Saturday, October 27, 2012

Vivi makes choices on Caturday

Vivi's eyes came out two different colors in this picture quite naturally. I think it was because she wasn't sure what she wanted when she came into the bedroom.

On one hand, she could cuddle up with us and be cute, on the other, she was always willing to use her claws. Oh, the curses of being a Basement Cat. Always having to decide, be cute and cuddly or vicious and evil?

(Basement cat, FYI, is a term for black cats, not that we stuff her in the basement!)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Origami: Star Flower SG1 Modular Origami with Chyiogami Paper

Finished the modular origami ball I was working on, it's up on Etsy! It turned out pretty good, considering it was my first attempt at a ball without any sort of starting point. The other balls I did without a diagram all started from a base unit that I modified, but this one began without a base fold in mind.

We decided to call it Star Flower SG1 for fun because it just seemed to fit.

This was made with the chyiogami paper, which was a delight to work with. It's easy to fold, making crisp folds that stay nice and sharp. It folds sharply along the bias of the paper, and along the 45 degrees most of the design used. My only problem is the paper was a little slick. I was gluing the ball together anyways, but if I was going to do this model without glue, it would have been very difficult with the slippery chyiogami paper.

Star Flower SG1 made with Chyiogami Paper
I ended up making a tassel for this one out of thread after someone on G+ linked a picture of an origami ball with a tassel. It looked very classic. I think I will do this for a lot more origami balls.

The ball is hung via a wire I actually stripped from an ethernet cable, the orange is the wire's cover. I have a long length of ethernet wire that was cut somewhere in the middle, so it's unusable as intended. It makes very good wire for origami to hang with because it's flexible and, well, free. The beads match nicely.

I might try the design again, with a few tweaks. I need to change how the units fit together, it's not very stable. I also might try collapsing the points of the flowers into pillows to make a slightly different looking design, something I would try with a square model before I try with a 30 sheet model, of course.

Anyway, that's my Star Flower SG1, enjoy!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Flash Fiction Nightmare Fuel: War Games

For G+ in the month of October there have been some prompts for Nightmare Fuel. The picture for today and a song by Woodkid ended up with this story. It's a little gory, more along the lines of a horror story, so I'm putting the story beyond the jump. Enjoy! 

Friday, October 19, 2012

Dreamtime Dreamscape: Cat messes and Past selves

Last night was the first night in a long time that I had a dream that I remember. It was a very strange one, built in parts that skipped over one another. We'll see if I can keep up in any sort of sense.

At first I was in an auditorium. I was one of several women being picked to become a queen or princess or something. It was a dating game almost. I didn't want to be there. The prize was the winner would be able to date the prince or king, and potentially help rule the kingdom, if the people of the kingdom liked you enough. I didn't want anything to do with it. I sat near the back and found some paper and decided to make paper cranes instead.

I found a backdoor to the auditorium at some point when the people in front, girls that were eager to please this king, were led off for their interviews. I snuck off and was transported to a huge forest.

I've been in these woods before. It's always fall and the woods are always flooded. Water came up to my knees. Cold water, crisp and still. Even though I walked through it, I didn't make any ripples. Golden leaves floated on top of the water. The trunks of the trees rose like quiet sentinels. The air was biting but refreshing. Everything felt sterile and clean.

As I walked, I came upon a house stuck in the middle of this giant flooded woods. Water somehow hadn't gotten into the house and I opened the front door, which was just an inch higher than the water level. Somehow my clothes weren't at all wet and I didn't track any water into the house.

Once inside, I was transported again, away from the woods I've dreamed about before and into a big city. I was in an apartment. I had already been picked by this king. It was actually my husband. Somehow he had found out that his great uncle that had died had been a great leader and he had died. Succession rules meant my husband was now king, but he had to make it seem like he hadn't been married to me before, so he had to act like he wanted to pick the other women, but chose me instead, knowing he wanted me to be his queen.

Neither of us wanted to be royalty.

We had to be in a big parade, so we were all dressed up and put on a giant float. The dream was blurry here, I don't remember exactly what happened. I remember a vague sense of unease at being in front of so many people.

When the parade was over, we were back in the house in the woods. The water was still flooding the woods and hubby and I were left alone. The cats were in the house, but we couldn't find them. They were nervous at being in a new house and had thrown up all over the house. Hubby went to find them and I started to pick up the cat puke. It was everywhere, on the clothes strewn around the house, on the couches, all over the floors, the sheets. Everywhere I looked, I found more messes. I started sweeping up the messes, even though they were wet.

