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Gathering Diary - Day 4
Saturday, August 7
I woke up at about quarter to nine, made myself presentable, and went on up to the con suite, where a collective decision was made to go with the buffet at the hotel restaurant so that we could hopefully get the day started on time. I had eggs, bacon, ham, pancakes and baked beans. I've never seen baked beans served in a breakfast buffet before, so maybe that's a Canadian thing. At any rate, it was food.
I spent the morning helping out where I was needed. The Radio Play needed more women to try out, so I watched the Art Show table for a while when Cindy was drafted to audition. When the Auction started, I did my best not to get sucked into it and instead got sent to watch the con suite, which was fine with me because I'd had more than my fill of Auction chaos in 2001. I relieved Kaylee so she could go watch the SCA weapons demonstration, and sat down to watch the last three episodes of "Awakenings" and then "Thrill of the Hunt" and "Temptation."
Surprisingly, there were very few fans in and out of the con suite. At most, there were five or six people total in the room at any one time while I was there. At one point, A Fan wandered, staring at his feet and complaining about being unable to find the hotel's shoe shine guy. Given that he was wearing sneakers, I found that moment insanely amusing.
Eventually, Kaylee returned to relieve me, so I headed back downstairs to see what was going on. I poked my head in the door of the room where the SCA demonstration was finishing up, but everyone was in leather armor and protective masks so I couldn't really tell who was who. Then I spotted Carol and Kathy sitting near the registration desk, so I wandered over there to say hi and find out if Carol had heard anything new about Keith's flight plans.
I must have wandered away for a moment to check on what was going on in the other rooms, because when I came back, Carol caught me and introduced me to David Grabias. I shook his hand and had said "Nice to meet you" before it even clicked in my head that he was with the video crew, and thus I was ambushed to come downstairs to the ballroom for about ten minutes and be interviewed about "Gargoyles." So there may be a sound bite of me on the DVD, who knows. I don't remember much of what I said in response to the questions they asked. But at the end as I was signing the release, I had one of those "it's a small world" moments with Howard Shack, the cameraman. He asked whereabouts in the Cleveland area I lived, and when I said Euclid he said that he'd lived in Euclid, and started naming off streets that I knew.
A Fan was next to be interviewed, so I scooted off to check in with Carol again. As near as she could tell, Keith had actually gotten on the plane this time, so it seemed like things would be set for us to pick him up at the airport around 6:00 pm. Next up, though, was the Radio Play, so I headed into the Auditorium to find a seat. This year's performance was "The Journey," with the scene order slightly revised by Greg to be closer to the way he originally wanted them. A number of people from con staff were on the cast this year, including Rob as Goliath and Cindy as Margot Yale ("Madame, they burned witches like you in the Middle Ages!"). The real scene-stealer, though, was Michael as Vinny. "Hey, can you believe it?"
After the Radio Play, Carol and I headed out together in the van to fetch Keith from the airport. His plane landed at 5:15 pm, so we were certain that even if it took 40 minutes to get through customs, we'd be able to have him in the van by no later than 6:15 pm, and get back to the hotel with plenty of time left to join everyone else at the banquet. When we arrived at the airport, however, the place was a madhouse. We came to find out later that about ten international flights had all landed around the same time as Keith's flight, and it ended up taking Keith almost two hours to get through customs.
I did my best to stand lookout, but the crowd was so thick it was impossible to get a clear view of the doors where people were exiting customs. Several times, Carol went to ask people who were walking out what time they had landed, because after the first hour of waiting, we were starting to wonder if we had missed Keith entirely. Finally, at about quarter past seven, Carol got a call on her cell phone from Keith's manager, relaying a message from Keith that he had just gotten out of customs and was waiting near the currency exchange booth. It took us several minutes just to make our way 50 feet through the crowd to find him.
Keith had a skycap in tow with a huge cart loaded up with luggage, so I left him and Carol and ran (literally) back out to the parking garage to bring the van around. At the curb, I helped the skycap load the bags, then turned around to discover both Carol and Keith had suddenly vanished. A moment later, they reappeared and it was off to the hotel, as fast as I dare drive with the voice of Goliath riding shotgun.
From the get-go, Keith was incredibly warm and personable, telling us about how much he enjoyed doing "Gargoyles" and saying "You know, I want to be like Goliath when I grow up." It was hard to keep my eyes on the road, in fact, with him sitting there next to me. He has such a powerful voice, it just makes you want to maintain eye contact. As we pulled up in front of the hotel, Keith commented that he was hungry, but it was quarter to eight at that point, and Carol and I honestly didn't know if there would still be any food left from the banquet.
I helped the bellhop unload Keith's bags, then hurried to park the van back in the garage while Carol showed Keith to the front desk to get checked in. When I got back up to the lobby, he had just gotten his room keys. I'm still not sure how, but somehow we convinced Keith to come downstairs and say hello to all the fans gathered at the banquet. I ran ahead, not even sure if they were still waiting, and the first staff person I spotted was Jen. I whispered to her that "the guest of honor is here" about two seconds before Keith and Carol walked in the door behind me, and the room erupted in cheers and applause.
Keith was shown to an empty seat at a table near the front where a shrimp cocktail appetizer was still waiting, and Cindy pulled me down into a similar empty seat near her. Apparently, Cindy and the others at that table had guarded our food for us, threatening to visit bodily harm upon any wait staff who dared attempt to remove it. So a big thank you to them, for keeping both me and Keith from starving. But I also have to extend major thanks to Carol, too, who didn't get a chance to eat at all, because she had to get in a cab and run straight back to the airport to meet Keith's family, who were arriving on later flights. I've already told Carol I'm going to buy her dinner at G2005, so here's me saying it for the record, too.
Greg returned to the room a few moments after Keith arrived, and Keith did Q&A as he ate, though it was tough for parts of the room to hear him over the loud music coming from the class reunion party next door. I didn't stick around for the entire Q&A, though, so I missed the part where Keith allegedly yelled "Someone shoot that horse!" when someone in the next room started singing a karaoke version of "My Way." Instead, I quickly finished my desert and hurried off with Laurean and Cindy to get into costume for the Masquerade.
I had spent an hour or two at a time on and off for the past six weeks working on my costume but I had yet to wear it, so I was rather anxious to see how the entire outfit looked when it all came together. I had previously costumed as Puck for the 1998 Gathering, but the old costume was in such poor shape that I was only able to save the leggings and the sash. Everything else, I remade, paying a bit more attention this time to detail. And overall, I think Puck 2.0 turned out to be pretty damn kick-ass.
Of course, there were a whole lot of kick-ass costumes this year, and many of them belonged to con staff. Karine had the perfect costume as pregnant Fox, Alan and Jen made a great couple as Macbeth and Gruoch, Kaylee looked fabulous as Princess Katharine, Cindy was steaming hot as Titania, Liz rocked as Yama, and Laurean was absolutely uber-cute as pageboy Tom. The fans had lots of wonderful costumes, too. And if someone can get me a transcript of the lyrics sung by our Best of Show winner, Loupy, I will be eternally grateful. It takes guts to filk to the tune of "Rubber Ducky."
One of the strangest things about the Masquerade this yearâ¦ this was the first time I didn't get sweltering hot while wearing a wig. So finally the air conditioning being on overdrive in those meeting rooms paid off. At one point, I startled an old guy who was getting on the elevator, too. "Whoa, I thought you were Santa Claus!" was I think what he said, after I had explained there was a masquerade going on downstairs. One thing I learned, though. There's a reason why they call them riding boots and not walking boots. Owie. After about two hours and several trips back and forth to the con suite to fetch A/V supplies for Lord and Lady Macbeth, the Puck was quite glad to go change back into his human alter-ego. He did stick around long enough, though, to watch Queen Titania take the mic and sing "All That Jazz." Wow. To borrow a phrase from Jim Carrey, "Smokin!"
