six thousand seconds

When my friend Pauly isn’t covering poker tournaments on Tao of Poker, he tries to spend ten minutes each day writing in his other blog, Tao of Pauly. He says, "I’m trying to do that ten minute exercise where I just ramble on
incessantly for ten minutes in order to keep up my blog and not feel
like I’m ignoring my first and original blog." I think it’s a good idea, and though I enjoy writing for CardSquad, and I’m getting pretty good at editing the technology newswire at Suicide Girls, it’s been coming at the expense of writing just for me, in my lame blog. It’s also taken time and energy away from finishing my book, (or given me an excuse to avoid it, depending on how I’m feeling on a particular day) and that’s just not cool.

So I’m going to try Pauly’s ten minute blast this morning, and do some "because it’s fun" writing before I settle into some "pay the bills" writing.

And . . . go:

That NES thing I talked about yesterday, which I got at the mall? It’s called Power Player with Super Joystick and Gun. I’m pretty sure it was made by six year-old kids in the sub-sweatshop of a sweatshop in China. I probably shouldn’t have bought it, but like BB Gun Mania, Classic NES Mania can make a man do strange things.

I don’t write about the kids here very often, because they’re old enough to read my blog, and possibly be embarrassed by thier lame stepdad talking about how proud he is of them for working their asses off to ace most of their finals. I don’t write about how happy it makes me that they have recently made me feel truly accepted and appreciated for the first time in our lives together, like I matter to them, because I know they or some of their friends may stumble across this, and they’ll feel weird. I haven’t written about how much fun it’s been to play Talisman and Dungeon with them a few times a week, and how happy I am that we all have made the time to hang out together, even if it’s just turning off the TV, turning on the radio, and sitting on the couch together while we read our books. (I’m almost finished with The Dark Tower, and Nolan is deeply involved with a book called Catalyst, written by the author of this book I got him for Christmas called Speak.) I also haven’t written about how happy it made me when Nolan came into my office the other day, and said, "I just wanted you to know that I’ve loved every book you’ve recommended to me, and I wanted to say thank you." Until last summer, Nolan hated to read, and I’d like to think that I had something to do with changing that.

But I also like to write about the things in my life which I feel good about, and those things which bring me joy. Though that list is currently rather short, Ryan and Nolan are right at the top of, and occupying most of it. Sorry if I embarrassed you, guys. But as long as I’m at it, I may as well go all-out: I love you, pookers.

Woah! Firefox just told me that it’s ready to auto-update itself to That’s pretty cool. And it reminds me that Google Earth is out for OS X. I really like Google Earth, but should I worry about any privacy issues? I mean things like personal tracking info, like the damn google cookie that I have ao anonymize every morning. I can’t find anything online that says I should, but the company that seems to be so concerned about "do no evil" has been pretty goddamn close to evil lately.

If you missed the tilt-shift photography thing at boingboing last week, go look at it right now. I am confident that anyone who reads WWdN regularly will love these images as much as I do. In fact, if you don’t, I’ll refund your WWdN entry fee for the entire month of February.

I woke up this morning, checked my e-mail, and was thrilled to discover that for the first time in weeks, comments on my last few entries out-numbered the spam that made it through Thunderbird’s junk mail filter. Honesty time: I write this stuff because it satisfies some sort of creative need, but it’s reassuring to know that my time isn’t wasted, and that this stuff connects with some of you in some way. When there’s more offers for \/!.agr@ and c1a1i5 clogging my inbox than anything else, it gets me down a little bit. And I’ve been feeling a little down, lately, and I’ve longed for that feeling of community and interaction from the old days.

Okay, time’s up. While it’s nice to actually sit down and write for myself, giving myself an arbitrary time limit is stifling, and results in a disjointed series of thoughts, rather than a coherent story. I guess that’s okay, because the coherent story-telling energy needs to be saved for the book right now, and it’s better to have some rambling bullshit than nothing at all. So this exercise was worthwhile, I guess. Maybe I can give myself a minimum to ten minutes each morning to write for myself before I get to "work." Yeah, I’ll do that. I can still write longer and more interesting stuff when the inspiration hits me, but for the near future, I’m doing at least ten minutes every morning, except on weekends, because that’s Willie’s time!

