11 Years

Look at that; another year down. Eleven years ago today I started writing on Whatever, and at the time I would probably not have expected that I would still be doing it in the far distant age of 2009, much less have become reasonably notable for it. But then, eleven years ago, I probably would not have expected that in 2009 I would be living in Ohio, either, or that my cat would be internationally famous because some idjit put bacon on her (which happened three years ago today, as it happens; my, how the time flies). Eleven years is a lot of time for the unexpected to occur.

I do occasionally wonder how long I will continue to write here. When it began, it was because I was killing time and hoping to write a newspaper column again; it really was a temporary sort of thing. But at the moment I have no intention of stopping writing here, even if I ever were to get another newspaper column at this point, which seems wildly unlikely, not only considering the current state of newspapers but because I don’t know that I would actually want to be that constrained; I doubt any newspaper in the land would let me write on as many subjects, and with the same tone, as I do here. Eleven years is a long enough time to make Whatever a true representation of me, and I’d be loath to leave it off.

That said, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to occasionally wanting to take a month or two (or twelve) off. Sometimes it’s a pain in the ass, and every once in a while the fact that people will send concerned e-mail if I don’t update every day stops being cute and actually becomes a little annoying. I can think of reasons to walk away and not look back. I think that’s healthy; it’s when I feel that I couldn’t that it would start to be a problem. And of course I have taken months off before, and undoubtedly will again.

But not this month, I think. Right now, I’m enjoying Whatever a lot, and having fun with it and with most of you who read the site. It is still a little mindboggling to consider that tens of thousands of people pop by on a daily basis to read me blather on, and to read the words of their fellow readers in the comments. I sometimes wonder what I look like to the rest of you, who basically only know me from these words; I occasionally try to look at the site like I’m seeing it for the first time, and try to imagine what I imagine the person putting it together is like. It’s an interesting exercise. I’m not sure I do it well. But it’s fun to try anyway.

In any event, on we go, into another year. Thank you all for reading and for making my words here a small and hopefully entertaining part of your life. I appreciate it, and you. Let’s keep at it.

73 Comments on “11 Years”

  1. Happy to come along for the journey. It’s usually interesting, and that’s enough for me!

    Thanks for making it that way…

  2. That wasn’t meant to be mean. I’ve mentioned that I ain’t no writer. How about you’re words are an entertaining, small part of my life? Damn this writerly shit is harder than it looks.

  3. I enjoy the Whatever and am grateful for the time you invest. And Kodi. I’m grateful for her existence, to counterbalance cat and bacon pictures. For all the serious posts which I read and take seriously, the silly posts are nice too.

    Kodi Appreciation Society

  4. Congrats and thank you! I agree with you maybe 70% of the time, but you’re a good read about 95% of the time. I find that impressive. Take those months off, when you need them; we’ll miss you, but we’d rather have you writing here for at least the next 11 years.

  5. Three years ago for Bacon Cat? Really? My, time does tick along.

    I’ve lost track of when I discovered the Whatever. I know it was pre-OMW, published hardcover, and while Agent to the Stars was available. Hrm.

    I’ve enjoyed my stay mightily. Here’s to more years, as long as you can stand ’em.

  6. I suppose anything of this nature can be fun until the readers start to get a sense of entitlement. If you don’t pay for it, you ain’t entitled to it.

    Here’s to another eleven years (if you want to).

  7. Congrats on eleven years of blogging, John. I haven’t been reading long, but so far I’m loving it! Here’s to 11+ more (hopefully) years!

  8. Thank you, John, for the past 11 years. While I have only been along for the ride for less than a year, I am fully on board now and am also encouraging you, when the time comes, to take whatever time you need away from here to keep your motor running. We’ll somehow find the will to temporarily go on… archives help as will re-reading the OMW series. Your corner of the Internets, here, is my oasis of sanity in the desert of whackjobs. My sincerest thanks.

