Fire. Water. Burn.

Fire. Water. Burn.

Guess what? I was reviewed by Lockergnome!!
I must say, of all the stuff that’s happened since I opened this little thing, this is quite possibly the coolest thing, yet!
Check it out:

Wil Wheaton

http://www.wilwheaton.net/

{Stand by him} He was the scrawny writer in “Stand By Me,” and then he became Wesley Crusher of the Starship Enterprise. If you mention the name “Wil Wheaton” to anyone in my generation, they’ll know exactly who you’re talking about. But what has this actor been up to lately? You can find out at his official Web site — written, designed, and maintained by Wil (himself). And ya wanna know what makes it cool? He isn’t afraid to kick back and let his hair down. He’s actually a pretty funny guy. Just goes to show you that who you see on screen isn’t always who that person is in real life. Dude, he always seemed so mellow… walking along those railroad tracks.

This just rules, and I am a happy, happy guy today.
Also, I saw this:

Net Buzz for 08/31/01
Police catch Sacramento slaying suspect in mom’s backyard … Where’s that recovery again? Dow drops below 10,000 … Arrogance, in-fighting doomed Industry Standard … Salon tells a rambling two-part circus story … Smoking Gun

Nimrod’s Son

Nimrod’s Son

Couple of cool things:
Got this Email a few days ago:

Congratulations! You are the recipient of five and a half out of four Sutherlands from
our gratuitously indignant reviewing duo at Blog You! Blog You! Blog You!,
a consumer’s guide to weblogs.
To see how you stacked up, feel free to visit:

http://www.blogyou.com

In the review, both the guys were really cool. They were very complimentary, and they both lamented the lack of graphics on the site. So I was thinking about it, and I really don’t plan to add a lot of graphics to the site, because I just don’t like graphics. I think they slow down the site, and that’s lame. I also don’t plan on adding lots of “gallery” pictures, because there are other sites out there that are great fansites, and I would just be ripping them off, and stealing their traffic, which is also lame. But I wrote an email back, and I read it to Anne, and she thought it was cool, so I’m gonna print it here:

Hey,
You guys…this is so freaking cool! I LOVE that I rated on your site. Is it a typo that I got 5 and a half out of four? Or is that something you cats do to fuck with lamers like me?
About the lack of graphics: I made a conscious decision to abstain from over loading the site with graphics. I hate graphics that are only there to dress something up, and that’s the only reason I’d do more graphics. I put all my energy into the really spartan design, so the content would stand out, and not get lost amongst the noise. And I (there I go, starting a sentence with a conjunction again) *was* going to put up a gallery, but why bother? There are way better sites out there, and I’d just be ripping them off. Once I get IDS configured, I’ll have someplace to put my personal pictures, but that’s prolly a week or two off.
Look at it this way: you’ve got two restaurants to choose from. One, Chez Jackass, is a snooty place, where the food is okay, but they REALLY dress up the plate, all nice and pretty…lots of herbs that you won’t eat, and lots of silverware that you won’t use. Oh, and they overcharge you, make you wait three hours to be seated, water down the drinks, and fuck up your order. Twice. But boy, didn’t that plate look nice?
Then there’s Joes. Joes is a restaurant on the skankiest street downtown. It has one neon sign, and the “E” is on the fritz. There’s a jukebox, but it only plays 45s, and “Wooly Bully” skips. But Joe cooks really good food, and he cooks it himself. He’d never dream of hiring another cook, because any other cook wouldn’t make it his way. You never leave there feeling hungry, and you can still get a shot of Jack for 2.50. Because that’s the way Joe remembers it, and that’s the way it’s going to be in his joint, dig?
Well, when it comes to websites, I eat at Joes.
Thanks again for the review. It was really, really cool.
Wil

I hear that Alan Thicke has a weblog, too. So I went to check it out, and it becomes obvious after about three paragraphs that it is so not real. But I don’t really care, because it’s extremely funny. Check out “About me“…not only does the guy seem cool, based on his tastes and all, but I really like the design of this site.
I don’t know Alan Thicke, at all, beyond playing on a celebrity hockey team with him a couple of times.
I remember that Alan Thicke was pretty cool, and I seem to recall him having a good sense of humor… I hope that he doesn’t pull a complete dickhead move and force this guy to shut down the site, because that would suck.
Alex Trebek? Funny you should ask about him. He was on the team too, and he was a major league asshole.
Big time.
Which reminds me of something: My roommate in college was Chris Hardwick, of eMpTyVee’s Singled Out and Trashed fame, as well as the show Guys Like Us. Chris is also in Jane White is Sick and Twisted, which is why I am in Jane White is Sick and Twisted. Chris is a very, very funny comedian, and has better press people than I do, apparently, because not only has he gotten to be on Politically Incorrect, he’s also been on Celebrity Jeopardy!
If you’re like me, you’d really like to run up to Alex Trebek, and slap him on his know-it-all bitch face, right? (well, there goes any chance I have of making Celebrity Jeopardy. Dammit.) So Chris is on the show, and Trebek asks him to introduce himself, and Chris does, and says that he is the host of Singled Out, and suggests that Trebek and he trade guests and audiences…the joke being that the Jeopardy guests and audience and the Singled Out guests and audience are totally different. Trebek doesn’t get it. At all. So there is this tiny uncomfortable pause, and Chris says, “You’ve never seen my show, have you?” And Trebek just says, “No.” Then, without pause, “Let’s meet our next contestant…”
Later in the show, Chris is asked a question, and he gets it wrong, and Trebek looks at his little cards, and gives one of those condescending, Canadian accented, “No, I’m sorry, the correct answer is, of course, ‘Henry Arthur Payne’…Henry…Arthur…Payne.”
Chris looks at him, doesn’t miss a beat, and says, “Hey, you know, on my show, I have all the answers, too, dude!”
Trebek has no comeback.
I’ll take “Anal Bum Cover” for 200, Trebek.

