Category Archives: Shane Nickerson

Guest Post by Shane Nickerson: Old and Stinky

Shane Nickerson is a father of three and a TV producer. He occasionally writes at Nickerblog.

At night, my dog slinks into the living room and jumps up on the couch with me. He’s a whippet mix that we adopted from a rescue fair in 2005. Max. He came with the name.

He’s a gentle dog, eternally happy that we saved him from a lonely life lived, abandoned and sleeping underneath parked cars in South Central Los Angeles. He showed no signs of abuse, but he was found with no tags and covered in dirt and oil stains. When we met him, we immediately liked him. My two year old ran up to him before we could stop her, and he licked her face gently. In the hectic hot sun of a park filled with excited dogs waiting for new humans to please take them home, he was panting and scattered; flitting back and forth on his leash, desperately trying to make sense of the unusual crowded mixture of people and animals around him. We struggled for a moment, still grieving the loss of our previous whippet mix, but his gentle spirit and perpetual smile won us over. After some discussion, we took home our new friend.

It’s become more difficult for him lately. He has arthritis in his right hind leg, and the boundless energy we used to curse has become a casualty of his age. He still gets after the squirrels every morning, but in the same way an old man tries to keep up with the grandkids. The desire is still there, but the pep is waning.

He liked me best, almost right away. We lived in a two bedroom rented beach cottage in the South Bay, and he’d lay with his head on my lap every night as I fell asleep watching TV in our tiny living room. The back yard was an exceptionally large one for Manhattan Beach, and there was nothing he loved more than chasing the tennis ball on a rope that I’d throw endlessly across the yard. When I ran out of energy, he’d stay outside and race around in the overgrown thicketed lot until panting exhaustion. A single abrasive bark was my cue to come let him back inside. It’s one of those barks that’s impossible to ignore. Grating. Unpleasant. It’s incredibly effective at getting me off of the couch.

These days, he goes outside to sniff the air and do a quick patrol around our much smaller yard in the Valley, but within a few minutes, he’s at the back door firing off that same annoying bark. Old man Max.

My kids want a puppy.

(All kids want a puppy.)

They put together a presentation for us on why we should get a brand new puppy. It was cute, but I had to pass on their proposal.

“Max is our dog,” I told them, “and if he could talk, he’d tell you he’s not interested in a new puppy roommate.”

“But puppies are so cute,” they persisted, “and Max is old and stinky!”

A fair point.

“We can talk about a puppy after Max dies,” I mistakenly told them.

“So we can get a puppy after he’s dead?” they asked eagerly.

Oh no.

“We can TALK about it,” I said.

“Yay! As soon as Max dies, we can get a puppy! As soon as Max dies, we can get a puppy!” they sang.

I’ve inadvertently made my children excited for the death of our family dog. Great work, me. Pretty glad Max can’t speak English.

He’s old and stinky, it’s true. But he’s the most loyal, gentle, patient dog I’ve ever lived with. He’s endured three children in all stages of their mayhem. He’s been colored on, had his hair pulled and eyes poked, had his tail yanked and ears gouged, and he’s never so much as nipped at them. He still sleeps with me on the couch for as long as he can endure the discomfort of his arthritic leg. When I come home from work, he’s still as excited as the first day we brought him home.

So yes, maybe someday we’ll get another dog.

But for now, this old stinky one is the only one we need.

Guest Post From Shane Nickerson: Routine

Shane Nickerson is a father of three and a TV producer. He occasionally writes at Nickerblog.

“We will miss the crying days,” I mumbled to my wife as she crawled out of bed to accompany our three year old back to her room after a bad dream.  “Someday, we’ll wish we could come back to right here.”  She grunted at me with what I’m sure must have been a, “You’re right honey. You’re the best!” I fell back asleep and woke up several hours later to find her already making the kids’ lunches. Halfway through cup two of coffee, she had a significant head start on Monday. I walked to the coffee cabinet of our kitchen and pulled down a silver bag of Tonx beans. I pulled out a scale, and carefully measured 30g of beans for my 16 oz. cup of morning coffee. I dumped them into the hopper of a burr grinder, pulverized the beans into a grainy pile, then savored the perfect aroma before adding the grounds to the chamber of an AeroPress. The AeroPress is a flawlessly designed re-imagining of the French Press.  It makes a great cup. This is my coffee ritual.

