LEVERAGE: day four

Woke up early yesterday and wrote for about an hour. Met Rogers and walked to a fantastic place for breakfast (forget the name of the place, but President Clinton ate there once and they have something named after him on the menu.) Had a delicious tofu scramble thing, and the most sensational French press coffee I've had since I got here.

Took Rogers to Powell's, because, he said, if we didn't go right then, he probably wouldn't make it there on his own. I couldn't let that happen, for obvious reasons. While we were there, I got a couple of the Fighting Fantasy books I loved so much when I was a kid: The Citadel of Chaos and Seas of Blood. Citadel of Chaos even has little kid writing on the character sheet inside.

"This could have been me," I said to John.

"I would have copied it onto an index card and written all the stats there, to keep the book pristine," he said. I remembered that I'd done exactly that with one of my Lone Wolf books, so I could keep the character more portable.

While we were talking, I had a little bit of a realization:

"I just realized why these books and these games are so important to me," I said, pointing to all the D&D books that surrounded us.

"During a childhood that was completely abnormal, filled with things that I didn't choose for myself, these games were something I chose to read and play. These games were part of my normal."

"Oh, so you were like everyone else who played D&D when they were a kid," John said.

I smiled. "I guess so, yeah."

We bought some books, looked like creeps when I wanted to walk into the kids' section to see if they had any classic Choose Your Own Adventure books (John, a little too-loudly: Why do you always want to go into the kids' section? You're a 36 year-old man! Me, much too-loudly: Because it's a great place to meet new people!) Sadly, they did not.

We walked back through Portland, and got to our hotel about fifteen minutes before a massive rainstorm showed up. I wrote for the next few hours (it always amazes me how much writing I get done when I'm on my own, away from home. I don't think about it too much, though, because I don't want to mess with whatever makes it work) before I met up with my sister, who I haven't seen since she moved here a year ago.

We spent the afternoon together dodging the rain (I sent this to Twitter: "Me: Okay, looks like the rain's let up. Guess I can go outside. The Rain: He's outside again! Resume downpour! AHAHAHAHA!!!!") and catching up. It was awesome, and totally the best part of an already-fantastic day.

I took her to the set to meet some of the cast and crew, and then I went on a local television show called The Square, which was a lot of fun. If you visit their site, you can watch me do my thing and see for yourself.

Then I went back to the hotel, finished reading SHATNERQUAKE (review forthcoming), enjoyed a lot of awesome Star Trek puns from followers on Twitter (UHURACANE, SULUNAMI, SPOCKALYPSE, TSUNIMOY, and DEFORESTFIRE among them search "@wilw" from last night if you want to see them all), and went to sleep happy; I really love being here.

41 thoughts on “LEVERAGE: day four”

    Hilarious. I’m still reading them all. If I ever write something silly that’s inspired by this I’ll have to hire you for some voice acting work. You cool with that?

  2. You were very nice and gracious when me and my girlfriend came up to you before the show and asked for pictures and I acted exactly the way I always hoped I wouldn’t when meeting you. Thank you for making yourself available and welcome to Portland!

  3. I still think my pun tweet was the best:
    “Odo! A Miles-wide Uhuracane knocked a Pine onto my Scotty dog, Spock’s treats – It was a Bones Crusher! Thats DS9 trek puns. Yay me!”
    Sorry it was so rainy in Portland. You should’ve tried Massachusetts, instead. It’s 80 degrees and sunny here today.
    Jess K.

  4. Citadel of Chaos. Man that was an awesome book. Must be 20 years since I last read it (oh dear.. that makes me feel old to say that.) Those books were never the height of literary excellence, but they were my favourites, even when I’d sussed out how to complete the story, I’d go back and back and re do every decision methodically, just for the sheer joy of reading what cool things were going to happen.

  5. I’m glad you’re loving Portland :) It’s a great city. And yeah, the rain definitely seems to come out right when you’re trying to go somewhere.
    It was great to see you yesterday at The Square, even if we didn’t have the chance to meet. I, like many, grew up watching you on TNG, and am definitely looking forward to seeing Leverage.

