Sunday, August 28, 2011

there may be a hurricane on the east coast, wind and rain lashing the coastal beaches, new york city getting afraid, evacuating, battening up the hatches, but here, it's clear as a bell, clear and warm, sunny, a little drier than usual, august gently turning to september, the worst season to the best. the students are back, choking the roads with bad behavior, interesting bumper-stickers, and older smaller castaway cars, the kind that are still running after a hundred fifty or two hundred k…a lot of young people in town.

the big news for me is that I've gone back to work, and this means I'm much busier, and my dreams as laid out in my last post go instantly to the back shelf while I leave what's left of my mind to do a sudoku, or something gentle, mild, easy. I wake up on saturday morning, make a big thick cup of coffee and then when that's done I go make another. the garden is bursting; lots of things are having a second life now that it's down below 95 in the days, so we can go out, pick vegetables, and enjoy flowers that go through all range of bloom in the peak summer days. the bugs are getting desperate though; not enough water to breed in, so they have to go looking for blood. I've lost a little track of the 13-year locusts; they made so much noise, there for a while, that you didn't even hear it, or hear anything else for that matter. and you see what's left of them, their shells, every time you get into a car. it's like they really want to drive, so they go right up to these car doors, but it doesn't quite work, and they die first, or maybe just leave their shell there by the car door while they run off and try some new form of transportation.

at the university all talk is about a possible strike, but also about the new change in logo, which heralds a new era, new chancellor, new image, new brand, etc. some people have bought into the new plan, and the branding, as a good move imagewise, others have noted that the university is spending thousands on image and taking money away from their own teachers. I've noticed two things about the images themselves, and about working on the web in general: if you like the good stuff they produce, like the clocktower image, you about have to steal it yourself and get it off their territory, because one way or the other, they'll take it, destroy it, move it, or forget about it. if there's any history or archive of siu webpages or logos, I'd like to see it, because my impression is that, electronically at least, the place has no memory, no sense of history, no ability to hang onto its own marks. and some of them were quite nice.

the clocktower for example had quite a bit of grassroots support, though it turns out that it got canned because people abroad mistook it for a church. it was the first picture of siu, so it brought to the world an image of the place, an idea of a physical building that represents the place. it's actually the place I swim; I swim directly beneath the clocktower in that image. but another thing that I like about the clocktower is that it said, high noon, as if to remind us, mighty small town, a little two small for the two of us, sometimes. any given two, in the midst of confrontation, could say, high noon.

but I'm not so much concerned about the rapid turnover in logos, as when they make older ones illegal, or simply throw away so much of what they make. this is not so pronounced this time; because of tough times I haven't heard of anyone saying you must get rid of that clocktower, but it didn't escape me that a whole swath of things I made with old banners became entirely dysfunctional, whether because of firefox upgrade or simply siu undermining its own templates, I don't know. it's obvious I have to take this stuff (old logos, cascades, etc.) and put them on my own territory…but that doesn't make much sense. better yet, just get out of there, and put everything on my own territory.

sorry to subject you to the random and disorganized ramblings of an old web hand; I'm like an old sign painter who is disillusioned with the televisionization of the modern world. people have moved in so that everyone has a big stake in the web, yet that has caused mass commercialization and conformity to a degree that the vast majority of what one sees is like everything else. in that environment something simple or unique could be called "folk art"…maybe I should embrace a new perspective and be like my friend Lee who brings simple exotic jewelry up regularly and sells it from a booth in the student center. you say, I'm here to say simpler is better, and plain is elegant, without a bunch of links dancing beneath your mouse cursor but we who are here know the links are dead or go to an athletic department that is ruled by an unsavory watcha-ma-callit kind of dude who would make you want to say, I don't link to people like that. it's a small town problem. you live here, you bump up against all kinds of people before it's over.


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