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May 23, 2004

misty morning

As I write this, the house is silent, except for Ferris and Riley playing "tear the everlivingcrap out of what used to be a soccer ball" in the living room, while several varieties of finch and sparrow are singing songs in my mist-shrouded back yard. It's cool in Pasadena -- my ambient orb glows green. Nolan and Ryan are on the couch, reading books, and the smell of coffee and toast is wafting out of the kitchen behind me.

Man, it's a peaceful, serene morning, and a great way to start out the last day of an incredible weekend.

Thanks to WWdN readers, Just A Geek climbed as high as number 21 on Amazon's Top 100 this weekend. At one point, it was the third highest pre-order they carry, alongside books by Stephen King and Bill Clinton. Dancing Barefoot also climbed back up from the 9000s to number 208!

You know, two years ago, when I started writing what became these two books, I thought I'd be lucky to sell 1000 combined. I hoped that readers would enjoy them, but I was unsure . . . this is just amazing: Barefoot is rated 5 stars with 93 reviews, and the chief complaint is that it's too short (I agree, but the idea all along was for it to be a companion to Geek), and Geek has already peaked higher on the charts than Barefoot ever did, and it's not even released, yet.

But this incredible, and unexpected, book success isn't even why the weekend has been so amazing. Actually, it pales in comparison to why I'll treasure the memories of this weekend for the rest of my life . . .

Anne's goofing off with a couple of her girlfriends who have birthdays this weekend, so I've sort of "taken point" with the kids, and it has been sublime, effortless, joyous . . . I have felt the way I've always hoped to feel with them: like we love and respect each other, and enjoy each other's company.

For the last eight years I've done everything humanly possible to help build a loving and supportive relationship with them, while always respecting their emotional limits . . . even when it was incredibly painful to feel like I was more interested in closing the gap than they were. I don't believe that it's my place as their stepfather to try to be their buddy, or force closeness on them if they're not ready for it, or interested in it. It has not always been easy, and sometimes the hardest thing I've experienced as a parent is setting aside what I want, when it conflicts with what the kids need. It's been especially tough when my relationship with them, (and my role in their lives,) has been intentionally and actively undermined, but I've always stayed focused on what's best for them, and it's during times like these, when I see and feel the results of my parenting, that I know I'm doing the right thing.

Friday night we watched Miracle, which is that movie about the 1980 US Men's Gold Medal hockey team. I remember when that happened in real life, and it was awesome to watch it with them, and share my personal historical perspective on the Iranian Hostage crisis, Jimmy Carter's "We have to be able to dream" speech, and, of course, the Olympic games themselves.

When I was a teenager, I played ice hockey, as a goal tender, and I got to play in a few charity games with this celebrity hockey team. Several of the players on that team were from the 1980 men's team, including Mike Eruzione and Jim Craig, and while I didn't get to know them very well, they always treated me like a fellow player -- especially Jim Craig -- so I have always felt sort of a connection to those guys. It was great to see their story brought to life in such a great movie.

Hey, this is a good time to throw this line into the water: I know that the celebrity team still plays, and while I'm not really an "A" List celebrity right now, I still skate. If anyone from the team is reading this, or hears about this, I'd love to play with you guys again.

Ryan and Nolan loved the movie as much as I did, and I can enthusiastically recommend it to WWdN readers. Kurt Russell is fantastic as Herb Brooks, too. I'm hearing, "I'm proud to be an american, but I'm ashamed of my government" a LOT recently -- a sentiment I wholeheartedly agree with -- and "Miracle" reminded me of a time when I was younger, far more innocent (I was 8, after all) and those guys really were heroes to a generation. We could really use some more heroes right now, couldn't we?

Yesterday, I did a virtual book signing in the afternoon (something so cool, it will have its own post later this week), then took the kids over to my brother-in-law's so he could help Ryan with a geometry project. Ryan's uncle is a brilliant architect, and a talented craftsman, and he helped Ryan build this art deco lamp out of several geometric shapes and solids. It's awesome!

Nolan and I got to hang out with my niece and nephew while Ryan and his uncle worked, which was great. I hardly ever get to see my niece and nephew, and it was awesome to see how much they've both grown (in size and in emotional development) since the last time I saw them.

When we were done there, it was almost 8, and too late to cook, so the three of us went out to dinner at Chevy's in Glendale. We were seated in the last booth on a wall of booths, behind a table of five teenage girls. Nolan was oblivious, but Ryan sat on the side facing them so he could "appreciate the view."

The funniest moment of the meal was when one of them recognized me as That Guy From That Movie, -- which is really weird because they probably weren't even born when it came out -- and all of them began signing "Stand By Me."

Okay, look -- I hate that. When I was a teenager, girls would see me and start singing that all the time, and it always made me feel like a sideshow freak. I used to like that song, but it follows me everywhere. I swear, 3 out of 5 times when I go shopping, it comes on the muzak. It's on the oldies station on the radio all the time, and the Pennywise version was even on Fungus (XM 53) recently.

"Man, that follows you everywhere," Ryan said.

"Yes, it's haunting me," I said.

"What following you?" Nolan asked, "The Stench?"

I have no idea where he got "The Stench", or why he said it with capital letters, so I shook my fist at him and laughed.

"I'll Stench you, mister." I said.

Both of them looked at me.

"Yeah, I don't know what it means, either. How about if I just embarrass you both in front of The Table of Hotties?" I took a deep breath, and struck a dramatic pose.

Ryan jumped like he'd been shocked with a cattle prod.

"No! It's cool!" He looked across the table. "Nolan, Ixnay on the Enchstay!"

There was some serious giggling from us after that, enough to compete with a table filled with teenage girls . . . maybe I shouldn't be proud of that after all. Heh.

We finished dinner (the spicy steak taco is where it's at, yo) and made it home just after 10. Nolan was asleep as we pulled into the driveway, but insisted that he wasn't tired, so he wrapped himself up in my geek blanket and sat on the floor while we watched Ghostbusters on TNT.

He was asleep before the first commercial, and I was asleep soon after. I woke up drooling on the arm of the couch right around the time dickless shut down the containment grid.

