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Gathering Journal - Monday, June 25, 2007
Got up a bit earlier than the previous days, so I could take advantage of the "all-you-can-eat" pancakes coupon I was provided. It turned out "all-you-can-eat" wound up being four. But they were tasty and filling indeed.
My next stop was the auction, in which many delightful items were offered, although much of the early bidding seemed a smidge subdued. I only bid on one item, as most of the items I wanted moved out of my range. I was tempted by a few items in particular - a Phoenix Gate medallion, and the promo posters for the Gargoyles trade paperback and the first issue of Bad Guys.
As the auction ended, it seemed no one had anything in particular to do until closing ceremonies (save Greg, who went off to work), so most of us hung around chatting. (I had some nice conversation bits with Greg B., Fan and Kathy Pogge, myself.) While I'd already signed up for G2K8, I decided to take the opportunity to snag a promotional shirt, which I may be wearing to an upcoming convention (although, it was suggested I write the URL for the Gathering site on there first - my fannish loyalty is conflicting with my collector's instincts there). As closing ceremonies neared, Hudson took over the microphone for a pseudo-rant; after a bit, I ducked out to my room until the actual closing ceremonies were due to begin.
The ceremonies - as usual - felt very much like a cool-down; which, of course, they essentially are. Various thank yous, and well-deserved applause, and awards were distributed. But the original post-ceremonies plan - a visit to Dollywood - was nipped in the bud by a brief but notable downpour. So new plans were made to head to a local laser tag parlor for a game.
A group of 20 people, including Greg W., Greg B., Hudson, Chloe, GSide, King Cobra, Vid the Kid, Kathy Pogge, Halloweenking, Brant Wells, IRC Goliath, myself and several others headed to Ultrazone. We were split into two groups of 10, and while we waited our turn, another ferocious air hockey competition got underway with Greg and company. Me, I decided to play some skeeball and practice my shooting before I headed in.
The actual game itself was awesome - very atmospheric, with lots of cover and sniper positions, and a mist that doubled as concealment and a means for the lasers to become visible. In something that seems unusual for laser tag, this was a free-for-all match, where everyone was out for themselves. My group included Greg W., Greg B., GSide, Kathy Pogge, Halloweenking, and three non-Gargoyles fans: a mother and her two young kids (who, unlike everyone else, worked as a team). I'd only played one game of laser tag before this, and this vastly surpassed that game - I had great fun, and I suspect others were as well, judging from the smiles. To my vast surprise, I won the game, earning the most points if not the highest accuracy (my codename: "Super Nova").
However, the exertion of the game immediately sent Greg W.'s group out for some drinks at the Walgreens, where we encountered a clerk who was also a fan of the show. (999 to go, as one said.) Greg decided he wanted to seek out a Baskin-Robbins a good ways down the street, in the expectation that we'd all be hungry enough by then for dinner. At that point, the other group of ten, who were nearly left behind, caught up. We settled on a BBQ place called Corky's, where our group's size left the staff a bit stunned at first. Split between two tables, I sat nearest to, and chatted the most with, Brant Wells and friend (whose name I missed, sorry!), Vid the Kid, King Cobra, Halloweenking and GSide. My dinner was a delicious hickory burger.
Our ice-cream plans were scrapped when Greg W.'s table got dessert following their dinner. Heading back, I nearly went with Hudson's go-kart-seeking group, before deciding to go back to the hotel instead. We said our goodbyes to Greg W. and one another, and went our separate ways. To me, these moments felt like the true end of the Gathering 2007.
I found ways to kill the time - namely, a visit to the nearby Book Warehouse for some, well, books, as well as a road atlas. Also snagged some dessert - a moon pie and an ice cream sandwich - and coordinated the return trip with my dad (who suggested an alternate route home through Harper's Ferry) and Greg B. (while we watched a rather odd episode of South Park). Packed my bags, and prepared for an early day Tuesday...
Bittersweet, I know...
Gathering Journal - Sunday, June 24, 2007
Got up, went out and ate, then went to the con suite to hang out. Showed off my card game to A Fan on his request. A Wii was set up and running, so I played a few rounds of Virtual Console Super Mario Kart 64 with various people. My next stop was the Gargoyles/Bad Guys panel, which apparently replaced a previously planned Spider-Man panel (which fell apart after the owners banned nearly every topic Greg could discuss).
- Bad Guys began with three characters: Dingo, Matrix and Fang. To fill the role of a "hardcase" female character, they almost went with a new character, before settling on Robyn Canmore. Lastly, they figured a gargoyle would be good, so they added Yama.
- In terms of Illuminati ranking, Mace Malone was somewhere in the high 20s before he died. Xanatos has been an Illuminatus for a few years; Greg won't reveal how long Castaway was a member.
- The first six issues of Bad Guys take place in late 1996 to early 1997. They start in 1997, before flashing back to 1996.
- Matrix's potential power level would become an issue in a second series of Bad Guys. Greg actually conceived of this plotline before the first series.
- Yama wants to redeem himself, but the Bad Guys' bosses are still blackmailing him into service, which he resents.
- Eventually, the Bad Guys may meet Jackal and Hyena, but not in the first series.
- Vinnie will appear in Bad Guys.
- Although Greg would love to do more than one comic a month, he can't financially justify it.
- They briefly considered doing a "Gargoyles Classics" title that would adapt television stories into comic form, but ultimately rejected it.
- Although Gargoyles is SLG's most successful title (before you factor in the expense of the license), it's "not safe" or stable. The delay between the early issues, he said, "killed us." The title will probably run through issue #12, but there will probably be a financial re-evaluation at that time. The license is strictly limited to comics (no T-shirts or such).
- Disney owns everything created for the Gargoyles comic.
- Someone proposed making a Gargoyles tabletop role-playing game, but Greg thinks it'd require a major developer to work.
- As with the Blue Mug, there are a few bits I can't reveal, as they would spoil issue #5.
