Friday, February 28, 2014

January 2012 Meetup

Today's meetup post comes to us from member Joy Yamaguchi. She attended this meetup on January 8th, 2012
January 2012 Meetup

CalNerdCon has taught me so much about friendship, Internet relationships, the power of Nerdfighteria, and much more, but I think by far the most important lesson I've gotten from it is that if you can get a large group to stand in a circle on the Santa Monica promenade then people will think something important and exciting is going on, even if there really, really isn’t. 

The January 2012 meetup was supposed to be a normal CNC hangout... we were going to go to the park, chill, and bask in the wonderful IRL company of our normally only internet friends. But the day we scheduled it was the same day as a meetup by Brett the Intern, Ray (iamraynbow) —now his fiancĂ©—and Meghan Tonjes in Santa Monica. So rather than choosing between the two we decided on the better route: both. 

I got there with my friends at the beginning of the afternoon and was really not sure what to expect. We traveled separately from the rest of CNC, who still met up beforehand, and they hadn’t arrived yet but Brett, Meghan, Ray, and some others were there. It started with the usual hanging out and joking that every gathering of good people has but as the rest of CNC and more and more people arrived for the meetup we found ourselves in a circle on the boardwalk (which usually has street performers that people circle around).

I honestly don't know how it started but someone placed an object in the center of the circle, possibly chapstick, or a small human-like iPod speaker, and one-by-one people began placing a strange assortment of items into the circle. My Little Ponies, a shirt, single shoes, scarves, car keys, even iPhones... no one held back and soon we had created a shrine. To what? No one knew… We began to encourage people walking by to look, and even join in, simply by our presence and enthusiasm for this... nothing.
And, in reverse, we took everything back out again and it became a usual meetup of singing (I think Meghan performed with her divine voice and also no CNC meetup is complete without several ukuleles and sing-alongs), hugs, and friendship making.
That meetup is memorable for other little reasons too of course. I remember distinctly a conversation with Ray about the words “merry,” “marry,” and “Mary” which all sound the same when us Americans say them but his Irish accent made it all distinctive and so much better. It was a lot of laughs.

I also recall I spent quite a lot of time fretting about talking with the boy who I had met at the first ever CNC meetup who, less than a month after that, went on to be my boyfriend for over a year. We’re just friends now but that maybe that speaks to the power of healthy Nerdfighteria based relationships…
In retrospect it may seem like there is no reason why this was such a wonderful and prominent meetup in my mind but it makes me think of a quote from Esther Earl from her book This Star Won't Go Out:
       “Just be happy, and if you can’t be happy, do things that make you happy. Or do nothing with the         people that make you happy.” 

And that's it. We did nothing in the traditional sense of the word. We had no final goal, no specific activity, no end product or result... but we did this "nothing" together. That’s what I love about CNC. I may have moved away and I may not know everyone who goes to meetups now but I'll always have ties to this wonderful, ever changing community of people who support, love, and exist together. So I know when we’re together, virtually or IRL, it’ll be fantastic, even if we do “nothing.”

If you'd like to guest post on CalNerdCon about a past meetup email us at

Monday, February 24, 2014

Why We're Called 'CalNerdCon'

Every time I explain CalNerdCon to someone (after asking what a Nerdfighter is) they always ask why we're named 'CalNerdCon' instead of something like 'California Nerd Club'. So I thought I'd ask a few long time members what they think of the name and how'd they describe it to someone. Let us know in the comments what you think of our name! 

I barely remember when we named the gathering, but I remember it was right after Vidcon 2011, which was many people's first time at Vidcon. So we were all more excited than ever about community and conventions, and we were playing around with words like "California nerds" "cal nerd" and then "calnerdcon" in the spirit of Vidcon. Then it stuck. Forever. - Hannah Moroz

Two years ago, one September afternoon in downtown Disney, Jennifer Sargent, our great and powerful leader, told me, and a couple others, that she might want to do this meet up thing more often. I was incredibly ecstatic about this! I wanted any opportunity I could get to hang out with Jenny and also my new found nerdfighter friends. We decided we needed a name, and since the first ever CalNerdCon was soon after Vidcon, I figured it would be funny it these monthly meet ups were like miniature Vidcons, so I thought it would be funny if we were called California Nerdfighter Convention. The name could be misconstrued since we’re not a convention, but we are Nerdfighters in California and we are convening, so I think it’s a fitting name. No matter what anyone else says. Anthony D’Angelo. - Eden Hain

So in conclusion, our name represents who we are, how we relate, and where our passion lies. Because of this, we are in the process of creating convention related CalNerdCon merchandise. The idea I had was convention badges. If you've ever been to a convention or conference you know you have to wear a lanyard with your 'badge' to be allowed in. Obviously it won't become a requirement to attend meetings, but rather a silly accessory or keepsake related to our community. If we get enough interest we will be able to purchase the supplies and sell them for around $5 each. 

Please COMMENT on this blog post if this is something you'd like. Go ahead and create Disqus profile with a username and profile image that is recognizably you. (or to remain anonymous to the rest of the internet, just email us letting us know it's you) In the future we'll use these blog comments for voting on things like community merch.