some random bullshit

I’m having a moderately better day than I was yesterday. I’m not entirely back to my normal self, but the crushing, suffocating, relentless pressure around my chest seems to have relaxed quite a bit, which is nice.

I have a few things to share today, so here we go:

  1. Congratulations to my dear friend and co-conspirator in so many things, Felicia Day, on the announcement of her upcoming book!
  2. I sat down with Chris Hardwick and Matt Mira for a Nerdist Podcast that was just released. #TorsoShorts
  3. By coincidence, I got to fill in for Larry King recently, and I chose Chris as my interview subject because I love him. I think you’ll enjoy it.
  4. I narrated Cory Doctorow’s book, Information Doesn’t Want To Be Free. I’m very proud of it.
  5. I really like Non-Judgmental Ninja. I especially like that people are making their own comics.
  6. I was having a hell of a time getting a “watch my dogs be cute in the backyard” camera set up, but a mystical mixture of cursing, and turning it off and back on again seems to have somehow solved it, so that’s good. No, you can’t watch.

I think there were other things, but I’m drawing a blank at the moment.

Information Doesn’t Want To Be Free: The Audiobook

My pal Cory Doctorow says:

I’ve independently produced an audiobook edition of my nonfiction book Information Doesn’t Want to Be Free: Laws for the Internet Age, paying Wil Wheaton to narrate it (he did *such* a great job on the Homeland audiobook, with a mixdown by the wonderful John Taylor Williams, and bed-music from Amanda Palmer and Dresden Dolls.

Both Amanda Palmer and Neil Gaiman contributed forewords to this one, and Wil reads them, too (of course). I could *not* be happier with how it came out. My sincere thanks to Wil, the Skyboat Media people (Cassandra and Gabrielle de Cuir and Stefan Rudnicki), John Taylor Williams, and to Amanda for the music.

The book is $15, is DRM free, and has no EULA — you don’t need to give up any of your rights to buy it. It should be available in Downpour and other DRM-free outlets soon, but, of course, it won’t be in Itunes or Audible, because both companies insist that you use DRM with your works, and I don’t use DRM (for reasons that this book goes to some length to explain).

Audio edition:

Homeland audio:

I loved reading this book, which is described by the publisher, thusly:

In sharply argued, fast-moving chapters, Cory Doctorow’s Information Doesn’t Want to Be Free takes on the state of copyright and creative success in the digital age. Can small artists still thrive in the Internet era? Can giant record labels avoid alienating their audiences? This is a book about the pitfalls and the opportunities that creative industries (and individuals) are confronting today — about how the old models have failed or found new footing, and about what might soon replace them. An essential read for anyone with a stake in the future of the arts, Information Doesn’t Want to Be Free offers a vivid guide to the ways creativity and the Internet interact today, and to what might be coming next.

Information Doesn’t Want To Be Free takes its place next to The Purple Cow in my library of essential books for independent creators and Makers, and I’m proud and privileged to read the audio version.

I could call out when the going gets tough

Today is, by every objective measure, a good day. I was privileged to speak via the Internet with a group of college students across the country about leadership qualities, and even though I was mostly terrified (talking to young people makes me feel old faster than anything else), I thought I mostly did not suck.

After I finished that, I did some work around the house, enjoyed the company of my family, wrote a brief blog, drew a dumb cartoon, and then went to Geek & Sundry to give notes on some Tabletop edits.

Soon, I’m going to attend a special screening of Tabletop for a few very special people who helped fund this season of the show, and our upcoming RPG spinoff.

I have a great life, and this has been a great day … but without warning or reason, the gloom and sadness and despair of Depression wrapped its claws around my chest this afternoon, and has been squeezing me and attempting to pull me to the ground ever since.

Objectively and rationally, I know that this is due to a chemical condition in my brain, and I know that this feeling will pass. I also know that depression lies, and I have enough experience doing cognitive behavioral therapy to sort of ninja the worst of it away (something I’d never be able to do without my meds and doctors; it’s not possible to wish Depression away), but I still feel anxious and irritable and impatient and annoyed and frustrated and tired and sad and even a little hopeless.

I know why this is happening. I know how this is happening. I know that it will leave as suddenly and unexpectedly as it arrived.

