Category Archives: blog

46&2

I’m working my ass off today for Arena…we’re working on a really cool special, and I’m under the gun to finish a script, so I don’t have time for a real entry…
But Loren sent me this article, in the SF Gate, and I wanted to share it.
The interesting thing about this story, and the proliferation of stories like it, and celebrity weblogs, is that most people aren’t able to see people like me, who are on their tvs, as real people, with real problems and real dreams.
People look for and expect to find a validation of their perception of the celebrity in question, and when they don’t find that, they either react with surprise and delight, or they find ways to force what they found to fit their perception.
If someone came here looking for a failed actor, they could find that. If someone came here looking for a very happy husband and father, they could find that too.
It depends on what they’re looking for, I think, and what they’re willing to see.

Spare us the cutter

The call came while I was out, so I didn’t get the message until days later.
“Hi,” the young-sounding secretary said on my machine, “I have Rick Berman calling for Wil. Please return when you get the message.”
I knew.
I knew before she was even done with the message, but I tried to fool myself for a few minutes anyway.
I looked at the clock: 8 PM. They’d most likely be out, so I’d have to call tomorrow.
I told Anne that I had a message to call Rick’s office, and she knew right away also.
We’d thought about it for months, ever since I’d heard the rumors online. Of course, I tend to not put a whole lot of stock in what I read online…if I did I’d be overwhelmed with the sheer amount of hot teen bitches who want to get naked for me right now, and I’d be rolling in Nigerian money.
But it made sense, and I couldn’t fight what I knew in my heart to be true.
I returned the call late the next day from my car on my way home from work. I was driving along a narrow tree-lined street in Pasadena that I sometimes take when the traffic is heavy on the freeway.
Children played on bikes and jumped rope in the growing shadows of the July afternoon. The street was stained a beautiful orange by the setting sun.
“This is Wil Wheaton returning,” I told her.
She tells me to hold on, and then he’s on the phone.
“Hi kiddo. How are you?”
“I’m doing fine. You know I turn 30 on Monday?”
There is a pause.
“I can’t believe we’re all getting so old,” he says.
“I know. I emailed Tommy [his son] awhile ago, and he’s in college now. If that made me feel old, I can’t imagine what my turning 30 is doing to the rest of you guys.”
We chuckle. This is probably just small-talk, so it’s not as severe when he tells me, but it feels good regardless. Familiar, familial.
“Listen, Wil. I have bad news.”
Although I’ve suspected it for months, and I have really known it since I heard the message the night before, my stomach tightens, my arms grow cold.
“We’ve had to cut your scene from the movie.”
He pauses for breath, and that moment is frozen, while I assess my feelings.
I almost laugh out loud at what I discover: I feel puzzled.
I feel puzzled, because the emotions I expected: the sadness, the anger, the indignation…aren’t there.
I realize that he’s waiting for me.
“Why’d you have to cut it?”
This doesn’t make sense. I should be furious. I should be depressed. I shuould be hurt.
But I don’t feel badly, at all.
“Well, it doesn’t have anything to do with you,” he begins.
I laugh silently. It never does. When I don’t get a part, or a callback, or get cut from a movie, it never has anything to do with me. Like a sophmore romance. “It’s not you. It’s me. I’ve met Jimmy Kimmel’s cousin, and things just happened.”
There is an unexpected sincerity to what he tells me: the movie is long. The first cut was almost 3 hours. The scene didn’t contribute to the main story in any way, so it was the first one to go.
He tells me that they’ve cut 48 minutes from the movie.
I tell him that they’ve cut an entire episode out. We laugh.
There is another silence. He’s waiting for me to respond.
I drive past some kids playing in an inflatable pool in their front yard. On the other side of the street, neighbors talk across a chain link fence. An older man sits on his porch reading a paper.
“Well Rick,” I begin, “I completely understand. I’ve thought about this on and off for months, and I knew that if the movie was long, this scene, and maybe even this entire sequence, would have to go. It’s just not germaine to the spine of the story.”
He tells me that they had to consider cutting the entire beginning of the movie. He tells me that he has to call one of the other actors because they’ve suffered rather large cuts as well.
I stop at a 4-way stop sign and let a woman and her little daughter cross the street on their way into a park filled with families, playing baseball and soccer in the waning light.
I look them. The mother’s hand carefully holding her daughter’s.
I realize why I’m not upset, and I tell him.
“Well, Rick, it’s like this: I love Star Trek, and, ultimately, I want what’s best for Star Trek and the Trekkies. If the movie is too long, you’ve got to cut it, and this scene is the first place I’d start if I were you.
“The great thing is, I got to spend two wonderful days being on Star Trek again, working with the people I love, wearing the uniform that I missed, and I got to re-connect with you, the cast, and the fans. Nobody can take that away from me.”
“And, it really means a lot to me that you called me yourself. I can’t tell you how great that makes me feel,”
It’s true. He didn’t need to call me himself. Most producers wouldn’t.
“I’m so glad that you took the time to call me, and that I didn’t have to learn about this at the screening, or by reading it on the internet.”
He tells me again how sorry he is. He asks about my family, and if I’m working on anything. I tell him they’re great, that Ryan’s turning 13, and that I’ve been enjoying steady work as a writer since January.
We’re back to small talk again, bookending the news.
I ask him how the movie looks.
He tells me that they’re very happy with it. He thinks it’s going to be very successful.
I’m feel happy and proud.
I’ve heard stories from people that everyone had lots of trouble with the director. I ask him if that’s true.
He tells me that it was tough, because the director had his own vision. There were struggles, but ultimately they collaborated to make a great film.
I come to a stoplight, a bit out of place in this quiet residential neighborhood. A young married couple walks their golden retriever across the crosswalk.
We say our goodbyes, and he admonishes me to call him if I’m ever on the lot. He tells me that he’ll never forgive me if I don’t stop into his office when I’m there.
I tell him that will, and that I’ll see him at the screening.
He wishes me well, and we hang up the phone.
The light turns green and I sit there for a moment, reflecting on the conversation.
I think back to something I wrote in April while in a pit of despair: “I wonder if The Lesson is that, in order to succeed, I need to rely upon myself, trust myself, love myself, and not put my happiness and sadness into the hands of others.”
I meant everything that I said to him. It really doesn’t matter to me if I’m actually in the movie or not, and not in a bitter way at all.
I could focus on the disappointment, I suppose. I could feel sad.
Getting cut out of the movie certainly fits a pattern that’s emerged in the past two years or so.
But I choose not to. I choose instead to focus on the positives, the things I can control. I did have two wonderful days with people I love, and it was like I’d never left. I did get to reconnect with the fans and the franchise. Rick Berman, a person with whom I’ve not always had the best relationship, called me himself to tell me the news, and I felt like it weighed heavily on him to deliver it.
Nobody can take that away from me, and I’m not going to feel badly, at all.
Because I have a secret.
I have realized what’s important in my life since April, and they are at the end of my drive.
The dog-walking couple smile and wave to me.
The light changes.
Somewhere in Brooklyn, Wesley Crusher falls silent forever.