It was actually pretty gross. I have no idea why I dreamed of something so gross. Perhaps my mind just wanted to dream of something disgusting.

At some point I ended up in the living room of the house and looked out the main bay window and saw a car sitting just outside the front of the house.

I knew that car. It was my old car, the one that broke down a little under a year ago. I wondered what was going on and went to the window and looked out. I was stunned. I was sitting in the car. I looked like I was dead because the water in the woods actually came over my head and my head was flopped over to the side. My skin was pale, sickly looking. I tried to open the front door to rush outside to get to my own aid and help myself, but the door was locked.

Somehow my dream self figured it out. I was looking at myself, only a past self. Somehow I knew that I was watching myself from a year pervious when I had sat outside this very house waiting for a realtor and fell asleep in front of the house. How I knew this, I have no idea. I stared at my past self and wanted to tell my past self about everything that happened in that year. I wanted to warn myself about things that happened so I could be prepared for them. I kept pressing myself against the glass, wanting to warn myself.

What would I tell my past self? What would I warn myself about?

Strangely, I kept telling myself to warn me about the explosive cat puke and how gross it would be to pick up.

I woke up shortly after that.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Making Origami Base Units

I just finished what I think will be the final base unit of the next modular ball. It's based on the balloon base. I made this one after fiddling around with a sheet of paper I had pre-creased into a combination of the most basic combination of base folds and went from there. Once I found a base set I liked, I kept folding until I ended up with a middle I was happy with, and a pocket/tab set that would work to hold a modular unit together.
Finished base unit
I make it sound so easy! Trust me, I was two seconds from smashing the darned thing before it finally came out to this. The orignal sheet of paper is pretty mangled as it is. Lots of folding and refolding. Origami is about patience. Lots of patience. It took a few days.

It will be a 30 unit ball, so the pocket/tab needed to be at 90 degree angles to work best. I could base it off another angle, but this is easiest for me. I'm not that good yet.

I'll be making it out of a trio of matching chiyogami paper, one of the brown sets I just picked up.

So here's all the pre-folds I did while coming up with the template. Also, don't look at my terrible nail polish.
Lots of folded templates
Ha! That's a lot of near balled up bits of paper!

I do a lot of marking my paper so I know where bits go after I unfold them, that's why there's those pencil marks. Often I'll outline a particular part in a specific color or loop when the paper is folded so when it's flat I know where it was when it was folded. Helps me see how it all goes together.

It can be surprising how often a bit of paper you think started out on that side of the paper ends up all the way over there. Folds get funny like that.

If you ever want to wonder about dimensions folding in on one another, take up origami and mark your paper up once it's folded, and see how the marks end up when the paper's flat. You'll be surprised.

If you fold paper to make figures, along the designs that people have already made and set out, you don't really have to get into all the abstract thinking of it. I only get into it when I start thinking of my own designs. Especially with modulars. Each base unit has to connect to three other base units on one side, each three connects to five, 3 connect to 5, connect to make 30. 30 make a ball. Once you make one modular ball with 30 units, it's easy to see the pattern.

A quick example... The minty ball I did, I wanted to make a central hole in the base design, but if I just folded the base unit down, it hit the next base unit because the second base unit hits that spot, so I had to do a reverse fold so the base units went down, then back up. As long as the base units all had a down, but back up, design, they would all fit together.

A lot of it is trial and error. I have a stack of cheap origami paper I use for trial runs. As long as I can get a trio to match together to make a base 3 unit, then 5 to make a base 5, I can make a base 30 without having to make a entire trial ball.

Dreamtime Dreamscape: Science and Driving

Last night I had a dream about a famous scientist  For some reason I had to ask him something very personal. Before I could, I had to make sure he would listen to me. In order to do this, I had to come up with some reason for him to take time out of his busy science filled schedule to listen to me in the first place.

I knew that something happened to his daughter in traffic when she had been a young child. My dream kept flipping back and forth here from a formal dinner scene where I was overhearing a conversation about the scientist where I heard the story about the tragic accident during rush hour traffic, and a later conversation in an online hangout where friends were discussing a new technology about self driving cars.

I decided that self driving cars were my ticket to talk to this scientist. I had to find a way.

I researched and found that Google was working on a prototype car that would drive itself through rush hour traffic and was running endless simulations. Somehow I found out that through a program I had, I could use my e-mail address to actually watch the simulations.