How about we finish off with a Quote of the Day?

Most people would rather be certain they’re miserable than risk being happy.
  – Robert Anthony

33 thoughts on “six thousand seconds”

  1. Way to not write about the kids, man. Very cool. You better watch out when they get old enough to beat you up. :) Incidentally, I now must have my husband read your blog since he also calls our son Pooker. :)

  2. My geekness and lack of social acumen is about to come to a head. What’s six thousand seconds? My math quickly determined it’s 100 minutes, or just 20 minutes shy of two hours. But then you go on mentioning about Pauly writing for 10 minutes. So I tried to connect the 10 minutes and 6,000 seconds together and just fscking couldn’t. Did it take almost two hours to write this post? Or, the more likely answer is that I should STFU and GTBW.

  3. I was going to write something else, but I must say ” Becky’s ” comments about the Simpsons has disturbed me on a level that one should not be disturbed while at work and sitting in a cubicle. * shudder”
    I will say before I discovered your blog, I had no idea how satisfying it could be to simply write for the joy of it. I now have a blog and I update it daily. I probably would not if not for you, so thanks :)

  4. Hi! I’m new to responding to this blog (I’ve done two responses in the last few days). This isn’t a message board but I thought I’d introduce myself real quick. I’m a middle school multimedia teacher from Connecticut (we do comics, photoshop and flash animation. bassicly the nerdiest class you can think of).
    I just thought I’d make a quick comment on the time limit, stream of consciousness thing. As I was reading this post I had just given my students an assignment to draw a random ten frame animation by hand with a fifteen minute work time. Seeing what they do in that time frame is really amazing. While it can be stifling, as you said, sometimes some real jems come out.
    That’s really great to hear about your kids. The experience of having a family come together like that is a truely unique and magical experience (I’ve been through a similar thing myself).
    Okay, fifteen minutes is about up. Time to actually work for a living!

  5. I love retro NES and Sega Genesis accessories. And I don’t even have working systems anymore.
    It sounds like you have a great relationship with your kids…that’s something to be envied. =)
    Google Earth really makes me wonder, too…

  6. I know about the step-kids thing. In two years I’ve gone from Nick (now 16) wanting to, more or less, impale me on a pike to “I love you!” (in that teen-age geek way when you do something right). And, with Alex not wanting to be in the same room with me to respecting me and thinking that maybe it will be OK if I move in with her mom after all. Life is good!

  7. Recently on my blog (which I give myself no more than thirty minutes to create each day) I related a story that might be of pertinent interest.
    “Otto Priminger was once asked by Peter Bogdonovich why he prefered shooting on location rather than within a studio where he could control everything. His answer, “On location, you can’t move the walls.” The limitations drove his creativity, his ingenuity to tell the story within the limits imposed and if he was lucky those boundries opened up expressions he would never have dreamed up otherwise.”
    I bet that once you get used to the format and let your mind find the “walls” your inate creativity will surprise you.
    Christopher Schiller

  8. Man oh man. Dungeon was my favorite game around at 7 or 8; I have so many fond memories of it. Talisman was the game we’d play when we didn’t quite have enough people to continue the d&d campaign, ages 11-17 or so, and I recently got my hands on a copy and am dying to play it.
    I need more friends. Or children, but they’re a good ways down the road.

  9. ‘I am sofa king retarded’.
    That made me laugh and totally think of that episode of Aqua Teen Hunger Force. I shall summon MEGA-Ultrachicken next time you feel down. Or maybe we can hold hands like we’re in fairy land on the Jersey shore?

  10. Speak is a great book. They had this big promotion for the book at my local library called “Appleton Speaks” last year, and I read it then…I ended up buying an autographed copy. I know it’s aimed at teens, mainly, but I thought the characters were great, and well written. I could totally picture them. I’ll have to check out the author’s latest book.

