an interesting podcast from your old pal, Wil wheaton

Home »

Radio Free Burrito Episode 42: Here. Home. Us.

wil, · Categories: Weblogs

RFB LogoOn this week’s Radio Free Burrito, I think I’m going to read you one story, but I end up reading you two stories. It’s your lucky day!

Direct Link: 042-RFB



40 Responses to “Radio Free Burrito Episode 42: Here. Home. Us.”

  1. Dave - UK says:

    Great episode. Loved the reading of Starry Starry Night.

    Well done for making a thing!

  2. Adam says:

    Excellent podcast! The readings reminded me a lot of my own thoughts. The tide pool reading brought me back into my old thoughts of our solar system just being an atom in a larger universe. Or maybe our galaxy is the atom? Idk but I do completely get the being watched in our tide pool thought. Very !

  3. Russ says:

    Lol. This was a lot like the ending sequence of “Men in Black.”

  4. mimi (Melissa) says:

    We’ve had a long string of bitter cold days with brilliant sunshine, and yesterday it began to warm up…finally. Today it’s warmer and gloomy. Perfect coffee and RFB weather. I was excited to see you posted one again this week. I liked the two stories and always enjoy reading these kinds of things. It made me think of Ready Player One. It made me think of a comment once on your blog, I said something about Hollywood having the fog of broken dreams lingering over it like a permanent gloom. You said you liked it and wanted to use it someday.
    It made me think of a blog post I wrote about New York City and a cabbie that wanted to drip hot wax on me and had a neck like a pack of hot dogs. It made me think about my Journalism professors and how much I like what they taught me. It made me appreciate the quiet 30 minutes or so I had to just let my mind wander, as I don’t get much quiet down time these days. I’m not sure that’s what you are looking for but that’s what I have.
    I also need to finish watching Cosmos (I KNOW.)
    I’m early to the commenting, so I’ll come back.
    Last, but not least, am I the only person who tries to snap my fingers along in the beginning of RFB? I’m always early.

  5. Amanda says:

    The second story reminds me (of what I can remember of it) Plato’s Cave. I think that was the title, it’s been a while since I read it. Anyway great ep, I’m glad I found your podcast.

  6. cjstone says:

    Excellent writing. Also excellent reading. Not everyone can read their own work.

    Your tidepool concepts might be true, but we have no reason to take them to be the case literally; there’s obvious value in asking questions such as, “What are the rocks in this situation?” and thinking about larger connections.

    The books that were my “what are the rocks?” books have changed as I have changed: Illusions (Bach); The Disposessed (leGuin); Lathe of Heaven (leGuin); Handbook to Higher Consciousness (Keyes); Meditation in Action (Trungpa); Zen Flesh, Zen Bones (Reps); Man’s Search for Meaning (Frankl); Behavior of Persons (Ossorio); Milton H. Ericson. Those are the ones I can think of quickly.

    I thank you kindly for RFB. You are helping a friend get unstuck with the “make a thing not a great thing not a good thing just a thing” mantra.

    • Ryan says:

      My brain went to “Illusions” as well! That book was really important to me when I was in high school. It gave me permission to question my ideas about who/what we are.

  7. Martine says:

    Wow. It’s like you’re in my brain… in a good way. This is my first podcast listen ever, and I’m pretty sure that I just became your biggest fan. Thanks so much for everything that you do, and please don’t ever stop. Looking forward to the RPG Tabletop (I’m a Felicia Day superfan too)and very excited about April 11th as well.

    As for the podcast, I loved both of your readings. It was inspiring, which I’ve been needing as of late. I find it puzzling how the subject can resonate such overwhelming feelings of.. well, just being unimportant or too small to matter, which is quite depressing.. and at the same time, the fact that we are. We are. That alone is incredible. We build, and grow, and create, and live our little lives. Our beautiful little lives. It truly is amazing.

    Again, thank you. I really needed to hear this today.

  8. Emily Jane says:

    Fantastic podcast. The second story makes me think about how startled the fish were by your hand interfering with the tide pool and how the observer functions in this analogy. From an atheist’s standpoint, the idea that we may not be at the top of the observational hierarchy is really fascinating.

    Again, excellent podcast this week; thank you for sharing these two interesting (ding!) moments.