Ryan was still awake, so I let him watch the rest of the movie and went back to my room.

"Remember to turn the TV off," I told him.

"Can I sleep out here?" He said.

"Yeah, that's fine. But Riley will probably be licking your face at 7,"

"That's okay. I love you, Wil."

"I love you too, Ryan. Sleep well."

"Remember this," I thought, as I let my head settle down into my pillow.

* * *

It's been over an hour now since I sat down to write this. The kids are playing catch outside, and Ferris is trying to convince Riley that she's ready for a nap (Riley isn't having it. Whenever Ferris lies in her bed, Riley walks in and paws at her face until Ferris either snarls at her, or gives in and comes out to play.) I've turned on iTunes, and I'm listening to "Morphic Fields" from the classic ambient record "Earth To Infinity." My coffee is cooling, and it's about time I got up, took a shower, and started the yard work I have planned for today.

It's still a peaceful morning here, though, in my house, and in my soul.

Remember this.

Posted by wil at May 23, 2004 12:13 PM
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Tracked on May 27, 2004 05:58 AM

I watched Ghostbusters last night too. What a great trip back in time.

Glad to hear you had such a wonderful night.

Posted by: Jeanna at May 23, 2004 12:24 PM

Good times were definitely had by all.

Two Thumbs.

Posted by: Caitlin at May 23, 2004 12:27 PM

It's great to hear about those moments of perfection in your life written down and shared with all of us. Thanks for reminding me that there are certainly moments everyone has that we all make a conscious effort to imprint into our memories.

Also, I laughed my ass off at the image of you waking up drooling on the sofa to that particular moment in the film. Such a clear image in my mind. :^)

Posted by: Kristen at May 23, 2004 12:29 PM

Why do Americans always say "Ice Hockey"?? Or "Tuna Fish" I suppose in Canada we just assume Hockey is on ice, and tuna is fish.

Posted by: Frunko at May 23, 2004 12:30 PM

I read your blog just for posts like that. Thanks for sharing.

Posted by: i8dbbq at May 23, 2004 12:32 PM

it brings a smile to my face to read of Will's memories in the making, but it also causes me miss the quiet times with my own kids, when just being together was the sole defining moment of the day. the definition of bittersweet but at least it has a flavor, and a good one at that. :)

Posted by: Rain at May 23, 2004 12:34 PM

The thought of having kids sometimes scares the hell out of me. The parental role models I had as a kid were lacking, to say the least, and I often worry that I'll be a shitty father, if only because I've never seen how to be a good one.

Reading about you with your stepkids is a source of inspiration and joy for me, Wil: nobody ever taught you how to be a parent (or a stepparent), but you're doing one hell of a job at both anyway. Seeing you excel makes me feel better about my own eventual journey into fatherhood: we're all human, right?

Thanks a lot, Wil.

(P.S. What Would Will Wheaton Do? bracelets would say WWWWD? That's a lot of W's.)

Posted by: Simon at May 23, 2004 12:35 PM

You're back on track Wil.
These are the things I like to read about.

I'm excited to read your blog again.


Posted by: buntz at May 23, 2004 12:39 PM

hm...ive always tried to guess how old ryan n nolan are....but now im stumped....
its great to see how good of a relationship u have w/ ur step-sons. ive always wished that i could have a good relationship with my father...


Posted by: Jamie at May 23, 2004 12:49 PM

Sounds so wonderful, Wil, but..."right around the time dickless shut down the containment grid." Ok, that went over my head. What does that mean? Is that something to do with digital TV or a reference to a past event or something? Ah well...

Beautiful day, Wil. :-)

Posted by: Angelwwolf at May 23, 2004 12:56 PM

hey wil... thats awesome...congrats on the success of your books... im ordering dancing barefoot very soon and i cant wait to read it...

Posted by: Sarah at May 23, 2004 01:00 PM

Angelwwolf: it's from my absolute favorite part of Ghostbusters :

Dan Ackroyd's character: Everything was going just fine until Dickless [some guy trying to shut down the Ghostbusters] here shut down the containment grid.

Mayor: Is this true?

Bill Murray's character: Yes, this is true; this man has no dick.

Not so much the words, but the total deadpan Murray delivery...

Okay, I digress. Great day, Wil; I'm having a relatively good day here too. Getting over viral bronchitis and feeling pretty croupy, so packed the spouse off with the in-laws to church. Bro-in-law is off playing soccer, so I've got the whole house to myself. Have one batch of laundry in the washer, another in the dryer, and a third sitting on the couch to be folded & put away. My Giants got rained out in San Juan, but other than that, it's actually a pretty good day. I'm enjoying the silence (need to dig out my Depeche Mode CD to add that to my iTunes) and basically mellowing.

Yes, life is good...

Posted by: Roberta at May 23, 2004 01:06 PM

Ah, the makings of a good weekend. I just had the same feelings myself. My wife and I walked out of the Hibernian pub where we sometimes go for lunch on Sundays and I just finished my first Guiness Draft. All I can say is that, "If this was the last day of my life, I would die a happy man."

Posted by: eric at May 23, 2004 01:07 PM

SINGing. geez. it took me five full minutes to figure out they weren't hearing-impaired ;-)

Posted by: edgar, or something at May 23, 2004 01:12 PM

Beautiful prose, as always...I always enjoy the entries that just give us a peek inside your life, the day to day stuff.....and kudos once again to the lovely relationship you maintain with the boys.....enjoy these moments, they are but fleeting, but so wonderful to muse over and over again

Posted by: Jess at May 23, 2004 01:24 PM

Yeah, but -
After Bill Murray says, "this man has no dick", the "dickless" EPA man lunges for him and says, "I'll kill you", and Murray then says -

"Well, that's what I HEARD!"

That's the line that makes ME laugh.

Posted by: patinhisrightmind at May 23, 2004 01:30 PM

Sounds like a lovely day indeed, Wil!

As for The Stench... it may be a Terry Pratchett reference. There's a beggar in the books, known as Foul Ole Ron, who is followed by The Stench. It's so powerful that it has its own seat at the opera.

(And if you don't read Pratchett, I cannot suggest strongly enough that you pick up the Discworld books. You'd love them.

