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Wil Wheaton Responds to your Questions. 355

Here we go, answer to Your Questions from Wil Wheaton. Share and Enjoy! A big thanks to Wil for taking the time to answer so many of our questions.

Those Silly Automatic Doors

by wikki on 07:36 AM October 15th, 2001

When you were on the set of TNG did you ever find yourself running into the automatic doors when there was no one there to open them for you? How about at your house or other places? Was this a problem for any of the other cast members? Did you ever find yourself going to grocery stores and running in and out of the doors just to make you feel better?

This happened all the time. We'd get so used to those doors opening when we approached them, that we'd keep going right into them if they didn't. It was very embarrassing when I'd be taking some friends on a tour of the sets, and I'd expect the doors to open, and they wouldn't. Sometimes it would happen during work, because the FX guys wouldn't get their cue, or someone would decide to enter a scene early. One time, Jonathan was in the turbolift on the bridge, and decided that he'd come into the scene a little bit earlier than we'd rehearsed. So I'm sitting in my chair, Patrick is going on and on about the Prime Directive or something, and there is this loud CRASH! from the turbolift. We all turn around to look, and the doors slowly open (like the FX guy is scared to open the door), and Jonathan is on the floor. I think it was Michael Dorn who was in the turbolift with him, and he is standing over him, just pointing and laughing. We did a lot of that, on TNG. The pointing and laughing, I mean.

Those doors do have a legacy that cascades into my current work. They were loud, when they opened and closed, sort of like a sliding glass door. So the sound man would ask us to hold our dialogue until the doors were open or closed. Go watch TNG, and watch for it. We rarely speak when doors are opening or closing on screen, because we'd have to re-record the dialogue later in ADR. The thing is, even though I've been off the show for years, when I'm doing a movie today, I still don't talk when doors are opening or closing. Even if they're normal doors.

One time, I was at the grocery store, walking through the doors in a wistful attempt to recapture the magic, and I was attacked by some Girl Scouts. Apparently, they were trying to sell those damn cookies (which are Soylent Green, by the way. You heard it here, first), and I was scaring off the potential customers. Those Girl Scouts are very territorial, and they'll stab you in the neck if you don't watch it.

Wheres the parties, dude?

by imrdkl on 07:48 AM October 15th, 2001

Seriously, how much time do you spend reading techie sites like slashdot, and keeping up with the issues? I see lots of nice links and banners on your webpage that seem to advocate. How would you "rate your geekness"? Is setting up your own server really fun for you, or just another way to score babes? :-)

Thanks, I enjoy alot of your work.

Well, here's my geek code:

Version: 3.12
GPA d--(---) s:- a- C++++ UL P>++ L+>++++ E-- W+++ N+ o- K- w++++>----
O-- M+ V-- PS++(+++) PE Y++ PGP++>+++ t++@($) 5 X+++ R++ tv-- b+++ DI+
G++ e*>++++ h---- r+++ y+++

I've been reading /. for a few years. It was my home page for awhile, even. I check in a few times a day, so I can keep up on what's going on, and complain that none of my submissions are ever taken. The issues that I am most passionate about are the Privacy issues, and YRO. Every chance I get, I bug these guys to publish a quarterly YRO journal. Unfortunately, every chance has been once.

Setting up my own server is still beyond my abilities, but it is something I will be able to do, someday. Often, when I'm in a "down cycle" or whatever the buzzword is for not working for months at a time, I think about getting a "fall back" job, so I could have a regular day job if I ever needed it. Recently, I've been thinking very seriously about pursuing a CCNA.

Born a geek, or did ST push you in that direction?

by anvilmark on 12:27 PM October 15th, 2001

Did you have a technical inclination prior to STTNG? Did you become more/less interested in tech from your ST experience? If so, in what ways?

Ever since I was a kid, I've been interested in science and engineering. Unfortunately, my complete inability to do simple mathematics (when I got my SATs back, it said "3% of people who take this will score higher than you" in the verbal section. It said "95%" would score higher than me in math.) really interferes with my ability to take my interests further than just a hobby. I built one of those crystal radio kits when I was 8 though...that was pretty cool. And I *did* assimilate lots of other computers to make mine.

I've been a voracious reader my whole life, reading mostly non-fiction books, up until I was about 13 or 14, when I read Ringworld...something about reading that book...it was like a switch was turned on inside my head, and I suddenly couldn't get enough of Science Fiction. I read all of Niven's books, then nearly everything Asimov had ever penned, Ender's Game, Foundation, all of what are considered the classics, I guess. During that time, I developed this insatiable desire to understand the science behind the science fiction, so I read many of Asimov's non-fiction books, starting with his Guide to Earth and Space. I think that Asimov is truly one of the greatest authors of all time. For actors, his Guide to Shakespeare is required reading. Anyway, after reading some of his books, I read The Mind's Sky, A Brief History of Time, and, finally, Hyperspace. It was really cool to be reading about all that theory, and acting it out at the same time. I wonder if any of the other actors got it when there'd be a graphic in engineering labeled "Kalzua-Klein Field".

I spent hundreds of hours, over the years, hanging out with Rick Sternbach (in addition to all his great contributions to Trek, Rick also illustrated the cover of "Tales of Known Space", and autographed my copy, which was cool) and Mike Okuda, in the art department, asking them all about what made the ship go (because I look for things...things to make me go...), and making sure that I was touching the buttons in the correct sequence to do whatever I was supposed to be doing. Once, in 10th or 11th grade, I had to write a research paper, and I got permission from my teacher to do it on the fictional technology of Star Trek, focusing on propulsion. This was before Mike and Denise had written their books, so I actually had to interview the Techies on our show (oh, I guess they like to be called "Tech-ers". Sorry.)...anyway, I had to conduct interviews with them, and buy some of the fan-authored books...but the final project was really cool, and I was forever able to explain to tour groups exactly what each thing in the engine room did.

Wow. I am realizing what a super geek I am. But that makes me cool, right? Right?

I've just remembered something, that I haven't thought about in years. Sorry for the tangent. I know this is sort of off-topic, but you can't mod me down! *cackle* Ahh, the sweet, sweet elixir of corrupting power!

Once, I was at a Los Angeles area convention, not as a guest, but as a convention attendee, complete with badge and geeky T-shirt. I'm thinking it was LosCon, but I'm not sure. It's not important. The important thing is, I tied an onion to my belt, which was the style at the time, and I walked into a room where there were lots of authors signing books. One of the authors there was Larry Niven. I just about gave birth. I had just finished reading Ringworld, and Ringworld Engineers, and I was in the middle of Tales of Known Space. I had even bought a copy of Ringworld while I was at this con, I think as a gift, or something, without knowing that Niven was there. So I ran up to him, and the exchange went something like this:

Me: Oh my god! You're Larry Niven!

Him: Oh my god! You're Wil Wheaton!

Me: I love your books so much! [Insert huge geekout here]

Him: I love you on Star Trek! [Insert minor geekout here]

Me: Really?!

Him: Really?!

Me: Yes!

Him: Yes!

Together: Can I have your autograph?!

No kidding. That really happened, and it was just amazing. I will never forget that. Stuff like that happens, sometimes, and I always love it when I meet someone who I admire, and they're just as excited to meet me. When I was working on Flubber, one of the other actors, I think it was Clancy Brown, came up to me on the first day, and said, "Wil. I have to come out of the closet." I thought it was weird that he was coming out to me, but I said, "Okay..?" And he says, "I am a huge Star Trek fan. I didn't want that to get in the way of our work."

I looked at him, and said, "Clancy, Robin Williams is a huge Star Trek fan, too...and THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE!"

And I cut off his head.

Wesley Crusher jokes

by DarkDust on 07:58 AM October 15th, 2001

As you mentioned on your FAQ page, the Wesley Crusher character from TNG was target of some not very complementary jokes. But are there any Wesley Crusher jokes that you liked ?

I can't recall any that I thought were very funny, actually. They are all pretty much just variations on the same theme, and I just don't find being sodomized by a Klingon to be the height of humor. Unless it's animated by Terry Gilliam.

There is a funny story that involves the whole "put Wesley in the airlock" phenomenon...I wrote about it at my site a few weeks ago, and I'll reprint it here:

It was my fanatical love of The Prisoner that allowed me to understand why anyone would want to wear a spacesuit and go to a convention. Because I used to have a lame little Number 6 pin, and I would wear it to game cons, back in the day.

