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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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#NerdsUnite: Three deaths in 30 days ... I sent condolences to the aunt, but when do I get to say "uncle?" 

<editorsnote> If you're an executive reading this after our pitch meetings, here's a post highlighting what we discussed. And here is the most recent slave post. If you're a nerd, keep reading ... </editorsnote> 

I want to challenge myself with something I've never done before. Instead of writing out what happened next in this series of posts ... I want to write it in reverse chronological order. The reason why this is challenging for me is because I have a photographic memory and when I write I can (with the help of headphones) completely relive my life experiences. I've never done it backwards, but considering how "upside down I feel" it seems appropriate. 

::cue post::

I knew based on the fear that I felt for going to Burning Man that it was the "right thing to do." I accepted that I was going to come back a different person, I just didn't understand what that actually meant.

The best way I can describe this feeling is to compare it to living in an attic for 33 years completely unaware that there was an entire house downstairs.

I've spent the majority of my life in my head and now I've begun exploring my heart which is building out the rest of my home. 

A side effect of my move has been living in this constant fog-like-state. Some days it's been clearer, other days, I've spent wondering if I'm about to go off a cliff. 

The heaviest marine layer started a few weeks back when I got this text ...   

Without thought, (and with manager in tow) I bolted over to her unit in utter disbelief.

<tangent> Two of my friends live in the same building, and coincidentally I was helping the owner of their building with a project. I had spent weeks going back and forth to their place where we'd all hang out - which is how I got the gig to begin with; I just happened to be there. </tangent> 

Two minutes later, I placed one of the two 911 calls from the apartment.

When I say placed, I mean I was successful at punching the numbers on my iphone, but was unsuccessful at forming anything close to a word, let alone a single sentence. 

One by one, the neighbors that were home came out (due to the sound of screams that my ears will never be able to erase). Still speechless I handed a stranger my iphone. 

Hours later, I watched my friend that I had seen four days before ...

AND who had texted two days before ... 

She never responded back to my text.

... be wheeled out in a black bag by a guy wearing a jacket identical to this ... 

The management then contacted her next of kin as I painstakingly placed over 30 phone calls that day to our mutual friends. She meant a lot of things to a lot of people and the last thing I wanted my friends to do is to read about the news over text, or even worse in the form of an RIP post in social media. 

Call after call ... 

Cry after cry ... 

The words escaping my mouth began to mimic an answering machine.  

"I'm so sorry to be the one to tell you this," I started with, "but [insert name here] has passed away" 

One by one the next response was a loud "WHAT?" 

Some followed with hysterical cries, or tears. Others quickly asked the most obvious question, "how is this possible?" 

Hanging my head low, I explained that I didn't know anything. I just happened to be here and wanted to make sure her close friends were let known personally. 

We gathered in the building that night searching for peace in the sudden arrival of our friend's final rest in peace. 

The next day was spent in a haze. It still hadn't hit me that my very young and healthy friend had just ::poof::all of the sudden passed away. How does this happen? We were told almost immediately there was no foul play, which helped to a degree, but still didn't take any of the pain and confusion away. 

To make matters worse, our personal heartbreak then made international headlines. 

I then received a group text asking if I could speak with the family. 

"Of course," I said without thought ready to help with anything I could do. 

"There are some people out there trying to capitalize on her death, and they need your help." 

I hadn't been on the computer that day but assumed it meant something had broken in the media (she was considered a public figure).

I quickly googled her before the meeting was set to begin and saw the first of many outlets reporting on what happened. 

I was pleasantly shocked as I choked back the tears reading the articles out loud to my best friend (who also knew her very well). The headlines included the words of "icon" and "legend" placed right next to her name. 

"Best. Death. Ever." I shouted with a mascara stained smile to everyone's surprise!!! 

While yes, I was devastated at the loss of my friend, but I also couldn't help how fitting it was for her to George Costanza her own life and go out on top ... 

If you're Stan Lee and die in your 90s, you "lived life to the fullest." 

If you're Marlon Brando and die in your 80s, you "had a full life." 