When I came back down to the ballroom after getting out of costume, there was more karaoke going on and I discovered that Carol had finally returned from the airport. In the end, all of Keith's family was finally accounted for, so everyone was happy. Then someone decided to play "Y.M.C.A." and everything went a little mad. We were using Jen's laptop to play the karaoke, but it couldn't display the lyrics from Liz's karaoke CDs. And unbelievably enough, no one knew any of the words to the song, so what we got was about two dozen people dancing and singing a rendition that went like this:
"Young man! Something, something, something.
I said, young man! Something, something, something.
I said, young man! Something, something, something.
Something, someâ¦ thingâ¦ someâ¦ thingâ¦ something.
It's fun to stay at the Y.M.C.Aâ¦"
It was a three-minutes that you really had to be there for to fully appreciate. "It's a little bit funny," though, because the last karaoke song of the evening ended up being mine. I found the Elton John tune "Your Song" one of Liz's CDs and decided to give it a try. It was the first time I've ever sung in front of people, but it was fun and my only regret is that Cindy wasn't there to hear me sing a song from "Moulin Rouge." So next year, Cins, we're doing the "Elephant Medley," okay? ;)
The rest of the night was spent in the con suite, talking about all those things that are most humorous while the brain is in a semi-conscious state. A small group of us stayed up with Greg until around 5:30 am, when it was time for him to go get packed up so he could leave. I'm sure he still thinks I was the walking dead when I drove him to the airport, but honestly, I hit my second wind sometime around 2:30 am as the live-action "Sailor Moon" thing that someone was playing on their computer was ending. So at 6:00 am on Sunday morning, I drove Greg to the airport, dropped him off, then came back to the hotel for about two hours of sleep before it was time to kick off the final day of the convention.
And thanks for the ride too...!
Gathering Diary - Day 3
Friday, August 6
I woke up around 7:30 am, mumbled good morning to Laurean as she was on her way out the door to the gym, and scored the first turn at the shower since everyone else in the room was still sleeping. Then I napped until about ten minutes before nine, woke up again, and went up to the con suite to see what the plan was for breakfast. Karine led us all to a diner nearby that had pretty good food at pretty good prices, but they also had the slowest service ever and we were running a half hour behind the schedule printed in the program by the time we got back to the hotel.
I was on Art Show setup duty, assisting Cindy, so the two of us headed up to the room on the Mezzanine level and enlisted anyone who was willing to help unload the van and move the art show display materials up to the room. About six people offered to help, so it took only about ten minutes to get everything up from the parking garage and into the room where the Art Show would be. Alan joined in to help with assembly, and the plastic pipe frames went together quickly, until we suddenly realized we were short two to the 90-degree elbow pieces.
Karine gave me some quick directions to the nearest Home Depot, and then I was off on an emergency run. As I learned at The Gathering 2002 in Virginia, there's nothing quite as fun as driving around an unfamiliar area at top speed, searching for a destination you're not quite sure of. But finally I spotted the familiar orange sign, and ran inside to the plumbing section to grab the pieces we were missing. On a hunch, I also grabbed another pack of zip ties for attaching the pegboard to the frames, which should earn me a psychic friends network membership card because when I got back I discovered Cindy had tried to call me on my cell phone - which I didn't have on me - to tell me that they needed more of those, too. So for about 15 seconds, I was a god for saving the day, and then I went back to work getting the remaining display put together.
I spent most of the rest of Friday afternoon in the Art Show / Dealer's Room, helping Cindy with setup and then sitting guard duty at the Auction display table for a spell. I wouldn't have gotten lunch, but Alan asked me if I wanted anything from Subway, so I gave him money and he brought me back a soda and the best roast beef sub I've ever consumed in less than two minutes. Later in the afternoon, I attended Cindy's costuming seminar. I learned how to take care of wigs, and I'm pretty sure I was the only guy in the room except for when the DVD crew came in to do some random filming.
Right after Cindy's panel was over, Karine or Carol informed me that Keith David had been delayed to a later flight, so I would be picking him up around 11:00 pm instead of Karine's husband Adam picking him up around 6:00 pm. I was fine with that, even if it meant having to remain alert enough to drive at that late hour, so I ran upstairs to the con suite to record the revised flight details in my notebook. Before we knew it, it was getting near time for Opening Ceremonies, so I headed down to the ballroom to see if my help was needed with anything. I had been told we were getting a screen measuring 4'x3', so it was quite a surprise to see they'd given us one about three times bigger. Rob and Karine were still trying to get sound and picture to come out of the projector at the same time when I walked in. I'm not sure what button it was that I pushed, but suddenly there was a picture. A few moments later, we found the volume control, too, and everything was ready.
Greg showed up with his stack of videotapes, and I was given the complex job of sitting next to the VCR, loading tapes, and pressing play. For me, Opening Ceremonies seemed to go by in a blur. Karine welcomed the fans and introduced the staff, then Jen presented the Fan Guest of Honor award to Gorebash. Next, Chris Rogers came to the podium to talk about Gathering 2005, and then Liz came up to make some announcements, which was when Abram and Maui "interrupted" for the first Clan Olympics event. After all the chaos had settled, Greg's part of the Opening Ceremonies began. First he played an audio tape containing the voices of Ed Asner, Keith David, and a number of other people associated with the show that Carol had helped compile the week before. Then he showed the traditional series of videos, and ended with the audio tape of the voice recordings for the never-completed "Team Atlantis" episode "The Last."
After Opening Ceremonies, we handed the room over to Jade Griffin for the "Mystery Gargoyles Theater 3000" event and debated what to do about dinner. Half of the staff wanted to trek out into Montreal again, and half of us were too tired to want to do all that walking. As a few of us were discussing it in the lobby, Greg came up to me and said he had good news and bad news. The good news was I wouldn't have to pick up Keith at 11:00 pm. The bad news was Keith's flight had changed again, and he wouldn't be arriving until 6:00 pm the next day, Saturday.
Greg then joined up with the group Karine was leading out into the city, but I decided to give my feet a rest. I joined Jen, Alan, Tim, Christine, and Becca, and the six of us had a late dinner in the hotel restaurant. Tim told us all about his misadventure earlier in the day where he'd been hit by a car while crossing the street. He was mostly okay, but he still made sure to put some alcohol on his injuries in the form of a shot of tequila and two white russians. I stuck with cola because I was drowsy enough already, and I had a pretty good hamburger followed by a nice slice of cheesecake.
After dinner, Jen, Christine and I went back up to the con suite to await Greg's return for the Blue Mug-a-Guest. We were joined shortly by Anthony and Andrea Zucconi and a few other fans who had not hooked up with the huge group that had gone out with Greg to dinner. Exercising the ancient rite of "first come, first serve," we claimed the chairs and left the floor to the latecomers. Greg arrived only about ten minutes behind the scheduled 11 pm start time, and within a short amount of time the room was filled to capacity and then some.
For a Blue Mug-a-Guest, the overwhelming majority of the discussion was pretty tame. A lot of the questions focused on the DVD and what could be done to make sure that Season 1 will sell well enough that we get Season 2, and so on. Some ideas were floated about using the internet to coordinate the fandom's efforts, such as having everyone purchase the DVD from Amazon.com on the same day.
