Tag Archives: paul and storm

“In a lot of ways, for me, W00tstock felt like finally finding a home base.”

When Paul and Storm and Adam Savage and I had our first conversations about what would become w00tstock, we knew that we wanted to put on an entertaining show for our fellow nerds that would be successful enough to warrant more than the three shows we originally planned.

Sunday and Monday, we're coming to Chicago and Minneapolis for our sixth and seventh shows in less than a year (Minneapolis is sold out, but there are about 100 tickets left for our Chicago show), and that just blows my mind. I mean, I thought we'd do maybe two or three cities in a whole year, and by Monday, we'll have done six in six months. 

Storm wrote a nifty thing at the w00tstock website to let people know what w00stock is, and why we think you'll dig it, but you don't have to take our word for it! Here's a blog entry from a wootstock attendee in Portland who wasn't sure she was going to enjoy the show:

I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to relate to a lot of things.

And then we got there.

For what is possibly the first time in my entire life, I was surrounded by people who GET IT.  They understand blogging.  They got my cultural references.  They tweet.  We joked about being “I play a bunch of 3 letter words on Words with Friends because I don’t care about strategy, I just want to make words” players.  We lamented people who throw sheep at each other and ask for help growing their livestock on Facebook.  We compared our various levels of geek for different things.  I could use the word “Dooce” in a sentence with someone I had never met before and it wasn’t followed by “Whuh….? Is that an internet thing?”   I told people that I write content for websites and didn’t have to explain that it is too a real job. Will talked with people who appreciated his “Gamer” shirt and compared gaming stories. I admitted to one person that I know jack crap about science and was told “but you blog! That’s so cool!”

There were fans and geeks of every stripe there and it was just fun.  Nobody was trying to “out-geek” anybody else.  Nobody was trying to explain how their form of geekiness was better than someone else’s because of x, y, z.  Instead of “really? You don’t like that?”  it was “Have you ever tried [this]? I didn’t like that either but then I [insert suggestion here] and was amazed that I liked it after all!”

For the first time since we’ve met, my husband and I had the exact same level of fun at something we chose to do together.

In a lot of ways, for me, W00tstock felt like finally finding a home base.  I was in a space with a few hundred other people who just…understand. It didn’t matter what particular brand of geekiness you subscribe to or if, like me, you don’t really subscribe to any particular subset.  We were there to have fun.  We were there to learn about cool stuff and hear awesome songs and listen to awesome stories and be introduced to new cool people to follow on Twitter and online. We were there to get our respective geek on. We were there to take part in the kind of thing we had always wanted to take part in but hadn’t because we’d had a bunch of people telling us that it wasn’t cool/serious/arty/enough.  It was amazing.

The best part about being a nerd right now, at this moment in time, is how easy it is to find other people like us, so we don't feel so goddamn alone and weird. My favorite part of being at certain conventions, like PAX, is that feeling of being surrounded by people who "get" me; it's that feeling of being home. I don't think any of us thought that we'd be able to recreate that sensation at w00tstock, but I keep hearing from people who come to the shows that that is exactly what happens. I don't want to overthink it or anything, but I'm overjoyed to learn that.

I don't know how long w00tstock will last, or if enough people will remain interested in it to do a full-on tour sometime in the near future, but no matter what that future brings, these shows we've done so far have been incredibly special to me, and I'm so grateful that I've been able to be part of making them happen.

about that recursive wil wheaton t-shirt…

I'm guessing a non-zero number of you have seen this picture:

Recursive_wheaton_t_shirt_by_basic_instructions 

I further imagine that some of you have seen the animated version. (Warning! May cause seizures, nausea, trips to Jupiter and Beyond the Infinite.)

Like all awesome things, this comes with a story.

Paul (of Paul and Storm) texted me one day and said, "Storm and I wanted to give you a surprise gift, but you have to grant permission for it to be made. You're going to get an e-mail asking for permission to use your image. I promise you that it's going to be for something awesome, so please say yes."

I am very good at following directions, so when the e-mail arrived, I did what Paul asked, and then waited for the arrival of a pen with a cartoon version of me on it that, when clicked, revealed my epic wang.

Thus began a saga wherein Paul would say, "Hey, go get your mail. Something awesome is waiting for you."

I would reply, "I'm working on my keynote. I'll pick it up when I get some time."

About 45 days later, I finally picked it up. I opened it in my office, saw myself looking back at me from infinity, and couldn't believe that I'd waited so long to pick it up. (On the other hand, it was a wonderful reward for completing the first draft of my keynote.)

I called Anne into my office, and revealed it in the usual manner, by slowly lifting it up to my chin and showing it off.