If you're Johnny Cash and die in your 70s, you "lived each day like it was his last." (Which Johnny Cash did in a literal sense.)

Then you get into your 60s, and you were "gone before your time."

In your 50s, you were "taken too soon."

And anything below your 50s is considered "tragic and unthinkable." 

Her death not only made her the talk of the town but she even ranked as one of the top stories on Apple News. 

Which was another shock seeing your friend's picture as a top story while turning off the alarm on your phone. 

Later that week, we decided to all get together to celebrate her. A small group of us had plans to go out dancing with her that Thursday, so we all kept the date ... as difficult as it was. 

I wore a jacket and shoes she gave me for my birthday last year, and even donned a wig (which was something she frequently did)

You'd never guess by our faces that we were at a memorial of any kind ... 

 ... but that's how I knew to grieve. I rallied the troops and we celebrated our friend, who again, was having the BEST DEATH EVER!! 

I was pulled aside at the end of the memorial by one of my girlfriends ... 

"I can't begin to tell you how happy I am that it was you who called to tell us the news. I just don't know how you placed so many calls that day. I just want to make sure you're not 'Jen-ing' and you're processing it enough yourself. I have to admit, you don't seem like you're compartmentalizing, but I want to make sure you're okay." 

"This is how I grieve," I admitted. "We're all here together telling stories and sharing memories. It's hard, it's all hard, and I don't know what the rest of my grieving process will be like, but with a support system like the one that we have, I'm pretty confident we can all get through it." 

That weekend I chose to shut off my phone and take a "staycation" at a hotel in downtown. I was a shell of my former self, and if I've learned anything from years of travel it's that you put on your own oxygen mask before anyone else's. 

Whether or not I believed it, I was hell bent on this sentence coming to fruition ... 

Over the next couple of days I helped the family issue their statement to the media. I was the only person in the "circle of trust" that had any sort of media training, so I did the best that I could explaining to them media 101 and began writing the press release (also known as an obituary) should an outlet not pick up our story. 

Her obituary was one of the most difficult things I have ever written. 

As I cut and pasted her accomplishments from her website, I focused on the fact that this was going to help and not hurt her. A bunch of people had already made "comments" in the press on her "behalf." A statement from the family would immediately shut down anyone trying to ride her coat tails. 

I then helped find a home for my friend's (now displaced) animal in addition to creating her memorial flyer. As I clicked send on the group email, I thought to myself, "this is it." It's very easy in these life experiences to get caught up in the narrative and drama and none of that belonged to me. I had to begin my own grieving process.

At the end of the day, I not only happened to have a friend pass away, but I was there seconds after she was found. I hope none of you have to experience this, but there is a sound a person makes when it is a "gut cry." I not only made that sound myself that day, but also heard it from friend after friend. I was proud that I was in that moment the person I thought I would be, but it didn't make the "going through it all" any easier.

En route home from one of the last meetings with the family, I was greeted by a neighbor of mine who looked like he had experienced his own version of death.  

"She's dead," he admitted in shock. 

Going back into my tape recorded answer I said, "I know, I'm so sorry I didn't know you knew her." 

"How did you know?" he asked confused. 

"I happened to be there randomly," I said. "I was one of the people who called 911 earlier in the week." 

"We just called 911," he said. "The cops aren't even here yet." 

"Wait, what?!" I said in shock quickly realizing he wasn't talking about my friend, he was talking about someone else. 

Other than ... 

I then found out that my neighbor directly across the hall (we have an indoor/outdoor style building) had been found dead inside her apartment. Her boyfriend hadn't heard from her in a few days and asked my neighbor to help him get access to the unit, which unfortunately he was able to successfully do. 

"My eyes can't unsee," he said. 

My ears empathized as I placed my arms around him saying how sorry I was. 

Losing a friend I was close to hit my heart. Now in my actual home DIRECTLY ACROSS THE HALL, my (very young) neighbor was ALSO found dead. 

I wasn't close to her personally, but seeing that now familiar blue seal meant I was getting the fuck out of dodge. 

