Homework

Homework

Two quick things tonight. Not a lot of time to write, because I have a HUGE audition tomorrow (Monday) for a supercool miniseries. So I have a lot of homework to do.
Speaking of homework, here’s yours:
Read this, and get involved.
Read this, and laugh your ass off at one of the coolest things, ever.

Random

Random

My wife and I were driving home from Nolan’s soccer game this morning.
Let me pause here and say how much I love getting up at 6AM on a Saturday, so I can go sit in wet grass and watch overachiever parents scream at their terrified 10 year olds that they’re doing everything wrong. Oh, and I especially love when the assistant coach of the freaking team gets so pissed at the kids for making a mistake that he takes off his hat, throws it to the ground, and stomps on it. For reals. And if that wasn’t enough, when one of the kids missed a fairly easy goal (maybe he was distracred by his father screaming at him to “Kick it, Brandon! Kick it! KICK THE DAMN BALL!”), he actually dropped to the ground in a ball, and pounded his fists against the ground, like Kirk in Wrath of Khan.
Fortunately, Nolan is a phenomenal soccer player, and he doesn’t get yelled at by any of his parents, or the head coach, who happens to be his dad.
But my favorite is the guy who can’t even sit down, beacuse he’s pacing the whole time, screaming at his kid, “David! Get back! NO! Get up! NO! Cover your guy! NUMBER 4 DAVID! COVER NUMBER 4! NO! Don’t look at me!!! NOOOO!!!” Pace. Pace. Smoke. Smoke.
Running a close second is the guy who yelled at his kid, “Alberto! Alberto! You just cost your team a goal! What did we talk about?! WHAT DID WE TALK ABOUT?!”
I have two pieces of advice for those parents:
1) Get a life. They’re 10. It’s not that important.
2) For the benefit of the kids, and all the parents around you, please stay the fuck away from the field, okay? Drop your future Maradona off, go home, and come back when the game is over.
Read the AYSO guide of conduct, recently, guys? I didn’t think so.
What a tool.
Anyway, I’m on the way home with Anne, and this really wussy song comes on the radio, and she says, “Is this The Crash Test Dummies?” (One of the wussiest bands in history, for those of you scoring at home)
“No, it’s Metallica.” I told her.
So if any of you were wondering if Metallica has completey lost it, there you are. I can’t believe that the guys who croak out “Until It Sleeps” are the same guys who gave me whiplash in 95 listening to “Damage Incorporated” and “Master of Puppets”
“Napster bad!”
So are formerly cool metal bands who wuss out.
A change of pace?
Am I the only person who is at once really tired of, yet unable to pull myself away from, the wall to wall converage of the WTC bombing? Apparently not.
But KCBS Channel 2 here in LA has finally stopped running their coverage (I am convinced now that Dan Rather is not a person, but a very complex robot who can stay awake for hundreds of hours in a row. That or he’s a series of clever clones, like in that Droopy cartoon).
The only thing is, they’ve replaced the constant replays of horror and suffering and destruction with…a marathon of Judge Judy.
What?
Belly Buttons
I think that there are few things in this world that are sexier than a flat tummy, in one of those midriff shirts, with a subtle piercing and NO FUCKING WAIST BRACELET. Waist bracelets belong one place, and one place only, and that is on strippers. So if you’re not a stripper, please, please, puh-leeeze. Just say no. You’ll be glad you did.
Anyway, I turn on something like VH1 or something, and they’re playing that Levi’s commercial, where the belly buttons are singing, “I’m coming out”. You know the one. Does that give anyone else the creeps? Somehow, they made those belly buttons look the opposite of sexy. They made them scary. I mean, they made them clown scary.
Clown scary, Chet. Clown scary.

Please Read

Please Read

This is making its way all around, and, sadly, I don’t think the people who really need to read it are capable of that. But, please read it, if you haven’t already, and spend a moment to reflect. It comes to me from Loren.

