If you find yourself tweeting back and forth with William Shatner, you’re probably a geek.
If you even know that GISHWHES is an acronym for an annual event called the Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen – and especially if you’re taking part in it – then you’re not afraid to fly your geek flag.
When you’re turning a pair of crocks into hobbit feet, to mark the Sept. 22 birthday of both Frodo and Bilbo Baggins, you’ve definitely embraced your hairy-footed inner geek.
So it is for two new Maple Ridge entrepreneurs, who celebrate all geeky pastimes.
Sarah Klodt and Emily Tepper have turned it into a business – Geek Crossing. They consider themselves patrons of “the fun arts,” and continue to indulge, even in their 30s, as they each raise their three children.
Tepper is a Trekkie. Not just a fan who owns a T-shirt, but a full-on devotee to the New Generation series who attends the Las Vegas Star Trek convention in full regalia. She went this year in her Wrath of Khan red dress uniform. Some Trekkies are sticklers for screen accuracy, and she admits “that’s the rabbit hole I started to go down.”
Tepper posed for a photo with Whoopi Goldberg, who starred in the series. She also bought 10 Star Trek ties to go with an already impressive collection.
Tepper inherited her love of Star Trek from her father, but her own son has eschewed the series in favour of Star Wars, and broke his mother’s heart.
He tells her Star Trek is for adults because it’s all dialogue, and Star Wars is for kids because it’s all action.
“That kid could be a lawyer,” she says, shaking her head.
One of the tasks in the international scavenger hunt was to mail a postcard to Shatner, the original Captain Kirk.
Emily found him at the Star Trek convention, and hand-delivered the postcard, taking a photo for proof.
Shatner saw the Geek Crossing name and gave them a shout out, asking how they could do the convention and GISHWHES at the same time.
“I wrote back and said ‘good teamwork,’” said Klodt, who was back home in Pitt Meadows, and had a brief exchange with the Canadian geek icon.
Geek Crossing sponsored a 15-member team for GISHWHES.
“The tasks are a lot of crazy and a lot of fun,” said Klodt.
They made a dress out of corn husks.
They did a 30-legged race, using 29 people over a less-than-graceful 40-yard dash.
They dressed in white and played badminton in the Haney Place Mall food court.
“We were asked to kindly leave,” she laughed.
But they had photo evidence, so it counted as one of the 170 tasks completed.
“Nobody has ever completed the entire task list. Everyone had a great time, and gave a lot of heart to it.”
Klodt is not a Trekkie. She prefers Star Wars, and her real passion is the work of J.K. Rowling.
She has Harry Potter tattoos. Not characters or big scenes, but the modes of transportation from the famous series – the flying car, the Knight bus, and three different magical creatures.
“To be geeky about something is to be passionate about it – totally unabashedly into it,” she asserts. “You can geek out over your favourite sports team.”
They say they’re in good company, and point out that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dressed as Han Solo at Halloween. And not any Han Solo, but the Planet Hoth Solo, in winter garb. He also offered a social media Vulcan salute when Leonard Nimoy passed away.
“The prime minister is a huge geek,” said Tepper.
There’s a Star Trek blanket on the couch at Geek Crossing, a Power Ranger on a shelf, an Ewok stands guard with a spear near the front door, and on the wall is painted GIY – their own geeky spin on the “do it yourself” acronym.
Tepper said people have suggested she “tone it down, and temper my geekiness.”
But that’s not the way they’re going.
They are running special classes to celebrate the shared birthday of Frodo and Bilbo Baggins.
“How do we know when their birthday is? Because we’re geeks,” Klodt answers. “Celebrating fun, geeky holidays is something I really love.”
Geek Crossing offers classes in arts and crafts, so during the week of Sept. 18-23 their Shire classes will feature mini shire house and scene table gardens, painted welcome mats, door hangers reading “Speak friend and enter,” and how to make your own hairy feet.
Half of the store sells arts and crafts by local artisans, including jewelry, purses and magnets, but everything fits into a “geeky niche.”
Klodt said they considered running the storefront as a non-profit first, but chose to make it a business when it opened two months ago. Still, they want Geek Crossing to be a community craft centre.