I was so busy with my friend's death, I had barely been home. I knew nothing, I heard nothing, and my assumption (based upon common sense) was that all of her direct neighbors were going to be questioned. 

I wasn't willing to sit through a repeat of the life experience I had just days before. This TRULY didn't belong to me, and I already had so little left to give to anyone. 

I then called the Music Man asking him to come over and a few hours later, he arrived shocked at how bright my apartment was. (I normally like to live in a cave.) 

"You're obviously freaked out," he said. "I've never seen your place lit like this." 

"I'm going to be freaked out until I find out what she died from. If it's foul play of any kind, I'm moving." 

"I can't believe this not only just happened to your friend, but for you to come home to also find your neighbor deceased." 

I was aware of what was happening immediately around me, but none of it was sinking in. Fortunately, again, with such a great support system in place - I didn't really have to do a lot of thinking. 

Once my friends had heard about the loss of my neighbor too, they showed up at my door with wine, groceries, and even a penguin facial mask that I made immediate use of. 

I knew this life experience would never make sense, so I might as well just continue to make it weird. Life isn't fair. People die before their time, and all I could do was enjoy my own life and honor them by living it. 

Which I did that night as best as I could ... 

I returned to work a few days later, and explained to my colleague what happened. She couldn't believe it either, but unfortunately had some news of her own.

She explained that one of our colleagues (who had been in and out of the hospital for almost a year) had finally succumbed to his illnesses.

I had been the cheerleader of sorts for the company visiting him in the hospital bringing him pizza to bribe the nurses, flowers to brighten up his room, and balloons just because everyone likes balloons (GOD BLESS THIS GIF) ... 

I wish I could say I was surprised, but I wasn't. Sad yes, but no where near the familiar feeling that like a fish had begun stinking up my life. 

Here I was only recently moving into my body yet taking hits to my head, heart, and home all days apart. 

It turns out my neighbor died accidentally (without foul play). My colleague had a private ceremony with his family, and while we still don't know about my friend, I chose not to go to the "official" memorial. It didn't feel healthy staying in this never-ending "death mode." 

"You're doing the right thing," my girlfriends said on Friday. 

I thanked them, but didn't need that reassurance. 

"Now can we talk about the wachuma (the grandfather to ayahuasca) I did last month," I said to the group? "Because yes, this is fucked up, but so is that ... only in a really good way." 

 "Let me tell you," I said more than ready to change the subject and what I already told you about ayahuasca was nothing compared to wachuma was like. 




#NerdsUnite: That time I got stiffed (instead of getting something stiff) 

<editorsnote> If you're an executive reading this after our pitch meetings, here's a post highlighting what we discussed. And here is the most recent slave post. If you're a nerd, keep reading ... </editorsnote> 

Last Friday, I went to the local watering hole with my best friend (who happens to be gay, a guy, and not into anything tech), and somewhere near the end of our first glass of wine, I referenced a gif I had sent to a guy on Bumble, "let me show it to you," I said grabbing my phone. 

As I pulled up Bumble, I quickly realized I couldn't find the conversation. 

"Oh, I said laughing, he clearly googled me and unmatched." 

"Why would someone unmatch with you?" he asked confused. 

"I fully disclose in my profile that I'm a writer and that I have the blog. Some men get weirded out by it." 

"Why do you need to fully disclose your blog to people?" 

I took a moment, and thought about it, before responding with "you're right! I've spent my entire 'career' disclosing that information because my website and myself were one in the same. It's been (almost) a decade, and one full lifetime later. So, why am I still doing this?" 

I immediately deleted my entire profile (and also took down my TedX picture) and changed my profile to this ... 

The results were immediate, and on Monday, I texted him my findings ... 
As I was texting him, I got YET ANOTHER text from YET ANOTHER date ... 
I'm a sapiosexual, so leading with "just" my looks was the LAST thing on my mind. I'm a hot chick, why the fuck did I not think of leading with that!!! Who knew dating could be so easy???

Well done, Friel. You're for once not over thinking things.

Now, onto the post ... 

