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<editorsnote> Hi, I'm Jen Friel, and we here at TNTML examine the lives of nerds outside of the basements and into the social media, and dating world.  We have over 75 peeps that write about their life in real time. (Real nerds, real time, real deal.) Sit back, relax, and enjoy some of the stories!! </editorsnote>



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#RealDeal: The boomerang effect of boundaries (its been six years, I'm super okay with you not being in my life anymore dude)

Six years ago, I had a man come into my life in an intrusive manner. Much like with the majority of men I met in my 20s, he swept me off my feet as I was knocked over my head and onto my ass. Only with this man, it happened in a literal capacity and what was once a 19 year sentence might be reduced to as little as six all because of a technicality in filing paperwork. 

I'm sad that I have to write this post.
I'm sad that I had to write the letter that I wrote.
I'm sad that I'm sad but I accept that.
Besides, I've learned in my old age that it's what I do next that counts ... 

As some of you may know, on January 26, 2012 I was hit in the head with a brick while walking down Sunset Blvd heading to a comic book shop. See, Talk Nerdy had its first stage show the next day (with a big ol' marquee on Santa Monica Blvd), and my friend @jennhoffman suggested that studying the live show at Meltdown Comics might help. Our shows included dramatic interpretations of OkCupid emails and what I called "nerd's cup" which was a nerdy version of "kings cup." We already had our show locked, but as a life long learner, I wanted to see if there was anything we could incorporate in later.

En route to Meltdown, I stopped off at Kinkos and spent $100 printing out the programs (which considering I was still bartering was a LOT of freaking money) topping it off with a trip to Ross Dress for Less to find something nerdy that would be our actual "kings cup." Star Wars cup in hand, I then walked from La Brea down Sunset planning to walk to Gardner.

As someone who spends the majority of the day in her head, I like walking because I feel like it helps me think. I had no idea my choice to walk that night would put me in grave danger. 

Halfway through my walk, I was then hit in the head with a blunt object (which was later identified as a brick).

I still vividly remember not only being grabbed by the back of my hoodie, but being placed in a chair inside a salon unable to walk or talk. (I shockingly managed to grab both the play-bills and Star Wars tumbler - which I still own to this day.) While I remember the events of the evening, I couldn't tell you what was actually real and what my brain imagined. Everything I experienced had a "fluidity" to it.

Looking back, having a concussion was similar to being on acid. I however like acid a LOT more than having a concussion. 

I couldn't remember Jenn's name at that point, but knew enough to scroll through my text messages to find her info. Barely able to speak, she asked where I was and all I could say was "Attacked. Ralph's Ralph's." (The salon is no longer there, but was formerly right across the street from Rock and Roll Ralph's on Sunset. I saw the big Ralph's sign directly in my eye line.) 

I remember hanging up the phone and I'm assuming I must have still been in shock. My head didn't hurt, rather it was like I had a new glasses prescription; I was suddenly and unexpectedly seeing the world differently. 

I tried remembering where I was going and where I was but couldn't - I just knew I needed to see Jenn. I don't remember if I processed the words "robbed" or "raped" but I knew I didn't feel any pain below the equator and I still had my Beats By Dre headphones on my head ... only now the white headphones were stained with blood, and a lot of it. 

I hope none of you ever have to see how much blood comes from a head wound. As a nerd, any sort of brain leakage is PRETTY FUCKING TERRIFYING, but all I could do is go with whatever it was that was happening which meant a trip to the hospital courtesy of Jenn and her then boyfriend Shane

I wish I could say in that moment that it was one of the scariest moments of my life, but if I did, that would be a lie. I was in survival mode, and I actually wondered multiple times that evening if I was dead and this was what my "new life" was actually like. 

In total, I received four staples in my head, two shots, and had varying degrees of a severe concussion for six months. 

The people in the hair salon not only helped me in a physical sense, they actually chased the man down. He was then arrested and held with a bail amount totaling ... 

Technically speaking $1,075,000.00, but who's counting. 

You can read about the night that it happened here. 

You can read about thanking the owners of the salon here - which also involves my attempt to take my own staples out. STILL TO THIS DAY THE DUMBEST THING I HAVE EVER DONE. Also, if you were going to take out your own staples from your own damn head, why not have some tequila?!?! I did that shit stone cold sober. 

After I was hit, he not only robbed a liquor store but was held up at gunpoint at Hollywood and Highland, where he was finally arrested. 

<tangent> You can read about the fact that I decided to turn my journey in court into a "little adventure" here, and the fact that I had to unexpectedly testify here. </tangent>

Having been stalked as a teen (my father set legal precedent in the state of Connecticut regarding "cyber bullying" which wasn't a "thing" in 2001), I thought the worst part about testifying was the fact that it felt so intimate; the defendants were people I once loved who had betrayed me. Two seconds into taking the stand this time around, I realized I was ENTIRELY wrong because it felt just as bad facing a perfect stranger in a random act of violence.

Six months later, I watched this man, who was no longer a stranger, accept a deal that gave him 19 years in prison (down from 25 to life)

My attire aside (I literally ran out the door not knowing I had been subpoenaed that day - thankfully I had my Nike sponsorship so I ran fast and well supported!), the female DA took loving sympathy upon me, extending an invitation for lunch with her colleague at California Pizza Kitchen. (I had been sitting in court alone all morning.)

We had a great chat about social media and how its affecting the legal system "in a positive way," reflected her colleague. "Before my daughter went out on a date I would need their first name, last name, and DOB. Now I just need their full name," she chuckled. 

The ladies were super impressed that I ran my own business online, and while I couldn't remember that day if I had enough money to pay for my own lunch, I was glad to exchange knowledge and never once had to reach for my wallet. 

"It would be my pleasure," said the DA once the check arrived. 

I knew what I was doing professionally would get me somewhere "someday" but in a literal sense it still meant that I constantly bartered and took the city bus for almost two years. 

Upon leaving court, the DA happened to ask where my car was. I told her I was taking the bus, and she said that was unacceptable after the day I had in court.

Wait, what? I thought. 

Not only had this woman bought me lunch (which was +1 from the McDonalds gift card I received while testifying), but now she's ACTUALLY driving me HOME??? 

If I had tears left in that moment, I would have let them expel in a dramatic fashion quickly from my eye sockets. 

Pizza and a ride home. Well done, LA DA! 

While I surprisingly had a great day in court, it still didn't change how I felt about the situation.

I was sad that this life experience happened. 
I was sad that I didn't walk on the other side of the street that night. 
I was sad that I watched a man receive what felt like a "death sentence." 
I was sad that my parents were on the other side of the country when this happened, and I can't imagine what that must have been like for them. 
I was sad that this happened to me. I've always been a people magnet, but who the hell gets hit in the head with a brick and lives to tell the tale? I wasn't sure if I was lucky, or so thick headed it acted as a shield of some kind. 
I naturally internalize a lot of my emotions, but once this happened? I.couldn't.stop.crying. 

My brain was still "leveling out" (for lack of a better term) and emotionally I was all over the place. 
Every time I tried to write about it (which was also my livelihood) ... 

I cried. 

Every time I showered and felt like a modern day Frankenstein held together with staples IN MY FUCKING HEAD ... 

I cried.
I cried at Hallmark commercials.
I cried watching late night infomercials. 
I cried because I slept for days on end barely able to get out of bed.
I cried getting out of bed because I felt so "exposed."
I cried because I felt alone.
I cried because my friend's and family wouldn't leave me alone. 

To say it was "right" or "wrong" wasn't going to change anything, but the letter I received this weekend has the possibility to change everything.  

