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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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Monday
Jun192017

#NerdsUnite: Jen and Matt talk cars (Facebook Livestream) 

A hoi hoi! Last week's livestream was def top three of my favorite to date. Matt and I got to check out the 2017 McLaren 570S. Take a looksie ... 

#nerdsunite

Sunday
Jun112017

#TrueStory: Last night, I went ghost hunting with @RachelTrue from The Craft

I have a knack for leaving one thing (while passively accepting an invitation to another thing) WITHOUT KNOWING that I'm walking into someTHING I am about to very much enjoy. This happens frequently, I now know to listen - not question.

13 year old Jen is SUPER HAPPY with this life experience - I GOT TO GO GHOST HUNTING WITH ROCHELLE!!! 

 

Score one for nerd kind everywhere! 

K, stop talking Friel - just write the damn post. 

Last night, I went to Pour Haus in downtown LA for my girlfriend Meghan's birthday (which happens to be today, Happy Birthday Meghan!) We've discussed at great legnths that we would make the ULTIMATE power lesbian couple. We're both creative and analytical but in very very different ways.

Meghan comes from an agency background, and I come from the school of hard knocks/hustlers. We can independently build digital projects that arrive at the same destination point, but she's smart knowing that an abundant budget is a great thing to have. I, on the other hand, like to test opinions (popular and my own theories), pushing them to extreme boundaries that might not make sense to other people, but after a lot of hard work arrived at said destination point ... sans budget. (I find myself being less stubborn in my elder years, however, I respect the hustle of 20 something year old Jen. She knew what she wanted, and actually got it.

Professionally speaking, we have a deep respect for one another (seriously check out her site), and that level of respect has translated into a great friendship. (We are both able to compartmentalize effortlessly.) 

Just last week, we spent four hours dancing to Boyz To Men, Paula Abdul and NKOTB - while being photo bombed by an ewok ... 

 

Oh, and last December, her daughter spent an entire evening at Zoo Lights calling me Gina. Not Gina as in Geena Davis. Gina as in missing the V and A ... 

IF ONLY WE WERE LESBIANS!!! THE STORIES ALONE!!! Le sigh. Give me 10 more years of being single, and maybe I'll try dating a girl again. 

Her birthday party was great. We had wine, delicious gorgonzola stuffed dates, and around 10:45ish I gave her a big hug and bid adieu. (I knew I had to get up relatively early to go spinning with my attorney and had to be mentally clear enough to discuss certain deals. Hashtag Adulting.) 

On the way back from downtown, I got a text from my gf asking if I could stop by to pick up her mail key (I agreed to grab her mail while she is going out of town).
No problemo, I texted back, r u free now? am by ur place. 
Yep, she texted back.

I then swapped out the address in my Uber, and pulled up to her building moments later. <tangent> She lives in one of those super old and historical buildings in downtown. </tangent> 

Here, I texted as she immediately buzzed me in.
I walked in quickly realizing she wasn't alone.
I did my best to not pull a Honey ... 

(Scroll to :54 or click here - iframe embed code wouldn't work w proper start time.)

I immediately knew it was Rachel, but had so many questions in that exact moment: 
Like, 1) How long have you two known each other? 2) Do you live here? When I pick up the mail do we like get to hang out and totes become besties? 3) How gratifying was it for your character to see Christine Taylor's hair falling out in the shower? Her character was such a bigoted see you next Tuesday - that had to feel good. Right? Right? 

Silencing 13 year old Jen, I focused on the words coming out of Rachel's mouth. 

<tangent> The Craft came out in 96, around the same time as Clueless, and the rise of the Spice Girls. You didn't just want to "be" these girls, you mentally were. I didn't have three close girlfriends at that age, but personality wise, I was definitely a "Sarah." I respected her journey, and development of powers she didn't totally know what to do with. 


</tangent> 

I admitted that I knew who she was, and mentioned that I still in fact had The Craft on my DVR due to it being on TV last week. 

"Don't worry, you'll be receiving a residual. The Craft and Clueless shaped my middle school years." 

"Funny you mentioned Clueless, I dated so and so from that movie."

My brain immediately went into fantasy mode of imagining their character's lives together. Not knowing if that information was public, I squashed the thought bubble and went back to focusing on everything IRL. 

Rachel then told us about her lifestyle blog focused on health, and general life philosophies. I was super impressed that someone immortalized with a type of "witchcraft" could also be so unbelievably down to earth. (This makes sense though considering she is friends with my other gf who is also super down to earth.) 

