By your command

Last night, we all took a trip down memory lane, to the glory days of Universal Studios, when Conan The Barbarian was so cool, they gave him his own stage show, housed in a cool-looking castle.
Back then, they actually shot movies at the Universal lot, and, if you were lucky, you could take the tram tour and actually see as much film work as you’d find on an average Vancouver street these days. I remember not being able to ride the tram down one of the magical backlot streets, because they were filming this movie with the kid from Family Ties, where they drove this cool car, and some stuff happened. It was a long time ago, so I don’t completely remember.
Anyway, back in those glorious days, before runaway production ruined so many lives and dashed so many dreams, taking the backlot tram tour would actually put you, the lucky tourist, in the movies!
You could ride across this collapsing bridge, and go through an actual avalanche, from the Six Million Dollar Man. You could ride through the actual Red Sea, parted by the commanding voice of our tour guide, with the help of his trusty driver.
Jaws, the real Jaws, would actually jump out of the water at the tram, with only the skills of the aforementioned driver to save tramloads of “Maui 1980″-shirted tourists from certain doom.
Of course, facing the dangers of the movies was exciting and all, but that was nothing, after you’d driven into an actual Cylon Spaceship, and faced down the wrath of the Imperious Leader, with a little help from this guy named “Apollo”, from the real Battlestar Galactica. It was the first real “event” of the tram tour, and it was my absolute favorite part. Even better than the Psycho house, or 1313 Mockingbird Lane.
Once, when I was doing that whole “Teen Idol” thing, I was invited to Universal to host Nickelodeon’s Kid’s Choice Awards. It was there that I met, and developed the hugest crush ever on, the one and only Debbie Gibson. (Who, in a bizarre twist of six degrees of separation, is good friends with one of the actors who I just worked with in ‘Neverland’. She told him to tell me “Hello”. Rock.)
Anyway, while we were at Universal, shooting segments for the awards show, they took us into the actual Cylon Spaceship, and let us experience it, “behind the scenes”. I got to put on the Apollo helmet, pick up the balsa wood gun, and lip synch, “In the name of the federation, I demand the release of the humans!”
It was beyond cool, even though I was like 15 or 16, and should really have been too cool for the whole thing, especially since I was hoping that Debbie Gibson would get lost in my eyes, and not be able to shake my love.
But, alas, the romance was not to be, and, although I did my best Apollo, they wouldn’t let me put on the whole costume and do it for real tourists.
The closest I ever got to being on Battlestar Galactica was running around the Enterprise, which wasn’t as good a consolation prize as you’d think.
A few years later, I read in the paper that the Battlestar Galactica attraction was gone, replaced by, get this, an escalator, that would transport tourists to the bottom of the hill, where they could wait in line for lame attractions like “ET’s Adventure” and something stupid from An American Tale. Billed, at the time, as the “world’s biggest escalator”, it failed to impress me the same way that balsa wood gun and FX smoke-filled room did.
Although I hadn’t ridden the backstage tour in years, I knew immediately that I would miss it forever.
I never went on studio tours again like the ones I did when I was 16.
Jesus, does anyone?

