a quick one while i’m away…

Yesterday, Niall Matter and I went over to Granville Island for lunch and shopping at the public market. Matt Hastings, who is one of the producers, met us, and we had a really nice time sitting on the deck of this restaurant, enjoying the beautiful day, and some great food.

We talked about all kinds of things, and when Matt arrived with some PS3 games in his bag, our conversation turned to gaming.

"I don't own a console," Niall said, "gaming just isn't my thing."

Matt and I looked at him like he was from another planet, which I think was a not-unreasonable assumption.

Niall looked at Matt, then at me, and added, "I don't have anything against it, I just play guitar and drums instead."

"Oh, I play guitar and drums, too," I said, "… in Rock Band."

"Yeah," Matt added, "I play guitar and drums, too … with the Beatles."

We all laughed at that, and I said, "I'm so good, I get to play with The Who, and I went on tour with The Pixies once."

"Really." Niall said.

"Yeah, if you want, I could probably get you on the guest list the next time I play in Moscow."

Relevant to my interests, and perhaps to yours, as well: The Rock Band 3 setlist.

Edited to add: Here's my view from lunch, which you can click to embiggen at Flickr. Can you believe I took this picture with my phone?


55 thoughts on “a quick one while i’m away…”

  1. Hilarious! My 5 year old daughter has been known to take the drumsticks from visitors “who are doing it wrong” when we play Rock Band. Can’t wait for some of those RB3 songs!

  2. If I’m not entirely wimpy during PAX, I fully intend to play some Rock Band somewhere. On EASY MODE because that’s how I roll, you.

  3. Did you find anything neat in the market? I used to work at Duso’s — The pasta place, not to be confused with Dusa’s the cheese place, or Zara’s the other pasta place.

  4. I have YET to play Rock Band Guitar Hero, or any of the games like that. I’m just freakin lame, I REALLY Really really want to try those games! I’ll get there!

  5. Too funny. In our house our daughter (almost 3) MUST play “the baby song” (Nirvana’s Drain You) with daddy a few times a week. She plays drums (badly) and dad’s on guitar. I love watching them play.

  6. This story is too adorable for words. Rock Band is the closest I’ve ever come to being a rock star and every time I pick up that guitar or those drum sticks, I think to myself “This is going to be so badass” and every time it is completely lame because I suck at Rock Band.
    And now that we know Niall plays the guitar and drums, I fully expect Eureka to have an episode where the town experiences some sort of scientific mishap and can only be saved by Zane performing some mad licks with Henry providing vocals. Eureka writers, I’m looking at you.

  7. There are 2 types of geeks in the world. Those who accept being a geek and like to live in their imagination places(like games and movies and tv and books) because they think that is much cooler than creating something into reality themselves, and ones like Niall and myself who choose to spend our time and energy into creating new things that can change the world and make the people around us dance in joy. Those geeks who use their own intelligence to invent things and become cooler than cool, and create music that is powerful, putting their time and energy to entertain on a daily basis, they get rewarded, and they get laid!
    There is nothing better than banging on a drum or jammin on any instrument with others in the creation of invisable emotional movemment, not in cyber space, but in real space, where you can feel it flowing between people in the air.
    The difference between these two types of geeks is simply: CONFIDENCE. If you don’t have the courage to go out and be hero or a villian, race cars, or shoot guns….then of course you will be satisfied with doing it in a virtual world that you can control, where there is no real danger. I guess it boils down to intraverted and extraverted.
    Rock band makes real musicians cringe! It’s so easy to play an instrument if you aren’t afraid and just let it flow, and it is so rewarding to jam with others and actually create your own beautiful works of art, that we can not understand why all these people choose to fake it, and then be impressed with themselves for not having accomplished anything or gained any new skill, and the joy disapears when you pull the plug out of the wall. SO sad. Never too late to challenge yourself for real though!
    OH Wil, how do like Vancouver? Better than L.A.? I suggest you move there. Take a walk around Stanley Park? on the beaches? Find a way, become a Canadian, eh? There is lots of opportunity for work, get on regular series! Canada is Best, and we could use your talent and ideas up here! No more L.A. traffic and the public will respect you and your privacy. Besides it’s just a matter of time before L.A. slides under water…look at all the natural disasters in the world now. Free healthcare and healthy food! Oh,There is a healthy grocery store on Davie st and Richards st CHOICES I think it is called. They have lots of organic produce, vegetarian, glutin free baking. I recommend it, and shop there when I visit, for the best quality food.
    Have fun in Vancouver Wil! Explore until you don’t want to leave. Then your joy will manifest you a permanent job and you won’t have to!

