Category Archives: blog

The Hooters Incident

The entire story behind the creation of my blog is detailed in my book Just A Geek (which makes a lovely gift for any occasion) including this bit, which is as tragic and hilarious as it is true . . .

The Hooters Incident
(originally published in 2001)

On a hot June afternoon in 2000, I joined my best friend Darin for lunch at one of our teenage haunts, Old Town Pasadena. An afternoon in Old Town is a trip to a time when we were free of responsibility, and the world was filled with possibility and opportunity.

The changes in Old Town reflect the changes within ourselves. Thanks to the efforts of the Pasadena preservationists, the historical building facades haven’t changed, but they are the only thing which remain the same. The empty doorway where a punk rocker once sneered at passing businessmen is now a Pottery Barn, occupied by a San Marino yuppie who screams into her cell phone. The eclectic record store where we’d buy imported Smiths singles is now a Sam Goody, its windows plastered with posters announcing the latest release from Justin Timberlake. Tourists stand uncomfortably at crosswalks, trying to ignore the homeless who have come to enjoy the trickle down economics of a prospering shopping thoroughfare.

All of this progress is not without its benefits, though. Old Town is safe, if sanitized, and several good restaurants have moved into the area.

On this particular afternoon, Darin and I walked down Colorado Boulevard, following the same route as Pasadena’s claim to annual fame, the Tournament of Roses Parade. We passed The Cheesecake Factory, several trendy Japanese noodle houses, and walked straight into Hooters.

Hey, Darin was engaged, and I’m married. Sometimes a guy’s gotta know if he still has it.

We walked in ahead of the lunchtime rush, so we could sit wherever we liked. Through a speaker above us, Bob Seger rhetorically asked, ain’t it funny how the night moves? We looked around the mostly-empty restaurant, and chose the section with the hottest waitress in the joint.

As we took our seats, our waitress came over to our table: a cute-but-not-beautiful girl in her early 20s. Bleached-blonde, fake tan, long legs. Hooters. Her name tag said “Destiny.”

She flirted with us as she took our order, all smiles and giggles. We ordered wings. Super Fire Hot, baby.

She stood up, and left to put in our order. Darin and I stared at each other, grinned, and exchanged a mental high-five. We still had it, and it felt good.

She’d only walked a few steps, when she stopped suddenly, turned around, and came back to our table.

She looked at me, lustily. “Can I ask you something?”

“Oh, hell, yeah, Willie,”
I thought to myself, “The ladies still want your sweet action!”

My face flushed and my pulse quickened.

“Sure,” I said.

She screwed up her courage and leaned close to me, her full, pouting lips just inches from mine. Her perfume embraced me. Her ample cleavage seductively longed to bust out from beneath her thin cotton T-shirt. She drew a nervous breath, bit down on the corner of her mouth, and asked, breathlessly,“Didn’t you used to be an actor?”

“WHAT?! USED TO BE?! I STILL AM!” I hollered, as mental images of a hot Hooters threesome were replaced with the cold reality of myself on Celebrity Boxing.

She immediately knew that she had made a mistake. She thought quickly, licked her lips, self-consciously fussed with her over-processed hair and tried again:“Oh, I mean, weren’t you an actor when you were a kid?”

All I could do was numbly answer,“Yeah, when I was a kid,” as I hung my head and ordered the first of many pints of Guinness.

Funny story, right? Yeah, funny like when you watch another guy get kicked in the nuts. In the days that followed, I tried to write it off. Tried to bolster my wounded self-esteem by telling myself that she was just a Hooters waitress, so she didn’t matter. But the truth was, that simple, scantily clad waitress had driven home with painful acuity my deepest fear: I was a has-been. I “used to be” an actor, when I was a kid . . .

Don’t worry, dear reader. Eventually, everything worked out and I’m a better person for it with a new career and everything. You can read all about it in my blog, or in my newest book, The Happiest Days of Our Lives.

Treefingers

I slept through the night like a baby. No dreams, no restlessness, not a single disturbance. When I woke this morning, the clock said 5:58. I beat the alarm by 3 minutes! I victoriously turned it off before it could beep, and hopped out of bed feeling relieved and rested.
I drank a cup of coffee, ate some cereal, and met my friend Burns at 6:45. We spent the next six hours at Dodger Stadium, standing in line for opening day tickets.
“The race for third place has already begun! Be part of the excitement at Dodger Stadium!”

