Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Best Internet Toy Ever

(SLOW BROWSER WARNING: image-heavy post.)

I'm not quite sure how to explain the site Dreamlines. The basic idea is that you go to the site, enter a word, phrase (in quotes) or group of (not necessarily related) words, and the Java applet searches for those words on-line, yielding a batch of photos. Then, the applet sort of paints picture over picture in a way I don't quite understand. (Something of an explanation of how this is done can be found here.)

The resulting images tend to be sort of abstract expressionist.

Anyway. So by way of demonstration, I've spent way too much time with Dreamlines generating images using the names of various garden blogs. The results are below. It's worth pausing to note six things:

1) just because it's the name of your blog doesn't mean that the pictures that come up will necessarily be your pictures.
2) the fact that I didn't include a picture from your blog doesn't mean that I don't like your blog or think you're a worthwhile person. Some of the attempts I made didn't generate any pictures I was happy with, some perfectly worthy blogs may not have happened to come to mind when I was playing around with this, etc. And it's not like you can't try it for yourself anyway.
3) it is not necessary that you like the image I came up with for your blog. My feelings will not be hurt. I only had just so much to do with making it in the first place.
4) all images can be opened slightly larger in a separate window, which will make them less blurry.
5) the blog name is below the picture. If the search phrase differs from the name of the blog, I've added it in parentheses.
6) I found this via

Shirley Bovshow's Edenmakers Blog ("Edenmakers Blog")

Rock Paper Lizard

Soliloquy (Soliloquy "Nancy J. Bond")

dAmN pLaNtS

We're Going to Need a Bigger Pot

Roses in Gardens

A Yard in Fort Pierce

Water When Dry

Another Yard in Fort Pierce

Faire Garden ("Faire Garden" Frances)

Zanthan Gardens

Garden Rant

Aunt Debbi's Garden

Pleasant Hill Rambles

Plants are the Strangest People

Tales From the Microbial Laboratory

Plant Crazy ("Plant Crazy" Annah Jordan)

Mr. Brown Thumb

The Deep Middle

Wicked Gardener

Esther in the Garden

May Dreams Gardens

An Iowa Garden

So whose blog would you want hanging on your wall? (Me? I'm torn between Wicked Gardener's and Shirley Bovshow's.)


Frances, said...

Hi Mr. S., that was pretty fascinating stuff. Thanks for including me. I have often wondered what it meant on sitemeter that people came to visit me from searching for an image rather than a topic. It seems about half do that. I agree with your choices, both are lovely but what was the photo on wicked's that made those black circular scribbles? Also, how do you have that much time to devote to this sort of endeavor? ;->

mr_subjunctive said...

I don't know, on the black scribbles on WG's picture: I ran it a couple times to see if I could get an image with the face but without the scribbles, and it didn't work, so I eventually decided that the black scribbles were some kind of Necessary Artistic Statement and needed to be there.

How do I have this kind of time? Um. Well, I somehow managed to write about a week's worth of posts ahead of time about a week ago, and then I got all the plants watered last Tuesday or Wednesday, and I was kind of at loose ends, so . . . playing with the internet. Also I bought plants, but that really shouldn't be a surprise. I don't know how I managed to write that much and water that much; I'm very behind on both counts now.

Carol Michel said...

I'll have to check that site out, although, is it addictive? It looks like it, so I'll be careful. I do like a lot of green, so I'll stick with the picture you made for May Dreams Gardens, since it does have a lot of green in it!

Carol, May Dreams Gardens

VP said...

Ooooooh, that likes like just the right kind of site for a rainy day!

And probably much more addictive than Wordle...

VP said...

Excuse my ignorance - how did you manage to do the screen capture bit?

Jared said...

These are gorgeous! Between this and Wordle I'm going to be engaged in a lot of noodling! Thanks, Mr. S.

Anonymous said...

How interesting. Thanks for sharing. I'll have to try it myself.

I like The Wicked Gardener, May Dreams Garden, and Esther in the Garden. Mine is all blotchy and bland.

Can one narrow the search? Like to Zanthan Gardens Oxblood Lilies?

Anonymous said...

How very cool. Thank you so much for including me. This abstract is far superior to my awful photography.

Jared said...

Amazing. When I entered my first and last name and dreamlined it, I got Jesus knocking at the door . . . literally. Hmm.

Lucy Corrander said...

Well, this is interesting!

Thanks for letting me know.

I hope it's alright to reply on ESTHER'S behalf - I've been trying to see these images through her eyes.

While I think the one for ESTHER IN THE GARDEN is quite pretty, I think Esther herself would say it's the most boring one there!

'Water When Dry' isn't too dissimilar but it's got much more going for it and may well be my favourite - whereas I think Esther would probably go for 'dAmn pLanNts' and 'We're Going to Need a Bigger Pot' (depending on the day of the week).

'Garden Rant' is very cheerful but would be more attractive if it didn't have the red sausage dipping down from the sky - and yours has lovely colours . . . if only there weren't quite so many pink bits!

An 'Iowa Garden' would look very nice on my walls - I like white on white. Shame it's not a 'real' painting!

It's interesting how some of them look like impressionist originals. (Yours is like a field of flowers.)

Frances even has a flower dominating the representation of 'Faire Garden' - which seems very appropriate.

Oh dear . . . now I'm going for 'A Yard in Fort Pierce'.

. . . very involvement making post with a lot of 'drawing in-ness' to it!