She mentioned that LA Weekly published an article on her a few weeks ago talking about her tarot reading skills.

Accepting the "ghostly" cue, and realizing we were in a super historical (and I can only imagine) haunted structure - 13 year old Jen piped back up asking, "do you want to explore the building? I hear the basement is super creepy." 

"OMG, you're willing to go down there?" said resident gf. 

Duh, I said, never one to say no to an adventure.

How many people can say they've gone ghost hunting with one of the four characters from The Craft. I. Wanted. That. Life. Experience. So, I got it! 

None of us had enough battery in our phones to download an EMF detector, but fortunately we had enough life left for the flashlight to work should we get the beejeepers scared out of us. 

 

As we began exploring, Rachel made the observation that because this building was around in the prohibition era, it was highly likely that there were tunnels (where they would sneak in the alcohol)

That's genius, I said. 

Think about it, this is the basement where they "show people the basement." There's gotta be something underneath here. 

We then opened up as many doors as we could, before bumping into one of the building managers asking what we were doing. Being a badass herself (and maybe recognizing Rachel), she was only pissed at the fact that she didn't have an invitation. 

"I want to go ghost hunting too!" 

Our group grew to a party of 5 (she had a friend in tow, and hehehee Party of 5, also featuring Neve Campbell) plus 1 skeleton key later, we roamed the otherwise "off limit" areas.

Approaching a locked door, Rachel made an observation about the group's "background." 

"We all know that because I'm the blackest one, I'm going to die first." 

Everyone laughed. 

"Yes, but next is the couple that has sex," two of us said in unison. 

We looked at the one guy, and continued our laughter respecting that we have all seen the movie Scream (which also came out in 96)

If you're in your 20s, watch this scene and you'll know how to survive a horror movie: 

Room after room, we all could tell that there was "activity" (you distinctly had a feeling that "you weren't alone," which by definition we weren't with a party of 5), but whatever "it" was, "it" didn't seem to be bothered by our intrusion. Of course, we made sure to stay respectful of the space and building, but said respect didn't stop us from trying to figure out the EXACT location of potential tunnels. 

"Does the building have blueprints?" I asked the manager. 

"Not sure, I can find out," she said. 

What's that I hear ... oh, just the sound of another adventure ... 

 

All in all, the hunting lasted just shy of an hour. As we got back to the lobby Rachel commented on my heritage. 

"What are you," she asked. 

Loaded question, I thought before quickly responding with "I'm Irish." 

"You're one of those Celtic Druid-like chicks. If we were both back in Salem we'd be burned at the stake." 

I laughed knowing that I did actually have a relative burned at the stake, and the apple didn't fall far from the charred tree. 

The swapping of social media handles happened moments later ...  

 

... as we started brainstorming séance ideas.

We HAVE to do this again, I said, but like, film it. The 30 somethings LOVE nostalgia - you could turn it into "a thing." 

"I'm in," she said. 

AANNNNNDDD just like that ... a "True" and "For Real" are now friends, all because of a girl named "Justice." 13 year old, and 32 year old Jen like that.  


#nerdsunite 

 

Wednesday
Jun072017

#Fact: The pun is always intended 

 As someone who has spoken of many adventures with "stiff" body parts, I bow down to the powers of the internet. Thank you, nerds. These puns are hilarious! 

 

#nerdsunite 

Monday
Jun052017

#NerdsUnite: Jen and Matt talk cars (Facebook Livestream) 

Soo ... my friend Matt aka @motorator is pretty famous in the car world.

He co-hosts a podcast with Adam Carolla, and gets access to all types of cars to review. My startup DropIn has an auto vertical (check it out over yonder). Starting last year, we decided to turn it into a thing, so now we do it over on the Facebook Live. 

Here's today's hang out in the Ford F-150 ... 

#nerdsunite 


 

 

 

 

Sunday
May282017

#Fact: Paybacks aren't always a b!tch 

Back in October, I gave a TedX talk in Normal, Illinois ... 

At the after party for the conference I met a college student by the name of Isaac Dallas (SUCH a great name). He said how big of a fan he was, and within five minutes of talking, I could tell that in 10 years the roles would be reversed. We exchanged information, and a few months later, my company DropIn, Inc. wanted to throw the first insurtech event in Silicon Beach. I reached out to long time friend Kevin Winston of Digital LA, and he said we could do it as long as we have an insurtech investor, startup, and tier 1 insurance company represented. Not a problem, I thought knowing I could hit up my buddy Ben Way, but a tier 1 insurance company? This might be tough. 