Double Secret Probation

For the last 10 days or so, I’ve been hearing this countdown at least once a day.
It goes something like this: “9 more days until my birthday!”
Or, “you know what happens in 4 days? It’s my birthday!”
And, “it’s…my…birthday…in…two…days!”
(That last one sounds better if you sing it)
Well, the countdown has been leading up to tomorrow, August 8th, which is my wife Anne’s birthday. We look forward to her birthday each year because we always take the family camping for a couple of days…and we don’t have to hear the countdown.
Well, that’s not entirely true…we’ll hear “Only 364 more days until my birthday!” At least once.
So today is the day that we leave for the magnificent and storied Great Outdoors. I won’t have time to write again until next week.
In honor of my wife’s birthday, I offer the following Thought For Today, which perfectly describes our life together:

“I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I —
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
-Frost

Let’s get some runs!

I have just returned from Chicago.
That’s right, Chicago.
Why?
Because my wife surprised me for my 30th birthday, and took me to Wrigley Field to watch the Cubbies.
Holy.
Crap.
There are many exciting details, but no time to go into them. I’ve got a busy day ahead. I’ll try to update infor later.
In the meantime, we saw Roughy and Mrs. Roughy, as well as Bobby The Mat and Mrs. Bobby The Mat, and you can hear about our evening together at UE.

13 on 31

Today is my step-son Ryan’s 13th birthday.
He is excited because he’s turning 13 on the 31st, which, he pointed out to me, is a palindrome.
Okay, how many 13 year olds do you know of who even know what a palindrome is, much less care enough about it to get excited?
I know 1, and he is awesome.

Happy birthday, Ryan! I love you. :-)

Renew!

