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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: 50 Shades of Friel (that time I became a FinDomme) 

<editorsnote> Dear mom and dad, this post is probably not a good post for you to read. Love you! </editorsnote> 

So, last night, I thought I was going to dollar taco night in the valley to catch up with some friends (in crypto) and pitch an idea that I have in the space ... 


... only I wound up at the Waldorf Astoria rooftop (not my recommendation) ... 


... got kicked out of a (coincidentally) crypto-event-based happy hour ... tried talking my way out of it (with a full plate of every food they were offering at the buffet later) ... epically failed ... only to walk back over to the table and ask my friends confused wondering "what gave me away?" My new "girlfriend" and I happened to be stopped by a group of guys as we were leaving, so I wondered if security thought we were "working the event?" 

Considering our happy hour tab was SEVEN HUNDRED DOLLARS I kinda wish I was "working it." (We had a big group but not SEVEN HUNDRED DOLLARS big.) Only not selling my body for sex. Cause, that's kinda not my thing. BUT I was a findomme once. And yes, that actually IS a thing.  


Per UrbanDictionary: 

Maestro ... 

Last June, I got an email from a new Talk Nerdy fan ... 

As I've said previously, HANDS DOWN (er tied up?) the most popular series of posts I have ever written has been the adventures in being a DIY Domme. (Which is why when I repackaged the Bruckheimer/ CBS pilot, we chose this exact topic. It's all a numbers game in media.) Like another monthly visitor, I still to this day (and equally as regularly) get tweets ... 

and Facebook messages ... 

Most are interested in being one of my slaves, but some generally ask questions about the "scene" and or life in general ... 

The funny thing is that when you ignore them, they actually enjoy it ... 

Like I'd ever accept a slave that starts a sentence off with "yo." 

I'm not sure what it was about his Financial Domination email that interested me. Timing? Maybe. Money certainly isn't a motivator, nor is the idea of accepting gifts from someone I don't know. (Remember this post?) I view "gifts" of any kind as a form of power; I am only willing to accept something if it has meaningful value and as someone who is very selective, it made me question if I could go through with this. 

Isn't that the point?, I wondered. 

I thought back to when I accepted my first slave, six years and one FULL lifetime ago. I was naturally curious with the radical honesty of the slave and while on my end it wasn't sexual, I did discover my own voice and power in the process. But now? I know what I have and quietly carry that with confidence. Why repeat the life experience, I wondered?

I took a full 24 hours to think about it before I responded. 

As an entrepreuner, I find myself frequently asking for money so being in a position where I demanded it felt like a (pun intended) value add.

Besides, at that point I wasn't dating someone and if I'm not fucking someone, I might as well fuck with someone. 

He followed my response with another email ... 

I read the first sentence and immediately flipped into full Domme. 

Always with the puns.

Two days and one decision later, I sent another email ... 

Typing the word "pig" made reminded me of the nursery rhyme and how I'm not sure if this is what they actually meant when they sent "that little piggy off to the market." Funny, how that rhyme is also about feet. 

A few hours later, he sent this. 

He also sent a screenshot (which was nice since I didn't have to click a link and wait those extra seconds for the page to load)

I thought, before opening up the image ... 

I actually happened to like the shoes he picked (practical and I can dress them up and down), but I wasn't going to accept any sort of first offer. 

<tangent> Giving myself the name "Mistress Jennifer" helped me compartmentalize the dynamic; my whole life I've been Jen (and mostly Jen Friel - all spoken as one word). I was only ever called Jennifer as a child when I was doing something I wasn't "supposed to," (hehe) and now as an adult I'll call myself Jennifer only to someone I've met when I don't want them to google me. It's not hard to still connect the dots, but I feel like it helps. </tangent> 

It's important to note the boundary of time (which is important in the sub/ Domme dynamic). Once I gave him a command, he was truly out of my mind until he performed the task to my satisfaction. Then and only then did I begin to think about him again.

Needing to stay on task of time myself (particularly living with an out of sight out of mind mentality) meant that I set an alarm down to the minute from when I clicked send on the email (and not just when he received it).

::sets alarm:: 

I set it to "slave fail" knowing that the likelihood of him ACTUALLY pleasing me would be so low.

