The site seems to have mostly recovered from being Slashdotted yesterday.
That was pretty damn cool.
Welcome back, everyone.
The site seems to have mostly recovered from being Slashdotted yesterday.
That was pretty damn cool.
Welcome back, everyone.
Can it be? Is it…?
Yes, Virginia. You’re not hallucinating. It’s time for yet another chapter in the increasingly drawn-out saga of SpongeBob Vega$ Pants!!
Recently, on SpongeBob Vega$ Pants…
After a flight, a buffet, and an earlier than expected phone call…
A sad, sad, snubbing by WILLIAM FUCKING SHATNER….
Hours of autographs, where our hero met his long lost Japanese twin brother…
A tangent that went nowhere…
And a talk that started out badly , got worse, but ended up okay…
We find our hero with just a scant 90 minutes to eat, change, and rehearse before he is to take the stage with his sketch comedy group to perfom “MIND MELD: ASSIMILATE THIS!” for 500 Trekkies.
More, after this commercial message:
Logjamming rules. They host you for 5 bucks a month. Cool!
So I’ve just finished my talk, and it was okay. Not great, not terrible, but I don’t have time to worry about it, because I have a show to do.
I meet my friends from ACME, who I’ve brought out to Vega$ to do the show, backstage. We’ve all performed on the ACME stage many times together, but we’ve never performed this lineup of sketches, and they’ve never performed in front of Trekkies before. Matter of fact, most of them don’t even watch Star Trek, and this convention was their first ever experience with the show, and the unique following it has. We’ve never had a technical rehearsal, we don’t know if the body mics we’ve been expecting for over a year (that’s how long it took to plan the show) are giong to show up. The guy who is doing our music and our lights has never seen the show, or read the scripts, and we don’t how that’s going to work.
Here’s a brief note about sketch comedy: one of the most important aspects of sketch comedy is the blackout that ends the scene. When I write a sketch, I always end it with a big laugh, or a big surprise, and the lights must immediately come down. If they don’t, we are left standing onstage, with our proverbial dicks in our hands. Not funny, believe it or not, especially if you’re a woman. Try explaining the sudden appearance of a dick in your hand to the audience…yeah, not an easy thing. Especially if you’re performing at the church ice cream social. So, I’m scared shitless that the tech guy isn’t going to make some mistakes, even though I’ve made him a set list, complete with the last few lines of each scene, and when the blackout is supposed to occur. If you’ve read my FAQ, you know that I am a Type-A control freak, and I don’t like to leave anything up to chance…so I was freaking out, right up until the lights went up on the show.
We all went over to The Hard Rock Hotel, to eat, where I didn’t eat anything that I ordered, and headed back to the convention, so change, shave, put on makeup, and get ourselves together.
We are supposed to be let into the theatre at 7:30, so we can have a quick run through of some blackouts, get our props set, and have 5 minutes to catch our breath…but it’s now 7:45, and the show before us has run long, and we’re not even going to get into the theatre until 8:20, or 8:30…and I know from experience that an audience’s willingness to enjoy your show is inversely proportionaly to the amount of time you keep them waiting past the time on the ticket, which is 8PM.
But that shouldn’t matter, because Trekkies love everything that any of us from Star Trek do, right? I mean, all we have to do is show up, and they’ll go nuts, right?
Wrong. They can be the most hyper-critical audience, ever, and this audience is made up of people who’ve paid lots of money to see this show. Some of them bought tickets that cost as much as 1500 bucks. So they expect, and deserve, an amazing show, and I intend to give it to them.
Finally, after much waiting, we get to go into the theatre, and set up. We get our props set backstage. We find an appropriate lighting level. We give the list of blackouts to our tech guy, and we are ready to put our body mics on.
Problem is, our body mics aren’t there.
That’s right. The body mics were either unwilling to respond, or they were unable to respond.
Bottom line is, we have no body mics. Which means we have no mics at all. Which means that it’s highly unlikely that the back of the house will be able to hear us.
One of the good things about being under the gun is that you don’t have the luxury of freaking out. You see the challenge, you meet the challenge, and you move on. I think that’s why I work so well under pressure.
We all huddled, and decided, “Hey, we’re all good actors, and we’re all good improvisers. We’ll just perform to the back row.”
So that’s exactly what we did.
It’s now close to 8:30. I can feel the audience outside the theatre trading their “we love you, wil” signs for torches and pitchforks, so I decide that we’re not going to keep them any longer. We’re just going to get ourselves backstage, and open up the house.
I give my CD of “Warm Up The House” music to our tech guy, who I’ve come to know as Jim, and the doors open.
A few anxious moments pass, while we all go through our pre-show rituals…some of us stretch, some of us chant, some of us walk in a circle. I can’t remember what I do…it’s always different. I think I was pacing, running lines in my head.
Dave Scott comes backstage and asks us if we’re ready. We are. He goes onstage, makes his, “Tape this and we will track you down and kick you square in the nuts,” speech, and the lights go down.