Knowing all of these things doesn’t make the way it makes me feel any less real or intense.

Knowing that I have Depression, but Depression doesn’t have me helps me get through it, though.

ceci n’est pas une blog

This isn’t one of those posts about not posting, except that it kind of is.

A couple of nights ago, Anne and I were sitting on the couch, Seamus between us, watching Modern Family. A fire in our fireplace warmed our living room, and both of our cats, who were stretched out in front of it.

Modern Family is one of my favorite shows on television, because it brilliantly fills a hole left by the Simpsons, when it stopped being about characters and started being about guest stars and whacky shenanigans: it’s a terrifically funny look at a family trying to be a family while their life happens around them. More often than not, it cleverly weaves together seemingly unrelated stories into a satisfying ending, and the writing is consistently clever and unexpected.

During a commercial, I thought about my kids, and my family. Ryan’s 25 and Nolan’s 23. We see them at least once a week for family dinner, but usually more than that. We’re a close family, we love each other very much, and every moment we spend together makes me so proud of all of us, because we struggled and suffered a lot for years at the petty and vindictive hands of their biological father. That we have anything at all is pretty remarkable, considering how relentlessly he tried to destroy our ability to be a family, and that we have something so special and rare makes all the suffering and struggling worth enduring, because here we are today, Team Wheaton.

I said this wasn’t one of those posts about not posting, except that it kind of is. During that commercial, as I thought about Ryan and Nolan and our lives together, I noticed that I don’t write about us as much as I used to, which means that I don’t write in my blog as much as I used to. More often than not, when one or both of them is over, I can take a picture and post it to Twitter, and it tells an entire story that would have once been saved for a blog post. Yes, I could still do that, and add the picture to the post, but that’s not the way we do things these days, and it feels like most people don’t read or comment on blogs, anyway.

So this isn’t a post about not posting, except that it is. It’s a post that reiterates, for me as much as anyone, that I need to write, because it’s doing the right thing, even when I feel like I don’t have anything to write about.

Runners run, even if they’re not in a race, and they run every day, so they’re ready for the race when they find themselves at the starting line.

Sometimes a nice jog, for the sake of jogging, can be a worthwhile thing. In fact, it’s worthwhile more often than not.

the adventures of non-judgmental ninja

Last night, I was texting with a friend, and my phone’s autocorrect tried to change “non-judgmental” into “ninja”. I told Twitter that I felt pretty bad about not letting it make the change.

Then I got a stupid idea to create a character called the non-judgmental ninja, and this happened:


Yes, I spelled “non-judgmental” wrong on this comic that I drew in about five minutes (it’s one of those words that always gives me trouble, even though I should know by now), and I ran out of space on the panel and changed the lettering, but as you can see, non-judgmental ninja is there to tell me that it’s ok.

it’s little me, in a pair of commercials from the 80s!

Wil Wheaton Star Wars Figure Commercial
That kid in the middle is little me!

r/ObscureMedia is one of my very favorite subreddits, and while I was looking at it today (as a tiny puppy we’re fostering slept on my lap), I saw this Star Wars figure commercial that Redditor RidleyScottTowels posted. I commented that I’d done a Star Wars figure commercial when I was a kid, and holy shit Redditor VonAether found it (I’m at 6:10 of this video):

But wait, there’s more! I thought I’d done a single commercial with different toys in it, but it turns out that I’d done two different commercials; the one VonAether found, and this other one that TheBoredGuy found:

If you couldn’t tell who I was, I was Boushh in the first one, and C3P0 in the second one.

I don’t have a lot of clear memories of the commercials I did when I was a kid, and I’d forgotten that I’d done two Star Wars figure commercials (something that was incredibly cool for a kid like me who lived and breathed Star Wars figures, even though we were forbidden from playing with them on the set), but I clearly recall that, on one of these two shoots, one of the ad agency people was a woman from New York, who wanted me to read one of my lines in a very specific way. She wasn’t a director, and wasn’t very good at communicating to 9 or 10 year-old me what she wanted, so she just started giving me line readings, and telling me to mimic her. I was very good at following directions, so I did as she asked … perfectly recreating her very thick, very nasal, very New York accent. I remember feeling nervous, and  thinking she thought I was making fun of her, but  wasn’t, I was genuinely confused about whether I should do her voice exactly the way she sounded, or if I was supposed to do my voice with the inflections she was using.

