Meet the Northern Nerd Network

Written by Cheryl Cottrell-Smith

The Northern Nerd Network. You may have seen the logo before. Come across the husband-and-wife duo at one of our local cons. Watched their podcast videos on The Pulp. But who are they, exactly, and what do they do?

As one of The Pulp’s partners, we’re huge fans of the NNN. Dan and Trina Shessel are the driving force behind the Northern Nerd Network YouTube channel, which showcases videos that cover nerd/geek culture-related events in and around Edmonton. They also run a frequent podcast filled with topical discussion on the pop culture industry—you can find that on their website.

The Pulp magazine had the pleasure of sharing a booth with the Northern Nerd Network at last year’s inaugural Eek Fest (which is coming up soon, by the way) and we figured it was about time we chatted with them to see what’s coming up next for NNN and what they’re into these days.

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What is the Northern Nerd Network?

Trina: It’s a YouTube channel that showcases the nerdy/geeky people, places and events in and around the Edmonton area. Our goal is to bring the geek/nerd community in Edmonton closer together.

Dan: I used to find all these amazing things that happened all around the city and I would sometimes get a chance to talk to some of my friends who might be interested in it. More often than not no one would care, but I would tell them anyways. Now we get a chance to find the different people around this city who have similar passions as we do and we get to share it with them. To me, that’s super exciting!

Trina at GOBFest 2015

How do you select events for coverage?

Trina: We find events that we’re interested in going to. [We have some] people contacting us and inviting us to their events and we also try to find events that appeal to a variety of geeks/nerds.

Dan: If it interests me, I’ll reach out try to open a dialog with them. More often than not, people love to talk about their projects. There have been a few times when someone comes out and wants to talk with us and as long as it fits within [our overall theme], we’re usually more than willing to go and talk with them.

Why do you think it’s important to cover these events?

Dan: There are so many talented, passionate, amazing people in this city and so many exciting things to see and do that we feel that we just want to share that with as many people as we can. I love attending these events and seeing the various people who come up with some amazingly creative stuff around the city. The more we promote the things we like, the more we will see these types of events. I want to see all these events and various projects that people work on succeed simply because I want to see more.

Trina: We like to find events that are less known as well because we feel it’s important to get the word out and support locally run events in the Edmonton area.

Dan at Animethon 21

How has the Northern Nerd Network given you insight into the other side (artists/vendors) of cons?

Trina: I think it’s allowed us to see just how much work and planning goes into the events that happen. It’s given me a greater appreciation for all the people that work and volunteer behind the scenes at various events that we attend.

What are your top three recommendations for great nerdy hangouts in the city?

Trina: Hexagon Cafe, Table Top Cafe, and the Lightsaber Class in Churchill Square.

Dan: When I get a chance, I enjoy hanging out at Mission Fun and Games on Saturday afternoons for X-Wing. Another place would be at one of the board game cafes because I like board games, or at one of the many events around the city.

What three events do you look forward to the most every year?

Dan: Every year I always look forward to Free Comic Book Day because I get free comics. How can you say no to free comics? Of course, I love attending the Calgary and Edmonton Expos–mostly for the environment. There’s something about all the cosplayers and the various panels. It’s such a celebration of all things geek and it’s such an accepting environment.

Trina: Edmonton Expo, GOBFest, and Table Top Day.

Trina interviewing Chip Zdarsky

What’s your favourite tabletop game right now?

Trina: My favourite game right now would be Pandemic, although I did have fun playing life-sized Dutch Blitz at GOBFest.

Dan: Number one is Star Wars X-Wing. I love Star Wars and the miniatures are amazing. Number two is Dicemasters, mostly because I love superheroes and I love custom dice, so that’s just a given.

What are your three favourite video games right now?

Dan: I guess at the moment, I still play a ton of Destiny (please don’t ask me why, because I’m not really sure why). I’m still making my way through Dragon Age, which is such an amazing game, and Lego Batman is a ton of fun. If you were to ask what my favourite game of all time was, then that’s easy—the Mass Effect series. But if you were to narrow it down a bit more, Mass Effect 2 is the best from the series, in my opinion. Other classic favourites include Maniac Mansion and Metal Gear Solid.

Trina: Does Candy Crush count? I don’t have a lot of time for video games lately, but when I do, I enjoy playing the Lego games and old school Mario.

Be sure to keep an eye out for the Northern Nerd Network the next time you’re at a nerdy event in the city. And, in case you missed it, here’s their coverage of the 2015 Calgary Expo!

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