highlights from my damn geeky weekend

So my geeky weekend was totally awesome, and there were a few moments I thought I’d share. Before I get there, though, I need to clear something up: On Friday, as I was running out of the house, I said "Go see Iron Man this weekend. It is awesome. I saw a preview screening on Monday, and other than
the score (which is absolute crap) the movie is damn near perfect. I
think it’s the best comic book movie since Sin City, and blows
Transformers and the last two X-Men movies into oblivion."

Uh. Yeah. I don’t know how, but I managed to leave Batman Begins and Ghost World out of that, which is further evidence that I am a complete moron. Lots of people disagree with me about Sin City and X-Men. Those people are all wrong, of course, but my leaving out Batman Begins and Ghost World is just inexcusable. I deeply regret the error, and hang my head in shame while I carefully fold up my nerd cape. I’ll be in the corner for a little bit, thinking about what I did.

Okay, now that we’re done with that, allow me to share some highlights from my weekend with you:

Friday night I said to Anne, "When I finish this martini, I’m going to think it’s a great idea to have another martini. It will, in fact, be a very bad idea for me to have another martini, and I’d appreciate it if you’d remind me of that fact when the time comes."

When the time came, she wasn’t at the table. Oops.

Saturday morning, we unsurprisingly slept too late to get breakfast at the hotel, so we went to a supermarket and got yogurt, bananas, juice and stuff. I think we ended up having a more healthy and less expensive breakfast than we would have had at the hotel.

I wasn’t nervous at all about my reading at Mysterious Galaxy, which was really weird. In fact, while we were driving there (Anne was driving, I was reading from my book because I got it into my head that it may be a good idea to try something new about 20 minutes before showtime) I said to Anne, "You know what’s weird? I’m not nervous at all." It was at that very moment that I got nervous.

There were more people at Mysterious Galaxy than I was expecting, and when I walked into the store, the whole place fell silent and everyone was staring at me. You know how you walk into a room and feel like everyone was just talking about you? It was like that. I mean, they probably were, but it was still weird. It didn’t do much for the nervousness.

When I started my reading, I heard words coming out of my mouth, but I didn’t know what they were. I do that when I’m nervous and haven’t prepared any introductory remarks. If you were there and noticed this, thank you for not booing me.

I usually read blue light special and maybe exactly what I wanted, but I thought the MG crowd would be entertained by and relate to beyond the realm of the starlight. It turns out that they liked it, so my last minute decision to change the usual program was rewarded. In the future, though, I think I’ll stick with the cards, lest I get a visit from Nick Fury when I’m done.

Unrelated to this post: Time Machine is making a backup right now, and it’s making my mouse jumpy. That is SO FUCKING IRRITATING.

Right. Back to business:

After I was finished reading, I took some questions. The thing about this is that nobody ever has questions when I say, "I’d be happy to entertain your questions," but when I’m signing their book, they have tons of questions, so instead of getting to tell my hilarious and charming jokes to everyone, I get to tell them to one person at a time. I must come up with some way of helping people not feel self conscious when it’s Q&A time. I should also clarify that I don’t mind answering questions or getting my geek on when I sign your book. In fact, I’ve noticed over the years that when I sign books for people, we almost always end up having some huge geek moment about movies or software or other geeky topics. I absolutely love that and hope it won’t ever go away.

While I was signing books, a girl about my age walked up to the table. She extended her hand and said, "Hi, I’m Gina."

"Hi Gina," I said. "It’s nice to meet you."

"I’m a blogger," she said.

"Oh? Cool!" I said. "What’s your blog?"

"It’s called ‘Lifehacker,’ and –"

It was at this point that I completely lost my shit and spent the next eleventy hundred minutes telling her how much I love Lifehacker. I think I slimed her pretty hard, but she wrote the nicest thing in the universe about me on Lifehacker today. Uh, wow. Thanks, Gina!

I also met a reader who nearly made me cry when she told me about her relationship with her stepdad, and how my books were a part of it. Stepkids: it means more than you’ll ever know when you tell your stepparents how much you love them, and when that moment finally comes where you accept how much we love you back, it’s the most cherished moment in our lives.

Saturday night was much more sedate and responsible than Friday night (and how lame and old am I that 3 martinis now qualifies as crazygonuts?)

Sunday morning, we got up early enough to eat breakfast in the hotel, and I wished that we hadn’t. I had a waffle with berries and maple syrup, but forgot to ensure that the "maple syrup" wasn’t that corn syrup bullshit that makes me sick to my stomach before I infected the entire waffle with it. I still ate about half of the waffle, though, because I was so hungry.

"I am really looking forward to eating lunch at Stone," I said to Anne, "because I’m seriously thinking about going all Karen Carpenter on this breakfast."