I, like most people, rarely check the mail. Basically anything that even involves the word mail, outside of email and actual males - I tune out. If it's important, people find you. If it's not, I genuinely don't care and won't ever pretend to care. 

As I scrolled through the catalogs, AAA membership renewal option, and bills, I then noticed the very last envelope which was also the heaviest. 

I immediately ripped it open and read this ... 

"Nonviolent felony," I wondered. How is a brick not considered to be in the top three of items you can get hit with and it be considered a violent offense. I was super confused, and pissed.

I immediately googled Prop 57. Still confused at the classification of a nonviolent felony, I called my father (who again is an attorney). I don't know, was all he could say, followed by an immediate "are you okay?"

"I'm fine," I told him. "Even if this guy does get out, it was a random act of violence. I don't even know if I'd recognize him on the street anymore. All I do know is the man I first met on Valentines day was not the man that I saw sentenced. His medication made a NIGHT AND DAY difference. I just need to make sure he stays on it."


The reality that this man was going to spend the full 19 years in prison wasn't great. While I'm by no means an expert, I do love the law and hypothesized that based upon the strong history of violence, he'd more likely than not serve at least 10 years. While I wasn't sure if his DOB was accurate in 2012 (due to there being so many different entries with conflicting information in the courts database), I figured I was looking at a man somewhere near 60. If he serves 10 years that puts him in his 70s.

How strong would he be then? Would he be able to hurt someone? I wasn't sure, but four years shy of that goal meant that I was going to do EVERYTHING IN MY POWER TO MAKE SURE THIS MAN DOES NOT GET OUT. 


The first call I made in the office yesterday was to the DA's office. If you're ever the victim in a crime, they give you a SHOCKING amount of information to reach out. One ring and a quick transfer later, I was speaking to the man overseeing Prop 57. 

I stated my name and supplied my case number. "I was hit in the head with a brick. He was supposed to serve 19 years. How is this a nonviolent felony?" I asked curious, but not angry. "I had four staples to my head and a concussion for six months." I also explained how the DA befriended me and said over and over "how lucky I was to be alive" and how "serious the courts take any sort of head injury." 

He pulled up my case and said that the DA had filed it incorrectly. "It was filed as CA Penal Code 243D battery with serious bodily injury. The GBI charge (great bodily injury) wasn't included which would move your case from a nonviolent felony to a violent felony. Technically, it should have been filed as a 245." 

"This man cannot be let out," I said. "It's nothing personal, I just know what I saw over the months going to court. He's truly better off on his meds and in his current environment." 

"This is the exact type of person the parole boards do not want to release." (I had also explained to him that even though he wasn't charged he had also robbed the liquor store and had a history of felonies.) He continued, "you need to write an email. Even we don't get access to these hearings but if you write a letter via email explaining your situation they will listen. You sound so articulate, and smart. I know you can do this. They need to hear it from you."

I thanked him for the nearly 20 minutes of his time as I hung up the phone. I knew what I had to do next, but it didn't mean I still wasn't pissed off.

I took a deep breath, as I opened up my email typing in the address from the form. I began writing from a combination of the heart and head. This is what I wrote ... 


Please excuse the typos. This wasn't easy to write.

I'm not sure if half of my "legal sounding jargon" actually made sense, but part of me feels like it does. 

I wish I could say I'm mad at the DA, but I'm not. As you can see, that woman deserves a fucking medal for how much compassion she showed to someone after meeting people day in and day out on one of (if not the worst) day of their life. 

I wish I could say that I'm mad at the prisoner, but I'm not. Six years ago, all I could do was wish him well as he was being sentenced; I knew he was finally getting the help he deserved. 

Am I glad this happened? Absofuckinglutely not. Again, I wouldn't wish any of this on my worst enemy (if I had one).

The only thing that I can take away from this life experience that has made no sense to me, (mostly because of the #braininjury) is that no matter how many times I get knocked on my ass (sometimes literally) I stand back up (or get pulled back up in this case)

24 hours after the attack, I still performed in our first ever stage show (and the eight after that) to a sold out audience. 

I faced my attacker in court and testified with words as my weapon.

Even through all of the pain, I was then able to reciprocate compassion shown, knowing that it was like giving a first grader calculus - he genuinely didn't know what he was doing. 

Six years ago, this man had power over me.
Now? The tables are turned. 

And at the end of the day, I'm going to do what's right.
Even with the knowledge that he will never be able to admit that he was wrong.  




#NerdsUnite: A tale of three acid trips (& one very true story) 

<tangent> Last week was pretty random.

1) I ate a dinner cooked by none other than Patti LaBelle. Independently an AMAZING sentence to write, but to be served soul food from a soul singer while in an EXACT MOMENT I was doing some soul searching ... that was awesome. (It's turkey leg and lima beans ... I'm not sure what else was it in, but it all ended up in my belly.) 

FYI, I did not season this. I even felt guilty the next morning microwaving it, because microwaves have no soul & I won't disrespect Patti.

2) I got to FAN GIRL THE FUCK OUT in front of Daniel from GET OUT!!!!

I was at a Patron party and even though he was attempting to be incognito, I recognized him immediately. I very quietly approached saying I loved you SO MUCH in "that movie" using actual air quotes because I didn't want to say the movie in case other people heard and that would blow his cover. He then put his hands on my shoulders as he kissed me on the cheek.

I mirrored this exact expression. 

Now onto the post ... </tangent>

I liken my acid trips to a Goldilocks style experience.

The first time (which was accidental)? Too much.

The second time? Too little.

The third time? Just right.

::whispers:: Driver, there will be three stops tonight.

<PresentingStopOne> The first time I took any sort of psychedelic was accidental while attending an S&M club in 2012I had just started exploring the "scene" and I was told by my friend that if I wanted the "true" experience of being tied up, I should "roll" while I do it. (Roll meaning take ecstasy.) 

In my 20s I made it a "thing" to try a drug on each of my birthdays. It felt one part "rite of passage" and another part structured; I'm goal oriented and like to work "towards" things. I would first, pick out the drug I wanted to try, research all of the side effects, acknowledge that this was the year I was going to do it, and then find a suitable party to uh, party on with. 

I took the first pill when we arrived at the club, and didn't feel anything. Knowing from previous adventures in "rolling" I needed two to feel the effect, I asked my friend for the second pill. 

Not sure when it was finally going to kick in, I downed some water and OJ before I was called over to the domme for my session. His name is Phoenix, and while I shockingly also found him attractive I questioned his ability and or my willingness to be tied down. 

Barely able to keep a straight face, I tried to listen as he went over the "rules." I do genuinely enjoy being in a sub role, I've just had limited experience in the space. I'm smart (debatable), and I'm an asshole; I can't be a sub if I think for whatever reason I might be smarter than you. (It's called "topping" in the scene.)  

I have a wide range in terms of how I determine intelligence. There needs to be an equal balance of IQ and EQ - which is very rare, which is why I mostly choose to stay single.

<tangent> I actually had my date on Friday say that I have an "androgynous mind in terms of attraction" - and he's absolutely right. I don't see people for face value, which is why if you put all of the people I've dated in a room, none of it will make sense until they open their mouth. </tangent> 

I made mental notes with each of his ties remembering back to my childhood all of the experiences I had as a kid tying and untying ropes to my boat at our lake house. My body felt a tingle as the rope was then tied around my chest. I could feel the compression which was (at the time) both terrifying and relaxing. 

Due to barely listening to the rules, I missed the word that "began the scene" (although he did tell me to motion with my hand three times if I needed to get out- that I do remember).

Without thought my body was slammed down on the bench and as my chin hit the cold plate I began ROLLLLLLIIIIINNNNNNGGGGGG harder than I had ever experienced. 

