Painting With Shotguns XIX

T-minus a couple days before I eject into the atmosphere and land somewhere around, ohhh, say, Park City, Utah. In the meantime, sounds like a good time to jack a couple shells into the ol’ badboy and fire a couple hot steaming loads of lead right into your facemeat.

Once more, another round of the random birdshot that is Painting With Shotguns.

Please to enjoy.

Team Conan

It’s perhaps a bit obvious, but here at Terribleminds, it’s all Team Conan.

Then again, is anybody on Team Leno? Anybody at all? I’m gazing out over my vast audience, looking for any wildly gesticulating hands in the air. Anybody joining up with the Army of the Chin? Or will you all march with Conan the Barbarobrien with his Ginger Army of the Hairpocalypse?

I don’t actually watch The Tonight Show. I never liked Leno as host of that show. He always struck me as pandering. Worse, he struck me as safe. It’s late night. You can be a little edgy. Kids aren’t — or, er, shouldn’t — be up and watching you at that hour. Letterman always had an edge. O’Brien always had an edge. So when O’Brien grabbed the brass ring of late night television, I was happy. No, I still wouldn’t watch the show, but I endeavored to catch bits of it on Hulu.

Leno — I mean, c’mon. He could’ve gone out at the top of his game, ala Seinfeld, and been successful behind-the-scenes. Somehow, I guess he craves the taste of late night television, the way a cannibal craves the marrow in a man’s bones.

Ultimately, part of me wants to say (regarding this whole mess): “Hey, who really gives a shit?” Don’t we have real stuff to worry about?

We do. More important stuff. That said, there exists in this realm an interesting subtextual battle, a battle of corporate interests falling outside the range of public demand, a disconnect between corporation and community. I don’t think NBC is a monster in all of this: they’ve stood by some risky quality programming. (Speaking of which? Chuck is back on. You’re watching Chuck, right? C’mon! It’s a show named after me. Do it. Do it!) If anybody here is is wearing the shit-filled pantalones, it’s Leno. NBC is just confused, I assume, out of touch with What People Like versus What Ratings Say and What Advertisers Believe.

Further in there is an argument over how we measure success–? Conan is, from what I understand, very successful online. The fact that Hulu has the clips and show available means, frankly, that I don’t have to wait up that late to catch a television show.

Ehh. I dunno.

Here’s hoping Conan, whose classy declaration set him apart yet again from Leno, comes out clean and happy.

Oh, and in case anybody worried whether or not Jay Leno was a corporate shill?

And if you’ve not witnessed the glory of the late Bill Hicks on Leno…

And there you have it.

The Thirteen Madmen

So far, I’ve gotten blog posts from…

Julie Summerell, Paulie D, Eddy Webb, Pete Woodworth, and I know that Rick’s is on its way. [EDIT: Rick's is here! All hail the glory. The angels did sing.]

On deck: cartoons, video games, the English language, vagina, and penis.

Still waiting on the rest from, let’s see, David Hill, Josh Loomis, Aaron Dembski-Bowden, Guy LeCharles Gonzalez, Amy Nichols, Laura Stone, Jeff Tidball, and last but not least, Heather Groves.

You’ve got till tomorrow morning, peeples.

I trust you’ll not make the Baby Jesus soil his swaddling in rage by neglecting to provide content for this here so-called “blogopolis.” (By the way, that’s me trying to coin the term “blogopolis” to move us away from “blogosphere.” Blogosphere sounds like it’s something we breathe. Blogopolis sounds like a diverse — if totally bizarre — cityscape of shouting weirdos. Y’know, like New York City.)

Tick tock tick tock.

Speaking Of The Dread Pirate LeCharles

(Wait, what? The Ghost Pirate LeChuck and Guy LeCharles Gonzalez are not one and the same? Are you sure? Aw, goddamnit. Next thing you know, you’re going to tell me that Will Hindmarch isn’t the math genius janitor from Good Will Hunting or that kid with the robot in that TV show. “Danger, Will Hindmarch. Danger!”)

Anyway, over at loudpoet, Guy speaks once more of e-readers, and I always find his thoughts on the subject interesting. I figure I’ll add my two cents about e-readers.

I have the Kindle app for the iPhone. It’s a nice app. It’s readable. It’s clear. In many ways nicer on the eyes than reading a book, as I can adjust the text to my liking, and it’s nice and bright and I could read it in the dark if I wanted.

And yet, I don’t really enjoy the experience. Don’t get me wrong. It’s functional. I can manage. But I’d choose a physical book any day of the week (twice on Tuesdays!).

