in which bad golf is played and news items are discussed

Last week, I took Nolan to the 3 par golf course I played on all the time as a teenager for a round of what we call Bad Golf. 

The rules of Bad Golf are pretty simple:

1. If you completely blow it on a shot, you get an automatic do-over, no penalty.

2. If you miss the cup by a distance equal to or less than the head on your putter, you count it as "in the hole", so long as you shout, "it's in the hole!"

3. If you somehow hit a squirrel (unintentionally) you automatically win the round.

4. Once a round, you can call "that was totally bullshit" and have a do-over.

5. You must quote Caddyshack whenever appropriate.

These rules were built by me and my friend Kevin when we were in our early 20s, because we loved golf, but were truly horrible at the actual playing of it. They worked out well for us, because they forced us to not take the game too seriously, and gave us a number of excuses to have fun, even when we were playing poorly (which was always.)

This was the first time Nolan or I had picked up a club since the last time we played on this course three years ago, when Nolan was still shorter than me. We played the front 9, invoked Rules 1 and 2 a few times, and had a blast. I shot 37 because I am the master of the four-putt, and Nolan shot 40 because he's taller and stronger than he was last time we played, and even trying to take it easy with his pitching wedge, he was flying over most of the greens. Like everything I do with my kids, though, it wasn't about the score of the game as much as it was about the time spent playing it.

On the way home, I saw a lot of signs around the golf course that pointed to a website called When I got home, I looked it up and was horrified to discover that a dirtbag developer is trying to destroy the Verdugo Hills Golf Course and build 320 condos on the land. A lot of residents are fighting it, and I hope they win. I love that place, it's a real treasure for everyone who lives in Sunland, Tujunga, and La Crescenta, and the last thing that area needs is more condos.

And now, various items for your Sunday reading, starting with some book-related things:

I have the final cover for Memories of the Future Volume One, and I'll be posting it next week. Yes, this means that the official release date is right around the corner.

I think I'm bringing a limited-edition chapbook to PAX. If I can get it all together, it will be a short fiction collection, including unpublished stories that I'm pretty sure don't suck.

Jim C. Hines, author of the wonderful book Goblin Quest, read Just A Geek and wrote some extraordinarily kind things about me and my book in his blog.

My columns at Suicide Girls and the LA Weekly, which have been on summer vacation, will be starting up again next month.

For the last two weeks, I've been jogging just a little bit every day, so I can get my skeleton and muscles used to the idea of me doing more physical activity than just sitting at my desk and writing (remember, I've resolved to play ice hockey again before the year is out, and with just four months left, I'm running out of time.) I take my iPod with me and listen to podcasts while I'm out, and I wanted to point out two recent episodes that I enjoyed: From Escape Pod, Carthago Delenda Est and from Stuff You Should Know, The Necronomicon

Back in March, I posted about the debut of my friend Ed's webseries, Angel of Death:

Angel of Death stars Zoe Bell (who you've seen double all kinds of people, but probably didn't know it. She also spent much of Death Proof
riding around on the hood of a car being awesome) as an assassin who
"gets stabbed through the skull; she survives, but the head injury
leaves her with an awkward side effect: She
suddenly develops a conscience."

Though Angel of Death was originally released as an episodic webseries, I guess they always intended to eventually release it as a feature film, and last night, Nolan and I finally got to watch that version on DVD. It looks and sounds great, and the story plays even better on TV than it did in my browser. If you liked Kill Bill, Grindhouse, or Sin City, I think you'll like Angel of Death.

I came across a blog called Study Hacks (via Reddit) that is worth a look, especially if you're a student.

As it turns out, I'm all over the damn place next week: Season 3 of The Guild premieres on Xbox Live on Tuesday the 25th, my episode of Leverage airs on Wednesday the 26th, and the newest D&D Penny Arcade Podcast begins on Friday the 28th.

43 thoughts on “in which bad golf is played and news items are discussed”

  1. I’m really excited for PAX…this will be my first time there, and it’s mostly to attend your session, Wil! Should be super fun. Can’t wait for Memories of the Future!

  2. I’m so looking forward to seeing you in The Guild, and hubby and I recently started streaming the first season of Leverage from Netflix to our Xbox. We love the show! We’re gonna have to hurry and do a marathon to finish up the first season and those available of the second season before Wed =p

  3. Having learnt that there was a new Penny Arcade/PvP/Wil Wheaton podcast, I did a small dance, shouted “Woo-hoo”, and then realised that “I have a little poem I’d like to read in honor of this occasion, if I may”.
    “It’s easy to grin when your ship comes in
    and you’ve got the stock market beat.
    But the man worthwhile, is the man who can smile
    When his shorts are too tight in the seat”
    “OK, Pookie, do the honors”.

  4. To appease my curiosity I have to ask how many times have you unintentionally hit a squirrel playing Bad Golf?
    My church played broom hockey which was very similar to your Bad Golf. We just went for the fun, not the win. Very cool you do that with your kids.