Spread eagle and now hog tied, Phoenix hit my hide until it was raw, pacing each pat to the beat of the song Kiss by Prince. (Note to nerds: make sure you wear cute underwear if you want a life experience like this.) 

As I looked out at the crowd, to my surprise, the lyrics appeared in a pinkish/ purple neon color as if written out on an imaginary teleprompter. As someone who commits to something, I wasn't willing to click my wrist three times to go home, but that doesn't mean that I wasn't fully freaked the fuck out. 

I had experienced a lot of weird shit, but seeing something that my mind logically knows isn't there was definitely new. Not only had ecstasy had never caused me to feel this way, but I immediately assumed I must be on some sort of psychedelic. I only knew that because when friends had done them previously they made this exact comment ... 


Barely able to speak, I was then released from the ropes still rolling ... HARD. I only knew for sure one other person that had taken the same pills that I had, so I walked over to him looking down at my phone (for what I'm not sure). As I moved my screen, a rainbow appeared and each of the avatars began "moving." 

WOAH, I said to my friend, who didn't need to say much to confirm that he was seeing everything that I was seeing. 

After everything was said and done, it took a full 24 hours for the drugs to get out of my system. 

You can click here to read the original post, and the follow up post, where I talked about what actually happened a few years later. I had nothing to hide, but didn't know how easy it would have been for other people in the story to be tied to it (pun intended). I'm always very protective of my friends. 

Looking back, I technically speaking should have been mad at my friend for not telling me that I was going to also be doing acid that night, but now all I can do is smile. It was definitely the hardest I've ever "rolled" and while it was not fun having the contents of my stomach expel like the Exorcist, I can definitely chalk this life experience up to, yep, I did that, and lived to tell this story. </stopone>

<PresentingStopTwo> Last October, I was hanging out with a friend of mine from the building. (I live in a Melrose Place style atmosphere where everyone is ridiculously attractive and we do genuinely all get along and hang out. Unlike MP though, there is no drama which also unfortunately means no Locklear.) 

Either way, my friend Sam said that he was heading down to our neighbor's apartment to have happy hour before everyone went out for the night. He knows how much I love Halloween, so he suggested showing up in costume. 

Don't threaten me with a good time, I thought going into my goodie bag emerging mask and all. 

I attempted this year to go with an overall arcing theme for every party (I had about two weeks worth). At first, I was going to wear this one blazer and rock it in COMPLETELY different ways, but that ended up not working. Upon receiving an invite to a mandatory masquerade party, I flipped the traditional mask and bunnied it out. 

This was the original costume ... 

This is what I showed up in, which was surprising that they actually opened their door (because I said nothing other than knock) ... 

The pre-party was poppin, and the girls looked FIEERRRCEEE as a super hot Thelma and Louise with their beaus dressed as both Brad Pitt's character and a cop. 

I was off helping in the kitchen with the food when the oven started smoking (they obviously had crumbs or food cooked on the bottom). Here, I said, let me go cook this in my oven that way we can let the smoke go down. 

You're awesome, she said as I hiked it back to my place. 

Walking back into their apartment, the hostess' beau (aka Brad Pitt) asked if I wanted to do acid with them. Surprised, I took a moment to reflect on what I had wanted to do. 

See, in Q4 last year, I decided I was ready to get married and have babies. Not that I still couldn't drop acid being married and having kids (just not supervising them while on acid obviously), in general I wanted to make sure that my actions were aligning with my intention. 

I then caught a glimpse of my rabbit ears in the mirror (forgetting I was even in the mask). "When in Rome," said the rabbit choosing to go down the hole. 

If I do this, I said to myself, I'm in it to win it. No Irish goodbyes (as is my MO I never say goodbye I just leave)

He then tore off what looked like a little piece of paper as he asked me how much I wanted to take. Since my girlfriend and I are about the same weight, I said ... 

Have you done this before, he asked? 

Yes, I said but only once and it was accidental. 

He paused for a moment in confusion as I explained that I took what I thought was E (and it was actually a candy flip)

I was then instructed to let it melt on my tongue, and the second it dissolved, I stopped drinking entirely. I had no idea how acid was going to effect me and like a good nerd, I wanted to isolate the variables. 

I was then informed that we'd be heading to a house party, so we all piled in two ubers and headed some place not in the hills. (When I commit to something, I don't really ask a lot of questions.) While I knew the group, I was in general in a quieter mood and wanted to truly experience what this life experience would be like. Friends kept telling me that I'd love acid, and at this point I had also tried shrooms, so if it was anything like that - I'd be super okay with life. 

We pulled up to this big craftmans style home, and a very active party. I separated myself from the group choosing to do a lap before committing to a location. 

I made into the backyard and as I went up the windy steps, I saw this sign ... 

As I took a turn to the right (there was no option to go left), I saw a group sitting and chatting. I knew I recognized two of the people at the party, but I couldn't put my finger on whether they were famous or we were acquaintances at some point. Not saying anything, I just sat down as I started to feel the effects of acid. 

I don't know how to describe what it's like to be on acid as anything other than feeling a "oneness" with yourself and your environment.

I experienced a euphoric calm and while I naturally don't give a fuck, when I'm on acid, I apparently give every fuck possible ... about absolutely everything.

"Bunny," said one of the guys I thought I recognized, "what do you do?" 

"I work in tech, and my life's being turned into a TV show," I said without a breath or thought. 

"And just like that, ladies and gentlemen (he said to the group laughing), the quietest person at this party also happens to be the most interesting."

I had no idea how long I was up there for (time feels different on acid), but sometime later, someone started bitching about Uber and LYFT. It wasn't what they said, it was how they said it. The complaint was rooted in sheer entitlement, and this bothered my acid minded self. 

Without an ounce of aggression, I presented a different side of (whatever mundane argument I had now acidmindedly ... I mean absentmindedly involved myself in) by providing a history of both companies.

Uber and LYFT both back in the day, would give bloggers promo codes in exchange for promoting the service. Back in 2012, when I first started using them, I also didn't have access to a car, but did promote them so much that John Zimmer (LYFTS CEO) invited me into the office for a visit. Their strongest numbers (at the time in terms of downloads for new users) was the day after the city of Los Angeles placed a ban on the service. The coverage of the ruling was turned into a full page article and a WHOLLEE LOTTA free press in the LA Times. 

I then took a breath and realized the group had now doubled in size and I am speaking very passionately to an audience that I don't know, nor do they obviously care. 

I immediately toned it down 10 notches, and laughed saying to the group, "so, I'm on acid and I'm going to get some more water. Does anyone need anything?" 

Slow your acid roll, Friel, slow your acid roll, I said walking down the steps. 

I had no idea who the host was or who anybody was, so the last thing I wanted to do was be disrespectful to my neighbor who obviously (or at least I hope) knew someone.

Once inside the house I found a dog and immediately went back to my happy place. 

A few minutes, hours, or whatever later, I wound up back in the kitchen getting some more water. As I went to go and find my friends I was met by one of the guys that was witness to the great debate (he was one of the gentlemen that I thought I knew).

What's your show about? he asked. 

It's Talk Nerdy to Me. Bruckheimer and CBS had it initially but I'm repackaging it (which has since completed read more about that here)

I KNEW I KNEW YOU!! he said. I recognized that voice! 

Jen Friel, I said shaking his hand. 

I'm Pat, he said

<tangent> It's Pat, I thought, hehehe. 



I've heard about you, he continued!! This is so great!! 

Let's take a picture, I said. 

I knew you looked familiar, I said. You've got to be in the nerd community. 

I am. I have a radio show and I've been on Star Trek. (You can have a listen here.

