The only reason Keir Hansen really wants the ability to time travel is to be able to get to all the content the geek community creates in a single day. A web dork and hack pixel-pusher by day, all spare hours are devoted to absorbing film and television, reading and writing sci-fi, a smattering of gaming, unlicensed attempts at mixology, culinary adventures, and novice cat wrangling.
He was once accused of being a "Jack of all trades", but that sounded too much like actual work, and the accuser has since been sacked. His particular passions include Whovianism (classic and new), the complete works of Douglas Adams, and anyone who offers a free sample of wine and/or chocolate, even when unmarked white vans are involved. (It's okay. He can run really quickly.)

Podcasts: Gallifrey Public Radio

Episode 37: The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth

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We’ve been immensely fortunate here on In Defense Of to meet and speak with members of the geek community and various fanbases who use their passions, creativity, and sheer numbers to enact positive changes in the world. From online gamers fundraising for Save the Children, to artists and illustrators auctioning their work for refugee aid, to fan groups volunteering time and resources to political and social activism; it’s clear that our fanatical passions bring us together, and when we stand together, we stand stronger. It came as no surprise to us that, while attending a Doctor Who convention this year, we met a group of people who exemplify the crossroad between fan appreciation and philanthropy — or to steal a term from their organization’s founder, “fanthropy”. Their virtual running events have hundreds upon thousands of participants, and each event is specifically targeted to channel donated funds to a charity uniquely connected to the fandom involved. One conversation later, and we immediately saw the benefit of sharing their vision, efforts, and tremendous successes with the IDO listening community. We hope to connect with many more such innovators and catalysts for positive change in the years ahead. We’re joined this time in-studio by Brian Biggs, founder of the Whovian Running Club, Hogwarts Running Club, and Chilton Running Club, to chat about geek altruism and fandom-inspired fundraising efforts. BONUS SEGMENT: We’re adding a section to the start of every IDO installment to celebrate and signal boost the positive news from our greater fandom circles, because we can always use some o’ that feel-good in today’s world. This session, there’s absolutely nothing better to talk about than the global success of the Wonder Woman cinematic release — and we spend a few minutes cheering the triumphs, the empowerment for fangirls and enlightenment for fanboys, and our unabashed love of Patty Jenkins.

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Episode 36: Between the Panels

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The adage states that art imitates life. True to the stage, the novel, the canvas, the screen, we see the influences of events and subjects of societal importance relative to the time each creative work is crafted. Often, the influence is worn as clear as a scarlet letter, as a clear and unequivocal statement from creator to audience about their observations of the world of that time, and the people within it. Other times, the impact of cultural impression, social nature and mindset are more nuanced, but can be identified by a more objective eye. If Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice and Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird can exemplify the lens of art focusing upon a point in humanity’s behaviors, state of mind, triumphs and tragedies, is there anything that says the same could not be true for the comic book and graphic novel medium? Can superhero stories really teach us anything about ourselves as a community, a nation, a species? Joined this time by Danica LeBlanc and Jeremy Radick, we look at the past, present & future of comic books as a societal lens.

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Motivation via Meme

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From the use of anthropomorphic cartoon characters to sell war bonds and other government propaganda in the early 20th century, to the image of a certain futuristic rebel-princess-turned-general with fist raised in defiance of a modern-day political regime, it is an established practice to utilize a welcome, familiar, and widely understood cultural icon of fiction as the rallying or motivating point for a very real and serious grassroots effort. What makes this sort of juxtaposition so effective? Are there behavioral or psychological explanations for why the very thought of a film’s theme, a literary character, or a representative logo of an organization entirely fictitious in origin can inspire us to support a cause, or raise our voices for (or against) a movement in our own nation, state, or neighborhood? Joined by public broadcast producer Andy Hicks, we look into the origins, efficacy, and potential pitfalls of using geek or pop culture icons as the means to gather support or advocacy for another effort, be it social, environmental, political, or any other goal not directly related to the reference to begin with. Hoist the Rebel flag, earn points for your house, and may the odds be ever in your favor.

