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Gathering 2008 Journal - Day Two
Saturday, June 28, 2008
Woke up around 9ish, but lazed around until around 10. Surfed the Web for another hour before finally getting on my way. I headed up to the ninth floor to look for Dracandros and Ed, as well as to take a look around the other con rooms. Talked a bit with Greg B., looked at the dealer's room (a lot of T-shirts but not much else that appealed) and the con suite (honestly, not nearly casual enough for my tastes). After running into Dracandros and Ed, we took a walk through the art festival outside the hotel - some neat stuff on display, but a lot of it was too expensive (not to mention the difficulties involved in shipping it home). Did snag some tasty funnel cake, although the heavy dose of sugar (on top of a sugary breakfast) gave me a bit of a headache later.
I returned in time for the Combat and Weapons panel. Flanker, the fellow running this panel (a veteran of the Canadian Army who served in Afghanistan), wanted to use the conference room's TV screen, but it turned out the hotel charged for the cords to hook it to his laptop. So, he passed it around the audience instead. A fellow by the name of Phil was in the audience - when it was revealed he was with the U.S. Navy, Flanker encouraged some well-deserved applause. (We also learned a bit later Phil had served in Iraq.) Topics covered included:
- The difference between small and long arms, between other guns and carbines, between machine and submachine guns, and how some guns blur the lines between those distinctions.
- An explanation of how bullets work (interestingly, cops can use deadlier hollow-point ammunition, but soldiers can't).
- The mechanics of guns, including how automatic weapons work and how sniper rifles do, in fact, make noise.
- The tongue-in-cheek Rules of Gunfighting (i.e. #1 - Don't get in a gun fight).
- The problems with energy and electromagnetic weapons - primarily, that the high energy demands require heavy and immobile (or at least, impractical-to-move) power generation machinery.
- That under duress, people default to their training level - which, for many, is basically zero. This is why repetitive training is so useful.
- Non-lethal ammunition, such as rubber ball and beanbag rounds for shotguns.
- Weapon modification, such as sawed-off barrels (which spread the shot) and sawed-off stocks (more concealable, but more awkward to use).
- Which gun is the best gun (it's whichever is best for a given purpose and situation, and whichever caliber the gun's user is most comfortable with).
- Good gun research sites (Wikipedia isn't bad, and is particularly useful when you want to know what a character from a given organization in a given nation might use; word.guns.ru is also a very good and detailed resource).
- Experimental weapons such as flechette and gauss.
- The "bullpup" design, with the ammo and loading mechanism in the back of the gun (many weapons in Gargoyles resemble this design).
- The best ways to aim well (handguns are less accurate than rifles, and dual-wield anything is highly inaccurate).
- The best position for a holster (use your strong side, i.e. the same as your gun hand; a holster on the opposite side requires more motion to draw and use, although they are admittedly easier to conceal and more comfortable).
One fellow, who I will leave unidentified, asked an awful lot of the questions, making a not-so-favorable impression on the audience (he'd be regarded even more poorly following his behavior at other events).
I returned to my room to transcribe my panel notes, then went back to look at the silent auction items, placing a bid on a Steel Clan action figure. I also talked to Greg B. and looked at the art gallery. Returning to my room again (I was disinclined to hang out in the con suite), I killed some time before the Radio Play by reading the first two stories in the Items of Enchantment anthology.
The Radio Play was entertaining - an adaptation of Gargoyles issues 7-9 in chronological order. Greg Weisman was concerned that it came off poorly, but actually I thought it seemed to work rather well (excepting a rather unwieldly chunk of Shari monologuing). Apparently a rather substantial storm struck outside during it - the noise threatened to drown out some of the dialogue, and parts of the art festival suffered during it. Of course, I can't discuss any spoilers at this time...
Dinner was at Al's Italian Beef with Dracandros and Ed. Although I'd heard good things about the place, I found it good but not very exceptional. We followed dinner with a trip to Comix Revolution, which was an adequate store; picked up a few things. On the way back, we passed by a rather large group being led somewhere - dinner, I'm assuming - by Greg W. I told Dracandros and Ed I'd bring MUGEN down to their room to play, which I did after skimming my comic purchases. However, when I got there, I received no response to my knocking. Since there was also a "Do not disturb" sign on the door, I presumed they were either absent or busy, and left. (Turned out they simply hadn't heard me over the TV. Ah well.)
Trying to kill time before the Blue Mug, I took a trip to the ninth, and found everything closed up. Returning to my room, I read my newly acquired Invincible trade paperback, chatted with Jack, updated my convention notes, and surfed the Web. (Repeated opinion: A con suite open at this time would have been much appreciated.)