Next, after a failed attempt to play the Lethal Weapon pinball game, I played some air hockey against King Cobra (who kicked my butt). Went back to the art show, saw some new art (including Transformers stuff mentioned to me by A Fan), and bid on a few silent auctions (none of which I ultimate won). I also registered for G2K8, and got a few more comics, then headed back to my room for a bit.
The banquet was nice- the food was good, the iced tea perhaps a little too sweet. My table included (if I recall correctly) Mandi, Ethan Gilchrist, Brant Wells, and a few others. Then, we had the Q&A.
- One fan asked a lot of Puck questions.
- Puck will not appear in the first 12 issues of the comic.
- In "City of Stone," the humans were real stone, not organic stone like the gargoyles.
- Greg may have bet he can get Demona to say "Jalepena."
- The Weird Sisters vary in which sister is ascendant at which time.
- What Titania said calmed Fox down. (No, Greg didn't say exactly what.)
- The "four tricksters" story would involve a competition over which would be Alex's tutor. Puck considers all of them rivals, and some of them friends. There are more than four tricksters.
- Favorite colors: Night sky blue for Greg, blue or red (it alternates back and forth) for Thom.
- Greg really wished that scene with Vinnie from "Hunter's Moon" could have stayed in.
- Which character would you remove from the show, if you absolutely had to? Greg would remove Lois. Thom would remove Owen, just to annoy people.
It was also revealed that Thom and seven fans got Phoenix Gate tattoos prior to the banquet. (From what I hear, Greg wasn't sure what to make of it...) As the group dispersed, I asked Norcumi and Quindar what the backstory was to the whole "Gargles" thing. I had assumed one or both of them were dentists or somesuch, but actually, they were just capitalizing on a common misspelling... also, I learned they actually have a gargles-fans.org!
Heading downstairs, I was witness to an awesome series of air hockey games involving (among others) King Cobra, Greg, Thom, and Flanker, with Flanker narrowly winning the impromptu "tournament." (Greg is really good at that game...) King Cobra asked if I wanted to play, but, now understanding why I lost so badly earlier, I declined. (No masochist, me.) Then, it was time for the masquerade. Halloweenking had an amazing gargoyle costume, and there were great showings from the other contestants as well... after that, I honestly didn't do much. (My wallflower tendencies kicked in.) The party broke into two areas, one with dancing and such, and one with quieter events. In the latter, I saw some interesting card games running, and in the former, I saw some dance numbers. Managed to chat a little with Harvester of Eyes, Greg B. and others... but ultimately, I just opted to leave. As the con suite was closed, I merely headed back to my room and turned in for the evening.
Oh, there was one brief interruption before I went to sleep - someone came by looking for the fellow selling the comic books, to tell him of the roof leakage. (They were checking every room on the second floor, it seems. Unfortunately, I couldn't help them find him...
I think Thom and I are going to get together for more Air Hockey this week.
Gathering Journal - Saturday, June 23, 2007
Repeating my pattern from yesterday, I lazed about before heading out to the dealer's room. This time, I ran into Greg B., then bought a substantial stack of inexpensive comics (thus patching some holes in my collection). After hauling them back to my room, I headed on down to the Con Suite, and sat through the tail end of "Eye of the Beholder" and all of "Vows" before going back upstairs to get a replacement for my badge (it had suffered some water damage). Back to the con suite again, where I sat through 98% of "City of Stone", chatted with Mandi, then worked on the Gargoyles "Krossword" for a long while before going upstairs to see the radio play.
The radio play itself was excellent - based on "Clan-Building" Parts 3-5 (which, yes, includes the as-yet-unreleased July issue). Good performances all around. The best thing is, the play will be posted on YouTube in August... I'm not allowed to describe the plot of the July issue, but suffice to say it's got some great moments in it.
After the play, I wound up hanging out with Mandi, Kathy, Emambu, Stephanie, Lynati and Mara in Mandi and Kathy's room, where we had pizza. I didn't really find any good ways into the conversation (not their fault), so after they headed to MGT3K, I opted to go back to my room for a little while and have a little snack. I headed back upstairs for the Blue Mug, arriving just after MGT3K finished.
Notable bits from the Blue Mug:
- Greg won't reveal if Brooklyn is a virgin when he meets Katana; if Delilah is sterile; if Lexington will meet his future mate before Brooklyn TimeDances; or if Coldstone is present in 2198.
- Gargoyle males are born circumcised.
- Hudson apparently wears pants instead of a loincloth because he feels he needs more dignity.
- Thailog designed Delilah to be a proper companion, not a mere sex slave - more than a minion, but less than an equal. Her diction has always been better than that of her fellow clones.
- Greg may consider doing a Blue short story, but he makes no promises. He suggested an auction for it may be in order, if done...
- Greg once contacted Phil Foglio on the possibility of a XXXenophile-type work featuring gargoyle-like characters. Although Foglio was intrigued, he was too busy, not to mention getting away from that sort of material after joining a local school board...
- Gargoyles and humans besides Goliath and Elisa have fallen in love, but it's extremely rare. It's so rare there isn't even a cultural taboo against it. Sometime between c. 3000 BC and 2199, there is only one other human-gargoyle relationship - and no, Greg isn't telling.
- Now that Puck is stuck as Owen for the long haul, we may see some changes in Owen's behavior.
- When Puck becomes Owen, there is a psychological transformation as well as a physical one. However, this does not mean Puck and Owen exist as distinct personalities in one form- when he's Puck, he's just Puck, and when he's Owen, he's just Owen.
- One issue of the comic is about equal to one act from a TV episode. Greg admits he's become used to writing for television rather than comics, but he hopes to break that pattern with Bad Guys.
- Greg chose not to have a fictional president, because - outside of the obvious fantasy elements - he likes to make the Gargoyles universe as close to reality as possible.
- It's important that sales of the regular comic not lag due to the pending release of a collected edition. If the regular comic doesn't sell, there might not be collected editions to buy... Greg also hopes to have some bonus material in the trade paperback (including a foreword by Wendy Pini), and possibly also a trade paperback of Bad Guys.
