Category Archives: Eureka Season 4

Eureka: This One Time At Space Camp

In a few hours, I will be picked up and taken to the set for my last day on Eureka. Though I've known this day was coming for a couple of weeks, and I've been trying to prepare myself for it, I'm not ready. I don't want this to be over. I don't want to say goodbye to my friends.

Monday, we had our last day of work in Cafe Diem. At the end of the day, Chris Gauthier and Nial Matter were wrapped for the entire series, along with some other actors who are [SPOILER]. I stood there, next to Neil and Felicia, and applauded for them. Then, without warning, I began to cry. It's real. It's really over. We're really done. In two days, I'll finish my last scene, and the first AD will call out, "That is a series wrap for Wil Wheaton," and I'll cry again.

I'm glad to feel sad, as strange as that may sound. I know I've said this about some other things, but it's true: I'm happy to be sad when something is ending, because if I wasn't, it would mean that nothing good happened that I will miss.

I will miss everything about Eureka. I'm going to be a wreck tonight.

So let's talk a bit about This One Time, At Space Camp, shall we? It's going to be Spoileriffic, so you have been warned (or you've already been spoiled, because you follow me on Twitter. Sorry about that.)

I learned to ride a recumbant bike for this episode. It was challenging, but not as difficult as I expected, and ended up being quite a lot of fun. I also think that "May the best man BLAH BLAH BLAH" is my favorite Parrish line of the series.

Wasn't Aaron Douglas magnificent? I loved seeing him play totally against his usual type, and I loved the way he interacted with the kids.

We talked a lot about how douchey Parrish should be in this episode. I wanted to let him be as supremely arrogant as possible, because he's convinced that all of this is just a formality at this point. I wanted him to lift himself up as high as he possibly could, so the fall at the end of the episode would be that much more brutal for him (and awesome for the audience, who are almost certainly cheering for Holly and Fargo at this point, if we've all done our jobs.) 

I watched the episode with Neil and Chris in Neil's trailer during breaks in filming, and when Fargo makes it but Parrish doesn't, Neil pointed at sad Parrish on the television, and did a Nelson Muntz HA HA right at him and then at me. It was really, really funny.

Can we just take a moment to marvel at how incredible Wallace Shawn was, too? I mean, holy shit was he incredible. We're so lucky he is part of the show, and you guys haven't even seen the best of it, yet.

Weeping for Titan,

#TeamParrish

Eureka: Of Mites and Men

In every rehearsal, when Parrish stands up to triumphantly announce that he's completed his 100 cranes, I did it in my best* Homer Simpson voice, like when he tries to fake out Apu with the lottery scratcher: "WOOO HOOO! ONE HUNDRED CRANES, BABY!"

This episode was more fun to film than I thought was humanly possible. Even though we were all crammed into a tiny set (it actually looks bigger than it was, because it was photographed with wide angle lenses) for several days**, I loved every minute of it. I remember thinking that I was so grateful that we are all friends and all get along, and that nobody in the cast is a diva, because it would have really sucked in that case.

Erica, Felicia, Neil, Niall and I all went to an origami class with a master origami folder so we could learn how to do cranes. I had a really hard time wrapping my head around it***, but once I figured it out, I enjoyed it quite a lot. I also may have specifically inquired about the creating of origami dicks, because I'm twelve. When we were in that little chamber, we'd just sit there between takes, folding cranes and cracking jokes with each other. I can't say for certain, because I don't have a control to test it against, but I think filming this episode brought us all closer together than we already were.

From a character development standpoint, I think this is where we see that Parrish has a lot to prove, and getting to Titan is how he's going to do it. We had to cut so much stuff for time, we lost a couple of scenes where we got to see that Parrish is so completely focused on getting to Titan at all costs, he can't adapt to changing circumstances, and he can't put the team ahead of himself. I don't know about the rest of you, but that's not the kind of guy I want to have to rely upon when I'm {VAR==$miles.to.Titan} away from home. I hope Parrish can learn from the isolation experience in future episodes, because I'm still totally #TeamParrish.

Weren't the mites cool? And how much do you love Sheriff Andy?****

Fun fact: Three weeks before we filmed this episode, I nearly broke my ankle. I knew that we'd be doing this "take off your shirt, Coco" thing with me, so I had been exercising like crazy as part of Project Don't Be A Flabby Piece Of Shit On Television, but it turns out that not being able to stand without a cane for three weeks sort of gets in the way of that. Luckily for me, the producers were sensitive to my vain need to not inflict my Body By Guinness on the world, and let me wear a tank top underneath my jumpsuit. You're welcome, people who didn't have to see a flabby, pasty, nerdbody that you can't unsee.