The more honest I've been able to be with myself, the more that I realized I never actually made dating a priority. I made dating a business yes, but a priority no. When I reread texts or (even worst) posts, I noticed a pattern in starting them off with ... "I thought I was going to meet this guy, and then I had this work thing come up ..." 

If I really want what I say I want, this should be the only coming I'm focused on ...

The "episode" I had back in September was such a blessing in disguise; it forced me to face my own mortality, which then lead to a stronger focus on what my intentions are. 

I want a family, and to make that happen, I have to shift my priorities. 

I then popped on Bumble, and matched with a guy who is in the C suite of a tech company you all know. 

The tall, dark, and handsome boxes checked, I then gave him my number and FOUR HOURS of gif game/ texting later (I dig a man with endurance) ... we set a date for our actual date. 

<tangent> I'm one of these people that doesn't want to text back and forth before we meet. Once the date is set, it's set in my mind and I go about my day. It doesn't mean I'm not excited to meet the person, it just means that I've got shit to do. </tangent> 

iCal appointment added, I then opened up safari and googled him. Historically, I've preferred to get to know someone first before googling them, but in this case, I knew he would be considered a public figure and I was curious to learn more. 

I typed in his first name (which is all Bumble gives you) and the company. The results were not great. 

Review after review spoke really ill of him. One review directly called him a "bully" and what a "horror he was to work for." Clearly these are just disgruntled employees, I thought thinking the person I had just talked to seemed far from being a "bully." Depending upon how the date goes, I will tell him about his ORM (online reputation management) and offer help (if he asks), I thought. 

We agreed to meet at the Belmont at 9pm (we both had meetings that ran rather late), and as I grabbed a LYFT over to my happy hour, I noticed he still hadn't texted to confirm. 

"Still on?" I sent. 

"I wasn't sure," he texted back. 

See, our very last message was a sarcastic gif stating that I wasn't actually that excited to meet him. I view playful jests as flirting. He took what I said literally. 

"Oh shit!" I texted back. "I must seem like such an asshole. No, I'm actually really excited to meet you, and can still do 9 if you can." 

"Okay," he texted. 

Shake it off, I thought to myself. Not exactly off to the best start, but that's fine. We had gotten along so well over text that I had assumed that we were vibing on the same level. Clearly that wasn't the case, but all good in the hood. 

And if there's one thing in this life I know that I'm not, it's a quitter. 

I arrived at the Belmont five minutes past nine and saw my date at the bar (drink already in hand)

Hi, I said excited that he looked just like his pictures.

I'll take a glass of rose, I said to the bartender as I took my seat.

Oh man, I said laughing, you must have thought I was such a jerk with that last text. I was totally just kidding.

Not a problem, he said as I caught him literally sizing me up and down.  

Taking the focus off of the flesh, I quickly asked about his family and passions. I listened intently, but could tell he was a bit guarded and closed off. Unsure if that was normal for him (he happened to be foreign), I continued pushing on. 

30 polite minutes later, both of our drinks were done. 

Shall we get another round? I asked. 

Sure, he said, let me just first use the restroom.

Okay, I said, waiting. 

Five or so minutes later, he returned saying that he thinks he has food poisoning from the dinner he had the night before. (He admitted to being with the CEO of his company the previous night.) 

Does food poisoning have a 24 delay effect? I thought but didn't say. 

"I'm so sorry to hear you're sick," I said. "Why don't we call it a night then so you can go home and rest." 

"Okay," he quickly replied seconds after I finished my sentence. Equally as fast, he then pulled out his phone and called an Uber. The car arrived a minute later. 

"It was nice to meet you," he said standing up. 

Shocked, but sympathetic, I said, "I hope you feel better." 

The entire date lasted less than 45 minutes, and he was out the door sans a second glance.

Well, I thought, you're all dressed up so you might as well make the most of it. I ordered another drink, as I texted my bestie. 

I've discovered in my old age that I fester far less (if at all) if I just vent. I don't need anyone to fix anything, just let me say what I need to say and be done with it. 

We continued to text ... 