We eventually made our way up to Escondido, wandered around the beer garden (which is awesome and beautiful) and settled in for a nice long lunch.

It ended up being longer than I’d initially planned, because the restaurant was ridiculously busy yesterday, and we didn’t get our food until about 15 minutes before I was supposed to go read. As I watched tons of people stream in with my book in their hand, I got the nervous stomach and couldn’t eat. Awesome. Greg Koch, who is the co-founder of Stone and invited me, reminded me that, once people are in the beer garden, they relax and live on "beer time," which is much more laid back than real time. This actually put me at ease, which is very hard to do before I am about to perform.

Oh! Please enjoy this moment from lunch, which I sent to Twitter:
  Anne: It’s Jedi day! Me: What? Anne: May the Fourth be with you. Me: OMG I am so sending that to Twitter.

My reading was great. There were about 50 people there, and I felt like my introductory remarks were much better than they were at MG, probably because I spent some time really thinking about what I would say. Amazing how preparation helps me feel prepared, isn’t it?

There were lots of questions when I was done, and I had a good time answering them (some marginally inappropriate answers were brought to you by Oaked Arrogant Bastard Ale.) I think everyone had a good time, and Greg said that I could come back with future books, which I intend to do as long as I can keep coming up with stuff that’s worth reading.

After the reading, we had dessert, and I was finally able to enjoy a Ruination IPA. Anne drove us home in time to watch one of the funniest episodes of Family Guy I’ve ever seen, and I ended the night watching one of the most exciting NHL playoff games I’ve ever seen.

It was a fantastic weekend, and I want to thank everyone from Mysterious Galaxy (which has autographed copies of all my books, now, if you want to order them) as well as everyone from Stone who put on these events. Most importantly, though, I want to thank everyone who made the effort to come out and spend some time with me this weekend. I did my best not to suck, and I think I mostly succeeded.

49 thoughts on “highlights from my damn geeky weekend”

  1. What you wrote about step kids put a tear in my eye, since I am a step dad. I sent it to my 19 year old step daughter and said “Just sayin'”. I hope she turns all sorts of colors in embarrassment.

  2. Wil, I blogged my version of yesterday, here.

    To the woman who I promised I’d take a photo of with Wil — I have two photos for you, but thanks to much Imperial Porter, I neglected to get your email address. See my profile for my email, and drop me a line so I can get them to you.

  3. I don’t understand your second paragraph, Wil. Ghost World came out in 2001, long before Sin City (2005), and Iron Man is a much better film than Batman Begins. Why are you apologizing?

  4. The first Spider-man was really good too.
    Iron Man > Spider-man 1?
    Although having a baby makes going out the movies a logistical problem that we have not solved yet.

  5. @Alan: it’s about a million times better than Spiderman one, because there isn’t a single performance in the film that comes anywhere close to being as horrible as Kirsten Dunst. There also isn’t a single awkward “we had to put this in here because everyone’s still sensitive about 9/11″ moment.
    There is, however, a comically stupid Burger King product placement.

  6. That bit about stepkids: That made me tear up something fierce for a few minutes. I literally stopped reading and my heart wrenched out of my chest and cried.
    I don’t think I ever told my first stepdad how much I loved him, until he was on his deathbed, and I think he was too far gone by that point to really know. If there is an afterlife (and I like to think there is), I hope he knows how much I love him.
    He came into my life once I was already a legal adult (I was 19), and we connected quickly. He was a computer geek, had been gaming on PCs since there were games to play on PCs. I like to think he’d play a human pally in WoW these days if he were still with us.
    He was only in my life for five years, but he left more of a mark than I’d have ever imagined, and was more like a real father than my biological dad.
    I also don’t know that I’ll ever be able to profess my love for my second stepdad, which makes me immensely sad. He came into the picture faster than I was ready for (although I’m not one to deny my mom happiness, by any means) and I really can’t connect with the guy.
    Even though it basically put my day on halt for a few minutes, thank you Wil.
    Damnit, I’m crying again. I’m stopping now.

  7. By saying “I also don’t know that I’ll ever be able to profess my love for my second stepdad”, what I meant to say was “I also don’t know that I’ll ever be able to honestly say that I love my second stepdad”.

  8. @wil: “I must come up with some way of helping people not feel self conscious when it’s Q&A time.”
    I think it was Tom Brokaw I heard this about. He finished his speech/presentation/remarks, then asked “Who has the first question?” Awkward silence follows. So he says, “Okay, the answer to the first question is ‘yes’. Who has the second question?” That broke the ice.

  9. As the girl who nearly made you cry, I should add the bridge HDOOL created for me and my (step)Dad was unexpected and wonderous. I’ve been reading books with my Dad for 24 years, but yours changed the world. Thanks for that.