A lot of viewers enjoyed the Number One line, and we've gotten a lot of credit for making a clever TNG reference … but I don't think that was intentional. All of our characters were given numbers when we were in the chamber, and I think Parrish was just dehumanizing everyone to be a dick and work what he thought was some sort of psychological warfare. 

Or maybe it was intentional all along, and nobody told me … it's all part of the test.

 

* Not very good

**  The show ran almost 25 minutes long, so a lot of very funny stuff had to be cut, but will show up on an extended cut for DVD someday.

*** The line where Zane says Parrish's last few cranes looked like ducks was improvised by Niall, based on me complaining that I was really bad at making cranes, but extremely good at making ducks.

 ****The answers are: YES and A LOT. Congratulations to those of you who passed.

Eureka: Up In The Air

Last night's episode of Eureka, Up In The Air, has my favorite moment of the entire season in it. I don't think it played as clearly in the edit as it read in the script, but it's when Carter gets so incredibly excited for a traditional bank robbery investigation, and then finds out from Andy that the bank was, literally, robbed. As in: it isn't there any more. When I read that in the script, I laughed so hard, I peed a little. In fact, I just had to go ahead and put on an adult diaper for the rest of the episode, because Colin's physical comedy was so perfect.

Even though we shot it a year ago, this episode stands out in my mind quite clearly because on the first day of production, during the first run through of the first setup for the first shot, I twisted my ankle so severely I had to walk with a cane for a month.

Remember when team Bravo is running those tires? Set dressing put them on uneven ground, and I was first in line, so while I was attempting to high-step through them, hold my sides, stay the correct distance from Felicia and the camera while rehearsing, I didn't see the slope underneath me. I'm not the most coordinated person in the world*, and I was probably at -10 or more to make this one … so I ate shit. The crew all thought I was having a laugh (I have a certain reputation for comedy on the set), but I guess something about the way I was writhing in pain on the ground convinced them that I was serious, and not just committing to the bit.

So, to review: we haven't shot a single frame of film on this episode, and now I'm hurt so severely I can't stand up unassisted. The entire day is about us doing physical activity, and I'm in every single scene.

That sound you heard was the production manager having a heart attack.

The show, as they say, must go on, so we did some minor rewriting, changed the blocking on some scenes, and generally ensured that Doctor Parrish wouldn't be doing any physical activity**. In fact, if you watch the first scene with the three of us, you will see that I'm bent over, giving the impression of having just run the tires. In reality, someone from the crew is supporting me so I didn't put any weight on what was my rapidly-swelling ankle. When Fargo comes out of the tree and it looks like I walk away? I actually take one step, grab my cane from a PA, and take one more step so I'm completely out of frame.

Ah, the magic of making movies!

This episode also has my favorite pure character moment of the season in it, but it was cut up so much there's no way anyone in the audience could see it: when we're in the GD rotunda with Carter and Henry, talking about my Higgs Disruptor, Joe Morton and I had this exchange that I just loved. Doctor Parrish is talking about how his Disruptor is signed, but the authenticity of signatures from that era is questionable. You can barely see it, but during rehearsal, Joe and I realized that we're both scientists, and we're talking about a piece of antique equipment that was signed by Higgs himself! We decided that, being nerdy scientists, we'd get excited about that, and temporarily forget that there's a bunch of antimatter hanging out above Eureka waiting to deliver an Earth-shattering KABOOM***. Carter sees this, puts us back on track, and we figure out that he needs to go Up In The Air****.

It was exciting to us, as actors, when we found these beats during rehearsal, because we turned a scene that was pretty much an infodump to the audience (that set up the third act) into something that was an infodump with some real character moments behind it. In the final cut, though, a couple of lines were lost (I'm almost positive that the show was running long), and while the intention is still there, the exact character beats aren't. I'm sure this is a little Inside Baseball, but I learned a lot about who Parrish was during that scene, and how he feels about the people he interacts with at GD and in Eureka. Those little unexpected moments where I get some XP like that are one of the greatest joys for me as an actor.

