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RIPOSTES 2006-05 (May)

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Nezumi writes...

The Gathering is one of the most fun conventions I've ever been to. When David and I showed up Friday morning, there was none of that awkwardness that I've felt at other cons. People I'd never seen before online or off invited us to join in their conversations right from the moment we showed up. I never had a chance to be shy.

We disappeared into the dealer's room to set my stuff up for the art show for about an hour. While we were there, Maui showed up to ask people to join the Clan Olympics. I volunteered myself and the boy, but we didn't know anyone to be the other 2 members of the team. Maui solved that problem by giving us to another pair of homeless players. This turned out to be the best thing to happen at the con. I love my clan. We met Reusch and Top Man for the first time that morning. By the end of lunch you couldn't tell that we hadn't been friends for years. And the woman at McDonald's was our arch nemesis. I still wish Reusch had actually tried to eat that salad with the plastic knife or maybe even both forks. We went to some different panels, but our team spent most of the weekend together.

David and I had a blast at the Life Drawing panel. It was very relaxed and there was a lot of fun conversation going on. At least until the TV crew showed up because that's when the reclusive artist instincts seemed to kick in for all of us. If you keep quiet and don't look up, nobody will notice you ^_~ I'm only sorry that we had to miss the second session because of the Hunter's Moon Dash part of the Olympics.

The cosplay was great. There were such cool costumes! The Bronx was my favorite and all because of that little waggly stump of tail on her costume. I went as Anastasia Renard… but nobody noticed. It's not exactly a costume that stands out as one. And really, of everyone at the con only David would know how strange it is for me to be in a dress. I'm glad I dressed up anyway. It was fun ^_^

Greg responds...

Glad you both had a good time. See you next month?

Response recorded on May 31, 2006

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French Kitty writes...

Hi again.
I forgot to ask this with my last post. About Elisa and Goliath's Halloween double-date, what would they have gone(or will go as) for the party? Goliath probably the same, but what about Elisa? Would she and Jason/Morgan dress together as a known couple (like Goliath and Elisa as Belle and the Beast)? If so as what?
And what would Delilah goes as?

Greg responds...

I'm not revealing this at this time. But check out the new Gargoyles comic book.

All will be revealed...

Response recorded on May 30, 2006

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Spacebabie writes...

Saturday Aug 7

Woke up and washed and dried my hair. I decided to wear my Pirates of the Caribbean shirt. I joined Ellen in the restaurant downstairs and ordered pancakes and a cup of coffee. They placed a variety of fruit on my pancakes including kiwi. The two of us went over our panel notes while we ate.

Christine and our audience were already waiting for us. We assembled at the table and the panel began. We want through various examples and brought up several movies that highlighted our examples before we asked questions.

After the panel I went into the art and dealers room. I voted on the various subjects and bid on a couple of pieces. I went to Alan's table and bout a G200f shirt, pin and Phoenix Gate Anthology.

Next thing I went to was the auction. It was fairly entertaining despite the lack of stripping. One highlight was Siryn chasing after Taras. I managed to win the following: a gargoyles binder, a coloring book, and three action figures: Xanatos, Elisa, and Brooklyn aka No Neck

I had enough time to put away my stuff and come back for the Radio play. Mara sat next to me and I had something to drink and a bag of Crispy Minis to snack on. There was a huge cast this year. The play was the Journey. Michael McAdam was an excellent Vinnie. Revel sounded a whole lot like Broadway. Jen and Ethan played off each other well and so did Chris and Cindy. They earned that huge applause. When Dylan (As Brooklyn) read out his line at the end of the Broadway and Angela kiss there were a few sympathetic awwws. Zehra was an amazing Elisa and Rob made a sessy Goliath. Emambu as Castaway was breathtaking. At end a few audience members wanted to sign up as Quarrymen because of Erik's performance.

Revel:" I told you she would love it." Revel to Erik about his performance. I was the She since I have the same feelings for Jon/Canmore/Castaway as Siryn does for Vinnie. It's scary, I know.

The lighting in the room for the banquet was pretty dim and the candles did not help. It was almost as dark as the banquet from 2000. Revel and I sat at a table with Seri, Chynarose, Kathy, Yrrgdrsl and I think Mandi

The banquet was amazing. We had tasty rye rolls with butter and some water to munch on before the appetizer. I loved the menus and placed mine in my bag to keep as a souvenir. The appetizer was interesting. It almost looked like a work of art and wondered how I was supposed to eat it. I took a picture of it because it was so pretty. I managed to nibble around the edges, eating the large shrimp and the olive before I dove into the shrimp and avocado sauce. I'm a shrimp whore. The salad was good and I loved the dressing. The main course was pleasing to all of my senses except for hearing. I can't remember the last time I had quail. It was hard eating the legs but I managed the veggies. The veggies were good and I loved the round potatoes served in a tortilla shell. The dessert was a perfect finish. I had the fruit charlotte with strawberry coulise. Hmmm it was like a tiramisu.

As were eating our desserts Keith David arrived. The poor guy barely sat down to eat when we began to fire questions.
That was when it started. We were trying to have a Q and A when they decided to strangle cats next store. That was when it sounded like when the group next door made their tragic attempt at Karaoke. I know I can't sing, but these people made could make me sound like Amy Lee from Evanescence.

"Could someone please shoot that horse?"- Keith David

Revel and I left around 8: 15, giving us 45 minutes to change for the Masquerade. Revel draped himself in a towel and sat in the tub while I sprayed in the dye. I used the white for the streak followed by the black on the sides.

I quickly slipped into my outfit: white skirt, peach colored shirt, and a white button up blouse to use as a nurses jacket. I attached the badge on my blouse and slapped band-aids on my heels (to prevent blisters) before I slipped on my heels. I felt sympathy for Eden, Lynati and everyone who put on body make up and rubbed on body shimmer over my shins, arms and dabbed a little on the apples of my cheeks.

We gathered in the room on the left of the banquet. There were many amazing costumes. There was a Fox and a Xanatos from "Eye of the Beholder". It went well with Jade-Griffin's Elisa as Belle. There was an Elisa and Dracon from "Protection." Becca was an adorable Bronx. There was also an Elisa-goyle, Thailog, Banshee, Renaissance Hunter, Quarryman, and Ekidna. Dancer was a princess and Caille as Argentina.

Sapphire's Cosplay was first and I wish I could have seen it. Dancer was next and then it was my turn. I'm getting used to the masquerades. I didn't feel any bit nervous and actually enjoyed strutting my stuff while Jen shouted, "Work it girl."
I sat next to Dancer and took more pictures of the others as they took their poses. The last was Loopy in his AMAZING gargoyle costume and filked "Rubber ducky" as the gargoyle afraid of heights.

During intermission we all waited outside and took more pictures. I interchanged between cameras in my skirt pockets.
A variety of prizes were given out in the forms of ribbons, medals and trophies. Lynati arrived in her Ophelia costume and holy cow it was cool! I won third place for Noncannon.

After the prizes were given out we started to mingle some more, took some pictures. Sapphire and I got onto the dance floor and danced a little bit before Revel and I returned to our rooms. Revel to slip out of his costume and wash out the dye and me to change into some pants and clean off some of the shimmer.

We returned in time to see Keith David finish singing and Watched Allaine sing. I never expected Allaine could sing so well. A pity we missed Erik's singing. I sat next to Mara and I was already feeling my energy had been used up for the day. When the YMCA dancers gathered both Mara and I just placed foot on the floor and tapped along with the music.

"Young man, something, something, something."

Next up Sunday.

Greg responds...

I'll admit I'm running out of pithy responses to the G-diaries, but I still love reading 'em.

Response recorded on May 30, 2006

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French Kitty writes...

Hi Greg, how are you?

I know that you had a plan for Goliath and Elisa to go on a Halloween double-date. Would this be Elisa's decision? How long after Hunter's Moon III would this have taken place? How long after that would they have decided that that was pointless and become a couple? If the show comes back will this episode be aired?

Thanx, bye! >^-^<

Greg responds...

I won't answer this now, except to say BUY THE COMIC BOOK -- all will be revealed!

Response recorded on May 26, 2006

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Spacebabie writes...

Friday August 6
I forgot what time I woke up but we had a few hours till registration opened. Showered and selected my Ravenclaw shirt and khaki pants to wear. After I exchanged some American for Canadian money Revel and I went to search for food. We found a nice lil café. I had a muffin and a bagel with some coffee.

When we returned to the hotel we ran into Cindy aka Eden, Patrick and a handful of fandom artists. They needed a few hands. We first came in with panel boards followed by the poles. Assembling the poles reminded me of a giant Kinex set.

Several people were gathered around the registration tables and I noticed some familiar faces including Chyna-rose, Seri-wavelength, Allaine, Ellen, and Dylan and many more. I was reintroduced to Dylan's fiancée" Stormy", and Chameleon girl. It was great getting reacquainted with everyone I have talked with via e-mail, message boards, chat rooms and instant messengers.

I was pretty amazed with the program. They were beautifully done and well organized. I noticed my panel was bumped up to noon, giving me a few minutes to glance over some off the program.

I noticed the candies they had set up for the panel table. I had a good number of attendants. The whole panel got turned into a running gag about Macbeth and his dinghy.

Shortly after I glanced back into the dealers room and bought a few books from Tim Morgan. Christine was there to sing them including the gift for my father. I came across Karine in the room. She asked how my panel went and I told her it was great and I apologized about not finding any Shock Tarts for her. She was able to find some in Montreal.

