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Well, again, I've completely mixed things up. I'm too lazy to start over so I'll just keep correcting myself after the fact.
Saturday night, after the dinner at CityWalk and a little con suite fun, we all headed up to check out the Rooftop Garden Ballroom. This is the room where the "Better than Barney" story actually took place all those years ago. But I'd never been up there at night before. It was gorgeous. I pointed out all sorts of random stuff. Where 3x3 Eyes was recorded. Where Disney TV Animation used to be housed. Where we used to sneak into the Texaco Commissary. Where Gargoyles was On-Lined. Etc. Then we just hung out for awhile. Talking quietly. It was calm and nice. This kind of stuff is actually my favorite part of the con.
SUNDAY, JUNE 24, 2001
Kathy knocked on my door to see if I was coming to breakfast. I said no, though I managed to get down there for the tail end and grab a glass of juice.
Then it was time for my mug-a-guest. Got some interesting questions. Hope I gave interesting answers.
It ended in time for me to participate in the tail end of the Design and Direction panel with Bob Kline, Doug Murphy, Frank Paur, Dennis Woodyard and Bob Schaefer. Frank (or someone) had brought a ton of development and pre-production and production art and spread it out on the long table. My sister Robyn arrived. And then my folks. And then my wife and kids. It was kinda cool.
That panel segued right into the massive Series Production panel. All of the above were there, plus Bob Birchard, Denise Byrne, Craig Kemplin, Brynne Chandler, Ray Leonard, Marc Perlman, Laurel Whitcomb, Paca Thomas, Jamie Thomason, Mark Von der Heide and Thom Adcox (and again I apologize if here or anywhere I've left someone out). It was great to see such a big turn out both on the panel and in the audience. Jay Fukuto, one of my old bosses on Gargoyles and currently Vice President of Creative Affairs at Disney TV Animation, came in just a bit late. I think Jay was really impressed with the con. He's currently talking to people around the company about exploiting the property a bit. Specifically, he's asking about DVD production, so the Convention's Job One was a success.
My family took off. And the actors began to arrive. Thom Adcox and Crispin Freeman, of course. But we also had Jeff Bennett, Neil Dickson, Elisa Gabrielli, Gregg Rainwater, Cree Summer and Keith David. Cree came despite the fact that she had a sinus infection. Keith brought his son Owen, who was also feeling under the weather. It was really gratifying that they all came.
The Q&A was terrific. I tried to moderate and otherwise keep my mouth shut as much as possible so that you guys could here them talk. Then there was the cast autograph session... the line was literally out the door. Way out the door. Cree was feeling awful and had to take off. And Keith too eventually. I'm sorry if anyone missed them, but it was great that they came at all.
The auction started, while the crew guests signed stuff. I think I signed fewer autographs this year than at any previous con. Finally, you guys are getting your fill of me.
My shrinky-dink Brooklyn necklace sold to Aaron for $65. Beth and I were arguing what it would go for. I guessed twenty. She guessed forty. Greg Bishansky bought the signed copy of "The Journey." Though I'm not sure what he paid. I don't know what the Roswell script went for or who it went to. But I gather the auction was a success. Major kudos to Kathy, Patrick, Myhrr and Draconis.
We had some time off before the Banquet up in the Rooftop Garden. Beth came back to join me for dinner. We wound up sitting with Todd Jensen, Tigris, Kelly and her fiance, and a couple more people that I'm blanking on, unfortunately (sorry). Beth did most of the talking. It may come as a surprise, since I seem to be such a big mouth, but in our house, Beth is the talker.
After dinner came the Masquerade. We had about a million judges, which was unwieldy but fun. There were, as usual, some great costumes and some fun Cosplay. Slash came out and played his guitar. It was fun, but at the end of the night it started to go on a touch too long. People wanted to get to the awards and Dreamie and Demona May came out to hook him. We gave a joke award to the ladies for that, and I'm afraid that Slash might have misinterpreted that. Slash, it was great of you to get up there. Sorry if there were any hurt feelings.
As usual, we gave out the Gorebash Memorial Award. Of course, Gorebash isn't actually dead. He's just been seemingly M.I.A. for a bit. He's firmly back now. Just check out his comment room. Anyway, that award went to Mara and Aaron for their cross-dressing Xanatoses. Thom got to drop his pants. Thom and Crisping made out repeatedly. Myhr was his usual amazing self. It was a blast.
The hotel shut down the DJ a touch early. But frankly that worked for me fine. Again, I got to spend time in the dark and quiet rooftop garden with a bunch of you guys. Including people who have become good friends. Jennifer, Steph, Seth, Patrick, Kathy, etc. I'd have probably stayed there all night, but I started on a coughing jag -- left over from my pneumonia, and I just couldn't stop it. So I called it a night, went downstairs and took some cough medicine.
One day left...
First, standard disclaimer. I apologize in advance if I leave people out. Sorry.
Second, an invitation. I'd love to hear others' responses to the Gathering. Feel free to post them here.
Third, a correction. I got confused writing Part Two of my Gathering Diary. That dinner I described at the Japanese Restaurant at CityWalk actually took place on Saturday, June 23rd. Here's what we did Friday night...
After opening ceremonies, we had a staff meeting over dinner at the restaurant in the Hotel. Jordan, Carol, Patrick, Jennifer, Kathy, Cindy, Kenna, Meredith and Thom Adcox and myself. (Am I leaving anyone out?)
When that dinner was over, I strolled over to the next table where Frank Paur, Dennis Woodyard, Bob Birchard and Loren McLaughlin were eating. Joined them and we talked and bitched and told stories for a while longer.
Then I wandered back to our main rooms, where the MST session was in progress. I stayed for all of "The Gathering, Part One". It was fun, but so many people were talking, it was a little hard to hear each individual joke. I left after that. Later, I was told that people were afraid I was offended. I absolutely WAS NOT. Just tired.
SATURDAY, JUNE 23, 2001
I got up in time for the Staff Breakfast in Performers. A nice calm before the storm. After, I took a quick peak into the art room again. Then my brother showed up. He and I went upstairs to get the stuff I needed for my various panels.
Then I had my first Q&A. Series Develoment. I was on a panel with:
Greg Guler - Development Artist and Character Designer
Bob Kline - Development Art Director and Producer/Director
Dave Schwartz - Development Art Director
Tad Stones - Producer of multiple other animated tv series.