Which reminds me of this one time I went to a huge game con, and some guy was selling "Put Wesley In The Airlock" buttons. I went up to his table, and he saw me coming, and tried to hide them, but I got there too fast, and I took one. While I was looking at it, I could see the huge drops of sweat falling off his Hutt-like visage, and I asked him, "How much?" He told me $2.50, or something like that, so I bought it, and wore it on my Batman t-shirt the rest of the day. That was cool.


by abde on 08:00 AM October 15th, 2001
liked your brief appearance in the Sprite commercial :) My question is, have you thought about sticking with the Star Trek franchise? With Enterprise, the franchise is taking a new direction, in which the characters are more human and not ultra-competent Utopians. Have you considered trying for a part, recurring or otherwise?

I've thought about it, sure. I even made calls to Berman and Co. back in the day, with some cool ideas, which were never developed.

I really like Enterprise. I watch it every week in the hopes of seeing more Detox Gel, and I really like the direction they are taking that show. As much as I loved TNG, it did wear on me a bit that everyone was so damn perfect. I love that the new show has lots of conflict, and the crew seems to be in real danger each week. The cast is great, and, so far, they haven't completely ruined the continuity of the Trek universe. Also, the captain has a beagle. A beagle! And he talks to it!You have to love that.

However, I left Trek when I was 18 so I wouldn't be doing it for the rest of my career. Trying out for a regular role on the new show would be a step back, career-wise, and very unlikely, considering the treatment I've gotten at the hands of Berman and Company since I left. However, I would be open to guesting, and I'm really sad that I don't get to be in the movie. Especially if there's a wedding in the script. I think it'd give some nice closure to the character.

Are you worried about being typecast?

by wrinkledshirt on 08:03 AM October 15th, 2001

Jason Alexander once said in an interview that every single episode he did as George on Seinfeld made it harder and harder for him to be marketable in showbiz as any other sort of character. Given that most people know you as Welsey Crusher, do you ever worry about it? If that's a problem, how does an actor break out of it?

When I was 18, I was beginning to have precisely those feelings that Jason talks about. I did an interview with AICN, where I got to talk about that. Success is a double-edged sword, you know? On one side, it's simply amazing to be associated with such a successful show, and play a character that so many people get to know. On the other side, that association can utterly kill any chance you have of having a career beyond that show.

I have no idea how an actor breaks out of that, because Hollywood works very hard to establish an actor as a "type" and then leaves that actor in that "type" because they know that the audience will tune in to see it. Bob Saget is a perfect example. Holy shit. He is one of the dirtiest, funniest, stand-up comedians I've ever seen...but Hollywood just won't cast him an an "edgy" role, because he's forever the guy from Full House.

Hollywood is all about insecurity. Studio heads know that their jobs are only temporary, and they know that when they make one mistake, they're gone. So they don't like to take chances. They don't like to take an actor who is good in action, and put that actor in a comedy, because the audience may not buy it, and the actor may not be able to handle the role.

I have a reputation in Hollywood as a very good dramatic actor, and I think I've earned that, and I'm proud of it. What's currently driving me crazy is this reluctance by the industry to let me show them that I'm funny. It's maddening, because I've been doing very funny sketch comedy, at the ACME Comedy Theatre, and improv with the Liquid Radio Players and Los Angeles Theatresports . I have a plan, though. I adapted one of my sketches into a screenplay, and if this thing I talk about in my next answer works out, I can just make it myself, and take over the WORLD! < /scheme >

NewTek and the Video Toaster
by suso on 08:11 AM October 15th, 2001
On your homepage you mention that you once worked for NewTek during their development or initial release of the Video Toaster.I've always been curious to know how you got the job there and what you exactly did for them? Did you ever own an Amiga prior to working at NewTek?

I was invited to NewTek's XXXmas party one year, when I was 19, and I was simply blown away by what they were doing out there.

For those not familiar, NewTek was the company that brought desktop video to the consumer market, while also re-defining the professional market. They made The Video Toaster, which was an amazing, affordable way to make television yourself, that looked as good as the stuff the networks made, with nifty effects, graphics, and what was probably the coolest 3D program, back then.

I firmly believe that the Video Toaster created the market for the iMovie, and the other rash of desktop video solutions.

While I worked there, I was part of the R&D team, working mostly on the Video Toaster 4000. I also spent LOTS of time traveling around the country giving demos and stuff for the launch of the 4000 when it was finished.

The year and a half I spent at NewTek was one of the best in my life, as far as personal growth goes. I learned that I _can_ make it in the Real World, but, more importantly, I learned that I am very unhappy if I'm not being an actor. I'm a pretty skeptical person, but I tell you this: I really believe that "do what you're supposed to do" stuff, and I learned, while I was there, that I am supposed to be an actor.

I had this plan, when I worked for NewTek, and, unfortunately, I never got to complete it. It went something like this: I can write, and I can write well. I have TONS of creative ideas, that would make cool short films, but none of them would ever make money, or be suitable for TV. In short, no network or studio would ever give me the money to make them. So I decided that I would make them myself, using a digital video camera, and the Video Toaster. I'd give the movies to NewTek, and they could use them in marketing, as an example of what the Toaster could do.

Good idea, right? We all thought so, and we were doing it, until NewTek fell apart, and the core group left to form Play Incorporated, in the mid-nineties. It's actually a good thing that NewTek exploded, because it gave me this kick in the ass to get back to LA, and do rededicate myself to acting. However, a few years went by, and I was feeling like I had started this thing, and never finished it, and that was bugging me. So I called up Paul Montgomery, my friend who left NewTek, and became the vision behind Play Inc. Paul thought it was a great idea, and we started working out the kinks. And there were some kinks, believe me. There were some people at Play who I just couldn't work with, and Paul and I were in the process of working all that out, when Paul had a heart attack and died, at age 31. Holy shit. Paul was the soul of NewTek, and the soul of Play, and, with him gone, Play completely fell apart. I tried to keep going with our idea, because that's what I thought he'd want, but the person who took over Play was just impossible. He treated me so badly, and so dishonored Paul's memory, that I told him to shove it, and walked away. Shortly after Paul died, they ran Play into the ground, too. Completely sucked, because Play had amazing potential.

Thing is, I still want to make my own movies, and I still think that people like you and me can do it, with great ease, using tools like the iMovie. Matter of fact, if anyone reading this knows people at Apple, have them get in touch with me. I'd still like to produce my own stuff, and I'm thinking iMovie is the way to go, now, as far as I can tell.

I never owned an Amiga before working at NewTek, but I loved them while I had them. They were always easy to use, and stable as hell. Too bad Commodore never "got" the Amiga. Yet another example of Corporate America failing to see the forest through the trees.


by Herbmaster on 08:16 AM October 15th, 2001

When did you first hear of the classic usenet group, alt.wesley.crusher.die.die.die, and what was your reaction?

I first became aware of it while visiting the HAL labs in Urbana, Illinois on the 12th of January, 1992. I really didn't care about it, at first, because by that time I had gotten used to people hating not only Wesley, but me. Over the years, though, all that negativity, and the inability to separate me from a character I played has really wore on me. Since I launched my website, and had a presence on the internet, a lot of that crap has come crashing back down on me. Honestly, you'd think that people would grow up and move on, seeing as how it was so many years ago, but you'd be wrong. You know what's weird? It hurt, all that criticism. It hurt then, and it still hurts now. Sometimes it just makes me feel bad, and other times, it makes me mad. Once, after enduring a particularly vicious attack from someone, I wrote,

"Thank you for blaming ME for the writing of a fictional character, on a fictional tv show. That makes complete sense, considering all the input the writers would take from a 15 year old kid. Have you ever bothered to ask? Did it ever occur to you that I just said the lines I was given? Don't take it out on me. I'm just an actor, who did the best job he could with what he was given.

I don't care if you're "The Guy From TV" or if you're "The Kid From Math Class". Being personally attacked by people who don't know a thing about you hurts. It sucks. I wonder, do you spend a fifth of the time you spend dumping on me doing something constructive with your life? I certainly hope so. You people are just like the people in High School who never took the time to get to know me, and judged me before I even showed up.

Aren't we mostly geeks here, online? Didn't we all, at one time or another, get bullied by "the cool kids"? Don't any of you remember what that felt like? "

So, yeah. That's how I reacted when I was hurt, and mad. It's strange to me that I'm 29 now, and people are still giving me shit for a show that I did when I was 15. What's surprising to me, still, is that I even care, and that the criticism still hurts. If I could only live my life with my threshold at 4...

Wil's job at NewTek's Lightwave

by peter303 on 08:17 AM October 15th, 2001

You worked at the animation software shop NewTek
for a while. What did you do there? Do you thing you'll get back into tech again someday?

Well, I think I pretty much overed the NewTek stuff already, but as far as tech goes, the farthest I can go with my technical skill is what I've done with my website. I think I've come a long way from my first uberlame page that I built with Pagebuilder at Geocities. The problem that I run into constantly is that my aspirations constantly outpace my abilities. I have these dreams of doing all sorts of amazingly cool php things at my site, but that is months, maybe even a year off. Technology is moving so quickly these days, if you stop to look around, you get left in the dust, and it's pretty hard for me to keep up.