There was one question that was asked about how the fay copulate and reproduce which Greg apparently misheard at first, as he began talking about gargoyle egg-laying. He remarked that the eggs are soft and flexible when they are laid, and also that they start out small and grow bigger. This elicited a "Ha-ha, I was right, I told you so," comment from someone I had debated this same topic with in one of the online comment rooms a few months ago. Not the most mature of reactions, and bad science to boot. It made me wish I'd been able to attend the Gargoyle Biology panel on Sunday morning, because as much as I respect Greg, I still firmly believe that it must be recognized that there is absolutely no precedent at all in the animal kingdom for hard-shelled eggs that grow in size from the time they are laid to the time that they hatch.
Anyway, sorry to digress, but this was still bugging me when I went to bed that night, so I felt it worth mentioning. I can't remember very many of the other specific questions that were asked, though I do recall that when Greg was asked about whether the tip of a gargoyle's tail was especially sensitive, he deferred the question to Christine Morgan. Greg also blew a whole bunch of fanfic out of the water by saying that in his mind, Angela was a virgin when she arrived in Manhattan, and that gargoyles as a species were not promiscuous. I'm not quite sure these revelations are going to slow down any of us who've written stories to the contrary, though.
Friday night finally came to an end at around 2 am on Saturday morning, when Greg got up to answer the call of nature and Karine decided it was time to clear everyone out of the con suite. That included con staff, as well, so I headed to my room to grab a few more hours of sleep.
Eggs are soft until the first day. Then they harden into stone when the sun rises. I don't recall ever saying they change size. Just that their softness allows for a somewhat easier laying. But who knows? Maybe I did say that. I say a lot of stuff.
Gathering Diary - Day 2
Thursday, August 5
With one day left until the convention opened, I awoke already knowing we had a ton of stuff to do. Over breakfast, Karine and I went over our list from the night before to make sure we wouldn't forget anything. The first stop was the bank, to deposit money and get small bills Canadian for making change. Then we headed out in the van to pick up the program booklets from Bureau en Gros, and made a quick stop at Home Depot where I grabbed a can of red spray paint to touch up my Puck boots.
Next, it was off to Rob's place to pick up him and Cindy, along with the big box of Gathering t-shirts and a box full of stuff for the auction. Running just slightly behind schedule at that point, we headed to the airport, where we found Laurean, Liz, and Taylor waiting at the curb. I parked and jumped out, and we played a quick game of human 3-D Tetris to fit all seven people and their bags into the van. I'm sure the chassis was nearly scraping the ground on the way back to Karine's, but we arrived back there just in time to meet up with Kaylee, who had driven in from Ontario.
For lunch, we split up into two cars and went to the same greasy spoon we had visited in February during the live meeting. After satisfying my craving for poutine, we drove back to Karine's and packed as much stuff as we could into the back half of the van and the trunk of Kaylee's car. I also found a few minutes take my boots out in the backyard and gave them both a fresh coat of paint to repair the damage the T.S.A. had done. They were left to dry on the porch, and the eight of us set off as a convoy for the hotel.
At the hotel, I parked in the underground garage - a feat which required some careful automotive maneuvering - and Kaylee parked on the street. Cindy shanghaied a bellhop to help us unload the van, and Shaun had already arrived to help out, so in short order we were able to get everything moved up to the con suite. Kaylee and Karine then took of again in Kaylee's car to fetch more con supplies from Karine's office and pick up the Phoenix Gate Anthologies. In the meanwhile, the rest of us got to work stuffing the con packets. By the time Karine and Kaylee returned, the packet stuffing was mostly done.
It was the height of rush hour when Rob, Karine, Kaylee and I set out again to fetch the art show display boards and a few other remaining items from Karine's place. On my way out, I ran into the Morgans in the lobby and told them where they could find the rest of the staff. By the time I got down to the garage, Rob was already waiting for me. Highway traffic was a real bear for about half the way back, but by the time we had loaded up the panels and the last of my and Karine's bags, the highways were moving at normal speeds again and we zipped back downtown without any problems.
When I got back up to the con suite, I found the remaining members of the staff had arrived. Carol was there, and so was Jen and her husband Alan. I took a few minutes to move my bags out of the con suite to the room I was sharing with Laurean and Kaylee, but after that was done I didn't have a whole lot of time to sit around before it was time to head out in the van once again to retrieve Greg from the airport. The art show display boards were still in the back of the van, which meant we could only take a welcoming party of three and still leave a seat free for Greg. So this time it was Rob, Jen and I who went. Finding our way to the airport turned out to be fairly easy, and we parked and went inside to wait for Greg to emerge from the magic doors at customs.
The wait for Greg took just long enough to cost us for a second half hour's worth of parking, which Rob was kind enough to hop out and pay on our way out of the garage after I realized that I had left the little ticket in the van when I should have brought in with me. We drove back to the hotel - my third trip downtown of the day - and managed to find a parking space in the garage again. Jen called up to the con suite to let them know we were back, so when we walked into the lobby with Greg some of the other staff members had come down to meet us. There was also a group of fans gathered in the lobby, including Kathy, Hudson, Aaron, Mara, Greg Bishansky, and several other people I recognized from previous Gatherings whose names escape me now as I try to write this journal almost a week later.
While Greg got checked in and took his stuff to his room, I went back up to the con suite to see what could be had in the way of snacks, since it was now going on 10 pm and I hadn't eaten since lunch. There was still some pita bread and humus left that we had picked up while grocery shopping for the con suite during the second trip back to Karine's, so I was able to find enough to tide me over until the late dinner we'd had planned with Greg.
I hope there weren't too many hard feelings about the dinner plans on Thursday night, but apparently there had been some miscommunications that kept some of the fans waiting around downstairs in expectation of joining us. In the end, it seemed like there were three times as many people wanting to go than the restaurant Karine had planned to take us to could even seat, so we had to scale it back to current and future staff only.
Of course, in traditional Gathering last minute change of plans style, the restaurant we had intended to go to had just closed their kitchen a few minutes before we got there. So instead we ended up at another restaurant across the way, where instead of crepes I had a three-cheese pizza. By the time dinner was over and we had made our way back to the hotel, most of us were nearly dead on our feet. So we called it a day, and made plans for the staff to meet in the con suite at 9 am for breakfast and a strategy meeting for the first day of the actual convention.
Yeah, any experienced con-staffer knows that Greg must eat when he gets to town.
Gathering Diary - Day 1
Wednesday, August 4
I slept in a whole hour later than normal for a weekday, then dragged myself out of bed to get some last-minute errands run before it was time to leave for the airport. My morning rounds included a stop at the post office, to collect the last of the last-minute Gathering pre-registration payments, and a stop at the bank to deposit them and withdraw some cash that could be used to make change in Canada for fans who wanted to pay us in U.S. dollars. I had to visit two banks, because for some strange reason the first one didn't have any one dollar bills.
Back at home, I had enough time to finish packing and eat lunch before heading out to the airport. By the time I left, mostly cloudy had turned into steady rain, so the drive to the airport took a little longer than normal. Finding parking took forever, but inside the terminal there was barely a line at check-in or security. I checked two big bags crammed full of costume and con stuff, then headed to my gate at the far end of the airport. I got there with about a half hour to spare before boarding, but since the flight was departing out of Continental's regional terminal and not the international one, there was no duty-free shop that I could buy any gift booze at (sorry, Karine).
