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January 11, 2007

Why, Yes, I Am Fiddling With the Background Again

Because I'm just that way, that's why. Feel free to comment if you like.

Posted by john at January 11, 2007 07:53 PM

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D. | January 11, 2007 07:55 PM

I know those swirls...

[hums "Vincent," exiting stage left.]

Anonymous | January 11, 2007 08:14 PM

Bring back the green with the winter berries...

John Scalzi | January 11, 2007 08:16 PM

The winter berries were actually fall crabapples.

Karen | January 11, 2007 08:17 PM

Ooh, pretty! I like it.

Anonymous | January 11, 2007 08:18 PM

Okay... So I've got the season and the fruit wrong. Idea #2: How about using some of Athena's illustrations from her stories?

KevinQ | January 11, 2007 08:19 PM

Woah. There's titties on my screen.

Not that I'm complaining, mind.


John Scalzi | January 11, 2007 08:20 PM

Actually, anonymous, I was originally going to post a piece of Athena's artwork as the background. And I still might, later.

Deanna Hoak | January 11, 2007 08:28 PM

Sorry, John, but...ugh.

J at The Dundies | January 11, 2007 08:33 PM

I kind of like it. I also kind of dislike it.

Ian Mathers | January 11, 2007 08:45 PM

I kind of like it.

Steve Buchheit | January 11, 2007 08:56 PM

Well, it is at night, and for some reason I feel, I don't know, starry? But not comety, not yet.

Michael Martine | January 11, 2007 08:57 PM

Man, you are just having the hardest time with this web design thing.

John Scalzi | January 11, 2007 08:59 PM

Stop it. I'm enjoying myself, is what it is.

Chris | January 11, 2007 09:17 PM

I notice you also seem to have acquired one of those funky-fresh "favorite icon" thingies, complete with an massive, ominous "W".

Anonymous | January 11, 2007 09:20 PM

Yikes! Backgrounds that don't scroll with the page give me a headache.

Nathan | January 11, 2007 09:22 PM

I like the font for "Whatever", but this background makes me feel ..... all swirly inside...and..(Ohm, Owmp).... I held it in. No worries.

Nathan | January 11, 2007 09:25 PM

Did something else just change again?...Like two seconds ago?

Nathan | January 11, 2007 09:25 PM

Stand Still, Dammit!

Chang, who gets nothing! | January 11, 2007 09:31 PM

Engh, van gock is kind of... done. How about Ahtena Scalzi? Or something from one of your cover? Something less... generic...

John Scalzi | January 11, 2007 09:36 PM

Van Gogh is generic?

Chang, who gets nothing! | January 11, 2007 09:46 PM

I could debate him at length with the art history minor - oh, and someone else doing my work so I could sleep enough to think straight. I just think VVG is... common, popular, cliched perhaps? I mean, frigging beautiful too and starry night just makes me frak out with it kineticism and beauty.

How about skulls? Who doesn't love skulls? No one's doing much with skulls these days. Except goths. Metalheads. Rappers. Christians. Buddhists.

hugh57 | January 11, 2007 09:47 PM

I wouldn't say generic, but "The Starry Night" has become somewhat clichè.

Steve Buchheit | January 11, 2007 09:51 PM

I think Chang, who gets something for having an Art Minor, means it really isn't germane. Anybody could have Brother, Lend Me Your Ear on their blog or website.

Skulls are cool. Buddhists do amazing things with skulls. You could also find skulls and possibly flayed cats if you looked at the late Soviet Polish Poster artists.

Chang, who gets nothing! | January 11, 2007 09:55 PM

Flayed cats: teh ewwwww.

I tell you I like the color scheme, perhaps not the VVG. The blue is nice, but then I gravitate towards that (I am also Dutch like VVG. Perhaps crazy, too). I see you returning to something celestial with this, just not in the VVG mode. Also, the deco font is killing me. It's done. Cliched. Please don't hate a chang because he's right.

Diatryma | January 11, 2007 09:55 PM

I like that the background doesn't move. It makes it so I'm not glancing around looking for borders and sharp edges.
But it is your site, and if I hate what you do with it, I can wait a week and it'll probably change.

CaseyL | January 11, 2007 10:00 PM

Well, we've had Photorealist, Deco, monochrome and, now, Impressionist.


How about 60s-style psychedelic day-glo? Some old Fillmore West concert posters, now; that oughta drive your 30-and-under readers totally mad.

Chang, who gets nothing! | January 11, 2007 10:01 PM

I do like the stationary aspect of it, too. I gotta say.

And it's your site (sight) and WTF do I know anyway.

Nathan | January 11, 2007 10:05 PM

Well, not that you care what I think, but you should use the Chinese OMW cover for a while.


Chang, who gets nothing! | January 11, 2007 10:06 PM


G;noghjt. I go sleepybye now.

day i got cookie...

Steve Buchheit | January 11, 2007 10:12 PM

The colors are pretty good, but you have to see Vincent's stuff in person. It is truely mind blowing and CMYK and RGB just can't grasp the energy of the original. And opposite of VVG, but another example of having to see the things in person, is Wyeth. I saw a exhibition at the Canton Museum. The paintings were gorgeous and rich. The catalog sucked mighty-ly.