Well, it looks like the time has come for me to step into the carousel.
While I am entering my 30th year on planet earth, WWDN isn’t even officially 1 year old, although technically I had the old, lame website up at this time last year…craziness.
My “My Yahoo!” page says, “Happy Birthday, TVsWilWheaton!” and when I click it, it takes me to this page. Check out who’s number 3 on the celebrity birthday list! This made me giddy with excitement last year, and it did it again this year. :-)
Since it’s my birthday, I think I’ll start out the celebration by posting 7 things I’m grateful for on my birthday:

  1. In 30 years, I have never had a serious threat to my health, safety or general well-being.
  2. Anne.
  3. Just for grins one day, I put together a BBS for this site. It’s become one of the most wonderful communities that I’ve ever seen on the Internet…and the people who hang out there rarely talk about me…it’s all about them, and the virtual family that they have become.
  4. Batman. This has nothing to do with my birthday, really…I just really like Batman. Especially Dark Knight Returns Batman.
  5. Volkswagen. Without VW, I may never have been concieved.
  6. I’m not afraid to cry in front of anyone.
  7. Even though I kept her up most of last night with my “goddamned snoring,” my wife has made a valiant effort to stay up with me until midnight, to tell me “Happy Birthday.” She’s currently asleep on the floor cuddling the dog.

Finally, I am amazed and grateful that people even give a shit about how I’m doing, and what I’m doing, and take the time to make things like this:


Thank you to everyone who sent me this image, and the cool site that posted it, and thank you to the scores of WWDN readers who have sent birthday wishes, especially those of you who have been visiting this lame website since it began.
An extra-special thank you is due to the Monkeys in the Soapbox. You guys RAWK, and you know why.

RENEW!! RENEW!!

Update at 09:27AM:
The kids in Farkistan are even doing a photoshop for my birthday! It just keeps getting better!

Grey Matter

Yesterday my little brother got married, and I was the best man in the ceremony.
It was wonderful.
I’m going to keep the details private, because sharing with the entire internet the particulars of a very special family event is just weird.
However, I will say: I have always felt that weddings should reflect the personalities of the bride and groom. Weddings shouldn’t be about forcing the couple into anyone’s particular mold or any one person’s *cough*grandma*cough*’s idea of what a wedding should be. I just hate it that people feel like they must conform to certain ideals, and I was thrilled that Jeremy and Jenn did their wedding their way. It was very unconventional, fun, touching, and memorable.
One really cool thing they did was to welcome to the ceremony people who couldn’t be there, whether they were living or dead, by ringing a bell. Jeremy rang the bell, and welcomed, among other people, my Aunt Val. It breaks my heart that Aunt Val didn’t get to be there in person to see Jeremy and Jenn get married; she always called him “my little boy,” and I know that they each kept large areas of their hearts reserved for each other. I was really glad that she was able to attend in spirit, and I thought that the ringing of the bell was beautiful.
The next time we have an important family gathering, I’m going to ring a bell, and invite Aunt Val to join us.
At the reception I saw lots of people who I don’t see very often, and many of them told me that they’ve been reading my website…which immediately made me feel weird. It’s easier to write what’s on my mind when I don’t think about the people reading it, especially people I know. When I wrote the story about 4th of July recently, my dad told me that he sent it to everyone in the family who was there, and how they remembered it and all that…it’s just strange. Even writing this paragraph now I have had to resist the urge to delete it.
Strange.
Well, tomorrow is my birthday. I turn 30. Then Wednesday is Ryan’s birthday. He turns 13. Holy. Crap.
I have already gotten some AMAZINGLY COOL Birthday presents, but they get their own entry in a few days.
I hope everyone is having a great weekend. Now go outside!

Supplies!

