A freshly tossed salad of New Fractal Flame Slideshow has been served! Add just a touch of seasoning and voila! Tasty!
More delicious veggies for the mind and heart are served.
It took some time to serve these up, and hope you find them as tasty to eat with your eyes as I found them to cook up for you.
New Fractal Flame Slide Show. Dazzling, bright twirls of light and amazing fires that spin in tiny galaxies of glowing light and wonder.
As I was completing this latest batch for viewing I kept thinking there's got to be a way to show these in all their glory in 3 dimensions.
So little old me has been tasking away for a long time now on ways to accomplish that. I can't say that the end results will look like these, but they will certainly look different.
Hope to have enough to post soon.
Meanwhile, enjoy this crazy cool batch of Fractal Flames.
New crisp, mesmerizing, hypnotic swirls of radiant energy in a new Fractal Flame Slide show. Feast your eyes!
The first slide of t his show, if it's the pink glass sheets of raspberry ice I see, is an incredibly delicate and beautiful piece.
When creating these fractals, it's a hit and miss thing for the most part, so I throw away many more than I keep.
But when they're good, they're really good!
A Day in the Life "A Cartoon Story" By John Pirillo Being a hero isn't all it's cracked up to be. Just ask the Comic Book Commando!
A Day in the Life
A Cartoon Story
By John Pirillo
He stood beneath the star studded skies, Cartoon to his left and a strange cactus with big brown eyes on his right that held a cactus spear. They were watching the horizon for signs of the approaching enemy. "I don't like it." Johnnie finally spoke after the building silence.
"Who does?" The gruff sounding cactus shot back in an annoyed tone. "No one likes to pull up their roots in the middle of the night to fight Karnies."
Cartoon glanced at the cactus. "Spine, they're your own people."
"Yeah. But their spines go the wrong way."
Johnnie almost laughed, but then he remembered where he wasn't. He wasn't on Earth. He was in the land of Cartoon, her domain. A world caught in a universe where all the laws of man were turned upside down by the fourth law of cartoonism, "That which man has imagined. Exists. That which man has not imagined. Exists. Put them together and you have our world. Everything is real, including a few improbabilities and impossibilities."
How in the world had he, just a simple teenager wanting to finish college, with a part time janitorial job end up being a Comic Book Commando with the power to command the powers of every comic that had ever existed? Simple. He had saved a young girl from a horrible fire and the horrible girl turned out to be Cartoon. She had triggered the magic within him that gave him the powers.
It was something no one, including himself, ever talked about, but soon he would have to. The dead kept lining up to be killed again, werewolves, vampires, things of unimaginable ferocity, prehistoric creatures...you name it...kept trying to put a nick in his shiny new armor. He really, really hated that.
Spine gave him a roguish smile. "You understand laddy?"
"Boy, do I."
Cartoon glared at him.
He shrugged. She was the Princess, not him. It was her job to smooth the feathers of the disgruntled. His job was to put them three under if they were evil and mean. Simple fact. He was the hero.
She elbowed him.
The hint of arrogance blew out of him like air from a balloon. "Why'd you do that?"
"Third Law of Cartoonism." She recited. "No hero shall gloat over the misfortune of others, nor shall he ever disagree with the Princess!"
He gave her a blank look for a moment, and then broke into laughter. Bad move. She elbowed him again. "Look, Cartoon, I'm not your subject. I'm just here to help."
Spine nodded. "He has a valid point, My Lady. Best not to upset him. We need all the heroes we can get right now. Especially now. They're coming and coming fast."
Johnnie surveyed the horizon, but the nearest of the cactus army was still about the same distance away. "If that's fast, then I'm a Westinghouse Washing Machine."
Spine gave him a suspicious look. "You're making fun of me."
"Not really." He lied, reminded again of how sharp Spine's, ah, spines were.
Cartoon gave him a knowing look, but said nothing.
"So what's the plan?" Johnnie asked Spine.
"We hurry down this hill and ambush them."
Spine began moving, a fraction of an inch at a time, as if he were attempting to move, but couldn't get past slow motion.
"Nope. Don't think so." Johnnie said.
