Jump froggy, jump!

Today, by the request of Miss Katy P, I am going to teach you something. I don’t have many things I wish to teach the world and short of telling you to name all 50 states of the USA (it’s quite a task to learn them, after all) it’s not exactly something I can teach you to do.

But what I can do, is teach you to make an origami frog. Not just any frog, a frog that jumps (minus its fancy back legs because that just gets more complicated, so it’s the simpler version). To teach you this, I’m going to need the assistance of my camera because quite frankly, even I never read the instructions in origami books; I just look at the pictures.

Don’t worry; I’m not going to leave you with just pictures…though that would be fun.

Step One: Get a piece of paper, probably A4, since most people don’t have square paper hanging around.

Step Two: fold the paper diagonally, so that the top edge (holding it portrait) meets the edge at the side. Yes, there’s supposed to be a big section that isn’t covered at the bottom…you need to cut this off. Now you have a square, voila!

 

Step Three: fold the square in half (not diagonally), it doesn’t matter which side you fold to which side, it’ll still be in half. (Just saying!)

Step Four: now you need to do like you did on step two, fold the paper diagonally (holding it portrait again) so that the top edge meets the edge at the side.

Step Five: open step four back out so it’s a rectangle again and then fold it diagonally in the other direction. Then open it back out again, you will see a cross where the folds are.

Step Six: fold the top half of the paper in half, so that the cross is folded in half, basically the rectangle is like two squares and you’re folding the top square in half.

Step Seven: this is where it gets a little tricky, imagine your top square is made up of six sections, two small triangles on each side and one big triangle at the top and the bottom. You need to fold the bottom left diagonal fold down and the straight line which separate it with the top left triangle back across so that the top left triangle covers the bottom left triangle. Have I lost you yet? The photograph may help.

Step Eight: you need to do it again with the right hand triangles, so that the two bigger triangles overlap each other (with the small triangles are sandwiched between them). It should now look like a big arrow, or a tall house.

Step Nine: now you need to focus on the bottom square, fold the bottom of the page up to meet the bottom of the triangle.

Step Ten: I need you to forget about the two squares being separate now as they’re finally working together. You need to fold the side of the paper to meet the middle, so that the right hand edge folds across the bottom half and underneath the edge of the triangle at the top. Does that make sense?

Step Eleven: then repeat on the left hand side, so that the edge is partially hidden by the triangle. It should look a little like an arrow with a smaller stick than before.

Step Twelve: take the edges of the triangle and fold them upwards at an angle, they should NOT touch the top of the triangle, but stick out over the top edge, like in the photograph. Do this again for the other side of the triangle. You should be able to see the sides completely, which you folded in earlier.

Step Thirteen: you now need to fold the bottom half of the paper upwards, not in half but so that it overlaps with the bottom of the triangle (and the bottom corners of the paper meet roughly where the top of the side folds is, from step ten). I wonder if you’re completely lost…though I hope the photos will help.

Step Fourteen: next, the section you just folded upwards, you need to fold it back down, but in half, so that the top of the paper (which was in the middle of the paper after step thirteen) meets the bottom of the fold you just made.

Step Fifteen: turn the frog over, place it on a surface, press the last folds down…and release. Where is your froggy now?

Enjoy playing with your frog. Why not make another one and have a race with a friend? Or you could try making them in different sizes. The bigger they are, the least far they jump…the smaller ones are the best! Different coloured paper works too, or colouring them in, frogs like to have eyes!

To see what Katy and Katy have to teach us today, please visit their blogs, links to the left.

Why do you want to do that?!

