How the Art of Patience Became Badass

Wednesday, April 27, 2011 at 6:41 PM

                I’ve never been one for calm and patience. My attention span is so pathetically short that I lost a pen three times when a friend challenged me to keep track of it for five minutes last summer. Likewise, my constant need to fidget or do something with my hands has been known to irk people in many a conversation. In a way, though, my restlessness has been a blessing, shaping many of my decisions and pursuits throughout my life.
                At some point in my childhood I developed a fascination with anything “Asian”—likely inspired by the movies “Big Bird Goes to Japan/China”. Eventually this led me to read Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes. After reading it and falling in love with the inspirational tragedy, I decided that I wanted to be Sadako (I suppose I didn’t put much thought into the Leukemia part). However, since I wasn’t “Asian” and couldn’t change my name to “Sadako”, the best I could do was learn to fold paper. This was a pretty awesome hobby to take up as it gave my fidgety hands something to do when, for example, I was waiting in a restaurant or wanted to make something out of the gold Ferrero Rocher chocolate wrappings.
                To make a long story short, after more than a decade of folding paper, several page-a-day origami calendars, and many boxes of creations, I realized two things. As I had gotten older, I had learned to fold more complex origami. A natural progression, for sure, but the amazing thing about it is that for many years I would simply give up on the origami I couldn’t figure out or get distracted and move onto another origami before finishing the previous one. Restless, fidgety me had learned some patience. Shocking. 
                After that introspective revelation, I became aware of something else. Or rather, the internet became widely available. Origami is flippin’ badass. I don’t know how I did it, but I managed to go YEARS without realizing that origami was so much more than all the flowers, birds, bugs, and boats I was making.
Some of the creations people have made are absolutely astounding. (And some of the masters even use math to create complex designs. Go figure...although I guess it’s not that surprising.)

Examples!





While I did not develop enough patience to attempt some of the examples above, I did find out that there were some pretty awesome creations I could make.
And in another effort to assert my nerdy side, I present to you my latest origami collection: 

The Star Wars

X-wing Fighter

Millennium Falcon


TIE Fighter



Droideka

AT-AT


Yoda: Over 70 folds!





Gotta Love the Nerds

Sunday, April 24, 2011 at 11:36 PM
                I mentioned in my first post that as I was creating this blog, I got myself involved in a heated argument over the definition of nerd. As someone who has identified with much—yet thankfully, not all—of nerd culture, this is a subject I have thought much about and discussed. The most common discussion I, and I expect many others, have come across is the distinction between nerd and geek.
                A quick search on the internet reveals the following definitions:
geek is any smart person with an obsessive interest.
nerd is the same but also lacks social grace. (a dweeb is a mega-nerd)
I don’t completely agree with these definitions. Geek seems fairly accurate; I have always associated the term with someone who has an obsessive interest in very specific areas. Nerds I give a broader definition. Their interests may not be as specific, but they are obscure, esoteric and of little practical use.
                The argument in question, however, is focused specifically on the definition of nerd. According to a friend of mine, I am using an awful generic definition of nerd. His definition goes as follows:
“People who are into RPG playing, sci-fi and fantasy, tabletop gaming, card gaming, can recite trivia from pop culture related to those things (LOTR, SW, ST, DW, BSG, DnD, Magic, etc.). And if you had to describe how a nerd looked and behaved, you’d say he (VERY rarely she) was short, had glasses, not well built, and can’t talk to girls. Sure, those are certainly generalizations, but you get the point.”
For some reason I am reminded of this character:

(hey, his friend IS the Dewey Decimal System!)
He continues to argue that these are socially built up standards to which the term must adhere. Any other kind of nerd, such as a music nerd, isn’t really a true nerd.
...this is coming from a guy whose facebook status earlier in the day was “is walking around his house wearing only his Thor helmet and boxer shorts.” You can imagine the kind of impasse we reached. And I’m going to be roommates with him in September. That’ll be quite an interesting time.
                While I remain vehemently opposed to his definition of nerd, I cannot help recalling last summer with my friend over at Maple Glaze. I consider this guy to be one of my closest friends and, with all confidence, I can tell you that he embodies much of what it is to be a nerd...and is proud of it. Imagine my shock when he revealed that despite his extensive knowledge on the Star Wars series, he had never seen the movies! All his information came from Wikipedia! What a sacrilege. I immediately revoked his “nerd” status until he had seen at the very least, episodes IV, V, and VI.
                So perhaps my Thor-helmeted friend is somewhat correct in saying that society has certain standards to which nerds must adhere in order to maintain their title. I still maintain, however, that just because society has expectations that it applies to titles, doesn’t mean that they define the title. That’s like saying that a gay man must be effeminate and artsy in order to be gay. When you’re talking about labels people use to identify themselves, they need to be broad in order to function. Otherwise you’re just talking about exclusive cliques to which people belong. And make no mistake about it, even if it’s online, those cliques are real, but they do not encompass a social label.
Can’t we just accept nerds as what they identify themselves to be?

Smart Girls Recognize When to Stop Getting Into Trouble

Saturday, April 23, 2011 at 1:58 PM
Perhaps starting this blog was a bad idea. After all, it seems that the powers that be were making every effort to stop me from doing it. Or maybe I just can’t handle technology. I mean, for the past two days I haven’t been able to connect to the internet because I had the wire in the phone jack. What is that wire even called? I don’t even know that! Now imagine the disaster that would occur in my attempts to start the blog.
I should probably backtrack a bit and talk about my reasons for starting a blog. I don’t really have any. My “summer” break just started and I realized that I no longer have essays to procrastinate. I also get bored very easily. For a while I did what many typical university age people do: surf the webs, watch TV, have a friend over, and chat online or via texting. But two days in, despite the Doctor Who marathon on the Space channel, I was restless and ready to do something else. This happens often during the summer and for some reason my remedy is always to come up with random projects to fill the time.
Example:

So this blog has turned into one of those projects. Unfortunately, this is the kind of project that requires me to either have mildly interesting things to talk about or do other things that could be “reported” on here. Looks like I need to come up with more projects.
That leads me to starting this whole blog business. Apparently when you start a blog, the first thing you’re asked—at least on this hosting service—is to create a url and a name for the blog. Problem. I didn’t have one. So I went online to get ideas from friends. This process unfortunately took about three hours, since I initially got embroiled in a heated argument over what constitutes a nerd that never got resolved. I may talk about that later. I also came across another difficulty when my friends asked me what my blog would be about. I’m supposed to figure that out?! Sheesh. So many demands. My answer was and continues to be: various discussions on music, Doctor Who, Start Wars, general sci fi, and other esoteric/academic material. Great idea, eh? Maybe I’m crazy, but at least this project isn’t dependent on having a huge number of followers. Eventually one of my pun-tastic friends came online and I had him throw ideas at me until I figured out something I liked. You can see the results.
Following that fiasco, I had to figure out how to format this blog.
...
I spent an hour trying to figure out how to add a tagline and change the font and colour, much less anything else. Then I realized that I could use a template. Then I spent another hour trying to unzip the file, eventually realizing that I had shockingly successfully unzipped the file, but that I was attempting to upload the wrong location. By that point, it was late at night and I needed sleep.  I suppose, now that I’m writing this, I’m going to have to figure out how to format my text. Hopefully not, but if there’s anything I’ve learnt about this process, it’s that it’s not going to cater to my technological abilities.
But it’s done. This blog has been started and I am not going back. Let’s see if it takes me anywhere good. For now, I have the season premiere of Doctor Who to look forward to tonight! I’m desperately hoping that it doesn’t disappoint the hype it has built up; I look forward to hearing what others think about it.