- A very complicated spell could enable the reattachment of a severed limb during stone sleep (assuming the gargoyle didn't die from the shock of the damage).
- The TimeDancer miniseries will be a "fragment" from his 40-year trip.
- Thom thinks Lex's pick of the litter would be Coldstone. He also never saw Lex as a monster, but just a 17-year-old guy.
- At this point in the comic, Lex is not sure of his sexuality.
- Coldstone does not age, but he is subject to normal wear and tear.
- Greg may eventually cover Molly/Banshee again.
- There were occasional squatters at Castle Wyvern between 994 and 1994, but no one stayed, as it was too creepy (not to mention the discouraging presence of Hakon and the Captain's ghosts).
- Judge Roebling's dialogue in the comic is indeed inspired by Foghorn Leghorn.
- In terms of Trio literacy - Lexington knew how to read in the 990s; Brooklyn knew how to read a little in the 990s, and improved under Lex's tutelage in the present day; Broadway chose not to learn until after "Lighthouse." When they were naming themselves, Lex probably read street signs for them, or they overheard the names.
- When Hunchback of Notre Dame was being developed, they stopped by the Gargoyles production area to compare their gargoyles with their gargoyles. They were pleased they bore no similarity to one another.
- Favorite reading material: Greg regularly reads the Los Angeles Times, as well as detective fiction; Thom is a "complete freak" for true crime books (and he also likes self-help books).
- When "Dominique Destine" was forming a relationship with "Lennox MacDuff," she presented herself as a good Catholic French girl.
- Macbeth probably spent years drunk, but he's not so suicidal anymore. By 2198, he is a hermit.
- Fox could be trained to use her mystical powers, but it'd be much more difficult for her than it is for Alex.
- Greg's career: Greg considers himself a good boss, but a bad employee. He's starting to run into executives who are Gargoyles fans.
- Greg told a rather lengthy tale involving why Nana Visitor was not the voice of Fox, and why Jonathan Frakes was briefly not the voice of Xanatos. Suffice to say it involved a lot of errors and office politics... Frakes never let Greg forget that he was temporarily fired, and humorously brought it up whenever possible.
- The ten-year gap between the end of the animated series and the beginning of the comic allowed Greg a lot of time to refine his ideas.
- Despite Atlantis: The Lost Empire not being part of the Gargoyles universe (due to various contradictions), the Praying Gargoyle still has an Atlantean crystal at its core. Greg would like to use the Team Atlantis characters in an adaptation of the story in comic form, but if he can't, he'll use analogues.
- There were also some bits related to comic issue #5, but I can't speak of them...
With no more questions, Blue or otherwise, the session was ended. I hung around a little, but quickly realized there was little point. So I went back to my room and slept.
It was a fun mug.
Gathering Journal - Thursday, June 21, 2007
Transit day. Greg B. (having stayed at my apartment overnight) got me up a bit after 8. (I'd already been awake, but I'd been trying really hard to avoid getting up before my alarm.) In about an hour, we were on our way, with me driving the first five hours, and Greg the second four. Greg came prepared with various CDs, including America: The Book, The Sopranos soundtrack, and the Kill Bill Vol. 1 soundtrack. There were a few minor navigation problems on the way down, but overall, it was a rather tranquil trip. (And may I note that Greg has an impressively gas-efficient car? I envy it.)
After 6:30, we got to the Grand Resort Hotel; after checking in, we parted ways for a time while we settled into our respective rooms. I did a bit of exploring, and got some supplies from Walgreens, before re-contacting him about possible dinner plans. Arriving at his room, he showed me the front-page below-the-fold story from the local paper on the con, with its surprisingly positive view; then we ordered some pizza.
About that time, a group strolled by which included Hudson, Eric "Gorebash", Chloe, Karl, and (I believe) Dancer, who stuck around for a good while in varying recombinations of discussion. Greg wound up sharing about all of his pizza with the lot; I left mine out for public consumption, but no one moved on it (probably 'cause I didn't make it obvious). Emambu and his girlfriend, Stephanie, walked by as well, but they were already on their way to somewhere else. The group moved to Hudson's room, where we mostly watched his roommate play Resident Evil 4 for a bit on the Wii. Having seen the game through before, I chose not to stick around, made a supplemental Walgreens trip, then headed back to my room for the night.
Sounds like you were off to a good start.
Thanks to Patrick Toman, the Gathering 2007 Radio Play has been uploaded to YouTube. Because YouTube has a new rule that permits videos to be no more than 10 minutes long, Patrick had to split the 42 minutes of footage into five segments in order to also include titles and credits. Here are the links:
Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j63pDlPaKnQ
Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZRkv56AC-F4
Part 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s58H_Tdi09E
Part 4: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s6PUx6GsdFA
Part 5: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wkurc-TW99o
Wednesday - Thursday
For all intents, the Gathering started on Wednesday, when my mom and I began the first half of the drive up to Tennessee. We thought it best to split the six hour drive into two parts, and ovenight somewhere halfway up. Thankfully, the drive was uneventful and we arrived at the hotel Thursday afternoon without any problems. Upon check-in, I found out that the hotel was pratically booked solid, with only a handful of rooms left. Turns out that the Gathering was one of five or six other groups staying or using the hotel that weekend. Whoa.
This was the first official day of the Gathering, and I split from mom that morning so she could do what she wanted while I was occupied with the events. I got my badge and got a one-day pass for my mom to use that night at the opening ceremonies. I looked at the available dealers and the art that was up so far in Artists' Alley (I got a Metal Man comic from the comics dealer there, a plus for me). The first panel I went to was the basic arts panel, to which Karine eventually managed to make. It was fun, a review in part for me, but still great to attend. The next panel I attended was Grimorum-making, taught by the wonderful Jenn-Bob, who also modeled for the life-drawing session we had afterwards. Finally came the opening ceremonies, and I was rather nervous about this particular event. I was one of the volunteers who provided animatics for the reel for "The Last", for which I dragged my mom to see. I listened and cheered through Greg's remarks and news, enjoying the promo reels and the little bonuses that have happened over the last year. It was with a lot of butterflies that I watched "The Last" animatic, but once I saw my part up on the TV, I was relieved. It had turned out rather well, and I was glad to have added my part to it. Unfortunately, my mom couldn't stay through the whole ceremonies and had to miss it. Ah, well. I stayed for the music video contest (sorry, guys, not one of the ones who did the mini-golf). And that was it for me that night.
