Tag Archives: origami

Delirium Fish Headpiece


It’s the fully adjustable crown of fishies of my dreams, and yours too, I’m sure. 

The final piece for my Delirium cosplay: a cloud of fishes floating around my head. Turned out to be a good thing that I couldn’t find any prefabricated fish ornaments because these origami fish are banging and jamming and swimmingly wonderful, plus, you know, extra layer of surreality. Why is that person wearing a halo of origami fish on her head?

Learning to fold origami fish didn’t take all that long, surprisingly. They’re painted with acrylics to match the tutu. Start to finish making the fish only took a couple hours, and since I already had the paper from 1000 cranes and the paint from a few other projects, the fish cost nothing to make. The headband was 15 cents and the tiny barrettes were 10 cents each. The wire was the most expensive part.

Also made a set of cloisonné fish earrings from old charms, one of which was my mother’s, and the other of which was a gift from the Vampire Bat. Now, assuming that I can find my regular clothes required for the outfit–fishnet shirt, fishnet stockings, colored stockings, leather jacket–the cosplay is all ready to go. I’d search out the pieces now but The Man is sleeping.


1000 Origami Cranes


Yes, I counted them.

On December 8, 2015, I decided to implement 2 minor changes in my life. First, I began teaching myself to play the ukulele, and second, I began folding 1000 origami cranes. Now, just under 5 months later, my time investment has manifested into accomplishment. Not that I will ever be performing Led Zepplin’s greatest hits on the ukulele for an appreciative audience, but I can make songs come out of the thing, anyway. And here are my 1000 paper cranes.

If you’re unfamiliar with the legend of the 1000 paper cranes, it’s an old bit of Japanese folklore: whoever folds these cranes in less than a year and keeps them in their home will be granted a wish, or lifelong luck. Some say they stand for prosperity and health, or for prayers for peace. Things like that. It was a more obscure superstition until after World War II, when a little girl named Sadako Sasuki, dying from leukemia caused by her proximity to the atomic bombing of Hiroshima as a baby,  started to fold them in the hospital while praying to beat the cancer. She didn’t make it, but her determination was communicated throughout the country until she became a symbol herself.

Traditionally, the cranes are threaded together on 25 strings in bunches of 40. I think I may put them into a less rigid accounting, but the main thing is to keep the rainbow pattern.

I never had a specific wish associated with these cranes. I’d like peace and prosperity and good health, surely. But really I was just trying to remind myself what it’s like to see a big project through to the end. For me, the end wasn’t about wishing, but about returning to the beginning. From the beginning, I knew that when I finished folding cranes, I would start writing a new book, a different book from the other books I’ve written, a book that would be unconstrained by the world’s notion about what’s OK. A horror novel, a ghost story, a tale of obsession, a metaphor for addiction. A book where extremely messed up things happen to wholly innocent people because the world is inherently unfair. A book without apology, that doesn’t care if it offends you, because frankly, the world doesn’t care if it offends me, so why pull punches? My 11th unpublished novel…

Selling is boring. Selling is the worst. Creating things is exciting, and it is the best.

To that end, I’ll probably be changing the format of the blog in the near future, but it’s uncertain what that would look like right now. It doesn’t seem possible to just stop drawing comics, but it been proven repeatedly that 4 comics a week isn’t feasible. There are other things to do.

Dragon Comics 133

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Hoggle, I don’t think we’re in the Goblin City anymore

I am less dead than yesterday. Hooray! I even went to a Reddit meetup for some reason. That was surreal. Although maybe it was just the cold medicine. Accomplished some, but not all of the writing-related tasks. Book reviews stack up fast. Or maybe not that fast, since most of them were already overdue. Maybe I’m just slow. However, I’ve emerged from a dense cloud of origami cranes, and it only took 4 months, 3 weeks, and 3 days.

Dragon Comics 132

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Once, great flocks of origami cranes roamed North America, often in such great numbers that they blotted out the sun overhead, bringing darkness to the day.

Although I’m still hacking up both lungs and weak as whey, today I budgeted my time better and managed to accomplish all my many important tasks before midnight. The Vampire Bat, who is the last person in the world I expect motherly advice from, told me that I better slow down and take care of myself or it would get worse (#mom) but things are just too busy to slow down.

Tomorrow I’ll only do writing tasks and not strain anything. Maybe consume that soup and hot tea that would have served me best 3 days ago.