I have always loved technology, and when I can afford it, I will have all the cool tech toys that they sell at ThinkGeek. They will be mine. Oh yes. They will be mine.

Hollywood Activism

by Dunkirk on 08:23 AM October 15th, 2001


You have made comments to the effect of poo-poo'ing celebrity opinions about issues in general. Yet in your blogs, you spend a lot of time discussing politics, and you make no bones about which side of the isle you favor. As someone in the public spotlight - and especially as someone in the geek spotlight (being a celeb that has your own self-coded web site) - do you consider it a duty of sorts to be an activist? Does being a celeb[rity] bring any more responsibility over the common, first-amendment-empowered citizen in voicing your opinion? Also, do you feel that you have qualities above and beyond other Hollywood celebrities that makes it important that you share your feelings?


One of my defining characteristics is that I can't keep my mouth shut. I can't stand idly by, and if somebody has to say it, it may as well be me. I am extremely passionate about virtually everything, and that passion drives me to discuss, argue, and learn about issues that have an effect on my life. I'm sure that it would just be easier to stay quiet, and live happily in McWorld, but I will not go gently into that good night.

I don't know if I have qualities above and beyond other celebrities that make it important to share my feelings. I don't know because I don't hang out with other celebrities, at all. But I do know that my passion is genuine, and I really do care about the issues I discuss. I don't know what the others do, but I carefully research issues before I get on one side of them. I evaluate both sides of an issue, apply my own filters, based on my knowledge and previous experiences. I draw a conclusion, I test the conclusion, I form an opinion, and then I post about it. I just write about the things that matter to me. I would be writing about this stuff, even if nobody came to my website to read about it. However, for better or for worse, in our culture we tend to give more attention to a celebrity than an equally educated non-celebrity. So if I can use my visibility to bring attention to the idiocy of the DMCA, or the things the MPAA and RIAA have been pulling the last 2 years, then I will do it, gladly. That falls under the heading of "Using the Power of Celebrity for Good". Of course, I'm sure it's fun to use it for Evil, but that opportunity hasn't presented itself to me yet.

I don't want people to listen to me because they think I'm a celebrity. I don't view myself as a "celebrity", at all. Matter of fact, one of the freakiest and most surprising things I've discovered since I launched my website is that way more people know my work than I ever imagined, so I guess that makes me a celebrity to some people, but not in my own mind, if that makes any sense.

Radio Free Burrito

by webword on 08:42 AM October 15th, 2001

You seem to know a lot about music. How big is your collection? What are your favorite bands? What is Radio Free Burrito and what do you think of broadcasting live?

I am a total music weenie. I aspire to be like the guys in High Fidelity. Yeah, I'm that lame.

As I say on my music page, I think that you can learn a lot about a person through the music they listen to. The bands that I like, though they cross many genres, all have souls. What I mean by that is, all the bands I really like all say something with their music. It somehow affects me when I listen to it. The first time I listened to Kid A, for example, I had this visceral, emotional reaction to it, and I still get that when I hear it. When I hear the first "ping" of Echoes, I still get chills. I am so awed by the power of music to evoke emotion in people, and I admire the bands who take advantage of that power, and use it for Good. Pop music is so packaged, and over produced, and so clearly exists only to make money, that it just offends me. That's using the power of music for Evil. Unless you're Huey Lewis and The News. Then you use music for The Power of Love.

I have a real fondness in my heart for the Emo bands, and the indie rock. Some of my current listens are Radiohead, The Pixies, Tool, The Ataris, Coldplay, They Might Be Giants, Portishead, *Nsync, (just seeing if you're skimming or really listening. har.), Pink Floyd, The Rushmore soundtrack, fairview, Alkaline Trio, Hot Water Music, and The Get Up Kids.

Tangent, here: I think The Ataris are like a musical Linux, sort of. They publish all the lyrics for their songs, the guitar tabs, and make every single one of their songs available as an MP3, for free download. Yet they still make tons of money at MP3.com, and their records sell like crazy. I think it's a great analogy...you don't have to be closed source to be profitable.

Radio Free Burrito is my attempt to fulfill a childhood dream of being a DJ. I stream my MP3s through a Live365 server using shoutcast almost every day, and I do live broadcasts a few times a week, where I joke, do news "Letterman-style", run a chat room, and stuff like that. It's really fun, and I still get this giddy excitement when I check the station stats and see that there's 50 people listening. Broadcasting live is insanely fun, and gives me another chance to reach an audience directly, on my terms, rather than some producer or network's. I have a whole page devoted to the rfb, at my site, with a playlist and links to hi-fi and lo-fi streams. Come listen someday, you'll be glad you did! </shiteating grin>

My CD collection is HUGE. I think I have over 6000 CDs in various places around my house, and in the garage. I would have more, but when I moved out of my parent's house, my younger brother moved into my bedroom, and sold all of my Cure, Depeche, Bauhaus, Boingo, and other 80s alterna-rock at some used music store. I think he used the money to buy rugs. Not drugs, rugs. My brother has had a rug habit for years. Persians, throws, areas, even Berber carpets. Sad thing is, he can't admit he has a problem. He's probably at Carpeteria right now.

Wesley vs. Adric

by wowbagger on 08:51 AM October 15th, 2001

Many people have compared Wesley Crusher to Adric on the Dr. Who. In both cases, the character was reviled because of the way the writers handled him. What are your thoughts on this? How would you recommend an actor handle this sort of situation in the future?

Okay, first let me put on my Asbestos suit.

Alright. I don't know who Adric is, so I can't address that.


However, I can address the rest of your question. When I was on TNG, I had zero input into the character. The writers and producers never listened to me, and they shouldn't have. I was a teenager, and, contrary to what we all think at the time, teenagers know absolutely nothing. Of course, at the time, we as teenagers clearly know everything, so we get caught in an infinite loop of knowing everything and nothing at once, which should produce a wonderful, Zen-like existence, but never does....but I digress.

As an actor, I feel that it is my job to live up to the demands of the script, and perform what the writers are asking me to do. I did my best to fulfill that obligation, but I think the writers missed a huge part of Wesley, and I think that's why so many people didn't like him.

Wesley and I were very similar at the time: we were both teenagers who were pretty smart, and pretty skilled. Matter of fact, we were both smart enough and skilled enough to work alongside adults, and hold our own with them, professionally. At the same time, neither one of us had the grace, maturity, or wisdom to hold our own with them socially, or emotionally, and that created lots of conflicts. By not exploring that side of Wesley, beyond "Just tell me to shut up, Wesley, and I will.", the writers took a lot of his humanity away from him. It also didn't help that they gave me lines like, "We're from Starfleet! We don't lie!" and "You mean I'm drunk? I feel strange, but also good!"

The few episodes where Wesley was actually not a complete tool were, I think, "The First Duty", "Final Mission", and, one or two others. Those were the ones where Wesley was actually a fully developed, flawed, interesting person. If they'd given me more stories like those, and written my character more like that, it may have made it easier for me to miss the film opportunities that were passing me by, while I was saying "Aye, sir. Warp 4, sir."

Geekess or Valley Girl?

by Dyrandia on 08:54 AM October 15th, 2001

As a lifelong geekess whose first crush was on Wesley Crusher, here's a question I'd love answered by Wil Wheaton, as well as the general male slashdot population. Which would Wesley Crusher, in character, prefer? An attractive, yet slightly braindead, clothes/hair/nails oriented girl, or her equally attractive, intelligent geekess identical twin sister? Someone who can't carry on a conversation unless it involves who was seen where, with whom, and what each was wearing, or somone who can argue the pros and cons of which programming language suits a certain task best? What about you as a person?

This is such a no-brainer. Geekess. Duh. Especially if she's a karma-whore. That is *so* sexy.

Dear Wil

by sllort on 09:27 AM October 15th, 2001

You mention in a LA Times interview that you dumped Linux for Windows because

"While I'm a champion of open source, I don't think Linux is there yet"

Was there a specific bug in Linux that prompted you to dump it, or was it just the entire operating system?


When I said "Not ready for primetime" I was not putting down Linux. "Not ready for primetime" means to me that it's not ready for The Masses. That's not necessarily a bad thing. SNL wasn't ready for primetime back when it started, and it was superior to virtually everything else on TV. Now that it's been processed for The Masses, I think it sucks more often than not. Except Will Farrell. That man is a genius.

