid-battle. I'm not in love with the amnesia plot, mostly because we spend too much time outside the amnesiac's head -- as one of the primary POV characters, to boot. Needs more of title characters.

Shadow Unit season 4 by Emma Bull, Elizabeth Bear, et al. As usual, of all the co-authors, Bear's stories pulls their punches the least, but Bull's are consistently the best-written, making them the most effective. It is probably just as well the original 5-season structure was aborted modified, given the dialation of deadlines. Will see how well they wrap up the mystery, which I have hopes of given the slow movements by episode of the myth arc.

The Jolliest School of All -- yes, stupid title, but I found a stash of unread Angela Brazil novels and decided the day was as rainy as any other. This one is set altogether outside Britain, in a boarding school in Naples catering to the daughters of Anglo-American families there on business. Just as popcorn as the rest of her schoolgirl stories, and so far just as more-or-less successful.

Poems of Places volume XXIV: Africa. Oh dear, this one's dire. As in worse than Asia. That it's two-thirds ancient Egypt neither rescues nor redeems the exoticized slaves and noble savages that otherwise abound (sometimes, in the abolitionist tracks, both at once). The 1870s were not, it seems, a good time for sensitive handling of the region, even by those who considered themselves enlightened.

Continuing through Dragons and Other Fantastic Creatures in Origami by John Montroll -- less of these will become part of my standard repertoire than Mythological Creatures, but there's still enough good ones to make this a clear go-to book. Plus I also started folding from Kusudama Origami by Ekaterina Lukasheva (which may not have a Cabbage Rose but it does several other interestingly swirly and spiky shapes) and Origami Animal Sculptures by John Szinger (not yet published but advance copies were available at Origami USA).

What I might read next:

More light novels and poetry would be the obvious guess, based on past experience. Possibly Emily of New Moon since that's perked my interest a little.

larryhammer: a low-fidelity picture of a man, label: "some guy" (modular models)
Time for another showing of Origami Part N: The Obsession Continues. Our last installment included a Cabbage Rose Kusadama #2 that was more rose than cabbage (see icon). In today's exciting episode, we have one that's more cabbage than rose:

Cabbage Rose Kusadama #2 #2

(Click through to see this in the original orientation -- LJ why do you do these things?)

I didn't time it very well -- most of the units were folded in odd moments between bouts of house-cleaning, but assembly went considerablly quicker with experience, and the total time was probably about 4-5 hours.

Model successfully learned.


Subject quote from "Gonna Get Over You," Sara Bareilles.
larryhammer: a low-fidelity picture of a man, label: "some guy" (hiking)
I'm back from Origami USA 2014, three days of folding and more folding in New York. It was, indeed, interesting to see how that fandom is similar to and different form SF, anime, and comics fandoms. Because all participants are being in some measure artistic/creative, the line between creators and consumers is much more blurry. As symbol of this, the hospitality area was a large hall filled with tables, where everyone congregated when not in a session -- folding, socializing, networking, teaching each other models and techniques, all activities that also blur together.

A very strong ethos of sharing and teaching other. Passing it on. Yes, SF writers do this, but teaching is the fundamental interaction between folders. Also: many, many children. Roughly twice as many boys as girls, but the proportions were roughly the same for both pre-teens and teens. Adults, roughly equal men and women -- it was hard to judge exactly, as the non-participating guardians for younger children were overwhelmingly mothers rather than fathers.

Speaking of teaching, I attended formal sessions for learning six models, which I will share under a cut because many pictures )

Oh, but I do have to share this one photo from the exhibit hall: "witch girl" by Mitsugu Otani:

Witch Girl

I think Studio Ghibli fans can supply names to that witch and that cat. And all of us, several superlative adjectives to the designer for folding this from a single (very large) square of paper.


Subject quote from "Atalanta in Calydon," Algernon Charles Swinburne.
larryhammer: Enceladus (the moon, not the mythological being), label: "Enceladus is sexy" (astronomy)
Links of moving pictures:

Timelapse of five years of an exploding star stitched together from Hubble images. (via)

Stop-motion of origami animals folded from tissue paper. (via)

A 19-year-old gamer geek liveblogs watching Star Wars for the first time: A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, The Return of the Jedi. Pullquote:
The message of this music is "Vader is now in charge of all of you" and I am on board with this
ETA: Post-game analysis on Hope, Empire, Jedi. (via)


Subject quote from "Four Walls," Charlotte Martin.
larryhammer: a low-fidelity picture of a man, label: "some guy" (Yotsuba runs)
And now, this week, I have finally seen an instance of a car driving up to the office building, a woman getting out of the driver's seat and heading in and a man switching from passenger to driver's seat to take off. Instead of the other permutations.