The Next panel I attended was Greg's voice acting seminar. That was when the DVD camera crew arrived. Greg was instructing the crowd how to voice act and asked CrzyDemona's help to read for Demona. She did that too well. He gave the script to Seri and he gave a few pointers after she read. The other scenes performed were form M.I.A and Awakening pt1. Greg even told a story about Carol Channing and a chiffon blouse.

Afterwards it was Eden's costume panel. I learned how to take care of wigs: create wings, tales and brow ridges. I also learned two good kinds of body paint to use.

I was starving afterwards. Revel ad I walked uphill to find a place for food. We found a McDonalds and to my disappointment a quarter ponder with cheese is not a Royal with Cheese. It was still food and the fries were a bit salty but it was good to have something to nibble on during opening ceremonies.

The welcoming pitches were excellent and for the 2005 pitch Chris looked sharp in his suit. The clan Olympics took everyone by Surprise but they were fun to watch. It is always great to see the newbies and the spin off pitches again.

The evening ended with "The not quite so blue" Mug a guest. It was hard to squeeze all who wanted to come on the room, but we managed. The highlights that were included were:
Several details about the DVD.
The fact "Angels in the Night" could have been much worse.
CrzyJen making fun of Erik's soup.
Greg making fun of Liz falling asleep.
Siryn crawling under my legs to get under the table.
My own legs falling asleep.

I had to leave early to get a good night's sleep to prepare for the next day.

Next up Saturday

Greg responds...

Christine SINGS her books? I had no idea. How cool!

Response recorded on May 26, 2006

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Abram WinterSmith writes...

Here is that last chunk of it...sorry about that.

Everyone who approached me to sign their Phoenix Gate Anthology, thank you for giving me the privilege of scrawling my name and heartfelt thanks in there. Writing for that book was a big step for me, and to know that there are people out there who are enjoying that story is enough to keep me inspired, and to continue plugging away at something deep down inside I truly love. To Cindy for encouraging me to gather up the courage to write that story, and to Christine Morgan, who helped me refine it.

To Kythera, thank you for giving me something of your heart, I consider that a privilege and a wonderful distinction. Love you much, sis.

To Greg Weisman and Keith David. Thank you both for making the trek to Montreal to attend this year's Gathering. Greg, I don't usually get a chance to speak with you all that much, but when I do it's fascinating, entertaining, and thoughtful. You're a great gentleman, and it just wouldn't be the same without you. Keith, it was pleasure to see you again, and a great honor to meet your family. After seven years, despite the changes in your life, both personal and professional, you've remained the same down-to-earth, wonderful human being (or gargoyle) that I met back in 1997. Bless you both.

Last and not least, to everyone who came to the Gathering, to each and every one of you whom I've had the pleasure and joy to meet and speak with. It's a moving feeling to know that one is welcomed somewhere, and despite the dark hours, one is truly never really alone. Thank you for your companionship, kind words, cheers, jeers, and laughter.

Now THAT'S it…nothing left to say except for:


Scott "Abram" Rogoff

Greg responds...

Thank you, Abram. See you soon!

Response recorded on May 25, 2006

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Abram WinterSmith writes...

Greg, you asked for a Gathering 2004 Journal. Here is my contribution:

The 8th Annual Gathering of the Gargoyles
A Convention Journal by Scott "Abram" Rogoff

This is the fifth Gathering convention that I have had the pleasure and privilege of attending, so I figured it was about time to start the tradition of writing a Gathering Journal. I'm not entirely sure why I decided that this was the right time to do it…being someone who is somewhat good with the written word, it would make sense to write something about a convention that I've grown incredibly fond of. Add this notion to the fact that I've been regularly updating a LiveJournal for over two and a half years and it's pretty much a no-brainer at this point. I know that I've got a lot of mental notes of the other four Gatherings that I've attended in 1997, 1998, 2000, and 2002, but I will wait just a little while longer to write about those. The matter at hand (or talon in this case?) is to relate what happened in the most recent past. Sit back, and enjoy the read…I hope this proves to entertaining.

"Hey! You Could Fly Over Here and We Can Drive Up!"

I met Shaun "BrooklynX" Donagher at the 2000 Gathering, but for the life of me I couldn't remember what he looked like until this weekend. I think I ran into him in Sapphire's Raptor Chat and we began to talk in there, and then over AIM, and eventually we added each other to our LiveJournal Voyeur's lists. Being writers, we both seemed to be full of all sorts of zany and cool ideas, which culminated in the creation of several storylines, though I'm not sure if any of them will make it to a more public forum. We've been having fun with it, and exchange the frequent smart-assed remarks back and forth…this sort of behavior often marks the start of a good friendship.
We were talking about the 2004 Gathering and discussing matters such as rooming and transportation. Originally neither of us had any room mates picked out, but we both needed to find one in order to make the hotel price a bit more on the reasonable side…so we decided to room together. (Flanker and Mike would later join the mix). I figured Shaun already had his plane ticket to Montreal already purchased, but he then mentioned to me that he hadn't…so drawing from my innate like of road trips, I offered to drive him up to the Gathering if he flew into Rochester. The move would actually save him over a hundred dollars, and it would be a lot of fun too. So before I knew it, I had a travel buddy. So already this was going to be fun trip, and it was going to start a little earlier than the Gathering.
At this time Siryn was still in Rochester and I think I extended the offer to her to drive up with Shaun and myself, and then I found out she was moving away from the area. However, she did offer to get me in contact with Sarah McEvoy…AKA "Sarah the Great". After spending five days traveling and hanging out with her, I know she's fitting of the namesake; a wonderful and funny person she is, and a great travel buddy as well. We spent some time making phone calls to one another and planning things, and before we knew it, everything was set up…our Journey to and from The 8th Annual Gathering was to begin on the 4th….

Wednesday, August 4th - Yes, It Started THAT Early…

It's funny how at the Gathering and the events leading up to it I'm suddenly willing to wake up extremely early to get things done. When the alarm clock buzzed at 6:30am I practically jumped out of bed, full of energy. Shaun's flight was to arrive around 10:40 and there was no way that I was going to be late to pick him up. I quickly prepared a sizable cue card and wrote "SHAUN PUP" in big green and silver letters, a very quick job, but it was quite noticeable. A few businessmen gave me a few funny looks and an older woman asked me if my dog could actually read signs. I shrugged and told her he was a German Shepard, so he damn well better be able to read. She made a funny noise and walked away, about ten minutes before Shaun actually came walking up the ramp, I knew him from the Weird Al shirt. Leaving the sign behind we started on the pre-Gathering preparations: The procurement of chocolate and Pocky.
We headed to the Asian Food Store in Henrietta and grabbed about five boxes of Pocky, and a bottle of ginger dressing that Liz requested, the keepers of the store asked us what we were going to do with all that stuff and we mentioned the Gargoyles Convention…they were pretty keen on that. Next was to Godiva Chocolateer to pick up the order I placed with them…some 75 bars of their chocolate on sale, all varieties…sadly only one white chocolate bar left in the entire store, but milk, dark, raspberry, and almond bars filled the order out nicely; they would do for the little surprise I had planned for the Convention Staff…anybody who is reading this knows full well how evil I am.
Mwu. Ha. Ha.
It was about 3pm by the time Shaun and I got back to my place, and he was pretty exhausted, I was beginning to feel tired too, so we chilled out a bit. He had picked up Doom 3 at Best Buy on our way home so he was busy installing that, and I went out to go get some preparation stuff for dinner. Sarah the Great arrived shortly after that, and we got to meet each other for the first time…again. She presented me with a bottle of raspberry wine, which was very sweet of her. We woke up Shaun and we got to catch up with one another, we talked a lot about politics, some Gargoyles stuff, and basically got all bouncy about the convention. Dinner was good save for the sudden attack by a juice-spitting hamburger as I was grilling it, but the clothes got washed and everything was fine after that. We kept on talking until a little before sundown and then grabbed some Seneca Farms Ice Cream for dessert. Anyone who visits my place during the Summer will almost certainly wind up coming to Seneca Farms either for ice cream, fried chicken, or both.
After some more talking, Shaun decided to offer up a movie, and we all watched "Hellboy", which was cool for the visual effects, a little thin on story, but still a good film…I'm going to see it again with Leva, and I'm still looking forward to it. Funny how it took a Gathering to finally get me to hook up my DVD Player. ;) We then went to pack the car, having decided to take just my Neon….at first it seemed like a bad idea, but we fit all of my stuff, all of Sarah's stuff, Shaun's equipment and prints, and the Clan Olympics crap into the thing, and still had room for ourselves. HUZZAH! We all then headed to bed, for we knew we were going to have one heck of a day ahead of us.