"Then what?" Spine asked, miffed at Johnnie's refusal to run down the hill.
"How about I run down the hill and ambush them?"
Before Spine could reply, Cartoon spoke up. "Better yet, how about if we don't ambush them, but just slow them down." She bent closer and whispered in his ear. "We build a trench in their path and it'll take those years to get past it. Maybe by then they'll have changed their mind about war."
"By then we probably won't even be alive." Johnnie quipped, then instantly regretted it as he got a look from both Spine and Cartoon that boded nothing good for him.
"Okay. Your way, Princess."
Johnnie unslung his backpack and reached into it. He rifled through the comic books in their plastic protections and finally stopped on one. "Got it! Give me a minute!"
He closed his eyes and imagined his right hand changing.
"Johnnie!" Shrieked Cartoon.
He opened his eyes and his right hand had turned into an electric pump shovel capable of digging a shovel load a second. Thick wire cables ran up from his shovel hand into his wrist and arms. He grinned. "Back in a sec!"
He winked at Spine and ran down the hill. Awkwardly. Holding a comic book in one hand and a hundred pound electric pump shovel in the other made for a bit of lack of balance. He fell forward at the bottom.
"I'll help you, laddy." Spine called out from above, and fractionally moved.
"I've got it!" Johnnie said, getting back to his feet. He shoved the comic book into his rear pocket, and then turned his other hand into an electric pump shovel. He almost fell again.
"I'm almost there, laddy!" Spine hollered enthusiastically.
Johnnie looked back. Spine didn't look as if he had moved an inch yet.
Johnnie eyed the plain before him. "Mmmmm." He muttered, realizing he had a long stretch to dig, even with electric pump shovel hands. The next moment his legs turned into motorized wheels and he began moving swiftly along the stretch of land, shoveling sand and rock aside, until within a few minutes he had dug a trench about ten inches deep and about a dozen miles long. He undid his electric pump shovel hands and motorized wheel feet and turned his legs into a huge water borer. The tube struck the earth and pounded into it, directly in the trench. In about ten minutes he heard water gurgling and it began to trickle up and around his water borer legs.
He made his legs...legs again and stepped out of the gathering water.
He ran back up the hill and stopped beside Spine. "It's okay; you don't have to run anymore."
"Thanks laddy." Spine said, gasping for air. "All this physical exercise is running me down a bit."
Johnnie smiled at Cartoon.
"Let's go home." She suggested.
She closed her eyes and a bubble of light opened before them. She gently lifted Spine by his arms, which had no spines, and stepped into the light. He followed.
"Libraries closing." The Librarian told him.
He jerked awake.
His head had fallen across the book he had been reading. Arizona Desert Explained. He yawned, stretched, then went to a book stack and placed the book there.
"Find what you needed?" The Librarian asked him.
"Not really. I'll be back tomorrow."
"We open at noon tomorrow." She reminded him, pushing the stack of books on the cart they lay upon towards her desk.
"Gotcha!" He acknowledged, and then headed for the elevator.
"Strangest damn dream." He said, yawning yet again.
He got into the elevator after the doors pinged open and pressed lobby. The elevator sank slowly. "I wonder what Cartoon's world really looks like."
The doors pinged open and he stepped out into the lobby, where other students were still chatting on benches, and preparing to leave. He passed several girls he knew, waved and they waved back, and then returned to chatting. He frowned a bit. He hadn't had much of a college life lately because of the adventures he inevitably found himself falling into...sometimes literally. But he didn't resent it. It was just...he yawned again. Exhausting.
He pressed through the huge close doors and stepped out into the quad, where dozens of students were talking to each other as others skated, skateboarded, walked and ran past to their classes, homes, cars and buses.
Speaking of which.
He barely made his bus.
He went to the back and shut his eyes. He could use a bit more rest. Last night he had fought off ten dozen zombies dressed like cheerleaders. It had been hard to polish them off, because they had such cute legs.
He grinned. Better not let Cartoon hear that thought or zombies would be the last thing he'd have to dread. And with that amusing thought, he sank into a gentle sleep. As he slept, he didn't notice that the passenger just in front of him and to the right wore a hat too tall and an overcoat with strange bumps poking from it all over the place.
