Kinokuniya Exhibit

It’s on! Today I went over to Kinokuniya to set up my exhibit there. While I was there I saw a physical copy of my book for the first time. Very exciting! They gave me a good amount of display space, including half the front window and a set of shelves up the escalator. The models are all from my book, and many of them are the ones I folded to do the photos for the book. This is a great opportunity display them as a set. Even before I left I heard people comment favorably on them. Hopefully the exhibit will be seen by lots of people and help promote the book. The people there are all really nice and I want to give them a big thank-you, especially John Fuller. It’ll be on display thru July 9 or so.

This works out really nicely because I have lots of new stuff I want to display for OUSA and I only have one table. I finished my Two Intersecting Cubes with a Color Change from a single sheet using some fancy, soft paper I got a few years ago. It’s white on one side and patterned on the other. It’s a 17.5” x 22.5” rectangle, which is a bit of break with tradition for me, but I figured eventually I’d come up with a model where an arbitrary rectangle is justified. (I could have used a square but then the first step is just to fold two edges underneath.) Finishing the lock was a real challenge. I wetfolded the final model, and you never really know how that’s going to turn out until you take off the tape and string and paperclips. This one came out really nice and will debut this weekend.

I have some time off from work starting tomorrow and still a few days before the convention. Trying to decide what subject to tackle next. My next geometric idea is Two Intersecting Tetrahedra with a Color Change from a single sheet (a.k.a Stellated Octahedron). I’ve tried this one several times without success, but now I have an idea for a new approach. The other ideas I have are for insects, including a Ladybug and Butterfly Mark II. I’m also trying to think of some good animals. Maybe some more dogs and cats and pets, since people responded to Timber and Sophie so well.

Origami Animal Sculpture at Kinokuniya and OUSA

It’s on! Advanced copies of my book Origami Animal Sculpture will be on sale at the OUSA convention at the end of June in NYC and at Kinokuniya bookstore in Manhattan. Trying to get some buzz going. At the convention I’ll be teaching models from the book: the Moose, the Fox, maybe some others, and at Kinokuniya I’ll be doing a book signing event on Saturday June 28 at noon. This is during the convention but not at a time when there are classes or other activities, so I hope I get a good turnout. The good people at Kino are also making available some exhibit space. So watch this blog for further announcements.

Convention Countdown

The origami convention is right around the corner. I finally finished my Stellated Dodecahedron Mark II. I sort of improvised the collapse step before the close, which turned out to be the hardest part, tucking in all those layers. I wetfolded it and bound the whole thing up with tape and string. Next day I unwrapped it and it looks great. It’s on my piano now, filling in for the one in Uyen’s exhibition.

I immediately started in on a new model, Two Intersecting Cubes with a color change, continuing the ludicrously complex single-sheet polyhedra theme. At least this one is from a square. I’d had this one in the back of my mind for a long time. I made a single-color version a few years back, but the color change adds a whole nuther level of complexity. I sat down an made sketch of a CP and started folding. To my delight about an hour later I had a finished model. Well nearly finished at least. My first attempt was rather small, so a made another out of larger paper to work out how to lock and finish the model. This second study was from foil, however, which is a bit soft, so it got a bit crumpled. So now it’s time to find a good sheet to make the final model. Hopefully still have time to bang out a few more new models.

My publisher told me that advanced copies of my book will be available for sale at the convention and at Kinokuniya bookstore. Most of the copies are on a container ship somewhere, but one crate is being airlifted to the States. Kino is trying to set up a book signing event and exhibit, which would be awesome. If it happens I’ll be in three origami exhibits in NYC at the same time! More on these developments as they unfold, but look for the big announcement about my book soon!!!

Let’s Pick Up the Pieces

Today is the first really hot day of the year, and hot night too. Sitting around with the windows open and the fans on trying cool down.

Work has been going well. Only one more homework left in the Scala class and then it’s onto learning web frameworks. We’ve had two perfect sprints in a row, beating the previous record we set last month of one perfect sprint ever. Today my team’s boss called a meeting to discuss what’s going right. I told her “We’re awesome.” I also told her good code begets better code. I’ve been working quietly to improve our code quality for some time now, and I think it finally got to a tipping point where we’re spending less time on bugs and technical debt and more on getting it right the first time.

I tracked the bass part to Your Dancing Shoes. It took a few attempts because there’s very few places to punch in, so I had to get it essentially in one take. Had to practice it to the point where it was tight and grooves well.

My new rock group seems like it might be a thing. It’s made up of two guys from the Relix, two guys from another band, and the drummer who had been in both. The new guys are Michael on vocals and Jeff on guitar. Both sound really good. We got together last week and jammed a solid two hours of music, twenty songs or so. So there’s one set already. We’re picking a bunch more songs for this week. So I’m learning a bunch more new songs again, which is always fun. Now the challenge becomes getting them to learn a few songs I want to sing, because my songs tend to be a bit harder and not everyone is as fast at learning songs as me.