KITT

Earlier today, I posted the Greatest Picture, EVER!
There was much discussion about Knight Rider, and I have wondered this all day: Am I the only person who was crestfallen upon finding out that the voice of KITT was not, in fact, the voice of the car, but was, in truth, the voice of actor William Daniels?
When Bill was president of SAG, I had lots of meetings with him, because I am on the Board of Directors, and was part of our TV and Theatrical negotiating team. When I would have a meeting with Bill, I’d call Anne, and tell her, “I won’t make it for dinner tonight. I have a meeting with KITT.” And she’d say, “Is it in his office? Or is he meeting you around back in 5, buddy?”
Continuing the trip down Knight Rider lane…back in the old days, when there was only one Universal Studios, and the main focus of the whole experience was the tour, not the damn animal shows and gift shops…well, okay, it was the gift shops, but not as transparently as it is now…
But I digress.
Back in the day, at Universal Studios, they had a KITT car parked in this area where you could go and sit in it, and, I am not making this up, talk to KITT!
You could ask KITT all sorts of questions, and while you waited in line, you could hear the questions asked, and the answers given out by none other than KITT HIMSELF!
So people would sit in KITT, and ask all sorts of questions about the show, and “what did you do in episode [whatever]?”, and all sorts of technical questions about the specifics of his design, etc.
I so badly wanted to get into the car, and say, “Hey, KITT, I was wondering, do you ever cut loose when the people go home? I mean, tell me the truth. You can kick the A-Team Van’s ass, right? Do you ever just head on over to the backlot and do donuts, just because you can?”
But I totally chickened out, and, when I got up there, I froze, and asked, “What’s your top speed, KITT?”
The sad thing is, I can’t even remember what the answer was.
update: 8:41 PM PST: Cherish, a cool girl and helpful soapbox mod, just sent me this picture of her, sitting in KITT!
Second. Best. Picture. EVER.
Rock.

SA v. FARK

If you’re a FARKer or Something Awful reader, you probably know about The Photoshop Contest, which I was asked to judge.
Over the weekend, I finally found time to judge and comment on the entries, and Something Awful has posted the results.
If you’re not a regular SA reader, you should just be prepared: it’s not intended for kids, or the easily offended. I, however, think it is hilarious.
However, if you are a kid, or easily offended, dispair not! For while I was at FARK this morning, I stole for you, and now present to you, The Best. Picture. EVER!
Have a great day! My kids have the day off from school, so we’re hanging out together.

Misty Mountain Hop

Looks like winter has decided to take the week off…it’s already 74 degrees here, and all the trees are blooming and blossoming, thinking that it’s spring. Didn’t that damn groundhog say there were 6 more weeks of winter? If this warm weather keeps up, I will have no excuses for my yard looking like Beirut.
Actually, I love spring. It’s warm, beautiful, and the perfect season to follow winter…problem is, spring doesn’t like me, or my wife.
At least, the pollen doesn’t like us. We’ve been sneezing and itching for the last 48 benedryl-hazed hours, with no end in site. And I have to do yard work today. Oy.
Last night, Anne and I watched “Amazon Women on the Moon“, the sort-of sequel to “Kentucky Fried Movie. I saw “Kentucky…” about 2 weeks ago, and, unlike a lot of topical 70’s comedies, it really holds up. And I’m not just talking about “Catholic High School Girls In Trouble”, either.
It was the first time Anne had seen “Amazon…”. It was cool to watch something that I’d seen so many times, with someone who hadn’t ever seen it before, and see her laugh out loud that jokes that I just smile at now, because I know they’re coming.
Speaking of stuff I’ve seen a million times, I introduced Ryan to “The Prisoner” day before yesterday. We sat and watched “Arrival” on Friday night, and “Free For All” yesterday afternoon. Ryan is really smart, and he totally gets the symbolism and deeper meanings of a lot of the themes in the show, so far, and he has come up to me a few times saying, “Wil! I totally know who Number One is!” I can’t wait to talk with him about it when we finally watch “Fallout”.
In other news, I finally finished judging the Something Awful vs. FARK photoshop contest. I’d check both sites on Monday for the results, and for SA to take some seriously nasty digs at me.
Oh, and WWDN has been reviewed at Epinions. Thank you to Tammy who wrote the review, and let me know about it.
Well, it’s time for me to grab a rake, crank up Zeppelin 4, and attack the yard.
Have a great Sunday, everybody!

Rats!

We’ve just discovered, in the last couple of days, that some rats (Rats! Rats! F-ing rats with…aw, forget it) have moved into our attic, and maybe even down some walls.
So I’m wondering, has anyone ever used those sonic repeller as seen on TV thingies? If so, have they worked?
I’d so very much like it if the rats would leave.

