Painting With Shotguns XXIV

The Shogun's Shotgun

So —

Blah blah blah.

Boom. Shotguns. Paint.

You know the drill.

But before we get into it, lemme ask you: do you like the Painting With Shotguns weekly deal? It’s a nice way for me to just… vomit forth a throatload of nonsense for all to see with little to no rhyme or reason, and I (personally) like the headers rather than the bullet point format.

I just figured I’d ask. Likey? No likey? No ticky no laundry?

Hit the comments. Give a hoot.

Now, onto the gutshot of buckshot. Splurch!

It’s Gepainten Mit Der Shotgunheimer.

Questions, Queries, Quizzes

Hey! Look. I have one of those Formspring things. What that means is, you can go over there, and you can ask me a question. You can ask it anonymously. And I’ll answer it. I’ll answer it, because I am a whore. An attention whore? A word whore? A regular ol’ strumpet whore? Pick one. Pick your favorite. But as I told Jesse Scoble earlier in the week, don’t expect any trip to the Greek Islands, you hear?

If you have questions, I’d say to get in on that shit now. While I’m still interested. Because I can’t lie — I’m not yet sure of the point. If you want to ask me something, you could presumably hop, skip and jump on over here and just ask away in any given post. Anonymously, even. At Formspring, I don’t appear to be getting any real connections out of it — it seems to have a minimal social backend, one that isn’t yet connecting me to anybody. It’s interesting. But it’s probably a novelty?

Hey, whatever. It’s there if you want it. Plus, people have already asked questions, so you have more stupid nonsense about me, by me, to read.

That reminds me, actually. I have what appears to be a gaggle of new readers here. (Welcome! Sorry about the mess. And the profanity. And the dead hooker. Er, hookers. Er, hooker body parts. Have some Cheetos!) Either we have new readers, or there’s like, one guy zealously clicking away in the privacy of his trailer or dorm room. Clickclickclickclickclick. At some point I’ll go ahead and do another 10 or 20 random things about Yours Truly. And hell, you can add your own.

The Inevitable, Unstoppable Redesign

Last April, I went from the old site, which was positively medieval in its design and implementation (I think it was only viewable on an old Tandy 1000 SX), and I kicked it up a notch with the help of a man named Hindmarch and a piece of software named WordPress. Once I was in, I was all in. I picked a theme and had it up and running in… I think a week or so?

I didn’t pick the theme hastily — I spent a few solid days straight scouring the Intertubes raw looking for something good. I like what I found, and still do.

But, as I’ve noted in the past, it was really a temporary fix.

I’m closing in on a redesign, I think. Possibly to coordinate with the anniversary of the initial change, so — Aprilish? Something like that? I’ve been quiet on the subject but weekly I’ve been collecting a small army of links and examples that Make Chuck Happy, and I think I’ve found the direction I’ll take. I bounced from idea to idea: do I go freakishly minimal? Do I do something with insane typography? Bold graphics? Full frontal nudity? Do I paint myself like a lion and film weird YouTube videos of me stalking gazelle on the veldt (meaning, hunting neighbors as they go to their car and biting them)? What’s the angle?

I won’t reveal much now. But it’ll still be this blog, but maybe a bit more. Maybe something a little more “writer-portfolio-flavored.” Obviously I want to maintain the vaguest professional veneer while still retaining my foul mouth and utterly unpleasant attitude, right? Because those are selling points, right? Those are my brand? Surely, that’s not just an excuse for me to sling profanity around like a chimp winging poo at passersby!

I had put out some feelers for designers, but that looks to be a pretty expensive route to get anything “custom.” I don’t blame them; they need to eat. But even $500 is a lot of cash to shell out for a WordPress design when so many awesome free and premium themes exist out there, and when I have the meager skills to probably molest the theme into some semblance of what I want. You can get a good premium theme from Themeforest for like, $20-30 bucks, and usually with full documentation and access to the designer.

Slowly, I zero in on what I want the redesign to look like.

But, I put it to you:

Anything on this site you could live without? Anything you absolutely gotta have? The blogroll — I use it, but do you? Does it lack the context and fall prey to the same Twitter Follow Friday problem? The tag cloud. Useful? Do you search by it? Does the Lifestream engage you, or does it just burn your precious eyes?

Further, if you find any cool WordPress themes in your travels that might be good for writers, give a shout. I have a pretty good list, so don’t go out of your way. Also, while you’re there, pick me up a sandwich.

I Know A Guy

Listen. I know a guy.

You need a guy in a chopper with a Vulcan cannon protecting your ass when you’re out on the line?

You need a sniper to cover your shitcan when you’re out in the weeds with your Ghillie suit on?

You need a dude to help you defend like, I dunno, a TGI Friday’s from an onrushing horde of Pinko Russkie Potato Farmers?

You need yourself a Hindmarch.

I know that guy.

(In addition to his mad skillz, he’s also an incredibly pleasant gentleman.)