“I’ve been hearing a lot of talk about “bombing Afghanistan back to the Stone Age.” Ronn Owens, on KGO Talk Radio today, allowed that this would mean killing innocent people, people who had nothing to do with this atrocity, but “we’re at war, we have to accept collateral damage. What else can we do?” Minutes later I heard some TV pundit discussing whether we “have the belly to do what must be done.”
And I thought about the issues being raised especially hard because I am from Afghanistan, and even though I’ve lived here for 35 years I’ve never lost track of what’s going on there. So I want to tell anyone who will listen how it all looks from where I’m standing.
I speak as one who hates the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden. There is no doubt in my mind that these people were responsible for the atrocity in New York. I agree that something must be done about those monsters.
But the Taliban and Ben Laden are not Afghanistan. They’re not even the government of Afghanistan. The Taliban are a cult of ignorant psychotics who took over Afghanistan in 1997. Bin Laden is a political criminal with a plan. When you think Taliban, think Nazis. When you think Bin Laden, think Hitler. And when you think “the people of Afghanistan” think “the Jews in the concentration camps.” It’s not only that the Afghan people had nothing to do with this atrocity. They were the first victims of the perpetrators. They would exult if someone would come in there, take out the Taliban and clear out the rats nest of international thugs holed up in their country.
Some say, why don’t the Afghans rise up and overthrow the Taliban? The answer is, they’re starved, exhausted, hurt, incapacitated, suffering.
A few years ago, the United Nations estimated that there are 500,000 disabled orphans in Afghanistan–a country with no economy, no food.
There are millions of widows. And the Taliban has been burying thesewidows alive in mass graves. The soil is littered with land mines, the farms were all destroyed by the Soviets. These are a few of the reasons why the Afghan people have not overthrown the Taliban.
We come now to the question of bombing Afghanistan back to the Stone Age. Trouble is, that’s been done. The Soviets took care of it already.
Make the Afghans suffer? They’re already suffering. Level their houses? Done. Turn their schools into piles of rubble? Done. Eradicate their hospitals? Done. Destroy their infrastructure? Cut them off from medicine and health care? Too late. Someone already did all that.
New bombs would only stir the rubble of earlier bombs. Would they at least get the Taliban? Not likely. In today’s Afghanistan, only the Taliban eat, only they have the means to move around. They’d slip away and hide. Maybe the bombs would get some of those disabled orphans, they don’t move too fast, they don’t even have wheelchairs. But flying over Kabul and dropping bombs wouldn’t really be a strike against the criminals who did this horrific thing. Actually it would only be making common cause with the Taliban–by raping once again the people they’ve been raping all this time
So what else is there? What can be done, then? Let me now speak with true fear and trembling. The only way to get Bin Laden is to go in there with ground troops. When people speak of “having the belly to do what needs to be done” they’re thinking in terms of having the belly to kill as many as needed. Having the belly to overcome any moral qualms about killing innocent people. Let’s pull our heads out of the sand. What’s actually on the table is Americans dying. And not just because some Americans would die fighting their way through Afghanistan to Bin Laden’s hideout. It’s much bigger than that folks. Because to get any troops to Afghanistan, we’d have to go through Pakistan. Would they let us? Not likely. The conquest of Pakistan would have to be first. Will other Muslim nations just stand by? You see where I’m going. We’re flirting with a world war between Islam and the West.
And guess what: that’s Bin Laden’s program. That’s exactly what he wants. That’s why he did this. Read his speeches and statements. It’s all right there. He really believes Islam would beat the west. It might seem ridiculous, but he figures if he can polarize the world into Islam and the West, he’s got a billion soldiers. If the west wreaks a holocaust in those lands, that’s a billion people with nothing left to lose, that’s even better from Bin Laden’s point of view. He’s probably wrong, in the end the west would win, whatever that would mean, but the war would last for years and millions would die, not just theirs but ours. Who has the belly for that? Bin Laden does. Anyone else?”
-Tamim Amsary

Fuck You, Falwell, and Robertson Can Kiss My Ass

Fuck You, Falwell, and Robertson Can Kiss My Ass

Via Plastic.com via the Washington Post:

Television evangelists Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, two of the most prominent voices of the religious right, said liberal civil liberties groups, feminists, homosexuals and abortion rights supporters bear partial responsibility for Tuesday’s terrorist attacks because their actions have turned God’s anger against America.