Went to the life-drawing panel first thing in the morning, which provided a lot of nice gestures and drawings. Next was Karine's Fan to Pro panel. Samuel liked to squirm during it. He's so cute! Back to the panel: Karine gave a lot of information about her work in the past, how things went in the industry, and what she was enjoying about working on issue 5 of Gargoyles and so far for Bad Guys. After that, I hung out for a while in Artists' Alley and got to talk with Mara while she drew, then caught the last part of the Worldbuilding panel. Mom and I went to have a late lunch / early dinner before the radio play.
Okay, for me, and I'm sure a lot of others, the radio play this year was a highlight. For one, it's possibly the largest one so far, with the cast -- even with a few doubling roles -- that was about equal to the audience. Second, it was a performance of issues three to five, and we had to promise to keep our mouths shut about what gets revealed until the final issue comes out. Needless to say, it rocked. So much gets answered in issue five, and so much more. Let's me say this much: there were a lot of laughs, a lot of "Ooohhs" and "Ahhs" and at least one "Squeee!". When it comes out, I am so buying it.
After that, I checked out the MGT3K for the first time, which was fun, though I don't think I contributed much. Lastly for the night was the Blue Mug. It was rather tame this time around, which isn't to say we didn't have our dirty moments. Greg got to show off his custom shirt. Thom pulled his pants down to show his tattoo, which was cool. At least two animated gifs were shown to them, and Mara's own oh so wrong but oh so funny pic got passed around, which prompted another revelation that drew a collective "Ooohh."
I opted to attend the costuming panel, which became an open discussion and tip trading. I followed this up with the Garg physiology and culture panel. Because it was mentioned in the weeks prior to the Gathering, I decided to ask the question whether Katherine's excuse towards Constantine had any validity. We came to the consensus that yeah, the eggs needed to be turned, and various reasons why. Taxonomy was discussed, genetics, as was the interesting, to me anyway, topic of the "castle" as a concept of home and duty to Gargoyles, and to Goliath specifically. After that came the Bad Guys panel, that was part discussion of the upcoming comic and part brainstorming session about what we as fans can do to help get more notice for the comics, DVDs, and next year's con. All very cool ideas, and a few I plan to follow up as well as I can. We also got to see the posters for the upcoming trade of issues 1-6 and for Bad Guys #1. I disappeared for while to eat until the Masquerade, as well as watch the really strong summer storm that went through that afternoon. It was fun to see all the costumes, and at least one dance perfomance (whoever you are, I'm sorry I don't remember your name). Prizes were handed out, and then we partied. I enjoyed dancing and talking with everyone. Especially the performances to songs from Rent and Rocky Horror.
Monday was a short day. I attended the re-scheduled marker panel while listening to the live auction in the next room. I came over to say goodbye to Karine and Jen. After that, I went to help my mom with her stuff, and we were off.
Overall, it was a rather fun con. I signed up for next year's in Chicago, and plan to get to Vashkoda a better version of the animatic I contributed, as well as participate in the art show. Hope everyone else had fun, and I hope to see you guys next year.
I really appreciated your contribution to the Garg Phys&Cust panel. Thanks!
OK, I'm told this is where con reports go, so here goes... Gathering 2007 only, not the camping trip that preceded it.
So Thursday we woke up in North Carolina at a very nice little motel about 5 miles west of Cherokee. We took our time heading out, and just had breakfast out of what we had with us, which was plenty. We actually spent the first part of the day in the park, looking for a couple waterfalls we had managed to miss the first time through. Finally sighed and headed back to the craziness that is Pigeon Forge, and since we'd spotted the hotel on the way down had no trouble finding it. Shan checked us in, we hauled our stuff up to the room they gave us, and whoops... It was very definitely a smoking room, and reeked accordingly. Since Shan had specifically requested a NON smoking room, we called the desk and got put on hold. For way too long a time. Finally we got fed up and just walked back down to the desk, where the putz on the counter just rolled out the old "Oh no, that IS a non smoking room (despite the lack of sign, odor, and ASHTRAYS on the tables) we have no room to move you to, sorry, go spray air freshener." As he was finishing up his little memorized rote a manager comes up behind him, hands him a paper, and says "This is where we're moving them to" and boy did the putz clam up fast. Twit. Guess SOMEone had been working while we'd been on hold after all. Ah well, we had much much less room trouble than the rest of the clan, so we can't complain too much.
Anyway, got up to the room, which was RIGHT across from the con area, which would have been more marvy if we didn't have to wait for and take the elevator that whole 10 feet... *L*
Settled in, cranked the AC up high, and went back to the desk to get directions to the airport, since we were planning to go pick Rob and Maui up at about 11 pm. Nice clerk gave us a map and directions, and we walked across the street for dinner. Finally managed to get a hold of the rest of the clan, who were riding in from Memphis with Trimm - They were running late due to flight delays of course, so we re-confirmed I'd go get the other bunch that night, no problems. I called Rob to make sure everything was still OK with his flight just after the buggers cancelled it for a 10 minute thunderstorm. As far as we knew Maui was still on time, but we had no idea when Rob was gonna get in now. Finally he gets rescheduled, to the NEXT DAY. So poor Wobby spent a crappy night at the airport, but at least it meant Shan and I could BOTH go get Maui (we were gonna leave Shan behind before because of lack of space - remember all my camping stuff was taking up the entire trunk. :P ) That worked really well, because there was construction blocking all the routes we knew of to get BACK to the motel from the airport - so we got brave and after picking Mau up without a hitch, we grabbed the atlas and map the hotel gave us and fumbled our way back to PF in the dark. Made it, though,and got to the hotel not that far behind the rest of the clan, who'd gotten stuck in the construction traffic we'd detoured around. They'd reserved a suite, but I guess there were none left, so they got thrown across the freaking street to a even more ghetto hotel owned by the same people. Sure, it was technically a suite, and I admit I never saw it, but I heard stories. And 'overcharged' doesn't start to cut it, I also heard. Still, I'll let them blog that little mess... We got back, Mau went over to visit them for a few minutes, then came back and we all slept.