Four hours is very generous, btw; I was testing to see what he would do with it. Is he the kinda sub that would wait until the last minute? Those won't last long with me. If I was going to do this, I needed to be in complete control of his mind at all times, and make sure I was one step ahead or I ran the risk of being "topped from the bottom." 

I love that BDSM has their own version of wikipedia ... 

I made that mistake before, and like a good nerd, I wasn't willing to do it again. 

Two hours and 37 minutes later, he completed my command. 

18 minutes later, I sent a reply ... 

31 minutes later, he sent this ...

11 minutes later I sent this ... 

4 minutes later he sent this ... 

Exactly at 9:45 the next morning, I sent this ... 

I also attached a photo of the polish ... 

31 minutes later the shoes were ordered (with the expedited shipping)

(It reads: Yes, Mistress Jennifer. I have ordered your shoes and paid for the expedited shipping. Thank you for allowing me to purchase these shoes for you Mistress. I am very thankful for this opportunity. I will give you the tracking information as soon as I receive it Mistress Jennifer.) 

I opened the attachment ... 

$118 - told you I was worth more than an amazon gift card. ::pfft::

36 minutes later I sent this ... 

Three hours and 10 minutes later he sent a link to the tracking ... 

Command complete, my attention went to things that had value.

Testing his willingness to submit, I gave a second command in the same day (technically speaking two hours and 46 minutes later) ... 

17 minutes later he sent this ... 


By sending this he failed. Do you see what I did? I said VERY SPECIFICALLY for him to take the photo but to also send me an email when he was ready. Knowing how eager he would be for me to see that he is pleasing, meant that he would more likely than not miss that part - going straight to just the action. If he didn't miss it, I'd now know how detail oriented he is and to stay EVEN MORE ontop of my game to avoid being topped myself. 

Remember the part about having to stay one step ahead of him mentally?

That photo is me succeeding.  

I let him learn of his failure four minutes later ...

58 minutes later he sent this ... 

16 minutes later I sent this ... 

I'm still proud of that line, "I don't speak the language of beg. Start groveling." 


23 minutes later he sent this ... 

I waited until the next morning to respond.

At 9:30 I sent this ... 


At 11:25, I checked with our office manager to see if I had received a package. 

Not yet, she said. 

I explained it was from a potential slave and if it wasn't here for my meeting at noon, he has failed. 

She smiled, but wasn't surprised. 

See, my plan was to walk into my Talk Nerdy TV development meeting saying the sentence, "my new slave just bought me these," and put the shoe box down on the table in front of the executives to freak them out a bit. 

If he failed, I wouldn't have that life experience. That would leave me verrryyyy disappointed ...


Two minutes after 12, I sent him this (the headline read failure) ... 

44 minutes later he sent this ... 

9 minutes later I sent this ... 

60 minutes later he sent this ... 

I then went to my meeting, and when the executives asked how my day was, (without skipping a beat), I said "fine until my slave failed. It's so hard finding good ones."  

I then explained what I was doing and how real all of these stories are. "There is so much more too," I said sitting down on the couch "and you can ask me anything but I'm really excited to show you what we came up with." (The "we" referencing the woman who actually wrote the pilot and my true partner in crime.) 

By the end of the meeting, the execs left with a smile ... 

And on the drive home, I wondered what I wanted the slave to do next. So many disappointments, he clearly wasn't taking this seriously enough. 

As I put my hair in a pony, I noticed some split ends.

I got an idea as I emailed CLEARLY FEELING GENEROUS ... 

Two hours and 38 minutes later, without a reply, I sent this ... 

54 minutes into pending termination, I looked down at my phone (obviously to respond to a man worthy of Goddess attention) and noticed there was still no response. 

<tangent> The term "Goddess" btw is common for a domme "in the scene." The use of capitals is also intentional. </tangent> 

General rules in a scene is that you have to be crystal clear when something is over. Not receiving the information requested, I terminated his consideration. 

I'd say that I cared, but I had better things to do. 

Sometime the next day, he sent me this ... 

I didn't respond. 

He messaged again ... 

Look at me using the word "he." This isn't a man; I wouldn't even consider this "thing" to be a little pig. How does one fail at that?!?! 


Focus Friel. Back to the post ... 

I looked at my calendar and down at my hair. I really could use some pampering after dealing with such stupidity for a whole 32 hours. 