Thursday, August 5th - I Wanted to be on the Metric Clock: 100 Hours a Day…

Waking up at 7:30am, we all headed down to have some breakfast and get our final trip preparations set up. Sarah took the front seat, she was going to be my navigator because of her fondness for maps, of which I had absolutely no argument against. Shaun took the seat behind and was…Color Commentary…because all road trips need one of those. Before we knew it, I had burned a bagel, Sarah had the trip planned and I was ready to start driving. We were OFF TO CANADA!
Trip went extremely quickly, we got to the New York State Thruway and covered the first 70 miles or so in a little over an hour before hitting Route 81 North right up to the Canadian Border…but we needed to stop at the Duty-Free Shop for the obligatory alcohol purchase. About the only time I will purchase hard liquor freely is when it's not taxed, and I found some Godiva White Chocolate Liquor…HAD to pick up a bottle of that stuff, but decided at the last minute to put it toward The Evil Plan. We each picked up a bottle of booze, Shaun picked up one for Karine, and Sarah grabbed some for herself. Always a nice way to shop, beats the local liquor store.
Customs was pretty routine, but I was nervous. After all, I hadn't been to Canada in four and a half years. I knew I had to have a passport now, and had that out of the way. After the questions were answered, the Canadian Border Patrolwoman told me I should sign my passport before going back to the United States so I wouldn't get into any trouble. We're pulling away and out of the blue I half-yell "Suckers!", not knowing that Shaun had not yet rolled up his window. Luckily, no flashing lights or sirens were following the car, so I think the little faux pas went unnoticed, though we all shared a pretty good laugh over it and then pulled into a Service Centre for a Wendy's run…I did some Instant Lottery and found out that the terminals play a jingle when you cash in a winner. I already knew I was going to play, since going to the Casino Montreal was more than likely not going to happen. Besides, I put a sum of money aside just to play with my Latex Fixation (one of these days, this may lead to pointy ears, gargoyle feet, and other stuff that may lead to a costume…).
We arrived on the outskirts of Montreal around 2:30pm or so, and we began to search for the Hotel. Shaun pointed vaguely in the direction of the Live Meet Location, so that was cool. After passing that we began to get into the more stop-and-go traffic of Montreal heading toward Center-Ville. After overshooting the hotel by about ten minutes we backtracked and made it to the Delta Center-Ville, our home for the next five days and four nights…in a real nice section of downtown Montreal. It was weird to finally be back to this city after four and a half years. From 1997 to about 2000 I would visit Karine, Genvieve, and that whole crew on a pretty regular basis, usually during the Spring. I remembered Rue University, old Montreal (which I regrettably didn't get to see much of this time), and LaRounde. This was the first time that I was going to stay at a hotel and enjoy the hospitality of Montreal, and after the four nights were up, I can say that it was one of the best hotels I've had the pleasure of staying in.
Shaun and I checked in, and we ran into Cindy, Talyesin, Karine, Karlyl, Sapphire, and a few others over that afternoon. Finally got to meet Kaylee too, which was very cool; always a wonderful feeling to put a face and voice behind the online persona. Old favorites soon followed up, like Crzy Demona, Siryn, and Liz. Gatherings are like family reunions in a way, only you don't necessarily want to kill the people you're meeting, and your cheeks don't get pinched nearly as much, if at all. The convention staff all went their ways to get things prepared, and I went up to the 14th floor to claim my bed…and shortly afterward met John Clemens, AKA "Flanker", he and I hit it off right away and I spent a lot of time just hanging out with him over the four days up there.
Since I brought my Gamecube up, as per the plan with Sapphire, I decided to hook it up and practice (if Liz was a good as she said she was, I would need it!)…and it was one of THOSE television sets…the ones where you couldn't hook up a game system without a special plug. No problem, went up the mall on St. Catherine's and got one at Radio Shack, also had a late lunch with Flanker as well. Subway is good in any country. We walked around, got used to the uphill/downhill trekking, and made it back to the hotel. The 'Cube began to work, and I enjoyed some MarioKart for a little bit before wandering around and exploring the hotel some more.
Sarah the Great joined Flanker and I as we began to explore Montreal some more and we wandered about into old Montreal, which was just as pretty as I remembered it. We caught a few of the sights, contemplated dinner at one of the fine restaurants, but decided against it, and just wandered around some more until we hit the fine cuisine of Tim Hortons, a place which I will probably go out of my way to eat at from now on. The three of us discussed a few topics, mainly politics and the state of affairs in the United States, Bush Worries, and other things. Three Gargoyles Fans and not a bit of discussion on gargoyles, go figure, but it was a liberating experience to be able to talk current events without getting my head bitten off for saying the "wrong thing". Good food, great friends, and awesome conversation…who could ask for more?
We all headed back to the hotel afterwards, and I caught up with Wingless, Seth Jackson, Kyt-Sis, Norcumi, Gorebash, and a few others (if I forgot your names, I'm sorry, there was just so many of you!). Found out that Kyt was rooming right next to me, so she and I went back up to my room and I presented her with the copy of "Final Fantasy: Origins" I was hoarding, and the hint book that went with it. It was worth seeing the look on her face. She and I talked for a bit, and then we headed back down to do some more catching up. Seth and I talked video games, Wingless and I spoke a bit, but I mostly just basked in the happiness of seeing old friends, and being in the company of new ones.
MAui, Arno, and Dubble all came by shortly afterwards, and shortly after, MAui and I began to plot and plan for the first Clan Olympics event; as in how we wanted to pull it off and get it done. We also brainstormed on just what in the Hell the event "A Shot in the Dark" would entail. As we plotted in the hotel lobby, I believe Jade Griffon ran up to me and gave me a hug, we spoke briefly then and there too…and Gorebash and I caught up a little. By this time, I was going into sensory overload, but in an extremely happy way. Eventually, MAui and I went back to my room and I showed off my work on the Clan Olympics, and she showed me the cards she worked on…everything looked awesome: so well-done and professional-looking. She really outdid herself on that, and I think her efforts really made this year's competition special.
At this point, I remembered that our 4th Roomie, Mike Cohen, was probably downstairs in the hotel lobby, probably about ready to lynch me. I made it down to the lobby and began looking for anyone with an orange shirt…and lucked out, for Mike was the only one dressed in orange. I led him back up to the room, helped get him settled in and then went back to planning and plotting with MAui until we both got tired. Shaun Pup eventually came back from the Con Staff dinner with Greg Weisman, and we settled down for bed, knowing that at about eight thirty in the morning, we would be all out and about.

Friday, August 6th - We Have Infiltrated…

MAui and I woke up early to walk up to St. Catherine's and search for Cheap Plastic Award Medals…a mission that ended in failure, but it gave us plenty of exercise. We walked around the Eaton Centre and searched through those teeny bopper shops, but nothing really jumped out at us. Oh well, one would figure that this being an Olympic year in general they would be easier to find. Note to self: buy them in bulk…
Since we only got one team to pre-register for the Clan Olympics, we decided a few days before the convention, along with Liz, to set up a table for prospective teams. I sent out Sarah the Great to cull the Gathering Attendees and find some suitable quartets. It didn't take long before the first of seven teams to register, and the mix was very impressive; the 2005 Gathering Staff put up a team, a few teams of Con Virgins, and the Arcadians all put up their bids for the cheap non-metal medals this year. I brought out "Billy" for the first time (he's that ridiculous-looking grinning kid, he probably weaseled his way into a bunch of photos…). We had a full compliment of teams by about 3pm or so, which made me a very relieved man. Also over this time I got to talk a little more with Talyesin and enjoyed speaking with him. Tried badgering CrzyDemona into putting up a Clan Olympics team this year, but she turned me down, and also chatted with people in general, which is always a fun thing to do at a Gathering.
In the middle of all of this, and preparing for a couple of the games, I heard a guy ask what this was all about, and wound up face to face with one of the Disney DVD Cameramen. Brain goes on automatic and I just start calmly stating how the Clan Olympics started, what they were all about, and how it all worked…and blabbered about how good the fandom was in general, being so tightly-knit and all. Honestly, I haven't the slightest clue if I actually sounded decent or wound up being a bloated moronic ass about the whole thing. It seemed to last much longer than it did, mainly because of being nervous as Hell...after all, when one could potentially be speaking in front of thousands of people who buy the DVD on December 7th, 2004, one tends to get a bit scared. I can only imagine how Chris Rogers, Hudson, Karine, and anyone else who got interviewed would feel. But what are you going to do, run away? Become silent? Nah, just say what's on your mind and let the viewers in on the fun, and who knows…maybe we'll get a bunch more people in on the Gatherings in the coming years.
Around 5pm or so I manage to track down MAui and we decide to finally look at the room where the Opening Ceremonies are…and that's when everything began to sink in, we were going to steal the show in the middle of everything. Now I know Liz, Anne, and I all planned this ahead of time, and the staff also knew what we were up to. However, as the two of us worked on walking to the sides of the dais in unison and then went through our cue cards, I had one overriding thought going through my head: "They are SO going to kick our ass about this!" When you plan on flinging some 400 balls around a room in front of a live audience and in front of the people hosting the convention you're attending, there was call to be nervous. In about thirty minutes, we both felt somewhat comfortable with what we were doing. Even if we weren't, it was way too late to back out now.
I run up to grab the ball pit, MAui grabs the sunglasses, and we take our seats at the back of the room, and when Liz spoke the pre-determined trigger words, we slowly walked up, circular cue cards in hand, and just lurked on either side of the dais table. We take one look at one another, give the thumbs up sign like a pair of blues brother-and-sister, with some Matrix-like flair, and we hold up the first cards…and then drop them to reveal our first words. I didn't expect the crowd to react like they did, but they genuinely seemed to like what we did.
I introduced the teams for the Clan Olympics, and they all came on up, cheered, and whooped it up. Then many of them went into semi-shock when we announced that the first event would be RIGHT NOW. MAui grabbed the Holey Shirts, and I wheeled the balls to the center back, and before long, everyone was psyched up to do the event, and the crowd got to see first hand what this was all about. In two minutes it was over, and we were counting things, determining the first team to be on the chopping block. We took our "victims" out of the room and said "we now return you to your regularly-scheduled Opening Ceremonies…" I think the audience and staff really liked it…and then our first eliminated team began to smile when MAui and I let them in on the secret that they would be able to come back as "Spirits" and haunt the surviving teams.
After briefing the Dark Knights about their new role, I went back into the Opening Ceremonies and watched Greg Weisman speak about the whole Gargoyles phenomenon and he shared with us the original pitches for the show, pitches for some other shows, and audio tapes of Ed Asner, Greg Guler, and a few others. Another treat was an audio tape of the Atlantis series, which had Demona in it…and for some strange reason it sounded a lot like an erotic fantasy…but then again I think my mind was in the gutter…as were others. At the end of the presentation, the message was pretty clear: tell friends about Gargoyles, let them, know that the DVD comes out on December 7th, and that this is the last chance to push it…make or break time. The Opening Ceremonies concluded and MAui and I presented Greg with eight bars of Godiva Chocolate, since no team won that prize, and there was more than enough to go around.
I flitted about with the convention goers for another hour and a half or so, met a lot more people and was able to pal around some more before needing to pick up everything for the second Clan Olympics event. I managed to sneak in on the tail end of Jade Griffin's "Mystery Gargoyles Theatre 3000", an event which I wish I had attended because I LOVE that sort of thing. However, there was more work to do…fun work mind you, but still work. Got about half of the ballroom cleared out and set up our "Shot in the Dark" shooting gallery. The first quartet of Spirits made their way into the darkened room, grinning evilly, and were anxiously awaiting their first opportunity to mess with Clan Challanged: Part Duex…the team that refused to save them from elimination.
The surviving teams found out that the Dark Knights had crossed over to the Dark Side of the games, and were going to be trying to keep them from scoring points. The twist seemed to work quite well for that event, and it was enjoyable. People were throwing Koosh Balls around, the Squishy Soccer Balls saw some action…one guy was whipping them clear across the room and hitting targets…a real deadeye there. In the end everyone seemed to enjoy it, and the Defective Gargoyles got eliminated, Clan Challanged refusing to save anyone again. That's how the cookie crumbles, and they seemed to have some evil plans set up for the next event, which would take place the next morning.
Alright, survived the first day of Gathering, made it through the first two events, and things are going great. Everyone is having a good time, I'm feeling pretty damn good at the moment, and aim to find something to do. Originally wanted to do the Blue Mug-A-Guest, because I never really got a chance to do it before…wasn't going to happen this time around because the room there was PACKED, you couldn't even open the door…I knew this from Shaun, who was sitting propped up against the wall, waiting to deliver a VCR to the con suite. It was right then and there that I realized that I hadn't eaten a damn thing since last night. That was bright….so I'm looking around for people who hadn't gone to sleep or out to see Montreal at night, wind up saying hi to the crew in MAui's room, asked someone to walk with me to Tim Horton's…just didn't comfortable walking alone at night in the city, even one as nice and clean as Montreal…my New York City heritage rearing its ugly head.
Originally, no one was able to join me, so I wandered about, tried the "Liquid Dinner" thing and realized that wasn't going to work all that well…I really needed someone to walk with, and share dinner with. Countess then decided to join me, and I was very grateful for that. Got a chance to get to know someone new, and found out she lives in Montreal, which was good to know. We also talked about my past, explained where I came from, how I got to be, and all that…mainly just rambling, but she either really enjoyed getting to know the man behind Abram, or was just humoring me for the hell of it. In any case, I was appreciative for the company, and we left back for the hotel with much milk in hand, a rarity at most conventions.
Countess went to bed, I wished the Arcadian Room goodnight, and I plodded back up to my room, and ran into Kythera, whom I gave my last chocolate milk to…she's a major fan of the stuff like I am. ^_^ We shared a milk and some tired friendly grunts and words, and then decided to collapse…Shaun was already in bed, and the VCR was in tow. Flanker and Mike soon made their way back and we all finally wound down for some much-needed rest….

