Adieu February! Time to *March* onward.

Heh…see what I did there? Anyway, Idk about you but I definitely feel like I have some spring projects now:

  • Add SOOOOO many native plants to my yard.  Adios, turf grass.  Mowing is for suckers.
  • Start planning for my super sweet solar power setup so I can become energy independent. (Eat it, grid dependents.)
  • Check out Kellam’s recommended TedTalks:
    • “What makes a word ‘real’?” by Ann Curzan
    • “No such thing as correct English” by Kellam Barta
  • Read “American Serengeti: The Last Big Animals of the Great Plains” as recommended by Dr. Ross.

Our next Nerd Nite will be on Thursday, March 21st, 7PM (doors at 6:30) at the Cellar at Front Street Taproom– mark your calendars for now, full details on speakers and topics are inbound. You can also get your tickets in advance on Eventbrite, if that’s your jam.

Thanks again to our most glorious speakers Jess, Kellam, and Darrel for sharing their knowledge with us, and to y’all nerds for being such an excellent community. See you soon.

🙂 T

Fargo Nerd Nite February: Linguistic Solar Prairie

Happy Hump Day my nerds! Are you ready for more Nerding? Do you have questions about solar tech, linguistic oddities, and the difference between a weed patch and an urban prairie? Would you like to gorge yourself on beer and discount Valentine’s candy? Lucky for you, the next Nerd Nite is coming up fast, and we’ve got you covered! This month’s talk details:

Photon Fantasia in the FM: Solar Energy for Nerds

Solar energy is increasingly becoming more available and affordable in our region. This presentation covers the scientific innovations in solar energy, as well as its viability for practical use by residents in the greater Fargo-Moorhead area.

Jess Grondahl is the Chief Operating Officer at Holsen Solar and a Fargo native who enjoys fitness, sewing projects, and playing piano. She lives in South Fargo with her partner Ross, son Sterling, and German Shorthair puppies Snoopy and Chase. 

Fun with Linguistic Variation

I’m not sure if you know what linguistics is, but everyone ought to. This talk is an overview of linguistics – the scientific study of language – and the strange and fun aspects of different kinds of speech and writing in English. This talk will explore the major sub-disciplines of linguistics – phonetics, phonology, morphology, semantics, and syntax – and it will hopefully make you think differently about language and the world around you. Plus it’s fun.

Kellam Barta has an MA in Sociolinguistics from NC State University and teaches writing and linguistics at NDSU. He also enjoys talking to groups of folks in 20-minute chunks with 3-5 minutes for questions. Seriously.

Urban Green Spaces and Restored Prairies: A Fargo Case Study

Midwestern prairies are among the most imperiled ecosystems in the world.  There is an urgent need to conserve and restore them.  Simultaneously, there is an ongoing reconsideration of what is the most appropriate use of urban greenspaces to create livable, sustainable, and resilient communities throughout the world.  In this presentation, I will present a recent example from Fargo that demonstrates the complex ecological, social, cultural, and economic considerations that enter into reassessing urban greenspaces.

Darrell grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia. He has a BS in Forest Science from The Pennsylvania State University, an MS in Forest Ecology from Oregon State University, and a PhD in Entomology from the University of Georgia.  He was a professor at Oregon State University for 30 years before coming to NDSU in February of 2020.  At NDSU, he conducts research and teaches Insects, Humans, and the Environment; Ecological Restoration; Urban Ecology; and Insect-Plant Interactions.

Plus door prizes, laughs, and the fabulous ambience of our fresh new venue. Be at the Cellar at Front Street Taproom at 7PM (doors at 6:30), Thursday February 15th. Get your tickets in advance at Eventbrite, or bring a Hamilton to the door. Same price either way- we eat the fees bc we’re tired of day old chocolate.

See your gorgeous faces there.

🙂 T

PS- for anyone who’s embarked on an obsession with the rare form of precipitation known as GRAUPEL, Dr. Ritchison gave us permission to dupe his super sweet shirt (see below). Check out our store at to get your very own.

First show of 2024 in the books!

WOW what a stellar way to kick off our new year at our new venue- immense thanks to our fantastic speakers for donating their time, expertise, and humor to make a stellar evening. AND to everyone who attended for being an amazing, fun crowd.