Maybe fold a couple paper cranes.

Dragon Comics 131

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Magic is where you make it. 

I was reading 2 articles in The Atlantic today. Once was about the role that luck plays in the course of most successful people’s lives, and the fact that the more anyone achieves, the less they dwell on the fortunate circumstances that helped them reach that point. The other was about determination, and the way people tend to underestimate the value of plugging along doggedly, even in the face of failure or potential humiliation.

In other words, work hard and count your blessings.

For a while, I used to write gratitudes: pick 3 things daily for which to be consciously grateful. It really does help.

To start at the beginning, I am grateful that I (1) had the incredible good luck to be born into prosperity. Almost anyone born in America has an advantage, and my advantage was greater than most people’s, even in this country. For example, if we’re counting advantages that have a huge bearing on the relative difficulty of ones life, we should offer gratitude for (2) being born with light skin. It’s such an arbitrary way to judge human potential, but people do judge, and succeeding in America is always easier the less melanin you display in your complexion. And if that isn’t weird enough, I’ll also feel grateful for that fact that I can (3) pass as cis-bodied and heteronormative with minimal effort and only a moderate degree of emotional distress. Some people die because they’re unable to do that. So, I’m truly incredibly fortunate. Probably in the top 10% of fortunate people.

It’s a lot of luck for one dragon to have. So all that’s left is to work hard.

Love Is Real Not Fade Away Mandala


I didn’t leave it in the window. It started out this pale.

Sunday night as I write this, and I already have scripts for 3 days’ worth of comics, plus a couple cool macros. As The Man and I have another exciting adventure coming up this week (2 more days of airline travel…I shudder to think) and if I can’t get a couple days ahead, I’ll probably accidentally miss half a week like I did the last time I had to endure the tender mercies of the airline industry.

Tonight we counted and I have 900 of my 1000 cranes, which is also exciting. I’m completely out of origami paper, and everyone in town seems to be out of it, which is frustrating, but with only 100 to go, I’ll probably start cutting squares out of random pages.

OK, back to Tuesday’s comic, and maybe Wednesday’s if my brain can stay on that long.

Broken Pieces Mandala


You break it, you buy it.

Ooh, menacing mirror reflects all-seeing evil in shattered shards. And that’s about what there is to say about this mandala. It’s really deliberately off kilter, smashed fragile things not tending to break in really reliable ways.

This weekend I folded some more cranes–I’m up to 60 now–so it seems like 1,000 won’t be impossible. I just have to keep the paper at hand and can make them when I’m on the phone or doing things that don’t require my hands. Have some ideas about stringing them all together, too. Folding 3 or 4 at a time is vastly preferable to folding 37 in a row.

Photo on 12-6-15 at 7.49 PM #4The Girl liked the rainbow of cranes so I showed her how to do 1, and then she wanted to do some other things: she chose the sanbo, which is like a little tiny box, and a rabbit. She would have liked to learn the lotus flower, which is the only 1 I remembered from childhood–had to look all the other stuff up and puzzle through the directions, which, as any American who’s done origami from a book knows, are always bizarrely confusing–but it was a bit too complicated for her.

Working on one of the “pretty” comics for tomorrow, meaning using photos for source material and getting a very particular style that is still very cartoony in terms of color but maintains some photorealism in terms of shape. The comic itself is still pretty nerdy.

37 Paper Cranes


So majestic! Watch them swoop and dive across the marsh, reveling in their freedom.

I thought I could try to fold 100 origami cranes as a sort of a symbolic intention for peace but as it turns out there’s a vast difference between doing origami as a kid and doing origami as an adult, and the difference is that when you’re a kid you can do whatever you want with your body and not feel it. When you’re adult, you might start off with, say, nerve damage in the thumb of your dominant hand, which makes it difficult to keep your creases straight, and then, after a while, your terrible posture activates the bad disc in your cervical spine and before you know it, you can barely even hold a piece of paper. And it doesn’t help that you didn’t start until 11 o’clock at night, because people wanted to talk to you before that, and it also took you a while to remember how to fold a paper crane.

So you fold paper cranes until you’re in terrible pain all over and also kind of nauseated, about 3 hours, and you end up with a rainbow of 37 paper cranes, proud and proper, if not perfectly straight.

Should have started earlier. Could have gotten at least halfway. Something just snapped, though. No more paper cranes today.