Category Archives: blog

the adventures of non-judgmental ninja

Last night, I was texting with a friend, and my phone’s autocorrect tried to change “non-judgmental” into “ninja”. I told Twitter that I felt pretty bad about not letting it make the change.

Then I got a stupid idea to create a character called the non-judgmental ninja, and this happened:

nonjudgmentalninja

Yes, I spelled “non-judgmental” wrong on this comic that I drew in about five minutes (it’s one of those words that always gives me trouble, even though I should know by now), and I ran out of space on the panel and changed the lettering, but as you can see, non-judgmental ninja is there to tell me that it’s ok.

it’s little me, in a pair of commercials from the 80s!

Wil Wheaton Star Wars Figure Commercial
That kid in the middle is little me!

r/ObscureMedia is one of my very favorite subreddits, and while I was looking at it today (as a tiny puppy we’re fostering slept on my lap), I saw this Star Wars figure commercial that Redditor RidleyScottTowels posted. I commented that I’d done a Star Wars figure commercial when I was a kid, and holy shit Redditor VonAether found it (I’m at 6:10 of this video):

But wait, there’s more! I thought I’d done a single commercial with different toys in it, but it turns out that I’d done two different commercials; the one VonAether found, and this other one that TheBoredGuy found:

If you couldn’t tell who I was, I was Boushh in the first one, and C3P0 in the second one.

I don’t have a lot of clear memories of the commercials I did when I was a kid, and I’d forgotten that I’d done two Star Wars figure commercials (something that was incredibly cool for a kid like me who lived and breathed Star Wars figures, even though we were forbidden from playing with them on the set), but I clearly recall that, on one of these two shoots, one of the ad agency people was a woman from New York, who wanted me to read one of my lines in a very specific way. She wasn’t a director, and wasn’t very good at communicating to 9 or 10 year-old me what she wanted, so she just started giving me line readings, and telling me to mimic her. I was very good at following directions, so I did as she asked … perfectly recreating her very thick, very nasal, very New York accent. I remember feeling nervous, and  thinking she thought I was making fun of her, but  wasn’t, I was genuinely confused about whether I should do her voice exactly the way she sounded, or if I was supposed to do my voice with the inflections she was using.

It’s amazing to me that I can clearly remember sitting in the backyard of this house in the valley where we were filming, this woman standing above me, holding the script, reading these lines for me. I can hear her telling me, “That’s better, but don’t sound so nasal,” and  realizing that not only did I know what nasal meant, but that she meant I was not supposed to mimic her voice, but just the line reading she gave me.

That was a lot of stuff for little kid me to process, but somehow I got the job done, and thanks to the weirdness of this world we’ve made for ourselves, I can see the resulting commercial over 30 years later.

upon us all, a little rain must fall

It’s finally raining in Los Angeles, the first real and meaningful rain we’ve had this year. Our local news will be wall to wall with breathless coverage of STORMWATCH!!!! or whatever they’re calling it this time, the roads will be even more congested by incompetent drivers than usual, and no matter how much rain falls on the city, it won’t make a bit of difference in our drought.

Still, I love it. I love the rain, and its almost total absence is one of the very few things I don’t like about living here. This is, after all, a desert that people have tried to terraform into something different for over a hundred years, with varying degrees of success.

I’d love to stay home all day today, put a fire into my fireplace, wrap a blanket around myself, open the patio doors, and write on my laptop while I listen to the rain. I’d love to go outside and stomp in puddles until my clothes are soaked through, and I can’t feel my toes. I hope we get a thunderstorm, but it never rains in Southern California.

world of wootcrap and a new shirt.woot

Today, I’m playing in World of Wootcrap. I’m on team Santa Sedition.

Here’s a link to the livestream, which is pretty silly:

Also, I did a new shirt.woot shirt with my friend Joel Watson, the Tabletop Owlbears:

Tabletop Owlbears Shirt

And, because it’s a magical day, woot is also offering everything I’ve done with them, in a big silly sale.

Forbidden Desert, on Tabletop

This week on Tabletop, Alan Tudyk, Jon Heder, and Felicia Day join me for a cooperative game that’s devilishly hard, Forbidden Desert!

A couple of notes for you all, before I get back to preparing for this afternoon’s bacchanal, starting with a comment on r/boardgames, with my reply:

> You move the tiles according to the card you flip, not the “storm”. Nothing too important. But they excavate (flip) tiles that they are not on. This one makes it easier.