The Prerequisite Lynx

Hey! Links! Stuff! Clicky! And news! Gah!

  1. I am reportedly the special guest at Simcon in Rochester, NY. Who let that happen? Don’t tell them, but they picked a real jackhole as a special guest. Shhh. But yes! I’m going. They were kind enough to invite me up yonder, so I’ll be doing some talks and running some games and… other stuff? If you’re able to come, let me know. We’ll catch up. I will buy you a beer. Just one. Because I know how you get.
  2. Unannounced as yet, but I think I’m doing DIY Days in NYC just a few days later. Probably doing a talk or a workshop about “storytelling in games.” Keep your grapes peeled.
  3. David Hill and Filamena have Maschine Zeit growing in a series of tubes and jars in their basement, and I — amongst other most excellent writers — am on board for some word count. I played a demo of the game, and it’s slicker than goose shit on a glass window. You’ll dig it. I’m looking forward to it. My only warning is, somehow, they let Eddy Webb write for the thing. It’s not that he’s not a good writer. He is. He’s great. But he’s dangerously unstable. And his ego is an ever-hungry furnace. I’m just saying. I’m just saying.
  4. I throw the gauntlet down. Take the Do Some Damage flash fiction challenge. Go ahead. I dare you. I double-dog dare you. I triple-nipple dare you with a rabid wombat on top. Don’t be a big sweaty vagina-head.
  5. Admiral Ackbar as school mascot…?
  6. Have you been to John Hornor’s blog? Do so. He’s one of those writers not at all content to be held to a single genre like an insect pinned to a corkboard. He wants to write it all. I’m with him — why limit yourself?
  7. The specter of sexism in horror fiction rears its head again?
  8. Five things the media loves to pretend is news. (Awesome.)

And that, for me, is all she wrote.

Say goodnight, Gracie.

Goodnight, Gracie.


    • Rick, I gotta be honest, you just convinced me to *stop* doing Painting With Shotguns. Because — man, I really want to see you show up with like, a bag of squirrels and possum babies and whatnot and just start hurling them at me.

      It’d be a great YouTube video. We could make millions.

  • No, we need to think beyond. More than just Youtube, transmedia and unitasking. First, we have the Youtube video – that’s the easy one. Then we need a flash game or Facebook game, complete with irritating notifications that spam every six second. I think we can expand it into a spy-hunter kind of ARG, sort of like Carmen Sandiego meets Dora the Explorer.

    You handle the comic-book and I’ll get to work on the shower curtains. We are going to need to find someone to handle sex toys… Richard Gere might have the right experience to give us an informed opinion.

    • You’re fired. I almost choked on my coffee I was laughing so hard. If I would’ve died, hey, fine. But nobody, nobody wants to waste coffee.

      “Shower curtain.”


      — c.

  • I would just like to acknowledge your archaic use of the Tandy and pour a little of my 40 oz. out for my old TRS-80 and dot-matrix printer.

    That being said, I’d click on that Ackbar link, but I think it’s a trap.

  • I like Painting with Shotguns. Nice to see what other general blathery other peeps are doing and things I might not have heard about (very very likely!). Don’t use any of the other items you mentioned. No TIME! I am the lamest internet monger about so, I am not the best example or close to norm (most likely). 😛

  • I like Painting With Shotguns quite a bit. It suits my scatterbrained style and tends to be my best chance at getting mentioned on the blog, so it suits my ego, too. Absolutely keep it up.

    As for Modern Warfare, we need to try those overwatch maps on the more difficult settings, now.

    As for the redesign, I’m not sure if you NEED so many tweets on display at once, or a blogroll, and so forth, but I tend to like those things on a blog. (Look at mine — I’m a bad example.) For all that I dig ultra-minimalism in blog design, I haven’t been able to do it myself, so what do I know?

    One thing I’d recommend, though, is using the “read more” break on your longer posts, so that your front page isn’t completely eclipsed by a single long entry. I almost never go back to check in on past posts because they’re way down below the fold, out of sight. Just a thought.

  • Painting with shotguns is worthwhile… I don’t know about the rest of it though. As for the layout and design, I get my Terribleminds fix through an RSS reader, so the glamour and glitz are largely lost on me. Still, I’m a fan a minimalism with regard to design. I want to read your words without getting distracted by the crap in the sidebar. For example… I follow you on twitter, so your tweets in the sidebar just noise to me.

  • I skip the PwS posts (and only saw this one because you asked for feedback on Twitter). These days I find blog posts only useful when they go deep into a subject — everything else is what twitter’s for.

    • @Will: The redesign will mos def take advantage of the “Read More” option.

      @Josh: Your aversion to PwS makes Baby Jesus sad. It also makes Baby Jesus take a shotgun and shoot up a 7-11. Baby Jesus is the fat guy who lives in my basement, by the way.

      @Gary Chide: You smell like Barry Ide. Which makes you smell delicious. I have nothing else to say to you but that.