Beach

The Beach

Yesterday we went to the Beach with the kids, for Nolan’s birthday. His birthday was a few weeks ago, but we went yesterday because the little guy broke his arm, and it would have sucked just a little bit, I think, to take him to the beach with his friends while he was in a cast.
Something cool about Nolan: Every year, when it’s his birthday, while we’re driving around in the car, he rolls down the window, and shouts “It’s m’ birthday!” And he is just so joyful, and so happy, I just love that. He’s done that as long as I’ve known him, which is since he’s 4.
So it was rad. I love the beach. It’s one of the few reasons living in LA doesn’t completely suck; on any given day, I can ski in the morning, and surf in the afternoon, which I never do, but it’s nice to have the option, anyway.
You know what I did at the beach? I peed in the ocean. I just wanted to get that out of the way, because it’s something that everyone does, and I just HATE it when people act like they don’t. Like girls who insist that they don’t fart. Give me a break.
So we’re at the beach, and Anne tells me that she wants to take a quick nap while the kids are playing down by the water, and would I go play with them, so she can snooze. I think that’s a grand idea, because Anne’s been up since I don’t know, on almost no sleep, so she can make sure Nolan has a great birthday trip…making sandwiches, cupcakes, packing up the cars, etc…
After much adjusting of the beach umbrella, Anne sleeps, and I go down to the water to play with the kids.
All of the kids brought boogie boards to the beach, and one of Nolan’s friends had never done it before, and asked me to teach him.
Now,being a step-father, I have a certain role that I have to play, a certain place where I need to stay, out of respect to Ryan and Nolan’s father. There are certain things that I don’t do, because they’d rather learn to surf, and play baseball, and soccer, and all that stuff, from their dad. And I dig that, and I don’t want to make them feel bad, because it’s not about me, it’s about them…but it still makes me just the teeniest bit sad. So, because of that, I’ve never been able to teach them that stuff…but I was able to teach Nolan’s friend, and that felt really good. It was really, really cool, putting him on waves, and watching him race back into the water to start all over again. I was proud of him, and wondered if my dad ever felt like that about me, when I did stuff as a kid.
Well, while I was teaching Nolan’s friend, and thinking about my dad, there was another dad, this guy who was probably 40…nice beer gut, sunburnt spotty skin, streaked with not-quite-rubbed-in sunblock, trying to teach his 4, maybe 5 year-old daughter and son to play in the waves. Thing is, the kids were really not into it. They were crying, and really afraid, and really didn’t want to be there, and the father, this pile of shit, he would do this: “Well, I guess you’re too afraid to swim. That’s too bad. Let’s go home.” And he’d start walking up the beach.
Now, more than anything in the world, kids want to please their parents (at least until they’re 12), so these kids would stop him, beg him to come back and try again, even though it was clear to me, and to anyone, really, that they were scared shitless, and any parent who gives a shit about their kids, who was in tune with their kids, would know that. But this guy was determined to have his kids play in the waves, so he used the time-tested “Manipulation Technique”. Yeah, that’s a great way to parent: manipulate your kids so they do what you want. Maybe you can make sure that they’re afraid of you, too, and never question your actions, because that makes them grow up to be healthy adults.
Guess what, folks? Kids learn EVERYTHING from their parents, even things the parents don’t think they’re teaching them. So when you manipulate your kids, this happens: Manipulated kids grow up to be manipulative adults, who become manipulative parents, who have manipulative kids.
Break the cycle, people. Just because your parents were fucked up doesn’t mean you have to be, and you certanly don’t have to do it to your kids.
Sorry. /rant
While I was at the beach, watching surfers, watching my stepkids boogie board, watching this example of why there should be a parenting test mess up his kids, I started thinking about my own dad.
My dad is a great surfer. One of the best. He talks about going and surfing monster waves, and doesn’t even stop to consider that he’s over 50, and has a family that would sort of miss him just a bit if he decided to go pull a Mark Foo. He’s 53, and he surfs a 10′ long board at least once a week. And my parents do not live near the beach. They live over an hour away. Matter of fact, the whole reason my dad almost died is because he was on a surfing trip to Indonesia, and stubbed his toe on a boat anchor, and the resulting blood infection is what made him so sick. But he’s better now…I keep forgetting to mention that. Sorry.
But here’s the thing: I’ve never learned to surf from my dad. I was too much of a sissy bitch when I was a kid, and another summer has gone by where I haven’t asked him to teach me.
After about an hour of playing in the water, I was hungry, and the kids were ready to get out, too. So I turn up to face the beach, and I see the hottest girl I have ever seen, out of the corner of my eye, walking into the water. I mean, damn. She was amazing.
Okay, before you women get all pissed at me, here is something you have to know about men: We look at pretty girls. It doesn’t mean we’re unfaithful to our wives and girlfriends, and it doesn’t mean we don’t love you. I can’t speak for all men, but I know that I don’t compare, either, which is something you girls like to do, according to all my female friends.
But here’s the thing: It’s okay. It’s genetic. It’s in our hard wiring. It’s not even the OS. It’s an undocumented feature of the hardware. I’m not talking about “checking out” and “leering” that’s all your particular man’s OS. I’m talking about glancing, and involuntarily glancing back, and thinking “Woah!”So just relax.
Back to the story: I’m turning around, and I see the hottest of the hot babes, walking down the beach, out of the corner of my eye. And when I turn to get another look, I see that it was my wife. *smile* I love it when that happens.
Happy Birthday, Nolan.

