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 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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Episode 27: It’s Popular For a Reason

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It’s easy to find out what’s popular in various forms of entertainment, fashion, and social circles. We may not eagerly await the next issue of “People” magazine to hit newsstands, or tune in to the radio on Saturday mornings for the ‘Weekly Top 40’ program. Our modern patience levels simply cannot abide such delays. Most social networks, however, are more than happy to hand over a roster of trending topics, compiled and ranked in large part by the buzz created from thousands or even millions of individuals discussing them — positively or negatively. Some will address these cultural movements with boundless enthusiasm, from TV and film, to food and drink trends, to the latest fashion craze, even to vocabulary and modern grammar. They consume and enjoy, discuss and share, and at times even become wildly fanatical about the subject. Others, however, react in a more avoidant or even curmudgeonly tone, dismissing the seemingly endless ebb and flow of pop culture with disdain and negativity. They use terms like “sheeple” and “drones” to describe those who “buy” into the offerings of mass media. Is there any grain of truth to their accusations of being manipulated by advertising psychologists? Or are the trends that a great majority of Americans (and by their example, people worldwide) the result of successful marketing of materials that those same consumers actively want? Joined this time by musician, cosplayer and convention personality Cat Smith, we discuss the nature of pop culture trends, and why it’s okay to enjoy them — no matter what the naysayers may naysay.


Episode 26: Surviving Your First Con

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Through any number of factors and influences that have led to this momentous decision, you have decided to attend your first fandom convention. Perhaps it was the guest line-up that called out to your fanatical heart; possibly the insistence of friends that you join them had reached deafening levels. You may have seen an opportunity to hear directly from the creators and artists who shape the worlds you enjoy, in person rather than through someone else’s written or recorded accounts. Or perhaps you’ve reached a level of certainty within your love of some material or genre that you feel prepared to wade into deeper waters, and see how the tide feels. Welcome, youngling, welcome. There are a number of subjects you can bring up in conversation, both in person and online, that will solicit tomes of advice from all corners. Thankfully, in this emerging era of geek mainstream, one of those subjects that more and more people have opinions and input on is attending fan conventions. While the number of well-run cons steadily rises, and both awareness of and attendance at these cons increase in step, it may be helpful to some to get an idea of how different conventions operate, what they offer, what to expect, and how to look out for your own well being and maximum enjoyment at your first con. Joined by showrunners Oni Hartstein and James Hartnell of (Re)GenerationWho and Intervention, we discuss tips on how to optimize your time and enjoyment of your first convention, safely and (hopefully) with maximum rewards for your efforts. [EDITOR’S NOTE: So there’s an oddity in this episode, where the audio spectres apparently decided to play the outro at about the 38:00 mark. We’ve called in the Ghostbusters, and as soon as Holtzmann finishes torching the editing bay, we’ll have things corrected for the next release. Sorry about the quirk — keep listening beyond that minute, the conversation goes on!]

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Episode 25: When Art Inspires Art

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In case you’ve missed all social media for the past three months, we here in the United States are deep in the heart of convention season, and so to kick off our series of topics that spiral around the con scene, we’re starting where many of us begin when setting foot onto any gathering, the vendor and artist booths. A large part of the appeal of conventions is the opportunity to spend time with any number of like-minded individuals enjoying the same, or often tangential fandoms, sharing stories, trading rumors, and the like. For those making their living in some part by these gatherings, it’s wonderful to find that the artists, designers, musicians, and other creative individuals in attendance are equally fanatical about the same things. Many of them find ways to celebrate their fandom by incorporating it into their work. For us as the consuming public, it elevates the experience by giving us access to a wholly original work of art that pays tribute to our beloved subject, approached from a new perspective. Joined by cartoonist, writer, and illustrator Andy Runton (of Owly fame), and geek-chic clothing designer Jordan Ellis (of the Jordandené line), we discuss the concept of fan-inspired artistry, and the delightfully common ground between those creators, and the line-minded fans who appreciate their work.

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Episode 24: By the Fans, For the Fans

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Whether you are aware of it or not, by 2016, there is a very good chance that a short story, novel, television series, or even film that you’ve invested time in actually originated from the existing work of another individual or individuals, be it published or screened. This basis of composition on another creative work is the core of fan fiction, which as we’ve discussed in previous recent episodes, can vary in scale from Twitter-based micro-fic, to full novel-length series. The breadth of scope isn’t limited to the size of the work, either: the fiction created by inspired fans may reflect very closely to the original work (think Harry Potter extended fiction…that isn’t part of Pottermore), or could be quite removed from the characters, setting, or devices that defined the starting point, as it were. If fanfic can vary so widely, but is still at its center an (and we’re intentionally using this work for the moment) unauthorized extension of the original work, likely copyrighted, how could a talented writer actually use such wordcraft to transition into the mainstream circuits that they built upon? To that end, is the mainstream (and those working within it) starting to consider fanfic a child of its own creation, and welcoming it? Joined once again by Lauren (of Legends of SHIELD and Strange N Unusual on the Gonna Geek podcast network), we explore the broad spectrum of fan-fiction as a new frontier of AU/EU, and industry acceptance.

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