Daily Archives: September 13, 2004

Happy Birthday, Whatever

Did you know (and its immediate corollary, do you care) that today marks the sixth anniversary of the existence of the Whatever? Well, it does. No one is more surprised about its longevity than I. The Whatever has been very good to me; directly or indirectly it has been responsible for the existence of four of my books, and a fair proportion of my income since 1998. Again, no one more surprised than I.

As it happens you can no longer read the very first Whatever entries on the site; I took them (and many others) down a couple of years ago when I did an overall revamp of the site. However, for the sake of archaeological amusement, allow me to post the first week of Whatever entries again, so you can get an idea of how much — or how little — the Whatever’s changed since 1998. Enjoy.

(NB: I’m also going to try out the “extended entry” function here. If you don’t immediately see a link to the first week of Whatevers, blame my technical incompetence. Yeah, I know. Even after six years, some things never change.)

Continue reading Happy Birthday, Whatever

Happy Birthday, Whatever

Did you know (and its immediate corollary, do you care) that today marks the sixth anniversary of the existence of the Whatever? Well, it does. No one is more surprised about its longevity than I. The Whatever has been very good to me; directly or indirectly it has been responsible for the existence of four of my books, and a fair proportion of my income since 1998. Again, no one more surprised than I.

As it happens you can no longer read the very first Whatever entries on the site; I took them (and many others) down a couple of years ago when I did an overall revamp of the site. However, for the sake of archaeological amusement, allow me to post the first week of Whatever entries again, so you can get an idea of how much — or how little — the Whatever’s changed since 1998. Enjoy.

(NB: I’m also going to try out the “extended entry” function here. If you don’t immediately see a link to the first week of Whatevers, blame my technical incompetence. Yeah, I know. Even after six years, some things never change.)

Continue reading Happy Birthday, Whatever

Albert and Cthulhu, Sitting In a Tree

alandc.jpgI have to say, I wasn’t entirely surprised when plush Albert Einstein and plush Cthulhu decided to become an item. After all, the two have tons in common: The love of water, the enjoyment of naps, a fascination with non-Euclidean geometry and a dislike of quantum physics (Al because it engenders spooky action at a distance; Cthulhu because quantum physicists tend toward the gamy side; it’s that whole “I’m too busy thinking about the Higgs Boson to bathe” thing). People have gotten married who have had less in common, and at least this way if it ends up that Cthulhu drives Albert crazy, well, you know. He can’t say he wasn’t warned.

For all the obvious compatibilities, I was still worried. Let’s face it, Dubya’s America is a difficult place to conduct a plush same-sex interspecies relationship, even if the two participants are stuffed representations the father of 20th Century physics and an elder god of madness and chaos. People will still talk. Even here at home, I worry about some of the other less tolerant plush toys; I’ve seen Felix the Cat giving the two of them the stinky eye, which is pretty rich coming from a plush toy whose history includes an acknowledged “bag of tricks.”

And what about outside the home? When Athena takes Al and Thu out into the world, will she get stares? I mean, they stare already – after all, how many five-year-olds walk around with a plush physicist and/or foul slumbering creature from the briny depths. I mean, will they stare more. Will the average person be able to divine the passionate vibe emanating from these two cloth-wrapped bags of fun-shaped batting? And if they do, will they understand? And will they condone? Or at least tolerate? It’s made even more difficult by the fact that some people still haven’t forgiven Albert Einstein for the social fallout surrounding his theory of relativity, or Cthulhu for being, well, a homophagic instigator of insanity. They just can’t see that at the end of the day, all these two want is to be loved.

Well, to hell with the lot of them. I for one applaud Al and Thu for their devotion to each other and for being willing to suffer the slings and arrows of those who misunderstand their relationship. If anyone can make a plush same-sex interspecies relationship work, it should be these two. Let’s hear it for a grand unified theory of love. They say you don’t have to be a crazy elder god to be in love, but it doesn’t hurt. That’s wisdom, my friends.

Albert and Cthulhu, Sitting In a Tree

alandc.jpgI have to say, I wasn’t entirely surprised when plush Albert Einstein and plush Cthulhu decided to become an item. After all, the two have tons in common: The love of water, the enjoyment of naps, a fascination with non-Euclidean geometry and a dislike of quantum physics (Al because it engenders spooky action at a distance; Cthulhu because quantum physicists tend toward the gamy side; it’s that whole “I’m too busy thinking about the Higgs Boson to bathe” thing). People have gotten married who have had less in common, and at least this way if it ends up that Cthulhu drives Albert crazy, well, you know. He can’t say he wasn’t warned.

For all the obvious compatibilities, I was still worried. Let’s face it, Dubya’s America is a difficult place to conduct a plush same-sex interspecies relationship, even if the two participants are stuffed representations the father of 20th Century physics and an elder god of madness and chaos. People will still talk. Even here at home, I worry about some of the other less tolerant plush toys; I’ve seen Felix the Cat giving the two of them the stinky eye, which is pretty rich coming from a plush toy whose history includes an acknowledged “bag of tricks.”

And what about outside the home? When Athena takes Al and Thu out into the world, will she get stares? I mean, they stare already – after all, how many five-year-olds walk around with a plush physicist and/or foul slumbering creature from the briny depths. I mean, will they stare more. Will the average person be able to divine the passionate vibe emanating from these two cloth-wrapped bags of fun-shaped batting? And if they do, will they understand? And will they condone? Or at least tolerate? It’s made even more difficult by the fact that some people still haven’t forgiven Albert Einstein for the social fallout surrounding his theory of relativity, or Cthulhu for being, well, a homophagic instigator of insanity. They just can’t see that at the end of the day, all these two want is to be loved.

Well, to hell with the lot of them. I for one applaud Al and Thu for their devotion to each other and for being willing to suffer the slings and arrows of those who misunderstand their relationship. If anyone can make a plush same-sex interspecies relationship work, it should be these two. Let’s hear it for a grand unified theory of love. They say you don’t have to be a crazy elder god to be in love, but it doesn’t hurt. That’s wisdom, my friends.

Good News, Bad News

So, the good news is that I wrote 12,500 words this weekend in Rough Guide to Science Fiction Film. That’s 15% of the book’s contractual length.

The bad news is that the chapter I wrote all those words for is supposed to be 6,000 words long. Whoops. Gotta reel myself in.

On the other hand, I’m very happy with the chapter. It needs some trimback, clearly, but it’s packed with information, and having tossed off one chapter, the rest don’t seem particularly imposing. This is more of the whole “once you get started, that hard part’s over” thing.

I also want to note how cool it is to be able to use myself as a primary resource for research. The particular chapter I’m working on is on the actual science in science fiction film (there’s not much), and so I’m using the Rough Guide to the Universe to double-check some of the things I’m writing. Whee!

Also, as a completely unrelated side, I really like the look of Movable Type 3.11, in terms of how it looks from the inside. The text-editing window, for one thing, is substantially larger — I no longer feel like I’m writing in a cramped little space any more. I can breathe! Also, of course, lots more control over comments, which should trim back the comment spam. At the moment I’m considering whether to initiate some sort of authentication for posters — MT 3.11 works with Movable Type’s “Typekey,” which allows people to leave messages at any MT blog with a single password — and perhaps later I’ll do something with that. For the moment, though, I’ll leave comments wide open and see if MT can let me control spam effectively without having to resort to making y’all sign in.

Sleepy, sleepy. Must go rest.