"Oh my god," Anne said. "It's you … and you … and you … and you …"

"All the way to infinity," I said.

We shared a Sci-Five, to commemorate the occasion. You know, like you do.

I wore this shirt to Emerald City Comicon, where it was photographed a few times, always to much laughter and occasional applause. I wore it again at PAX, where this now-famous picture was taken by Paul.

This picture has been sent around the Internets in all the usual places, first appearing on Reddit, then Fark, then Epic Win, and today it got to Digg. It's been pretty awesome and a lot of fun to see it compared to the Infamous Clown Sweater and the Velvet Wesley (and its own recursion), but I feel sad that the man responsible for actually making the thing isn't getting the attention and congratulations that I believe he deserves.

I intend to correct that, right now:

The Recursive Wheaton (also known as the Wheaton Singularity) is an Infini-tee, created by Scott Meyer, who also creates an amazing and wonderful webcomic called Basic Instructions. This is the strip where the Infini-Tee was born. I understand that, once a year or so, Scott will accept commissions for your very own Inifini-Tee, if you ask him nicely (and throw him some shiny gold rocks, or a chest of electrum pieces.)

I come across cool stuff online all the time, and I always like to know where it came from. I don't know if Scott even cares, but speaking as a creator, it's really important to me that credit is given where it is due. If you see this, Scott, thanks for making such an awesome T-shirt and entertaining webcomic. And thanks to Paul and Storm for giving me such an epic gift.

one of my favorite moments from PAX East

This is what happens when Paul and Storm and I Get Excited And Make Things:

I forget precisely how this whole thing came together, but I remember Paul showing me the video, which prompted some sort of "this is the most amazing thing I've seen since the last time I said that" response from me. He and Storm and I ended up talking about how we wanted to do something like this for w00tstock, then realizing that, duh, PAX was just around the corner.

Storm wrote up the choreography, Paul did the graphics and bought the suits (for a total of $18), and I picked up the wigs. We rehearsed the whole thing about four times in the hour before we went out on stage, and I was really worried that I would screw it up, because I am not so much with the "staying on time when you're dancing" thing.

I love that you can hear the people around the cameraman in this video sort of go through stages from WTF to OMG to LOL. When we finished it, I got the sense that half the audience got the reference, half didn't, but they were all entertained by it.

I don't know if we'll ever do this again, because a huge part of it being amusing is not knowing that it's coming, but it was insanely fun, and I'm glad we took the risk. I don't know how we'll top this at Prime, so I guess I'll be down in the lab working on something.

in which w00tstock 2.0 and 2.0.1 are announced

When we did w00tstock 1.x last year, we all hoped it would be successful enough to warrant taking the show on the road to some of our favorite cities.

Well, w00tstock 1.x was so much fun for us and the audiences who saw it, it didn't just warrant it, it WINGER'd it. Hell, it may even have Damn Yankees'd it or Skid Row'd it … or Whitesnake'd it.

Whatever gloriously awful 80s hair band reference amuses you the most, the point is this: w00tstock 2.x is coming to Seattle and Portland in May:

This is the dawning of the Age of Geekdom–and its voices will ring true at w00tstock.

w00tstock v2.0: Friday, May 7 – Moore Theater, Seattle, WA (tickets available soon)
Special Guests: TBA

w00tstock v2.0.1: Saturday, May 8 – The Alladin, Portland, OR (tickets available soon)
Special Guests: TBA

So if you live in Seattle or Portland areas, go get your tickets now. If you don’t, then tell all your friends who do live there to go; because if these do well enough, we hope to do more of them! Go forth, geeks, and spread the good word!

Here's everything you ever wanted to know about w00tstock. Here's my recollection of the awesome w00tstock 1.x experience (a post so filled with awesome, it required an addendum. AN ADDENDUM, PAUL!) Finally, if you need to convince your non-geek boyfriend that you guys really will have fun at the show, you can show him a whole big mess of w00tstock videos.

Please note that all spelling and version-numbering errors are copied from the original source, my good friends Paul and Storm, who I have just thrown under the geekbus. Nyahh. Nyahh. Nyahh.

the obligatory w00tstock post

Everything I could possibly say about w00tstock has already been said by Paul and Storm, who made a lovely list, and Molly, who made a comic that captures exactly how I felt the whole time we did our shows.

I loved feeling the terror and exhilaration of trying something totally new (The Trade, with music) that was raw and unrehearsed enough to allow for surprises every night.

I loved how totally geeked out we all were to be working with each other, too. I mean, I knew it would be cool to meet Adam Savage – the guy's a freakin' genius, after all – but I was unprepared for how completely and utterly cool, kind, and enthusiastic he was. And his 100 wishes are wonderful, especially that he, like I, wishes for his children to have careers that they love.