I think I'll find the site myself and try LOOSE AND LEAFY and PICTURES JUST PICTURES .

Lucy Corrander

Benjamin Vogt said...

Soliloquy would look nice on my walls, I think. Not my blog. In fact, I don't like mine at all. Too dark and plain. You know what? I'm actually freaking insulted by this, and by your posting it. I demand retribution. Oh, I'm talking to my lawyer--gonna have a field day with you, I tell ya.

Hugh Griffith said...

Very fun blog, Mr. S!

mr_subjunctive said...


Yes, it's potentially addictive, though it might look worse than it is: at any given moment it'll only cycle through just so many pictures and then it repeats itself. So then you have to do another search if you want a new batch of pictures.


I use Irfanview for, like, everything image-related. It has a feature where you can do a full screen capture of whatever you're looking at; I'll elaborate if you're interested.

mss @ zanthan gardens:


Everyone's a critic.

You'd probably have liked one of the other ones for ZG better. Partly I was trying to get images that were as different from one another as possible, hence the sort of brooding Mr. Brown Thumb, the minimalist Esther in the Garden, the [apparently] offensive The Deep Middle, and so forth. The other two options I came up with for yours were more or less in the same vein as PATSP or May Dreams Gardens: lots of miscellaneous green with smaller patches of brighter colors. Also I think one of yours had a staircase. Or maybe a stack of blocks.

And yes, you can put in however many words you want, though it's not always the case that a search will result in hits.


Now, now. There'd be no abstract without your awful photography. So it can't be that terrible.


Well, that's kind of alarming.

lucy corrander:

There was another EITG picture that I almost used; I'm not sure what it was of. Lots of greenish heart shapes laying sideways. I may post it eventually.

I was also really fond of "Water When Dry."

I see "Garden Rant's" picture as a garden gnome sitting on something (a stump?), in which case the red thing is his/r big conical hat.

Perhaps I should post some of the rejected pictures, just to do it. Some of them were nice. And now that I've described the reclining green hearts, I'm sure there will be curiosity.

benjamin vogt:

Yes. Well. Erm.

MrBrownThumb said...

Very nice.

I wonder what the original images were? As I was looking at them I was trying to figure out what they looked like to me.

Some of my faves:

Rock Paper Lizard looks like one of the tortured souls of the Sistine Chapel.

Soliloquy looks like a dead baby bird in the grass.

I don't know what Damn Plants looks like but it fits with the name and color scheme of the blog.

Garden Rant looks like a Koi falling onto a mama and baby Wooly Mammoth as they graze a prairie with snow caped mountains in the background.

Plant Crazy looks like an exploding apple on a butcher block.

Mine looks like some creatures from the bottom of the ocean.

The Deep Middle looks like a scene from 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Wicked Gardener looks like an interior of a living room with a black cat with a white underside laying across the back of a green couch.

I did the wordle one for my blog but it looks depressing. I need to add some "happy" words to my blog.

Lucy Corrander said...

Mr Subjunctive - it was only when I went to Dreamlines I realised you can sort of choose which image to use.

I sat very patiently while a whole load of things went by. Some I liked. Some I didn't. So, there I was, expecting it all to come to some kind of resolution - when it just started again.

(For 'Pictures Just Pictures' it started very simply with a man driving a green dinosaur and that was what I liked best. I got bored watching 'Loose and Leafy'.)

But, now I know you can choose from a range of images, I do hope you post some more - for much more of 'you' is there than at first I realised and what you didn't like will be as interesting to see as what you did!


VP said...

Yes please and thanks :)

Frances, said...

Apparently we are now hooked and you can reel us in at your leisure. Yes, we want more!

Shirley Bovshow "EdenMaker" said...

How exciting. thanks for thinking of my blog. I like the color in your blog abstract.

Wicked Gardener said...

Edenmakers Blog – Moody Monet

Damn Plants & Water When Dry – Totally Jackson Pollock

A Yard in Fort Pierce – A romantic Gustav Kmlit

Pleasant Hill Rambles –Right out of Lascaux

The Deep Middle – Techno O’Keeffe

Mine – Chagall on acid (I love the green devil!)

I’m still working on the others. Thanks for sharing your artistic endeavors!

Wicked Gardener said...

Edenmakers Blog – Moody Monet

Damn Plants & Water When Dry – Totally Jackson Pollock

A Yard in Fort Pierce – A romantic Gustav Kmlit

Pleasant Hill Rambles –Right out of Lascaux

The Deep Middle – Techno O’Keeffe

Mine – Chagall on acid (I love the green devil!)

I’m still working on the others. Thanks for sharing your artistic endeavors!

brandank said...

Wow, this was a very interesting post Mr. S, Thanks for the include on this 1. Now if I only had a nice printer I think 1/2 of these would be hanging up right now! Thanks for enlighting us on this sweet tool!

lisa said...

Very cool! I found your blog from a comment you left at another blog...I like those pictures!

Nancy J. Bond said...

I love my "soliloquy" image and WOW, what fun! Thanks for bringing this to our attention. :)

Tracy said...

Where do you fins this stuff?? This is the coolest link I have seen in a while.....thanks for sharing. I have missed everyone's blogs so much, I can't wait to jump right back into it. I wonder what my perfect dream would look like.....I may have to play with this site for a while.

Aiyana said...

Fascinating program. I came back from my art retreat and saw your comment about this post, and I could have saved a lot of money on art classes and just used Irfanview to make art!