Thursday, November 20, 2008

Yet another long origami story - FIT

Anyone who has visited my origami website, my dearest website of all, and has read the introductory text, has learned that my big goal my big target as far as folding goes was to fold one amazing model: Five Intersecting Tetrahedra aka FIT aka Origami Star.
I have folded and folded, learned tricks and developed skills until one day I said to myself: "Why wouldn't I try it?" And true, there was not a single reason why I should not try. I believed it would be difficult, but knew that it was plausible. I've seen it done on so many photos all over the Internet. In so many sizes, so many pretty colours. It was tempting, and there came time when my reservations towards its difficulty and my questionable skills were cast aside and disregarded.

But the beginning was really difficult! In hindsight, the most difficult thing about it was to make myself stop guessing just how oh-so-very-difficult ti will be and to start working - finally!
So I've mobilised all available resources: a book, web sites, O-list. Google Image search and YouTube. I found diagrams. I found explanations and advice (million thanks to good o-listers!). I found photos. Videos too. I was all-prepared but somehow still not ready to plunge in.
As it is usually the case with me and difficult projects, it took some time of not doing them, for me to grow to know them better, think about them and then finally actually work on them. This phase of "not doing" is somehow good in terms that I think the problem through and it takes less time and less errors when I start doing it (or am I just kidding myself?).

And so, on one fine day I picked up my dusty half-finished modules (which are, by the way, not difficult to fold at all), crossed my fingers (in my mind's eyes, of course - who could fold with crossed fingers? i suspect there are people ready to try this just for the sake of fun, but not me, not jet anyway) and got started on the first tetrahedra. It was black, and it looked really cool. I've heard that locking can get a bit tricky, but it gave me not much hard time.
I had a so-far-so-good feeling, but didn't want to get overexcited too soon. I did the second one - piece of cake, you can't go wrong there!
The third one, however, is incomparably more difficult. It took some serious thinking, leaving aside and returning, but I was certain that I was on the right track. And I was content and very happy. And what's the most important, looked great! So great that I had to take some pictures of it at that phase.
The fourth one was the trickiest of all, in my opinion. This one required waiting until tomorrow ("jutro je pametnije od večeri" - morning is smarter than the evening), to do it, but once you figure out the logic, it really makes sense.
At that point I was planning to leave the last, fifth tetrahedra for yet another tomorrow, but I could not resist the temptation of seeing a finished model. Surprise: the last one is really easy to add!
The finished model had such a WOW! effect on me that I kept bouncing around my home for half and hour, showing it to everyone and cheering in delight. It was all I have hoped for.
FIT really has a powerful presence when seen in pictures, but even more powerful when held in one's hands. There is not person that could watch it without awe. It is so magnificent!

To sum it up: it was not at all as difficult as I have thought it would be. So the joke is on me, because if I knew that I would have folded it long time ago (and many times since).
So, now what? My big origami goal is achieved. What to do next? - Well, the only logical thing: make many, many, MANY more FITs in all colours, colour combinations, paper patterns, sizes. Oh please, gimme more, gimme more!!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Oh, how excited I was last year when I found this great project on the Internet! And how excited I was when I it began last November!
But, as usually happens, life got in the way and so the number 50000 stayed far beyond my reach. But I did start, what was much more than I've ever done before. And I did have confidence, will, ideas, filled pages. And I did make a resolution to finish by next November.
I didn't.
November is yet again underway. Last year I had a strong intention to do it. This year I had a strong intention to try it. Guess how I'm doing?
But I'm not giving up. There is still enough November left. And there will be other Novembers - maybe as soon as this December. And I know that I will make it. And soon too!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Flower your ears

I would like to share a song that I've been humming for quite some time now. It is not sung by a superstar singer (nor a super-voiced one, I'm well aware of it), and I doubt that many people have heard it. But it is very catchy, soft and dreamy with amazingly beautiful lyrics (as far as my understanding of Spanish goes).
I have thought about not publishing this post because someone (not very unlike myself) might argue about my taste in TV program; but then I've decided that anyone who does know where this song is from has watched exactly the same thing as I have and thus have no right to judge me.
So here is this beautiful love song. In this world that is becoming colder by the minute, we all surely need something heart-warming to keep us going.

Avon folding

I admit, the title of this post is deliberately misleading. I did not fold a model named Avon nor the post is about advertising Avon with origami. I remember a post from the o-list titled: poor man's folding. Now, THAT is a title, but I didn't want to steal it...

Anyway, people I know that want to start doing origami often ask what type of paper to use. The answer is simple, but not if you live in my country where origami paper is everything BUT the real origami paper. I've seen many types of paper cut in roughly square shape passed off as origami paper in stationery stores. Paper for origami - perhaps. Origami paper - no way.
For me this is disappointing, but more disappointing would be if anyone would give up origami for the lack of one and only true paper. That would be their loss (and a huge one if you ask me).
So what can we do, what can we use?
My advice is: use your brain and your imagination, use what is at your hand and make the best of it. Paper cut from Avon's catalogues is no worse than any other. It's colorful and glossy, flexible, it can be cut in a fairly big square and holds a shape pretty good. If you don't have anything better, this is quite satisfactory. To exchange vanity for aesthetics, in my opinion, is not a bad trade at all.
Judge for yourselves.

