Category Archives: Current Affairs

Today’s #Tabletop Hangout

Last week, I had a meeting at Geek and Sundry to discuss several geek and sundry things, some of them related to my show Tabletop. We all thought it would be fun and awesome to do a live Google Hangout Q&A thingy for all the people who love the show and are sadface that there won’t be new episodes until January. We were pretty excited to have a whole hell of a lot of fun tonight.

In light of Friday’s mass murder in Connecticut, though, it just felt wrong to me, and I thought we should postpone it for a week or more. I discussed it with some of my cow orkers at G&S, and we decided that we’d do whatever I decided. Unable to make a decision I felt good about on my own, I went for a walk with Anne, and asked her opinion and advice.

“Gaming is a family activity, and people watch Tabletop with their kids,” she said, echoing something Tabz at G&S had said to me earlier in the day, “it seems like giving anyone who wants a break from the sadness and horror we’re all feeling an hour to talk and think about things we love and the people we love is a good thing.”

I’ve said before that Anne is the brains in our relationship. She’s also the heart and soul.

After 9/11, we canceled our shows at ACME because none of us felt like we could be funny. I’m feeling similar emotions now… but I don’t have to be funny or perform. I just have to not suck, and I can do that. I can still provide an hour for us to talk about games, about the production of the show, and maybe share some stories about how gaming is important to my family.

So that’s what I’m going to do. For an hour tonight, from 6pm Pacific time, I’ll be taking your questions about Tabletop and gaming. @GeekAndSundry will have all the details you need to know so you can watch and submit your questions.

BREAKING: JOHN SCALZI EMBROILED IN SCANDAL!

BREAKING NEWS!!

Today on Twitter, noted Science Fiction Author and Cat-Bacon-Taper John Scalzi declared:

 

 

A group of concerned cats immediately replied with this political action message:

Then, in a desperate attempt to deflect attention from his cat bacon taping, Scalzi accused beloved science fiction, television, film, stage, theater, internet, radio, and teenage-fever-dream star Wil Wheaton of being behind the whole thing. Wheaton, who everyone loves for reasons, denied the scandalous allegation. Scalzi then produced an obviously fake “receipt”:

But Mister Scalzi can not produce the LONG FORM RECEIPT! He continues to dodge the tough questions, and instead of responding to a simple and reasonable request, he produced this:

And now, as the real questions begin to swirl around Mister Scalzi, his allies in the Bacon Taping Media have produced this vicious attack ad:

Some say that John Scalzi is wrong on bacon, wrong on tape, and wrong on cats.

Some people say that John Scalzi is WRONG FOR THE INTERNET.

 

DIS MESSUG WAZ PAY FER BY DA KATZ.

we like tuna

Rest in peace, Neil Armstrong.

I met Neil Armstrong once, at a dinner to honor Jimmy Doohan in the early 2000s.

He was not much taller than me, but he was a giant of a man. He was as kind as he was intimidating. 

I don’t remember what I said to him, or what he said to me, because all I could think the entire time was “This man has walked on the fucking moon.”

Rest in peace, Neil. Because of your bravery and your courage, an entire species will forever look into the night sky and see not a mystery, but a destination.

I couldn’t believe it, myself, but this is a real picture.

Last night, Anne and I got to go to the Jet Propulsion Labratory to watch the landing of the Mars Curiosity Rover. It was a powerful, emotional, inspiring experience.

When I think about how these scientists flew something the size of my car to another planet and landed it almost exactly where they wanted it to land, I feel very, very tiny indeed. 

This morning, I saw a picture on Tumblr that I was positive was a fake:

NASA's Curiosity rover and its parachute were spotted by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter as Curiosity descended to the surface on Aug. 5 PDT (Aug. 6 EDT). The High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera captured this image of Curiosity while the orbiter was listening to transmissions from Curiosity.

NASA's Curiosity rover and its parachute were spotted by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter as Curiosity descended to the surface on Aug. 5 PDT (Aug. 6 EDT). The High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera captured this image of Curiosity while the orbiter was listening to transmissions from Curiosity.

It turns out that it's not fake. It's Curiosity's descent to the Martian surface, photographed by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

So let's think about this for a moment, okay? Not only did these humans successfully land a Mini Cooper on Mars, they timed everything out so that a satellite they already put into orbit around Mars could take pictures of it.

Gene Roddenberry always talked about how amazing humans were, because we could do amazing things when we worked together. 

He was right.

Setting aside anger for something that I hope is a little more kind. (Or: when I break my own law)

A few days ago, I Twittered: "I can't stop laughing at the bigots who celebrated their solidarity with each other by gorging themselves on shitty fast food. Bravo, jerks."

