I found a weird bit of video on the Internets, extracted the audio, and I made it a little bit weirder in Audacity. I hope you enjoy it, and if you want to do anything with it, it’s yours under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 3.0
Earlier this year, at a convention in New York City, a guy brought me this picture to sign for him.
That’s me in 1987, wearing one of Wesley Crusher’s first sweaters.
As I reached for my pen, he reached into a bag he was carrying, and took out … that sweater, which he’d bought at an auction.
“OH MY SWEET BABY JESUS!” I may have shouted, “I NEED TO TAKE A PICTURE RIGHT NOW.”
So this happened:
As I held that sweater for the first time in 25 years, a flood of memories washed over me: the first day I worked on Next Generation, on Stage 16, walking through Farpoint Station with Gates … the first time I walked through the Enterprise, on stage 9, pretending that it was a real spaceship … the first time I walked into the bridge, while it was still being built on stage 6 … the first few months of working on Star Trek, being part of something I’d loved my entire life, and wearing truly awful sweaters in the middle of summer.
All my peers got to wear awesome spacesuits, and I was in these ridiculous things that were never cool, in any century, including the 24th. I remembered how happy I was when Wesley was promoted to Acting Ensign, and I knew that I wouldn’t have to put on one of those hideous sweaters ever again.
That’s when I got an idea.
There’s this thing on the Internet where people will post a picture that was taken in, say, 1987, and then recreate the picture in our modern times. I looked down at the sweater in my hands, and I knew what I had to do.
I’m not gonna lie, Marge: putting that sweater on again felt strange, but also good.
Here they are, side by side:
I love that I can still do that goofy smile — which was 100% genuine, because I was as excited to be on the Enterprise as Wesley Crusher was — all these years later. And though it felt pretty good to be temporarily reunited with an old friend, it felt even better to take that sweater off for the last time.
Anne and I are raising money for the Pasadena Humane Society, by taking our pets on their annual Wiggle Waggle Walk. We’re just over halfway to our fundraising goal, and we hope you’ll help get us across the finish line by September 30.
Thanks for your support!!
When I was in my early twenties, I started thinking about getting a tattoo. I had no idea what I wanted to commit to having on my body for the rest of my life, though, so I’m 41 and still don’t have any tattoos.
I thought that getting tattoos when I was in my 40s was maybe too late, so I asked a bunch of my friends who are heavily-tattooed if it was weird to start now, and they all told me that it was the perfect time to start, because I’d save myself the unfortunate experience of having that tattoo you get when you’re 20.
So I spend lots of time thinking about what I’m going to have inked on me (that’s what the kids call it, I heard from the TV box), where I’m going to have it done, and other related matters. This has given me a heightened sense of tattoo radar — tattoodar, if you will — so I’ve been noticing lots of tattoos on people that I probably never would have seen before.
Today, I walked past a guy who had a really cool Klingon Empire tattoo on his forearm. I thought to myself, “I should totally say qapla’ to him!” But before my mouth could form the word, another part of my brain said, “shut up, you fool! He’ll think you’re making fun of him!” I hate it when my brain fights with itself, so I just said, “Dude, that Klingon tattoo is badass.”
He looked up at me and said, “thanks, man!” He took a couple steps away, stopped and turned back to me. He said, “actually, I guess I should say qapla’!”
“Dude!” I exclaimed, “I was totally going to say that, but I didn’t want to be That Guy.”
He pointed at his tattoo and sheepishly said, “well, I’m clearly That Guy, so…”
“Oh no,” my brain shouted, “I made him feel bad!”
Thinking quickly, I gave him the Klingon salute and said, in my gruffest Klingon voice, “Today is a good day to be That Guy.”
He returned the salute with a closed fist and a smile. We went our separate ways, and I thought to myself, “maybe I’ll get myself an original series command insignia tattoo…”
It is, according to scientifically-proven math, eleventy million degrees outside. To escape the heat, Anne and I went to the beach today.
It was just gorgeous. The air was significantly cooler at the beach than it was when we got into our car, the water was warm and clear, and though the beach wasn’t particularly crowded (it is the middle of the week in September, after all), we were around a number of families with small children who were too young for school.
I watched a dad walk down to the water with his son, who I figured was about 4 — the same age Nolan was when I entered his life. They wore matching hats, with wide brims and long black cords that went underneath their chins. The hats were the same size, as if they had been in a store and the little boy wanted to have a hat just like his dad’s. They held hands and walked slowly and carefully into the edge of the sea. When waves came in, the father picked up his laughing son by his hands and carried him over the frothing water. I watched them, and remembered doing something very similar with my boys, when they were that small, almost 20 years ago.