On that note, Neil Gaiman posted in his blog that he's going to have the introduction for your book done very very soon. I'm guessing you read his blog, but just in case...)

Posted by: Dan at May 23, 2004 01:54 PM

Glad you had such a good day.
And I'm glad at the success of Dancing Barefoot and Just A Geek.
Good Luck!

Posted by: Sarah at May 23, 2004 01:59 PM

Have I mentioned lately that you are the most inspiring person I have ever "known"? I mean, yeah, other people have had tougher lives or reached higher theoretical highs or lead nations or sold tens of millions of books of poetry--but none of them-not JFK, not Ginsberg, not Dylan, not nobody, has ever inspired me to want to do better in my own life minute to minute than you. Thank you.

Posted by: CIO at May 23, 2004 02:22 PM

Those are great moments, aren't they?
The post made me smile.

I caught part of Stand By Me on TV recently and giggled at the thought of "Where are they now?"
"Wil Wheaton: Before the blog, before The Shirt."

Posted by: Delphine at May 23, 2004 02:24 PM

It sounds like you have done a great job with your kids, you should be proud! Good job with the books as well, I have barefoot, and I love it, your right it is way too short!

Posted by: SammyOfKate at May 23, 2004 02:52 PM

Excelllent post Wil, most parents dream of having days like that.


Posted by: Larry at May 23, 2004 02:54 PM


I remember watching that same game on tv, and how much I loved my country. I look back on that time with fond memories, and realize how much I miss them. I look forward to making new memories with my boys, as they get older. I relish the day I can look out the window and see my guys tossing the football around. I am very happy with being a mom, and I love when you share your memories, both old and new. You really are one hell of a guy Wil, and I hope that one day I can interview you for my magazine. Your top notch Wil!

~~One Die To Hack Them All~~

Posted by: Artemis Jade Wetzel at May 23, 2004 02:55 PM

My step-father came into my life when i was about 12 or 13. Before that, it was my mother and I since I was about 7. In the past 14 years my step-dad has been in my life our relationship has gotten closer and drifted, much like the tide. I read this entry and think how lucky Nolan and Ryan are to have someone that is so devoted to being a part of their life. You're a good man Charlie Brown!

Posted by: Tim at May 23, 2004 03:16 PM


You shower BEFORE you do yardwork? And then shower again after? No wonder there's a water shortage. Just kidding :). I enjoy so much your posts about your family life; thanks for sharing your life with us.

Your website, wilwheaton.net, was published in the New Orleans Times-Picayune TV Focus (thanks to me); you should be getting lots more fans from the New Orleans area.

Freeman :)

Posted by: Freeman in Louisiana at May 23, 2004 03:21 PM

It's good to hear how much the boys are warming up to you, and how awesome they made your weekend thus far. I'm glad you had some bonding time with them, and I'm sure you'll have many, many more.

Congratulations on the bonus news about getting 3rd highest in popularity for JAG pre-orders. :)

Posted by: Anne at May 23, 2004 04:16 PM

hey wil,
that sounds like the perfect day! thank you so much for sharing these moments with us, as already mentioned many times, you really are an inspiration!
thanks wil,
take care

Posted by: rach at May 23, 2004 05:14 PM

I read your blog just for posts like that, Wil. It sounds like you have a good relationship with your kids, and that's awesome. It's awesome that you try so hard with them, ya know? Wish my stepmother did that. =\

Can't wait for the book, doll!

Posted by: Cat at May 23, 2004 05:36 PM

Maybe you and Kevin Bacon can start a support group for actors who are plagued by songs from movies they made years ago. If you think you have a rough time, you should hear some of his horror stories.

Posted by: Spencer at May 23, 2004 05:50 PM

Nice piece you've written.

You and I disagree on just about everything political - I am proud to be an American and VERY proud of my government. It's my hope that we receive 4 more years of this administration, though my belief is Kerry will win.

However, you and I can agree to disagree on what we believe politically as that's what helps make this country great.

Good luck with the books.

Posted by: chris at May 23, 2004 05:53 PM

Lollipop, lollipop...

Oh sorry.

I've never really understood why celebrities (no matter how current) get upset because people recognize them for something that they did in the past that really connected with people. Sure, I can understand why fame sucks in comparison to fortune, and fame gets bitter with age. But people DON'T know you or what all has happened to you. They "know" you from what they see on TV and the movies. (Unless they read WWDN.) So get over it already. Appreciate being appreciated. Be one with the Wes and the Gordie. And instead of seething, join them in the song.

Posted by: Brian at May 23, 2004 06:32 PM

wow, will. just wow. to echo many of the other posts, most people who have children wish for days like that, and those of us who don't can only hope that we'll fare so well. entries like this one give me a tremendous amount of hope in people generally, relationships specifically, creativity, and other seemingly impossible to come-by goodness. i'm looking forward to hearing about the virtual signing, and am wondering, besides, whether or not you'll be making an appearance at vroman's? it seems like a crime for them to _not_ invite you. you've got _way_ more indie cred (and talent, and heart, imho) than dave eggers, and they hosted him :) also, i'm all for the wwwwd bracelets...

Posted by: bluradish at May 23, 2004 06:36 PM

Wil, it's posts like these that make me dream about meeting you someday, just to shake your hand. I hope I won't geek out too much if it happens, but I hope I can shake your hand one day, just the same.

Posted by: Nicci at May 23, 2004 06:44 PM

Beautiful. I'm fehclemped.

Posted by: Danielle at May 23, 2004 07:27 PM

Wil, your writing rocks. I look forward to the day that you publish a book of your "personal logs" (blogs? I am unsure as to what they are called...I am not 'net savvy' or 'with it' or cool....:) ) from the site. I enjoy reading your posts all the time and would love to see them all in one place, with some commentary by you and possibly others as well. Take care and God Bless. Hope to see you again one day soon (hopefully at a future Trek Expo in Tulsa, OK?)

Posted by: Greg at May 23, 2004 07:41 PM

beautiful. remember this. normally when I hear (or read) sentiment like that, it seems so treakly sweet, I feel ill, but your honesty comes across in your writing wil. I'm really proud of you.