SpongeBob Vega$ Pants

SpongeBob Vega$ Pants

Vega$ baby! Vega$!
It’s the battle cry often heard coming from our car as my wife and I tear up I 15, making the 4 hours drive in 3 and a half. I mean, driving to Vega$ is half the fun. The excitement, the boredom, the constant, “Are we there yet?” Answered by, “Yes, just around this corner,” or “We passed it. I have to turn around.”
The stop at Barstow for In-N-Out Burgers, and slowing down past the Bunboy to see how hot it is at “the world’s tallest thermometer“. Reading every single billboard, announcing that the Stardust has ROOMS AVAILABLE TONIGHT! And Circus Circus has FREE CIRCUS ACTS EVERY HOUR!
The drive is usually as much fun, if not more fun, than the time we spend in Vega$.
I bring this up, because the last two times we’ve gone there, we’ve flown (because we weren’t paying for it), and flying to Vega$ just sucks. I mean, where is The Mad Greek? Where is Lake Delores? And you know what? You can’t listen to Joshua Tree on the way, when you’re in a plane. The flight isn’t long enough, and you look lame when tears roll down your face while listening to “Running To Stand Still” on an plane. In a car it’s okay, but not on a plane. I don’t know why, it’s just one of those things that we’ll never understand. Like overalls on adults, or George Bush in the White House.
So I’m gonna give you all the stories from Vega$, including the Con and stuff. The plan right now is to split them up over a few days, because I’m so damn long-winded, but we’ll see where we are in a little bit.
Here goes.
The Flight
We went out on Southwest Airlines from Burbank. I love flying Southwest for less than an hour. It’s easy, it’s cheap, and the flight attendants out here are always really friendly and funny. Friendly and funny goes a LONG way with me, FYI.
We were scheduled to go out at 3:50 PM, meaning that we’d need to get to the airport around 3, which means we leave our house at 2:15 or so.
So it’s 3:15 and we’re walking out the door…and somehow we get to the airport on time.
You know how southwest gives you those boarding cards? I got number 42!! YES! Check out what a dork I am. I was so excited, because, you know…
So the flight was nice and bumpy, which is my favorite. OH! LeVar Burton was on the plane with us, and when we landed in Vega$, Anne and I ran, and I mean, ran into the bathrooms, and LeVar comes walking over to me, and tells me, “W W, [he always calls me that, which I think is cool] when you showed me that picture of your wife in South Pasadena [when we were at the TCAs for TNG on TNN -nice use of acronyms, Wil], you did not do her justice.” Dramatic pause. “Wil Wheaton, your wife is a fox!”
So I’ve got that going for me, which is nice.
So we get a ride to our hotel, which is The Bellagio (again, because we’re not paying for it. I am *so* not into the pretentious BS. The whole time we were there, I felt like I was playing dress up). We check in, and now we have exactly 30 minutes to get changed, and all that before my sketch comedy group meets us for a quick dinner and rehearsal.
Let me talk for a minute about my sketch comedy group.
I am a member of the ACME comedy theatre in Hollywood. The ACME is one of the best comedy theatres, ever, and it’s one of the few achievements I’ve made that I am extremely proud of. I love the ACME. Matter of fact, I’ll be teaching at our school very soon. So if you’re in Los Angeles, and want to learn how to give up the funny, you should call us. You’ll be glad you did! Alright. Enough gushing.
From this exceptional company,I chose some of the best improvisers/writers/performers I could find. Because I chose the best, they were all working on their various projects and things, and it was EXTREMELY hard to set up a rehearsal schedule that everyone could commit to. So we’re doing a show with 10 sketches, most of which we’ve never done as a group before, and we’ve never really had a full rehearsal until the night before we’re supposed to perform. Holy shit. I am freaking out, because I am a perfectionist, and I feel like these Trekkies have all paid lots of money to see our show (which sold out! Yes!), and I want to give them a really good one. One that they’ll remember. It also doesn’t help that I’m feeling like I have to win these people over (which is how I feel every time I go to one of these conventions) and prove to them that I can do something other than re-align the warp core or whatever.
So it’s 5:30PM on Wednesday, and we’re meeting at 6PM in the lobby to eat before we get rehearse in our hotel room. It’s 6:15, and Kevin still isn’t there, and I am freaking out. I am pacing in the lobby, pulling at my hair, and all that stuff. And I’m cursing Kevin’s name, until he shows up at 6:20. Well, it turns out that I had forgotten to tell him what time we were meeting. My bad.