Our NEXT show is Thursday, February 15th, 7PM (doors at 6:30), at The Cellar under Front Street Taproom. Full details will be published closer to that date, but for now I’ll say it promises to be an enlightening experience. (Oh yeah- that’s a dad joke brewing right there.) In the mean time:

-Keep up with Kary’s Silver Lining Tintype tour this summer: check out her website or follow Old School Collodion on Facebook or Instagram.

-Graupel Nation t-shirts are on the way! Dr. Ritchison did give us his blessing to dupe his sweet [but sadly out of print] shirt (pictured below), so keep an eye on our Bonfire store and/ or socials for an announcement when it goes live.

-I don’t have any upcoming events for Anna bc she is going to Paris on her amazing art & culture tour and all I can be is extremely jealous.

That’s all for now my nerds! Take care, and we’ll see you in February.

🙂 T

FNN January: Wet Weather Wines

Happy New Year, my nerds! It’s been a long, chilly break, but at long last we are ready to kick off the new year at our NEW VENUE!! While we will always be thankful to the Gastropub for their years of support, the time has come to level up our game with our new hosts at the Cellar at Front Street Taproom!

The vibes in this place are amazing. The Cellar is located below Front Street Taproom, at 614 Front Street on Main Avenue in Fargo, just south of Downtown.

We’ve been hard at work figuring out tech/ lights/ sound, as well as rounding up some choice speakers + topics to kick off our 2024 season! Details:

When the Past is Present: Wet Plate Collodion Photography           

Learn about the amazing Victorian wet plate collodion process invented in 1851, what a tintype and ambrotype is, the basic steps of creating an image, and how Kary will be using this amazing form of image making to bring the past into the present at historical sites across the Dakotas in 2024.  

Kary Janousek: After modeling for a series of ambrotypes photographs in Bismarck, I fell in love with this beautiful technique. I studied the wet plate collodion process and took my first image in the Autumn of 2019. I live in Fargo North Dakota where I operate my natural light Victorian studio part-time and sell vintage and antique hats. I have had eight solo art exhibitions in the last four years of practice.

Fin-de-siècle Cabaret Culture in Paris: The Highs and the Lows

This talk addresses the transformation of Paris in the late 19th century. From a medieval city with cramped streets lacking basic infrastructure such as modern plumbing, Paris became a modernized cosmopolitan spectacle, a city that offered pleasure and entertainment.  We’ll examine some contemporary artworks depicting popular establishments that featured drink, music, dance as well as risqué encounters for well-heeled locals and international (male) tourists. Central to understanding these establishments are the people who worked there- from servers to performers—whose own lives were often fraught with economic and social challenges.

Anna Sigrídur Arnar received her PhD with Honors in Art History from the University of Chicago. Her research has been supported by awards from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, and the Robert Motherwell Book Award from the Dedalus Foundation in New York, among others. She has taught History of Art at MSUM for over twenty years. Later this summer, she will serve as Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the North Dakota Museum of Art in Grand Forks.

I’m Fuzzy, Round, and Cool

(This is the first time someone has sent a picture as their teaser. I like how succinct it is LOL.)

Daryl Ritchison is the Director of the North Dakota Agricultural Weather Network (NDAWN). He spends his time on research, public outreach, development, and enhancement of tools for NDAWN, a network of 193 weather stations in North Dakota, Minnesota, and Montana. He is a well-known public speaker on various topics including short and long term weather forecasts, NDAWN usage, weather risk management, and climate.

In addition to our new venue, we’re also undergoing a slight schedule shift- Nerd Nites will now be on the third Thursday of each month (excepting this month bc there was a conflict) at 7PM, which is great for me because a Friday hangover is easier than a Thursday one. 🙂

SO see your beautiful faces on Thursday, January 25th, 7PM (doors at 6:30) at our fabulous new venue for some drinks, some laughs, and some learning. $10 at the door, or get your tickets in advance on Eventbrite (same price either way- we eat the fees because we love you. And because we’re hungry).

🙂 T

That’s a wrap, 2023!