I set today’s rule and I’m already going to break it. I asked Katy and Katy to write about three things they wish to do before they die, the reasons behind them wanting to do it, how they’re going to do it, etc. Basically, they can write about three things they want to do in life in any which way they like.
The reason I’m going to break the rule I set (of choosing just three things) is because two of the things on my list happened in the same year, they both happened roughly eight years after I originally made the decision that I wanted to visit them and they both involve a piece of media that I grew up on.
01. Go to Barcelona
I didn’t used to like Barcelona; I didn’t use to have any opinion on it. Until S Club 7 set foot on Spanish soil and decided to set their fourth and last television programme in the city. They walked through the gardens of Park Guell and I thought it looked like a nice place. Then I had to study architecture for art in school and I chose Gaudi. Together, I fell in love with the city I got to visit in 2008.
02. Go to San Francisco
Around the same time I was watching S Club 7 dance by the sea in Spain and making a shoe inspired by architecture (yes, a shoe) I was also enjoying Saturday nights on channel 5 watching Charmed. If you didn’t know, it’s set in San Francisco and after hundreds of shots of the Golden Gate Bridge, of Golden Gate Park and the Transamerica building, I wanted to go. Though my trip was brief (I stayed at Stanford University, which was a train ride away) and I only spent one proper day in the city (unfortunately only seeing my beloved bridge from a distance) my wish was granted…again, in 2008.
50. Go on the Neighbours tour
I’m not going to break the rules with this one, despite 49 being to visit Palm Beach during the filming of Home and Away. Though basically, the same thing goes for both. I grew up on Australian soap operas, I’m not sure why or how, but I’ve spent my life watching Harold Bishop shake his jelly belly, cried when Drew died, sobbed my heart out when the roof of the Lassiter’s complex collapsed in the programmes worst on-screen fire. I’ve been there through the good times and the bad…and I want nothing more than to set foot on Ramsey Street (the real Ramsey Street, not the one round the corner from me) and if possible, I want to be able to see some of the stars who I’ve grown up around. I definitely know Susan Kennedy’s voice better than some of my own relatives.
95. Go fishing – at least once
This is probably one of my most random tasks on the list. I wanted to share this one because of how random it is. I don’t care about fishing, I’ve never cared about it. I have no inclination to do it and the thought of using live bait makes me squirm…so why is it on my list? Well, if I’m honest, when compiling my list, I went through many others’ lists and I picked some things I thought would be interesting. Whilst I’ve never had any interest in fishing, it doesn’t mean I shouldn’t have a go. In fact, I quite like the idea of having a go, doing something that I don’t actually care to do and seeing what happens.
So that’s my three, if you want to read about Katy and Katy’s tasks, then please visit their blogs. Also, if you want to see the full list of the things I want to do before I die you will find it up there, in the links, 100 Things.
(Going slightly off topic, I have JUST realised that 78. Make an item of clothing, has been completed. I made some pyjama bottoms. That counts. That so counts.)

Artificial Intelligence or Losing Intelligence?

Aliens, robots, they’re both things you expect to see in sci-fi films and/or television programmes like Star Wars and Star Trek. They’re part of another world that many people don’t buy into. Aliens, I suppose, are a bit different in that many do believe there is life out there on other planets. Though many are probably as doubtful as I am that these aliens are the same kind we see on Doctor Who, or the grey alien in American Dad.

Robots, however, are a complete other story. Whilst many believe that robots can be akin to Robocop; let’s face it, a robot that can travel around and do things? Who wouldn’t want that? We could have house cleaning robots which put the dishes in the dishwasher, clean the bathroom and pick up our dirty laundry. It’s almost like a pipe dream, something we wish would exist in order to make our lives easier or better.

In actual fact, robots in some form have existed for quite a long time; car plants use machinery which has a rather robotic feel and there’s lots of children’s toys out there that have been formed with robots in mind.

The only thing is, they’re not intelligent. Today Katy asked us to talk about Artificial Intelligence, robots with more intelligence than your average toy…than your average human. I believe the theme was designed more as a question of whether we should, morally, ‘replace’ humans in some respects with intelligent robots. Perhaps an army of metallic intelligence? Or robot friends for those who can’t get them elsewhere?

