1. Happy 33rd Birthday.
2. In the past, we’ve gotten you extremely elaborate birthday presents here in nerdfighteria. We got you a piece of the James Webb Space Telescope, planted many trees in your honor, and so on. This year, I’m giving you the biggest and best present ever:
You don’t have to do anything elaborate for my birthday this year. I know this is a huge relief to you, and I happen to know it’s the present you want most of all.
2a. Also I am getting you a niece/nephew, which is a bit time-consuming at the moment.
3. I was going to make a video about this, but I didn’t because I just had oral surgery and there are a lot of stitches in my mouth.
4. You are a great brother, a made-of-awesome nerdfighter, and a person who is changing the world in cool ways. And I love you.
5. Nerdfighters, if you want to join me in celebrating Hank’s birthday, why not make a loan to an entrepreneur in the developing world through kiva.org? If you’re new to kiva, your first loan is free.
I’m asked every day why Hank and I haven’t tried to create a TV show.
We’ve been approached many times to do TV shows, but while we’re happy to listen and discuss ideas with people, we’ve so far turned down these opportunities, even the very tempting and lucrative ones. Here’s why:
1. When you work with a cable channel or production company, you don’t own the show you make or control the manner in which it is distributed.
2. It’s easy—and only getting easier—to watch shows like CrashCourse and SciShow on your TV.
3. We really believe that what is strong and beautiful about nerdfighteria is that we create it—every day—together. All of us. And if we were on TV, I worry we’d lose that sense of connection, which Hank and I have enjoyed so much the last five and a half years. Like, the Sherlock fandom and the Doctor Who fandom are great communities, but they are about Sherlock and Doctor Who. Nerdfighteria isn’t, and never has been, primarily about Hank or me. It’s about celebrating nerdiness and decreasing worldsuck. We really value that and don’t want it to change.
4. On YouTube, we can make exactly the stuff we want for exactly the people we want. Sometimes that means getting lower ratings (for instance, Thoughts from Places videos are consistently our least viewed videos, but we still really like making them and we know that nerdfighteria really enjoys them, too). Television is driven by viewership, and all viewers are treated equally. So you can’t say to a TV network, “I know we get fewer viewers when we make this stuff, but we get BETTER viewers.” They do not understand that idea. That idea, however, is at the very core of our relationship with our community. As Hank has told me, “I don’t care how many views we get. I care how many made-of-awesome views we get.”
If all we wanted to do was make stuff that lots of people watch, all our videos would be about animal sex. And on some level, if we had a TV show, the emphasis would be on maximizing the number of viewers, not the quality of the community, which is the exact opposite of what we want.
In one conversation with an anonymous cable network, an exec said to us, “Crash Course would be PERFECT if you were a little less nuanced and stuck to topics that interest people. Like, you know, Hitler and sex.” (Direct quote.)
I’ve read tens of thousands of Crash Course comments. No one—NO ONE—has ever asked us to be less nuanced, or to stick to Hitler and sex. That’s what I love about nerdfighteria. Our community is deeply intellectually engaged, even when that means grappling with complexity and ambiguity.
The great joy of my life is that I get to talk with you on a near-daily basis about a huge variety of things that matter to me, and listen to you discuss what matters to you. Right now, that’s not possible on TV, which is (for better and worse) still a medium where people talk toyou, not with you.
In Which Harena Does The Survey Found here
1. Your name:
Harena Atria (What? That IS my real name! translated into Latin >.>)
2. Your Web page:
The Hypertwiki is one place you can find stuff about me & mine. I also have a Dreamwidth account that cross-posts to a Livejournal account but unless I have you friended you’ll only see the Happy Chirpy Inane Memery stuffnthings. Which, actually, is probably for the best.
3. What have you been up to this past year (please be as detailed as possible, because we actually want to know)?
Mostly fighting the NC Mental Health System trying to get/keep services for my severely autistic and nonverbal son, Josh. (if you really want details, follow this link, there’s more prehistory if you scroll up but don’t say i din’t warn you >.>) Finally found a good home for him where he can stay for the rest of his life if the Republicans don’t dismantle Medicaid down the road. Also been fighting spiraling debt, depression, and uhhh, can’t think of a good third one. Hoping to finally get my act together with my Etsy site and start selling soap & lipbalm & sundry knit & crochet things to people who oddly seem to like them.
