Nerd Nite #34: Death, taxes, exercise and books (oh my!)

They say April showers bring May flowers. But out here on the prairies, we don’t really know what they say, except to expect the unexpected. That’s what this Nerd Nite is about. You’ll learn about literature, taxes and fitness. And you’ll do it in the company of a terrific community, and where beer is served. Be there AND be square!

When: Wednesday, April 12, 2017 (show @ 8pm)
Where: The Needle Vinyl Tavern (10524 Jasper Avenue)
Tickets: on sale March 8 at 10pm at
$20 in advance
$10 peanut gallery tickets
[Must be 18 years or older]

Our line-up of talks includes:

Self-publishing: from brain to best seller
Laurel Deedrick-Mayne

How does a novel get from the brain to the bookshelf and into reader’s hands? It’s not a path for the faint of heart; nor is it a walk in the park. It’s more akin to stumbling blindly over the hot coals of hell fantasizing about how much more fun it would be to shove bamboo shoots under the fingernails while having a root canal. All cliché’s aside, Laurel will present her personal perils, panic and pitfalls of publishing. Plus – reaping the rewards and a few surprises along the way.

Laurel Deedrick-Mayne loves to write… just about anything from postcards to grocery lists to her big honking self-published novel, A Wake For The Dreamland. It has been on the Edmonton’s Best Seller List more than 45 times and may well be Canada’s only Edmonton-based historical fiction book with a gay protagonist. Laurel has been a guest at over 40 book clubs and 30 other literary events and now this… NERD NIGHT! Oh… she also was the winner of Edmonton Public Library’s 2016 Alberta Readers Choice Award, which came with one of those really big fat prop cheques.

How the Grinch stole tax season
Heather Watson

It’s tax season again. Like Christmas, a time of year that incites equal parts anticipation and dread. This year, add a little rage-gravy over your turkey and side of T4s as we explore the dark side of Tax Free Savings Accounts — the “Year-in-review” equivalent for financial journalists when desperate for content every January. Whats wrong with TFSAs, you say? Nothing, I guess – if you like lining the pockets of Canada’s most well off under the guise of helping low-income Canadians save for retirement. Join in a hypocritical [I mean hypothetical] exploration of how the TFSA will slowly kill Canada’s finances.

Nerd Nite welcomes Pythagorean Scholar, Heather Watson. From her early days as an award winning, apple juice sipping, nose picking, grade three math nerd, Heather has moved on to an adulthood of shot-gunning beers and debating the merits of various tax policies. She can be found formatting excel tables and clearing rooms at parties by talking about diversified portfolios.

Flex, pecs and all that tech
Chris Tse

Sedentary? Active? Whatever lifestyle you choose we are constantly inundated with information on getting your butt off the couch and bettering yourself in some type of way. Fitness has become a dominant force in our economy and more especially our lives. But it’s different, we track everything: From macros to microbes, and steps to stumbling blocks if you’re not counting something you’re not healthy… or so it seems. But what is health? In this talk we navigate one of the most geek-sheek topics in our society: fitness. We’ll prove to you that deep down inside every person that’s in the fitness industry is a giant nerd getting stuffed into a locker by a suave cool muscle bound exterior.

Chris Tse is the owner of Blitz Conditioning Inc. and Tse Social Strategy. He has been in the fitness industry for over 12 years and has taken on many roles including: athlete, personal trainer, group class instructor, and Global TV and CBC columnist. Tse Social Strategy was created over a year ago and focuses on social media management and content creation for businesses that are looking to create online awareness of their brands.

Nerd Nite #33: the beginning of the end of winter

You’ve made it through the dregs of winter. But even at this point in the year, there’s no guarantee that persistent warmth is on the horizon. You need something to keep you warm: fabulous nerds sharing their passions with you over pints of beer. Be there AND be square!