Spine chuckled on the seat he was upon. "There's a good laddy now. Sleep well. More work to be done on the morrow."
Some kids turned to look back at the strange voice, but all they saw was Johnnie, his mouth hanging open in sleep. They laughed, giggled and joked and turned away.
The Hound From Hell
"A Sherlock Holmes Story"
By John Pirillo
"Hickory, Dickory Doc, the Mouse Ran up the Clock. Now, come on Charlie, surely that's a contradiction of gravity as well as very bad colloquialism." Holmes said amiably to his friend, and partner in crime, Charlie Dickens, an up and coming author with no qualms about bragging about his writing prowess or insight into humanity.
Charlie, who lay on the crest of grass besides Holmes, resighted his binoculars on the second story window of the home they were going to break into. "I find it neither restrictive, nor worrisome, dear Holmes. A man may interpret the world as he likes, as long as he compromises no souls, nor enslaves or murders any."
"I admire your long views." Holmes replied, taking the binoculars from his friend, and sighting it on the first floor window. "But truly it is madness to allow just anyone to interpret the world as they like. Why criminals might come to think they could rule the world!"
Charlie turned to admire his friend, who was on the adventure with him. "Perhaps, but then we would have to find a way to stop them, wouldn't we. Imagine this, Charles Dickens and Sherlock Holmes, Crime Stoppers Extraordinaire!"
Holmes laughed. "I'd rather smoke a bloody pipe, than partner with my worst enemy."
Charlie barked with laughter. "I beat you once at chess, and now I'm your worst enemy?"
"You are until you write an apology." Holmes replied tersely.
"So what's the strategy, my good man?" Charlie asked, flipping his reddish hair aside, to reveal a freckled face with wide eyes, a thick nose, and a grin that would scare a lion.
Holmes laid down the binoculars, then steepled his hands in what was fast becoming a signature gesture for him over the years as he developed into full manhood. "I suspect the midnight approach would be best. These manners of people tend to go to sleep early."
"How can you tell they are that type? We've only been observing them for ten minutes?"
Holmes took the challenge. He pointed to the yard. "First, their laundry hangs on the lines still."
"Does not most laundry lie that way?"
"No, not of a night watchman. He usually brings them inside prior to dark. The fact that they are still wet, tells me that they allow them to dry over night, while at work."
"Then you are assuming there is no lady of the house?"
"Not at all." Again, Holmes pointed to the laundry line. "You will observe the thick trousers, the heavy suspenders, the woolen shirts and underwear with the boots drying beside them."
"Yes. That is all I see."
"Precisely." Holmes agreed. "Were there a woman of the house, she would never let him put the shorts next to the shoes on the line, for fear of them becoming discolored."
"Remarkable. What else do you see?"
"The man stands at least six feet tall. Weighs about 200 pounds, is barrel-chested, and carries quite a large belly."
Charlie shook the binoculars free of the grass, and took another look. "I see clothing, not sizes and heights."
"The clothesline is hung at approximately six feet off the ground. A shorter person could not reach it comfortably, and certainly not to place the pinches on the clothing to hold them there."
"I'll give you that. But what about the sizes?"
"See the waist of the pants and the shirt next to it?"
"The shirt is almost three times as wide as the waist, telling me that he has a large chest."
"But the belly?"
"Observe the bottom of the shirt."
"Yes, by the extra fat in the folds of his flesh when he's working."
"Quite remarkable, Holmes. My hat is off to you."
"Your hat is nowhere near you."
"Matter of speaking."
Holmes gave Charlie an amused glance. "Now as to our attack. You shall fetch the ladder we built from the spare lumber below and place it to the rear of the cottage. I shall enter via the lower window in the kitchen."
"Why that way? If he's as big as you say, he probably lives in the kitchen."
Holmes laughs. "True enough, but when he eats so much, it draws the blood from his brain and starves his body for oxygen. He grows more tired, and compounded with his loss of sleep as a night watchmen, he goes to bed early and sleeps generally from about noon to ten, when he arises to face his new night of work."