“I’ll miss these days,” I tell myself.

My kids are up by 7:20.  By then, I’m usually checking the news or twitter or stocks or Facebook or Reddit or all of them over and over while I drink my coffee. On the couch. In the same spot every morning. I am a modern version of a parent. My newspaper has been replaced by a Macbook.

Shower, choose a pair of jeans, a pair of Jordans and probably an American Apparel Tri-Blend tee in grey or charcoal, put on a watch and go to work. I am 42, but I dress like I wish I wasn’t. In the car, Howard Stern is mid rant. He has become my driving companion over these last six years. A constant voice drowning out the monotonous short drive down the 101 to the 134 Freeway. It calms me.

Routines creep up on you. For so long I resisted them, desperate to stay fresh and chaotic. Lately, I realize how much I savor them, depend on them, and create them. Calm within the chaos.

Exit Buena Vista and make a left. The construction on the overpass is finally over. They fixed it or moved it or widened it or whatever. I can go left again. My drive is back to normal. Stern hands it over to Robin for the news.

Everyone is alive. My parents are healthy, my siblings are healthy, their families are healthy and mine is healthy. My friends don’t feel old yet (although their grey hair is moving quickly from a few strands towards “the battle is lost”), and most of the people I’ve known for a long time are alive and okay. I will miss these days, my routine mind reminds me. These days are numbered. We’ve always known that.

My last ten years blinked by. All of my years have blinked by. I have lived so many lifetimes, each grouped under a banner. High School. College. Actor. Producer. Father. All of it together. None of it possible.

I arrive home at 7ish. My wife has the thousand yard stare from her day long battle against routine, and I hand her the bottle of pretty good wine I picked up at Ralph’s on the way home (she texted me). My kids are happy to see me, partly because I’m their dad and partly because I’m a new face after a day of the same 4 faces. I hug them. They tell me about Minecraft and what they built and the mods they want. I play their games and chase them and hug them and read them books and catch up and try my best to cram a day into an hour. “I need more time for them,” I think. “Cats in the Cradle,” my brain bleats. “Not fair,” I bleat back. That song is my weakness. A constant warning against making the wrong choices.

They finally get in bed and go to sleep and my wife and I watch an episode of House of Cards. I struggle to keep my eyes open, and it’s only 9:30pm. We are turning into parents. That’s what the parenting books don’t tell you. For ten years, you’re a kid pretending to be a parent. And then suddenly, you’re a parent wishing you were still a kid. The chaos you once thrived upon has been replaced by the deep appreciation for those valuable moments of wonderful and calming routine.

I find my place on the couch and open my computer.

At night, the world stops.

I’ll miss these days.

I’m on a boat, so I invited some guest bloggers to entertain you until I get back.

In a few hours, Anne and I will step into a metal tube in Los Angeles, and emerge from that metal tube in Florida. Tomorrow, we will get onto a boat, and we will live on that boat for five days and twenty-three romantic nights, plus two nights that aren’t romantic, but involve an intense discussion of curling.

While we are away on JoCoCruse Crazy 4: The Fouthening, I’ve invited some of my friends to come back and guest blog, SO THAT YOU MAY BE ENTERTAINED!

Please welcome back, my friends, to the show that never ends…

Stephen “Stepto” Tolouse

Meet Stepto. Stepto is probably best known as the leader of The Steptos, and as the former banhammer at Xbox Live. Stepto is a wonderful, thoughtful writer, and once pulled a man’s finger in Reno just to watch him fart. He’s the author of A Microsoft Life, and last year released a comedy album called A Geekster’s Paradise. He blogs at stepto.com and is @stepto on the Steptos.