I had Linux installed, and I dual-booted for quite sometime, but I was never able to actually *use* it to do anything. I have given O'Reilly LOTS of my money over the years, attempting to learn how to run it, but it's always *just* eluded my grasp. I had the hardest time just getting it to do things like find my sound card, or give me fonts in X-windows when I was running Netscape that didn't make my eyes bleed. It also didn't help that when I did my install, it never seemed to tell me exactly what dependencies I needed, so lots of stuff didn't work correctly, and I could never figure out where things were supposed to go, which was frustrating to me. I rely on computers for too much in my life to make my primary OS one that doesn't run in idiot (also known as Wil Wheaton) mode.

I completely support the Open Source and Free Software movements. Let's just say that I hate The Borg as much as you do. I aspire to a complete removal of The Borg from my life, and I would like nothing more than to be the number one ex-trek-actor Linux cheerleader, with the little suit and everything.

So have I just lost all of my cool points, or what?

Patrick Stewart's bald head

by Genie1 on 09:40 AM October 15th, 2001

Have you (or any of the TNG cast) ever rubbed it for good luck?

Are you kidding me? We'd gather every Monday morning in the center of the bridge, cry havoc, and let slip the rubbing of Patrick's head. We always wanted to rub Shatner's bald head for luck, but he'd never take off his toupee. So we'd just rub his belly instead.

Fan Fixated Moment?

by broody on 09:41 AM October 15th, 2001

While this may seem way off the wall, please give me a moment.

Kirk Russell, on the commentary to the Big Trouble in Little Chinia DVD, talks about how his trip down the elevator on the way to confront "the ultimate evil spirit" has generated more comments then any other. Fans are always quoting back lines from that scene, particularly in elevators.

Here is the question. Are there particlar lines from one of your roles that fans repeat back to you? Which role do people most often identify you with when they see you in the real world? If you could change this defining moment to an alternate scene or line, what would it be and why?

People seem to think that it's really funny to ask me if I really have the biggest one in 4 counties (I do, by the way. But the counties are all in the former Soviet Union, and none of them touch each other, for what it's worth).

Something that I've noticed myself doing is quoting some of my own things, because sometimes it's just too funny not to. Once, I was working on a movie in Kansas. We were driving from the set to the house where we were all staying, and it was close to a 40 minute drive. Now, 40 minutes in a city is nothing. But 40 minutes along a rural highway seems like an eternity. So we're driving along, and I ask my friend if we're there yet, and he says no, and I say, "Jesus. By the time we get there, the kid won't even be dead anymore." There is this pause in the car, and one of the other actors says, "Dude. Did you just quote your own movie?" I answered in the affirmative, and he says, "That was very cool."

I find myself saying that things are "goochers" all the time, too. Does that make me lame?

I guess that the thing people say to me all the time is, "Were the leeches real?" They then turn to their frat guy friends and snicker, like they're the first person to ever say that to me. I wait for a second, so they think they've really cut me down, and I say, "Yeah. Ask your mom about my scar."

Finding new and preferably disgusting ways to degrade a friend's mother was always held in high regard.

Industry insider?

by Stavr0 on 10:47 AM October 15th, 2001

Since you're part of Hollywood and somewhat of a geek (if you really are 'CleverNickName') here's the thing:

Would you be interested in becoming a (scifi/hollywoood/?) contributor to Slashdot (a la Jon Katz)? I'm sure you could get lots of exclusives from Paramount, actor friends etc ...

.. assuming of course you're prepared to be a lightning rod for all the Katz-haters cum Wesley-haters ;-)

You know, I don't have a huge problem with Katz, and I don't really understand why some people do. But, as we've discovered during our little chat today, I am exceedingly lame, so maybe there's part of the joke that I don't get.

Sure, I'd contribute, but I don't see what I could bring to the discussion that isn't already covered here, because nobody ever gives me exclusives, or inside info on anything, which is exactly the type of blinkard, Philistine, pig ignorance I've come to expect from that non-creative garbage. They sit there, on their spotty behinds, picking blackheads, with their bleeding Hollywood Insider secret handshakes...I always wanted to be a Hollywood Insider, but they wouldn't let me!

How did you feel about being Slashdotted?

by waffle zero on 10:51 AM October 15th, 2001

How did you feel about being Slashdotted? And did you expect this to happen?

Yeah, actually, we knew it was coming, and I got really nervous. I've endured some pretty horrible slings and arrows over the years, the most recent coming from MeFi and MemePool within 24 hours of my launch. This may sound totally lame to you, but I really cared what /.-ers thought about my site, and about me, because when you get right down to it, I am just an insecure geek, hoping to someday sit with the cool kids. The guys who host me were a little nervous, because we knew that it would kill all the sites on the server. By the way, if you're a weblogger, and want hosting for 5 bucks a month, you should check logjamming out. They're really cool guys.

I gotta say that the coolest thing so far was just being asked to do the interview, and all the positive feedback I've gotten from people who came to see my site. The whole reason I made my website was because my wife is always telling me that I could shake the Star Trek thing, and the Stand By Me thing, if people would just get to know me. I've always been frustrated that people, inside the industry and out, have this one dimensional preconception of me. Building and running my website has given me a chance to challenge that preconception, and hopefully change it.

This interview has been really fun to do, and I want to thank Chris for asking me, Rob for emailing me and telling me not to be afraid, and everyone who posted questions and comments.

Oh, and that guy who said, "Shut up, Wesley!". That was really funny. I've never heard that before.


May peace prevail on earth

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Wil Wheaton Responds to your Questions.

Comments Filter:
  • Wow. (Score:4, Funny)

    by Mustang Matt ( 133426 ) on Monday October 29, 2001 @05:13PM (#2494432)
    That's an awesome interview!

    I bet working on the set of TNG would be awesome just to see the actors making bloopers.

    The picture of Michael Dorn pointing and laughing while dressed up as Worf made me chuckle.
    • Re:Wow. (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The picture of Michael Dorn pointing and laughing while dressed up as Worf made me chuckle.

      Kinda takes the stuffing out of "Sir, I protest! I am NOT a merry man!"

    • I agree...fascinating read. I kind of started when I realized that he's the same age as me and married like me...I had this image of 15-year-old Wesley, and the leap was a strange one. I think I'd have a seizure or something if I ever saw him with a beard...

      Neat stuff. Wil, I'm definitely going to check out your website...any chance of you sending an AynCard to Patrick Stewart? :-)

    • That's an awesome interview!

      <aol>me too!</aol>

      Yeah, I know it's lame. That's why I just replied instead of creating a new thread. Wil, you thoroughly changed my mind. I didn't suffer from WAD (Wesley Association Disorder), but I didn't know that you were one of the "people like us" (the typical slashdot geek). Thanks for a great interview.
  • Response Formatting (Score:2, Interesting)

    by cetan ( 61150 )
    Too bad someone messed up the formatting of the article.

    Aren't the questions supposed to be in italics?
  • More Wil (Score:2, Troll)

    by snowphoton ( 411558 )
    A much more revealing interview with Wil Weaton can be found here [adequacy.org], courtesy of Adequacy.org [adequacy.org].

    It was supposed to be on Slant-Six [slant-six.org] as well, but never quite made it there.

  • by gorgon ( 12965 )
    I read all of Niven's books, then nearly everything Asimov had ever penned,
    Wil, you are one one hell of a reader if you really read almost everything Asimov ever wrote, since he wrote hundreds [clark.net] of books ; ). Of course, if you just mean nearly all of his SF, then so have I.
  • Spudnuts (Score:2, Flamebait)

    by webword ( 82711 )

    Bring back Spudnuts and bring back Shatner Takes It Deep.

    By the way, moderators, this is not Offtopic. It is more like an inside joke. Wil will get it. If you visit Wil's site, you'll know what I am talking about.

    All I have to say is this: I miss Shatner Takes It Deep's references to the giant purple dog penis tattoo on Shatner's back. Seriously funny stuff. You've got to be a WilWheaton.net junkie to appreciate this...
  • by sam@caveman.org ( 13833 ) on Monday October 29, 2001 @05:20PM (#2494475) Homepage
    I know this is sort of off-topic, but you can't mod me down!

    i wonder how much of /. speak has found its way into /. readers' daily lives? i wonder if wil ever talks about getting 'modded down' for suggesting a dialogue change for a character?

    • uh oh. maybe he doesn't have that much experience here after all. he got the </scheme> right, but didn't figure out that the <scheme> opening tag would be missing.
      • further update, another /.-ism from his responses:

        If I could only live my life with my threshold at 4...

      • "he got the </scheme> right, but didn't figure out that the <scheme> opening tag would be missing."

        That's arguably more of a style issue, where the opening is implicit, as it would ruin the flow to preface the start of it with "<scheme>". It's similar to how people'll mention getting off their soap box at the end of a rant, but never mentioning getting up there in the first place.

