“Change is the essential process of all existence.”

“The glory of creation is in its infinite diversity.”

“And in the ways our differences combine to create meaning and beauty.”  

-Miranda and Spock, ‘Is there no truth in beauty?’

===

Last Friday, I went out with some friends after work, and in a rare fit of technological willpower, turned my phone on silent and slung it in my bag. So, it wasn’t until I was walking home, idly completing a quick grocery run, that I saw I had missed 6 different messages about Leonard Nimoy’s passing.

That was a week ago. I keep trying to explain why I burst into tears right there in the Tesco parking lot, to justify the continuing deep sense of loss I feel over the death of a man I have never met. I’ve watched the internet overflow with memorials for this extraordinary soul, wanting to contribute my own without being able to find the right words.

I may never have the right words, but these are the best ones I could come up with.

===

Generation after generation, Star Trek was the show that challenged us to strive for a better humanity, constantly tackling issues of race, religious freedom, different cultures, sexualities, gender identities … yes, these delicate topics were rarely handled perfectly, but Star Trek (almost) always tried. This is, for me, the true Trek phenomenon.

And all of that began with Spock.

IDIC

“Logic is the beginning of wisdom … not the end.” – Spock, ‘The Undiscovered Country’

When TOS was first piloted, Roddenberry had to lobby against NBC execs to keep Spock’s eyebrows and pointed ears. They were convinced the affect would be viewed as ‘satanic’ on a character who was already cold and logical, and yes, I suppose that the first thing that comes to mind when people think of Vulcans is ‘logic’.

But I will argue until I am blue in the face with anyone who claims that Vulcans are cold. Vulcans are a people who consciously choose, every day of their lives, to control their emotions, and whose traditions, from the Vulcan salute and live long and prosper all the way through the teachings of Surak and the rituals of the High Priestesses, are rooted in the deepest spirituality. Even the IDIC – which, ironically, Roddenberry introduced as a merchandising tactic over intense protest from the actors – grew over time to become the physical symbol of Star Trek‘s most important theme: Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations.

And all of that began with Leonard Nimoy.

"The miracle is this - The more we share, the more we have." -Leonard Nimoy

“The miracle is this – The more we share, the more we have.” -Leonard Nimoy

Everyone who ever worked with him — Gene Roddenberry, William Shatner, Mark Lenard, Kirstie Alley…everyone — agrees that Nimoy was the mind and soul behind the identity of not only Spock but the entire Vulcan race. And just look where he took them. Vuclans could have been what many sci-fi aliens are: a window through which we could view the nature of humanity. They were that, of course, but Nimoy made them so much more.

See, Kirk was the swashbuckling, romantic space cowboy, and McCoy was the comically grouchy and somewhat xenophobic voice of skepticism — human characters, plucked straight from our present and placed in a utopic future, just like Uhura, Scotty, Sulu and Chekov. But Vulcans, especially Spock, they represented the type of humanity that Star Trek tells us we could be someday: Non-violent. Logical. Accepting.

There’s no question that Star Trek wouldn’t have been as relatable, as exciting, without Kirk, but without Spock — without their friendship that was so deep it defied death and single-handedly created fanfiction — could there have been such fervent hope for Gene Roddenberry’s vision of our future?

Nimoy once said of Spock that, “In a way, he was more human than anyone else on the ship,” and I’ve wondered whether Kirk’s eulogy in Wrath of Khan could have been inspired by Nimoy sharing this feeling with the writers, or whether they just recognized the complete truth of that statement instinctively.

WoK

“Of my friend, I can only say this: Of all the souls I have encountered in my travels, his was the most …. human.” – Kirk, ‘Wrath of Khan’

===

I wrote Leonard Nimoy a letter back in 1993. I never sent it, mostly because it was embarrassingly honest, and I had a lot of shame at age 9. So it mouldered in disorganized piles of old school papers, drawings, and photos, until our basement flooded and my father swept the water-damaged detritus into boxes for me to sort through.

Now, the thing I keep thinking is I wish I had told Leonard Nimoy how much Vulcans meant to me.

Of course, how many people have surely told him that over the years? What would one extra message from one random woman have accomplished? And yet, I think that Leonard Nimoy was the sort of person who would have cared just as much the 10,000th time he heard that as the first. This is, after all, the man who announced that he would consider himself an honorary grandfather to anyone and everyone who just tweeted him and asked.