Next morning, Friday! I woke up and everyone else was still asleep (or half awake and just not getting up yet, who knows) but it was rapidly approaching 9 am and I finally said screw it and got up and wandered a bit, looking for people I knew. Walked next door to the BP station and got breakfast, then ran into con staffers on the way upstairs. Asked if they needed help and got told no, not really, but I went and butted into the room anyway because I saw JG in there setting up the art area. Said hi to her, and volunteered to help with art panels, and that time got a 'yes please!' *L* Helps when people can recognize you without a nametag. :P Finally the rest of my room got up and moving and wandered over, and promptly got put to work, because that's what Arcadia does... we get drafted easy. :P I grabbed my badge in there somewhere, but we hung out until all the art we had was hung and labeled, and by that time the rest of the clan had arrived and hugs were exchanged. About noon Shan and I headed back up to the airport to get Rob, and we took a different route that was more scenic, had less construction, but was much longer. Still got there just at the right time, though, and grabbed Wobby without much trouble. Grabbed lunch on the way back, and zoomed back to PF... I was still about 15 minutes late getting to the 3pm lifedrawing session though. Life drawing was fun, I always like it because the con is the only place I can do it in anything like a formal setting. They were also cool about taking pics, so I snagged photos of some of the more complex poses, too. ^_^ The clan waited patiently while I finished that up, then those who wanted to went to opening ceremonies, which Shan and I skipped in favor of being lazy in the hotel room and eating our leftovers from lunch. After the ceremonies finally wound up, we all met up downstairs, picking up a few adoptees of course in the process, and went to dinner (Shan and I just got desserts) and then walked a couple blocks to a laser tag place. I'd never done it before, but it was fun. I assume part of the fun was the group, though. We got the whole session to ourselves, which rocked, too. I came in next to dead last for points, go me! ;P At that point it was getting late, so it was back to the hotels and bed -eventually. *L*
Saturday!! We all slept too late but I hauled my butt out of bed for the 10 am lifedrawing. They were really the only con things I did, so I'm glad I did that much, at least. *L* The poor across the street people finally managed to get a room in the con hotel, another suite, which was much nicer but still too expensive in my opinion. *L* Hung out there a bit and goofed off a lot, (pic is DE, Arno, and Maui) of course. There was not much going on that we really needed to go until the MGT3K at 8, so some of us went swimming and Mau and DE wandered off shopping or something, I think. We ended up driving to TGIFridays for dinner that night, which was nice - I usually don't get to see much of the people who stay in the other clan room, so getting to hang with Trimm, Beedoo! and Arno for the evening was awesome. ^_^ I didn't do the radio play as usual (I still have -never- sat through one of those. Some year, I guess) but a lot of the clan wanted to go to the MGT3K, and the rest of us went swimming again. Well, Rob came and played with his camera and let us pick on him, and DE couldn't swim because of her bum knee, but the rest of us swam. Well, ok, all 5 of us. But still. After that there was much confusion and trying to find Arno and the others, which was finally given up on and sleep happened. Eventually. :P
SUNDAY! I... have no idea what happened Sunday? Oh! Wait, yeah, we went to breakfast at the pancake place next door, and then split up again. DE had to leave to head back to work Monday, most of the clan went for mini golf and Shan and I went up to the outlet mall because I was looking for things for my nephew's birthday. I didn't get a darn thing for my nephew and ended up only getting some hand soap for myself. But it's nice soap, darnit. ;P Met up with the rest of the group and did a lap of go-cart racing, before we headed back to the hotel and picked up the cars and went to Golden Corral for our non-banquet clan dinner. *L* Got back and headed to the Masquerade! Most of my pics are semi-random Masquerade pics, so I'm not gonna detail them here again, sorry. pic folder is here again if you missed it the first time.
Hung out after wards, got in the conga line, and then went over to take the traditional clan pic. Two weird things happened, first people kept jumping into the pic with us who we barely or didn't know at all, and second, people we didn't or barely knew kept taking our pictures once we finally got posed. It was like we were famous or something? *L* But I was the bitch and kicked everyone else out (except for the guy with the kick ass costume, I wasn't complaining about him) and got the pic - Arcadia Clan Gathering Pic 2007! and my thanks to whoever shot the pic for me. It's a decent photo of everyone except me. *L* Back row is Arno, Trimm, me, Robert, and the gargoyle, Delphine is in the middle, then Beedoo!, Maui, and JG are in the front. DE had already left. After that we noticed the room we were in had handy tables, so we got into a weird card game Beed had brought until JG came back in and told us about the problems with water leaking in the dealers/art room. So the clan pitched in and went to help take down the art show in a hurry, and we were just finishing that up along with the staff when the whole CON showed up and started helping us move the dealers' stuff to improvised high ground. I was very impressed with how we all worked together, and seeing who ended up in charge and who was actually getting obeyed and who was doing what was interesting. *L* Still, that little exercise seemed to pretty much kill the dance ( it's funny, the one time I've been there that we were isolated enough that we could have stayed more than a few minutes, and everyone left - maybe it's habit at this point? ;P ) so we went back to our card games. I finally left when I noticed that the noise in the room was making me literally cringe every time someone said something, and the game was such that everyone was yelling and being loud, that was part of the fun - but I couldn't take it anymore and had to beg off and head to bed before my head exploded. o.O Since I knew we were heading out first thing in the morning, I did manage to get re-packed most of the way, and then went back to donate some of the food we had left from camping but didn't want to haul home over to the card players... But finally I got a shower and some sleep and the headache went away.