I take the stage, and I see that Dave has decided to play a little practical joke on me: the entire audience is wearing “Groucho” glasses. It is insanely funny to me, seeing all these people, in various levels of space-suitery, enjoying a mass giggle, like a bunch of school kids putting one over on the substitute.
It was rad.
I’m looking out at them, and I get the sense that they’re all waiting for me to say something funny…so I take a long look around the room, lift the microphone to my face, and say, “You’re all related, aren’t you?”
Huge relief from me, that they’ve traded their torches and pitchforks for Groucho glasses.
I say some things, and the show starts.
The show goes amazingly well. Jim, the tech guy, is a natural. You’d never know that he hadn’t seen the show. He never misses a cue, and, a few times, he even anticipates when an imporivsed bit needs to end, and blacks it out like he’s been doing it for years.
We are extremely lucky to have Jim doing our lights. If we take this show on the road, we’ll take him with us, we decide.
All our sketches kill, except one, and that’s a great batting average for us. We’re happy.
There is one small problem, though…as the show is nearing its end, one of the other performers, Maz, and I both have to pee worse than we’ve ever had to pee before. Normally, this wouldn’t be a problem. All theatres have a backstage pisser…but we’re in a ballroom, behind pipe and drape…so we do the pee-pee dance for the last 25 minutes of the show. I seriously considered using the empty bottle of Crystal Geyser…but thought better of it.
The show closes with a sketch I wrote, called “Shut Up, Welsey.” I won’t tell too much about it, because you may see it someday, and I’d hate to spoil the surprise. I’m also shooting it as a short film, and you may be able to see that someday, too, so I’ll just say this: I loved writing it. It’s always fun to perform it, and I was terrified that the audience wouldn’t get it. I thought that they’d think I was making fun of them (I wasn’t), and those pitchforks would show up again…but they loved it.
As I write this, I am recalling the feeling I had as I performed that show, and it is so wonderful…so much has happened since that show…it’s been such a roller coaster for me, the last month or so…and enjoying that feeling all over again is really cool.
Anyway, the show is over, I come out to introduce the cast, and give a HUGE public thank you to Jim the Magnificent.
The most amazing thing happens: when I walk out there, they leap to their feet. They are screaming. They are applauding. They are whistling. They are howling. They stay on their feet for what feels like 5 minutes, but was probably more like 2…and I am struggling to keep it together, because I feel like crying. You have no idea the shit I’ve gotten over the last 15 years because of Star Trek, and you have no idea how risky it was for me to put up this show…and the validation I felt from this crowd was just overwhelming.
I’d say that over 80% of the email I get says something like, “I had no idea you were funny.” or “I expected you to be a tool” or something like that…and I’ve been working so goddamn hard to get people give me a chance to challenge their expectations of me, and hopefully change their minds about me, that getting that huge, genuine, passionate standing ovation from that group of people was simply magical. I will cherish that for the rest of my life.
Matter of fact, I was so overwhelmed by the response, that I introduced the entire group, and forgot to introduce Jim!
So, Jim, if you’re reading, here goes:
This show did not come together overnight, and it didn’t come together easily. We all worked really hard to make it happen, and the whole thing could have been easily ruined by a bad tech guy. Fortunately, we had the most amazing tech guy ever. Jim [here is where I’d point to the side of the stage, and call you up] has never lit a sketch show before, and he didn’t miss a beat tonight. If you enjoyed the show, Jim deserves your applause as much as any of us do. [Now, the entire house, and all of us onstage applaud for Jim].
The house empties out, and I run at mach 4 to the bathroom. When I get back into the ballroom, I get the most important review, of all. My wife comes up to me, puts her arms around me, and says, “Honey, you were great. I’ve never laughed so hard in my whole life.”
NEXT TIME: 3 Days in Vega$, and The Star Trek Experience.
I wonder, when a former, or current MUDder gets a promotion at work, do they get on the intercom, and shout:
Radio Free Burrito will begin todays live broadcast at 3PM, PDT. Tell a friend.
Well, at last the phone call has come, and I can tell my story. Now, you can know where all your mojo has been going the last 2 weeks.
Before I get into the details, I have to say that, whether it is placebo or not, I felt more confident than I have ever felt, as I went through this audition process, and I know that it helped me relax, and do my best work.
One of the coolest things, ever, came from Susie, who takes care of kids in a daycare here in SoCal. On the day of Mojo-needing, Susie had her kids draw me good luck pictures. She said to me, is there any better mojo than the mojo of a child?
I think not.
She scanned and emailed the drawings to me. I was going to put them all up, but I’ve decided that I’m going to keep them just for me. I’m giving too damn much of myself away on this site as it is, anyway.
So here’s the shortened version of the story: I was auditioning to be the new co-host of the Comedy Central show, “Win Ben Stein’s Money”. It was a long process, and it was the most fun I have ever had, ever, auditioning for any show. The producers, and everyone who works on that show are so fucking cool, I can’t even begin to describe it.