The flight itself was uneventful and only about half full. We landed at the Montreal airport ahead of schedule, then waited on the ground for about ten minutes for our gate to clear. Once off the plane, there was the usual fifteen-minute walk to customs, where the wait time was posted on the wall as 40 minutes. The long line that snaked back and forth between the velvet ropes was constantly moving, though, so that at least gave the illusion of progress. After a quick chat with the Canadian customs officer, I claimed my bags from where they were waiting by the carousel and went to get my rental car.
Airport renovations had claimed more of the arrivals area since my visit in February, including the rental car counter, so I headed straight out to the parking garage where a small mob of businessmen had convened around the Hertz office. I overheard the agent at the desk complaining that they were running out of cars and couldn't upgrade anyone to vans or luxury sedans, so I received several envious glances as I claimed the keys to the minivan I had reserved months before.
From the airport, it was off to Karine's house. I found my way to the freeway with no problem, and after that it was easy to find the right exit and follow the directions I had memorized in February of "left at the light, then right, right, right." I got a little surprise when I came up to the first right turn. Straight ahead, I could see the St. Lawrence River, which in February had been frozen over and invisible under the snow.
At Karine's place, we got right to work doing Gathering prep. When I opened my bag to unpack the pipe fittings I had brought for the art show displays, I discovered a little card saying that the T.S.A. had opened and checked my bag. Unfortunately, they didn't wrap the towel back around the boots for my costume before stuffing them back in the box with the pipe fittings, so the red paint on one of them had gotten all scuffed up. Karine got out some red acrylic paint and we tried to touch them up, but the color wasn't a very good match.
Knowing we had more important things to do, I set the problem aside and got to work instead on the special pieces we needed to make for the art show displays. Using Karine's tools, it took all of fifteen minutes to fabricate the six connectors we needed for the center posts of the display units. Setting those aside, we moved on to con badges and con packets. By the time Karine's husband Adam arrived home, we had nearly finished assembling all badges and we had stuck labels on all the con packet envelopes which would be stuffed the next day at the hotel.
For dinner, Karine made hamburgers and corn on the cob. Then we finished putting the lanyards on the badges and got everything packed up and ready to go for the next day. Around 11 pm, Karine downloaded the final PDF file of the program book Siryn had been working on nonstop for the previous week, and it was just before midnight that we headed off to the 24-hour copy shop at Bureau en Gros (the local equivalent of Staples) to place an order for 200 booklets. I pretty much stood there as Karine did all the talking since all the talking was in French, but I did make myself useful by running off some self-serve copies of the masquerade registration and walk-in registration forms.
It was closing in on 1 am by the time we got back to Karine's and decided to call it a night. I shared the futon in the living room with Peanut, a very friendly orange cat who is so big she has her own gravitational field. And that night I got what would turn out to be the longest stretch of uninterrupted sleep I would get until Monday night.
Patrick, I do want to thank you for all the hard work you put in year after year for this fandom!
This isn't a journal, I guess. It's just a shout-out. It isn't a journal because I didn't get to the Con, but if it had been anywhere within, oh, a 500-mile radius of me, I would have been there, so I feel justified in at least writing that I would have been there. (Heck, if I weren't moving around so much due to internships and such, I'd have gone anyway.)
I just need to give applause to Gargoyles. It was beautiful, cool, and fun, truly a jem of animation. The Shakespearian references layered over deep characterization and even deeper character -development- truly light my heart afire. I'm aching for this DVD. I can garantee that, unless all the copies are snapped up in, say, the first week of them hitting the market (which I honestly hope for, since that will likely mean more would be on the way), I will get it. I have two other friends who will do the same, -almost- as much to show support for the incredible talent (and any applicable forces of managerial mojo) involved in producing Gargoyles as to have DVD-quality sound and picture as opposed to our moldering, commercial-break-laiden, misordered VHS's.
Gargoyles, is, in my humble opinion, the single best animated series American animation has to offer. Gargoyles is better than the sublime Batman animated series and the inspiring X-Men Evolution, both of which have been released on DVD already. It has also done what I previously considered the impossible in unseating Tale Spin from the pinnacle of my Disney Pantheon of Good Shows.
Gargoyles didn't find me until long after it had stopped airing. In fact, you might say I walked in just in time to see this pivotal moment in its growth. I just wanted you to know, Greg, that I will be voting with my wallet (possilby twice) to get Gargoyles the recognition it deserves.
To Greg, and to all who gave Xantos, Goliath, Brooklyn (and of course, PUCK!) life, thank you.
PS, an actual question:
Just how "voluntary" is stone sleep? You mentioned in a recent (well, two years ago by now) response that sunlight was "a powerful psychological cue". Could a gargoyle fight off stone sleep for as long as (or longer than) thirty seconds? Would this have any short- or long-term side effects?
Also, sometimes gargoyles roar after waking, others not. I take this to mean that it is semi-voluntary, like yawning and/or stretching. Is it more or less voluntary than yawning? Will some circumstances make a gargoyle less or more likely to roar upon waking?
Thanks for all the kind words. Did you get the two DVD sets? Did you make it to Vegas last summer? Are you coming to Valencia this summer? Have you pre-ordered the comic book? Yep, there's a lot for a Gargoyles Fan to be thankful for these days. Hope you and your friends are taking advantage of all that and SPREADING THE WORD!!!
Now to your questions...
1. It's not particularly voluntary. Yes, a garg can hold off stone sleep for a few seconds. Maybe even thirty or so, but not much more than that. No after effects that I can think of.
2. Roaring is optional, I suppose, but it's also common sense to the point of being ingrained. You wake up and you don't know what it is you're facing, so your ROAR to scare the bejeepers out of whatever might be threatening you.
Slept late again, but I had a mission. I went to find Chris Rogers to pre reg. for 2005. Spacie and I did find him still asleep in his room, along with a hung over Hudson, whose ears are already too sensitive from what I understand.
We did however get a small group together and ate on the revolving restaurant for the buffet, over priced, but most hotel food is and this was all you can eat. The city was nice to see from above and it was nice to watch the rain come in. The guy on the crane trying to commit suicide did put a slight damper on things, but he did come down.
We spent pretty much all early afternoon up top and only attended closing ceremonies. I won two art awards, one first place that I was not expecting to get, but not complaining, it was also the one that sold. I finally did get registered for Vegas and paid Chris the money for the buffet I owed him. After than it was time to collect art from the art show and pay for the thing that were bought.
Could not find people after that, many ended up leaving or just disappearing, Dinner was subway sandwiches that we found several blocks away up the big hill.
The morning started out with a bit of a hustle because Spacie and myself were set to go to La Ronde, but to save money, Aaron, Mara, Lynati, Greg and Alex Bishansky, and Emambu were all to move their things to our room, since we would not be there and it was just for one night. Took some effort but finally got people moving and I donât think anything was left behind.
It was a good sized group to take to the park, not quite as large as the Coney Island group of last year but enough. I was surprised to see that the subway cars actually ran on rubber tires instead of rails. Karine also pointed out that they used wooden brakes, you could smell them at hard stops.
It was a great day for being outside, not hot at all. The park was bigger than Coney Island, but smaller than our local Six Flags in Houston called AstroWorld. There were however a LOT of people there and at first not all the coasters were going. So long lines were expected all day. We caught a few smaller rides and took the park tour tram, which was really nice and relaxing. Caught a round of mini golf and had lunch with a small group we had arrived with. On the way out we both bought drinks out of a coke machine but herâs was warm. The park attendants were kind enough to exchange it for a cold one for free.