Posted by: Fraize at May 23, 2004 07:51 PM

Great post, Wil

I've seen some of the difficulties with step-parenting from the other side of the fence as a child. I think you do a great job. The boys obviously love you.

I often feel inadequacy and self-doubt trying to communicate and be a proper parent to my own children; many of the difficulties you mention are actually difficulties just of being a parent, though obviously some of them are trickier

Posted by: Glen at May 23, 2004 07:53 PM


I have another comment--I agree with Brian, "appreciate being appreciated." When the girls were singing for you at Chevy's you could have walked over to their table and told them how beautiful their singing was. It really would have made their day. Don't hate the attention, relish it, absorb it--we all love you.

Freeman :)

Posted by: Freeman in Louisiana at May 23, 2004 08:06 PM

I see the start of another story for another book. I've had a quiet Sunday myself. It rained all day today so I sat inside and watched movies while my cat purred on my lap.

Remember this, Wil, when you wonder about what paths your life has taken. From reading your post, it sounds like your life is already complete.

Thanks for sharing...I'm happy that I remembered to check your blog today. Guess what reminded me? I saw your face on the cover of the movie Stand By Me in a store. And did I start singing the Lollipop song? No, I thought, I need to read Wil's blog. :-)

Posted by: Haystack at May 23, 2004 08:18 PM

i dont know you personally at all. i am 28 years old, and truthfully i have no idea if you are the same age as i, though i assume we are close. so i hope you do not think it patronizing of me to say what i just hafta type right now.

i have been reading this page of yours for about 3 months now. maybe a bit longer, but not much. i was first struck by how much it made me smile. just huge-assed grins at these little snippets of life you have chosen to share. then i was surprised one day to find some of them actually succeeded in stronger emotions. i identified with them in a way i found unexpected. so, quite fascinated by this phenomenon of a real person behind the actor grin, i kept reading.

and tonight, as i read this little view of your morning thoughts and perspective i was suddenly struck by an idea of what, in part, keeps me reading. its a sense of grounded reality and a desire to be a part of that. to find that in someone other than myself.

but even more important, its a growing feeling of getting to watch someone completely admirable.

you are a truly, imperfectly, and joyously good guy mr. wheaton. that is rare. and quite fabulous to see. i very much appreciate you.

i just wished to share that.

Posted by: indigo at May 23, 2004 08:24 PM

I have visited to read the latest post a few times, but it was a "longer" post and life kept distracting me today. I'm glad I came back a third time to finish it. Lovely.

Posted by: Jenifer at May 23, 2004 08:42 PM

Dear Wil,

I'm crying right now because I just read your post. Yesterday, I helped my brother and sister-in-law put their two kids (5 and 2) to bed. They are the cutest, smartest kids in the world and I know yours are, too. K & S are the closest things to children I'll ever have (please don't say adopt --I'm not well enough to take care of a child regardless of origin).

I don't want kids, at least I never did, but it is only in the last year I've seen first hand the true joy in raising new people. Reading your post and reading bedtime stories to the kids almost makes me want them (which is a feat, let me assure you).

Thank you. I'm glad you know how precious it is.


Posted by: sarah b. at May 23, 2004 09:09 PM

I'm so happy that so many readers have gotten to share in this experience with me.

Greg: That book you want to read? It's coming out next month :)

: I think you missed my point. Maybe I didn't communicate it effectively. It's not that I don't appreciate being appreciated, at all. I'm pretty sure anyone who's read this site for any length of time can attest to that. The singing of the song is just something that makes me uncomfortable, like someone pointing and staring, or something like that.

Maybe that still doesn't make sense. Maybe you have to live in my skin to understand the details.

Posted by: wil at May 23, 2004 09:35 PM

I understand completely. I'm not a star or anything really, but I'm a foreigner living in a "small" city in China. Everytime I walk down the street, people stare at me like I'm something special. I feel like I walk around naked, the way they stare! The most annoying thing for me, which is kinda fun but kinda not, is how the Chinese immediately assume that I have to be Russian because I'm short, have red hair and brown eyes. You see, all Americans are tall, blond haired and blue eyed, so I can't possibly be that. (I'm very American though) I have to fight the urge every day to mouth off at people in Chinese that the world isn't as cut and dry as they think it is. It's quite an obstacle. I haven't even experienced this being the only white person in a room full of African Americans, or the only white person in a Latin American neighborhood. Of course though, in the USA, we are blessed to know that the world has more colors and that one's "race" (there's really no such thing, if you ask me.....) won't determine one's appearance entirely. It's just not that simple. Sure, it's not a song that sets me off, but it's a few phrases like "Russian" and "can she understand Chinese?" (both spoken in Chinese) that make me cringe every time I hear them.

Posted by: Nicci at May 23, 2004 09:55 PM

Yes, it's true. This man has no dick.

Man I love that movie.

Posted by: Dave at May 23, 2004 10:22 PM

Your next book should be about your experinces with your kids. I know they are your step kids, and even though you may not have supplied the sperm, they are still yours. Your best writing is about you and them, I can feel what you feel when you write about them. Hold these moments close, they are few and far between, and just love them Wil.

Posted by: Jenn at May 23, 2004 11:05 PM

I saw Miracle in theaters and absolutely loved it. Being a huge hockey fanatic... growing up in Minnesota... and recognizing that it's just the single greatest sport made it that much more amazing to watch. ;) I'm glad you were able to share it with them. I was only 2 then... but, grew up knowing the incredible story.

Posted by: Laura at May 23, 2004 11:07 PM

Gordie's breezy past...
Neo-Wheaton memories...
What a perfect post.

Posted by: haiku adam at May 23, 2004 11:46 PM

Awwwwwwwww. I seriously love this entry. I know this feeling of things being perfect and serene, but you are so bloody good at describing it.
Congrats on your book and I'm happy for you that things go so well with the boys. :)

Posted by: Patty at May 23, 2004 11:58 PM

Take a shower after yardwork . . . not before.

Posted by: Chris at May 24, 2004 01:01 AM

Just read on Neil Gaiman's site that he's writing an introduction for you. Seems he sat down last night and finally did it! He ranks JAG, too!

