Snowy, the ice pony

He’s happy. The air is crisp, the snow’s not too deep, and the bright sun makes the whole world shine like silver.


Download parameter file snow.xpf

So what could ruin his wonderful day? Ancient Mongols looking for fresh riding stock. Or something to hunt. Dead or alive, they want him.

Allow me to share some thoughts on Genghis Khan and his band of merry men.

People underestimated them because they were nomads. A bunch of goofs on horseback.

No palaces, probably not even a garage for the ponies either. Did they have writing? Who knows. I mean, I don’t know.

Somehow they got themselves organized. Cooperation allowed them to accomplish things their neighbours never expected.

They had the most advanced bows, which utilized a composite construction of wood with leather joints, shooting arrows like bullets. Their spare time was spent hunting tiny animals from horseback at a full gallop.

People, even soldiers, were much easier targets.

What he learned hunting rabbits, he applied to hunting his rich neighbours. And without any management seminars or government programs.

In the West we tend to view him as some romantic swashbuckling pirate. In the countries he “visited” he’s still seen today as a filthy barbaric pig. Which is more historically accurate?

There’s thousands of people all across Central Asia today who claim to be his blood relatives, and a recent study using DNA analysis appears to confirm this. That would make him the most prolific rapist in the history of the world.

14 women were killed at his funeral.

Yeesh. Back to Snowy. He got away, lively fellow, and lived many more happy years beneath the big blue sky of the steppes…

Well, it’s my story and I can write anything I want.

I wish I could re-write history.
 

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November 25, 2005

Vignette

Torn off, stuck on, tucked away. Framed by fingerprints. Legless, armless, torso of words. Stone among the ashes.


Download parameter file twohead.xpf

Home of the Two-Headed Mandelbrot: A subtitle I considered using for my blog.

This one really shows how easy it is to make good stuff with Xaos.

Recipe: Biomorphs in-coloring, squares out-coloring, edge detection #1 filter, anti-aliasing, palette emulator, magnet 1 formula, rotate so it’s not lop-sided. Press the random palette generator hot-key, “p” until you see something worth saving.

Use a dirty cookie sheet and you won’t have to grease it.

Cook ’em till they’re burnt a little. The charcoal is good for you, it absorbs all sorts of intestinal junk.

It’s a frustrating formula. This image is nice, but zoom in and all you see is the same stuff. If all fractals were this self-similar they’re wouldn’t be any fractal art.

It takes longer than your standard mandelbrot to calculate.

Why all the mandelbrot figures? I don’t know. I just make pictures.

It’s some kind of Bermuda Triangle thing. It’s not a mandelbrot formula, yet we see the appearance of little mandelbrots. It’s old too.

If formulas had genes, I’d say they’re related somewhere back in the fractal Jurassic period. A fractal missing link?

Some of the mandelbrots are contorted, which is nice to look at and breaks up the monotony of navigating all those soapsuds.

It doesn’t like to be perturbed, and it shows it by taking a little longer to calculate. Just like a tired and sour horse.

This might be the last one.
 

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November 24, 2005

If you kick a fractal hard enough…

It swells up like a puffer fish and crackles with electrified rage.


Download parameter file soccer.xpf

So, only kick them once. The second time you’ll get zapped.

Reminds me of the time I was bitten by a golden-haired ant in Mexico.

I was doing my regular rounds of collecting water samples from the four sites in this coastal dune area just north of Veracruz on the Gulf coast.

The last site was in an older, wooded area and when I was finished I decided to check out a semi-rotten stump I’d seen some strange ants in.

There’s alot of strange bugs down there, but they’re secretive and don’t like people and you have to go looking for them.

Sure enough, just as I had thought, these big black ants had some sort of golden fuzz on the tops of their heads, middle and end parts. Feeling relatively safe, I began to poke around their hole with my walking/spider-web-clearing stick.

Pretty soon there were quite a few of these golden ants coming out of the hole and racing around. But they’re just ants, not even flying ants, and worst come to worst, I could just step on them and walk away.

Then out comes the Cyclops of the golden haired ants. Same species, I guess, but he’s got a head that’s three times the size of any of the rest.

He’s up my walking stick before I can blink, and slices the end of my thumb with his razor blade mandible. I drop my stick, start jumping around, and run off about 20 feet away.

Next day, like captain what’s-his-name, I go back looking for the great white whale. I capture him in a plastic sample bottle and take him back to my insect trophy collection.

Unlike all the other creatures I’ve chloroformed and glued to a piece of cardboard, including a Black Widow spider I found under the “dining room” table, this guy comes back to life, after a double dose.