I then remembered Isaac (who mentioned that he worked at State Farm), and low and behold with two emails and a phone call, State Farm agreed to present. (Something they are notoriously known for not doing.) 

Because of Isaac the event was a huge success  ... 

As a thank you, our company flew Isaac out to LA to attend. As I walked him from the office to the corporate apartment (where he was going to stay), he said I can't thank you enough for all your help. (I had also connected him to the founder, Louis Ziskin, who wound up funding his entire seed round for his new VR company.) 

I turned and said, "you don't have to thank me - just remember this moment, and when you have the opportunity to do this for someone else, please do." 

I had no idea three months later I would be eating my own words. 

Last week, I got a text from my girlfriend asking if I was going out of town anytime soon. (She loves watching Buster, my dog.) Not for another few weeks, I texted back, but why don't I bring him by your place? She lives near one of my favorite restaurants in the valley so I knew I could schedule a meeting and kill two birds with one bone. Done, she texted back. 

I got to her place around 7pm, and as I was walking in, she said she forgot something at the office but would be right back. Not a problem, I said as I got Buster settled with his food and water dish. 

He then climbed up on her couch (she approves of him doing so), and I sat down next to him. Forgetting my kindle at home, I grabbed my phone and pulled up safari. YESS!!! I said remembering that I had fallen asleep the night before watching Dr. Pimple Popper ... 

15 super productive sebaceous cysts later, I heard a scream come from outside. Buster and I turned in unison.

As we looked out her big bay window, I saw this petite woman being chased by this very thin man or woman (I couldn't tell). At first it seemed playful, but seconds later the thin wo/man forcibly grabbed the suitcase she had been rolling. Both parties then darted into traffic (during rush hour). Realizing I was witnessing a robbery of some kind, I grabbed my cell and dialed 911. 

 

Shockingly, I got right through to an operator. I very calmly began to describe what I was seeing with as many details at possible.

He or she is wearing a blueish-green cloth on their head, with a red plaid shirt and red pants. OMG, I shouted, they are trying to get into a stopped Jeep Cherokee. They've opened the passenger door, but the car is speeding off. They are in traffic, I shouted in a non-calm manner!!

Horrified at the visual of an IRL game of frogger, I pressured the operator to have the police HURRY!

 

"Someone is going to get hurt! S/he is chasing her through rush hour traffic!" The woman then pulled on more stopped car doors, but each one would speed away. (Can't say I blame them. Without the full picture, they wouldn't have known that the woman was truly in need.) 

Then, seemingly out of nowhere, the wo/man stopped chasing the other woman. She casually and confidently rolled the suitcase down the sidewalk like nothing had happened. 

She's walking east and crossing the street, I told the operator. 

What's she doing now? she asked. 

She's stopping. North side of the street, adjacent to an empty parking lot. She's now opening the suitcase and taking out the woman's belongings. She's throwing them everywhere. 

Where is the woman? asked the operator. 

She's on the other side of the street. She finally flagged down a car, a black Cadillac.  

A helicopter then arrived, as the operator said "we have visual confirmation of the activity." 

Undeterred, the wo/man then bolted from her side of the street and began charging towards the woman.

"She's chasing her again, I shouted!!" 

Ma'am, officers are on their way. 

YOU SENT A HELICOPTER, I shouted. WE NEED SOMEONE ON THE GROUND! (I love how I'm telling the 911 operator how to do her job. Good work, Friel!) 

The woman then tripped over something in the road and the wo/man proceeded to grab the back of her head while smashing it into the pavement. 

As descriptive as possible, I relay the graphic details to the operator. Seconds later, officers finally arrived as a crowd began to gather to help the now injured woman. 

The wo/man was then placed in handcuffs. 

"Do the officers have the right person in custody?" the operator asked. 

Yes, yes I said, relieved. 

Thank you for calling, said the operator. Next, we need you to give a statement to one of the officers. 

Not a problem, I said hanging up the phone. 

The entire ordeal lasted six minutes. 

A very long six minutes. 

I then ran downstairs and out the door grabbing only my cell. I texted my gf to let her know about the police activity, and that everything is fine, but traffic might be backed up. As I clicked send, I looked down at the time and realized I was also going to be late for dinner. I texted my colleague ... 

 

As I approached the officers, they had (what I could now tell was a woman) standing by the side of the cop car still in handcuffs. You didn't need to give a field sobriety test to know this woman was ABSOLUTELY out of her mind. She was high as a kite, and deliriously unaware of what was going on. My heart hurt in that moment, because it's such a sad situation. Here is this woman that you can tell lives on the streets, is more likely than not mentally ill and uses drugs to self medicate. This random woman was just walking down the street IN BROAD DAYLIGHT and had a rolling suitcase that caught her eye. Talk about being in the wrong place at the wrong time. It was a sad situation all around. 