They were fascinating to watch. I called the scientist up, I had to show him and I knew he would talk to me about whatever the personal question was once I showed him the simulations they were running.

I called him. Somehow I got through. I told him to use the e-mail address he had that was like mine, and he started watching the simulations. He was as excited as I was about them. We started talking like old friends without much preamble. We wondered together how the program would take into account people that didn't have the automatic driving, and watched as they stuck some old drivers into the equations. Blue drivers were normal humans and red cars were automatic cars. Round and around they went. Dream time sped up, and we watched them do real time simulations on race tracks with real cars outfitted with the real computers that made the cars run without humans driving them.

In my dream, I was imagining what I could do if I didn't have to drive to work. What could I get done if I didn't have to spend so much time commuting  Somehow in my dreams I forgot that I work from home. I also forgot that I started the dream wanting to ask the scientist a personal question. I woke up soon after.

It was a rather science filled dream, taking me back to my college years. A little strange in that regard, I haven't had a dream that focused on science in a long time. It was very analytical  All throughout the simulation period of the dream I was imagining different scenarios for the programs to run and watching them percolate through the dream program.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Modular Origami: Minty blue geometry

Here's the origami ball I've been in the process of making. Finally finished! Tomorrow I'll take official pictures and post it on Etsy.

The design and diagram of this origami ball was all done by me, I didn't follow any set diagram. So this is another one that was pretty much created by me. I'm pretty proud of how it turned out. The swiggly lines are inked on with fancy ink with a fountain ink pen I got in Italy, which is shown on the new picture on my about page on Etsy. It's one of those glass pens where you have to dip it into the ink. It was fun to use.

All done!
I hope someone buys this one, it'd be awesome to have these things in someone's home. They'd be great ornaments for the holidays, which is why I've been in a frenzy to get so many done lately.

The folding was more complicated than the last few I've done, but it didn't use much beading.

Next up is one with chiyogami paper. I've got a few ideas muttering around in the back of my brain for that one. I might do a different design overall for that one, more of an open ball instead of the closed ones I've been doing.

Below is how the pieces looked before I put the ball together, 30 sheets of minty blue paper, all ready for being inked and glued together. All my balls don't need to be glued, but since I do sell them, I glue them for stability. The color does look different between the two photos because the bottom one was taken with my web cam, so it's not quite right. When I take the photos of the ball outside, the colors should be a lot more accurate.


Friday, October 5, 2012

Dreamtime Dreamscape: Empty Closets

My dreams lately have been few, and hard to remember. This happens for long stretches of time. I'm on a new medication for my migraines, I wonder if this is partially to blame. I did have one dream of which I remember fragments.

I was at the house I grew up at in Minnesota. I was cleaning out my bedroom closet. This was a chore I had to do a lot as a kid. I was cleaning it out because we were going to do a garage sale. I got distracted halfway through cleaning it, and so everything in the closet was taken out and something happened to it.

Things happened, I don't remember what exactly. Some of it was important, but I don't know why. I went to this flea market to buy some things. It was behing held under a huge white circus tent. I needed to get a gift for my husband, who was having a birthday. I wanted to get him something he wouldn't expect.

I wandered through aisles of random tables of items until I got to a white room, tucked in the back of the tent. It had hardwood floors, and exactly like my bedroom back home, only it wasn't the bedroom I had been cleaning. The bedroom I cleaned had been as it was as I was a child, with blue carpet stained by too many art projects, a bunk bed, and closet filled with clothes half hanging all over the place. This was the bedroom as it was after I left the house, with white walls and hardwood floors, where the closet was as perfect as a Martha Stewart closet, with labeled matching boxes filled with unknown items that were never mine. It felt wrong to be in the room, looking at that strange closet that had once been mine. It was alien. Looking into a mirror and instead of seeing one's own face, a stranger's eyes looked back.

I turned away from that clean, pristine closet to see the white walls and hardwood floors stretched out far past the dimensions of my bedroom had plastic folding tables lined with plastic tubs filled with oil paintings. I looked in one of the tubs. The paintings were signatures of famous baseball players written in multiple languages. Each player had painted their signature in beautiful font in five languages, in a color of their choice. They were works of art.

I decided to find one of my husband's favorite baseball player and buy his signature. I started searching down the tubs.