In fact, this episode was when I finally got completely inside Isaac Parrish's skin and mind, and knew exactly who he was. I'm grateful to Colin, Joe, Felicia, Neil, and our director Alexandra for making all of that possible, because I could relax and enjoy being Doctor Parrish for the rest of the season.

Finally: Fargo is such a wanker! Way to abuse your power and force Isaac to do inventory so you get another shot at the girl, Doug. This isn't over. #TeamParrish

If you have any questions about this episode, please ask them in comments. I'll do my best to respond to them today.

 

* DEX is my dump stat.

** Doctor Parrish will be appearing at Kamp Krusty August 23-30.

***Doctor Parrish also owns an Illudium Q36 Explosive Space Modulator, but he won't show it to you until the third date.

**** <familyguy>AHHH! There it is. </familyguy>

io9 really liked Glimpse! Go Team Eureka!

Alisdair Wilkins at io9 really liked this week's episode of Eureka:

"Glimpse" is my favorite episode of the still young season 4.5 – it had a great central threat, it did some nice, light work on the various relationships, it had some good jokes, and it gave plenty to do for the two main guest stars.

Yay! Go Team Eureka!

Oh, there's also this (he said, as nonchalantly as possible):

But really, this episode was almost completely stolen by Wil Wheaton, making his return as Dr. Parrish. One of the best ways to shake up a show like Eureka is to bring in a character whose energy completely contrasts with that of the cast. In previous cycles, that's generally meant bringing in someone mysterious and possibly sinister – James Callis last year, Eva Thorne before that – but Dr. Parrish is something else entirely: he's just a massive asshole. Wheaton is pretty damn brilliant in the role, giving no quarter to Fargo or Carter in his interactions with them while also revealing just why he's so thoroughly antisocial. His brief flirting with Holly was also great, being charming in the way that only a dude who is a total dick can be, and bodes very well for the mooted love triangle between Fargo, Holly, and Parrish.

Thanks, Alasdair! I think you're going to be very pleased with the rest of season 4.5.

EUREKA: Glimpse

Last night's Eureka, Glimpse, was my first episode as a non-enraged-by-the-enraginator-device Doctor Parrish. I had completely forgotten about Fargo's commercial for the Astraeus project at the top of the show; when I saw that, the excitement of shooting the entire season came flooding back to me all at once.

We filmed it so long ago, I don't remember much about it, but what I do recall, quite clearly, is how worried I was about finding the right "pitch" for Parrish's arrogance and irritation with everyone around him. He's supposed to be a guy you love to hate, a thorn in Fargo's side, and if he's just a straight out dick, I think we get tired of him really quickly.

The first scene I shot was actually at the beginning of the episode, in Café Diem, when I present the banana slugs to Fargo and Holly.* I was actually performing Parrish for the first time (remember, in All the Rage, he was only "normal" Parrish in two brief scenes before the enragenation enraginated), and I didn't really have a feel for his character beyond the notes I'd made in my script. Luckily for me, our producer Matt Hastings was on set that day, and I asked him to watch the choices I made during rehearsal. Matt assured me that I was portraying Parrish the way the writers and producers intended, and over the course of that day, I settled into him. Watching it last night, I saw a couple of moments I'd like to change, but that's just part of being an actor; I have to watch my performances with a critical eye, or I'll get lazy and stop learning.

Wasn't Felicia magnificent? I remember having so much fun with her and Neil when we shot the stuff in his office with Stan Lee**, but I had no idea that the three of us would grow so close over the next couple of months. I can't wait for Eureka viewers to see how the relationship among us develops in the weeks to come.

I also remember shooting the scene where Colin gets all that slug gel dumped on him. It was at the very end of a very long day, and none of us expected as much slug gel to come pouring out as we saw on TV. Erica and I were off camera for dialog, and I remember laughing so hard, tears were streaming down my face. He kept improvising lines like, "you — you're a bad, bad person" and "I … I thought we were friends," and [mournful sobbing]. By the time that take was over (and we only got one), the entire crew was laughing as hard as Erica and I were.

My favorite scene in this episode, though, is the scene with Carter and Parrish in the police station. Colin and I found this relationship between the two of them where he is patient and understanding, while Parrish thinks he is just a stupid hick who doesn't know a damn thing about anything. That relationship plays out in future episodes, and it's something I just loved discovering.