We then talked about Stan Lee, a handful of his favorite comics, and before we parted we swapped Facebook friends requests to keep in touch. 

I really appreciate the read, I said as he went in for THE BEST BEAR HUG EVER - feet off the ground and all. 

I then regrouped with everyone as they indicated that they wanted to head to an after hours party at a warehouse in downtown. Generally speaking, I make it a rule to never go to a second location with a hippie, but a strict "no Irish goodbye" policy in place meant that I had to see this rabbit hole through. 

We arrived at the club two ubers and one missing party member later. The club was literally a warehouse somewhere WAYYYY past anywhere anyone would deem "safe."

Thelma, Louise, Brad Pitt, cop, and one bunny later, we stood in a super creepy alley waiting for potentially an expansion to the group. Everyone else had done acid before, and because I didn't know who was on what and what to actually take myself, I only took the single (very small) tab. I reached into my deck, and was ready to pull the common sense card reminding the group of our physical state ... 

... before I could, we were approached by a gentleman that was (sadly and obviously) homeless. He first asked for money and (as usual) none of us had any cash on us. Still on acid brain, I asked him how he was doing and if he needed any help.

CEO or janitor, I treat everyone the same. (Thanks mom and dad for engraining that into our brains as kids.)  

He then started telling me that he's a veteran and trying to get back on his feet. I listened and with genuine empathy wanted to let him know that he has options with the VA. I obviously wasn't sure exactly what he was entitled to, but I was happy to google the number if he needed it. 

Without responding, he quickly lifted his hands up while shouting ... 

Without reacting, I about faced on the heels of my converse and went back to the group. 

"Who are you?" asked Louise. 

"He's fine, I'm fine. We just need to go inside - now."

A handshake and an ID check later we fell deeper into the hole. 

Brad Pitt then offered to buy me a drink (A SENTENCE I HAVE ALWAYS WANTED TO SAY), and without thought I agreed knowing however much acid is left in my system, it wasn't enough to deal with this.

I'm not a fan of clubs ... 
Especially not after hour clubs ... 
Especially not after I was offered a threesome (outside the cuddle dome) ... 
Would I be considered a furry in that situation? I had no idea ... 

While all of these adventures were fun in my 20s, in my 30s they're just repetitive patterns. I don't like repeating things. 

Staying true to my own word, I peaced upstairs to the boundary setting platform where I could watch everything (I'm naturally a voyeur), but still have my own space and subsequent sanity. 

Now calm, I started my own one person dance party which eventually attracted the rest of the group who made their way upstairs. 

Home, I thought. Friel wants to go home. Friel is also a stubborn asshole who sticks to her word. DAMN YOU ADULTING! 

What's next? I asked hoping we were all on the same page. 

"Let's go to Mel's!" said Thelma. 

We're not on the same page I thought. Not even same chapter, not even the same book. 

One agonizing hour later, we arrived at the Mel's on Sunset. This was fortunately our last stop, and even through the pain, I couldn't help but laugh at my own reflection which reminded me of Donnie Darko. 

If only I were on more acid, I probably could have reenacted this moment. 

We arrived home before sometime before sunrise and I still hadn't arrived at a decision on my thoughts on acid. The candy flip was INTENSE, so much so that I still question ever owning plaid sheets again. 

The rabbit hole was interesting, but I wasn't sold on whether or not I liked it. I obviously didn't take enough and also put myself in a situation that inherently knew I didn't like - so I couldn't blame the drug for that, that was all on me. </stoptwo>

<PresentingStopThree> Finally last month (before Super Bowl weekend), I got hit up by an old friend who asked if I wanted to join him in Joshua Tree for the weekend. (I had never been previously and never knew anything about it other than it was a place where my friends went and did drugs.)

The last minute invite had the ABSOLUTE BEST timing. I had just articulated that morning that I felt like I was living an IRL version of Groundhog's day. I had been working so much that every day seemed to flow into one very long repeated beat. I knew I needed a break, and after the seriousness of the "episode" I had last September, I wasn't willing to risk any possibility of putting myself in harms way again. 

"It's a quirky little cabin," said my friend continuing, "it's nothing fancy." 

Already having been sold, I confirmed that I could bring Buster Brown (el dog-o) and asked for the address. 

The next morning, I packed my bag happier than a pig in shit to get out of LA. Anytime I need a recharge I just go into the wilderness. Island, woods, lake, give me something with fresh air, the stars and I will come back an ENTIRELY different person. 

I happened to arrive ahead of my friend (we took separate cars so Buster had enough space to stretch out), so I stopped off at the local Walmart to get whatever we would need for the night. He wasn't sure what cooking supplies would be at the house, so I grabbed everything premade for some wonderful street tacos (with the intention of cooking them over a fire)

If you ever have the chance to people watch at the Walmart in Joshua Tree, I highly recommend it.

It's a combination of "The People of Walmart" and "Unsolved Mysteries reenactment actors." I'm not even sure what decade some of them were in, but I wanted more. 

Items in hand, I arrived back at the house where I met up with my friend excited for whatever adventure was ahead. 

See this, he said pointing at a statue. Jim Morrison brought this here from an artist in Venice Beach. 

Really? I asked knowing that if he was saying this, it was the truth. 

Yeah, he said, the owner of the home is an OG in the LA music scene. They were friends and brought it here one day. We call it "The Vortex." 

Hoping Buster wouldn't walk over and pee on something called "The Vortex," I quickly took him for a walk before we began the "festivities." 

We first popped a bottle of champagne as we caught up. Almost all of my friends now, I've known for 10 plus years, so even though our lifestyles mean that I might not see everyone as much as I'd like, when we do finally catch up - it's like no time has passed. (I've known this particular friend for 12 years, and have always held a deep respect for him.) 

I told him about a new opportunity I accepted, and he smiled. 

"I thought you were so crazy when you started Talk Nerdy. Everyone did, but you're doing it, and you always have." 

"I called it 'bartering' but it was just influencer marketing before there was a name for it. I also just got lucky with this new opportunity that I have my hand in both tech and Hollywood. This is my absolute dream job." 

We then cheersed as we continued to catch up. Here, he said sometime before sunset. Put this in your mouth and let it melt. 

I felt like there was a "that's what she said in there," but instead, I just listened knowing that if I was going to go to NeverNeverLand with someone, this was the ONE person I know I could totally trust to know what he was doing. 

The actual park happens to be in the homes backyard so after a quick hike, we had a pretty awesome view watching the sunset. 

Normally, when I'm in a place like this, I get (again) that sense of "recharge," but whatever it was that I was feeling sitting on that rock, it felt "alien." Not in the literal sense of green men coming down, but I had never felt whatever it was that I was feeling. When I'm in historical places, I can sometimes feel what's best described as "layers of paint." I can very tangibly pick up on the fact that there were other lives that have lived here. This was that, but also like, a petri dish; I felt like I was in a lab of some kind.

I normally feel like a zookeeper, but here I felt like the animal. 

Buster agreed on the whole "alien" feeling.

I didn't say anything at first, because I couldn't rule out if this meant the acid was starting to take effect. 

Sometime after we got back to the house, we took the second tab. Much like in "stop two," time becomes foreign and it's replaced with this feeling of "universal oneness." There was no TV at the cabin, just records from the 60s and 70s. I grabbed these two records and placed them on the chair. 

Looking at Santana's album, you'd think, oh! these people are obviously on some sort of psychedelic, but oh contraire mon non frère ... it was the black and white album that was TOTALLY popping off the page. 

See those waves? They moved so slowly back and forth, and when I looked at Santana's album, I still saw nothing. Commercialism at its finest, I said laughing. The Santana album "looks like someone was on something" but clearly, the other album made so much more sense. 

