High contrast meta story

Vertigo in the Navy

Vertigo in the Navy

Well, I am skipping a week two summary, since I did very little. I did a headless portrait of myself, but not really headless, just substituted, animated with Jimmy Stewart’s head from Vertigo.

Yesterday, I submitted the Jenny(0) metastory. I have actually been thinking of creating a few microstories, flash fiction, or whatever you want to call ultrashort tales. I think working with a constraint of under xxx number of words would be a useful exercise. Also, I have a long-term affection for this kind of recursive, meta, chiasmus stuff. I chose to use a pseudonym of Jenny(n) for this one, to make it more autobiographical. So, I guess there is yet another meta layer here, with me a the top.

What Jenny(0) Did:

Jenny(0) started writing a story about Jenny(1):

 Jenny(1) started writing a story about Jenny(2):

 Jenny(2) started writing a story about Jenny(3):

 Jenny(3) stopped writing.

 Jenny(2) stopped writing because Jenny(3) stopped writing.

 Jenny(1) stopped writing because Jenny(2) stopped writing.

Jenny(0) stopped writing because Jenny(1) stopped writing.

Then, today, I decided to work on a high contrast b&w image of an overlooked object. I picked a fire hydrant, the one on the corner of my yard. It is painted red and white, rusty and peeling. I wanted to remove the background for a starker image (and I might still try that tonight), but I am satisfied with the grass and other background structures. A fire hydrant all by itself might not be overlooked, but in a neighborhood context usually is. Do you pay attention to fire hydrants when parking? or when you choose a place to live?

fire plug

fire plug

For the Jimmy Stewart head, I happened to be watching Vertigo on TV, so went online and found a suitable frame from the scene where he is hallucinating. Using GIMP, I added an alpha layer so I could erase the background to transparent. Then I placed his head over mine. I still had a ballcap on and my eyeglasses showed on the right, so I used the clone tool to carefully overwrite those details with background imagery. I had five or six duplicate layers of the original image, so that when animated, the new head only appears for a fraction of the total time.

For the fire hydrant, I took three pictures in normal color, picked the orientation I liked best, then edited with Microsoft Office Picture Manager, my default tool for minor edits of images that I add to my eBay auctions. I was able to adjust to monochrome and play with the contrast. Then I opened the new image in GIMP and played with the filters, but pretty much left it as it was, just adding a minor bit more contrast. I had hoped that the edge detect function would help, but it was too much effect so I cancelled it.

The Jenny(0) story was a pretty quick exercise. I started to write a more traditional format of the same story, but went to the coding-like indentations and ()s. My influence came from Douglas Hofstadter’s works, particularly Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid. One of the diaolgues in that book features a similar recursion of a genie in a bottle needing to send a wish to the metagenie above, who has to send it to the metametagenie above, who has to send it…to infinity, then the wish granting has to be passed all the way back down the infinite series of genies. If I still had the book, I’d look it up and rerereread it! No doubt it will come back into my possession when the time is right.


2 comments on “High contrast meta story

  1. Hi Bill,
    Loved the Jenny story when I saw it on the tdc page. Lead me to spend a wee bit of time trying to figure out how to code this, but it was far to hard (I am a baby steps coder) or I was looking from the wrong angle.
    The geni reminds me of a great children’s book, ‘The Mouse and His Child’ by Russell Holden (I think). This featured a picture, as I recall, of a dog holding a tin of dog food with a picture of a dog holding… There was the idea of ‘the last possible dog’. I am wondering about the story the last possible Jenny (a geni?) would write.


    • byzantiumbooks says:

      I hadn’t even considered the Jenny = Genie connection. I even misspelled Jenny as Jennie once…

      Alternate spellings of Genie include Jinn and Djinn. Interesting article at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jinn.

      I’ll check my sources for the last possible Jinn. A Meta Alert might be called.

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