Continue reading Treefingers

In the Flat Field

Woke up early yesterday, anxious to get out on the trail . . . and immediately went back to sleep. Heavy fog and ominous rain clouds forced us to change our plans. Though I love hiking in the mist, we didn’t want to take a chance on being caught in the rain, and we didn’t want the kids to miss out on the amazing view.
So we went to the Los Angeles Museum of Natural History instead.
It was a great way to spend a few hours, and it was the first time I’d been there since I was in elementary school. Did you know that Cacao trees produce fruit all year round, and can’t be harvested by machine? I didn’t know that until yesterday.
Ah, sweet, sweet knowledge, how I love to dine at your all-you-can-eat buffet.
I finished Vice City last night. Haven’t 100%-ed it, yet, but I beat the mob. I won’t let the kids watch me play it, or play it themselves, but I did allow them to hang with me while we did the asset missions for the car dealership, and some unique jumps. Funtimes.
Anne is taking a little two-day getaway with her best friend, and she asked me if I could help her burn a bunch of 80s music for the drive. While I was digging through my CDs, finding all my compilations and stuff, I also dug out some things I haven’t listened to in ages, but still love.
Here are some CDs that I pulled out of the closet last night. Each one of them has been, at one time or another, “The Greatest @#$%^&ing Record EVER!”:

  • Love at Fist Sting – Scorpions
  • World Clique – Deelite
  • The Sickness – Disturbed
  • The Bends – Radiohead
  • Greatest Hits – Steve Miller Band
  • This is the Modern World: UK Punk 2 (1977-78) – Various
  • Rushmore Soundtrack – Various
  • Slingblade Soundtrack – Various
  • Boot Heel Drag: The MGM Years – Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys (playing now!)
  • When I Woke – Rusted Root
  • dubnobasswithmyheadman – Underworld

Music isn’t something that I just put on in the backgroud. It is always the soundtrack to my life.
I spoke WAY too soon about KDE 3.1 I broke Kmail, and maybe even some Qt libraries. Luckily, the insanely cool guys at my local LUG have offered lots of help on their mailing list . . . but I think I’m going to go back to 3.0 for the time being. I’ve been using Gnome, which isn’t my favorite desktop . . . and playing with Windowmaker, which I haven’t used since RH 5.2. I’d forgotten just how great Windowmaker is. Since I pretty much only use the computer for writing, browsing, and e-mail, I can easily use Windowmaker, or even IceWM. OH! I managed to teach myself enough to get around in vim! I issue a personal challenge to myself: write some sort of cool php script in vim before the end of May.
I really want a dev box!
Sorry, geeked out there a bit.
*snort*

Advice to my 12 year-old self

I read at Slashdot a great question: “What advice would you give your 12 year-old self?”
Here’s mine:


Dear 12 year-old self,
Your life is about to be forever changed. You don’t know it now, but in three years, you’re going to be in millions of households world-wide.
Everywhere you go, people are going to scream at you that they hate you. Listen to this advice, 12 year-old self, because I know that nobody else is going to give it to you: whatever you do, don’t listen to them, and let don’t let them define your sense of self-worth. It’s going to hurt, a lot, and it will go on for years. You won’t understand it, and you’ll try really hard to convince them otherwise, but they will not listen . . . because they’re just as insecure and confused as you are right now. You’re going to want to quit the show, but if you do, you’ll be 30 before you stop regretting it. Trust me on this one.
Stay on that show until it’s over, and when you’re older, you’ll realize that for every person who screamed “I hate you,” there is another who was quietly inspired by something you did. It all balances out, kid.
You are never going to be cool, no matter how hard you try, so save yourself the agony of trying to fit in. You end up marrying a real hottie who loves your inner geek.