Will “Two Ls Is One More Than One L” Hindmarch

Will is a writer, graphic artist, game designer, and better at all of these things than he gives himself credit for. If you’ve ever played a game from White Wolf, you’ve probably played something Will put his filthy hands all over. If you’ve played the Fiasco playset we played on Tabletop, you’ve played something that Will and I wrote together. If you’ve read Memories of the Future Volume 1, you’ve seen a cover that Will designed. He blogs at wordstudio.net and is @wordwill on the twitters.

Shane “No Nickname Because Nick is Already In His Name” Nickerson.

I’ve known Shane for mumblecough years, ever since we did shows together at the ACME Comedy Theater. Shane is the executive producer of Rob Dyrdek’s Fantasy Factory and Ridiculousness. Shane is one of the funniest people I know, and that’s saying something. He’s also an incredible father to three kids, never uses Comic Sans, and has paid me off exactly the right number of times in poker games. Shane blogs at nickerblog.com and is @ShaneNickerson on the twitters.

And please welcome, for the first time…

Ryan “Dammit Ryan!” Wheaton

Ryan is my son, and is a wonderful fiction writer. I started raising Ryan when he was six, and when he was nineteen, he asked me to adopt him, which I totally did. Ryan is a deadly good Tabletop gamer, a clever Twitter hacker, a MENSA member, and one of the three most important people in my life. He doesn’t know how to look for things in the fridge, and is the Tweetybox as @SirWheaton (and occasionally as @wilw, dammit).

Brad “Otis” Willis

I first became aware of Otis’ writing back in the poker days, when he wrote magnificent narratives about the game in the style of Alvarez and Holden. Eventually, we worked together at PokerStars, and we have spent many regretful evenings together playing Pai-Gow. He’s one of my favorite people to put on tilt, and is a genuinely talented writer and storyteller. He’s @bradwillis on the Twitters.

Please welcome this team of talented, funny, smart, and interesting people to WWdN, and make them feel at home. I’ll expect a full report when I get home from my trip, and don’t even try to replace the fish if they die. I’ll know.

Will Hindmarch and Stepto and Shane Nickerson Are The Best Ever: A Post by the Real Wil Wheaton

INTERNET I AM IN YOU.

So, you guys, I’ve decided to let Will Hindmarch and Stepto and Shane Nickerson stay on at the blog forever and ever because they are so great at blogging. I mean, I’m great at it, too, but together I figure we’re like a great rock-and-roll band like what’s that band that’s made out of robotic lions? We’re like that band. I’ll form the head!

Seriously, these guest bloggers totally blew me away. They’re phenomenal writers, each and every. I think I felt every feel just now as I went back and read all their posts from this week. What generous and wise and funny and did I mention wise fellows these once-guest, now-forever bloggers were. I’m buying them all burritos.

I’m going to go brew the beers now, like you do, and let these guys do some more blogging because, like I promised, they get to blog here with me from now on forever and no take-backs. Okay? Okay. Burritos.

Signed,

Totally the Real Wil Wheaton Totally*

*(Not at all totally or at all)

Guest Blog by Shane Nickerson: Endgame

Shane Nickerson is a guy who does stuff. He writes every day at nickerblog.com.

So, I never told you the Vegas story and now we’re out of time. Dammit. You would have liked it. It had laughs and drinks and delicious meals and gambling and foibles.

I have no idea what foibles means.

Point is, I’ll leave the Vegas story for another time. Unlike Wil, I didn’t take detailed notes all weekend in my Moleskine. Also, I don’t have a proper picture of three grown men holding giant plastic party drinks at a Let It Ride table because someone in the group (name rhymes with Bil) thought it would be hilarious and insisted on sticking with the bit even when we begged him for the bit to be over. BEGGED! I eventually paid our friend Ryan [drunk amount of] dollars to pound one of the stupid drinks in under a minute. He did. Like I said, there is video.