  6. Very cool interview. I like the way you are so cool with people. I actually like Brad Pitt, but I watched him on Ellen the other day and I was amazed at how hard he has to try to be either funny or likable. For you it’s natural, probably because you ARE likable.
    I had to chuckle to myself when you started talking about AC 0 and d20 systems and that guy was totally clueless as to what the hell you were saying. You might as well have just spoken to him in Klingon.
    As always great writing and keep it up. I check back here everyday hoping for a new post from you. It’s like reading a version of myself that actually knows how to write. We’re the same age, we have A LOT of the same interests, but I’m not a famous person. At least not yet. If my script turns out as well as I think it will, I might be famous someday too. Cross my fingers.
    As far as being able to self-publish in this day and age, I agree totally. Lulu is the best thing since sliced bread and I am sure there are other better sites for self-publishing, but I haven’t found one yet.
    Your writing has really inspired me to tackle more writing challenges in my life. I am not delusional enough to think that I can be a writer in the next year or so, but I think a lot of writing has to be learned by just going out and doing it. I have noticed your writing getting better even over the span of the last few years and your books. Not to say that your writing ever really suffered, but it’s surely gotten MUCH better as time passes.
    You and Chris Hardwick are my inspirational heroes. I frequent his site just as much as yours. The one difference is he doesn’t write as much as you do. However he is a wonderful writer also. He’s very funny. I have actually emailed him directly a few times and he emailed me once directly to ask about some editing on his site. It was nice to know he’s just a regular guy like you and I.
    Sorry for the long post. I don’t want to waste your time. I do however want to express how much I love reading your blog.

  7. Really glad that you like Portland. I moved my family here four years ago, from the Inland Empire. We’ve discovered so many reasons why this place is seventeen levels of awesome that we’ve never, truly, looked back. Sometimes we wish that others didn’t discover it, because they tend to stick around and that means more people working to make it like where we left. But, we’re also so darned proud that we want to share it with everyone! Okay, a little conflicted. Yeah.
    Enjoy getting the writing done. I need to get back to mine… even though the puerile drivel I just spewed isn’t indicative of my literary aptitude. Where’s my dictionary? I need to look a few of those up, now. Dammit.
    Enjoy the rainy/clear/rainy/cloudy/sunny/rainy…

  8. The opening to the between takes vid so reminds me of Fruity Oaty Bars. Wow. Not THAT’S a commercial.
    Moving on…
    Just wanted to say that I’m a nearly full-time veterinarian and part-time writer. I haven’t made money off my writing yet, but I’m moving in that direction (hopefully). Your comment on guesting vs being a series regular comforts me. Working a full-time veterinary job means health insurance, steady income, etc, as you said. But it also means being saddled with a regular job and all that comes with it. I’m enjoying relief work for now (filling in for places that need me). Some days are harder than others and you always have to worry about someone yanking a rug out from under you, but the benefits of setting my own schedule and being my own boss without a practice hanging over my head are numerous. We are in the same boat in some ways, and it’s nice to know that you made it work…hopefully I can, too.
    Thanks, Wil.

  9. hehe i have to say, im pretty proud of Uhurricane, even though i spelled it all kinds of wrong the first time
    i was just so excited that i came up with a good one!
    and there really are so many ways one could spell it… Uhuracane, Uhurricane, etc.
    anyhow, glad i was able to join in on the fun!

  10. I have a complete set of the Endless Quest Books (Pillars or Pentegarn, et al), 5 of the 6 Pick-a-Path to Adventure books (Same as the Endless Quest, but based on the cartoon), and…
    One copy of Heart Quest #1, Ring of the Ruby Dragon. “Pick a Path to Romance and Adventure!”, romance in the AD&D world. It was a gift from an ex in my early 30s when I talked about how, as a girl who gamed and read comics and stuff, in the mid-80s, I had scorned the books and mocked them, but while I was being a completionist with the Endless Quest stuff, it bothered me that I didn’t have them.
    It has a colour plate by Elmore, btw.