Woooowwwww thank you SO MUCH to our fantastic speakers Gina, Becky, and Kevin, + the Fargo Theatre and Holiday Inn catering for helping us send off Season 8 of FNN with a bang. Unfortunately for y’all nerds jonesing for more nerdery, we are done for the year (our normal operating schedule takes us too close to Xmas). BUT don’t you worry- to paraphrase the Terminator, we’ll be back NEXT YEAR, January 25th with your next dose of shenanigans, obscure facts, and curiosities. For a temporary fix, may I recommend:

Signing up for some pole classes at Zero Gravity Alternative Fitness. Insider tip: make sure to look for the free class dates/ times so you can try for free, and book early because they fill up FAST.

Getting your swashbuckle on with the Fargo Moorhead Historical Fencing Club.

Spelunking your way to a missing link discovery with the Netflix doc ‘Unknown: Cave of Bones’. (Idk if I can share a link here, but the cover looks like this:

Lastly, to make sure you are receiving event updates, I recommend signing up for the Fargo Nerd Nite mailing list- text NERDNITE to 33777 to enroll. We love social media as much as the next bored teenager but frankly it’s only reliable for meme transmission, not so much as an advertising mechanism. (Don’t tell the Zuck I said that). Don’t worry- you will only receive emails about upcoming events as we are far too lazy to publish a newsletter, and not near smart or important enough to sell your information to other email lists.

And that’s it, nerds! See your beautiful faces in 2024. Until then, stay curious.

🙂 T

First Annual BEST OF Fargo Nerd Nite!

What’s up my nerds? Welp, we are down to the last show of 2023 so we decided to go out with a bang by ripping off an idea from Nerd Nite Miami and celebrating the best of this season! All of the talks in this month’s show are encores to some of our favorite talks from the last year- check it:

‘Small spelunkers required’: The Discovery of Our New Hominin Cousins, Homo naledi    

The human family tree continues to grow as many discoveries have been made in the last 20 years. Homo naledi seems to be a true cousin of modern humans that we had no idea existed until 2013, but one site is producing an abundance of information. The discovery was not made as most would think, and the conditions of exploration and excavation have some unusual requirements. Information released in the last five months is being added for this encore.

Becky Reichenbach wanted to be like the Professor on Gilligan’s Island when she grew up so dabbled in a lot of things and acquired a broad science background. This led to teaching about every science course offered in high school for 20 years before settling down to chase an advanced degree. She now holds a dual Ph.D. in Biological Sciences and STEM Education. She’s currently a project coordinator and instructor at NDSU.

Pole Dance Confidential: The Perceptions and Reality of a Misunderstood Art                  

You think you know about pole dance…but do you? Join Gina Bushey for an enlightening and honest presentation about pole dance to answer the questions you’ve been too nervous to ask, in addition to those which may not even have occurred to you TO ask.   

Gina Bushey graduated from NDSU in 2002 with a BS in Interpersonal Communication and a minor in Anthropology. She has an extensive history in performing arts and public speaking, and has co-owned Zero Gravity Alternative Fitness in Fargo since 2016. She teaches pole fitness, produces in-house showcases, and has medaled in numerous competitions across the Midwest.

The History of the Rapier: 1400-1800

The weapon of the Three Musketeers in detail! This is an in-depth look at the development of the rapier, how it came to be, how they were used, where they were used, what they looked like and how they changed over time. This will include live fencing demonstrations of three different rapier varieties. Examples will be present so as to show what these weapons looked like up close!

Kevin Wander is a Graduate Student at NSDU studying Russian Military History. He has a passion for historical fencing of all kinds and has been fencing for 7 years. He also runs the Fargo-Moorhead Historical Fencing Club.

…and just to really do it right, we’re going back to the Fargo Theatre for the big screen and big sound we love, and also because Kevin is going to need room to swing swords around. Mark your calendars for Wednesday, November 15th, 8PM (doors at 7:30) for some drinks, some laughs, some door prizes, and the last nerdy awesome you’re going to get until next year, because we don’t compete with Santa season. Grab your tickets in advance on Eventbrite, or bring a Hamilton to the door (same price either way- we eat the fees bc we love you. And bc we’re hungry).

See your glorious faces there.

