Friday, May 30

Google's New Favicon.

I see that Google has a snazzy new favicon. If you don't know what a favicon is, it's the miniature (16x16 pixels to be precise), customizable logo right in front of the site name in your bookmarks (favorites), or along the bookmark toolbar above the main window if you use that. Even shortcuts from the Windows quick-launch area if you use that! Not sure about the docks in OS X or Vista - whether they use the custom site icon or the generic browser icon.

"Fav(orites)icon" - Get it?

Anyways, it looks like this (old and new comparison):

Much more modern aesthetic (some would even say Apple-esque) than the old ugly-but-trusty icon, though it now no longer dovetails in with Google's logo and homely-but-friendly home page aesthetic. I wonder: Is this a sign of bigger changes to come regarding Google's branding design? Note the other "Google sites" of importance - Gmail, Docs, Groups, Calendar, Picasa, and so on - all have their own unique favicons as well. These are nothing new, but the look of the main homepage and its icon is the company's most identifiable asset, like Mickey Mouse for Disney or the bitten Apple for, er, Apple. Or the big steaming turd for Microsoft.

Ok, so this was one of the more pointless blog entries I've done. Hey, I'm only human. Besides, as an amateur graphic designer and typographer, I notice these things.

Wednesday, May 28

Dark shines a light on the light.

I am currently listening to extremely dark music that is intelligent and contains a lucid philosophy or style-mode which sets it apart from the typical brainless metal/goth/industrial and what have you. To wit: Coil, Tool, A Perfect Circle, Swans, Nine Inch Nails, Joy Division, Nico, Einstürzende Neubauten and onwards into the ever-downward spiral. Rather than being a way of keeping myself down, as it might seem, it is a comfort to me that there are other intelligent beings on this earth who see beauty in sadness as the balance to emptiness in joy, and do not shy away from profound philosophical questions in their music. Compare this to most bands who get airplay now, even so-called alternative fare soothingly wafting around the comfy chairs at Starbucks, and you'll see what I mean. I'm not one to shy away from much (except mind-altering drugs which in your opinion may be my fatal flaw or an acceptable stance given my history with them, even as determined as I was to have a transcendently positive experience). Peering over that edge seems to be built into my essential humours (we now call them genes) and no matter what kind of noble life I try to lead, and show decency to others, I fall under the inescapable curse of my very nature again and again.

In trying to understand this, I am trying to understand my allure to the existentialist, even nihilistic side of music and poetry. I think I've moved beyond the age of glamorizing it, thinking it's cool to be dark, or of thinking it's something which is wholly compatible with self-growth or life in general. It explains life, but like an acid released when the scroll is read, it destroys it too. Nevertheless I will never be satisfied with insubstantial pop or feel-good folk, country, or pub-rock (usually rife with covers tracks) that infest the world from Coldplay on down to David Gray, to cutesy Nashville punsters and who have their stupid material written for them and only provide a voice and a face to the public. People who don't write what they perform and play their own instruments make me angry. There is always time to learn and to become whole. True explorational people (artists we usually call them) extend as far as they can go, into artwork, video, design, installations... always searching for a better way to put across what is in their minds and thus both release the bottled demon and the genie who grants us all our wishes. It is a no-compromise approach to existence, rushed headlong into by the bravest amongst us, the Nick Caves, Ian Curtis's, Michael Giras, Leonard Cohens and many others.

All the rest of music is an exercise in self-congratulations, laziness of intellect, or a desire to find safety inside a created nest, which Buddhism points out is a false safety. Only by constantly exposing yourself to that which you don't understand and oftentimes frightens you will you learn gradually to lose your fear of all things. All people on this earth are human, and so work and play at the level of you and me. They are not demons or angels. What is there to fear from someone who is classified in the same biological taxon as you? Nothing. Other minds may present startling ideas that shake you up and take some time before finding their place in your own world view, and indeed your world view may alter in some ways to accommodate new truths. Traveling - physically or mentally - makes one wiser but less naively happy. Knowledge is the birthright of every being born on this earth, and in the end by knowing all extremes, it begins to become possible to define the topology of not only human consciousness but reality itself. To shun one half for the other leads to false happiness; which is to say, suffering.

And transcending this everyday suffering for a new, holistic and balanced view of nature is a goal of mine, and millions of other searchers besides. I am of the opinion darkness can only exist with light, evil with good, and that these dualities define the endless cycle of being. To cling to one and fear the other gets you nowhere but more and more neurotic. Might as well open your eyes to the truth, because whether you look or not, it's there.