MONDAY! Basically just got up, found the clan, and said goodbyes. We had set ourselves a strict goal of 10 am departure, based on how long a drive we had, and we made it almost on the nose. It was the LONGEST damn drive through Kentucky ever, I swear it was all downhill once we got to Ohio, but still it seemed like such a damn long drive. *L* But we had the Arcadia CD to keep us company and we finally got home about 7:30. After which we promptly crashed, since Delfy had to be at work way too freaking early the next morning.
THE END! Yes, I'm planning on going to Chicago, though I didn't have the money to pre-reg yet.
Then I hope to see you in Chicago... maybe next year you'll see the Radio Play. You're missing out, I swear, by skipping that.
Gathering Journal, Part Three
Slept in until ten, then woke up and went downstairs for biscuits and gravy. After breakfast, I hit an ATM, and then my brother and I decided to sit in on the Gargoyles physiology/culture discussion. Greg was very animated during this one, especially towards the end when talking about how a gargoyle might define "the castle". The main thing I took away was that gargoyles and humans have one very key thing in common: the men are idiots, and the women are crazy.
After that, there was a panel on Gargoyles/Bad Guys. Right before it started, I went down to the second floor, found a vending machine that didn't hate me, and got my Mike-and-Ikes at long last! Vengeance is mine (or at least artificial fruit flavors were mine)! The comic panel turned more into a motivational speech on spreading the word. But in all fairness, Greg had said that it was because the panel had been thrown together at the last minute, and he was unable to answer too many questions about the story (for which I couldn't blame him).
I went upstairs after that, and perused some of the items up for silent auction. I had already bid on some art, otherwise I would have put some bids in on a few other things. I didn't even know Tiger made an LCD game for Gargoyles. I tried to get some soda from the third floor vending machines after that, but they refused to give me any love. So I gave up, and went back to the room to shower and shave. I still had time to kill after cleaning up for dinner. I chatted with my brother for a bit (he went to Gatlinburg during the comic panel, and he described it as a Swedish town in the middle of nowhere). Earlier, I had offered to front him some money to go on the waiting list for the Banquet, but he kept saying no.
Went down to the second floor after that, and finally scored some Coke from THAT soda machine. They must have grouped all the working machines on the second floor. I also had a nice chat with Jonathon and Kristen (whom I'd met Friday night), and also with Susan Leonard. My memory was hazy on just what we talked about, but hunger usually puts gaps in my memory.
The Banquet was a lot of fun, though I was confused as to why the chicken appeared to be served over rice with some mysterious yellow gravy. I thought the menu said it would be Southern Fried. Ah, well, it was still good. The potatoes and gravy were awesome. The Q and A afterwards was also very enjoyable (if Greg was annoyed with me asking if he took the Mrs. Smith's apple pie out of the box before eating it, he didn't show it). Overall, it was a lot of fun. If my brother actually comes with me again next year, I'm fronting him the money for the Banquet. He went to KFC.
A wicked storm kicked up after the Q and A let out. My brother and I smoked pipes on the balcony, until the wind picked up and started blowing the rain into our faces. When that happened, we decided to abort. I bumped into Brooklyn X and a few other people not far from my room, and got some pictures of a table upside-down in the swimming pool. Shortly after that, my brother and went to grab seats at the Masquerade.
The Masquerade was wild. I don't know if my brother enjoyed himself, but I did. Sadly, I was sitting under the fluorescents, so I didn't get too many good pictures. I got some great ones after the judging, though. My brother went back to the hotel room shortly after the awards were given out, and I tried to get him to come hang out with us. He came over for about five minutes, and then I lost track of him. I think he went back to the room to drink some more and pray for my soul. It's funny. I'm usually the antisocial one, and this time he was the one drinking in the hotel room. ( ;
Lots of general insanity after that. Managed to have some better, lengthier chats with Greg X, Kelly, and JEB. Kelly and I discussed the possibility of doing something Quarrymen-related at next year's Masquerade, an idea that took better shape as the night progressed. Watched some kareoke, and wound up doing some of it myself with a few other males in the room (that was fun. Haven't belted out a good rendition of "A--hole" in years), but not too long after that, there was a bit of a buzzkill from the rain, which caused a leak in the Dealer's Room. From what I heard later, everything was okay, but a bunch of people needed to go buy tarps because the rain picked up again.
Kelly, Leo and I did our own search for the comic book dealer, but we wound up back in Leo and Kelly's room, drinking coffee and bitching about the hotel. Despite all my belly-aching, I still liked the hotel. It had personality. I went upstairs after that, and hung out a bit more. Had another chat with a girl named Tiffany about tattoos. All this talk has gotten me thinking about getting one at the next Gathering. I eventually wound up in the hotel lobby with Thom Adcox and a group of other people (names are, again, sadly a blur) watching dirty videos on youtube, as well as a short film someone made based upon an internet comic. I went back up to my room about a quarter after midnight, watched "Venture Brothers" with my brother, and then slept.
Woke up, and started to get breakfast. Once again, the line in the lobby was too long. And honestly, my brother and I were tired of biscuits and gravy. So we went to McDonald's and grabbed coffee. We went back to the hotel after getting coffee, and I bumped into Mandy and BrooklynX as they were checking out. Said goodbye to them (BX and I wound up chatting a few times over the weekend when he was pulling guard duty for Radio Play auditions and rehearsals). After that, we went upstairs to where Greg, Thom, and Karine were signing things. Got them to sign a copy of Gargoyles #3 for someone whose wedding I went to over a year ago, and I still hadn't gotten him a gift. Thanks, guys! He's a massive fan of Gargoyles, so he'll appreciate it a lot! Hopefully, it won't take as long for me to mail it out to him, and I'll be sure to mention Chicago in the letter.
