Category Archives: Travel

Here’s my flabby, forty year-old, nerdy self, on the beach in Hawaii.

YEAH SEXY WIL WHEATON SHIRTLESS YEAHI’m on vacation in Hawaii (ON VACATION FROM WHAT WIL WHEATON HA HA I KNOW) with Anne.

We’ve had an absolutely amazing trip, relaxing and reading and swimming and having beers and mostly just enjoying that, after a year spent mostly apart due to my work, we finally get ten days together.

Well, today, a shitbag decided to intrude on our private vacation. He set himself up on the beach where we’re staying, pulled out a telephoto lens, and decided to take pictures of us for hours this morning.

I saw this guy around 10 this morning, and I thought to myself, “No, that guy isn’t taking my picture; I’m just being paranoid. Nobody cares about me enough to camp out on a beach and take that kind of paparazzi picture.”

Around 3, Anne and I got up from the beach, and walked back to our condo to make lunch. I saw the same guy, in the same place, with the same camera. I sort of glared at him, and he said something to me that I couldn’t hear.

“What?” I said.

“I said, ‘thank you, Wil.’” He said.

“Dude, I’m on vacation, and taking pictures like that of me and my wife isn’t cool. Would you please delete them?” I said.

“Sorry, brah,” he said, “I gotta make a living.”

“Are you serious?” I said. “I’m just trying to be on vacation with my wife, man.”

“Sorry, brah,” he said.

I absorbed the reality of what this parasite had done, and I said, “Go fuck yourself, you piece of shit.”

“Hey, if you don’t like it, go home, brah,” he said.

I was enraged. I was shaking and sick to my stomach. I walked back to my condo, and ate a sandwich (delicious PB&J with Guava Jam!) while I processed the invasion of my privacy I’d just experienced.

I was furious that this piece of shit would spend hours sitting on a beach, taking I don’t even know how many pictures of us, and then have the audacity to tell me that I should just go home if I didn’t like it. Like I was in the wrong for expecting to enjoy some time on the beach without some fucking creep using a telephoto lens to take pictures of me.

While I ate my sandwich (SO GOOD OMG) and finished my Bikini Blonde Lager, I hatched a scheme: Anne and I would render this subhuman pile of shit’s photos worthless (more worthless than they already are, because who gives a fuck about me in a bathing suit) by taking pictures of ourselves and posting them on Twitter.

So that’s what we did. And now I’m posting them here.

Thanks for giving me an anxiety attack in the middle of my vacation, brah. Good luck selling your fucking pictures, you piece of shit. Maybe go find something worthwhile to do with your life, like use that camera to take pictures of the beauty in Maui, instead of playing at being a paparazzo and making someone feel really uncomfortable when they’re just trying to enjoy some quiet time with their wife.

And now: my flabby, nerdy, 40 year-old self… and my amazingly beautiful wife:

And me, in all of my flabby, 40 year-old nerd glory:

Super sexy Wil Wheaton shirtless on the beach. YEEEAAAHHH!!!
Die in a fire, paparazzo guy. Die in a fire, brah.

in which I do not attempt to speak French

When I was in Montreal for Comicon, I had this idea to open my talk with a little bit of French. I’d apologize for not really knowing much French, but through the magic of Google Translate, I could say “good morning Montreal…” and a few other things. It would quickly fall apart into “my hovercraft is full of eels” territory, and we’d all have a good laugh at the stupid American.

The problem was, even though I had the computer talking to me and the words right in front of me, I couldn’t learn it, because French is hard. Then, I got worried that the audience would think maybe I was making fun of their language and culture, instead of my own. So I shelved the bit, and instead explained what I was going to do and why I didn’t do it. Very meta, Wheaton.

Oh? How nice of you to notice. Thanks.

So my talk (which I’ve learned is called a “conference” in Montreal) opened with that bit of pseudo humour, and then moved into what I thought was a really nice discussion about gaming and how much I love being a nerd.

At one point — and I can’t remember how exactly it came up — I mentioned something about the Stanley Cup, which turned into something about how 1993 was soooooo long ago*, which turned into something about the Maple Leafs**.

I engaged in some good-natured gloating about my beloved Los Angeles Kings being the Stanley Cup champions, and when 1500 people rightfully booed and hollered at me, here was my response:

Yes! Yes! Give in to your hatred!

“Yes! Yes! Your tears taste so good!” I declared. Then, we all had a good laugh together.

As the moment passed, I realized that I had made a careful and deliberate choice to not insult the audience’s language and culture … so I insulted their religion instead.