  9. Molly says:

    I loved your reading of Starry Starry Night. You have a very soothing voice, just what I need to wind down after a long day!
    Also can I say how jealous I am of the kids over here in Ireland who get to study your writing for school? All I had to study was the infamous autobiography of Peig Sayers (in Irish). A grueling thing to read altogether!!

  10. Raygan says:

    I would love to hear on one of your podcasts tips on becoming a better narrative writer. I think I’m an okay writer but I want to be better.

  11. Jeff 27 says:

    When I first started working with people with severe mental illness I wondered if what we label crazy is really just perception of an invisible world much like the other side of the rock you mention in Tidepools. I wondered if the paranoia, the flight of ideas, the non-sequitur ravings were somehow garbled interpretations of a reality only a few can see. As if the clients we deemed mentally ill were really receiving tube-feeds from the next layer of reality. A few years down the road now, the novelty of the voicings of mental illness have become routine, if not downright boring. I still wonder at times if there is indeed divine or scientific magic in the words, but I am doubtful now. Nevertheless, once in a while I will hear a scrap of talk that makes me wonder if someone has eyes on what I can’t see.

  12. Matthew says:

    Loved the show & loooved both stories. This is the first podcast i have listened to of yours & as one of my passions is astronomy i couldn’t stop listening. I think & feel the very same way every other day (i don’t smoke pot either) so yeah thanks for sharing i thought it was great.

  13. Jason Scott says:

    Thanks back, Wil. Our every occasion to have met remains among my favorite memories.

  14. David Betz says:

    I thought of a story I’d read years ago when you posted Tide Pools on the blog but couldn’t remember the name or author. This podcast inspired me to try again and I found it. Your thoughts on tide pools are remarkably similar to a short story by James Blish called Surface Tension (1952).

  15. Adrian Bruce says:

    Loved it. But, have seen the our universe is just atoms in another universe several time before.
    There is 3D animation on a CG sampler LD I have that zooms from Atoms to the Universe, then keeps going to show the Universe is just an Atom in another dimension.

    This is similar too:

  16. Logan says:

    Hi Wil – I’ve been catching up on all the (new) episodes today, so a couple of comments from past episodes:

    1) I’m listening! And I will listen to the podcast, however long it is. 🙂

    2) Oh, and hi from New Zealand!

    3) Listening to the “super gross” episode now…the way to remember “501(c)(3)” is that it refers to the actual Tax Code that sets up the entity. So…Section 501, paragraph (c), part (3). [Yes, that means 501(a) and 501(b) exist!]

  17. Darrel says:

    I love this podcast! Wil, your readings were excellent. Thanks for another great episode.Btw, I’ve now started saying “I just want to make a thing” when I start a project. 🙂

  18. HairlessWooky says:

    First off I wanted to say congrats on getting back on Big Bang, love the show and love the episodes you are on. As far as this podcast goes I enjoyed it, but not for the philosophy. I loved this podcast for the subtext of your love for Anne and Anne’s love for you. Examples:Anne getting you out of bed in order to see something that you love. Your sharing of your innermost thoughts with the women you love without judgment. It is just a wonderful thing to listen to.

  19. Chris Hopkinson says:

    Your tide pools story reminded me that I haven’t listened through Rush’s Permanent Waves album is a while (the ‘Natural Science’ track in particular).

  20. Erica B says:

    first off, I’m sad the I had a post all typed up, and then a clicked a link, and instead of opening a new tab it navigated away and now I lost my original post.

    I really enjoyed your storytelling in the podcast even though you think it could be improved. Your voice is just so soothing that after your stories were over I thought that you should consider a side job in reading bedtime stories for kids. or grownups. whatever really. Hearing these stories made me want to re-listen to your other books as well, and I just might do that.

    I just want to take a minute and thank you for taking the time to make this thing when you have so many other things going on right now. I really appreciate it, and enjoy it. so, thanks.

    also I love the little rewards I get for listening to your podcast all the way to the very end. They make me smile

  21. Logan says:

    Weird…I left a comment here yesterday (and I’m receiving updates on subsequent comments), but I don’t see it now? What?

    In any case – I have now caught up on all the podcasts! What will I listen to now?

    Love the tide pools theory. Would love to see you develop the idea in to a novel.