  11. I love the idea of a 10 minute brain dump every day. I don’t update my LJ with real content often enough, but I think I can manage 10 minutes. It’ll be healthy.
    Those tilt-shift photos were amazing! Totally cool. Thanks for pointing us there.
    I love the quote you ended with. I might just have to share it.

  12. Wow omg I can’t believe this. I just got an account with blogger and there you are. I had a huge crush on you when I was a kid. Anyhow no matter how you become a parent it’s always a great feeling when you accomplish something with your child. I have 3 lil ones of my own. Keep up the good work and nothing is more rewarding then a child’s love.

  13. 10 minutes a day first thing off – That sounds like a good plan. That should get you warmed up for your “pay the bills writing” plus this is one less thing on your mind all day.

  14. Hey Wil,
    I’m on a quest now to end up at that WWdN final table! Next time you raise my 200 to 6000 I just might not take it too seriously.
    Those pics are kewl! Especially some of the ones on the japanese website.
    Ralph (Dutch77777 on Pstars)

  15. Heh. You WWdNetted (c.f. Slashdotted) the Geocities Simpsons site. Love the blog; have to check out (or buy, actually) the books…

  16. i did find it funny that as i was reading this post
    “possibly be embarrassed by thier lame stepdad” and thinking how i would have felt the segment you were in on i love the 80’s came on with that snuggle bear…kind of ironic…..

  17. Hey Wil – even if your kids are embarrassed and grossed out by what you write now, when they are older and reflect back, they will remember your generous words with affection and gratitude. You are putting out very good karma.
    There are two blogs I read first thing every day – yours and the LAPD Wife – and in that order. I love your random thoughts and sharing about your family. You educate as well as entertain and I tell everyone I know to read your writings.
    By the way, if you need any information regarding upcoming events with the LA Police Memorial Foundation you can email me at [email protected]
    Keep writing, Wil. You bring joy to a lot of people.

  18. Okay, I just have to say that I love good quotes. Good quotes inspire me. I keep good quotes in a file on my computer and take the best ones, write them out, and put them up on my wall where I can see them. The quote of the day is going up on my wall.
    And in that spirit, I thought I would share a few quotes that some of you may enjoy, particularly if you’re an artist.
    “A writer is a person for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.” -Thomas Mann
    “If the doctor told me I had six minutes to live, I’d type a little faster.”
    Isaac Asimov
    An artist cannot speak about his art any more than a plant can discuss horticulture.
    -Jean Cocteau
    We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark. The real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.
    One’s real life is often the life that one does not lead.
    -Oscar Wilde, L’Envoi, 1882
    And here, to me, is the quote most pertinent to my life that takes up a big space on my wall. Be forewarned, it’s a little lengthy:
    It is not the critic who counts, not the one who points out how the strong man stumbled or how the doer of deeds might have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred with sweat and dust and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who, if he wins, knows the triumph of high achievement; and who, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat.
    -Theodore Roosevelt
    Have a good day all.

  19. Minor note to the literate folk who noticed my slight error, yes the last line of the quote should read “nor” rather than “or”.

  20. That was awesome to talk about the kids. They sound like cool, good kids. I’m impressed that they work hard in school.
    I’ve heard of the book Speak. Never read it, even though the thought came across my mind. Maybe I should read it. It will give me a book to read while I am waiting for your next book, Wil.
    Curse the viagra and cialis spam. I roll my eyes every time I clean out my spam filter. For me, those e-mails are annoying because I am a girl. Life goes on.

