Site Changes Coming in August

The Short Version: Athena Scalzi is coming on board as a writer and editor starting August 4. She’ll be taking over some administrative tasks, posting her own entries and helping me update and possibly expand the site.

The Less Short Version: Athena is taking a gap year from college, more or less, partly because she (and we) are waiting for the US to figure out what the hell it’s doing with the coronavirus. Prior to the shutdown, she’d been working out in the world, but at this point, between the rapid spread of the virus and the fact that aggressive, ignorant dipshits will scream about muh rights when they’re asked to wear masks or take other precautions on behalf of others, it doesn’t seem the risk-to-reward ratio for working in the service sector is all that great. Athena has also been wanting to focus on writing, and on building skills and knowledge that would be useful to writing and publishing, and content creation in general.

As it happens, Athena knows someone who could be useful in helping her develop all of those skills: Me, who has worked as a writer and editor for years, and knows all about publishing and content creation. And as it also happens, I’ve been aware for while that my current workload with books and other projects means this site is increasingly a last priority for the day. It could benefit from some more regular attention, and someone to handle tasks I have less time for now. Athena interned on the site a couple of years ago, so I know she understands the site, and I know I can work with her. Also, you know: I’m personally invested in her learning these skills in any event, and she’ll be at the house anyway.

So: Starting on August 4, Athena’s coming on to as a writer and editor for the site. She’ll be handling some administrative tasks for me, writing her own entries based on — yes — whatever it is she wants to write about, and working with me to plan the future of the site and to possibly create new and interesting features. You know: stuff. Don’t ask for too many details right now, we’re going to be making this up as we go along. But I’m happy both to have her here to handle some things for me and post her own things, and to be able to be useful to her as she builds up her skills and experience.

To answer some questions I know people will have: Yes, it’s totally nepotism, ask me if I care; No, I don’t know how long this new arrangement will go on, but I suspect for a bit because if nothing else we as a nation are not exactly on top of this virus thing, now, are we; Yes, this does mean I’ll now actually act like a real editor for the site, which means some formalization of what has been to this point a largely informal thing; No, I don’t know if you’ll notice any of that, other than seeing Athena’s byline on the site. There’s a bit to Athena’s new gig that will not manifest itself on the site in any obvious way. The answer to all other questions at this point is likely to be: shrug, you got me, guess we’ll find out.

I’m excited for this new chapter for Whatever and I think it will be fun and I’m looking forward to what we get to do here. I hope you’ll enjoy it too.

80 Comments on “Site Changes Coming in August”

  1. Welcome (back) aboard Athena!

    No problem with this from me, who worked at Whiteside’s IGA through junior high, high school, and during college breaks. There may have been a family connection…

    Just make sure she gets paid a good rate, which I don’t think will be an issue.

  2. Welcome to the site. I won’t say good luck, because I suspect from what your Dad says, you have the skills and drive needed to do this. May it bring you joy and knowledge. I was very lucky to find a career that I loved and I wish that for you.

  3. Welcome Athena, I hope you enjoy your gap year and get the most you can out of this unique experience! Looking forward to seeing your progress before our eyes.

  4. It seems like she just interned – where does the time go?! Welcome back, Athena!

    Also curious whether she gets a mallet as well?

  5. Woot! Welcome (back) Athena!

    And while y’all are figuring out the details and so forth, I’d love to see more of Athena’s cooking posts if she’s so inclined. I made one of her recipes from her stint as an intern and enjoyed it.

  6. That’s awesome! Congratulations, and Athena, I hope he’s paying you a fair wage and you have some good professional/member organizations to go to for good advice and support… as every worker should have access to :)

  7. Welcome, Athena! My own kids are here at home instead of at college this year as well. That’s what parents are for — to provide a refuge for the kids! And didn’t many of the Greats in any field learn at the feet of their Parents? ;)

  8. She did a great job as a guest contributor/intern. She was a very natural fit with an interesting point of view. The way the world is evolving it’s refreshing to hear the opinions of intelligent members of the next generation! What a wonderful opportunity for you both! Welcome Athena!!

  9. Welcome back Athena.
    Mr. Scalzi and his new chair are moving up to the corporate level, good for him. Sounds like you have a good mentor in place. What the site needs now is a CFO. Someone with fiscal maturity, personnel experience, organizational expertise, an eye for detail, and skillful in conflict resolution.

  10. I think this is an awesome idea. I would love to hear Athena’s take on the current shitshow happening in our country right now. Always nice to hear different viewpoints (or similar viewpoints viewed through the lens of another generation).

  11. High fives! Athena’s contributions are always thought-provoking. And if you only have one kid, that kid had better be getting about 100% of the opportunities.

  12. That sounds amazing! It gives her opportunities and experience and takes some of the workload for the site off you. seems like a win – win. I hope it all works out well for y’all as well as us!

  13. Oh goody! I enjoyed the summer that Athena interned; welcome back! I’m hoping she’ll do some reviews? And no fussing about the nepotism; if we could all offer our kids these opportunities, I’m sure we’d all take it.

  14. “Hi, Athena, thanks for coming to your quarterly performance review.”

    “Dad, this is weird.”

    “I’m overall pleased by your performance, but I’m concerned about your ability to mesh with your coworkers.”

    “Wait what?”

    “Yeah, Spice has been a little skittish when you’re in the room. Spice made it clear that he’s not comfortable with how you scritch his butt.”

    “You mean that time the cat took a swipe at me? That happens all the time, he was just being playful.”