Oh, if you haven’t figured it out by now, I didn’t get it. It came down to me and one other guy, and, everyone say it with me, “They took the other guy.”
Something that is really shitty for me right now, as an actor, is that I have don’t have enough of a “name” and enough recognizability to put me “over the top” for shows, but I do have enough to take me out of shows. I can’t even do commercials, because I’m not a big enough celebrity to be an endoresement guy, and I’m too well known to be an average joe. I wonder if that came into play on this job? I don’t know.
The challenge for me right now is to get producers to see me in a different way. To see past their pre-conception of me, and let me show them something that they weren’t expecting.
Like this website. How many people came here expecting some jackass celebrity site, where the celebrity has nothing to do with it? How many people came here expecting me to be a complete ass?
Did I give them what they expected? I certainly hope not.
So this news has devastated me. I really wanted to work with the crew over there, because they are all so cool.
Get this: The producer of the show, the EXECUTIVE FUCKING PRODUCER, actually called me, to tell me how sorry he was that I didn’t make it, and how he really liked me, and how he called other producers, to let them know about me. That just doesn’t happen, and I am floored by that. He is, truly, one of the coolest people I have ever met.
A sincere “thank you” to everyone who sent me mojo, and kept me in their thoughts. That was very cool, and I think I’ll be calling on you all again. I didn’t get this one, but I’ll get one soon, I can feel it.
Oh, one last thing: can we cool it with the “I’m first” thing? It’s really lame.
From Slashdot: “The U.S. Senate passed its version of the “anti-terrorism” legislation last night. The Washington Post, CNN, and Wired all have stories. There are terrorists under every rock, and we must destroy our freedom in order to save it.”
Congress is at it again. This legislation is absolutely absurd.
Here’s a bit of it, from EFF:
Additional provisions of the proposed Anti-Terrorism Act include the following measures:
*make it possible to obtain e-mail message header information, Internet user web browsing patterns, *and “stored” voicemail without a wiretap order
*eviscerate controls on Title III roving wiretaps
*permit law enforcement to disclose information obtained through wiretaps to any employee of the Executive branch
*reduce restrictions on domestic investigations under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA)
*permit grand juries to provide information to the US intelligence community
*permit the President to designate any “foreign-directed individual, group, or entity,” including any *United States citizen or organization, as a target for FISA surveillance
*prevent people from providing “expert advice” to terrorists
*extends federal DNA database to every person convicted of a federal terrorism offense which includes low-level computer intrusions
*other provisions, whether or not related to online civil liberties
When I opened this site, I knew nothing about html and it’s bastard brothers, CSS and.php and stuff.
Now, 8 weeks later, I know next to nothing, but I’m closer to knowing something, which is nice.
The entire site has been redone, in.php now. It should load faster, look cooler, and be easier for me to manage.
If you look on your right, you’ll see a new feature I’ve added: it’s books, music, and movies that I like. Since I seem to have attracted a certain type of person here (smart, independent, progressive), my guess is you already have what I’ll be putting up. But if you don’t and you want to buy it, you should go to a local, family owned business and get it. If for some reason you live in The Republic of Best Buy, or the Feifdom of Wal*Mart, you can click on the pictures, and get it from amazon. It’s a good way for you to support my site, too, because Spamazon will send me something like 15% of the cover price, less taxes, of course…so the 18 cents I make will go towards getting me a new computer, with a faster processor, and a bigger hard drive…which means more RFB for the children. Because I care about you, and I want to make my computer cooler, for the children.
Also, I’m expecting my site to be enjoying the Slashdot effect, very soon, maybe even tonight. So if you’d like to mirror the site, that’d be cool.
There is one last thing: While I was redoing the site today, looking at the clock, freaking out that I had to leave, and I wasn’t done, I hit a wall. I just couldn’t get the pages to look the way I wanted them to, and I was about to have a complete meltdown…and I begged my friend Josh, one of the guys behind logjamming hosting, to help me. Josh did help me, and I would have never been able to fix it on my own.
I owe Josh a huge debt of gratitude, and if you are hooked on this lame little site, so do you.
You should update your links, too. If you were linking to greymatter.htm, you’ll need to relink to www.wilwheaton.net/main.php
I am certain that I messed some things up. Please post your discoveries in the comments, so I don’t get 500 emails saying, “You messed up A, B and C”, or “You messed up Living in Harmony”.
I hope everyone is having a good night!
I think I have found my site’s new slogan. This comes to me from an Email:
“like a beacon of light in that mass of crap known as the Internet”
How freaking cool is that?!
To quote Homer Simpson, “Now we play ‘the waiting game’…awww, waiting game sucks! Let’s play Hungy Hungry Hippos!”
Since I don’t yet know what the results of the audition are (if it’s killing you, imagine what it’s doing to me!), and I don’t have Hungy Hungry Hippos, you can read this super cool interview I did with BBSpot while you wait.
Read slowly. It may take a day or three until I hear something.