Lately, John Scalzi has been celebrating the Tenth Anniversary of Whatever by rerunning some of his archival posts. Today, he wants to know how his readers found him and when. I made the quick comment:
"In 2006, a friend recommended Old Man’s War. After reading the first chapter, I Googled you and I’ve been here ever since."At the risk of sounding like a slavering fanboy, I'd like to expand on that.
In August of 2006, I did a day of work on a show I'd never heard of called Ugly Betty. To be more accurate, I did a day of work for a Visual Effects company who was working for the producers of Ugly Betty. They came to NY to shoot some "plates" for the show. "Plate photography" is really just a variation on "Chromakeying" or "Greenscreen" photography. Simply put, a "Plate" is an image that you're going to use as a background for some scene you're going to shoot somewhere else, most likely a studio. (Interestingly, I looked for a Wiki link that would explain it, but regardless of the fact that the definition I've just given is common as dirt, Wiki doesn't have a page referencing this definition.)
So, we did some shots of the front of the house where Ugly Betty would live. We did some shots around the neighborhood. The locations had all been found earlier by someone else when they shot the pilot and all I had to do was recontact a few people and make some deals for us to shoot there. Since TV shows do their original contracts so that they can return again and spell out what it's going to cost if they do, this was not highly taxing.
So...late in the day, they run off to do some driving plates; moving shots out of an open van door so they'll have backgrounds if they want to put Ugly Betty into a car for a scene. Me and one of the other guys working that day, were just sitting on the curb, cooling our heels while they drove around the neighborhood. We got to talking about books and he started raving about Old Man's War. He was so into it that I actually made a note and then picked up the book fairly soon.
In my comment, I said I read the entire first chapter before Googling Scalzi. In truth, I don't think I got more than a page and a half into the book before stopping and asking "Who is this guy?" As most of you know, I like reading. I like reading a lot! That said, I'm rarely grabbed that quickly by someone's turn of phrase, humor and style. I knew I was going to like the book immediately and had to know more about the author.
I quickly found myself at the gates of Whatever. And truth be told...I didn't really know what the fuck to make of it. You see, I had never read a blog before. Yup! Scalzi popped my cherry!
(I just know that's going to show up on a GoogleSearch)
Anyway, I started reading the thing voraciously. I loved most of what he was writing. I loved the comments. I loved the interplay between him and his commentariat* and the interplay amongst the commentariat themselves. (*I saw this word for the first time ever today, over on Making Light. I was about to credit them with coinage, but it's apparently been around since the late 90's. Told you I'm a Noob.)
Anyway, I was hooked. I lurked for a while and then I got up the nerve to cautiously comment. Then another commenter, or maybe John himself actually noticed one of my comments and commented back! Wow.
As time went on, I started clicking through to the links some commenters left and found a few other blogs I liked and started following. The aforementioned Making Light, Pixelfish. Story Bones and The Swivet are some of the first that come to mind. And I could talk to folks there too. And sometimes they talked back.
Then, last year sometime, Scalzi decided his readers needed their own sandbox to play in and he started Whateveresque. I know I was one of the first hundred or so people to register. There were a bunch of fun and silly things going on over there and it made a nice place to just sort of goof around. And then came...Future Ultimate Emporer of the Universe (all hail!)
A bunch of us just totally geeked out there. I started reading their blogs...and commenting. It didn't take too much longer for Polybloggimous to be born. (Note the ones who chime in with the first comments. :D)
Anyway, this has all been a very long way of thanking John Scalzi for introducing me to blogging. I still thoroughly enjoy his blog. I'm loving keeping one myself. And I read way too many other peoples' blogs for my own good (which isn't about to stop me). I've met a lot of people I really like and hope the circle keeps expanding and introducing me to more cool people.
I won't compare my blog to Whatever, but I like to think I was influenced by his style...at least in the way that absolutely anything might show up here on any given day. That's the type of blog I like to read and it's the type I hope I'm writing. Thanks John!
The Internets! Who knew?