Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Blog #14: Encounters Of The Geek Kind, Part I

Blog #14: Encounters Of The Geek Kind, Part I
Back in the early and mid 90's I attended 4 Star Trek conventions in
Edmonton. To say I was a bit of a nerd back then would be an
understatement, I lived and breathed Star Trek back then. My first
convention was October 1992 at the Coast Terrace Inn and I went with my
cousin Dwight. It was a lot of fun. There were a lot of people dressed like
Trek characters there and a lot of stuff to buy. There were thousands of
people there and the ballrooms were packed. They put on a good show with
clips and behind the scenes video's, they also have writer's and producers
as guest speakers. They have a costume contest with the winner getting lots
of free stuff then they end the day with a star coming on stage, the star
talks with the fans then signs autographs. October 1992 was Marina Sirtis,
also known as 'Counsilor Troi' on Star Trek: The Next Generation. She
really is smokin hot in person and I fell in love with her at first
sight....back then I was a 12 year old boy going through puberty. The only
things I remember from her on stage talking is the fact that Def Leppard is
her favorite band, she had to fight for the right to sit in the Captain's
chair for an episode, she doesn't believe in Trek's positive vision of the
future, she believes in a dark nuclear future. That's about all I remember.
I stood in line for almost an hour and finally I got my picture of her
signed. She was really nice and looked amazing.
The second convention I went to was in March 1993 and again at the Coast
Terrace. This time Nana Visitor was the guest star, she played 'Major Kira'
on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. At the time DS9 was a brand new show on TV
and she was the first DS9 character to appear in Edmonton. She was fun to
listen too but was very overdressed. She wore a giant sweater that was 10
times too big for her plus she wore giant round glasses. Maybe she found
Edmonton too cold. March 1994 I attended my third convention at the Coast
Terrace and this time Michael Dorn also known as "Worf" from Star Trek: TNG
and DS9 was the guest star. He was really cool and funny, and he was also
very big! He apparently played college football and he really is built like
a football player. I remember when I went up to him to get my autograph
signed he signed it and I said "Thank you, I'm a big fan of the show". And
he said "That's awesome man, thanks for watching". That was the only time I
actually said something more than just "Thank you" to a Trek star, but he
was a very cool guy. He didn't seem like a Hollywood star, he seemed like a
typical everyday guy.
The last time I attended a Star Trek convention was October 1994, this time
at the Shaw Conference Centre. This time they had an original U.S.S.
Enterprise model from the original Star Trek show on display which was
cool, wish I had had a camera with me there. This time James Doohan
"Scotty" from the original Star Trek was the guest star. He was very nice
and very honest to the fans. I learned he truly hates William Shatner
(Captain Kirk) and he blames him for holding him and other stars back on
the show creatively. Shatner apparently was a prima donna on the Trek set
and pissed a lot of the stars off. Doohan is also Canadian and a veteran of
WWII, and for a time lived in Edmonton. He was really nice and signed my
autograph, but I was too awe struck to say anything more to him other than
'Thank-you'. He published an autobiography with writer Peter David some
years later which I bought and read. In WWII he was there when the Canadian
and Allied forces stormed the beaches or Normandy, and was later crossing
between command posts at 11:30 that night, Doohan was hit by six rounds
fired from a Bren gun by a nervous Canadian sentry: four in his leg, one in
the chest, and one through his right middle finger. The bullet to his chest
was stopped by a silver cigarette case. His right middle finger had to be
amputated, something he would conceal during his career as an actor. A
truly amazing guy and after being shot he trained as a pilot for the
service and was once labeled the "craziest pilot in the Canadian Air
Forces." If you read the book he has an amazing story about landing a plane
on the German autobon, and years later at a Trek convention he met an
elderly fan who actually recalled seeing him land that plane on the autobon
during the war. Sadly Doohan passed away in 2005 at the age of 85.
Sadly that was also one of the last conventions held in Edmonton by
Creation Entertainment, the leading Star Trek Convention company. I'm not
sure why cause they were always sold out in Edmonton. When I looked on
their web site they only seem to go to Toronto and Vancouver now in Canada
and nowhere else. That's too bad cause I love going and I'd love to take my
kids, I think they would have fun there. People who have never went to Trek
conventions tend to label the people that go, especially the one's who
dress in costumes as nerds or losers. That may be true for some but most
people who go are regular everyday people who don't live in their Mom's
basement, they have jobs and families. Besides when you go to a football or
hockey game there are always people who wear team jerseys and sometimes
make-up...that's no different than someone who wears a Trek uniform or
costume. Put simply I would rather see a guy dressed like a Klingon or
Vulcan rather than a guy at a Eskimo's game in green paint, wearing only a
thong and watermelon on his head.
Thanks for reading. More Close Encounters To come...

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