  8. Victoria,
    short response:
    Slightly less so:
    You can feel free to stop pissing in other people’s cheerios at any time.
    It’s a matter of perspective. Other people can find things fullfilling that you don’t, and vice versa. There’s no need to pull a Roger Ebert whinefest and denigrate someone else’s form of recreation.
    I’ve beat Dark Forces, both Starflight games, and Star Control 2. I can commiserate with someone else who has done the same–we share a piece of cultural heritage, a sense of travelling the same road, and hundreds of hours of learning skills and finding stuff out. Who’s to judge whether those things are more or less worthy than, say, the tens of thousands of hours that Michael Phelps spent getting to be in gold-medal shape. Or more to the point, the thousands of other people who put in just slightly less effort than he did and who have nothing to show for their time.
    Playing real instruments is awesome; it’s a neat skill that I’m the process of trying to acquire. But just because you have that skill, please don’t feel the need to put down people who don’t revere it like you do.
    Craig Steffen

  9. Seconded. I’ve been “playing” guitar for years and I am still quite awful at it. I find it stressful and would much rather rock out on Guitar Hero or Rock Band.
    On the other hand, I am fairly artistic… but you won’t see me telling people to stop playing Scribblenauts because it isn’t “real drawing.”

  10. The best thing about Guitar Hero is that my kids recognize and actually enjoy music from my era (80’s)! Although, I was a little concerned when they went crazy over Eye of the Tiger, but I shouldn’t complain. I really want to get Beatles Rock Band–maybe by Christmas, I can say it’s a gift for my kids.

  11. Dang if my city isn’t looking its finest these past few days. Great photo Wil. If I see you on the streets I may steal your phone, because it works better than my digitals. (My film slr might give it a run for its money though.)

  12. The Who… OK one of the first times I got it right away.
    So I have Beatles rock band and played it three or four times (with just the drums)
    I was at Disney and they had a video game version of RB which is the first time I ever tried it – played it with the guitars.
    Now I have real guitars lying around which may have been the reason why I wasn’t so motivated before.
    I’m still waiting to get the Hofner bass though πŸ˜‰

  13. I used to work on Granville Island! Is it sad that I’m excited to know that you’re that close, even though I’m too scared of people to properly stalk you while you’re in town?

  14. Wow, that photo is great. I can’t believe that was with a phone cam. I really miss living by Granville, that market is great, eh?
    Did you get the chance to take the mini-ferry across from the mainland – Granville or did you take the regualr bridge route?

  15. Arrgh. Die, flickr! *sigh* It’s not flickr’s fault I can’t see it, my ISP blocks flickr. All of it. Meh. Anyway I hope rock band claims yet another soul. πŸ˜›

  16. Beautiful view. My family and I are currently visiting your home state. So far, we have enjoyed, the San Diego Zoo and Lego land. Tomorrow will likely be the beach – any recommendations? Also, I will be bottling the sunshine

  17. I had an interesting conversation with Jonathan Coulton and Marty Beller over dinner one night with my husband who works for Harmonix. It was about what Rock Band feels like to ‘real’ musicians. We talked about how playing Rock Band drums can help with your coordination for real drumming and Marty blasted this point. Once, after drumming with Rock Band, he had to go to a recording session and said he was “ruined” for real drumming (clearly this wasn’t permanent). Jonathan said he hated the singing part the most. I weighed in with how good it feels when you’re a talentless normal person and Jonathan at least admitted he could see the draw while Marty just shook his head sadly. Their perspective was fascinating to me. And then I offered to hand Coulton his ass on Skullcrusher Mountain. I could do it, too.

  18. One must keep in mind that the good folks at Harmonix are ‘real’ musicians too. Their goal has always been to bring the *feeling* of making music to everyone. I think they have succeeded beautifully. ‘Real’ musicians shouldn’t bash Rock Band as being fake. We all know it’s fake, but it truly does give a non-musician a glimpse into what it could be like in real life.

  19. Ahh … Granville Island. One of my favourite spaces in Vancouver. If you’re looking for more eclectic shops/food in Vancouver go to Kitsilano neighbourhood. It’s quite nice. If you’re looking for a nice walk with a suspension bridge, forget Capilano … way too touristy and “disney-esque”. Go to Lynn Canyon Park up in North-Van. You won’t be dissapointed.

