Geeks of All Ages


Yes, that’s *me* with the Moment and the War Doctor aka Sir John Hurt in February 2016 at Gallifrey One in LA.

Straightening up my classroom last Friday afternoon, I shared this photo in a lovely “moment” with a student and his friend that began with the statement, “Ms. Ozoa, I hear you’re a big geek. What’s your fandom?” I instantly shed my end-of-the-week weariness and happily geeked out over Star Trek, Star Wars, Firefly, the MCU and, of course, Doctor Who.  What a delightful way to connect with teenagers, to share non-academic interests and passions! The two boys then waxed poetic about Blizzard’s game Overwatch, which I do not play, but which I’ve learned about via the “secondhand smoke” of my gamer friends. The boys were also inordinately impressed by my knowing personally Scott Johnson, co-host of The Instance, the longest-running podcast about Blizzard’s World of Warcraft. Thanks for that, Scott, et al.!

The point of my anecdote is to remind educators / coaches / parents / anyone who interacts with teens to stay open to those “moments” when we can step outside our official roles and simply connect authentically. It’s worth it.


I Teach to Learn

Several recent events led me to choose this topic and title and to write about it. One was Facebook reminding me what I did on each day several years before. I USED to blog every day, even if only about silly, apparently trivial observations. But those old posts reminded me of certain moments of learning in my life that I did (or didn’t! absorb into my common practice today.

Another was hearing an interview on NPR’s The Frame of Casey Affleck at Telluride this year. John Horn asked Casey if he enjoyed watching himself in his movies over his 20-year career and Casey replied “not really” and that he wasn’t sure why. Rather, he recounted a story of doing construction work summers in his youth in Boston, and of one job where they had to build a short flight of stairs. No one, not even the foreman, knew what they were doing, but they figured it out together. It’s still there, and Casey points it out to friends when they go by. Casey analogized that to making movies. It’s not the product he finds inspiring, but the conversations and creativity that are part of the process.

I’ve blogged on process over product before. I, too, am not a fan of reliving past successes or dwelling on past failures. EXCEPT insofar as they inform what I DO NOW. For example, I’m quite proud of a short music video I made at a summer CUE Rock Star Teacher Camp with parody lyrics and a green screen, not because it’s great (it’s not!), but because it’s a useful teaching tool. I don’t recount many legal war stories from when I was in private practice or a legal editor in the Bay Area, except for those that illustrate a point about good writing. (“Know your audience” and “Always read the statute first.”)

A third event was a fleeting reference to the concept of “flow” which quantifies why people are happiest when fully engaged in a challenging activity. I see it in my students (pictured above) when they solve puzzles with our BreakoutEDU kits. I feel it in myself when I’m researching and designing and executing new lesson plans with new students and tech tools and educational priorities each year.

The final event was flipping my calendar page to October. Even though this school year began in late-August, it still feels like we just started a few weeks ago. Time flies! And so does the opportunity to document my learning each day.

So that’s why I’m blogging again. I want to remember my learning each day. I teach to learn.

Twilight Tent City at LA Live on Friday

On my day off for Veterans’ Day, I drove with DH to his office at LA Live and discovered Day 2 of an immense, geeky campout of over 1000 Twi-hards (die-hard Twilight fans) awaiting the premiere of Breaking Dawn – Part 1 on MONDAY! As a roving reporter for my friend Eileen Rivera’s “Bite Club” podcast, I took some pictures and interviewed some wonderful folks. My complete Flickr set is here, but I’ve embedded some of my favorites.


There are 3 separate huge, white tents covering  individual tents on the plaza and two places on Chick Hearn Court, blocked off to traffic between the Staples Center and Nokia Theater. Only people with wristbands are allowed into the tent area and guards keep outsiders at bay at night.


Yahoo Movies is sponsoring a “Twi-Fi Lounge” set up to look like a forest, that’s blasting music and interviewing folks, with a photo opp for Brides of Edward, complete with a huge wedding cake, bouquet and dresses.

Pictured is Dennis Maurice, who drove his Kristen Stewart-loving family from Fort Myers FL for their third premiere.  Check out the back of his T-shirt. The family actually has a room at the Westin Bonaventure, but has been sleeping in their tent at night!


Tiffani Maurice runs a fansite for Kristen’s new movie, Snow White and the Huntsman. She also volunteers for a wolf sanctuary call Shy Wolf and hopes to get a t-shirt into Kristen’s hands to help publicize the charity.  Tiffani has raised funds for Shy Wolf by auctioning off autographed Twilight merchandise she’s acquired.


Pictured are 3 of 10 canvases that Sherri Kennedy painted and brought with her from Fremont, CA. She has autographs from Robert Pattinson on the Edward canvas (near the L bicep) and from Taylor Lautner on the Jacob canvas (near the red heart). No, these are not for sale. She has other work for sale in her Etsy store, though.

My favorite conversation was with two Filipinas, Annie Palmer on the left from London, and Jela I on the right from Vallejo, CA, who are part of a group of 4 Twi-hards. They also spent the night before the actors’ handprint ceremony at Mann’s Chinese Theater last week and were 7th in the queue to witness it. And, of course, they attended Twi-Con last weekend, where they say they loved the panels and the fan interaction equally.