So, for what it’s worth, if somehow you know I’m saying this: Leonard Nimoy, thank you for Spock. Of every actor and character from every book, show, and movie that I have ever seen – you and Spock were the ones that showed me the type of human I want to be.

===

Dear Mr. Nimoy,

My name is Robyn and I live in Alaska. My mom and dad and I watch Star Trek, and we just saw Wrath of Khan. I was really sad and cried when you died, but then my dad told me you come back to life. I didn’t believe him so we watched Search for Spock that same night.

Sometimes I wish I was a Vulcan because you’re always so smart you can figure out the right answer for anybody, even Saavik since she’s not very old and doesn’t know as much yet. And whenever you feel upset you can stop feeling that way before anybody else knows. I wish I could do that, but I wouldn’t want to do the Kohlinar because never having emotions again seems sad. I think that’s why Spock didn’t do it either.

I know you wrote that book about how you don’t want everyone to think that you’re just Spock, and that’s okay, because you’re not just Spock. But I wanted to write to say that I don’t think you have to be Spock, because Spock is you.

Thank you for being in Star Trek.

Love,

Robyn

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10 shower curtains not even a geek could love

I know. It has been inexcusably long since I last posted. I have excuses (don’t hold your breath, they aren’t very good ones). First of all, I have been working on about six different musical projects, five of which are going to be done in the next month and a half, so at least I’m coming out of hiding with a bang. Second, as some of you know, I got a job at the University of Sheffield and will be moving to the UK in a month, so I’ve been dealing with the never-ending ‘excitement’ of the UK Visa department (Motto: Confusing more Americans every year than the IRS!)

One of the fantastic side effects of this move is that because everything in the UK is way more expensive than in the US, I have the best excuse ever to shop for all sorts of random nonsense NOW. This is why a few nights ago, instead of doing anything at all productive or valuable to either myself or society, I threw on Pulp Fiction and went online shopping for shower curtains. About 20 minutes in, I got fed up with shrubbery, ugly birds, geometric shapes and on a whim, I image searched “nerdy shower curtains.”

Wow. I now know that Cafe Press will put anything on a shower curtain. Seriously, it was the shopping equivalent of Glee – I kept trying to stop, but with every episode click, they just got weirder and less believable. 3 hours of wtf-ery later, I can now present a collection of 10 shower curtains that someone, somewhere, actually decided were sound business investments. There are so many more candidates, but I had to cut myself off. Plus my movie ended. And I ran out of beer. It was the perfect storm of bed-time, really.

Disclaimer: If you own one of these shower curtains, or want to, then (and I say this as someone who non-ironically owns a set of ninja-turtles-in-Star-Trek-uniforms action figures) we need to have a serious heart-to-heart about your interior decorating strategy.

====================================

(1) Shower curtains with completely random quotes.

In theory, there’s nothing wrong with a quote on a shower curtain. That said, this is something you – and possibly guests – are going to look at multiple times every day. It should probably be generally meaningful or at least iconic, right?

Wrong. For some reason, there is a quote shower curtain for seemingly every single Star Trek character, even if they weren’t in the main cast. This is REALLY good news for the (one) fan who just can’t start the day without Kai Opaka informing them that their pah is strong, but for those of you who are currently wondering who Kai Opaka is, it’s because she only appears in two episodes total.

There were so many good options to choose from in this series, but here is my favorite:

WHAT IS HAPPENING IN THIS BATHROOM THAT MAKES THIS APPLICABLE?!

WHAT IS HAPPENING IN THIS BATHROOM THAT MAKES THIS APPLICABLE?!

The quotes aren’t just confined to Star Trek characters though. No, no. Here is one of the strangest conflations between a character and the actor’s internet persona (from over 20 years later) that I have ever seen:

I guess this is meant to inspire dudes to not pee on the toilet seat?

I guess this is meant to inspire dudes to not pee on the toilet seat?

For some reason, odd quotes were mostly limited to the Star Trek universe. However … there was also the following –

Tony Stark: Encouraging nerds to be 24-7 antisocial workaholics since 1963.

