Frequently Asked Questions about Heather L. Nadelman

Who is Heather L. Nadelman?
Heather L. Nadelman was born on October 1, 1966 in Yale-New Haven hospital in Connecticut. She had a typical enough 1980s suburban childhood (divorced parents, mediocre public school) that is echoed pretty well in the single season of the wonderful Freaks and Geeks (she was a geek much more than a freak, but girl geeks weren’t really a thing in the early 80s). Heather is solidly a part of Generation X, and she has the typical Gen X feeling of vague discontent at being caught between the Boomers and the Millennials. She performed well enough in high school to get into Yale, where she had a great time and made some pretty terrific friends. She majored in Religious Studies there, not because she was religious at all (she wasn’t, and isn’t), but because she thought religion was a pretty interesting way to study the intersection of culture, history, and philosophy, which did interest her. After that, she ended up getting a Ph.D. at Princeton in Religion, so she really committed to the bit.
What was Heather L. Nadelman’s dissertation about?
Heather L. Nadelman’s dissertation was called “Wrestling the Octopus: Williams James and the Limits of Professional Authority.” The title comes from a 1903 essay by William James (who was the brother of Henry James and pretty famous in his own right as a philosopher and psychologist) called “The Ph.D. Octopus,” in which he railed against the rise of the then-new Ph.D. degree in the humanities. Heather thought writing a dissertation based around an essay decrying Ph.D. dissertations was a pretty good joke, and she also liked James’s anti-authoritarian streak and the way he viewed religion, society, and individual faith. The dissertation ultimately analyzed James’s writings about religion (it was a religion Ph.D, after all!) through the lens of “The Ph.D. Octopus” and the intellectual culture of the early twentieth century in general. She thinks it came out pretty well and she enjoyed working on it, although very few people have or will ever see it. It looks nice on her bookcase though, all bound in maroon and with its title embossed in gold.
Where does Heather L. Nadelman work?
Heather L. Nadelman works at the Educational Testing Service (ETS) as an “assessment specialist.” In practice, that means that she’s one of the people who write questions for the reading section of the SAT. She’s been there for about twenty-five years, relatively happily. The work is pleasant—it involves a lot of reading and writing, and both of those are things that Heather particularly enjoys—and her colleagues are an interesting lot, mostly (but not entirely) square pegs who couldn’t fit into the round holes of traditional academia for one reason or another.
What does Heather L. Nadelman do for fun?
She reads, watches TV and movies, messes with time-consuming tech projects, writes fan fiction, argues with people on social media, plays Scrabble, cooks, eats, and competes in sheepdog trials (without much success—she’s enthusiastic but not very talented)—with her border collies.
Why does Heather L. Nadelman like border collies so much?
Well, mostly because they’re the best dogs in the world—really quirky, really intelligent, really eager to get the most out of life that they possibly can get. Adding “they don’t make good pets” and “they’re not for everyone” seem to be the required caveats whenever anyone writes about border collies on the Internet, but in point of fact, they do mostly make great pets. Of course they aren’t for everyone—what is for everyone? (Heather tends to be impatient with truisms.) The people who do best with border collies are those who are truly interested in interacting with their dogs in a serious way rather than people who just have a casual interest in them. You don’t need to compete in a formal dog sport for border collies to be happy, and you don’t necessarily need to give them official jobs, but you *do* need to focus on them regularly. If you want to learn more about border collies, All About Border Collies (one of Heather’s web sites) will help you out. If you’re interested in sheepdog trials, check out Littlehats, another of Heather’s sites.
Does Heather L. Nadelman belong to any clubs or organizations?
In general, Heather isn’t a joiner and she doesn’t really like formal organization, but because of her interest in sheepdog trials and border collies, she had to join a few. She’s currently a member of the North East Border Collie Association, the United States Border Collie Association, the Canadian Border Collie Association, and the American Border Collie Association.
Why does Heather L. Nadelman have all of these web sites?
Heather L. Nadelman is a technology nerd who has fooled around on the Internet since about 1986, when she bought her first computer (an IBM PS/2) in college. In graduate school, she became fascinated by the emerging World Wide Web and decided to teach herself HTML so she could build her own web site. Her first page (a pathetic little thing) went up in 1992, and she was pretty proud of it. Back then, it was relatively easy to know everything there was to know about web pages, since HTML was so rudimentary and limited. Once web design became an actual Thing that people went to school to study professionally, she couldn’t keep up in her part-time, casual way. However, by then it was too late: she’d somehow acquired responsibility for a few sites of organizations that she cared about and businesses owned by friends, and she was forced to keep maintaining them to avoid looking like an irresponsible jerk. Today she designs all of her sites in Rapidweaver, and so far, she’s keeping up with all of them acceptably enough.
