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Nerd Nite: Drink Beer, Feel Freaking Brilliant*

If you haven't been there before, Nerd Nite is a cog in a national network of loosely connected groups that bills itself as "like Discovery Channel...with Beer." Which basically means that three new nerdy/geeky academics/hobbyists/fanatics go up on stage and present on their topic of interest for 15 minutes.  It's a LOT more engaging than it sounds.  As one former presenter wrote, "It’s a common academic conundrum: a scholar comes up with an elegant theory– and then has to figure out why anyone should care. Many scientific (and those aspiring to be scientific) disciplines have given up attempts to answer this question to those outside their field, motivating legions of pop psychologists and nerd nite speakers to spread the good word." This month also featuring: 

The Dry T-Shirt Contest v. 2.0 -- the nerd (geek) wearing the nerdiest (geekiest) t-shirt (as judged by crowd reaction) wins a free beer.  Comment:  Yup, it IS worth having strangers cheer/groan at your chest to win (just) one beer.  Not sure WHY it is, but I really want lots of people on that stage.

Presentations:

The Argument For Tragedy: or, How I stopped worrying and learned to love Star Wars Episodes I-III

Summary: Writers frequently say comedy is harder to do than tragedy. This talk will set out to prove the opposite using the Star Wars films as case studies. We will look at what George Lucas could have done differently to make the prequel films as critically successful as the originals. It will also illuminate some of the basic elements of drama and how to write successful stories.Bio: Ross Shenker is a writer, actor, and director from Madison, WI. He earned his B.A. from Wesleyan University in Theater and Jewish Studies. While there, he won the Howard Needler Prize for his research on Jewish-American playwrights. He has worked in motion picture and television development for Weed Road Pictures on the Warner Brothers lot and at Sargent Hall Productions. While in Los Angeles, he helped direct “A Bright New Boise” at Rogue Machine Theatre, which was nominated for several LA Weekly awards. He currently teaches acting and voice in Madison and has worked on shows with Four Seasons Theater, Children’s Theater of Madison, and Clear Plastic Theater. He plans to move to New York City very soon to pursue playwriting professionally. He also enjoys starving for his art and writing pretentious bios that make him sound way more important and expert than he actually is.

How NOT to Make Your Indie Game!

Summary: Making an indie game is tough work, and if you want to be successful enough to support yourself it’s important to be realistic about what you can reasonably accomplish in a finite amount of time. In this talk, I’ll go over some of the mistakes I made as a developer, in order to give a better chance to anyone else out there thinking of going indie. I’ll go over topics such as keeping the scope of a project realistic, and starting with a well defined goal. In addition, I will talk about some pitfalls to avoid, when to make decisions about a game’s direction and story, and how best to utilize your team. Join me for an exciting look into the trials and tribulations of an indie developer!Presenter bio: Brandon Smith is originally from Urbana, Illinois. For 2 years he worked as a game developer making custom 3D indie games, including a free flying space combat game, and metroidvania style action platformer involving a jumping tank. He currently works as a game programmer for Filament Games, making educational flash games.

Groupthink and Brainstorming: Bogus Business Buzzwords

Summary: A lot of jargon gets thrown around haphazardly. Groupthink and brainstorming are two of the most serious offenders. Feel free to blame the 1980′s. This travesty needs to stop. Period. Come learn what’s really going on, why these buzzwords are total bogus, and how to score with the ladies. Disclaimer: the latter may or may not actually happen.Presenter bio: Miranda Kolb is a second year grad student in the Communication Science program at UW-Madison. She studies group processes, focusing on information sharing, decision making and ostracism. In her spare time she enjoys reading non-fiction books about serial killers, college football, and spending too much time and money on the Internet. Oh, and GO GREEN!!

----------------------------------------------------------------We will be arriving early to grab some tables.  We will aim for close to the stage, as it can get loud in High Noon and the sound system isn't great (problematic in past).  This is a very popular Geekery event and a surprisingly popular Madison non-Geekery-meetup event, so get there a few minutes early if you want to get a chair.

As always, you can reach me for questions or a cozy chat at 215-3331.

Cheerio.

AntheaGeekery Organizer Extraordinaire

Want to know more?  You can visit the Nerd Nite site, although all that is really available are the lists of previous events.  http://madison.nerdnite.com/

*If you thought the subject heading was weird, you probably are a newish member who hasn't seen the usual "Drink Beer, Feel Smarter" invites to NN.


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  • Maggie

    Event was good, but wasn't able to find anyone from the group, except a new person, Chris. We need something to identify us, especially for newcomers -- "We'll be at the table with the double helix model" (or Star Wars death star model, or ET puppet, or whatever).
    It helps if whatever it is we put on the table is tall and colorful, or shiny. In a low-light situation like High Noon, it's harder to make out details.

    September 5, 2013

    • Anthea

      Hey Maggie - see comments above.

      September 5, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Anthea had to cancel last night as a group organizer, but we were there. She left comments about it. I know it's hard to check the meetup website if you don't have a smart phone or a computer, though.

    September 5, 2013

    • Anthea

      If I have to make last minute changes, I do always both send an email and leave an explicit notice in the comments field, but beyond that, there isn't a lot that I can do. Hope everybody had fun anyway.

      September 5, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I completely missed it, but am going to have a beer now.

    September 4, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Scratch that...I didn't miss it!

      September 4, 2013

    • Anthea

      You totally, totally deserve that beer, Matt. Thanks for your support yesterday :).

      September 5, 2013

  • Dale

    Sorry I missed everyone. I didn't arrive early enough and missed the email indicating where the group was located. My wife wasn't that interested in the speakers so we left early, but this is something I would try again. I like the concept, and I know now to arrive extra early to find a seat. :) I also think the person with the Great Gatsby video game shirt was robbed! :)

    September 5, 2013

    • Maggie

      It was a great shirt, but the StarWars/ET mash up was awesome too.

      September 5, 2013

    • Maggie

      FYI, for next time, it might be a good idea for one or two of the organizers/regulars to have or wear something specific so people from this group can find each other once they are at the event. I was there too, didn't see anyone I knew.

      September 5, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    FYI: The third and final segment is starting in ~15-20min.

    September 4, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Running late by about 20 minutes.

    1 · September 4, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Ok, bus is running super late. ETA now 8:40ish. My reward for not driving today.

      September 4, 2013

  • Anthea

    As I said in my email I won't be there due to a migraine.
    However, Gena has been awesome in getting there early & finding a TABLE ON THE MEZZANINE - she has a green shirt on & blonde hair. Please thank her for me.
    You can still call w questions[masked]

    September 4, 2013

  • Zack N.

    Sadly I have plans already.

    August 31, 2013

  • Emily

    Do you think Nerdy dress would count as a nerdy t shirt? I have in my possession an awesome star wars dress.

    August 29, 2013

    • Maggie

      That definitely counts!

      August 30, 2013

  • Becky

    I switched !

    August 29, 2013

  • Maggie

    Anthea,
    Sounds great. Count me in.
    --Maggie

    August 28, 2013

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