Did you notice that Parrish set aside his arrogance and irritation and tried to work with Fargo when it was clear that GD was about to get all explodey? If you blink, I think you'll miss it***, but it was an important, if subtle, character modulation for me. Parrish thinks he's the smartest guy in the room (and he's usually right), but even he knows that there's a time to set personal bullshit aside and stop the world from blowing up.

If you watched the show last night, I'd love to hear what you thought about it. I'll also do my best to answer any questions you have about it … and I hope you'll join me on #TeamParrish.

*For those wondering, the "slugs" were actually made out of figs and dates. You never really got to see them up close, but they looked totally gross, like they really were dried slugs. Parrish ate some in one scene that was cut, and they actually tasted pretty good.

**ZOMG STAN LEE.

*** Don't blink, you fools! The Angels have the phonebox!

 

My 2011 Phoenix Comicon Schedule

This weekend, I will be at the Phoenix Comicon. I think this is my third or fourth year attending, so I've been able to watch the con expand (the vendor's area this year could hold the entire con the first year I attended) without losing its soul, or all the things that make it awesome.

I am quick to point out that conventions reflect the personalities of their organizers. If a promoter wants to get as much of your money as possible, then a con's going to feel that way, no matter who the guests are or what the programming is. If a promoter wants to make sure everyone has a really good time, gets the most for their money, and can't wait to come back next year, then you'll feel that, too.  After about four hours at my first Phoenix Comicon, I knew that I was going to like whoever promoted it (Matt, with whom I've become pretty good friends), because the show was awesome. Same thing with FedCon, same thing with PAX, same thing with Emerald City.

Anyway, I'm really looking forward to going to Phoenix this year, and if you're coming out to the show, I hope you'll say hello to me so I can thank you for reading my blog.

Last year, I committed to far too many panels and things, so this year my schedule is a lot easier for me (and hopefully, I won't succumb to major conSARS when I get home due to exhaustion like last time.)

Here's my schedule this year:

Friday 7:30pm – Storytime With Wil. Come join me as I perform some of my favorite stories for you. I'm bringing some unreleased bits from Memories of the Future, Volume 2 that I can't wait to share, and there will be a particularly dramatic performance of The Last Unicorn (Pegasus Kitten).

Saturday 4:30-5:30 – Jaime Paglia's Eureka. Season 4.5 of Eureka is right around the corner, and you'll finally get to know my character, Doctor Isaac Parrish, as the season unfolds. Jaime and I are here to tell you what we can, and answer your questions about this awesome show.

The rest of the con, I'll be signing books and pictures and other cool things in the vendor's hall. I will have copies of MEMORIES OF THE FUTURE VOLUME ONE, The special expanded edition of THE HAPPIEST DAYS OF OUR LIVES, THE DAY AFTER AND OTHER STORIES, and SUNKEN TREASURE. I will also have a bunch of 8x10s from my various shows and characters. As always, there is no charge for an autograph if you bring me your own thing to sign.

Oh! Oh! Oh! If you missed this on Twitter or Tumblr: Joel Watson and I made this T-shirt. We love it so much, I'm bringing a small number prints to the con that I will sign and number.

I know, right? I love it.

Finally, because it was such a hit at Emerald City Comicon, I'm bringing a set of The Complete Works of Me, Wil Wheaton (being an incomplete collection of the audio, video, and textual works of me, Wil Wheaton).

If you're wondering what that is, and can't be bothered to follow that link (and who can, really? We're all very busy these days), here's a little cut-n-paste that I did just for you:

A bunch of my friends who are musicians release their entire catalogs on a USB drive (Paul and Storm, and Jonathan Coulton are two who you probably know), which lets people get a whole bunch of stuff on something that's small enough to fit in their pocket, and has the added bonus of being a nifty USB drive that can be used for TOTALLY DIFFERENT THINGS once the files are copied off of it. I know, right?! Isn't the future amazing?!

I have a bunch of work that's in multiple formats, including text, audio, and video, so I thought I'd collect as much of it as I could and offer my own USB drive thingy at cons, w00tstocks, and maybe as a big old honkin' zipfile at Lulu or something later this year.

I'm not sure anyone wants this sort of thing, though, so I haven't invested in the number of USB drives I'd need to purchase to make it cost-effective. I'm testing the waters at ECCC with an extremely limited number of DVDs containing something I'm calling The Complete Works of Me, Wil Wheaton (being an incomplete collection of the audio, video, and textual works of me, Wil Wheaton).