4:32 PM PDT:
There’s more to come very soon, but I just remembered that there is a blood drive and fundraiser as the Rose Bowl, and I want to get there before it’s over.
6:00 PM PDT:
I just got back home. I gave money to the Fireman’s fund, and the Red Cross. I felt good about doing that, but the jingoistic attitude that pervaded the whole area really bothered me. Especially in light of this and this. I think this may cost me some readers, and maybe get me some hate mail, but I have to say it: the attitude for vengence and revenge that seems palpable everywhere I go really scares me. I’d rather feel a demand for justice.
Anyway, back to our regularly scheduled programming:
Kevin finally shows up, and we decide to go to the buffet. But when we get there, we notice that it’s $24.95. Holy shit. Question: does anyone ever really get their money’s worth at a buffet? I don’t ever feel like I do. And I always end up combining foods that I really shouldn’t combine. Like shrimp and chocolate cake, or miso soup and some alfredo pasta (back in the pre-lactose intolerant days). So I suggest that maybe $24.95 is too much for a bunch of us starving actors (hey, I haven’t found my pennies yet) to pay, and maybe we should go to the Cafe instead. So we shlep all the way across the damn casino to the Cafe.
Tangent: When you go to Vega$, have you ever noticed that everything is through the casino? I mean, I bet if you go to the hospital in Vega$, you have to go through a bank of slot machines to get to the ER. You have to go through a casino to get to the casino. Bastards.
So we go to the cafe, and because it’s the Bellagio, everything costs so damn much that it would have been cheaper for us all to eat at the Buffet. So there was much shit given to your old pal Wil, and we had to eat Sir Robin’s Minstrels. And there was much rejoicing.
Yaaay.
After dinner, we headed upstairs and finally ran our whole show. I had made a very big deal to everyone about how important it was to know all of their lines, so they could work on character tweaks, instead of memorizing lines. And everyone stepped up. They all knew their lines, they all knew their characters, and it was great. All except one person, who couldn’t remember his lines for shit.
Me.
Oh, how awful I felt. How embarassed I was. But it happens sometimes to me. It used to happen back on Trek. When I would have a really important scene, ususally one with Patrick, and I wanted to do really well, and impress everyone. I would just get a brain freeze, and even know I knew that I knew the lines, they wouldn’t come. Like “I know that joke, but I forgot it” times a million.
So I was still pretty freaked, but we got through it, and I did get the lines down, mostly, enough so I felt like we could all go out and have a drink and do a little gambling.
It was decided that we’d all head back to our respective hotels, and meet at Cleopatra’s Barge at Caesar’s Palace in something like a half-hour.
So here’s the deal: This place, Cleopatra’s Barge…I felt like I’d walked into someone else’s mid-life crisis. Someone please explain to me why all the cover bands play “Brick House”? And someone else explain to me why they can never get the words right? Oh! And here’s a newsflash for you: Creed sucks. Playing bad covers of Creed songs sucks even more. So just stop the insanity!
We sat at this place for the prescribed half-hour, and as soon as everyone else was there, we bailed out, and fast. Cleopatra’s Barge was more like the Titanic. We did a teeny little bit of gambling, and Tracy won 40 bucks in quarters, which was cool.
We ended up across the street at The Barbary Coast, where the dealers were cool, I won some money on Craps (my favorite game, for those of you scoring at home), and Anne won some money at the Wheel of Fortune slot machines. We went into the Coffee Shop, and had REASONABLY PRICED steak and eggs, with a side of extra-well done hasbrowns, thankyouverymuch, and that was it. We went in about 3 AM, which isn’t bad, Vega$-time, because I had looked at the schedule for the con the next day, and I wasn’t on until 5PM. Cool. Time to sleep in.
Morning. 8AM. I’ve been asleep for 5 hours. Phone rings. It’s Jackie Scott, one of the convention promoters. She says, “We need you here at 10 for an autograph signing. Do you want to be picked up at 9:30, or do you want to take a cab?”
“Mrphhzzzzgggggthphbbt” was all I could muster.
[NEXT:]
DAY ONE AT THE CON:
AUTOGRAPHS!
MY ON STAGE TALK!
THE SKETCH SHOW!
And…
Let the rudeness begin!