After we grabbed some McDonaldâs again we returned to find our room full, all 8 of the Rogue Squadron plus Mandolin and Kathy Pogge. Was a nice after con chat party plus we all joined together for a singing of Denis Learyâs @$$hole song. Not sure if Kathy sang or not, but was fun nonetheless
Sleeping arrangements were made and we all crashed.
As said before, mornings are not this crewâs strong point. But I managed to get them up and moving. Being that the road trip was my idea from the start I felt like I was in charge, or maybe I just like ordering people about, the world may never know. But bills were paid and we got fueled up and loaded to make our way back to Gregâs house in NY.
All the fuel was in liters and seeing a sign for .89 cents sounds great, till you remember it is in liters. (I have an 18 gallon tank which comes out to about 68 liters) So I got enough to makes sure I could make it to the next stop.
Easy to find our way back out and started South. So then we come to the US Customs and border, which for those who do not know now falls under department of Homeland Security. Just when you think the Canadian border guards are being up tight you get to meet the US border guards. These people literally act like they want you to be a terrorist so they can shoot you dead and get out some of their frustration. They are trained to ask reasonable questions and protect our country but did anyone think to train them in courtesy? Not even a thank you or welcome home.
We had one other stop in the Adirondack Park that I think was to search for illegal game hunting, but that went fast.
Greg and Alexâs mother was very hospitable and we ate well, and if anyone is interested they did get a new fridge. I went to bed early knowing it was another thousand or so miles of road ahead.
August 11 and 12
This is a two day entry because not much went on and because quite frankly it all felt like one long day. Basically, we didnât stop. We stopped for fuel, and we stopped for restrooms, and we stopped at a Dennyâs in Salem, Virginia for dinner, but other than that, we didnât stop till we got back to Houston. We talked, played CDâs, most of it was a blur, I just hope I was awake when I was suppose to be, but we clocked it in at about 27 hours of total driving time.
After a brief nap Aaron and Mara returned to San Antonio and that brings to a close Le Gathering and Road Trip 2004.
Woo, I'm exhausted just reading it. Hope -- nearly two years later -- you've had time to recover. And I hope to see you in Valencia in a couple months!
Journal part 2 Stuff about the con, how about that!
Thursday, Once again scheduled plans of departure were way off because no one wanted to wake up. Breakfast was Dunkin Donuts because the night before the refrigerator died and so did everything in it. Weather reports were sketch but we only hit a couple of light patches of rain, nothing to slow us up.
A small note about driving in NY, the people, even outside of Manhattan appear to all be emergency vehicle drivers, because everyone is driving like they have a person dying in the back seat. I am not a slow driver, but I try to exercise a little bit of caution when driving through narrow, near 400 year old, dinky town roads that do not appear to have been widened, just paved over. Crazy.
Upstate New York is very pretty, lots of places one can imagine where Xanatos would place a retreat (since I donât think a specific location was determined) but we drove reasonable and made good time. Gas in NY is ungodly expensive compared to Texas. I will never complain about our prices again.
Now, we come to the border. When we arrived, there were two posts open and not a one of them appeared to be going fast. I was later told that the Customs agents were on strike but still had to work so they took their sweet time. About an hour and a half wait and I had to use the rest room nearly the whole time. Like sitting in a theater and not wanting to get up type feeling. I will admit that I made one little lie to the border agent, they did ask if we were armed or carrying any weapons and I did have my knife with me. The short of it is, I carry it when I go place that I am unsure of the security, like rest stops in some states, and I really, really had to go, so didnât want to slow things even more.
Montreal was not far from the border, about half an hour Iâd guess, but had to drive through a trench with no shoulder or escape, which is very, very unnerving. We survived. Our first exit was blocked off, had to double back and finally across the bridge to downtown.
We found a small group congregating in the lobby as a welcoming committee, was nice to see some faces that I had not seen in over a year. Hung out there for a while, Seth, Wingless, Sapphire, Kyt, Hudson, Chris Rogers, CKayote, and many others were there as well. I crashed pretty early, was road fatigued.
Now about the Hotel. An excellent location for people like us who were unfamiliar and could not read many signs. It was very easy to find. The lay out of the hotel was well thought out, with the convention levels close together and easy to access and we could stay in the lower floor till all hours and no one said a thing to us, because we are so far below the other guest that we canât disturb anyone if we tried. The rooms were as advertised, or at least ours was. A nice double with two queens that we really needed on the last day, Iâll explain later.
Two minor complaints. The parking spaces in the basements were reeeeeeally narrow. Erik drives a Town Car, and to get between the lines he and I had exactly 8 inches of space door to door. Second complaint, which is very minor, was that good cheap food was quite a walk away, thatâs just the sacrifice of a downtown hotel though, oh well.
Friday, first day of the convention itself. Spacie and I hunted about trying to find a breakfast place, settling on a bagel place next to about a block and a half from the hotel. I had a croissant and a sesame seed bagel. Was not too expensive, 7 bucks for the two of us.
I first went about locating the Art Room. Easy to do once I found Cindy, who was recruiting to help set up art. Naturally fair that if I want to set up art I should help set up the art space so I did. It went well enough, some of the joints were uneven or kept popping out. One over all comment I had heard was that the lighting was poor. It was, but we all survived and there was a lot of good stuff.
After set up I invaded the Round Robin, that despite our best efforts at keeping it PG slipped at some point or another. And of course there is a tape of it floating around.
The film crew came in and watched Gregâs Voice acting panel, this was the first time Iâd say most of us had seen them, I could tell a lot of people froze right up, but they were very cool people and Iâd say most warmed up to them. I did get to do a reading with Emambu, who is a very talented individual even if heâs too modest to admit it. He was Lexington and I was Brooklyn from the scene with Tom and Mary in Awakening part One. This was a good warm up for me because radio play auditions followed immediately after the panel and I was one of the first to go. Having been in the play last year I felt more confident in my ability and read the Broadway lines (not expecting to get the Broadway part the next day, but thatâs irony for you.)
Opening Ceremonies was fun. One of my favorite parts is to see the show of hands of con-virgins and second timers. It always seems there are a great deal of virgins, but very few second timers. Itâs like once you come twice you will do what ever you can to come again. The DVD info was good to hear, and yes my Dadâs birthday is December 7th. *evil grin* This was also the first time I had gotten to hear the Team Atlantis tape. At 2002 I missed the radio play all together, and 2003 I stayed at the auction, which ran into the Team Atlantis panel. Someday Iâd really like to watch the teaser trailer that was played for the media with the kind of speakers and bass that Greg describes, till then Iâll just have to imagine it. Chrisâs pitch for 2005 sounded really good, Vegas should be a lot of fun, just need to start saving some play money now.
Dinner was McDonaldâs, I ordered nuggets, and some how ended up with a double big Mac. Not what I wanted and too far to walk to change it back so I ate it. Afterwards was mostly just hang out time. Catch up on what everyone had been doing. Went to the Blue Mug a Guest and enjoyed hearing the questions and asked a couple of my own, neither even slightly Blue, but was nice to get a change to ask Greg. The whole thing about whether he had read the original Heinlein âStarship Troopersâ was important to me, since I didnât feel the screen writer for the movie had. Got to bed about 2am I think.
Canât even remember what I had for breakfast, must not have been very good. What I do remember was being approached my Hudson and being asked if I could drive Zaius Monkey to the Airport because his baggage never made it through customs and he had to go down and confirm it. At first I agreed. If we had left right then and there I may have even been able to get him there and back in time. But we became distracted. Our small group ended up down on the bottom floor where the film crew were shooting individual interviews and they wanted to see Aaronâs infamous Demona tattoo. So that ate half an hour and I found out I was in radio play. There was no way I could make it to the air port and back and neither could Emambu. Luckily Kai and Lexy offered and came through, big thanks to those two.