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Episode 34: Keeping It Casual

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We’ve made it abundantly clear how thrilled we are to witness the progression of fandom topics from the sidelines, to an era of “geek chic”, to widespread mainstream adoption. Watercooler conversations now involve such subjects as the Marvel cinematic universe and ‘Game of Thrones’ as often as politics or sports (well, almost as often), and you can drop references to Star Wars, or even quote a line from a Harry Potter book at a party without getting side-eyed. If this is the new age of geek assimilation, that should mean that the “old guard” of people in those fandoms should relish the new blood, increased interest, and new energy that the expanding fan-bases see, right? Well, not exactly. Why is it that the casual fan can still be made to feel marginalized, or even discouraged from the fandom because they’re not as deeply invested as the hardcore or “superfans”? Joined by our friend Chip from Two Minute Time Lord and The Audio Guide to Babylon 5, we discuss the rigors of being a casual fan of anything in a world of ‘superfans’.

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Episode 33: A Life With Furpose

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By its simplest definition, anthropomorphism is the attribution of human characteristics to nonhuman objects or entities. With roots going back over 30 years, the concept of anthropomorphic characters as a fan-based portrayal, or the furry fandom, in more modern parlance, is a substantially sized and diverse group that gathers worldwide in their own convention settings, as well as online forums, social network groups, and other in-person and virtual meetings. Like many fandoms we’ve covered in the past year and a half on In Defense Of, there is a close and very active community within the furry fandom, one that extends beyond their social gatherings, into music, literature, and the arts, charitable fundraising, and nonprofit organizations. Broadcast media has had a tendency to pick and choose what aspects of the fandom are reflected, but when fuller research is done, it becomes clear that like any science fiction or comic convention, sports fanatics or other group of enthusiasts, the community rallies together for conversation and enjoyment of their common interests, and in this case, those interests often center on a brief escape into a fictional character, acting out for a while, and enjoying watching others immersed in the same. This episode, we’re joined by furry community member and convention attendee Nate, as well as Dr. Samuel Conway, chairman and showrunner of one of North America’s largest and longest-running furry conventions, AnthroCon. With their contributions to the conversation, we get a fuller understanding of the furry fandom and the upbeat and fun-loving community that has grown at the heart of it. Links of Interest: WikiFur AnthroCon Answers: What is “Furry”? BBC Magazine Reports on Furries Syrian Refugee Children Entertained By Furry Convention Attendees

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Episode 32: The 2016 Geek Glad Game

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The expressions have become so commonplace, they have literally become memes: “go home, 2016, you’re drunk” or “2016, you are fired”. If you’ve listened to our podcast even once, you’ll know that we put too much effort into promoting positivity and hope to simply dismiss an entire year of our finite lives with that sort of a perspective. There have been difficulties, to be sure, setbacks and losses. But we gather with our listeners and like-minded geeks and enthusiasts to celebrate our passions and interests, and with that goal in view, there are many, many things about the year 2016 that fan culture can enjoy and revel in. Call it an ‘advent calendar for the fandoms’, if you will, as we identify 25 gifts bestowed upon to geeks through the year 2016 that we can all celebrate and feel good about. As 19th century banker, philanthropist and scientist John Lubbock famously said, “What we see depends mainly on what we look for.” Here at IDO, that’s why we look for reasons to geek out and geek happy. So join us, as we draft a holiday list of two dozen gifts the geek community has unwrapped in 2016, with guests Neil (of The Starling Tribune) and John (of Mutter’s Spiral).

