Top
Search TNTML

<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>

 

 

Powered by Squarespace

Entries in talk nerdy to me (3932)

Monday
Sep102018

#BurningMan: The release from intention detention (what Burning Man is actually like PT 2)

<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

This is a series of posts regarding my experience at Burning Man. Here's part one if you want to catch up ... or don't, I'll somewhere in this series be talking a lot about sex so does the catching up part actually matter? 

Oh yeah, and dear Mom and Dad, it's prolly not a good idea for you to read this, but I love you.

Onto the post ... 

I've at this point not only made the decision to face my own fear and actually go to the Burn, but now I have a ticket in hand, and written confirmation to work saying that I was off like a prom dress.

I wrote in that email that "I was going to come back a new person" and I truly meant it. I've changed a lot in the last three years; I went from feeling like I was going through this emotional puberty, to now seeing through bullshit faster and finally understanding how powerful of a manifestor and creator I am (and always have been) ... but just because it was finally starting to sink in didn't mean I was willing to do anything about it.

Feeling overwhelmed with both having a tech startup (with multiple verticals), a sold TV show I was solely (at first) responsible for getting back on track, a dog with on and off health issues, and friends and family I hold a deep loyalty to provided a strong enough distraction from my own goals. Burning Man meant I would be away from those distractions causing me to face what I actually wanted to do with my life. As a goal oriented person, it wasn't difficult to identify but it still didn't mean I was going to be comfortable with sitting with the vulnerability it required. 

I consistently create work projects to avoid my own ultimate project of self. 

To be in a healthy and truly intimate relationship, I have to learn to change that. As we all know the first step to any sort of intimacy is not only being able to express your vulnerabilities, but also face them yourself. I actually had a friend say this the other day that intimacy is "into me I see." 
It blew me away how simple that is, and how true I believe it to be. While they weren't "forever relationships" my two most recent were out of this world wonderful in their own ways. With each one I learned to share from places I didn't even know I held real estate. 
With no more property listings left unclaimed, I truly knew that I was finally ready (again) to be in a relationship and at 33 (almost 34) would be elated if it was my last. I don't know if anyone is truly "ready" to start a family but I'm ready for my own. (I came to that conclusion last year.) 

A big part of Burning Man is setting your intention going in, and mine was to find a husband. Albeit you can start a family without marriage, but as someone who is old fashioned, it was something I definitely wanted. Inching closer to my middle 30s means that I have to start to make very serious decisions about my still (for now) fertile future.
I've purposefully spent the last year working on myself (as it takes two to tango and if I want an actual "man" I have to be a "woman" myself) making sure my side of the street was clean.
I can't confirm that I'm 100% there yet, but my friends were ready and willing to help in the process. 

"What's your intention," asked my friend M one day over text. 
"I want to get married. I want to find a husband," I texted back. 
"Be careful what you wish for," he said "the playa provides." 
One full eye roll later ... 

... I in that moment made a decision to finally surrender to the process. If I continued to give any sort of attitude of the Burn being this or that, I'd miss out on what it actually is. 

"Let me help you, he said. I want to provide you with anything and everything you'll need for this life experience. You get whatever basic essentials you need, and I'll provide the rest."

WOW! I messaged back. 

With your intention being on finding a husband, I'll come up with ways to help spread that message. 

Never one to say no to when the universe is BLATANTLY providing something, I profusely thanked him for his help. 

"It's not a problem at all," he messaged. "It's bringing me great joy being able to help you." (I've previously helped this person with a lot of things, and even consider him and our mutual friends family.) 

The Wednesday before the Burn began, he stopped by my apartment with two full backpacks of HUNDREDS of lights, two masks, HUNDREDS of batteries (all different sizes), all natural chapstick with Matthew McConaughey's face on it .... 


... power supplies, adapters, first aid kits, camelback, carabiners, a cup, sharpies, polaroids (those are big on the playa) goggles, and a bike that literally represented my intention ... 

The basket even had a dried bouquet of flowers - when I say he thought of everything, I actually mean it. I was completely blown away. 

I can't even imagine how much time and money he spent on the supplies, but all I could do was say thank you, knowing it was coming from illuminated love. 

"I know you keep saying you're coming back a different person," he said, "but don't change too much. You're already a great person to begin with." 

"Thank you," I said again from the same place. 

He then pulled out two manila envelopes and one letter. One of the envelopes was sealed, and the other was open. They read "Cowboy Carl," "Temple," and "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap." 

"I don't want to tell you to do anything, as the playa has its own time frame, but if you can, find Cowboy Carl (he then turned over the envelope to reveal a handwritten map drawn in this weird U-ish-shape), place this one in the Temple, and if you can find the camp "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap" please do and give them this letter. If not, don't worry about it." 

"I can't believe that sentence just came out of your mouth," I said laughing, but not a problem. "I don't understand this map though." 

"Don't worry about that part, you'll see when you get there, but this is a setup of the playa and here's about where Cowboy Carl will be. (He circled the right hand side at about 3 o'clock.)

I thank people with my actions and not words, so even though he said it wasn't that big of a deal, to me it was everything. I was MORE than grateful for all of his help and was going to do everything in my power to find the people he was looking for (with a limited understanding of where and how to go about even finding them)

Besides, the name "Cowboy Carl" sounded DAMN HOT, and I was ready and willing to explore all of the "providing-ness from the playa." 

By Friday, I had all of the supplies I needed for our departure early the next morning.

(Our plan was to take our time getting up there, and stop in Mammoth along the way there and back so we could rest. My friends have been going for nearly a decade and they continuously spoke of how arduous and physical the drives on either end would be.) 

I spent the morning and early afternoon working (from home), and somewhere around four I got a text from the NC-guru ... 

Working in social means that even though I am not personally posting updates, I am still on the platform in some capacity for the brands I work for. (I purposefully keep my hands in a bunch of projects at any given time - see what I was saying about that avoidance of self work?? Now you get it.)

 Being a mere two days before the gates to the playa opened meant that half my feed was photos and videos of experiences. Instead of feeling calmer about having a visual, I FREAKED. THE. FUCK. OUT. 