(models in this photo: Tulip and leaf - Thai traditional model, Conally Vase - by Tom Conally)

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Good things in life

In this life of ours, sometimes we laugh, sometimes we cry. We cry when sad, we cry when happy. We cry from pain, and we cry from joy. We cry from spite, or when overwhelmed. It is the most natural thing. It shows we're human, that we can feel, that we are alive.
But crying can sometimes confuse people around us. When it's unexpected. One minute you're laughing. The next, tears are puring down your cheeks. At a moment like that it is great to have someone around you. A special someone to comfort you and care for you. To make you feel sheltered and safe. But the best thing of all is when you have someone you don't have to explain yourself to. Someone that knows how and knows why without asking. Someone who knows your soul and your heart. Someone who will be there, no questions asked and whose arms will let you know that they understand.
It is a rare and wondrous thing. I feel so blessed to have it.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

One orange butterfly

I am not a superstitious person, but something happened today that got me thinking whether there are more to this world than what we can see, more than the material, tangible reality.

Today I went with my family to the cemetery to visit the family crypt and to honor my late grandfather's birthday. I don't like going to cemeteries (I wonder who does?). I hate being reminded of mortality of human beings, of both my own and people's in general. Somehow I can't manage to oversee that fact as many people do. I envy them, I really do. And, as I've previously said, I don't like being reminded yet again about it.
Our visits to the cemetery have a certain order, a sequence of things we do each time: first we do the cleaning and tidying (there are always some leafs and branches to sweep off the tomb), then we put flowers we brought in water, then the candle is lit (sometimes with great difficulty if it is a windy day, even though there is a covered stone lantern), and finally we stand about in silence, each with their own thoughts, until my father or my aunt says that it is time to leave. That is the way I saw my (now late) grandmother do things, and now the new generations are following the example.
I usually read the names engraved in stone several times, I think about how long they have lived and how old they were when they died. In recent years, since both my grandfather and later my grandmother died, I think about them. I let the memories flow through my head. I remember good times, and I remember bad times. I tell them stories about what's new and then I inevitably wipe my nose trying to keep tears to myself. I don't like when people make too much fuss and drama and public display. If one grieves, it is (or I think it should be) a personal thing done quietly and in recluse.
So we stood in silence yet again, when a movement on the margins of my site caught my attention. What I saw was an orange butterfly. Nothing about it was been extraordinary - it is a kind of butterfly that can often be seen. What made me concentrate on the butterfly and follow it with my eyes was the thought I had when I saw it: somehow it came to me that I once read that butterfly is a symbol of a soul. It struck me as very intriguing to see this little creature flying around us at the cemetery. Then another thing struck me: it WAS flying around us. I watched it carefully. Is it possible that the butterfly really represented a soul, a way for our dearly departed to say "hello"? The butterfly flew in circles around the crypt encircling the tombstone and all of us standing in front of it. It made exactly three full circles before it flew away and out of my site. The number three, the symbol of Trinity, a powerful number. Yet another symbol or yet another coincidence?
Was the butterfly trying to tell us something? Was it there to acknowledge our presence, or was it just flying about enjoying a warm summer day? Was I meant to see it and remember the things I've read about symbols? Be as it may, it did make me wonder. And it did make me feel calm and positive. And I really like to think that there might be something in this little incident.

About symbols:
At home we have this great book, a dictionary of traditional symbols (thanks Milan for choosing such an interesting gift for my sister's birthday!). It offers data about symbols in different religions. I've read about butterfly symbolism after I folded few origami butterflies - I had been simply curious). In many religions the butterfly as a symbol has similar if not the same meaning. An online source confirmed what I've read in the book:
"The butterfly has long been a Christian symbol of resurrection, for it disappears into a cocoon and appears dead, but emerges later far more beautiful and powerful than before." ... "But the butterfly is also a symbol of every Christian's hope of resurrection from the dead."
"The number three represents the Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.) "

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


I have been very lazy and wrote very little in past several months. That doesn't mean that I am out of inspiration and stories. I have lots of unwritten entries all done in my head waiting to put them on the screen for long, long time.
Now that I write more readily, I have decided not only to write about current stuff, but to honor the "old stories" and write them too. These old, unpublished posts will be "published" on dates when they should have been written, in retrospective.
That is why I encourage a reader that comes here to browse the old posts too, because some of them will be newly published.

Sorry for the confusion & here's the list:
  1. The Oxford Murders (May 20, 2008)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

You are what you read?

