The Beerth of July – A Comic Dare by Joel Watson

Some of you may know that I occasionally issue comic dares to my friend Joel, based on dumb things that make us laugh.

Over the holiday weekend, this happened on Twitter with our friend Josh:

Screen Shot 2014-07-05 at 1.46.22 PM

Joel accepted the challenge, and produced the following bit of mirth, for our enjoyment.

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epic level homebrewing

I was the very particular kind of tired, bordering on exhaustion, where I felt dizzy, disoriented, a little nauseous, and clumsy. It was like being drunk without any of the fun.

I stumbled from my bedroom to my kitchen in the predawn darkness, and somehow made myself a cup of coffee. I stood at the back patio door and watched the glow of the sunrise begin to touch the eastern sky, sipping my mug of wake-up-Wil-it’s-going-to-be-a-long-day juice.

I’m sure normal people get up before dawn every day. I’m sure normal people sleep less than five hours a night all the time. It turns out that I am not a normal person, and after less than ten hours of sleep over the previous 48 hours, as well as back-to-back 18 hour work days, I was a little sideways.

It would all be worth it, though. I was up so early because Anne and I were heading down to San Diego to make a special beer with my friends at Stone Brewing’s Liberty Station.

We drove to Union Station to catch our 6am train. We got there so early, the parking lots hadn’t even opened up yet. That seems like something Amtrak may want to look at.

Once we were in the station, we noticed that it has been vastly improved since we were last there, about a year ago. It’s clean, it’s well lit, and there were a number of good food options that had never been there before.

We found our train, boarded it, and I fell asleep before it even left the station. During the nearly three hour trip, I woke up a couple times when my head did that “fall down onto your chest and wake you up” thing, and when we got to San Diego around 9am, I was delirious and had a sore neck. Awesome.

Our friend Tyler, who works for Stone, picked us up and took us to Liberty Station, where I was introduced to Kris Ketcham, who is the head brewer there. Liberty Station is a little different from the main brewery in Escondido. It’s a smaller, 10 barrel system, and Kris can create and brew beers that are quite different from the things Stone is typically known for releasing. Later this month, we’re having a beer celebration at Liberty Station called Hop Con, and in addition to releasing w00tstout 2.0 there, we’re also releasing three special collaboration beers that Kris made with Rileah Vanderbilt, Bobak Ferdowsi, and me. I can’t say with Rileah and Bobak made, but I made a white sage IPA, inspired by Craftsman Brewing’s legendary Triple White Sage.

While Kris prepared some of the things we’d be using, I drank approximately sixty-one gallons of coffee, and ate a little breakfast. The caffeine, food energy, and overwhelming excitement I felt about brewing gave me access to an energy reserve that I didn’t know I had, and I didn’t feel even a little bit tired, once we started milling our grains.

When I’ve brewed at the Escondido brewhouse, it’s been really fun, and brewing on such a large scale is vastly different from what I do when I make beer at my house. I’m not as intimately involved, because I don’t need to be; computers and the equipment handle most of the work. But at Liberty Station, we worked on a 10 barrel system (that’s about 3500 bottles of beer if I did the math right) that was much more like epic level homebrewing.

Kris and I hauled something like sixteen 55 pound sacks of grain up some stairs and poured them into the mill so we could mash them. Then we collected all the various hops we’d be using, and weighed them out by hand. Finally, while we were mashing in (adding hot water and milled grains to the mash tun, where we turn water and grains into beer wort), I got to use a giant mash paddle to stir it all around. One of the things I love about brewing is how little the process has changed in hundreds of years, and I genuinely loved standing over a big kettle, stirring water and grains the same way a brewmaster would have in the eighteenth century. I was also grateful to not have to worry about that century’s infectious diseases.

Over the course of the day, I made beer with Kris exactly the same way I make beer by myself or with friends on my patio, but instead of making 5 gallons of beer, I made several hundred gallons of beer. The experience was really awesome, even though it was physically tiring to move so much heavy equipment and ingredients around.

When we were done cleaning up everything, we sat outside and had a celebratory beer with a light dinner. About halfway through our meal, my lack of sleep and days of intense work caught up with me, and I felt like I was going to fall asleep at the table. Kris drove us back to the train station, and I again fell asleep before the train even began to move.

I’m very lucky that I get to do the things that I do, and I’m grateful that all the hard work I’ve put into my life allows me to do these super fun and awesome things.

 

Memo to Hearthstone Tournament Organizers…

Updated: It appears the organizers have reversed their earlier decision :

After causing a controversy, an international e-sports league is changing its rules to welcome women players.