🙂 T

Block ya calendars

Civil Slaughter: Nerd Nite October

Greetings nerds! ‘Tis the season for cooler nights, scary movies, diabetes-inducing amounts of candy, and of course: NERD NITE. Speaker details:

Linda Slaughter’s Life & Legacy

Linda Slaughter was instrumental in the creation of North Dakota’s first schools, early historical preservation efforts, and the state’s Suffrage movement. So why did it take until the year 2023 for a biography to be published about her life?          

Lis Fricker is a born and raised Fargoan, and attended NDSU for a Bachelors in Public History, a Graduate Certificate in Women and Gender Studies, and a Masters in History.

The Civil War Isn’t as Far in the Past as You Think-Products Available Then You Can Still Get Today

So you think the Civil War is past and you have no connection to it? Come and join me, and a trip to the grocery store, Barnes & Noble, or hearing about the stock market will never be the same again!

Alan Fricker is a self-professed history nerd. While his primary historical interests are the Civil War, World War II, railroading and firefighting, he can also talk your ears off about politics, economics, and photography. He is also is good at spouting off miscellaneous historical factoids unasked! He works as a medical editor by day, and is a history hunter with his reading and Fort Abercrombie site interpreter’s work at night and on some weekends. He holds a master degree in history from NDSU.

Unfortunately, our third speaker on the history of local cemeteries had to back out due to health issues, but we’ll make it up to you with some trivia and candy. See your beautiful faces next Wednesday, October 18th, 7PM (doors at 6:30) at Fargo Billiards and Gastropub. $10 at the door, or get your tickets in advance on Eventbrite. Same price either way, bc we’re nice like that.

🙂 T

I’m gonna be so lazy about my lawn now

What a great Nerd Nite last night! We learned that having a great lawn may be more about less work than more work, found out exactly how much and why Brian hates our projector (its…a lot), and that the cross sections of trees that scientists keep for study are called…get this…cookies. How feckin adorable.

Our next nite is inbound, October 18th, 7PM, Fargo Billiards. Mark ya calendars and stay tuned.

🙂 T

September Nerd Nite: Talking Trees, Lawn Care and Projector Pranks

Greetings, nerds! Anyone else just liiiiiiving for these cooler temps? F that 90+ degree business. Give me my hoodie, my bonfire, and my Nerd Nite, and I am a happy camper. Topics for this month:

Fall Lawn Tips
Growing a lawn can be challenging. Fortunately, September is a great month to improve the health of your lawn for next year. Learn about fertilizing, optimal mowing height, weed management and practices to increase your lawn’s density.

Dr. Esther McGinnis graduated from the University of Minnesota with a Ph.D. in Applied Plant Sciences. She is the North Dakota State University Extension Horticulturist and Director of the NDSU Extension Master Gardener Program. Her graduate students research pollinator plants, plants for rain gardens, and spotted wing drosophilia.

Projector Pranks and Pixel Predicaments
Navigating Accessibility Challenges in Presentations and maybe a short overview of what accessibility is in user interfaces.

Brian Glaeske, user interface whisperer by day, pixel pusher by night. Bringing a touch of magic to every user interface design.

If Trees Could Talk
In the language of rings, trees tell us stories about the past. Trees told us that the great flood of 1826 in Winnipeg extended back upstream into the United States. Before European settlers came to the Dakotas, fires of the western shortgrass prairies occurred about every 25 years, on average. Again, the trees told us. The language of tree rings tells us about past environments, ecological disturbances and human history. Let’s explore this language and discover the world around us.

Dr. Joe Zeleznik grew up in the northern hardwood forests of northeast Ohio, and studied forestry in West Virginia, Michigan and New York before setting out to be a forester in the Great Plains. He’s been the NDSU Extension Forestry Specialist for more than 20 years. He studies tree rings throughout North Dakota and northwest Minnesota, learning about the environment and human history through the fascinating science of dendrochronology.

Oh yeah. We’re getting that dad lawn. We’re uncovering secrets in Nature. We’re even learning how to improve future Nerd Nite presentations. See your gorgeous faces this Wednesday, September 20th, 7PM (doors at 6:30), Fargo Billiards and Gastropub. $10 at the door, or get your tickets in advance on Eventbrite (same price to you either way, bc we’re nice like that).

🙂 T