Sometime later I emailed him back ... 

He then sent this ... 

I sent this ... 

He sent this ... 

Then, (hilariously) the hair salon actually made a mistake by misspelling my last name ...
Which of COURSE wasn't actually their mistake ... it his.

I sent this ... 

He sent this ... 

I sent this ... 

Remember, the command was for him to "tell the receptionist that this is a gift from a pathetic piece of shit." I've been going to that particular salon for years, so I know they'd have a solid laugh and be down.

He sent this ...


I sent this ... 

He sent this ... 

He remembered to wait before sending. Looks like someone is finally paying attention. 

I sent this ... 

I sent this ... 

Seconds later he sent this (CLEARLY NOT GETTING THE PICTURE) ... 

I sent this ... 

He sent this ... 

The next afternoon, I sent this ... 

Have you seen the video and ever read the lyrics? 

Here's the chorus: 'Cause you're a god
And I am not
And I just thought
That you would know
You're a god
And I am not
And I just thought
I'd let you go

Three hours later, a familiar pattern reappeared. 

I emailed as the alarm went off ... 

Oh, and I also sent him the screenshot as visual reminder of his failing ... 

And there you have it. That was my experience as a findomme. Oh and the hair salon? Coincidentally my hairdresser switched salons so I have no idea if he completed the command. And for the shoes? They arrived, but he failed. So, I gave them to my partner in crime and co-pilot for the TV show.


What's the saying? One man's trash is another woman's treasure? 

After all that, and he still never got a photo of my feet. Guess I'll just have to find a slave that's actually worthy. Know of any? 



#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)

If I didn't actually live this story myself, I'm not sure I would believe it. I've purposefully included as many screenshots as possible (which I'm fortunate that I talked to my agents mostly via email). The truth really is stranger than fiction and this little fucking nerdy website is the little engine that could. 

Maestro ... 

In 2012, I fell into my first of many clichés - after 3 years and thousands of blog posts, I had finally gotten everything that I had wanted and realized I didn't want any of it.

I started this website on November 3, 2009 after seeing with my own eyes the trend that nerds were going to finally be considered "hot." Intelligence was going to be the "new sexy" and I wanted to time stamp my ideas in the space to use as a resume (of sorts) to get whatever job I was after.

Life had other plans (giving me a career - not just "a job") and with a tremendous amount of hard work and hustling I grew with my bare hands what is now a "brand." As any entrepreneur will tell you though, that tremendous amount of hard work came with a side of sacrifice in the form of family and friends. 

Putting blinders on with my head down, I didn't know it at the time, but began executing the "influencer marketing trend" seven years before others. I chose to (what I called) "barter" social media to live for a year (getting to 12 states with $10 to my name). During that year I lived in a car and couch surfed purposefully never staying with family or current friends (I called it the unapologetically awesome 2010 tour, since I wasn't sure people would want to sponsor someone without a home); I was only interested in meeting/ connecting with people who "got" social media like I did and could see that the way we were receiving our information was going to change - rapidly. 

My commitment to this website lead to "internet fame" (which let's be real came from the fact that I had the balls to do a lot of dumb shit that would get the majority of people either arrested or six feet under).

Either way, I took pride in the growing traffic but as my own honesty grew with each post I wasn't sure how happy any of it made me anymore. After having a nervous breakdown in 2007, I knew I couldn't survive doing anything that didn't make me happy - even if it was something I had built myself. 

The straw that broke the camels back was when I had (by my own definition at the time) the best night of my life, and had no one to share it with. I spent so many years in single player game mode that when it came time to tag team player two, I had no options. 

Six very long and frustrating months later, I was introduced to Oprah's Love Ambassador (that's an actual thing, but don't consider this an endorsement of any kind), who was interested in conducting a nationwide search for one of her "very eligible" and wealthy bachelor clients (she reached out to see if I could help her with her social media strategy)

At the time, I had a lot of (truly) random offers. Books, TV shows, new sponsors ... I was taking what they call "generals" with studio heads, show runners, executive producers, and agencies. Even with all of the other shiny things, there was something about this woman and this situation that my brain wouldn't/couldn't shake. 

I called, texted and emailed this woman, and while I was standing in a lingerie shop on Hollywood Blvd (I was going to a Playboy Mansion party that night) she finally called. 