Digging for fire

Digging for fire

Today, we took the kids to the beach.
I was gonna write about that, but I’ve been trying to catch up on Emails, instead.
I wanna say something about Emails: I read them all, each one. And I send out that silly autoreply, which has, so far, only pissed off three people. So I’m not doing too badly there, eh? The problem is, I’m so damn sensitive, I felt really bad, that some peoples may not have gotten the joke, and I’ve been kicking it into overdrive to get at least a small personal response out there. So if you’ve emailed me, and you haven’t heard back, please accept my apologies, and this Shiwala!
While I’ve been catching up on Emails (it’s 230 AM on Saturday, and I’ve just finished the bulk of the Emails, up to Wednesday), I’ve been flipping back and forth on Satellite (no evil cable empire for me, dammit) between “House of Yes” and some super cheesy erotic thriller on Cinemax. Because I think it’s important to have something to aspire to, and something to be afraid of, in your career.
I leave it to you to pick which is which.

Rrrreally Big Show!

Rrrreally Big Show!

First, if you’re reading this, scroll down two entries, and read up…I’m lame, and I messed up the order I wanted to add things to the blog tonight.
Back? Cool.
I’m listening to The Pogues’ “There’s Whiskey In The Jar”. Goddamn, The Pogues make me want to go out to the greatest pub ever, and play darts until I can’t move. I love The Pogues. Why do I feel compelled to share what I’m listening to? Like I said on my music links page, I think you can learn a LOT about a person from what music they listen to, so there. On to the show.
Tonight, we did a special benefit for Keith, because he’s running in the AIDS marathon, and that is a very cool thing to do.
Some highlights: I am the sidekick on the show, so I have a certain “role” to play, and I have to know when to talk, and when to shut up. So I choose my little quips and barbs very carefully. Tonight we had three VERY funny people on: Kevin Nealon, Ric Overton, and Wendy Liebman. VERY, VERY funny people. Comedy gods. So when we have people like these on the show, I try to turn it up a notch, you know? I mean, really give up the funny, and not suck.
Tonight, I got into this sort of zone, and it ROCKED. Kevin and I (yeah, I can call him Kevin. How cool is that?) just got into this thing, where he would start a story, get to the point where the joke would come, and just look over his shoulder at me, and say, “Wil?” and I’d open my mouth, and something really fucking funny would fly out. Now, here’s the thing that sucks about this, NOW: when I am improvising, (which is pretty much what I was doing tonight, just making it up as I went along) I can’t remember anything that I said, or did. It’s part of living “In the moment”. Ask any improvisor, and they’ll tell you the same thing. So I can’t relate to you all the funny, which is kind of a drag, but I can remember one thing that happened, that made me, and the audience laugh: Kevin (!) was sort of going on and on about how he can’t build anything, at all and the audience is beginning to check out (bad), and Keith asks Kevin (!) what he would do if he were to build The Chunnel. So Kevin (!) says, “Well…where would I start?”
And I chime in, “In England, or France.”
I thought that was pretty damn funny, and so did the audience…but I don’t know if writing it gets across what I’d hoped for…you tell me.
OH! I’m listening to my entire MP3 directory, on shuffle, and it just started playing “Bone Machine” by The Pixies…”Your Irish skin/ looks Mexican/ Our love is rice/ and beans/ and horses lard…” Dammit, I love this band. Why do all the good ones bust up?
Speaking of bands that bust up, our musical guest tonight was Nina Gordon, who was in Veruca Salt, and is all solo now. Okay, I absolutely ADORE my wife, as any regular reader of this site can attest, but I have the HUGEST crush on Nina Gordon. She is beautiful, talented, can sing and write like nobody’s business…and she smells really, really good. And she was cool about letting me take a picture with her, which I can’t upload becuse my $#@!ing evaluation copy of CuteFTP just expired. Goddammit. I gotta wait until tomorrow so I can buy it. Crap.
Well, to make this entry not a freaking War and Peace Epic like all the others, I’ll wrap up soon.
The show was rad. I had a great time, and the best thing is that the entire last 45 minutes of the show, I was SO doing the pee pee dance. Oh my god I had to pee so badly, and I’m onstage doing a live show, and I can’t get off the stage, at all. So Kevin (!) is telling a cool story, and I can’t even pay attention, because I gotta go so bad. And he turns to me, so I can spit out a good punchline, because I’ve been doing a pretty good job of it all night, and all I can come up with is, “Hey, I’m just the sidekick, man. Sorry.” Because what I really wanted to say was, ala Forrest Gump: “I gotta pee!”.
Tomorrow, we’re taking Nolan and some of his friends to the beach. It should rule. I can’t wait to skim board. I’ve only been to the beach three times this summer. Which is three times more than last year.
I still haven’t heard from Roger about Rules Of Attraction. I think I’m just going to call him…but I’m kinda scared to…lame, I know.
That’s all for tonight…oh! except one more thing. Well, two, really: I’ve been getting emails from the people I linkedto! That is so cool! And, if you’re reading this in order, like I told you to, you’re prolly wondering what is going on with my cat. Well, about 15 minutes ago, Sketch was running from window to window, meowing like crazy, and I knew that he saw Biko. So I went out back, and there he was. All fluffed out and dusty, his little face covered in cobwebs and junk.
*Huge sigh of relief*
I’m glad he’s back.
Everything, in it’s right place.

