“In a lot of ways, for me, W00tstock felt like finally finding a home base.”

When Paul and Storm and Adam Savage and I had our first conversations about what would become w00tstock, we knew that we wanted to put on an entertaining show for our fellow nerds that would be successful enough to warrant more than the three shows we originally planned.

Sunday and Monday, we're coming to Chicago and Minneapolis for our sixth and seventh shows in less than a year (Minneapolis is sold out, but there are about 100 tickets left for our Chicago show), and that just blows my mind. I mean, I thought we'd do maybe two or three cities in a whole year, and by Monday, we'll have done six in six months. 

Storm wrote a nifty thing at the w00tstock website to let people know what w00stock is, and why we think you'll dig it, but you don't have to take our word for it! Here's a blog entry from a wootstock attendee in Portland who wasn't sure she was going to enjoy the show:

I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to relate to a lot of things.

And then we got there.

For what is possibly the first time in my entire life, I was surrounded by people who GET IT.  They understand blogging.  They got my cultural references.  They tweet.  We joked about being “I play a bunch of 3 letter words on Words with Friends because I don’t care about strategy, I just want to make words” players.  We lamented people who throw sheep at each other and ask for help growing their livestock on Facebook.  We compared our various levels of geek for different things.  I could use the word “Dooce” in a sentence with someone I had never met before and it wasn’t followed by “Whuh….? Is that an internet thing?”   I told people that I write content for websites and didn’t have to explain that it is too a real job. Will talked with people who appreciated his “Gamer” shirt and compared gaming stories. I admitted to one person that I know jack crap about science and was told “but you blog! That’s so cool!”

There were fans and geeks of every stripe there and it was just fun.  Nobody was trying to “out-geek” anybody else.  Nobody was trying to explain how their form of geekiness was better than someone else’s because of x, y, z.  Instead of “really? You don’t like that?”  it was “Have you ever tried [this]? I didn’t like that either but then I [insert suggestion here] and was amazed that I liked it after all!”

For the first time since we’ve met, my husband and I had the exact same level of fun at something we chose to do together.

In a lot of ways, for me, W00tstock felt like finally finding a home base.  I was in a space with a few hundred other people who just…understand. It didn’t matter what particular brand of geekiness you subscribe to or if, like me, you don’t really subscribe to any particular subset.  We were there to have fun.  We were there to learn about cool stuff and hear awesome songs and listen to awesome stories and be introduced to new cool people to follow on Twitter and online. We were there to get our respective geek on. We were there to take part in the kind of thing we had always wanted to take part in but hadn’t because we’d had a bunch of people telling us that it wasn’t cool/serious/arty/enough.  It was amazing.

The best part about being a nerd right now, at this moment in time, is how easy it is to find other people like us, so we don't feel so goddamn alone and weird. My favorite part of being at certain conventions, like PAX, is that feeling of being surrounded by people who "get" me; it's that feeling of being home. I don't think any of us thought that we'd be able to recreate that sensation at w00tstock, but I keep hearing from people who come to the shows that that is exactly what happens. I don't want to overthink it or anything, but I'm overjoyed to learn that.

I don't know how long w00tstock will last, or if enough people will remain interested in it to do a full-on tour sometime in the near future, but no matter what that future brings, these shows we've done so far have been incredibly special to me, and I'm so grateful that I've been able to be part of making them happen.

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Wil

I'm just this guy, you know?

100 thoughts on ““In a lot of ways, for me, W00tstock felt like finally finding a home base.””

  1. The new Guthrie is really nice! I never saw the old one, but we got to see P&S and Jonathan Coulton at the Guthrie in October last year. Totally awesome building.

  2. I completely agree with your statement about going to conventions and can relate. I know you’ll be shocked…but I’m a Trek fan…I know, I know, you never saw that coming. Either way, I think it’s great to spend time with people who don’t stare at me or give me dirty looks, who think I’m cool enough to chat it up with, or who just share the same hobbies and likes that I do. A lot of people who don’t go to conventions don’t get that sense of community it can bring.