Killing in the name of…

This makes me sick. Just plain sick. According to a report in the New York Times, hundreds, if not thousands of innocent, civilian Afghan citizens have died in US attacks, during the undeclared war on terror.
Now, let me be clear here, because my posts like this usually bring out the name-callers: I am horrified by, and I am still processing the reality of the terrible, terrible attacks on September 11th. I want very badly for the people who did it to be brought to justice, and pay for what they did, and I want to be sure that things like this don’t happen again.
But I don’t think that killing innocent people, identified as “collateral damage”, is right.
Consider this: the people in the WTC and Pentagon, and on those planes were completely innocent, right? Just people, going through their day. Maybe some of them had left a sleeping spouse, at home, or left their kid at school without a goodbye kiss.
The evil sub-humans who murdered thousands of innocent people didn’t have a quarrel with them, personally. Their quarrel is with the leadership and foreign policy of the United States, right? So, from their horribly twisted perspective, the people who died on 9/11: the mothers, sons, infants, fathers, daughters, husbands and wives, were just “collateral damage”, right?
NOTE (4:14 PM): Wrong. They were, as has been pointed out, intentional targets. After many notes and emails, I have really reconsidered my thought here: these people who died on 9/11 were intentional targets, murdered by terrorists, and not collateral damage, as I said. I was way, way, way off, and I’m putting foot into mouth. There is a huge difference between a bomb that goes astray, and the intentional targeting of civilians. I’m really glad that people have pointed out my glaring error, and, rather than pride fully insist that I am correct, it’s much more important to me to admit that I was wrong.
I guess that my point is that I don’t like this concept of “collateral damage”, regardless of whose side you’re on. I also don’t even like the term. It’s too antiseptic, and fails to convey the brutal reality. It should be called what it is: The Killing of Innocent Civilians.
Innocent people do not deserve to die, especially because of a conflict that isn’t between people, but between nations.
If I, or someone I loved had died on that day, I would not want an Afghan child to die in the pursuit of my, or my loved one’s killer.
It also really bothers me that everyone, from the man in the street, to the members of the media, to the leaders in our government, are calling this a war, when congress hasn’t declared war. I realize that this is probably pedantic to most people, but I think that the separation of powers is extremely important, and if the cause is just, the President should ask for, and receive from Congress, a declaration of war. Doesn’t this bother anyone else? I mean, of course it’s a war. But why hasn’t it been formally declared? And, while I’m at it, because I’m pretty sure the flames will begin to surge my way, shouldn’t the my government take a good, hard look at why the rest of the world hates us so much? I mean, let’s get the bad guys, absolutely, but shouldn’t we also take a good, honest, fearless look at our foreign policy, and ask ourselves if maybe we need to make some changes?
Let me clarify just a few other things, too: If you’re a serviceman or woman, I don’t have a problem with you, or the choice you’ve made to defend our country. It seems that every time I question the morality of a war, or the motives of our leadership, I get flooded with emails and comments from insulted members of the armed forces, and I’d like to head that off, if it’s at all possible. The same way that I don’t want to be blamed for a lousy episode of TNG, I don’t blame you for a war that I don’t agree with. I know, a thin comparison, but I think you get my point.
I realize that, in war, civilian deaths are inevitable, but that doesn’t mean that I have to like it, and I fear that there are people who will read this story, and it won’t bother them a bit that a mother lost a son in our pursuit of the terrorists.
Countless Iraqi civilians died during the Operation Desert Storm, simply because they were in the wrong place, at the wrong time, and I heard people proclaiming that they deserved it, because they were Iraqi, and therefore automatically supported Saddam. I think that’s insane.
So this started out as an indignant post about the deaths of civilians in Afghanistan, but it’s turned into some rambling thoughts on the deaths of innocents in any war…I bet I’d get a low grade if I turned this in as a paper, but it’s what’s on my mind today. So there.
I also realize that most Americans are still reeling over the events of 9/11, and I apologize in advance if my thoughts here offend anyone.