Posted by: Cronan at May 24, 2004 01:30 AM

Funny but reading this post IS "Stand By Me"!
Adult Gordy the writer!!!(I'm sure you love to hear that.)
I think your on a roll for the summer!Good Luck

Posted by: SR Phoenix at May 24, 2004 01:34 AM

when you're on, you're on... that post ROCKED! Well done and thanks for sharing.

Posted by: PK at May 24, 2004 02:51 AM

I'm sure you'll in the top.

Posted by: natalia at May 24, 2004 02:56 AM

Its entries like this one that makes me love your writing and your website.

But one thing...why were you going to bother take a shower if you were heading to do yard work?

Posted by: Fiona at May 24, 2004 03:15 AM

I think it's easier to sing Stand By Me than to try to hum the music to Star Trek and certainly better than the theme from The Curse.


Posted by: kirk at May 24, 2004 04:48 AM

I missed "Miracle" in the theater, and am now going to have to rent it on DVD, but I sure did watch it on TV. I too was 8 years old, and it was like watching a movie as it happened. Those hulking Soviet hockey players, and we all knew they were Red Army Cyborgs or something, seemed so invincible, but Our Boys pulled through. It is still one of the most memorable events of my life.

Great post, though this line kind of surprised me - "I'm proud to be an american, but I'm ashamed of my government". Conservatives (real ones) have been saying that for years =)

Posted by: Roy at May 24, 2004 05:53 AM

Considering I live in Australia and have very little hope of ever being able to get a real life signing, how about you tell us some more about the virtual signing and when you'll be doing another one?

Posted by: Mitch at May 24, 2004 06:02 AM

Oh wow, that was such a great entry.
I want to buy both of your books, but right now financely I can't. I will when I can, because I've been a fan of yours since Stand By Me.
Wil,never be embarrassed about the movie,even if it follows you forever. Even years later most of the kids who see that movie is in school,because it is a movie with meaning.

Posted by: morgan at May 24, 2004 06:44 AM

It's so great that your relationship with the boys is going so well!

Sorry those girls were such dinks. That must really suck being exposed to that crap. Just remember that you have real fans who would **never** do that to you because we respect you too much.

Posted by: Ness at May 24, 2004 06:44 AM

Wow that entry drew a tear out of me, I never thought that could happen reading a blog I guess I was wrong.

Posted by: Rick the sentence runner at May 24, 2004 07:09 AM

It's not easy being a parent, Step or otherwise. I have three children of my own, and four step children, ages ranging from 7 - 21 (every known hormone issue known to man).

It sounds to me like you're doing a wonderful job with the boys. My husband worries about the same things with my kids, and I worry about them with his. We as step folks are not trying to become the new "mom" or "dad". I know all I can do is be there for them when they need me.

If I ever run into you at the local eatery I promise not to point and start singing. Self preservation being what it is I wouldn't want to be mistaken for a sick lama. Of course you'd have to be in Vermont.. and probably the local McDonalds drive-thru.

Great entry, Wil. Thanks for sharing.

Posted by: Geri at May 24, 2004 07:20 AM

A couple of years back, when I became a regular reader, I used to yearn for what you had in your life with those two boys and their Mom. Since that time I have had Rebecca and her little daughter join my life. The emotional gulf was not as hard to breach because is an open and loving little girl. I am sure it would have been harder with boy(s)Now when I come home I hear an excited voice yell "Daddy"! and catch a double armful of little girl at high velocity.
I share your joy in your relationship with your boys and I understand it a lot better now than before. Keep writing my friend, you have the talent.

Posted by: Mark at May 24, 2004 07:42 AM

I would so be a giggly girl if I were at a booth next to you too, at a whole 30years old. My daughter(7) and son(4)love Stand By Me..favorite part the leeches..too funny. You will be 100 and still hear that I'm sure. Glad you had a wonderful weekend.

Posted by: Jessica at May 24, 2004 07:49 AM

I smell a new book:

Just A Geequel

Good job with the Stepdad job, Wil. I'm gonna try my hand at that soon, most likely, so I'm gonna try things the way you did with the boys. Seems to have worked out rather well. Thanks for the inspiration!

Posted by: Eric at May 24, 2004 08:40 AM

If Wil Wheaton were my dad then that would rock.

Posted by: Abby at May 24, 2004 09:06 AM

Wil, Your entry is beautifully sentimental without being smarmy. The kids are lucky to have you. Sometimes being a grown up has its rewards. I preordered JAG and I can't wait to read it!

Posted by: Lorraine at May 24, 2004 09:15 AM

So you were a netminder, Wil? Man, if you ever did play another game with the celebrity hockey team, I'd love to be able to call a game with you between the pipes, so I could say:

"Shot...SAVE by Wheaton!"

"And he lets it go...and Wheaton is there with the pad save!"

"Another shot...SAVE by Wheaton, and he hangs on for a whistle!"

"OH, WHAT A SAVE BY WHEATON! His best tonight!"

Needless to say, my wife and I also loved Miracle, which we watched on Saturday. Of course, I had to explain to her that Jim Craig wouldn't have been playing butterfly in those days...

Posted by: Erbo at May 24, 2004 09:32 AM

Wil, you've got a real gift for finding the soulful moment in feedback from the ruthlessly cynical world, and part of your appeal is the (deceptively) effortless confidence with which you share those moments with your readership.

I'm wondering, in part because my own writing is so people- and moment-centric: you clearly aren't worried about filtering your own subflattering moments out, but how do you do your internal or external filtering of the portraits you write of those close to you? In this post, the image of Ryan is clearly flattering to most readers, but I'm wondering if he likewise found/finds it flattering and if that's much of a factor in your sharing it?

Basically: Do you gut good writing to offend the people in the scene less, and if so, what things in particular make you edit more than usual?

And thanks for a great piece of reading with this post.

Posted by: David Vincenti at May 24, 2004 09:48 AM

You've achieved the goal of every stepdad, you're a given. It's doubtful the boys can even conceive of a time without you.

I hope you have more days like this.