A group of 14 girls from San Diego set up this cutout cardboard photo op and I couldn’t resist putting my face in it. I know I’m smiling way too much to take Kristen’s place, but how fun is this!

Rob is from Sydney Australia. He flew here just for Twilight, attended TwiCon last weekend, will drive to Phoenix for premiere there. When I asked him how he became a fan, he said he hated it at first. Then he was laid up with an injury at home and got hooked watching a bunch of the movies and read the books that “sealed the deal”. There were several groups announced from New Zealand and Brazil as well.

It’s pretty noisy most of the time, with music blasting and videos projecting on the walls of the adjoining buildings. This final shot is of the huge screen on which repeats of the Breaking Dawn trailer get the most attention, as you can imagine with a 2-story high Edward or Jacob face.

SDCC Nerdist Saturday Night


I didn’t have a pass to the con itself on Saturday, but this is how close (about 8 rows) I got to Matt Smith and Karen Gillan of Doctor Who that night. I attended the taping of the Nerdist podcast. That’s Chris Hardwick on the far right, Wil Wheaton next to him, MS and KG in the center, and other Nerdist regulars Jonah and Matt on the left.

Before the show, I shook Wil Wheaton’s hand! What a gracious guy! He and his son Ryan were getting drinks at the bar, just to the right of our seats (thanks DC!). I got up, waited my turn behind another fangirl, then gushed to him about how wonderful W00tstock 3.o was the night before and how both my daughter and I laughed until we cried. Wil assured me we were hardly the only mother-daughter audience members.

About halfway through the show — which included a monologue by Chris, a great interview with Wil and a few musical numbers with Mike Phirman — I decided to forego waiting in line for Hall H on Sunday morning. I’d gotten intelligence from other fans that folks had started lining up on Saturday afternoon, and that I’d probably get into the hall if I lined up at 5 a.m.! Given that I’d have to leave my house by about 3:30 a.m., I had some reservations. Then, I realized no panel in a room of 6000 where the “exclusive” videos would be released on the internet within hours could top the intimate and funny 45-minute interview I’d just witnessed. So I drove home happy, and got up at a more leisurely 6 a.m. for a full Sunday. More details on that later.

Oh, yes, at the end of the show, Matt and Karen gave out free BBC America-branded burritos to about 25 people, and the staff of 4th and B gave out the rest. In retrospect, I should have at least sampled mine last night because it didn’t hold up well, even refrigerated.

San Diego ComicCon Thursday

Thursday was Day 1 of San Diego ComicCon 2011 and pictured is me with my new treasured possession: a picture of Alfred E. Neumann autographed “To Theresa” by long-time MAD writer Dick DeBartolo. This is awesome on so many levels.

First, I’ve loved MAD since I was in junior high. Second, I’ve been listening to Dick on the TWiT Network podcast “The Daily Giz Wiz” for years.  I’m kinda embarrassed to admit how many of the gadgets he’s reviewed that I’ve purchased, including a Starfleet Academy branded titanium spork

Third, having him misspell my name was icing on the cake, given the MAD’s irreverent etos and Dick’s self-effacing GizWiz persona. It’s like the collectible stamp with the plane printed upside down — priceless! (I refused to let him give me a correct, although he did also autograph my souvenir SDCC program accurately.)

Fourth, I actually got to ask a question (that he even answered!) regarding his thoughts about the internet during his hugely entertaining Spotlight panel in which he told hilarious stories of the Bill Gaines era of MAD and his own days writing for “The Match Game” show with Gene Rayburn and “To Tell The Truth.”

Also, Dick’s panel and signing and our brief conversation followed a fabulous panel about The Evolution of a Web Series, with actress Felicia Day and the team that produced the new Dragon Age: Redemption. I got to ask a question during that panel, too (starts at 32:18). I also got to meet in person her agent George Ruiz who serves on a board with DH.

My day continued with my finding a secret, quiet sanctuary with an OUTLET for my charger where I could eat my sack lunch and watch the crazies go by on the sidewalk outside. Then I met some new knitter/geeks who’d made their own Jayne Cobb hats and an original Avatar: the Last Airbender skull cap with a blue arrow. I caught a wonderful final panel called Magic & Monsters in which sci-fi and fantasy authors discussed their books. I’ve added them to my Kindle wish list!

Tomorrow I will post more pix and give a synopsis of how I ended my Thursday with dinner with DH and the amazing W00tstock 3.0 concert.

Sticker Envy

This is the Doctor Ganger sticker from Sadly, because my timing was off when I checked in, I didn’t “earn” it even though I watched an episode tonight plus re-watched “Silence in the Library” and “Forest of the Dead” on Netflix. A true Whovian shouldn’t be obsessed with earning these silly stickers, right? But I still Want!

By the way, I want props for avoiding spoilers, even though I’m bursting to talk about the latest Doctor Who developments. I can be trusted with a “secret”.

Arkon, A Better iPad Stand

Last week TSA made me unpack my carry-on because my Compass Mobile iPad 2 Stand was metal and looked suspicious on the x-ray. So from now on I will be traveling with the Akron Fold-up Travel Stand, made of a sturdy black plastic that is lighter and less attention-getting, that just arrived today. Thanks, Leo LaPorte and Steve Gibson of TWiT and Gear Diary for the recommendation. My Compass Mobile Stand will keep me company at home and school.