Thursday, July 29, 2010

Soft and Delicate Thunder

soft and delicate thunder

I awoke this morning with desire
to find you there,
to stroke your skin
and smell your hair,
to whisper words as yet unheard
and breathe you deeply in:
to embrace you in a soft and delicate shade of thunder.

You didn't know--
how could you know?
that I was awake
and thinking of you;
but where you were
you stirred
and turned in your sleep
as if something special had occurred
in the journey of your dream, deep
and moving with the soft and delicate longing of thunder.

For who you are
is who I am
and where you are
is where I've been
for all we know
and all we dream
drops from the sky
and swirls with the wind
of our soft and delicate world of thunder.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Peppermint Panels

Well, I enjoyed my first run with Peppermint Ice, but the desktop panel display (aka Task Bar) is buggy with both versions of Peppermint. On some machines, it disappears completely after a reboot. On Ubuntu or Mint this wouldn't be so much of a problem, since you could easily create a completely new panel, but with the Peppermints the menu applets available are not many and the default panel display-- once lost-- cannot be recreated. This is an irritating bug.

Otherwise, I have to admit that I'm getting used to Peppermint's alternative logic and will probably keep using it; if the bugs get ironed out then on balance it will be the Iced version because of its Google base.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Ice Ice Baby! (Peppermint Ice)

Ubuntu -- Linux Mint -- Peppermint -- Jolicloud -- Peppermint Ice: it's becoming quite a family. This blog post is being written and posted using Peppermint Ice OS, which is the newest baby in this lineage (only a few days old at this point). It's fast, so far stable, and different from Peppermint (no ice) mainly in that it uses Google's Chromium browser and elements rather than Mozilla's Firefox and Prism to create browser-based applets.

The change might be significant. Jolicloud started out by using Mozilla and Prism, then switched to Chromium; Peppermint also began with Prism... and now Ice has arrived, using Chromium.

More on this after a day or two.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Form Determines Content: LP to CD

It's almost become a truism to say that form determines content; that is, any message is altered by the form used to express it. As a Literature teacher I use this phrase regularly. Here today I'm reflecting again on the change from LP to CD and how that has impacted the artwork (by this I mean the total package, sound and liner notes and image) involved.

My selected example is the Beatles' Abbey Road album. I've been listening to the remastered version recently and thinking about the overwhelming shock of silence that comes at the end of the LP's side one. Let me take you back: the last track of side one as originally envisioned and issued was Lennon's I Want You, seven-and-a-half minutes of desire and its aftermath. The band gets into a lazy, compulsive, hypnotic riff that feels like it could go on forever. Apparently-- I remember reading at the time-- The Beatles weren't sure how best to end the track so they simply cut the tape (btw, I later discovered that the South African cassette edition had a fade-out instead: which was a horrible perversion of the original). Well, that sudden silence always came as a shock, and with the original vinyl that shock lingered and bled into a moment or longer of pondering it and indeed some thinking about the whole of side one. You see, the music quite literally stopped at that point. If you wanted to hear some more you had to get up, walk over to the record player, and turn the album over.

In literature terms, the silence was followed by white space-- the space between stanzas or the space of a chapter break. I Want You was intended to be followed by silence.

But this is not so any longer: I Want You is now followed after a very short pause by Here Comes The Sun and the brilliant segueing drama of the album's original side two.

As useful and convenient as this might be, it obviously does damage to the original artwork. It is like repainting a canvas of Renoir's or reshaping a hand of Michaelangelo's David.

Nowadays Abbey Road can be played in the background, on continuous replay, as an aural wallpaper.

This, for sure, is a pity.

On the other hand, of course, Abbey Road becomes almost a new work. That could be a good thing.

In any event, form determines content.

Furthermore, and more obviously, the imagery of the cover doesn't carry the same weight and impact as with the original LP. Abbey Road's cover is now iconic; but the CD age has diminished the power of the packaging. When The Byrds first flew to rarified heights of influence and glory, their leader, Roger McGuinn, said that LPs were 'electronic magazines'. It was a useful way to think of them then. The newer CDs are obviously of a different kind: more pamphlets than magazines.

Blessed are the Noisemakers (vuvuzela 2)

Well, 2010 has come and gone (the world cup, that is) and we wait to define its legacy. One thing is already certain--vuvuzelas are here to stay. The plastic noisemakers have been embraced by the youth and any congregation of students in town, whether for sports or a hip-hop/rap session, is likely to be found wielding them. And, as we all know, most of Swaziland's population is below the age of 19...

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Just a note that one of my other blogs, Tantra of Thomas, a blog of meditations on the Gospel of Thomas, Tantra, and Zen, is back up and running @

Sakhile Live in Swaziland For me the best South African band of al...