Tad was the star of this panel. He told the story of how he basically gave me the idea of Goliath, but his story took him off on a bunch of fascinating tangents. He also talked quite a bit about Team Atlantis. This sort of surprised me. I had been under the impression that he wanted to keep mum on that subject. But it was nice of him to reveal what he did.
After that, I had a Voice Acting Technique Seminar. Originally, I had been scheduled to be in the "Writing for TV Animation Seminar" that was going on at the same time. But I switched over for a couple reasons.
1. I did that seminar last year in Florida. Don't have much new to say.
2. I've been doing much more voice directing these days then writing. It seemed more honest in a way.
So the voice seminar was a blast. Morgan Sheppard was on the panel. And Crispin Freeman and Jonathan Klein and Taliesin Jaffe. They had all just finished a Voice Acting Technique Q&A minutes before, so we made ours into more of a workshop.
I had brought some sides. Morgan read Petros Xanatos with a couple of different attendees trying their mouths as David Xanatos. Then Crispin took on the roll of Griff with two casts of Leos, Unas and Goliaths.
We auditioned people for various rolls from Gargoyles, just to give them an understanding of the audition process.
Then Crispin set up his computer and monitor so that people could try their hands at dubbing some anime. By this time, my wife Beth and our kids Erin and Ben had arrived. (Their first day at the con.) Erin wanted to try her hand at ADRing. She did pretty good, but I think she realized that it's harder than it looks.
Taliesin then set up his own little anime dubbing exercise. It was all fun and I gave away the sides at the end.
From there, I headed over to the "Writing for Gargoyles" Q&A. This panel consisted of myself and...
Brynne Chandler - Writer/Story Editor
Gary Sperling - Writer/Story Editor
Lydia Marano - Writer
Tuppence Macintyre - Researcher (and a Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney)
Monique Beatty - Currently a producer in her own right, but on Gargoyles she was my assistant.
This was another fun panel with a lot of good questions asked and some fun stories. Todd Jensen, I believe, was in the audience, though I didn't yet know who he was. He and I had a little bit of time to talk later, though less than I would have liked. (I was too crazed, and I think he was too respectful to be pushy.)
My various family members took off, as I headed into the Radio Play rehearsal. (I listed the cast in the last part. I won't repeat it here.) The rehearsal went fast and easy, and because this year's radio play was shorter than previous, we had time to run things twice. And we still finished with time to spare.
Again, I ran around a bit. Checking out the dealer's room and art show. Then I joined Jordan Mann and Morgan Sheppard for an extremely late lunch. Morgan told us some great stories. It was fun. (Everything was fun.)
We gathered in the main room to set up for the Radio Play. Minor crisis involved the little stage the hotel had put up for us. Not big enough for everyone. But too big to move. I had to quickly rethink where everyone sat. (This is only a problem because I'm so anal.) Anyway, there were a few nervous moments as neither Nicole or Rebecca had gotten the message to show up early. I thought for a second we'd be subbing in two more of our understudies. But they both showed just before the show.
We put the cast in our "Green Room". Actually out a door that led outside. Brought in the fans. I intro'd the cast one by one, ending with our ringers, ending with Thom who was playing Lexington of course.
We then performed the thing. It has some sequences you never saw on tv, including a nice little chase through the Paris catacombs and a sweet scene between Jason and Elisa at the ruined clock tower. But I think the single line that got the best response was Charles Canmore saying, "We can no more stop hunting the Demons than breathing the air." Or something like this.
This year, I had/took the time to cut the narration way down before hand. WAY DOWN. But during the performance, I kept noticing other things I should have cut. Hopefully next year I'll do better.
Still, people seemed to enjoy it. And I had a blast. Jen was a very fun Demona. Zehra's Elisa was terrific. The audience went nuts for Brooklyn and Bronx and all the minor rolls. And especially for Thom as Lex and Crispin as a very Faggerbakke-esque Broadway.
When that was over, we went to dinner up at CityWalk. But I accidentally wrote about that in the last entry, so that's it for now.
Stay tuned for PART FOUR: Sunday.
Friday, June 22nd, 2001
[Assume the usual caveats. I'm bound to forget someone or many. I apologize in advance. Also, I'd love to see other peoples Gathering diaries. Feel free to post them here.]
Well, I got up Friday morning at home. Packed a small duffle and my box of Gathering crap and headed to Universal City.
I checked in, but my room wasn't ready. An obvious question is why was I staying at the hotel when I live about twenty minutes away.
The answer begins with the Gathering Staff's generosity. But I hope they got their money's worth. By staying at the hotel, it allowed me to be at the con both earlier in the morning and later (much, much later) at night. My kids missed me. But my family's very understanding, thankfully.
Anyway, after checking in, I dropped my Gathering box off at the con suite and then went back downstairs to look around and see if I could help in any way. All day Friday and Saturday I wore the Shrinky-Dink Brooklyn necklace that I made with my kids. It seemed like wearing it around the con might just up its price at the auction. You'll have to ask Aaron if that ploy worked.
I gave Cindy and Jules the two pieces of artwork that my daughter Erin drew. One was "Gargoyle Babe", which she did herself. The other was "Daddy and Daughter's Night Out". A picture of Goliath and Angela disco dancing which she and I drew together. Erin eventually decided to put both pictures up for sale for charity. I think Dreamie bought "Babe". And Jules bought "Night Out". In turn, Erin wound up buying a piece from Dreamie and a bunch of stuff from David Wong. My son Ben bought a piece from Kelly and a Goliath yoyo. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
I gave Kenna some Roughneck video tapes that Sony had donated. Over the last couple months, I had already loaned Jen all my Gargoyles episode tapes for her to copy. (She still has all of season two and "The Journey".) So we had plenty to keep the video room busy.
I put some things in for the auction. Some more Sony donations. A signed copy of my original script for "The Journey". And a signed copy of my original pilot script for "Roswell Conspiracies". (You know, the one we did as a Radio Play in Dallas.)
And speaking of Radio Plays, it was time for auditions. I met up with Thom Adcox and Jordan Mann and we began the process. As usual it was a lot of fun. Because I knew we were going to be doing "Hunter's Moon, Part Three", but the auditioners didn't, I got to here a lot of Scottish accents, and I got to ask everyone to bark like a dog (for Bronx).
We got a fairly good turnout. Better than last year in Orlando, when we had to beg people to participate. Still not as good as in Dallas or New York, when we were so overwhelmed by the numbers of those auditioning that the whole rest of the day ran late. It helped, I think to hold auditions Friday when the show was Saturday.