The International E-sports Federation (IESF) is ending its policy that prohibited women from competing against men in pro-gaming competitions, according to a post on its website.

Original post continues below:

Are you fucking kidding me?

The IeSF, or International e-Sports Federation, is a global organisation based in South Korea that is comprised of e-sports associations from across the world. Their stated aim is to promote e-sports as a “true sport”. The IeSF’s sixth World Championship will take place this November, in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Here’s the tournament list, from the organisation’s Facebook event page:

  • Male Competition: Dota 2, Starcraft 2, Hearthstone, Ultra Street Fighter IV
  • Female Competition: Starcraft 2, Tekken Tag Tournament 2

It’s an absurd division. Seemingly it tells us that Ultra Street Fighter IV is for boys, and Tekken Tag Tournament is for girls; that women aren’t meant to play Dota 2 or Hearthstone; and that while both men and women can play Starcraft 2, they damn well better not do it together.

Of course, that’s not what the IeSF are saying. Their reasoning is far more insidious than that. In a reply to a Facebook comment asking why men and women had been divided, the IeSF responded with the following:

“The decision to divide male and female competitions was made in accordance with international sports authorities, as part of our effort to promote e-Sports as a legitimate sports.”

It’s a bizarre statement, attempting to defend a seemingly indefensible decision. E-sports can be recognised as a “legitimate sport” while still staying true to the differences that exist. Hearthstone is not a game that requires any division by gender—to do so is a completely arbitrary decision that smacks of a desperation to be taken seriously.

Women play video games. Get used to it.

(h/t @Gloriwulf)

Oh, hi, I’m still twelve years old.

I’ve been organizing my game room, and finally addressing the hundreds of billions of Star Trek things I own, including lots of action figures.

I came across one of my Riker figures, and realized something…

They want you to use his poseable arms to hold his awesome phaser, like this:

Riker with his phaser

But this is how it always ended up on my bookshelves:

Riker with his little captain

Because if you’re going to make an action figure that can be posed in ways that make us go hurr hurr hurr, we’re going to do it.

Riker taking care of business

It’s important to be easily amused.

the highest of fives

My friend Charlotte is a badass. A dickhead was a shit to her today, and she made a video about it that inspired me to draw another stupid comic:

Don't Be A Dick
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I want to talk to the men for a minute, okay? Listen to me, men: women are constantly harassed by men. I think it was Scalzi who said that not all men are menaces, but all women have been menaced by men. We have a responsibility as decent people to teach our sons that harassing and menacing women is never okay. We have a responsibility as decent people to hold our friends and families and, yes, strangers, accountable when they harass or menace women.

 

#Hodorshop Honorable Mentions

On last week’s Wil Wheaton Project, we invited viewers to have some fun with a picture of Kristian Nairn, who plays Hodor “Hodor” Hodor on Game of Thrones.

I wanted to feature a bunch of them on the show tonight, but we couldn’t because of reasons. Here are some honorable mentions that I thought were awesome, and because we live in the future, I can show feature them for the whole damn world. Depending on your browser settings, you may have to click on the links to see the ‘shops:

I love it when people get excited and make things. Thanks to everyone who made us Hodorshops, and thanks for watching our show!

i can’t draw

I’ve been playing this game called The Binding Of Isaac. If you’re as late to the party as I am, allow me to describe it: it’s sort of roguelike, in that death is permanent and the various levels, enemies, and gear change each time you play. It’s sort of like the original Zelda, in that each level feels like one of the boss levels in that classic game. It’s also sort of like Robotron, in that you use one hand to move your guy around in eight directions, and another to have him shoot in four directions.

It’s simple enough to be played quickly, different enough each time you play it to not get boring, and relentless enough to make actually finishing the game so fucking goddamn jesus cocking difficult you quickly develop an unhealthy relationship with it.

I love this game, and it’s helped me occupy part of my mind while the other part works on stories and things. It’s really great, and you can find it in a variety of locations including Humble Bundles, Steam, and in your mom.

…sorry. I don’t know where that came from.*

So it actually has a story that I won’t spoil for you, that features these little animations between each level. The characters are all drawn in a very simple style, that’s very similar to Cyanide & Happiness.

While I’ve been playing it, I’ve been stopping at the end of each level, and trying to recreate the art style, because I really like it. Here’s a page that I’ve been filling up for a few days:

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Click to Embiggen

So most of those aren’t very good, but just let me give some context: I have no artistic skill, at all. I have never been able to draw a damn thing in my life, but by copying the style in these cut scenes (and I guess not having a fuck to give about being perfect, instead just amusing myself by trying different expressions and postures), I got to a point where I felt comfortable to try … a comic.

