All posts by Wil

I'm just this guy, you know?

Secret Vacation 2015

We used to feel comfortable talking about where we were when we went on vacation, but that didn’t always turn out so well for us, so now we go on Secret Vacations instead.

This secret vacation features lots and lots of snow, reading books by the fireplace, and convincing ourselves that we can eat more junk food, because our bodies need the calories to keep warm. If you listen to today’s abbreviated Radio Free Burrito, you can hear what I think the best part of this Secret Vacation is.

Now, please enjoy two pictures that capture our long walk today: Anne, with her delightful Kermit the Frog hat thing, and me, trying to decide if having a nearly-frozen beard is the best thing, or the best thing ever.

Kermit loves snow There's ice in my beard

a brief history of Radio Free Burrito

Way back in 2005, when I was trying to figure out where the next mortgage payment would come from, I tried just about anything creative that I could think of to help support my family.

Mostly, I did that by writing. I did columns and freelance work, and wrote a few books. It was creatively satisfying, and it helped us get through each day, then each week, and eventually through a few years.

Way back in 2005, the whole podcasting thing was just getting started, and I saw an opportunity to live out my childhood dream of having a radio show (in fact, even earlier in the 2000s, I had done a live broadcast where I played music and did my best DJ impression. I had to give it up for reasons that are lost to history). Just as blogging tools like Greymatter and Blogger had made it easy for me to become a self-published writer, Garageband made it easy for me to become a self-published radio sort of guy. Back then, I felt incredibly guilty if I did something or spent money on something that was just for fun, without also supporting my family. I couldn’t really afford to do a radio show or podcast just for fun, but maybe I could get sponsors or sell ads or take donations or whatever.

So way back in 2005, Radio Free Burrito was born. It never really helped me support my family, but it helped me find some more creative confidence, and it gave me an opportunity to pretend I was one of those late night DJs I grew up loving, listening to on a tiny transistor radio in my bedroom long after I was supposed to have gone to sleep.

I did Radio Free Burrito with some regularity for several years, trying my best to stick to a weekly schedule, but since this was back before I got treated for Depression, it was really, really hard to stick to it. I put a lot of work into each episode, and sometime around 2008, it just felt like it wasn’t worth the effort.

But something happened around the end of 2009. I don’t remember what it was, but — wait. I think I know what it was. I think that’s when I finally got treated for Depression.

Huh. That’s weird. I hadn’t really put these two things together until just now. Which is ironic, because I’ve been struggling to hold a pretty bad Depression and Anxiety thing at arm’s length for at least a week.

ANYway, around the end of 2009, I found a groove, and I got comfortable with the sound of my own stupid voice. Radio Free Burrito hit what I’ll call its golden age during 2010, and I looked forward to it so much, I started another podcast to support my book Memories of the Future, Volume 1.

After almost a year of consistent releases, my life started to really turn around. Not to mistake correlation for causation, but this was when I started to work like crazy as an actor again. I think it was around 2011 that I started working on Leverage, then Eureka, then Big Bang Theory, and then Tabletop was born. As much as I had loved working on the Burrito every week, I actually didn’t have a lot of time to spend on it, and since I felt like it never really passed more than a couple hundred listeners, anyway, I had to make a choice to let it go and invest my time and creative energy in other places.

The last show I did was in February of 2013. People asked me about it all the time, but I was pretty sure that Radio Free Burrito was done.

Until this weekend, when I had an idea.

See, I’ve been listening to Serial and Snap Judgment and 99% Invisible and Nerdist and Dan Carlin.  Thanks to all of that, something landed in my brain and refused to leave. See, I’m sort of between big projects at the moment (finishing Tabletop and getting started on our RPG spinoff), and I think that The Thing I’m Going To Do Between Things is Radio Free Burrito. I don’t know if I’ll be able to stay on a weekly schedule, but I think I can. I think that, if I remember that the point is not to make something perfect, but is actually to just make a thing, I’ll enjoy it, and maybe a couple hundred people will enjoy it with me.

So yesterday, I did a brand new Radio Free Burrito. It isn’t great, but it isn’t terrible, and it’s a thing where there wasn’t a thing before. I had fun when I was making it, and all I’ve been able to think about since I made it was what I’m going to do when I make the next one, which is pretty cool.

I won’t do this with every episode, but I wanted to share it and its show notes, here on the mothership, so as many people as possible can know about it.

Well, it looks like we’re really back, for reals, and on an actual schedule. Welcome to Radio Free Burrito Episode 35 – Ring of Fire

This week, I talk about the first thing to come to my mind, including trains and books. I tell a pretty gross story that gives the episode its title. This will also be the first episode that has an actual name, because some day I’d like to come up with something as magnificent as #Torsoshorts.

Okay, that’s everything. Please enjoy Radio Free Burrito Episode 35 – Ring of Fire.

Radio Free Burrito’s Experimental Episode

I had an idea, so I tried it out. I’m publishing it now, before I have a chance to back out and change my mind.

