One of the things I do for my job every day is monitor digital news reporting on various people who are either affiliated with my organization or could in the future be major donors. Some of these people have fairly common names, so there's sometimes a lot of noise to sift through.

I've done a pretty good job setting up my news alerts so that they don't flag on false positives, but this month I'm also covering for a coworker, who hasn't instituted the same kinds of filters I have. One of her news alerts is on a man who shares a name with a major drug dealer who just died, so every day I've come in to seventy or eighty news articles about John Doe the Famous Drug Dealer rather than John Doe The Economist. Poor John Doe Economist must be having a long week.

The funny part is that when a major event hits one of these people, even if it's not the person we're supposed to be monitoring, when you ARE monitoring someone you can see the predictable waves of news wash over the week. First there's the straight-up reporting, then there's the tag-along reporting that clearly just picked up and regurgitated a few other news stories. Then there's the spin one way -- in this case praise for the Famous Drug Dealer, who was a bit of a folk hero in one region of the world. Like nobody wants to outright say "Hey, he was a bit of a mate" but they're all kinda thinkin' it when they write his obits, you can tell. And we've just hit the spin the opposite way, where the pearl-clutchers and pundits are writing in to say "Wait a minute, this man made multiple fortunes selling drugs".

Later this week I'm anticipating the Macro Application wave, where we have a discussion of addiction and the relationship of drug dealers to both addicts on one end and terrorist/fascist regimes on the other, culminating with the recurring question of decriminalizing drug use. Should be fun!

In the meantime, lots of work to do today, so I folded a fast and dirty pelican. Let's be real, that's how pelicans like it.

He'd look more birdlike probably if the white side of the paper wasn't covered in print.
We have a staff meeting today and apparently there's going to be a Very Vital Announcement right at the start, so senior management is super intent on making sure we're all in our seats ten minutes early. Being fair, for many of my older colleagues, "ten minutes early" means "will sit down seven minutes after I was supposed to". If there's one thing to be said for Millennial Neurosis, it's that at least most people my age and younger understand how to be on fucking time.

But it's amusing to get email after email (two yesterday!) reminding me to be early. Thanks, management. I know there will be zero consequences for those of us who will still manage to be late, but meanwhile I do enjoy being talked down to as if I am unable to tell time.

Until then, BUTTERFLIES.

This butterfly is a fast fold, but despite having very few steps it’s a challenge. It also came out much prettier than I expected; it looks cooler in person somehow, I think because you don’t get the sense of combined flatness and depth in photographs.

The complexity comes in right at the start when the instructions are just blithely like FOLD IT IN THIRDS. If you have ever folded a letter to fit into a standard envelope you know the pain of “oh just fold it in thirds”. So I thought, sure I could get a ruler and mark the thirds, or I could eyeball it, or I could look up how to measure thirds using other origami folds, surely someone has worked that out.

It turns out yes, there are instructions for folding a square of origami paper into thirds, so tuck that away in your brain meats.

But then, once you have folded into thirds, you have to make valley folds between corners and creases, which are actually quite challenging because there’s no line to align your edges with the way there normally is in a diagonal fold. (this is also a problem in the “how to fold into thirds” instructions).

So even though you only make five creases, literally every crease you make in this diagram is just that much harder.

I found it very satisfying to complete, though, because of that. While I like Origami Club better, there’s no denying that Origami Instructions brings a certain “I can do this but it’s gonna be hard” challenge to the table.
This past Wednesday I had an interview with a hip tech company based in the UK, which was an interesting experience. I applied more or less on a whim, but I'm pretty sure I can do the job. The question is whether I want to leap six time zones to do the job.

I'd be off in a shot, but it's awfully far from my folks, which is a concern as they get older. Mum's not happy about the idea of both her sons being overseas, even if Glasgow's a sight better than Australia (and I'm not a rampaging asshole married to a narcissist, which helps). Also it's a for-profit company, which means I give up my PSLF qualification and have to pay ALL my student loans. But the salary might cover that better, I don't know what they pay.

Otherwise the week's been uneventful, as I hold onto sanity with my fingertips until next week, when I have a week's vacation starting Tuesday.

In the meantime, I made a bunny. Aww.

My current residence is a rented condo in a high-rise in the south loop, which is great, but since I'm not an owner I'm not privy to condo meetings and such (I suppose I could go but why god why would I want to). Which means that sometimes I am subject to random surprises. Like this week, when they replaced all the molding, repainted, and relit the building hallways. Every time I step outside my door I fail to recognize my own hallway, and I have a moment where I wonder if I've walked into an alternate universe. I have to do a check and look back at my front door, which is decorated in a very specific fashion, to make sure I am on the right floor and haven't just spent the night in some other random person's apartment.