It’s amazing to me that I can clearly remember sitting in the backyard of this house in the valley where we were filming, this woman standing above me, holding the script, reading these lines for me. I can hear her telling me, “That’s better, but don’t sound so nasal,” and  realizing that not only did I know what nasal meant, but that she meant I was not supposed to mimic her voice, but just the line reading she gave me.

That was a lot of stuff for little kid me to process, but somehow I got the job done, and thanks to the weirdness of this world we’ve made for ourselves, I can see the resulting commercial over 30 years later.

upon us all, a little rain must fall

It’s finally raining in Los Angeles, the first real and meaningful rain we’ve had this year. Our local news will be wall to wall with breathless coverage of STORMWATCH!!!! or whatever they’re calling it this time, the roads will be even more congested by incompetent drivers than usual, and no matter how much rain falls on the city, it won’t make a bit of difference in our drought.

Still, I love it. I love the rain, and its almost total absence is one of the very few things I don’t like about living here. This is, after all, a desert that people have tried to terraform into something different for over a hundred years, with varying degrees of success.

I’d love to stay home all day today, put a fire into my fireplace, wrap a blanket around myself, open the patio doors, and write on my laptop while I listen to the rain. I’d love to go outside and stomp in puddles until my clothes are soaked through, and I can’t feel my toes. I hope we get a thunderstorm, but it never rains in Southern California.

world of wootcrap and a new shirt.woot

Today, I’m playing in World of Wootcrap. I’m on team Santa Sedition.

Here’s a link to the livestream, which is pretty silly:

Also, I did a new shirt.woot shirt with my friend Joel Watson, the Tabletop Owlbears:

Tabletop Owlbears Shirt

And, because it’s a magical day, woot is also offering everything I’ve done with them, in a big silly sale.

Forbidden Desert, on Tabletop

This week on Tabletop, Alan Tudyk, Jon Heder, and Felicia Day join me for a cooperative game that’s devilishly hard, Forbidden Desert!

A couple of notes for you all, before I get back to preparing for this afternoon’s bacchanal, starting with a comment on r/boardgames, with my reply:

> You move the tiles according to the card you flip, not the “storm”. Nothing too important. But they excavate (flip) tiles that they are not on. This one makes it easier.

I’m really unhappy and annoyed that this happened. I can’t remember every single rule for every game, and if we were playing at home, we’d have the rules next to the table to be sure (we also wouldn’t be playing 21 games in 10 days). I have a producer who is supposed to catch all of this stuff, and ensure that we don’t make mistakes like this, and I think he was stretched a little too thin this season, so if we do a fourth season, I’ll make sure that we hire someone *specifically* to keep an eye on the rules.

I’m annoyed and disappointed that we’ve aired two episodes this season, and we’ve made a rules error on each of them (not such a huge deal in Tokaido, but a huge deal in this one, because we unintentionally made the game much easier on ourselves.) I know there’s a big mistake coming up later this year in Stone Age, too.

Ultimately, the goal of Tabletop is to be entertaining, to introduce people to boardgames, and to get people excited about playing games. If we misunderstand a rule here and there, it’s not the end of the world, because that happens in real life when we play at home, but I do hold my show to a higher standard, for obvious reasons.

I don’t think this is going to get in the way of anyone’s enjoyment, except for the übergamers who nitpick and complain about every mistake or sub-optimal play we make, but I’m honestly not making this show for them, anyway.

That said, I regret making such a massive and fundamental mistake.

Also, you may notice that someone in our graphics department wrote Forbidden Dessert on the thumbnail, instead of Forbidden Desert. On the one hand, this is a simple and basic grammar error that should never have happened. On the other hand, it is pretty hilarious, will obviously be corrected, and gives us something to never let that department live down until the heat death of the universe.

For some of us, today is a holiday about being thankful. For others, it’s a day off from work or school and a chance to eat a lot of food. For the majority, it’s Thursday. Well, whatever today means to you, I hope it’s a good one.

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

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