  9. I’ve only been following your blog for a few months now, but it is very… enjoyable, for lack of a better word. Whatever actually led me to your OMW books (which are fantastic, by the way!)

    As I was writing this, one of my cats barfed on the floor, as I’m sure you wanted to know. Regarless, said upchuck reminded me of your crazy felines and the solid two minutes of laughter I experienced when I realized just how Ghlaghghee’s name is pronounced.

    Thank you for your books and your cats, thank you for being a decent human being with well thought out (yet surprisingly amusing) opinions, and thank you for Whatever.

  10. How do you pronounce Ghlaghghee by the way? I have always wondered..

    And congratulations on 11 years John. I have only been dropping in for around 5 of those years but its always a bright spot in my day to spend a few minutes with you and the comments. Long may Whatever live.

  11. I’m glad you’re still enjoying writing the Whatever. Your tolerance of the occassional tedium is much appreciated.

    Not to put any pressure, but when you do stop you’ll be breaking up with thousands of people all in one go. Conversely, you hold the power of crushing thousands of hearts in a single blow.

    I fear and respect you, master of the web domain of my favorite blog.

  12. Claire: The gh’s in Ghlaghghee are pronounced similarly to the gh’s in “ghoti”. (Except that I still say ghlagee sometimes. I can’t help it.)

  13. aughoti = goldfish. THerefore ghlaghghee = …

    I can;t do it – I’ve never seen it in print. Is it a rule around here?

    And John, thanks for so consistenlty saying what I didn’t even ealize I was thinking, and saying it better than I ever do.

    And thanks for chapter-long fart jokes.

  14. @Pixelfish — (I admit, in my head it’s still “Galla – gi.” I am working on this. I say it properly out loud, on those rare occasions it comes up. :-D)

    Congratulations, John!

  15. Did I miss a birthday, or does Athena have to refer to the Whatever as her “BIG non-gendered technological sibling?”

    And, as for what you look like, that’s easy: you’re that guy in the Night Ranger T-shirt.

  16. I’ve enjoyed the Whatever for a few years now. It never fails to be entertaining. You take time off whenever the mood strikes. We’ll survive and be there when you return.

  17. Happy anniversary, and thanks for the blathering! We’re always enjoying the mile wide, mega joule blast of reason you’re providing!!

  18. The first Whatever post I remember had a to-do list with “tape bacon to cat” on it. I assumed that was somehow connected to something I missed, but maybe not.

    Since then I have sent several people your way, promising that Whatever is usually more interesting than most novels on the market.

    I like the name Ghlaghghee. It’s one of my two favorite cat names. (The other is Velcro, which was the cat of a friend of mine.)

  19. 11 YEARS? Wow! Congratulations!
    I read your OMW books then found Whatever, and enjoy it very much. I’d miss it if you stopped for very long, however if you stopped to write more books…….it would be a huge net gain in my book. As much as I enjoy Whatever, I enjoy your books more.

  20. My favorite cat name would be Phydeaux. I thought this up about 18 years ago.
    also, I miss Tempcat(tm), not the cat, the name.
    Happy Birthday(?), have you picked a name for the follow up to Hatemail? (don’t worry, you’ve got 9 more years)

  21. I see Whatever as a truck stop diner. I can sit down to a fresh cup of coffee and chat with the locals and travelers alike. I like that kind of world and enjoy spending a few moments a day listening in. Besides, I like your writing: novels and blog.

    Congrats on eleven years. Few people can do anything for eleven years so you should feel a little proud. Not too much; I know you are a humble man.

  22. Came for the blackity black post and stayed. You’ve introduced me to different authors (thanks!) and reminded me of old music (ummm thanks)

    congrats on 11 years:)

  23. What I enjoy about your blogs:
    1) You speak intelligently about politics, but you aren’t invested in either side. This is very rare. Almost all blogs that talk about politics are written by people who clearly write from one side or the other. Yeah, sure, you have clearly been on Obama’s side lately, but I feel confident that when the pendulum swings, and left moves into whackiland, and the right moves back into sanity, you’ll have no problem switching to their side if they make more sense. So I guess I am saying you write from the middle, which happens to currently be Obama territory but might not be in the future.
    2) You’re a talented author who writes entertaining tales, so when you write about politics you can make it entertaining as well. Also very rare.
    3) You blog with lots of attitude without being a pompous prick. Again, rare. Attitude is entertaining, pompous prickosity not so much.