The playa videos gave me flashbacks to the movie Killer Klowns from Outerspace (a movie that I loved as a kid but also found utterly TERRIFYING) ... 

All I could think was ... 

BUT WHERE WAS I RUNNING TO OR FROM?!?! I DIDN'T EVEN UNDERSTAND THE MAP!!! ::cries::

I quickly wrapped up my laundry and joined the Guru, (who also had one of our other friends over at his place)

"Are you okay?" she asked as I walked in. 

"I'm fine," I said. "I've actually gotten really good at calming myself down from panic attacks. I slowly and calmly start calling out everything in the room around me. I look down at my feet first, noticing that they are touching the floor, then (out loud) mention anything and everything around me. The goal is to focus on what's real and not what I'm telling myself is "real." 

"You should be really proud of yourself," she said. "Do you know how many people choose to ignore things that they are afraid of? I've always admired you, but I can't wait to see you when you get back knowing that this experience is going to change you in so many different ways." 

"Thank you," I said. "That's the part that scares me the most is knowing I am going to change but I have had no real way to 'prepare' for an experience like this because all anyone can ever tell me is that its 'unlike anything I've ever experienced.'" 

"I get it," she said. "And I'm sure because your friends helped you in SO many ways, you didn't even have a say in the planning part." 

"That part I was okay with actually. I told my friends if I had to be responsible for planning too many things that I'd have to tap out. I would have NO CLUE what I was doing and will devote ZERO time to figuring it out. I've been so lucky that they've planned absolutely everything from start to finish." 

They then asked if I could stay for dinner (which of course I could since I was willing to do anything and everything to stay out of my own head), and we all cheersed as I dined on what felt like was my last supper. 

The van arrived the next morning, and as I began to load the bags into the back my friends surprised me with a send off reminiscent of this scene from Beauty and the Beast ... 

Their well wishes and endless support was the icing on the cake that I desperately needed in that moment. I can't say it helped any with the fear, but it did make me smile. 

Everything stuffed inside (thats what she said), we then grabbed the rest of the group before heading down to Orange County to pick up the RV.

See my face in this photo? See the excitement ... 

NO BECAUSE THAT IS THE FACE OF TERROR.

I wouldn't even open my eyes because I was actually pretty pissed he was taking my photo at all. 

OH, but see that poster in the back? Do you know the band Stiched up Heart? One of the band members lent us his van and trailer for the burn and even offered to drive us down. We even got to hear their new album on the way down. 

Here's some of their earlier work that you might know ... 

Finally Free has over 3 million views, and Grave has just over 2 million. 

In between songs my girlfriend piped up and said, "if anyone asks, we are two couples heading to Oregon for the week. We're not sure if we'll make it the entire way, but we're planning on driving up the California coast and seeing how far we can get." 

See, RV owners aren't exactly super enthused to rent out their trailers to Burners. Frankly, I think if you own an RV in the California/ Nevada area and rent it out during the week of Burning Man, you're already stupid and deserve every bit of dust collected. 

Playa dust is its own beast. It doesn't just "come off," you have to soak everything in vinegar, harness loads of elbow grease, and THEN clean as you would normally do anyway. We all agreed to be okay if we did not get the $1,000 deposit back considering the trailers that were "open" to Burners were nearly double what we were paying. 

An hour and a half later, we picked up our new home sans any sandy suspicions. 

The trailer was definitely one of the nicest ones I've been in. There were three beds in total, full kitchen, shower, and everything was electronic - which normally is awesome, but at the Burn sucked because it includes more place for dust to hide. 

"You tech people," said my girlfriend. "Does this thing have a GPS or anything that he could use to track us?" 

"Absolutely there are things he can use," I said, "but finding them might be a bit challenging." 

The two techies in the group attempted to view the master control panel, with nothing jumping out to either of us. We again had agreed to be okay with losing the deposit so the rest was going to be whatever it was going to be.  

En route, we grabbed all of the drugs we were planning on doing (which consisted of e, acid, and shrooms)

"Where's the weed," asked one of my friends. 

"Oh ... "

... said the person who was clearly responsible for bringing it. 

Not a problem, another one of us said popping on google identifying the closest dispensary. 

We then got off on a random half paved half dirt road and followed the navigation to what looked like the sketchiest weed shop (which says a lot for weed shops as I personally think most of them look pretty sketch)

Ass, gas and grass now in hand, we sparked a j (minus the driver) and really began the journey. Mammoth is 330 miles from the area where we picked up the RV. The state of California limits you from traveling more than 55 miles per hour with any sort of trailer attached. With stops and traffic, we expected it to take anywhere between 7-10 hours. Fortunately, the RV had a bathroom (and shower) so that limited those stops, but between gas and a final Walmart trip in Carson City, we still had plenty of work to do. 

That's one of the coolest parts about Burning Man is thinking you know your friends, but then REALLY getting to know them. Burning Man is very physically and financially taxing. I still haven't gotten the final amount but in total I spent around $2K for the entire trip start to finish. Which is a total steal. Had I had to purchase ALL of those playa supplies, I would have EASILY been set back another $500-1k. To say that one) I could afford it, and two) have SUCH AMAZING FRIENDS helping in every aspect of every way meant the world to me. I've always been a giving person, but the reciprocity I received was OFF THE CHARTS! 

Seven or so hours later, we finally ended up in Carson City and at our last stop before the hotel. 

We waited until the very last minute to grab all of the fresh food for the fridge and give ourselves time to pick up anything we forgot. An hour and a half of decision making under florescent lights later, we were all utterly exhausted and more than ready to go.

Shockingly though (or not considering how awesome my friends are), we were all still extremely respectful of one another. Even in a combined state of hanger and drowning in florescence ... 

We even took the quintessential "we actually bought all of this" series of photos.

For some reason we took this outside of the restrooms ... don't ask me why ... 

I'm not a happy person to begin with. 

A few hours later we arrived at the hotel (which was a really nice Westin) prepping for our last hot shower in at least a week. (We were staying the full time on the playa getting in on late am Sunday leaving late Saturday.) 

