Category Archives: WWdN in Exile

This is really obnoxious, TypePad

Oh, hey, look! It's time for another ranty rant about the Internet. I swear to FSM, I've become Grandpa Simpson.

When TypePad was bought by an advertising company, we all knew the clock was ticking, and it would eventually be time to start looking for an alternative. To be honest, I'm surprised (happily) that it took this long.

Earlier today, I started composing a new post, only to see this on my composing screen:

Screen Shot 2012-06-04 at 10.53.50 AM
Little nuclear bombs went off in my eyes, and I wrote the following on Tumblr:

This is REALLY fucking obnoxious, Typepad.

Presenting this “easy way to embed relevant links” into a blog post may be worthwhile to some people, but not letting those of us who don’t care completely ignore the stupid thing and then putting precisely the kind of advertising we hate into it is worthy of me collating paper.

It’s bad enough that you won’t let me collapse this stupid window by default, but shoving promoted bullshit advertising into my fucking composition window on my own fucking blog when I am paying to use your service is totally unacceptable.

Small but important note: I use disconnect in my browser, so I suspect that it preventing TypePad from saving my preference to keep this stupid goddamn window closed. So that's on me. The argument about why we need to even use disconnect is its own thing, so I'll stay away from that, but it's relevant, nevertheless.

This is part of a pattern that I find exceptionally disturbing, and it's probably why I get all ranty when it happens: a company or product I love is bought by a company that I hate, and the thing I love is changed in subtle and unsubtle ways until it's just another example of why I hated that company to begin with. I'm always happy for developers to cash in and profit from that amazing thing they made that I loved, but I wish there was a way for them to do it without guaranteeing that that thing I loved will be trashed.

I really, really, really hate the entire concept of "promoted" anything — Tweets, posts, links, whatever — because it's advertising that tries to pretend that it isn't. At least on other services, I can accept it (they're free, after all, and everyone has to pay the bills) but when I'm paying a subscription fee to a service and this bullshit still shows up? HULK SMASH. 

I was a Movable Type user way back before TypePad even existed [HIPSTER KITTY], and a Grey Matter user before that. I love TypePad, and it's been a fantastic platform and service for me since I hosed my database at WWdN. In fact, it's been so easy to use and so stable, I haven't had much incentive to collect all of my things here in Exile and move them back to WWdN…

…until today. I guess it's finally time to leave Exile and go home. It will take a couple of weeks to get it all set up, but to be honest, it's something I should have done a long time ago.

Memories of the Phoenix Comicon 2012

In about 22 hours, I leave for Origins Game Fair in Ohio. I've wanted to go to this convention since I was in high school, and I'm really excited to finally be attending.

Felicia and I are doing a bunch of TableTop stuff, and the organizers have even set aside time in our busy schedules for some gaming. If you're coming to the con, I'd love to accept any gaming dice you wish to add to my growing collection.

And now, a brief recap of the Phoenix Comicon:

I was hoping to be there Thursday through Sunday, but I got an awesome job that worked on Thursday and Friday, so I didn't get into town until Friday evening, with my wife and my son in tow.

We settled into our hotel, met up with our friends for dinner, and headed over to do the late show with Hardwick and the Nerdist crew. The podcast was entertaining, the audience was engaged, and we all stayed up WAY TOO LATE.

They gave me this IPA in the green room from O'Dell. It was cleverly named "Odell IPA." It was wonderful, and reminded me of Racer 5, with a touch of Ruination.

But the thing is, I couldn't say the name of it without cracking up and then quoting the infamous accident on the Knife Show from a few years ago. This joke carried us through the weekend, because Anne and I had a lot of O'Dell IPA while we were in town.

I went to sleep, woke up sooner than I wanted to, and made my way to the convention center. It was a merciful 80 degrees this year, instead of 184 like it was last year, which I bet made the cosplayers happy.

I signed lots of pictures and books, posed for some photos with my friends from Eureka, and then we did the Eureka panel.

Fun fact: Colin Ferguson and I are looney hockey fans. He likes the Habs, while I am Kings Fan Super Number One Top Fan Guy. But since we're both living in Los Angeles, and our team in the Stanley Cup Final, Colin suggested that we both wear Kings jerseys to the panel.

So I provided two jerseys from the early 90s:

image from i.imgur.com

It was so awesome to troll 4000 people. Colin walked out to raucous applause, which almost immediately turned to boo-urns when they saw what he was wearing. When I came out onstage, it was even better, because I walked to the front and really played it up. I think it was mostly taken in the spirit it was intended, which made us both feel like we'd trolled successfully.

The panel was great, and it was so wonderful to hear from so many people that Eureka was and is important to them. I'm so proud of the show, and it still stings that I only got to work on it a little bit before the network formerly known as Sci-Fi sent it off to the Land of Wind and Ghosts.