She had asked what some of my initial steps were (in terms of marketing) and I said I need a one sheet on the type of woman he's interested in. For me to be able to do the job right, I'd need to reverse engineer her personality type to be able to target accurately. 

"How old are you?" she asked. 

"I'm 28," I said. 

"Do you want to get married and have children?" 

"Yes," I said. 

"You might be the person I'm looking for." 

Ha.Ha.Ha. I thought. Like I'm going to just be the type of person that "falls in love" and gets "swept off her feet" by an international man of mystery who's apparently fully loaded (and I'm not talking about his wallet)

At this point I dated half of Los Angeles and was still single so clearly, I did not know what I was doing and here was this person that could help; I'd be an idiot not to accept.

As a lifelong, card carrying member of the "workaholics" club, it shockingly started to make sense that I would meet someone through working together in some capacity. Besides, I thought, there was no downfall. If we meet and fall in love, great! I'll have found my second player. If we meet and there's no chemistry, great! I can get to know him and have a better idea in terms of the kind of woman he's looking for. 

I then went through the "bachelorette onboarding process" which included a questionnaire and back and forth email communications done through the matchmaker (that was done to protect the public identity of her client)

On April 6th, I was then flown out to Bal Harbour (just outside of Miami) and was sent the confirmation for my hotel reservation at the St. Regis.

Mind you, I had no clue who this guy was, what he looked like, all I had to go on was the research I had done on the matchmaker and the word of my manager that this was legit. He laughed when I called him from the town car on the way over to the hotel (they even sent a car service)

"This really is normal for you isn't it?"

While the blind date part was new, the "destination dating" wasn't.

<tangent> I still laugh at getting ditched in my bikini in Miami. THAT story was priceless. </tangent> 

"I'm open to whatever comes my way in terms of love," I said. "There's no downside." (Plus being internet famous meant safety was a tweet away, which based upon the level of engagement at the time - TNTML had proven itself to be faster than 911.

To my surprise, I realized after our first date that I WAS the type of person that could "fall in love" and be "swept off my feet" by an international man of mystery who's in person EVEN MORE extraordinary than he seemed on paper. 

Dating someone who was independently wealthy meant that my own concept of time began to change. I didn't have to wait for anything anymore. Removing any sort of waiting period from two naturally ambitious people lead to life going into overdrive. 

I then went from having $10 to my name HUSTLING for every last BIT of anything I needed to survive, to having (quite literally) "it all."

Yes, the private jet adds for good storytelling, but the "it all" I'm referencing was the fact that I finally felt like I had a connection with someone (which, outside of a job, was all I was really after in starting this website). While I was proud of what I had built, it was a no brainer that my new life was more fulfilling than my last one.

Gone were the days of sitting behind my computer with my headphones on for hours publishing my deepest thoughts and then (hilariously) attempting to get up from the desk barely able to walk (due to not noticing that both feet had fallen asleep)

I instead sat in a bathrobe cuddled on a comfy couch drinking wine (of course while practicing the crane - see below), talking about the universe, and reading while he played video games; I had found my version of heaven operating in two player mode, and was ready for Talk Nerdy's game to end. 

Look ma, I'm capable of intimacy!! 

I then ghosted Los Angeles, this blog (out of respect for the relationship), and moved to an island in an income tax free state. To say it was an adjustment at first was an understatement. I had previously spent my entire adult life in big cities where the follow up question to "what's your name" is "what do you do?" People on the island didn't talk about what they did, or anything pop culture or tech related (my two biggest passions). It was less "world domination" and more about the closeness of the community.

Much like my perception of time being altered, so did my concept/ understanding about what really mattered. The icing on the cake was that my parents were a mere hour and some change away, so not only did I begin to understand and truly respect small town life, I also learned to respect (even more) the people that gave me said life. 

I'll keep the details of our relationship private, but after less than a year of dating, we broke up. While I absolutely don't regret it, it was (still to this day) my second worse life experience.

To put it in a frame of reference, the third worst life experience was losing everything I owned in the massive cockroach infestation. 

Leveling up to becoming a person and not a persona meant that the last thing I was willing to do was give a hard reset and change the game back to Los Angeles. I was having so many new and weird life experiences on the reg that there was NO WAY I was willing to give that up just because I was back in single player mode.  

