Saturday, May 14, 2011

My New Cawing Card

"Well, I dreamt I saw you walking up a hillside in the snow
Casting shadows on the winter sky as you stood there counting crows
One for sorrow, two for joy
Three for girls and four for boys
Five for silver, six for gold
And seven for a secret never to be told"

A Murder of One (1993) by Counting Crows

Before anyone ventures to ask: Yes, it's a crow belching fire.

Flame Crow
This, as you might have noticed, is the new banner of my weblog. What do you think?

Even in appraisal of the lowest of art forms, one is inclined to inquire after their creators' intended meaning or deliberate message. I am certain that if I should move to apply myself, there is no doubt that I will be able to fabricate a fitting fiction to satisfy any such inquiries. I can suggest that the crow is an icon of intelligence, and in conjunction with its avian heritage, it presents itself as an allegory of the liberated mind (birds being the traditional symbols of freedom after all). At present, the creature busies itself with expelling a tongue of flame from its beak and it is representative of incendiary and catalytic speech - a hallmark of bold revolutionaries who, to pay homage to the striking words of Denis Diderot, strangle kings with the entrails of priests.

The ironic scarlet letter of the modern freethinking and atheist movement explains itself. Its placement within a cogwheel - which was in turn tempered by the fiery expiration - serve to explain that, as a member, my speeches and writings "revolve" and "operate" around the principles stood for by this rational community of iconoclasts. The words 'FREE MIND' was rendered on a piece of card, indicating my status as a card-carrying atheist and sceptic. Here, the corvid motif handily invokes a secondary layer of significance as crows are regarded as pests and omens of ill-luck. Atheists too are are unloved by society, and bears an undeserved reputation for wickedness when in reality, godless people were statistically shown to be more moral, ethical, humane, and compassionate when compared to the godly, especially those who describe themselves as very religious.

I can say that these are the ideas I built my design around, but that would be malarkey. Truth is, I somehow got into my head that fire-breathing crows are cool shit, and was fiddling around that mental image in Photoshop when I accidentally hammered out my brand new, completely unplanned weblog banner.

However, it is a known fact in science that crows and other members of the Corvidae family are frightfully smart animals. They are capable of advance planning, problem solving, use tools, and even craft the tools they use themselves - an ability previously thought to be exclusively found in humans and chimpanzees. In a famous landmark study testing the intelligence of  New Caledonian Crows, they showed astounding ingenuity in retrieving a small bucket of food from the inside of a vertical pipe by bending straight wires into hooks. Here's a video of one in action. It's more than a little unsettling to see such a familiar glimmer of craftiness coming from a brain so alien to ours.

"To our knowledge, there are no confirmed reports of any animal making a hook out of unnatural material, such as wire, to solve a new problem," said Alex Kacelnik, a behavioral ecologist who coauthored the report with Alex A. S. Weir and Jackie Chappell.

What is far more disturbing is that crows have been shown to remember faces and even hold grudges. Let's just be thankful that they can't actually breathe fire. Yet.

P.S. I hereby declare the Flame Crow™ as the new official mascot and sigil of k0k bL0k. Or would the Flaming Crow™ be the more elegant choice? But then again, we don't refer to killer whales as "killing whales".

P.P.S. I know some of you were kind enough to spare a comment or two to a wretched blogger such as myself, but due to a SNAFU in the machinery of my web host, your generous words were unscrambled into senseless zeroes and ones before being scattered irretrievably by the winds of the internet. As it happens, this post too was chewed up and spat out with its bottom half missing, and I had to take time out to resurrect it back to a coherent whole.

In crow he trusts,
k0k s3n w4i


lovealynna said...

You telling me that they remember faces and hold grudges reminds me of the crows in my high school that used to swoop at people. I might have been swooped at once. DANG.

c3rs3i said...

Fire crow or Crowgon (crow-dragon) would roll of the tongue easier than your options imo.
But to answer your q - Flaming crow.

k0k s3n w4i said...

lovealynna: i have had crows snatch food right out of my hands back in india. they are feathered assholes.

c3rs3i: the word 'flame' carries a dual meaning actually. A flame is a noun in contemporary internet parlance associated with the action of flaming i.e. what people do when they express a strongly held opinion without holding back any emotion. when i saved the image, i assigned it the temporary filename of "flame crow", and now it's stuck :/

Liz said...

Wow. Whichever came first, the new banner or the "fiction" (supposedly) behind it, your new "cawing card" looks pretty awesome !!!! How do you DO that???! @.@

I understand what you mean about Flame Crow, but somehow, inexplicably, Flaming Crow sounds better. >.<

Rewarp said...

And this was why I moved my blog from Blogger to its own web server, with a Wordpress backend.

At least if it's screwed up, I am not helpless to fix it.

k0k s3n w4i said...

Rewarp: considering how computer savvy i am (not at all), i wouldn't know what to do anyhow. at least, blogger had been completely reliable in the four-and-a-half years i've been using it. and we don't get as much downtime as tumblr either. one of my favourite bloggers, pinkpau (of, uses wordpress. it recently melted down and killed years and years of her posts. last i heard, she only managed to restore a small amount of it.

Rewarp said...

Crashes are inevitable. But if you own your own content on your own server, you can backup regularly instead of relying on these free hosting services.

If you like, I can help you with a basic Wordpress setup. All you need is to pay for the domain name and the hosting.

nicoletta said...

I find the concept of atheists being unloved by society rather strange, since I'm living in a society that's predominantly non-religious. I suppose it's just parts of America, and some third world countries. To be honest, despite the apparent rampant evidence of religious fundamentalism and antiquated ideals, I think secularisation is quite inevitable, and will certainly happen to most countries, which have yet to be secularised - it's hard to imagine the whole world simply going backwards.

I once found a nest of eggs in my backyard when I was a kid. I went to take a closer look at it, and suddenly out of nowhere, a massive crow swooped down and clawed at my head. I ran. The crow perched on the roof watching its nest carefully. Then I tried again, going back to the eggs. The crow attacked again. And again. I gave up and went in.

k0k s3n w4i said...

Rewarp: i'll keep your offer to help in mind, mate, for when i finally move myself to do it. thanks ;)

lovealynna: when i was in india, i have had crows snatching foor right out of my fingers. crows are total dicks.

c3rs3i: well, i chose the word "flame" over fire because of its other meaning in internet parlance. "flaming" is what people do when they express a strongly held opinion without holding back any emotion. as for picking "flame" over "flaming"; my excuse is that that's how animals are conventionally named (like killer whale instead of killing whale, or snow leopard versus snowing leopard). the flaming crow™ would be a great name if i'm naming a bar or an inn though.

Liz: it wasn't very complicated. the project only took me three layers and i pretty much cobbled the whole thing out of stock image silhouettes and downloaded fonts. only the the fire was designed by hand, using my mouse and photoshop brushwork. anyhow, i really did make up the significance behind it after it was finished. turns out, it's really easy to read meanings into meaningless things.

nicoletta: actually, it's most of america. among all the minorities there, atheists are considered the least trustworthy group when polled against blacks, latinos, homosexuals, et cetera. they were also found to be the least desirable candidates for marrying one's children or to hold public offices. most third world countries malign atheism as well. in fact, when pope benny ratzi visited the united kingdom, he was spewing anti-atheist canards left and right - up to blaming the atheism for hitler and nazism when nazi germany was clearly catholic. the wehrmacht (german defense forces) had "gott mit uns" (god with us) on their belt buckles, and hitler clearly wrote that he was doing god's work in mein kampf. the world is definitely going forwards, but progress is being fought every step of the way :(