After a much-needed break for a little bit of food, I went back to signing things and meeting people. The line was ridiculous, and I did my best to get through it without making anyone feel rushed. I was not prepared for how many people wanted to meet me, and I was a little overwhelmed a lot of the time. 

Storytime With Wil went better than expected. I performed a bunch of fiction, and told a couple of stories about me and Anne. I was especially happy that the audience seemed to enjoy The Monster In My Closet, and the thing I wrote about A Place Where Men Run Wild.

After storytime, we had a-fucking-mazing pizza at a place called BRICK (the wait for Pizzeria Bianco was until July), then met up with my friend April and her friends for the biggest and dirtiest game of Cards Against Humanity that I've ever played. I fell asleep at 11pm, and when I woke up at 8 on Sunday, it still wasn't enough sleep.

What the hell is that about, anyway? I thought you needed less sleep as you got older, not more. This is bullshit.

Sunday was very low key. I got there early and did a bit of shopping, including something AMAZING from Monkey Minion Press that will be revealed at the exact moment it is to be revealed, and not a second sooner. I also got a d12 Fez from Fez-o-rama, because I love the d12 and I hate that it's always in the d20's shadow. (Fun fact: that's why it's a d12 in the Tabletop logo.)

The show opened, and I did some photos with most of the Star Trek: TNG cast, before we did a huge TNG panel. There were easily 6000 people in the room of all ages, and several generations. I can't believe that, twenty-five years later, we can still get 6000 people into one room to celebrate what they love about the show. That's just awesome.

I'm sure I'm forgetting things, but those are the things that are clearest in my memory. I had a wonderful (if totally overwhelmed) time at the show, and I hope everyone who came out had a great a memorable experience. I'm already talking to the con about coming back next year. 

in which i have a realization, and i am grateful

In the precious few moments I had today between work-related responsibilities, I stopped into my comic shop, and I saw this:

The Guild: Fawkes

I made this!

I've been so busy, and I finished my part of this project so long ago, I wasn't prepared for how proud and excited I was when I saw a book that I had written in my own comic shop, right there down the shelf from Brubaker, Wood, Willingham, Fraction, Waid, and other comic book authors I respect and admire.

When I bought some copies, Amy (who some of you know from Tabletop) held it up and said, "Is this your first published work as a comic author?"

I thought for a second and said, "I've written manga before, but this is my first comic book."

And that's when it hit me: Today, I am a published comic book author. A real one, and if I work really hard, and have a little bit of luck, it's only the beginning.

I've been traveling and working so much the past few months, I haven't been able to slow down and look around very often (life moves as fast as Ferris Beuller warned us), so I haven't been able to just stop, reflect, and be grateful for what I have. I don't mean to suggest that I'm taking things for granted, or under the delusion that I'm some kind of big deal or anything stupid like that, I just mean that I can't think about more than what is immediately in front of me until it's done, and there's been a long list of somethings in front of me for most of this year (which is awesome; it's great to be busy making a living doing what I love.)

But it's all too easy to get so overwhelmed with all the responsibility, we forget to take a moment to be grateful for the opportunities we have.

Today, I am grateful.

And now I am going back to work.

I really miss this place

 

image from i.imgur.com

I took this picture on one of the last days of production.

Whenever I watch Eureka this season, and I see an advert on the network formerly known as Sci-Fi for one of their stupid goddamn are-you-serious-with-this-bullshit reality shows, I get angry and then sad. Eureka was and is such a great show, and it deserved better than it got from the network. I guess if we knew then what we know now, we would have put in more ghosts and wrestling.

 

Colin, Jaime, and Neil came over for boardgames and homebrew last weekend. We had so much fun, what was intended to be a few hours of goofing off turned into an entire day and most of the evening. 

 

image from i.imgur.com

Neil Grayston, Colin Ferguson, some nerd, Jaime Paglia

I love the stories and characters on Eureka, and I am really proud of the work I did as Doctor Parrish… but what I miss most about Eureka is getting to see these people (and others who are not pictured) every day.

Afterthought - In comments, Jeff L. makes a point that I agree with:

To a point, I recognize the reality shows as a necessary evil in the current cable marketplace. The much higher margin on shows like that is what enables the channel to put on the more expensive scripted stuff. And you can make the case that a lot of the reality stuff is at least tangentally related to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Genres (wrestling, on the other hand, pure money grab).

Based on the ratings for its scripted shows, if SyFy tried to run on a schedule of mostly original programming, it would probably be off the air in 6 months. So I've chosen to just watch what I like through the miracle of Tivo (and I try to do it within one day for max ratings bump) and I just ignore the ads for the shows I don't like.

