Melli’s ABC Challenge and other things I see in odd places

Do you remember the Magic Eye craze several years ago: a picture of squiggly lines or confused images which didn’t make sense, but if you stared at it in just the right way, you’d see a 3D image.

I could never make those things work.

But we had wallpaper in our bedroom and bathroom made up of swirly images that, if I stared off into space for a while, thinking of something else, suddenly I’d see a picture take shape in the wallpaper.

I guess you could call it an optical illusion, or sometimes it is the optical version of a homonym — a shape or object that can look like several different objects. There probably is an official word for such things.

That is kind of the premise behind Melli‘s ABC challenge. We’re supposed to find everyday objects that resemble letters of the alphabet, but we’re not to put something together to make the shape, and we’re not supposed to photograph letters themselves in a sign. We’re taking two letters at a time, and this week we’re looking for I and J. But along with this challenge I wanted to share some other optical homonyms. I am saving the best for last!

First my I and J. You can see straight lines that could be used for an I everywhere, but I really wanted to find something with the top and bottom crossbar (I would have loved to have found a lower case i — I’ll be interested to see if any of the other participants did.) The closest I could come is this — the side of the CD holder on the computer desk.

ABC Challenge: I

The J I noticed a while back: this is a hook outside which will support hanging plants when the weather gets consistently warmer.

ABC Challenge: J

Some years back when this piano was new, the one thing I didn’t like about it was that I thought the book support on it looked like kidneys:

Piano book support

Then a friend pointed out that it also looked like an insect’s eyes or twin embryos. I don’t know if that made me like it any better, but it was interesting!

Our “sunroom” has wooden paneling, and right above the computer desk is what looks to me like an eye:

"Eye" in the paneling

Also on the ceiling of this room is what looks to me like an animal’s face. It’s a high ceiling and I can’t get quite close enough to get a good picture of it, but here’s the best:

"Face" in the paneling

In real life it does look like a 3D image: it looks like it is emerging from the paneling.

For the record, I really don’t like Southwest-style decorating, either the color or the shapes (no offense to those who do), but other room renovations have taken precedence over this one, and we just haven’t gotten to it yet. This long shape looks like some kind of bug to me:

Southwest wallpaper

And this looks like a man with a Mohawk wearing a gray suit:

Wallpaper that looks like a man with a mohawk in a grey suit

Finally, our church has a “ladies’ lounge” connected to the restroom.

Ladies' lounge

The wallpaper is made of these white-on-white urns or vases with bouquets and garlands of flowers:

Wallpaper urn and garlands

But I noticed one day that from across the room it looked like a series of Gene Shalit faces, complete with bow tie:

Wallpaper that looks like Gene Shalit faces

Don’t you think?


(For my international readers, Gene Shalit is a book and film critic whose trademark look includes bushy hair and a bow tie.)

20 thoughts on “Melli’s ABC Challenge and other things I see in odd places

  1. The Gene Shalit faces cracked me up! LOL It’s been a long time since I’ve stared at a wall long enough to see faces in it, but I used to see faces in patterns or wood like you’ve shown here. My husband never could see them! 😉

    • I was googling whether or not Gene Shalit was still alive (he is). I stumbled upon the Gene Shalit wallpaper on this page. That’s hilarious. I’d like to get some for my family room.

  2. I loved Magic Eye. It took me forever to learn how to envision what I was supposed to see but then it became addicting. 🙂

    You found a perfect big chunky I! The J is perfect as well.

    Your other images are awesome! Everything about the piano book support is spot on.
    Lots of eyes in Knotty Pine paneling. I must say that face is rather ghostly however. Gives me shivers.
    The southwest image reminds of beetles and I laughed at the mohawk man.
    Gene Shalit – haven’t thought of him in ages and wasn’t sure where you were going with the wallpaper but as soon as you mentioned him I saw him there – without seeing his photo. I laughed at loud at that one!

    I enjoyed this post immensely – give us more – please!!

  3. It took me forever to figure out Magic Eye and then I enjoyed it very much!!
    Enjoyed your post and your shots too, very interesting perspectives and thoughts!
    I found my letters this week 🙂

  4. Oh, I can’t stop laughing! These are GREAT.

    BTW, if you haven’t read Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s ‘The Yellow Wallpaper,’ you need to… The etext is even online.


  5. I so loved this post. You did good with the letters. And the kidneys…yes…great stuff. I do the same thing. I was sitting on the throne one morning and I saw a face in the wallpaper!!! Eerie, but I saw it none the less….and it’s still watching me now each and every time I go in there!!

    Mine are posted.

  6. You have seriously got me cracking up!
    I saw twin embryos too.
    We had similar paper in our church bathroom, but ours really looked demonic! Not conducive to worship that’s for sure.

  7. I never DID figure out the magic eye! I have never been able to see anything in those things! They drove me nuts trying though.

    Both of your alphabet letter are wonderful — I’m not sure I would have spotted that I! I keep thinking there MUST be Is (looks like is) around my house that I’m not seeing too.

    But I am truly LOVING your optical homonyms this week! I do this ALL the time! I see things that aren’t (or maybe they are) there! LOL! I definitely see everything you see in your stuff — except the bug. I didn’t see the bug! I LIKE the thought of the piano book rest being twin embryos! And I definitely DO see Gene Shalit! LOL!

    Great eye Barb!

  8. I’m so glad to know there are other insane (oops, I meant interesting) people out there like me. At our other house, there were familiar faces and shapes on every closet or wood piece. Once I saw that pattern/face, I saw it every time!

    Fun post!

  9. Gene Shalit! That cracked me up! Excellent Alphabet post. You did see my uppercase I with the cross pieces, yes? You did good with your’s, too. I saw it once you pictured it, but I am not certain I would have noticed it in on my own.

  10. OK, Barbara, you have definitely spent too much time in the bathroom lounge! 🙂 I will never be able to go in there now without seeing Gene Shallit! You realize we really date ourselves by knowing who the guy even is!

  11. Well, you must have been listening to my daughter and I trying to figure out the names of those books. Funny that you would post on that the same week were tearing our hair out trying to remember.

    Too funny about Gene Shallit images in the wallpaper. I can see a woman with long hair and her bangs covering one eye in my mother’s bathroom tile when it’s really a bud of a flower. Strange how that happens. And your one picute of paneling actually looks like an alien.

  12. Pingback: Blog year in review: « Stray Thoughts

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