Art imitates life imitates art

Today, I had an audition over at Paramount for a pilot where the character I’m reading for is turning 30, and regrets some decisions that he made when he was a teenager. So he wishes for a chance to go back and have a “do-over”.
I am not making this up, and the show is not called “The Wil Wheaton Story”.
I had lots of fun doing it, because the show is a comedy, and the character is, and again, I’m not making this up, very ironic, sarcastic, and acerbic.
Now I’m wondering if I should sue them for stealing my move?
Anyway, since I was there, I stopped at the “Nemesis” set, and got an eyeful of some amazingly scary aliens, and got to say hello to Patrick and Brent, and John Logan.
I also wanted to wish Patrick and Brent good luck in the 4 Man Bobsled event at the olympics, in which they’ve decided to compete, as late entries.
You know, every time I go to Paramount, I am overwhelmed by this weird conflicting melange of emotions: nostalgia, happiness, and melencholy being the most prominent ones…for as much as I didn’t like it when I was younger (mostly due to my age), I really miss that place…and being on Stage 16, which was our “Swing Stage” (a stage that can be changed from week to week to be a planet, or alien spaceship, or holodeck set), really flooded back the memories. If only I had been listening to “Strangelove” or “Head on the Door” on a walkman, the circle would have been complete.
I also got a call from my friend Seth Wiley, who directed me in “The Good Things“, and he told me that I was mentioned over at LaidOffLand.com. I thought that this quote was really cool:“Wil Wheaton should be named like the Grand Chancellor of the Internet. For his assistance, I’ve named him The El Supremo of LaidOffLand.”
That brought a big smile to my face. :-)

Mailbox is full

On my way home today, I stopped at the store, and picked up “The Awful Truth” on DVD. It’s an awesome TV show created by the equally awesome Michael Moore, creator of “Roger and Me“, and “Downsize This!”
I was so moved by a segment on his show, that I had to write him an email, which came back because his mailbox is full.
So I’m reprinting it, here, because I know I’ll get busy and forget to send it:

To: [email protected]
Subject: The Awful Truth
Hi Michael,
I just bought the DVD collection of “The Awful Truth”, and I’m still wiping my tears of fury which became tears of joy, after watching you save a man’s life, in episode one.
You continue to be an inspiration to me.
Thank you for making a difference!
Fondly and respectfully yours,
Wil Wheaton
Los Angeles, CA
————————–
WIL WHEATON DOT NET
May peace prevail on earth
————————–

A question

Morning everyone.
Over at ThinkGeek, they have this option for you to see their products “in action”. Basically, what people do is send in creative pictures of themselves wearing a T-shirt, or drinking from a glass, or something showing a mousepad, or something.
I’m wondering, when I get the gallery fixed, would anyone be interested in, and willing to send in jpegs of some of the WWDN schwag “in action”?
I think we could have some fun with it.

