ten quick things, including some math, a comic, and a few ideas

I can't believe it's Friday, which means tomorrow is the weekend. Where did this week go, anyway?

A few things I wanted to mention before I get busy:

1. If you'd told me a year ago that I'd be going to bed between 9 and 10 every night, then waking up entirely on my own between 6 and 7 the next morning, I would have called you a name … but it's what I've been doing the last six weeks, because I'd rather wake up on my own, than be woken up by the fucking construction next door.

2. Scott Kurtz' PvP is always wonderful, but The Incident just killed me. Start with part one and work your way forward – it only lasts a minute, though, so don't rush it.

3. I don't know how I lived without click2flash until this morning, but since I installed it, my Mac is easily 5000% faster.

3+1. My friend Amber pointed out that today (1120) = (1 × 2 × 3 × 4 × 5 × 6 × 7 × 8) / (1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 + 6 + 7 + 8). I love that, and it makes me wish I was better at math.

5. Speaking of wanting to be better at math, I have this idea for a class at a community college. It's for people like me who are in their 30s and have realized that they've forgotten a lot of the things they learned in high school, things like rules of grammar, algebra, chemistry, and civics. The truth is, unless you use those things every day, the reality of adult responsibilities pushes them out of your head. I mean, I'm a pretty smart guy, and there are times when I have to write down a math problem that I used to be able to do in my head, and some of the spelling and grammar errors I make are just embarrassing – and I'm a writer! So my idea is for an 8 week class that meets once or twice a week for a couple hours, that would be a mental tune up for guys like me. We don't need to relearn everything from the beginning, we just need to stimulate that part of our memory where algebra and geometry are stored so we can remember the things we used to take for granted. Someone do that, and do it at PCC so I can walk there, okay?

6. Speaking of college: I'm going to CalTech today to do an awesome thing for NASA. I'll be on campus for a few hours, and I had an idea that could be fun: I'm pretty sure a non-zero number of people at CalTech read my blog or follow me on Twitter (or are a few degrees from someone who does), so the first person to find me there today and say "Qapla'!" gets a signed copy of Uchu, one of the Star Trek mangas I wrote. (NB: If I'm working with you today, you're ineligible*. Sorry.) 

7. Is it just me, or has the last week brought a significant uptick in people being dicks on Twitter? I'm blocking a lot more people than usual. It has a Long September feeling to it, but I realize my user experience isn't the same as a normal person's.

√64. I've been asked if I'll be at ConCon (the Leverage convention) next year in Portland. I'm not sure they're interested in bringing in guest stars (and, honestly, if you had to choose between me and Mark Sheppard, I'm obviously staying home) but if they are, yeah, I'd love to be part of it.

9. People ask me all the time if I'll come to their city for a show. I haven't been willing to travel very far, because it's too risky to invest in travel and shipping merchandise only to have 40 people show up. But Paul F. Tomkins wrote a post for his blog about how he's letting people build an audience that makes it worth his time and money to travel to their town and do a show, and it makes a lot of sense to me. I think it's a model I could duplicate (or at least attempt to duplicate) so if you're at all interested in seeing me perform live in a town near you (read: not Los Angeles) then please read his post. I'll expand on it next week. (Related to this: let's say I could do a live show that was streamed online. I would perform some stories for about an hour or so, and then take questions from The Internet. It would probably cost about $5 or $10. Does that sound like something you'd be interested in doing with me?)

X. Looking for something to do this weekend? GET EXCITED AND MAKE THINGS! There's a ton of inspiration from your fellow creators in the comments on this post.

*Sigh. I had to look up the proper spelling of "ineligible." Please, someone, get to work on that class, okay? I feel stupid.