As room service was ordered, I opened up three of my bags realizing none of them had my clothing in them. I accidentally gave the wrong bag to our friend and placed all of my clean clothes in the VERY far back of the trailer making them totally unaccessible. 

Well, I thought, I expected to get dirty, I just didn't think it would happen at the "I should still be clean stage of things." 

The next morning, I quickly finished up some work as we grabbed breakfast by the lobby. When we were done I set for the first time in four years an "out of office" email response. I then closed my computer for the last time as the person I thought myself to be. 

I couldn't say I was "ready" for whatever was going to be "next," but my expectations didn't even come close to the reality of what I experienced. Burning Man was not at ALL what I expected. 

I mean I knew people had sex there ... 

... BUT THIS MUCH??? 

Or was that just us ...? 

Here's the actual text message I sent to my best friend when I got home ... 

and I can't WAIT to share all the dirt. 

Part 3 is up next and this one will leave you ... 

#nerdsunite

 

Thursday
Sep062018

#BurningMan: That time being called a Virgin Burner was a "good thing" (kinda NSFW)

<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> 

Oh, and dear Mom and Dad, it's prolly not a good idea for you to read this, but I love you.

Onto the post ...

 

After months of planning (two to be exact), multiple panic attacks (which I am very proud that I can now talk myself out of), and countless questions with answers like "it's like seeing color for the first time, you're not going to understand Burning Man until you actually experience it." 

For the last almost decade I've received invite after invite for Burning Man. The very basic concept of Burning Man is that it's a community that appears for a week (and some change) on a dried lake basin and operates solely on a gifting/ bartering system. 

Bartering is my jam. I'm naturally a giver and helper, so that's a no brainer ... but also being an entrepreneur, in 2009 I IMMEDIATELY saw the value of social media and without a quantifiable monetary value attached, I started bartering social media as a way to live. My lowest hanging fruit in terms of sales was everyone (since it was so new), and if I liked their product, I would ask for food, clothing, shelter, or shout out in exchange for teaching them how to use the platforms themselves. (I executed "influencer marketing" before it was a thing.)

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

 

FYI, this post feels kinda douchey now, but here's our (still to this day) about us page and here's The Truth Behind TNTML (which is less douchey because I did not write it). 

With that as my baseline mentality you would think Burning Man is totally my peanut butter, and fluffernutter, right? 

The people that I was/ am personally and professionally involved with in tech talked about it in the DOUCHEST way. See this video below which hits the NAIL ON THE HEAD!!! 

I'm not that kind of person. I genuinely did what I did out of spending a lifetime being the one in class, in the family, and at work fixing and explaining various forms of technology in a VERY simple way that everyone could understand. During this time, I knew people that charged up to $12K to SET UP a Twitter page (NO STRATEGY JUST SETTING UP A FUCKING PAGE) - and it lit me up like a Christmas tree.

I felt like they were taking advantage of people and these SAME personality types were the ones that were going on and on about how "incredible" this society is, and how it was "unlike any other experience any human being could EVER experience." All that I knew from my perspective about any "world that they created" was something I did NOT want to be a part of.  

The off the chart douchefactor aside, did I also mention that I don't like crowds? Pardon the comparison (I know this will upset some Burners), but back in 2013 I had a sponsored trip to Coachella by JBL. I rode in an RV with Thomas Hawk, Robert Scoble, Sam Levin, Chris Voss, and had an all expense paid trip to the festival (including hotel, per diem and VIP passes)

We were asked to post about our experiences and if you notice on all of the Facebook posts I made, none of them HAD ANYTHING to do with the actual show ... 

I wasn't interested in Coachella AT. ALL.

I instead told a narrative around the JBL swag bag and gave all of it away (due to one part being on the very generous receiving end of this community and one part a marketer and saw the value in exposure vs needing more "things.") ... 

JBL was SUPER happy (you can read the post here) and see this video here. 

I make it a habit to go left anytime everyone else is going right. I either have an extra chip or am missing a chip but the concept of FOMO doesn't exist in my brain.

I don't have a fear of missing out, I instead create my own reality (typically with very few people existing in it). Had there been a band I was interested in at Coachella that year, I more likely than not would have seen their set ... but from a far far away distance (or front row - I operate in polarities - it's my personality type)...

I made it a point to show up on festival grounds to introduce myself to everyone working the booth (they had previously taken us to a dinner with the executives) but then quickly about faced it back to the (FAR MORE EMPTY) hotel where I laid by the pool ... 

... and then watched the sunset from my room because obvi.

I like what I like and I do what I do, so why on Earth would I choose to put myself in a position that would LITERALLY leave me stranded in the middle of nowhere for an ENTIRE WEEK without cell service, wifi, or any assistance of any kind from the outside world? 

1) Because it ABSOLUTELY PETRIFIED ME. (I've from a personal perspective been working on actually letting things go particularly with work, and there was no better way to do that than to be "forced" off the grid.) 

and ... 

2) Because my actual friends are awesome and they were the ones that invited me this year (and I trust how smart they are in knowing what they are doing with drugs. You do a lot of them at Burning Man, FYI and I've only done them a handful of times and would by know means trust myself to know what I'm doing. Read here and here)

Also, I noticed subconsciously that I kept using the phrase "I just want to burn it" over and over. My dog has had really bad food allergies on and off for the last year and as anyone who knows what that life experience is like, it makes everything the dog touches smell. Present party included! My couches, chairs, clothing ... I was ready to get rid of all three anyway, but was also balancing out the fiscal responsibility in doing so. 

I'd come home from work, or smell a pair of pants that Buster had been laying on (that I had been wearing) and shout, I JUST WANT TO BURN EVERYTHING!!!!!! It's not his fault that he has this issue, and as his mom there's not a snowballs chance in hell that I would let it affect any level of affection received on his part. 

The invitation was great, but it was the subconscious part that got my attention. I remember people saying over the years that the "Burn calls you," and "you'll know when you need to answer." 

Having also felt burned out with work (with two big projects coming to an end and another very large one beginning) - I recognized how exhausted I've been and wanted to avoid a repeat of the episode I had last year.