Mister Mastodon Farm

It’s been a long day, and I should really be going to bed…but Anne is still out in Riverside, working on “Neverland”, and I know that I won’t be able to sleep until she’s back…
Do any of you married or living-in-sin types feel this way? If I know that she’s staying with one of her friends, or something, I can go to sleep at 9, and sleep like a baby…but if I know that she’s coming home, and I get into bed, I sleep fitfully, and wake with a start after about 90 minutes, absolutely convinced that she’s been smeared all over the freeway.
So I don’t even try to get to sleep now. I just wait up for her, listening to CAKE, and working on the website. I was playing Diablo II:LOD on BattleNet, but the farking lag was so bad, I got killed twice. Reminds me of the old MUDding days, when I’d go to kill Tiamat, and the happy text messages would slow, stop, and then I’d see something like:
Tiamat’s Claw EVISCERATES Shaft!
Tiamat’s Claw EVISCERATES Shaft!
Tiamat’s Claw EVISCERATES Shaft!
Tiamat’s Claw EVISCERATES Shaft!
You are really hurt, now.
Tiamat’s Claw EVISCERATES Shaft!
Tiamat’s Claw EVISCERATES Shaft!
Tiamat’s Claw EVISCERATES Shaft!
You are feeling faint.
Tiamat’s Claw EVISCERATES Shaft!
Tiamat’s Claw EVISCERATES Shaft!
You are nearly dead.
Tiamat’s Claw EVISCERATES Shaft!
You have died.
You are near a healer. “Mmblfggzpth,” the Healer says.
I wonder if that’s funny to anyone but me?
Anyway, enough about Lag. Let’s talk about “Neverland”, shall we?
This movie is really amazing. My friend Damion adapted the book “Peter Pan”, and is retelling the story, featuring homeless kids as The Lost Boys, a Transvestite as Tiger Lilly, and a Leather Daddy as Hook. It’s really twisted, and really amazing, too. I play John Darling, and I’m getting to work with a bunch of really accomplished stage actors in this movie.
Because Hook is a S&M guy, we shot in a real-life S&M dungeon on Sunday, and I gotta tell you, it was a really…interesting…experience. I was initially really freaked out by the place, but, after spending quite a bit of time talking with the head Dominatrix who runs the place, I figured out that my feeling freaked out was based entirely on erroneous preconceptions. That world is totally not my thing, but I have a much better understanding of the whole lifestyle. My favoreit moment of the entire day was when she was about to tie me up. I told the still photographer that he couldn’t take any stills of me all bound, because there are freaks out there who will take those pictures and do…unnatural…things with them. She realized that I was that guy from Star Trek, and she told me that I was “her guy” on TNG. I guess she and all her friends chose who their “guys” were, and she choo-choo-choosed me, even though all her friends thought I was a dork.
So when she was tying my hands for the scene, I think she enjoyed it a little too much…but I was flattered, anyway 😉
We shot today at this really crappy, totally run-down amusement park, that is like a small version of Knott’s Berry Farm, but with traveling carnival rides made permanent, if that makes sense….oh, and there’s about 10 people in the whole place.
Anne, Stephanie, and Elyse (the line producer), and I all went into the “Haunted Mansion”, which was little more than one of those things you see at Coney Island, you know? It’s really just a makeout ride, right? Well, we walked through it…al 25 feet of it, in the dark, “Scooby Doo” style, with just a flashlight. It was very subversive, and we almost got caught by some security drones.
Speaking of Security, I had a callback at Warner Brothers this morning, and holy shit! The security is insane! They checked my ID, and made me open my trunk, and I had to drive around these barriers, like I was going into an embassy. There are all these freaky, Gothic-style posters everywhere, too, extolling the virtues of “checking that mail twice” and “guarding your badge: it’s on you when you’re on the lot!”…they all looked like those old propaganda posters from WWII…but I was happy to see the security, even if it did make me 15 minutes late for my audition.
Speaking of auditions, I did not book the LA LAW gig, but the casting director told my rockin’ managers that I was, and I quote, “far and away the best actor we saw”. She went on to tell them that they cast someone who just looked way more like the guy whose son I would have been playing. At first, I was bummed, because I thought, well, the streak continues…but I feel really good about it. I mean, I absolutely did my best work, with each part of the process that I had any control over.
It also looks like I won’t get the pilot that I had my callback for today, because they are looking for someone more “quirky”, but the casting director really liked what I did, and was impressed with my funny. Trust me, there are worse things in life than having a casting director at Warner Brothers be impressed with my funny! Anyway, it’s only the first week of February, and there’s a lot of pilot season left. This is going to be a good year.
Today’s thought comes from LM:


“Only those who do nothing please everyone.”

50,000 Monkeys at 50,000 Typewriters Can't Be Wrong

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