I then finished my drink, and asked for the bill. 

Hi, I said grabbing the bartender (the bar was quite busy), can I have the check for the rose?

"Yes, you had the rose, and the beer too, correct?" 

The words "and the beer too" hit like bullets as I quickly processed that he stiffed me with his bill ... his $7 bill. 

See, because he had gotten there before me, I just (again) assumed that he had already paid cash. Tears immediately welled up and poured from my eyes as the bartender quickly offered a discount. 

In my 20s I got drinks because I was pretty. In my 30s? I got one because I was pitied.

I'm not sure what was worse, the date or being served an unwanted side of sympathy. 

<tangent> I feel like the fact that the bill was only $7 made it THAT MUCH WORSE. If you're experiencing money problems, no big deal! I can pick up a check, but someone in his position doing something like this? Money is not the issue!!! </tangent> 

Still processing, I typed the words "and he actually stiffed me w the bill. Now it's on." 

I then called my LYFT and headed over to another local bar. Tears still present, I sat down at the bar feeling sorry for myself. You're allowed to be sad tonight, I thought not wanting to compartmentalize my emotions to the point where I stopped feeling them. Give yourself tonight to feel sorry, and then move it the fuck on, I thought. 

My GF arrived moments later, party hat and all ... 

The previous weekend we went to my friend's birthday party and he had these tiny poop party hats clearly meant to be worn on a child, and as adult children - WE WERE GAME!!! 

I nearly spit out my wine, as she danced through the door announcing "we're going to take this shit show and make a shit salad!!!" 

We're gonna need a round of shots, she said to the bartender. This girl just had a REALLY bad date. 

Oh no, said the female bartender. 

I went into enough detail to highlight how horrible it was, but not enough to continue crying. 

Fortunately, she didn't say "that this one was on the house," but she did comment on the fact that this was true sisterhood. 

"Yeah, I said tears completely dry (the poop hat helped). This girl was in bed, and not only put on makeup, but I mean look at that hat."

That night, I might not have gotten the guy (THANK GOD!), but I did solidify a best friendship. 


She then asked the next day if I had heard from him, and I said no. 

"His intentions were pretty clear with his actions." 

"So, why not message him and tell him to fuck off?" she added. 

"He's not worth it," I said. "People hang themselves, and one google search alone revealed plenty."

"Congrats on being the bigger person," she said.

"Yes, the bigger person with a bestie who showed up in a very tiny poop hat." 

"Well that's what friends are for!" 

Onto the next ... and fortunately with my new game plan, there are plenty.



#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! 




#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)


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: We're back ... (oh & I turned down an orgy, threesome, and wound up on a "non-date" featuring knife throwing)

Wow. First and foremost, hi. It's been a while, and I guess you can say we are on trend of "everything old being new again" ... 

<tangent> Speaking of old, when I started Talk Nerdy, I literally had $10 to my name for an entire year as I bartered social media to live. Having $10 to your name means I couldn't afford hosting for this website. Instead of freaking out about it, I reached out to Squarespace, told them what I was doing, and they offered lifetime hosting. Seven years later, they clearly no longer offer that package as it bleeds to a 404, and won't let me upgrade the site without a full reboot (which may or may not happen). I kinda like how horribly designed this is now. Proof is in the pudding that things don't have to be perfect to still have an impact. 



As you guys may or may not know, we were bought back in 2015 by CBS (after a four way bidding war with NBC, CBS, ABC, and FOX). Pretty exciting, but as with everything else in this story - SO much more involved than I ever could have imagined. 

I'll update everything in its own post, but for now, let's get caught up on the last couple of weeks. 

Here's the song that goes with the post (they played this in my spin class on Saturday and it's so hauntingly beautiful) ... 