Button, button, who’s got the button?

Button, button, who’s got the button?

Check out this cool button that was made for me by MizRedHead:
WIL WHEATON DOT NET
And check out this one, made by Steve Albright:
WIL WHEATON DOT NET
If you’d like to make a button, I think that’d be cool, because these are already cooler than anything I could have com up with. If you want to, it should be a .gif file, no larger than 3K, and no bigger than 35×100. email it to me, and I’ll post the ones I think are the coolest, along with the aforementioned hellamadprops.

He didn’t know what to do. But he’d think of something.

He didn’t know what to do. But he’d think of something.

I wasn’t going to talk about this, because it’s all anyone is talking about. I mean, I turn on TLC to get away from it, and they’re just running a feed of FOX News. Same for Discovery. Even ESPN has a ticker with updates scrolling across the bottom of the screen.
So since I can’t get away from it, I give in. I will write about it. Because I am scared. I am distraught. I am upset. I am depressed. I am angry. Mostly, I don’t know what to do, and I’m not quite sure how to feel. It reminds me of when my friend hung himself. How helpless I felt, how angry, sad, scared, etc.
But the thing that really pushed me over the edge, the thing that made me sit down here tonight, was when I took Ryan to the mall tonight to buy a book for his book report. On the way he asked me if our local mall was popular. I looked in the rearview mirror, and told him that it was. Lots of people go there. He looked back at me, and asked me, “does that mean they’re going to bomb our mall?”
So I spent the next hour explaining to him what had happened, and why (as best as I understand it, which is not very).
And I don’t have much to say, really. I just know that when my dad got sick, I wrote about it and felt better. And when I got the shaft on the movie, I wrote about it, and I felt better, and when the bastards came for me, I wrote about it and I felt better.
And I really do want to tell all about Vega$ and the convention, but I can’t, until I get this out of me. So here goes:
My wife woke me up Tuesday, much earlier than we normally get up, because my mom had called, and told her about the attack on the WTC. So sat up, turned on the TV, and watched in horror as that plane crashed into the tower, over and over and over and over.
I felt like I was watching a bad Steven Segal movie. I mean, this just doesn’t happen in real life, right?
Anyway, I’m not gonna rehash the whole thing, because we’ve all been doing that, and I don’t want to turn into what the news networks are all doing: just saying the same thing, over an dover, with a different pundit to agree with them.
But here’s the deal: I can’t cry. I really want to. I feel it well up in my chest, but the tears won’t come. And that is the hardest thing, so far. That and the fear.
I was walking Ferris last night, and I kept getting this completely irrational fear that something awful was going to happen while I was away from the house. Didn’t help that she kept stopping, and looking behind us, like there was something there.
I am supposed to travel at the end of the month to the east coast for another Star Trek Convention, and I really don’t want to go now. At all. I know that is totally irrational, and totally lame, and exactly what the terrorists want, but I keep imagining what those people on those planes were feeling, knowing that they were going to die. I wonder what I would do if that ever happened to me…?
So, here I find myself at an uncommon loss for words. I don’t think I really have much to add, so that’s it for tonight.
Hrm. Worst. Entry. Ever.

Barlow

Barlow

This comes from John Perry Barlow, via Loren, via Scripting.com:

As most of you know, I believe that the United States has gradually, subtly, invisibly to most of us, become a police state over the last 30 years.
This morning’s events are roughly equivalent to the Reichstag fire that provided the social opportunity for the Nazi take-over of Germany.
I am *not* suggesting that, like the Nazis, the authoritarian forces in America actually had a direct role in perpetrating this mind-blistering tragedy. (Though their indirect role deserves a much longer discussion.)
Nevertheless, nothing could serve those who believe that American “safety” is more important than American liberty better than something like this. Control freaks will dine on this day for the
rest of our lives.
Within a few hours, we will see beginning the most vigorous efforts to end what remains of freedom in America. Those of who are willing to sacrifice a little – largely illusory – safety in order to maintain our faith in the original ideals of America will have to fight for those ideals just as vigorously.
I beg you to begin NOW to do whatever you can – whether writing your public officials, joining the ACLU or EFF, taking to the streets, or living visibly free and fearless lives – to prevent the spasm of
control mania from destroying the dreams that far more have died for over the last two hundred twenty five years than died this morning.
Don’t let the terrorists or (their natural allies) the fascists win. Remember that the goal of terrorism is to create increasingly paralytic totalitarianism in the government it attacks. Don’t give them the satisfaction.
Fear nothing. Live free.
And, please, let us try to forgive those who have committed these appalling crimes. If we hate them, we will become them.
May God – or Whatever you want to call It – bless us all. We’ll need it.
Barlow

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

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