I still think it's silly that eating at a fast food restaurant is considered political activism today, but that's not what this is about. What I said clearly struck a nerve with people who were really angry with me for saying that, so I did what my friend Tom Merrit advised me to do: remove the charged language, and see what's left behind. After a couple of days, it became clear that a number of people genuinely did not see themselves that way, and they were hurt by the language I used to describe them. I've thought about this a lot, and this is what I have to say:

It’s all too easy to forget that there’s a human being on the other end of the Internet. That human being has a name. That human being has friends and family; hopes, fears, and dreams. The person behind those words and that avatar is loved by people, and that person loves them in return.

It’s far too easy to lose our basic humanity and compassion for each other when we forget this. In my recent righteous anger, I’ve forgotten that, and though the people I’ve recently disagreed with have infuriated me, when my white hot anger fades, all that remains is sadness that we can’t speak to each other in a civil way.

So today I am setting aside my anger, and trading my recent mocking derision for something I hope is more kind.

To the people who are so angry at me: Whoever you are, whatever you believe, I hope that you’ll find someone you love and who loves you, and share a quiet, peaceful moment together. I hope you’ll appreciate the love you share, and if you’re a heterosexual couple, be very grateful that tens of thousands of people didn’t get together in the last few days to tell you that the love you feel is not just wrong, but it’s evil. It should be marginalized, and you should be a second-class citizen because of it.

If you can imagine that feeling — I mean, viscerally imagine it and think how it would make you feel — you may understand why I’ll fight with my dying breath to ensure that no two people ever have to feel that. I believe that it’s fundamentally wrong to prevent two people who love each other as much as Anne and I do the right to marry and be treated the same way in the eyes of the law and society as we are, simply because they are a same-sex couple.

Now, I’ve learned something in the last couple of days: I saw a clear statement of solidarity with a man who has spent millions of dollars supporting hate organizations that work tirelessly to restrict the rights of same-sex couples. But what I saw was viewed by a not-insignificant number of participants as a statement against censorship, an affirmative statement for the rights of an individual to express an unpopular opinion. They fully support the rights of same-sex couples to marry, but feel even more passionate about freedom of expression; they weren’t there to support this man’s goals and beliefs, they were simply there to support his right to have them.

On the one hand, I believe that requires a willingness to ignore a simple equation: You buy fast food -> fast food profits go to CEO -> CEO gives money to hate group -> hate group lobbies for laws that hurt same-sex couples. Therefore, your participation in an event organized and promoted by people who support those laws gives your support to them and the laws they hope to pass.

On the other hand, I have to believe that — even though it’s clear from interviews with many of the participants that they did view this as solidarity with the owner, and was not about the Constitution — at least some of the people who ate what I called “shitty fast food” did so because they genuinely believed they were standing up for someone’s right to express an unpopular opinion.

To those people who viewed this not as a statement of solidarity with that man’s opinion, but his right to express it – and those people alone – I apologize for labeling you as a bigot. You were shoulder to shoulder with a lot of them that day, but if you genuinely believed that you were standing up for someone’s right to express an unpopular opinion, and you weren’t there because you were supporting that same person’s efforts to deny same-sex couples the rights heterosexual couples take for granted by spending the money you gave him on that day, I sincerely apologize for putting a label on you that was hurtful. I imagine there are some same-sex couples who watched lines stretch down the block outside a chicken restaurant that day who can relate to that feeling.

For what it’s worth, I never supported mayors telling a restaurant it couldn’t open in their cities for political reasons — that’s unconstitutional, stupid, and wrong. I believe very strongly in the rights of individuals to express unpopular opinions, but I also believe even more strongly that people who love each other have the fundamental right to marry, and in this case, especially considering the millions and millions of dollars this man has spent trying to deny same-sex couples that right, I hope his unpopular opinion has negative consequences for him and his company. I hope that the incredible number of people who turned out to give him time and money will give an equal amount of time and money at a homeless shelter, or some other organization that desperately needs that time and money to help people who are suffering.

But I’ve veered slightly off track. My goal today is to clarify in more than 140 characters why I feel the way I do, and sincerely apologize to people who were certainly with a lot of bigots, but don’t believe they are bigots themselves. Words can be hurtful; ask anyone who’s been called a faggot or a dyke or worse for holding hands with the person they love.

But for now, Person Who Is Angry With Me, I’m going to step away and spend the day with my wife and our sons, and be grateful that there isn’t a very wealthy man spending the money he earns with his very profitable and popular fast food restaurant trying to make us less of a family.

When am I?

On Saturday, I texted my friend Molly: If you're here tomorrow, come over to my house for games and beer.

She texted back: What time? Can Chris come?

I replied: 6pm. Chris is always welcome at the Wheaton Secret Headquarters!

Yesterday, while we were at my friend's house for his birthday dinner, Molly texted Anne to find out where we were.