  5. Just once, my friend Kevin did it.
    We were at the Los Feliz Par 3 (which is in the movie Swingers) on one of the first holes. Kevin pushed his tee shot right, and punched out of the rough with a 6 or 7 iron. The ball didn’t rise at all and shot straight along the fairway, nailing a ground squirrel square in the face. It stood there, stunned, for a second, then wobbled off to a burrow about 20 feet away. Kevin automatically won the round, per the rules, but we also learned that the idea of a squirrel getting beaned by a golf ball was a whole lot funnier than the reality.

  6. Hey!
    Just wondering: “Season 3 of The Guild premieres on Xbox Live on Monday the 25th, my episode of Leverage airs on Wednesday the 26th,”…
    Was Tuesday canceled this week?
    It’s entirely possible, I miss this kind of news regularly.

  7. One of Felicia Day’s followers on twitter just posted a tip that I think will really help you. If you do a search for “to:wilw” (without the quotes, obviously) you will get all the replies without the mentions! Give it a try!
    Sorry to post the same comment on 2 different posts (Don’t want to become a spambot myself) I just think this will help solve your problem with the twitter spambots.

  8. Okay true story.
    Friday night, a couple of us were saying we hope your PAX chapbook will be fiction WOOT!
    Sucks living in Canuckistan I will not be able to see Leverage this week and have to wait for it.

  9. Okay, next time my friend Jen wants me to play golf with him, I am turning all these rules to enable.
    See? This is why I told my radio station manager that I desperately want to interview you for my Week in Geek segment.
    P.S. How would one make that happen?

  10. Hey Wil Wheaton, was up? Sorry I’m being annoying, right? Because my questions aren’t getting answered. But thats fine, I’m used to it. ): Past 8 questions I have asked you.
    1. But did I get the lines right about Stand By Me?
    2. Is Stand By Me the only movie that Jerry O’connell played with you in?
    3. Have you ever been in the Oil Dale part of California.
    4. Have you ever been to Texas?
    5. So,how do you know if your online?
    6. Have you seen the Michael Jackson music video called Thriller?
    7. do you think it’s weird that I watch Stand By Me everyday?
    8. Hey, Wil, how r u?

  11. I wouldn’t want to get a golf ball pinging back after it hits the wall and clocking me in the melon.
    The holodeck may look never ending, but it does have walls.

  12. This is slightly random. It turns out that last week, This tv (which is owned by MGM/UA & shows all kind of movies) was showing Fish Don’t Blink. Imagine my surprise when I was flipping through the high-numbered channel cable wasteland and saw you on my screen. 😀 It totally brightened my day!
    *sets DVR for upcoming Levrage episode*

  13. My friend Jim Hines just blogged about your blog… :) I’m going to have to find your books. I didn’t know you wrote. You and Picard were my favorite characters on ST:TNG.
    I loathe golf. I wish I could have played with those rules when I took it in college. Pass/Fail of course.

  14. “3. If you somehow hit a squirrel (unintentionally) you automatically win the round.”
    There must be an interesting story behind that rule.

  15. The next time you record one of those D&D sessions would you please tell the recording guys to each give each of you a mike and to normalize the volumes? As it is, I can barely hear a word your character says, then I get my ear blown out when ScottK speaks. ow!

  16. What? Build on Verdugo Hills? That’s sad. The only round of golf I have ever played was there, and I got a birdie on the 8th hole (or whichever one is a steep downhill slant, LOL). Stray golf balls from the driving range would roll down Honolulu and end up in our driveway. What would end up in our driveway if there were condos there instead??

  17. I don’t play golf anymore — it’s just too sad for all involved — but years ago my friend & I had an interesting experience at Canyon Lake Golf Club out in the desert near Elsinore, CA.
    We were about 1/3 of the way through our round and I was about to tee off, when we heard a dull “whap-whap-whap” sound from behind us. We looked around and couldn’t see anything, so I addressed the ball again, and once again we heard it: “whap-whap-whap”.
    We walked a few steps back from the tee, and finally saw the source of the noise: A roadrunner had a lizard in its beak, and was slamming it against a boulder to render it motionless enough to swallow.
    We just chuckled and went back to our game. I’m guessing this kind of thing doesn’t happen at Brookline, which is another reason why it was pretty cool.
    You can create a rule about that in Bad Golf if you like. Gold, Jerry!
    — Gregg

  18. Holy. Crap. You know what you’ve got to do, Wil?
    You (and your ragtag friends) must challenge that dirtbag real-estate developer to a single game of golf, winner-takes-all, to SAVE THAT GOLF COURSE!

  19. 7. do you think it’s weird that I watch Stand By Me everyday?
    What is weird? Many, many people watch the same movie everyday – it’s called their life. And in many cases they don’t even like it! At least you have found something you LIKE, something that reminds you of your dream, as does this person named Wil. Good for you. I have found that doing the same thing over and over deliberately can be oddly liberating. As Prince said (several times), “There’s joy in repetition.”
    I’ve had dreams that intense and when I gave myself to them, I saw dragons fly on the morning wind – an experience I highly recommend. *Believe*
    As for Wil, “he’s just this guy, you know” (Douglas Adams quote).