I turn 30 in one week. Almost to the minute, actually. I think I was born sometime around 12:30 in the afternoon. My great aunt used to tell me that being born close to noon was a good thing…so I got that going for me, which is nice.
Lots of people have emailed wondering what’s going on, because my posts here have been less frequent, so I’ll address that for a minute: It’s summer. It’s warm and beautiful outside, and I’ve been spending less and less time in front of the computer. This is quite the opposite of a year ago, when I was sitting here for 5 hours a day, working on the site, updating the weblog and answering emails…I guess my priorities have been reassigned, because there is really nothing in the world more important to me than hanging out with my wife these days.
Speaking of my birthday and my insanely cool wife, she had a HUGE surprise party for me on Friday night! She got all of my friends in on it, even convinced my family to come out, and totally surprised me. 100%. It was really cool.
See, she’d told me that our friend Burns was going to see James Brown, and he had an extra ticket, so he was going to take her. This left me without anything to do on Friday night, so my friend Stephanie (who introduced me to Anne) and I decided that we’d go do something, and that something ended up being going to see Save Ferris at the OC Fair.
I was all excited to leave early, get to the fair in the afternoon, and eat numerous types of food (all on-a-stick of course), ride the dangerous carnical rides (staffed by creepy dudes on work release of course), and learn many exciting facts about Emus and Ostriches (sitting in a pen right next to a stand selling Ostrich and Emu burgers…on a stick of course).
Trouble was, Stephanie told me, she couldn’t leave until almost 7PM, because she was doing something really important (turns out it was setting up for my party). So I waited…played with Ferris, played Tony Hawk 3 (opened up the Cruise Ship level!) and ate some Chick-Nuggets, lamenting the fact that they were not on a stick.
Well, 7PM finally arrives, and Stephanie isn’t at my house. 7:30 comes and goes, and she’s still not there. Now I’m beginning to get anxious, because SF goes on at 8:30. Monique put us on the guest list, and I think it’s extra rude to show up late when you’re on the list.
It’s 7:45 when Steph finally shows up. I run to her car, jump in, and tell her that we may need to push the speed limt just a bit so we get there on time…and she tells me that she needs to drop off an envelope at this guy’s work for a friend of hers. She tells me that it’s right off the freeway, so it should only take 1 minute.
So I tell her that I’m going to count once we get off the freeway…which I do. I’m approaching “50” when we pull into the parking lot. Stephanie tells me, “Run this envelope in, and give it to Terry. He should be right inside the door.”
I hop out of the car, run up the stairs, and say, “I’m looking for Terry!”
Turns out there’s not a Terry there, but my wife, parents, and most of my friends are, and they all yell, “SURPRISE!!!”
I was totally stunned. It was the last thing in the world I expected, and we went on to have an insanely fun night at this place. There were batting cages, lazer tag, basketball courts, video games…funny that we had a party for my 30th birthday at a place I would have loved when I was 12. This fact really sums up who I am. :)
The party was awesome. I played nearly an hour of lazer tag, learned that even though I’m left-handed, I bat much better from the right, and ate way too much cake.
The best part, though, was the feeling I had when I stopped to think for a second about how hard it is to pull off a surprise party. I know how hard it is, and it really made me feel loved by my wife and friends, because the pulled it off flawlessly.
Saturday was spent doing a bunch of nothing, and yesterday Anne and I took Ferris to the Dog Beach in Orange County. If you live with an hour of this place and you have a dog, you just gotta go. It was really, really fun.
One last word on updates, and the frequency of them: I’m writing this from work, because my computer at home completely blew up this morning. Smoke and everything. So until I replace it, we may all have to spend even more time outdoors…which isn’t such a bad thing, really. :)

Tribute to The Great Bird

Last summer, at the Creation Grand Slam convention in Pasadena, there was a tribute to Gene Roddenberry. I was asked to speak at the tribute, and I eagerly agreed. However, the tribute was going to conflict with a show that I was in at the ACME, so I couldn’t be at the tribute.
By the way, can I please say “tribute” again?
Tribute. Tribute. Tribute.
Well, I was very torn. I really wanted to be there to honor him, but I couldn’t back out of the sketch show at the last minute. So, I asked my friend Richard, who was putting together the event (notice I didn’t say “Tribute?”) if I could write something down, and have it read on my behalf. He agreed, and I was able to be in two places at once. Sort of.
Earlier today, Anne and I were cleaning and organizing stuff in our house, and I found what I’d written, dropped behind a dresser, on a folded up sheet of yellow legal paper.
I’d like to share it with you all today.


“Gene Roddenberry’s office door was always open to me, regardless of who was already there.
He always made me feel important, like he was proud of the work I was doing, and that he was glad to have me as part of his great creation.
When we were shooting TNG, I had no idea that he had named Wesley after himself. I’m glad, because at the time, the sense of responsibility would have paralyzed me.
However, knowing that now, the sense of honor and pride is overwhelming, and hope that, somewhere, Gene is still proud of all of us.
Gene was an anachronism in Hollywood. He was a warm, caring, profoundly creative man who never compromised his vision.
I am proud to be part of his legacy, and it is an honor to remember him tonight.”

Bird

It’s nearly 10PM.
The kids are with their dad, leaving Anne and me in an empty, quiet house.
We sit at our dining room table, Ferris asleep at our feet, the 85 degree Southern California air stirred only by a single fan in our air-conditioner-less house.
We’re reading. She reads a magazine, I read a book, and Charlie Parker travels through time from 1950, transported by our radio, tirelessly bebopping at us.
These moments that we share, just the two of us are precious few, and I cherish them.
I close my book and tell her, “You are the other half of my heartbeat.”
They’re not my words. I’ve borrowed them from Dizzy Gillespie, who was speaking, ironically, of Bird…
…but truer words have never passed my lips.