I haven't taken a vacation longer than a few days in close to four years, and I wasn't okay with that. Sure the timing couldn't have been more horrific, but if I was truly focused on letting things go with work, and taking better care of myself personally - this would theoretically be a no brainer. 

I wasn't sure, and all I knew was that as the weeks went on, my panic grew worse and worse. I operate from a logical capacity. If someone can explain something to me, and I can do a little research, I can at least partially wrap my brain around something and learn to not be scared of it.

<tangent> Riding along with a Vegas taxi cab driver between the hours of 4-6 am? Scary, but I also sent a photo of the driver's license to my friend and (hoped) my legs could run fast enough if I needed to get away. 

Crashing the Grammy Awards? Scary, but also knew my worst case scenario was paying a fine and sitting in a jail cell for trespassing. (I also saw the value in leveraging that into some sort of publicity - if I wasn't the person who crashed the Grammy Awards, I could be the person that failed at crashing.)

The list can go on, but you all know most of these stories and I won't bore you. </tangent> 


The more that I researched the Burn, the less that felt like I understood. Friends tried to be of assistance, but again, coming from a logical capacity hearing that "the Burn will be what you need the Burn to be" didn't help.

Besides, just because I made the decision to go to the Burn, didn't actually mean that I had any sort of ticket. Did I mention how difficult tickets are to get? (I actually learned that they release 50,000 tickets to any sort of "camp" that creates art ... tell you more about that in a second ... and the other around 30,000 to people who just want to attend.)

It's an absolutely GENIUS way to create supply and demand. The people that are creating the art are providing the spectacle for the Burners, and those that want to Burn (but aren't providing the visuals) have to work for it in their own way. No matter what everyone has to pay a base price (around $400 but on scalping sites can go as high as $2K), but that type of demand generates brilliant and FREE MARKETING (particularly in social media)

Excuse me but I'm feeling a little ... 

Just kidding, that part didn't cum until later. 

At the end of July, my girlfriend said there was a fundraiser for the Burn camp we would be attending. "We can see if they can get you a ticket," she said over text. "But they have to meet you in person."

See, Burning Man is all about the people you spend it with. Everyone has these "camps" that can range from 4 people to hundreds. This particular camp had around 70-80, which is good because if you have more than that you run the risk of your camp being searched by LE aka law enforcement. 

<tangent> Burning Man also has their own "code" - LE being one of them. Here's a glossary should you care to explore. </tangent> 

I can't say I was surprised to learn this, but cops (undercover and otherwise) are everywhere at Burning Man.

I don't know exactly if that's why they have camps, but it does provide (at least psychologically) a bit of protection. 

To be a part of a camp I needed to: 

1) Have an in with a friend (I had an in with three)

2) Go through an "interview process" (mine was done face to face).

3) And I had to send them my links in social media. 

Do I think it filters all LE out? Probably not, but I think that people reveal plenty (especially in person when on drugs ... you are also instructed to not bring certain people back to the camp ... more on that later) but I do admire at least some sort of preventative measure to keep the rif raff out. 

I passed the "interview process" with flying colors ... 

... and a few days (and $400 something) later, the "playa provided" in the form of a ticket from the head of the camp.

One part of me was ABSOLUTELY elated, and the other part was still terrified. A ticket in hand meant that this life experience was now actually going to happen ... 

Work, work, I thought using work as my LAST REMAINING HOPE TO STAY IN MY OWN COMFORT ZONE.

Why not invite fear to make itself right at home ... I'd happily make up a nice couch (hopefully smell free)... I can cook a lovely dinner ... wine!! I even have wine!!! 

I wish I could say this sentence is true ... 

... but I knew if I was this afraid of ANYTHING that I had to charge directly towards it with ALL FEAR ASIDE WHICH IS LIKE REALLY HARD TO DO!!! 

The Monday before Burning Man, I let my company know that I was actually going to Burning Man.

This is what I sent ... 

Here was the response ... 

Which is exactly what I did. 

I had ... 

Took ... 

 

and listened to ... 

Here's an actual text from last night ... 

and part 2 is coming up next. Click here to read.

#nerdsunite

 

Friday
Jul272018

#RealDeal: What's your fantasy (that time I catfished a celebrity only to be catfished myself the next day)?

<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've decided to go to Burning Man this year. I don't want to talk about it until I experience it, but one of the things my friends keep telling me is that once you are called and you answer (I know I know stay with me here), "things will start to fall into place and come together effortlessly and naturally." I can't see the full picture of what that means yet, but what I can see is that my actions have an almost IMMEDIATE reaction. This story is the proof in the pudding ...

On Saturday, I received this text from a guy on Bumble  ... 

I wrote "friend" and not "girlfriend," and by singular girlfriend I meant plural ... and by plural I mean 10 or so deep. 

Either way, he accepted the spontaneous plans, and after an hour delay on my part, we met up at the Brewery (still a half hour before my friends arrived)

I found him as soon as I walked in. 

Much like my NC dating master guru predicted, he was even more attractive in person than in his photos.

<tangent> See, I've enlisted the help a non-certified Guru that happens to be my bestie born in the body of a very attractive gay male. He's the reason why I changed my dating profile, and has helped identify which of the matches are actually worth my time in meeting. I'm looking to get married and have babies, which means I am pulling out all of the stops to make sure I am not only meeting the "right" kind of guy but that I myself am making the "right" choices. </tangent> 

From my perspective, his photos were great ... I mean come on ... 

... but I just didn't have enough of that pizzazz of back and forth witty banter that eventually woos me enough to want to meet with someone. 

It's a date, Friel, I thought. Stop overthinking and go meet. 

I mentally high fived the NC Guru upon arrival, feeling 1/2 Emma Stone's character in Crazy Stupid Love ... 

... and 1/2 well, this ... 

We then sat down grabbing a round, and started the ever so painful "getting to know someone process." By the end of the first drink we had covered current location (including every place we have ever lived), work, family, growing up, and a slight understanding of where our individual futures were heading. 