I’m really unhappy and annoyed that this happened. I can’t remember every single rule for every game, and if we were playing at home, we’d have the rules next to the table to be sure (we also wouldn’t be playing 21 games in 10 days). I have a producer who is supposed to catch all of this stuff, and ensure that we don’t make mistakes like this, and I think he was stretched a little too thin this season, so if we do a fourth season, I’ll make sure that we hire someone *specifically* to keep an eye on the rules.

I’m annoyed and disappointed that we’ve aired two episodes this season, and we’ve made a rules error on each of them (not such a huge deal in Tokaido, but a huge deal in this one, because we unintentionally made the game much easier on ourselves.) I know there’s a big mistake coming up later this year in Stone Age, too.

Ultimately, the goal of Tabletop is to be entertaining, to introduce people to boardgames, and to get people excited about playing games. If we misunderstand a rule here and there, it’s not the end of the world, because that happens in real life when we play at home, but I do hold my show to a higher standard, for obvious reasons.

I don’t think this is going to get in the way of anyone’s enjoyment, except for the übergamers who nitpick and complain about every mistake or sub-optimal play we make, but I’m honestly not making this show for them, anyway.

That said, I regret making such a massive and fundamental mistake.

Also, you may notice that someone in our graphics department wrote Forbidden Dessert on the thumbnail, instead of Forbidden Desert. On the one hand, this is a simple and basic grammar error that should never have happened. On the other hand, it is pretty hilarious, will obviously be corrected, and gives us something to never let that department live down until the heat death of the universe.

For some of us, today is a holiday about being thankful. For others, it’s a day off from work or school and a chance to eat a lot of food. For the majority, it’s Thursday. Well, whatever today means to you, I hope it’s a good one.

this post has no title

Yesterday, I went up to our new Geek and Sundry offices, and watched the current cuts of three Tabletop episodes, so I could offer notes and suggestions to our editors as they take hours of raw footage and turn it into the show.

I was reminded, again, how much our show is actually made in post-production. Sure, the playing of the game is important, but turning what we do on the set into something that’s entertaining to watch is much more complex and challenging than I ever expected. I’m grateful that we have the editorial team that we do, and I hope to have them back for the RPG show.

Speaking of the RPG show: I’m going to take the next three months off from acting (with a few exceptions) to work on that full time. I haven’t been this excited about writing and creating since I realized that the manuscript for Just A Geek was coming together into a cohesive story, and this time I actually know what I’m doing before I get started!

But first, I’m off to work on an audiobook today and tomorrow.

for my fellow pibble owners…

PibblesUnderCovers

We have officially reached that time of year where it’s cool enough at night for my dogs to activate “DAD WE NEED TO SLEEP UNDER THE COVERS OKAY” mode.

Sticky post: Quarterly

Quarterly is a pretty neat idea: a little box of stuff will be curated by a person you choose, and four times a year (quarterly – get it?) a new box will show up in your mailbox. You can get stuff from awesome people like Bill Nye, Timothy Ferris, and Book Riot.

Last week, Quarterly asked me if I’d be interested in curating something for them.

“I’d love that,” I said, “but nobody is going to be interested in it.”

“We think you’re wrong,” they said.

“Your face is wrong!” I said. Then I ran away and told on them.

Anyway, if enough people are interested enough in subscribing to a box of stuff, curated by me, then we’ll do it. But the thing is, we need to know that you’re interested. So if you are, go to Quarterly and fill out the thing.

Or don’t. I’m not the boss of you.

I know that I can be broken.

I’m recording an audiobook today and tomorrow, in a small studio up in the valley where I work fairly regularly. Everyone there knows me, and it’s comforting and sort of grounding to go to work in a familiar place, even though I’m working on entirely different books whenever I’m there.

Today, I finished the first of two stories from a collection, and got about halfway through the second story before my voice gave out.

“I am out of gas,” I told the engineer, “and I have an audition for a voice commercial later today, so I need to call it.”

She checked the word count and told me that we were far enough along that we would have plenty of time to finish tomorrow, on schedule.

“Great,” I said. “I’ll see you in the morning.”

I gathered up my things, put on and zipped up my favorite new hoodie, and left the recording booth. I walked up a hallway and into the main lobby, where some of the other engineers, directors, and artists were eating their lunches.

I walked past one person who I haven’t seen before. He had grey hair, wore glasses, and had his head down, reading something off an iPad. I noticed that he had an old school Black Flag tattoo on the base of his neck.

He was right next to the door to the parking lot, so I paused before I opened it, and said, “Hey, I really love your Black Flag tattoo. They were one of my favorite bands, growing up, and I’ve been seriously considering getting one just like it.”