Posted by: Alan Kellogg at May 24, 2004 10:14 AM

I doubt Wil reads this, but i'm just writing to reinforce this memory of a dream i had so i can remember it later.

I had a crazy dream that i was locked in a dungeon, but each containment cell was a boutique of some sort. There air was stale and littered with chiarascuro lighting. I stumbled into one of the cells looking for old Transformer toys and I inadvertantly ran into Wil Wheaton. I gave him the classic, "hey how are you today" script that everyone goes through when they meet a stranger. That's when a few cognitive processes took place and I actually recognized him. He immediately says, "please do not ask me anything about "Star Trek" or "Stand by Me" please.
I reply with, "I wasn't planning on it. I just wanted to know if you were actually going to buy that Optimus Prime because I kind of had my eye on it." He seemed to be in shock that he ran into a person that recognized him and didn't want to know anything about his past work. Then Wil proceeds to try and pitch his new book to me as I try to walk away and escape this dungeon.
Dreams are never cohesive so i turn a corner and i'm standing at the edge of a highway waiting on someone to pick me up when Wil comes running up again. He has a smug look on his face and is carrying a few copies of his book in his hands. I tell him, "I planned on buying a copy later, but i really have to go now." That's when he gets the "i'm a star and you are a nobody" attitude and starts on an intellectual rant trying to belittle me further. I think i'm plowed over my a marhsmallow semi-truck or something before i wake up, but that's a bit of a fuzzy image now.

Sorry for the lengthy post.

Posted by: Mirrorz at May 24, 2004 10:23 AM

I know Wil's mentioned This American Life before, and I think it's one of the best radio shows around. So good in fact, I feel it might be better to call it one of the best shows around and leave out the qualifier of a medium.

Anyway the show's host Ira Glass is doing an online discussion about what he does and how stories are structured. I thought wwdn posse might enjoy this. Check it out on www.transom.org.

Posted by: Maria at May 24, 2004 10:57 AM

Sweet deal all the way around.

Loved the telling of the day.

I have a quick story for ya...

My 14 year old son and I were in Maine at my parents 'place on the lake'. We were reading and relaxing while my son was outside. It was raining and chilly out.

My son burst through the door, his face ashhen white, eyes brimming with tears. He slammed the door and yelled "HOLY SHIT THERE'S A BEAR OUT THERE!"

My parents and I flew to him at the door and peered out the window......what did we see?

A big goofy Chocolate Labrador bounding through the woods. We couldn't help but laugh, all of our heartrates were elevated, especially my son who was still shaking like a leaf.
(Now, I don't condone my son cursing by any means...but I figured I'd let this one slide)

I said to myself as we were driving home - 'Remember this'. You taught me that Wheaton, to cherish and remember those fleeting moments.

I don't think any of us will forget that moment though...I might have T-shirts made 'HOLY @#$% THERE'S A BEAR OUT THERE!'


Betcha 5 bucks you hit the top 10 best seller list!

Posted by: Sharfa at May 24, 2004 10:59 AM

I hooked the San Jose Sharks Booster Club (the Hammerheads if you are interested) up with tickets to a sneak preview of Miracle back in February. What an awesome, awwesome movie. Kurt Russell did a fantastic job as Coach Herb Brooks.

Did you know that Kurt and Goldie's son plays hockey? They even moved him up to live in Vancouver so that he could play more.

Your weekend sounds like a small slice of heaven Wil. Remember this. :)

Posted by: zettgrl at May 24, 2004 11:47 AM

Although this wasn't the main point of your story, nobody can giggle more than teenage girls, it's just one of those known facts that people have got to deal with. I do it, and I am VERY ashamed of myself, but it's just one of those things.
Post script: it's good that you can have a relationship with the boys. I don't get along with my own dad and try not to see him much. It is obvious from how those two react to you that they really do like you. Yey for you!

Posted by: Annie at May 24, 2004 11:54 AM

Thats great about the book. It will hit #1 before you know it. Keep us updated on that. It also sounds like your bonding really well with the kids. And yes i will sponsor you for the celeb hockey team. Maybe they have a team consisting of authurs as hockey players. You could be a team captian..........

Posted by: Terry at May 24, 2004 12:19 PM

HI Will,
When I saw you Just A Geek bookcover, I cried (happy tears).You are doing so great and today with the your kids is just a testemant to that.


Posted by: Karen at May 24, 2004 12:23 PM

Heyy Wil I want to see Miracle everyone loves it I think im going to order it on IO tonight.. hey why not right now. Ghostbusters is good last night i watched Romy and Micheles high school reunion and my favorite movie ever was on IO- Stand by Me!

Posted by: Maureen at May 24, 2004 12:24 PM

Life does imitate art. In 1986, Wil starred in Stand By Me, a story where a writer recounts his childhood memories. Now it is 2004, and Wil, who played that writer, has now written his memoirs about his childhood. I haven't read either book yet, but I'll bet they even tell the tale of making that movie. How's that for irony? Wil pretty much became the character he played as a child.

We call it Ice Hockey because we normally play field hockey or street hockey, not having much ice here. As for tuna fish, who knows? Now I'm hungry.

Do not try to think outside the box, for that is impossible. Instead, only try to realize the truth. There is no box.

Posted by: Jim Gilmore at May 24, 2004 02:06 PM

yardwork sucks. I had to do some this morning. Best advice: Shower afterwards, not before!

Posted by: AJ at May 24, 2004 02:37 PM

God above I want to meet you and your family. You are that cool family I see around town. You know? The family that is just themselves, the ones that don't pretend they don't have any problems and are happy all the time? I live in a mostly *religion shall remain unnamed* town and I see those families A LOT!

*can you name that religion?

Posted by: Veronica Knight at May 24, 2004 03:26 PM

Ahhhhhhhh....I disnt know you could pre-order it yet. I must have missed that before. Oh well I am pre-ordered now.

Posted by: Michael Clayborn at May 24, 2004 04:06 PM

Am I the only one who sees the irony of the post ending with a writer closing a story while the kids play in the yard? Wasn't that how Stand By Me ended, with the adult version of your character?

Posted by: Chuck at May 24, 2004 04:22 PM


Just finished reading ALL the comments; but I gotta go; the President speaks in 5 minutes.