Finally, I headed to the Blue Mug. Greg was there first; Keith, then Thom, arrived later (they wanted to be a bit more tipsy before arriving). (Josh Silver also arrived with Keith.) Some notable revelations included:
- Greg has no idea of the what or where of Marvel's Gargoyles #12.
- "The Price" took the idea of a stone gargoyle replacing a sleeping gargoyle from a Disney Adventures strip.
- Greg said the Stone of Destiny wouldn't agree that it's a magical item.
- The Eyrie Building is so tall because Xanatos is looking for all sorts of immortality.
- Keith thinks Goliath simply isn't the sort to drink alcohol.
- Greg thinks gargoyles are less susceptible to the sort of chemical imbalances that lead to psychological disorders in humans, but that psychologically damaging traumas affect them the same way.
- In response to a question about Shari and Thailog's relationship: Keith opined that if he was in a hot tub playing chess with a willing woman by his side... more than his chess piece would be moving.
- Keith was asked about the famous fight scene between him and Roddy Piper in They Live - he confirmed that it was not a real beating, as rumored. He traced the origin of the rumor to an accidental real punch to Piper's face immediately following his reassuring Entertainment Tonight interviewers that the fight scenes were safe. (Keith also liked the South Park parody of the fight.)
- Greg said that if Gargoyles was parodied on Robot Chicken, he'd appreciate the recognition even if he didn't like the actual content of the parody.
- Broadway and Angela have not yet had sex at this point in the comic.
- Greg (jokingly?) sees The Spectacular Spider-Man as a show about sexual repression.
- Keith considers Goliath a fairly straightforward sort who wouldn't have any sexual festishes. Greg concurred.
- Writing the Stone of Destiny arc in the Gargoyles comic has been liberating for Greg - it helped free him from a TV mindset. He thinks Bad Guys has benefitted from this mindset-shift.
- Greg considers bushido (as seen in "Bushido") an example of gargoyles influencing human culture.
- Gargoyles are not attuned to human reproductive cycles.
- Greg has issues with how television has removed every "base" except for first and home in terms of sex. (In his younger years, he and some friends also calculated there were many more than four "bases" - he figured about 22.)
- We will see a bonding ceremony for Goliath and Elisa.
- Keith opined that although humans and gargoyles may be bound in some ways by their biology, they can learn new behavior - and that in some ways, Demona's behavior is becoming more humanlike.
- Gargoyles never really had a need to develop independent science and technology - by the time humans began to out-tech them, survival became a higher priority. However, Greg opined that gargoyles like Lexington and Amp may start to create their own innovations based on human technology. He also reminded of the Lexington-Xanatos Corporation.
- Greg doesn't see why gargoyles would develop issues with homosexuality. He also doesn't think there would be pressure for homosexual gargoyles to take a mate in low-population clans - if the situation was that desperate, a single additional egg would hardly matter anyway.
- The new Wyvern Clan will be a clan of gargoyles intentionally going back to the traditional gargoyle ways as a rejection of increasing cultural assimilation.
- The entire Manhattan Clan believed they were a species going extinct prior to the Avalon world tour. The revelation that they weren't the last was especially major for Hudson.
- Gargoyles did not have a hand in creating humans or the Children of Oberon.
- The idea that more humanoid gargoyles could have an evolutionary advantage was proposed - that is, looking more human might make humans slightly more reluctant to hate them. Greg seemed to think it was interesting, but he also pointed out it could work in reverse, so he didn't really agree with the premise.
- The fact that gargoyle beasts were more frightening to humans coud be a reason why there are fewer of them.
- Some gargoyles may have ruled over some humans at some point.
- Greg liked the analogy that learning mortal magic is like learning quantum physics - sure, anyone can learn it, but it'll be much harder or easier for certain people.
- Immigrant assimilation might be one of the metaphors in Gargoyles.
- There was no Demona-Macbeth romance in evidence in "City of Stone" IV.
- Greg doesn't know if female gargoyles are capable of laying unfertilized eggs.
- The first Magus was the first to combine the Eye of Odin, Grimorum Arcanorum and Phoenix Gate.
- Greg chose Manhattan for Gargoyles, rather than another city like Los Angeles (not a good gargoyle town, in Greg's opinion), because it provided the best contrast between modern and ancient. It also worked well, as an island as a protectorate was something Goliath could get his head around at that early stage. (Goliath is only now starting to widen his perspective even further.)
- Greg considers Demona one of his deeper creations, and thinks that Xanatos has defined a trope all his own.
- The original Gargoyles pitch used four different artists. Goliath's original design included jewelery, and Lex originally had four arms.