Wanting to shake things up a bit, I asked if he was any good at skeeball. 

"I don't know how to play," he admitted. 

"Let me teach you," I said.

Six games, a 100 point rim shot, and 380 score later, the student had become the master. 

Well done, I said with a high five beginning to now respect him. 

He mentioned during our "getting to know each other process" that he was a rocket scientist (my words not his, his words were "astrophysicist," which is close enough). Wondering if life was pulling my leg (because NO ONE that attractive could ACTUALLY be smart), I pried more into what he did exactly work wise and immediately found it fascinating. 

I had no idea that if you work for NASA or any sort of funded space program, as the scientist you are also responsible for fundraising your own research. Obviously that's spoken very simply and there's also a political element to it, but I had no idea that EVEN AT THAT LEVEL they had to hustle and work hard not only on their craft, but on their marketing, pitch, and sales skills; that takes an OFF THE CHART level of IQ and EQ that I found very attractive. 

By the second glass my girlfriends arrived, but not before taking this SUPER CREEPY video of our rendezvous. 

One by one my girlfriends ran up to introduce themselves each sharing the same reaction ...

Jen Friel, he is really hot. (My name is one word in that group, and throughout most of my life.)

I know, I said laughing, and HE'S ACTUALLY SMART  ... 

I then properly greeted the birthday girl, as she asked where I had found this guy. 

"Bumble," I admitted. "Totally new perspective on men, and I feel like my life is coming together in a full circle. I'm in the process of completely leveling up." 

"YEAH YOU ARE," she said. 

My date was four friends into surface conversation, before I checked his pulse. 

"You have really great friends," he said smiling. 

"Oh they are a handful," I said, but I respect and appreciate you were willing to meet me and them so spontaneously. 

I then asked if he wanted another drink, and he said he couldn't because he drove. 

I totally respect that, I said. Let me walk you out. 

I dared to not turn around as I walked him out wondering what hilariously obnoxious motions my girlfriends were NO DOUBT demonstrating. 

I stopped on the sidewalk as we approached the parking lot. 

"It was really nice to meet you," I said with a smile and a pause. 

See, normally if I'm not into a guy I'll go in for what I call the "confident hug." It's warm, and inviting but also leaves ZERO chance for any sort of awkward unwanted kiss. 

Standing there for a moment meant that I was interested.

He then went in for the hug, and it kinda seemed like he was wondering if I was going to kiss him ...

only I like the guy to take the lead in that situation so I didn't ...

standing there both confused we mutually went in for yet another hug which I wasn't mad at because DAMN HIS BODY FELT GOOD ... 

I walked back over to the group and was immediately asked about the kiss. 

Didn't happen, I admitted, but it was a really great date!

Still confused at how such an attractive and smart creature could be single, they asked again how we met. 

"Bumble," I said again. "I've had an entirely new perspective on online dating thank to the NC Guru. Look at my profile. It reveals everything and nothing!" 

 

My phone was then passed around the table as one of the girls clicked on my messages and saw that only one name was familiar. 

"Who ARE ALL these men," she asked? 

"There are plenty of great guys out there!! It's just ALL about how you market yourself!!! I've known this for a while, but never executed from the male perspective." 

Phones were then passed around as I changed two of the girls' profiles passing on the guidance shared. 

"You took away all of the things I like," she said. 

"Leave it for a week. A/B test. I could be right, I could be wrong. Just try it." 

Done, we all agreed, as I popped on over to the other side of the table. 

As I sat down, I noticed two of the girls laughing and admitting that they were catfishing someone. 

Knowing how attractive my friends are, I was a bit confused. "Why would either of you be catfishing someone?" 

"It's a celebrity," they said. "Do you know Puddin' Tane?" 

"Yes," I said, knowing that everyone knows Puddin' Tane.

<tangent> See, Puddin' Tane (name changed to protect the guilty) is a not only a very well known actor, but to the women of Los Angeles? He's known as ONE HELL of a creep in online dating. I don't know if this has been publicly revealed, and quite frankly even if it has been, it's not my place to call them out. Either way, because we had/have no plans on fucking him, we immediately decided to fuck with him ... </tangent> 

"THIS IS GENIUS," I said super excited. "I can help you confirm your identity. I HAVE HIS NUMBER TOO!" 

We moved our drinks to the side as my own spy mode was officially activated. 

First things first, I said, let's confirm if he uses multiple numbers and or has a burner of some kind. 

We both pulled up the info on the text message and confirmed that indeed it was the same number.

That technically doesn't confirm that he doesn't have multiple lines but as two "perfect strangers" that met him, we at least had the same digits. 

Second, you send him a photo from your phone, and I'll send that SAME photo immediately after. 

She did, and once complete, I sent this ... 

Immediately I got a response ...

"What's your name and how did you guys meet?" I asked for the first time. 

I BURST OUT LAUGHING as I text her answer ... 

See, our girlfriend really did meet PT in Cabo and got his number. It wasn't until she came back telling my OTHER girlfriend about it and it was the other girlfriend who admitted to liking him. Thus the catfishing began! 

Stepping right into our trap, he asked for what we both knew he would ask for ... 

We took two selfies and sent them (one with strategic placement of our mouths) ... 

See that? It visually reads "insert your penis here." 

 Catfish confirmation mission complete, we then level upped our own game and decided to Facetime PT ...

... and like a smart man he knew not to answer. 

Moving onto something else that was shiny, we quickly got bored and shortly after I grabbed a LYFT home. 

The next morning, (I was shockingly perky as a peach) I got a text from a guy I was scheduled to have a date with ... 

I then suggested a restaurant that 1) I knew had bottomless mimosas, and 2) was a place where I knew the bartenders. If the date sucked I could at least make the most of it by hanging with my friends and potentially meet another guy.

His answer surprised me ...

His texts continued ... 

I looked down at the photo ... 

That was NOT the person I matched with. 

I immediately texted the NC guru ... 

I then screenshot the photo and sent it, as I scrolled through my phone remembering that I had screenshot his profile (to brag to my friends how hot he was), but quickly realized that I had recently deleted it to make room for (presumably) other screenshots. 