My resume "special skills" now include: senior levels of IRL socialization, light breaking and entering (more on that in a moment), box jumping, archery (which I still need to develop strong enough biceps to pull back the compound bow - I'll get there), fishing, jumping off roofs into canals, cooking on a toilet seat inside of a garage, and many more adventures that I was too busy living to document. 

I was no longer going through the motions, I was truly living and experiencing life for the first time - all for myself.   

I then got my own place, and while each step of the process was painstakingly difficult, I got by with the help of my friends (and card games ... lots of card games)

Single but rarely solo, I rang in the new year, and was finally clear headed enough to start consulting again (which is great because I can do my job from anywhere). Six months into the beginning of my "new life" (whatever that meant - because for the first time in my life, I had not a fucking clue what I was doing), I received an email from my agents at CAA. 

I vividly remember standing in my kitchen when I read this ...  

It reads, AND I QUOTE:

"Hi Jen – How are you? Big plans for the 4th? We have some great news – Warner Bros. TV would like to make an offer on your blog! My brilliant colleague, xxxxx, in our TV group has more info but I wanted to chat with you about it. Great news!! I’m around this week and xxxxx and I are both around next week. What’s best for you?


But, I walked away, I thought ...

But, I committed INTERNET SIN by ghosting the blog ... 

But, I spent YEARS taking generals, developing various shows with nothing working out ... 

But NOW ... NOW on an island in a 4,000 population town ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE COUNTRY, I somehow manage to ACTUALLY get an offer?

I used being in shock to my advantage and instead of articulating any sort of excitement, I remained cool as a cucumber responding that I was happy to hear from them, thanking them for all the hard work (which I assumed happened). Taking the sale as an opportunity, I knew that my agents would look at me differently. I on the spot pitched them another idea (I had pulled out of my ass) asking if we could discuss that opportunity as well. 

<tangent> I'm an idea factory, even if I have no idea what I'm doing, I'll come up with something. I was ABSOLUTELY made to be a content creator/ producer. </tangent> 

They agreed, and then followed up with a series of questions which revealed the producer that had also attached himself to the project. 

The content in the email is irrelevant, but see that line? "Warner Bros. and Bruckheimer would like to propose ..." 


Oh no, it was absolutely real life and fortunately (due to the gentleman I had previously dated) I had an attorney from a very reputable firm (if this was a David and Goliath style conversation, I was prepared to go into negotiations heavily armed), so I messaged asking if he could work on a contingency (which I'm sure is a hilarious question to someone who charges four figures an hour)

I'm not sure if it was out of respect to the man who introduced us, or WTF style curiosity, but he agreed to take me on as a client and after just shy of a year of negotiations and paperwork the dust had settled. It's standard for an option to last for a year, so even though the paperwork/ negotiations had taken the duration of the initial contract, I wound up winning again with the option then being accepted for a renewal. 

Bruckheimer didn't buy my life rights once, he bought them twice. 

Living on the island at that time was helpful because I didn't really let a lot get to my head. I knew that with consulting I could leverage the fact that "Jerry Bruckheimer bought my life rights," and that was truly good enough for me. Having been around the rodeo previously with a show that sold to MTV, I knew how hard it was to not only sell a show but get it to air. The fact that I had even gotten this far with the blog that I walked away from was good enough for me. 

During that time, still wanting to write, I started the blog knowing that anything that I published on Talk Nerdy from this point on would be owned by Bruckheimer. I had purchased that domain years ago knowing that I wanted to keep Talk Nerdy young and not age to a point where I ended up alienating the audience.

Now that I had discovered what intimacy truly felt like, writing became a bit like getting back on a bike after a fall. What was I willing to reveal? What was mine? I began going through an emotional puberty of sorts (which ended up lasting a few years)

Nine months after my breakup, I wound up dating a second gentleman on the island. The first gentleman was a very very private person. Clearly wanting to go in the opposite direction (I'm assuming for protection of my ego), I wound up dating a guy who is universally considered "the unofficial mayor." While he didn't understand Hollywood, or tech, he did know the name Bruckheimer and wouldn't stop beaming with pride over my successes. 

"How involved will you be in the show?" people would regularly ask. 

I fought (tooth and nail) for the credit "based on the blog by Jen Friel" (knowing that TV credit would indefinitely change my career and life) and I'm a consulting producer. 