I didn't realize it at the time, but "walking away" from Talk Nerdy in 2013 was one of the best decisions I have ever made. It didn't mean it was easy, but five years ago, I hit what I deemed "professional success" and nothing felt the way that I thought it would. Instead of throwing a pity party for myself, I decided to do something about it. Did I think for a second it would lead me to an island on the other side of the country? No. That's what's great about life, you never know what's next. I was CONVINCED I was finally going to get married and have babies (I moved there for a guy), not once but TWICE. While both relationships are something I hold very dear to my heart, I knew I wasn't professionally fulfilled. I needed more, and as much as I loved the island, I was ready to head back to dry land. 

<tangent> I love how people in LA think btw. I can't begin to tell you how many guys I've been out on dates with have asked, "Oh - an island. You mean being isolated within your own state of mind?" 

No, I've said. I mean literally an island in the state of Florida. 


After living in LA for just shy of 10 years, I didn't think anything about coming back (after ghosting for 2.5 years). I assumed I would go back to my old "Talk Nerdy" lifestyle, and I couldn't have been more wrong. After unlocking the "intimacy" achievement, I was unable (or unwilling) to move anywhere but up. 

The first 18 months back were a product of said "uppage." I don't know how to describe it other than the feeling of going through an "emotional puberty." I started seeing in real time my own motives behind conversations, relationships, and the reality of how insignificant a lot of things (I thought I placed value in) actually were/ are.

Remember when you were 12, and as you started to develop "womanly curves?" You know how awkward you began to feel around adults because you could actively feel them staring at parts of your body you didn't have the year before?

It's like that, but in reverse; I was the one noticing the change, and I immediately became very protective of myself. It was one part letting go of a lot of shit that never belonged to me, one part stepping into the person I hoped I was, and one part telling all the other parts of myself to shut up because I overthink WAY too much. 

We're so hilariously insignificant and you can let that upset you, or liberate you. 

Knowing all of this is one thing, doing something about it is has been yet another leg of the journey. 

With the previous version of "success" under my belt, I've spent the last few months out of "emotional puberty," and more focused than ever to get EXACTLY what I want. Every day, I ask myself what my goals are (personally and professionally) and put myself in check to see if my actions are in line with said goals.

A big goal of mine is to get married and start a family. What is one way to get married and start a family? You get off your ass and put yourself out there. As per usual, guys (and girls) came and went (pun intended), and I (yet again) found myself getting frustrated with the process. 

<tangent> Bee tee dubs, clearly I am not going to marry "just anyone." If I'm this picky about a guy I'm dating, you can imagine how picky I am going to be if I do ever end up getting married. </tangent> 

Same conversations and same song and dance over and over. You spend six months trying to get to know someone only to have to wait another six months to get to know the REAL them, only to have discovered that you've now wasted a year with a person you never really liked. 


All of this was cute at 22, it's now not so cute at 32.

I've intermittenly dated here and there, and even began asking guys that I've dated to set me up with their friends, since they genuinely had glowing reviews (it was merely bad timing for one reason or another). After the last blind date setup, I decided it was time to hang up my dating shoes. It was by no means a choice to "give up," but an understanding that anytime I've ever sought one thing - I've gotten another.

Again, thought I was getting married and having babies not once but twice. Wound up ON A FUCKING ISLAND selling not one but two projects. 


Now, I've developed a routine that I genuinely enjoy. I work, workout, rise and repeat. I spend my nights (that I'm not working) in a onesie watching movies and sipping wine or smoking pot with Buster (el dogarino). I've redecorated my apartment, and because I've mostly stopped texting people back - my life had (I thought) mellowed quite a bit. 

Two Fridays ago, I got a text from someone named S&K ... 


Who or what is an S&K, I thought before quickly going ... OOOOHHHHH!!! 

Remember the couple who introduced me to the orgy scene? Well, that's them. If I'm a keeper of any of your secrets, I code you in my phone so if its ever stolen and you text, people won't know who you are. In the first orgy email, they said we didn't have to use our names, we could just use initials; I clearly take roleplaying seriously. 

I messaged back ... 



See S&K were two guys who wanted to have a DP of the For-Real (that's me, for those who are new). I've never had a threesome before with two guys, so two years ago the newness interested me. Unfortunately (or fortunately) the guys could only meet during the day, at like noon in West Hollywood. They wanted me to hang out by the pool, have a couple of drinks, and "chill." (And by chill, they mean putting their penises inside places that require a special "assistant" when explored by a male doctor.)