THE ONE TIME, I thought mentally shaking my fist. 

I then thought back to his behavior and remembered that he had unmatched me earlier in the week. I only knew this because Bumble tried to match me with him again. 

I explained this to the guru as I also admitted my behavior from the evening before ... 

The guru didn't respond (due to him sleeping like a normal person), so sans any guidance I was forced to make my own decision.

Do I ...

a) tell the guy to fuck off.

b) Say WTF that does NOT look like the profile pictures you featured on bumble

or

c) Say nothing knowing that this is instant karma for my accessory to catfishing behavior from the night before and this was EXACTLY the kind of "sign" my friends were talking about in terms of the "burning man experience." 

Guess which option I chose ... 

I then grabbed a LYFT to head over to the bar. I made sure to arrive first to pick a table within the eye line of the bar (just incase I needed any sort of assistance from friends).

He arrived moments later, and looked exactly like the photo he had sent.  

We exchanged pleasantries and began the "getting to know you process." He admitted to working in the restaurant business launching a handful of hugely successful brands. 

"That's why you were so picky on the place," I said. "This is what you do for a living - okay, now that makes sense." 

We then chatted about life, and I got to pick his brain on trends in the culinary world. 

An hour or so later, our date was done. While aesthetically yes, the person I matched with was night and day from the one who I swiped on, but I really wasn't mad at the experience as a whole. Had he put the picture he sent of himself online would I have swiped? Probably not. Will I give him a second date? Hell no, that fucker is a fake ... 

Besides, I already had that life experience. (AND THANK YOU INTERNET FOR TRACKING HIM ... or should I say HER DOWN!!

<tangent> Also, how lucky am I that my catfish was such a giver? I got third row floor seats to the New Kids On The Block comeback tour!!! Who does that happen to?!!? </tangent> 

I then bopped on over to the bar to gush to my friends about my experience explaining to them not only the night before but my morning date's behavior. As I pulled up the photo to show them, I saved the photo to the camera roll. 

"Let's see if he's truly a pro," I explained. 

See, there's meta data when you take a photo using your phone. It erases if you upload it to social media, but if you're directly sending a photo to someone you can see not only the date it was taken, but also the EXACT location. Try it now on your phone ... it's pretty creepy. 

"The only way to turn off the meta data is if you put your phone in airplane mode when you're taking a photo. The type of person that would go to this kinda trouble to take a photo is the kind of person that would catfish someone." 

As I opened up the camera roll, the most recent picture was his, and the meta data recorded the photo as being taken "today" at that exact time. 

"Told you," I said with a smile. 

Mirroring a child who had just been told there was no Santa, my friend looked up and said ... 

"... some sort of spy?" he asked. 

No, I said. Just a nerd whose no longer the newest kid on the block. 

 

#NerdsUnite

 

Tuesday
Jul102018

#RealDeal: I went to prom and took molly in front of Moby 

I shot out of bed like a bullet this morning (which is rare considering I am the furthest thing from a morning person). It finally hit me that this week I am about to have a life experience that I have spent EIGHT YEARS preparing for ... 

What the executives are about to see is a 30 minute presentation.

What I see is the 7,500 (plus) blog posts (on two different websites, and here's why I have two).

The THOUSANDS of hours spent feeding my soul when my bank account couldn't feed my belly. 

The HUNDREDS of meetings (most of which may or may not have started because of Tinder or OkCupid).

And the countless friends and life experiences that I hold so near and dear to my heart.

(Only twice during all of the adventures could I have questioned any sort of continuation to another level. Thank you Twitter here. I have to believe that good karma saved me in this story. Funny how now I consider riding along in a taxi cab in Vegas for two hours between 4 and 6 am super tame.

I got lucky that Jerry Bruckheimer and Mary Parent (independently and previously) optioned my life rights, trademarks, and intellectual property.

Getting in the room to meet you?

That wasn't luck.

That was work, and from my perspective I've executed my goal.

I'm in this exact moment able to enjoy my success.

I haven't had that life experience before. 

Now onto the post ... 

Back in May, I got asked to prom by my good buddy @smasherbrown. See Asher owns a studio in downtown, and when you have that life experience you throw parties. 

Bring your best friend he said over email. You can both be my date, and make sure when someone asks you if you're vegan you say "you're considering it."  

Done, I emailed back as I set the calendar reminder.

See, I would date Asher in a hot minute if only we shared similar passions culinary wise. I am a massive, massive carnivore. Remember the #BJDiet? He is a massive, massive vegan. (Literally head of the YouTube Vegan mafia - which is actually "a thing.") I utterly adore the human being, but fundamentally speaking we both draw a line, and I respect that. 

Over the course of that week, my friends texted asking what I was doing, and I proudly announced that I had finally been asked to prom and couldn't wait to go! (Here's my previous prom experience that mirrored the movie ๐Ÿ“ Blockers.)

With a partial side eye questioning if I had entered cougar territory, I quickly explained that it was a Vegan Prom hosted by my good friend. "He owns a studio in downtown I said, and his parties are the best I've ever been to." The declaration and guarantee of a good time was enough for my friends to ask if they could come too. "Of course! I said back, the more the merrier."

I then sent out the Facebook invite link, and got texts back asking about the $90 price tag attached. 

Let me see what I can do, I texted back not wanting to be a douchebag and assume that I could get everyone in for free. 

See, the event was hosted by the Human League, and was technically a benefit. 

Did I mention MOBY WAS THE MOTHER EFFING DJ?!?!?! 

Not only was Moby part the soundtrack to my high school life experience, but he's also featured in an Eminem song. 

My friend is hosting a party and Moby is the DJ, I thought to myself recognizing that I was now ONE DEGREE away from one of the loves of my life. 

... those loves include Eminem and Pitbull. Technically speaking Pitbull is my future baby daddy, and while I love him, I wouldn't date Eminem as he speaks so ill of his exes. I find that very declasse. 

<tangent> Holy crap!! As I grabbed this video to post, I also just recognized that Syrus (who I just matched with on Bumble) was ALSO in Eminem's video for Without Me. I AM ONE DEGREE OF SEPARATION SQUARED!!!!

