Sunday’s Nerd on the Scene

post by: Jenn Brown

I’m back home after an epic week. It felt like the year leading up to it was taking forever, and then the weekend flies by so fast.

NerdHQ keeps getting better and keeps topping itself. This year we raised over $260,000! That’s over 1,000 surgeries and 1,000 lives changed forever.

Emotions were definitely running high today, but we kicked it off with a really big bang!

Stephen Amell made his debut appearance to NerdHQ this year, continuing to prove that he’s a down to earth, really good guy who appreciates everyone around him. With his sold out panel and Smiles 4 Smiles, he raised $12,000. While his panel does contain some spoilers for those who haven’t watched the show, it’s still an excellent watch. C’mon, have you seen his abs?! Sinceriously. ;)

Following Stephen, was Wil Wheaton & Felicia Day. Another sold out, standing room only panel, which apparently had a lot of talk about video games and beer. I didn’t get into this one but I do admire them both.

Then came the 2nd panel for Nathan Fillion, but this time he had to have his good buddy, Alan Tudyk, join him on stage. He again auctioned off more “crap”, and raised even more money for Operation Smile.

Next came the cast and creators of Thrilling Adventure Hour. It’s a podcast of radio comedy shows, with a troupe that boasts the superbly talented Marc Evan Jackson (22 Jump St.), Hal Lublin, Craig Cacowski and I could go on but that would take the rest of my post. They are always entertaining, always hilarious. The highlight of the panel had to be when a little boy, not yet 4 years old, asked the creators how they made up their stories. Marc Evan Jackson fell in love with him so much, he got off stage and took a picture with him afterwards.

Then came the Joss Whedon panel. Speculation had abounded after Joss tweeted from a hospital bed earlier in the week, following knee surgery. The show must go on as they say so fans were treated to a last minute Mystery Panel, hosted by Nathan Fillion, and featuring some of his friends; Liam McIntyre (Spartacus), Chloe Bennett (S.H.E.I.L.D), Seth Green and Alan Tudyk. They all told stories about Joss, their connection and when they’ve felt intimidated by him. About halfway through the panel, like the great Wizard of Oz, Joss appeared via Skype from London. Making his “puppets” dance, and taking a few audience questions, before signing off to rest and recover.

The last panel of the day was the cast of Supernatural. Jared Padalecki has been a panelist since year one of NerdHQ, finally last year Jensen Ackles was able to join him, so this year they brought along Misha Collins and Mark Sheppard (the man who inhabits many fandoms). I’m looking forward to watching this one myself.

This weekend was an incredible experience and a fabulous success on many levels. Not only for Operation Smile, but The Nerd Machine as well, sold nearly all the merchandise they had brought.

As I lie in my own bed tonight, I can hardly believe it’s already over. So many memories were created, I’ll have to filter through them all once I’m rested and thinking clearly.

I will say, my biggest highlight, was probably meeting Colin Ferguson (Eureka, Haven). When we were asked via Twitter who we’d like to see at NerdHQ, I replied with his name. He replied very enthusiastically that he’d like to do it, and I was thrilled when I’d learned that he showed up for the Mystery Panel. He did a Smiles 4 Smiles afterwards and I was able to get a photo and hug from him after we recounted our humorous Twitter conversation.

All in all, NerdHQ 2014, was epic. I’m hoping that the success of this year will lead to a 5th NerdHQ in 2015. Thank you to everyone at The Nerd Machine, who works so hard to make it happen. Thank you to all the staff and volunteers who give so much of themselves during this weekend.

I’m looking forward to seeing what heights NerdHQ will reach in the future, and that it will continue to transform lives.

For more from Jenn follow her on Twitter @JennOC7

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Saturday’s Nerd on the Scene

Post by Joshua Monroe

Welcome to Saturday! Nerd HQ is in full throttle with all S-Foils locked in attack position.

We are halfway through the day and already the place has been hopping and we’ve seen numbers far greater than the previous days.

Both the Walking Dead and Alan Tudyk panels opened up for additional standing room only tickets. Make sure to check the Nerd HQ app for panels later today and tomorrow as standing room only tickets at the door are likely to continue to happen on a first come, first serve basis.

We’ve also had surprise Smiles for Smiles photo opportunities with the cast of Grimm and Sean Astin.

Also, if you’ve got young kids, the rest of today and tomorrow features a new Sesame Street tent for children! And you may be able to catch a glimpse of the Stoopid Buddies robot while you are here too.

What an amazing day so far and the rest of the day promises to hold even better moments still. Catch ya later.
-Loud Josh

For more from Josh follow him on Twitter @Loud_Josh

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Friday’s Nerd on the Scene

Post by Taylor Henderson

We raised a huge amount of money for Operation smile today from a full day of back to back to back to back sold out panels-to multiple sets of Smiles for Smiles with the likes of Zac Levi, Yvonne Strahovski, Elijah Wood, Colin Ferguson, Brenton Thwaites, and Kal Penn. There were book signings, poster signings, an auction of zac’s bag of stuff and so much more.





