Normally I don't use Internet and texting slang and abbreviations, but just this once:
OMG! W00t! *squee*
I had a wonderful surprise this morning (Friday), and some of you already know what it was. The first comment on last night's Weekend Assignment (which I misnumbered, incidentally) was from the originator of the Weekend Assignment meme, John Scalzi himself. He not only did the assignment, but also pointed his thousands of readers toward my humble blog, so that they could play along too. Here's why this was a great thing for him to do:
1. It's no secret that I was nervous about whether there would be more than one or two responses to my attempt to keep Scalzi's meme going (and his other one, the Monday Photo Shoot). Most of his By the Way readers probably wouldn't even know it was being attempted. Heck, even the blogplugs entry in Magic Smoke lists the entry as my response to the assignment, not as a new assignment for everyone to do. And the now-scattered community that Scalzi nurtured for four and a half years hasn't always managed a big turnout for him in recent months, let alone for someone else. In introducing his huge Whatever readership to the Weekend Assignments, he's exposing the somewhat insular remnants of the old AOL-JLanders to a whole new group of erudite and enthusiastic bloggers. This should benefit everyone in terms of new readers and new ideas, and pretty much ensure the Weekend Assignment's survival.
2. The other aspect of this a somewhat more personal one, although it also has implications for the success or failure of the meme's revival. It takes a certain amount of chutzpah for a relative nobody with 80 to 100 readers a day to take over, unasked, something originated by a famous, award-winning writer whose personal blog gets 24,703 unique visits a day, and whose somewhat less popular corporate blog was nevertheless the touchstone for a whole community. People might think I was usurping or self-aggrandizing. But the fact is that I love these two memes and don't want to give them up if there's a choice. Scalzi knows this, and furthermore sees that the memes' continuation is a good thing, not just for that fanatic in Tucson but for anyone who enjoys writing or reading the Weekend Assignment entries. For all that to work, it's best that people know I'm doing this with permission; but Scalzi's Whatever entry goes way beyond that, well into endorsement territory. I wasn't expecting that, and I surely appreciate it. (In case you're curious, The Outpost had 239 unique readers on Friday, more than 200% of "normal.")
And now, because I happened to take some interesting photos today, a complete change of subject:
I liked the pattern of clouds this morning as I drove to work, nearly ten minutes late because I was totally distracted by all the blog comments and lost track of the time.
A minute or so later I was presented with this even-more-interesting cloud pattern. It was that tiny cloud in the middle that fascinated me. Neither this shot nor the other cloud photo is edited at all except for resizing and a "sharpen lightly" or two.
Tonight's sunset was much better than the one a week ago, but I can't show you the best of it. The first shot I took featured the ball of the sun between two vehicles at Famous Vehicle Dealer, and I don't want to identify the business to you quite that explicitly. After that I was driving. Every moment either there were buildings or trees in the way, or both; and I proved to myself yet again that it's just about impossible to photograph a sunset at 50 mph. That's the one disadvantage of my route home: there's no good place to pause for a picture. But the color when I got to the Safeway lot was rather nice. I've boosted the saturation a bit here to show it to you.
And here's the same sunset just about two minutes later, as photographed from the actual Safeway part of the Safeway lot.