Origami By Children 2010

Once again it’s time to submit entries for Origami by Children for the OUSA annual convention. This year both Lizzy and Michelle came up with some cool stuff. Lizzy made an original pureland Fancy Picture Frame and folded the Octahedron for John Montroll’s Plethora book. It’s an interesting model in that that it’s unlike most of his later polyhedra, which optimize for size and clean surface layout, this one goes for easy of folding and the general approach echoes the classic waterbomb model. Michelle folded a classic kite base Cat (I have one that I folded years ago but can’t remember the creator; maybe it’s Yoshizawa) and a Candle from Montroll’s Christmas book.

Change in the Weather

Rewinding a bit, St. Patty’s day was sort of an unusual day. We’d had a lot of stormy weather, and it was really cold that morning, and I had to get up early for physical therapy. The road there was still closed from the big storm, so I had to take a different route. By the time I was on my back home, it was already warming up outside and turning into the first really nice warm spring day. I’d been waiting for a while for my back to start feeling better, and that turned out to be the day. Such a relief.

My train was late, and when the door opened it smelled like booze. Partiers headed into the city to enjoy the parade. I was probably the only one in the car going to work. Some guy on the train noticed me folding a color-change stellated octahedron that I’ve been working on. “Dude, is that origami? Cool! Did you get that from youTube?” The parade goes right thru my neighborhood, and it’s like that the whole day, drinking and partying, like it’s Mardi Gras or Halloween or 1999. At least I was able to cross 5th Ave. without any altercations with the police this time.

At work it was all about deploying the first release candidate of our project to the Q server. This is a major milestone on what has been a really long strange trip. I was mired in config files all day, or as I’ve come to call it, configgy pudding. Our company has a mandate to try and do more thru configuration and less thru code. But it’s already becoming hard to manage, and we haven’t even deployed to live. So I need to write a config management tool so we can have instant congfiggy pudding. Anyway, we got it working, and deployed to QA, where we’re already finding bugs.

After work was a corporate happy hour function at a hotel bar which was smack in between two Irish pubs. I made friends with a management consultant who was part of a team engaged by our overlords to hang around and analyze out office’s dysfunction and presumably figure out who to fire. She seemed pretty smart and interesting/weird with a possible MIT vibe. She told me, “You don’t look old enough to have been writing software in the 90’s.” Hell, I was writing software in the 70’s. Hopefully this means I won’t be the one who gets sacked.

The mild weather continued and by the weekend we were able to get started on the spring yardwork and enjoy the season’s first barbecue. I was really tempted to get on my rollerblades or see if I could start up my Mustang after a winter of sitting in the garage, but neither one seemed like a wise idea given the condition of my back. After the weekend the weather reverted to a more typical state of dreary cold and rain, which is pretty much how it’s been for the past week. I’ve gotten a bunch of new exercises from my therapist, and have developed a new workout routine to incorporate those along with most of the stuff from my old workout. I’ve been able to bring back most of the exercises now, and am back up to 70 percent of the weight, and some of them still have limited mobility. I did go ice skating that past Saturday with my kids, and did fine, as my back continues to improve.

The kids are going thru a Beatles phase right now, which is fun because they’re one of my all-time favorite bands. It started back in January when we were watching Anthology. Then Jeannie found the DVD’s for A Hard Day’s Night, and Magical Mystery Tour on sale. (Yes MMT is as bad as everyone says. Three or four excellent music videos and an hour of filler showing people riding a bus.) At first the kids were into all the early boy-band pop stuff like “She Loves You” and “Please Please Me”. Now they progressed to the weird John songs like “Strawberry Fields Forever”, “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” and “I Am the Walrus”. Michelle learned how to play “All Together Now” on the ukulele.

Dual Color Stellated Octahedron

Here’s an idea I’ve been working on for a while. I’ve seen this kind of thing done as modular and thought it was doable as a single sheet, and I figured I’d go for it. Single-sheet stellated polyhedra are pretty advanced, but the color change brings it to a whole ‘nuther level of complexity. It turns out to be a very rewarding shape to fold, and the design is replete with all kinds of interesting symmetries.

The first challenge was to work out how to achieve the arrangement of alternating colors. Once I’d worked that out the resulting (flat) shape would serve as the base for the 3-d phase. I needed two corners to come to the center like a blintz, but offset. Working out the amount of offset for the grid to be the right size was the key problem. It turns out the key angle is 67.5 degrees, which is 3/4 of 90 degrees and easily derived. It also turns out the angle has a slope of 3/2, which is also easily derived from a square grid. From this I was able to work out the arrangement of the squares in the inner rotated grid and the outer triangular grid areas, which correspond to the blintzed flaps. The 3/2 slope made was convenient because the grid is has an integer relation of the unit the whole. Each square of the grid has a length of 2/13 the edge of the paper, as you can see in the crease pattern. Neat, huh?

Another interesting property of the model is that once you’ve made the base and put in the color change squares, the easiest way to deal with the leftover paper on the two remaining corners is to flip the model over and do the same thing. The result is the pattern is the same on both sides, although made with opposite colors, and either side can be used for the outside.

The finished model fold together well and looks really good. I went ahead and made a few.

As an added bonus Lizzy and Michelle were folding bowls and picture frames, so here’s one.

Trouble with the Trees

The first part of March was pretty mild, but all that changed on Saturday. We had a major rain and wind storm that lasted the whole day and into the night. Trees fallen over and down power lines all over town, and lots of ‘em. All day long the trees out our window swayed menacingly, but we were pretty lucky. Every couple blocks a major tree is down, having blocked a road, taken out a power line, destroyed a car or damaged a house. I went for a walk Sunday and everywhere was the roar of chainsaws. Our whole yard is strewn with branches, our patio furniture, and a even few shingles off of our roof, and the neighbor’s yard is a pond. Today the kids had no school because the building had no electricity. Two days later and everyone is still getting back to normal.

My physical therapy was cancelled today because the clinic also was without power, but my back is improving. I’ve taken to pacing around the room during meetings at work, which seems to be tolerated. I’ve introduced some weights to my workout again, which feels good, even though it’s only about half the exercises (still have to avoid some kinds of movement) and about half the weight.

Promises of Spring

The weather has been really nice the last few days, with sunshine and temperatures getting up into the 50’s. Despite this there are still snow piles stubbornly clinging to existence. We had so much snow they haven’t completely melted yet. My back injury continues to improve slowly but steadily. I’m no longer doing my regular workout, just the exercises my physical therapist prescribed, plus plenty of walking. I’m hoping to reintroducing some parts from my regular workout this week. With luck I’ll be pretty much back to normal by the time the weather is good enough to start doing things outside.

Meanwhile I finished updating my Friends and Family photo galleries thru the fall and the holidays. This year I may have a few videos worth sharing, so look for that update soon. And as always, contact me if you need the password.


Dreaming About Summer

As the winter continues to wind out its dreary way, I’ve been passing the time preparing three new photo albums from last spring and summer. Ah, look at all the greenery and sunshine. All caught up thru mid-July.


These are in the family and friends gallery, so contact me if you need the password.