Tag Archives: restaurants

from the vault: the excellence incident

This was originally written years ago, when I was still finding my personal narrative voice, and still enjoyed the beefy goodness of a slaughtered bovine creature with some fava beans and a nice Chianti. I've cleaned it up and meddled with it a tiny bit, because I can't resist meddling with things.

Many moons ago, my wife and I found ourselves at a Black Angus restaurant.

I’d like to welcome back those of you who just picked yourselves up off the floor. I don’t know what we were thinking, either.

Anyway, the waitress came over to our table after our food had been delivered, and asked, “Is everything excellent?” I could hear the italics.

I know that this poor girl was just doing her job, just as she’d been when she tried to upsell us on “a half-carafe or perhaps a full carafe of Fetzer merlot” but something inside me snapped. Before I could stop myself, I heard the following come out of my mouth: “Excellent? Excellent? No. It’s fine, and in fact I’ll even tell you that it’s nice, but excellent? If I said 'yes', I’d really be devaluing the whole word — and concept — of ‘excellent.’”

Anne gasped. A busboy three tables over dropped a stack of plates. The muzak was interrupted by the scratching of a needle across vinyl.

Remember in Cable Guy, when they’re at Medieval Times, and Janeane Garafolo looks at Matthew Broderick and just says, “… dude?” and we all know that he’s the asshole? Yeah, I was the asshole.

We all looked at each other, shocked, wondering what would happen next.

"He's not usually like this," Anne said.

"Hey! Don't apologize for me!" I said. Then, "I'm not usually like this."

"Uh-huh," she said, and disappeared into the kitchen.

"We're not getting dessert," Anne said. "In fact, we're not getting any more food that anyone in this restaurant other than us will get close to."

"That's probably a good idea."

We finished our meal, and I apologized again for what would become known as "the excellence incident." When I paid our bill, I over-tipped the girl as penance for my transgression, which I decided was intended as a lighthearted little joke that went awry between my brain and my vocal cords. But I did not — and I will not — waiver on the question of excellence. A man must stand for certain things, and I have chosen this. I have chosen to stand fast on the question of excellence.

The drive home was quieter than usual, until Anne turned to me unexpectedly and said, “Excellent? We’re at Black Angus. Let’s try for adequate and go from there.”

“Well thanks for speaking up for me when we were in there,” I said. “It was excellent that you had my back.”

in which we combine wil wheaton, books, and beer. (mmmm … beer.)

Last year, I went to the Stone Brewing World Bistro and Gardens for an event they call Book and a Beer. It's pretty much what it sounds like: I read from my book while people drank beer. Then I signed my books while I drank beer. Then I ate dinner and had some more beer. Then we drove around looking for another seafood restaurant. Then we went fishing.

I had a lot of fun, filled a lot of growlers with Arrogant Bastard, Double dry-hopped IPA, Barleywine, and some other stuff I'm told I really enjoyed not sharing with the rest of the class a few days later. In fact, I had so much fun, I'm going back next week to do it all again … only this time, IT'S PERSONAL!

Wait. That's not what I was going to say. I mean, yes, it's personal, but that's not what's awesome about this time. What's awesome about this time is that I'm just the opening act for Rifftrax! They're doing The Matrix: The One That Really Sucks Out Loud And Makes You Want To Punch Babies. (No, not that one, the other one.) For the six of you who don't know: Rifftrax is a few of the guys from MST3K doing that thing they do so well, only this time they're doing it LIVE. I think it's safe to say that it'll be awesome.

I start at 6pm. I plan to read for either 20 or 40 minutes, depending on how many people show up, and what they're in the mood to hear me read. I'll be prepared with stuff from Happiest Days of Our Lives, and stuff from Memories of the Future. I'll also be prepared to stare into an empty space, wipe a single tear from my eye, and go drown my sorrows in beer. (That, by the way, is one of my default settings and is not specific to this event. It is a class feature, if you will.)

I plan to bring a few copies of some of my books with me, but due to bad planning, I'm very low on stock at the moment, and the string is all in three-inch lengths. However, if you come to the Bistro with your own copies of my books, I'll be happy to sign them for you. I will also sign …other things… within reason.


What: Wil Wheaton reads to you while you drink beer.
Why: Really?
When: Thursday July 23rd, 6pm-8pm.
Where: Stone Brewing World Bistro and Gardens
Address: 1999 Citricado Pkwy. Escondido, CA 92029

Pleasepleasepleaseplease come and hang out. It'll be a lot of fun, I promise. If you are coming, would you sort of RSVP in the comments?