  20. My family plays golf. I don’t. No desire to. They tell me their golfing stories and show me their golfing goodies trying to spur some interest in me.
    What really put me off is some of their rules. I mean, I might play golf, but not if I have to witness my family performing this golf ritual. They have some sort of rule, something about scoring and skunking one another from hole to hole, in which if you are skunked pretty badly you have to walk to the next tee with your junk hanging out of your pants.
    Which is ever so charming, I’m sure. I’ll pass.
    Oh, my little sister hit a wild turkey with her ball this last month. The bird was stunned but otherwise OK.

  21. Thanks for the love with the podcast shout out, Sir Wheaton. We got our asses handed to us by some Lovecraft minions, so it’s nice to know you enjoyed the episode.
    As always, thanks for the support!

  22. Thanks for the love regarding the podcast, Sir Wheaton. We got our asses handed to us by some Lovecraft minions, so it’s nice you know you enjoyed the show.
    As always, thanks for the support!

  23. totally off topic, but i know you won’t see this on twitter:
    last school year you tweeted about how much you appreciate teachers ( i just wanted you to know that that tweet is still getting mileage. today is the first day of classes for a friend who teaches 9th grade english. this year she’s got two remedial classes, which are rather trying for a teacher. every once in a while i remind her that wilw think’s she awesome ( and it cheers her up after a hard day. just another way you make a difference in the lives of total strangers :).

  24. Yes, I realize the Holodeck would probably create the ball and would use fancy algorithms to calculate where your ball would go HOWEVER if I am going to play golf on the Holodeck, I would be like Picard and instead of my own saddle, I would bring my own ball.

  25. I wonder how the Lovecrafties measure up against the Trekkies? I bet the Loverafties don’t do as well with that whole, “It’s fiction, for the purposes of entertainment, man,” as the Trekkies do.
    (I say this as both a Lovecraft and a Star Trek geek.)
    Thanks for another sensational podcast, by the way! You guys never disappoint.

  26. My guess is that a Lovecraftie/Trekkie war would be pretty ugly.
    BTW – I love golf as well, and I stink at it too! But I always enjoy getting out there and hitting it around. Whoever created a game where the goal is to get a tiny ball into a tiny hole 300 to 500 yards away, USING A STICK, was a sick and twisted individual. Thus, I completely agree to all your rules.

  27. I can’t believe that this thread has gone a full day without this invocation of rule 5: “Country clubs and cemeteries are the biggest wasters of prime real estate!…” – Al Czervik
    And just for you Wil – “You’ll get nothing and Like it!”

  28. My Dad used to play golf when I was younger and he still plays with his friends on Christmas Eve.(Although I am convinced its just an excuse to drink beer away from the home front while the miracle of Christmas chaos is unveiled by the women folk of the family.) You are right about it being the time spent with the family that was important. The funniest part of our outings was that he used to let me putt for him because I was better at it. I was only 6 at the time. :o)
    Oh yes, I am so looking forward to everything you have coming out this week. I think I am most excited about The Guild. I wonder if we can watch that in parties like we can with Netflix. I am going to find out.

  29. Thanks for posting about those two podcasts, Wil – it was certainly a good week at Escape Pod! Sadly, the Pseudopod offering, “The Leviathan”, wasn’t one of their best in my opinion. I keep hoping Alasdair will do an Autopsy of “The Moon” like the excellent review he wrote.

  30. I did’nt really want to send that but I couldnt delete it, :(. I love Stand By Me, I don’t think its weird, I watched for months, and 1 whole year. I LOVE IT!!! I can’t stop watching it.

  31. /* sadface */
    My buds and I learned to play at Verdugo Hills. We played our own version of Bad Golf, usually involving some sort of moderate, often self induced, trauma!

  32. I was just wondering … will “The Guild” Season 3 episodes be available on the website the day of release, as well, or just on XBOX Live?

  33. Thank you, Wil, for letting people know about the Verdugo Hills Golf Course and the efforts being waged to save the golf course and preserve the property’s unique natural habitat and scenic vistas. We also conserved about a number of other significant negative impacts that would result if the project was approved.
    If you are going to be in the Sunland-Tujunga area on Monday, August 31st, please stop by Joselitos West at 7308 Foohtill Blvd. in Tujunga. The restaurant will be open from 11am to 10pm. If people place their receipt in the ‘Save the Golf Course’ box a portion of their receipt will be donated to V.O.I.C.E. on behalf of the Save the Golf Course effort.
    For more information visit the website. Fundraising is essential. It costs money to hire consultants. Plus we need to build a warchest to help in case this goes to court at some point in time.
    Thanks, Wil, Eleanor and dirtbunny, for your comments about the VHGC.

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