We sat on our towels and I read a book — Carter Beats the Devil — that I’ve owned for years but never started. It held my attention so magnificently and perfectly, the hours of 2013 passed around me at the beach while my imagination was transported to the early 1920s in San Francisco. It took the laughter of a nearby child to break me out, and bring me back into the present.
A little boy, probably about 6, was with his mom and dad in the surf. His dad was throwing him up in the air and catching him, while his mom took pictures with her smartphone. A few times, the dad caught him and fell back into the water, splashing his mom who pretended to be more concerned about her phone than she was joyful that they were all together at the beach.
I watched them play, watched all the young families around us play, and I felt an overwhelming surge of emotion. I turned to Anne. “Watching these families play makes me feel a strange kind of sadness,” I said. “I think about when our kids were that age, and how their dad just worked so hard to make them feel like they should be unhappy when they were with us. I see these dads with their kids, and I hope they appreciate how lucky they are to just be a family, without a selfish monster doing everything he can to ruin the simple joy of existence for them.”
Anne was thoughtful for a moment, and then said, “I used to be really angry that I wasted six years with him, and really resentful that he took so much away from us … but we can’t do anything to change it, and we have two really great kids because I spent those years with him.”
I watched a little girl with chubby little legs ungracefully chase the receding tide down the shining sand, then run as fast as she could away from it as it came back in, right into her mother’s arms.
“Our lives are a tapestry, right?” I said, thinking about one of my favorite episodes of Next Generation, “and if we pluck even a single thread, the whole thing unravels.”
I paused for a moment, and continued. “I love our lives, and I love the relationships we have with our kids. I’m so proud of the young men they are, and watching them level up into fully-functioning adults, especially knowing how much they suffered because of their biological father, has been one of the greatest joys of my life.
“I know that the life we have now is a tapestry woven from a lot of threads, many of them very, very painful … but I wouldn’t change anything about our lives together because I love the life we have. I love the life we’ve created for our family.”
I closed my book, and looked out into the ocean. Anne was quiet. I looked to the horizon and thought about how, to that vast expanse of water and motion, I am as insignificant as a single grain of sand on the beach. Then I thought about how, in my children’s lives, I have been as significant as the moon is to the tide.
I walked down the beach, and put my feet into the water.
This year, we’re doing the Wiggle Waggle Walk again … but we’re doing something really really awesome for people who donate to our team. Here’s Anne Wheaton (the better half of Team Wheaton) to tell you about her Secret Project:
Isn’t that cool?! I’m so proud of her; she’s been working on this for most of the year, and we’re so excited to finally offer it to the world. Getting your own calendar is really easy:
Go to our Wiggle Waggle Walk page.
Make a tax-deductible contribution of $40 or more.
When you get your receipt in the mail, you’ll also get your calendar.
There are a limited number of these available, so I encourage you to get in on this as quickly as you can.
Here’s why we do the Wiggle Waggle Walk in words:
We did our first Wiggle Waggle Walk in 2009 in memory of our dog Ferris, who had suddenly died from cancer only a few weeks earlier. We walked a shelter dog for adoption awareness, and ending up adopting that dog, who we named Seamus. Seamus has turned out to be a wonderful addition to our family.
As honorary committee members for the Pasadena Humane Society (which we became part of because of our fundraising over the years), we were visiting them in August of 2012 to see the plans and progress for the addition to the shelter. They’re adding a low cost wellness clinic, an obedience training facility and a pet supply store. They are also adding additional kennels and a grassy play area where dogs can be brought out for socializing and exercise. We are so excited to assist in fundraising efforts to help with this addition. Pasadena Humane Society has a very high adoption success rate (96%) and adding on to the shelter will help with the care of these adopted pets. This is a 20 million dollar project so they need all the help they can get to make this possible.
An unexpected bonus of visiting the shelter that day in August, was being there when a dog was brought in by someone who found her wandering a local park. She was a 4 month old pit bull mix who was thin, dirty, had kennel cough and was the sweetest dog ever. We instantly fell in love with her. We waited to see if she would be claimed by her owner, which she wasn’t. A week later, she joined Seamus and our other rescue dog, Riley, as well as our two rescue cats, in her new home. We named her Marlowe.
If it were not for the Pasadena Humane Society, Marlowe, like so many other stray dogs and cats, wouldn’t have a chance to receive care and shelter and the opportunity to find a good home. This is why we support them in their efforts to maintain and expand their facility. Please help us support them by making a 100% tax deductible donation for the Wiggle Waggle Walk.