Tony Stark: Encouraging nerds to work 24-7, even in the shower, since 1963.

Allow me a moment to compile a list of the absolute worst places to be when the Iron Man suit flies through the air to attach to your body. Hmm … yep, okay: naked in the shower is definitely at the top.

Finally, there’s this gem. I do have to give credit where credit is due; this is, at least, one of the character’s more notable quotes:

Do I really need to specify why this is hilariously inappropriate in a bathroom setting?

Do I really need to specify why this is hilariously inappropriate in a bathroom setting?

Heheheheh.

(2) Shower curtains that awkwardly feature real people.

There are a lot of superhero shower curtains. Not a shock, eh? I don’t think I would want one, but I can at least understand how someone could think that having Iron Man flying around in their bathroom would be cool.

BECAUSE HE WEARS A MASK.

People. It is one thing to have cartoon characters staring at you while you shower. It is an entirely different thing to have realistic images of real people creepily watching you.

Well, if THIS doesn't convince you that Twilight is an epic romance with absolutely no stalking or unhealthy emotional manipulation, I don't know WHAT will!

Well, if THIS doesn’t convince you that Twilight is an epic romance with absolutely no stalking, I don’t know WHAT will!

Seriously, these things make me uncomfortable. I talk to myself in the shower enough without feeling like some random person I’ve never met is angrily judging me. I HAVEN’T HAD COFFEE YET, OKAY ROBERT?!

It’s no less awkward with any other celebrity, either:

This is the face of a woman who knows you don't floss as often as your dentist told you to.

Scarlet Johansson is watching, and she knows you don’t floss as often as your dentist told you to.

Then there’s this one. Setting aside Chris Hemsworth for a moment, can I question the wisdom of having a guy who calls LIGHTNING anywhere near your shower?

Double points for this one because it also has a quote from Odin. Thor doesn't even get a shower curtain to himself, take THAT, daddy issues!

Double points for this one because it also has a quote from Odin. Thor doesn’t even get a shower curtain to himself, take THAT, daddy issues!

Oh boy, though, the dubious honor for largest number of scary, staring shower curtains goes to Loki, and by extension, Tom Hiddleston.

No. Just ... no. The last thing I need in the morning is more rage. Really, stop looking at me like that. GET OUT OF MY BATHROOM HIDDLESTON!

No. Just … no. The last thing I need in the morning is more rage. Really, stop looking at me like that. GET OUT OF MY BATHROOM HIDDLESTON!

So we’re done now, aren’t we? Oh, I guess there’s also this Sherlock one with Benedict Cumberbatch and Andr–

AHHHHHHHHHHH! WHY ARE THERE RED EYES?! I'm sorry Tom! Bring back your rage, I swear I trust it now!

AHHHHHHHHHHH! WHY IS HIS EYE RED?! I’m sorry Tom! Bring back your rage, I swear I trust it now!

Why? Why would you ever put that in your bathroom? Do you WANT to have a heart attack at 3am when you forget you bought it and catch a glimpse of the scary split-head man with one red eye who is lurking in your shower?!

Those of you who have spent more than two minutes on the internet in the past year won’t be surprised at the interesting ‘trend’ in the creepy real-person shower curtains. With the exception of Scarlet Johansson, they’re all young, attractive, white, male actors with overwhelming fan bases and accents (this last part is the only justification I have for the mysterious exclusion of Chris Evans). This is a similar group to what you find on those epically creepy full body pillows (Although to be 100% honest, some are clever as well as creepy – I am woman enough to admit that the Phil Coulson one made me laugh so hard that I did a bona fide spit take).

Anyway, I digress. The point is, I thought the actors featured on these products formed a pretty clearly defined group, until I stumbled upon:

(3) Shower curtains with Bill Murray.

These shower curtains almost don’t belong on this list because they have transcended some crucial level of strangeness to come all the way back around to incredible.

...

I have nothing to say here. This shower curtain has actually shorted out my ability to be snarky. Why does it exist? Does Bill Murray know? Does he OWN one?

Here’s the best part: THERE’S AN ENTIRE SERIES OF THESE GLORIOUS MASTERPIECES. So far it seems like Society 6 has the … monopoly, I suppose? on this market, but if you find others, please let me know in the comments.

Because I might need to buy one.