Don’t forget your towel

Don’t forget your towel

Here are the stories I wanted to put up, yesterday, but I quit when my wife came home:
Anne bought some Pear lotion from Victoria’s Secret. I love that, because it’s what she smelled like when we were dating.
A note about my family, and specifically my wife: I was telling her about my website, and about how cool I think it is that people are coming here, commenting on my lame little ramblings, and stuff, and she said, “This kind of scares me.”
“What kind of scares you?”
“Well, letting people know so much about you. So much about us. I worry that people may think they know you really well, and try to invade our privacy. I don’t want to worry about that. I certainly don’t want to be worried about the kids, either.”
I thought long and hard about that. I want to strike a balance, between giving the world a view of my life without any media filters, and expecting the world to respect the my personal privacy, and the privacy of my wife and step-children. Honestly, I never really thought that this site would become as popular as it has. And I don’t know if it will stay as visited as it is right now…either way, I plan to keep on writing, because I gather that people like reading what I have to say, and, honestly, it’s very cathartic for me, and I really do like to tell stories.
So here’s the deal (boy, I say that a LOT): I’m not posting pictures of the kids.
I’m not posting lots of pictures of me and Anne (even though she did come and kiss me on the webcam last night…that was cool), and there are certain areas of my life that are just off limits.
My first priority in my life is my wife and step-kids. Period. So I hope that’s cool with whomever becomes a regular reader.
Boy, I sound really stern there, huh? I guess if I was talking, it would be in my “dad voice”. Heh.
More from yesterday: I was sent the coolest jpeg ever by some really cool kids. It really made me smile, a LOT.
I also was sent a link for a campaign to Free TVs Wil Wheaton. It is HELLA funny.
Hella.
Hella.
Hella.
I am clearly defining my use of “hella” as sarcastic, and ironic, for the tiny-brained. You know who you are.
It is my understanding that one of the very cool people at 1142.org made it. And I would like to take this time to say, “Thanks, dude. This is way cool, and it really made my day!”
Finally, last night, Ryan and Nolan were watching TV while I was in the kitchen. I walked out to see what they were watching, and it was Stand By Me, on Channel 5. I thought that was so cool. I mean, they’ve seen it before, and all, but to see them watching it on their own made me feel really cool. :)
I walked into our family room, and Nolan says, “Look, Wil! You’re on TV!” and Ryan says, “Look! There you are!” Pause. “Why did you just faint?”
Kids rule. They just. Freaking. Rule.

