Friday, April 18, 2014

Growing Up Nerdy

The boys geek out on Star Trek, Hobbits and lightsabers. It's the trifecta of nerdiness.

How does one know when they are truly a "Trekkie?"
- Trekked out in Toronto

Mike: Let me start out by saying I’m not a Trekkie. I really, really like Star Trek a lot. I’ve seen and own all of the feature films and have watched countless hours of the various TV series, none more than The Next Generation. Even bad Star Trek -- and there’s bad Star Trek -- is a lot of fun. I’ve read Trek books and comic books. Over the years I’ve collected Trek toys and even bought all of the CDs from the Star Trek tribute band Five Year Mission.*

*side note: Patrick, Adam and myself were at a comic-con in Chicago a few years ago when Patrick found the Five Year Mission booth and he bought their first CD. A few weeks later, he told me that they’re really good and he had just ordered their second album. While I hadn’t heard them yet, I thought he must be blinded by his love of all things Star Trek. I figured that there’s no way that a band that writes songs for every episode of the original Star Trek series could be anything more than amusing. Boy, was I wrong. They’re awesome, guys. I have no idea what they’re singing about half of the time, but who cares. I recommend you guys seek them out and give them a try. They’re a blast. Anywho…
With all of that said, I feel calling myself a Trekkie is an insult to real Trekkies. Star Trek is so much fun and I genuinely want to start from the beginning one day and work my way through the entire catalog. But until I commit to spending more time in that universe, I’ll just call myself a big fan. Adam, however…

Adam: That’s a hard one, because being a Trekkie can easily be discounted by someone who is even more of a Trekkie. For instance, I consider myself a Trekkie; however, I’m sure that Juror from the OJ Simpson trial who wore her Star Trek uniform to court (complete with a Tricorder and Phaser) would think I’m just a wannabe.

I present to you "Adam’s Five Levels of Star Trek Fans:"

Entry Level - Someone in the entry level has seen Star Trek episodes, seen more than one of the movies and enjoyed them. This person can identify one or more of the Captains.

Operating Thetan - These people have seen at least 5% or more of any of the 726 various episodes. They understand why wearing a “red shirt” is a bad thing. They have also seen four or more of the Star Trek movies, can identify two or more Captains and several cast members from more than one of the series.

Ambassador Class - An AC Trek fan will have seen more than 50% of the various Star Trek episodes and at least 75% of either the Original Series and/or Next Generation. An AC also has seen at least five episodes of every Star Trek series (minus the animated series), can tell the difference between ships and knows the difference between a Vulcan, Romulan, Klingon, human and Ferengi. This person owns at least one Star Trek related item, from a t-shirt to a commemorative glass. Most telling of all, though, is that an AC liked the Star Trek reboot but prefers the television series.

Trekkie - A full out Trekkie is someone who has seen nearly all of Star Trek's 726 episodes and every single one of the movies -- yes, even Final Frontier. A Trekkie has met at least two cast members from Star Trek and owns multiple Star Trek items. A Trekkie can tell you who each character is, but can also tell you ABOUT each character complete with useless information (like that Picard plays a Ressikan flute or that Sisko loves baseball). These people can understand several words in Klingon. “Qapla!” A Trekkie doesn’t just enjoy Star Trek, they LOVE Star Trek and are truly happy about the time they spend in that universe.

Trekkie Operating Thetan Level 10 - This person has all the characteristics of a Trekkie but takes it to another level. These people dress regularly in Trek uniforms, role play and have met a good majority of the cast members. They don’t call episodes by title but refer to them as numbers. These are the people that have major questions about episodes and believe that Patrick Stewart or Levar Burton can tell you the answers to these questions by explaining how the antimatter system works in a Warp Drive Engine. An OT Level X Trekkie has seen every episode, went back and watched them all again… multiple times.
I’m a Trekkie. I’m proud of it! It was hard for me to come to terms with this and realize it. I guess it came soon after I watched Deep Space 9. In my humble opinion, DS9 is the best of all the series. I enjoyed every second of that show and was genuinely upset when it came to an end. My co-writer once said that he knew he was a Lord of the Rings junkie when he realized it didn’t matter how good or bad the movie was, he just wanted to be in that world. I guess that’s how I feel now about the Star Trek Universe. It’s my favorite. I just want to be there and watch what happens in this world they’ve created, complete with Tribbles, Romulans and Space Lincoln.