    Keep it up, John!

  24. (delurking) Thanks for being a unique combination of entertaining and thoughtful. I’ve been a regular reader for years now (five, maybe?) and really enjoy your writing. And it’s led to me buying your books too, so maybe this free writing on the internet thing is useful after all. ;)

  25. I’m a relatively new reader, having discovered Whatever a year ago. I have to be careful that lots of my comments to friends aren’t prefaced with “Well, John Scalzi says…” as I recount facts I’ve learnt from you.

    I do miss the one-liners that used to appear at the top of the page with your pictures on the old site style. The minimalistic look has lost that little fun touch.

  26. Thank you John. I appreciate the work that goes into Whatever. I’ve enjoyed the authors you’ve introduced to me. The political analysis is usually entertaining. And… I love hearing about your animals.

    Ghlaghghee is also one of my favorite cat names (we have an ordinary Fluffy named by my then 8 yo daughter). Two names on my list for future cats: Schrodinger and Higgs Boson because I’m geeky that way.

  27. Thanks for taunting the tauntable, and entertaining the rest of us!

    I actually find your site because it was linked to by someone who thought you were being an insufferable ass to one of their friends. I came, I read, I thought your writing, and comment-management style was so amusing that I stayed. Since then, I’ve read all of your novels, and recommended them to many.

  28. I don’t have a lot of time these days to read blogs but Whatever is on my list of (multiple) daily visits, as is Wil Wheaton’s and Making Light.

    Thank you John for making my time worthwhile.

  29. Congrats on 11 years! I’ve only been following Whatever for a little over three, right after OMW made the final Hugo ballot in the spring of 2006, and I made my annual project of trying to read all five (I managed to read four that year — I never got to A Feast for Crows, as I hadn’t read the first three in the series). Your blog is great for giving me stuff of yours to read between novel (and Subpress shorter fiction) releases. And you have a talent for jabbing the right (and sometimes the left) in the ribs without being too much of a dick.

    Liz @35: They’re still there. You just have to select them with your mouse.

  30. Thanks for doing this, your blog is how I got into your books, nearly all of which I’ve bought over the last couple of years. Here’s hoping you’ll continue the Whatever for 11 more brilliant years.

  31. John –

    I read your blog every day, and appreciate greatly the time that you put into it, and the value that I get from your investment of time. Thank you.

    I think it’s worth noting, however, that your goal of writing for a newspaper, while noble, probably would have been filled with editorial influence, frustrations of declining subscribers and eventually, unemployment. I think it’s arguable that writing for the Internet audience probably resulted in a much greater impact on your career, and in the end, has meant that all of what has appeared in Whatever was completely from your head,and not filtered through an editorial staff that might not have understood you.

    I started reading your books because I stumbled upon WHATEVER, and I’ve never looked back. Thanks again.

  32. I sought out Whatever after reading Android’s Dream and have been coming back for more ever since. Thanks!

  33. I, for one, welcome our 11-year-old overlords.

    Who knew, in December 1995, when my wife and I and a partner who subsequently left our business partnership decided to launch the Magic Dragon Multimedia web domain, that more people would read us online than read everything we’d ever had printed on paper? Or that more people would read us online than saw me in any of my live national network TV interviews (i.e. the 10,000,000 + people who saw me and my guest-of-guest Isaac Asimov for 5.5 minutes on the NBC-TV Today Show)?

    Now, if only there were a good way to monetize this. As they say on slashdot, step 3: profit!