The officers then began speaking to some of the witnesses. As I stood there, I wondered where the other woman went? 

I then crossed the street as I saw her alone, collecting her belongings. Oh hell no I thought, you should NOT be doing that.

 

I ran over calmly asking if I could help. 

"Why didn't anyone call the police? No one helped me!" 

"I did call, I said. I saw the whole thing, and narrated it to the 911 operator. I came down here to give a statement." 

You called?? Thank you so much! she said, still obviously in shock. 

I could see the welt on her head, and open wound. Let's get you to the hospital, I said grabbing the last of her things. 

Confused, she looked up and said "do you think I should have used my pepper spray?" 

Not wanting to upset her with the obvious YES BITCH, I spoke in a soft voice and said, "you did the best that you could in that moment. You survived and that's all that matters." 

 

We then walked back across the street where the officers were still taking statements. 

I then realized that this woman is going to go through the same thing I went through five years ago when I was hit in the head with the brick; I could help keep her calm by explaining what was going to happen. 

"I'm not 100% sure if this is still the case, but make sure you get all the medical attention you need. Head wounds are very serious, and the state of California has a fund that if you're the victim of a random act of violence, they will pay your medical expenses up to $65,000. You can even get reimbursed if you have to move, or require any therapy." 

In my case, it took almost a month for the Victim's Advocate Department to contact, and since I didn't have insurance, I did go to the emergency room (where I received four staples in my head) but stupidly, I tried taking them out myself (not wanting to pay for yet another medical bill)

DUMBEST.DECISION.I.HAVE.EVER.MADE.

I did it stone cold sober too - so painful. so so painful. I didn't know her situation, but wanted to make sure she didn't try to do the same. 

"How do you know all of this, she asked?"

"Let's just say, I've gone through something similar." I continued, "you're going to wake up with the worst headache you've ever had in the morning, and depending on the severity of your concussion it could take months before you fully feel 'back to normal.' Just take it easy, and know I'll be there to testify." 

 

<tangent> Looking back on all the adventures experienced with Talk Nerdy, there were two instances where I legitimately could have ended up dead and or severely, severely hurt. (Which is hilarious because the two events happened when I had a home again, and wasn't couch surfing.) The first was when I was drugged at a bar (ironically called Happy Endings). I was handed a shot (that I did not see poured), and the last thing I remembered was putting my bag around my chest, blinking and waking up on the floor of my bathroom 12 hours later in a pool of my own vomit. One of my twitter followers happened to see me leaving with two guys and another girl. He said he knew me to the guys, and said "Jen doesn't go home with guys from the bar." He grabbed me and apparently I was conscious enough to tell him where I lived, without having any recollection of it the next day. The second time was the brick, and thankfully I got hit EXACTLY where I did. Had it been ten feet forward or ten feet back, I'd be dead. I had a severe concussion from the injury, and I was wearing all black early evening in January. (Funny the similarities in the stories.) Had it not been for the Russian hair salon owner that not only chased the guy down, but actually showed up to testify, the guy would have gotten away and been able to repeat offend. As is, he already had a felony warrant out for his arrest. </tangent> 

 The officer then approached asking for my statement. I started off by saying, "at first, I thought they were friends of some kind playing." The woman then cut me off -

"You thought we were FRIENDS?! She's black, I'm Chinese." 

My whiter than white girl face froze, unsure of how to react. I continued, "but then I saw the woman in red take her suitcase and chase her through traffic." 

It took less than 10 minutes to describe what happened with the same consistency and details as the 911 call. He thanked me for helping, and said I should receive a subpoena in a few weeks. "It's very helpful in these situations for the victims to have a witness attend." 

"You don't have to ask twice," I said to the officer smiling. "I'll 100% be there."

I never asked for the woman's name, nor did I give her mine. I happened to be the right person, at the right time and was capable and calm enough to be able to provide an eye witness account. (Even if my eyes could barely believe what they were seeing.)

It was the least I could do, and surprisingly paybacks aren't always a bitch. I arrived to dinner a half hour late, and as I sat down, my girlfriend Stephanie said, "you are the perfect person to have a blog. Your stories are so incredible!" 

"Thank you, I said. It's at least comforting to know I'll have a long, long, career in content creation." 

 

#nerdsunite