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WIL WHEATON dot NET

It turns out the Village People recorded a punk song in 1981

I came across this punk rock masterpiece on one of my very favorite blogs, Dangerous Minds.

Now, look, I’m going to warn you: it’s the longest 2:27 of your life, and the video is sort of the ancient progenitor to a looping .gif, likely due to budget constraints, and the possibility that the band involved wasn’t particularly into recording a punk song because the band was THE VILLAGE PEOPLE.

Yes, those Village People.

BEHOLD:

Dangerous Minds says:

“Food Fight” is an anomaly in the Village People’s oeuvre: a first and last attempt to cash in on the punk audience from a band clearly grasping at straws, willing to try absolutely anything to stay relevant.

Musically, one can hear the best elements of DEVO, as well as The Dickies, and Hodo’s nerdcore vocals sound remarkably like Weird Al.

“Food fight” plays out like the music you’d hear in an early 80’s teenage T & A movie where there’d be some marginally “punk” band playing on the beach in wrap-around sunglasses and clam-diggers, while a bunch of girls in string bikinis did robot dances in the sand. Yes, it’s that good. The subject matter would seem to indicate the Village People’s new target demographic was middle school children.

I’m super conflicted about it, because on the one hand, it’s pretty epic … but it’s also pretty horrible, and it feels like ten minutes of repetition to me.

But, still, the fucking VILLAGE PEOPLE recorded a song that would have been perfectly at home in Valley Girl, or Night of the Comet, or Midnight Madness, or even on an episode of CHiPs, if they did something about the way old white people thought punk rock and new wave kids acted in 1981.

What do you think?

on technology and nephews…

My godson, Shane, is pretty good at technology — especially for a 2 year-old.

He’s very good, for example, at picking up my sister’s phone, finding my picture, and tapping it to call me. A typical call goes like this:

Me: Hello?

Shane: giggling

Me: Shane? Is that you?

Shane: Blah blah squeal BLAH!

Me: That’s really interesting. Well, let me tell you about my day…

Shane: maniacal laughter hangs up

On longer calls, he’ll babble on and on about stuff, and then my sister will pick up the phone to tell me how he’s been walking around the house and the yard, pointing at things and telling me about them. I guess he is really into this tree in their backyard, and he talks to me about it all the time. (If I’m being honest, from my end of the line he’s about as excited about the tree as he is about their cat, or his toy cars, or this Batman mask he likes to wear.)

So he’s recently learned how to use Skype to talk to me, and this weekend, he introduced me to a new game that he likes to play. I don’t think he named it, but I call it “Run Around The House With Uncle Wil On Mom’s iPad, Put Him On The Floor In The Hallway, Then Run Away Laughing.”

Witness:Skyping _with_ShaneIt’s a pretty fun game for him, and I’m not sure what the rules are, but I think he’s winning.

Also? It’s a little bit of a mindfuck that he’s growing up in a world where being able to see me on a thing he holds in his hands while we talk to each other is so normal and pedestrian, he can literally put it/me on the ground and RUN AWAY from it.

Remembering Leonard Nimoy

Normally, I’m pretty good with words. At the moment, I’m not at my best, for reasons I hope are self evident. However, I’m going to do my best to remember someone who gave more to my life than he ever knew.

I never got to know Leonard Nimoy the way my fellow cast members did, so I can’t remember him in the personal way that they can. I didn’t know Leonard as a friend, or even as a colleague. I can’t tell you what he was like off the set, because I never had the privilege of visiting with him off the set. In fact, by the time he worked on Next Generation, my character was off exploring other planes of existence, and I was a nineteen year-old kid who was stumbling around, trying to figure out what he was going to do with the rest of his life.

When you are part of the Star Trek family — and that’s what it is, in ways that are as wonderful and complicated as all families are — you are part of a very small and special group, where news travels fast. Though I never got to be close to Leonard, I knew that he was a wonderful and lovely man, because that’s all anyone ever said about him. I feel that I haven’t earned the right to eulogize him, but a lot of people are asking me to, so if you’ll allow me a few minutes of your time, I’d like to do my best to remember Leonard the way most of us will be remembering him today: as the actor who played a character who was deeply important to all of our lives, because everyone who watched and loved Star Trek is part of our extended family.

When I was a kid, long before I put on Wesley Crusher’s sweaters or piloted the Enterprise, I loved Star Trek. I watched it all the time in syndication on our black and white television, and when the other kids at school wanted to play CHiPs or the A-Team on the playground, I wanted to turn the jungle gym into the Enterprise. On those rare occasions that I convinced my classmates that we were boldly going toward new worlds on lunch recess, one of the Cool Kids would claim the role of Captain Kirk, and I would always happily assume the role of Mister Spock.

I was too young to fully understand why, but as I got older and looked back on those years, it became clear: I identified with Spock because he was weird, and cerebral, and he was different from everyone else. He was just like me, but the things that made me a target of ridicule on the playground made him a valuable and vital member of his ship’s crew. In ways that I couldn’t articulate at the time, I wanted to be Mister Spock because if I was, I could be myself –quiet, bookish, alien to the people around me — and it wouldn’t be weird. It would be awesome.