- Wolf's more wolfish transformation in "Upgrade" didn't get repeated because it spawned too many animation errors.
- Greg likes the idea of Thailog having a Xanatos-esque goatee, but he's reluctant to use it because it could weaken his stance against using fan original ideas, which could in turn be used against him at some point.
- Greg had about four or five more stories for the Avalon world tour, but it was cut short due to several factors, including frustration by one member of the crew (he said who, but I forget), the problem of not having the Trio appear for so long, and that mixing the arc with reruns was making it seem awfully over-long. Three of the "lost" stories included the Himalayas story (ultimately recycled in Gargoyles #6), a Korea story, and a China story.
- Greg comnmented that Goliath seems to be less of a fulcrum in the comic series than he was in the original animated series.
- The Avalon arc didn't sit so well with Thom, simply because Lexington wasn't in it and he wasn't getting paid! (Which caused some financial issues.)
- Greg was a bit put out that the toilets on the ninth floor made a sound like the Green Goblin's pumpkin bombs when they flushed.
- Greg said Bruce Wayne was more of an inspiration for David Xanatos than Tony Stark, and that Lex Luthor wasn't at all (because Greg's Luthor is the Silver Age mad scientist, not the modern businessman).
- In Iron Man, Greg took issue with Tony Stark's choosing Burger King for his cheeseburger after returning from Afghanistan. He also thought Stane's motives were kinda weak. He also opined that Marvel should have held back the release of The Incredible Hulk until later in the year, as now there'll be a big gap until the next Marvel Studios movie.
One thing that was interesting to me is how often Keith David had his own opinions on how Goliath and gargoyles worked, sometimes in mild conflict with Greg Weisman's POV. One wonders how often an actor playing a role puts such levels of thought into the world of their characters.
After the Blue Mug, it was pretty much straight to bed for me.
Blue Mug's are always fun and eclectic -- even when they're not all that blue.
Gathering 2008 Journal - Day One
Friday, June 27, 2008
I started waking up around 7 am or so, but kept going back to sleep until I finally decided to officially wake up around 9ish. Then I loungted a bit, watched TV and added more to my con notes before getting out of bed for real around 10ish.
My first priority was more supplies from CVS - a crate of bottled water and a few Diet Pepsis. Dracandros left a message inviting me to go to the Taste of Chicago festival that day (the original idea having been for Monday after Closing Ceremonies). By the time I'd called him back, the plan had changed - instead, he wanted to go downtown and see the Sears Tower. I agreed, but went to go pick up my registration first (and briefly meeting with Merlin Missy, who I last recall meeting at my very first Gathering in 1998). I also chatted a bit with Harvester of Eyes (Rob) and King Cobra before going with Drac and Ed.
The three of us met with three more - Leo, Doppleganger, and dtaina (D. Taina) - and we set off, taking the L (Chicago's elevated train system) from Davis on the Purple Line to Chicago/State on the Red Line. Along the way, we chatted, and also met a fellow in a Zelda shirt who offered some tips (such as not obviously using maps, as it's a clear sign of being a tourist). Before Sears, however, we went for the slightly shorter John Hancock Center and its Observatory, taking in some sights along the way (such as the Chicago Water Tower, one of the few buildings in the area to survive the Great Chicago Fire of 1871). The view from Hancock was pretty nice, and I took far too many pics while we were up there. (It also bragged of having a hyper-fast elevator that moved upwards at 20 mph - made your ears pop.)
After Hancock, we took a trolley to the Sears Tower, but before we went there we decided to get a late lunch/dinner at Giordano's, a well-regarded Chicago pizza parlor. Delicious stuff, and surprisingly filling - we got two pizzas for six people, but the first one was more than enough! (The second pizza had mushrooms, so I wasn't too distressed.) Dracandros brought the leftovers with us, leading to some envious looks from people in the Sears! At the Tower, we watched a neat intro movie and then saw even more great views (and again, I took too many pics). However, time was running out before Opening Ceremonies, so we needed to leave after only a short visit.
(Observation from my time downtown - Chicago architects really, really like revolving doors. Think we had enough of those for a lifetime.)
Unfortunately, our return trip - taking the Purple Line express from Quincy (a neat station restored to a vintage state) back to Davis took about 50 minutes, so we all returned about an hour after Opening Ceremonies was supposed to start. I wasn't too troubled, as I've seen most of the material many times by now, so I took the time to return to my room and clean up, as well as typing up more notes about the downtown trip before I started forgetting things. By the time I headed there, it was after 6:30 pm.