When: Wednesday, March 8, 2017 (show @ 8pm)
Where: The Needle Vinyl Tavern (10524 Jasper Avenue)
Tickets — on sale now at
$20 in advance SOLD OUT!
$10 peanut gallery tickets
[Must be 18 years or older]

Our line-up of talks includes:

Spewing Pixie Dust- A Disney Nerd’s view on that Disney Magic
Michelle Weinhandl

Disney is large. From movies to theme parks, and education to conservation. Disney does it all! But it’s the little things that give Disney the magic touch. How did Walt become a theme park creator? Do you know that Disney diverted 49% of theme park waste from landfills in 2015? Have you ever found a hidden Mickey? Do you know why Space Mountain is located where it is? And why are the cast members so damn happy ALL THE TIME? Come and get covered in a whole lot of pixie dust as you learn about one of the most magical places on Earth.

Michelle has been a rabid fan of all things Disney since she was very young. In 2002, she was hired to work with Disney Cruise Line, on the Disney Wonder, which only fed her addiction. In addition to planning her next trip to see The Mouse, you can find her mentoring School Safety Patrollers, making crafty things, and hanging out with her Vulcan-like husband and Tigger-like son. You may also recognize her from such places as TELUS World of Science, and wherever cats can be found.

Anti-aging drugs: live long and prosper!
Basil Hubbard

Why do we age? Can we control aging to live healthier, longer lives? What exactly is aging? This talk will go beyond your grandma’s anti-wrinkle creams and internet miracles to examine the real science behind aging and longevity. With due references to history and pop culture, you’ll hear about the genes that control the aging process, and recently discovered drugs that can target these pathways. The potential for human lifespan extension will also be discussed, as well as the first official clinical trial for an anti-aging drug, which is currently underway.

Dr. Basil Hubbard is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Alberta and Canada Research Chair in the Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology of aging. He pursued his postdoctoral research at Harvard University on gene editing, and his graduate work at Harvard Medical School on longevity genes. As an undergrad, he had the opportunity to work at NASA and watch the launch of MER-B in person!

You see a dumpster fire, we see sunshine: Why journalism’s future is brighter than you think
Mack Male & Karen Unland

You’ve heard the doom and gloom, and honestly, you’re not wrong — journalism as it has been practiced and funded is in trouble, at a time when it is needed more than ever. But, wow, we have such an opportunity to create a better, brighter future for journalism, grounded in curiosity and service to the community, paid for in creative ways, and building on the experience of smart and dedicated people around the world. It won’t be easy, but how many worthwhile things are? So ditch your sadface and get on board with Mack and Karen as we delve into where our journo-nerdity came from and what we’re doing with it.

Mack is the co-founder of Taproot Edmonton. He’s a software developer, blogger, and Edmonton geek who has long been interested in the combination of technology and local journalism. He was one of the first 1,000 people in the world to join Twitter, helped establish the #yeg hashtag, and has been an active member of the local open data community. Mack is an active volunteer, serving on the Edmonton Food Council, Edmonton Heritage Council, and Downtown Vibrancy Task Force, among other organizations. You can find him as mastermaq on your favorite social media service.

Karen is the co-founder of Taproot Edmonton. She worked at the Edmonton Journal for 14 years as a reporter and various flavours of editor, including the editor in charge of, before quitting in 2011 to consult, teach, and embark on adventures in entrepreneurial journalism. She co-founded Capital Ideas, a community of business owners helping business owners by sharing what they know, and she pays close attention to the city’s bloggers and podcasters through Seen and Heard in Edmonton. She was not one of the first 1,000 people on Twitter, but she sure as heck followed @mastermaq within minutes of joining.

Nerd Nite #32: Helping you dream of summer

Shake of the deep chill of the cold Alberta winter with three nerdy presentations sure to get your blood pumping — not out of rage, but out of a nerdy lust for knowledge, camaraderie and the sweet taste of beer! Be there, be warm, AND be square!