I did one time get off on the wrong floor and was trying to put my key in the lock of someone else's door before I noticed, so, you know, this isn't 100% unlikely to happen.

Today's origami was an AT-AT! Shut up, it totally looks like an AT-AT, origami is hard and it wasn’t my diagram. (Step 25-26 is the Do Some Magic step btw.)

When you’re doing a relatively complex figure like this one, you either have to have very good origami paper or very large origami paper. You’d think thin paper would be best but it tears too easily; what you want is something like tant paper, which feels thick like construction paper but, due to the way the plant fibers are layered when it’s made, folds and holds a crease like tissue paper.

I do have some tant paper but I’m not wasting it on an AT-AT, so I had to use the large paper, which was rather poorly printed. So now the tips of my fingers are blue where the ink came off.

Today I set out to fold a horse, but between the swirly-wave pattern and the fact that the horse diagram opens with what’s known as a “fish base”, I decided to end my horse as a Hippocamp.


I did the head and front-legs from this diagram, and finished with a klutzy backwards rendition of the shrimp’s curling tail from this diagram. If I had it to do over, I’d do steps 1-5 of the horse, then 7-9 of the shrimp, then steps 6-10 and 12-13 of the horse.  

He is the proudest little fish-horse ever. I’m naming him Buckingham.
Trying to get back in the swing of things; this has been a crazy week. February always bleeds over a little.

I didn't work a full week in February at all, which was for good, happy reasons, but still left me feeling very short-handed. I was looking forward to getting in a full workweek this week, but on Tuesday I woke up, did like two things, and then realized I had a scintillating scotoma so bad I couldn't see out of my left eye. (They're relatively harmless but can be heralds of migranes; they never have been for me but why risk it.) I also felt exhausted, despite having had seven hours of sleep the night before. So I emailed my boss and said I wouldn't be in, and then I went back to bed and slept for another five hours. The only reason I woke up when I did was that my fitbit buzzer went off to tell me it was lunch time.

Because I get up at 4am, I now eat lunch at 10:30am, which is hilarious.

Anyway, that crunched this week up, and next week will be crunched up with work, but almost everything I have assigned to me right now is due on the 14th, and after that, blissful quiet.

I hope.

In the meantime, I ran 5K on the treadmill this morning. I've decided I'm going to name my 5K runs even though they are just morning treadmill runs. This morning's 5K was the Avengers Academy Open Invitational And 5K Charleston Danceathon, which will mostly be funny to those of us playing the Avengers Academy smartphone app.

Today's origami, now that I'm getting back to THAT too, is a rather sad whale:

*sad whale noises*
I have a guest staying with me this week, and I haven't been able to show her around much because I've had to work and she's had to do some remote-work in the mornings. But today I took off, so we've been watching Hannibal all morning (both of us are puzzled by season three, so an analytical rewatch was in order) and now we're preparing to head out to do some touristing. I need to hit thrift stores, and up at Belmont there's a Korean chicken place we're going to try. Big days in Chicago!

Today’s origami is a lion – done with paper that is printed with cats, and really I should have folded a reverse lion because not a single kitty is visible. Still, I kind of like the pattern that emerges on his mane regardless.

The pattern is older than the site makes it seem – I folded it during my first year of origami, once upon a time – but the diagram is a nice tribute to Cecil the Lion and anyway is a nice clean example of the fold.
It's been a hell of a two weeks. Mostly travel followed by illness; once you get behind on life it's tough to get out in front of it again. Last week I only worked three days because of this wretched head cold, and this week I was worried I'd need to skip out to hit the doctor, because I thought I might have a sinus infection. Either I don't or the mucinex is making me believe I don't, because the sinus pressure has eased, but I'm very happy to be leaving today and not coming in to work tomorrow. I haven't worked a full week in almost a month, but if they didn't want me to take the vacation time they shouldn't have given me an extra 46 hours of it last month. :D

And I'm back on origami! Today is a winged hat for a viking kind of day. It's flowery!

It's been a long week, and it's only Thursday. And I had Monday off. But I did manage to win the weekly "best of Tuesday" award at work, which means I have custody of the trophy for the week, and it's nice to see it gleaming at me from the garden in my cubicle.

I am also coming down with something, potentially strep throat (given my history) but more likely just a chest cold; we'll see how that shakes out.

In the meantime, all the origami in my calendar lately is heart-themed: today was a Note Holding Heart.