Stream

Off the top of my head, without any editing, a stream a consciousness:
Man, I really want to write, but I am just out of ideas. It’s not that I’m “blocked,” or anything, I just can’t think of anything to write about.
So I’ll just make myself write, and maybe something interesting will come out.
Maybe it’s because there’s not too much going on in my life right now: no auditions, nothing really exciting at home . . . I’ve just been working on rewrites of Just A Geek, and collecting some other weblog entries that I really like, (but couldn’t put in JAG) for their own smaller book.
Just A Geek came in at over 350 pages today, and “Dancing Barefoot” comes in at about 90. I’m applying for ISBNs tomorrow.
I did some heavy rewriting of SpongeBob Vega$ Pants, to clean it up and make it flow better, and while I did that, I relived those five days. Jesus, what a great time that was. What a great con.
Jesus, I really hate Puddle of Mudd, and POD, and all those shitty bands that sound like them.
I’ve been trading calls with Adam from Creation about the Grand Slam show, and it sounds like he’s excited to have me there. I’ve been thinking about conventions a lot lately, because I talk about them a great deal in JAG, and realized something: I have ALWAYS had more in common with the fans than the franchise, and attending conventions, as a speaker or a paying fan, is something I’ll always love to do. Now that I have stories to read, a website to talk about, and comedy shows to do, I don’t feel any angst about doing the shows. I can’t tell you enough how great that feels.
As I get closer to finishing JAG, and it’s younger brother (which requires far less work) I’ve been looking for printers . . . and actually got some quotes today for the first printing. It’s very exciting, and also terrifying.
If anyone reading this has experience with a printer, and you’d like to share comments about that printer (good or bad) I’d really like to hear them.
I mowed my lawn tonight, and my shoes are grass stained and smelling like a summer morning.
When I mow the lawn, I like to listen to Jimmy Eat World on my car radio. “A Praise Chorus” is one of the greatest songs I’ve ever heard. This afternoon, I didn’t listen to the radio, but I did sing “Dogs” from Pink Floyd to myself as I mowed in a circle, rather than the diagonal lines I usually make.
My cool neighbor moved away on Friday. He’s like 80, and Anne and I both felt like he’s moving away to die. He’d lived in his house since 1951. That made me really sad. Now his house is empty, and will remain that way for a long time, according to neighborhood gossip.
Ferris wants to go outside.
Nolan is watching WWE. I remember when I was a kid, and I’d get up each Saturday morning to watch WWF when it was on KCOP here in Los Angeles. I loved it, once I figured out it was fake.
Anyone remember M.U.S.C.L.E. figures? The Dark Tower game from Milton Bradley? I bought a new GURPS 3E last week, to replace my old and falling apart copy. Boy do I love RPGs.
This was more fun than I thought it would be, but I can guarantee you that I’ll read this in a few days and want to take it down. Well, I feel pretty satisfied now. Maybe I am blocked.
Does everybody really love Raymond? Because I really don’t.
Anne just walked in, and Ferris doesn’t want to go outside any more. Now she just wants to run around with Anne.
I really love Anne a lot. She is TRULY my “other half.”
I have Red Hat 8.0, and I want to install KDE 3.1. Has anyone else done this? Is it going to bork my machine like it did when I tried to upgrade on Mandrake 8.2? Why can’t I get CUPS to work?
I have to go make dinner: Falafel, tabouleh, and hummus. How Greek^H^H^H^H^H Lebanese of us.

Kingdom of Rain

It’s fun to watch someone go through a major crisis, even if it’s self-inflicted. Puts things into perspective.
Some thoughts I had last night while listening to the rain bounce off my roof:
Ii have spent each day the past few weeks just inches from tears.
it’s a lot of things: fear and uncertainty about the quality of my book being the biggest, having the sit there and take it while some Rich Fucking Asshole treated me like I was a little kid, stupid computer problems, anne’s ex-husband bullshit, and finally the blog trolls (who I really should have just called assholes, because that’s what they are) and emailers.
Alone, I can deal with any of those things, but together . . . well, it’s just too much to deal with.
But the uncertainty about this book is killing me. I thought I had something really good, and shared it with a few people. Most of them told me it was really good, and gave some constructive feedback. A few of them absolutely ripped it to shreds, and gave me some constructive feedback. The result? I found myself unsure about everything. Unable to trust my instincts. I rewrote major parts to please others, instead of myself, and it left me paralyzed. I’ve since decided to just let it go. I’ll finish some grammatical and spelling corrections, complete a few tiny changes where I want to add more information, and publish the damn thing.
I’m scared. I’m scared that it’s not as good as I thought. I’m scared that it’s better than I thought.
My mom told me that I was in the middle of “vast uncharted territory” and that it was okay to be afraid. I’m not so sure.
I shouldn’t have posted my “I’m leaving, here’s why, okay now I’m back but I’m really leaving and I hate you” post. What I should have said is, “I’m overwhelmed with several things in my life, and writing for WWDN isn’t bringing me any joy right now. As a matter of fact, it’s sort of a chore, so I’m taking some time off.” What I posted gives way too much power and importance to a very small group of people who I should really just feel sorry for.
But I’d be lying if I said it didn’t make me feel just a tiny bit better to hear from people who actually SUPPORT me for a change. And Ben sent me a nice cartoon.
Note to self: don’t post when emotional.
And you know what else? I am profoundly upset about war, dreams of war, and the Bush Junta. Patriot II? How the fuck did this happen? How did we, as a culture, sit back and put these people in charge?
And these “Terror alerts?” Does anyone believe them? Did you guys read about the “suspected terrorist” in SF Bay? Some tug boat captain suggests that he saw someone in an unlit Zodiac raft at 3AM, wearing a wetsuit. That’s it.
The CG looked everywhere for this boat and its alleged terrorist, and found NOTHING.
But it’s all over the news, because WE ARE ON ALERT!!1!!11!
What happened to critical thinking? Are the American people so soporific that they can’t see this bullshit for what it is?
And now we’re supposed to believe that Osama Bin Laden is JOINING FORCES WITH SADDAM?
What?!
The timing on this is all too pat for me, and I wonder where the fuck the critical voices are who should be questioning this stuff. Where are the other voices in this vast wilderness? Isn’t anyone willing to speak up?
We are marching directly into a war, though there is massive public resistance to it.
We are marching directly into a war, and the media, the supposed 4th estate, isn’t doing ANYTHING to keep people informed — they’re just propagandizing for the Bush Junta.
We are marching directly into a war, though the rest of the world wishes we’d just mind our ouw stinking business.
And nobody seems to care. And I’m “anti-American” because I feel this way.
I was picking up some tools at OSH about an hour ago, and helped an older woman take some plastic boxes down from a tall shelf. When I put them in her cart for her, she moved a bunch of duct tape and plastic sheeting out of the way. She told me how scared she was, and urged me to be prepared and safe.
That’s perfect. This woman, who could be doing several other things today, is preparing for a terrorist attack, right here in Pasadena. Because she’s afraid. Just like the Bush Junta wants us all to be.
Ugh. Note to self: don’t post when emotional.