  • Show Notes:
  • The audio isn’t perfectly clean. That is by design. This is an experiment.
  • Radio Free Burrito doesn’t work as hard as Memories of the Futurecast did to earn its NSFW rating, but listener discretion is still advised.
  • If you want to introduce yourself, join this post. Maybe you’ll make a new friend.
  • The theme music was just called “flight.mp3″ and I have no idea where it came from.
  • There’s no art, because it’s an experimental episode.
  • I’m not sure if this will work with typical podcast clients. Apologies in advance if it isn’t available in your preferred thing.
  • The episode is 19.26 and is 28MB.

Enjoy the Burrito!

If the embeded player doesn’t work, try this link: RFB-Experimental

as you were, as you want me to be

The kitchen is a disaster, but we earned it. The dishwasher is full of plates that were full of a delicious feast just 24 hours ago. The sink is full of dishes that won’t fit into the dishwasher, on account of that feast.

For the last few days, my house has been filled with the love and warmth of my family, the warmth and comfort of a roaring fire, and the delicious smells of roasting turkey, baking bread, and the faintest hint of the Christmas tree in our living room.

What passes for winter has arrived in Los Angeles, and while the sun does its best to warm us, a gentle but persistent chill wind consistently blows most of the warmth away. Our dogs are extra snuggly, and more reluctant than usual to get out of bed. The cats are tucking themselves into us when we’re on the couch, even though they don’t want food.

I needed the break from everything, this Christmas. I needed to force myself to stop working, to feel free to goof off. I played Rock Band for the first time in about a year. I watched several movies. I caught up on Mad Men and some other series. I have a stack of comics that have been piling up for months, that I’m dying to get into … but when I read, my mind drifts and does its best to write its own things, to tell its own stories. My notebook of ideas is slowly filling up again.

I texted a friend, who worked with me on the Wil Wheaton Project, and told him that I’m having a great time editing Tabletop, and that writing for the RPG show is awesome. “I’m so happy just writing and not being on camera,” I said. Maybe I’m ready to semi-retire from on-camera work. I don’t know.

The house is currently quiet and empty, except for me and the dogs. Ryan’s coming over to play Splendor in a little while, and Anne and I are going to the hockey game tonight.

I should take a shower, but I have this amazing bedhead, and I haven’t been able to bring myself to murder it with water.

I have a lot of creative ideas that are pulling me in a lot of different directions. I want to make a lot of things, and I can’t seem to pick one and go with it until it’s done … which means that I’ll need to just make a decision and do it.

It’s time to get back to work. It’s time to get disciplined. It’s time to make things. It’s time to write.

But first, I have to clean up the kitchen.

experiencing the social part of social media

I spent much of today going through last night’s post comments, and making sure that people I’d inadvertently blocked on Twitter were unblocked.

But, uh, the thing is … after going through about 250 links, I’d only actually blocked three of them. Everyone else was “just in case” or something like that. I thought, gee, maybe I didn’t make the instructions for finding out if you’d been blocked clear enough.

But the other thing is, I ain’t even mad. Because I did that today, I saw a couple hundred real people’s faces, and got a tiny little glimpse into what all of those people have been doing with their lives. It made me feel connected in an unexpected way (it put the “social” in “social media”), and though it was time consuming, it turned out to be a nice way to take a break from doing actual work.

And it gave me an idea: Why don’t you introduce yourself to me and other WWdN readers?

Leave a comment in this post that tells us a little bit about yourself, if you feel comfortable sharing that sort of thing. Don’t post personal stuff that could be too revealing or hurt your privacy, but maybe share your first name, if you’re married, have kids, what sort of work you do, and maybe something that you like.

The idea is that, when you see the actual, real, human person behind a screen name or twitter handle or whatever, it’s a tangible reminder that we are all people on the other end of the connection. We’re people with families and jobs and hobbies and passions and hopes and fears and we all live on the same piece of rock, hurtling through space.

Of course, you don’t have to do this, and I can’t stress enough how important it is that you protect your personal information, but since I enjoyed the social experience of feeling connected to actual humans, maybe you will, too.

Or maybe you won’t. I’m not the boss of you.

unblock the block

I may have blocked you on Twitter by accident. Rather than unblock all the stupidsphere and #GarboGuts idiots who I meant to block, if you check my Twitter page, and see that you’re blocked, leave a comment here with your Twitter name, or email me with your Twitter name, I’ll fix it.

worst. theme. ever.

I really hate this theme, but I broke Twenty Fourteen when I upgraded WordPress, and I don’t have time to fix it at the moment.

So, for now at least, enjoy the ugly.

from w00tstock 1.0

We’re doing a lot of organizing, here at Castle Wheaton, and I came across this document, which is going into an archive of work-related things that are important to me, cleverly called “Wil’s Presidential Library”.

This is the intro I wrote for one of the very first w00tstocks that we did here in Los Angeles:

w00tstock1introI did a version of this intro for a bunch of our early shows, before dropping it in favor of bullet points and amusing (to me) comments at our first comic-con show.