Now in Magenta

For those of you who were complaining earlier in the day that the background color of the Whatever looked like the color of kitty litter (presumably unused kitty litter), allow me to point out the latest innovation of the Whatever: The ability to change background colors on the fly. Right now the color is a pale magenta, because I asked Athena what color she would like to have Whatever be, and she wanted this (it’s actually closer to a lavender or even an orchid, but that’s because the actual magenta color would be a bit painful on the eyeballs).

Since I can now change the background color largely at whim, I think I probably shall, more often than not. There are also other innovations, which I’ll note later. In the meantime, any background color requests? One request per customer.

Update, 11:13 am, 1/2/06: I’ve changed the color again, to the hexadecimal value suggested by Pixelfish in the first comment. Just because I can. However, don’t worry, I won’t be changing colors here evey eight hours. Once every few days at most, I suspect, after i get done playing with it like a shiny toy.

Some New Year’s Reading for You From Elizabeth Bear

If you have more ambition for yourself this new year’s day than just staring glassy-eyed into the TV as young men pummel each other in bowl games, allow me to suggest the novella “Lucifugous” by my pal and Campbell Award predecessor Elizabeth Bear, which begins its serialization on the Subterranean Press site today. It’s part of Bear’s upcoming mosaic novel New Amsterdam, also available from Subterranean, which is available for pre-order.

The first chapter of “Lucifugous” is up today; there’ll be another chapter each weekday. And now you have a reason to live, at least for the first couple of weeks of January. After that, hey, pal, you’re on your own.

Crazy Screechy Monkeys 1, Best-Selling Author 0

Best-selling author Laurell K. Hamilton borrows Anne Rice’s crazy hat and unloads, at length, on some detractors on a message board.

Now, why you, as an author, shouldn’t follow Ms. Hamilton’s example:

It makes you look like an asstard.

Here’s the thing. Some people won’t like your books. If these people also have access to the Internet, the chances are good that they might tell other people how they don’t like your books. Sometimes, they’ll tell people they don’t like your books, even if they haven’t read your books, because some people are crazy screechy monkeys.

Now, when you encounter a crazy screechy monkey, there are many things you should not do, and one of the things not to do is go up to it and jab it repeatedly with a stick. Because all that does is enrage the crazy screechy monkey, who will then hoot and hop and call to all his crazy screechy monkey friends. Then suddenly you’ve got a whole colony of crazy screechy monkeys hooting and flinging their poo at you, and all you have is a stick. You can’t poke them all. They move too quickly, and eventually their poo gets into your eyes. If you try, everyone watching you is going to say “look, that person is trying to fight an entire colony of crazy screechy poo-flinging monkeys with a stick. What an asstard.” Then they’ll laugh and point at you.

Eventually you’ll have to retreat; declare moral victory if you like, but the fact is, the colony of monkeys is still screeching crazily at you, people are pointing and laughing at your asstardery, and you’re covered in monkey shit.

Leave the crazy screechy monkeys alone.

It’s too late for Laurell K. Hamilton. It’s not too late for you.

Thank you for your attention.

Some Whatevery

Oh, hey. You’re up. Well, as long as you’re up, some stuff about the Whatever:

* As those of you who are not obscenely hung over and/or have over-aggressive Web caches may have noted, I have yet again changed the look of the Whatever, fresh for ’07, sucka. Let me just say that these new changes will allow me more flexibility in presentation than I’ve had before, which I’m naturally happy about and which I suspect you’ll see me take advantage of in the coming year.

* Being up as I am ungodly early on New Year’s Day thanks to my cat, who awoke me with a “let me out or I pinch one off on your new couch” meow, I took the time to look at the Whatever stats for 2006. Overall the visitorship of the Whatever grew quite a bit in 2006; the site had 6,125,045 unique visits, which is nearly twice the 2005 visitorship of 3,236,399 million unique visits, which is in itself more than twice my estimate for my 2004 visitorship of 1.5 million visits.