Test Pattern

I’ve had it with blog trolls, hateful e-mails, and the general idiocy that seems to overwhelm otherwise normal people when they connect to the Internet.
I just don’t understand it. Where is your humanity? Do you treat people you see in real life the way you treat me? Do you go out of your way to insult and belittle people? Is your life so miserable, so empty and meaningless, your self-esteem so low that you need to attack me? Honestly, what have I ever done to you? Really. What have I ever done?
Dealing with this shit has become a huge and unecessary distraction, so WWDN will not be updated for the near future while I finish “Just A Geek” and take care of some other RL stuff.
I just . . . I just need a break. In the meantime, check out the archives. There’s some stuff in there that I’m really proud of.
. . . I’ll be enjoying Channel 2’s TEAM COVERAGE of STORMWATCH.
Heh.

Not I, Robot?

I just found out that the director for I, Robot “didn’t respond to any” of the tapes he saw, including mine.
In the mysterious Hollywood lexicon, this can mean a number of things, but it usually comes down to one of the following:

  • My interpretation of this character and his vision don’t match up.
  • I don’t physically look like what he has in his mind.

These are both very valid, and totally understandable reasons . . . but it doesn’t make me feel any less sad. It’s frustrating to hear “the director didn’t respond to you,” because it’s so nebulous. It’s like being told, “You’re not getting this job. Why? Because. Next!” It also has a sort of negative feeling to it, doesn’t it? It doesn’t help that I have heard “the director didn’t respond” without any real elaboration countless times in my career .
I was very happy with my audition. I wouldn’t change a single thing about it. I know that I could have done a great job with this character, and I would have been really good in this movie.
Whle I didn’t sit in my living room for days, not eating and agonizing over getting this part, I was genuinely excited about the opportunities it presented. Working with Will Smith and Alex Proyas, and getting to play a robot would have been awesome.
Thanks for all the support, everyone.
The journey continues . . .

weekend.

Spent the weekend playing front yard touch football and whiffle ball with the kids. Tried very hard to care about the Superbowl, but I just couldn’t do it.
Played so much Vice City my thumbs hurt, and I dreamed that I was Tommy Vercetti last night. Very lucid, very strange.
Did lots of work in the garden — it’s been in the 80s here for over a week, so we decided to take advantage of the warm while we had the chance.
Wasted almost 18 hours trying to do several computer things. None of them work. Stupid computers.
Haven’t heard anything about the auditions.

Auditions 3: The Search for Spock

Here’s a quick update on I, Robot:
They put about 100 actors on tape last week. 20 of those tapes were sent to the director, including mine. He will pick a few he likes, and have meetings with them this week or next.
Wish I had more info, but that’s it. Strangely, I’m not sitting here, stomach in knots, agonizing over whether I’ll get it or not. While I would love to work with Alex Proyas (I am a HUGE Dark City weenie) and play a robot, I don’t have the life-or-death feeling that used to accompany auditions.
And as far as I know, they didn’t see anyone from Jimmy Kimmel’s family.