About Our Podcast
How often do you hear “hillbilly” and “nerd” mentioned in the same sentence, much less in the same show title? Hillbilly Nerd Talk is a podcast recorded deep in the hollows of rural Appalachia by a married couple, Hank and Petra, who can best be described as educated Hillbillies.
Hank says, “We started our show as a way to entertain as well as meet and interact with new and interesting people. We blend two seemingly opposite worlds into one strange but funny talk show.”
Appalachian culture is often ridiculed by outsiders, but on this show you will get an unscripted glimpse into our world. Don’t be scared. It’s not all Deliverance and Wrong Turn around here. There are lots of rural Appalachian traditions we enjoy, but as you will hear we also embrace science and technology. Our discussions will range from terraforming Mars to our neighbor’s problem with opossums getting in his chicken coups. Have you ever made moon shine? How about a discussion on the latest parallel universe theory? Are you getting the show concept? With your input, we just might use our Hillbilly Nerd Logic to solve all the world’s problems
I grew up in rural Eastern Kentucky in a hollow between two Appalachian Mountains. My childhood was spent working my ass off in tobacco fields, orchards and our small farm in general. My dad bought me a 410 shotgun when I was 8 years old to shot groundhogs that were getting into our pumpkin patch. I have made moonshine, dried apples, canned beans, made sorghum and all the other super rural country activities that you can think of, minus the incest of course. I grew up about as country as it gets. When I was a kid in the 1970s my dad had rental houses that still had out houses for bathrooms. Seriously.
I was born in 1969 so I was a kid during the 70’s and 80’s. Even as a kid, I have always loved science. I started using a hand me down microscope when I was about 8 years old. I started using my telescope at about age 10. That was a great Christmas present. This was the time when the first home video game systems and home computers were introduced. I still remember my Atari 2600 and my Commodore 64 computer very fondly. I loved trading computer games with my buddies who lived close by. We would spend hours and hours playing games stored on 5 ¼ inch floppy disc and cassette tapes. Yes, for a brief time, cassette tapes were used as storage devices for home computers. So, my mixture of being a hillbilly and a nerd started very early in my life.
I’ve struggled all my life to embrace the good side of our hillbilly culture and not dwell on the negative. Let’s face it there are some negatives. Low education levels, super crazy conservative religious beliefs, poverty and poor grammar often come to mind when thinking about Hillbillies. I respect the hard-working people around me who went to work in coal mines, welding shops and railroads but I personally did not want to do that type of work. So, I left this area as soon as I graduated from high school and moved far away to college. It was life changing for this country boy to go live in the big city for several years. I was introduced to many new ideas and interesting people that I could never have been exposed to in my little community. After my college days I returned to Appalachia. I brought back some of these ideas and experiences and have tried to blend them with all the good parts of Appalachian culture and tradition. Petra and I currently live in rural Appalachia and probably always will.
I have always wanted to foster my creative side by being involved with some sort of talk radio type show. When I was a kid, I used to record local morning radio shows by holding a handheld cassette recorder to the speaker of a separate radio. I was such a nerd. Now as an adult, I get to not only be on a talk show, but also co-host and produce it with my wonderful wife Petra. We hope our light hearted and humorous mixture of being Hillbillies and Nerds can entertain you and give you a unique and humerous perspective on science, technology and other news stories while also giving you a small glimpse into rural Appalachian cultures and traditions.
I’m Petra, and I’m a Geek Goddess. (Actually, a friend really did call me that once, and I still consider that the best compliment I’ve ever been given.)
I can’t remember not being fascinated by science and science fiction. I grew up on Star Trek and Dr. Who, Nova and Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom. I never doubted I’d be a scientist. I asked the questions the teachers couldn’t answer, and when I failed a spelling test and my teacher berated me for it, I told her that when I was an adult there would be machines that would spell for me. Got that one right.
I was only about 5 when my family had a religious awakening: Dad came home and all my KISS posters came off the walls. There was no more music or beer or smoking. We started going to church “every time the doors were open.” I didn’t understand why or what we’d been doing wrong before, but suddenly life revolved around that little church with the smelly outhouse in back. I had a hard time sitting still and staying quiet. I asked all the wrong questions. I never quite belonged, and thus began my long and twisted road to distrust of church and religion, but deep respect for faiths.
I struggled as a nerdy awkward child until I joined the band. I didn’t ask, just came home with a clarinet one day. Done deal, and the adults just found ways to get me to practice. I thrived with my new friends, eventually turning out to be quite a leader. Shockingly, I was actually a good kid. The only time I ever snuck out was my senior year. I stayed all night with my best friend. We moved some neighborhood patio furniture. We felt like criminal masterminds.
I think I walked in on the first day of college already suffering burn out. I was a decent student, but evidently I was remembered more for my pranks and being harmlessly nuts. That’s why I’m still skipping homecoming forever.
I took my newly earned and still unpaid for education and began working my way up my chosen scientific corporate ladder, moving around for better jobs until I met the one fella I would stay in one place for, Hank.
Now I overcompensate for my dirty job by amassing a dragon’s hoard of makeup and shoes. I’m addicted to makeup videos on YouTube and outfits on Pinterest. I think I’m actually getting better at this girl-thing as I get older.
I have only one cat and no cat sweatshirts, so I can’t technically be called a crazy cat lady.