Also, there was a running Telly Savalas joke that I barely remember.

VEGAS!

Worst recap ever.

If my calendar is right, Wil and the rest of the singing, dancing, sunburned booze hounds aboard JoCo Cruise Crazy are almost home. Alas, my time here is at an end. It’s been fun borrowing Wil’s audience for a week. Will and Stepto and I did our best to keep his chair warm while he was gone. We were the Joan Rivers to Wil’s Johnny Carson. 3 or 4 of you will get that.

Thanks for having me.  This community is amazing. WWdN is an epicenter of creativity and connections, and it has always been one of my favorite places on the Internet.

If you need me, you know where to find me.

TELLY SAVALAS FOREVER!

See? Makes no sense.

Guest Blog by Shane Nickerson: bombed

 Shane Nickerson hates the word “selfies.” He inhabits nickerblog.com.

bombed

I know I joked about posting compromising photos of Wil, but let’s be honest, there aren’t any. Instead, here’s one of my favorite photos on my phone from Wil’s epic 40th surprise birthday party. A multi layered photo bomb featuring Wil (holding the coolest Dalek stein ever), Chris Mackenzie, Jesse Mackey, Philip “Photobomber” Plait, me and a few others. It was the best surprise party I’ve ever attended. Anne set the bar so high on throwing a surprise party that no one should ever even attempt to throw another one ever for the rest of time forever and ever infinity. That category is now closed out.

I seriously cannot get enough of photobombing. Please everyone keep doing this to pictures ALL OF THE TIMES.

 

Guest Blog by Shane Nickerson: Start

Shane Nickerson is a guy on a couch. You can find him at nickerblog.com.

You don’t have to start with something perfect, but you do have to start with something.

As someone who struggles daily to actually believe that I am an artist, I am constantly inspired by people who push through the darkest hour of creating new things: the self-doubt phase. It’s a gloomy time right after you have a big idea, because all of those negative brainbots activate to convince you that it won’t work/isn’t good enough/has probably been done/shouldn’t happen/is stupid. I’ve had an idea, gotten excited about it, let my mind imagine the possibilities, registered a relevant domain name, then murdered the idea in cold blood when that negativity prevails. All in under an hour.

The alternative, which is much more difficult, is to have faith in an idea. That faith, a firm belief in something for which there is no proof, becomes essential when the dark voices start piping up with the “dude, don’t bother!” or the “who are you kidding, you’re not an artist?” It carries me through the murky transitional zone between “ZOMG IDEA!” and “BEGIN BUILDING IDEA.”  Anyone can think of something. Doing something is much more difficult.

If you listen to critics of art and begin to believe them, you will never make anything. Critics are everywhere. They slam movies, writing, ideas, creative decisions, people, past work, future work and at their worst, assume they understand someone else’s motivation for creating something. They’re on Twitter, on Facebook, blogs, at your work, sometimes in your family. These people shit on other people’s efforts because being a critic is easy. It requires no skill, no effort, and no faith. Most of all, being critical justifies those dark voices in their own heads about why their ideas aren’t good enough. If you’re not careful, it will justify your own as well.

One of the loudest voices in my head, the real dick of all the voices, likes to tell me that what I’m making won’t be perfect. It’s an impossible standard to live up to, perfection, and is therefore an effective weapon against my own creativity. I’m often tempted to give up before I begin. But I’ve tried to stop doing that. After 41 years, I’ve finally begun to realize that you have to start. You have to begin to make something before you can worry about how it’s going to end up. If you don’t start, you have nothing.

I want to be like the people who keep pushing forward, in spite of the critics, self doubt, and uncomfortable odds. They try new things. They take risks. They eat shit sometimes. They get back up and try other new things. Their successes are widely embraced. Their misfires are lonely. Most of all, their art is inspiring.