Freeman :)

Posted by: Freeman in Louisiana at May 24, 2004 04:54 PM

Wil, I see what you're saying about The Song and having people sing it at you in public. It's cheesy; I can see where you'd be embarrassed by it. Then again, I've generally never understood why people are compelled to bother well-known people in public. Just because I recognize someone's face doesn't change the fact that I'm still a total stranger to them, and I just don't think it's right to infringe on their privacy unless there's genuinely good reason...

Anyway, it's cool to hear that your relationship with the boys continues to deepen and expand - I'm sure you'll need every ounce of that good karma once they hit the Terrible Teens! I look at the distant, adversarial relationship my brother-in-law has with his own teenaged stepson (whom he's known since age 7) and I think that Nolan and Ryan are pretty lucky boys to have a stepdad who cares so much about being a good parent for them. Your priorities are in the right place, for sure.

Posted by: Tracy at May 24, 2004 05:38 PM

That was really good, Wil! You almost made me tear up!


Posted by: RomyNo1 at May 24, 2004 06:31 PM


RE: your [quote] been hearing "I'm proud to be an American, but I'm ashamed of my government" a LOT recently -- a sentiment I wholeheartedly agree with...[/quote], glad to see I'm not alone in that...I really do love our country--too bad "patriotism" is being defined by the present admin as either being with them or against them. No decent allowed, or else you're the enemy! Such a crock...

Really liked hearing that the kids are such a joy for you, and that they say they love you on their own. Lucky dudes, getting to live with Wil Wheaton! Your lady, too!

And it's absolutely the Best that JAG is getting such a good push. Still not gonna reveal who the prolog's by?? Been waiting for some hint...

Keep being Real, doood!


Posted by: B. Joseph Fekete, Jr. at May 24, 2004 07:20 PM

You know, my mom reminded me over the weekend that "Stand By Me" was my senior class song, which meant it was also the first song to go into the jukebox that was our class gift.


Posted by: Andrew at May 24, 2004 08:28 PM


What do you say about this Wil?

Are they right? Is your first editorial going to be about your credentials?

Posted by: IHaveFaithThatItWilBeGood at May 24, 2004 11:47 PM

Your view on the Stand By Me song reminds me of Hugh Grant't character in About a Boy, where the his father's christmas jingle follows him everywhere.

Awesome stuff Wil, you are so all up ins. :)

Posted by: Andy at May 25, 2004 12:27 AM


WOW! I can't quite decide who is luckier, the children for having a stepfather, (although in my eyes you act like a real dad more than most men I have known)who adores them or you for having them to remind you of what's important in life. Maybe it's us, the thousands of fans who get to share this moment through you.

Its true that many men can father children, but only a good man fulfills the role Father. Thanks Wil, you restore my faith and hope.

I am off to reserve my copy of Just a Geek =), since Dancing Barefoot is such a masterpiece (be it short) I can't wait to its 'companion'.

I remembered when you first decided to write a book after encouragement from everyone through this site, all I can say is thank goodness you listened. I read in one review that you are considered to be "the upcoming brilliant writer destined to refresh the literary community". Never have truer words been said.

I bow accordingly :) Have a great week.

Posted by: Zeliah at May 25, 2004 12:56 AM


Wil, I don't know if you've been to the above link or not, but if not, check it out. I think you'll get a kick out of it. Thanks for a wonderful post- I've had days where I've had that same feeling, and you're so right to say "remember this." Life can get very crazy, and we need these moments to get us through.
Please visit my band's site to get info on us opening for John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band! :)

Posted by: Alicia at May 25, 2004 04:49 AM

I'm sure this has been said in one way or another in all the posts....You sound like a great "DAD" Wil...wether you are the natural parent or not...You seem to really love your kids and care about them,seeing them as seperate beings. Any man can be a father,but it takes a few special guys to be a DAD....I know that's not an original idea....but i think it is soooo true...."GrandPa Wil" is gonna just be a TRIP in a few years....
PS/I love STAND BY ME...film and song....not a bad associaton at all...

Posted by: pilch at May 25, 2004 07:53 AM

Hey Wil,

I just wanted to say that you make me proud. I've been following your blog for quite a bit now and you're a good writer and i dig your honesty in your writing. I'm very proud that things seem to go so well!!! BRAVO! and stuff!

Posted by: cableclair at May 25, 2004 07:56 AM

I hope you read my email about your old hockey days back with the celebs here in LA. I remember meeting you and you being such a "normal and nice" guy...seriously I'm sure that doesn't tickle your fancy but I have always had respect for anyone who puts on the hockey pads. Best of luck with the kids....they are unreal aren't they. Eventhough I don't have one of my own, I adore my neice more than anything and our relationship is so important to me. I want to be a positive force in her life, just as you are to your boys. Take Care! Shawn (the 6'1 female goalie)

Posted by: Shawn at May 25, 2004 11:42 AM

I just clicked over to Amazon to take a look at your books. Once I got to the initial link of JAG, I clicked on your name. It then brought up all of items related to your name. Along the top off the screen read:

Wil Wheaton, Author.

Just reading that even sent chills through me. I can just imagine how it feels to you.

Great job. I'm glad that I have been reading along with this whole process with you.


Posted by: Paul at May 25, 2004 11:42 AM

Congratulations, it appears that your "creative logjam" has been broken. Lovely post.

Posted by: Jill Smith at May 25, 2004 12:58 PM

Hi! I thought you might be interested to know that after reading about how you walked the Breast Cancer 3 Day and seeing one of my friends walk it a couple times, I'm giving it a try this year too! If anyone would be interested in sponsoring me, you can visit my page here. I have to raise $2000 in order to be able to walk, so I'll take any donations I can get. ;)

Posted by: Ana at May 25, 2004 04:43 PM

I can't feel sorry for you...I myself am haunted by Rod Stewart. I hear him everywhere. People used to think it was funny 'til they noticed that they would hear him whenever I was around....now that stinks!

I was playing "Scene It" with friends on the weekend, and lo and behold, there was you running from that train. The people I was playing with are going "Now, what's that movie again...." while I'm shouting "There's Wil!" like a psycho.