We powered through the auditions, taking a few breaks. Seth, who's easily distracted, was in line to audition. Took off while we were on break, and came back too late to audition. He tried to wheedle his way into the show later. And it was tempting, since he's been a member in good standing of the Gathering Players (he was our male lead in New York and Orlando). But the show was cast. Too late, Seth. Sorry. ;P
Most everyone who auditioned was pretty good. Casting was difficult, because we hated to leave anyone out. But I think we came up with a good mix of the old guard, new blood and RINGERS.
We had Lanny back. As usual, in the auditions, I offer people a choice of reading whichever original Gargoyle "side" they feel like reading. Lanny chose Goliath, and I told him I was hoping he'd pick that. He didn't know what I meant until that night when he found out he'd actually be playing Goliath. And we had Jen and Jordan and Alex and Sara and Heather back in the show again. It's great to have some continuity.
Plus we had Thom playing Lex of course. With Morgan Sheppard (the voice of Petros Xanatos) playing Hudson and Crispin Freeman doing his dead-on Broadway imitation. (It SO cracked us up in our auditions, Jordan, Thom and I KNEW we had to cast him as Broadway.) Elisa Gabrielli was supposed to play Maria Chavez (as she had in "Revelations"). But there was a miscommunication and she didn't make it Saturday. (Fortunately, she came Sunday, which is when we really needed her.) The good news is we had three understudies this year. Last year, we lost a cast member at the last minute. Jesse was forced to play two rolls. This year we were ready, and Jennifer Mallon jumped in to take Elisa's place.
And we had some great new finds. Zehra just blew us away with her Elisa audition. She was great. And Nicole was a fine Scottish Canmore. Actually, everyone did great.
Here's the full cast:
ELISA MAZA... Zehra Q. Fazal
GOLIATH... Lanny Fields
LEXINGTON... Thom Adcox
BROADWAY... Crispin Freeman
BROOKLYN... Sara Hutchinson
ANGELA... Batya Wittenberg
HUDSON... W. Morgan Sheppard
BRONX... Rebecca Gold
JASON CANMORE... Jordan Mann
JON CANMORE... T.J. Ferraro
ROBYN CANMORE... Nicole Dubuc
CHARLES CANMORE... Chris Rogers
DEMONA... Jennifer Anderson
DAVID XANATOS... Johnney Muije
FOX... Kelly Creighton
OWEN BURNETT... Kevin de Caccia
MATT BLUESTONE... Joshua Poole
MARIA CHAVEZ... Jennifer Mallon
MORGAN... Loren G. McLaughlin
PILOT... Alisa Christopher
MARGOT YALE... Heather E. Rice
BRENDAN... Rahsaan Footman
VINNIE... Alex Wittenberg
TRAVIS MARSHALL... Kristen de Caccia
UNDERSTUDIES... Sean Camanyag and Gabriel Guerrero
I'd like to give a special thank you to both Thom and Jordan for being my partners in crime on the auditions.
Anyway, casting done, we got back downstairs just as various guests began to arrive. I saw Michael Reaves for about a second before he took off. But I got to spend a bit of time with Dennis Woodyard, Bob Birchard, Frank Paur, Tuppence Macintyre, Brynne Chandler, etc.
I'd like to extend another special thank you, this time to Carol Wagner, who did such an amazing job at guest wrangling both in the weeks before the con and during. Also to Patrick for making registration for the guests such a smooth and generally painless process.
I checked into my room. Just down the hall from the Con Suite and the staff room. I saw a bunch of familiar faces. Leva. Greg Bishansky. Aaron and Mara. Hudson. Kythera (who also helped out at Auditions with Johnney). Saw Vash in here somewhere. Demona May. Noel. Ah, I know I'm forgetting people. Sorry. Or mentioning them on the wrong day. I ran into Ashley at one point. It was great to see her again.
Bill Faggerbakke arrived, and folks almost literally lined up around the block for his autograph. It delayed opening ceremonies a bit. But not too badly -- not relative to the Gathering's track record, anyway. Jamie Murray got things rolling, introducing the staff, etc. I won't repeat the con virgin joke. Other people have mentioned it, and the truth is I didn't hear it at the time. I was antsy. Getting up and sitting down and getting up again.
As you all may have gathered, I rather like speaking in public. (I'm lousy at small talk and shy in social situations with people I don't know VERY well, but I'm a decent public speaker. Go figure.) But I generally get pretty wired just before I'm about to go "on".
Anyway, Jamie intro'd me. I intro'd our guests. Ending with Thom. (I just want to say that Thom and I always got along well during production of the show. But it's during the last few years since he came to the Dallas Gathering that he and I have really become close friends. He's such a great guy. I'm not sure how we made it through the first two NYC Gatherings without him.) Thom intro'd Lexy and gave her her FAN GUEST OF HONOR AWARD. This was a complete surprise to her. Something the staff agreed on secretly to thank Lexy for her amazing recruitment work. She seemed genuinely touched. It was pretty cool.
Then I began my schpiel. Considering you have heard and I have told ALL these stories about a THOUSAND times, I thought that this time I was amazingly scatter-brained. You'd think I'd have them down to memory. But I kept forgetting things. Remembering them later. Telling things out of order, etc. I belatedly remembered that I had a letter from Ed Asner to read to all attending, and then couldn't find the letter. It must have taken me forever to realize I was holding the letter in my hand. I had folded it up and had written a note to myself on it. D'Oh.
Anyway, it was fun to tell the "Better than Barney" story in the Hotel where it originally took place, with Bill F. there. I'm not sure whether he remembers saying that. Perhaps I made the whole thing up. (And my garage band will be playing at the Whiskey this week-end.)
I showed the pitch, the promo. The New Olympian and Dark Ages development. The Bad Guys reel. It was terrific to have that video projector. Finally people could get a decent look at what I was showing them.
I rambled forever. Then finally relinquished the floor.
Afterwards, a bunch of us went up to CityWalk for Sushi and a staff dinner. Crzy's husband Alan Anderson was there (with Kathy Pogge as his date). My date was Jen. *Yes we're a strange bunch, and I'm happy to include myself in that assessment.*
Meredith was there. Patrick. Crispin and Izobel. Cindy? Kenna? The Morgans? Carol? I can't remember, I'm sorry. Dinner was the typical "Hey, it's CityWalk, expect to wait forever!" marathon. But the food was good. And so was the company.