And here’s why in pictures:
Status Report 09.02.11 1911: Lots of you have reported continual problems with the WordPress Social login plugin, so I’ve decided to try deactivating it and enabling the Jetpack comment sign-in, instead. If I did it right, you should be able to sign in for commenting with a WordPress account, Twitter account, or Facebook Account. I hope this helps improve your commenting experience.
2040: Well, turns out that there are some settings here that don’t play nice with each other, and lots of you are still having trouble. I’m getting too old for this shit, so I’ve gone back to the WP-Social setup that was working for 90% of you, instead of the new way that seemed to be failing for 95% of you.
There’s a delightful work of art happening on my left wrist, where a bruise is blooming into yellow and purple flowers. I’ve taken the bandages off (when you run out of Batmandaids you’re done wearing bandages) and even though it still hurts like hell, it’s clearly healing. So I’ve got that going for me, which is itchy.
In my continued forced downtime, I’ve watched more Adventure Time, and concluded that it really is that awesome and weird. I’m glad the episodes are 11ish minutes, because that feels like the perfect length. Now, I will begin the long and impossible process of finding a way to perform a character on that show. It’ll end in tears, but I’m still going to try.
… boy, I have a weird life, where I can love a show or a writer or a director and think to myself, “I sure would love to work on that/with him or her” and have a non-zero chance of it actually happening, even if that chance is one in a million. It’s important to me that I never take that for granted, become entitled, or stop being grateful for the potential opportunities, even if they never turn into anything real.
But that’s not what I’m writing about today. Today, I’m writing about PAX and Dragon Con, which happen this weekend. I won’t be attending either, because I’ve spoken at almost a dozen different conventions this year, and I’m just completely burned out on travel and large crowds of people. I’ve had a magnificent time at PAX every year since 2007, and I had a great time at Dragon Con the last time I was there, but I need a break. As much as I love those shows, I don’t get to experience them like a normal attendee (no matter how hard I try), so I’m taking this year off.
So what does this mean for Acquisitions, Incorporated and my beloved Aeofel? I’m not sure, to be honest. I think Pat Rothfuss is doing a great job as the new intern, and we may find out that Aeofel got into a chariot driven by Poochie, where they were both killed on their way back to Poochie’s home planet. We may find out that the party grows by one, and that it was Earth all along. I’m not sure, and it’s not entirely my decision to make.
It feels a little sad to me that I’m not going to nerd summer camp in Seattle tomorrow, and if I’m honest with myself, I have some regret that I won’t be Mario Karting and Pictochatting and dungeon crawling with my friends. But I also know that staying home is the very best thing I can do for my mental health, so I’m going to listen to my scumbag brain for a change.
“I hate to say this, but Ghost Shark is no Sharknado.” I sipped my beer and looked across the couch at Anne. Seamus slept between us, unimpressed by the ghostly antics of the titular shark.
“The on-screen Tweets are just trying too hard, and they’re getting in the way of the movie,” she said.
“Yeah, stop trying to make Fetch happen, SyFy. It’s not going to happen,” I said. Just then the Ghost Shark flew out of a puddle, cutting a hapless victim in half.
“OH!” Anne exclaimed, startling our dog, Riley, who jumped up and looked around nervously.
“It’s just the Ghost Shark, Piles,” I said to our old and nervous dog, “don’t stress about it.”
Riley laid down by my feet, between the couch and our ottoman, panting heavily. She has a bad knee and osteoarthritis in three of her legs, so she’s constantly in a lot of pain. We do our best to mitigate it with some medications, but in the last couple of months, she’s gotten much worse, and is slowly becoming less of a sweet dog and more of a cranky dog who really isn’t into the energetic puppy we have around the house. She was really not into that puppy walking up to her and licking her face a whole bunch. Generally, this behaviour is considered submissive, but Marlowe can do it so much it becomes obnoxious and irritating. I usually catch it and stop her before it makes Riley angry, but being distracted by the Ghost Shark, I didn’t notice that Riley was annoyed until she snapped at Marlowe, and Marlowe lunged back at her … and a full-on dogfight started beneath my feet.
I jumped up and tried to pull them apart, as Seamus jumped off the couch and, as pack leader, tried to pin Riley. Anne flew off the couch and grabbed one of the dogs, too. The next few seconds are a blur to me, but somehow we got Marlowe away, and while I was pulling Riley away from Seamus, she freaked out and bit my left wrist, hard. I remember screaming, pulling her jaw open and getting her off of me, just in time for Seamus to grab her again and try to pin her down again. I remember thinking, very clearly, that there was nothing aggressive in Seamus’ behaviour, that he was very calmly trying to subdue her. I realized that I was bleeding all over the place.