So earlier today, the events of this stupid comic I drew actually happened in my house:

That bird had been there for a few days, too, because it was pretty stiff.
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I enjoyed myself while I drew it. I thought it didn’t suck when I was finished, so I showed it to Anne, and it amused her.

I’m not gonna lie, Marge: it amused me, too, and was surprisingly fun for me to do, and I’m glad I did it. I’m glad I took my own advice, and remembered that the idea isn’t to be perfect; the idea is to be creative, and to make something where something wasn’t before.

…and now I’ll go back to working on Monday’s Wil Wheaton Project, which is what I should have been doing when I was drawing a dumb comic.

*but your mom sure did.**

**sorry. sorry.

I get my kicks above the waistline, sunshine.

Let’s get the important news out of the way first: The Wil Wheaton Project is moving from 10pm to 9pm, starting next week. I don’t know why, but I am told that it’s a good thing, because of reasons. Our ratings have been good, growing with each new episode, which I am also told is what the network expected. I am also trying very hard to just ignore the ratings, because the thing I need to be focused on is being as funny and creative and awesome as I can be. The only reason I care about ratings at all is because I genuinely love the people I work with, and I want to work with them for a very long time.

I was hoping my beloved LA Kings would sweep the Rangers last night, but the hockey gods (and a little snow fort) had different plans. The upshot of this is that I get to go to another hockey game this season.

Here’s what The Pirate Bay has to say about our show as of about noon pacific today:

Wil Wheaton Project Episode Three Torrent
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I have been advised by people who don’t understand me that I should be “more careful with [my] online image” because I’m hosting a show with my name in the title. One person even said to me, “Listen, instead of [list of pretty much everything I do], here’s what your Twitter followers want to hear about from you …” and it took everything I had to not say, “I’m sorry, are you talking about the 2.5 million people who I keep telling not to follow me because I’m lame, but they do anyway because they seem to enjoy exactly what you told me not to do?” So instead, I said, “Thank you. I’ll think about that.” Which is true, because I did think about it, for about one second. Then, I decided that this is pretty much how I will respond to people who tell me to change who I am because of reasons:

Wil Wheaton Takes Everything Very Seriously

More than one person on Twitter observed that that picture is pretty much my online image already.  I have to agree. #Butts.

 

behind the scenes at the wil wheaton project

Yesterday, my tattoo artist sent me the most amazing Game of Thrones / chiptune / keytar / hardware hacking genius / musical video I have ever seen.

I sent the link to my writers, and said that we should try to find a place in the show this week for it, and one of my producers told me that the script was already long, but we’d try, because it is such an awesome video.

I was then faced with a bit of a dilemma, because I wanted to share it with the world right away, but I also thought it would be a cool thing to reveal on the show. My dilemma didn’t last long, and I decided to post it right away, because I know not everyone can or does watch the show, and something this awesome shouldn’t be kept to the (at the time) roughly 3000 people who had seen it.

When I posted it to my G+, I said that there wasn’t time in the show, but I had to share it, anyway. A guy said, “Yeah it is amazing and it’s equally amazing how you didn’t find any time to post it in this weeks WWP. lol”

So I wasn’t sure if he was being snarky or whatever, but I saw an opportunity to share a little bit of the process that goes into making the show, and how that process affected the ability to include this clip in the show:

We have to lock down most of our script on Friday afternoon, so it can go to the legal department. On Monday morning, we write stuff for the shows and movies that made news over the weekend, and we only have a few hours to do that before we send it to the lawyers.
We only have 21.5 minutes in each show, and this week’s Friday script was already something like 5 minutes long. We know that will happen, and we plan to cut some bits that we shoot in front of the audience, but we do our best to get as close to the 21.5 when we tape, so it makes editing faster and easier to finish (we only have 12 hours or so before we have to deliver to the network, and that’s not as long as you may think).

So knowing all that, consider: I didn’t see this until Saturday afternoon. I sent it to the writers and producers, so we could do our best to find a place for it, but it’s probably not going to make this week’s show for the reasons I’ve already stated. Because it’s sort of an “evergreen” thing, it’s very likely that we’ll find a place for it next week or the week after. Now, I could have just sat on it for two weeks, but I thought it was so awesome, I wanted the world to know about it right away.

I hope this is interesting, and gives a little insight into how the WWP comes together.

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

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