When: Wednesday, February 8, 2017 (show @ 8pm)
Where: The Needle Vinyl Tavern (10524 Jasper Avenue)
Tickets — on sale Wednesday, January 11 at 10pm on
$20 in advance
$10 peanut gallery tickets
[Must be 18 years or older]

Our line-up of talks includes:

Aquatic Invasive Species Just Might Eat Your Children (or at Least Kick Your Puppy)
Kate Wilson

Most environmental problems, as we all probably recognize, are really PEOPLE problems. Invasive species issues are, for the most part, exactly that, and cause an incredible amount of damage, including the extirpation of native species — which you should care about because if we don’t work together to protect the health and diversity of species, they just might disappear. And then we’ll just be left with a planet overrun with too many people and crazy horrible invasive species that will just might bring forth the apocalypse. The impacts of aquatic invasive species range far and wide — from increases in utility and food costs, to decreases in property values, and loss of our native species. But alas, there is hope! We can turn this mess around! Just don’t sit too close, I talk with my hands and swing elbows often.

Kate Wilson is perhaps a little bit obsessed with water and native species conservation… in particular the crazy things that people do to put them at risk! For example, bringing “dirty boats” into clean waters; straight up dumping their aquariums into ponds, rivers and lakes, planting pretty new plants and flowers from faraway places on their lakeshore properties, and failing to consider the consequences of their actions. Kate is outspoken and probably sometimes annoying in her drive to change human behaviour associated with introducing critters and plants that cause problems. She is very passionate about protecting our wild and special places, and is stoked to lead Alberta’s Provincial Aquatic Invasive Species Program.

The Top Ten Garden Myths (Save the Bullsh** for your plants!)
Jim Hole

Gardening is a hobby that many of us love. But the path to success with gardening is one that is more convoluted, confusing and costly than it should be thanks, in part, to a number of garden myths that refuse to die. Killing them with some good, old ‘farm sense’ and a bit of horticultural science will save your back and bank account at the same time. Exploring the Top Ten gardening myths will help to keep the bullsh** in the garden where it belongs.

Jim Hole grew up in his family’s horticultural business and has been co-owner of Hole’s Greenhouses and Gardens Ltd. in St. Albert since 1979. Jim has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture from the University of Alberta, is a Professional Agrologist, Certified Arborist with the International Society of Arboriculture, Certified Professional Horticulturist with the American Society for Horticultural Science, and a Certified Greenhouse and Landscape Pesticide Applicator. Jim is also a landscape consultant and provides plant diagnostic services both in store and online. In addition to writing bestselling gardening books, Jim is a gardening columnist with the Edmonton Journal, Saskatoon Star-Phoenix, and CBC radio.

Two Great Tastes that Taste Great Together!
Owen Brierley

MID, DAW, VJ, OSC, DJ, mapping, FFGL, VST, fractals, procedural FX, DXV3.. oh my! I will walk my talk by presenting the concepts and ideas of VJ/DJ collaborations, and explore how the nightclub can serve as a media artist’s laboratory. This piece will mash concrete with abstract, harmony with dissonance, data with allegory. A digital analogue poem designed to offer aural and visual stimulants that will lead to epiphanies about common notions or just sparkly ocular delights to a thumping rhythm. How deep you go is entirely up to you. Trigger warnings are in effect. Please ensure your tray is in an upright and locked position. These moist towelettes are provided for your convenience. Walk, don’t walk, walk, don’t walk.

Owen Brierley produces stories. Owen is the Executive Director of the Edmonton Digital Arts College. He is also a digital media producer based in Edmonton for over 20 years. Owen has been pursuing media production projects that explore the forefront of blending arts and technology. Working on projects like the Citadel Theatre’s production of “Make Mine Love,” (which won him a Sterling Award for Best in Multimedia Design), projection mapping events like Make Something Edmonton’s “Sound, Light & Vision,” or creating gigantic projected murals for La Cite Francophone’s Flying Canoe Festival, the Deep Freeze Festival, are all part of the continual pursuit of merging technology and arts into a seamless, engaging whole. Owen has also worked with Alberta Education, NAIT, U of A, MacEwan University, Athabasca University, the Banff Centre, CityTV, NorthWestFest Film Festival, YESS, Startup Edmonton, and many others in the Edmonton community.