Saturday, May 24


The world hasn't heard much from Helen Folasade Adu in recent years. Her last album came out in 2002 and a concert tour followed shortly thereafter. Since then it's been rumored she married a Jamaican man and had a child, but she has not been a public figure.

With one small exception. In recognition of the genocide occurring in Darfur, which was then something many were not aware of, in 2004 she wrote a song called "Mum," which has a title that can be interpreted two ways - it's at once about the recent passing of her mother (and the brief lyrics reflect that), but it also strikes me as meaning the world has kept "mum" about this tragedy in The Sudan. After all, it's only Arabs killing Blacks.

This song was very hard to find for years, I've spent several years myself trying to track it down as it was only played live as part of a benefit concert in 2005 and then including on a benefit album in 2006 along with songs from other artists. And no, it wasn't included on the much-hyped Imagine: The Campaign To Save Darfur album (any "exclusive" regional version), which in the end seemed a very pretentious title for an album and one which put Yoko Ono back in the spotlight for another 15 minutes and made her a lot more money through exposure of a new generation to her husband's work, though the proceeds from the actual benefit albums went somewhere to help Darfur, I guess. Amnesty International? It all faded so quickly here in the West. What was the last anyone heard about that benefit campaign or the people it was supposed to save? Or about the conflict in Darfur at all? No, we're back to watching American Idol after caring briefly.

Anyways, Sade quietly recorded this song and I finally got hold of both the lyrics and a couple of sites hosting a video made for it, though it does not feature the singer herself. It's a simple, haunting, and beautiful song. What else did you expect?

Click here for a bigger, better video clip.



These eyes, they are the witnesses
They need no other reasons to cry
And now that they are a river
They will never run dry
They cut you down
Now night is endless
And I wait for morning to come
Lying there helpless
You saw me lose you, mum
And you were the strongest tree
Falling, watching me
The cold eyes of hatred showing you no mercy
So in this darkness, the place I dwell
In it is the darkest well
And as my arms begin to mend
They only wish
To hold you again

Wednesday, May 21

Fly On The Windscreen.
(Martin L. Gore)

Death is everywhere.
There are flies on the windscreen, for a start.
Reminding us, we could be torn apart.

Death is everywhere.
There are lambs for the slaughter, waiting to die.
And I can sense the hours slipping by.

Death is everywhere.
The more I look, the more I see.
The more I feel a sense of urgency.

Come here.
Kiss me.

Come here.
Kiss me.

Saturday, May 17

I have a dream oh
But when will I, when will I
I do have a dream
But oh when will it ever come true?

When will I see her, talk to her
Hear from her more than I do?
When will it be just you and I
And the night sky,
And the good side of life
For me and you?

I have a dream, oh
When will it ever come true?
I just want to be with you.
Don't paint me with a brush
That does me no justice.

(image from Man In The Moon in the public domain)

Saturday, May 10

A Cascade of Flowers
(and other things)


This can't be what life's about
I felt that at such an early age
Our modern "progress" feels so empty
Just take a look at spiritual traditions
The Perennial Philosophy of the world
Existing in pockets of peoples not yet indoctrinated
Carved into the stone remnants of those who died out
And you will see a life path more fulfilling
Than computer chips, warheads, and plastic dolls
And landfills as catch-me-alls
You will see mathematical harmony,
Spiritual harmony, emotional tranquility
A teaching of all things commensurate with their worth
Not a jumble of ancestor worship or cults with
Animals headed gods leading legions of delusional souls,
No, it is we who are deluded, and cannot see past pure
Materialism into the heart of the living world.
being cool

high school
never did learn those
social skills
the harder you try the less cool
you are, it's counterintuitive
yet some of the people got it
I had the perfectly cool friend
who seemed well beyond us in age
a splash of european blond hair
always had money in his wallet
field trip, a time
for us to show our individuality
I'm trying too hard as usual
to get the pretty girl,
the smart girl, the girl that has
perfect genes just like him
he's lying back with a stick of
grass in his teeth, she's
asking me about galaxies
but her eyes are elsewhere
I'm auxiliary sort of
like james dean's young greek
foil in rebel without a cause
i say all the right things
to never win anything I am after

Friday, May 9


Stranger Than Kindness.