If I’ve learned anything in my shaky life as an artist, it’s that you must stop talking and spinning and whining and start making your thing today. Pick up a camera. Pick up an easel. Open your laptop and turn off your Internet connection while you write. Find a starting point. Ignore the voices. Ignore the critics. Reward yourself for having ideas by valuing them enough to believe in them.

Failure does not exist.

Guest Blog by Shane Nickerson: Your Turn

Shane Nickerson is a great speller, but he makes up his own grammar. You can find him at nickerblog.com

If you live wrong for long enough, you can forget how to get back.

I’ve spent a significant portion of my life trying to impress people who barely know me. It’s a curse, I think. Unjustified vanity. I suppose it’s what drove me into a career in entertainment. It’s also probably why I blog, tweet, Facebook, Instagram, G+, Vine, and [insert new social media fad here]. It’s clearly what’s driving me to write this entry. I’ve heard theories about why certain people spend most of their lives trying to gain all of the social acceptance they missed out on as kids. Alas, understanding the character flaw does nothing to eliminate the character flaw.

Part of getting older is the discovery that there is no end plateau you eventually reach where everything is finally perfect. Maturity is a myth. You spend the first half of your life chasing maturity and the second half figuring out how to be escape it.  By the end of 2012, I was feeling lost. A show that I produced had recently ended after five seasons, I was on the tail end of a six month decline into party/pig mode, and I started to feel like I didn’t have a lot of real friends in my life. Three kids and a busy job make it difficult to invest time into old friendships, and before you know it, years have gone by and you’ve drifted into deep, lonely water.

Wil and I actually don’t see each other very often, IRL. He’s busy, I’m busy. It’s nothing to lament; it’s how life works. He is, however, one of those people who makes it easy to pick up where we left off, even if it’s been months (or years) since actually hanging out. Friends like that are important. They can, in an instant, remind you how to get back. They can help you to remember what matters and who you are. They can make it clear to you that you’ve been spending too much time trying to impress the people you barely know at the expense of the people you actually do. They can do all of these things without even knowing they’ve done them.

In spite of our separate schedules, we’ve always managed to stay in touch via email, Twitter and blogging. Each time I visit WWdN feels like visiting an old friend. I’ll bet most of you feel the same way…

What keeps you coming back here? His writing? His acting? Did TableTop change your life? Is beer also your spirit animal? Did he sign your boobs at a convention? (PIX OR IT DIDN’T HAPZ)

Now’s your chance, while he’s away at sea. What’s your Wil Wheaton story? What is it, specifically that connects you to him?

Guest Blog by Shane Nickerson: Backstory

shanewilbirdsShane Nickerson speaks bird. You can find him at nickerblog.com.

For some reason, Wil gave me the keys to the whole Internet by allowing me to guest post here on WWdN. WHAT THE WHAT? You can imagine my excitement, as WWdN is hallowed ground for some of us longtime bloggers and blog readers. And TNG fans. Oh my god, the one where Picard gets pwned by that Alien probe and lives a whole other life and learns to play a space flute? Hawesome. Wait, was Wil even in that one? What was I talking about. Oh, right. Keys to the Internet. WWdN. It’s the place we’ve watched a guy we wish we knew from movies and TV turn into a guy we really DO know, thanks to his writing and his willingness to share his life. It’s the blog that spawned thousands of blogs (mine included), and continues to be a fascinating (and generous) glimpse at the path our friend Wil is traveling. From a Geocities Burrito, to the birth of WWdN, to several years of exile, to occasional podcasts, to multiple books and the rebirth of an acting career, we’ve been there with him. We met Anne and watched his kids grow up. We know his pets (and still miss Ferris), we know what’s in his garage, and we see our own humanity in his musings and self discoveries. We shake our fists in solidarity at the trolls and feel his victories as if they are our own. He is our friend, and we keep reading WWdN because, as he makes clear in his writing, we are also his.