  22. Omar says:

    Good podcast Wil, bell well and truly deserved. I like that the fish in the tide pools didn’t react with violence or paranoia to the new comers, a lesson to be learnt there I think. Also wondering how those new comers might know their in a different rock pool, it must all look the same to them. Anyway, deep, those rock barriers can exist at so many levels, spatial, chronological, social, psychological, dimensional medical etc so many frontiers to be crossed. It must have been so exciting to have lived in a time when all you had to do was get in a boat or travel through a desert/jungle/mountain range and know that you’ll arrive at a place beyond human knowledge. It’s now said that the greater part of the universe is dark, in the sense of matter or energy, as if we really were in some kind Plato style cave and how much can we understand about it’s nature in this state. I’m thinking two things, 1) our search for understanding is also a search for truth and my hope is that when we finally reach truth that we’ll also find meaning, significance. Two if we are fish that are able to find a way to travel beyond our own little rock pool ( given that we’ve are aware of the limitations of of our habitat, can perceive the boundary around us, would traveling beyond that frontier change us in any fundamental way? I’m curious.

    Great tunes as well Mr.Wheaton

  23. Mark Hood says:

    Wil, the ‘leaving our tide pool’ story reminded me of ‘Breeds There a Man…?’ by Asimov

    The premise is that each burst of creativity (Rome, the Renaissance, the Industrial Revolution) was engineered by some alien race as an experiment, with humanity as the lab rats. Each time, when people got too smart, or too creative they were killed off… The story follows someone who designs a defence against the atom bomb and realises that he’s enabled humanity to resist the next ‘purge’.

    Well worth a read! there’s a PDF copy here – but I don’t know how legal it might be!


  24. Ludo says:

    Wil, You should read Empire of the ants by Bernard Werber, that is what The Tide Pool story reminded me of. It is a great SF read too. You’ll never look at an ant in the same way again.

  25. Jeff Moody says:

    Your story about tide pools made me think of The Raw Shark Texts. Given your appreciation for House of Leaves, Raw Shark should be up your alley.

  26. cjstone says:

    Also, Terry Pratchett is saying the same thing via XKCD.

  27. Dave B says:

    Your readings made me think of a number of works: Flatland, Anathem, and most especially the Oglaroonians in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

    Physicists say one of the most likely models of the universe includes eleven dimensions, most of which are “curled up” or too small to be detected, but what if it’s just that our perception just doesn’t extend into those dimensions, so they have no influence on us and we can’t detect them? That leaves a lot of room for places right next door that we are totally unaware of.
    We could be like simulations running on a computer. The dimensions we can sense are the ones modeled within the simulation space while the computer itself exists in all eleven dimensions.

  28. Eylrid says:

    You should checkout The Seedling Stars, by James Blish. It is a handful of stories about humans being altered and adapted to live on other planets with environments that we would never be able to live in normally. One of the the stories in particular is very similar to Tidepools.

  29. Amir says:

    (trying to post again, since my original post is showing “awaiting moderation” for 3 days now)

    I, too, was immediately reminded of the 1952 Surface Tension short story.

    Wil, if you haven’t read it already I believe you’ll quite like it.

    I’ve read it a while back as part of this great collection of classic short SF stories.