"Why those particular hours? How can you tell that by looking at his clothing or the house?"
"Because night watchmen always begin their pursuit when the second bell before midnight chimes, and before the last bell from nine finishes. It is an old tradition in this part of the country."
"It is believed that demons come out at midnight, and that angels protect men who start their work before nine, but not after ten oh one."
Holmes faces Charlie with a frown. "The demons or the tradition?"
"You tell me, since you're the criminologist."
"Very well. Demons can't survive the daylight, or the early part of night because of the moon's light...."
"But what when it's gone, hey old man?"
"The light is still there, but it is not as visible. It is reflected by the earth's atmosphere."
"I see. And the tradition?"
"Begun when London was still a rundown series of quickly built huts near the Thames."
"So you admit that the tradition could be flawed!"
"Not at all, Charlie. Traditions always have their roots in a truth, even if it is fantastical."
The sound of a bell ringing began from the distance.
Holmes rolled over and cupped his hands beneath his head, then closed his eyes.
"What are you doing now?"
"Getting some sleep. The night watchmen will rise just after ten, secure his clothing, then return inside to eat and leave for his job. We will break in shortly after that, but not at midnight, or after."
"Practical. Good night, Mister Dickens!"
"Goodnight, Mister Holmes."
Charlie rolled over and relaxed as well, but could not sleep, because of all the avenues of pursuit his mind was traversing at that time. What if the guard did not leave at the appropriate time? Their bet had been to secure the item before Midnight and return it by dawn before he returned. The challenge was amusing at best, but worried him anyway, as most challenges they had received so far had cost them both many hours of slavish studies by their professor, who hated it when they made their adventures and came back with naught to share.
"One thing bothers me, Holmes."
"If the night watchman leaves his clothing out to dry all night while he works, why would he come outside to retrieve them then?"
"Another tradition." Holmes yawned. "One never leaves one private wears for thieves to discover and take."
"But he can't watch them all the time!" Charlie insisted.
"Did you not observe the long stretches of brown near the poles for the clothing?"
Charlie stiffened. "Dear lord, we're going to break into a home with a hound?"
Holmes began to snore.
Charlie lay there, pondering all the imponderables, and then fell asleep quite by accident. When he awoke, Holmes was up already and rubbing his hands together vigorously to warm them. The moon was high overhead.
"Ready, my good man?"
"Rather, but the hound?"
"How so, if it is a guard dog?"
Holmes smiled, and revealed a small vial which he uncapped to allow Charlie to smell it. Charlie did so, making a face. "You devil you!"
"Compliments will get you nowhere."
"Then lets at it!"
They both shrugged back into their proper cloaks, and then crept down the rise to the cottage.
When they returned to the campus the next morning to reveal the item they had captured from their adventure, the Professor gave them both a huge smile. "And everything went perfectly?"
"Yes, except the part where the hound tore the bottom of my britches off." Charlie said angrily, giving Holmes a scowl.
The Professor eyed Holmes questioningly. "It's really quite elementary. Mister Dickens here made a common mistake."
"To eat that horrible cheese that smells like rotting corpses."
"I do not!" Charlie protested, and then he simmered down. "Well, maybe a little."
"Hounds have a superlative sense of smell, and once Charlie had descended into the home from the second floor, even though he was as quiet as a mouse, his odor preceded him."
"Then why didn't you tell me I smelled so?" Charlie protested angrily, his face turning crimson red.
The Professor laughed, and then put a hand on Charlie's shoulder to calm him down. "You see, I've played a bit of a trick on you, Mister Dickens. My father has trained his dog to hate that odor, and when I persuaded you to eat that sandwich I had made of it, I knew full well you would be caught."
"I could have lost more than my britches!" Charlie protested.
"Not at all." A very large man said, entering the classroom from the Professor's office. "I was watching the entire time."
Charlie glared at Holmes. "You knew this was going to happen?"
"The item we were sent to steal was an apple from the kitchen table, but the item I was sent to retrieve was your pride."
Charlie's face reddened. "I should challenge you to a duel for this insult to my honor!"
Holmes shrugged. "You would lose."
