Whatever X, Day XIII

Today’s the day: The actual 10th anniversary of Whatever. How better to note it than by going back to the very beginning — which, as we’ve been told, is a very good place to start — and looking at how I imagined the Whatever would be like a decade past.

SEPTEMBER 13, 1998: Introduction to Whatever

Hey, there. I’ve decided to try something a little new for me here at this website — for a little while, at least, I’m going to try to update this front page on a regular basis with new text; the idea here being to give folks who come to the website a reason to come back on a somewhat regular basis.

This isn’t a new idea, by any stretch of the imagination. The internet is nothing if not a fount of unbridled egos splooging their opinions out to whomever is within browsing distance, regardless of the quality (or coherency) of those opinions; my pal Ivan Brunetti’s cartoon comment here says it all.

A number of people out there even keep “online diaries”: One of my personal favorites is from James Lileks, who updates his site on a daily basis. It shows a certain stick-to-it-iveness that I admire, although I’m not sure that this own space will be updated with the same frequency. I am inherently lazy and will, whenever possible, avoid doing more work than I have to.

Be that as it may, I have several reasons for deciding to do the regular online update. As a writer, one of the things I have done most regularly, and which I think I am pretty good at, is write columns. I’ve been a columnist on various subjects off and on for most of the last decade, and it’s something that I enjoy.

Right now, I’m sort of between columns; I write a music column once a week for MediaOne Express, and I’m extremely grateful that MediaOne folks have seen fit to pay me to write one; please visit the column several times daily to inflate the hit results, if you wouldn’t mind.  Still, there’s only so much you can comment on in a music column (hint: It’s mostly music). In the absence of having another column at the moment, I’ll just use this space as my own little soapbox to comment about other things that are going on in the world.

I hesitate, however, to call anything I write in this space a proper column; that would bespeak of a certain amount of organizational structure that I can’t really seeing myself applying (it’s that laziness thing, remember). Nor would I really call it an “online diary” — Starr report notwithstanding, I think there’s a certain line beyond which personal lives ought to remain personal; I don’t plan on using this space to foist my deepest, darkest secrets on the internet. I can’t imagine most people would care all that much (especially as there won’t be pictures).

Probably the best thing to call this is a “.plan”. Plan files, for the blissfully technologically ignorant, are small files that reveal who a holder of a particular internet account is (by way of the “finger” function. Don’t ask). Plan files generally hold very basic information, but a few folks who have them use them as a place to jot down their thoughts on their life, world events, sports, movies, what have you. In short, a place to muse, somewhat publicly. It’s not about anything in particular, just what that person is thinking at that moment.

That’s what I figure this will be. Nothing especially deep, just a random thought or two I feel like sharing. My expectation is that I’ll update this every couple of days; drop by when you feel like and see what the hell is going on in my brain.  E-mail if you like, or go on in and look at other parts of the site. Hope you enjoy it.

18 Comments on “Whatever X, Day XIII”

  1. Happy Anniversary. {cue “Fanfare for the Common Man”} You’re the most productive lazy person I know, and a true inspiration to hopeless slackasses everywhere.

    Did Whateveresque not turn one this week as well? Regardless, I shall have pie today to mark the occasion(s).

  2. “Probably the best thing to call this is a “.plan”.” channelling Eddie Izzard and James Mason out of the future.

  3. Congrats John. Coincidentally, this is also the 35th anniversary of my escape from my mother’s womb.

    I really enjoyed how you were referring online diaries; it reminds me of the days when you’d see a newspaper article mentioning “web logs (or ‘blogs’ as they are known…)”

  4. I share the amusement at references to “online diaries” and .plan files. It does make 1998 seem longer ago than ten years. I picture you punching holes into metallic foil cards and “firing up” your word processor by shoveling coal into the analytical engine. :-)

  5. A humble start for what has become the most interesting blog in world of inter tubes. I’m glad you didn’t get bored with it and quit before I found it.

  6. I had a .plan file. I also had something similar on VMS but I forgot what that was called. Back when newsgroups and IRC, BBS’ and Fidonet where the only ways that I knew how to connect with people around the world or across the street. It kept me sane and out of trouble the 15 months I stayed home with my daughter.

  7. Ah, the memories. I remember when the Whatever was “The Weekly Whatever,” and you sent it to your subscribers by email. Then one day, about 10 years ago, you announced that the emails would stop and in order to read your musings we would have to visit your website.

    And I remember thinking, “Well, that’s a terrible idea. Who’s going to check your website every week? What a hassle!”

    Ha ha, silly me. Happy anniversary.

  8. Congratulations on your anniversay. I’m amused to note the original expectation that “there won’t be pictures”, given how Whatever has developed in recent years. Thank for the entertainment.

  9. Congrats on 10 years. I celebrated by reading Old Man’s War.

    But then I’ve been reading your work for 20 years. Your Maroon colleague, Keith.

  10. Congrats on 10 years.

    I enjoy your books and your “I look you in the eye and eat your piece of pie” sense of humor.