        Since the issue was raised (during the original question story) that he codes his site himself in PHP (geek point #4,748,234 in his collection), it stands to reason that he probably knows how to balance HTML tags.

    • by 4mn0t1337 ( 446316 ) on Monday October 29, 2001 @07:35PM (#2495075)
      Especially if she's a karma-whore.

      That's a fairly clear indicator he is a reader...

      all the cool tech toys that they sell at ThinkGeek

      Obligitory ThinkGeek plug. Another sign.

      Okay, first let me put on my Asbestos suit.

      (Score:-1, Flamebait)
      Okay, so this isn't *exactly* a /. thing on its own, taken with the other clues, it adds up.

      I have given O'Reilly LOTS of my money

      Okay, again not a /. reference on its own, but who out there on /. *doesn't* have your own Zoo? [oreilly.com]

      So have I just lost all of my cool points, or what?

      Here he really should have said "Karma" not "cool". I am begining to wonder...

      I don't have a huge problem with Katz

      Oh! Well that does it! I think this is all the proof we need that he really *isn't* a /. reader! &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp ;)

    • All I know is that the last time I called my girlfriend a "karma-whore" she didn't get it, but hit me anyway.

      Then, to top it off, after I explained it to her, she hit me again!

  • Proof (Score:2, Funny)

    by aridhol ( 112307 )
    And I *did* assimilate lots of other computers to make mine.

    After he left the Enterprise, Crusher was Borged!
  • by dave-fu ( 86011 ) on Monday October 29, 2001 @05:22PM (#2494489) Homepage Journal
    ...not ending up on the E! True Hollywood Story.
    But I guess there's time enough for him to knock over liquor stores, get into crack and make a porno, right?
  • by bbk ( 33798 ) on Monday October 29, 2001 @05:25PM (#2494502) Homepage
    Play (the newtek people) made a linear video editor called Trinity, which happened to tank in the marketplace - neat hardware though - 8x9 production video switcher, real time effects and video mapping, all through a box hooked to a winNT machine. Cool hardware, but they missed the nonlinear video boat, and their expansion nonlinear system didn't integrate all that well.

    Play went under, and got bought by "Global Streams", and they sell trinity based harware that is made to stream video over the internet.

    BBK, provider of random trivia
  • by uberdood ( 154108 ) on Monday October 29, 2001 @05:27PM (#2494519) Homepage
    Follow this link:

    online geek code decoder [joereiss.net]

    (be sure to cut Wil's code first!)
  • by FortKnox ( 169099 ) on Monday October 29, 2001 @05:31PM (#2494540) Homepage Journal

    Sounds like someones been playing DeusEx...

    Which one? (Score:5, Funny)
    by sandidge (TetsuBeav@Ieatspamwith.beer.com) on Monday October 15, @07:36AM (#2430156)
    (User #150265 Info | http://www.techno-ronin.com/)
    So, uh, Beverly Crusher, Troi or Yar?

    This questions wasn't asked (Being one of the top Score:5 questions!).
    Since the author was too afraid to ask, if you are reading this wil, please answer ;-)

    Also, did you ever score with any of the redshirt women????
    • Re:2 things.... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Aqualung ( 29956 )
      Actually, it's from Robert A. Wilson's Illuminatus Trilogy, which predates Deus Ex by a decade or three...
    • Sounds like someones been playing DeusEx...

      Yes, yup, you're right, now move along... ::shakes head::

      Wil, you gained back mucho geekpoints by using that single five fingered frase. Hail Eris.

      BTW - I meant to ask if you were ever disturbed by any Slash written about Westley. Dobbs knows I was. Especially the one where Beverly turns into a man, and has to have sex for 24 hours, or she'll be stuck that way, and the two of them are stuck in a shuttlecraft with only a replicator...

      Plus, you didn't pitch anything - I hope that doesn't mean that you don't have anything in the works.


    • Re:2 things.... (Score:4, Informative)

      by SEE ( 7681 ) on Monday October 29, 2001 @10:38PM (#2495632) Homepage

      Sounds like someones been playing DeusEx..

      Oh, goddess. Look, get the Illuminatus Trilogy, then get the Principia Discordia [warehouse23.com]. (The reason I pointed you to the Steve Jackson Games edition of the Principia is because they were the company hit by the infamous Secret Service raid -- you've heard of that at least, right?). You probably need a copy of the Jargon File, too. Read alt.religion.kibo a few days, and then move on to the Internet Oracle [indiana.edu].

      Then come back here when you're properly versed in esoteric geek subculture memes. 'Kay?
  • Another Mirror (Score:2, Informative)

    In case the other two mirrors go down, there's a full mirror at http://www.culturepimp.com/wil/ [culturepimp.com].
  • by abde ( 136025 ) <apoonawa-blog@[ ]oo.com ['yah' in gap]> on Monday October 29, 2001 @05:34PM (#2494562) Homepage

    Wil Wheaton is a geek overlord. He reads Known Space, listens to Nerf Herder, Save Ferris, and TMBG, is a comedy improv veteran, has survived the linux install, has survived the linux uninstall, likes to discuss politics, gets excited about a no. 42 boarding pass, prefers the Bavarians to the Gnomes, and also did some movies and television, I've heard.

    Wesley who?

    • by WinterSolstice ( 223271 ) on Monday October 29, 2001 @05:59PM (#2494687)
      I must concur. I was a Wesley hater, and I still am. I am also one of those dorks who overly associated Mr Wheaton with some of the stupid stuff his character did.

      I must say however, that after reading this, reading the other interview he recently did, and reading his site; This guy is a hell of a lot cooler than I am.

      I am very impressed, I loved the various movie references (Especially the Monty Python bit at the end there, that was classic), and I must say I was very impressed by his general "humanity".

      Hell of a guy. Especially to let the vindictive like of /. get ahold of him :)

      He also made me go lookup geekcode for the first time in a while. I had almost forgotten it!! This is especially sad, since I have mine posted on my /. account :)


    • I'd just like to second that, and throw all my karma to the wind by going completely offtopic at the same time.

      Wil, if I was a cool kid, I would definitely save you a seat. Post more often on slashdot! I've been reading your old comments, nothing I saw that I didn't think belonged here.

      Oh, and good luck with the comedy. If I'm ever in the area, I'll be sure to check out one of your shows.
    • "listens to Nerf Herder, Save Ferris, and TMBG"

      The more I read, the cooler Wil Wheaton gets. Any more, and he'll start single-handedly reversing the Greenhouse Effect.

  • by DoomHaven ( 70347 ) <DoomHaven AT hotmail DOT com> on Monday October 29, 2001 @05:34PM (#2494563)
    Patrick Stewart's bald head

    by Genie1 on 09:40 AM October 15th, 2001

    Have you (or any of the TNG cast) ever rubbed it for good luck?

    Are you kidding me? We'd gather every Monday morning in the center of the bridge, cry havoc, and let slip the rubbing of Patrick's head. We always wanted to rub Shatner's bald head for luck, but he'd never take off his toupee. So we'd just rub his belly instead.

    Thanks, Wil! That was the funniest thing I have seen on /. interview!

    BTW, thanks for the interview; I liked your character on ST:NG, thought you did a great job playing him, and glad you posted responses here to show what a great guy you are! Good luck with your career!

  • by evenprime ( 324363 ) on Monday October 29, 2001 @05:36PM (#2494579) Homepage Journal
    It translates as:

    GEEK STAR TREK CODE [t++@($)] My tendencies on this issue range from: "It's the best show around. I have all the episodes and the movies on tape and can quote entire scenes verbatim. I've built a few of the model kits too. But you'll never catch me at one of those conventions. Those people are kooks. But that varies...", to: "It's just another TV show. Getting paid for it!"
  • Yeah, sorry about that. It just seemed like the perfect response, and I really did just watch Datalore like ten minutes earlier. I actually thought your comments were perfectly respectable.

  • Wil For Congress (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ch-chuck ( 9622 ) on Monday October 29, 2001 @05:42PM (#2494607) Homepage
    So if I can use my visibility to bring attention to the idiocy of the DMCA, or the things the MPAA and RIAA have been pulling the last 2 years, then I will do it, gladly.

    might help balance the damage done by Sony Bono, uh, Sonny.

  • In one of his author's notes somewhere, Niven mentions that Sternbach's cover art for Tales of Known Space contains, somewhere, a very tiny Ringworld.

    Wil, did you ever find it?

  • t++@($)
    Sweet. Very sweet.