"I am a crack shot."
"But you forget one thing."
"And that is?"
"Without this night, you would have no material for your thesis, which I might add, is long overdue." The Professor jumped in.
Charlie sighed. "I can't win this battle."
"Nor should you." Holmes told him with a smile. "If we are to become partners in crime, then we must also be able to take our lumps, as well as our prizes."
Charlie nodded, but his mind was elsewhere. He suddenly had this great idea for a story. About a man who gives up everything, his kingdom, his way of life, even his wife, to learn what a poor man must experience.
Charlie brightened. "I just had this brilliant idea for a novel. I shall call it the Hound of the Baskervilles. About a man who gives up everything, and then is murdered."
"Sounds like a tale of horror." The Professor said with a grin.
"It shall be a hound from hell like the one that nipped my behind."
The Professor's father laughed, and then clapped his hand. A dog barked and came running from the office. It was the hound. Its ears shot straight up as Charlie backed away.
The Professor glanced at Holmes. "You put the cheese in his pocket?"
Holmes said nothing.
Charlie screamed like a madman and ran for his life as the hound bounded after him.
"He shall never forgive you for this." The Professor told Holmes.
"Perhaps, but now he shall have an even better story to tell."
"How to avoid being eaten by a hunting hound."
They both broke into laughter.
Holmes nodded to the Professor's father. "I'd better catch the two of them, before the hound does put an end to his life."
"Don't worry, lad." The father said. "That hound couldn't harm a fly!"
"HOLMES!" Charlie's word of terror shot into the room.
All the men ran outside and saw Charlie on the grass, and the hound licking his face vigorously, while fellow students laughed and laughed.
This image is courtesy of ENRIQUE PARIETTI
from his 3D Portfolio.
The Second Magic
"A Young King Arthur Story"
By John Pirillo
“There was a time of magic when hearts were full of joy, and the skies filled with light. That is no more. But it will come again during the time of the Second Magic, which will be even more powerful than the first, because it will be driven by the power of love and reason.” -- Merlin
The Second Age of Magic began simply. A small child wanted something and he got it. Wendell Wimple lived in a small cottage in a village near Snowden, the eastern portion of Westmere, a growing town of abundance and industry. The village was named Caer Mare, because it was a town of mostly graveyards, and had built its industry on serving the living through serving their dead.
Wendell was not a smart child particularly, nor was he a town idiot, driven to do things because he knew no better and never would. No, he was just a simple baker’s son, who had a dream. To become a creature of magic.
So he began as all such things do with the simplest of magic. He got up that morning from his cot of straw and linen to stretch. His tiny legs barely touched the floor, even as close as his mattress was to it. He set his feet down on the cold dirt of the floor and immediately brought them back up, hugging his legs to his chest. “How I wish that every poor child had shoes to protect them from the cold!”
And that day all across the world, starting from Caer Mare every single poor child in the world woke up to a wonderful, brand new set of shoes beside their beds. No child from that moment on would need to touch the floor of their cold abodes and freeze, or whimper from the cold there.
“That sounds like a lot of nonsense.” Arthur said to Merlin, as he washed his cloak in the fresh stream pouring down from the Swords into the valley near his Crystal Caves.
Merlin winked at Arthur. “Perhaps. But it does explain how it all began.”
“So you’re telling me that this is the second magic, which you do?”
Merlin laughed, bringing his cloak up for air, and then tossing it across a broad rock to dry upon. The noonday sun was not hot, but warm enough to dry the cloak and allow seepage of comfort into his limbs as he stretched out on the grassy sward beside the stream and Arthur.
Merlin looked at his brown cloak, then at his own green pants and shirt, and then at the green staff…evergreen staff that never aged…that held his magic at times. “No, there is no second magic for me. No longer. Nor a first.” He added, seeing Arthur about to jump on his words.
“Then if not first or second, what kind is it?”
“Practical.” Merlin said, his eyes crinkling in that attitude of humor and warmth they were wont to do.
Arthur sighed, not sure he would ever get a straight answer from the wizard. “Okay. Let me rephrase my question.”
“What is practical?”