Zac’s mystery panel had a plethora of wonderful people including the myth busters and Alan Tudyk and Nathan fillion made an appearance here today as well, as usual :)

Seth green’s robot chicken panel was hysterical and a ton of questions got answered which the fans loved. It was another beautiful day in San Diego, and everyone seemed to have an amazing time today!

all photos courtesy of Taylor Henderson

For more from Taylor follow her on Twitter @tellerdee

And make sure to check out The Nerd Machine and Operation Smile!

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Thursday’s Nerd on the Scene

Post by Mels Lien

The first day of Nerd HQ is always the greatest. Everyone’s still exhausted and jet lagged, but they still manage to muster up the energy to attend panels and stand in a forever-long merch line.

This year’s opening day was particularly exciting: with a multitude of panels, including ‘Into the Storm’, ‘The Giver’, and ‘The Last Ship’, hosted by Zachary Levi himself, raising over $6,000 per session and photo ops bringing in an additional $14k, Nerd HQ has started off with a proverbial bang.

Into the Storm Conversation for a Cause

Intel Green Screen

Instagram's Superhero Photo Booth


Lovely volunteers at Nerd HQ and the ladies of Operation Smile


Of course, everyone’s favorite Nerd Party on Thursday evening remained a Fan favorite. With crowds of geeks and geek culture connoisseurs cramming into an already full dance floor and photo booth lines on constant rotation, the party lasted well into the morning hours and attracted high profile guests such as Zachary Quinto and Krysta Rodriguez. Friday will see additional appearances by Levi, Adam Baldwin, Yvonne Strahovski and Evangeline Lilly.

Nerd HQ Photo Booth photos

 All Photos courtesy of Mels Lien and Nerd HQ

If you are in San Diego for Comic Con this weekend, please make sure to head to Petco Park for Nerd HQ, you won’t be sorry!!! Support The Nerd Machine and Operation Smile with your presence and if you feel so inclined, with your money as well. They are doing wonderful things. For more from Mels Lien, follow her on Twitter @MelsLien.

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San Diego Coverage

Happy Comic Con week, my lovely nerds.

Sorry to be absent from the blog-o-sphere, but I’ve been working on a little project. Hope to show it to you soon.

In the meantime, Comic Con is upon us. And sadly I will not be making it to Nerd HQ  this year, but some of my lovely nerd friends will be reporting back from the scene in San Diego. Specifically the happenings at Nerd HQ.

Meet the crew:

Thursday Coverage


Mels loves The Walking Dead, Supernatural, Firefly, Star Trek, Orphan Black and more!

Follow her on Twitter @MelsLien

Friday Coverage 


Taylor is a Disnerd who also loves Dr. Seuss, The Office, The Hunger Games and more!

Follow her on Twitter @tellerdee

Saturday Coverage 

Josh’s main love is Star Wars, but he also loves Indiana Jones, Battlestar Gallactica and the writings of C.S. Lewis.

Follow him on Twitter @Loud_Josh

Sunday Coverage


Jordan loves Harry Potter, all things Marvel, Doctor Who, Disney and more.

Follow her on Twitter @jjkeebs

Jenn can’t get enough Sherlock, Chuck, Lord of the Rings or The Princess Bride (and more of course.)

Follow her on Twitter @JennOC7


There may even be a few other nerds on the scene!

Be sure to follow all of these nerds as they work to support The Nerd Machine and their efforts on behalf of Operation Smile. And if you are in San Diego for SDCC make sure to head over to Petco Park and check out the HQ, you won’t be sorry!!

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Why Superman is the hero we need and Batman is the hero we want

The world is already a dark place. Have you watched the news lately? There was yet another school shooting yesterday… dark!! In light of the upcoming Batman v. Superman movie, there has been much debate about the 2 superheroes. And for some reason Batman seems to be winning the popularity contest.


He has never been my favorite superhero. Call me the eternal optimist, but I’ve always been a Supes girl myself! He’s the superhero we need. He’s the best of us. The one who makes the right decisions in the most impossible situations. The one who sees the best in humanity even when it makes no sense at all!



Artwork on Etsy by RetroInc

Batman on the other hand is the physical representation of who we currently are, not who we could be. I like the Bat! He’s gritty and real and bad ass! But as cool as he often is, he isn’t the best of us. And we as a culture want to be told that it’s ok to be that way. It’s ok to not be the best version of yourself because it’s your choice and your life and somehow that makes it ok.


Artwork available on Society 6 by Pandreaa

Superman is the challenge. The ideal. The seemingly alien goodness that shines in the darkened world. We need that. We need the ideal. The hope. Because a world without hope is like a Gotham without Batman. And that’s not somewhere I ever want to live.