The diagram for folding this one is kind of terrible – the final step, the really IMPORTANT part is folding up the little triangle in the middle to “lock” the heart’s curves – but it’s pretty fun. It doesn’t hold a “note” so much as a slip of paper about the size of a fortune cookie, but I like the idea of Fortune Hearts.
Oh my god today kicked my ass. I forgot we're in February, and February is HARD.

But I made time for origami! I made "Swan Love".

Well...some days are better than others.
Last night, my host sat down with a pile of books in her hands and said “By the way, I do a little origami” and busted out like, A BUNCH OF GREAT ORIGAMI and some awesome books, and proceeded to show me the highlights so I could choose from among them.

I happen to have two decks of Captain America cards, and I had brought one with me because it’s always nice to have a deck of playing cards when you travel, and when I saw the “Playing Card Box” I knew…I had to make A CAPTAIN AMERICA CARD BOX.

I’m super duper pleased with how it came out. I’m going to make at least one more out of the deck I have with me. I have a collection of playing cards at home that I never quite know what to do with, so I might break into those as well when I get back.
So I am traveling this week, but I brought my origami paper with me! (I brought the quirky origami paper that folds weird 'cause it's paper-backed foil.) Today I made a golden Penguin And Child.

I do love the way the foil looks in the final figure, even if the corners are a bit sloppy. THE GOLDEN PENGUIN -- it sounds like a spy novel.

Otherwise today I have mostly hung out with people and played Avengers Academy on my phone. Although I did also eat fried cheese curds. Fried cheese curds sit at the parallel apexes of "food that is bad for you" and "the best thing I've ever put in my mouth".

I wake up most morning at 4 to go running, and this morning I woke up at 4 per usual, not because my alarm went off but because a cat was standing on me. And for a split second I thought, oh, the cat wants to go running with me this morning! He's waiting for me to put on my running shoes!

But then I realized that was nonsense, and I went back to sleep. NO RUNNING TODAY, CAT.
Yesterday was what one might call a Really Hard Day so I didn’t get to do any origami (I mean, I had the time, but I was busy holding my mental health together by my fingertips) so today, when I am doing much better, I did two! A red swan and a white swan.

That white swan has some attitude, man.
 I have cooked so many things. So many! All the things. 

Except yogurt, because I forgot how effing long yogurt takes to cook, so it's going to be simmering in the Instant Pot for another, like, four hours. Hot damn I hope the starter I used was still alive, otherwise I'm gonna have spent eight hours waiting for a bowl of hot milk. 

On the plus I now have probably about three weeks' worth of food in the freezer. Casserole party at Sam's house! 

Today's origami is the Blue Whale, a fold so nice I did it twice. Instructions are here (click on the images to embiggen). 

*whale noises* three-dimensional origami is hard to photograph well. Especially when the paper is shiny. 
Oh man you guys tomorrow my groceries arrive and I'm gonna cook ALL THE THINGS. I have all this food that I can't quite cook because I'm missing one or two ingredients, and they all will be delivered by peapod tomorrow.

  • Greek Yogurt -- testing out the yogurt function of the Instant Pot
  • Whey powder -- so you have to strain all this whey out of the's gotta be good for something...
  • Roasted Garlic -- I'm roasting ALL THE GARLIC to stash in my freezer
  • Mustard Quiche -- testing a new recipe, using up some odds and ends of mustard jars
  • Macaroni and Cheese -- testing a new recipe with cheese powder I had in my cupboard
  • Beef Stroganoff -- using up a can of cream of mushroom soup
  • Date-Almond Balls -- this is just something I make every week for snacking upon
  • Enchiladas -- I HAD A CRAVING
  • Greek Yogurt Egg Bread -- guess what I need before making this? Yeah, the yogurt.
  • Meatballs -- I love me a meatball sandwich, and the pressure cooker makes them awesome
It looks kind of like more than it is -- basically I'm just doing my usual weekly-meal prep plus cooking two pasta dishes and a casserole. Plus I have like no food in my freezer, so this is food for a month. My vacuum-sealer and tupperware are gonna get a workout.

Meanwhile, I made a flower that is definitely not a spaceship.

This fox is putting his best foot forward, clearly.

I have such nostalgia for this guy, who I remember making last time I did a year of origami.

I was in meetings all day yesterday and then got home exhausted, so I didn't get to do any. But I did learn a lot about certain aspects of my company. Perhaps not entirely relevant aspects, but...aspects.

Saturday cannot come soon enough. It's the weekend, it'll be post-payday, and I have a food delivery coming. I am going to cook ALL THE THINGS.
Why do I even make or eat soup? I swear to God. It's so disagreeable just trying to get it into your mouth.