It's pretty much what it sounds like. Here's the README I created, which will make people who write and rely on actual README files twitch a little bit:

Congratulations, dear sir or madam! You are now in possession of a truly remarkable collection, guaranteed to restore even the most ill-humoured man, woman, or child to gaiety and mirth.

Included in this delightful volume are three separate collections. They are as follows:

Text: For the gentleman or lady who wishes to escape the hum drum modern world, we offer these portals to the past … and the future! These turgid tales of mirth and marauder can be read off an automatic teletype device, or given to a reputable printer for conversion to portable paper format.

Audio: Voices and music appear, as if drawn by magic from the aether itself, or perhaps from a more sinister locale beyond! A warning to the faint of heart or soft of spirit: some of these recordings are of a most uncouth and ribald nature! Let the listener beware!

Video: Pictures that appear to magically move, transporting the viewer to locations mundane and fantastical. 

The buyer is cautioned that these files are for personal use, and unless expressly and explicitly noted, are not to be reproduced for commercial or personal gain.

All files are copyright 2010-2011 Wil Wheaton. Some files are released under Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share-Alike license. For more information, please visit creativecommons.org

There are three different directories, described thusly:

Audio

This directory contains the following:

Audiobooks:

Just A Geek

This is an audio performance of my first book Just A Geek. It is the super-bonus-holy-crap-is-it-really-nine-hours-long version because my friend David and I ended up including a lot of asides and what I called “audio footnotes”. You could think of it as the Director’s Extended Cut That Runs in Parallel With The Regular Cut, if you like.

The Happiest Days of Our Lives

I was so happy with Just A Geek, David and I got together again to do this one. It’s similar to Just A Geek, but David added in some nice interstitial music between each chapter. You know, for kids.

Podcasts:

Memories of the Futurecast Episodes 1-13

In the weeks leading up to the release of Memories of the Future Volume One, I started a promotional podcast. Each week, I read an excerpt from the book, and added some of my own comments. I’m especially proud of this podcast, and if you enjoy it, you’ll certainly enjoy Memories of the Future, which is in the text directory. All the shownotes and links are at http://memoriesofthefuturecast.com

Radio Free Burrito Episodes 0-4 and 9-31. 

Let me save you some searching: I never did an episode 2, and for some reason skipped straight to episode 3. I’m not sure exactly why, that’s just how we did things back in those days.

I left out Episodes 5-8 because the really, really suck. If you are determined to hear them, they are online. After Episode 9, though, the show starts to come together as I get comfortable and have more and more fun each time.

In addition to almost all the RFBs, I included Lakeside Shadow as a stand alone track, and Radio Free Burrito’s Mixtape (Volume One).

All files are .mp3, except for RFB episode 9, which is an enhanced podcast that apparently only plays on Apple devices. Sorry about that; I was young and foolish then (I feel old and foolish now). Just for shits and giggles, another short original tune I made, JazzyJazzJazz is also included. Don’t ever say I never gave you something for shits and giggles, kids.

All the shownotes and other neat-o things can be found at: http://radiofreeburrito.com

W00tstock from Los Angeles

This is an audience recording of the third w00tstock we did, at Largo. I think it’s hilarious and awesome, and I hope it inspires you to come see us to w00tstock in person whenever we come to a town near you. More information about w00tstock is at http://www.w00tstock.net

The Criminal Minds Production Diary

In July 2008, I worked on Criminal Minds, in episode 404, titled Paradise. I played serial killer and all around Very Bad Man Floyd Hansen. I keep a diary during production, which was printed in Sunken Treasure. I recorded it as a standalone audio thingy, with my usual asides and additional comments.

Video

Moments With Wil

One day I got it into my head that it would be amusing to make these little 30 second videos where I did something stupid, and then thanked the viewer for “spending this moment with me.” The problem was, they just didn’t work on their own, and I ended up showing the 15 I made to a few friends, before forgetting about them.

When we were putting together w00tstock, and the decision was made to include some short silly films, I knew that Moments With Wil had finally found a home. This is the first time all of them have been collected into one place and viewed by anyone who doesn’t also live in my house.

Stupid Cellphone Videos

While working on Eureka in 2010, I had one of those days where I was called in early, but ended up not working for almost seven hours. Sure, it was nice to earn a paycheck for sitting around and playing Plants Versus Zombies all day on my iPad, but I eventually got bored … and these stupid cellphone videos were born. It’s basically the Moments With Wil concept, without the fancy-smanchy titles and credits. As of this collection, there are 14 of them.