"So, what does that mean?" was traditionally the follow up. 

The only way I could relate what I was experiencing was to picture it like having a kid go to college. I gave birth to the thing, nurtured it, watched it grow, gave it a little bit of independence, and now it's time for it to go to college. The only thing I can hope for is that it "makes good decisions." Outside of that, it's none of my business. They bought it (again technically optioned), so it's their right to do with it as they see fit. 

But, it's your life story that's going to be on TV, they would typically say. 

That's if it sells, I'd say laughing. 

Less than a year into dating (spot the pattern), the second gentleman and I parted ways. While I was grateful to both guys about the business and general life skills I had learned, I knew I was still in a building mode. I wasn't ready to be a wife and pop out babies (even though I thought I was). Before we had officially broken up, I had pitched an app idea that I had to producers back in LA.

<tangent> The casting said "calling all entrepreneurs for a new reality show!!" While the idea of going on a reality show in general freaked me out (let alone season one), the fact that it was done via a producer that I had also worked with on Deal or No Deal, NBC's 21Q, and had run into him in the offices of Bertram Van Munster (back when I was personally managing his ORM and writing his online bio). Bert and Bruckheimer produce the Amazing Race together (totally unrelated). Either way, I knew this man was legit and this casting was for something big. </tangent> 

As you all know, I wound up on Seasons 1 (and two) of the West Texas Investors Club. While living on the island, I saw that the way people received their information was still through a newspaper. I built a glorified proof of concept and talked to "the powers that be" (which was handy dating the unofficial mayor) asking if this is something they'd be interested in. They were absolutely on board, and before my appearance on the show I had my very first (and very large) advertiser attached. 

The concept around the app was going to be that subscribers would charge $2 for each event listing. It was a calendar of sorts telling people what was going on in niche tourism driven markets. They would include happy hours, clothing sales, kid friendly activities, etc. To build up the subscriber base, I offered to the local places of worship free event listings, and for the schools, free sports/ general school updates. 

It worked, and I got the investment on the show including a cash offer for a buyout when I came back to the island.

<tangent> Here's what Rooster and Butch said about the app ... 

... and here's the follow up on season 2. I still hate breakups but man can you see how much happier I am in season 2. 

Oh and here's the version the show posted as well </tangent> 

Due to the connections I had made (directly and indirectly) from the show, in August of 2014, I wound up getting a consulting gig as a social media ghostwriter for a big celebrity. I was then invited on his press tour, and went to NYC following him around assisting in whatever way he needed (just not like "that," obviously - I'm single at this point, not stupid). I got to see behind the scenes of Access Hollywood, Sirius XM, business morning shows that I wasn't yet awake enough to be able to remember where I was exactly, and the Today show. 

<tangent> Contrary to what's been said in the press, I thought Billy Bush was super nice. While it could have been a quick moment of time on someone's best behavior, he said I looked like a hybrid of Katy Perry and Jenny McCarthy. Obviously, I took that as a lovely/unexpected compliment. </tangent> 

<tangent> Oh and, I couldn't find the itinerary I knew the PR people sent back in the day, but here's an email to Troy Carter. (I met him in the green room and was introduced by the celeb that I was with with the exact phrase "you two need to know each other.") </tangent>

I didn't care to post in social where I was, nor could I (out of respect) take any photos unless it was of the celeb and whomever he had met (that I could then turn into social content).

Throwing myself back in work not only helped me emotionally go through yet another breakup, but from a physical sense it also got me off the island. 

<tangent> See, unless you "import" when you're on an island, you kinda just keep dating each other. They say down there, "you don't lose your girlfriend, you lose your turn with your girlfriend." As someone who considers themselves deeply loyal, I couldn't imagine going back and being in a THIRD relationship with someone else. I already knew everyone, and had no idea where to go or what to do next (other than exactly what I was doing in supporting this celebrity). </tangent> 

While leaving the Today show (in that first week of August), I got a call from my (now) ex saying that he had a death in his family (it very unexpected - alive one day, gone the next). Without thought, I finished up the last of my meetings and changed my flight to go back to the island.

I didn't tell anyone I was working with what was going on while it was happening. Certainly it was upsetting since I knew this person as well, but all I could do was my job and stay as strong as I could for this person that I had loved that was going through a tremendous loss.