We headed back to the con suite, where Aimee and Steph (Hi, Pickles!) began decorating me with post-it notes depicting various characters from the show. I've kept them all. Except for that nasty one of me. [Wait, did this happen Friday night or Saturday? My memory is just a blur.]
I called it a night relatively early (for me). I was still a bit nervous about a pneumonia relapse. Walked down the hall to my hotel room. Watched some TV and then crashed.
Stay tuned for Part Three...
Hello Mr. Weisman.
I don't come here often, but occasionally I'm struck by the urge to quiz you on something. I was browsing the questions you're fielding, and I was struck again by something I notice every time I visit this page. There seems to be some preoccupation here with "the mind of the other." I noticed another poster make reference to your interest in it (although I cannot find any record of your having initiated the discussion).
While the series was still active I saw you invoke this theme frequently whenever you emphasized the cultural shock that the gargoyles experienced in modern America, and I appreciated the fact that you treated our linguistic tendencies to "name everything" as a curious human social construction. It helped to push the idea that these creatures were _not_ human and that we could not understand their natures or their motivations from within the context of human sensibilities. I see there is some similar talk here of the fay, and the notion that their essential nature might be something that is sufficiently far removed from humans so as to be outside our understanding. All of this puts me in mind of the anthropomorphic problem that the SETI administration outlined for dealing with the idea of extraterrestrial intelligence's. Human beings have a tendency to ascribe human values to non human species, and beyond that have considerable difficulty in contextualizing "the mind of the other" without unconsciously resorting to the context of human sensibilities.
Which brings me to the reason for this post; because being a student of the sciences (and probably less attached to my humanity than most people), I have found reason to be extremely critical of some of the aspects of the way the anthropomorphic problem is treated within the natural sciences as it applies to non-human animals. Generally speaking, my problem is that some of the more archaic ethical distinctions that are made between humans and other animals have their foundation in the premise that the ascription of certain mental capacities ( reflection, emotion, etc.) are the ascription of _uniquely human_ qualities. The fact that this premise, itself, is socially constructed rather than informed by data, seems to be lost on at least most _social_ scientists. What is troubling me is that I have begun to observe this kind of thinking migrate into the popular domain through science fiction. I don't really follow sci fi, but I've seen star trek, and I have had occasion to see the half-dozen or so other popular sci fi programs that one can find on television. I see a trend wherein the heroes casual disintegration of a planet is commonly justified with the hazily defined and indistinct ethics of "It did not harbor any sentient life."
This trend is scaring the hell out of me; because the expression "sentient" is not really used within the scientific community, so it does not have any agreed upon definition attached to it and there is no objective data informing the idea of it. The word seems to have infiltrated popular culture, however, where it finds frequent expression. That's what's bothering me. I see a lot of the same hazy ethical reasoning on this board. A number of messages expressing the confusion that humans in your story were subject to when they "mistook the gargoyles for animals rather than sentient beings" and in doing so, justified a campaign to exterminate them.
I would hope that a reasonable group of people would be given pause by the almost casual disregard for life that is being demonstrated with the prioritization of one life over another based upon the presence or non-presence of this seemingly magical endowment. Because if I am reading the intentions of the contributors to this board accurately, then it would appear their position is that if the occupants of that clock tower had been a group of stray dogs or a family of polar bears, then annihilating them with a wire guided missile would have been perfectly reasonable. "It's all right. It didn't harbor any sentient life." I would encourage the fans that come to this site to give some thought to what it is they mean by "sentience." What is the content of this sentience? If it entails that a creature can react to it's environment, anticipate, reflect and emote, then it should be pointed out that what available data exists indicates that this capacity is only about as exclusive a domain as most land based vertebrates.
I guess they shouldn't have disintegrated that planet after all. I hope to encourage others to give this issue the thought that it requires. I am also hoping to elicit some commentary from you, on the matter of how you perceive "the mind of the other." What mental distinctions do you draw between humans and gargates or faeries. I would be interested in hearing you address the notion.
Thank you for writing. It certainly gets me thinking.
I'm probably as guilty as anyone of overusing, or rather overbilling the issue of "sentience". I think the concept has its uses. But it's probably used as a crutch too often.
Certainly, I don't want to see a family of polar bears, anthropomorphic or otherwise, blown up by a guided missile.
I don't much like the idea of destroying planets. In science fiction or otherwise.
As to this "mind of the other" concept...
Well for starters, I don't believe I did initiate the discussion of it -- unless you're including my constant admonishments to posters here that they are thinking like a human.
The previous post by Demoness and my response are a perfect example. She thinks Oberon is out of line. But she's thinking like a human, and a biased one at that. (I don't mean to pick on you, Demoness.) Oberon has a valid point of view. We may not like it, but it seems justifiable to me.
But the question of the mind of the other, was posted here initially by someone else. ( I can't remember who it was at this moment. ) I only just answered it in the last few days. Since you posted YOUR question, hopefully you've seen my response to that one.
And to reiterate, my response was that I'm still (in our universe) interested in the mind of US. Not the OTHER. But one way to explore that is to put ourselves in the shoes of the OTHER. Finding and describing and bringing the OTHER to life, whether as a Gargoyle or as a Child of Oberon, is for me an exercise in EXTRAPOLATION.
For example: If I was me, BUT I turned to stone every day AND I aged at half the rate I currently do PLUS most of my species had been exterminated 1000 years ago, ETC. -- then WHAT WOULD I BE LIKE?
For me, it's less about investing in species then in individual characters. Each with his or her own UNIQUE LIST of "extrapalatory parameters" (I just made that phrase up.)
It's really no different with a character like Elisa. After all, I'm a white Jewish male from California who has spent his entire adult life working in fiction. Elisa is an African-American/Native-American female from New York who's spent her adult life fighting crime. To understand her, I need to extrapolate.
However, in order to understand individuals of another species, I need to know more about that species. I need to envision the parameters that I will use to fully create their characters. So I've done that. In many ways, to me, gargoyle culture represent a kind of ideal. Not perfection, which doesn't personally interest me. But an ideal. Purpose. Loyalty. Oneness with the world they live in. Etc. I've borrowed things that I admired from multiple cultures and from my imagination, and I've tried to weave it into a coherent whole that fits the biology that I assigned them. These biological limits also create parameters for extrapolating character. Yes, the turning to stone thing. But also the group egg laying on a twenty year cycle. This naturally leads into the group child rearing thing. One is biological. One is cultural. But they are linked by extrapolation.