Not much later, my car was required again. Lynati needed more paint for her costume and we were all short on time. Aaron, love you like a brother, is not good with giving directions, or working with sketchy ones. Karine told him where a Home Depot was and we attempted to find it. What we ended up doing was spending half an hour cursing at one way streets, going the wrong way, illegal left hand turns, and some how I found a gravel road down by one of the bridges that cut back to a real street. See, driving video games do pay off. We finally got oriented and started down the right direction, but I had to let Aaron take over because I had radio play rehearsal.
The rehearsal was fun, for a minute there, while Greg was passing out scripts I thought Iâd end up with Vinnie, but instead received Broadway. Not expected, but certainly fun to play.
Had just enough time to run down to the hotel store and get some snacks before the play itself. As many know now we read âThe Journeyâ and though Broadway only had once scene I did it the best I could, even tried mimicking Billâs voice, not sure how well it came out since we always sound different to ourselves.
The banquet soon followed and my only complaint was the lighting, not the food, the food was really good. The lighting was really poor for picture taking that was disappointing. We had some of the white wine, not sure who paid but was nice to have something besides just water. Our table consisted of myself, Spacebabie, Kathy Pogge, Yggdrasil, Chyna Rose, and Seri Wavelength. We had some good conversations. Everything from fandom stories, to alcohol, to farm stories, to politics.
Keith David did finally arrive and I felt bad because he seemed like he really wanted to eat, but at the same time be a good guest and answer questions. I did manage to ask him a question about Harrison Ford, which was for my mother who is the biggest Ford nut in the Central South West.
Had to check out of the Q&A early to get my costume together. For the most part, it was easy, the hard parts had been done already, which was trying to dye a suit to match the burgundy/maroon that Dracon wore. The hardest part was the jacket, I went through several thrift store jackets, but spent more on dye than I did on them. The hair, which completed the look, was done by Spacebabie, I sat in the bath tub and she used spray in hair color. Was hard for me to see but was told it came out wonderful. I didnât have a skit in mind, thought about saying something when I got out on the floor, but went blank so I posed like Han Solo in Return of the Jedi and the crowd cheered. At the awards presentation I won the Thom Adcox memorial award, but sorry, I have not progressed enough to dropping my pants in front of the public yet.
After it was all over I washed my hair as best I could and went back down to convention level to hang out and chat till 3 am.
Nothing like those late night chats. They're easily my fondest memories from most Gatherings...
Here is my 2004 Convention journal/road trip.
I apologize, this first part actually is just build up to the Gathering, but most of it is relative... or I thought so.
The Gathering 2004
Well, Let me start from the beginning. For me this vacation actually began on August 1st.
For the most part it was an uneventful day. Final preparations were made to Hyena, My 2003 Pontiac Aztek, as I waited for Spacebabieâs plane to arrive.
I feel I should explain how her name came about. For starters, she is a gold-beige color, but also itâs her attitude. The Aztek is a very unconventional looking car hard edges, subtle curves, but also has all kinds of electronics and features. Itâs a love it or hate it kind of thing, I guess a lot like Hyena the character. All I really should say on that.
After the airport we bought road snacks, two way radios and I got some additional motor oil for when we got back.
The birth of the road trip was because I was not entirely sure where I would be living several months ago and to combat high airline prices, because the average price for a round trip ticket remained about $300 and often higher. I came up with the idea of the two of us just road tripping to Montreal. Not long after we finalized the idea, others hopped onto the road trip idea. The final count was eight people, Spacebabie, Aaron, Mara, Greg X, his brother Alex, Emambu, Lynati, and of course myself.
This is the day Aaron and Mara were to arrive from San Antonio, a casual 3 hour drive from Houston. They did arrive, but unfortunately much later than original planned. I had planned to rustle everyone up at about 4am, but we only went to bed about 2am, soooo we slept in a little later.
Tuesday morning, 5:30am, destination Pittsburgh, PA. I somehow, magic most likely, managed to get my three passengers to the car and on the road. They all immediately went to sleep again.
We made it out of Houston with no problems. Our route to Emambuâs place had been planned weeks before and I had studied it entirely. We first traveled East across Louisiana before turning north, cutting up Mississippi to Memphis, Tennessee. I discovered that Tennessee is not a state you want to drive in if you are trying to cross the country at a fast pace. Tennessee has a lot of large hills and mountain roads that cops like to wait on, especially the blind side of a steep grade. Almost thought they tagged us once for sure, but it turned out to be the car in front of us. Aaron was driving at that point and I never did really go back to sleep after that. We traversed half of Tennessee, turning North again after Nashville, we hit that city at about rush hour. Donât have to worry much about cops when you are crawling at 30 mph.
I noticed that not all states have those great big âWelcome to Blah Blah Blahâ signs. We crossed into both Kentucky and Ohio without really even noticing. Did briefly see Three Rivers Stadium where the Cincinnati Reds play.
It was after Columbus though that we ran into our first bit of bad weather. Fog. Not a little fog, like I can only see 5 feet in front of my car fog. Not good when added to that both Aaron and I were both road fatigued. We stopped in West Virginia to switch one last time and I took us into Pittsburgh. The fog has cleared well but now it was almost dawn and crazy early to work drivers were about. There are few things more scary that 18 wheeler drivers thinking they are commanding something the size of a VW Beetle.
Emambu gave good directions though, we found his apartment just before 6am. With time zone change the first leg was completed in just about 24 hours.
We all slept pretty late, at least to early afternoon. Emambu, Mara and I went into town to get breakfast and coffee for those that wanted it, plus final check on directions to GregXâs house, not that they were that good. I hate Map Quest. It works well enough for major routes, but when it comes to small urban roads, always, ALWAYS double check with a local that the road has not be renamed or renumbered, or has a itty bitty street sign that no one can see in broad daylight let alone in the middle of the night and rain.
We packed up both cars, Erikâs âMafia Cruiserâ and âHyenaâ and made our way out of town via the Pennsylvania Turnpike. This is where the radios came in. I recommend for any two car or more convoys that they should all have radios. They are great for coordinating stops and a lot of fun to shoot comments back and forth. Aaronâs dubbing of the lead car as âRed Leaderâ lead to the Rogue Squadron name.
As said before, the maps did give us a general idea of where we were going. And as we approached New Jersey, we became inundated. It poured, and I mean poured. The kind of rain that even with full speed wipers you cannot see more than ten feet in front of you.
We made the right exits however, across the Bridge and onto the East side of the Hudson. Then it was just a matter of getting to Croton. Much easier when you donât drive pass the exit you need. This is on top of the fact that for some reason I get horrible phone reception so the last few turns to find the house required more effort than it should have.
Nevertheless we arrived, the rain stopped, and we all had food and a place to sleep. Many thanks to Gregâs mother for putting up with a bunch of worn out travelers, we all appreciated it.
I've read this travel story a few times by now, but it's always interesting in a Rashomon sense to see if from different points of view.
Very long journal, I'm afraid.
Allaine's 2004 Gathering Journal
Thursday, August 5, 2004
I left my house at around 10 AM for a 2 PM flight. When I got to the airport, I discovered two things. First, even though I was taking an international flight, my plane wasn't gated at US Airways International (Terminal A), but US Airways Express (Terminal F). Having been told already to park in Garage A, I had to drag all my luggage across the length of the airport.
