A Warped Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Waste

    Richard L. Howey, Wyoming, USA


This title is inspired by the profound utterance of a distinguished Vice President of the United States, Dan Quayle, who said: What a waste it is to lose one's mind. Or not to have a mind is being very wasteful. How true that is.”

Perhaps it’s the residual adolescent in me, but my fascination with playing with the various functions of my graphics program seems to have no bounds. I keep finding my self returning in particular to the “Creative Warp” function under the “Distort” menu in PhotoImpact Pro 13. It may be the frustrated artist in me that never found the time to continue with my oils and watercolors on canvas–too many other things going on in my eccentric life. So, maybe in my dotage, I am seeking ways to “create” by using technologies that others have created and using that as a way to belatedly express my whimsical artistic inclinations. It doesn’t really matter; I’m having fun with it and I seriously doubt that it’s doing any harm to anyone else except perhaps a few purists of one sort or another.

So, I’m going to take another wild ride by way of transforming a few images into things that I hope are provocative. If you don’t like them then consider yourself provocated.

The beginning initial image is one which I labeled “Horse Mountain”. With a bit of charity, you can see its eye in the upper left and the head facing off to the right. The crystals are a combination of Copper acetate and the amino acid L-alanine.

For starters, I’ll practice a bit of prestidigitation and turn the horse into feathers. This is not to be confused with the Marx Brothers film “Horse Feathers”.

My next trick will be to transform the horse mountain into a colorful, swirling geometric slide for a skate park.

And then, spheres within spheres and wings with feathers inside; it’s a butterfly bat from the planet Sruoypu in the Andromedean galaxy.

They have a remarkable way of breeding. They form a honeycomb of cells in which the tiny offspring are placed to feed and grow until they are finally ready to fly out into the open spaces of their bizarre world. In other words, it’s a butterfly bat nursery.

If that creature above seems remarkably strange and deeply weird, it’s because it was created by a clown from the same planet.

It’s very hot on that planet and so they have developed elaborate fans to cool themselves. There they have developed robots to operate the fans and so there is no clownish, cloddish discrimination.

Everything on the planet is monitored by the 4 giant Cyclops whose eyes are conjoined surrounding the holy sacred squares which they project against all threats. They are incredibly formidable controlling sources of unimaginable energy.

Their extraordinary energy sources allow then to reproduce at an unbelievable rate. Consider the examples below.

All of this may seem quite silly, but, hang on, we’re just getting a good start. The above shows how you could easily write a short story and illustrate it with your own images, have great fun, self-publish, and make mountains of money. Well, maybe only small hills; O.K., anthills, but it’s not so bad to get a little reward and have a heap of fun.

However, for those of you who prefer images which are a bit more subdued, we’ll look at some which are simpler to start with and have muted coloration, but the patterns get more and more interesting as we proceed. The first basic image is of a snail radula taken with a camera altered to produce a Near Infra-Red images We are looking at the teeth which are embedded in a muscular strip of tissue in the organism. These were isolated using both mechanical dissection techniques and treatment with Sodium hypochlorite.

First, we find a very simple arch pattern consisting of 4 radula.

Then, things suddenly get complex and we get a sort of alien totem,

Next, we return to a simple pattern which looks rather like 4 modified juggling pins.

Now things start not only to get more complex, but more geometric.

Next, we more into quilt pattern territory for all you creative stitchers out there.

And 3 more for the quilters.

Gives you a whole new respect for snail teeth, doesn’t it?

So now, let’s brighten things up with some very colorful images and a quiz. I’m sure you don’t have the patience to play 20 questions, so, we’ll make it just 7. I’ll show you the 7 altered images and lead up to a visual revelation and then, finally, I’ll show you the original image. I’ll tell you in advance that the category is “Animal”, so that should make it a breeze.

Well, I promised you colorful and as a bonus you’re also getting geometry, butterflies, and flower petals.

Next, we have something that looks like a bizarre computer circuit, but still colorful, if somewhat muted.

How about some Sierpiński triangles? These are quite amazing and have an intriguing history in set theory, point set topology, and number theory.

From this set, we also need to provide something for the quilters to satisfy them. My grandmother and mother were both quilters and we have some friends who also indulge in that particular form of therapy.

Now we have an aerial view of a circus arena (and a hint for your guessing).

Next, an even bigger hint–what would happen to our animal if it got caught in a whirlpool?

With this one, the animal should pop right into your mind–well the idea or image of one. The real one would be a bit too large. This image is a transformation wherein the animal is composed of bricks.

Now, for the moment of truth. I know you’re on tenterhooks, which by the way are sharp hooks for securing cloth to a frame to prevent shrinkage as it dries. It’s amazing what a bit of Ferric ammonium sulfate can produce and here, ladies and laddies, is a lovely, colorful elephant.

Did you manage to guess it? If you didn’t, don’t be concerned, I didn’t pass either. If you did get it–congratulations! There will be one last quiz which I guarantee, no one will succeed in guessing, but it will be fun nonetheless. As before, I’ll present a series of images and then the original source image at the very end. (Also, the end of the article–big sigh of relief.) This time I’ll present 7 images without comment and then the finale, the tour de force.

And now for the grand revelation; the curtain is whisked aside and the source image is revealed.

As you might guess, this picture was taken on New Year’s Eve but, believe it or not, I hadn’t yet had a single drink. Never take yourself too seriously or you’ll be miserable, defensive, and hostile.

Never hesitate to make fun of yourself; always make fun of yourself before your would-be critics and detractors can–it deprives them of a small, petty, mean, egotistical pleasure and that’s always fun, because it drives them crazy.