[Or... and I know this sounds silly but... perhaps they are linked by truth. By the fact that they exist in the Gargoyle Universe. As I've said many times before, sometimes this show flowed so well and easily, that it just seemed like I was tapping into something that existed. (But that's got nothing to do with this discussion, so let's ignore it.)]
And yet, from my point of view, all this is used to further illustrate the human condition. I don't think Oberon does or should think like us. But don't we all know a couple people with a little Oberon in them.
Keith David has said, as recently as seven days ago, that when he grows up he hopes to be like Goliath. And I personally think, that flawed as he is, Goliath is a wonderful role model. So we, as humans, can learn from Gargoyles. And we, as humans, can learn from Margot Yale as well. Maybe as a negative example. Maybe as something more down the road.
Ending Hunter's Moon with Jon Canmore becoming the human equivalent of Demona, was not an accident. They arrived at that point in two very different ways -- each, I hope, well informed by his or her species. (Or well extrapolated.) Nevertheless, the similarities between them are obvious and represent a "lesson" for us all.
All that stuff interests me MUCH, MUCH more than the exercise of creating something fully OTHER, just for the sake of achieving that.
Someday that may not be true. Aliens could land in Washington D.C. tomorrow and then comprehending the OTHER for the sake of understanding the OTHER will become a BIG priority fast. But for the time being, the human race is effectively alone in the universe. And before the aliens land, I'd like us all to get to know ourselves MUCH, MUCH better. In that sense, an Oberon, a Goliath, a Nokkar, are all just tools to that end.
The concept of sentience, comes in again, as I said, as a crutch. A convenient distinction between Bronx and Goliath, for example. Let's say you're from Russia. You don't speak English, and Goliath doesn't speak Russian. Still you have a hope that one or both of you may learn to speak the other's language. Dialogue is possible.
Bronx isn't ever going to speak Russian or English. That's the distinction. For what it's worth. In a moral sense, I'd say it's not worth MUCH at all. In a PRAGMATIC sense, we're not being honest if we don't admit it MEANS a lot.
Now. I don't think sentience is a WALL. Koko the gorilla can communicate in sign language. And I've got to say, I'm not sure that whales and dolphins aren't squealing complex philosophical discussions every day of the week. (Which is confusing because Dolphins have an eight day week, and whales have a thirty-seven day week. But what are you going to do?)
But even including a Bronx or a Cagney has value in the show. How do we respond to them. How do they respond to us? It's fun to do "The Hound of Ulster" and try to understand how an "animal" responds to various stimuli. It's still extrapolation. Now, with Bronx, I can cheat. I can keep him a beast and anthropomorphize him to my heart's content, because that species doesn't truly exist. I can make him as intelligent as I want. My goal there is to simply be consistent. Bronx can't start responding like Scooby Doo one day. You get the idea.
It's still about us understanding us and our place in the world. If in my own small way, I'm helping to open minds, helping to pave a bit of a way for when the aliens DO LAND, then great. But first and foremost, I'm asking us to KNOW OURSELVES.
Anyway, I feel like I'm starting to get repetitive. But this whole thread intrigues me. Feel free to post again with a follow-up. And everyone's welcome to join in.
Another try at sending this out-
I just typed up a particularly long question that didn't post and got lost, and I was foolish not to copy it somewhere before hitting submit. I apologize if it turns up later and this becomes a double post, and also if I can't get rid of the autoformating in Word and it looks a little screwy. After losing that long a question I am not taking a chance working directly into the web page.
It has been a long time since I posted a question... of course it has been a long time since I have been caught up with your answers. After reading all of the new responses, particularly those dealing with Oberon and Titania, a question has come to mind. [Actually two, but how many new ways can you ask, "What did Titania whisper to Fox?"? That question should almost have its own section.] The short form of the question is this: Just how different are Oberon's hildren from humans? I am not referring to physical or magical characteristics, but rather do they think in a quantifiably different way than do humans?
The long version of the questions comes after the long digression:
A while back a friend practically shoved an anthology into my hands and insisted I read a particular article. I believe it was called, "Hamlet in the Bush". The gist of it was that a young anthropologist found herself with an indigenous culture for a long boring stretch. [She had thought the off season would be a wonderful time to get to observe their culture. Had she asked them they would have told her the off season is the off season because the weather is so miserable that they cannot even visit the next village. They spend the time drink the local equivalent to bear waiting for it to pass.]
Before leaving she had had an argument with a friend. She argued that at base all humans are the same and once you do some explaining to take care of cultural differences, a great work of literature would be recognized as such by all people. The example that was bandied about was Hamlet, so he gave her a copy as a going away present.
With nothing else to do she sat in her tent and read it over and over until the locals asked her what on Earth she was doing. They were a non-literate culture and to them reading papers meant reading boring legal documents. Even a white person could not be so daft as to spend weeks doing so. She seized upon it an opportunity to test her theory and they, being a story telling culture, were happy to oblige.
She immediately ran into two problems:
-1-They didn't have a concept of "ghost". Zombie, yes. Evil spirit in false guise, yes. But the idea of a dead person's spirit hanging around this world was simply ludicrous to them.
-2-They thought Claudius was a great guy. He acted as an exemplary uncle and brother-in-law, although he waited a bit long in taking care of his brother's household. [Three whole months! And with only one wife to tend the fields!]
In the end they loved the story (with their corrections) and thought she was on her way being a great storyteller, (being female aside). They also told her to be sure to tell her elders that they had been good hosts and had corrected her misremembering lest she continue in error.
I think her premise held, but she hadn't realized how far cultural difference went. The more complex the story, the more it was tied to its own cultural assumptions and the harder it is to explain to another culture.
Back to Gargoyles-
In Gargoyles the basic emotions seem pretty much universal. Gargoyles, humans, New Olympians, and even Nokar and Matrix as far as we have seen them, display them. Love, hate, curiosity and fear, as well as slightly more complex emotions of protection and loneliness are clearly expressed and are more easily understood than some lost cultures of our own ancestors. Are Oberon's Children fundamentally different, or if we can imagine long enough the effects of great power and incredibly long lives we can empathize without too much brain-sprain?