  • Down to earth (Score:3, Interesting)

    by cnkeller ( 181482 ) <cnkeller.gmail@com> on Monday October 29, 2001 @05:50PM (#2494643) Homepage
    What a great interview. Wil seems like a very down to earth and likable person (a lot like the guys from Sugar Ray). My opinion of him definetly changed after visiting his website. Points to slashdot for arranging the interview and Wil for answering them. I'll definetly be checking out some of this other (more recent work -- frightening to think we're the same age). Keep the faith Wil.....
  • Cool interview. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AtariDatacenter ( 31657 ) on Monday October 29, 2001 @05:51PM (#2494644)
    Just wanted to say, I liked the interview. What surprised me most were Wil's responses. He actually sounded HUMAN. (I don't know why I felt compelled to write that. After all, we all know that he IS human. I guess it is just that I've never really seen the off-camera side of him.) Far more articulate than I expected.

    Growing up (and being the same age as Wil), I identified with his character in some ways. Oddly enough, reading his response, I identify with HIM in other ways.

    This is getting far too scary for me to continue. ;)
    • He actually sounded HUMAN.

      I thought the exact same thing. If I were into video production, etc. as a hobby, I'd even feel comfortable emailing the guy about doing some of his short stories. How many Hollywood stars can you say that about?

      Great interview. The best I've read on Slashdot yet.

    • He actually sounded HUMAN.

      Schweet! WilSim 4.7 passed the Turing Test! We'll start the marketing campaign next week.

    • He actually sounded HUMAN.

      You're thinking of Brent Spiner.

  • Since Chris asked you for the interview, then that means that you've got a headline in Slashdot but still don't have a submission :>)

    On the serious side - you rock, thanks for the great interview. I feel like I learned a new dimension about you.

  • by dstone ( 191334 ) on Monday October 29, 2001 @05:55PM (#2494666) Homepage
    Using The Geek Code Decoder Page [ebb.org], here are three of Wil's OS codes, decoded...

    I've managed to get GNU/Linux installed and even used it a few times. It seems like it is just another OS...

    I use GNU/Linux exclusively. I have a unix account to do my stuff in...

    I have Windows, Windows 95, Windows NT, and Windows NT Advanced Server all running on my SMP RISC machine...
  • I love it!! (Score:4, Funny)

    by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Monday October 29, 2001 @05:56PM (#2494675) Homepage
    "Thank you for blaming ME for the writing of a fictional character, on a fictional tv show. That makes complete sense, considering all the input the writers would take from a 15 year old kid. Have you ever bothered to ask? Did it ever occur to you that I just said the lines I was given? Don't take it out on me. I'm just an actor, who did the best job he could with what he was given.

    This is the same as Shatner telling an entire Trek-Con to get a life!

    Wil! You rule!
    • shatner on snl was perhaps one of the funniest episodes of that show ever. Shatner just doesn't take himself seriously (or at least is cunning enough not to seem to, which ammounts to the same thing).

      "..what was the combination?" Brilliant!

      and since I'm in a musical mood:
      quote Wheaton:

      Sometimes it just makes me feel bad, and other times, it makes me mad.

      sometimes it makes me want to swear and curse. But when you're chewing on life's gristle, \\ don't grumble, give a whisle, \\ and this'll \\ make things turn out for the best. \\ eh!

  • I don't know what's worse, that I read all of the interview or that I know which episode "We're from Starfleet! We don't lie!" (not by name at least)

    For the curious, its right after Wesley was playing ball with some locals on some planet where all crime gets the death penalty and trips over some bar blocking access to some screened in plants (i guess). He admits to it to a police officer, not knowing they are going to kill him for it, and the police was suprised and said something like "you admit to it" which he replies......

  • desktop linux (Score:2, Insightful)

    I had the hardest time just getting it to do things like find my sound card, or give me fonts in X-windows when I was running Netscape that didn't make my eyes bleed. It also didn't help that when I did my install, it never seemed to tell me exactly what dependencies I needed, so lots of stuff didn't work correctly, and I could never figure out where things were supposed to go, which was frustrating to me. I rely on computers for too much in my life to make my primary OS one that doesn't run in idiot (also known as Wil Wheaton) mode.

    IMHO, this is the real test for Linux on the desktop. Can someone who wants to use it do so?
    I might not mind lynx and do all my word processing in vim, but my wife or mom need the "Windows key" to open the KDE menu.

  • by psychalgia ( 457201 ) on Monday October 29, 2001 @06:02PM (#2494707) Homepage
    this is the only celebrity interview Ive ever read that hasnt made me puke in terror. Thanks.
  • by Yohimbe ( 17439 ) on Monday October 29, 2001 @06:04PM (#2494712) Homepage
    What do you say folks? Should we teach him the secret handshake?
    • The secret handshake?

      The secret handshake!?!?

      That's the one where you:

      Push up your coke-bottle glasses with the white cloth tape over the bridge

      Wipe your nose on your sleeve while serrupticiously looking down to make sure your pocket protector and all your pens are straight and in order

      Look back up quickly, tossing back your greasy Bill Gates unkempt-style hair to one side, for a better view

      Nervously extend the left hand then utter the sacred oath "..uh .. oh, wrong hand, heh"

      Extend a cold, extremely clamy right hand while tucking left hand into pocket while slouching slightly and grinning the same way you did when that really bad drivers license photo was taken

      Grasp unsteadily and pump firmly once before trying to remove hand while other party is still trying to shake

      Or is it now the Virtual Handshake of Look-the-other-guy-in-the-eye-like-you-know-you-co uld-kick-his-butt-in-quake-3-but-hey-we're-all-fri ends-right-? and utter the mystic words "Hey, 'sup?"

    • Yeah, the three way one where every body yells "SYN!" and "ACK!" at the right points. :-)
  • by yawble ( 181792 ) <whitney@nOSPaM.luna.tk> on Monday October 29, 2001 @06:07PM (#2494730) Homepage Journal
    Did no one else catch the Simpsons reference?

    The important thing is, I tied an onion to my belt, which was the style at the time

    It was said by GrandPa simpson where he was yammering on and on and did nothing but segue...

    From the story about how hitler had stolen the number 20 and they had to use the word dickety.

    I throughly enjoyed the interview, and Wil Wheaton on ST:TNG. Reading his website and this interview just goes to prove how cool of a guy he is.

    My god Wil. Just think, you just aquired yourself an army of geeks to do your bidding!!
    • ARGH! I missed a Simpson's reference! I suck. (But I get it now, great grandpa simpson qoute btw).

      Anyways, wow! That was probably the funniest, most insightful, honest interview I've read on slasdot in the year that I've been reading it. Wil sounds exactly like me. A wanna-be nerd, ending up only as a sorry geek with little true tech knowledge.

      I never liked the Wesley Crusher character, but then again, I'm not a huge Star Trek fan because the characters, as Wil admits, were too perfect. Besides, most things that are done in a big way, with big public support, usually aren't done as well. Sure, they can be amazing and larger than life, but they just don't have the quality and soul of something done on a small scale, without regard to the monetary rewards.

      I'll check out your website later tonight, Wil. Sounds like there's a lot more to you than a cheesy role on a show I never got into that much. I'd be very interested to see some of your short story home-made movies you kept mentioning above that you want to produce so badly. Given the humor and honest approach to everything, inconjunction with the (for once) good grammatical expression of your thoughts that you demonstrated in this interview, I'm sure I would like your stuff.

      P.S. - Geeks DO like girls who don't look like a supermodel, but are cool. My new girlfriend is studying TBAL (To Be A Lawyer), so she's full of book nerdiness, but I gotta admit, she's the best thing for me, despite whatever physical traits other girls might have that would outdo hers.

    • by Nurlman ( 448649 )
      Hey, if Wil can geek it up, I can too.

      The "tied an onion on my belt" line wasn't from Grampa's story about Hitler stealing the number 20, it was from his strategy for dealing with striking power plant workers:

      Burns: Smithers, get me some strikebreakers. The kind they had in the '30s.
      [Grampa speaks for an assemblage of senior citizens]
      Grampa: We can't bust heads like we used to, but we do have our ways. One trick is to tell them stories that don't go anywhere. Like the time I took the ferry over to Shelbyville: I needed a new heel for my shoe, so I decided to go to Morganville, which is what they called Shelbyville in those days. So I tied an onion to my belt, which was the style at the time. Now, to take the ferry cost a nickle, which in those days had pictures of bumblebees printed on 'em. 'Gimme five bees for a quarter,' you'd say. Now where was I? Oh, the important thing was, I had an onion on my belt, which was the style at the time. You couldn't get white onions, because of the war. The only thing you could get was those big yellow ones...

      (Of course, that's quoted from memory.)

      Nice ob:Simpsons ref, Wil.
  • by sdo1 ( 213835 ) on Monday October 29, 2001 @06:10PM (#2494746) Journal
    Wil, we know you're reading...