A more infuriating discovery was that my flight had been cancelled. Since this was the second time my flight to Montreal had been cancelled in three days (the first time being Monday night, forcing me to scrap plans to catch a ride from the airport with Kathy and Alex Garg), I was understandably outraged. I was forced to take a flight that was leaving at 12:30, but I would be making a stop in Boston for ninety minutes. I didn't actually make it through Customs in Montreal until 6 PM. Fittingly enough, I needed two buses to get from the airport to the hotel, but that didn't happen until around 7 PM.
At least I wasn't poor Alexandria, who wasn't allowed to board her flight because she didn't bring the right birth certificate. Finding out she wouldn't be arriving until Friday was a further disappointment.
That being said, I was able to check into my room without incident, and the first people I found were my other two roommates. Chyna Rose was eating in the lobby restaurant when I found her, so I joined her for dinner. Later Seri Wavelength found us there once she arrived. We talked for a while, then went upstairs. I met Jade Griffin for the first time as she worked on her Demona doll, but she was the only other person I saw. Actually, that's not entirely true. Someone said they'd spotted Karine going to the 21st floor, so I went up there to see if the Con Suite was open yet. I did locate the Con Staff, but since they were quite busy discussing things I probably wasn't supposed to hear, I waved and crept back to my room. Since Alexandria was still at home, I got a bed all to myself while Chyna and Seri shared the other bed. I guess I should say here that our room was very nice. It wasn't enormous, but the beds left plenty of room for two, and the bathroom was spacious. I went to sleep around 11 PM
Friday, August 6, 2004
The three of us didn't really leave our room until around ten in the morning. Although we were hungry, we decided to register first, since registration was about to begin. I saw many familiar faces for the first time when I got there - Ellen, Kathy, Spacebabie, and Whitbourne foremost among them. I also got to meet some first-timers, including Dylan's fiancÃ©e Stormy. We talked for a while, but since the registration was running late, I went to breakfast with Seri and Chyna. I had the buffet, which was delicious. In fact, I got the buffet the following two days as well, and ate so much that I never needed lunch. It's all about the budget, knowhutahmean?
After breakfast we registered, and I got my packet, including two copies of the Phoenix Gate anthology, one for me and one for Mooncat, who unfortunately couldn't come this year. They did a fabulous job on the Anthology, as it was my first time seeing the finished result from cover to cover. I would read all the stories, including my own, more than once over the next few days. Then I went to the Art Room, where I got to meet two people I'd been looking forward to meeting. I feel both have a significance for me as both a fanfic writer and reader. When I first started reading Gargoyles fanfics a couple years ago, I sought out Jennifer, aka CrzyDemona, and asked her where I could find good Demona fics. She referred me to Madame Destine, whose stories continue to be among my favorites to this day. Plus Jen has a hell of a reputation around the fandom, and even if our politics don't match, she strikes me as extremely smart about a lot of things. The second person was Christine Morgan. As a writer who dreams about being published some day, Christine is an obvious inspiration to me. I didn't buy any of her books, but I did grab one of the Demona T-shirts Jen was selling, as well as an official convention T-shirt for my younger brother.
At last the first panels began. I attended Spacebabie's General Round Robin, where we had the unenviable task of creating a story about how Demona and Macbeth's paths crossed while white-water rafting in the Grand Canyon. Most memorable, I think, was a running gag about "dinghies". I also brought out my tape recorder for the first time. I taped several panels throughout the day, both for my own memories and for Mooncat's benefit. Unfortunately, I managed to tape over the GRR panel a couple days later. Oops.
After the round robin, most people went to the Voice Acting Seminar. Keith David was not present, unfortunately. In fact he didn't arrive until Saturday night. But Greg did a very good job. Lucky Seri got to be critiqued on her reading of lines for the second year in a row. Later I also got to read lines for a scene as young Tom. There was also this interesting anecdote about Carol Channing in her bra . . .
At this point I went back to my room. Two seconds later I realized there were new bags in the room, so I hurried back down to registration and confirmed that my final roommate, Princess Alexandria, had indeed checked in. It took me a while to track her down, but we talked for a while until the Opening Ceremonies began. When I went downstairs, I did locate another person who I rarely email but love talking to, Mara Cordova, as well as a few other familiar names.
There I found myself on one of eight teams in the Clan Olympics. I hadn't been planning to devote any time to it, but I was roped in. I participated in two events that night, including a game where sixteen people fought for balls in a big container and ferried them back and forth across the room. I quickly figured out that I couldn't hold many balls at once, so I started searching for balls with lettering on them. One of the balls I found had "1-UP" written on it, like a video game icon. A fateful selection.
Afterwards I learned two things - we were in first place by two points, and the 1-up ball could be used to save one team from elimination. I could either save the eighth-place team, or hold onto the ball in case my team was in last place at some point. Since I didn't know the rules of the game, I didn't see the point of being the nice guy, so I held onto it. Later I discovered that apparently eliminated teams are allowed to make life difficult for the remaining teams. Oops again.
After Opening Ceremonies, which also featured a taped greeting from Ed "Hudson" Asner and my second time listening to the tape of the Gargoyles/Team Atlantis crossover, I stayed for the MGT3K panel hosted by Jade. When she found out I had a tape recorder, I lent it to her so she could tape the show and transcribe it later. (She still has that tape, in fact, and I need to make sure she has my address so she can mail it to me when she's done.) It was very funny, but I only stayed for about half an hour. Then I went out to dinner with Alexandria, Ellen, and Dylan at an Italian restaurant. I love the panels and everything, but it's especially moments like this that I come to the Gathering - being able to spend an hour or two alone with writers and readers and friends who I don't normally get to see, talking about things we normally only discuss via email.
We returned to the hotel by 10 PM, so I could rejoin my team for the second Olympics event, Shot in the Dark. We didn't do that great here and dropped to third. This introduced an element of anxiety in my team (which included my roommate Chyna Rose), and we decided to let yet another team burn. Now we had two teams that hated us. Unfortunately that event took over an hour to finish, so I didn't get ready for bed until almost midnight. This was my first night sharing a bed with Alexandria, but there was enough space in the bed that we didn't have to touch at all if we didn't want to, and everyone slept well.
Saturday, August 7
My Olympics team needed me for Trivia Torture (I think they wanted me to be tortured), but I regretfully (ha ha) passed and went to the Thrill of the Chase panel. The hosts were Christine, Spacebabie, and Ellen. Ellen is a close friend of mine, so I would have gone no matter what the topic was. What we discussed were chase scenes, both in fics and in movies, since chase scenes are so often a part of films.
After that I took a break from the Gathering for a couple hours and went sightseeing in Old Montreal with Alexandria. We ended up shelling out $40 for a thirty-minute carriage ride that let us take in a lot more of the sights than if we'd walked. I was still beat when we got back in time for Really Hard Pictionary. I learned that my team had fallen into fifth place in the Trivia event, which meant we failed to use the 1-UP ball for a third time. So three teams were gone, all thanks to us. Although we were in last now, so I fail to see how we profited from it. Sure enough, the "spirits" conspired to make my Pictionary round more difficult. I had to draw without my glasses (I'm nearsighted, so that had absolutely no effect really), and only one team member (Michael) could guess. Plus I drew one of the harder packets. However, at the risk of sounding a bit immodest, I am a damn good Pictionary player, and I did manage to pull our team into a three-way tie for first before the last team passed us.