  21. Since starting my blog, I also have taken to the 10-minute a day thing. However, for me, it’s the last part of my day. My blog is about letting everyone know what I’ve been busy doing (including my frustration with job searching), and this “debriefing” every night has really helped to get a lot of things out that were bottled up in my mind. Helps me sleep better at night, I guess… Maybe for you, Wil, updating your blog at the beginning of the day will help explore and cultivate new ideas for your other writing. :)

  22. Alright, I get what you’re saying about the 10-minute thing, but I really hope you’re not suggesting literally 10 minutes, cuz then I’m screwed. If I do that, on the days you blog, I won’t be talking about my life, cuz I’ll be spending about 9 1/2 of my 10 minutes talking about your life! Seriously. Your blog is a blast to read. I love what you write. Good, bad, funny, serious, or somewhere in between, I’m always checking in to see if there’s anything new going on in Wil-dom.
    Yeah, so, moving on. Real quick, I have got to comment on The Dark Tower. That series was fabulous. I loved it, and I really hope you did, too. Actually, inspired by the entry in which you said that you were going to eventually review some books that you had read, I did a review of my own, and whaddya know? The Dark Tower series is what I reviewed. Those books are some of my favorites. Like I said, I hope you liked them.
    Ok, I’m done here.

  23. BTW, your kids will get over any possible embarrassing comments you may write about them. They’ll be fine. And who knows? Later in life, they may even appreciate your displays of love. ‘Cides, one of the best things about being a parent is the joy of tormenting your kids. (I’ve got two. I do it all the time.) What else is the internet for??

  24. Wil, I completely understand your reasoning for not wanting to post about your kids too much. I had an incident happen to me last year when my then 11 year old nephew read something in my blog and completely misunderstood what I was trying to say.
    Like you, I was feeling down at the time, and I posted something to the effect of feeling like I wanted to just “end it all.” Of course I didn’t mean it, I was just venting out some frustrations.
    I got a call from my sister saying that Eddie was all upset and crying because he thought that I was going to commit suicide. That was my wake-up call. I’ve seriously censored the things that I rant about in my blog since then, because when you’re blogging, you’re not really thinking that a child in your family is going to read what you said and take things out of context.
    But writing about how proud you are about Nolan and Ryan is definitely a good thing, and that’s what makes you a good father. From everything that I’ve read on here that you’ve said about your relationship with the kids, it definitely sounds like you have a happy and healthy relationship with them. Be proud of that. Own it. It’s yours for the taking.

  25. Wil, I’m glad you find my GoogleAnon bookmarklet useful, but you shouldn’t need to use it every morning: I designed it to be largely set-and-forget (‘cos I’m privacy-aware, but lazy).
    If the zeroed GUID isn’t sticking for you, then maybe it’s clashing with some other cookie tool or procedure (maybe a Firefox setting, or extension)?
    My lazy way to cookie karma is this: I set my browser (Opera, but Firefox and IE can do the same) to accept all first-party cookies; reject all third-party cookies (which are almost always just for adverts and tracking); keep the few cookies I need (including Google); and to automatically flush all the rest on closing the browser. Then I click GoogleAnon once, (re)set my Google prefs, and forget the whole business for months on end. Easy, and the seconds you save each morning can be spent on blogging a few more words :)
    (N.B. Google changed their cookie system last October, so grab GoogleAnon v.2 if yours is older than that: )

  26. I just want to thank you for blogging, especially after that recent pause in the flow last week. I’ve been reading you for months now, and I enjoy the peeks into your life – it makes me want to invite you and your loved ones over for dinner some night with me and mine…
    More importantly for me, though, your blog inspired me to get back to my own, after a two-month hiatus. You reminded me that I don’t always have to have something important to say…sometimes just rambling about my day is enough, and still fun.
    So, thanks! And let me know if you need a couch and a meal on your next trip to the D.C. area. 😉

  27. Funny what is Classic Music nowadays

    One of the blogs I find myself reading lately is from Wil Wheaton (yes, of Star Trek fame and now an accomplished author and blogger). I find myself in tune with his Just a Geek history (I refer to myself as Friar Tech sometimes) and he is only a cou…

  28. Wow, the tilt shift photography is awesome! I’m a sucker for alternative photography techniques like KAP (kite aerial photography), reversing rings for macro photography, polaroid manipulations and so on…
    So, thanks for giving me one more technique to learn about and maybe try out!

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