How does Heather L. Nadelman feel about social media?
Well, she loathes it in theory, of course, like every right-thinking person does. In practice, she gets into arguments on Facebook, is a devoted follower on Twitter of a lot of writers (including a bunch of pre-WGA screenwriters that she finds kind of adorable), and posts to Tumblr on occasion because she’s usually active in one fandom or other and Tumblr is where fandom lives. But believe me, she wishes that she could ditch all forms of social media forever!
What is Outrun Press?
Outrun Press is a tiny publishing house that Heather co-owns with Sally Molloy. It specializes in books about sheep and sheepdogs. She and Sally started it both to make a little money and to have an outlet for books that would be interesting to sheepdog handlers that might not have a market with traditional publishers. They’ve both enjoyed the business, and they plan to keep it going for awhile. Electronic resources are nice, but books will always be with us.
What are Heather L. Nadelman’s favorite TV shows?
Heather L. Nadelman’s favorite show of all time is “Halt and Catch Fire,” because it’s about technology in the 90’s (an era and subject dear to her heart) and because it somehow manages to be deeply emotional without being maudlin. It’s about the brokenness of people and the failure of ambition, but it’s also weirdly optimistic. Watch it! She also loves (in no particular order) The Good Place, Bojack Horseman, Futurama, The Magicians, every iteration of Star Trek except Discovery, The Americans, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Friday Night Lights, Gilmore Girls, Party of Five, Everwood, (she has a weird thing for teen soaps), and Veronica Mars. She was once very much in love with The Good Wife, but it ended badly, and she’d rather not talk about it.
What is a shipper and is Heather L. Nadelman one of them?
Here is Wikipedia’s definition of “shipping,” which is as good as any other: “Shipping, initially derived from the word relationship, is the desire by fans for two or more people, either real-life people or fictional characters to be in a romantic relationship. It is considered a general term for fans' emotional involvement with the ongoing development of a relationship in a work of fiction.” And yes, Heather L. Nadelman has been known to ship now and again. In fact, she thinks about the decades of her life in terms of characters shipped: in her twenties, she shipped Riker and Deanna from Star Trek: TNG (a fact which embarrasses her greatly now); in her thirties, she shipped Buffy and Spike (only marginally less embarrassing, considering that Spike was sort of a rapist); in her forties, it was Alicia and Kalinda from “The Good Wife” (that wasn’t particularly embarrassing, but because of an obvious, stupid feud between the actors playing Alicia and Kalinda, it went nowhere and was ultimately annoying and depressing); and in her fifties, she shipped Donna and Cameron from “Halt and Catch Fire” (and that one ended just about as well as a ship possibly could in canon). She’d rather not ship anyone, to tell the truth: shipping interferes with the overall enjoyment of a work, and it’s just generally a path to frustration and disappointment. But, as with everything else, the heart wants what the heart wants!
Why does Heather L. Nadelman have a media server?
As mentioned before, Heather L. Nadelman is a tech nerd and likes messing with stuff that most people find exasperating and not worth the effort. She also likes to control her own media and doesn’t really like the trend that everything she cares about lives in a cloud controlled by a corporate overlord who might at any moment decide to pull the plug. What if she could never, for instance, watch an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer again, just because Netflix had some sort of legal battle with someone else and yanked it out of spite? She also worries that physical media like DVDs could become corrupted and just fail to play someday, and she doesn’t like to clutter up her house with physical stuff if she can avoid it. All that has meant that she’s ripped all of her old CDs and DVDs, and she’s also bought legal downloads of music and videos from iTunes and Amazon and made sure that everything she buys is ultimately stripped of any Digital Rights Management (DRM), so she can play it anywhere from any device. (Heather believes in compensating artists for their work and doesn’t want to steal stuff via torrents, but she also doesn’t believe in DRM. If she buys a piece of media, she shouldn’t be locked into someone else’s infrastructure to enjoy that media, so she doesn’t feel guilty at all about using DRM-stripping software after she buys something.) All of this media is stored on an old iMac running Sierra (which was the last Mac OS that allowed the DRM stripping software to run relatively easily) and managed via a wonderful server program called Plex. She’s very happy with the result.