Problem with the e-readers is a lack of context. I hold a book in my hand, it has heft. I can see how far along I am in the book. I can see how far I have in the chapter. Those two things alone are critical in my experience with the product — yes, they’re less important than how much I’m enjoying the book, but it still doesn’t shake the sense of alienation and uncertainty I feel when reading lots of text in the Kindle app.

It’s like this: imagine going to a movie and not knowing the running time. Or turning on a television show that starts at 9:23 PM and has no notable end time. You’d feel a little lost, a little disoriented. “When will this be over? Is it an hour show? An hour and twelve minutes? A sixteen-hour marathon? Where am I? What’s happening?”

It’s a trite complaint, I know, but it’s not a complaint I can shake. If in the future my favorite books are only in that format, I’ll manage, but it won’t be pleasing. Look at it this way: e-books are not like digital music. I can take digital music and I can juggle it from my computer to any number of handheld players, and most importantly, I can still burn it to physical media and listen to it in my car. E-books don’t yet have that versatility, and further don’t have a way for me to manifest it in the ways that I want.

Now, I say all this and I don’t have a “proper” e-reader, but that’s of course because they’re goddamned expensive. Foolishly so. They’re unitaskers all around, as opposed to my iPhone which is a multitasker. Publishing may end up as “all e-book, all the time,” with physical copies being prized artifacts like LPs, but so far, I don’t want that. I like having both. Further, with a physical product, I like having context.

Plug It Up

Okay. Back to bullet points. Deal with it.

  • Good Will Hindmarch Hunting is doing a very cool thing over at his space, which is to offer admiration to… erm, those he admires. Publicly and without hesitation. It’s nice. And he says nice things about me, which is lovely and unnecessary but I appreciate just the same.
  • Do Some Damage (the infamous Steve Weddle, actually) has an interview with Hilary Davidson over yonder. Hilary’s got a novel coming out in November, and it’s a great interview. It combines great topics: writing advice, gluten-free eating, a brothel in Pompeii. Good stuff. Plus, she refers to herself as the “MacGuyver of Murder.” If you want links to some of her stories — here goes. In particular, check out “Insatiable.”
  • A quick personal plug: “If you say the word ‘chillax’ again, I will wear your esophagus as a leg warmer.” You’ll also find an insightful discussion there on the difference between liberals and convervatives. Good times.
  • Rob Donoghue talks Tumblr!
  • You are reading John August’s blog, right? While I’m very excited at the creative advisors we might be meeting at the Sundance Screenwriters Lab, I am sad that John August won’t be among them.
  • Might I add that if you have something to plug (or want to point a finger at something cool someone else said), feel free to lay it down in the comments here so that others may see.

26 comments

    • Stoney:

      Your own MS doesn’t matter! Only I matter! *stomps feet, fills his diaper*

      Ahem, no — obviously, work on whatcha gotta work on. :)

      — c.

  • My dog ate it, crapped it out, ate it again, and barfed it up. After cleaning it, I used special CSIence to take each individual atom of the post and refuse them, getting at least 50% of the fecal vomit out and molecularized them back into digital format, uploading them via special satellites hovering over the Playboy Mansion. Taking this raw digital code, I reassembled the post (using the extra bits as amusing stick figures of Bea Arthur). That has been sent to you.

    • Rick:

      Your… uhh, fecal vomit post is… is ready to roll.

      I particularly enjoyed the stick figures of Bea Arthur, though I found it distasteful that it appears to be a mashup of “Golden Girls” and “The Kama Sutra.”

      — c.

  • By rights, I should have half-credit on Rick’s post. I tore it a new asshole, used up three or four red pens and then stuffed it back in his eye sockets one page at a time, screaming about how he smelled and his momma dressed him funny.

    Or something along those lines.

    Needless to say, I did my best to make sure he wouldn’t fuck it up too badly. No guarantees tho. This IS Rick we’re talking about.

    • Maggie:

      Well-done. You are clearly the power behind the throne.

      Rick:

      That was the funniest retort of the day/week/month/eternity.

      I snorted and almost died.

      — c.

  • LOL! Never heard of LeChuck, but will claim the Dread Pirate LeCharles moniker for myself now!

    Post is coming this afternoon. I had a deadline for another in front of yours that kicked my ass sideways; some of what was cut became the eReader post you linked to.