Post updated to include link to an audience recording of my talk.

Oops.***

*That’s when the Habs beat the Kings in the Finals

** If you don’t know why that’s funny, just forget it. You’re probably not a hockey fan and explaining it to you would only bore you and annoy the pig.

*** GO KINGS!

In which Rock Paper Scissors is played at the Montreal Comicon

Yesterday at the Montreal Comicon, a guy asked me if I would play Rock, Paper, Scissors with him. Of course I said yes.

I read him as a paper guy, so when we counted to three, I went scissors. He held up three fingers.

“What the hell is that?!” I may have almost shouted, every fibre of my being offended by the deviation from accepted Rock, Paper, Scissors norms.

“That’s the W,” he said. “It means that you automatically win.”

Just as quickly, I abandoned my blind adherence to the aforementioned norms, thrust my arms into the sky in the universal pose of victory, and made shouty noises about how I was so great.

But then … then … then it got awesome. He pulled a roll of duct tape out of his backpack, and he wrote my name on a piece of the tape, just like I do at the end of every episode of Tabletop . He held it out to me and said, “Now, for the rest of the day, everyone who sees you will know that your name is Wil, and you’re a winner.” (Just like I do at the end of each episode of Tabletop).

I shouted again, jumped out of my chair and asked him to take a picture with me, and then shouted some more.

I’m incredibly lucky and incredibly grateful that people care at all about the things I make, and it never fails to blow my mind that so many people, like this guy, do awesome things inspired by the stuff I do.

The picture below is me, wearing my winner’s tape, sitting in the Montreal airport while I wait for my flight home to board.

I’m sure this will be a FAQ, so: I am wearing my Bobak FerdowsiNASA Mohawk Guy Fan Club” T-shirt. It is awesome.

2012 Montreal Comicon – Day Two

“Will my talk be moderated, or am I setting the agenda?” I asked Dan, my convention liaison, as we got ready to head across the show floor to the theater were I’d be speaking.

He told me that I wasn’t moderated, and I could spend the hour however I wanted. I grabbed a copy of Sunken Treasure off my table and began putting together my mental setlist.

When we got into the theater, the Munchkin episode of Tabletop was playing on giant screens. About a thousand people were watching it while more people filled the remaining seats.

I’m not going to lie, Marge: seeing my show on a screen, ten feet tall and luminous, was awesome.

While I waited to go on stage, I looked through the book in my hands. I love the stories I put in there, but none of them really felt right. I cursed my damn brain for forgetting to remind me to remember to bring my iPad to the con, so I had access to the complete works of me,  Wil Wheaton, to choose from.

I looked up at the back of the screen, and saw myself playing games with my friends … and I knew exactly what I’d talk about.

When I was introduced, I walked out to a wonderful audience that made me feel like I was playing for the home team the entire time I was out there, even when I teased all of Canada about my Los Angeles Kings having the Stanley Cup. It was a great hour, where I spent about half talking about why I created Tabletop, and why gaming is so important to me. The second half I spent taking questions from the audience, talking about things from Sparks McGee to Stand By Me.

Even though I’m supremely jet lagged, and my scumbag brain has woke me up in the middle of the night and kept me awake for an hour two nights in a row that I’ve been here, I felt invigorated and damn good when I walked off that stage.

I know the talk was filmed and recorded. I hope it shows up online.

This is where I’d put a clever segue, if I wasn’t so fucking deliriously tired. Here are some pictures I took yesterday at the convention:

This adorable drawing was done by this adorable lady.

I made some more custom Cards Against Humanity cards:

I ran into two of my favourite people, and their booking agent photobombed us.

When someone asks you to sign a poster of the cast of Firefly, YOU! SAY! YES!

And then you sign right across Nathan Fillion’s junk.

So the the face I think I’m making is “oh my god this is so cute!” But it turns out that the face I’m actually making is Overly Attached Wil Wheaton.

The day ended with a game of Settlers of Catan. I started out fairly well, and then got trapped against the coast with 6 points. Luckily, I was able to build out toward the center of the board, get another city, and WIN THE FUCKING GAME with largest army and longest road.

I got so excited, I jumped up onto my chair, and nearly fell off the damn thing. I know the entire game was filmed by some guys, and I assume it will get online at some point. I’m red, if you want to try to put it all together. We’re playing on a beautiful, giant board.

I ended the day having a local beer (Maudite by Unibroue) with my friend Sam Witwer, who it turns out is on location in Montreal.