I loved feeling like we were creating something unique and special, that people would be talking about long after it was finished.

I loved how much fun we had every night, even though I was exhausted down to my bones by the time we finished our last show Wednesday night (actually, Thursday morning).

I loved how wonderful the audiences were at all the shows. Geeks truly are the best crowd, because even when they heckle us (I'm looking at you, Los Angeles front row) it was done with enthusiasm and love. Yes, even the hecklers were, in their own way, supportive.

I loved that we released the entire show under a Creative Commons license, so anyone who wanted to could record and share the show online. There are tons of videos at YouTube and pictures at Flickr, as a result. 

I love that I can blockquote myself right now:

someone recorded all of w00tstock 1.1 from Los Angeles, and uploaded it. It's an audience recording, so you can pretend you are actually sitting at Largo next to the guy who recorded it! If it's the guy I think it was, he had a magnificent pimp hat on. If it's not … well, now you know that there was a guy at w00tstock in LA with a magnificent pimp hat, and you have yet another reason to wish you were there, sukka.

>I love that that recording was done on a freakin' iPhone, and it sounds fantastic.

I saw a post this morning that pretty faithfully recreates the show in Los Angeles from YouTube videos, so rather than try to duplicate that for all three shows, I thought I'd share a couple of my personal highlights, in video form:

First up, a wonderful compilation … almost a montage … from the LA show:

Here I am, recreating the moment when Luke Skywalker saw the smoking hulks of his aunt and uncle. This probably isn't as funny out of context, but if you were at the show, you'll know why I was so amused by this. By the way, the flapping hair in the wind was all Molly's idea, and it killed at all three shows.

Kid Beyond absolutely blew my mind when he performed Wandering Star by Portishead … using only his voice to create loops. If you think this is incredible on video (and it is) you should see him perform live, especially if he brings his video mashups.

Finally, everything Molly did was simply brilliant, and her cover of Toxic is sensational, but I just adore her song about breaking up with Wikipedia:

There's more, of course. Paul and Storm got a lovely pair of, um, undergarments thrown at them in Los Angeles. The acoustic Date My Avatar was great. Jeff Lewis did comedy as Vork, and completely killed. Kasper Hauser made me laugh so hard at the 1.0 show I bruised my medulla oblongata. I've known Chris and Mike forever, but I'd never actually seen them perform as Hard 'n Phirm in person until the Los Angeles show, and I wish I hadn't waited so long to enjoy the majestic wonder of El Corazon live. Josh Cagan seemed a little bemused that we'd added him to the show, but after seeing what he did to just 30 seconds of Roger Corman's Fantastic Four craptacular, I hope he'll come with us for 2.0. And, oh yes, three different versions of The Captain's Wife's Lament, each longer and more ARRRRRRRRRtful than the last. Those two videos (I can't find a video from 1.0 at the moment), do a great job of capturing how much fun we all had together.

When Paul and I talked about w00tstock a million years (or a couple months) ago, we hoped that it would be successful enough to justify the time we would need to put into creating it, we hoped we'd have fun working together, and we really hoped we'd draw enough people to make it worth doing future w00tstocks.

I don't think we ever seriously worried about having fun together, but I was very worried about actually drawing an audience. When we sold out two shows in San Franciso, and only had 20 or so seats left vacant in Los Angeles – where it is notoriously difficult to get people to come out to see shows – we knew that in the future, there will be w00tstock v2.x.

I want to thank everyone who was in the show, and especially everyone who came to watch us, for making the three days of w00tstock so memorable and wonderful. I can't wait to do it again.

coming soon: w00tstock – 3 hours of geeks and music

W00tstock

From Paul and Storm's website:

For decades, geeks were ostracized, picked on, laughed at and punished by the sun’s harmful UV rays. But there is only so long that a people can be kept down before they rise up against their oppressors; and, indeed, the dawn of the 21st century has seen the ascendancy of geeks and geek culture.

We now celebrate that rise to power–and let’s face it, nerds pretty much run everything now–with w00tstock, a special event for geeks of every stripe. Television host/special-effects artist Adam Savage (”MythBusters”), actor/author/blogger Wil Wheaton (”Star Trek: The Next Generation”, “Stand By Me”) and music-comedy duo Paul and Storm (hey; that’s us!) present a night of songs, readings, comedy, demonstrations, short films, special guests, and other clever widgets born from and dedicated to the enthusiasms, obsessions, trials and joys of geek pride.

This is the dawning of the Age of Geekdom–and its voices will ring true at w00tstock.

I can't wait to do this. It is going to kick all kinds of ASCII.

(snort)