Said goodbye to Greg X and JEB, then stopped upstairs to the Dealer's Room to pick up some art. Bought a very nice Demona piece from Revel. Said some more goodbyes after that, and then my brother and I hit the road. I decided to forego stopping at a fireworks outlet, since we got a late start and my brother had a longer drive than I did.
Made the trip in seven hours, and saw more roadkill on the way home. The final roadkill count was:
Bird - 1
Deer - 3
Fox - 1
Opossum - 2
Raccoon - 7
Unknown - 8
Unpacked the car and started to upload the Gathering pics I took so my brother could copy them onto a portable drive. Only problem was it was taking too long. So he told me to just give him a CD next time we saw each other, and he started off again. I unpacked my stuff, had a beer and some leftover enchiladas, and vegged out until I got sleepy.
Overall, it was a blast. Hope to do it again in 2008.
Hope to see you in Chicago!
Gathering Journal, Part Two
I slept longer than I had in a while, but I was on vacation. Wasn't very hungry when I woke up. Had a lot of nervous energy, which usually deprives me of my appetite. Went down to the lobby with my brother, drank some coffee, ate some biscuits and gravy (which were surprisingly good). Tacky as everything was, the people of the town were very friendly. After breakfast, we attempted to find our way upstairs to claim our badges. We wound up going outside to the Convention Center by mistake, then back inside, then down a few dead-ends until we found the stairwell we wanted. Lots of dead-ends in this hotel. It had so much character, I'm amazed that the fire warden hadn't condemned it yet.
After we got our stuff from the Dealer's Room, my brother and I split up. I ran across the street to Walgreens for more supplies, and then sat in on the Fanfic 101 group discussion. Stopped back in the hotel room afterward for a cold slice of leftover bacon pizza. I initially was not going to go to Thom Adcox's voice-acting panel, but my brother was going, so I went with him. I'm glad I changed my mind. Thom is a very funny guy and had some very amusing stories to tell about his experiences in the business. I did manage to take away the sense that voice-acting is tough (the business aspect of it). Plus, he also mentioned that the Gargoyles voice cast looked upon the Goliath Chronicles as a paycheck, which made me laugh.
Had time to kill before Radio Play auditions, so my brother and I went for a drive to see what was in the direction of Gatlinburg. It's weird, because you eventually reach a point where the tackiness of Pigeon Forge just seems to stop abruptly, and you're in the middle of the woods again. We followed that road for a bit, and then turned around, and got back to the hotel with time to spare.
Never made it to auditions, though, because I ran into Kelly (Sadistic Cow) up in the dealer's room. I wound up following her back to her room, where she introduced me to Leo, DTaina, and Doppelganger. For some reason, they were watching "Lois and Clark" on DVD (and I joined Leo in annoying Taina with Superman jokes. Can I make a good first impression or what?).
Fortunately, the episode was just ending, so we all went down to see the ducks. They have these freaky looking ducks that swim in the river next to the picnic area behind the hotel. They're like these mutant duck-turkey things. I got some pictures of them. We chatted for a bit, fed some Chex Mix to the mutant ducks, and then went inside to avoid getting sunburned. I lost track of my companions on the stairway between the first and third floors, mainly because I started chatting with Carter (Alex Garg) and Seth (IRC Goliath) about movies and the tackiness of Pigeon Forge. After that, I ran into Matt on the way back to my hotel room. I told him that I wasn't going to enter the mini-golf raffle, because miniature golf infuriates me, and I wanted to make a good first impression.
Opening Ceremonies were shortly after that, and they were a lot of fun. Most of us wound up moving onto the floor shortly after we got there, so everyone could see the TV, but I didn't care. There was also some trouble with the video, but again, everyone was in good spirits about it. I'd never seen the "Bad Guys" demo reel before. It was more hardcore than I'd been expecting. I also enjoyed watching the "Atlantis" episode. The unfinished scenes were actually very entertaining, even though the finished scenes looked great. Greg Weisman broke the podium and took it in great stride. And apparently, going only 20 minutes over is good for him (I spoke to someone later who advised me that his average is 40 minutes over).
My brother and I went to Wendy's after that (Spicy Chicken sandwich, the only thing I ever get from them), and wound up missing the first few music videos. But that was okay. I'd already seen a few of them on youtube. I hung out in the Atrium after that, which was fun. I have to remember to bring my chess set to Chicago next year. I love to play, but no one in my family will play with me anymore. Chatted with the comic book dealer, who apparently has been in his chosen field since 1983. Told me about what a few of his oldest comics were. I went downstairs after that to see what Cow, Taina, and Leo were up to. Hung out with them, Doppleganger, and Carter for a bit. Watched the last hour of "Army of Darkness," and wound up reciting most of it (hopefully, I wasn't annoying anyone).
Went back upstairs after the movie to see what was happening in 2A. Someone (I think it was Mara) did an amazing sketch of Delilah using only Crayola markers. I chatted with JEB for a bit about gaming while I watched. Lost track of the picture after she finished (there was talk of slipping it under Greg Weisman's door. I spoke to her the next day, and she didn't know what happened to it, either).
After that, Hudson started ranting. It was all highly offensive humor, which is a guilty pleasure of mine. I managed to get my brother out of the hotel room for some of it. Pity we never got around to the Jalapena contest (that sounded fun), but Hudson's rant more than made up for it. Got tired around midnight, so when Hudson stopped to use the restroom, my brother and I went back to our room for rest.
Overslept, which means I missed Radio Play auditions (after I swore I'd set my alarm for them). My brother and I went down to the lobby, and but the line for breakfast was too long. So we decided to go elsewhere. We ran into a Fan as we were leaving, so he asked if he could tag along.
Despite what Thom said during his voice panel the day before, we did wind up eating at the Red Rooster. I didn't get the pancakes, though. Just had cornflakes and coffee, the breakfast of champions. A Fan and my brother did a lot of the talking (my brother's pursuing a master's in History, so he loves to hear people talk about themselves). We split up after that. I bought some provisions from Walgreen's, as well as something for my stomach, since I felt a little queasy. Bought the least drowsy thing I could find. By early afternoon, I felt like my cynical old self again.