Saturday, August 7th - Breakfasts of Champions, Spirits, Pictionary, and Shyness.

At conventions, you don't sleep…it really doesn't matter if you're on the Convention Staff or are a Program Presenter, or if you're new to these get-togethers. Either you have something to do or somewhere to be, or you actually want to be up early to enjoy being with friends for as long as possible. At Gatherings, I'll happily wake up at 8am, or even seven or six in the morning if it meant hanging out with good people. So when that alarm rang I was all ready to go, and had all my stuff ready to go for the next Clan Olympics event.
Ran down to Arcadia Room to grab MAui, who was still asleep, so I simply went ahead to set up for Trivia Torture, the third event for the weekend. The first people who entered the auditorium were the members of the Green Dragons: Sapphire, Chameleongirl, Karlyl, and Kyffin. I don't know what it was, but that really made my morning when they came in and took their seats. Of course I was still setting up, running late like I usually did. MAui soon joined us, and then my co-host and I set everything else up as the other teams filed in for the Trivia Torture, with Billy grinning like a constipated evil genius behind me.
The event was pretty well-received, especially the torture part of it. MAui and I took turns reading the questions and teams scrambled to "Buzz In" by writing their answers on pads and hoisting them into the air as quickly as possible. Bonus cards were picked by teams, who earned points, all while ripping off targets from their opponents. Lanny actually came up and grabbed a pair of cards, which put another member of his team on the chopping block, and then he picked the "Abram 1-up", which put ME on the chopping block with his two hapless teammates. In the end, one of the 2005 Con Staff got her hair colored, Lanny got to enjoy toothpaste with an orange juice chaser, and I discovered the culinary perfection which is Godiva Chocolate dunked in Montreal's Finest Bleu Cheese Dressing. It wasn't all that bad, except for the whole chocolate and salad dressing part…I think there are some blackmail pictures floating around of me with this horrible disgusted look on my face as I choked my punishment down.
We're all having a grand all time, eating toothpaste and orange juice, sucking down Godiva and Bleu Cheese, and spray-painting our hair for a good hour, and it came down to the Green Dragons and Arcadia International. Both teams had a major shot of winning this event until one of the Spirit Teams decided to screw over the Dragons…which didn't sit well with them. (Frankly, I don't blame them). Since I already laid down the ground rules on Friday I really couldn't do much about it without upsetting someone, so like an yutz I let it stand. The last thing I ever want to do is upset people, so seeing the event end on such a sour note made me feel bad…things got smoothed over a bit after a while, and at the very least I know that rules will need to be streamlined a bit better. Live and learn, I suppose. Also have to make it clear that the games are spectator-friendly; people -can- come in and watch the proceedings and root teams on. That was one of my "Stupid Guy Moments."
I spent some time wandering around the convention afterwards, checking out the artwork in the show and looking at the dealer's room booths. Took some time to vote on the art show awards and place my ballots out. A lot of excellent illustrations this year, it was hard to pick winners for all the categories that were given. I did the best I could and went ahead and voted for what I thought deserved it, only way to do it, really. Oogled over Liz's artwork, marveled at Karlyl's, and Jade Griffen's…and Karine's and Talyesin's…so much wonderful work, so little time. Maybe next year, if I keep myself on schedule, I'll have the first of my "Talon-Etched" pots to throw into the mix. However, illustration still remains a medium that I continue to admire, and give praise for where it's deserved…and practically everyone in that show did.
It was about this time that MAui and I walked up to Eaton Centre to try to find those elusive Cheap Plastic Gold Medals, but we merely wound up finding chintzy crap that didn't suit our needs. Kind of sucked, but what can you do? It was a good walk, anyway. MAui went to Tim Horton's, and I went back to the hotel to prepare for the next event, and to regroup a bit.
Really Difficult Pictionary was a hit at the 2002 Convention, and this year I happened to be extra evil and got some true doozies for our surviving teams to sketch out. I think the best score was 4 out of 10, so I felt a little guilty about that, but not too much guilt since everyone had an awesome time. The "Secret Bonus Event" was revealed as a version of the "Three Strikes" game from the Price is Right…and a bit of "Press Your Luck" thrown in for that. I'm a sucker for game show references. In the end, it was Arcadia International, the Mexinadians, Clan Challanged: Part Deux, and Team Canadian Body Massage going to the final four…and they got their Collection Bins to prove it. The Final Four got a chance to decorate their boxes with team logos and pictures. "Poutine Grande" is an image that will be etched into my head for the rest of my life…and one of these days I will serve Poutine in a Taco Shell to Top Man, whom I believe was the person who dreamed up of that monstrosity. Funny thing is, it might actually taste pretty good…stranger culinary feats have occurred, after all.
Robert and Flanker asked if they could do the rest of the Really Difficult Pictionary sets and MAui agreed to it. I busied myself throwing out paper and trash that had been amassed by our drawing antics…when I got back up there they were still at it…and Robert celebrated in his ability to get all ten of his clues in the four-minute time limit. Either a sense of pointless pride or a need to be included overrode me and I stepped up to the drawing board…and also managed to get 10 out of 10, and in slightly less time, proving that I can play the games as well as organize and make them up. There were some 30 or so people in La Terrence playing Pictionary and having a blast, that was the main point of the whole thing, and the spirit of the games definitely seemed to be with us.
Just as we finished cleaning up our mess and putting back huge pads did Talyesin call out and ordered us all to the auditorium for the Radio Play, something I was looking forward to. In 1998, I actually auditioned for Greg's radio play and got a minor role (which eventually led me to find out more about Spike than I bargained for…one of the funnier convention memories I hold, but that's for another Gathering Diary). However, I haven't quite worked up the courage to try out for another one yet, and Clan Olympics takes up a big chunk of my time anyway. One year I may go for another Radio Play role. When I got into the auditorium, I was actually pretty glad I wasn't part of the play, but only for the reason that the entire front area in front of the seats was PACKED.
There were some 30 roles in this year play, and it was based on "The Journey" I believe…everyone did an excellent job, especially Talyesin as Goliath, and the guy who played Vinnie. A lot of other friends were involved, and honestly every last one of them really made it a success. The whole thing kicked major butt, and being a spectator to it was a great break from all of the running around. Already looking forward to what will happen at the next radio play.
I was invited to dinner by the Arcadia Clan…those whom I remember the names to are MAui (of course), Arno, Beedoo!, Dubble, Countess, and Robert, those whose names I don't remember, I'm sorry…but if you tell me, I -will- edit this. ;) We all took the trek to St. Catherine's and eventually found the Hard Rock Café of Montreal…in the middle of an open-air street festival which was rocking and hopping. We all got some inside seats and socialized to the music. I scratched Beedoo!, chatted with Robert, and laughed as Arno suggested a line of T-shirts based on his "Evil Makes Me Sad" T-Shirt (if you haven't seen this shirt, you MUST…it's really adorable!)…stuff like "Evil Makes Me Happy!" and "Evil Makes me Mad!"…then out of nowhere, there was "Evil Makes Me Want to Pee!" which gave most of us some really messed up mental images. We all enjoyed various dinner items, I had the pulled pork sandwich, because I was craving it…and we passed around a napkin cartoon a few times. MAui, Robert, Arno and I exchanged evil genius faces. It was a great dinner with some awesome friends, I just wished I could have shared similar dinners over the other nights, but I tend to forget to eat at Gatherings…
On the way back to the hotel, Robert spotted a Laser Quest arena and had to stop to check rates. He had this really great idea of getting a group of Gargoyles Fans together after closing ceremonies and basically take over the Laser Quest for three games. Hell, I'm all for it…I even played in that very arena waaaay back in April of 1997 with Melissa, Mae Li, Karine, Adrianna, Dark One, and others at the original Montreal Mini-Gathering. I wasn't going to miss this one for the world! We started to plot for that and get the word out that night during the costume ball.
At this point, I went up to my room to start working on part of the surprise I had in store for the Convention Staff…it was hard at first to put words to paper, but I think what I ultimately wrote was honest and heartfelt, but more on that later. Half of the ballroom I spent in the hotel room, struggling to deal with a slight panic attack…I tend to get very shy at times…I can get up and act like a total putz in front of a bunch of people when it needs to be done, like the Clan Olympics, but when I try to do such things for myself, I tend to not be able to…but this time around I was able to spend about half of the time actually wandering around and socializing a bit…especially with Flanker, Gorebash, Arno, and a few others that were in attendance.
Gorebash and I had a very nice conversation; we caught up with one another and told each other what we were up to. He's a guy whom I always considered a good friend, but never got much of a chance to hang out with. Come to think of it, a lot of people I consider friends I don't hang out with much…already working to correct that, bit by bit. One of the things I would love to do in the early fall is get a few Gathering folks together and do a wine tasting and brunch, and maybe even do a Spring Get-Together as well…bring back the Mini-Gatherings…there's no reason to not attempt them, really…and call me overly-nostalgic, I would love to see at least a few people more than just once a year.
During the early part of the ball I got a chance to listen to Keith David sing, and ran into his wife and his kids, but didn't realize it until he/they introduced me. Last time I saw Mr. David was in 1997, where he spoke with Karine and I…another very fond memory. He now has a beautiful family and is such an accomplished actor in many mediums. It was an honor and a pleasure to see him again after seven years. We spoke briefly about Gathering with a few others, and Flanker discovered his enjoyment of swordplay, which made his face light up…always a great thing.
After a rocky start of the evening it turned out to be quite a nice night after all. I managed to stay downstairs longer than I anticipated, it felt comfortable, and I was among people I cared about. I got to see some wondrous costumes; including Laurean as Tom and Kaylee as Princess Catherine, both were beautiful. Karine and Cindy did a perfect Pregnant Fox and Titania. There were some excellent gargoyle costumes also around, and someone even went as Echidna…I will always have a soft spot in my heart for snake women, and the people who have the talent and gumption to dress up as them. Karaoke was also fun, and some people in this fandom have truly beautiful voices. I remember one young lady on stage singing her heart out…and her mother hid behind Gorebash and me so she wouldn't be spotted…she wanted to hear her daughter sing, and that was really cool in my eyes, a mother supporting her daughter like that.
Eventually things started to wind down and we began to wander off to our separate ways. I tried finding Hudson's room to hang out and challenge Kaelyan to a round of Soul Calibur II, but failed to locate him. Next year, or next time he comes down to my place, his ass is mine. (Yes, that's a challenge…^_~) I stopped by the Arcadian Room and said my goodnights, and then wandered about the hotel for a little while longer, just taking in the beauty of it…visualizing all of us in our Station Eight Gargoyle Personas, lounging against rafters, relaxing and just hanging out in general. It was a real good visual to end the third night in Montreal. I found my room shortly after, and sleep soon found me…