  10. “I must come up with some way of helping people not feel self conscious when it’s Q&A time.”
    Wait a second, in light of the narrative above, the answer is obvious: serve beer to the fans at Mysterious Galaxy!

  11. Apparently the Jedi Day thing was all over the web yesterday, but it didn’t catch up with me until you twittered. So then I, of course, had to share it with everyone I knew, geek and non-geek alike. Your wife is truly awesome. πŸ˜€

  12. Wil did you ever hear the story about the Beatles meeting Elvis and he had a jukebox with records playing on it, and they observed that it was cool he was a music fan?
    That’s kinda how you come across in this posting, that, yeah, you are wil-fucking-wheaton, writer and actor; however, you are also a fan of writing and acting.
    Also, I spent an entire evening catching up on the Radio Free Burritos. They were almost as good as the six pack I consumed whilst listening.
    All praise St. Arnold.

  13. You are seriously the only geek/blogger/guy I read that the entire time I am reading my head is nodding up and down. I totally dig being a geek myself, and every time I go to a tech meetup or a Drupal group, I end up staying outside talking to my geeky friends for hours afterwords. I hope that never ends as well.
    Definitely going to have to get your “Just a Geek” book now.
    (yes, that’s my geeky IRC name :) )

  14. re:May the Fourth be with you!
    I emailed that to several worthy geek friends, and one replied
    “Will two days from now be the Revenge Of The Sixth?”
    Just thought you should know.
    (obligatory nagging: When are you coming to Austin?)

  15. It sounds like you both had a really (really) good time! That’s awesome. Thanks for sharing your geeky weekend.
    P.S. I already twittered a reply about May the Fourth but darn, that’s the most awesome thing I’ve ever heard. Anne is way cool. :)

  16. My wife has the same martini weakness, though she makes me stop her after one (granted, they’re pretty damn big martinis). However, there must be some weird spousal aversion field that drives the spouses of martini drinkers from the table at key moments, because whenever I get back from the bathroom, I find her with a fresh martini.

  17. Congratulations on the great weekend! My friends and I were at the Stone reading and it was fantastic. We drove down from LA and it was totally worth it. Thanks for being rad and loving Flogging Molly! Hooray for exclamation points!

  18. @Chris: You absolutely may not. In fact, we may have to fight if you don’t take that back.
    Ghost Rider was one of the worst pieces of shit in the history of pieces of shit.
    Ghost World.

  19. Wil,
    Thanks for a great Saturday afternoon. My friend, Vicki and I both agreed over desert afterwards that you were just as awesome in person as we thought you would be. And thanks for introducing me to a great bookstore I’ll definetly be visiting again.

  20. No time for GTA IV bingeing? You got yours early, didn’t you.
    One thing funnier than Republican Space Rangers is right-wing blogs reacting to Republican Space Rangers.

  21. Dude, I have told so many people about Jedi Day and I laugh my ass off every single time. Please tell Anne thank you.
    Also, I must go watch Ghost World now.

  22. My 9 year old nephew would like to thank you for teaching him that his birthday is ‘Jedi Day’! I think this’ll go a long way towards his future geek status.
    I guess I’m kinda the oddball when it comes to the whole step-parent thing. Though I can understand what you and so many others say about the developing relationship, I never had that. I was lucky enough to have both my step-parents in my life by the time I was 5, and my entire life I simply had four parents. I only ever used the term ‘step’ to define who the heck I was talking about. In fact, I can remember getting in an argument with my entire kindergarten class that I really did have two daddies. It took them forever to figure out that I really did have two, and even longer for me to realize that they really and truly only had one daddy each. It took even longer for my mother to convince me that it wasn’t a horrible and sad thing that they were ‘practically orphans’, and that nothing had happened to their other daddy.

  23. Ah, the corn syrup problem! I’m violently allergic to it, and thus can’t have soda, or faux maple syrup, or ketchup, or a whole lot of other things. (It’s in EVERYTHING. Even stuff at Whole Foods.) I sympathize with your upset stomach. I’ve been there.
    (BTW, try brunch some Sunday at Granville Cafe in Burbank. Seriously, best pancakes I’ve ever had, AND they use real maple syrup!)

  24. Thanks for coming down to San Diego. The reading at Mysterious Galaxy was great. My back is now killing me after waiting in line to get my book signed but that just means you were nice to everyone and talked to them all. Thanks again.

  25. Wil, I can totally relate to how Gina feels. I’m a 45 year old aging fangirl. I remember being a (much) younger fangirl, gathering way back when with my friends, watching ST:TNG during its first run. Yeah, you were a kid and beneath my fangirl notice at the beginning, but you grew up well. And now, well, hell. You pretty much exemplify everything that I think a child star SHOULD grow up to be. Scratch that – a human should grow up to be. You’re a classy guy, a great dad and husband, and much more. You’re the kind of person that makes one proud to be a fan.
    Now that I’ve thoroughly embarassed myself, I’m running off πŸ˜‰
    Lisa – txvoodoo.livejournal.com

  26. … do you ever come to chicago? There is a hole in my life right now that is kinda “seeing will wheaton read something” shaped, heh. It seems like my chances of filling that whole seem fairly small if i dont leave my state.