There are great works of speculative fiction that try to understand the mind of The Other. Zelazny had a whole series of stories of robots worshiping and trying to understand the long last human race. I recently read a great book called "Exogesis" (a post-modern Prometheius) by Astro Teller dealing with how a newly emerged AI might think and how humanity might respond. If I would list every book I could think of on the topic I will never stop typing and will eventually have feel the urge to start listing plays and movies as well, (and probably have to deal with Frankenstein, and I am not fond of the book. It is hard to like a book when you hate the main character. Perhaps the movies were right to make the monster the lead character. :).
It all boils down to this: Are the Children of Oberon "the Other", or something very much like ourselves?
Boy this is long! sorry.
Don't apologize. It's fascinating.
Boiling it down...
Are Oberon's Children fundamentally different, or if we can imagine long enough the effects of great power and incredibly long lives we can empathize without too much brain-sprain?
I'd have to say the latter. Great power. Little or no responsibility. Long lives. Being able to look however you feel at a given moment. You add these things up and they may seem other for awhile. But fundamentally, it's about extrapolation on our human emotions.
Because fundamentally, as a writer, what else can I do? Maybe someone else has the talent, ability, INTEREST in truly creating the OTHER. But not me. I'm interested in US. Gargoyles, humans, Oberon's Children. Toss in the New Olympians, Nokkar, the Space-Spawn, the Lost Race, etc. I'm fundamentally interested in figuring out what makes us real world humans tick. Or boil it down further, and I'm fundamentally interested in figuring out what the hell makes ME tick. All the characters in the Gargverse are just there as an alternative to me being in therapy, I guess.
Does that make sense?
[Disclaimer: It is the nature of these things to forget more than one remembers. The feelings remain. The details are fuzzy. I apologize in advance if I get something wrong or leave something out.]
Thursday, June 21st, 2001
Yeah, I know, the Gathering 2001 didn't start until Friday, but for me it started last August in Orlando. I'd been working pretty closely with this year's staff to help them gather special guests. At G2000, I rashly promised over twenty guests would attend. By June 14th, 2001 we had over 50. And then I got pneumonia and it looked like I'd be the one guest who wasn't going to make it.
Fortunately, my doctor got me on antibiotics immediately. Within 48 hours I was feeling about 90% better. I was even able to go to a Team Atlantis recording session on Wednesday the 20th. Good thing to, because that was the day I secured Cree "Hyena/Kida" Summer to attend our little party.
Anyway, by Thursday the 21st, I was feeling world's better, and I attended the pre-con dinner at Camacho's at CityWalk. Carol Wagner, a former student of mine and our phenomenal guest liaison (who absolutely picked up tons of last minute slack in handling detail work on most of the guests), was the first to join me at the restaurant. But soon, Jennifer Anderson arrived with most of the gang, including Patrick, Kathy, Meredith, Kenna, (Cindy were you there?) and the Morgans. Tim had to take off with Becca, but Christine stuck around. Jen introduced me to Crispin Freeman and his girlfriend, the lovely and talented Izobel. Dinner was fine -- though the service was SLOW!
Then we hiked down to the hotel to get a tour of where everything was going to be. Thursday night it all seemed TOO spread out to me. But by Friday, I realized it was all close enough together. We elevated up to the con suite and sat around a bit. But I didn't want to stay up to late Thursday, so I took off at a semi-reasonable hour. Carol and I hiked back up to CityWalk. I drove home. Very excited. Like a kid, it was hard to sleep.
FINALLY! It's over!
Matt got the last correct answer (though it was the only answer he got), and we're all very grateful. He gets a prize.
The other prize goes to the individual who got the most answers correct first. Here are the results...
TIED FOR EIGHTEENTH PLACE:
Dracolich - 1
Faieq - 1
Fireball - 1
Matt - 1
Melissa - 1
The Guppi - 1
The Mighty Thor - 1
Vashkoda - 1
TIED FOR FIFTEENTH PLACE:
CZ - 2
Graymonk - 2
Slow - 2
IN FOURTEENTH PLACE: Bud-Clare - 4
IN THIRTEENTH PLACE: Coyote the Bando - 5
IN TWELFTH PLACE: Shari B. - 6
IN ELEVENTH PLACE: Leva - 7
IN TENTH PLACE: Todd Jensen - 8
TIED FOR EIGHT PLACE:
Aris Katsaris - 12
Demonskyre - 12
IN SEVENTH PLACE: Kalafarski - 31
IN SIXTH PLACE: DragonWolf - 32
IN FIFTH PLACE: Ray Kremer - 33
IN FOURTH PLACE: Galvatron - 35
IN THIRD PLACE: Kelly L. Creighton/Kya White Sapphire - 42
In SECOND PLACE: Adam - 101
AND IN FIRST PLACE: Phil - 183
Phil got nearly 35% of the answers single-handedly.
So the winners are matt and Phil. But I'd like to thank everyone who participated.
As for the prizes, I'm first wondering if either matt or Phil are coming to the Gathering, so that I can hand-deliver their prizes. If not, I'll mail them out after the Gathering. (Too swamped to deal with it now.)
AND NOW THE COMPLETED BLANK-FILLED CONTEST:
(Fill-in-the-Blank Contest / 9-21-00)
One thousand years ago…
Superstition and the sword ruled.
It was a time of darkness.
It was a world of fear.
It was the age... of gargoyles!
Stone by day, warriors by night,
We were betrayed by the humans we had sworn to protect,
Frozen in stone by a magic spell for a thousand years.
Finally... the spell was broken, and we lived again!
But our struggle was far from over...
For the last two hundred years we have faced the future,
Navigating an uneasy truce with the human race.
But now the planet Earth itself is under attack!
Humanity is helpless!
And we may be your last hope for freedom…
We are defenders of the night!
We are protectors of this world!
The year is 2198.
And we… are GARGOYLES!
In 1996, humanity and the world at large discovered there were gargoyles living among them. Fortunately for the human race, Gargoyles are by nature a protective species. Unfortunately for the gargoyle race, humanity is by nature an intolerant species. Humans did not welcome having to share their world with other sentient creatures. Many were quick to label the gargoyles as beasts, monsters, demons or worse. Gargoyles were denied basic "human" rights. They were discriminated against. Experimented upon. Attacked. Caged. And sometimes destroyed.
Despite this, GOLIATH, the leader of the gargoyles, maintained hope that one day humans and gargoyles would live in peace. Eventually, that day came. The "GARGOYLE MINORITY PROTECTION ACT" was adopted by the UNITED NATIONS. Gargoyles were granted full "sentient rights". Though Gargoyle clans were scattered across the globe, they were collectively granted special status as an indigenous nation. Hunting Gargoyles became a crime.