Breathe Friel, deep breaths. Get back to your post ... 

</tangent> 

As the week went on, my gfs and I planned our outfits. "I have the perfect dress for you," said my bestie. "It's a showstopper." 

DONE! I said knowing that as a woman one of the easiest ways to market yourself is to go above and beyond in the outfit department. Not only do I enjoy from a creative perspective being a complete weirdo, but I've made insane business connections over the years simply because I turned up and turned out. 

Remember dancing on stage with Prince? That solely happened because I was in an owl animal hat. 

An hour and some change before the event I grabbed the dress from my gf's house as I confirmed for myself the fact that it was indeed a showstopper. 

Holy crap, I said staring at the very shiny gold garment. We then got ready and as I called the uber, I was stopped by the building's security guard. 

"You look incredible," he said. 

"Thank you!! I'm going to prom!!" I said very excited. 

<tangent> Nothing I do btw surprises our building's security team.

I've previously left the building dressed as Katy Perry ...

the Easter bunny (repurposed from Ralphie from a Christmas Story) ...

a Lisa frank coloring book ...

the monopoly man ... 

a snowman ...

a "freelance charlie chaplin" (pants being optional) ...

 

and (my personal favorite) an astronaut ... 

</tangent>

I then picked up my date as we trekked the hike from the hills to the heart of Los Angeles. 

"Please tell me we're not going to have to sit through a dinner or some sort of long talk," she said. 

Ehhhhhh ... I thought but didn't say as I quickly changed the subject. 

We arrived shortly after the sun was beginning to set. See, I needed to make sure everyone that wanted to come could get in. (The price tag of the event being optional.) To do that, I needed to scope out the security detail (translation: I had to get there early and report back my findings). I purposefully did not give my name at the door (in case one of my friends needed to use my name).

"Hi, we're here as Asher's dates," I said confidently and quickly.

Not a problem, she said walking us immediately into the studio and into the back room reading "VIP." 

Here's his seat, she said pointing down at his name tag and plus one chair. 

I paused for a moment wondering where I was going to get another chair as all of the place settings were taken. My gf looked down at the brochure for the evening, and confirmed that we were in fact going to sit through "a talk." 

NOOOOOOO!!! we both thought in horror. 

Moments later, Asher arrived (tux in tow) saying we could put our bags in the back office. 

"I have to do this thing first," he said, "so why don't you guys make yourselves comfortable in the other room. The doors open for everyone in an hour or so." 

My date and I looked at each other with pure glee recognizing that while yes, we were technically not invited into the VIP dinner, we were winning at life by not having to sit through a Sarah Mclaughlin style slideshow reminding us of what horrible human beings we are because we enjoy ... 

Immediately, we were off like a prom dress ... 

We then grabbed a drink as we moseyed on over to the DIY corsage table. 

"I've never been happier to be kicked out of a VIP dinner," we said cheersing. 

One hour, two corsages, and three new besties (courtesy of our fabulous outfits) later, my friends began to arrive. I texted everyone that they had to get there early and if they didn't, that was up to them, but I wasn't going to be the person that spends half the evening waiting for people - I was actually going to enjoy myself. 

I then quickly slid the loose wristband off and walked back outside. Pro tip: when a bouncer of any kind is putting on a wristband, explain to them you feel "claustrophobic" if it's on too tight. When it's loose, you can slide it right off your wrist and pass it to someone else. Before you pass it though, make sure you say "one second, I'll be right back" to the security guard so they have a visual memory of you and you can reenter sans the band. It doesn't work every time, but 9/10, you're good. 

Oh fuck, I thought noticing that the security detail changed entirely. What was a simple checklist was now a FULL line of people, a red carpet, press, and beefy looking security guards. 

Well, I thought, the worst case scenario is that they're going to have to either wait until after the dinner is over (and I can ask Asher to help get them in) or two, they're going to have to pay at the door. I couldn't control the fact that the atmospheric conditions changed, I could only make the best of what was given. 

I befriended the (many) guards, as I said I had left something in my car and would be right back. I palm passed the band whispering "act as natural and confident as possible. Give my name at the door if you need to and text me if you have any problems." 

I then went back to the DIY corsage table, as I blankly stared at my gf saying that "I have no idea if anyone is going to get in. The ENTIRE security detail changed." 

"You're doing the best you can," she said. 

"I'm also going to buy a series of bands in different colors. The majority of times they're the same style, the color is the variable." 

 

"Wow," she said, that's really smart. 

The new plan was noted as the first friend arrived inside. To my surprise it wasn't the one that I had passed the wristband to. 

"How did you get in?" I asked. 

"I just walked in and wasn't stopped." 

Fuck yes, I thought, full faith in fun returned. 

Let's dance, said my gf as we opened up the floor. 

See, I can't be friends with people who don't make fun a priority. When I say we opened up the dance floor, I actually mean it ... 

We're just here to get weird. 

A few songs, arm flaling and a handful of hip thrusts later, more friends began to join. Relieved that everyone was getting in, I wandered off to relieve my own self by using the restroom. En route, I was stopped by an old friend. 

JEN FRIEL, she said excited. I have something for you ... I looked down and saw a tiny mint case and a series of pills. "Want some Molly?" she asked. I took a moment considering my own condition. I was a glass of wine in, and as long as I immediately switch to water, I should be fine, I thought. (As you never want to mix molly with alcohol or you run the risk of becoming too dehydrated.)

<tangent> Bumping into someone btw and being offered something like drugs is a totally normal life experience if you are a blogger and openly talk about your explorations. I happened to very much trust this person, which you should also take into consideration (obviously). </tangent> 

Yes, I said, without skipping another beat. 

"We have to go over here," she said pointing behind the stage (the event was a couple hundred people deep at this point and while at first it seemed illogical, she was actually right as it was one of the only places with privacy)

Moby took the his place onstage as we entered directly behind him. 

She opened up her pillbox again (hehehe) as I looked down at the Molly and over to Moby. This is actually happening, Friel. 