I’m not convinced and really, it’s not about the intelligence of robots. I don’t really care if robots exist or not, though really, how a robot could have the same effect as a human, I don’t agree. The difference between robots and humans is that, no matter how intelligent a robot is, they will never understand feelings. Humans have feelings and that is the one thing that really sets us apart from any electronic device. There’s a psychologist out there that likened the human thought process to computers and whilst there may be a little truth in the way we save information being similar to computers, but, humans aren’t as simple as that. Obviously computers are very complex and in theory aren’t as simple as pressing save either, but for us to save a document on a computer it appears as simple as us pressing save. It doesn’t work like that with the brain, so how can it be possible for robots to ever understand the world? They may hold information, like a computer, and may be programmed to act in certain ways. But robots won’t have natural instincts, they won’t have thoughts, they won’t have feelings and they certainly won’t be able to replace human contact.

And I don’t want them to.

Forgetting the emotional side for a moment; why should we make our lives ‘easier’ by buying robots to do everything WE did before? Do we not risk becoming the people sat on chairs which ride on tracks living our lives through a small screen in front of us like the man in Wall-E enough as it is?

Why do we, as a human race, have such an obsession with making life easier? The way I see it, we’re making ourselves lazy. No longer do I have to walk downstairs to phone my parents if I need to contact them when they’re out of the house, no longer do I need to wash the dishes by hand (bar a few which don’t go in the dishwasher), no longer would I need to walk down the street if I could drive. We don’t even need to leave the house to do our shopping anymore – clothes, food, household items, just get on the computer and send them to yourself.

In a world where we’re already losing our mobility through desk jobs and the internet, where we’re almost punished for going to a town to buy things – with parking prices and more expensive items in shops. It costs more to go to the gym every day than it does to sit in front of a computer and watch your Sims go to the gym.

Maybe we shouldn’t be looking at whether Artificial Intelligence will benefit our lives, maybe we should be looking at how our own intelligence is being sacrificed for an easier lifestyle.

The Other Musicals…

I’m not much of a gig person. I don’t attend festivals every year like Katy P and I don’t go to concerts every weekend like it seems Katy S has been doing of late. In fact, I can count the number of concerts/gigs I have been to on one hand. I don’t even need a full hand, or all of my four fingers.

I’ve been to just three.

There’s been the odd variety show, or the X Factor style competition my dad entered himself into, where there have been people performing. I’ve also attended a few school concert related events; I seem to recall playing a cello in a concert at the local (and not so Royal) Albert Halls. But none of that is really what I think Katy was after when she suggested a theme of our first musical happening.

The last gig and really, the only gig, I went to was about six years ago now and a few local bands played in a pub. That pub is no longer even in existence and is probably looking rather unoccupied.

The only two concerts I’ve ever been to, that were major, national tour-style concerts with singers the world has actually heard of were both in the same venue: the Manchester Evening New Arena.

My first was of my choosing and I was very excited about going, I took my best friend at the time, Mark. We went to see S Club 7 and whilst it was enjoyable, our seats were rather far back and they were rather tiny. It was their first tour though (the only one I went to) and I thought it was great.

The second concert I went to was chosen by a later friend, Steph, who has always had a great love of Britney Spears. We were sat on the complete other opposite side of the stage to the first time I went and the seats were marginally better. That too was a great show.

I don’t have much to say about the whole thing, I’m not really sure why I’ve never been big on concerts. I don’t mind going to them, I guess I just don’t have many artists who I’m desperate to see live.

I’ve waited years for Delta Goodrem to do a tour, or at least perform at a local venue, but alas, that was put on the backburner time and time again. I don’t expect it to ever happen, though if she ever does do a tour, or performs nearby, I will definitely be there.

To be British, or not to be British, that is the question.

Many apologies to Katy and Katy for being so delayed in writing the last two blogs. I can get awfully lazy and sometimes I put off writing and when I do that, it doesn’t often get done.