Meanwhile in jazzland, I got my tenor sax fixed, and it plays great, especially on the low notes. Last week we had a really excellent jam with the group. This dude Charlie sat in on guitar, and he was really good, reminded me of Keith Martini. Everyone’s playing seemed up a level from usual that night and we had some great moments. Left with a really good feeling. Charlie invited me to sit in with his group, which rehearses on Monday and has a few of the same players as my Wednesday group. I met this really smokin’ alto player Omar, who really had the Charlie Parker bag down. Very melodic with that bebop slink, reminded me of Ron Palidino. Best sax player I’ve heard in a while.

Random Reflections

Let’s see … lots of bits and pieces these days.

I spent the weekend hanging out with Seth and Mark at Seth’s cabin in the Berkshires. Good to get away from the wife and kids for a spell and eat lots of barbecue. We went on a nice hike to a waterfall. You should know that Mark is an amazing musician and leads the band Cracklin’ Foxy out of Saranac Lake, NY. I learned the only music Mark hates more than Happy is anything from the soundtrack to Frozen. Also Mark has grown a mountain man beard. I think it was 20 years ago this weekend Seth invited my out on his dad’s sailboat and we cruised up an down the Hudson.

I’m over the hump on my Scala class. It’s actually making sense now. I submitted the homework on Huffman encoding and got a perfect score. I’ll admit I googled the problem, but hey, that’s what you do in real life when faced with a programming challenge. Rather than just copy what I found, I took several different solutions and read them and compared them until I understood what they were saying, and then created my own solution that best expressed it to my sensibilities. This week I finished the last lecture, and there’s two more homeworks to go, but the last one is another double, pushing up against OUSA.

Jeannie is back at work, starting a new job after switching jobs followed by a spectacular flameout a couple months ago. Woo-hoo. Meanwhile the kids are counting the days until the end of school.

I’ve been rockin’ my own work of lately. Ever since Olga got sacked it’s been so much easier to concentrate. Today at work I wrote over 200 lines of code! Also I came across a situation (marshalling data parsed out of an xml response) where the Scala approach is better than the way I’ve been doing it in Java all these years. Would have been far less code.

My train reading these days has been the Conan the Barbarian series by Robert Howard. It turns out these were originally published in Weird Stories magazine in the 1930’s alongside the first C’htuulhu stories, and Howard and H. P. Lovecraft were friends similar to Tolkien and C. S. Lewis. Conan is perfect train reading. I had to give up Game of Thrones because it got to be so rambling and pointless. The Conan stories OTOH are nice and short, with tight plots, heavy on action and with a supernatural twist. I can usually read a whole novella between my morning and evening commute.

The Relix are officially defunct. Our drummer Gus finally quit last week, frustrated with auditioning new singers. He’s now trying to start a new group with Mike and me from the Relix and some guys from his other band, which also crashed and burned. We’re getting together later this week. I learned Space Truckin’ tonight in honor of the occasion.

Meanwhile I’ve written and begun recording two new tunes. One is called Your Dancing Shoes, and it’s a catchy blue-eyed-soul number with a big horn break in the mode of Domino or Sir Duke. I’ve asked Lee, the erstwhile Relix guitarist – the jazzy one – to lay down a guitar track for me, and he enthusiastically agreed. Now I just have to get the bass part clean enough that I’m satisfied with a take. I’m going for no punch-ins on this one because the there’s not very many gaps in the part, and it’ll just groove better.

The other song is called To Be a Rock, and I plan on asking Frank, the other – straight ahead rock – Relix guitarist to sit on that one, cuz it matches his style. In fact I wrote these two songs with these guys in mind. I hope he agrees because even though I could probably play the part myself, I want to capture his sound, which I have no idea of how to reproduce. This song still needs some development; I feel like it’s missing a part toward the end.

Since I’ve become a regular member of my Jazz combo I feel like I should learn the tunes. I have an older version of the Real Book (1980’s) than everyone else, and it’s just chock full of errors. I also want to get my chops of for slaloming changes of the bebop and bossa nova numbers. I finally had a chance to practice sax this week. I’d been noticing for some time that it’s been getting harder to pop out those low notes. I went over the horn with a leak light but the low notes are all tight. They ought to be; I just had the horn repadded two years ago. I finally discovered the problem is the octave key. So tomorrow I’m gonna call up Virgil Scott and see when I can get the horn in. For now I’ve fixed it with electrical tape. I noticed it’s the third spot on my horn fixed in such a way.

Live update – four firetrucks pulled up to my neighbor’s house a little while ago. They loitered four about an hour and just took off.

The last topic for tonight is origami. I finished my Dimpled Dodecahedron, wetfolded it and all, and it came out very nicely. Only one step away from the Stellated Dodec, v2. The closing is working out different than the previous model since I can’t remember how I did it before. I still have two weeks before the convention and hopefully I’ll be able to finishe a few more ideas. The big problem now is that my folding style has grown so complex it’s very difficult to fold these models even for me.

Dance of Origami Art and Science

I usually don’t repost links to news articles, but here’s one about Uyen’s upcoming origami exhibit at Copper Union later this month. She seems to be getting a lot of good deal of publicity and they have great things to say. Happy to be a part of it.

While we’re at it, I found a related link about the MIT Origami Club from a few months ago that features one of my turkeys. I don’t know who folded it but they did a nice job.