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Archive for September 30th, 2010

A New Look

I was scanning my blog for typos the other night and started to get a big headache, and it occurred to me suddenly, “Wow, I wonder if white letters on a black background are hard for others to read, too.” I’m worried that my poor design choice is putting off readers.

This is embarrassing, because once upon a time, for about five minutes, I actually made money in a graphics department. Not that I can draw, but I had enough of a design eye that the owner of a very tiny advertising company in Austin, Texas asked me to come work for him. His firm marketed but three things: salsa, strippers and country artist Rick Trevino. (If that doesn’t sound like the makings of a hot Texas orgy to you, then you obviously have no feelings.) Sadly, I could not draw pictures of salsa. When I tried, it looked like a lot of blood. I failed again when I was put in charge of a tiny advertisement for the local strip club, and was given a picture about two inches across with five girls in it. I decided it was better to focus on one so I could balance her body with the text and give readers something visually compelling, rather than five tiny strippers in miniature. All due respect to the miniaturists of the world, but tiny strippers are not sexy. Strippers, if they are far enough away, look just like red ants in Spanx.

Well, all my work was re-edited by my boss, and the five girls were all put back, probably because I had violated the rules of strip club diplomacy by featuring only one. Obviously I had not seen the HBO documentaries on strippers yet and didn’t know how intensely competitive they are. I don’t know if I made anybody angry, but I do know that I was discharged after about a month. Somewhere on an Austin, Texas backup server there sits idly a picture of a lonely bowl of chips awaiting marriage with its salsa in heaven. I think maybe there is also a picture of a molcajete that is the worst picture of a molcajete ever drawn by Anglos or Aztecs.

So why did I turn my page black in the first place? I’ve always liked the moody approach to content, probably after reading “The Medium is the Massage,” by Marshall McLuhan too many times. I wanted my readers to know that this is a place where I regularly delve into my subconscious and evince from those attic boxes of the spirit things that are forgotten, unremembered or repressed. I wanted to give you a really evil Happy Meal in a dark box.

Of course, I could probably come up with more interesting approaches to packaging, the way the McSweeney’s crowd does. But I’m already too busy being creative in other areas to spend an inordinate amount of time on visual design these days. I’ve also hit a wall with technology. I don’t know how to make Word Press do what I want graphically without spending hours of time. Stephanie, my beautiful wife, has more patience for figuring out Web design programs, which is why “The Retributioners” page looks so much better than this one.

Anyway, I’ve decided for the time being to offer you a clean attack. My logo is the same: a seraph looks to heaven for guidance as he would in a Caravaggio painting. (Or perhaps he’s just looking at the ceiling for water damage; I like to think the sculptor understood the marriage of sacred and profane.) In any case, I hope this version of my blog is a little bit easier to read and gives you no headaches and that it also marries the sacred and profane in a way that doesn’t give you an epileptic fit. You deserve no less. I don’t believe you came here in the first place, actually.

(If you have, though, please check out my music on the right hand side! I really think I’m getting better at this. If you’re a fan, I’ll even give you a name: A Salo Head!)

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