Why is it that this country only gets excited about this country when it’s the football? England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, it doesn’t matter which part of the country you’re from, sports appears to be the one thing that promotes patriotism.

But what about pride over country? It frustrates me that in England we see hundreds of England flags during football events, yet when it’s Saint George’s Day we see maybe one or two. It infuriates me non-stop that football use the flags without any alternation because instead of allowing the flag to represent its country, the flag then represents sport. To me and England flag is football, not what it should be.

My flag and football issues aside. Why don’t we celebrate being British? Most other countries in the world seem to have a special day, a public holiday, where they can celebrate traditions connected to their country. The USA and France have their own Independence Days, Australia have their very aptly named Australia Day and in fact, the USA also has Thanksgiving which allows citizens to give thanks for the things in their lives.

Now in the UK we do have Saints days and some are more celebrated than others (though I’m pretty sure the obsession with St Patrick’s Day is more to do with alcohol than the day itself) and the tradition of Saints days is a religious one. Since the UK is more multicultural than it once was and there’s a higher percentage of atheists and/or those who don’t practice a religion it almost feels unfitting to take the Saints days as a national day. Besides, with four countries with their own identities (and tensions surrounding some foreign desire to call everyone, including our Scottish and Welsh friends, English when really they mean British) having Saint George’s Day, for example, as our national day would be rather offensive to the rest of the country (when I say country, I mean the UK, not the four separate nations within our united nation).

The only problem though is, what other day would we have? For the USA, Independence Day has a purpose, as does Thanksgiving, they both have historical details which are the reason for such days. We aren’t afforded such pleasure – we weren’t given independence from another country (everyone else was given independence from us!) and we haven’t had any significant events like the Indians coming to the Pilgrims aid back in the 1600s. We have various years of significance – 1066 is the one that springs most to mind, it’s the first history lesson I remember from my secondary school years. But a year isn’t a date.

Some people suggest Shakespeare’s birthday, or other such moments where people of yesteryear have been born. Other have said we should have it in summer because who wouldn’t want a day off in the middle of summer to have barbecues and set off fireworks, or whatever we want to do with the day.

Really, should we force a traditional day just for the sake of it? I know, let’s have a special day to give thanks to our country…it all seems rather forced to me. How can you have a tradition that’s falsely created simply because we all want an extra Bank Holiday in the summer and feel like we should have a day that is ours? There’s other such events where we can practice our Britishness, without forcing anything on it; Remembrance Day is probably our most patriotic of occasions. Should we take the eleventh of November as a holiday and celebrate? Probably not. The occasion doesn’t promote getting drunk which a holiday for this reason would result in, it’s a day to remember, not piss about.

So maybe, just maybe, we should allow the world to continue turning as it does and instead put our thoughts into the events we do have in the yearly calendar. What better examples of Britishness than Comic Relief, Children In Need, football, the Olympics, Eurovision (even if we have turned it into a bit of a joke) and Remembrance Day. All events which represent very different aspects of our lives – there’s the comedy, the gut wrenching passion and most of all, the need to remember and help those who are in need or have helped us. Why do we need a day to do it all at once?

Something for the Weekend

Welcome, take a seat, quickly now. No, I don’t mean take a seat out of the room, sit down. We have a lot to get through and not very much time in which to do it. Are we ready? Great, then I will begin.

It was a dull and foggy morning somewhere north of Manchester and tucked up in bed lay a girl named Fiona. She was a small girl; about five foot one, with blonde hair and grey-blue eyes.

On this particular morning Fiona was sleeping late, as she had been doing a lot more than usual. Unfortunately, she was living as an unemployed person who had too much time and not enough to do. So to fill her days she decided that playing The Sims would be most enjoyable, however, doing this meant that she sacrificed her evenings to paint walls and go to work as fire fighters or architects and her nights by dreaming of the Sim world that she spent so much of her time in.