Text (which I wanted to call Text-eo, but didn't, because I'm apparently a chicken)

This directory contains nearly all of my writing, with the notable exception of Just A Geek and Dancing Barefoot, to which I sadly do not own the electronic rights. The Happiest Days of Our Lives is also absent, because a decent electronic version simply does not exist at the moment.

HOWEVER! What is here is pretty swell:

The directory HUNTER contains three different formats of my short tale Hunter (see how that works?), which is a short sci-fi story, set in a dark and desperate world. 

I have also included several chapbooks. They are:

Sunken Treasure – Wil Wheaton’s Hot Cocoa Box Sampler. 

This is just what it sounds like: a sample collection of all the different types of writing I do. I often suggest this book to people who are unfamiliar with my work, as it gives them a chance to find out if they’re going to like my work, and if they do, where they’d like to go next.

Games Matter

This is a collection of gaming-related essays and stories. It was prepared for GenCon in 2010. I’m really proud of this little book, and I plan to give it a wider release in 2011, with some additional material, including my two keynotes to PAX and PAX East.

Memories of The Future Volume One

Part memoir, part episode guide, part behind-the-scenes, all told from the perspective of a guy who is looking though his high school yearbook, facepalming and declaring “I can’t believe I thought that was cool.”

Volume One covers the first season of Star Trek: The Next Generation from Farpoint to Datalore. Volume Two, which goes from Angel One to The Neutral Zone will be released in 2011.

The Day After and Other Stories

A short collection of short fiction, originally released as a chapbook at PAX in 2009. In order to get over my fear of writing and publishing short (and eventually longer) fiction, I released it as a print book in December 2010 for just 10 days, then released it as an eBook in January 2011. It is presented here in PDF and pub formats.

140 – The Stupid Twitter Book

I had this idea to make a short, small book, like the little Tao and Zen books you see in card stores and car washes. It would contain 140 of my stupid little Twitter things that made me laugh. I spent the better part of a day putting it all together, and then realized that Lulu, where I do most of my self-publishing, was going to charge something like $60 per copy, because it was a full color printing process for some strange reason. I didn’t think it was worth $60 (or anything more than $5, really) so I shelved the project. It’s not the same to read it as an eBook, but it’s still funny, and I think it’s kind of cool. For the moment, you’re one of 31 people in the world to see it, which includes the 10 people who bought this DVD at Emerald City Comic Con and my wife.

 

Terrifying Tales from The House of Secrets and The Witching Hour!

When I was in Vancouver for Eureka last year, I got to know downtown pretty well. I had a couple of pubs I loved, two grocery stores that took care of all my food needs, and more great restaurants than I could shake a hockey stick at. I also found a comic shop that was just a few blocks from my apartment, that became a frequent recipient of my per diem.

One day I wandered into the comic shop, and after pulling a few current books and some TPBs, I came across a display near the back where they were selling bags of older comics for a couple of bucks each. I absolutely love these old books, because they remind me of the comics I bought at the drugstore when I was a kid and read until their pages were falling apart. I grabbed a bag of DC Mystery comics, and raced back to my apartment as excitedly as I raced home from Sunland Discount Variety when I was in elementary school.

If I could legally scan the entirety of each issue, just so I could share how wonderful it is with the world, I would, but since that's pretty much frowned upon by, well, everyone, I pulled a few scans to give you a sense of what I loved reading when I was 8 years-old.

You can click all of these images to embiggen them at Flickr.

To 8 year-old me, stories like this were creepy and cool without being too gruesome or corny. To 38 year-old me, they were simply delightful.

Unexpected #205Johnny Peril 1 Johnny Peril 2

Johnny Peril 3 The Witching Hour Bruce the Barbarian

I think the absolute best part of these old comics, though, are the adverts. For many of us in Generation X, these things are as much a part of the comic book experience as the actual stories themselves.

One Page of Adverts Superman Sells Twinkees

This is on the back cover of the magazine. I present it without comment, even though I desperately want to say … things.