True acceptance, however, is not so easily legislated. At best, Gargoyles were still barely tolerated by their human neighbors. Real peace would have to wait.
But the gargoyles would take what they could get. The species, once on the verge of extinction, began to make a comeback. Clans that were thriving helped to repopulate those that were not. By 2188, TWELVE CLANS comprised the GARGOYLE NATION. Each was strong in number and tradition. Now it was time to expand again. As a potent act of symbolism, every clan brought its GARGOYLE EGGS to QUEEN FLORENCE ISLAND, off the West Coast of Canada. The eggs would hatch together to demonstrate gargoyle unity. Some of the hatchlings would eventually return to the other Twelve Clans. But many would stay to form the basis of a new clan. A thirteenth clan.
Someone should have told the gargoyles that thirteen is NOT a lucky number.
March 21st, 2198. Queen Florence Island. From around the globe, human Heads of State and all Twelve Gargoyle Clan Leaders have come to this small island for the HATCHING. They wait within the caldera of the Island's dormant volcano to witness the new generation of gargoyles bursting out of their shells. Meanwhile, Samson, a young gargoyle warrior is stuck on ceremonial guard duty at the base of the mountain. Out of nowhere, an immense SPACESHIP materializes above the volcano. It emits a blinding beam of light that stabs down into the caldera. Samson races up the slope, but it's too late. The caldera is empty. No eggs. No gargoyles. No humans. No World Leaders!
Simultaneously, another giant spacecraft hovers over Antarctica. Another beam stabs downward. And Earth's MASTER MATRIX Computer -- the operating system for nearly everything on the planet -- vanishes.
It all happens so fast, there's no time to react. Earth is paralyzed and leaderless when the alien SPACE-SPAWN invades. In less than twenty-four hours, the planet is occupied, absorbed into the SPACE-SPAWN EMPIRE. There is very little loss of life. Very little damage done. Unless freedom matters to you.
It matters to Samson, the new leader of the RESISTENCE. One by one, he gathers his team…
SAMSON - Samson of the Manhattan Clan hatched in 2158. Though his coloring is different, it's obvious to anyone who'd care to look that he is descended from Goliath. Still no one knows how many biological generations removed from Goliath he is. He might be the biological grandson of either Artus or Gwenyvere, Angela and Broadway's first two biological children, or he might be the biological son of Lancelot, their third born. Frankly, it doesn't really matter. There were many eggs in that rookery. All raised collectively by the Manhattan Clan.
By 2198, Samson is forty years old, but only twenty biologically. He has been trained as a Gargoyle Warrior both in Manhattan and in Ishimura. He demonstrated enough promise to have recently been named Second-In-Command of the Manhattan Clan. Now, a reluctant Samson must become leader not just of his clan, but of the entire Resistance.
DELILAH - Delilah of the Labyrinth Clan is a half-breed. Mostly Gargoyle… but part Human as well. Her ancestors include her namesake, the Delilah that Anton Sevarius cloned by combining the DNA of ELISA MAZA with that of DEMONA. Being genetically part of both races has left Delilah feeling like she's not truly a part of either. Upon learning of her "heritage", humans seem to react with fear and even disgust. And Delilah has never been confident that the gargoyles she was raised with don't feel the same way. All this has made her tough on the outside, but desperately insecure on the inside. Nevertheless, she's a fierce young Gargoyle Warrior (the same age as Samson), and Samson makes her his Second in the Resistance.
ZAFIRO - Zafiro of the Mayan Clan hails from the rain forests of Guatemala. He's a descendent of Obsidiana and the Zafiro from "The Green". He has feathered wings, reptilian features and skin the color of sapphires. From the waist down, he looks like a giant snake. He's Samson's contemporary and close friend. Samson, Delilah and Zafiro all trained together as Gargoyle Warriors, studying bushido in Ishimura; they have a Three Musketeers kind of rapport. Zafiro isn't quite the fighter that the other two are, but he has other strengths. He's more spiritual, more intellectual, more book-smart. He has also been entrusted with his clan's ancient and sacred Sapphire Amulet; this magical Mayan talisman prevents him from turning to stone during the day.
GUARDIAN - Seventeen year old Nicholas Natsilane Maza is a scion of both the Natsilane and Maza families (which technically makes him a distant relative of Delilah's). Nick was raised among gargoyles and has taken the family tradition to heart. He too has traveled to Ishimura to join the ORDER OF THE GUARDIAN. He has trained as a Gargoyle Warrior, embracing the Gargoyle Way of Protection & Service. He's as much a gargoyle as a guy can be and not have wings. He's eager, perhaps a little too eager, for a chance to prove that he can hold his own with any other gargoyle. Only he's not a gargoyle. He's one hundred percent human, with a human being's unique strengths and weaknesses.
SENTINEL - NOKKAR (the original model for the mysterious moai statues of Easter Island) landed on Earth centuries ago to stand sentinel and protect our world from the Space-Spawn. But by the time the Space-Spawn actually arrived, their technology so far surpassed his, he was completely caught off guard. Now, there's nothing he can do but join Samson's Resistance cell and try to pitch in. Nokkar is deeply shamed by his failure to protect his adoptive world. He would gladly sacrifice his life to redeem himself.
OWEN BURNETT - OWEN BURNETT was Chief of Staff of the United Nations. An indispensable aide to Secretary General ALEXANDER FOX XANATOS IV. In fact Owen has been an indispensable aide to the Xanatos family since before Alexander was born. But now the Secretary General is gone. Taken by the Space-Spawn and put in stasis with the rest of the world's leaders. The new acting Secretary has surrendered the planet to the enemy. He has no use for Owen's quiet efficiency and intensity. And Owen has no use for a man who won't fight. So Owen has left public service to rejoin the private sector. Secretly, he has placed all the resources of the Lexington-Xanatos Corporation at Samson's disposal. Of course, we all know that Owen is really the Puck. But since he already failed to protect his charge, and certainly has no opportunity to teach him anything at the moment, he's stuck as Owen, stone hand and all.