  3. It would be tacky to skip my own baby shower to attend wootstock, right? Chicago is a mere 5 hours west of me. Hm, no worries. I am sure someday you’ll tour the U.S. David Sedaris style, telling stories and FAQing with the audience. I set aside my dollars for a ticket to this and wait. It will happen for you, Wil. And the people will love it.

  4. “don’t know how long w00tstock will last”
    Well I tell ya. If you make this an annual spring tour thing, I will make sure to make it the Burning Man-esque event of my year. Any time you pass through Portland, I’ll show up..
    You don’t understand: my face hurt. I laughed so hard, my friggin’ cheeks ached with a laugh-hangover the next morning.

  5. I have actually looked into this following the last time this was discussed as it would be awesome.
    taking guests costs into account flight, insurance, accom you would need 2-3 Good sized venues.
    At the time the most logical seemed South area, London but not central london booking proces.
    Midlands area.
    and a North if it was 3 Scotland for example.
    There is a lack of anything of this type (listen no one rage yet I know about the cons) of event and guests, also there seems to be a hunger.
    When I looked into it the issues didnt become getting the attendees it came down to getting a big enough venue without loosing that size that wootstock sits in.
    I did nerd out on this when I looked into it at a far too statistical level for some reason but thats because I am ODD and smell faintly of Brie.
    I shall stick with my original plan in the mean time, lottery win – book venue and provide expenses and fees.
    I can but dream.

  6. I like brie. With grapes and cranberry sauce in a baguette. Delish. Anyway…
    I’ve emailed Paul and Storm about audience size. As they toured here last year with Jonathan Coulton, I thought they might have an idea on numbers. I’ve also asked the question about how big an audience can get until it’s too big for the W00tstock “feel”. Of course, if Wil sees this comment, his thoughts would be most welcome too. I think the venues for last year were around 550 – 800 seats.
    In the end, we don’t need a lottery win to make this happen. We just need it to be financially viable :-)

  7. TypePad HTML Email
    Awesome way to take it ahead there nice one
     
    If you guys do start looking at this as a realistic
    option etc let me know and I will do what I can to assist, event support (see
    free labour) I may also be able to source some tech and sound gear on loan to
    save haulage/hire fees etc.
     
     

  8. Ya know, Atlanta gets a huge crowd for DragonCon… I bet there’d be a huge crowd for this, too. :) (only 2 hours south of us, I could talk the hubby into this easily, he’s definitely more of a geek than I am!). Just sounds awesome! Please?

  9. If you do go for a full-scale tour, why not do it worldwide? I’d love to see you guys in London or Amsterdam, and I’m sure there’s aussies out there who would appreciate just as much if you would do a Sidney show. I know the logistics is hard, but please promise you’d at least consider the option.

  10. Hey Wil. Just wondering if I have someone purchase a couple books from you w00tstock 2.3 would you be willing to autograph them so I can include them in our Can’t Stop the Serenity auction in Vancouver on June 26th?

  11. Dude, I just wanted to say I re-watched “stand by me” for the eleventy billionth time, and you were great in it. Such a great movie. I remember about 10 years ago I was coming back to college on a Sunday night, and we had this university channel that played movies, whatever the kid felt like throwing in is what we watched, and I was coming back that night and “stand by me” was playing, and every dorm I walked by was sitting there (mouth agape) watching that movie. It’s a classic. I also liked you in star trek. Although I made all my friends drink when you came in with an awful sweater. I am sure I am the first person ever to pick on you for that. Keep on keepin’ on, bro. I’m a fan of yours and hope all is well.
    Nick