    Don't you think that fighting the evil doings of the MPAA and having an acting career in Hollywood are mutually exclusive activities?

  • by coupland ( 160334 ) <dchase@@@hotmail...com> on Monday October 29, 2001 @06:11PM (#2494751) Journal

    "Bob Saget is a perfect example. Holy shit. He is one of the dirtiest, funniest, stand-up comedians I've ever seen"

    Wesley Crusher said "shit"...


  • by Masem ( 1171 ) on Monday October 29, 2001 @06:12PM (#2494757)
    Since wil claims not to know Adric:

    Adric was play by Matthew Whitehouse on Dr. Who in the late Tom Baker/early Davidson earlys (would be early 80s without going to check myself on that). Adric was picked up for the TARDIS crew in the episode "Full Circle"; the character was a teenage boy that was awfully smart; his outfit included a gold-plated star badge that indicated an award for outstanding mathematics ability. A few episodes later (Logopolis) he learns the matematics of Block Transfer Computation which is what helps the TARDIS define it's exterior dimenssion, in only a rather short time. The next episode, Castrovalva, has the Doctor's nemesis, the Master, using Adric's new knowledge to lure the Doctor into a trap.

    After that point, they don't play too much on the issue of Adric's intelligence; instead, he was a decent alternative to the always screaming Tegan and the rather quiet Nyssa.

    Adric's farewell was one of the more spectactular in the series; in "Earthshock", as the Cyberman (another foe of the Doctor) have taken over a spaceship containing a large amount of explosives, taken it back in time 65million years, and plan to throw it at the earth as to destroy *all* life on the planet, Adric sacrifices himself to mearly have the ship 'glance' at the earth as opposed to a direct impact, thus reducing the force of the explosion and only killing off the dinosaurs. Before he leaves the Doctor the last time, he gives him his award badge; unfortunately, the Doctor finds that he must use it to kill off the Cyberman leader (who are fatally influenced by gold); it was the only episode of DW to end with no music over the credits, only an image of the broken badge.

    Needless to say, after a few episodes, the Adric character was treated about the same as Wesley. If there was a USENET at that time, I would not be surprised to find a similar .die.die.die newsgroup.

    From interviews that I've read, Matthew w. is in much of the same position as Wil is with Wesley; the role was a break into the industry, and did get a lot of negative attention; while he doesn't resent playing the role, he rather not talk about it and instead focus on his current career.

    • According to IMDB, it was Matthew Waterhouse [imdb.com]

      Wil -- go and find some Dr Who videos (esp the Tom Baker years). You won't be disappointed -- it's good, campy, scifi fun.

    • I vaguely recall an interview with Mr. Waterhouse in which he states that, for the Castrovalva shoot, he had gotten massively drunk the night before with the rest of the cast. First scene he shot involved lots of running.

      Apparently the boom mike swung around and picked up the sound of him puking his guts out behind a tree. Fortunately (to hear him tell it) it wasn't on camera, just on the soundtrack.

  • He doesn't know who'd in win in Adric Vs. Wesley Crusher, but Adric would lose the hairstyle event [demon.co.uk]. So that's where my salad bowl went! Thank you, Dutch Boy!

    Wil Wheaton also played a character his own age, which is rare on TV. Adric was initially played by a 19-year-old.
  • I could never understand the sheep-bandwagon, "I hate Wesley" nonsense.

    People, en-masse jump on the lamest bandwagons.

    "Luke's such a pussy. --Waah. But I wanted to go get new power converters."

    Or whatever the line was.

    Ferkrist's sake! Why do people obsess over LAME shit like that? It's not funny. I guess maybe it just gives nerds something to rally around. "Joke 137" --And they all laugh, as though they were all part of something important. Shut UP, already!

    Actually, when I discovered Wil's site, I was amazed at how cool he was, and being forced into the unfair and moronic Ghetto of 'Un-Cool' actor-hood, I thought his response to the scenario was really well balanced and very sane. It was almost as though the process of having to live on the outskirts of popularity forced him into a kind of higher-awareness.

    In retrospect, I thought that the final episode of TNG which featured his character was really interesting in this regard. --Ditching the rules and regs of Starfleet to pursue higher-awareness. Interesting parallel.

    -Fantastic Lad

    • by Bonker ( 243350 ) on Monday October 29, 2001 @06:55PM (#2494928)
      I could never understand the sheep-bandwagon, "I hate Wesley" nonsense.

      Unfortuneately, and this is no aspersion on Mr. Wheaton's acting ability, Wesley Crusher was written to be a whining pussy and an annoying jerk. I think it was because the writers of the show had no idea the way a teenager thinks or speaks. When it became apparent that his character was not really going anywhere, they tried the out of making him a super-genius, and therefore on par with the rest of the adult crew. This made Wesley even more obnoxious, mostly because he had become an unrealistic parody of what the writers were trying to accomplish with his character.

      I liked everything I saw Wil Wheaton in EXCEPT for ST:TNG. I think it's a shame that he stayed on it for so long when he could have been doing other stuff, and according to his website and discussion, he probably agrees.

      I truly enjoyed some of the better anti-Wesley jokes and fan-stories out there. It's a shame, but no surprise, that they should have impacted so personally on the real person behind the annoying character.

      Well, here's to you, Wil Wheaton. You're a cool guy, and I hope you or any other Trek actor never gets stuck with another 'Wesley' again.
  • I love the repeated use of Monty Python references in many of his writings...

    Unless it's animated by Terry Gilliam.

    ...which is exactly the type of blinkard, Philistine, pig ignorance I've come to expect from that non-creative garbage. They sit there, on their spotty behinds, picking blackheads, with their bleeding Hollywood Insider secret handshakes...I always wanted to be a Hollywood Insider, but they wouldn't let me!

  • by zericm ( 21972 ) on Monday October 29, 2001 @07:10PM (#2494992) Homepage Journal
    Well, not mine, really. A friend's story, but I always had a bit more respect for the man after hearing this...

    Many years ago, like nine or ten years ago, my friend Kristen and I were working at the Renassiance Pleasure Faire in Novato, California. One weekend, we were totaly rained out, but the faire was not cancelled until the morning, so the camping area was packed with tents full of surly ren geeks.

    There is a terrifying intersect of the Ren Faire and Star Trek Geeks. I remember one evening where a whole slew of Ren Geeks were gathered around a big screen TV in front of a booth, watching the season premire of TNG. Keep in mind that they had to cart in their own power and satelite to make this happen.

    Anyways, Kristen is sleeping off the previous night's debauch, when she is awoken by some little blond thing with the name of Cyndi or something like that. Kimmi is breathlessly repeating "Wil Wheaton's here!" with an odd squeak every time she says Wheaton. After a few moments of this, Candi manages to get out, "come meet him!" Kristen, a rare faire geek in that she does not like ST, still manges to drag her hung over butt out of the tent and starts her Wil Wheaton quest.

    After a bit of walking, they come to a grey van that Wil is shaking. One gathers it is to wake the occupents (perhaps to go into town for breakfast?). Candi blurts out "Wil this is my friend Kristen." Wil turns to the duo, says "Hi," Kristen responds "Hi." and then Wil goes back to shaking the van. Kristen returns to bed.

    My respect for Wil Wheaton shot through the roof after the hearing that story. The reasons:

    1: Many actors who worked faire have tried their best to distance themselves from faire. Those of us who act at the event take pride in what we do, and are bit annoyed by those who try to hide from that bit of their acting past. The fact that Wil not only visited the faire, but appeard to come back as a participant makes him a first class guy in my book.
    2: I don't know what he said to Misty when she meet him, but it was something that made her feel that she could approach him again. Nice attitude for the fans, particulary when he did not appear to be at his best.
    3: He didn't seem to take offense at the fact that Kristen was underwhelmed to meet him. When he says that he does not consider himself a celeb, I beleive him.

    Wil Wheaton is alright, and someone I would enjoy acting with.

    former puritan, RPFS and RPFN
    current master of the revels, RPFN
  • Hotter than Marina Sirtis? I vote: yes.

  • Wow, What his wife said is so true. This interview really lets you get to know his personality and I must say he is a really funny guy. Like a bunch of guys I work with. Seems like he is a really good person and is having fun in life. I hope to see him in more movie/tv roles and tell those F*cks to let him play wesley in the new movie. Haven't they not started filming yet? I mean they could write him in a scene or two. Everyone who thinks this should be the case should go to star trek sites and voice your opinion. :)
  • About Bob Saget: He is one of the dirtiest, funniest, stand-up comedians I've ever seen...