  11. Greetings Mr. Wheaton,
    I was hoping, as a fellow writer and sci-fi enthusiast you might help with a problem. I know you are (or were) a fan of the Robotech series. The community section of the Robotech.com site allows for users to submit fan fiction. I wrote a piece but was appalled at the terms and conditions of the site which are cynical and unfair. Obviously a fan cannot expect money or to use proprietary characters for personal gain when submitting fiction–but these terms are beyond business prudence. I e-mailed Robotech.com administrators to ask for a middle ground, but they did not respond. I do not have the sway as someone like yourself does. Otherwise, could you advise on an alternate course of action for fan fiction? Below I pasted the terms, your advice or suggestions would be valued. Thank you very much.
    I. Khider (admirer of your blog and work ethic.)
    “Harmony Gold must request that members submit or send only original creative materials, including but not limited to submissions of scripts, story lines, fan fiction, characters, drawings, information, suggestions, ideas or concepts. If at our request you send certain specific submissions (e.g., postings to chats, surveys, message boards, contests, or similar items) or you send us creative suggestions, ideas, notes, drawings, concepts, or other information (collectively the “Submissions”) shall be deemed and shall remain the property of Harmony Gold in perpetuity. By making any Submission, the sender automatically grants, or warrants that the owner of such material expressly grants, Harmony Gold the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable, non-exclusive right and license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, and distribute such material (in whole or in part) throughout the universe and/or to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or hereafter developed, for the full term of any copyright, trademark or patent that may exist in such material for any purpose that Harmony Gold chooses, whether internal, public, commercial, or otherwise, without any compensation, credit or notice to the sender whatsoever. The sender waives all so-called “moral rights” in all Submissions. The sender further waives the right to make any claims against Harmony Gold relating to unsolicited submissions, including, but not limited to, unfair competition, breach of implied contract and/or breach of confidentiality.”

  12. It was so good to sorta kinda meet you at the Square! Thank you so much for signing my copy of “Sunken Treasure.” You are a mensch. Now I don’t have to carry it around town. You still have to go to SE 12th and Hawthorne to the Famous Foodcarts. Vegan stuff available (this is Portland). You don’t even have to go with me! 😀

  13. I was almost gonna be an extra on leverage again this week but was too busy. Sitting around for 12+ hours gets a little boring. Would be more fun rolling some dice while we wait.

  14. Ooh, you liked the old Lone Wolf books! Did you know that Joe Dever let them go online for free once he got the rights back, at Project Aon (.org)? Also, the books are getting re-releasd in hardback with new art. The first one was completely rewritten by Joe as a 550 section monster!
    Love reading your stuff, funny its only when I saw you mention a childhood series I really loved and still do that I had to comment!

  15. Potato Champion for most excellent french fries with many different sauces. My favorite of the carts.
    Pereirra Crepes for yummy crepes with all kinds of sweet and savory things inside–vegan/gluten-free available (I’m celiac). I had lemon curd/chevre last night.
    Whiffies Fried Pies is the current rage, but I don’t know if they’re vegan (can’t remember if you’re vegan or vegetarian). The husband says Whiffies is delish; I can’t eat there.
    I’m told Yarp?! (pasta) is good, but I can’t eat there either so I dunno.
    Haven’t eaten at the Mexican place, and the BBQ place is never open when I’m there.
    Time to go is close to when Potato Champion opens at 8 pm. (8-3 am, W-Sa.) Believe it or not, I have zero relation to PC. Just likes ’em, though I can only have them once a month. :)

  16. Wil THAC0 rules, you wanna make something you come and make me! (LOL)
    I love that you made such an obscure – to the general public not to us geeks — D&D reference.
    Keep living the good life, man.