  12. I know you get a lot of pleas like this, but please for the future would you consider a w00tstock in Austin or Dallas, Texas? We have lots of very cool geeks here who would love to see you guys!
    Second thing (off topic but not sure where else to post it): I was just watching the TNG episode “Final Mission” on BBCAmerica and realized that now I barely recognize Wesley as being you. It reminded me of a line from River Song in Doctor Who about seeing pictures of someone from before you met them, how they don’t look “finished” yet. You NOW is Wil Wheaton to me. It was a fun experience watching some truly touching scenes between Wesley and Picard and then see Wesley have an epic, heroic moment at the end (I cheered) and think of it as being the same man from the w00tstock videos I’ve just been watching. And knowing it was your last episode as a regular cast member, thinking back to what you wrote about your mindset at that time in Just a Geek, made it that much more meaningful to me.
    So, Wil, if you do read this, I just wanted to say that I grew up with TNG around (my dad got me hooked), but now, you’ve made it that much more special to watch by being the awesome guy you are. I am so glad that you said lately how much happier you are in your life now compared to those days. You truly deserve it and I’m grateful for all you’ve done for geeks in general. Thank you!

  13. I am devastated that I didn’t know about W00tStock until after the Portland and Seattle shows. :( It looks amazing! I will go if you do it again next year!! :)

  14. I have to say, I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the podcasts of your panels and the Awesome Hour while grinding levels in Age of Conan. Thoroughly enjoyed it! I kind of got thrown by the nature of the moderator’s questions on the TNG panel, but other than that it was great!
    Of course, living at the arse end of the world I won’t have a chance to experience The Brilliance That Is Wil live in the forseeable future, but the podcasts make up for it! (Speaking of which, I’ve been digging RFB recently too.)
    Oh, and yeah I just realised something the other day which kind of Blew. My. Mind. Yours was very nearly the first “personal” blog I ever read, ever. I didn’t even know what a blog was, but one day one of my flatmates handed me one of Tom Tomorrow’s compilation books. I followed the URL printed on that book to Tom’s page because I wanted MOAR, and the very first post on his page was a link to your blog, which I followed, and the rest is history. That must’ve been in 2004, because I was in the process of dropping out of university and you were still at the old URL. (Also it’s all your fault I discovered Fark. And we all know where that leads…)
    So thanks, Wil! I’ve been reading your stuff for a significant part of my adult life now, and you’ve always managed to make the Internet more interesting, even if you are also indirectly responsible for me spending at least ten minutes a day worrying about the state of Abe Vigoda’s health.

  15. So I was at the Chicago W00tstock show tonight (towards the front just left of center about 5 seats away from the stage), with my awesomely nerdy wife and… We had a fan-frakin-tastic time. I’m just so very happy to have had the opportunity to attend. What you guys are doing is really very very special and I hope you come again soon! Thank you! and thanks to all of the friends and family of W00tstock’s participants for sharing you guys with the rest of nerddom.

  16. I was in stitches through pretty much the entire 30+ minute Captain’s Wife’s Lament.
    My poor friend who had to drive us back afterwards, who wasn’t up on any of the Wheatonisms I was catching (“Moonpie”), and who I think had mostly come with me to see Adam Savage… less so (especially since Adam’s solo bit felt surprisingly short).

  17. I can’t wait for tonight. I realize we in the Twin Cities are luckier than geeks in most other cities because of the number and variety of geeky things to do here, but I’m still really excited about w00tstock coming to town. I can’t wait to share the wonderfulness that is Twin Cities Geekdom with people from other cities. Once again, The Guthrie will be overrun by geeks. (And it’s just AWESOME that we’re invading The Guthrie of all places! If only for one night.)

  18. Arrrrghhhhh!!
    I’ve been so busy dealing with The Event at our house (see: selbydale.com) I didn’t even notice that you were going be Across The River at the Guthrie. And Tonight. And, SOLD OUT. Arrrrrggghhh…
    Oh well, just knowing that the Awesomeness is mere kilometers from here will have to suffice.
    Enjoy the gig… you’re among friends.

  19. I am incredibly sad that I missed you guys in Chicago. It was literally less than a mile from where I live.
    Unfortunately I had plans already out of state for the weekend. :(
    So be sure to +1 (+2 if I can drag my wife) to your draw in the Chicagoland area. Under any normal circumstances I would’ve been there
    Next time!!