At some point my dream must have shifted, because I don't remember much beyond this. I do remember a feeling of satisfaction that I found such a perfect gift for my husband, and a general sense of sadness about the closet that was no longer mine. I suppose I feel a general sense of sadness about that house. It's been sold, so I'll never see that bedroom again, but that room hadn't been my room for years.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Migraines: Pain and Relief

I wrote this on 8/25/2012 when I was having a migraine. I had to take an imitrex, the pill I take while I'm having one. More for reference and as a semi-journal entry. In case someone wants to read what it feels like, this is what it's like. I was really tired and that made it really hard to suck it up and deal with the pain, so I was pretty emotional. Anyway. Here it is. Good writing fodder, I suppose.

I wake up with my head splitting. I feel sick, my stomach trembles with heaves that don’t quite make it up my throat. I would like to throw up, but I can’t. I try to do my morning biking, and while my blood is pumping hard, for those 20 minutes, my headache eases and I feel better. The moment I stop... the headache returns tenfold. My sinus’s feel full. My heart feels like it’s got a weight on it, pounding hard in my chest. My hands shake, my arms shake. I want to lay down but I have to work.

I type, but my fingers keep skipping around the keyboard on their own accord. I feel like crying, but I’m not sure if the lump in my throat is a sob or it’s just my stomach hurts so bad.

I tense up, then force my shoulders to relax. I sit back and make myself have good posture. It releases the pain for a split second before it’s back again. I wonder, am I hydrated? I drink a bottle of water. My hands shake as I hold it to my mouth. The water doesn’t seem to help, it just makes my stomach more upset.

I feel hopeless. I don’t want to take another pill, I hate the way the imitrex tears at my stomach, makes my blood pressure spike, and I’ve taken too many of the pills so far. But the pain in my head tells me I must take them. I can’t think, every time I try to make a rational thought it feels like something is lodged between my eye and nose. If I get a respite from the pain without the meds, then two seconds later the pain is back two fold. I want to dig out my eyes. I can’t even look at the computer screen without it feeling like someone’s shoving daggers into my iris’s. I wince every time I try to work at the computer. I darken my monitor as much as I can, but then my eyes have to strain to see, and that makes the pain just as bad. It’s always either too bright or too dim.

My heart pounds, each thump reverberating through my skull and behind my eye. I start to panic. Do I have a migraine, or is it something worse? Maybe the feeling behind my eye isn’t a migraine at all! Maybe it’s something like sinus pressure, or maybe it’s cancer. Maybe the blood pressure spiking is because my heart is that weak. Maybe I have to eat badly because I’m diabetic and the migraines are diabetes related? I wish I knew.

The imitrex starts to go through my system. It makes me jumpy at first. The pain is still there, digging behind my eyes and my nose, and the side effects kick in. My blood rushes so hard through my arteries that when I put my finger to my neck, it feels like my neck is throbbing with each beat. My arms feel tingly and bloodless. My hands continue to shake.

I get tired, fatigue washing over me as I try to deal with the feeling of my head being too small for the pain.

I try to focus on work, keep my mind off it, but my hands keep shaking and every time I try to think, all I can think about is the pain and the side effects that hit me, one after another. All I want is to not feel the pain behind my eyes. It drives me insane, feeling that constant pain. It doesn’t hurt badly now, but it’s enough to feel like my nose is in the wrong place again. That constant feeling of wrong-ness is like sand under the skin. It itches and hurts and won’t go away. I get antsy and try to work some of it out by shaking my legs. That makes my stomach bounce up and down and makes me feel motion sick. I pick at my nails because feeling the sharp pain of a hangnail feels better than the constant pain from my head. At least I can rationalize the hangnail and don’t have to worry about it.

I just feel sick.

The pain starts to lessen. It’s like a release of pressure behind my eyes. The imitrex burrows a hole through the pain and drains it. If my migraine is like having a sack of blood pressed up against my nose and eyes, the imitrex pokes a small hole in the sack and let’s the blood drain away into the rest of my body where it belongs. My shoulders relax. The pressure is being released. Some of that pressure goes to my stomach, where I know I’m going to be constipated for a few days.

The pressure isn’t relieved entirely. The pain still presses against my eyes, but at least it’s always moving out as well. That sack of blood is still going to fill, only now the imitrex made a hole, so it drains out at the same time instead of building and building until my head wants to burst.

My hands still shake, but I can manage it well enough. Without the pressure in my head, the hands are just shaking because the imitrex raises my blood pressure. It’s something I know, something I can deal with. The more I relax, the less everything shakes.