Sunday, August 8th - The Hunt Is On, time to Get Zappy…

Had to wake up extra early this morning to get the final preparations for the Hunter's Moon Dash done and over with…needed to talk to the manager of the pool area and get her permission to hide the ball pit and MAui there, which she did, so that was cool. Went down to the gift shop and gave the clerk there one of the squishy soccer balls to put up "for sale"…and she did a truly wonderful job in displaying it rather inconspicuously. A few teams caught sight of it before the event, but didn't realize what was going on until later. Last night I sorted ball pit balls, taking out all but three yellow ones from the ball pit, and putting the rest in a container in a visible, but out of the way place. Also planted the shiny bags and the Sack Of DOOM tickets around, as well as giving more to the spirits. The last Clan Olympics event…finally!
Our teams filed into the terrace area with their decorated boxes, which overall I think was a great idea. There was a lot of spirit and excitement involved and it was going to culminate in the mad dash around the hotel looking for things like floor mats, plungers, diapers, and other assorted weird stuff. MAui and I did some last-minute plotting, and Flanker came strolling in with his "Billy For President" box, and my navy comforter! He must have overheard something, but he didn't get away with it…I took the blanket from him and told him to play nice. Gave him credit for trying though…and got to admit; seeing Billy plastered all over his container was quite funny. All of the boxes were wonderfully done, too…still like the 404 Error message drawn on the Arcadian Box also.
As the final team members made their way into the starting area, MAui ran off to take her position poolside on the 4th floor, which was right in view of the elevators. I briefed the Arcadians, Body Massagers, Mexinadians, and Challanged clans about the rules, and how everything was going to go down. I answered questions, and the tension and excitement mounted…and then the 45-minute countdown began and the Arcadians were off…the other three teams left within two and a half minutes of one another, intent on finding everything first.
Things were going well and good and rather mundane as teams collected the easier of the items, and then the Arcadians went on a tear on Bonus Items! I remember Arno and Dubble leading Karine to their box and getting her to stand in it for the full half-minute required for their big bonus. I wish I had taken a picture of that, because that moment was rather funny. Arno found my 2 by 4 in the Dealer's Room and sprinted it back to his box, and that was followed by a couple of squishy balls and a bunch of business cards. All the while, even the teams who weren't doing as well seemed to have a blast searching for all this stuff, and I think the gift shop lady took a shine to us when she began selling little souvenir birds and shot glasses. The 45 minutes was over way too soon, and it was time to tally up the scores…I think everyone knew that Arcadia International dominated the event and won the whole thing, but I didn't want to make the official announcement until the Closing Ceremonies. Besides, I still needed to find Cheap Plastic Medals somewhere in Montreal!
After cleaning up and thanking the hotel staff for their cooperation, I met up with Mike Cohen and Sarah the Great to go out for some lunch, and to search for the objects of my need. We headed over to the train station, and while Mike and Sarah ate their brunch I ran over to Staples and asked the clerks there if they had anything that resembled medals or even award ribbons. No luck; no medals, no ribbons…not even extra lanyards. I got stressed out a little, but then saw a bunch of metallic markers and decided to go even cheaper than plastic…this year, we would be giving out Cheap Cardboard Discs That Vaguely Resemble Medals! I bought my stuff, and some Instant Lotto and ran back to my two companions…chugging down some chocolate milk with them. Again, not choosing to eat all that much because really, I just don't tend to eat at conventions…too excited/nervous to eat anyway.
I managed to get back to the hotel just in time for another session of Phoenix Gate Anthology signings. Christine ushered me to a table and immediately had me sign books. I don't think I'll ever get used to the concept of people actually wanting my autograph, but the feeling of being able to do that for someone, and see them smile meant a lot to me. Perhaps it's a sign that I do decent to good work, or maybe it means I may be moderately famous someday. Who the heck knows? Still, to be able to express a thank you to both people who are very close friends to me, and to people whom I don't know as well, but consider me a peer and a comrade, that's just plain cool.
Keith David's Mug-A-Guest was in the same room as the Phoenix Gate Anthology Signing, which made me very happy because I thought I was going to miss all of the speakers this weekend. I knew I had some other stuff to do before the Closing Ceremonies, but I was going to at least spend half an hour in there! Listening to this man speak and give his reflections on show business, Gargoyles, and life in general was an absolute joy. That's one of the biggest things that stand out at this convention; the celebrities we have tend to not only be famous, but really down to earth…you feel comfortable around them, and I believe that notion is mutual. Greg Weisman, Keith David, Thom Adcox, Greg Guler…all of these men treat their fans with a great deal of respect, which makes it so much easier to give THEM respect and adoration. That is one of the biggest things that makes The Gathering such a special convention to me.
I really wanted to stay for the entire Keith David Mug-A-Guest, but I needed to get going and do what I needed to do. There were medals to be made and I didn't want to go into Closing Ceremonies empty-handed. (I really should have that backup plan ahead of time…) I ran into Sapphire and Chameleongirl during my little medal-creating project and we plotted to do some Gamecube action that night. We've been wanting to do that this weekend, and Liz wanted in on it, and anyone else was welcome to join too. So we set that up for right after Laser Quest, which I had already promised Rob and others that I would join in on. Even on the last official day of the Gathering so much was going on!
Kaylee, Ian and I snuck up to the Con Suite to carry out The Evil Plan: About two months before the convention I had decided to bring up a spread of Godiva Chocolate, Mint Tins, wines and other goodies, and put a thank you card in the center. It was going to be small at first, but it wound up being some 36 bars of chocolate, 20 tins of mints, three bottles of wine and a bottle of Godiva White Chocolate liquor. After putting forth so much effort and hard work, the staff really did deserve to be treated to something nice. Truth be told, a couple weeks before I almost chickened out on this, fearing it would be taken the wrong way…but sometimes, you need to throw caution to the wind and go with your inner nature. I was just very relieved that Kaylee managed to get the room key from Karine, for I believe she was the only one left in the dark by the time the surprise was to be revealed! We set up the spread in a nice presentation, and then left…it was now out of my hands.
Before long it was time to go to the Closing Ceremonies and everyone who was left was there. Karine takes the podium and begins to speak in French, which was a fitting way to kick things off. Not sure if that was planned or not, but it worked very well. I was going to toss out the three squishy soccer balls to the crowd for keepsakes, and CrzyDemona took one…which I didn't mind one bit…the Gathering Staff deserved a stress ball, after all. Cindy got up to speak and present the awards for the Art Show…and many of the people I voted for got ribbons, including Kythera, Karlyl, Stormy, Jade Griffin, and many others, all of whom deserved those rounds of applause and praise.
Chris Rogers began to talk about Gathering 2005, and MAui and I managed to get up and semi-interrupt him to declare the winners of the 2004 Clan Olympics. Arcadia International seemed surprised that they won by such an overwhelming margin, but they worked their butts off for that Cheap Cardboard Disc with Gold Writing on It. We did have another prize for them as well: MAui and I made Clan Olympics "We Kick Tail!" T-shirts for the four Gold Medal Winners, so Arno, Dubble, Robert, and Beedoo! (I think) got to take those home. We also announced that we would be doing another Clan Olympics in Las Vegas, which made a lot of people very happy. I know most of the participants this time around want to do it again. Overall, I think we did a decent job of putting it all together, and it was very gratifying to know that a lot of fun was had.