Also this week, for first time in decades, I heard a bat. Not the sonar squeak -- it was chittering as it flew. But still -- heard a bat.

And not this week, but next month, I'm heading to a convention in a new genre for me. Which is not to say I haven't been reading origami books since I was 8, but I've never attended an origami convention -- closest I've come is a couple meetings of a local origami-and-Japanese-culture group. It will be interesting to see how the community will be similar to and different from the fandoms I usually orbit. It will also, I suspect, be a blast: three days of workshops, a dealer's room, exhibition hall, and the chance to geek out with fellow folders. And possibly fanboy a few times.


Subject quote from "Farewell, Margaret," Penelope Swales.
larryhammer: a low-fidelity picture of a man, label: "some guy" (Yotsuba runs)
Earlier this week, one day I wore a black shirt, black knit vest, black slacks, and black shoes and socks. Every time I caught sight of my reflection, I was reminded of Zaphod's comments about flying Disaster Area's concert ship.

An alternate scenario for what happened on Easter Island. (via)

Tiny origami. I've done a few of those models and am impressed all the more. (via)

Origami for the absolute beginner. (via)

(Still no origami icon WHY?)


Subject quote from "William and Margaret," David Mallet.
larryhammer: a low-fidelity picture of a man, label: "some guy" (anime)
So I, uh, seem to have agreed to run an origami workshop at our local science fiction convention. Prior experience consists of teaching Brownies the traditional water bomb. The audience will probably be mixed adults and children. I'm planning to teach the cutest mouse in the world, but that won't be enough for the full hour.

Any suggestions for other models?

Also, have a timelapse of telescopes shooting lasers into space (via) and photos of a sea serpent found off California (via). Because coolness.


Subject quote from "No Bad News," Patty Griffin.
larryhammer: a low-fidelity picture of a man, label: "some guy" (Yotsuba runs)
Vacation reading!

What I've recently finished since last post:

Gakusen Toshi Asterisk ("War-school city Asterisk") volumes 1-2 by Yû Miyazaki, another futuristic science-fantasy with irrelevant shounen tropes, here somewhat mitigated by characters who are less stupid about the troping (and less stupid overall) than several others I should be ashamed of knowing. Can't actually recommend it, tho' -- needs more male-male friendships, for one thing.

Mahôka Kôkô no Rettôsei volume 9, the first of a three-part novel (the installments are getting longer, boo) ending with even more of a cliffhanger than previous first-half novels. Good job of stepping up the dangers and the complexity of the world, though. My recommendation for the series still stands.

Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn volumes 1-4 by Harutoshi Fukui. Don't judge me. I'd never seen/read any Gundam before and this seemed as good an entry as any to the franchise -- even if the title provokes a "Srsly?" with a screwed-up face. (Not to mention, it is hard to take seriously a leader of The Resistance who calls himself Full Frontal. Yes, really.) Anyway, this is an original novel series in the main timeline (UC), set a couple years after Char's Counterattack, later recently adapted as some OVAs. There's some features that smell of formula, including the growing angst of a teenage protagonist caught between rival factions who has been unable to carry off any third options, but it is indeed decent old-school hard-SF adventure, with mecha and complex politics. If you like the franchise or in-system SF adventure, I suspect you'll like this.

Eagle-Shooting Hero by Jin Yong, where the title character turns out to be, in the final scene, Genghis Khan in a moment of deliberate moral ambiguity. The nationalism here is stronger than in the four classic novels (or, for that matter, even many Japanese light novels), but it still works as a satisfying adventure yarn. (Just don't think about how an eagle that can land on a woman's arm can also carry her on its back. As in flying her out of otherwise certain death.) Excellent stuff. More pls.

What I'm reading now:

White-Haired Demoness by Liang Yusheng -- and here would be that more pls. This starts in 1615, thirty years before the fall of the Ming Dynasty (the Manchus have started causing trouble in the northeast), with the wuxia parts as the secret history behind certain historical events. The structure of the opening couple chapters, which sequentially introduce then discard a few possible protagonists, is a little odd, but I can see dim outlines of a possible continuity of style from A Dream of Red Mansions. Not bad so far, and the setting is more grounded than in Eagle-shooting Hero, tho' we'll see whether the titular strong woman gets cut down by the author for being strong.