Stranger than kindness
Bottled light from hotels
Spilling everything
Wet hand from the volcano
Sobers your skin
Stranger than kindness
You caress yourself
And grind my soft cold bones below
Your map of desire
Burned in your flesh
Even a fool can come
A strange lit stair
And find a rope hanging there
Stranger than kindness
Keys rain like heaven's hair
There is no home there is no bread
We sit at the gate and scratch
The gaunt fruit of passion
Dies in the light
Stranger than kindness
Your sleeping hands journey
They loiter
Stranger than kindness
You hold me so carelessly close
Tell me I'm dirty
I'm a stranger...
I'm a stranger...
I'm a stranger... to kindness.

Thursday, May 8

self portrait

Wednesday, May 7

Mummy went away.

My dear I don't know what to do.
Every vein was cold and blue, till
Mummy went away,
She went away.

Then the old world came back to play, so tired
was I of this ritualized hell, the same four
walls and ceiling, two cats that cry for feeding
I opened up my bottle by closing the one I was given
and for three or four days descended. Scared but living
and whenever I got most afraid, that's when I became
the most brave; it was magical, it still is
but I'm so cold that I'm burning through my skin
just wanted to feel again, this is so cathartic
crying at every pinprick of emotional garbage
and notes of songs raze the mountains that bound me
and motes of dust blaze like meteors all around me
the wide angled world is so much larger than life
and just a little more than disorienting.
I see endless black voids between my thoughts
where I have to tiptoe lightly, and the lattice
upon which I walk sears stripes of coal and goldleaf into
the bottoms of my feet and I can't hear a drop of sound
without convulsing and sensing the whole of it surround me
breaking me down and then the entire thing pulses
and I'm wound into harsh tears that hurt with such pleasure
something like steel wire and wide open, hopeful eyes
no morphine trance anymore to keep them shut tight
no draperied spaces where I walk - the sun is full
even in the middle of the night, but I'm cold and
I can't stop shaking. Because I'm lucid now, I'm out,
I couldn't have imagined this two days ago
rolling in sweat through several twilights
became the sweetest reality in high def depth
everything was crisp and electrifying and electrocuting
every time I moved I felt the texture of reality flow
with me, and it twisted all that was inside of me into
tears in every case, sometimes jolting and cringing
so fucking afraid, and almost reaching for the opaque
brown bottle to bottle up inside of again, moth-eaten,
but then the light got in, and chords literally shook out
the opening stanzas to the creation of the heavens
and I couldn't remember ever feeling so completely alive
since I was just a child, or maybe in my teenage years
and now I know what wings I had then and how I've faded down
the long slow path to uncaring and plastic-wrapped faces
a gauzy aloofness born from being made out of nothing,
the moon just a flat white ball, the sun just a flat
whiter ball, and the stars splashed onto the flat velvet night
were like distant dreams of faded lights and in any case
no business of mine. I could go back to living like this,
maybe, dearest one, I don't know what the hell to do.
Now I know why drug addicts do what they do,
it's to try to recapture something so on-fire
and so personal and so ineffable, they explode
chasing it straight into the heart of the atom's light
and I've got that pinpoint inside me now, trembling
with Brownian motion, still-captured black and white slides
have leapt into an ocean of color and time has started up again;
when I was five or eighteen or ten, it was like this then
and I don't know how much saltwater two human eyes can
produce within the space of an hour but I'm testing that now
and I can't fathom why people would ever sleepwalk through it
but I'm trying not to think of even thinking to going back to it
and yet I know somehow I'd follow those addicts into
the hellish heart of that sun loving every minute of the pain
if I stay too long for a teeth clenching tan beneath
its living rays, and if man were meant to feel hazy or crazed,
which should it be? I'm still burning with crazy energy
some part knows this is the way life is supposed to be
for those with eyes that see, ears that can move musical
mountains into the deep heart and blast it to pieces and then
put the shattered thing into a shiny toy all over again
and it feels new and hard and polished all over again, and good,
and if I cry, it's cascades of shaking thankfulness for
throwing up all this experience I've woolgathered, locked deep inside
and never let myself ride through with the violence of wind in my face,
never tasted snowflakes. Never laughed so hard with so flimsy
a reason, never trusted myself so much to deal with any
situation, even real fear, never died because dying is a lie they
tell the dying, dear. I'm the grand king of the mountain today
whispers the voice of the Present that's got me moving so fast
to taste everything again and smell divinity in a flower
and to suck cold clean air into my lungs at last!
and hear the brutal power of music stretching on for hours
pushing my sticks and bones around the four corners of this room
which was a sick room, I see that I was living in a place
of great illness alone, the kind you have when you are pale
and hopeless for no earthly reason and you just have to cope
so you build little nests to move to from hour to hour
and you wish the clock would wind around faster, or some disaster
would strike, 'cause what does it matter? I see this from on high
towering out into the darkness like a bird taken flight
for the first time in its lucky life, or a caged thing who's
convinced itself that flight is not was it is cracked to be
and who's stopped believing, if not quite entirely...
but I'm afraid of freedom too, because it makes my head spin
and I've never really learned the proper things one should do
in subtle given situations, I tend to overshoot by miles
smiling until I hit the side of a building, killed by
my own wish to escape from my vial. Life can be vile stuff,
suck everything you have from you and make you think you
are soaring in ecstasy, when you're just Icarus heading
into the sun, and the people they go away and leave you,
either way, and real scariness hurts my guts and shreds me,
leaves me like crushed twigs after a boulder has rolled
over cold and shouting blindly how it can finally see...