In about an hour, I’ll check out of my hotel and go back to the con for the final day. If the previous two days are any indication, it’s going to be great.

pushed up above the leaves

The plane shuddered and then rocked — not violently, but severely — from side to side. Water splashed up and out of my glass. The seatbelt light came on, and the captain announced that we were in some moderate turbulence.

I took a deep breath, put my faith in science and aeronautical engineering, and made sure my seatbelt was fastened. So it went from the Rocky Mountains to Lake Michigan. To tune it out as much as possible, I worked on the second draft of the comic script I wrote before PAX. When I finished that, I opened up a new document and worked out the page beats for six short comic stories that I’ve been playing around with in the back of my mind for about a year.

It was a very productive flight, and I was so focused on being A Writer, I didn’t even realize that the turbulence had stopped, or for how long the air had been smooth.

I grabbed the flight attendant’s attention and asked for some more water. When he walked toward the front of the cabin, I got my first good look at the man in seat 1B, across the aisle and one row ahead of me.

I … I think that’s Ray Gideon, I thought.

Ray wrote Stand By Me with Bruce Evans. The last time I saw him was on my 25th birthday at my parents house.

He looks like Ray, but a little olde– then I realized that, yes we probably would have aged at the same universal constant rate of time.

I unfastened my seatbelt, took off my headphones, and walked up to him.

“Excuse me,” I said, “did you write Stand By Me?”

He looked up at me, and I knew it was him before he answered.

“Yes, I did,” he began.

“I love that movie so much,” I said with a smile. I paused for a second as he smiled back at me. “I was Gordie in that movie,” I added.

I watched his brain try to match up the way I look now with the way I looked when I was twenty-five, and the way I looked when I was thirteen.

“Oh my God! Wil!” He burst out of his seat and wrapped me in a joyful hug.

“I thought it was you, but I wasn’t sure and … man, I am so happy to see you!”

He held me at arm’s length, the way a parent does, and looked at me.

“I didn’t recognize you at all! You’re so … the beard and …”

We laughed together, and for the next hour or so, caught up on our lives. By the time we began our descent into Montreal, we’d traded numbers and planned to get together when we got back to Los Angeles.

As I walked out of the airport and toward the arrival lounge to meet my convention liaison, I reflected on the conversation Ray and I had on the plane. I told him about marrying Anne, raising the boys, adopting Ryan, and getting both Ryan and Nolan successfully through school and into the beginnings of happy and healthy adult lives. It’s never easy raising a family, but it was extra hard for me because of the relentless legal and emotional assaults from Anne’s ex-husband during their entire childhoods. But when it got really rough, I strapped in, focused on what was important during the turbulence, and eventually learned to ignore the annoying and nauseating things outside that I couldn’t control.

I focused on what was important, what was right in front of me, and when that plane landed, the rough air was barely a memory.

I cleared customs and found my con liaison.

“How was your flight?” He said.

“A little rough in places, but not bad,” I said.

Not bad at all.

 

Montreal! I am about to be in you!

I’m on my way to Montreal in a few hours for this weekend’s Montreal Comicon. The last time I was in Montreal, it was 2006 for the always-awesome CruiseTrek. It was a memorable trip, because I used Eventful to put together a reading and signing of my then new book Just A Geek. I didn’t know if anyone would show up, and I was blown away with a couple dozen people did. It was pretty awesome.

This weekend, I’ll be speaking on Saturday morning at 1130. I’m not sure if it’s just a Q&A thing, or if the content of the hour is at my discretion. I’m bringing some stories to read, just in case.

Until I get home on Sunday, I won’t have instant access to the blog, so comments may take longer to be moderated than usual.

 

…across the gulf of space…

Last week, I got to do one of the coolest things I've ever done in my life: I went to JPL in La Canada to record a video for the landing of Mars Curiosity on August 5.

I have to believe that their first through eighth choices weren't available, because it's the only thing that makes sense, but somehow I was chosen to be the host and narrator of a video for, among other outlets, NASA TV, that explains how Curiosty gets to the surface of Mars, and what she'll do once she's there. It's pretty incredible stuff, and I am still astonished that I was chosen to be the guy.

While I was at JPL, I got to get up close and personal with the full-scale replica of the rover that stays on Earth while her sister goes to Mars, so I took a few pictures:

image from i.imgur.com
image from i.imgur.com
I grew up about 10 minutes from JPL, so I lived around a lot of NASA sceintists and went to JPL's open house every year. Being chosen to go to JPL to make the modern equivalent of the films I loved watching when I was a kid was a tremendous honor. I'll post the video I made whenever it's live.