Since most of the albums they had were from artists that were on some kind of psychedelic, I suggested listening to some records. Go right ahead, he said as I picked out out one from the Beatles. 

I want to listen to Lucy in the sky with Diamonds, while on LSD, I said. 

So ... that's what we did. 

He then asked about some of my thoughts of the property (which they are considering renovating).

This place is golden, I said, but to take it to another level, you need to make the outside come in. Add like solar panels, and make the main living area have a "picture car" feeling to it (similar to what you have on a train). You can even add in a skylight in the bathroom and even have the walls have like a furry like feeling to them. Anything that is mellow enough for someone who has had "too much" to not lose their stomach, but for those who are "on their way," both the skylight and furry wall paper will enhance their trip.

The home is a one bedroom, and I commented that you should leave that room to be like the "sanctuary." Incase someone again, has too much they can go and chill and not be so exposed to the elements in a literal sense. 

<tangent> I grew up in a house built by a student of Frank Lloyd Wright. Our living room had a stone wall, with cave door, and over 98 windows. It was such a cool house but pain in the ass to heat in Connecticut. As a kid we would RUNNN from the bedroom wing to either the kitchen or the library/ family room. We lived with the outside in, which was great watching it snow (all bundled up).

Homes in Joshua Tree I feel like should have that same effect. Bring the outside in to maximize the space and enhance the experience. We all know what people go to Joshua Tree for ... (or so I thought I knew)</tangent> 

This being a much smaller property meant from a heating or cooling perspective, your costs would be lower, and while I'm not an expert on it, I do know that for solar paneled homes (at least at some point) you can/could get a tax credit. 

We then went into the kitchen and I noticed the cupboards (which were real wood) actually felt "alive." There was a movement to them that I didn't see looking at the (some kind of) plastic kitchen counter. 

"I've always hated florescent lights," I said. 

"Now you're really going to hate florescent lights," he said laughing. 

"They've always felt 'soulsucking' to me, but now against something that so visibly feels alive makes sense with certain design decisions I've made over the years." 

"Oh yeah," he said as we started to make dinner. 

We (I think quickly) ate our street tacos as we grabbed some blankets and went back outside to examine the sky. While I didn't exactly see diamonds, a few conversations later, I noticed that there was a light in the distance that looked like the light you see reflected through the eye of an animal. 

(We had also previously heard coyotes howling.) 

I'm going to put Buster inside, I said out of fear that if it was an animal, we'd not only have to get the eff out of dodge quickly, but I'd have to control a 70 lb dog that was trained to be in dog fighting. He's a bolter, and I wasn't about to end up putting him in any kind of danger. 

My friend then went to turn the light on outside the house, thinking that animals might have ended up coming closer to the property due to the family not being home for the last couple of weeks. 

As if dared by the porch light, the light in the distance appeared to only get closer. I kicked off the comforter pretty certain at this point that I was going to have to get Buster inside ASAP. 

"It's okay," he said. "I don't think that's an animal." 

"Animal or person, there is something there and I'm not putting my dog in any sort of danger." (I might be a butt head with certain life experiences, but el dogarino puts his blind trust in me. I don't take that for granted.) 

Before I could put Buster inside the light appeared to rise up almost as if it were a drone (it had been so close previously we could actually see it lightly reflected on the rocks - which is why I assumed it was an animal of some kind, strictly based on the height)

"Park rangers come around here to check on people," he said. 

"Park rangers aren't that tall," I said again noticing the light go even higher. 

Having a company that owns fleets of drones, I knew what I knew about drones, and had definitely never seen light form in that way. The only other option was to accept what logically I already knew. 

Here I was a few years earlier, on acid for the first time knowing what I was seeing was illogical.

Now, on this acid trip, I'm seeing something that I KNOW I am actually seeing with my own eyes, that I've been told over and over "does not actually exist."

Oh no, they exist.

The light show continued throughout the night, and I wasn't exactly scared but I wasn't super pumped either. 

"Of course the night you're here they really show off. I've never seen this much activity." 

Whatever it was, I knew I wasn't in immediate harm. Considering we were two solid miles off the grid on a dirt road, even if I wanted to leave I was shockingly safer where I was ... (even if it might have meant exposure to a little green man).

I also trusted my friend, so again, if I was going to be in this situation - we might as well make the best of it. 

"Is this a thing in Joshua Tree?" I asked totally naive. 

"Did you not know that?" 

"Absofuckinglutely not. It wouldn't have changed me wanting to come here, but I just need a minute." 

We then went back inside and continued rocking out to the records.

Which btw are actually pretty annoying to keep changing. As someone who listens to songs endlessly on repeat it was a pain in the butt going up and resetting the record player. 

I kept looking out over to the Jim Morrison statue and asking, "what crack was he actually smoking when he bought this? On acid, I don't really get his flow." 

"I don't think anyone knew what he was smoking." 

Sometime before the sun came up, we watched a super good documentary on Netflix (on his computer) called Unacknowledged. Highly recommended. 

The next morning, we cleaned everything up as I timed leaving the desert to hit right when Super Bowl was starting (knowing the roads would be dead)

What did you think, he asked? 

The acid is great. I totally get why people professionally microdose. I feel super creative and "grounded" for lack of a better term. The rest? I could have done without, but, at least I learned something new. 

On the bright side, when I exhaust the expression, "I've dated everyone on this planet" at least I know I'll still have options. </stopthree>





#NerdsUnite: Hi @Britneyspears ... We heart you too. 

So, I was sitting in the Nylon offices in LA this morning waiting for my meeting to begin, and as I sat down on the couch I popped on Insta noticing that I had a LOT of DMs and tags. 

I then saw this from my gf Alex ... 

Suddenly, the boost in traffic totally made sense. 

I then took a moment ... 

... or two ...

... as the actual picture started to create an understanding of a mental picture. 

This is happening, Friel, I thought.

The meeting then began, and I said to the owner with a straight face (still in shock) "independent of this meeting, I just found out that Britney Spears is wearing my logo. That's just ... wow." 

Thanks Brit Brit. This ABSOLUTELY made my day!! 




#RealDeal: Here's what it's like to have your life turned into a TV show (& then to have it actually sell) PT 3 

I feel like the title says it best, but here's how Jerry Bruckheimer bought my life rights, and how my life was turned into a put pilot for CBS. This is part 3, here is part 1 and part 2. I've also purposefully added canned tracks instead of the traditional gifs. You'll see why in a moment ... 

Quick ketchup, in February 2016, I found out that CBS had passed on picking up Talk Nerdy for the 2016 fall season. Even WITH the Bruckheimer name, and a financial commitment (Talk Nerdy was a put pilot), it still wound up in limbo. To further the blow, in June of 2016 Bruckheimer and Warner Brothers terminated their 15 year relationship ... 

They just weren't that into each other.

For the project (in its current state) to still be considered alive, Bruckheimer and WB would have to renew their option. The sudden split meant that wasn't about to happen. I had taken an idea, walked away from it, got an offer to purchase FROM A SUPER FAMOUS PRODUCER, then ACTUALLY HAD IT PURCHASED IN A FOUR WAY BIDDING WAR WITH ALL OF THE MAJOR BROADCAST NETWORKS, and I still didn't have a pilot ordered to production. 

How is this possible?? Friends that are "in the business" said I had a holy grail of situations.

I heard over and over ...

"This doesn't happen, Jen. You have no idea how lucky you are." 

LUCK? I thought. I was ready to walk away!!! I thought I had!!! THIS IS SUPPOSED TO BE LIKE HAVING A CHILD GO TO COLLEGE!!! I wanted it to make good decisions but THEY WERE NO LONGER MY DECISIONS!! WHY DO I HAVE TO BE THE ONE DECIDING ALL THE THINGS ALL OF THE TIME!!