  20. My phone has a 3 megapixel camera on it, and it’s not even one of those holy-crap-my-phone-can-do-everything phones…just an Env3. Wasn’t it not too long ago that 3 or 4 MP was standard fare for digital cameras? My point-and-shoot is 8MP, and was pretty freakin’ decent when I bought it, just a few years ago. Technology is amazing! I just wish I had the money to keep up with it, lol.

  21. Oooh, so envious of that view. I’ve wanted to visit (or possibly move to) Vancouver for years now. I mostly blame the Stargate franchise and writer/producer Joe Mallozzi’s blog full of local food reviews.
    Speaking of which, if you’re going to be there long enough, you should try to get in on one of @DavidBlue’s (David Blue of Stargate: Universe*) Rock Band gatherings. Then, once Niall gets hooked, he’ll have other Vancouverites to rock out with.
    * Rumor has it that series regular Lou Diamond Phillips is pretty good on guitar. πŸ˜‰

  22. I’m not gonna lie, I don’t own any gaming consoles or anything either. We had a nintendo (and a gameboy) when I was little, but I’ve never really thought about buying one now. I don’t even have any games on my phone.

  23. Thanks for sharing Wil! You took that on the Droid Incredible? Super pic!!
    When you get back to the US, can you have a word with Leo LaPorte! He’s been on a anti Twitter rampage recently. I personally think he should read your wonderful guide from last year and figure out what it means to him personally, not judge it for everyone else.

  24. Can you believe I took this picture with my phone?
    I’m continually amazed at the vast number of things our phones can do. I amuse myself by imagining trying to describe to my late parents or grandparents what I meant by “let me Google that on my Droid” or “I’m playing solitaire on my phone”. The looks of utter incomprehension they would have given me just cracks me up.

  25. Granville Island is awesome. My wife and I stayed there years ago, and had breakfast over there at the market every morning while we were there. One of my favorite things we did while we were there was rent some bicycles and ride around the park. Hope you guys have fun.

  26. And if you want weird stories to tell the friends, head up Granville street into downtown. :)
    Oh, how I miss that view.
    Went to school in Vancouver. Absolutely loved the market there on Granville street, as well as Opus art supplies and framing next to Emily Carr. Last time I was there was in 2009 for a convention and school tour, enjoying virtually the same view. :)

  27. Admittedly, we don’t have a game console in the house (despite working for a major company.)
    However, we’re kinda *addicted* to MMORPGs….in particular World of Warcrack. I’ve seen some of the betas for uu-named upcoming games…and I might have to add a new addiction as well.

  28. Wil, I follow you on Twitter, and just read your posts about following you on there, and about calling you Wesley and/or Gordie. I want to say something here.
    1) You are a celebrity. To the geek world, at least, you are.
    2) You’re right about your work being dismissed out of hand. You are a great actor now, and you were a great actor (for your age) then.
    3) Your work as Gordie in Stand By Me was outstanding. Your work in TNG was great as well (although, as you said, you did have some poor writing/plot lines to deal with there, and you were overshadowed by the two best actors in ST history–Sir Patrick Stewart and Brent Spiner). I think you should be proud of that work, but still insist on being called Wil. :)
    4) There is no number four.
    5) Thanks for being Wil, and not Gordie or Wesley, or anyone else. You’re down to Earth, and a normal Joe like the rest of us. We appreciate that.
    Your fan, Rick

  29. I have taken some awesome photos with the iPhone 3Gs provided by my work. The trick, besides composition, is to hold the phone steady when snapping the pic.

  30. In addition to being a science dweeb, I’ve also been a guitarist for almost 40 years. I personally would not care to play Rock Band or Guitar Hero. But I am thrilled for those folks who do play and love those games, who dovnot have the opportunity (for whatever reason) to play actual musical instruments. They get to experience the joy of musical expression, and have a ton of fun. What’s not to like?
    I played a LOT of Oblivion for a couple years, and got heavily into visual modding. I cannot draw a straight line with a ruler, yet these cyber-tools allowed me to actually experience the joy of creating something visually beautiful. It’s the same concept: Rock Band and their like enable those who love music but who are not musicians to share in the fun. More power to you all who do so from a musician who is delighted on your behalf! :-)

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