Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Today's walk report: 112013

Breaking Meryl's pot and the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

I don't have a picture of Meryl's pot because I had no idea I'd be writing about this at that moment. I was passing this woman's house as she was trying to break apart a 20" terracotta pot with a dead something prickly plant in it using a pair of lopping shears. She was chipping away at the thing so I stopped and said, give it a really good whack and it'll split wide open. She was trying to break the thing up to get it in her trash bin, tomorrow being trash pickup in her neighborhood. She seemed uneasy about my idea so I offered to do it for her. One whack and it was history. Then she went into her house to get a photo of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi while I threw her stuff away.

Notice the pot remnants and the lopping shear on the ground. I'm guessing by now someone reading this will be thinking... "wtf?", so I'll explain. Meryl is one of many people who have seen me walking in their neighborhood for some time now. Some of these people wave at me, some say hello in passing and some of them completely ignore me as if I were invisible, despite my rater formidable appearance. Some people, like Meryl, seem curious about where I came from since, on the whole this neighborhood still has some sense of community and a stranger suddenly shows up on a daily basis, it at least warrants some curiosity.  This is the neighborhood just south of my old elementary school. A neighborhood from what I gather still has quite a few residents who date back to at least my High School days. For me High School would be '71 - '74. Meryl, it turns out, is one of these people. We got on a timeline after I mentioned the grammar school, she asked me if I also went to Taft High School, then she asked me what year I graduated and then offered the year of her graduation, 1969. I said rather spontaneously, oh, so you were there when the Maharishi visited? Her jaw dropped. Apparently not a lot of people remember this and as it turns out Myrle not only saw the Maharishi at Taft she also ended up studying TM, getting a mantra, etc. She was excited enough to go inside and bring out this photo from the day he visited the school.

If you don't know, the Maharishi was kind of a big deal at this time because of his relationship with the Beatles. You know there was Sgt. Pepper's in '67 and Magical Mystery Tour about six months later... everything was pretty groovy and sort of far out, psychedelic with a flavoring of eastern mysticism thrown in for good measure. Hey, I remember wanting to go see the Maharishi myself. I was 12. Anyway, it makes for a good segue into what I did today while waiting for rain that still hasn't materialized but remains looming. This is the kind of stuff I like to do on rainy days. I'm still trying to find some inspiration for making some sort of "card" for Christmas. Today and last night I played with an application called ArtMatic which is a modular graphics synthesizer. I enjoy this because on one level it's sort of mindless with sometimes fantastic results and on another level the application is very complex with almost infinite possibilities in design via a "structure tree" of patches somewhat equivalent to patches on an audio synthesizer. There are a lot of parameters one can tweak. I can work with both mathematical equations for creating images but can also incorporate "analog" sources by importing image data from photos, etc..

Basically most of what I did was working with fractals. With the ideas of fall, winter and Christmas in mind here are some examples of what I created.

Falling Into Winter
Christmas Butterflies

Winter Arrives
Christmas Lights Though the Bathroom Window
and I'll explain the last title. Each bathroom in this house has one or two 27" x 18" textured (frosty) windows which looked out onto the Christmas lights each year along the eves of the house. The light would distort like this and with blinking Christmas lights outside I thought this was amazing as a child. I used to go into the bathrooms, turn off the light in the room and just stand there watching the changing patterns which would also alter as I changed my position.

1 comment:

  1. I like the samples produced with the graphics synthesizer - they'd all make good Xmas cards.