(No actual Red Mansions -- it was too big for my pack.)

On This Same Star, a bilingual edition of tanka from Mariko Kitakubo's 2005 collection WILL selected and translated by Amelia Fielden. I can't yet comment on how good the translations are -- too many Hard KanjiTM (also known as Kanji I Haven't Learned Yet) and me without, at the time, a kanji dictionary -- but so far they are highly evocative and often good English poems. Tasty, tasty stuff.

(I did read some of Poems of Places volume 1, but not much. A surprisingly low-verse vacation.)

Origami Masters: Bugs: How the Bug Wars Changed the Art of Origami, which I've been waiting for for several months. I am slightly disappointed: given the second subtitle, I was expecting a more detailed narrative of the Bug Wars of the 1990s and 2000s, instead of merely a six-page introduction summarizing a few key events as preface to 12 advanced models of insects by seven designers. Given models, I also expected more models from participants of the time, and given the Bug Wars were even more prominent in Japan than North America, more (if maybe not half) Japanese designers, rather than none at all. Deceptive title aside, the models look Really Cool and I greatly appreciate the designer's comments about paper (there's at least two I won't be able to make with my current materials).

What I might read next:

More Gundam Unicorn. Shut up, he explained.

larryhammer: a low-fidelity picture of a man, label: "some guy" (my fandom)
Links that are deeply connected in my own mind, if possibly nowhere else:

A Flickr gallery of some origami designs of Nguyen Hùng Cuòng. I love that fire scorpion and want instructions NAO. (via)

Chained tic tak toe means a level-up in strategizing. (via lost)

Twelve Tones may be Vi Hart's best video yet, starting with a rewrite of Stravinsky's "The Owl and the Pussicat" as a launch into a meditation on art, patterns, and twelve-tone nursery rhymes about laser bats. And I think all of us will agree, the world needs more nursery rhymes about laser bats. (via)

larryhammer: a low-fidelity picture of a man, label: "some guy" (Yotsuba & clover)
Last year at Phoenix Comicon I folded a Chinese zodiac. For this year, to improve on this, I clearly had to do the same in foil:

Chinese zodiac folded in foil papers

ETA: Click to embiggen.

Wasn't all I did, but it was the work I was proudest of. It also caught the most attention.

larryhammer: a low-fidelity picture of a man, label: "some guy" (Yotsuba runs)
How the design of chess sets became standardized. (via)

Kusadama me! for most, if not all, your really beautiful unit origami needs. (via)

How to debunk a chemtrail theory -- there are multiple flavors, so you have cutomize the arguments based on the claim at hand. I especially like the collection of historical evidence that contrails have always behaved like we're seeing now and that supposedly man-made clouds existed before planes. The same site also has a documentary history of chemtrail conspiracy theories. (via)

larryhammer: stylized figures of a man and a woman on either side of a shopping cart carrying a heart (romance)
While I continue convalescing, some origami photos -- because I've being working my way through Jun Maekawa's Genuine Origami and there's some very nice models. Like this whiskery oriental dragon and her BFF frog:

Dragon & her BFF

(Click to embiggen ETA: embiggening code fixed.)

More photos of alleged origami and TEH CUTENESS behind a courtesy cut. )

Waaaay cute model. Just way. Too. Cute.

larryhammer: a wisp of smoke, label: "it comes in curlicues, spirals as it twirls" (curlicues)
The Chicxulub event has been dated to within 11,000 years of the Cretaceous extinction, and since 11 thousand years is as about precise as you can get at a 66 million year remove, that pretty much proves the meteor killed the dinosaurs. (via)

The title of Is Origami the Future of Tech? is a bit overambitious -- it's really about looking into various ways of incorporating folding, instead of just etching, into high-tech manufacturing, with sidelights into industrialization of small sizes. Which is still a cool topic, just not what is says on the tin. (via lost in browser tabs)

Turn a wine cork into an adorable robot. (via)

larryhammer: a low-fidelity picture of a man, label: "some guy" (some guy)
Work is in panic mode at the moment, leaving me with little brain for anything as creative as linkblogging. Celebrating the lunar new year with our Taiwanese-born Former Sometimes Roommate with a hot-pot was quite lovely, though, even if I did get a leetle bit obsessive with folding origami snakes. But I don't have photos uploaded yet, so instead of new content, have another of those hexagram poems I wrote last autumn.

thunder over mountain transforms to earth over heaven )


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