Does Heather L. Nadelman have a phobia?
Heather L. Nadelman is a fairly anxious, neurotic person in general, but her one serious phobia is probably Necrophobia, the irrational fear of dead things. She can’t stand seeing a dead animal of any sort, and that’s quite a handicap for someone who lives on a farm, where dead animals are an unfortunate fact of life.
How many animals does Heather L. Nadelman have?
It depends on how you count them. If you mean “how many animals live with Heather L. Nadelman in her house,” the answer is generally four, all dogs. Four has been a good number of dogs for Heather, and she’s maintained that number more or less consistently for the past twenty or so years. If you mean “how many animals is Heather L. Nadelman responsible for,” that would have to include farm animals, and it’s a variable number. She and Sally Molloy share a flock of sheep (usually numbering around fifty or so) between their two farms, and she and Sally also share two llamas (one at each farm). You can learn more about Heather L. Nadelman’s farm here.
Is Heather L. Nadelman the oldest person ever to write fan fiction?
Probably not, since the image of all fan fiction being written by lovestruck thirteen-year-old girls isn’t really accurate. However, she’s definitely on the older side of the fan fiction community; most other writers that she encounters seem to be in their twenties to early thirties. She has a theory that people older than that don’t outgrow writing fic as much as just plain get too busy with their careers and young children to do it any more. Since she came to fic as an adult and doesn’t have kids to take up her time, she never followed that developmental path. But most people write fanfic under pseudonyms, and genuine demographic information about that world is difficult to come by.
Where can I read Heather L. Nadelman’s fan fiction?
She’s not telling, not because there’s anything shameful or wrong with anything that she writes—it’s decidedly PG-13 at the most. But it’s also a little personal, and she’d rather not connect her real-life persona with her fandom persona willy nilly. It’s not impossible to figure out if you’re really determined to do so—she hasn’t been scrupulous about scrubbing away all possible clues—but you’ll have to dig a little to find it, and really; it’s not worth it. She’s not that great a writer!
Does Heather L. Nadelman have prosopagnosia?
Heather L. Nadelman has never been officially diagnosed with prosopagnosia, which is a neurological condition characterized by the inability to recognize the faces of familiar people. However, she really can’t recognize faces, relying mostly on hair cuts to tell people apart and often failing miserably even so. She never knows if someone unfamiliar greets her if she’s supposed to know that person, or if it would be socially acceptable not to know him or her. She has a lot of trouble recognizing anyone out of context, and figuring out characters in movies and TV shows based on their physical appearances is very difficult for her. All in all, it’s a pretty serious handicap, but since Heather is a semi-hermit who works from home, it’s not one that has had a huge impact on her life.
Does Heather L. Nadelman really control the sheepdog Internet?
She used to, maybe, but now that so much of the sheepdog Internet is on Facebook, she doesn’t anymore. She’s still the owner and moderator of the sheepdog-l listserv, which has been around for many years (she thinks it started around 1993, but she didn’t own it then) but which has very little activity these days. She also does the technical work on the BC Boards (which are part of All About Border Collies). Nonetheless, her power is diminishing, but she tries to keep a stiff upper lip about that.
What are Heather L. Nadelman’s special skills in the event of an apocalypse?
Heather L. Nadelman, frankly, would be pretty useless in an apocalypse, since she can’t build things, has a terrible sense of direction, is half-blind, and has no athletic prowess whatsoever. She’d probably be the first person picked off by the zombies, so you shouldn’t count on her for anything. She’s good at telling stories and figuring out technical stuff, and she’s a pretty good cook, but somehow she doesn’t think there will be much call for that in the End Times.
What are Heather L. Nadelman’s political leanings?
Right now, she’s super liberal, mostly as a reaction to the horrors of the 2016 election and Donald Trump. She didn’t start out that way, however. When she was a fresh-faced new voter, she thought of herself as a liberal Republican, someone who had liberal social ideas but liked the idea of capitalism and the free market. She’s also temperamentally someone who doesn’t really like the idea of authoritarian bodies like the US government poking their collective noses into her business. But as she’s gotten older and the world has largely gotten worse (and since there just plain doesn’t seem to be any such thing as a liberal Republican in US politics these days), she’s come to believe more in the importance of a social safety net, and that means that these days she’s pretty much a left-of-centrist-but-not-totally pressive garden-variety Democrat.