Before he killed people, OJ Simpson sold boots

I'd like to thank the people who created these comics for entertaining me 30 years ago as much as they do today. I'd also like to thank DC in advance for not suing me.

on the benefits of being unplugged

There's a saying, possibly apocryphal, that actors act for free, but get paid to wait. If you've ever spent any time on a set, this will probably make a lot of sense to you; a day on the set usually features extended periods of boredom, punctuated by brief moments of terror — oh, wait, that's something else. My bad. Let me try again: filming a television show or movie usually long hours of inaction, broken up by all-too brief moments of actually working. Contrary to popular belief, film sets just aren't that exciting (unless we're blowing something up), and though a job where you clock in for 12 hours but actually "work" for 5 probably sounds awesome, most actors I know (including myself) would rather work straight through and perform all day, if given the option.

Different actors do different things during these breaks in filming. Depending on how long they are, some of us will go to our dressing rooms to relax or learn lines. Others will go to our cast chairs to read a book or learn lines. There's always the trip to craft service to graze while we learn lines, too.

My time on Eureka this season didn't feature that many extended breaks, because the assistant directors did a pretty great job building a schedule that was efficient and focused. There were only a couple days where I had long hours of waiting (which I put to questionably good use), but I pretty much went to work, worked, and went home.

Most of my scenes this season were with Neil Grayston and Felicia Day because [SPOILER]. The three of us are, as the kids say, wired, so during our breaks in filming, it was pretty common for us to retire to our cast chairs with our phones, where we'd sit together and read amusing twitter messages to each other, reference each other in our simultweets, and do other activities that, to an untrained observer, appeared solitary, when they actually weren't. (Erica Cerra was constantly teasing us about sitting within a few feet of each other and talking without ever making eye contact.) It was all amusing and fun, especially when we made stupid cell phone videos together.

One day, though, we worked at a location where there was no internet or cell coverage. As it happened, it was also a day where pretty much everyone in the cast was filming the same scene. During our breaks, we all hung out together and, unable to connect to the Internet, had actual face to face conversations that didn't involve LOLCats or some funny comment on Twitter.

It was, in other words, just like the old days, and … well, I really liked it. I felt a connection to my friends and fellow actors that was stronger than usual, that I didn't even realize I'd been missing. I recall wonderful conversations with Joe Morton about going to see the movies in an actual theater versus watching them at home, and fascinating conversations with Niall Matter about his time working on oil rigs in Edmonton. It was one of my favorite days on the set this past season.

Since that day, about a month ago, I've made conscious efforts to turn off my cell phone, get offline, and spend more time back in the analog world. The first few weeks of this were tough, because I kept feeling like I was missing something important (and there have been countless times I've thought, "Oh! I have to Twitter that!" only to realize that I can't. This is not a bad thing.) I have to tell you, I'm happier for it. It's really nice and quite convenient to be plugged in all the time, but, for me at least, it comes at a price that I wasn't even aware of until I wasn't paying it. If you can handle going offline, even if it's only for an afternoon, I highly recommend it; there's a lot of people and world out there that you don't even know you're missing.

The Circle is Complete

Late last night, we wraped season four of Eureka. During a break in filming, I grabbed Neil Grayston and made one final stupid cellphone video from the set:

 

You can see all my stupid cellphone videos at my YouTube page of stupid videos.

more stupid cell phone videos and the return of evil wil wheaton

In a couple hours, I'll be on my way back to Los Angeles for a few days, so I can work on The Big Bang Theory. I obviously can't say anything about the episode, but I got the script last night, and it's just hilarious. I can't wait to see my friends there again, and bring a little Evil Wil Wheaton to life.

I'm nearly finished with this season of Eureka. I only have two more days of production until next season (if Doctor Parrish comes back next season, which I really hope he does) and I have a lot of conflicting emotions about that. On the one hand, I'm looking forward to seeing my family again, and I plan on taking some time off to play games and recharge my creative batteries when I get home … on the other hand, I really love living in Vancouver and working on Eureka every day. The cast and crew are just awesome, and I've made some very good friends while working on the show in the last few months who I'll miss seeing almost every day. Yesterday, I was talking with Neil Grayston about this, and he said out that, since Colin lives in Los Angeles between seasons, a lot of the actors — including himself and Niall, who I've become very good friends with — come down to visit, and we'll have a few opportunities to get the band back together and hang out. I really hope that we do.

***

In other news, I made a couple more stupid cell phone videos:

 

When I posted this video on Twitter, I was delighted to get numerous replies from people who had made three, then two, then one frame summaries of it. I retweeted the ones that made me laugh the most, which you can see for yourself in my retweets, if you're interested in that sort of thing.

Everything you ever wanted to know about that T-shirt is right here.

I am easily amused.