When I was cast to play Wesley Crusher, and became part of the Star Trek family, one of the first things I got excited about was meeting Mister Spock, and the actor who played him. It never happened, really, so I never got to know the man behind the ears and the eyebrows and the character that meant so much to me. But as I said on Twitter this morning, we in the Next Generation stood upon his shoulders, and we got to explore a universe that wouldn’t have existed without him. I’ve met thousands of people over the last decade, who have told me that Wesley Crusher meant the same thing to them that Mister Spock meant to me, and for that I am eternally grateful to everyone who was part of Star Trek before I was, including Leonard.

Mister Spock made it okay for me to be the weird kid who eventually grew into a slightly-less weird adult, but it was Leonard Nimoy who made Mister Spock live, and who made Star Trek — and every science fiction TV series since 1966 — possible.

Thank you, Leonard, for making it okay to be me, and for making it possible for me to explore brave new worlds, and boldly go where you had gone before. I wish I’d gotten to know you the way so many others did, because everyone says you were as awesome and wonderful as I hoped you would be. Rest in peace, sir.

 

Permission is granted to reprint this post in part or in full, provided credit and a link back is included.

please prepare the cabin for arrival

As I write this, I am 34,998 feet above the skin of the Earth, traveling East at 527 miles per hour. The captain just announced that we’re about to land, and I have about five minutes of Internet left before I have to buy more.

Looks like I picked a really bad time to write a 1500 word post about a bunch of cool and interesting stuff that’s happened since last Friday.

(In the time it took me to type out those words, we descended a little over two thousand feet. I’m not sure why I felt that was worth mentioning, but then again I’m not even sure why I’m going to be clicking publish in about ten seconds.)

I’ve found Serenity, and you can’t take the sky from me

Something very awesome happened today. I can’t say anything more about it (for now) but I can finally talk about this other awesome thing that I’m super excited to be part of!

In the upcoming Firefly Online game, I get to be the voice of the male avatar!!

This just in from Firefly Online HR: Wil Wheaton has joined the FFO voiceover team and will be playing the part of you – that is, he will be giving voice to the male player character. We couldn’t be more excited that Wil is taking on this huge part. (There’s lots of Chinese cursing too!)

I am so excited to be part of this, and not just because it means I get to finally be part of the best universe in the ‘verse.

…well, maybe it is.

A little.

…okay, it totally is.

I’m recording my dialog in a couple of weeks, and when the game is released in Spring, I’ll be there with you as we pilot our own ships, interact with our favorite brown coats, evade the alliance, and, of course, aim to misbehave.

I’m incredibly grateful for this opportunity, I can’t wait to be a leaf on the wind.

…shoot. now i’m sad.

the point of view that creates the world

I imagine my creative process as a cycle of filling up a reservoir with inspirations and ideas, and then emptying it out into various creations. Sometimes that reservoir is drained in one explosive surge, but mostly it’s emptied out a little bit at a time, into different projects.

Recently, I’ve been using my creative reserves to power the writing on the Tabletop RPG show, and whatever is left is going into Radio Free Burrito.  My stupid random thoughts and links, once the exclusive property of my blog, are filling up Twitter and Tumblr, and I haven’t had much to say here, anyway.

BUT.

I have a new Tabletop for you:

Most of the things I’ve been consuming are helping me power up and work on the Tabletop RPG show (all day today I have conference calls with our writers and designers!) and I would like to share some of the ways I’ve been refilling my creative reservoir, starting with books:

And Podcasts:

Also, movies:

Some TV:

And Anime:

So my reservoir is slowly being refilled, at a rate that is just slightly faster than it is being emptied … and neat stuff is happening.

that time I got to see the Arecibo telescope

JCCC5069

I suck at mornings, especially when I’m on a (working) vacation.

But getting up at oh-my-god-it’s-still-dark-out-why-am-I-awake o’clock to go see the Arecibo telescope with my own eyes (and two busloads of nerds) was totally worth it.

The thing about this is that it’s so huge, it sort of distorts the scale of itself and creates the illusion of not being a thousand feet across. But it’s a thousand feet across.

While we were there, I got to watch the detector move, which made me way more excited than I thought it would. Unfortunately, we didn’t discover any aliens or distant galaxies while we were there.

But look at that picture, and just think about this incredible thing that humans built in 1962, existing, harmoniously, next to all that natural beauty. In fact, it doesn’t just sit there beside the natural beauty, it is able to exist precisely because of the conditions created by that natural beauty. I think that’s really neat.

Sometimes we humans don’t suck.

How not to solicit business in 2015 or ever

This email was waiting for me when I got back from the JoCo Cruise:

worst-solicitation-ever

Maybe it’s the fact that the boat is still moving, or the fact that I have real coffee in my veins for the first time in almost two weeks, or maybe it’s just because I’m easily amused, but here is my response:

wil-wheaton-terrible-solicitation-response

Happy Monday, everyone! May all your emails today be amusing.