Having had a couple of rather restless, Sim-filled nights, Fiona decided that she would probably spend some time away from the computer. Even a computer-holic like Fiona knew that spending too much time staring at a computer screen wasn’t a good idea. So Fiona went downstairs to the kitchen where she found some potential new tasks to keep her busy.

First of all she decided to help Mummy Bond clear out a cupboard and the vegetable rack (look how neat the vegetables are now).

Next she decided to get some help off good old Aunt Betty in order to make some Whoopie Pies. Having never made them before it was quite a challenge knowing what to do for the best, but with Betty’s help they looked really yummy.

(Thanks Aunt Betty!)

As with most days, Fiona had to endure the task of keeping her beautiful cats happy. After putting the Whoopie Pies in the oven to bake she walked across to the kitchen and spent some time with Walbert Berticus B the third of Bridgestone (more commonly known as Bertie, or boycat).

(See the marking on his head?)

Next, Mummy Bond decided that Fiona had talked about The Sims so much that she wanted to have a go for herself. So Fiona spent some time installing the game onto Mummy Bond’s computer.

(This isn’t really Mummy Bond’s attempt, it’s Fiona’s, but here felt like the right time to show an image of The Sims.)

Then she went back to check that the Whoopie Pies were baking as they should.

Mmm, they look good. And oh look, even Quing Lilalalala the third of Bridgestone (more affectionately known as Lila, or girlcat) decided to help.

(Hello Lila, thanks for being a very helpful cat!)

Later on, after lots of baking, Fiona decided to sit down to play The Sims for a little while as well as watch Casualty. Whilst doing so Fiona had a snack. Weekends are a time when Daddy Bond decides that the food of the house is no longer appropriate for our snacking needs and decides to visit the local Nisa. So Fiona scoffed down a lovely, chocolatey Twirl and some crunchy, munchy Monster Munch.

Once Casualty was over, Fiona decided she needed to find something else to watch, so she opened her latest DVD from LoveFilm (Arrested Development, season one, disc three) and was surprised to find a leaflet for a music service which would allow her to buy some songs for free. What an opportunity!

Unfortunately, the opportunity wasn’t quite as great as it seemed as said website had mostly covers and unknown albums, not what Fiona was looking for at all. She cancelled her subscription and went to bed with Bertie boycat who decided that Fiona’s bed was the perfect place to have a bath (as usual).

The next morning Fiona woke up late (again) after having a restless Sims filled night (again) and she went straight for the toast and Vimto. Yum.

When she had finished eating she decided to do some more baking to avoid playing The Sims (again). Downstairs she found Bertie being his usual self, so she picked him up and gave him a cuddle.

Once Bertie had ran off outside (and when I say ran, I mean, he lunged himself at the catflap and off her went), Fiona washed her hands and began to bake some bread. Now, last Christmas Mummy Bond decided it would be fun to buy a bread maker for her daughters. Something which Fiona found quite interesting. However, being a bit of a baker (as you might have guessed by now – though really, getting Aunt Betty’s help was not something Fiona likes to do very often), Fiona doesn’t much like to bake bread in a machine.

“What about kneading?” said Fiona. “And what about putting the break into weird and wonderful shapes?”

So Mummy Bond suggested she go back to the old fashioned way of baking bread and that is exactly what she did.

Mix, mix, mix went the flour (of Oat & Linseed) and water as Fiona swished and swoshed her hands about in the dough until it became a little less sloppy. Then, after some kneading, Fiona placed the first batch of bread onto baking trays in little balls because Mummy Bond wanted some buns to have for her lunches that week.

Fiona then moved on to batch number two, the white loaf, which Fiona was most excited about.

She swished it and then she swoshed it until she could swish no more. The dough looked rather messy.

Then she kneaded it until it looked like the most beautiful piece of dough that Fiona had ever seen.

