Monthly Archives: January 2004

New Look

Well, that wasn’t nearly as painful as I thought it would be. I’ve been considering making changes to the look of the Whatever for a while now but held back mostly because, of course, I haven’t the slightest clue as to what I’m doing when it comes to playing with CSS scripts. But eventually my need for novelty superseded my fear of messing up a year’s worth of entries, and here we are, with a new look. It is, if I may say so, Jupiterrific!

The two big changes are the background (and the title image) and the appearance of the font. The background I chose for because it’s appropriate for me on a number of levels. First and most obviously, it echoes the cover of my book The Rough Guide to the Universe, which also features Jupiter and Io (that’s the moon you see) on its cover. Second and only slightly less obviously, I write science fiction, so a celestial theme’s not a bad idea. Third, it simply looks cool. Now, if I were truly supercool, I would be able to make it so the background picture didn’t move while you scrolled. But apparently I’m not supercool. I think I’ll survive.

The font change I made primarily for personal aesthetic reasons, in that I think fonts with serifs (in a general sense) look elegant and read well (so long as you have a decent leading between the lines). Also, I’d done sans-serif fonts here for a couple of years now (trebuchet and arial) and I was getting kind of bored with ‘em. So your new official Whatever font is Garamond: Solid, readable, classic. I left the sidebars as san serif, however, on account they are of (relatively) smaller type, so san serif is easier to read (also because they’re on a dark background now). I’ve left the comments in san serif as well to differentiate them from the main text. I’ve also changed the color of the main copy text from gray to dark green. Two reasons: Green is my favorite color (and this particular green is dark enough that it doesn’t present eye strain issues), and I’ve always thought the previous grey could have been a smidge darker.

I hope you like the look, because now you’re stuck with it, probably for about a year, which I imagine will be the time it takes for me to get well and truly sick of the design and yearn for something new. Novelty! It’s the spice of life.


I am now entertaining comments on the look and feel of this provisional update to the Whatever’s design. Tell me what you think. Also, if any of you know how to do a background on MT that’s an image rather than a hexadecimal color, I’d be grateful to know. I’ve saved the style sheets for the old look, so I can always go back again.

Update: Clearly I’ve been told how to put in pictures. Thanks! Still soliciting comments, however.

Yet Another Irritating Tale of Progeny Precociousness

For Athena’s birthday, my friend Regan sent along a big ol’ plush white tiger, which my daughter, in her way, insisted on calling “White Striped Kitty,” with “striped” pronounced “Stripe-ED,” just like one of your snootier class of Shakespearian actor might. However, that is not the bit of random precociousness I came to share with you today. No, that came a couple of days later, as Athena was about to walk down the stairs with the stuffed cat. She looked over to me and said, “White Striped Kitty is both male and female. It’s a sport.”

Which of course made me stop. “As in genetic sport?” I asked.

“Uh-huh,” she said and then went off down the stairs.

Now, I’ve taught my daughter a number of things, but I guarantee you that the definition of the word “sport” meaning “An organism that shows a marked change from the normal type or parent stock, typically as a result of mutation,” is not one of them. I was saving that until she was six. So I kind of goggled for a few moments.

Now, I don’t want to go on record and state that in fact she knows what a genetic sport is (or more accurately, that she did know what a genetic sport was prior to she and I talking about it in slightly more detail since, as we have done). But it is nice to know that every once in a while she can come out of left field and whack me aside the head with something that she says — and have it not be of the “Daddy, you’ll never guess where I hid the cat” variety.

Thank you. That is all.