Syfy may not be the destination channel it once was, but they still put out some quality programming, and as noted, they are a business so they can't really be blamed for making business decisions, as much as we personally may disagree with the whys and hows of them.

When I talk about how much I miss Eureka, and how much I want to kick certain NBC/Universal executives in the nuts for cancelling it, I readily admit that I'm not coming from a rational place. I am coming from an emotional place, because something that meant a lot to me was taken away.

I get it, it's business, and I'm not going to pretend that it's anything different… but I'm also not going to pretend that, for me, it isn't personal on some irrational level.

this is bullshit

Because I have a feeling at least one person reading this blog will want to use this image at some point in the future, to express this sentiment.

image from 29.media.tumblr.com
An uncomfortably long hug to Tumblr-er Alive Like Me for making this.

Dream casts a human shadow, when it occurs to him to do so.

Last night, while I slept, I found myself standing on the set of Next Generation. I was in my red ensign's uniform, and LeVar was in Geordi's gold engineering uniform. We were in Geordi's quarters, and the entire crew was waiting to roll the cameras on an important scene.

But I had no idea why I was there, what my lines were, or what the scene was about. I hadn't done my homework. I hadn't prepared my scene. I was about to be in big trouble.

I have dreams like this from time to time. I call them "stress dreams", because when I wake up from them, I feel really stressed out, and I don't feel rested at all. I've heard other people describe similar dreams, ones where they can't remember something they were supposed to do while someone important waits for them to do it, or ones where they find themselves naked in the middle of a crowd. My stress dreams are always the same: I'm either on an audition and I don't know what it's for, or I'm on the set of a TV show and I realize that I haven't learned my lines.

Last night, though, was the first time in my thirty-nine years of dreaming that I had a stress dream that put me on the set of Next Generation, which is probably the only reason I remember so many details so clearly: Geordi's quarters had been built on Stage 8. There was a mantle over his bed with a bunch of futuristic knick-knacks on it, including a block of wood with a 20th century book leaning against it. The script, though, is the thing that stands out the most clearly to me: the script wasn't a traditional script of 8×10 paper, punched three times and held together with brass brads. This script was a WIRED magazine. All the lines and descriptions were written as they usually are, but they were inside an issue of WIRED magazine.

So I was on the set, and we were about to roll, and I realized that I didn't know my lines. It seemed that I knew what the scene was about in a general sense, and why Wesley was there, but I didn't know the exact words. So I improvised, got through the take, and then picked up the script — actually a WIRED magazine — off the top of an apple box next to the script supervisor. I flipped through it, and couldn't find the scene we were filming. That's when I remembered that I had decided to learn the scene that morning, during makeup, rehearsal, and the time between blocking and shooting (this is something I'd never do in real life, because it's profoundly unprofessional)… and I hadn't done it for some reason.

"Are you okay, Wil?" The script supervisor, Cosmo, asked me.

"I can't find the goddamn scene," I said.

"It's right here," he said, turning pages past where I was. I realized that I thought the scene took place earlier in the script than it did. How could I be so unprepared? I thought briefly about just owning up to not knowing anything about why I was there, but at that moment, I flipped to the correct page, and saw the scene we were filming. I scanned the dialog, and saw that Wesley was in Geordi's quarters because he wanted to learn all about 20th century woodworking. Wesley had about a quarter page of dialog about it, and it was all exposition.

What. The. Fuck. 

Even in my dreams, the writers don't give me anything good to do in a scene. No wonder I didn't learn my damn lines.

I woke up and looked at the clock. It was 4:17 and I had a splitting headache from tucking my chin down into my chest. I sat up and drank some water. My head throbbed as the dream I'd just had replayed itself in that blurry montage your brain gives you when you wake up at 4:17 in the morning. I woke up enough to cement the details in my memory, so I could write about them today.

Seamus, asleep at my feet, grumbled, stood up, and stretched himself out along my left leg. I reached out my hand and patted him on his head. He sighed. We both went back to sleep.

After twenty years, I finally got to say this.

A lot of incredible and wonderful things happened at the Calgary Expo this weekend, and when I'm not as exhausted I'll write about all of them.

Until then, though, here is one of them that I really hope you'll spend 5 minutes watching:

 

If you can't see the video, you can watch it right here at YouTube.

When I get stuck in Draw Something…

One of my mottos for gaming is, "never lose the joy of playing in pursuit of winning."

So when I can't seem to figure out an answer in Draw Something, for example, I amuse myself..

 

Fart_Gun

The answer was Watergun. It took me awhile, but I eventually got there.

HA! HA! FART GUN! IT IS A GUN THAT SHOOTS FARTS! HA!

 

Bad Joke Eel