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Book Con and the Fun (Part 2)

So I make it to the Javits. Blood washed off my hands. And I pace outside deciding… should I go in? But in the end I decide to go and be distracted by books and reading and panels and fun. Cause when faced with the brevity of life it’s important to embrace what you have and the time you’re given and not wallow! So I didn’t wallow and I didn’t break down. I went to Book Con.

Book COn

Book Con… a place where words become novels and dreams become reality. People here are living the dream. As a writer myself, it’s a dream I too want to be apart of one day.



I always start with the Con floor if I can. It’s over crowded and you feel like a sardine, but it’s fun to see all the booths and costumes and such. And I’m meandering the floor when I come across a booth for the Fairybirds. They are fraternal twins, Heidi and Heather and they started writing a book together about giving and what that looks like for kids. Hence Fairybirds was born. I started following them on Instagram months ago, not really knowing much about them, but just thinking how adorable their Insta was. And when I saw their banner I had to stop and chat. So I bought a copy of their book and was just inspired by the fact that they self published it. Self Publishing seems like such a big, bad, scary world of doing it yourself, but they encouraged me to give it a try. I left their booth inspired, happy and a little whimsical. Completely opposite of how I’d felt a mere 30 minutes before walking through the doors of the Con.


Next, I attended the panel with Veronica Roth and Alex London in conversation about their news books. His book, Guardian, is a sequel to a book called Proxy about a dystopian society where the poor receive the punishments that the rich actually deserve. I haven’t read it, but after this panel it is definitely on my To Read list. (That’s a long list.)


And Veronica Roth’s new book is a collection of 4 stories about Tobias, a character from her Divergent series. Listening to these two talk about cookies and romance and guilty pleasures (something Veronica Roth does not believe in – if you like something, you don’t need to feel guilty about it!) was a joy. What fun to hear two young writers discuss their work and see them fully living out the dreams that made them write in the first place.


I followed that up with the Cary Elwes panel. And talk about perfection. He came sweeping in the room just as you’d expect from the Dread Pirate Roberts himself. His new memoir is all about what went on behind the scenes of the filming of The Princess Bride. It’s called As You Wish: Tales from The Princess Bride. And what a mind blowingly awesome panel. They showed clips from the movie and Cary talked about his experiences with the like of Robin Wright, Andres the Giant, Billy Crystal, Fred Savage, Mandy Patinkin and Rob Reiner. I mean… we were essentially watching the movie with Westley!! What?? It doesn’t get much better than that!! And I can’t wait for this book to come out. The Princess Bride is one of my all time favorite books!


And finally I went to Jason Segal’s panel about his new children’s book, Nightmares. I already loved Jason from previous works such as Freaks and Geeks, How I Met Your Mother, Forgetting Sarah Marshall and The Muppets. But this panel and the stories he told made me admire and love him even more. Stories about the nightmares he had when he was a child and how they inspired him to write a book. Stories about wearing a cape under his clothes when he was younger just in case he was ever called upon to spring to action. And about how he takes steps towards the things he’s afraid of in order to overcome them.

I talk a lot about dreams in regards to Book Con. I think that mainly has to do with me. And how much writing a book seems like a far away dream. Something that happens after many drafts and many rejection letters and editing and publishing and someone liking it in the first place. But this place… this is a place where it all seems possible. Where success stories are tangible and walking around and doing panels about their work.

At the end of the day, Book Con was exactly where I needed. And if you have a chance to go next year, writer or not, you should go. It’s place of fun and inspiration. A place where literature meets YA fan girl culture. Where The Fault in Our Stars author, John Green is a veritable rock star. A place that you have to see to believe and a perfect distraction from the harsh realities of our world. Yep… #ilovereading… a lot!

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Book Con and A Fight for Life (Part 1)

This past Saturday I was on my way to Book Con and I sent out a tweet “So excited for Book Con #Ilovereading.” I’m happy and minding my own business when a red truck hops the curb on 34th and 9th. He takes out 2 pedestrians standing on the curb and is mere feet away from me. The woman who gets hit lands directly at my feet and is obviously very hurt. So I take a beat to survey the situation and then I spring to action.

“You! Call 911.”

“You! Check that man over there.”

“Sir, back up.”

“Ma’am, calm down.”

I check her pulse. She has one! I check her breathing, I can’t feel her breath so I open her mouth and start thinking about the 7 or 8 CPR classes I’ve taken over the course of my life. What’s next? But once her mouth is open and her tongue is out of the way she starts breathing, very labored, but there’s breath. I try to call to her, but there is no response. All of a sudden blood starts coming out of her nose. People who are standing around start getting panicky. Someone hands me a sweatshirt because the 911 response person she is on the phone with told her we needed a dry towel.