I initially checked the ninth floor for the opening ceremonies, only to find a succession of dark and empty rooms, but a member of the hotel staff kindly pointed me to the second floor. I arrived just in time to see most of the Bad Guys leica reel. When Greg (Weisman) renewed his review of Gargoyles production and fandom history, he mentioned something I'd never heard of before - a "proto-Gathering" in 1996 at an animation art gallery in Queens, with Keith David and Greg in attendance. Greg wrapped up after that, only to realize at the last moment that he'd forgotten to show "The Last", the Gargoyles-linked episode of the cancelled Team Atlantis series. It's fortunate he remembered, as the episode - gradually being completed by fans - added a lot of new material, with many new scenes added or improved. Turning out rather nice, it is! (While it played, I believe Keith David returned from... somewhere.)
With ceremonies genuinely finished, I talked a bit with Dracandros and Ed, and said quick hellos to Jennifer "CrzyDemona" Anderson and Mandolin as they passed by. I talked of hanging with Drac and Ed later, and meant to go back in to the emptying Opening Ceremonies room, but instead I wandered into the business center looking for a trash can. While I was there (and looking at the oddball picture of floating men in hats), I figured it'd be better to follow up on the phone calls I received and silenced during the ceremonies, so I caught up with Jack and Randy. By the time I was finished, everyone was gone (except a group that was doing some camera work - later, I learned they were working on some sort of documentary). I did talk a little bit with A Fan, though.
With not many con-goers obviously around (a problem that repeated itself several times during this Gathering - a late-running con suite would have been much appreciated at several points), I went to the terrace to take some pics, only to have my camera start running low on power. So I made another supply run to CVS, noticing that they were setting up some sort of festival on the nearby streets. (On the way out, I believe I also walked by Josh Silver, but I'm not positive.) Returned to my room, and updated my notes again.
Later still, I was invited to dessert with Dracandros and Ed, and we ate at Cold Stone (after some trouble finding it). (I would expect a fair number of us Gathering-goers to stop at a place called Cold Stone, but I dunno if that was the case. Good stuff, though!) On the way back, they hit CVS and I parted ways again, checking out the ninth floor again and seeing some group up there (not sure if they were with the con, though). The terrace was locked, and although I figured out it could be opened, it seemed like a bad idea to go against the hotel's intentions - so no night-time pics. I gave the workout room a try with fairly ineffective results, and after a little more wandering (and running into Thom), I returned to my room for the night. Did a bit of web surfing, organized stuff for my card game (not that I got much mileage from it in the end), then went to sleep.
Didn't even get into Chicago this trip, myself. Glad you managed it.
Gathering 2008 Journal - Day Minus One
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Woke up around 9:30 am, after staying up too late preparing some stuff for the con (that, ironically, I barely used). Quickly got ready to go and made some last-minute checks, before my folks picked me up for the airport around 10:30. I asked them to take me to a sidetrip to Weis, so I could pick up a few last-minute items, and they helpfully got me a Wendy's lunch in the meantime.
After I got to BWI, things seemed to be moving smoothly, until I attempted to take my shaving kit on board as a carry-on - not thinking that would run afoul of the TSA's security limits on liquids and gels. So I had to go back, take the shaving kit in its carry-on bag and check it as luggage. (The clerk was kind enough not to make me pay the fee for a second bag, at least.)
Once I was through security (again), I purchased an overpriced pair of headphones (Weis didn't have those) and headed right for the gate. And waited. I tried the wireless, but it cost money. I tried to play a bit of Advance Wars Dual Strike, but couldn't get into it (and I also realized I'd left my DS power cable back at home; guess it's required to forget something on these trips). So I settled for reading.
The flight was pretty straightforward and uneventful, although I lamented my lack of a good view to the outside. Even so, I got a look at Chicago from the air - very wide, very flat, excepting downtown, which appeared as a clump of tall buildings near Lake Michigan. Arrival in O'Hare was pretty basic, too (did you know they don't have a Baggage Claim #13?). By coincidence, I wound up sharing the Airport Express van with Gside, and we mostly talked about video games and such (as well as playing a brief download-play game of Jump Ultimate Stars). After the driver stopped for gas, however, the three of us had a heavier conversation about the geopolitics of oil and various tangents from that issue.
After arrival at the Hotel Orrington, Gside and I parted ways. The room I got was fairly nice, although a bit smaller than I expected for the price tag. The safe was good to have (considering the rather heavy amount of electronics I had with me), but I wasn't happy that the only refrigerator was a locked wet bar fridge. And the free wireless I'd heard about actually only appeared on the 9th (conference) floor and the lobby, although a free ethernet line was provided in the room, so I couldn't really complain.