Keith David came in late in the closing ceremonies to sit in on them, which was welcomed without any hesitation, and he stuck around to sign autographs and artwork. It was at this point that I pre-registered for Gathering 2005 (for if I don't go, I'll probably never hear the end of it.) and was about ready to go back to my room for a bit when Kythera presented me with one of her limited edition prints, which really touched me: it was of Goliath kneeling on a pillar…and since Keith David was there, I asked her if she would have him sign it…and she agreed! This piece of artwork will be framed…done by a great artist and co-signed by a great actor. My thanks goes out to you, Kyt-Sis…in spades…and hearts, clubs, and diamonds too. That print will be on my walls for years to come, a fond memory of a great time.
We were talking and chatting and having a good time, happy that the convention was a success, and out of the blue CrzyDemona hugged me, thanking me for the spread in the Con Suite…this was followed by a hug from Karine, which was another one of those "Floor Me Moments." A lot of thoughts were running through my mind, but in the end I hugged back and accepted it for the thank you it was, and nothing more. Give credit where credit is due, and reward those who do a job well done. At the very least, I'm glad it wasn't taken the wrong way, and that it was accepted and genuinely appreciated.
After a rather lengthy meeting with the 2005 Gathering Staff and Attendees, it was time to go and get ready for Laser Quest, but not before running up to my room with Hudson to grab the last of the Godiva for Keith David. Felt rather bad that all he got was two measly bars, but I handed over the last double-box of Pocky I had, which went over great with his kids. He introduced me to his family, and sadly I can only remember the name of one of his younger daughters: Mae Li. I spoke to Beth Maza about this, and she still doesn't believe me. She'll just have to come to Vegas and hear it for herself. I also relayed the message to Mr. David that he was welcome to join us as Laser Quest, an idea which he seemed real keen on…so I gave him directions to the place on St. Catherine's and the first part of the group trekked on up.
I decided to wait up for Keith, because I had a little bit of doubt in my directions. A young lady stuck around with me, whose name I currently cannot remember (sorry!) stood by and chatted for a while, discussing fandom matters and how much both of us liked the convention. After about 45 minutes of waiting we both figured that Keith either went up to his room, went to spend time with his family, or went ahead to Laser Questing not knowing people were there to walk with him. No problem, the two of us managed to get up to the arena, and only one game had been played, so I found a guy who didn't want to play anymore, so I paid him eight bucks and took his place.
Hudson had begun dividing out teams for the next too games, placing all of his Quake Buddies and other good shots on his team and lumping the rest of us on "The Other Team". This was going to be an ass-handing, no doubt about it…but it was still fun. The first of the two games was just a simple points-based battle, and I spent most of my time doing the uber-slow Terminator (Governater?) walk around the maze, tagging people I could find…was proud that I hit Hudson and Chris a couple of times, and they returned the favor. I also probably hold the record for the most times barreling into a wall or obstacle in a span of fifteen minutes, got the bruises and scrapes to prove it.
The second game was called "Queen and King", where hitting the other team members didn't matter, and one woman and man on our team had a limited number of lives. Jade Griffin was our Queen and Flanker was our King, and we did our best to keep them safe. I wound up trying to follow Robert and Dubble as kind of this Secret Service like group, but managed to fall behind and then get lost. I'm hearing laser fire, and shouting KING!! KING!!! QUEEN!! However I was wandering around looking like a complete doofus. Still managed to tag a bunch of people though, but our team lost by a mere five points, not that this surprised me. In the end I was happy with finishing solidly in the middle of the pack of Laser Questers.
Having a Mario Party and Mario Kart date with Sapphire, Chameleongirl, and others, I decided to hightail it out on my own and make my way back to the hotel, and ran into Riverdale along the way, where we just talked…mainly about voice work, how we were linked to the fandom, and a bunch of other things. He eventually joined us in the GameCube partying that followed.
The video game goodness started in my hotel room when Sapphire brought over her controllers, games, and Karlyl, Chameleongirl, and others…Liz and her friend Matt(?) soon followed, and Ethan Gilchrist also joined in on the fun. We started out with Mario Party 5, just Sapphire and I, and then Chameleongirl and Ethan joined in on the second game. Just short contests, but Mario Party is a game where everyone can just pick up and play and have a good time. Chameleongirl never played Gamecube in her life, and she wound up winning, which was hilarious. Also remember teaming up with her in a pinball mini-game where we outscored the competition by about 36,000 to 3,000…so Chameleongirl, you may be my pinball partner any day!
After Mario Party, Shaun wanted to go to sleep, I don't blame him….so we attempted to move the game system into Sapphire's room, only to be foiled by a protected coaxial cable guard….damn those hotel safeties, trying to force us to pay for crappy, outdated video games! Not daunted, we moved into Lanny and Riverdale's room, and the Mario Karting commenced! I found out just how good Liz is at handling a little cartoon kart, and her friend was even better…I think I placed third in most of the races behind them, so practice is in order during the off-season. Karlyl and Riverdale took turns as well, and this elicited the next great quote: "I'm sucking the hind teat, noshing the nether nipple."
It sent three racers into the wall with laughter if memory serves me right.
As the party wound down we put in Bloody Roar: Primal Fury just to check out the "Jiggle Factor" on some of the female characters…which got a bunch of laughs. At this point, I'm beginning to wonder how Jenny the Bat can walk straight now. It was a great end to the whole thing…and it felt good to be able to share such moments with friends. I spend most of my working time talking about video games, and usually only play them in the privacy of my home, alone. Doing the whole party thing really kicked major butt…and I think I'll pack the 'Cube for Vegas. Sapphire, if you're up to this, let me know. ^_^
Being Sunday night, I decided to get a jump on packing up the car. I took all of the ball pit balls down to my Neon and packed them away, threw out all of the cardboard discs that I didn't need anymore, saving the one Kythera drew upon. The only things left of mine in the room was my suitcase and satchel…everything else was packed in ahead of time just to streamline everything for tomorrow. As I trekked half-asleep to and from my car I greeted other exhausted Garg fans and said my goodbyes to some, whom were either leaving tonight or tomorrow morning. Also stopped by the Arcadians' Room one last time to say my goodbyes there, for I think most/all of them were not going to go to LaRounde Monday Morning. It was a joy to be able to hang out with MAui, Robert, Arno, Beedoo!, Countess, Dubble, and the rest of them this year…felt like I grew closer to them this time around. I really liked the ArCanadians music disc I received from them…which has gone into my morning drive rotation.
Anyhoo, there was sleep to be had and I tottered up to get to bed…and realized I was only the second guy in the room. Flanker comes in a little while later, and then Mike joins the room last…this marks the last night of the first time in a long while that I slept in the same room with three other grown men. I remained awake just a little while longer, taking in what had gone on in the last three days, and could confidently say that I would never trade times like this for anything. The best part was that it wasn't over quite yet…