So I’m gently wiping the blood from her nose holding her head and keeping one hand on her pulse to make sure she’s alive for when the ambulance gets here. I’m sending prayers up to God to keep her safe, keep me steady and calm, let the ambulance arrive quickly and I’m thinking, ‘Is this all I do? Just sit here, next to her, checking her vitals till help arrives?’

In the aftermath, my father assures me over the phone, yes I did all I could. I did the right things. (He taught CPR classes for years, in fact I took a few CPR classes with him as my instructor, so his assurance is valid and helpful.) But in the moment all you can think is ‘Is this right?’

In the moment of clear thinking that comes from just sitting there with my hands in her blood I tell someone to check the driver. But he has already gotten out of the car and is standing over me in a nervous manner. “I’m the driver, is she ok? IS SHE OK???”

I tell him to back up. And wait for the authorities, which he does not do. He walks away from the scene. He leaves. He scampers in that frightened manner that you expect from weasels and mice. Not from grown men, but fear is a powerful emotion that makes one man run with his tail between his legs and one woman spring to action and take charge of a scary situation. I am no better than this man. If I had been the one behind the wheel and not the one almost hit, would I have run as well? You can never know till you are presented with that situation. Till the choice is staring you in the face.

I’ve always wondered what I’d do in a crisis situation. And now I know. All my chaotic hurricane tendencies are silenced in the utter chaos of a circumstance like this. I am calm. I am steady and I can handle this!

The ambulance, a fire truck and two cop cars arrive and take over the situation. I tell them what I know. And the cop in charge takes me around the block to try and ID the driver who has fled. I suspect he is actually distracting me from the inevitable onslaught of post traumatic emotions that are bound to flood out of me once my adrenaline subsides. This is a brilliant idea! So we look. But we don’t find him. We do find a bathroom and he suggests I wash my hands. ‘Oh yes! They’re still covered in that woman’s blood. Excellent idea.’ So I wash up and we keep looking, but that day he is not found. The cop assures me “Don’t worry miss. We’ll get the guy.” I am assured!

I don’t know this woman. I’ll never know her name. Maybe I don’t want to. Because she was alive when she got in that ambulance and as long as I don’t know her name she will continue to be the woman who lived. But the news says she’s fighting for her life and is in critical condition. So if I do the research (a simple Google search will probably be fruitful in coming up with her identity) and find out who she is I may find out that she’s really Sally Jo Smith from Yonkers who died in a horrific car accident Saturday morning. The morning would be a terrible time to die. You have the whole day ahead of you in the morning. There is hope in the morning. So I let her be the nameless living, not the identified dead.

The cop has my info if he needs more from me. And he says I can go now. So I leave. What was I doing again? Oh yes. Book Con. The thing I was headed to before I saw a car become a weapon. Before I understood that this stuff doesn’t just happen on the news or in the movies. It’s real.

I continue on to the Javits Center. I paid to go to Book Con. Maybe I should go. But then I remember the woman’s knapsack. Filled with snacks and books and a map of New York, now covered in blood. And I have a feeling she was heading to Book Con herself. How can I go, knowing she won’t get to. I call mom and dad and Erin and Cristina and Elizabeth and Grace and Josh and no one is answering and I’m starting to panic. But then they call back and talk me down. They say it’s still ok to go. They say the distraction may be a good thing right now. So I go… cause #Ilovereading.

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Avenger’s S.T.A.T.I.O.N.

The brand new Discovery Times Square exhibit from Marvel is fun, interactive and just plain cool.


Last Thursday I was invited to the sneak preview of this exhibit and let me say, it is worth it!

You start by walking into a pure white room. Then you’re treated to a little recap of the Avengers.


Then it’s off to the debriefing room. Where your mission is explained to you.



Next is a testing station where you can test your strength against Steve Rogers’ and see if you are fit for duty.



There are costumes and props from the movies. As well as beautifully constructed sets that make you feel apart of the Avengers.





There were still a few bugs being worked out when I was there, so I will absolutely pay to go back and see it fully functioning.


Go check it out and let me know what you think!

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Check this out

You’ve no doubt heard of food porn, but are you aware of food art?

Samantha Lee, Instagrammer and Food artist, is someone you should be following. If for no other reason than to smile when you see her creations!

Take a look:

Instagram Foodie Samantha Lee (made to encourage her daughter to eat her food)


Samantha Lee food art - Nightmare Before Christmas!|10-23-13


Samantha Lee food art - Michael Jackson!|10-23-13


Instagram Foodie Samantha Lee (made to encourage her daughter to eat her food)


Samantha Lee's incredibly fun foodscapes she creates for her daughters


Wish my food looked like this. Imagine how fun mealtime is at this house!!

Follow Samantha Lee and check out many more of her amazing creations here.

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