Adulting is hard. 

10 seconds after Kerrigan-ing myself, I decided to flip my perspective. If I wanted the project to continue, I was going to have to be the one to administer the CPR and pump this baby full of new life. Instead of being "mad" at how things played out and victimize myself, why not use everything that happened to my advantage? I got a lot of publicity in a very short period of time. If I truly want to call myself a producer, now was the perfect time to see if I could actually produce.

Here's step by step on how I did it. 

Maestro ... 

Step 1) Ask people who know what they are doing a lot of questions. 

One of the biggest take aways that I have with the "Talk Nerdy" experience as a whole, is that if you are honest and ask for help, people will give it to you. I'll always keep my side of the street clean, and offer to help them in any way - but bottom line is that both sides have to be a balance of give and take. 

Using dating apps alone, I had reached not only the man who wrote my life rights agreement, but also the gentleman who had to make the decision to pass on the bid from one of the other major networks (as Talk Nerdy had gotten too expensive). I asked both of them a lot of questions, but also brought to the table what I would do differently. 

<tangent> Funny story, btw ... While having dinner with, let's call him "Life Rights," I happened to spot Terrell Owens (literally in front of my face, two tables away but straight at 12 o'clock)

Terrell is a big time player on dating apps (I've matched with him on all but Hinge), and for months he would randomly text (sometimes even as a booty call). I would have agreed to a date if he properly followed through, but booty call? Oh hell to the no. 

I excused myself for a moment from Life Rights as I took out my phone and began texting.

"This is going to sound strange, I said, but I have to text Terrell that I'm here."

He turned around, and had already noticed Terrell when he walked in.

"Wait, you're friends with Terrell Owens?"

"No, I said, dating app thing. We've been texting but had never met IRL."

We wound up texting back and forth for a minute or two, and I pretty quickly realized I had dodged a bullet. After giving VERY specific directions on the fact that I was RIGHT IN FRONT OF HIS FACE (I sent him a photo that was also taken the night before with the caption I LOOK EXACTLY LIKE THIS), he still couldn't figure out where I was. I did take sick and hilarious pleasure in watching him try to figure it out though. </tangent> 

Anywho, I took a nugget of information from each meeting, but what struck me was how little these executives knew of the "actual" story. The title and the 103 dates in 9 months were what sold Bruckheimer and Warner Brothers into wanting to develop it, but that was just one out of the over 7500 posts. I knew I had to come up with a way to package the story in as clear of a manner as possible; while I can universally sell ice to an Eskimo, I was too emotionally invested in this story to be logical enough to know how to pitch it. 

I then created a sizzle telling the Talk Nerdy story in under 3 minutes. 

See here ... 

Talk Nerdy To Me Lover Pitch from jen friel on Vimeo.

I showed it to producers, executives, and even VCs that I knew asking if they could connect me to someone who could help (a production company, producer, I was even sent to a studio directly)

Despite my best effort, unfortunately I still had no bites. 

Step 2) Reach out to the person who sold it the first time and see if I can directly make a deal Monty Hall style. 

In December of 2015, I had reached out on Twitter to Morgan Murphy (Talk Nerdy's writer and EP) asking if we could hang out and shoot the shit. I (still to this day) haven't ever met my agents at CAA and the last thing that I wanted was an email intro from my people to her people. I'm my own people, I don't need people to make myself feel important. Writer to writer I respected her work, and much like everything else to this story, wanted to take a non-traditional approach.

We then started DMing, and because we're both writers, the messages were as intermittent as our contact with the outside world. Knowing that she is openly 4/20 friendly, that July I invited her to the Marijuana Don's 4th of July fiesta. To my surprise, she couldn't make it because was having her own, and invited me to that ... 

Read more about this adventure here, and we were even published in the San Francisco Examiner courtesy of my wonderful partner in crime Brokeass Stuart. 

While we didn't have much time to chat at the first party, she had also later in the year invited me to her birthday party (scheduled around Halloween). I'm going to talk to Morgan, I said to myself and I'm going to use the fact that this is Halloween to my advantage (as costumes are my thing). Nothing like showing up with a lampshade on your head to get the attention you want. 

That's not a euphemism btw, I really did show up with a lampshade on my head. 

Anywho, the attention part worked because I was only one of about 10 people that chose to dress up, but unfortunately because Ms. Morgan was the lady of the hour, she was kept quite busy. 

<tangent> Speaking of busy, I also got to FAN GIRL THE FUCK OUT in front of Busy Phillips (who happened to be in attendance). Such a nice human being, and so down to earth. </tangent> 

I then slid back into her DMs explaining that the Talk Nerdy story wasn't really told. Don't get me wrong, I think she did a great job on the pilot, but I think if we focused more on the actual story and created a "ripped from the headlines" delivery style, we could truly have an interactive experience for viewers. We could "post from the archives" at the same time as the show aired, letting new fans in on the story while allowing old fans to remember (and even see their screenshots live)

Unfortunately, Morgan couldn't accept as she was very busy with a little reboot of a show that was kinda popular in the 90s ... 

Here I go again, I thought, back to the drawing board. 

Step 3) Get a manager who can act like "the adult" in the room. 

In January of 2017, I started dating a TV producer. Not only is he genuinely a great human being, but I got to pick his brain on what to do next. 

"I have this show, I said, IT MADE IT SO FAR WITH ALL OF THE MAJOR NETWORKS BIDDING ON IT!!! Yet, it's dead in the water if I don't bring in a new production team." 

He then suggested getting a manager and the following week he began making introductions. 

I took meeting after meeting, and everyone said the same thing, "why don't you write the Talk Nerdy script? You lived it." 

"Yes, I would say, but it's because I lived it that I can't write it. One, I'm too close to it to be objective, and two, I've never written a TV show before. I have ABSOLUTELY no idea what I'm doing." 

I was then sent over samples of TV pitches, as I sat down attempting to go to town. 

Still confused, I pulled up a google search and typed, "how to write a tv pilot." 

Weeks later, I had a "cold open" (that was based on an actual experience I had had the week prior) ... 


I sent it to one of the managers and explained that I wanted to keep writing out a series of stories and introduce myself to the characters as I go. 

"That's not how you do it," said the manager. 

"That's not surprising, I said since I have ABSOLUTELY no idea what I'm doing.

The encouragement kept pushing from all sides for me to be the writer for the show, but again, I can only wrap my brain around something if I've experienced it. Until I'm part of the process in developing the pilot out (which didn't happen the first go round), I'm never going to be able to produce a product worthy of being pitched. 

(As a writer, I tremendously respect Morgan's work. I couldn't put my name on something that once had her name and not have it be at a certain "level." I've waited years for this moment, and I wasn't about to shoot my own self in the foot.) 

I could tell the one manager I was interested in working with was getting frustrated with my approach, so as quickly as things had begun, they also ended. 

Step 4) Stop trying all together 

My friends at the time would sometimes chime in asking how the show was going, but considering my reaction was typically in the key of "uggghhh," they knew not to ask too often. 

While en route to an event earlier this year, my dear friend Heather asked just such a question, and despite my extreme frustration, I was able to also be honest. 

"I have no idea what I'm doing, and these execs want me to be the one to write the new script, but I know it's not the right thing to do." 

"What was the first one about?" she asked. 

I then told her the logline about the four nerdy girls living and supporting each other both personally and professionally, and she stopped me. 

"No, but what does that actually mean? What did they base your character on?" 

"She's like Charlie Sheen in 2.5 men, but a nerd." 

