Monday, June 27, 2011

The Trekkin' Siblings

Yesterday my brother, Mr. Funny, and I totally got our geek on at a Star Trek Convention in Parsippany, New Jersey. We had the honor of hearing the lovely and superawesome Nichelle Nichols speak, and she was so amazing and incredible that it made our entire 2+ hour trek worth it.

Hailing frequencies open!
(Photo from

Because New Jersey is the suck of America.

And we're from Florida, are Mr. Funny and I. We know from states that suck.

The road system in New Jersey appears to have been designed by M.C. Escher. Somehow it took us two hours to get from Brooklyn to Parsippany, with only 40 minutes stuck in traffic, but coming home took 1/3 that time. (And then we got stuck in Staten Island's permatraffic. More on that later.) I half expected David Bowie and his hair (which would have been totally appropriate for New Jersey) to pop up and try to steal my little brother, something Mr. Funny was actually afraid of when we were kids. Believe me, if Mr. Funny never got kidnapped by the Goblin King it wasn't for my lack of trying. Though now he's 31 and less likely to be Goblin King fodder, I guess.

"Do I remind you of the babe? The babe with the power?"
(Photo from

Part of the problem of driving in New Jersey is that every street, highway, and dirt path has at least four names, so that by the time Mr. Funny read the actual direction in its entirety we were pretty much past where we needed to be.

Me: Which way do I go here?
Him: "Take 440 north - slash - 278 west - slash - NCC1701 - slash - Beetlejuice Nebula - slash - Burt Reynolds Highway Northwest South."
Me: Too late. I think we're in Delaware.

Actually, we didn't get lost. But we did end up in some horrendous traffic out in the middle of nowhere that I can only attribute to New Jersey's natural tendency to have flash traffic jams, like sandstorms in the desert.

Two hours and a whole lot of making fun of our spouses later, we arrived in Parsippany (motto: "If You Can Get Here, We'll Show You Nichelle Nichols") for the convention.

Now, Mr. Funny and I are not Star Trek Con virgins, as evidenced by my use of the word "con." We've been to cons. I ONCE GOT TO SHAKE HANDS WITH TASHA YAR. GO AHEAD AND PUKE WITH JEALOUSY.

Another time, when he was but a wee Trekker, my brother got to meet Brent Spiner, who promised him an autographed photo and never sent it.

"Hi, I'm Brent Spiner and I like to make promises
that I don't keep and break the hearts of little boys.
Bwahahahahaha! And also? My pants are stupid."

So we went to hear Nichelle Nichols, aka Uhura, who is so awesome it makes my skin glow. Seriously. Her greatness is so vast it actually exfoliates my skin.

Behold. Your pores are now clear and tiny.
(Photo from

She, of course, told the famous Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. story, which our mother recites like Scripture. And then she patiently sat through about 10 kajillion fan photos and had the good grace to make small talk with each and every one of us.

I am super lame, though. I get starstruck. Once, when I met Spike Lee, I had this whole speech in my head about how important "Do the Right Thing" is in the canon of American film. A whole speech. What I said when I shook his hand was this: "I love you." Another time I stood in line to have Hillary Clinton sign her latest book, and again, I had a whole speech in my head about how she is a feminist icon and a role model, and that I've been a supporter of hers since 1992, and how I think it's great that she's always fought for better health care in America. What I said when my turn finally came around was this: "I'm a feminist." She gave me a thumbs-up and then pressed the hidden Secret Service button to have me forcibly removed from the Columbus Circle Borders Book Shop.

So, I'm not great when it comes to meeting famous people, despite living in New York City for 15 years, where we treat celebs like they are somewhere between a crime scene and a unicorn: we acknowledge them out of the corners of our eyes, confirm with our fellow citizens, and then move on. Once, I got hit on in an elevator by Colin Quinn, only I didn't know it was him, and I got annoyed. Mr. Funny still has not forgiven me for not somehow magically whipping his headshot out of thin air and passing it on.