86 thoughts on “ten quick things, including some math, a comic, and a few ideas”

  1. 1. Next you’ll be out on that lawn, shaking your fist next door…
    2. My only issue with The Incident was Cole being forced to sign but such an inscupulous guy. Other than that, a great setup to the bizarre.
    3. Firefox has similar, for those who need it.
    3+1. I immediately reduced the products to 8! but didn’t know if there’s something similar for addition. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?
    5. Can I copy your notes from the first class? I’ve got a hockey game that night…
    6. Even though most folks figure, “Meh”, NASA is just too cool. Have fun!
    7. Ummm… the odd weird comment isn’t dickish, right? You’re talking about serious spammage, right? ’cause sometimes I’ve had a few or I think something is particularly high-larious in the wee hours and want to share and… oh, heck.

  2. It is too bad there is this line in the sand that separates your country from mine because there is a gaming con here in February that I have been asked to be a part of that would love to have you.

  3. @wilw
    Speaking of math, and using your square root representation as a model, did you know that if you represent each number as a square root (i.e., √1 for 1, √4 for 2, √9 for 9, √16 for 4, etc) that the progressive difference is the next highest odd number?
    √1, √4, √9, √16, √25, √36, √49, √64, √81, √100
    1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 17, 19
    I only did it to ten, but I think the pattern is consistent all the way.
    PS, if this is common knowledge, then sign me up for the refresher class.

  4. And this is exactly why I would take the hell out of this class. I’m suddenly in a position to need algebra and such once more… yeah, I am so embarrassed by how much I have lost.

  5. I am in school right now fighting the science and math classes. I have been out of highschool for a long time and even then was bad at math and science. It really hits home when someone so much younger than you has to explain “simple” things to you. I keep telling myself to stick in cause this will pay off, but my brain is saying otherwise. Also trying to work on a English/writing degree, so we will see. The older I get the more I forget it seems. Have a good weekend Wil:)

  6. Re: #9, if we were to use that model to convince you to visit the UK, we’d pretty much have to be filling Wembley Stadium ;-) I’ll put that onto my list of “Get Excited and Make Things (Happen)” items. Might actually be easier to get Messrs Coulton, Paul and Storm to get you to drink the milk when they’re next flying this way…
    Srslytho, the live, on-line show would work for me. Some of your work just has to be heard being read by you to really bring it to life (“Blue Light Special”, I’m looking at you).

  7. I’ve been watching ST:TNG season 1 ever since I got your Memories of the Future and reading it made me run out and buy the DVD set. I love watching the episode with your book in hand. Tonight I saw Justice, which I hadn’t seen since it was first aired. And yet I remembered significant images from that first time — the forehead bump when Wesley finally gets to go to his mother, the fact that he calls her “Mother” instead of Mom — but I mis-remembered one line. I thought Wesley had said to his mother “You’re not going to let them kill me,” while he actually said that to Picard. Anyway, I liked the episode. It brought back some good memories. Thanks.
    Carolyn Campbell

  8. It's an old Fark thing. You quote something someone else said, and then your only reply to it is, "THIS". It means, "I agree with this," or "I would have said this myself if someone hadn't already said it."

  9. On the twitter question –
    I thought you can only get messages from people you follow.
    It was my impression that anyone just can’t send a message on twitter.

  10. Yes yes yes yes… #5 is a great idea, and I’ve tried to do that a couple times taking non-credit courses our community college offers.
    Science and math were taught so ‘uninterestingly’ when I was young (I’m 50) and in science, a lot of what we were taught may have even changed. Or rather, more ideas have come to light that challenge what I was taught.
    And for #64, I would also enjoy you at a Leverage-con. The Star Trek and geek lines in that episode more than qualify you for it imho.
    Have a great holiday, we’re having ours early so we can watch everyone else go nuts.
    karen in Pittsburgh, PA

  11. I’m trying to put together an event for Feb / March for minority kids in conjunction with the Star Trek Exhibition and would love you have you come out and talk. I need to know what we would need to arrange to have you partitipate in terms of money, space, logistics. What are next steps?

  12. I only get direct messages and timeline messages from people I follow, but I see all the @wilw stuff in my @wilw tab, so when someone is being a dick to @wilw, I see that and block that person.