      @Kyle: … curly brackets?

      So, in general, some of the stuff to the right is noise, some of it is useful. The blogroll I like, but it doesn’t look like people click on it too often. Any confirmation from those with blogs in the blogroll? Do you catch much traffic from here?

      Cool. This helps. Thanks, peeps!

      — c.

  • You have curly brackets around the RSS link and regular parentheses around the blog description / secondary title. As a design element for sidebar headers and such, the curly brackets seem very writerly. I dunno, I just like them.

    On a side note, the links and miscellaneous stuff seem to work better in the tumbleblog, as that pretty much defines what tumbleblogs do well. Maybe some occasional cross-promotion just to make sure your readers know about it without going overboard in some obnoxiously spammy way.

    • @Kyle:

      Curly brackets. Noted!

      The Tumblelog is cool, but it nets me no feedback, and I kind of use it as a Zen thing. Further, I don’t like it as a text drop. I keep the text there spare, minimal. It’s mostly a visual record of Shit I Saw During My Day. It’s context-free, which I don’t like for a blog, but I like there? I dunno. But, I will definitely keep up the cross-promotion to remind toward Tumblr. The new theme I’m looking at will, I think, have nice bridges out to my social media.

      Oh — and yes, if I get rid of the standard blogroll, I would then most likely make it its own page. Though, I worry that’s a page no one will ever click. I do like the blogrolls that actually serve the full purpose and offer up a name of header of the most recent post on the blogs. Is that a plugin?

      — c.

  • Forgot to mention the blogroll: Keep it, even if it’s on a dedicated page, because newcomers like me who decide that your blog has, y’know, some redeeming value might want to check out other blogs on similar topics.

  • It is a hard thing for me to tell for sure, because so many of the from Terribleminds clicks to my blog have different taglines – I am guessing a lot of individual points come from people clicking on my name in comments, and the others come from the link you tossed me in the blogroll.

    In short, yes, I get traffic from you… usually every day or two.

  • February 25, 2010 at 7:41 PM // Reply

    I was going to insult everyone again making a thoughtless comment. I’m taking a snow day, though. I like PwS. Also…thank you for laying my ultimate question to rest regarding a duel between Ben Franklin and Mark Twain.

  • I like painting with shotguns if just for the mental image it brings up.

    The Lynx is adorable. You should post more lynxes!

    I’ll see your Hindmarch and raise you a Lt. Dourdalev, my friend who is a lieutenant in the Marine Corp!

  • I’m fairly new to your blog, so I haven’t found much I dislike about it. People love snazzy design, but they love content more, and that, my friend, you provide in spades. And shovels. You’ve got a blog backhoe somewhere (I’d make a portmanteau of those words but it would come out wrong).

    But looking it over, I think tag clouds are fun for about fifteen seconds, and only to the blog owner, but after the user get the first glance, it becomes forgotten and the eye just passes over it. Blog rolls are important social grease, I think, and spread good will. And traffic.

    You’re verbose (Zork: maximum verbosity) and so your posts are long. You could probably stand to have just a double columned layout, rather than the three column divs you have now.

    I’d be happy to help you with your masthead, if you’d like, but you seem quite the designer and Photoshop adept yourself. But let me know if you do.

  • Admission time: I don’t have the site bookmarked. I know, I know, but I have a space station to build, man. I TRUMP ACKBAR.

    I keep up with your color blasts via Twitter, so everything but the post you’ve linked is kind of extraneous, to me. Meaning my input statistically counts for nil. Facts is facts and I don’t moan about’em. MEANING: do what you want. Do what the monkeys tell you. Do what you want the monkeys to tell you. It makes no whit of difference to me, so long as the content keeps rolling.

  • The one huge change I’d suggest is getting rid of the white text on dark background thing. I can’t really read much here at a time thanks to that. My eyes are just not what they used to be years ago.

  • I agree about white text on dark background. My bestest girl doesn’t read you because after a day of coding reports she can’t look at it without eyestrain.

    I occasionally get hits from here, but like Rick I don’t know if they from comments or the blogroll.

    I’ve had some folks use my tag cloud on occasion, but not enough for me to keep it much longer.

    I love Painting with Shotguns.

  • Personally, I live for your PwS posts. I love them. Love them so much, I cribbed your style for a post not long ago when I was fresh out of brainpower:

    But, I’m pretty sure you knew that already, as you’re one of, like, three people who actually read it. Anyway, so. . .yeah. Definitely keep this up.

    As to the redesign, I know photography is a big hobby of yours so while I don’t use the Flikr feed, I understand why it is there. (I usually just click the links you toss up on Twitter. *shrugs*) It is lovely eye candy, if nothing else.

    The blogroll gives me new stuff to read when I’m all out of interesting things to do. The Twitter feed could stand to be a might bit shorter, but the Cloud of Tags is something I have yet to utilize on this (or any) blog.

    That’s my two bits. Hope it helps.

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