I'm not the kinda person that will just say "I'm sorry," I'm the kinda person that actually shows up and does whatever needs to get done to help. 

I continued to stay at my parent's house (again a mere hour and some change away) and went back down to the island as often as I could to support his family. Not that there is ever a "perfect time" for something like this to happen, but I also had to be conscious of setting hard boundaries. While there was a back and forth during the initial breaking up stage, I knew I was going to continue building whatever it was that I was building and that (at least for a short period of time) this could no longer be my home. 

When someone passes suddenly, unless they happen to have a will or some sort of legal documents dictating what they wanted - the family is left to decide which ends up taking weeks and sometimes months. In this case, it meant contacting members of the family that my ex had only spoken to when he was a child. 

I need to find this family member, he said one day. It's in the address book in his house, but the house was locked up (and the owner couldn't be reached - I can't remember why)

Let's pop the lock, said one of his friends. 

I can't go in that house, he said (obviously still very shaken)

If you can pop the lock, I said to the friend, I can go into the house. Having never been in there before, I knew I would stay calm and find what was needed the fastest. 

We all piled into the pickup truck, and moments later I added "light breaking and entering" into my resume special skills. It was shockingly easy, but I'm hoping to never have to do that again. 

I then entered the home and found the book. We locked everything back up (the best we could) and headed back to my ex's home. 

The family decided to have the celebration of life on August 21st. I had just finished setting up the tables for food when my own tables turned with another email from my agent. 

I had been so focused on helping out my ex, that I COMPLETELY forgot that my show was even being considered. 

Knowing how supportive his family was, I knew they'd be THRILLED, I just wasn't sure if this was an appropriate time to say anything. 

I must have had a look of pure shock on my face, because as I was still looking down at my phone, his sister asked what was going on. 

Talk Nerdy got an offer from NBC, I said, not believing the words that were coming out of my mouth. 

To my surprise the news lightened the mood as everyone started cheering and clapping. I wanted to celebrate, but again, I was here for a different kind of celebration so I felt conflicted. 

Four days and one mental state later, I was at my parent's house when I got this email. 

Talk Nerdy was in a four way bidding war with all of the major broadcast networks. 

Three days later, the results were in and a one way ticket was booked ... 

Knowing if all of this could happen from an island, I could REALLY make waves this go round on the entertainment rodeo. 

The email saying the show finally sold happened on a Friday, and that Sunday around 9pm ET, I got a tweet in social media from my friend Brian congratulating me on the sale. 

Much like the entire process up until this point, I had no idea what was going on, or that the announcement was even happening. I then stayed up that night until (at least) four am answering every tweet, email, and Facebook comment. Had it not been for this community keeping me alive for so long, there is no way that this would have happened. I wasn't just grateful, this was just as much their moment as it was mine. 

As the cliche goes, when it rains it pours, and as the announcements continued throughout the trades, so did my appearance on the CNBC show. (My episode aired 8 days after Talk Nerdy's announcement.) 

I'm not quite sure what a "normal" reaction is in this scenario, but instead of "popping bottles with models" or celebrating in anyway, I instead put my head down and worked even harder. As someone who consistently leverages any slight chance of a door being opened (or even popping the lock myself), I was aware that all of this was just the beginning. Talk Nerdy was just my first idea of being able to document a trend (or technically a series of them)

While back in LA, I continued consulting and even started working for a startup. I thought that coming back to LA would be easy, and to my surprise it wasn't. Sounds really affected me (you have hurricane windows in South Florida), as did the crowds. I remained a bit of a hermit in those first few months, but as January 2016 came around, so did the pickups for the upcoming pilot season.

I had never really paid attention to pilot season previously, but the fact that here I was this little nerdy chick that had $10 to her name, and TOLD PEOPLE FOR YEARS THIS WOULD BE A TV SHOW  ... I was firsthand watching my internal vision become my outter reality in a big, big way. 

Stopping here as this post is long enough and needs a part two. I'll keep writing tonight so it'll go live on asap. Thanks for reading nerderinos! As you'll continue to see, it's a totally strange series of events that all became connected in a way I never could have predicted/ planned. As a strategist, I wish I could take credit for it, but as is the 2017 theme of my life, I just had to learn to let things go and take their natural course.

Click here to read part 2