  17. I loved those Fighting Fantasy books when I was a kid! My mum used to read them to me and my younger brother and we would sit on the living room floor in our PJs, draw big complicated maps and bicker about which way to go. We even tried to write a story of our own.
    I recently found a copy of City of Thieves and you just reminded me I have it. (I think I have Rebel Planet and Deathtrap Dungeon somewhere too). I want to see if I can remember how to complete it after 20 or so years. I wish I still had those maps we made. It would be funny to see them now.

  18. Games you play(ed) should never leave your soul. They can be the antithesis of your day to day meanderings. In my soul, I know that I, at age fifty seven, can still make a hockey player curse me out for stopping his Peter Forsberg move on a breakaway (PS, I did just that this past Friday). The game of your heart exists forever. Goalies, get this. It does not matter, the game, it beats down the defeatism in our existence. We goalies cherish the glove save, and know that the defenceman should have cleared the damned rebound. Games we play are reality’s tools that allows our weaknesses/failings to fade from memory, and allows us to anticipate …………. the goddess Nike.

  19. It was nice meeting you! I felt like such a dork. thanks for shaking my hand though and coming out. It was a great ending to OSBridge. We all had a few beers in us before coming down too :)
    i took a couple photos of you and one of me and Steph.
    Thanks so much for coming down to The Square. They have been a great part of the local Twitter community and it was cool. Made my week.
    Also RE: food carts at 12th and Hawthorne (east side) Whiffies is amazing. They don’t open till 8pm though but def worth it. Whiffies is another one of our portland twitter “family”
    it’s kind of a “geeks unite” thing, or it feels that way to me.
    <3 thanks for making my geeky little world that much more exciting. I’m kicking myself for not bringing my copy of Stand By Me, which is still my favorite movie after all these years.

  20. Oh, wow… Lone Wolf books. I still have the whole series, as well as the Grey Star books. I used to use a d20 when it came to combat situations. I’m totally stoked that they’re making four more Lone Wolf books (one should be out soon if it isn’t already) and that Joe Dever gave the OK to put the original 28 online.

  21. This has been plaguing me since the Pillars of Pentegarn book surfaced — what was the title of the book that had lizardmen and an island jungle setting? Was it a fighting fantasy book? A choose-your-own-adventure book? This bit of trivia is driving me insane. Anyone know?

  22. Yeah, all us Oregonians who were born here wish no one else had discovered it, too. And by “no one else”, I mean Californians. ;0)

  23. Thats awesome. I’m glad you got to see your sister and hang out with her. I need to do the same with mine! I should be sometime soon. I went into a bookstore today myself. I looked for Dancing Barefoot or Happiest Days Of Our Lives and they didnt have either in the store but they could order Dancing Barefoot for me but we didnt live in that town so I didnt do it. Thats what I had to do to get Just A Geek, have them order it. That was a few months ago though and I think the same store but a different location. You really need to pursuade your people to put your books in more stores! And HAPPY FATHERS DAY WIL. I sure wish my Dad was here. He died in 2005, I was 9. Well anyway cant wait till the show airs!

  24. Better check yourself, beelkay, ‘fore I whip out my nine and deal out some ass-kickin’ SoCal justice by poppin’ a cap in yo’ Stumptown half-caff latte. Word.
    Oh, and we’re not going anywhere. I’m addicted to the Pied Cow. If I leave, I’m taking it with me. Don’t push me man… I’m an edgy man on the edge… man.
    Ooh, caffeine headache. I’m gonna go lay down.

  25. Another cool thing going on in Portland: The Oregon Historical Society has an exhibit on Will Vinton’s Claymation Studio and a 3D retrospective curated by the 3D Center for Art and Photography. Haven’t seen them yet but the 3D exhibit was put together by a friend of mine and reports are that it’s very good.

  26. Oh, so glad you are shamelessly into choose your adventure books. Citadel of Chaos is that middle of a trilogy of books by Steve Jackson? [I am self-imposing a ‘just don’t Google it’ policy on stuff I should try to remember] If so I have been reading excerpts recently in tandem with my personal favourite Maelstrom, which I tore the character sheet out of at some stage and is now lost forever. If you find it, pop it in the post…

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