This post brought to you by the stain on my shirt collar from the soup I had for lunch.

Today’s origami calendar was a fold suggested by an 11-year-old, so I chose to do a fold suggested by one of my LJ readers, [ profile] tinyplasticmeat, instead.

You can view the video and make your own here -- it’s a lot easier and honestly, I think prettier, than the other heart box I did a few days ago.

Today I bought stocks (the money finally went through; I now proudly own five shares of five different companies) and folded a bow.

Today’s calendar is still trying to teach me base folds, so I went with a recommendation from Tumblr. There's a bit more cutting involved than usual, but also some really unusual folds you don't see very often, so it was a nice challenge. And I don’t mind most of the seam cuts they make, though trimming the hanging ends into vees seems like VANITY. :D
I ran a 5K this morning!

Not like, an official 5K. I just ran 5K on the treadmill. I am still counting it, however. I've been charting my progress and given that I failed to run for like, half of December and a good portion of January, I think the fact I managed to shave two minutes off my time (which is still a somewhat depressing 42 minutes) is not too shabby.

About a year ago I came across an awesome post where someone had done an origami Discworld, and I've kind of had it in the back of my mind to try folding one myself ever since.

I did a lot of mods, however. I know I've already posted a bunch of photos of this in progress but I wanted to do one full post of all the designs and photos in one place, so people can see how it went.

For the turtle, it’s a beautiful turtle but I didn’t care for the video (it was very hard to follow) so instead I used the Origami Club’s turtle here



I did use the recommended elephant figure with video by Leyla Torres; I think it’s one of the more adorable elephant figures out there. It’s not easy to fold but I had a really good time folding it anyway. 


The elephants are also remarkably stable, which is good because cramming them onto A’Tuin took some doing. No wonder the fifth one fell off. 


The original post recommends a modified version of the Red Blood Cell figure for the Discworld; they were playing with coloring and paper so I get why they’d choose it. I love that figure, it’s an interesting combination of complexity and simplicity and it’s really satisfying to fold. But for this purpose I found it a little too uniform; I wanted more texture for the surface of the Disc. 

So I went back to Origami Club and dug up the Ferris Wheel, which had the additional advantage of a blue rim for the oceans with a white center for the landmass, and central tips that could be folded up to create the mountain ranges at the Disc’s hub. 


With that many layers it gets a little tough to photograph convincingly, but I’m very pleased with how it came out and I had fun improvising around the original. I think Pterry would be pleased. :)

Today is a day of cooking and emptying out my to-do list. I'm trying to keep to a grocery budget, which means no new groceries until next month, and THAT means I'm improvising with what I have. I have a lot of food but it's a lot of random food, so it's like, hey, let's make brownies using no eggs or melted chocolate! It'll be fun!

Actually those came out really good. But anyway, today I cooked the last of the bacon (it's Trader Joe's "bacon scraps" so you can't cook it in strips but it makes great bacon bits) and made Lipton boxed chicken soup, and now I'm improvising a bread pudding with my ONE LAST EGG, the last of the thawed milk (there's more in the freezer), the last of the agave syrup, and some very, very stale gingerbread chunks from Christkindlmarket. I'm hoping that pressure-cooking the pudding will force the liquid more fully into the gingerbread, because I'm not sure how well it's all going to absorb, but we'll see.

Today is part two of the Discworld Origami Project. ELEPHANTS ON PARADE!

The elephants are from a Leyla Torres origami video here. I folded the gold first, then re-played the video a single time and folded the other three along with it. Something went desperately wrong with the purple one momentarily, but I like to think the remnants of it are a scar from some celestial battle when the Disc was yet to be formed. Maybe he’s the one who kicked the fifth elephant off.

Folding the elephants with foil-backed paper was interesting; it holds a crease in a way that ordinary paper doesn’t, but it also doesn’t respond to creasing in quite the same way -- it’s easy to re-fold next to a crease, rather than on it, because the foil is malleable. It’s almost more like folding wet paper.

And re-folding is very difficult indeed. On the other hand, for a figure like this with a lot of fiddly tiny folds, the foil holds its shape excellently and doesn’t accidentally unfold itself.

I know like half the country is trapped indoors this weekend due to the blizzard, so on your behalf I will be going out tomorrow to the Field Museum and Shedd Aquarium, which are having free days. HURRAH FOR MUSEUMS. It's my consolation prize for Chicago NOT getting a storm. If it's going to be this cold I think we ought to at least get a storm to make up for it.


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