"What!" she said closing her lip gloss providing undivided attention. 

"She writes these jingles for commercials. I do like though that they mentioned Patrick Swayze, and spinning. Other than that, she's a stoner that doesn't seem to know what she's doing and or doesn't have a lot of ambition." 

"That's NOT AT ALL YOU," she said, "and you're going to alienate the audience that DOES know you." 

I admitted that I had never thought about that. 

She continued, "the thing that I love about you so much is that you just handle yourself. You're quiet and the most unassuming person in the room, yet also so beautiful and ambitious. You have proven that anything you set your mind to you can actually accomplish, do you know how RARE that is?" 

I thanked her for the kind words, and for the first time let it sink in what she said. If I really can pull this off, the Bruckheimer show not selling truly was a blessing. Had it gone to pilot in its current form, I'm not sure how long the show would have lasted meaning that Bruckheimer (based upon the deal I signed) would now own this website, all of the stories, and I couldn't write anything related to it outside of a 7,000 word graphic novel. 

I had a shit deal. I knew I had a shit deal, but from my perspective I got the credit "based on the blog" and I got not one but two checks (for the option). Not bad for a website I had previously walked away from. 

A few weeks later, while focusing my attention on my startup, I hopped on LinkedIn do to some "data collection" for lead gen. ::cough cough:: I clicked on our company profile and to my surprise, I was not the most viewed page in our company. 

<tangent> I've only been on LinkedIn for two years. Much like with Talk Nerdy's launch, I had ZERO desire to get a job via a place where "everyone else was looking for a job." If I was as good as I said I was with social media, I wouldn't ever need to look for a job, so up until I started working for the startup, I never used or had a filled out profile. </tangent> 

Pissed off at not being number one, I then spent (legitmiately) all weekend adding anyone LinkedIn suggested to add. 

Second place is the first loser, I said clicking CONNECT over and over and over, and I have never been a loser. 

Proving a point no one with a sane mind would pretend to care about, I quickly did end up being number one, and with it came the unintentional adding of an attorney I had met while couch surfing. I always liked the guy, but I had no need to continue working with him once the Talk Nerdy show with Mary Parent wound up not getting picked up. 

<tangent> I was also Mary Parent's first TV pitch. Crazy smart woman, fierce respect for her, but the development was all done too early. (Click the above link to see some of the posts. This was where I wanted to document as much of the process as "in real time as possible." Ha. Ha. Ha. I learned my lesson this time around.) I was still literally couch surfing and had only recently gone out on the 103 dates in 9 months. Lindsay Rosin wrote the treatment. She's now doing super well for herself with the Cruel Intentions pilot, and more. (A network has to breathe life into that show. Way too much buzz in social for it not to continue.) I still remember having her shadow the adventures one day, and I took her on the city bus; it was a place most Los Angelinos had never seen before, and I like making fancy people feel uncomfortable. </tangent> 

I then met the attorney at his office a few weeks later, and told not only the story you all just read, but very passionately sold my vision for the project.

"There are so many ways we can turn this into a truly interactive experience for the viewers. All media platforms are merging and this is the perfect project to test some new ideas that I have." 

With eyes lit up like a Christmas tree (er, Hannukah bush in his case), he had a new client and I finally had help. 

"I have someone for you to meet. She's a writer, and we've been friends for over 20 years. She had a successful show based on her book and blog. She's basically you in 10 years." 

I'd love to meet her, I said. 

Upon receiving her full name, I then speed read her book, and watched as many episodes of her show as I could find. This is it, I kept thinking. It's her - I've never read someone's writing that is this honest. The sexual element is just a relatable part of life. There's a fine line with how you can write about it without it seeming overly gratuitious, and she not only danced that line, she triple axled and finished with a curtsey. 

On our first meeting, I told her about my deal with Bruckheimer, and asked her opinion of our mutual attorney. 

"The only time I didn't listen to him, I learned to regret it." 

She also didn't have a great deal with her first time at the rodeo, and I immediately knew that would work in my favor. We're both going to learn from each other. She's the "mama hen" so to speak that I can learn from on how to actually write for television, and I can show her new ways to present a pitch (from both a literal perspective and in terms of distribution)

We then signed a (finally good) deal combining forces (remember, I got my life rights, trademarks, and intellectual property all back from Bruckheimer) and have spent the last nine months working on the pilot and series. My job was to tell her everything and anything, and her job was to pick the strongest elements to base the story on. 

From day one with this, I was super conscious about not just telling "the good parts." I shared with her things I hadn't yet published in the blog, the fact that I'm not "technically" considered "on the spectrum" but I'm pretty close (causing difficulty with people misunderstanding what I mean when I say something). I have a big heart, but I'm blunt to the point where I am either missing a chip or have an extra chip ... TBD. Either way, I wanted it all to be honest. 

By the end of November, after hundreds of emails, texts, and late night confessions - the pilot script was completed (done on spec), and I even made a deck (I learned design working for the startup) to appropriately represent the narrative. 

So, what's the pilot about?? 

The most popular series of posts I have ever written. 

In short, it's a story about ... 

that discovers her ... 

through owning a ... 

I actually fistpumped in my office when the final package was sent off. I might not have known how to write the script myself, but at the end of the day I didn't have to. I couldn't have done this without such an INCREDIBLE partner in crime, and whether or not it sells is out of my control. It's original, edgy, brutally honest, and perfectly timed with the "female awakening" for lack of a better way to say it. This isn't just my story, it's every nerd's journey of finding their voice and learning to be comfortable in their own skin.

In my case, however, I wore latex ... 

These stories would make Bruckheimer blush. 

Oh, and sorry to disappoint, but there's no canned laughter. The fact that this even exists in shows still blows my mind. 

Next up, during the pilot process I accepted a FinDom slave. That was a new life experience and in the process I discovered I enjoy being a domme more now SO MUCH MORE than I ever did before. 




#RealDeal: Here's what it's like to have your life turned into a TV show (& then to have it actually sell) PT 2 

I feel like the title says it best, but here's how Jerry Bruckheimer bought my life rights, and how my life was turned into a put pilot for CBS. This is part 2, here is part 1. 

Needless to say, I had quite a bit of adjustment in August to Mid-September 2015. I had come back to LA in a "big way," but I was still adjusting myself to the physicality to being here. To my surprise, I didn't go back to "Talk Nerdy" friends, I didn't need to talk about things in the same way that I had for all those years; I not only no longer wanted to be the center of attention, I wanted the exact opposite. I purposefully put myself in positions where I had more of a "supporting role" (I discovered it was more fulfilling)

Once I had developed (from my perspective) true confidence and less of a show of bravdo, I stopped needing to prove things to anyone else (or most importantly to myself). How did I get this far with this project? Because I don't give up on anything I believe in, and even when I THINK I've given up on something, it was more likely than not a little "universal push" and a quick smack in the face of a "told ya so! You got what you wanted, just not how you expected, but aren't you glad you listened???"

I think of those "universal pushes" like those corny "let go" memes people publish. It's easy to publish a picture, harder to actually do it. 

Alrite, alrite onto the post ... January 2016 quickly rolled around, and as did the pilot announcements. While I was blissfully unaware of the commencement of pilot season, I was surely not going to make the same mistake twice. The only entertainment website I knew that had "up to the minute details" was Deadline, so I set an auto refresh chrome extension on my browser to refresh every 5 seconds in the hopes of seeing the EXACT moment any sort of announcement was made. 

Here were some of the pilots Talk Nerdy went up against ... 

That's us at the bottom sans the red font and update.

Oh but one website actually considered us one of the top pilots picks ... 

I did not pay them to write this.