  30. Erica says:

    Today is 3.14. On March 13, 2015 I went for the second day in a row to see the Man Ray – Human Equations: A Journey From Mathematics to Shakespeare exhibition at The Phillips Collection. It is juxtaposed with another exhibition, Hiroshi Sugimoto: Conceptual Forms and Mathematical Models, although I won’t be getting into that here. I am writing a paper on the totality of the Man Ray exhibition, which is arranged like a Shakespearean play. Each gallery holds a different stage of Man Ray’s life and artmaking, beginning with a prologue followed by Act I, Scene I, and ending with Act IV and an epilogue. From opening to close this exhibition is an intertwined journey, squarely coming full circle and looping back upon itself like a Lorenz attractor. No doubt this was the curator’s intention, as the largest gallery of the exhibit holds the series of Man Ray paintings (he was, in fact, primarily a painter, a fact obscured by the popularity of his surrealist photographs) called The Shakespearean Equations, paintings which have everything to do with chaos theory. In the 1930’s, in the basement storage at the Institut Henri Poincare in Paris, Man Ray found a set of mathematical models in a box collecting dust. All of these amazing sculptures were made by mathematicians studying at the Institut circa 1900. Man Ray took photographs of the objects, and based on these photographs, later made the paintings. The Phillips acquired the paintings, on loan from a wide variety of institutional and private collections, and put them on display side by side with the corresponding photographs. Also present, in glass case displays, are the original mathematical models, on loan from the Institut Henri Poincare.
    And so for this fine epidose number 42, I say to you, Mr. 37 in a row, that my perception of this podcast has been greatly influenced by my recent saturation of such iterated maps of modernism. This podcast is amazing! The sonic composition of the entire duration is made up of smaller segments, like your fractal fish. Each podcast then becomes the smaller segment, making up the entirety of RFB. This really opens up the line for your forthcoming podcasts in terms of futurism, with considerations of improvisation vs. composing. Frankly, the introduction to this podcast sounds like it was recorded nearly first thing in the morning, and there is an edge in your voice that supports this theory – you sound like you just rolled out of bed. In the following segment, Starry Starry Night, your voice is warm, fluid, and soothing. This is enhanced by the mesmerizing and building soundscape with which your vocal tones eventually become one with, in a way that resonates as if infused with something like binaural beats, or nlp. The comparison of the opening five minutes and the pre-recorded segment highlight the improv vs. rehearsed, and among others, they present us with the dynamic of day and night. Another important contrast is the new and old, with the segment of the past (2009) placed next to what is not just the present, but what is the immediate and unrehearsed now (2015). But this dynamic goes beyond mere practice and rehearsal, as Starry Starry Night is quite the completed and polished audio product, quite distinct from the opening. The long, slow introduction of the music behind the narrative in Starry Starry Night is reflected on a larger scale, panned across the three “present-tense” segments of the podcast. But it is not music, per say, that is steadily getting louder, it is more akin to the morning brain-fog lifting. When you (Wil Wheaton) come back in after the tonic, nocturnal story ends with finally drifting off to sleep, you seem to be more awake and ready to work than before. Upon your third re-entry, you are good and warmed up, like an instrument that is in tune with the other instruments around, ready to play. The second pre-recorded story, Tide Pools, and the music with it, are a clear match with Starry Starry Night. The iterations of sonic aesthetics as well as the common subject matter of “Wil and his wife Anne”, obviously tie these two parts together – a beautiful representation of the couple themselves. Imagining these five segments, 3 then 2, in a 3-dimensional form, begs one to seek the point. And so perhaps that is why, after the disclaimers, as well as a quick silence, time diverges to the ancient past, right before the little world of Radio Free Burrito #42 reaches its ultimate future. From this same larger perspective, the rhythmic, polar pulse of the past-to-present found in the entire duration of the podcast, enhances the sense of the present-to-future, as seen in juxtaposition to your next activity of the day – rehearsing lines for The Big Bang Theory.

  31. Kelley says:

    Hello Wil.
    Thank you for another excellent episode. Your ponderings of the universe did get me thinking about my own universe and story line. I’ve always felt slightly out of step, and out of place. Not in a “should have been born in a different time” or an “I’m an old soul” kind of way. But just conscious of my consciousness. I have moments when it seems like I’m zapped back down into my being, and have been somewhere else, and reality seems really strange. This might be a good time to say that I’m only a drinker, and don’t partake in drugs. But I visited Mykonos in my very early twenties, and was in really bad head space at the time. Anyway, we were walking along the beach, and I had that, I’m so small and everything is wonderful feeling, and was jumping from rock to rock barefoot and I slipped and fell into the ocean. I was so incredibly happy in that moment for reasons that I can’t describe, but I think you probably understand.
    Thank you for sharing your experiences with us.

  32. Max Robinson says:

    Both readings were great today Wil!
    Got distracted from my homework contemplating the ideas in both readings and having my own take on them!
    Both readings as I see them are ideas/gateways to help people think outside the box and to question rather than just accept…
    Thanks for another great burrito!

  33. David says:

    Really enjoy your readings, can’t wait for you to publish more of your writings, I’ve read everything else you’ve done that I could get my hands on. I’m also eager to learn of the new developments you’ve touched on, it sounds like it could be huge.

  34. Anna says:

    I can’t leave a comment on episode 37, which I just heard because I’m really behind on my podcast listening, but I wanted to let you know that I do listen to (and enjoy) the podcast. Keep it up!

  35. Laura says:

    OMFSM, the story about the poop/barf made my husband and me laugh so hard we were having trouble breathing. Nicely done, sir.