My dear, I don't know what to do
Every vein runs hot and true, now.
Mummy went away,
She went away.

Tuesday, May 6

From Milton's Paradise Lost:
Lucifer is cast out of Heaven

(engraving by gustave doré)

Monday, May 5


She was the color of love
You could see it in those eyes so blue
Never laid eyes on such a pretty face either
She was quiet but nice, a real nice girl.

She was the color of roses
When they're brought indoors and plunged into water
They just open up to the world like they can't wait
To take their next breath.

Thought I'd never have a chance with her
So I was her friend, cause everyone needs friends
Even the prettiest girls are the 'new girl' sometimes
I knew she'd find someone better than me.

Her house was a bus stop away
And I used to wait and walk the mile back
I said I did it for the exercise
I said one day I was gonna play second base.

And so we got to talking, and I saw that she
Crossed her legs the opposite way
We laughed and I think that was the very first night
I cried into my pillow for being happy.

She was the color of red lipstick
Stole it from her mom's drawer and used it on the bus
I'd smudge it just as she got to the real fine parts
And she'd kick me as hard as she could.

We got to hanging out by the swings, by the bars
She could do cherry drops and other scary things
I pretended I could do them too if I'd wanted to be a girl
But I thought she was so damn brave.

Thought I'd never have a chance with her
And it was just a matter of time, a matter of months
Maybe a year, my fear was so strong back then
I didn't know what I meant to her at all.

We didn't even think of those things mostly
She had the last garbage pail card that I needed
I tried everything I could think of to get it
I pleaded, I went down on one knee and proposed.

Just so I could get that girl the color of rose
To part with a token she kept in a drawer in her room
I saw it once, it smelled like perfume
I'd thought I'd never love another person again.

And the magpie on the phone line by her window
Used to watch us in a curious way as it piped its call
I said I wanted to go downstairs and play foosball
She lingered a bit and then followed, laughing softly.

I'd let her win and she knew it and I knew she knew
But nothing was ever said
And one day on the playground she didn't show
And my heart felt itself fill with dread.

And my legs, they felt like lead.
And then the voice in the classroom in a clinical kind
Of sorrow said all of the things I can't bear to think of now
How she'd been playing in the river and drown...

And it rained that day like a hundred floods
All come down cause of what all the kids had done
Teased us for carrying on and whispered we're in love
As both our faces turned the color of blood.

And it rained that day like a torrent from heaven
That was hurled at the game board to stop the games
I'm older now but I still can't stop crying
And my pillow shrinks each night to feel me so cold.

And the elms still bend in on windy days
And the school bells screech for other little souls
And the playground's full of laughter
And the waves in that river pound against the banks.

Why do the clouds alight the way they do?
Why do petals always bloom in odd numbers - is it true?
Why do trees fall in the winter when they were strong
The year before they splintered?

Why do we come and go at all
When it causes so much pain
What can twelve year olds do that's so bad
To make the world ever treat them like that?

And it ain't stopped raining since
And the little magpie she just stares all day long
And it ain't stopped raining since
And that magpie she stares all day long...

And it ain't stopped raining since
And the little magpie she just stares all day long
And it ain't stopped raining since
And that magpie she stares all day long...

And there's silence now round the house near her perch
For she hasn't the heart,
For a song.

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