I used five-minute epoxy to glue him and now he’s struggling to free his legs from the cardboard and the resin hasn’t set completely. I practically drowned him in the chloroform, but he just won’t die.

I trim the cardboard with him on it and put the whole thing back in a sample bottle with plenty of choroform and leave him there all night.

It’s been 15 years now and I’ve still got him. I should have just left him in the bush, but I knew no one back in Canada would have believed me when I told them about the golden ants. I’m sure Sindbad had the same problem with his stories.
 

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November 23, 2005

Fractal Morrisseau

Swimming to Mars


Download parameter file mars01.loo

For years a colorful painting of a fish hung on the wall in my parent’s dining room. I grew up with this mysterious creature with colorful x-ray organs watching every meal.

I forget how they came to own it. My dad, one of the few doctors in the town of Dryden to make indian patients feel welcome, might have been given it as a gift from one of them.

It’s painted and signed by Norval Morrisseau. People will make a big deal about him being an indian, or native, as they say today, but really he’s just another great artist.

There’s a nice slide show of some of his work at londongalleries.ca where you can judge for yourself if it has any resemblance to my fractal displayed here.

Yeah, they’ve got fancy little folk tales to go with all the paintings, but that’s just for the tourists. Like most artists, he painted the things which interested him.

I remember reading in a Carlos Castaneda book where Don Juan was talking about his Yaqui indian parents. He said his only regret was that his parents didn’t discover that in addition to being indians they were also men.

They belonged to a sub-group, but they also belonged the larger group which encompasses all people, and therefore shared in the characteristics and abilities that all human beings have.

I’m a white man and Mr. Morrisseau’s an indian, but I claim him as one of my own.
 

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November 22, 2005

Glowing pyramid of power

Crashing surf of cosmic rays. Electro-frying crackling haze. Pounding pulsar shaking wave. It’s full of stars, says Dave.


Download parameter file pyramid.xpf

I don’t know if you’ve seen the garbage remake or sequel to 2001: A Space Odyssey. 2010, I think it is.

There’s nothing good about the movie. Although, I should be careful, I saw it like 20 years ago and I’m famous for mixing up movies and creating recombinant memories.

It doesn’t much matter since there’s only one good scene to the movie. At the end, someone, or maybe more than one, goes over into the monolith, exclaiming, cryptically, “It’s full of stars!”

Or something to that effect. Which brings me to my main point that at least the makers of the garbage sequel had the brains not to mess with Kubrick’s surreal and cryptic utterance by Dave (or whoever the last guy left alive was called).

Arthur C. Clark wrote the original story? Someone like that, I guess.

I always liked that line, it’s full of stars. Expressing wonderment and at the same time peaking our curiousity because we know he’s not seeing any stars but only grasping for a term that comes close to describing the mystery of the monolith.

Well, wonder no more. Here it is. This is what Dave saw in the monolith.

He wasn’t familiar with fractals or the edge detection graphics filter in Xaos like I am. So he just called them stars and since there were alot, prefixed it with “full.”

Nowadays, in our enlightened digital era, if the same thing happened we’d hear the guy in Dave’s place, maybe yawn first, and then say, “Cool, looks like a fractal.”
 

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November 21, 2005

Crinkle Lips throws a party

He’s an idiot, but his friends are just as stupid.


Download parameter file color03.loo

There’s something comical about these images. The twitching, whip-like arms and goofy bodies.

Crinkle Lips is the big one in the middle. The ones above him have arrived together in the same raindrop which accidently splashed down on his head.

They think it’s funny and one of them is laughing. He’s a cousin of Crinkle Lips. You can see the family resemblance.

On the left side are a group of triplets who have walked in separately. They’re not too bright and always like to stick out their tongues, like they’re doing now.

Some of them will walk into a tree or trip over each other.

They don’t eat anything, which is good, since a gas barbecue or even a plastic fork would leave at least a few of them with serious injuries.

On the other hand, take a closer look at Crinkle Lips’ “feet.” Claw-like and shaggy.

Kind of reminds you of… I should have been a pair of ragged claws, scuttling across the floors of silent seas. Yeah, I see that.

Well guess what? Turned out that the poor wretched claws bumped into some other claws while setting out on what they thought was an eternity of scuttling, and things aren’t so silent anymore.

There’s a happy ending after all, and all that dark, brooding poetry just looks childish now.
 

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November 20, 2005

Freezin’ Fractals

Out of the south comes the whirlwind: and cold out of the north


Download parameter file whirlwind.xpf

Once again, a fractal that owes its interest entirely to the randomly generated palette. A subtle change to the palette created the contrasting areas of dark and light.

Perhaps “fractals” is a misleading name for these sorts of images. The word implies a basketfull of fruit or vegetables. A whole bunch of the same stuff.