Monday, August 9th - Back South…

Sooner or later it has to end, but it was going to end on a high note. Flanker, Mike, Shaun and I all woke up a little earlier than normal to get ready for checkout. I wandered around a bit to say my goodbyes to people who were not going to make the trip to LaRounde, trying to hit everyone I possibly could. I know I missed a fair number of people, especially Arno, MAui, and the rest of the Arcadian Crew. Eventually we got the car packed, I gave up my key to Shaun and he checked us all out. The Delta Center-Ville was probably one of the finest hotels I've have the opportunity to stay in, Gathering or not.
We all met in the lobby and soon gathered up in a pack to head toward the Metro station that would lead us all to Six Flags: LaRounde. The group in part consisted of Karine, Cindy, Liz, Talyesin, Kyffin, Sapphire, Chameleongirl, Shaun, Sarah, Laurean, Trishana, Patrick, Christine, Becca, Seri, and Top Man. I know there were more, but I can't remember the names, just plain bad at that sort of thing. We rode a few Metro cars and made it to the buses that would take us all to the amusement park. There were photos taken, laughter, happiness, and just a general feeling of less stress. The convention was officially over, but hanging out was still to be had.
LaRounde was the only major disappointment for me, sad to say. The park looked beautiful, but there just weren't any rides that I could fit into, which was strange because I could do a lot more when I went there a few years ago, and was heavier. I won't bash on LaRounde though, for it was one of the nicer parks I've had the chance to walk through. I took in the scenery and the watched the people, talked to a few of them. I played a few carnival games, and gave my plushies to some of the younger kids who were trying to win but couldn't. I have no need for stuffed plush roses anyway, and it was a nice thing to do. Also got a chance to play Outrun 2, which kicked major tail…but I didn't get on the Dance Dance Revolution Machine. I had told Sapphire that I would do DDR with her at some point…so I gotta get into better shape, and make sure I don't have a multitude of blisters on my feet because that will be something I'll need to make good on in Las Vegas, or in Florida, depending on how my vacationing plans go.
Overall, everyone kind of went their separate ways at Six Flags…I know a few of the convention staff members kicked out early, and I don't blame them one bit after all the work they've done. Others just got tired of the lines and decided to go home, and some of us stayed until about 5pm, Shaun, Sarah, and myself were a part of that number….we took pictures of the stragglers in our group in general and we parted ways. It was overall a decent trip, though I was a pretty miffed that I didn't actually get to ride anything. But hey, I got my exercise in spades and still managed to have a decent time. We rode back on the metro and were guided by one of the Montrealers, and during the ride I met a guy who knew where Penn Yan, New York was, which was neat…small world. We made it back to the hotel and at about 6:30pm we were on our way back to my place.
The trip back to New York State was filled with a lot of talk about various fandom ideals, political banter, mental issues and general silliness. Though we were all pretty tired so half of it was only semi-coherent. I had to get some gas before getting too far into the Quebec countryside, and it was the only time I had to gas up in Canada…score! We ate at Wendy's right inside the Ontario Province border and talked yet some more. The rest of the ride was just general rest, and me concentrating on driving until we hit the Duty Free store right before the United States…we had to stop. I grabbed a dozen Cadbury Flake bars, some Canada Flag stickers to torture my boss with, a shotglass, and a bottle of Godiva White Chocolate Liquor…figured this time I wouldn't be so tempted to give it away.
During our slow-moving line to customs we joked around and laughed quite a bit, and I forgot how to drive in the process, which was met with much embarrassment from me, but it got a good laugh out of Sarah and Shaun. Absent-Minded Professor genes are good for something. We talked to the U.S. Customs Officer and he asks us the standard questions and he actually recognized the show Gargoyles…I think we chatted up the convention and told him to go buy the DVD of the First Season, which is coming out on December 7th. He laughed and waved us through to United States Roadways. We hit another gas station, got more caffeinated beverages and motored down Route 81…hitting the Thruway a couple of hours later.
At this point we're pretty punchy: Shaun is snoozing in the back seat, and Sarah is keeping me awake by rambling about Yu-Gi-Oh!, which I counter with rambling about story ideas, both fan fiction based and original. It also helped that the road was mostly in a straight line. We finally get to the home stretch half past midnight and we begin to play "Spot the Mennonite", which we both lost because they were all probably sleeping. Pulling in at about 1am, we made good time overall…only we woke up the dogs, which started barking…oh well, they missed us after being gone for nearly five days. I set up the inflatable bed for Shaun, the downstairs hide-a-bed in the den was already made up for Sarah, and we were all ready for some well-needed sleep.
I spent a little time on the computer to read up on my e-mail that I missed, just to make sure I didn't miss anything major at work. Go into Station Eight and wind up bumping into Mai "Beth Maza" Li, who began to ask all about the convention. If there is one person I absolutely can't turn down speaking to, it's her. So we chatted a bit, Shaun put in his remarks and this kept going for at least an hour. Sleep depravation was finally get a hold of me, and I cut out. It was great to sleep in my own bed again…heck, it was going to be great to get more than four hours of sleep in general. When it comes to Gatherings, though, sleep depravation is very worth it, especially when it comes to seeing friends whom you usually only see once a year.

Tuesday, August 10th - It's Gotta End Sometime…

Waking up at 10am never felt so good, and I was still in short-sleep mode, so I felt really great. Shaun and Sarah were still sleeping so I took the time to sneak out and grab some eggs, ham, cheddar cheese, shredded potatoes and bacon…we already had bagels. I decided to prepare omelets, bacon, bagels, basically a classic Sunday Brunch style breakfast, only it was Tuesday…oh well, it was the Day Before Having to Go Back to Work Brunch. We all sat around our kitchen bar top, eating our eggs, bacon, hash browns, and drinking orange juice, just enjoying the last day together.
Sarah was the first to leave, we all grabbed her car and then I led her to the shortcut road I took to get to the Thruway in the first place…she honked, we honked…bye bye Sarah the Great. That left Shaun and me to go back to my house and prep up for his trip to the airport. We hung out in general for another hour before packing his remaining stuff in the car and heading toward Rochester International Airport. We popped in the South Park Soundtrack and half-smiled, half sang along, and Shaun eventually put in another Weird Al compilation, with Amish Paradise blaring as we passed Mennonites…the windows were closed though, unlike the customs crossing into Canada.
I stopped by Michael's Arts and Crafts to pick out a frame for the "Pillar" print that Kythera gave me, and picked out something in a black, dark purple and silver…that should be done in a couple of weeks, and it will hang in my room/apartment/house for the rest of my days. After that relatively short trip I got Shaun up to the airport. He and I hugged, I told him to have a safe trip, and he disappeared into the airport terminal. That was it; the last person I knew from Gathering was on his way home and I was a solitary Gargoyles Fan once more…at least until I got home to go online again. Another Gathering, my fifth, was now officially a very fond memory, and now there's just about 11 months until the next Gathering in 2005…in Las Vegas. I had been asked with MAui to do the Clan Olympics next year…which I will gladly take up the ball pit balls for. Who knows what else will happen…as long as I'm with a group of wonderful friends, in a great location, knowing does it really matter all that much?

See everyone in 2005!

And You Thought It Was Over…

When I came into the Gargoyles Fandom in October of 1996, I had the
long-standing belief to give credit where it is due. This is no different.

I would like to thank the 2004 Gathering staff for a job extremely well done. Karine, Rob, Brenda, Patrick, Jen, Ian, Shaun, Liz, Laurean, Cindy, Carol…all of you pulled together one of the most elegant and classy Gatherings yet, and for that you have my gratitude, respect, appreciation, and an overabundance of chocolate. Liz, thank you especially for working with MAui and me on the Clan Olympics, we couldn't have done it without you. Brenda and Ian, thank you so much for co-conspiring with me on "Evil Plan #1", I'm happy it worked out as well as it did.

To my two travel buddies, Shaun and Sarah…thank you for putting up with my crazy rambling and blatant addiction to Instant Lottery. I've always enjoyed road trips, but road trips with friends are that much sweeter. Sarah, it was a joy to meet up with you again, and to share this wild ride with you. Shaun, it has been a pleasure to be able to have you as a companion and friend on this road trip. Thank you both for making the ride up to and back from Montreal a joyous one for me. You are both welcome in my home anytime, and next time, I'll get steaks, I promise.

To Shaun, Mike, and Flanker…rooming with the three of you has been a trip and a half, and I wouldn't trade that for anything in the world. It was a great deal of fun, though Flanker, I'll still have the occasional nightmare about that military cot. I hope I didn't keep any of you up with my snoring, if I did….well, revenge is sweeter in Vegas.

For the Arcadia Clan; thank you for unofficially adopting me this weekend, and having me along on your trip to the Hard Rock Café, and to Laser Quest. Robert, Arno, Beedoo!, Dubble, MAui, Countess, everyone in that wild and crazy bunch, you made me feel more than just welcomed, you made me feel normal…as normal as a Gargoyles Fan could be, anyway. A special thanks to you, Countess, for being a walking companion that night to get some Tim Hortons, that meant a lot to me.

To Sapphire, who helped co-conspire a Sunday Night GameCube Fest, and to Chameleongirl, whom I will play pinball with any day.

Everyone who approached me to sign their Phoenix Gate Anthology, thank you for

Greg responds...

Woo! See, gang! You just can't top a Gathering for good times, good friends, good conversation, etc.

Are YOU registered for G2006 yet? Time is running out!

Response recorded on May 25, 2006

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Cyndy writes...

I'm sorry that I'm not going to be one of the people giving you a Gathering diary, since I wasn't able to attend this year. Hopefully, I'll manage to make it next year, though by all accounts I missed a good year.

But anyway, I don['t so much have a question as a comment that I've been dying to share. I've been a fan of the show since the very beginning, literally the first episode had me hooked. And, without sounding too biased, I really do think it's the best animated series I've ever been exposed to - it's definitely my favorite. One of the things that sticks out in my mind that I want to express is how incredible it was for me when I first watched "A Lighthouse in the Sea of Time" and saw Robbins and Gilly. I'm sure it was quite a shock for others, as well, to see a blind character in an animated show, but I'm a bit biased in this department since I am infact blind! And I definitely don't think I'd ever seen a guide dog in a cartoon before that...probably not since either. (Actually, speaking of guide dogs, mmy guide dog Dolly happens to be the reason I was unable to attend G2004 as she was extremely sick at the time. I'm happy to say, she's just fine now.)