As anyone could imagine pending theoretical life changing news, the waiting game turned me into a basket case with eyes as wide as saucers for just shy of 30 days. I obviously knew there was nothing I could do, but that didn't mean that I mentally wasn't trying to will the powers that be into submission. 

Clearly this is not productive, I thought one day hopping on airbnb. Remember, Talk Nerdy was just one of my projects at that time. I still had my startup, and was still consulting (startups pay peanuts, and I wanted to "financially up" my $10 hustling game). Bottom line, I couldn't afford to be a crazy pants. 

I settled on an airstream in the middle of mountains in Malibu, and chose to stare at actual stars and not anything Hollywood had to offer. 

See this post, and this is the actual airstream ... 

I realized in that moment that ignorance was truly bliss and man did I miss island life. The project actually selling couldn't be further from my mind, again, I was just happy that I could leverage the line "Jerry Bruckheimer bought my life rights." Being back in LA changed everything. My phone wouldn't stop with texts, or social media messages from friends who knew Talk Nerdy was front and television center. 

I joked with my agents saying that this is a form of sadomasochism. I asked how they do this multiple times a year, but then quickly realized that it must be different from their side of the table. 


After a full month of waiting for a decision, on February 9th, I got another email: 

Instead of responding, I called asking, "what's a Les Moonves?" I didn't even think to google it because I wasn't even sure if it was a person or a french dessert. 

I got directly through to my agent who was surprised at the question, but also very quickly answered, "he's the chairman and President of CBS." 

"That makes sense," I said brushing off my naive nelly nature. "So what are the next steps?" 

It got down between Talk Nerdy and The Great Outdoors, and Les picked The Great Outdoors. That doesn't mean you're out for the rest of pilot season, another network could still come into play, she said.  

Which made sense from my perspective because the other networks had also placed a bid. 

I had also been told that if Talk Nerdy DID make it to a pilot order, it was top pickings for having The Big Bang Theory leadin. From my perspective (and to continue a narrative), I thought it was super badass, I realized if it did end up in the slot behind Big Bang that EVERYTHING WOULD HAVE COME FULL CIRCLE!! This website STARTED with The Big Bang Theory!! 

When I started Talk Nerdy back in 09, I set up our SEO to be found by the ORM of the show. I wanted to be aligned with the show digitally, but what I got was even more than I could have ever imagined. 

<tangent> When I was physically packing the six little boxes that I had in the back of the Ford Fiesta (from when I was moving into it) ... 

... I got a call from my buddy Noa, who said I had a new fan of the blog. 

Oh yeah, who I asked?

Do you know the show The Big Bang Theory? 

Not needing to hear anything more, I began uncontrollably sobbing as he finished the fourth word. I quickly made it down to my knees (that's what she said) inside the garage overhang sobbing sobbing sobbing.

And when I say "uncontrollably sobbing" I literally mean uncontrollably sobbing

Kaley Cuoco - he said confused. She's a fan of yours, can we get her and the whole cast a shirt or something? 

I couldn't speak, I continued to sob, and concurrently turned a former Italian gangster into an equally blubbery mess. He then began tearing up and said "I don't even know why I'm crying?
Why are you crying?

Barely able to speak I explained that in this exact moment I was putting bins inside the Ford Fiesta. I didn't know I needed a sign, but the fact that you are calling me in this exact moment can't be a coincidence. I need to keep going with what I'm doing, I just can't see it all yet. 

We cried it out for another minute or two as I thanked him for the call. 

"I love you, Friel. You're a good one," he said.

I think I said I love you too, I'm assuming I did, I was just verklempt with all of the emotion. Give me a moment, talk amongst yourselves ... 

Four months later, Noa proved to do more than just give the cast shirts ... that I didn't have because I couldn't afford them ... he called asking if I wanted an exclusive of Kaley and (then boyfriend) Chris French singing "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" benefiting the humane society. (I had originally shown Noa how to use Ustream, and also shown Kaley how to use social media, as she had up until 2010 been resistant.) 

Here's the feed & here's also the original post from 2010 (mind you the poor dear had just broken her foot in a horse back riding accident, but what an awesome human being for giving the exclusive and shout out) ... 

Click the black box (it's going to ask you to authorize flash)

Within less than a year of starting this website, I got to the CEO of AOL, the CEO of Ford, and the cast of The Big Bang Theory (who again, were directly my target). At this point, everything and nothing surprised me.

The first night sleeping in the Ford Fiesta wound up being (still to this day) the best night sleep I've ever had. I knew I was moving towards a direction that was "my future" and I was willing to temporarily risk physical hunger in exchange for the feeding of my soul. </tangent> 

Alrite, so now you have the back story. So when I say it was a true disappointment not getting that spot, I really fucking meant it!! 


Instead of getting (/waiting on) any more updates via my agent, I reached out to my network of friends (one of whom I met at the Wonder Woman orgy) asking for an independent evaluation of my situation. 

Two days later I had a response ... 

I thanked her for the research and was then told by another friend that Les (we're on a first name basis now that I know he's not edible), is notorious for taking a long time to make a decision on pilots just so other networks can't get whatever he passed on. Even though I had a put pilot (aka the holy grail of both talent attached and financial commitment), the project clearly wasn't going to happen in its current form. 

Being back in LA meant that I'd continue with my own networking, and I actually found on Tinder the guy who made the decision to let CBS take the bid for Talk Nerdy. 

"You became too expensive," he said over drinks upon the forming of a newfound friendship. 

I also met on Hinge the guy that physically wrote my life rights agreement. I didn't believe him at first, so he pulled up my contract on his computer ... 

I then told him about the back story of Talk Nerdy and he couldn't believe it ... 


How could Bruckheimer have bought my life rights, I thought and people involved not know the back story? I found that strange but again ...

... not that any of that mattered because from my perspective, it was like having a kid go to college. The fact that they wanted it was great, but it also made me question what they were pitching, and if I could do it differently. 

I emailed my agents on February 12th and asked for the pilot that they presented. I knew previously that Morgan had sold the concept based upon her name, Bruckheimer's, the name of the website, and a log line, but I didn't know much else. 

Upon receiving the draft, I posted this photo in social ... 

I knew that the show at that point wasn't going to go forward for this pilot season, but that didn't mean I was willing to give up on the faint shot of a potential hail Mary. 

I can't give up, I kept thinking. There has to be a miracle in here somewhere, this is all too close. 

Oh yeah, no miracle. At least, maybe not that day, week, or month. 

I put the pilot out of my mind as best as I could, and if anyone asked about it, I pulled the LA producer card of "it's in development." 

In July, I had emailed my agents asking if they had any updates on the option being renewed. This would be the third renewal, and the third time has to be the charm, right? I mean, RIGHT??? 

After 15 years Bruckheimer and Warner Brothers decided to part ways ...

So NOW you decide you're just not that into each other I thought?? Ah, fuck. I didn't even ask my agent what the partnership termination meant (while I was historically pretty clueless I could for the first time pretty clearly see the writing on the wall, er monitor)

Like any good nerd will tell you, the game is only over if you run out of lives. As long as I was still living and breathing, why wouldn't I just try again? Albeit, I'm not a Bruckheimer, but I know a lot of really random people. 

In July of 2016, I got my life rights, trademarks, and intellectual property back. Jerry Bruckheimer basically just put a stamp of approval on this website, my name (technically career), and I was blessed with a whollleeee lotta press and intellectual property that was still considered hot (as long as nerds were still a "thing")

Time to tag in new players, I thought, only this time I have the home court advantage.

Click here to read part 3


Noa also has a podcast, btw. Not only is it good content, but listen even if you just want to fall asleep. He's got a voice like Morgan Freeman.