What is Heather L. Nadelman’s Myers-Briggs type?
No matter how many times Heather takes the Myers-Briggs and how much she tries to skew any questions that seem to be tossups the other way, she comes up as an INFJ. INFJ is an acronym for the personality traits of Introversion, iNtuition, Feeling, and Judging. INFJs are energized by time alone (Introverted), focus on ideas and concepts rather than facts and details (iNtuitive), make decisions based on feelings and values (Feeling) and prefer to be planned and organized rather than spontaneous and flexible (Judging). That all seems right enough, at least as far as it goes. According to some random source on the Internet, it’s the rarest personality type of all, and famous INFJs include Mohandas Gandhi, Eleanor Roosevelt, Emily Bronte, Carl Jung, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Florence Nightingale, Shirley MacLaine, Jimmy Carter, and Edward Snowden. Yes, really!
What are a few of Heather L. Nadelman’s favorite books?
She considers that a very tough question, because of course (like everyone else) she’s loved different books at different points in her life. When she was a kid, Flowers for Algernon made a huge impression on her, because it seemed so tragic and so reflective of the sadness of life. She also loved Harriet the Spy for its witty satire of upper-middle-class New Yorkers (but of course, she didn’t articulate it quite that way at the time that she read it) and The Phantom Tollbooth for its celebration of the rich fantasy life of latchkey kids (again, at the time she just thought of it as a fun book). When Heather grew up, she became fiercely devoted to A. S. Byatt’s Possession (so much so that she has a bad habit of recommending it to anyone that she’s getting to know well, because she really can’t imagine anyone she really likes not loving it as much as she does) and Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s Good Omens, which she still thinks is one of the funniest books ever written.
Beatles or Stones?
Beatles, of course Beatles. What did you think?
What movie will Heather L. Nadelman always watch if she sees it on TV at any time?
That would have to be Legally Blonde, which Heather finds both deeply feminist and hilarious, as well as strangely satisfying. She doesn’t want to confess just how many times she’s seen that movie, but it’s a lot.
What annoys Heather L. Nadelman?
Heather is always really, really irritated by people who aren’t good at their jobs, or (even worse) who show absolutely no interest in learning everything there is to know about whatever they happen to be doing professionally. She has been known to seethe inwardly, for example, if she goes into a tiny 7-11 and asks where the batteries are, and the kid behind the counter has no idea. (HOW do you not know where things are in a store with four tiny aisles that you spend hours and hours in with nothing other to do than to learn where things go??) Heather has a puritanical streak and is unreasonably attached to the idea that work should be a calling and not just something that one does to collect a paycheck. Her life’s experiences have run counter to that romantic idea—being a test developer is hardly a CALLING, even if it’s a pleasant enough job—she it has gradually dawned on her over the years that the vast majority of people work in uninteresting jobs for poor compensation. Nonetheless, she persists in thinking it; one of her favorite bits of poetry comes from the end of Robert Frost’s "Two Tramps in Mud Time":

But yield who will to their separation,
My object in living is to unite
My avocation and my vocation
As my two eyes make one in sight.
Only where love and need are one,
And the work is play for mortal stakes,
Is the deed ever really done
For heaven and the future’s sakes.

What is Heather L. Nadelman’s typical order at Starbucks?
She always gets an English breakfast tea latte with nonfat milk and sugar-free vanilla syrup (she’s not generally a coffee-drinker, except under very specific circumstances that involve being out in a rainstorm at a dog trial). She usually gets a grande, which is just about the right size and stays warm enough in the time that it takes to drink it. If she ever gets a venti she regrets it, because she ends up swilling cold tea before the drink is finished. Heather has trouble really believing the adage that less is more because it doesn't make logical sense, but she has to admit (grudgingly) that sometimes less is better than more.
What question does Heather L. Nadelman want answered?
Aside from the obvious meaning-of-life and is-there-other-life-in-the-universe sorts of questions, Heather really wants to know just one thing before she dies: what happened on the set of the Good Wife regarding the feud between Julianna Margulies and Archie Panjabi? How could it have gotten so bad that the two of them couldn’t even film a scene together and had to resort to a clumsy, obvious CGI split screen? She really hopes that someone connected with the show will eventually spill on some drunken night to the right reporter. If you know anything, she’ll be willing to pay handsomely for your information.