I could ramble on about the various aspects of how that impacts everything from disability awareness to the price of cheese in Wisconsin, but that's neither here nor there and really not my point at all. (Though the curious side of my personality wonders how much of Robbins was spontaneous and how much was completely thought-out and solidified beforehand.) I will say it was a nice treat for me to see a blind character who wasn't depicted as a helpless pauper, mentally deficient, or the like. So I thank you and all those involved for that. I do have to giggle at the fact that poor Gilly seems to literally live her job as a guide dog (she's never out of her harness, I mean), which isn't really realisitic, but I both understand the need for the visual point of what she does to be made, nor expect non-guide dog users to know all that. (I think that sentence made more sense in my head.)

Anyway, I apologize for this seemingly random babble and I thank you for plugging away at this huge load of questions here. It's a pleasure to read your responses and posts.

Cyndy & Dolly

Greg responds...

It's always gratifying and welcome to find out both when we did something right and to find out how to improve upon it, so thanks. Robbins and Gilly will be back in the new comic book -- in or around issue #4, I think.

Response recorded on May 24, 2006

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Alex Garg writes...

Monday, August 9 - The Long Road Home:
I woke up, collected my things and went down to the desk with Denis to check out and make sure Denis was set to spend another day in the room. There were a few communications blocks at first, but Denis used his French to get them cleared up - gotta love those bilinguals. Too bad I spent most of my time in high school on Italian and dead languages (get a Gathering in Italy and I'll be golden).

We all gathered together for breakfast and ended up sitting next to Gorebash and a couple of his friends, though we pretty much kept the conversation within our own groups. Leo split afterwards to catch up with the group heading to Six Flags, and Denis... I don't remember what Denis decided to do, but he went off on his own.

Kelly and I gathered our things, went down to my car and headed off around 10 - getting out of the city was much, much easier than getting in.

With no stops along the way (well, no pick-ups anyway), it was smooth sailing. We hit traffic around Toronto, but fortunately we were staying outside of the city so there was no risk of getting misdirected again. A storm threatened to make things particularly hazardous but it held off long enough for us to get to the QEW and to Hamilton.

Got Kelly back to her place in one piece and didn't stick around for long - cat allergy aside, I was in a mindset to just get to Niagara Falls and relax. Got out of Hamilton without incident and headed on back to the States.

Of course, it wouldn't be a road trip if there was no incident. I ended up following the wrong signs and got lost on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls - nice town, just not where I wanted to be. Eventually I got my bearings and continued on to the correct bridge.

I slowed down on the bridge to take a look at the Falls, which was as close as I would get this trip, and continued on home. I had an interesting conversation with the border guard that, well... I was tired. This is pretty much verbatim:

Guard: Okay, I gotta ask - what do your plates mean?
Me: "Let there be night." It's Latin, motto of a club I belonged to in high school.
Guard: Ah. Okay, citizenship? ~What I heard: Citizenship papers?~
Me: Birth certificate and driver's license.
Guard: No, what country are you from? ~What I heard: What country are you coming from?~
Me: ...Canada...
Guard: ...What's a Canadian doing with Virginia tags?
Me: What? I'm not ~~sudden realization of what he had actually said~~ ...oh! I'm American. Sorry. Yeah, American.
Guard: Carry on.

I got to the hotel about the same time as a crunch of Italian tourists and guests who didn't seem to understand the concept of checking into a hotel, so I opted for a quick dinner while the crowd dispersed. Nothing, and I mean nothing tastes as good as a steak after a long day on the road.

Made it into my room and ordered "Master and Commander" for some post-travel entertainment. As soon as it ended I went to sleep.

Day's mileage: 430
Total mileage: 1,360

Tuesday, August 10 - The Long Road Home Continued:
I woke up around 8:30 and carried myself to the Duty Free Shop to exchange the Canadian currency into ol' Greenbacks as I doubted I'd have another chance after Niagara Falls (another difference between the U.S. and Canada - while you can exchange currency almost anywhere up there, you can only do it at the border and international airports down here). I walked there because the only exit by car was back into Canada, and while I very much enjoyed my time up there I just wanted to go home.

I decided against going to the Falls for three reasons: rain was coming, the crowds were gathering and I just wanted to go. So I left at 10 and began the final leg of the road trip.

It started with my getting turned around in Buffalo. I lost track of the various signs and ended up on I-90 Eastbound. Okay, so, not wanting to go to Albany I turned around, donated $.30 to the state of New York via their toll booths and tried getting home again.

Not much to report for the first part of the trip - just followed the breadcrumbs from the way up. However, if you'll recall the storm that slowed Leo and me down on Wednesday, it would seem lightning can strike twice in the same place. Just before State College and my turn off to I-99, a storm fired up and dropped visibility to zero. It was pretty dramatic - driving rain, lightning all about and cliffs on either side of the windy road, all at speed (nobody felt like slowing down). I made it out of the storm in one piece and well beyond my exit.

By the time I figured out that I had missed my exit I was halfway to I-81, so I decided to carry on. As I mentioned back on Wednesday, Pennsylvania is entirely too big. Oh boy, well, I made I-81 and carried along on to I-70. I had planned on going to I-66 to avoid the traffic, but I was approaching the nine hour mark and didn't want to add another 40 minutes to what was going to end up being a 10 1/2-hour trek, so I braved I-70.

Only when necessary, friends; only take that road when absolutely necessary.

So that path aside I made it home in one piece - although very, very tired. I stayed up just long enough to grab dinner, my only meal that day, and then hit the bed hard.

Day's mileage: 580
Total mileage: 1,940

That's it - all I've got. Thanks for reading through it.

Greg responds...

Thanks for writing it up. How did Leo get home?

Response recorded on May 23, 2006

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Alex Garg writes...

Sunday, August 8 - The Weekend, Pt. 3:
To say that I "woke up" at 6 would be wrong - I merely emerged from a comatose state with limited activity. My shower was only slightly rejuvenating, and the two cups of coffee I had downstairs just barely gave my body animation. Simply put, today started off on only adrenaline and caffeine - truly a Gathering experience.

Well, Gathering and high school.

Anyway, as true consciousness and animation slowly returned to me I made my way to Allaine's round robin panel and an equally exhausted group assembled - Ellen, Allaine, Princess Alexandria, Denis and Spacebabie. We waited a while as Allaine tried to wrestle some more people away from the Gargoyles Biology panel but he was unsuccessful and we got underway.

I had missed Spacebabie's panel on Friday so I wasn't really sure what to expect, but what I didn't expect, though, was that doing an oral round robin would be harder than a typed one; although given my state of body and mind, doing anything that morning requiring more than a passing thought or gesture was challenging. Despite that, the round robin came together and we got a decent story going - then we had to stop.

The dealers' room/art show was the next stop. I put in bids on artwork (I lost all of them) and saw that the PGA signing tables had been set up. Christine was there and let me know that we were finally underway for the book signing, so I joined her. People trickled in at first, not really sure what was going on (some people weren't even aware of the PGA), and after a while more of the authors began to assemble. It was about half an hour before the crowd really gathered and we were signing multiple books at a time.

Being asked for a signature is really a weird experience, especially given my attitudes towards my work, but as long as people think that getting my signature was worth it - fair enough.

I had intended to go to Kathy's workshop, but about the time I was going to step out when the crowds were dying off Keith walked in, so I stuck around. It went well, good Q&A, and in the course of it we signed a PGA copy for him - now that made me nervous. I don't know why, but it just didn't sit well with me.

After Keith's mug-a-guest had ended it was time for Closing Ceremonies - so sad. People had already left, Greg wasn't there, people were still running around; it didn't have the same energy as Opening Ceremonies and was kind of depressing overall, really for the reason that it was the end of the con. I skipped on pre-registering for Vegas - I have no clue if I'll be able to make it, but if it turns out that I definitely won't, I'll put in a supporting membership for sure - and just got in line for Keith. It didn't occur to me until I was in line that I should have brought my Radio Play script from last year for him to sign, so lacking anything Keith/Goliath-related I just had him sign my copy of the PGA - a little quid pro quo signing.

From there I went with Ellen, Allaine, Princess Alexandria, Kelly and Leo to lunch in a deserted food court - good, not great. We chatted about what we all had to look forward to when we went home. On the way back to the hotel Ellen offered to take us up to Mount Royal to look out over Montreal at night. Allaine was going to laser tag so he couldn't make it, and Alexandria opted out. Kelly was undecided up to the last minute when I ambushed her at the hotel restaurant and encouraged her to come.

It was a haul going through Montreal, but it was all so worth it.

Ellen pointed out the various places she remembered from her days in Montreal on our way up, but the fun began when we got to the park. We opted for a back route to the observatory that turned into a nature hike, but there were plenty of other disoriented groups to keep us company as we went up the narrow trails.

Eventually we arrived at our destination and we were not disappointed. Montreal is stunning. Honestly, the staff should have had a trip to this place - it was just so beautiful. We hung around for about an hour or so enjoying the view, but eventually we had to go back so Ellen could catch up with her husband.

We didn't take the scenic route back - nightfall made that an impossible feat - but we did cut through the university (so, okay, a different kind of scenic) as Ellen extended her tour. We stopped off for a drink at an Irish pub for a quick round before we finished the trip, and the stop gave Ellen the perfect timing to walk into the hotel to greet her husband at the check-in desk.

Realizing that it was unlikely we'd see each other in the morning we said our goodbyes in the lobby and then retired to our rooms. I gave my parents a call to let them know when I'd be leaving the next day and then went to sleep - actual sleep this time.

And that was the weekend.

Next, "The Long Road Home"

Greg responds...

Yes, the bittersweet end of another Gathering... <sigh>...

Response recorded on May 23, 2006

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