CaseyL, I have a whole book of those posters. I had to knock an old lady down to get it (last copy at the RnR HoF in Cleveland). It was worth it. I love that type and form.

JesterJ | January 11, 2007 10:17 PM

I have been using some of your site CSS as and example for re-designing a blog of my own, and all this "background changing" is making it harder to relate the CSS back to the appearance. Stay on target. I mean, I bet you never thought of all the possible effects of your background changing, did you? :)

Surtac | January 11, 2007 11:02 PM

I quite like this one.

sxKitten | January 11, 2007 11:10 PM

It's interesting, in a good way. I like that the background doesn't move, and I love the title font.

Mary | January 12, 2007 12:13 AM

Can I request Elvis on black velvet for the next iteration of the Whatever The Heck Is That?

(This isn't meant to badmouth Vincent, and I have a couple of Van Gogh prints around my own house, but I'm just suddenly craving Elvis.)

StarDragon | January 12, 2007 01:08 AM

Go with the Van Gogh.It reminds me of your stories.(Which is a good.)

Desiree | January 12, 2007 02:33 AM

I quite like it, but I guess one could get tired of it quite soon...

Madeline F | January 12, 2007 03:46 AM

Thank god you got rid of the black/maroon with two white stripes. It looked like somebody's sweatpants.

I like colors (I loved the original vertical color stripe!) but I like scrolling, too... Better a break where the pattern wraps, sez I. I can scroll based on which part of the image I want to focus on, then...

Ray | January 12, 2007 04:06 AM

I just have one question.
How did you get the picture from the back of my eyelids on your website as a background?
Curiouser and curiouser..

Chang who love eat brainz and watch Czechanimation! | January 12, 2007 08:14 AM

You know what... I've recanted.

I like the VVG. I LIKE THE VVG!!! It's prety and blue!!! Yes, it's true.

(the deco font, though. ugh)

Justine Larbalestier | January 12, 2007 08:19 AM

I'm with Mary. Elvis improves everything. You need Elvis, Scalzi.

John Scalzi | January 12, 2007 08:21 AM

Alas, Elvis, while dead, is not out of copyright.

Anonymous | January 12, 2007 08:42 AM

Something from the Electric Sheep site would be fitting, although those are screen savers and I'm not sure what the license entails.

Fedge | January 12, 2007 08:54 AM

This is the best background I have seen since I started reading whatever.

Jon | January 12, 2007 10:13 AM

I like the art. Maybe The Scream would be more appropriate though.

ship | January 12, 2007 10:30 AM

can't go wrong with starry night...

kero aka kevin | January 12, 2007 10:37 AM

Seems a little soft, like the image you used was enlarged too much. Sharper would be better.

JD | January 12, 2007 10:42 AM

I like it, one vote yes. Although the suggestion to use the Chinese Magazine cover would be teh awesome too I think.

Ron | January 12, 2007 10:42 AM

Next you should try some Giger. That oughta make for some good comments. :)

Tor | January 12, 2007 11:49 AM

I was thinking the Scream as more appropriate as well. However, that is even more overdone than Starry Night. In the alternative, I suggest:




I was looking for a specific painting by Chagall, but now I can't find it. Maybe it is in seclusion, because I saw it in a Sotheby's (or Christy's) catalog 20 years ago. I think it was Chagall, and it had a blue background with a red angular devil playing a flute on the lower left, and on the right was a tree of some sort. There were lovers or women dancing around (or above?) the tree, and in the upper right there was a red crescent moon. But it doesn't appear to be online, or perhaps it isn't by Chagall. But it is really cool looking.

Norwegian Woodsman | January 12, 2007 12:13 PM

I know I have been rather negative to your last versiones of background, but this one is really nice. It's special - it's colourful, but not hurtfully so, and it fits with your books (it makes me think of the earth seen from space).

Wakboth | January 12, 2007 12:31 PM

Very, well, swirly, but with a tasteful blue tone. Expressive, one might say.

Linda | January 12, 2007 07:54 PM

I like this background! John, I started reading you right before Christmas in response to the article about you in the U of C alumni mag, I'm class of '82.

Connie | January 12, 2007 07:59 PM

I like it. My fave is still the star map on the dark blue background.

Nick Stump | January 13, 2007 01:28 AM

I'm glad for the change. It's easy on my eyes. I loved the crabapples and leaves here when I first started reading. I thought that particular look was striking and original.

Obviously you're having a ball with this stuff and though people seem to be full of advice, I will only recommend that you continue to have fun with everything on Whatever.

Justin | January 13, 2007 02:06 AM

Been a reader of He-Who-Tapes-Bacon-To-Felines for about a year and am answering the call to arms, as it were. Hopefully the Hardbacks, Trade Paperbacks and Mass-Market Paperbacks can set aside their differences and come together for the sake of the kids. The video last week was...appalling. In all seriousness, this is a great thing you're doing with the donation Mr. Scalzi. Your blog rocks!

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