Guest Post by Will Hindmarch: Here’s to Wil Wheaton

Will Hindmarch just posted a thing here on WWdN earlier today and the bio on that post is pretty much still accurate.

On behalf of Stephen, Ryan, and Shane, I’d like to thank Wil Wheaton for having us at the blog this week. None of us wrote as much as we meant to (we have our reasons), but we got to talk on email about all the things that can get in the way of writing. Cheers, friends.

At the same time, thank you, WWdN readers, for sharing your time with us this week. We appreciate it.

And, Wil? When next I’m in LA, can I ring the RFB bell?

Guest Post by Will Hindmarch: Inspiration

Will Hindmarch is a freelance writer, game designer, and narrative designer. He co-founded Gameplaywright Press, assistant directs the Shared Worlds writing camp, and is a producer of Story Club South Side in Chicago.

Here’s the task they before me: Run a casual D&D game over one lunch break per week. A mere 60-70 minutes of play per week with a cast of more than ten player characters rotating in and out? Teach the new edition of the game and a world to explore in that limited time? Make an experience that’s coherent and compelling even for players who might take a few weeks off between sessions?

Sounds like a fun challenge!

The game is set in a fantastical city that was under quarantine for a strange disease. But sometime during its period of isolation … everyone inside the city disappeared. As a result, there are just two humans left in the world: a barbarian and a paladin, both of them PCs.

What makes this one difficult—and I’m a little surprised by this—isn’t crafting a compelling a world for casual and intermittent players; I’ve done that lots. It isn’t managing the dramaturgy for ten PCs; I’ve done that before. It isn’t even conveying the world through brief bits of text to minimize the game’s footprint on the lives of the players; that’s an inspiring challenge. No, it turns out the trick is juggling my own inspirations.

This is something I struggle with sometimes. I pretty carefully control what sort of inputs I take in—what shows I watch and when, what books I read and when, what games I play and when—not only to manage my time, but to influence what influences me. When I was writing my story about the white deer, for PleasureTown, for example, I put together an atmospheric playlist and read some Walt Whitman to get me in the right sort of place. (I also mined a bunch of details from my own childhood.)

When I’m writing about the faux-Elizabethan political intrigue in the City on the Saturnine for my stealth-adventure RPG, called Dark, I try to take in a diverse array of material but I also worry about sparking ideas that I won’t be able to work on for months. If I can’t put space-alien horrors into my fantastical Renaissance, I try not to consume much about space aliens.

Or I tried.

Too many great stories, too many glittering inspirations, move in my peripheral vision, all the time! How can I watch True Detective or Automata when they’ll make me want to work on projects that aren’t scheduled until later in the year? I don’t want good ideas being misspent on the wrong projects!

That right there is where I am a moron. As if creating something good diminishes some other thing that is good. What is that?

For me, at least, the truth is that inspiration and action are all about the collision of ideas in unexpected intersections. Withholding a good idea—”saving” it—is so often folly. Ideas aren’t worth much. Work has value. The writing has value. The application and implementation of an idea—that’s what’s valuable.

If I apply some influential idea to a project and it doesn’t stick, I’ve still got the idea.

If I apply an influential idea to a project and it doesn’t do everything I wanted, but it does something, that’s a kind of progress on the project, and I’ve still got the idea.

If I apply an influential idea to a project and it changes the project, that’s either an enrichment or an option to keep or reject—which is my job as the writer. And I’ve still got the idea.

Ideas aren’t currency. They aren’t electricity. They’re knowledge. They’re like lessons. We don’t spend a lesson to act on it. That’s why lessons are precious.

Ideas get conjured at the crossroads of information, where two notions collide and inspire, throwing light and shadows on the nearby buildings, and in the aftermath … there’s no wreckage. The notions survive and their fusion creates a new idea. That’s the whole point! This is a creative process … not a destructive one.

I’ve always kept notebooks. Lots of notebooks. Each major project gets its own book and certain themes of potential projects—games, novels, scripts—get notebooks, too. That’s where ideas live.

To my surprise, what sparked my realization and reminded me how to manage the influences on my own imagination, was taking an hour off to play some Destiny. The grand, enthusiastic melange of epic fantasy and sci-fi in the Destiny universe  reminded me that my job isn’t to recreate any one genre by following customs and redecorating a well-trod space, but to make the thing I’m making as good as it can be.

Destiny’s little doses of lore—either in the Grimoire or in the text of bounties and quests and items—combine to convey a robust and wonderfully strange world. We’re still early in the life of Destiny’s story, I’m sure, yet those bite-sized doses of fictional data fascinate me. (Destiny depicts a world that I am this close to writing fanfic for—something about the way dust drifts through the city beneath the Traveler, the glint of metal on the lunar surface, the hints of everyday heroism—so write me, Bungie, if you want great fiction set in the Destiny galaxy.)

In my case, my goal is to make each 60-minute D&D session an exciting episode of play. That comes first.  And that means the players and their characters are the priority. I knew all that … but I’d also sort of forgotten it, you know? My desire to impress these players got in the way of how much I love to inspire them.

50,000 Monkeys at 50,000 Typewriters Can't Be Wrong

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