Perused some art up in the Dealer's Room after dropping the stuff off back in the hotel room. Saw some things that caught my eye, but didn't bid just yet. Figured I'd stew on it while I sat in on Karine's panel. However, I did buy a T-Shirt for Gathering 2008 in Chicago. I'll be doing my best to make it there. Showed up for Karine's panel early, so I chatted for a bit with Mandy and someone whose name I can't remember (I'm sorry. I've always been better with faces than I have names. Takes me a few tries to remember someone's name). Karine's panel was very entertaining. I was very impressed with her energy. People were asking some very good questions, and she sat and patiently answered them all while juggling her infant son. The way people have talked about it, I'm very much looking forward to seeing Issue #5 of the comic now (the preview pages looked great). Went back to the Dealer's Room after that, and placed a bid on some artwork that caught my eye.
Didn't get a chance to sign up for one of the Mug-a-Guests (I meant to yesterday, but got sidetracked), so I had time to kill before the Radio Play. My brother and I went down the road to a country record store. Got some postcards, and came very close to buying a redneck cookbook. I do like hushpuppies. After that, we drove back to the hotel, and went up to the Dealer's Room. We hung out, chatted with some people, and I wound up flipping through some... interesting... comics that Kelly bought.
Took a nap before the Radio Play, got up ten minutes before it started, shotgunned half a lukewarm Pepsi, and then my brother and I took the long way around to 2A. The cast for the Radio Play was great. It was not what I expected: Issues 3, 4 and 5 of the comic. To anyone who wasn't there, all I'll say is: buy Issue #5 when it comes out. If your comic store doesn't carry it, get them to order it through any means necessary. It is well worth it.
I was expecting the play to go on a bit longer. So I had a chunk of time to kill. I smoked a pipe by the river, and had a little chat with Cow and Leo. Then went back to the room for dinner, which my brother and I had purchased earlier. We were tired of eating fast food, so we scarfed some Oscar Mayer Lunchables (not to mention some fresh blackberries, which tasted great) and watched Jesus Talk Live for about five minutes. Less said about that, the better.
After we ate, I went to MGT3K. I ran sat next to Matt, and had a lot of fun. We all did our best to tear into "Lighthouse in the Sea of Time," "Outfoxed," and "The Price." Oh, and Greg, even though you weren't there, thanks for letting us roast your intros. ( ;
We had time to kill after the main event, so Jade Griffin put "The Mirror" on for us to watch (and rip apart). Pity they didn't have the script for that one. I probably cracked my best jokes during it.
Blue Mug-A-Guest was after that. I jogged downstairs to try and grab some sugar, but the vending machine ate two of my dollars and gave no love. I had my eye on those Mike-and-Ikes, too. Ah, well. I ran back upstairs, and found a seat right before it started. Man, was that wild! I think we scared my brother away with the second question. He went back to the hotel room before eleven. Thom told some interesting jokes, and I also have a vague memory of some youtube videos being passed around. By 12:30, I was falling asleep in the chair, so I went back to the room for sleep.
To be concluded...
Roasting my intros sounds a bit like shooting fish in a barrel.
Gathering Journal, Part One
My brother and I actually left on time, or at least when we intended to, which was between 9 and 10 AM. We made good time down Route 64, and drove through a lot of counties with funny names: Fluvanna, Louisa, and before that, Goochland. Sadly, after Fluvanna, the county names stopped being funny (that, or I just stopped paying attention). We passed a lot of trucks as we drove through the valley, in the right lane with their emergency blinkers on. I would have been feeling better if we hadn't seen an Audi commercial last night that had to do with car crashes. Ah, well, good thing I don't believe in omens.
We tried to play a game where we count all the roadkill we see. But wouldn't you know it? After two hours on the road, we hadn't seen a single dead animal. Saw a living deer, but that doesn't count. Well, at least it started to pick up when we got closer to the Tennessee State Line.
When we came off the exit for I-40, we followed signs for Pigeon Forge and started to get the feeling that we were crossing into another dimension. How many dinner and show services does one place need? Or helicopter-related things, for that matter. Not to mention the fact that I saw more electronic billboards in the last 20 minutes than I have for my entire life! They probably cause more accidents every year than drunk driving.
We found the hotel more easily than we thought. Checked in, and grabbed a shower. The table I sat at in the room when I was writing this journal had several amusing pamphlets, including the Black Bear Jamboree, and the Dixie Stampede Dinner Attraction. I took the pamphlets with me. The place was so much like Vegas: it's so tacky, it's a joke. But it knows it's a joke and doesn't care. I love it! I also grabbed a complementary newspaper that had an article on the Gathering with a hysterical typo in it.
My brother and I went for a walk after that. We saw a bunch of humorous stores as we took a walk down the sidewalk. We passed this one overly tacky store where a person could feed live bears, and also purchase joke novelties, NASCAR merchandise, and a variety of fried dough. We took some humorous pictures of the tackiness. On our way back to the hotel, we ran into Carl, aka Cuddly Dominion. Had an interesting chat with him about the town, and also about designing costumes. The three of us ran into Greg X outside the hotel. He recognized me by my homemade Demona shirt. Couldn't chat too long, but it was nice to finally meet him in person after talking with him online for almost two years.
My brother and I went back up to the room after that, ordered some pizza, and watched a few episodes of "The Office," which I had never seen before but enjoyed. When it started to get a little dark, we went out to the picnic tables behind the hotel and smoked pipes. Even at nine-thirty, it was still dusk out. God, I love the Solstice!
Went back to the hotel room after smoking, and it was too cold. Had a merry time trying to get the climate controls to work. It was too hot outside, too cold in the room. Went to bed not long after that.
To be continued…
The Office was an acquired taste for me. But now I'm addicted...