  34. Well, what a coincidence. As it happens, today is my birthday too.

    And, part of my birthday celebration is catching up on my reading. Which, in addition to my semi-regular perusal of Whatever, I’m enjoying Charlie’s “Saturn’s Children” – and I’ve just gotten to the part with the “Scalzi Endowment Museum”. Oh, the frabjous irony of it. Delicious.

    So, I thank you, sir, for making awesome things awesomer.

  35. You are one of the only blogs I make sure to check every day…. I discovered your existence on this planet when you wrote about the Creation museum, and the impression of you I have acquired since then is of someone I wish I knew… so the blog is the next best thing.
    And please keep writing, I don’t have nearly enough bookshelf space devoted to your books !
    Here’s to 11 more years of awesomeness and bacon!

  36. Thank you for writing one of the best (if not THE best) personal blog, filled with the most mind-bogglingly varied and entertaining collection of thoughts, anecdotes, silliness and Big Ideas on the ‘net. Tho’ I’ve only been reading you for three or four years, they’ve been an incredibly entertaining three or four years. So here’s to another 11, or at least until Whatever becomes more work than it is fun.

  37. Came here via “Making Light” for “Being Poor,” came back for the Creationist Museum visit, and somewhere along the way become a regular reader, and have now bought OMW, GB, and Hate Mail. So congrats on a great 11 years… here’s to 11 more.

  38. Thank YOU. To me, you look like a nice guy and a hell of a father, and I enjoy reading your blog a lot.

  39. I bet you never thought you’d be posting a Lief Garrett version of “The Final Countdown” back then, that’s for sure! Congrats on eleven years.

  40. Happy anniversary. Here’s to many more!!

    Don’t always get to comment, but do stop by at least once a day to see what you’re up to.

  41. Thank you so much for the effort you put into Whatever – I’m one of the folks who loads it along with the newspapers every morning, and I truly enjoy your insights as well as your snark. (Not necessarily in that order.)

    Many happy returns of the day!

  42. Oh, guest bloggers; definitely! You could jerk bak the control stick whenever they irritated you. Try to make it less than once per day. Heck, you might even consider using an actual “Conservative” guest blogger, though I assure you I am not that individual.

    In any event, thank you for being “here”. Where else would I get my twice weekly dose of Liberalism?

  43. Thanks, Mr. Scalzi. I would be completely uninformed on any number of obscure topics like the Creation Museum without Whatever.

  44. Who says a blog can’t have a plot? But it’s funnier to come at some of the jokes backwards… I’ve been trying to read that cat’s name for far too long.

  45. Congrats on the 11 years. I have been here for about 8 of them. Will miss it if and when you decide to let it go.


  46. Mr. Scalzi-

    Happy anniversary. I’m consistently amazed at your ability to amuse and inform at the quality and quantity you do, as a side gig to boot.

    -One of the Eric Ses

  47. Congratulations on the eleventh anniversay of Whatever. I hope you know that my entire notion of US social and political issues is drawn from this blog.

  48. Thanks for everything, Mr. Scalzi. It’s one one of the few places on the internet where, on any given day, I can be entertained, enlightened, or pissed off. It’s one hell of a ride.

  49. Congratulations, and thanks for writing entertainingly, intelligently, and briefly on so many topics.

    Over the years, I’ve gotten into reading the books of many writers because those people produced or appeared in fanzines, or I met them at Conventions, but you’re the first to create this situation (for me) by way of a blog (beating out Charlie Stross by a few weeks).

    Indeed, _Whatever_ has many of the characteristics that were so beguiling in fanzines fifty years ago — or at least those in the “Informal Personalzine” category — lacking only the tight editing of the better Lettercolumns (which was done there mostly because the faneds had to pay for duplication & postage).

  50. Just catching up as I discovered that the Livejournal feed has gone on vacation. Congratulations on another year! I enjoy reading your blog and I finally figured out the one liner thing. ;-)
    If you decide to post less often, please at least post a picture once in a while of a pet so that we can be entertained by Chang who is not Chang?

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