The truth of the matter is that most fractal images have as much in common with each other as most photographs have with other photographs.

Fractalgraph. That sounds better. It implies something made by fractals and not the “fractals” themselves.

The similiarity to photography is good also since fractal programs merely produce fractal material which the user selects and frames-up just like a photographer.

What if photography was called “photos”? Sounds pretty limp and day-old, doesn’t it?

Of course, if you take fractal images and do all sorts of things to them in a graphics program, you’ll end up with something completely new and rather hard to label anyhow. Perhaps this is the digital art version of the traditional “mixed media.”

In the end it’s just a picture. It’s parentage is deceptive and misleading, causing us to praise mediocre work made with high-class methods and laugh at the new stuff.

Well, I haven’t actually heard any laughing, but I’m sure it’s out there. Out there in those gallery cocktail parties. On the internet, no one hears you laugh.
 

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November 19, 2005

What’s shakin’ with Ushiki?

When it comes to microbe-mania this guy’s infected!


Download parameter file squork02.loo

I test every new color setting for the orbit counting renders with the number 7 formula, Ushiki Phoenix. If it’s any good, Ushiki will show it.

It’s a paradise for parasites.

Look at this one and his wacked-out buddies, flying around in epidemic formation.

This one is a Julia mode, which adds a freak factor to the usual harvest of microscopic mutants.

I’m so glad the fractals, or whatever these things really are, stay in the machine and never leak out.

What a strange twist to the Andromeda Strain: fractal infection.

Fractalia pestis. The Black Death of our time. Eventually the victims, loaded with parasites, begin to resemble the fractal formula encoded in the microbes’ DNA. Just like some Serpinski’s triangle inside you growing in reverse.

Freaky Ushiki: Fractal of Death.

Yeah, some of the microbes don’t kill you because they have a different formula in their DNA. You don’t know who in the movie is going to die until the infection is advanced far enough to see the fractal shape coming together.

But the big twist is that the victims aren’t dead. A few days after being buried, the iterations haven’t stopped and the person is completely transformed into a large version of the fractal formula and literally comes back from the dead as a Fractal Zombie, for lack of a better term.

Anyhow, some of the other fractal formulas are not bad either, but Ushiki is the place to go for a petrie dish of portraits.

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November 18, 2005

Attack of the Sky Spiders

…from outer space.

Imagine the horrible things that could happen. Think of the horrible things that have happened. Were they unimaginable?


Download parameter file 500_tidepool05.loo

Endless poisonous insects dropping from the sky.

I can imagine that. Don’t unexplainable things happen all the time?

William Wordsworth once said that any reasonably developed technology was indistinguishable from magic.

In other words (no pun intended…) if you don’t understand how something works, it may as well be supernatural.

The economy, for instance. How does it work? Why is there so much controversy over what should be done to improve it?

Since we don’t understand so much that takes place today, why are we so sceptical about the horrors of the future? We ought to expect anything.

Why not civil war all over the place, in every country, all the time? Why does peace happen?

Aren’t dinosaurs hard to believe? Many of the best monster movies are based on museum materials. Jurassic Park was scary, but all they did was resurrect the past.

The ice age. Mongol horde invasion. The Black Death. A handful of Spaniards discover and conquer the Aztecs. The past is pretty far-fetched: I think we’ve seen the future already.

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November 17, 2005

The cave-paintings of our time

Left on the walls of primitive dwellings. Anonymous, mysterious, depicting scenes of ancient slaughter.


Download parameter file xmas04b.loo

Hey, if you guessed, “What is Fractal Art?” you win!

Truly, these are the cave-paintings of our time.

I’m joking, of course. But just think: what if the only “artwork” to survive the coming nuclear destruction and be admired during the subsequent planet-of-the-apes phase of earth’s history is graffitti?

Sure, all those Henry Moore sculptures will definitely survive thermonuclear destruction, but without signs or bronze plaques no one will know they’re art.

What if graffiti becomes the sole influence on the next thousand years of art, just like all that busted pottery was to western art?

What sort of murals would you find in the palaces of the ape-kings? I can see it now, behind the throne, starting at the floor and reaching the ceiling, in chunky letters, “BossBoy rules!” The Bayeau Tapestry of their time.

Will an artist’s greatness in the future be measured by how well he can imitate the spray can effect with primitive drawing tools?

Will Charleton Heston show up and initiate a second Renaissance? Or will the great mob of apes, now forming the status quo and the who’s who of the art world, have him silenced and banished to the Forbidden Place?

Nuclear war is never going to happen, but it sure has inspired a lot of art. Just like hunting mammoths and wild boars.
 

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November 16, 2005