Whilst mixing the white loaf, the buns were slowly rising. Now that the white loaf was finished, Fiona put it under a damp cloth to rise whilst the buns began to bake.

When the white loaf had finished rising Fiona was very, very surprised to see how large it had become and was most happy with how beautiful it continued to look.

Whilst the white loaf baked in the oven, Fiona decided to move on to baking a ginger cake. Now, Fiona had never made a ginger cake before so she wasn’t quite sure what to expect. After a near miss earlier in the day in which Mummy Bond had to hop, skip and jump to the shop to buy a new packet of flour (there were little flour bugs crawling around in the other one), there was just enough ingredients to make a cake. So Fiona mixed the eggs and milk and flour together and then she mixed the syrup and the sugar and the butter together.

And then when they were mixed, she mixed them both together and poured the mixture into a baking tin.

By now the white loaf was beginning to get a little black on top.

“Oh dear,” said Mummy Bond.

“It’ll be okay,” said Fiona.

Then Fiona decided she wanted to try a piece and because the bread was round it reminded her of a cake. Which is why she decided that actually, round bread shouldn’t be cut like bread, it should be cut like cake. She also put all of the buns onto a plate so that the cooling rack was clear in order to allow the round loaf to cool.

Once a slice of the white loaf of bread was eaten (it tasted very yummy) it was time to take the ginger cake out of the oven. Wow, doesn’t that look lovely?

By now it was getting late and Fiona decided to spend some time on her computer whilst Mummy Bond made some tea. When it was finally ready, Fiona scoffed it all up, it was very yummy.

After some more time on the computer Fiona decided that it was time to eat another Whoopie Pie (as she suspected they tasted different the next morning…and they did) as well as another slice of bread. What a wonderful end to a great weekend.

* Contrary to what this blog may suggest; Fiona does not spend all day, every day baking, eating and playing with cats, though a large portion of some days may involve one, two or all three of these things.

The lovers, the dreamers…and me.

Today’s blogathon is brought to you by the letter P (Katy P) and a theme song of our choosing. Katy asked the other Katy and I to share a song which represents us at this very moment in our lives.

The last year or so hasn’t been a very good one for me and I’ve come to realise a lot of things, namely, that sometimes it just gets a little too much. I didn’t necessarily want to bring a depressive song to the table but I also don’t want to pretend I’m feeling something that I’m not.

I’ve cheated a little (which we all seem to do at some point!) and I actually have two songs. Try as I might to whittle it down to just one was virtually impossible. My first port of call when searching was Delta Goodrem. I’ve always found her songs the most inspirational and that I have related to the most. I tried to take a hop, skip and a jump through Missy Higgins, Schuyler Fisk and Sarah McLachlan but alas, no, I landed back on Delta. Twice.

Fragile

Let’s get the less upbeat song out of the way first. Fragile is one of my all-time favourite Delta songs, but not just that; the lyrics, I think, can fit almost any situation or person and it’s one of those songs which really makes me feel like it’s okay to feel what I feel.

Sometimes I feel like I’m alone
Sometimes I feel like I’m not that strong
Sometimes I feel so frail so small
Sometimes I feel vulnerable
Sometimes I feel a little fragile

Disorientated (no, I haven’t spelt it wrong, this is apparently the traditional spelling of the word and also, it is the correct title of the song.)

My first thought when I saw the title was to play it, it spoke to me, it says that the world is crazy and mixed up and a little confusing and quite frankly, that’s how I’ve been feeling. Whilst feeling rather fragile I’ve been in this weird space where nothing is how it’s supposed to be. I can’t describe just how fitting this song is or how much I relate to it and course there’s probably the odd line that I shake my head at, but overall, I’m disorientated.

Things are changing
So much arranging of my life
I must take hold
I’ll keep on spinning until I find myself again

Head on over to Katy and Katy’s blogs to find out what songs fit their moods at the moment! You know they’ll be amazing, as always.

* The title is from the song Rainbow Connection.