To read or not to read... this particular book?
Indecisive as I sometimes get, it took me a while to answer this question. In the end, it wasn't much of a surprise that I took the book and read it: it was thin, it was talked about, infamous even. Perhaps curiosity got the best of me. OR, perhaps it was a great learning curve.
It took me an hour and a half, and I wasn't reading fast either. Now THAT is a piece of serious reading!
The story is sad. Unfortunately, I don't think that teenagers drowning in hormones will look at it that way. The book is a hit, and I'm sure that too many young readers will regard it as a guidebook rather than as a warning. If even one person takes it this way, it will be too many.
I the world ruled by television that offers half-digested, ready to consume, instant entertainment, I'm am a passionate advocate of books and reading. But sometimes, like now ,after reading this particular book, I have to ask myself whether in some cases is better not to read at all than to read just anything?
From a different prospective, reading this book has been an unexpected reassuring experience for me: I got to realise that not only Dostoevskys get published. Even more so if you live in Serbia.
The recipe for success: simple story, few pages, large font, promiscuity and violence, bad language. Voila! You've got yourself a best seller! Sadly, I'll have to pass on it. If it takes to write at this level to be popular and read, I'd rather be neither.

PS. I still haven't decided whether it would be too embarrassing to write this title in the list of books I've read. I'll have to ponder this some more...

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Oxford Murders

I am not much of a crime novel person, though I've read some Agatha Christie in my time, but what I've read about this novel intrigued me. There was this crime novel that had something to do with mathematics. Mathematics?! This was something to raise one's eyebrows.
It is a common knowledge that the most hated school subject of all times is mathematics. People dread it, want nothing to do with it, scare their preschool children with stories about how difficult and beyond understanding it is for ordinary humans. In my experience, hatred of mathematics is a universal thing that goes through people and nations. The common misconception lead to prejudice, not only about the science itself (OK, we can discuss here how mathematics is not even a science, but let's leave that for some other post), but about scientists that practice it as well. Mathematicians are widely considered as freaks of nature, unpopular and antisocial people living within their own twisted minds.
It is no wonder I was intrigued to read about a novel, translated in my country (meaning that it must be fairly popular somewhere else), with a plot that included something cool like a mystery with something extremely uncool like maths and mathematicians. The intricacy was even greater when one considers my own career choice.
The book is actually not bad for a crime novel (no offence here, I am a fantasy fan): it's light, clever and intriguing. Lots of twists, turns and one very unexpected ending. It was an enjoyable experience for me as, I presume, it has been for many other readers. What makes this book truly great in my eyes is that it managed to make mathematics sound cool. Mathematicians too.
You might have suspected: the writer IS a mathematician!

Monday, March 10, 2008

I will always love you

I used to be quite decisive about not posting videos on my blog, but I really have to make an exception for this. Knowing me, I'll probably continue to make exceptions in the future.

Even my mom knows this song, hence, I'm sure that everybody knows it. But I never suspected that I'll hear a version like this. This is not a new video and I've known about it for some time. Today I stumbled upon it once again and decided to share my admiration and appreciation with the world.
First time when I heard this, I was laughing. Then we played it once more and I laughed less and listened more. The third time, I was really attentive and you could hear the sound of my jaw dropping. Would you be able to sing THIS song THAT way? I don't think so!
My applause goes to the one that came up with the idea and to Nevena Tzoneva for her amazing performance. As my friend Aleksa said: she has both the voice and the looks!

Amazing, right?

I could not resist posting yet another version of the same song. This time, the point is not in the vocal abilities, but the story behind it. This is from my all-times favourite TV show Gilmore Girls. It is a cute and embarrassing situation. Lorelai starts to sing the song for her daughter Rory, but end up singing it to Luke and embarrassing herself in front of all town. It's such a romantic episode!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Books 2007

This is the list f books I have read in 2007
(removing it from the right side of the blog to make room for the list of 2008):

  1. "Castle of Wizardry" - David Eddings (Serbian translation)
  2. "Business Letters" - Marijan Ozanic (in Croatian)
  3. "Eldest" - Christopher Paolini (Serbian translation)
  4. "Enchanter's End Game" - David Eddings (Serbian translation)
  5. "Your guide to helathy sleep" - brochure (in English)
  6. "CMMI Guidelines for Process Integration and Product Improvement" (second edition) - Chrissis, Konrad, Shrum (in English)
  7. "Der Himmel voller Geigen, Das Leben der grossen Symphoniker" – Rudolf Thiel (Serbian translation)
  8. "Angels & Demos" - Dan Brown (Serbian translation)
  9. "Burning Bright" - Tracy Chevalier (Serbian translation)
  10. "Balthasar's Odyssey" - Amin Maalouf (Serbian translation)
  11. "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" - J.K. Rowling (in English)
  12. "The Undomestic Goddess" - Sophie Kinsella (Serbian translation)
  13. "Shopaholic & Baby" - Sophie Kinsella (Serbian translation)
  14. "Be careful what you wish for" - Alexandra Potter (Serbian translation)
  15. "Northern Lights" - Philip Pullman (in English, 2nd time)
  16. "The Subtle Knife" - Philip Pullman (in English, 2nd time)