Turn on the Frustration

Turn on the frustration

Boy. What a day. I have so much to talk about, I don’t even know where to begin.
What a horrible way to start off an entry. Mrs. Lee was right, I guess.
So here’s the deal: My cats, Biko and Sketch, are totally indoor cats. I never got over the loss of my cat, Rita (who was a boy, but we thought he was a girl, so we named him after my Voice Over agent, who gave him to me), which was totally my fault when I was like 10 or 11. So when I got my 2 cats, I decided that they would only be indoor cats, so I wouldn’t have to worry about them getting lost, or killed, or subjected to any of the horrors that outdoor cats surely face. Now, as someone recently pointed out, dogs have masters, and cats have staff, (I file that under “I wish I’d thought of that”) the cats are CONSTANTLY trying to get outside, and sometimes they make it a few feet, and I catch them…well, tonight, while I was doing the J. Keith vanStraaten Show (I have pictures!! I’ll put them up later), Biko and Sketch got out. Anne found Sketch in about 30 minutes, but Biko has been out for close to 3 hours, and it’s after midnight, and I’m really, really worried about him. He’s small, he has a heart condition, and I worry that he can’t defend himself from the big, mean, feral cats who roam my neighborhood. So if you could spare a thought for him, until he comes back, I’d appreciate it.
I am going to finish the entry I started tomorrow, but I’m going to go out of order, because what happened today is more on my immediate mind, and I’m gonna tell you about that, first.
This morning, I was supposed to have a dentist appointment, but I messed up the time (which I do quite often). I thought it was at 3:15, but it was at 9:30 AM. How I got that messed up, I’ll never know, but when I went to check it in my Palm Pilot, the damn thing wouldn’t turn on. Luckily, I have everything backed up on the computer (which is currently named HAL-9000, but that’s not all that cool…I was thinking maybe changing the name to “Marvin”), but the dentist entry wasn’t there. Odd. So here’s the thing: I bought my Palm pilot at Best Buy, because the price was right, and they have this great service/replacement plan…or so I thought. (I just went out to look for Biko…note to self: My next door neighbor has a really cool backyard, with a pool. She’s like 1000, so I gotta ask her if we can swim sometime).
Back to my Best Buy ni/*.phpare: When I bought my Palm Pilot, they tried to sell me this service plan thing, and the Palm cost close to 200 bucks (150 after rebate, thank you very much), and spending 35 dollars on a service plan seemed stupid to me, all things considered. But the guy did something that’s very hard to do to Wil: he sold it to me. He told me that if anything went wrong…that’s an important word, anything, because we’ll find out in a minute that anything really means something on a very short list…if anything went wrong, I could bring it in, and they’d either fix it, or replace it, right then and there, and I’d be out in under 30 minutes. This is also important to remember, because we’ll son find out that by 30 minutes, he really meant over an hour. I asked him, specifically, will I need my receipt? No. Will I need my original packaging? No. What if I lose this little service plan pamphlet thingy? No problem, Mr. Wheaton, we’ll look it up in the computer.
Can you guess where I’m going with this?
I get there this morning, at 11. I have to meet my friend Travis at the ACME, because we’re rehearsing for the sketch show at the huge Trek convention in Vegas next week. So I call Travis at 1045, and tell him that I’ll be there closer to 1130. Oh, how wrong I was.
I get to Worst Buy (gee, you think I’m the first person to come up with that?) at 11. I wait in the three person line for close to 15 minutes, because they’ve got one person working on returns. “Boy” I think to myself, “the 30 minutes must account for 15 minutes in line! These kids can bang it out!” Wrong again. Little did I know that the 15 minutes spent in line would be the only non-enraging minutes for the next hour.
I explained my problem to the apparently helpful Best Buy Customer Service Drone. She looked at me, looked at my dead Palm pilot, and said, “Okay, do you have your receipt?”
What? Did I have my receipt? I don’t need a receipt, I told her, confidently, everything you need it in your computer.
Okay, here’s another tangent. Sorry, I know this breaks up the flow, but it just happened: My phone rang. Not a big deal, right? Well, it’s 1AM here, so that is a big deal. The phone rings this time, and I think “Oh shit. Something’s bad.” Matter of fact, I used to pick up the phone in the middle of the night, and say, “Someone better be dead!” Until someone really was. One of my best friends had hung himself. So now I answer the phone, “Hope you won the lottery!”…anyway, I said, “Hello?” and the voice on the other end says, “[long pause] Is Joe there?”
“No, there’s not Joe here.”
“Who is this?” comes the reply.
I immediately think, “Great. Some fuckwad has gotten my home number, and is fucking with me, and now I have to change my numbers, blah blah, blah…” So I put on my “dad” voice, and I say, “This had better be a wrong number.”
And the voice (who I’ve pegged as about 17 or so) says, “You know what? You’re a fag.”
I am stunned into silence, at the genius currently coursing across the phone wires, but only briefly. I’m still pretty sure this is some jackass trying to mess with The Kid From TV (yes, it still happens. Jocks never grow up, apparently), so I say, “Okay, genius. I have you on my caller ID, and my next call is to the police.”
So I called the police, just to make a record, in case this was some phone calling equivalent of a skRip+ K!|>|>i3, and they sent a guy out here, because I live in a tiny town where nothing ever happens, and he just left.
End of tangent.
We now retun you to: “My Best Buy ni/*.phpare”, already in progress.
What? Did I have my receipt? I don’t need a receipt, I told her, confidently, everything you need is in your computer.
She looked at me, blankly, tapped a few keys, and told me that they didn’t have anything about my Palm in there. They had my wife’s camera, but nothing about my Palm.
Great. Here beginneth the ni/*.phpare.
I’m just gonna cut to the chase, because it’s REALLY not worth rehashing, blow by blow, and it’s late and I’m tired, and I have to get up at 7, so we can take Nolan to the beach for his birthday.
Here are the highlights:
They told me there was nothing they could do without a receipt. I told them that when I bought the service plan, I was told that everything would be in the com–dammit. Ferris just laid at my feet, and farted. Jesus Christ I hate that- I was told that everything would be in the computer, and I wouldn’t need it. At first, I was calm. I stayed calm, but forceful, you understand, as I climbed the chain of managers and supervisors, each as useless as the last.
Here was their first solution: I could get a
I would go get a Palm IIIxe from the Palm section. I would bring it back, and I give them the box with all the accessories, and I’d get the actual Palm unit, itself. This was honoring the service plan I’d bought, so it sounded okay to me, until I found out that I was going to be charged a “restocking fee”. Well, I was not about to pay a “restocking fee”, since I was mislead by the guy who sold me the service plan, and since I had already given them a lot of my money, and a lot of my time. After much gnashing of teeth, and wringing of hands, they agreed to waive the restocking fee. I think it may have had something to do with me saying, “Best Buy is a billion dollar company. My wife and I spend quite a bit of money here, annually. I am willing to walk out of here, right now, without anything, and take all my business elsewhere. That’s my TV-buying business, my CD-buying business, my game-buying business, and my DVD-buying business. You’re willing to lose all that, over a $20 restocking fee?” (see, it wasn’t about the money. It was about the principle. I’m sure a lot of you understand.)
So they tell me to go get the IIIxe, and bring it back, and we’ll do the switch, without the restocking fee.
NIKE! (That’s Greek for “Victory!”, and American for “Sweatshop!”)
I ran like phidipidies to the Palm counter, and asked for a IIIxe, so I could be on my way.
Small problem: Best Buy doesn’t carry the IIIxe any more. They carry the IIIc, which is nearly 150 dollars more, and way more Palm Pilot than I need.
So I head back to the most innappropriately named “customer service” counter that ever was, and explain the lack of IIIxe’s. Which sets me right back to square one. The woman who is “helping” me gleefully informs me that there’s nothing else that she can do for me.
So I did what we in acting call “making a choice”. I made the choice to become the hysterical, angy, irrational man who they really wanted to just get the F out of Best Buy. I ranted. I raved. I drooled.
And I finally talked to a manager who could do something for me. She explained that there was a mess up in the computer, and that wasn’t my fault (duh) she said that I had 2 options: Go home and search for the receipt (which I am certain I’ve lost. I can never keep receipts. If I put them all in a magic bag of receipt-holding, even that vanishes), or, I can take the $149.00 that they show my IIIxe being currently worth, and I can apply that towards an “upgrade”, if I’d like.
I’ve been thinking about getting a Visor.
So I finally spent an extra 40 bucks, and got the Visor. Now, wy any one of the parade of managers I’d dealt with before that couldn’t tell me that is beyond me. Like Columbo was so fond of saying, “Maybe I’m a little stupid here…”
I feel like I gave in, a little bit, because a few years ago, I would have walked out of there without anything, and fought them until I got exactly what I wanted. But Travis was waiting, and I knew that I would be able to spin my tale here, and let everyone know what we’ve all known, all along: big corporate behemoths like Best Buy suck. I’d encourage anyone who reads this to take your money, and your business, elsewhere. Anywhere. A mom and pop store would be the best, but, after that, maybe a place like 800.com, or something. Just keep your money, and your business away from Big Brother Best Buy. That’s today’s call to action, such as it is.
Next: Rehearsal, and the “Rrrreally big shew!”