On a daily basis for 2006, Whatever averaged 16,780 visitors a day. This average doesn’t reflect the growth in visitorship over the year, which was fairly substantial. For example, in January 2006, the site averaged 11,180 visitors daily; in December, it averaged 20,575. The average numbers also don’t reflect weekly traffic trends, in which weekday traffic is substantially higher than weekend traffic; apparently, a’yall are popping in while you’re at work (actually, since the site’s daily readership tends to peak between 3pm and 4pm, this is actually probably the case). On weekdays, Whatever has been hitting between 21k – 24k on a regular basis since the unrepresentatively busy month of September, which featured the 1-2 “big post” punches of Krissy fending off a drunk loser, and, of course, BaconCat.

However, despite BaconCat’s immense popularity, it wasn’t actually the most-viewed Whatever entry for 2006 (most viewed in the sense of being visited directly in the Whatever archives as opposed to the front page of the site). The honor belongs to “Being Poor,” which quietly racks up an average of 332 visits daily. BaconCat is easily the most-viewed entry on the site for the day it was published; I got 67,000 visitors that day. But once you’ve seen BaconCat, there’s not much else to see. “Being Poor,” on the other hand, keeps getting passed around.

“Being Poor” also highlights an interesting facet of the Whatever, which I think is unusual for the blogs, which is that my archives are actually a substantial traffic driver; aside from “Being Poor,” other highly-trafficked pre-2006 entries on the site include the “Worst Christmas Specials” entry, from 2004, and “Cracking the Flag-Burning Amendment” from 2005. Other posts from earlier in 2006 also keep getting linked, especially writing pieces; both my writing tips for teens and writing tips for people who don’t want to be writers get visited a couple hundred times daily. Having active archives both increases the overall visitorship, and I think converts some of those “single visit” readers into regulars. This is one of the reasons I decided to put in a “Best Of Whatever” category over there on the sidebar, both to encourage folks to root around, and to suggest to folks that interesting reading here happens on a regular basis.

* Do I have any plans for Whatever in 2007, aside from the usual “write about whatever the hell I’m thinking about at the moment” thing? Not really, since that plan seems to be working for me, and why mess with it. The only thing I suspect I will be doing differently is possibly instituting a semi-regular “Things People Send to Me” series of entries, since now I get enough stuff sent to me that I need a way to remember it all, and also, you may have an interest in some of this stuff, too, since at least some of it is interesting. Of course, people may stop sending me stuff, in which case, I won’t write these sorts of entries, and also, I’ll have to buy stuff like a common troll. Sigh.

* Getting back for a moment to the increasing visitorship of the Whatever, I do want to note that I very strongly suspect that, in addition to whatever I may blatherate about here, another very strong component to growing the visitorship is the comment threads, which are sometimes (oh, okay, often) more interesting than the entries to which they are attached. I’ve noted before that Teresa Nielsen Hayden’s note on Making Light about the readers there works equally well here: “Our readers are the best thing about this weblog. If you’re not reading the comments, you’re missing half the fun.” Indeed. So: Thank you again for coming around and being part of the Whatever. You help make it a much better place than I could on my own.

* One final thing, since people have asked me about it and I should have it down somewhere: People want to know if the title of this place is “Whatever” or “the Whatever.” Well, as you might be able to tell from this entry, I use both interchangeably and at whim, and always have, since earlier iterations of this site include “Daily Whatever,” “The Daily Whatever,” “The (Daily) Whatever” and “The Whatever” as well as the current “Whatever.” At the moment, since the title graphic says “Whatever” and not “The Whatever,” I suspect “Whatever” is marginally more correct. However, if I can’t be bothered to get it right, why should you? Call it “Whatever” or “The Whatever”; it answers to both, happily.

Happy New Year!


We’re 11 minutes into 2007, and I can already tell this is going to be the best 2007 ever! Because, honestly, what good thing ever came out of 2007 BC? Not a one, I tell you. Not. A. One.

How’s your 2007 so far?