"Did you tell Molly and Chris to come over today?" She asked.

"No, I said Monday, when Robert is coming over."

"She thinks it's today."

I pulled my phone out of my pocket and looked back through my text messages.

"…um." I said.

"You'd better call her," Anne said.

I called Molly and explained to her that my stupid brain thought Saturday was Sunday and that tomorrow was not, in fact today, but was actually tomorrow (which is now today).

"I'm so sorry. Can you come back tomorrow?" I asked.

"Yeah, I can do that. I'll see you tomorrow at six."

And that is why, when I got home from my friend's house last night, I found this drawing on my front porch:

When Am I?

I’m proud to be $100 of $211,000, and Charles Carreon can go fuck himself sideways.

The Oatmeal writes:

Operation BearLove Good, Cancer Bad ended early this morning with total funds raised at $220,024.00 — almost exactly 11 times the original goal of $20k. IndieGoGo takes 4%, so that puts thetotal money going to charity at $211,223.04.

I’ve been trying very hard not to post about all the insane drama surrounding Carreon and his better halfand instead focusing on the fundraiser. Now that it’s ended, I wanted to address some specific questions about how I’m donating the funds.

When will you pay the charities? 
Carreon has provided notice that he intends to ask the court for a restraining order which will stop the transfer of funds from Indiegogo. If we can’t get that silly bullshit dismissed, the money could be held up for days, weeks or months. Assuming wecan, I should have the money in about a week.

Once the money is moved, I still plan on withdrawing $211k in cash and taking a photo to send to Charles Carreon and FunnyJunk, along with the drawing of Funnyjunk’s mother. After the photo is mailed I’ll be sending checks to the charities. I’ll also post receipts as well as public confirmations from both charities that they received every penny that was promised.

Is all the money going to the National Wildlife Federation and the American Cancer Society? 
Yes. Previously I stated that because the amount raised was so much larger than expected I was going to divide the money into four charities instead of two, but unfortunately Carreon’s lawsuit claims that I’m holding an “illicit fundraiser” and not donating money where I said I would. To avoid further litigation with him, I decided to split the money between the original two charities. If Carreon wanted a minor victory, he got one here.

I’m proud to be $100 of that nearly quarter of a million dollars, and I’d like to invite Charles Carreon to kiss my ass.

I’d also like to offer a mocking, derisive, contemptuous congratulations to that pile of sun-bleached excrement Charles Carreon for successfully denying two other charities what would be about fifty thousand dollars each, because his pathetic little ego means more to him than charities that do good things for the world.

In closing, Matt Inman is my hero, and Charles Carreon can go fuck himself sideways.

In which I am easily amused (again)

A few days ago, I saw this awesome thing that happened:

Japanese astronaut Satoshi Furukawa flew 220 miles into space to play with toys. His recent stay on the International Space Station included several hours of building a Lego version of his orbiting abode.

When it was done, it looked something like this:

Legoiss_610x404

Because I am easily amused, and very bad at Photoshop, I was inspired to improve the image thusly:

LEGYO_DAWG

The moral of this story, kids, is that the more easily amused you are, the more amusing things are to you.

THE END.

In which I realize I need to say Thank You…

On Sunday, I was personally offended that Chris Brown performed at the Grammys. Violence against anyone is never okay, but the quiet acceptance of violence against women we see all over the world is especially reprehensible to me. Allowing someone who beat his girlfriend so severely she was hospitalized to perform on a national stage — and then framing it as some sort of comeback — didn't sit well with me. Celebrities — especially pop music celebrities — are role models, even when it's inconvenient for them, and what they do and how they treat people matters. So I posted a link on Twitter to the police report, just to remind people who they were celebrating.

I'd say about 98% of the repsponses I got were from people who thanked me for speaking up, but the remaining 2% were pretty awful: vulgar, barely-literate, blaming the victim, blinded by celebrity, convinced that it's something I should just get over and forget about, and — incomprehensibly — self-identified as devout Christians.

While I didn't take their anger and heartfelt wishes that someone "beat my ass" personally (it genuinely made me sad for them and their families), it has brought into sharp focus something I didn't even realize I've been taking for granted: I'm really lucky that the overwhelming majority of people I interact with — many of whom I will never meet in person — are kind and awesome to me.

So I wanted to take a moment and say thank you to you, person-on-the-other-end-of-the-Internet, for reading my various Internetty things, and for not only supporting my work, but for being kind to me. I sincerely hope that your kindness, your enthusiasm for making cool things, and your general awesomeness doesn't just exist online when you comment on something I did; I really hope that it extends into your daily life. I hope you're out there, every day, making the world a more awesome place.

The world needs more awesome people, and one of my dreams is to build and maintain Crazy Awesome Army… I didn't really focus on it until this week, but we're off to a pretty good start.