Star Trek Conventions Are The Bomb!
Set Destination To Excitement, and Warp-Speed Ahead.

A 24th Century Editorial by Fred "Number 1" Patterson

So, you think that Star Trek conventions are for nothing more than places where nerds, with problems with bathing and social interaction, get together with other nerds? Well, you're dead wrong! You better step off, before I order Worf to deploy a bevy of photon torpedoes on your sorry ass! That shut you up pretty fast, didn't it?

Ah, the Star Trek convention. A great bonding experience, and a place to get super rare items that you can't find anywhere else. A while back, at my first convention, I bought replicas of Geordi LaForge's visors for all my homies, and they killed with the ladies. We said, "These visors allow us to detect the level of heat that you're giving off, and let's just say that it increased substantially at the atomic level upon our approach." Sure, the ladies did pummel us into a bloody heap, but that's the most action we've had in years. Correction, our entire lives.

But lately, with DS9 ending, and Voyager not attracting too much attention, it may seem that the Trek convention experience isn't up to what it used to be. Besides the shows slowing down, cons have become less necessary with the advent of the internet. It used to be that you'd have to go to a convention to show off your homemade uniform, but with the growth of the online community you don't have to go to a con to show it off.

I can display the pictures of my homemade replica of the bat'talh of Kahless the Unforgettable by simply posting the pictures on the net, all the while gorging myself with Slim Jims. I built the bat'talh out of a rubber hose, styrofoam, superglue, model paint, tin-foil, caulking, cardboard, aluminum, toilet paper, and a little TLC. Putting pictures up on the net allows me to avoiding the searing heat of natural light. Those U.V. rays would deteriorate my skin in a matter of seconds. Having no resistence to sunlight is a sacrifice you have to make if you want to memorize the entire Klingon dialect. I can tell bullies, "bljeghbe'chugh vaj blHegh", and they don't even know that I'm telling them to, "Surrender or die!" What a bunch of peons! But I digress.

I still enjoy going to the occasional con, but as the interest of my fellow Trekkies wanes, so does my own. So I set out for the latest Star Trek, in Portland, OR, with one purpose on my mind, and that was to find out why Trek cons still mattered anymore. Also, I wanted to try and score with Jeri Ryan. She can assimilate me into her collective anytime, if you know what I'm saying.

What did I discover when I went? Well, Seven of Nine and I didn't do the wild thing (she ordered security to drag me away from her after the whole naked karate fiasco), but there are a number of reasons to still attend a convention.

1. "Hey, you must be getting hot under cranial ridge!"
Although it's nice enough to chat with fans online, it's really great to be able to trade tips with them in person. For instance, I learned quite a bit about costuming from my new friend Captain Kurn, a member of the Klingon Assault Group. He told me a shower curtain makes an excellent vest. "I make them for all my friends," confided Kurn, while munching an extremely leaky burrito. "I steal them from hotels, and I cackle with glee as I flee my room. I was caught once at a Motel 6, and they made me work of my debt for 3 months. Louisa Consuella, the manager, savagely beat me with a section of orange Hot Wheels track if I didn't work to her standards. Anyhow, with leather, the vest sometimes cracks, but with a shower curtain you don't run into that problem." I made my shower curtain into a really boss vest, but my mom got really mad at me. I really should have asked her first. But did she have to take yell at me so loudly? I think I wet myself..."

2. "Whoah, I didn't know they made these!"
The simple fact is that there's stuff you can get at a Trek convention that you can't find anywhere else. For example, at this particular convention, there was a veritable treasure trove of cool Star Trek merchandise. I some boxer shorts that said, "Beam it up, Scotty!" Pretty clever, eh? I also got Star Trek brand spray cheese called "Warp Cheese Ahead!" Funny, not to mention tasty. What wasn't funny was the 3 hour bout of projectile diahrea that was caused by the spray cheese.

But not all of the merchandise was of such a high quality. I saw some products that were obviously just trying to leech money out of our wallets. One vendor was selling Star Trek brand paper. It was just normal paper, with "Star Trek" written in the corner in pen. He must have thought that we're morons. I bought 3 crates of it, but I still object to such a misuse of the Star Trek brand name.

3. "Is that who I think it is?"
A major draw for convention visiters is the excitement of seeing some of your favourite Trek icons up close and personal. This show certainly did not disappoint. I saw, and I'm not making this up, one of the extras who is killed off in Star Trek the original series. It's the episode where the alien turns the two ensigns into blocks of matter, and then crushes one of the blocks to prove his awesome power! She was the one who was killed!!! I bet I can sell the autograph for at least 20 dollars. I also met James Doohan, who played Scotty. They had to reinforce the stage, since he now weighs over 300 pounds. Sadly, 3 con-goers were lost in the folds of Scotty's flesh.

So, you're thinking about puttin' on the old Federation issued uniform and heading over to a convention? That's great! But here's a couple of things to be aware of when you head to the convention, so you a have a pleasant and safe experience.

1. "How the hell did he get in?"
Even though there's a lot of great people you can meet at the conventions, there's always one guy who will scare the living crap out of you. Avoid them at all costs. At this convention, one of the visitors proclaimed himself "The Underwear God of Zantor! Here to bring underwear awareness to unenlightened individuals across the universe." He ran around the center, lobbing dirty underwear on people's heads. Some people enjoyed it, others didn't.

2. "I bet crap tastes better than this!"
At all costs, please try to avoid the food. The food tends to be overpriced and taste disgusting. Do you wanna pay 4 bucks for a burger? I could get 47 Arby-Qs for that price! Sadly, con-food is actually a step down from Arby's.

3. "Duh! I'm so stupid."
Don't say something that makes you look like a total moron. If you ask a really stupid question, or make a really stupid comment, then you'll be the subject of ridicule. As I was taking a short break, I actually saw some girl ask when C- 3PO was going to be appearing. Duh, where the hell did she think she was? She was killed by a barrage of Tribbles. Serves her right.

I hope that I've expressed just how fun a Star Trek convention can be, and I hope that you've learned a little something that will help you if you go. So come on by and bring your costume, some Arby-Qs, and make sure "The Underwear God" doesn't follow you there. Wouldn't even want him making a BRIEF appearance. Ha ha ha!! That's PUN-derful.

(Fred Patterson is an avid Trekker, but admits to enjoying the occasional "Babylon 5" episode on the side.)

ED - All Content 2000.