Podcasts, Life, and Wheaton

I’ve been trying to get into the podcast scene for quite some time now. I think I first decided to listen to more podcasts about a year or two back. I didn’t have much success back then. The only podcast that stuck for a while was Red Bar Radio, a podcast that, as its only shtick, has self-hatred and a blatant disrespect for everything around them. It’s like the gutter of podcasts. Although in a way, it works for them. Kind of like how certain forums thrive on being terrible to a point of it being a charm.

Red Bar stopped being interesting around the time personal drama between the hosts got on of the people on the main panel kicked out though. The moment Dean left, the show started to fall apart. When a show isn’t too much to begin with, that’s not a good thing.

So I got stuck without any podcasts to listen to, and I kept searching around without really finding anything of value.

Then one of the forums I frequent had a thread about podcasts. There was a link in the thread from the Rolling Stone magazine about the top podcasts. One of them was The Nerdist. I decided to listen to it a few times, and it was fairly interesting, but nothing too great.

Then one day I decided to look through their archives and found a goldmine of interviews. Not just regular celebrity interviews or anything, but interviews with celebrities I actually give a shit about. That’s an incredibly small list by the way, so the fact that they managed to string together all the people I think are really cool is a miracle and a half already.

Who did they interview? Oh, just Weird Al Yankovic, Nathan Fillion, Ozzy Osbourne, Jonathan Coulton, Will Wheaton. A bunch of others as well, but those were the main ones I was immediately interested in.

I downloaded all of those, put them on a USB stick, and listened to them during my isolation writing hours. It led to flood of condensed inspiration just slamming me right in the face.

Of everything that’s happened in the last month, that’s certainly the best thing.

Now here’s an interesting thing, I never really had any interest in Will Wheaton before. Yeah, I saw Star Trek The Next Generation as a kid. My mom used to watch it, and I remember watching it with her. I think I watched it with my aunt too. However, I never really sat down to watch it myself. It didn’t really lure me into wanting to see the rest. Not like Red Dwarf or FarScape did later on.

It wasn’t until recently that I actually sat down to watch The Next Generation myself, and I saw young Wesley Crusher myself then. I already knew he turned into some online phenomenon by then, being huge in terms of blogging and twittering. It’s almost impossible not to realize the guy’s reach and influence while being over Twitter for over a week. It’s like being on the beach and sand getting everywhere. You can try to avoid it, but it gets everywhere.

After watching about 10 episodes or so, I decided to go check him out a bit. See what his story was.

I went to his site and saw he had this podcast thing of his own, dealing with his time in TNG. I listened to one of the podcasts, which was about him selling an action figure of Wesley over eBay and the emotional attachment he had with that character and how he let go of it. It was moving, and I started getting more interested in him.

I just listened to this podcast (Nerdist 63). Neatly bringing us back to The Nerdist podcast again. Whil Wheaton was on it. He said something. Then all of a sudden the air got knocked out of me. My eyesight went fuzzy. I felt dizzy. And I just sat there for a while.

One of the things that was important to me at that time, and I’m not really sure we talked about this…

I became aware, when I was about 20, that I had been really very angry for a number of years. And I felt like I had kinda lost who I was. I had struggled really hard to make it as an actor, and I hadn’t. And I didn’t really know who I was. And I didn’t really like myself.

And I thought, look, I have this opportunity to leave everything I know and kind of start this other life in a totally different way, at a totally different level. And kinda work my way up. Because if this acting thing doesn’t work out, I kinda have to be able to do something.

I still felt creative, and I loved computers. So I felt I had something to contribute to the company…

Huh, I think I get what drew me to finding more stuff about little Wesley Crusher. It wouldn’t surprise me if more people were drawn to him later for the same reason.

I don’t think it’s going to surprise anyone reading this that I’m not exactly my biggest fan. I wouldn’t go as far as saying that I’m my biggest enemy either, there are enough people more than willing to fill that role. Okay, maybe it’s not that many people, but I know there are a few out there. There always are, and there’s not much you can do about that. As much as you’d like to change that fact, it’s not something you can do. Sometimes the best thing to do is to just let go of that. And for a large part, I feel I have done that.

But hearing someone talk about his experiences that way. Somebody who isn’t me… It struck a couple of chords.

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