I grabbed the pill savoring both the second and the (soon to be) mental vacation. 

We re-entered the dance floor and as I bid my friend adieu, the theme song from Titanic began to play. I grabbed one of my new friends and started slowdancing (making sure to leave enough room for Jesus)

"Do you like ... stuff?" I asked awkwardly mocking middle/ high school dances. 

"Yeah," she said immediately playing along. "I like the stuff my mom buys me." 

"I have a mom too," I said excited. 

We both started laughing as we high fived and joined the rest of our friends.

I whispered in the ear of my gf that I had just taken molly in front of Moby. 

"Of course you did," she said.

Moby's set was incredible. He opened with California, and much like his tweet promised, did play plenty of Beyonce. We also took the opportunity to have him in the background of our photos so that we can say we had the life experience of being in an all female glam band featuring Moby (since that's what our costumes looked like anyway) ... 

Life experience accomplished. 

By the end of Moby's set, the molly fully kicked in - and I made sure to stay hydrated. My friends exhausted from dancing asked if we could all go outside to get some fresh air. 

Not a problem, I said clearly not mad about anything in the world. 

<tangent> I actually prefer ecstasy to Molly. Molly is amazing, don't get me wrong- but I only do drugs once in a blue moon and if I do them, I want to do them right. Ecstasy truly lets me get lost in my own little world. I find there's more of a mental rush that I enjoy. </tangent> 

We then walked outside, the entire group in tow, and as we stood over by the step and repeat, we were stopped by a familiar face. It was TV veteran journalist and author Jane Valez Mitchell ... 

"Can I take a picture of your group," asked Jane?

Absolutely, I said grabbing my two good friends. 

Remember that whole networking thing based upon turning up and turning out? That paid off in this EXACT life moment. 

I then turned to Jane's friend, and realized I recognized her as well. It was uber powerhouse attorney (and Gloria Allred's daughter) Lisa Bloom

I turned to Lisa and introduced myself asking how she had heard of the event (I conduct market research apparently on Molly, don't judge)

"We're both vegans, and we heard about this in one of the event calendars we subscribe to," she said. 

That's GREAT! I said excited knowing that my homie's marketing worked. 

"Are you vegan," she asked? 

Without skipping a beat, I said "I am considering it, and that's why I appreciate Asher so much. He throws these incredible events with great people, and even as someone who currently calls themselves a meat eater, I feel so welcome." I topped it off with a "I'm super excited to learn more!"

"Let me give you my card," she said, quickly realizing that she didn't have one on her. 

"Here," I said, "I'll just shoot you an email real quick so we have each other's contact info." I cced in my friend making sure he connected with her for future events knowing each of their levels of "klout" could move mountains.

<tangent> That night I also made sure to quickly introduce them (so they each had a face to the name) and Monday even followed up with another email to them, and gave my friend a solid heads up on her background. 

 

He replied ... 

That's another thing that I've learned over the years ... I don't take anything personally anymore. Even though I yes, identify as a meat eater, it doesn't mean it's who I am. It's only one aspect of myself, but who knows! I could get hit in the head with another brick and wake up and decide that bacon sucks. Do I personally ever think that will happen? No. Was I going to be rude to anyone at the party knowing? No, never. I simply listen. 

I find this meme hilarious ... 

... but that was far from my experience that evening. </tangent> 

We then got the full group together and took our official Vegan Prom photo ... 

I then went to go and get some more water, and as I walked down one of the metal ramps, I witnessed one of the female guests epically eat shit.

Shake it off, I said quickly grabbing her and reassuring that she was fine and that no one saw. 

Barely able to speak, I recognized she needed to find her friends fast. I helped guide her to the couch, and as I did I saw yet another familiar face. It was someone I was friends with on Facebook named Dustin.

See, when you send someone an invite link on Facebook it shows you who your friends are that are also attending the event. One of the people I saw was this guy that I had yet to meet IRL (but I'm assuming was a fan of Talk Nerdy). 

I made sure she was okay, and as I placed her down on the couch walked over to introduce myself. 

Dustin! I said, Jen Friel with Talk Nerdy To Me, Lover. 

"YOU'RE A REAL PERSON, he said super excited as we embraced."

"Oh I'm definitely real, I said. And I really appreciate the read."

His friend clearly in need meant he couldn't join our group, so as quickly as we met, I quietly exited stage left and back to my own friends.

<tangent> Later that weekend I got a message from him on FB ... 

</tangent> 

The evening wound down at that point as Asher and his team began the clean up and get the eff out process. 

"You guys should stay, he said, your friends are all so awesome." 

Still feeling the Molly I wasn't willing or wanting to go anywhere. Plus, clearing all of the people out means that we can dance around and take full advantage of all the artistic perks that studios have to offer. 

We grabbed roller-skates, caution tape, spray paint, and had ZERO problems making ourselves perfectly at home ... 

 

The after party raged on, and around 5am the Molly finally began to wear off. I sat down on the couch next to Asher (and his birthday girl date). I placed my head on his shoulder and said, "this might be the Molly talking, but this has been the best party I've ever been to. Not only did I get to see my friends in their artistic 'element,' but everyone I met tonight was so great. No one judged me for eating meat, nor did I judge them for their choice not to." 

Asher looked over to his date and said, "Jen saying this is the best party she's ever been to means a lot. You should read her blog." 

My gf and I then grabbed our belongings, which included a vintage beaver stole (we truly wanted to mess with people) and we called an uber as I swapped out my heels for ruby red slippers. That's not a euphuism btw, these are the shoes I went home in ... 

I then hugged everyone goodbye and laughed to my gf on the way home. You couldn't make any of this up if you tried. 

"I know" she said. "That's the best part." 

"No," I said. "The best part is the company, thanks for that."

Now, I'm off to sell a TV show. I'd say wish me luck, but I'm already lucky. I didn't need to be "invited to the table," I had to learn how to build my own. 

#nerdsunite 

 Oh and here's what Vin said about the evening ... 

Monday
Feb262018

#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 ... 

EVERYTHING WAS SO COLORFUL!!! 

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. 

 

</tangent>

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