4. How much longer do you think you’ll be doing what you’re doing?
Can’t see me doing much more than what i’m doing now.. Unless my mental health magically gets better >.>
5. Why are you doing it?
Stuck in a rut, most likely. Okay, well, that’s not fair. I am working on recovering from a very traumatic space of time where the aforementioned Josh hit puberty and suddenly became Incredibly Difficult to deal with. It was a series of crises 24/7, pretty much for most of the past 5 years. Not going to go into a whole lot of detail here (see above Josh Link), but it was pretty arduous to say the least. Not sure how any of us survived it, but somehow we did.
6. What do you want to be doing?
I want to be happy. I want to be able to visit my farflung friends. Regularly. I want to be able to go back to doing theatre stuff that I enjoyed so very much earlier in my life. I want to get back to doing horseback riding. I want to work with clay and make ceramic things again. I want to get back to bicycling again which has taken a backseat to dealing with kid-crises and a back injury. I want to be eating chocklit.
7. What’s next in your life?
Getting through to the next day Still Alive.
8. How You Doin’?
Fair to Middling. I have good days, I have Terrible Days. I’m Still Alive.
9. What’s the best book you read this year?
I haven’t actually technically read any books this year (ding dong borken eyes and scrambled brains from the stress of dealing with (a) disabled child(ren)), but I have had some really good ones read *to* me. Only, now i can’t remember what any of them are. I’d have to research that and get back to you.
Okay, back. I Shall Wear Midnight by Terry Pratchett.
10. Describe a perfect day?
Bicycling with loved friends, would be fun. Going to the beach and bicycling. With loved friends. Yeah, that works. And chocklit ice cream would be involved. Definitely.
11. Assuming that all things come to an end…how do you think humans will go extinct?
I’m figuring the human race will devolve back into simpering idiots and the Authoritarians in charge will blow the planet up after tapping its resources utterly dry and rendering it unable to sustain life. I figure this will happen in about 2 decades or so.
12. How are you feeling about kids these days?
Wussies. Actually, i have peculiar love/hate issues with kids. Since i never really grew up, i tend to feel like they are more like peers than my “inferiors” so i am awkward around them.
13. (- In this space, compose your own question, and answer it -)
What. Is your favorite colour? Blue… no green! Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!
14. Ambrozzo tastes better than anything else, what does ambrozzo taste like?
Urrrr, meaty cheese! Yes, yes, that’s it.
15. If you were a cliché, what cliché would you be?
I… don’t think I *am* a cliché… i think i will need someone else to correct me on that. huh.
16. What is your least favorite part of any given day?
I’d normally say waking up ‘cause i never wake up rested any more, but i really think it’s the other end of the day.. don’t ever want to go to bed because there are online people around and i might miss something whilst i sleep!
17. Do you enjoy science fiction?
Oh my, yes.
18. Cheese or Chocolate?
My kneejerk is to say BOTH! But when it really comes down to it, it’s totally Chocklit. Really.
19. Where would you live if you could live anywhere?
I’m hovering between Vancouver, Canada and somewhere in Australia or New Zealand.
20. What was your first concert?
The Moody Blues. I was pregnant with my now 29yo son. This is obviously why he ended up such a Mellow Guy(a PUN for those of you who know his name ;D).
21. If you could start a business that would be instantly successful, what kind of business would it be?
Probly a yarn and homemade cold process soap shop.
22. Invisibility or Time Travel?
Time travel without even a flicker of hesitation. There are soooo many things that need to be fixed and i don’t even care if they change the flow of time and space. i simply need to be prevented from doing so many stupid things, ohgods.
23. What’s wrong with the world?
You’re lucky it’s me answering this and not W because there will be no massive block o’ text explaining it in detail. i will say simply that there just isn’t enough empathy and caring for people that are different from ourselves.
There was one more where he asks if he can put this survey in his webpage but that was really directed to John, methinks, and not me. And even it were, how on earth would he even find this to put it on his webpage even if he really wanted to do so? I mean, Really.