    “Unfortunately, that’s not how he feels. I’m going to have to put you on formal warning, and a note is going to have to be entered into your permanent record.”

    “Formal warning?! Since when do I have a permanent rec– … wait, how do you know how the cat feels?”

    “Because he and I had a conversation.”

    “You had a … dad, your allergies are acting up. How much Benadryl did you take last night?”

    “I’m not sure how that has any relevance to this conversation. And we’re getting away from my point. I want you to focus on respecting your coworkers. For example, I’m not sure why you feel it is important to ride that unicorn into the office. It’s so big that you’re consistently taking up two parking spaces.”

    “Okay dad, I get it. I’m sorry. I’ll try to do better, and I’ll switch to the rainbow pony from now on.”

    “See? That’s not so hard. I’m glad we had this chat.”

    “Me too. Wait here, Dad, I’ll back in a sec. … Mom?”

  15. I mean “nepotism,” haha, it’s a blog not the New York Times.

    You could consider reviving that old podcast from a few years back.

  16. Chris pretty much beat me to it — I was going to say that I for one welcome our new filial overlord. In any case, welcome back, Athena!

  17. “waiting for the US to figure out what the hell it’s doing with the coronavirus.”

    I’m pretty sure the policy is “wait for a miracle.”

  18. Nice! It was a fun change of pace when she was posting here before. Sounds like a win-win-win (for you, Athena, and your readers :-)).

  19. If you are going to hire based on nepotism, I want a refund of my subscription fee!


    In all seriousness – my kids are pre-K right now, but if they become interested in writing and publishing, I would be stupidly excited.

  20. Chris K beat me to it, so I second, “ I, for one, welcome our new Gen Z overlord!”

  21. Sounds like a great win-win situation all around. Best wishes to you both going forward.

  22. But is this her next step in her master plan for global domination, or yours?

  23. Welcome back Athena!

    Word of warning from an olds: I came back home for a year to run my folks’ business. It turned into 30.

  24. I sort of asked for this a couple of years ago; glad to see it’s happening now.

  25. Welcome Athena! Don’t tell your dad, but you are a lot better looking than he is. ;>)
    It will be interesting to hear things from your (younger) point of view. It’s a good opportunity to develop your writing skills.

  26. Before I foolishly call Athena a kid, I will remember that she is the same age as the men and women at my university student newspaper, back in the day. I remember them as idealistic, enthusiastic and competent.

  27. What a scathingly brilliant idea! Welcome back to Whatever, Athena. Have fun!

  28. I wish my dad had been more like you. My dad’s idea of teaching was I could hand him the right wrench/screwdriver/whatever, and otherwise stay out of the way.

    Go Athena!

  29. How wonderful! Just the other day I was thinking how I missed reading Athena’s posts. I am so glad for the chance to hear from her again. Welcome back, Athena!

  30. Welcome back!
    Merch! You need to sell merch. Some of your edited photos and much of your snark would make good tee shirts. I know almost nothing about it but I think there are companies that will do the production and shipping for this sort of thing. I think Matt Carriker of multiple YouTube channels might do this. Investigating this might be a good additional project for her.

  31. As has been noted twice already, I hope Athena is receiving a fair wage for the work she’ll be doing for the website.

  32. I’m just waiting for the first time Athena gets to use the Mallet on… ok, can’t say that… can’t say that… can’t say that either… a troll of uncompromising all-persons-lacking-a-Y-chromosome-must-service-those-who-have-one attitude who wanders in thinking it would be fun to yank the wimpy chain of the site owner. Without training wheels (or Whatever is the equivalent for the Mallet), that is.

  33. Good for Athena, and good for the site!

    Possibly not good for me, as she doesn’t know me and will, in all likelihood, treat me with all the respect I deserve.

  34. Do you take requests Athena? ‘Cause I’d love one serious piece at some stage on what it’s like being nerd-famous-once-removed. Do strangers ever recognise you, and is it weird? How did you relate to (or not) Zoe, I mean aside from having bugs for parents (you or Zoe; take that however you like).

  35. Welcome Athena! I wasn’t around when you last interned, so I’m glad to get the chance now!

  36. Glad to have you back, Athena! I’m sorry your college experience is being interrupted, but we are fortunate to have you here! I’m looking forward to reading your work here!

  37. Welcome back Athena!

    And there’s nothing wrong with nepotism, I worked for my Mum from Fifth Form until I finished Uni. :_)

  38. bacon: though I don’t eat bacon — irony of being allergic despite not holding to kosher — still enjoy the bacon page and would advise having your new staff look into ramping up to include other modes (and pets) for how to misuse bacon

    potatoes: another thing you might consider is raising ‘vertical potatoes’ as tongue in cheek ‘prepper paranoid’ feature… readying for “the end of all things”… oh, wait, you could turn all that land into a gourmet spuds farm

    garlic: no such thing as too much garlic…

  39. Based on her previous contributions I think she’ll do you proud (wrt the blog, I’m sure the proud part is de facto).
    Welcome back Athena!

  40. Sounds good! Athena, don’t forget that all commenters get a free burrito. That’s been standard practice over the past year. Thanks!

  41. I am delighted that you have a daughter worthy of your nepotism! I welcome our new Grecian Goddess overlord.

    Let her wield her father’s mallet with strength and glory!

    Let’s see some owl pictures!

  42. Looking forward to it!

    I enjoyed her previous content and expect to have just as good a time now.

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