I'm all for a good nooner - but do you know the level of commitment it takes to prepare for something like that? And the aftercare? I don't have time to uh, "get ready" and then uh, lubricate certain parts only to then spend the rest of my afternoon in a meeting with my co-workers wondering why I'm glowing ... and smell nice ... yet sitting so ... so ... awkwardly. 

I have SO much more respect for myself!
(... which is why I only do those things at night, silly goose!)


A few hours later, I left work, and grabbed an uber to head to happy hour at El Compadres with my friends. On the way over I scrolled through my phone and had a change of heart with one of my contacts. 

See, I went out on a first date on Valentines Day with this guy Brent who had in his profile that "danger was literally his middle name." That part I thought was kinda corny, but what I did think was cool is that he's a writer and lives in a van to support his content driven lifestyle. We had a great time, but because he travels all over we hadn't talked since. 


I texted him back ... 


I didn't peep his insta story, but the next day (during one of the few moments of time I had to sleep), I got another text ... 

STFU, I thought. You mean the Women in Vaudeville show at the Bob Baker Marionette theater that I sent a company wide invite out for (due to one of our colleagues participation in the production)???


I texted back ... 


I wanted to fuck with him and wear one of my chalboard hats with I <3 Jeptha on it (my colleague), but I was having a quasi good hair day so decided not to. 

<tangent> HAVE YOU SEEN THESE THINGS?! They're magical in terms of marketing. This is not a paid affiliation, btw. I'm just a huge. huge. fan! 



Before the show, I felt a tap on my back and it was my Valentine. 

Hi, I said as we hugged and followed up with pleasantries. 

This place is kinda creepy, he admitted. I know I'm a little stoned ... 

I cut him off. You have the pot? I want the pot, I said excited. 

He then passed his vape pen, as I went outside and puff puff passed to my uh, self. 

I quietly snuck back into the theater, and rejoined my non-date. The show began moments later, and the host Lindsay announced that she was going to start with her finale (featuring knife juggling). High as a kite, I just kept thinking oh dear god please do not pick me from the audience ... oh dear god oh dear god ... 

As the host walked over to the crowd she reached behind and grabbed my non-date. 

WHEW, I thought cheering him on grabbing my phone to take photos and videos (because who was going to believe this happened without it) ... 


The show was ABSOLUTELY incredible, and if you get a chance they're doing another one next month. Highly highly recommended (pun intended). 

After the show, I bid my non-date adieu and went home to snuggle with Buster. 

So what's next now that I'm not "actively" dating? 

Well for one, I'm really really excited that I'm finally learning how to cook. I just signed up for Home Chef and am SUPER pumped to test it out. 

Oh, and did I mention that there's not one but two tv shows? Another bidding war. Three networks, and they already have a brand sponsor attached. I'll know more in a few weeks, but it's pretty exciting because it's a show I would genuinely watch. (This one I'd actually be in with two of my friends which makes it SO much better.) 

Oh, and shhhhhhh, don't tell anyone, but here's the a sneak peek of Talk Nerdy's treatment ... 

I learned design working for DropInInc (out of frustration due to designers being so expensive and then leaving because we're a startup and startups pay dilly). I'm super super proud of how far the project has come, and will tell you all about the process in the next post. 

Buckle up nerderinos!! I have no idea what we are going to be in for, but one thing is for sure - its already been one hell of a journey. 

Thank you for everything. I can't wait to pay you all back. :) 

All my love and all my heart, you make me SO proud to type ... 


Oh and PS. I totally forgot that seven years ago when I created the twitter account for Talk Nerdy, I used an old SNL reference for the location ... 


P.P.S. To any of the old writers, or any n00bs that want to join ... shoot me an email!! jen at dropininc dot com or jenfriel at talknerdytomelover dot com. This is just a soft launch for now, but over the next couple of weeks we are going to fully ramp back up. Would LOVE to hear from you!! xx