  27. Wil, which playoff game was it? Only interesting playoff game I knew about was the Penguins game…my building was apeshit for HOURS afterwards.
    Come to think of it, they’re still apeshit how many days later. The drunks from the next building over just ran past our building again.

  28. Thanks for a nice afternoon, Wil. I enjoyed your reading, even more so since the first time I went to one of your signings (Arcadia) I missed the reading. My boyfriend quite enjoyed it too, and because he was such a TNG fan, he wants to borrow my copy of Just a Geek. He wants to READ A BOOK because of you. I think you’ve done the impossible. :)
    Thanks also for signing my Wesley Crusher action figure. It has a place of honor next to my Kevin Smith action figure.
    Hmm..wonder how many Chewbaccas will be gifted to you now???

  29. I think I’ll stick with the cards, lest I get a visit from Nick Fury when I’m done.
    Personally, I think you should go off the cards more often. A visit from Nick Fury would be awesome!

  30. Glad to hear you had a good time at MG, Wil. The shop is co-owned by Jeff Mariotte, the co-writer of my comic book series (the first issue will be out in a few weeks). The folks at MG are so nice, eh?
    Readings, public speaking and working the room at conventions has always been difficult for me. Very difficult, as in I need to be medicated. I’ve been asked to be a guest at a major sci-fi/fantasy convention in Toronto in a few weeks and, even now, every time I think about having to get up and talk to hundreds of complete strangers about myself and the comic book series for 3 DAYS straight…I just want to throw up. :-(

  31. Lifehacker – A Wil Wheaton Moment

    [aka Revenge of the Sixth]
    I dropped in a blurb yesterday about how Gina of Lifehacker met Wil Wheaton. She had a great picture of how he signed her book and had many nice things to say about the little bit of time she got to spend with him. While brow…

  32. Wil, do you have any directories with a ton of entries that often change?
    Leopard tracks which directory changes between runs of Time Machine (recording every file change would be impractical). When Time Machine runs, it looks at the list of directories that have changed, and then it needs to go through the files in them, essential stating them all.
    Personally, I use gmail, and access it via its IMAP interface in Mail.app. Because of how gmail maps its folders to IMAP, there is a folder ([Gmail]/All Mail) which has every single mail of mine in it (~50,000). That folder also changes every time I get a mail, so Time Machine needs to rescan it almost every backup. Issuing 50,000 stats to the filesystem causes a nasty performance hit.
    I solved it by going to the Time Machine system pref and excluding my mail directory. Big improvement. If you do not think Mail is the culprit, you can use a program like GrandPerspective to look for folder that have lots of small files, and determine if something is frequently changing them.

  33. “Anne: It’s Jedi day! Me: What? Anne: May the Fourth be with you. Me: OMG I am so sending that to Twitter.”
    I hear the next day is called Revenge of the Fifth, but someone says Revenge of the Sixth.. I think Fifth is better because it’s not a hard sound before the th, like the x in Sixth.. Fifth sounds more like Sith than Sixth…

  34. being something of a “movie score” geek, i am curious as to what in particular disturbed you about the score (as opposed to the soundtrack) for iron man. it seemed pretty standard action-movie stuff to me: not spectacular, but not awful either.
    or were you being facetious?

  35. Wil, in the few times I’ve met you you never seemed to have a problem answering questions or taking time to talk about things like your blog or Naked Juice even if it was just for a second in the checkstand lane. That’s one of the cool things I’ve always respected about you.
    Just be yourself. Just MHO

  36. In the future, though, I think I’ll stick with the cards, lest I get a visit from Nick Fury when I’m done.
    I see what you did there. πŸ˜‰
    I soooo wish my husband’s conference in San Diego had been this year instead of last year. It would have taken place this past weekend, and while he would have been learning all sorts of medical stuff, I would have been hanging out at Mysterious Galaxy listening to you read and getting stuff autographed. Oh, well. Maybe there’s a chance I’ll see you at GenCon Indy, someday? (Hint, hint)

  37. Wil,
    I saw you at Stone this past weekend, and wanted to thank you for a cool book, a great reading, and the good sense to have your reading at a place with friggin’ awesome beer. Echoing other comments – thanks also for being as awesome in person as you are in writing, even if you do happen to be an honorary member of a house known during my time at Tech for being obnoxious PBR-drinkers. :)
    – Cheryl

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