LXM - LXM (a product of the Lexington-Xanatos Corporation) stands for Lexington-Xanatos-Matrix, a line of robotic personal assistants that were all but ubiquitous in 2198. Almost everyone who was anyone had one of the cute little, five-foot tall, Lexington-shaped chrome robots. Each robot was directly connected via satellite to the Master Matrix in Antarctica, giving each one the ability to instantaneously summon any or all of mankind's collective knowledge. But when the Space-Spawn attacked, one of their first acts was to steal the Master Matrix. Now each LXM is on its own. Each one still has a powerful computer brain with crude artificial intelligence and long-term adaptive programming. But now, knowledge is finite, and experience is becoming the best teacher. Actually, two of these robots, LXM-994 and LXM-1057 will play a role in our series. When we open, these robots will be all but indistinguishable from each other. Automatons, merely. But as the series progresses, each will slowly develop its own personality.
DEMONA - For over a thousand years, Demona has plotted against humanity, blaming them for crimes against the gargoyle race. Now that a greater threat, the Space-Spawn, has reared it's many ugly heads, Demona has reluctantly joined Samson's Resistance cell. But no one, including Demona herself, is fully confident that she'll continue to fight on the side of the angels. This may be her last chance at redemption... or her final opportunity to annihilate the human race. Still, Samson felt it necessary to actively recruit her. It's hard to pass up the help of a warrior who's survived a millennium's worth of battles, a sorceress who knows how to combine ancient magic with modern technology. And then there's that bit about her turning into a human during the day. The only question is how she will use her talents. For now, she's siding with the Resistance. But can that last?
BROOKLYN - Brooklyn is a young gargoyle warrior from our own present day. In our second episode, he'll timedance forward to 2198. The future is as new and strange to him as it is to our audience, and often Brooklyn will be the point of view character to introduce us all to this brave new world. Brooklyn does hope to return to his own time someday, and so makes a special effort not to learn too much about his own "future". But he has no intention of abandoning Samson or Earth in their time of need. Someday, however, he may have to make a choice.
FU-DOG - FU-DOG is a Gargoyle Beast bred by the Xanadu Clan in China, who arrives in 2198 with Brooklyn. Fu-Dog is fiercely loyal (especially to Brooklyn). The ultimate watchdog.
[NOTE: Eventually, the large cast will be split in half. Nokkar will take Demona, Zafiro, Guardian and LXM-1057 into space to hit the Space-Spawn where they live. Samson, Delilah, Brooklyn, Fu-Dog, Owen and LXM-994 will remain on Earth, thwarting the aliens at every turn and engaging in many non-Space-Spawn stories.]
Anyway, those are our heroes. (Other characters will be added over time.) Here's who they're up against…
THE SPACE-SPAWN - Our main antagonists. This alien race was literally "spawned in space", born amidst the fury of an exploding star. For thousands of years, they have expanded their Empire in all directions, and nothing has been able to stand in their way. Their technology is far superior to anything we had on Earth. They possess faster-than-light space travel, cloaking devices, powerful force shields and molecular transporters. They also have weapons capable of destroying the entire planet in a matter of minutes. This creates a dilemma for Samson's Resistance. If Earth becomes more trouble than it's worth, the invaders will simply evacuate the globe and annihilate it.
THE QUARRYMEN - Decades ago, the Quarrymen organization fell out of favor. They were no longer "politically correct". But the events of March 21st, 2198 changed all that. Because most of the world's leaders were abducted while attending the Gargoyle Hatching, many humans became convinced -- at least in part due to Quarrymen propaganda -- that the Gargoyles had conspired and collaborated with the aliens. Now the Quarrymen are making a comeback. They don't much care for the Space-Spawn, but their scapegoat of choice is still the Gargoyles.
THE ILLUMINATI - Of course, the Gargoyles are not collaborators. But THE ILLUMINATI SOCIETY is. The Society is an ancient fraternal organization made up of almost all the true movers and shakers on planet Earth. Many of the world leaders abducted by the Space-Spawn were secretly members of the Illuminati -- proof that the Society definitely did NOT have advanced warning of the invasion. But once the occupation was complete, the Illuminati wasted no time capitalizing on it. They negotiated a secret treaty with the aliens, promising to infiltrate, sabotage and expose any sign of resistance. In exchange, the Space-Spawn promised to release those world leaders that the Society was prepared to vouch for. This devil's agreement was the beginning of a profitable arrangement for all concerned -- and the onset of a major headache for the Resistance.
COYOTE-X - COYOTE-X is a super-advanced robot with a highly evolved and Machiavellian artificial intelligence. He has multiple robot and cyborg operatives, and any number of android bodies that can accommodate his software. Once upon a time, Coyote-X had designs on taking over the world. But that was before the Space-Spawn showed up and rebooted his operating parameters. Now anything less than total control of the entire galaxy would strike him as under-achieving.
And that's the series in a nutshell.
GARGOYLES 2198. The future is now!
Sorry, I've been so derelict in "Answering Greg" recently.
It's true that voice directing Team Atlantis has filled a bit of my time, but the fact is that what's really keeping me busy is preparations for the GATHERING (June 22-25 at the Universal Sheridan in Los Angeles).
We've been confirming guests for the last few weeks, and though unfortunately we've lost four of what might be described as "our heavy hitters", the fact remains that we have confirmed OVER FORTY special guests for the convention. Since the most we've EVER had was FOUR, I think you'll agree that this is likely to be the biggest and best Gathering to date.
Anyway, I have about twenty minutes now to answer some questions... and right before the Gathering, I'm going to my in-laws for a few days. If they've got their Web-TV set up, I should have some free time to answer a bunch of questions while I'm there. So keep your fingers crossed.
And I'll see you at the Sheridan.
In an earlier post, you said you wanted the God of the gargoyle universe to be bigger than the God of Abraham. How is that possible? The very nature of the Judeo-Christian-Muslim teachings makes this impossible. And He is in no way limited to these three religions. If you examine other faiths, it is easy to see that even religions as distant from these three as American Indians have some similarities.
I see similarities all over. ALL OVER.
These things aren't mutually exclusive, which I believe was my point.
But I've studied the bible, and I see CLEAR signs in it of a non-monotheistic god. He seems to be a geotheistic god, particularly in chapters of Genesis and Exodus. Not the only. Just "THE BEST" (or at least the toughest).
Personally, I'm a Jew who believes in God. But I can't limit my perception of him to the Torah. It just doesn't work for me. Having said that -- and before I get slammed for saying it -- let me state clearly that the above opinions are first and foremost, merely that -- OPINIONS. They are my highly personal opinions. I have no interest or desire in trying to get anyone (ANYONE) to see things my way -- anymore than I have any interest or desire for someone to attempt to convert me.
So take everything I say with a grain of salt. Or a pillar of it.
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