    Wil seems to have his head screwed on fairly tightly, but comments like the above might give away the rampant crack habit. :) When I feel really down, I just think of Bob on America's funniest home videos, and realize that there's always someone worse off than me.
    • America's funniest home videos is not a standup act, its a TV show. That was kinda Wil's point -- his standup is nothing like th TV gigs he gets.

      Similarly, if you ever heard any of Bob Newhart's stuff, it was much rowdier than you'd ever guess from his deadpan middle-america TV sitcoms...
      • On the other hand, we're all sure that nobody every heard Bob Hope tell a dirty nursery rhyme. Can you imagine Bob Hope starting out his act by going "Hickory Dickory Dock, this chick was..."?
  • by farrellj ( 563 ) on Monday October 29, 2001 @07:58PM (#2495136) Homepage Journal
    I hate to be a "me too", but I really enjoyed that interview. It gave a good inside look at someone that everyone thinks they know because he was on our TV sets for so long.

    Thanx to everyone who made it possible!

  • I'm now left with the strange quandary that I never liked Wesley Crusher but Wil Wheaton is a pretty cool guy. It's also hard to believe that he was 15 at the time and is now 29. I'm 28 now and my life at 15 was basically c41|\/|3, s3%, and b334. Thus we come to the second quandary, I would have rather been doing something like playing the Wesley Crusher character at the time then wasting my teenage years away.
  • From the interview:
    "And I *did* assimilate lots of other computers to make mine."

    I can imagine it now ... a black cube, a metre to a side, that when it boots says "resistance is futile, you will be assimilated."
  • I have to say... (Score:3, Informative)

    by cr0sh ( 43134 ) on Monday October 29, 2001 @08:04PM (#2495165) Homepage
    That was a great interview - I have it in my head that Wil Wheaton is this young whiny kid from STNG - but then he says he is 29 - and my gawd! Where did the time go...

    I am 28 - and it doesn't seem that long ago that I watched STNG - and I have this image.

    Wil, you grew up - and that was your character, anyway - and I always thought of the character as whiny. I know it wasn't your fault.

    You have something that many people hardly learn - you know what you are "meant" to do, what you enjoy and are good at: acting. Few learn this, and continue to try different things, and are unsatisfied with all their choices - and tend to wonder why. You seem to understand this. So don't worry about becoming an "ultra-geek" and running Linux - that isn't what you do.

    But if you really want to run it, there are plenty of people here willing and able to help you get it going, and most of the fun of Linux is in the challenge of getting it going, rather than the use of it (anyhow, that is how I feel). Also, as a tip - try SuSE 7.2 (or whatever the latest release is) - I have seen die-hard Windows fans install it and marvel at how simple it was to get working (of course, that is an anecdotal story, take it for what it is worth)...
    • I looked at the calendar the other day and realized I'll be 28 in a couple months. The last 10 years went by like *nothing*.

      Not to all you teenere... go hard!
  • Um, did you consider, that maybe you could trade on your celebrity and get all the Linux help/tutoring you wanted from Geeks who would do it so they could say "I helped Wil"?

    It's that social engineering thang.
  • Where are all these smart geeky women who can hold up in debates who like geeky guys AND are attractive?
    • Where are all these smart geeky women who can hold up in debates who like geeky guys AND are attractive?

      Most of them dropped out of the geek lifestyle because of the social stigma. Or, they were repeatedly told by their parents that a much "better" profession would be something like teaching or nursing or secretarial.

      I've been geeky all my life, enjoyed math and science and taking things apart, but because I couldn't get out of the shadow of my older engineer brother, got given the advice above, and went into the wrong subjects in university. It wasn't until a few years into it that I discovered that helping a colleague at a co-op job with his fortran-to-pascal translation job was way more fun than being an assistant to a department head. It turned out that I was capable of getting top marks in comp sci (which at the time - early 90s - was 5% female), and am now the proud co-founder of a technology startup.

      Moral of the story: even today, prejudice runs rampant. If you meet any females who have the slightest technical talent, encourage her as much as you can.

    • And not psychotic or messed up in weird psychological ways.

      But them again, I wanted the usenet group "alt.sex.fetish.iq".
  • by Wordman ( 79573 ) on Monday October 29, 2001 @09:11PM (#2495404) Homepage
    I've thought about this for a while, and while there are a number of symptoms that caused people to hate Wesley (e.g. "he's whiney", "he's a cry-baby", etc.) there is one root cause: the writers never convinced the audience that Wesley was a genius. This would require writers who were geniuses, which clearly the early Next Gen writers were not. We got told of Wes' genius, but I can't remember a single time when we were convincingly shown he was.

    Bear in mind, here, that there is a big difference between being "really smart" and a "genius". Bill Gates is really smart; Alan Turing was a genius. Lots of people are really smart, but you know a genius when you see one.

    Though I'm not a genius, I've met a couple in my life and it seems to me that none of them were the wide-eyed "gee whiz" types. They tended to be a bit flaky, but somehow avoided the stigma of being really flaky. Instead, they have this aura about them. It was somehow just subconsiously obvious to any observer that the flakiness is because the genius lives in a much different world from them; the observer knows that they just don't get it and never will. Even more interesting, the observer does not find this bothersome. They don't see it as a limitation of themselves, but rather an special enhancement of the genius that somehow makes the observer appreciate the human race. The observer holds the genius in awe, but not in an envious way.

    To see how you might script this, read, for example, iterviews of people who worked with Turing and how they interacted with them.

    The main mistake the writers made was in making the centerpoint of Wes' character his youth. Often you saw the conflict (of sorts) between the "adult world" and Wesley's world. Instead, the centerpoint of Wes should have been is genius. The conflict really should have been between how Wes sees the universe vs. the (to him) limited outlook of those around him.

    In many episodes, Wes was dejected because he wasn't let into the adult world. It always seemed to me that a better way to do it would have been for Wes to have been irritated, not because he was not let in, but because those in command didn't understand what was so obvious to him.

    Another writing tactic would have been to use the reaction of the other actors to something Wes did. Usually, he sort of got the equivalent to a "good boy" and patted on the head. Instead, I picture a scene where the senior staff is discussion how to get out of some urgent situation. Wes is on the margins of the conversation, barely paying attention. In a break in the conversation (or maybe after people admit that they are stumped), Wes says, in near monotone, the solution to the problem. Not a suggestion, not an idea, but a "this is what will happen" statement. The key to the scene is the reaction from the senior staff, which is what sells Wes' genius. They should look at him in stunned silence. The reaction should be a combination of "holy crap, that will work", "I would have never have thought of that in a million years" and "where the fuck did that come from?".

    This kind of thing would have changed Wesley's character significantly. In particular, it would have given him what all genius have: ego. This would not need to be the overbearing "I'm a genius, respect me you oaf" ego. But, a genius who isn't sure he is right when he is is not really a genius. The writing challenge would be to pull that off without making Wes into a total asshole. Again, Turing (and Oppenhimer, maybe) could be used as guides here.

  • Wow. Wil Wheaton doesn't suck.

    Though I'd still like to ask him how he feels about telling the children of America that wrestling is for real.

  • by scumdamn ( 82357 ) on Monday October 29, 2001 @10:43PM (#2495642)
    Wil, that was great interview. You've really impressed some people out here and not (only) by speaking to us in our language and proving you're one of us, but by being a real person and damn funny.

    I know you've heard something a lot like this before, but before this interview I hadn't thought anything about Wesley Crusher or the actor who played him since he was on the show and barely anything even then.

    Notice I used "he" above? I don't even associate you (or your writing, actually, because that's all I know about you) with the actor who played the kid on Star Trek. You're just a guy who has a site out there with random shit that is not only funny, but poignant. And now you have another person who admires what you do.

    Bravo for staying real, finding your funny, flirting with the hostess in front of your wife, not becoming a "former child actor", and being a geek. You're one of the beautiful people as well as a Morlock. Pretty good feat, huh?
  • yay! (Score:3, Funny)

    by Monica ( 16179 ) <me573 AT bard DOT edu> on Tuesday October 30, 2001 @01:22AM (#2495978) Homepage Journal
    i was totally one of those little geek girls whose first celebrity crush was on wesley crusher.

    now i'm a grown up geek girl and i have a crush on wil wheaton. you're awesome. that interview rocked. thank you.
  • by DarklordJonnyDigital ( 522978 ) on Tuesday October 30, 2001 @02:12PM (#2498229) Homepage Journal
    If I never see this tagline at the very bottom of Slashdot, I'm going to be incredibly dissapointed:

    "If I could only live my life with my threshold at 4... " -- Wil Wheaton

    I'd add it to my own tagfile, had I not replaced it with my own USENET Hints for Newbies. Go on, Slashdot... pretty please with a penguin on top?

Did you hear that two rabbits escaped from the zoo and so far they have only recaptured 116 of them?