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Episode 31: You Play, I’ll Watch

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We’ve reached a point in familiarity with online communities where their recognizability and existence are now thankfully becoming more of a societal norm. From the early days of newsgroup forums, to dial-up chat rooms, to today’s social networks, there are gatherings of like-minded people that form around various interests from the everyday to the obscure. Yet within these digital communities, there is a large group of individuals, global in their size and reach, who still has to contend with misperceptions: the exponentially growing world of livestream gaming enthusiasts. Depending on your degree of exposure, you may have only heard of Twitch as it was referenced when Amazon purchased the video streaming platform in 2014. What you may not know about this portal, dedicated in most part to the gaming world, is that with tens of millions of registered users, each averaging hundreds of logged hours of viewing, is that within their digital borders, a close-knit and supportive community has formed. Friends made, careers forged, independent businesses emerged, relationships and families formed, all stemming at its simplest form from an interest in watching someone else play a game. If this seems in any way unusual to you, or difficult to believe, that is an indication of the barrier this segment of modern society still has to face. And as such, it’s why we here on IDO want to deepen our understanding, step over such obstacles, and encourage our listeners to do the same. Joined by Twitch veterans and stars Maral and Elajjaz, we delve into popularity of livestream gaming, and the strong (and philanthropic) community that has developed within it.

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Episode 30: Don’t Throw Away Your Shot!

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We’re not exaggerating when we say this could be the most important election in our lifetimes. A lot hangs in the balance. This election will decide control of the White House, the Senate, and the balance of the Supreme Court for decades to come. If you care about LGBTQ rights, marriage equality, reproductive rights, global warming, social justice and inequality — they’re all at stake. Without a doubt, this election cycle has been exhausting. It’s easy to feel like it’s time to push back from the table and be done with it. But with so much in the balance, we want to remind you about why you can’t be discouraged and why you (and everyone) must turn out to vote on November 8th. Joined by musician and activist Paul DeGeorge (of Harry and the Potters, and the #NerdsForHer organization), we discuss how the geek communities are rallying everyone to GET OUT THE VOTE! Reference Links: Google: Your State Election Ballot IWillVote.com NerdsForHer.com Make A Plan

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Episode 29: There’s a Band For That

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We have reached a fascinating evolutionary point in musical expression, where the very boundaries of what previously defined genres and styles have melded and blurred into a watercolor canvas of crossovers and complex collaborations. Hip hop producers record with shamisen musicians; pop country artists recruit rap stars to add new layers to their work; renown Irish folk bands tour with classic rock icons to the delight of fans of both. In this brave new world of compositional creativity and adaptability, it should be no wonder that styles emerge to appeal to the most unique areas of interest. Individual “geek” or “nerd” fandoms can be served their own flavor of music, with a sound and lyric book that caters specifically to their interests. Whether your passions lie among young wizards or ageless Time Lords, there are artists out there for you. If you ever wished a hardcore rapper would break down the stressors of meeting a software development deadline, the time is now. If a wistful ballad to the memory of Nicola Tesla pulls at your heartstrings, or you feel energized by a modern-day troubadour regaling the dangers within a goblin mine, today’s musical landscape has you covered. Emerging from the performance stages at conventions, flourishing through direct Internet distribution, and getting boosts from viral media, ‘geek music’ has found its place in our hearts and ears. Joined by steampunk musician Nathaniel Johnstone and Celtic/filk artist and podcaster Marc Gunn, we delve into the origins and successes of geek music.

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Episode 28: Responsible Immaturity

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As the Fourth Doctor once told Sarah Jane Smith in the famed episode, ‘Robot’, “there’s no point in being grown up if you can’t be childish sometimes”. The world can weigh heavily on the spirit of the adult at times, with demands and responsibilities that only seem to compound by the year. We may find ourselves waxing nostalgic for the days when we could sing to ourselves in a subway station, run wild through a park just to see the reactions on strangers’ faces, or close ourselves away in a super-secret space to read a book or play with a puzzle by flashlight. Who says that we can’t, though? What rule demands that we surrender our silliness for seriousness? Trade in our comic books for checkbooks? Swap our cartoons for car payments?

This week, we look at the yin and yang between being a capable and functional adult, and retaining the spirit of youthfulness. These don’t have to be in any way mutually exclusive, and with the right demonstration of one’s capacity for “getting the job done”, others can not only accept a little good-natured childishness along the way, but hopefully mirror it a bit, to the benefit of everyone’s soul.

Joined this time around by giant kids Deb Stanish and Edie Nugent, we discuss the benefits of balancing adulthood and immaturity, hopefully to mutual advantage.

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