  13. Wil, this may be an early question, or maybe a request for next week, but will you let us know what you’ll be looking for if we do this from our end?
    Venue size, number of folks, etc? I’d like to figure out if we can get you here in Kansas City (we’ll bring a toll booth along for old times sake).

  14. I think it’s a cool idea. Eventful was ok, but if you can personalize it (for you, not the user) and make it more “real” from a person = butt in seat standpoint, I’ll look forward to it.

  15. you should come down to AggieCon here at Texas A&M. It has the recognition of being the oldest, continuously running, student-produced science fiction convention in the U.S.
    here is a link: http://aggiecon.tamu.edu/
    it’s prolly too late for 2010, but they would love to have you for 2011
    I used to be able to do quadratic equations in my head, would really piss of the teacher cuz she always said to show my work, so I did the Jeopardy thing, went from the answer to the question. LOL
    yeah I do agree with a class going over the basic stuff for those that can measure the last time in a classroom by decade(s).

  16. So basically what you’re telling us, Wil, is all that it takes to summon your presence is to go into the bathroom, look in the mirror and say “Wil Wheaton” three times? Spooky.

  17. You writing guy needs big work the grammar for help. With writing or the speling wow cool because,,, Me am good mommy tell me i am good grammar with. Mommy I like dangling participle.

  18. Tell it to the heavy-drinking, cigar-smoking, kleptomaniacal, misanthropic, egocentric, ill-tempered robot standing in the back.

  19. Hi Wil,
    as for your community college class idea: If you have a bit of free time to do such a thing, you should absolutely go for it! I’m one hundred percent sure things like that must exist somewhere near you. About one year ago, I felt the same thing: After ten years in PR, communications and translation, I had forgotten lots of the knowledge I used to have in the natural sciences – although I’ve always been interested, especially in chemistry, geophysics and geology. Here in Europe, the community colleges suck, but most universities offer classes like the one you’re dreaming of. They’re normally there for people who intend to start an engineering or natural sciences program, but they’re open for everyone. It’s exactly the kind of update you mentioned, and you’d be really surprised how fast things come back to you, they’re not actually “gone”, but just sort of burried under lots of everyday information. Same applies to foreign languages, I thought my French (which I hadn’t been using for years) was entirely “dead”, so I went to a conversation class as well and discovered how much I actually remembered.
    It was a great experience, and as a contrast to my daily work with language and communication, I started to attend lectures in geological sciences after getting an update on math and chemistry basics. Learning things is fascinating, I can only recommend the ideal of “life-long learning” to everyone.

  20. Wrong, wrong, wrong. You all have it all so very wrong . Why waste precious cerbro-space trying to re-install garbage you’ve already established that you’ll never, ever, EVER need?
    Instead, forget more stuff. Jeezes. Clear out the closet, so to speak. If you know the answers to questions like “who ws Charlemagne?”, “where is the Hudson Bay?” or “what’s Avagadro’s Law?” then methinks it’s a-time for some down-home cognitive cleansin’.
    You need to make room for more pressing concerns. Like “what’s better–Count Chockula or Cocoa Puffs?”. Or “why is Woody Harrelson in every. Frakin’. Movie. These days?”. Or “are the traffic lights really conspiring against me?” (answer: yes).
    Because as every loyal American knows, I.Q.s are like body temperature: if you get it up too high you’re brain will melt and sludge out your ears. Just sayin’…

  21. A. Shouldn’t #6 be #1 in GIANT FLASHING LETTERS??
    B. Part of the problem there is the inherently inferior English orthography we have inherited from our ancestors… we need a Committee to Reform English Orthography (Yes, I appreciate the irony of creating a Spanish acronym with English words.) to make English spelling rules more phonetic and rigidly enforced… When people can speak coherently and still be unable to SPELL words that they know and can use, it means the spelling system is BROKEN!

  22. I’d help with the math part. I tutor math for a living, and teach the occasional algebra class, and I’ve got a pretty good rep. Except that sometimes I talk to fast – but on the Internet, how much of a problem would that be?

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