Posted by: Tanyak at May 25, 2004 05:19 PM

ST:TNG episode No. 18 "Home Soil" is airing on Spike TV as we speak. Sorry this is off topic.

Posted by: Freeman in Louisiana at May 25, 2004 05:19 PM

Been a while since I popped in last, Wil...life just gets busier!

Reading your latest entry, I just wanted to commend you on your perseverance and persistance as a parent. Your thoughts, views and actions are those of a parent...don't even consider the word 'step'.

As a parent of one child [Jamie], I just wanted to let you know that the uncertaintites and questions you have faced and dealt with along with the feelings that no matter what you do or how you do it, resentment can still rear it's head from time to time are no different whether you are the blood relative of your child or not.

Parenting has nothing to do with actual conception and birth. My partner of 5 years [Paul, 16 years my junior and 10 years my sons senior] has been a better parent to my son in 5 years than his own father has ever been. At almost 20, Jamie is now beginning to see and understand that, whilst blood may be thicker than water, it carries nothing special in it.

As a blood parent, I have experienced the same worries, concerns and undermining of my actions over the years as yourself. It isn't about what happens to us, it's how we handle what happens to us that matters. You have accepted the responsibility of your young charges and you have dealt with their needs as any parent should...by putting them before your own.

Parenting is the hardest job in the world - it is truly a monstrous task. There are no manuals...no night classes and no-one can really advise you on anything because they are not living your situation. The responsibility of knowing you, ultimately, can shape and mould a childs mind and the way he/she will view the world as an adult is an awesome thing.

You have embraced this challenge and been totally honest, unselfish, responsible, caring, loving and nurturing throughout. You have searched your soul for the answers and kept faith with your own judgement. You have been consistent and stable for your children. You have been a parent.

I have worked long and hard to help Jamie see life from all directions instead of one narrow vision. It has been a difficult task, undoing bad habits that were taught and replacing them with new. There were times when I questioned myself...doubted my decisions...sobbed alone and prayed for just a glimmer of hope that all I was doing was not in vain. The fear of getting it wrong with your child is one of the biggest challenges I have faced in my life...but the consequences of allowing the fear to paralyse me into inaction made sure inaction was never an option.

It took many years, but when my son sat down with me two nights ago to tell me he had a conversation with a friend the day before about the fact that you can choose your friends but you can't choose your family; and that if he was given a choice, he couldn't choose better parents than myself and Paul, my prayers were answered. All I could do was hug him and grin stupidly through joyous tears!

Be true to yourself and your children - as parents, time is our greatest and only true ally. Keep your faith.

They are lucky children [they shouldn't be because all children should have the opportunity to experience honest love] and one day they will see the reality and then the miracles will really begin!

Have fun, Dad!

Posted by: Dax at May 25, 2004 08:13 PM

Perhaps Freeman and I were watching the same episode today on Spike? It clearly showed what a great Dad Wil would (and has) become.

In the episode, Wesley takes charge of a group of abducted, gifted Enterprise children. He's especially protective of the tiny "Alexandra", hugging her, comforting her, and kissing her gently on the head.

Life imitates art, eh?

Posted by: Valerie S at May 25, 2004 10:39 PM

Art imitates life. Truly inspiring.

I will Remember this.

Posted by: jillibean at May 25, 2004 11:10 PM

I seriously had one of the worst days of my life today and reading this post from you made me smile.
Thank you.
I don't think I can tell you enough times how much I love the way you write.

Posted by: Jenny M. Finster at May 26, 2004 03:57 AM

Great post! I've been dating someone for almost a year now and he's still rather gun shy when it comes time to my daughter. The reason for this is he had been involved with someone who had kids and when that relationship ended he lost a family as well. I wish he'd realize that I'm not that other person. But he has to realize that on his own.

Posted by: Valarie Marie at May 26, 2004 06:49 AM


Sounds like a great weekend. I can relate to what you're going through as step-parent, but on the other end. My parents divorced many years ago and only after 10-15 years are my step-mom and I starting to grow closer. It's just something that takes time.

I was somewhat suprised to hear that you play ice hockey. Are there many rinks around you in CA?? Hockey's got to be the single most fun team sport to play.

About our government - I am NOT ashamed. I am very proud of our country AND governemt and hope Bush is re-elected. The great thing about this wonderful country is we're free to disagree or agree on anything we want :)


Posted by: Greg at May 26, 2004 11:00 AM

I'm in New Orleans too so I was intrigued by Freeman's comments about Wil being mentioned in this past Sunday's Times-Picayune TV Focus. I did a bit of searching and found the original story. Here's a link if you're interested in reading it: http://www.nola.com/search/index.ssf?/base/entertainment-0/1085295666241820.xml?nola

Posted by: Marshall at May 26, 2004 01:14 PM

Bless your heart. A parent who cares shapes the future. Compassion is rare thing (at least I think so) and always a beautiful thing to see in action.

Posted by: M. Douglas Wray at May 26, 2004 02:32 PM

Wil, Wil... Two years ago you were impressing me with your politics and comments on Bush. A year ago and it was your comments on the War and your interviews on the BBC. And now? Has all that gone? It's what I (and I think many Europeans) respected you most for. Frankly, I'm not interested much in your Geek reminiscences.

Whatever happened to Angry Wil? Is he gone away forever?

Posted by: Al at May 26, 2004 03:32 PM

It's true. That man has no penis.

(btw, I hope if you like ambient that you're a Brian Eno fan. Music for Airports, followed by Sigur Ros are like injecting a pepper/raw-onion mash directly into your eyeball)

Keep cooling it coolie-style, Wil. I can't wait to get your books.

Posted by: Seth at May 26, 2004 05:55 PM

Wil; I'm kinda new to the net and don't realy know what a URL is yet. All I really wanted to say is thanks for sharing so much of yourself and your life's experiences with us/me. You seem to be a great person, I hope you keep writing!!

Posted by: Kish at May 31, 2004 07:24 PM


just testing this comment page.

Posted by: Freeman in Louisiana at June 2, 2004 02:10 PM
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