Merlin rose and eyed a stack of clothing that lay near the stream. His and Arthur’s. “Practical is you finishing the wash before it gets too cool to dry them.”
And without further word, but lots of smile etching lines in his handsome face, he set back to the Crystal Cave to work on a project he had been secretly designing for over a month now.
Arthur shrugged. “Whatever!”
He got up and began washing the pants at the top of the heap. His own. They were quite dirty because he had been training with the knights the day before and had slipped and fallen into the pig’s mud they were working in. Each day the Sergeant took them to another potential..as he called it…battlefield where they could simulate real world fighting conditions.
Arthur thought it more likely the man was just torturing them for the fun of it, since he worked for the Dark Queen. But then he shook his head. No, the man had no hint of evil about him, just a gruffness that enfolded a kind heart. Many a time the man had secretly given Arthur lessons and advice when he needed it, so he wouldn’t disappoint Uther or Morgana. Arthur was grateful for that.
He finished the pants, laid them beside Merlin’s cloak to dry, then thought about that morning.
“Har right!” Sergeant had told the men. “Today we pretend we’re fighting a dragon.”
One of the knights, a new one, barely tall enough to slip into his armor and carry it, made the mistake of asking why. “Why, sir?”
The Sarge had swung on the newbie and touched his armored chest with the tip of his mace, which he preferred over a sword. “Because when you meet one, you’re only going to get one chance to win.”
Then he tipped the young man with the mace, and sent him flying backwards to land in a swill made by the local swine. Everyone had broken into laughter, except for Arthur, who had rushed to help him regain his feet. The act had not been lost by the Sarge or the others, who stopped laughing, and suddenly got cases of conscience.
Everyone froze as two dark shadows swung across the group. Sarge turned, a scowl turning to a smile, as he faced Morgana and Uther on their steeds. He bowed. The knights fell to a knee and bowed in that manner.
Morgana gave the Sarge an icy smile. “Some men never get even one chance to defeat a dragon, let alone two!” She said with a hint of menace.
Uther touched her right wrist. “Dear Morgana, surely you can talk to the men in a more queenly fashion.”
Arthur waited for the explosion. It didn’t take long.
She spun on Uther, causing him to jerk in panic. A look neither the King’s men or Morgana’s had seen before. It quickly vanished, as she began to reprimand him. “I shall speak to them as I shall speak to them. These…are my men. And as such, they will whither where I want and when I want.”
Uther started to respond, then withered beneath her harsh glance.
The knights all pretended to be doing something else while the fight continued. Finally, Arthur did a remarkably stupid thing.
“Your majesties!” He spoke up.
They both fixed angry glares upon him. “I have found a new material for the summer cloaks you’ve been asking me for.”
Both continued to glare at him.
Arthur felt his stomach sink with his heart, and then said. “They are made of dragon silk I got from the fairies in the Golden Forest.”
Arthur was taking a chance letting out that information, but he hoped for them both to be so lost in their emotions, so as not to notice the extra bit of information he had given them. That he worked with magic and dragons.
Uther’s face lit up, as did Morganas. “When shall we have them, good man?”
Arthur stood up and half bowed. “When so shall I come hither to your castle?”
Morgana clapped her hands together in glee. “Why at once, good Arthur.”
She and Uther turned their mounts and rode back towards the castle.
Arthur stood there a moment, thinking he had been dismissed, then felt the tip of the Sarge’s mace on his behind.
“If you don’t run like the wind to get those cloaks, and catch them soon after they reach the castle, it’ll be yourself we’ll be chasing with our swords and they with their magic!”
Arthur took the cue and ran.
Which was not easy with a full coat of armor about you
But as he ran, he felt his feet grow lighter. And lighter yet again.
He looked back once and saw all the Knights laughing, but gratitude was in their faces. He had saved them.
Arthur finished washing the last of the laundry, and then sat next to the stone, allowing the heat building up within it, to warm his own water soaked hands and arms. His feet were wet as well as his britches.
He began to think as he lay there, that maybe, just maybe he knew what the second magic was.
Then he fell into a deep sleep, borne away on the wings of angels and dreams yet to be.
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