Long story short, there I am, in the presence of NICHELLE NICHOLS, who is arguably one of the most important women in Sci-Fi, and certainly is a geek feminist icon, and I was all ready to say to her, "You're an inspiration!"

What I said was this: "....."

Nothing. Not a damn thing. I froze up and smiled like the village idiot I am.

Thankfully my brother saved the day with something like, "You are fantastic."

This is why my husband says I should never go into politics. I blank out in front of people I admire. I imagine if Barack Obama ever accepted my invitation to come over for gluten-free pasta and Tasti-D-Lite, I'd probably just drool and pee. God forbid I ever get to meet the Dalai Lama. My skin will probably melt off and my eyeballs will pop out of their sockets.

So, it was a successful con in that I made a total ass of myself in front of Lt. Uhura. Which, really, is all I ask of life. I'm a woman with simple needs.

On the way home, the 2+ hour drive suddenly morphed into 35 minutes to get from Parsippany to the Goethels Bridge, which attaches New Jersey to Staten Island like a dirty cop handcuffing two criminals together. Staten Island has a giant highway running down its middle like someone's trying to cut it open, and that highway has permatraffic. There's no other way to describe it. Day or night, weekend or weekday, there's traffic. It kind of reminds me of that episode from Season 3 of Doctor Who.

Thankfully, Bon Jovi came on the radio while we were still in New Jersey, because by law you cannot leave New Jersey without hearing either the Jovi or Bruce Springsteen. The rest of the radio was devoted to Michael Jackson's yartzheit, which got annoying after a while because when you're on the tail end of something like that you are just plain not going to hear the good songs like "Billy Jean" or "Black and White" - you're going to hear the lesser known crap that is lesser known for a reason.

But, again, all worth it for Nichelle Nichols.

Mr. Funny: Maybe you can write her a letter with all the things you didn't say when we had our photo with her.
Me: Yeah, that's not going to happen.

Instead I did what any good 21st century chick would do. I "liked" her Facebook page and posted it on her wall.

You're next, Hillary.

"Get this crazy chick away from me."
(Photo from


Anonymous said...

For a second there I was afraid you wouldn't mention Doctor Who in your post. Worried, I was! Then AHHHHHHH! If you ever met Matt Smith what would you do?

Andrew said...

"Better to remain silent and thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt."

By which I mean there is a worse option. A few years ago I met an actress from Classic Doctor Who, Louise Jameson, who played Leela. I had met her before, but this time I had watched a lot more of her episodes, and in her day she was hot! (Her day happened to roughly encompass the period prior to my birth and my first birthday.) At the time I met her she was also playing a character on a hugely popular soap opera called 'Eastenders'. Come my turn to meet her I went into motormouth mode and spouted some drivel about how I didn't watch Eastenders but I knew that loads of people were watching it and they were really enjoying it. I could hear my brain saying "Stop talking now! Stop talking now!", but I couldn't stop myself. After the event I felt like a complete fool. I then met her again quite a long time later, and when I got to her table she said "We've met before, haven't we?" Aware of what had happened the last time I simply said "Yes. Yes, we have." and left it at that.

Really enjoyed reading about your experience at the con! By the way, did you know that Nichelle has a Twitter account?

Meredith L. said...

Hey Anonymous. Please sign your post. Or else I'll delete it, even though I strongly suspect your identity...

Meredith L. said...

Andrew, I did know that, and I'm following it!

You're right. I guess I'm better off just grinning like an idiot.

FashionLawDiva said...

I'm so glad Lt. Uhura commented on your facebook post. Just once I'd like to witness this "speechless" thing that happens around celebrities you admire. Just once . With me you are sucha Chatty Cathy! LOL

The Tia, math nerd (for your readers)

Evanjm02 said...

You don't know, he could still send that pic!
Had a great time, Sis! :)

Anonymous said...

Heh, I've turned into a grinning idiot at all 3 of the Terry Pratchett booksignings I've been to, you're not alone!


Anonymous said...

Oops. I'm new at this. Sorry.
*sings* Sign your name across my heart...