That led to a final bonus event where we had to pull colored balls from a bag. We found ourselves in a tie with Mara's team for last, but because of a tiebreaker we ended up in fourth. Since it was our last opportunity to use the 1-UP ball, and since I like Mara a lot, I immediately offered it to her team, but they told me to hang onto it. So my decision not to save them (which must have made a few people scratch their heads in disbelief) left four teams in the running. But we wouldn't find out who won until the Scavenger Hunt the following morning.
Next was the Radio Play, where the Actors read from The Journey, an episode I hadn't seen in a long time. The Actors did a very nice job, especially Stormy as Cagney (that was a very plaintive meow), the guy who played Vinnie, and the Macbeth-Yale eruption.
For the second straight year I passed on the Banquet, so instead Alexandria and I, after voting in the Video Contest, found ourselves having dinner out. We'd hoped to find one of the restaurants we saw in Old Montreal, but it's a funny place over there. Saturday night, and everything seems to be closed! After stumbling around for half an hour, we eventually settled on another Italian place in a completely opposite direction from where we first looked. It was called Guido Angelina, and all I can say is three things. The wait was brief, the portions were huge, and the food was excellent. What more can a guy ask for? Well, a good conversation partner, I guess, and Alexandria and I talked for a very long time about each other's stories. Admittedly, she was my roommate, but I probably spent more time with Alexandria than anyone else this year, and I loved every minute of it.
After we got back I decided to shower and shave before the Masquerade, only to have Seri return just as I was going to shower and announce that Keith had finally arrived and was answering questions downstairs. They were nice enough to wait for me to finish showering before leaving. I got to ask Keith a question about his fight scene from They Live, but the best part was the woman in the next banquet room shrieking Sinatra's "My Way" during karaoke, and Keith says, "Somebody shoot that horse!" Hee hee hee!
Then we had Masquerade. By now everyone knows about the incredible gargoyle costume someone wore (I never did get his name - Kurol?), and I shudder to think of how much time and effort it took to get the costume together. Besides him, the best costumes were Lynati as Ophelia (poor Lynati didn't make it until just as the judges were returning with the results - amazingly, this was the first time I even saw Lynati, who was so helpful before the 2003 Gathering), Cindy as Titania, and someone I didn't know as Ekidna - if it hadn't been for the other guy, I would have picked her as Best in Show, partly because she picked one of the lesser-known characters and did a great job with her reptilian look. I got plenty of pictures, because goodness knows, we had a LOT of costumes this year, and everyone looked great. The only snafu I was aware of - Seri's Pack Fox costume refused to stay in one piece, and she wasn't able to wear it. At least Chyna didn't have any trouble with her Elisa Maza costume.
(Karine made the sensible choice of playing Fox from Walkabout, since it turns out she's six months pregnant. I'm in awe that she was able to continue chairing this convention in her condition. She also had a very nice medieval costume on earlier in the day.)
Later that night I talked to Kathy for a while, and she assured me that I wasn't completely crazy for expecting Andrea to find out about Demona and her sister every time I began to read a Madame Destine story. _That's_ why evil looks so good. It's because she has it so bad :D
After that, I sang "An Innocent Man" by Billy Joel for karaoke. I had hoped to sing "The Bitch is Back", in honor of my favorite character, but the computer was being difficult and I had to choose from an abbreviated list. It's a song I've sung before, but it's not exactly dance music, and wisely people took the time to continue their conversations. Eventually I went back to my room, where Alexandria and I spoke to Mooncat for a while over the phone before the four of us went to bed.
Sunday, August 8
Last day of the Gathering. This time last year, I was going to leave the Gathering as soon as closing ceremonies ended, so I counted the hours and got very depressed. This year my flight wasn't until Monday, so I was able to enjoy this day a little better. Which was a good thing, because I had an Adult Round Robin panel to moderate first thing in the morning. Although this did prevent me from joining my Olympics team for their last event.
Anyway, there were a lot of events going on Sunday morning, so my Adult RR panel had five guests - Alexandria, Ellen, Spacebabie, Alex Garg, and Denis Malkavien. For my first time attending an adult RR, I thought it went very well. Despite selecting names randomly, I couldn't have picked a better pairing than the one we got, Fox Xanatos and Gargoyle-Elisa. I still have to transcribe my tape from that panel, but it went VERY well, and everyone went twice. I also read what would have been my entry in the Reading Contest, had it not been cancelled. They seemed to like it.
After that, I went to the Art Room to do some voting, and discovered the Phoenix Gate Anthology signing was taking place, so I took my seat and signed a lot of copies, as well as getting my copy signed. Unfortunately Summer Jackel and CS Hayden weren't there, but I did get little stickers with their signatures on them. I also bought a lot of trading cards from the Morgans, and I put a bid on one of Cindy's drawings. And since Keith gave his Mug-a-Guest in that room, I had a great seat. I got to ask him another question, this time about his experience working on a sitcom called The Job. This was a definite improvement on the previous night, since Sunday's Mug was cozier, better lit, and it was easier to hear.
At that point there was nothing to do but attend Closing Ceremonies. The 2005 Gathering Committee really sold their Las Vegas convention, and I registered for it as soon as the Ceremonies were over. I also got Keith to sign Mooncat's Anthology for her. And I learned my Clan tied for third in the Olympics. Yay! I also had the winning bid for Cindy's picture of Cowboy Alexander riding Bronx and telling him to "Giddyap!"
Afterwards I had dinner with Ellen, Alexandria, Leo, Sadistic Cow, and Alex Garg in this deserted food court before rejoining Seri and Chyna and about thirty other people for Laser Tag. It was my first time playing as an adult, but I had a lot of fun (except for the twelve block walk) and got extremely sweaty. I selected "Get the other team to hate me" strategy, and I believe I succeeded quite well. By then most people vanished into their rooms, so I waited in my room for a while before I slipped into bed with Alexandria one last time and fell asleep.
Monday, August 9
Not much to say. I woke up at 8 AM, had breakfast, said goodbye to my roommates, and took a taxi to the airport. I got very emotional a couple times, especially when I left a goodbye message on Seri's voicemail and almost lost it in the middle of an airport terminal, but I was able to keep control. The first couple days ARE a very sad time for me, however, because I won't see these people for another year, and 99.9% of the time, it's the only time I see my fellow fans. So I'd like to thank Ellen, Kathy, Dylan, Mara, Stormy, Spacebabie, and everyone else I spoke to at the Gathering this year. I do hope to talk to you all more via the Internet while we wait for the 2005 Gathering.
I had the best roommates this year, I couldn't have asked for anything more from them, so Alexandria, Seri, and Chyna - I trust we will all continue to be friends for some time to come.
Other than the cancellation of the Reading Contest, Karine and the Convention staff did a fabulous job this year, and I had an incredible time. I hope the Las Vegas crew will be able to match it.
And thanks to Greg and Keith for being there. It was a show unlike all others.
Gatherings are of course my favorite time of year too.
So, just to be clear, you never did use that 1UP ball, right?
Hi Greg I have a couple more questions. First off i was wondering if you've heard of TGS [The Gaygoyles Saga Site]?If so do the stories and Series Like Dark Ages,Pendragon,Timedancer,And Gargoyles Continuation actually follow your vision for the Gargoyle Universe? They do seem to have a lot of what your vision is for the series so are those stories what would have actually been had Disney not cancelled Gargoyles? Thanks for your time on all my questions.
Chris, instead of waiting two years for an answer, you could have checked the ASK GREG FAQ and discovered that, yes, I've HEARD of TGS, but I've never read any of it, so I have no idea whether they followed my vision or not...
In any case, I've had no involvement, and aside from tidbits I've dropped here at ASK GREG, the TGS staff could not have known what I had planned.