He looked up at me, sort of squinted a little bit, and furrowed his brow. Before he could speak, I felt all the blood drain out of my body. My body, in fact, ceased to exist. I was, at that moment, just a brain, a mouth, and a pair of eyes.

Because I was looking at Henry Fucking Rollins.

With some degree of horror, I heard the following come out of my mouth: “Holy shit. You’re Henry Rollins.”

He seemed to recoil, just a tiny bit. I’ve heard that he’s shy, and thank the old gods and new that some part of my brain reminded me of that.

“I … um … wow. I can’t believe I’m in the same room as you,” I said.

He continued to look at me, a little unsure.

“I … um … I am going to do to you what people sometimes to do me. It’s weird and embarrassing and will probably make you a little uncomfortable, but I want you know know how much your work has meant to me.”

I held out my hand. Or, rather, I realized that my hand had extended itself from my body, drawing my arm behind it. It sort of hovered in the air between us. “My name’s Wil. I’m an actor and an author …” I trailed off. Like Henry Rollins is going to give a fuck about who you are or what you go. Get to the point and just leave, dude.

He took my hand, gently, and politely shook it. “I’m Henry. Nice to meet you.”

I said something else. I don’t know and can’t remember what it was. I felt like I was six bottles of w00tstout into a night, or like I was falling through the black emptiness of some kind of deep well that had minimal gravity, and no air to speak of. I felt like I was both outside of and inside of my body.

I swallowed. “I’m so sorry. I know you’re busy, and I feel really awkward and I can’t stop talking but I want you to know that I’m trying to,” I stammered, “but I listened to your band all through high school, and when I was in drama school, I used your books — especially See A Grown Man Cry and Now Watch Him Die — as sources for my monologues. I had to emotionally internalize your words and feelings and make them my own, so … wow I just realized how weird that sounded.”

I tried to breathe, couldn’t, and decided to just keep talking.

“I’m so sorry. I feel so weird when people do this to me, but it’s just that your work meant so much to me, and played such a huge part in my development as an actor and as a writer, and I have this really great life right now, and I don’t expect this to mean to you what it means to me, but thank you for being part of it. Thank you for all of your work.”

At least, that’s what I think I said. That’s what I intended to say, though I could have just said “Duuuuuuuuuuuhhhhhhhh….” for all I know. He said something back to me, but I can’t remember what it was. I think it was positive. I’m not sure. I hoped that I wasn’t pissing off one of my heroes.

I felt like I was going to pass out. I don’t mean that in the hyperbolic way people say, “oh my god I shit my pants.” I mean that in the very real way that something was happening to my body and I was on the verge of losing consciousness. In front of Henry Rollins.

I pulled it together enough to realize that I really needed to stop talking.

“I really need to stop talking and leave now,” I said.

He said something else, again, I think it was positive, or at least neutral, and he went back to his iPad.

I turned to open the door, and it didn’t budge. I pushed on it, hard, then I pulled on it, hard. I can only imagine what a jackass I looked like, this babbling idiot who vomited this deluge of things onto Henry Fucking Rollins, who was now unable to operate a simple door. A simple door that he’s used dozens of times. I was completely broken.

“You have to push the button to release it,” someone said.

Of course! The button! The green button that I’ve pushed dozens of times to open this door.

I pushed the green button.

“This is so embarrassing,” I said. Then: “I’m so sorry. I’m really, really sorry.”

I practically ran across the parking lot to my car. I got into the driver’s seat, and pulled out my phone. I told Twitter:

“I definitely learned a lesson this time. I know that I can be broken. I am not as tough as I thought. I see it now. At this point, it’s the only thing good that came out of all of this. I know myself better now and know what I have to do.”-Henry Rollins, The Portable Henry Rollins

 

it’s good to be busy

What passes for Autumn has finally arrived in Los Angeles. It’s warm and dry during the day, and cool at night. Our animals are even more snuggly than usual. Seamus insists on getting under the covers every morning (just pibble things).

After a weekend of doing nothing but watching tv and reading a little bit, I’m recovered and restored after a hectic last week … just in time for a hectic this week. In a few minutes, I’m leaving for a pair of meetings that could result in two very awesome things happening. Tomorrow, I’m starting production on two days of audiobook recording. Thursday, I’m filling in for Larry King, then going to another meeting that has the potential to turn into something huge and awesome. Friday, we’re screening rough cuts of Tabletop episodes so I can give notes to our editors.

And whenever I have “free” time, I’m working on Tabletop’s RPG show, as well as breaking a story in my head.

It’s good to be busy.

This song and video is related to where I am at the moment, but I can’t exactly say how, because I don’t know.