I have a choice between buying a replica of Frodo's sword "Sting" or a light saber.  What should I choose?!
-Dan In Los Angeles

Adam: Which one lights up? If one of them lights up, you have to go with that one. Your friends come over, they see Sting hanging up on their wall. They ask about it. It’s a conversation piece, over in a few minutes. Now imagine those same friends come over, they see Sting on the wall. They ask about it. After talking about it for a few minutes, you walk over to the wall. Pick up Sting. Flip a switch, that bad boy glows blue… BOOM! You’re fucking awesome. Then you turn to your friend and say, “It only glows blue when Orcs are present… must be because you’re ugly ass is here!” DOUBLE BOOM!! NERD BURN!!

If all things are equal, though, both light up, I’d go with a light saber. Star Wars is just a little more mainstream and acceptable. If your parents come over and see a light saber, it will bring back memories of when they first showed you Star Wars or saw it themselves. They see a LOTR sword, they’re probably going to dismiss it because they have no idea what that is.

The most critical question you need to ask yourself is: are you are going to take any girls to your place? If the answer is yes, then buy whatever one you like but don’t take it out! Believe me, the best form of birth control is having either an Elven Sword or the chosen weapon of a Jedi Knight sitting on your mantle. You need to ease the ladies into that shit. Even if you had an 11 inch penis and nicknamed it “Sting,” you don’t just whip that out. You ease the ladies into it. Unless it’s a hooker.
Mike: This is a difficult one to answer because my instinct is to say a light saber. When I was little I didn’t pretend to wield a sword; I had a fucking light saber. This obviously stems from my early love of all things Star Wars. They were bright, futuristic looking and they made an awesome sound. And there’s nothing cooler than Darth Vader’s red light saber emerging SLOWLY before he beats Luke’s ass in The Empire Strikes Back. You can’t go wrong with a light saber. However…

I would go with Sting. For one thing, my love of Lord of the Rings has grown and grown over the years. While I’ll always adore Star Wars, this old, boring version of myself prefers the LotR trilogy all day long. As a result of my affections for the LotR films and books, I’ve come to really appreciate the mythology that comes with it. What makes swords like Sting and Orcrist so cool is more than how neat they look. There’s history behind those weapons. Sting was an Elvish dagger that was the perfect size for a Hobbit like Bilbo or Frodo. It would glow blue when Orcs or Trolls were nearby. The spiders of Mirkwood feared it. It was beautiful and clouded in mystery and history. I feel like Sting could tell its own story, and that’s so cool to me.

Any way you go is cool. But I’d go with good old fashioned Elvish craftsmanship.


  1. Based on your rating scale, I would be somewhere between AC and full-fledged Trekkie. I've seen everything of TOS, TNG, and DS9, but bailed on Voyager and Enterprise pretty early on - I did make a return to Enterprise for the fourth season (mostly because of the Mirror Universe 2-parter), but have heard season 3 is also good. I'm with Adam in calling DS9 the best of the TV shows. I was hooked right from the start, but when "Duet" from season 1 aired I knew this was going to be something special.

  2. I think there's room for "Saw everything but" in the Trekkie category. If you care enough about the Star Trek universe to find Enterprise offensive, your love of the franchise is definitely on par with someone who watches everything. Instead of seeing it as blind love of the series, we see it as righteous indignation that someone did that to the franchise we love.

    Then again, there is the "Trekker" category which you don't mention. The distinction between Trekkie and Trekker has been said to be those who love the series vs those who live the series. The Trekker is supposed to have read the manuals, and be able to tell you both the in-universe principles on which the warp engines work and the real world theories that support the possibility that they might actually work. A Trekker also is supposed to know the difference between the script writer doing homework and blind technobabble. It might be fair to say that those whose feelings about the series lead to excluding the bizarre end of the TV franchise would fall under the "Trekker" label rather than the "Trekkie" label.

  3. Oh Adam, if only you'd ended your paragraph on Sting with "Plus you could actually stab a motherfucker with it." For some reason I thought that's where you were going.

    I've always thought that if I ever got three wishes they would be: (1) all of the powers of Superman with (2) all of the powers of a Jedi Master and (3) a functioning light saber (at that point just for show). The world peace and/or money, power and women would all follow.

    In 1997 I'd easily be in the Ambassador Class, but I never really got on board with Voyager and didn't see a single episode of Enterprise so I guess I'm a strong Operating Thetan.

    If I was stranded on an island with all of the Star Trek I would be very content to go through the whole damn franchise from beginning to end - like Mike I kinda want to do that - but I've just got too many other interests right now to make that kinda commitment. Here's hoping I lose the use of my legs for a few months!

  4. Color us flattered. Talk us up all you like. We'll make it back up to Chicago super duper soon... - Fark / Five Year Mission