Finding My Brontosaurus


  • Do you have 8 to 10 hours of free time everyday?

  • Are you bored of knitting toaster cozies and pants for your dolls?

  • Are you looking to surround yourself with a menagerie of paper playthings?

  • Can you follow a few simple directions?

  • Then you too can experience of the joy of origami!


  • The Japanese art of paper folding has been around for centuries. It was originally a novelty of the Japanese court almost a thousand years ago. It has been past down from generation to generation, as an intricate art form involving patience, skill and technique. You decided to buy a book, bring it home and make a brontosaurus in five minutes.

    So the first thing you need is paper. No, no, no … put it down … it won’t do. This is special “origami” paper were talking about. Thats right! The fibers were harvested from the pulp of the Crested Thonry Neetle in the south of France, by a tribe of devoted monks. The paper is washed four times in the fresh spring of the monastery, and then shipped out to be dried high atop Mt Fuji. The paper is then cut into perfect squares and packaged for sale in America at twelve dollars a pair. Now not only can you not fold this into a brontosaurus, but you can go broke trying.

    I’ve read lots of instructions in my time. I’m a geek, I breathe how-to manuals. I can tar, grep, awk, and compile with the best of them. Origami is different. The instructions were dictated in German, transcribed in Greek, and then translated into English by C students.

    (Actual directions from our origami book)

    • 1.) We begin with the preliminary fold

    • 2.) Fold diagonally in half

    • 3.) Unfold

    • 4.) Repeat (I’m not feeling any progress at this point)

    • 5.) Turn over model then turn clockwise

    • 6.) Fold in half then unfold (six steps in an I still have a flat sheet of paper)

    • 7.) Fold in half, then fold along creases

    • 8.) Squash fold the corners (well of course!)

    • 9.) Repeat

    • 10.) Finish with brontosaurus base

    Great sculptors claim they aren’t creating art; they are just freeing the art from inside its confines. David was lodged in the block of marble; all the master had to do was remove all the bits of marble that weren’t David. I ended up with a six-dollar piece of paper folded in half with 4 squashed corners. If there was a brontosaurus in there he must have been hiding. Oh well you can't succeed at everything.

    I recall one of my mother’s former employers. There was a plague on his desk that summed this feeling up perfectly. “If at first you don’t succeed, then you’re above average.”

    6 comments:

    Patricia said...

    And don't forget these are hours of your life you will never get back!!!

    kludge said...

    What fad are we going to try next?

    Ando said...

    How about bloggin?

    kludge said...

    Ando-

    That might have been the most insightful comment I've received.

    Are we like those people who buy a rotissiere just because RonCo told us to?

    Chris said...

    Hey man, you just can't beat "Set it and Forget it!!!"

    kludge said...

    I love that guy, pasta makers, food dehydrators, pocket fishermen, spray on hair, flavor injectors, and the famous RonCo Showtime Rotisserie!

    It's a wonder no one wanted one of these amazing Egg Scramblers