Less than a minute after the whole thing started, we had all the dogs separated. We checked them for injuries, and, finding none, addressed mine. I had four big punctures on my left wrist, and a couple scrapes across the top of my hand. We used some Hibicleanse to wash them out, dressed the wounds, and Anne gave me a Vicodin for the pain we both knew was coming as soon as the adrenaline wore off.
“When was your last tetanus shot?” Anne asked.
“I think it was 2007, so … six years ago.”
“You have to go get one,” she said.
“Why? I need one every ten years.”
“No, they changed it to every five years.”
“What the fuck? Goddamn tetanus industrial complex is bullshit, man,” I said. “Okay, I’ll go tomorrow.”
We tried to get back to Ghost Shark, but I’d pretty much lost interest in doing anything that wasn’t elevating and icing my rapidly-swelling wrist. About two hours later, I took another Vicodin and got into bed.
I woke up at 1:35am, my entire left arm from elbow to fingertips throbbing with the worst pain I’ve ever experienced in my life, including sitting through most of Ghost Shark. I tried to move around and get it into a position that didn’t hurt that much, but I just couldn’t do it. I began to cry, and pace around the room. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was going into shock. I got intensely cold, and I woke up Anne. “I need help,” I sobbed, “this hurts so much I don’t know what to do.”
I sat on the edge of our bed and wailed like a little kid. I can’t remember the last time I cried so hard for so long, but I remember thinking, through the pain and panic, that maybe my body would interpret my wailing and suffering as a call to dump endorphins or something to minimize the pain. It did not do that.
“I’m taking you to the ER,” she said, “to get you painkillers and to make sure nothing is broken or severed.”
“Oh– oh– oh-kay,” I cried.
She got dressed and got me dressed, and she drove me to the hospital. Luckily, nobody was there and I was in a bed very quickly. I have no idea how much time went by, but I had an IV in my arm pretty soon, and the nurse was putting some painkillers into my body. After five minutes that felt like an hour, it started to work, and the pain began to recede behind a heavy feeling of rising and falling at the same time. “I feel like a balloon filled with lead,” I said to Anne.
I spent the night there, getting painkillers and antibiotics and x-rays. Nothing was broken, and none of my tendons or nerves were damaged. The doctor told me that I couldn’t move my fingers because of the swelling. “Wrists are so small, there isn’t a lot of room for swelling to happen. It will go down over the next few days,” he assured me.
They put a brace on my wrist to help take the pressure off of it, gave me a prescription for painkillers and antibiotics, and instructions to clean my wounds. We drove home as the sun was starting to lighten the Eastern sky.
I slept all day, waking only once to take antibiotics and painkillers. It was almost 6pm when I got out of bed on Friday, and my wrist had swollen up to about the size of my forearm. Which is pretty big you guys, because I work out.
I spent the next three days trying to type with just my right hand and left thumb, moving through the hours in a painkiller-dulled haze, just waiting for the whole thing to be over. Meanwhile, Anne took Riley to the vet to find out if we can get her some kind of doggie anti-anxiety medication, because we can’t go on with her being the way she’s been for the last several months. It turns out that there is, in fact, some sort of doggie Xanax that she can take. She’ll start it tomorrow and we’ll hope for the best.
Over the weekend, I had some forced downtime, because I couldn’t really think all that clearly or use my hands to type. I ended up watching more TV in three days than I have in months, including some shows that I’d wanted to watch, but never did. I wanted to like GIRLS, but I couldn’t make it past the second episode. I can’t believe I waited this long to watch TRUE BLOOD. ADVENTURE TIME is hilarious, but that could just be the drugs talking. EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP is probably the best documentary I’ve ever seen about the street art movement, and is about so much more than just Banksy. I took GAME CHANGE with a grain of salt, but still enjoyed it.
By Sunday morning, I was completely off the painkillers and could take the brace off my wrist. I’m able to write this today because I finally have use of my hand back and instead of massive muscle pain I just have some stiffness in my forearm from the immobility. I get to wear four awesome Batman bandaids which should really be called Batmandaids.
I’ll be on antibiotics for another week or so, and I need to be careful to keep my wounds clean while they heal. All things considered, it could have been much, much worse, so I’m grateful that it is what it is instead of what it could have been.