I met Wil in 1999 at ACME Comedy Theater in Los Angeles. We performed onstage together and we made each other laugh. A connection. You meet someone who laughs at the same things and BOOM, kinship. My best friends are the ones who laugh the best. I started reading his blog. I started watching Star Trek: TNG. I became a fan after I became his friend.

Fourteen mumblecough years later, Wil remains one of my favorite people. He’s generous, kind, hilarious, crude, surprisingly self aware, extremely smart (like, scary smart), multi-talented, and not at all interested in football. He loves Guinness. He hates reality television. He is obsessed with numbers and odds. He’s probably two steps ahead of you in any given conversation. He doesn’t miss a goddamn thing. Who am I telling? You already know these things.

In December, Wil and I played in a degenerate poker tournament of donkeys in Las Vegas called the WPBT. We traveled together from Los Angeles, and I got to spend the weekend with this guy most of you know from WWdN. We both talked about recounting the whole hilarious weekend on our respective blogs, but neither of us ever quite got around to it. Some experiences are too big and too fun to adequately capture with a bunch of words. Or pictures. Or a video of our friend Ryan drinking one of those two foot tall, antifreeze colored Vegas drinks in under a minute on a prop bet (I lost).

Maybe I’ll tell you that story this week. Or maybe I’ll tell you about the old ACME days, and share some compromising photos. Oh, or about the time we were sitting at a Blackjack table and someone yelled across the casino, “Hey, it’s WIL WHEATON!” and without missing a beat, Wil yelled back, “REALLY? I LOVE THAT GUY!”

I’m delighted to be one of his guest bloggers this week, while he is away drinking all the beer on the big boat. Don’t worry, I won’t play many songs off the new album. I know you’re just here for the hits.

I’m on a boat: Welcome your guest bloggers!

I’m on a boat! Or, maybe I’m on my way to being on a boat, or I have recently gotten off a boat, or I suppose I was on a boat at sometime in the past. (Boy, covering all the timelines is a lot of work, you guys. I see the benefits of just leaving things in a superposition… or, at least, I think about seeing them. I don’t want to observe them and ruin a perfectly good superposition.)

So.

Last year, while I was on JoCo Cruise Crazy 2: Cruise Harder, I programmed something from my archives to publish once a day. You know, for kids. Well, this year, I didn’t have the time to search for and curate posts, so I’m doing something a little different: I invited some of my friends to take over my blog while I’m gone. They’ve been instructed to post whatever they want as frequently or infrequently as they want, and I’d like to introduce you to them now.

Meet Will Hindmarch. Will is a writer, graphic artist, game designer, and better at all of these things than he gives himself credit for. If you’ve ever played a game from White Wolf, you’ve probably played something Will put his filthy hands all over. If you’ve played the Fiasco playset we played on Tabletop, you’ve played something that Will and I wrote together. If you’ve read Memories of the Future Volume 1, you’ve seen a cover that Will designed. He blogs at wordstudio.net and is @wordwill on the twitters.

Meet Shane Nickerson. I’ve known Shane for mumblecough years, ever since we did shows together at the ACME Comedy Theater. Shane is the executive producer of Rob Dyrdek’s Fantasy Factory and Ridiculousness. Shane is one of the funniest people I know, and that’s saying something. He’s also an incredible father to three kids, never uses Comic Sans, and has paid me off exactly the right number of times in poker games. Shane blogs at nickerblog.com and is @ShaneNickerson on the twitters.

Meet Stepto. Stepto is probably best known as the leader of The Steptos, and as the former banhammer at Xbox Live. Stepto is a wonderful, thoughtful writer, and once pulled a man’s finger in Reno just to watch him fart. He’s the author of A Microsoft Life, and just released a comedy album called A Geekster’s Paradise. He blogs at stepto.com and is @stepto on the Steptos.

Please welcome this team of talented, funny, smart, and interesting people to WWdN, and make them feel at home. I’ll expect a full report when I get home from my trip, and don’t even try to replace the fish if they die. I’ll know.