  20. It seldom happens to me, but I really, really hate living in Europe now.
    Must invent teleport now! Attending Wootstock would be the only reason I would let a machine ddisgregate me in one place and rebuild me in another place. Ever.

  21. NOOOOOO!!!!!!!!! This is what I get for going back and reading all the old blog posts. I’m sooo mad the Minneapolis show is sold out. I’m literally making plans to go to PAX in Seattle specifically to meet you. Damn it all!!

  22. Nawt secund! I came, I Twittered, I Flickred, I blogged. Hubby registered a domain name during the intermission via iPhone. Did my word “rotunda” make it onto the poster? We had to slink back to the burbs kind of quickly, so we waved our virtual Zippos and scarpered.
    The twelve-year old kid next to us seemed to enjoy all the jokes, and appeared to be having a peak lifetime experience. I heard his dad making a couple of tactful explanations, but he omitted mentioning just why the last verse of the frakking pirate song was so funny.
    Someday he’ll be a monologuist telling the story of his twisted life, and then you’ll all be sorry.
    Of course that last verse didn’t end until half an hour after the intro…

  23. Been reading your posts about all the Cons you have been hitting up lately. Would love to see you at Dragon*Con in Atlanta this September! Many of the TNG folks are going to be there and I keep hoping to see your name pop up on the list. I checked last night and Stan Lee just signed up as well. Any possibility of you joining up?

  24. I had THE best time with my friends at w00tstock Chicago, last night. Despite the late hour and the exhaustion you all must have been feeling after that epic “Captain Wife’s Lament” (and four hours of truly geeking it hard), you were all amazingly generous with your time afterward, signing our posters and whatnot and speaking with each of us who stayed behind. I now consider it an “achievement unlocked” on my bucket list that I finally saw you perform live, met you in person, and shook your hand! Hope the picture I gave you (the one from my vacation two years ago that you posted on your blog) didn’t throw things into weird-fandom realm. I really wanted you to know how much your books and blog have touched me in many ways, but mostly as a parent. I made it home at 8 am EST after riding in the back of my friends’ car all night after the show. Suffice it to say, we all had an awesome time, and it was nice to be a big kid (and share my geeky experience) one more time before I have my baby and become a mommy X2. Thanks, again!

  25. Ha! I was just going to write about taking you, Ginnie! ;-)
    For me, I have never understood comics. I love Superhero movies, but have never been into comics/graphic novels. But after hearing Matt Fraction talk about them, and what they mean to him and why he does what he does, I’m definitely interested in checking some out. My friend that works at Counter Media (in Portland (y’all should go if you haven’t) has put together a list of things for me to try out ;-)
    I’m so glad that this has been such a great experience for EVERYONE! Like I always say “Blessed are the GEEKS, for we shall RULE THE WORLD!” I’ll totally be there for another Wootstock. Next time, the Schnitzer!! ;-)
    Thank you all!

  26. So I’m not entirely sure that what I’m about to say is relevant here but I’m going back so far in Radio Free Burrito podcasts that I can’t comment anymore (and the e mail address in the show notes has been crossed off, I assume to keep people from e mailing to is or perhaps just because the strike through can be sexy, albeit hard to read). Anyways, I’m a fan and I recently (and in two days) listened to all of the Memories of the Futurecast podcasts, while working at a new job that I’m not sure I’m happy to be at. After I sadly finished them, I started on Radio Free Burrito (subsequently got distracted by something shiny and then two days later came back to it because I remembered that I liked it). So I guess my point in all of this is that I was listening to episode four and you were talking about how you’ve been going through this existential crisis trying to find where your life should be going. I just graduated from college, am working in a job that has very little to do with my field, and am very familiar with the ‘what does this all mean’ question. I know I’m not the only one going through it, but of the few people I am close with I am the only on currently in this post-grad what does it all mean situation. I just really appreciate that four years ago you talked about it and even though there is no solution, it’s nice to know that I’m not alone (even though it was four years ago. hah). Long story short: Thanks Wil Wheaton. Your podcasting/company is appreciated