Don’t Panic

Don’t Panic

I’m listening to Coldplay right now. Earlier today, I was listening to Tool, and some Charlie Parker. Does that strike anyone else as a bit incongruous? Speaking of Coldplay, who else thinks that they sound a LOT like Travis, and the first time you heard “Yellow”, you thought, “Boy, Dave Matthews sure has changed his sound.”
Woah…I just went to the Coldplay website, to make sure the link was correct, and their font is “Albertus”, the same font that was used on my favorite tv show of all time, The Prisoner. Matter of fact, it was my fanatical love of The Prisoner that allowed me to understand why anyone would want to wear a spacesuit and go to a convention. Because I used to have a lame little Number 6 pin, and I would wear it to game cons, back in the day.
Oh, that reminds me of this one time I went to a huge game con, and some guy was selling “Put Wesley In The Airlock” buttons. I went up to his table, and he saw me coming, and tried to hide them, but I got there too fast, and I took one. While I was looking at it, I could see the huge drops of sweat falling off his Hutt-like visage, and I asked him, “How much?” He told me 2.50, or something like that, so I bought it, and wore it on my Batman tshirt the rest of the day. That was cool.
Anyway, about Coldplay: I really like this CD. It gives me the same feeling that Hatful of Hollow or The Queen Is Dead did, when I was in ^H^H suffering through high school: it’s soothing, but also kinda of melancholy, but not in a depressing sort of way. The song “Don’t Panic” is really wonderful. I wonder if they’re fans of Arthur Dent & Co?
Enough stream of consciousness ramblings. I wanted to write about a few things that happened today.
I shot some promos for TNN today, for this huge TNG marathon they’re doing when they launch TNG on TNN (I love that; it’s like NBA on NBC, but without the sex scandals, drugs, and fatherless children all over the freaking country). It was REALLY fun. Promos are those things where you see someone say, “Hi! I’m Gary Coleman, and you’re watching the Hour of Yaks, right here on UHF channel 67, Baton Rouge!” They can be REALLY lame, but I always have fun with them. I get the copy, which is usually something like, “Hi, I’m ___, and you’re watching Star Trek: The Next Generation, on Time Warner Cable.” So when I do it, to amuse myself, I say, “Hi! I’m former UN Secretary General Boutros Butros Gali…” and “Hi! I’m the ghost of former Phillipine dictator Ferdinand Marcos…” or whatever. Hey, it makes me laugh, and then when I do the REAL promo, I’m smiling, and people see me all happy on TV, which is good.
So I’m hosting this 5 day marathon, where they’re going to show the “best” episodes of TNG, as decided by the fans, and stuff.
Okay, I gotta stop here, and give a bit of perspective. I thought I’d open up the old IM, since I’m sitting here, anyways, and I’ve spent the last…well, however long it is running Parachutes twice on the CD player, just answering IM’s. I really didn’t think that many people would be interested. I really didnt. I know that sounds like “Singles” where the guy says, “Everyone here has a thing” and the girl says, “I think your thing is that you don’t have a thing.” I’m really not trying to have any false modesty here, or not have a thing…it just surprises me, that’s all. So I open up the IM, and I get over 50 IMs. And I want to reply, you know, and then I get sucked into all these conversations, because these people are pretty cool and making me laugh (Katie) and sending me silly stuff (soma dawling)…and next thing I know, it’s almost midnight, and I haven’t even gotten close to finishing the stories I want to tell for today.
Boy, I am really rambling tonight. Oh well. Deal.
So TNN is doing this marathon, and they’re having 5 of us host 5 days of it, doing things like “I’m Wil, and you’re watching the Five Day Mission on TNN!” and stuff. And I’m shooting the “stay tuned” things, and that sort of thing, and I remembered just how much fun I had when I was doing that show. Now, I know that most people really didn’t like the whole Wesley thing, and there were lots of times when the writing REALLY pissed me off, but, over all, it really WAS a good time. And sometimes I miss it.
Okay, nearly 2 hours have passed between the last paragraph, and this one, because Anne came home, and I haven’t seen her all day, so we sat at the table and talked, while we waited for the bread I was baking to finish. I swear, there is nothing like the smell of bread baking in your house to make everything right with the world, you know?
Now I’m listening to the soundtrack from Almost Famous, and I am a sucker for “Tiny Dancer” (I was long before the movie, though, so gimmie a break, okay? Why do I bring up Tiny dancer, well, because I want nothing more in this world than to go get into bed next to my wife, and hold her hand while I drift off to sleep.
I have LOTS of cool stuff to talk about from today, but I’m gonna write it up tomorrow. So you can comment on this entry,or wait until the next one. It’s up to you.
G’night.