  • The dedicated e-reader is genuinely a better experience – I use the kindle software on my ipod touch too (because hey, it keeps synced to where I am in my reading) and it’s convenient when I have a few minutes to burn, but it doesn’t hold up nearly as well for a long read.

    But that said, yep, the inability to flip pages is probably the biggest problem with something like the Kindle. it makes certain types of non-fiction (especially RPGs) almost useless to me, and it makes the whole idea useless to people who read like my mom, who is constantly flipping back through the book to check things. Also, as great as the battery life is, any battery life at all is a strike against. And, of course, there’s the problem of the assholes who think I don’t own my books.

    Of course, there are counterpoints, like the fact that it weigh basically nothing for me to carry around dozens of books, the ability to buy books or get sample chapters over the airs. The kindle absolutely offers conveniences and advantages that books can’t.
    (And all that gets muddled further when the kindle experiment winds down – it’s mostly a ploy to get ebooks into the commercial mindspace – and EVERYTHING becomes an ebook reader. )

    It’s probably not a wash – it really comes down one way or the other depending on a lot of factors. But I’ll say this: I love my kindle, and it’s now a part of my life, but fucking A, they are still way too damn expensive to take seriously. This drives me nuts because for all that I love mine, I can’t evangelize in good faith because it’s so stupidly pricey.

    I’ll be a lot more impressed with all the fancy pants readers coming out of places like CES when they focus more on price and durability and less on shiny new features.

    -Rob D.

  • On e-readers, I kinda see what you and Guy are saying. But just to make it clear, there are two small things I’d like to point out:

    I don’t see your complaint as trite – in fact, I wouldn’t enjoy the Kindle so much if it didn’t feature a way to measure your progress while readinf. I’m surprised to hear that the iPhone app doesn’t have it, ’cause even the Kindle for PC app does show a progress bar and the ‘locations’ (what the .AZW formats use in lieu of pages) of the paragraphs you’re reading at that very moment.

    It doesn’t do the same for individual chapters, but hopefully some new version will at some point. Personally, I’m content in being able to see how far I’ve gone in a book.

    In the other article, it’s also mentioned he was frustrated that he couldn’t jump back and forth between stories. This does happen occasionally, but it’s important to notice the creator/publisher of that particular e-book is to blame, and not the device or the app. Every e-book format out there supports table of contents and even contextual links (that is, links in the very words for other parts of the text).

    I’ve read some books with great linkage all around – including, but not limited to, links to chapter and book notes – and most of the commercial e-books have at least a Table of Contents where you can jump to the beginning of any chapter (or even sections) with two or three ‘clicks’.

    And it’s not like it’s so hard a feature to add to the e-book; I would be able to do that with a simple e-book creator application such as Mobipocket Creator, which is free (and I’m just a regular tech user, not a programmer or desktop publishing professional). It’s pure publisher laziness, unfortunately.

    E-readers still have a lot to go, but unfortunately this ‘lot’ is often misrepresented either by a substandard app/device or by press misconceptions. Hope I don’t sound like I’m preaching; it’s just sadly true (just see how many articles imply that by using a Kindle you’re ‘stuck’ to getting e-books from Amazon, when it’s simply not true – all major e-book sellers offer books in mobipocket format, which the Kindle reads normally).

  • While I am technically a genius, I am lousy at math and labor and pretty much everything. And I’ve never been to space, though I’ve been lost a great deal. But I am not Good Will Robinson, no, and for the last time, Wendig, I do not have a fucking robot. You know this is a sore subject for me.

    • Shows you what I know. I misread that as, “I am lousy at meth.”

      And I was like, “Well, how you can you be lousy at that? Unless he means cooking meth?”

      — c.

  • I made you wait until the last minute solely because you seem to think that my last name is Groves, instead of Grove.

    Well, maybe not.

    Anyway, it should be in your inbox now!

  • I love “Chuck” the series! Been really enjoying the extra bits being thrown in by the car commercials with the Awesome’s plus Morgan on the way to Vancouver. Too darn cute! (Been stopping the fast forward on the DVR to actually WATCH them. lol)

    As to Kindle – don’t know about the phone app, but the actual reader does have a progress bar. As I’ve used the sucker for judging an e-book contest I WANT that bar. MUST have it as it is the only way (a couple of times) that I knew the horror was almost over. :P I prefer books too though.

    Getting excited about the trip yet? Huh huh huh? :)

    • Gloria:

      Very excited about the trip — a little terrified, to boot, and certainly sad to be leaving The Wife behind, as life is much better when she’s in my general proximity.

      — c.

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