  27. Hello! Our entire family went to the Minneapolis w00tstock last night at the Guthrie. Thank you, thank you, thank you for a great evening! Words can’t describe. We had a fantastic time – laughed our a$$es off. It really was like coming home to be so entertained by nerds of our *ehem* age group. Please tell me that w00tstock 3.0 isn’t far off!
    Two things:
    1. The special appearance, no matter how brief, by Neil Gaiman was a REAL treat.
    2. Have you considered Marian Call (http://mariancall.com/) for as a future musical act? Her “Nerd Anthem” and other songs from her latest album are available to hear for free on her site. She’d be a great fit.

  28. So I’m watching the Eternal Arr video. Wil, I don’t know if you know this, but you have possibly the coolest job in the world. Not many people get to stand on stage in front of a load of excited geeks, making pirate jokes!
    And what’s with the anti-Janeway sentiment? What’s wrong with her? Granted, she’s no Picard, but you know what she has that he doesn’t?
    A vaginarrrrr!

  29. Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo! I know this is like SUPER late, but I just heard Aeofel die. Why couldn’t the cleric like run over and heal you? Not enough turns? That ghost was pretty lame by not saying a damn thing like the majority of the encounter. Aeofel will be missed…

  30. Wil, I just wanted to say… thank you. I mean truly, thank you from the bottom of my heart. Attending w00tstock in Chicago seriously made me happier than I’ve been in ages. Had lots of stuff(the bad kind) get thrown on me in recent months, and spending 3+ hours with my fellow geeks and you all was truly a blessing. By the end of the night when I finally got to see you up close I was too tired to express my thanks, but I wanted to do it now. w00tstock truly made my year.
    Also, thank you for signing my kindle. I don’t think I could have gotten any geekier people to sign it.

  31. Hi there Wil! I am one of the geeks in charge of a Minneapolis area convention called CONvergence. You probably heard about it from Jeremy who was at w00tstock in Minneapolis. We hear a lot of the same things about CONvergence that you’ve been hearing about w00tstock, that it’s like “coming home” for our attendees and guests.
    If you’re ever available around the 4th of July weekend, we’d love to have you as our guest and you can see for yourself. I think Jeremy already gave you my business card, but you can contact me at this email address or at [email protected].
    P.S. Heard through the grapevine that you enjoyed The Current radio station from MPR. It’s absolutely the best thing to happen to radio in ages. Glad you liked it!

  32. O HAI haz been more than .25 month since Wootstock Chicago. Normality has almost been restored…the city is still here and hey? The Blackhawks won, for those who were keeping score.
    We all miss you all. Plz visit the rest of Wootstock-nation-to-be. I totally concur that you should visit Ft Collins, although I would posit a visit to Boulder also/instead, the most awesome place in the universe.
    Good beer, many nerds, much good food to be consumed…wait, though, don’t eat the nerds unless they are the candy kind.
    kthxbai
    PS O!! Salt Lake City has some really bitchen roller derby, by all accounts. It’s a surprisingly awesome and geek-infested place, too.

  33. I think the blogger you quoted was eavesdropping in my brain. That is very much how I felt. I went to the Portland show as my birthday/mother’s day present (happened to be sitting directly in front of the Wheaton fam -awesome-) and it was one of my first forays into geekdom since my daughter was born. I did not know how I missed it until I walked in, sat down and became part of something (because the audience at w00tstock is not passively watching, we’re all in it together) – all of a sudden I was -home-. I don’t think I can improve upon your telling of it, but I heartily second it. Please keep doing the shows, and come back to PDX of course! Sidebar: in college I hosted RHPS and wore a red velvet corset, it was one of my responsibilities to de-virginize newbies. Your reading was a bit uncanny.

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