Romper Stomper

Romper Stomper

From an Email I got this morning:

Wil:
I’m writing a book about Romper Room and came across a TV appearance of you on a California show with Miss Nancy. You told the hosts you used to watch Romper Room “religiously.”
I’m writing to people who were on the show, or who watched the show, to get their impressions of Romper Room. I’m hoping you can answer some questions. What made you watch it? What’s your strongest memory of the program? Were you ever on Romper Room?

My response:
I was never on “Romper Room”, but here is my clearest memory, from watching it as a kid:
I would sit on the floor of our house (which was really a chicken coop behind my grand parent’s farmhouse. Yes, we were that poor), my fingers dug deeply into the golden shag carpeting, my tiny fists balled with anticipation, as Miss Nancy would hold up her magic mirror, and ask it to tell her, today, “did our friends have fun at play?” I would sit up straight, stare into the glorious black and white 13-inch Zenith TV, and wait patiently as she saw Steven, and Jody, and Tina, and Todd, and Michael, and every-fucking-body except WIL! Hey! Miss Nancy! I’m sitting right here! I’ve had LOTS of fun at play! I did the DooBee dance! I ran around pretending I was a fireman! I HAD FUN AT PLAY! WHY CAN’T YOU SEE ME?! AM I INVISIBLE?! *pant* *pant*
I never watched tv shows like the ones I did when I was 4. Jesus, does anyone?

Save Ferris

Save Ferris

I’m listening to Cake right now. Have you noticed that Cake is one of those bands that evokes a visceral reaction in people? I mean, they either really, really love it, or they really, really hate it. I dunno, maybe it’s just me.
Here’s the story of Ferris:
My wife is the coolest, ever. You know that stupid corny hallmark-card thing about someone making you want to be a better person? Well, sorry, I like to be anti and all Emo and shit, but it’s true. I love my wife more than anything, and she really does make me want to be a better person. I could gush about her for pages here, but I’m not gonna. I am going to exercise restraint.
Oh, fuck that. I knew from the moment that I saw Anne that I would marry her. Isn’t that weird? Has that ever happened to someone who wasn’t in some godawful Nora Ephron movie? And the way we met…it was all timing. My best girlfriend, Stephanie, worked with Anne for YEARS, but she never introduced us…I mean, she even babysat Anne’s kids, at MY PARENT’S HOUSE when we were younger, and she never introduced me to Anne…because, when we look back at stuff, the timing was just all wrong. We weren’t ready to meet each other. But when we did, it was bootylicious.
Anne is beautiful. I mean, she is fucking hella rad.
Hella.
Hella.
Hella.
I always joke that when we are out, people look at us and complain that there’s another hot babe with a geek. I say that I am Bob Goldthwait to her Nikki Cox, David Copperfield to her Claudia Schiffer, Sigfried to her Roy…I truly adore my wife, and that’s all I have to say about that.
One of the things I adore about her is how she has what Soul Coughing called “Boundless Love”. Anne works every day, takes her kids to school, picks them up, deals with their dad, and still has time to make me feel like I’m important in her life.
We have this fake dog poop that someone gave us a long time ago, and we have the game that we play, where we try to put the poop in each other’s stuff. Recently, I stuck it in the toe of her shoe, which was in her suitcase. She found it when she put her shoe on in Vegas. She put it in the exact middle of my bed, under the sheets, and it scared the hell out of me when I jumped into bed around 230 or something last week. My point is, my wife is cool, okay? Yesterday, when I was sobbing like a little bitch in our bedroom, she came in, sat next to me, put her arm around me, and just sat there, loving me. I could feel it. Then she gave me Kleenex, and told me that she’d leave me alone until I felt better.
So you need to know that to understand the story of Ferris.
Anne is a sucker for hard-luck cases, especially animals. One time a few years ago, she almost got hit on the freeway, because she saw a kitten running in the slow lane…so she stopped her car right there and got out to save the kitten, but it got hit by a car just before Anne could get to it, and Anne sat on the freeway, holding the kitten while it died in her hands.
She was fucked up about it for months.
So about 18 months ago, she and I are on our patio, and we hear this meowing coming from our garage. We both thought it was one of my cats, Biko or Sketch, (who are both inside cats, but occasionally get out), so we went to look…and out comes this skinny black cat with no tail. Anne immediately falls in love with him, and she takes him to the vet, to get him healthy again, while I make the “Found Cat” posters. Long story short: We thought he was going to die, the vet said he was just dehydrated, we got him shots, and Anne named him “Felix”. He has lived with us ever since, and he is one ot the coolest cats, ever.
Shortly after Felix came to live with us, a woman Anne works with told us about this guide dog she trained, who was also named Felix. She told us that Felix works for a guy up in Canada (and you can’t spell “runaway production” without Canada!), and Felix had been hit by a car, and they weren’t sure if he would be able to work as a guide dog any more. I guess when a service dog has to be retired, they give the person who trained that animal the right of first refusal as a place to live out their life, but Rita (Anne’s friend) lives in an apartment with her husband and young son. Not the best place for a 90 pound lab. So Rita asked her if Felix could come to live with us, and of course Anne said “yes”. Long story short: Felix was okay, and he’s still working with his guy in Canada. Which is great, because I can only imagine what the bond between service dog and owner must be like. I would just speculate that it’s similar to parent-child, and I always hoped that Felix would be able to stay with his guy. In the process of waiting to see if Felix would come live with us, we got on a list for guide dogs who flunk their final exam, because we have wanted a dog for AGES, and we thought that would be the best way to get one.
We are ADAMANTLY opposed to pet stores selling dogs and cats, by the way /soapbox.
Anyway, cut to Memorial day this year. We have no dog. Anne is taking the kids to Home Depot, so they can buy the materials necessary to make a grind rail (they’re all about the short boards. I’m all about the long boards. It makes for an interesting dynamic when we skate).
Funny aside: Ryan (12) and Nolan (10) were talking about how excited they were to get a grind rail, which they kept calling a “pole”. Nolan says to Ryan, “We TOTALLY have to get some grinding wax, Ryan!” Ryan replies, “Yeah, so we can wax our pole!”
Okay, so they’re leaving the Home Depot, and instead of going to the Left, to get back to the freeway like they always do, Anne goes right, and passes this bus stop, where this tiny little dog is chewing on a t-shirt. Anne says that she felt compelled to stop and save her. So she did. As soon as she got out of the car, the dog ran into some Oleander bushes, and Anne spent close to 30 minutes getting her out, and took her to an Emergency vet, for some shots and to get the ticks out of her ears.
So Anne brings home this skinny, 27 pound, depressed little dog, and, I must be totally honest, I was pissed. I was so mad that she had made this huge decision to take on the responsibility of a dog without consulting me. I mean, we have enough responsibilities already, you know? We really had it out. There was much gnashing of teeth, and Sir Robin soiled his armor. We finally agreed to keep her for a few days, and see how she was, and if she wasn’t any better, we’d take her to a shelte where they don’t euthanize the animals.
Well, she was terrified of me. She had CLEARLY been abused by a man, and she was terrified of men. “Great,” I thought, “I’m going to be responsible for a dog who never lets me pet her. Terriffic.”
And for the first 12 hours–wait, I know I’m not supposed to start a sentence with a conjunction. But I can’t spell for shit, so why are you complaining now? Jeeze. Get off my back, Mrs. Lee [9th grade english teacher who flunked me because she said I couldn't write. I win.]–for the first 12 hours, she sat by the side door, never moving, never eating, just looking depressed. But somehow, my amazing wife loved this dog enough, and totally turned her around. Within 12 hours she was wagging her entire body, eating, chasing a tennis ball, and generally acting like a dog. And she let me pet her, and started following me everywhere around our house.
So we decided to keep her. But she needed a name…and that was very important. I wanted to give her a name from Mythology…”Athena” or “Psyche” or something. I know, lame. Deal. The kids wanted to name her “Haley”, which didn’t work for me at ALL, because in high school I had the most painful crush on a girl named Haley…so we decided that we’d try on different names for a few days, and the right one would reveal itself to us.
Anne comes home from work the next day, comes in the door, looks at me and says, “Ferris.”
“Bueller?”
“Sort of. Save Ferris!”
Okay, there is this band from OC that we LOVE called Save Ferris. They play with our friends fairview a lot. They rule.
Anne says, “Get it? Save Ferris. I totally saved Ferris!”
I looked at the dog, looked at her sweet, marble eyes and soft little puppy-fuzzy-head, and it was perfect. Not surprising, considering that it came from my wife.
So her name is “Ferris”.
Isn’t that a cool story?
Anyone?
Anyone?
Bueller?
Bueller?

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