After getting comfy and lounging for a bit (I toyed with taking a nap, but I figured that'd be a waste), I took a stroll through the ninth floor (and admired the view from the terrace near the Hinman Auditorium), the second, and then the first, then I took a quick walk around the block to see what was nearby. Being unambitious, I snagged a Burger King dinner, and as I returned, I bumped into Greg Bishansky. I ate while we talked while he was waiting for the rest of the con staff and guests (who were stuck in Chicago traffic). Said hi to Leo, then Dracandros and Ed, who were headed to dinner themselves. They invited me to see The Incredible Hulk at a nearby theater - since I had already seen it, I was ambiguous in my response. Gside also came by talking about getting food, but I'd already eaten and Greg B. still had to wait; and shortly after that, the staff and guests arrived, so I went back to my room.
My next couple hours weren't too busy - I tested to see if I could still get the 9th-floor wireless from my 8th-floor room (nope), started up my notes for this very journal, and went to get some supplies from CVS (but I was limited by my assumption I couldn't use a fridge). Dracandros and Ed asked me again about Hulk, and I agreed, enjoying my second viewing (although I was a bit disappointed I didn't notice much new). On the way back, we briefly ran into King Cobra and vidthekid, then we went back to Dracandros and Ed's room, where Dracandros gifted me with two T-shirts. (Unfortunately, I had no reciprocal gift.)
I decided it was about time for me to turn in, but before I did, I followed on Dracandros's comment that the wet bar fridge could be used for non-wet bar drinks and retrieved the key from the front desk, briefly running into King Cobra again along the way. Got ready for bed, watched a bit of Scrubs, then slept.
"Settled for reading"... so sad... ;)
Now Saturday I didn't really want to wake up early but much to all of our surprise, be it that we were on the 8th floor or that the nice flat lake was to the East of us the Sun came through our window as like 6:30 in the morning and I mean like nuclear blast bright.
Slept a bit longer, but finally we managed to get up and get some food. She had spied a place called Einsteins Bagel on the map of food (Which by the way, is an awesome handout and should be used at future cons) I bought two bagels in case I wanted one later, one 4 cheese with cream chese and one poppy seed with peanut butter. when we got back to the con I gave my 4 cheese to Bishansky since he said he was hungry.
First panel I attended was the comic page layout. Came in a little late so hurried up and sat on the floor, I was pleased to see Karine having a good time and with such a full audience. There were some good questions and I stepped in and answered a few even if I was not suppse to ;P sorry I don't keep my mouth shut well at art panels, sometimes I feel like such a highjacker. I stayed and sat in on John "Flanker"'s panel on weapons and ballistics. It was esentially a run down of some of the most common types of weapons one might see in fics and where to get the information. After all a part of good story telling is accuracy.
It was about this time I had a few people inform me that I was in the Radio Play (YAY) I thought about going and getting a snack before the rehersal but somewhere along the lines I forgot, I believe I was giving an art critique to a first time Con atendee. Emambu came and got me, afterall I don't need Jen on my ass ; )
Rehersal was fun, I think it was the first time I've ever read for two characters, though many of us doubled up because of the extensive cast. We had a great turn out at the crowd was once again treated to Convention exclusive presentation, we get new material before anyone else. It was fun and I can't believe that during the actual presentation Greg Weisman stepped on one of my lines!
Dinner was Pizza at Dave's Italian Kitchen, once again Spacie, Gside and myself. We got two large, one chicago style one NY style and both were absolutly great. we brought the rest back to the room and hung out and talked till Blue Mug. I would have put the rest in the Fridge but I misstook the fridge for a safe since it had a lock on it. I only found that out later and it was STUFFED WITH BOOZE. I mean totally STUFFED!
The Blue Mug was fun, I got a few questions answered or at least got the idea out there that had been on my mind for a while. Though it's hard to say that I had more fun than Jen, Susan, and GregX who were all very, very drunk. Everytime I looked back at Jen, who was right behind me kept bursting out laughing and I have to say I enjoyed her playing with me ; )
People slowly began to tucker out, Greg's game with the Blue Mug is to see if he can out last us, it usually ends in a draw, this time a little after 1am.
Hey, if I wanna step on your line, I'll step! (Sorry.)
And it never ends in a draw. I can ALWAYS outlast you guys.
Gathering Journal 2008
[ Tuesday, June 24 ]
Before heading west to Chicago, Ed and I first ventured a few miles east to the outskirts of Columbus. We had to make a few last-minute purchases, grab some cash, and take care of some preventative auto maintainance. It was about late lunch time as we finally hit the road for the long run.
* West of Springfield, I-70 is only 2 lanes in each direction, all the way to Indianapolis. Rural I-65 between Indianapolis and the outskirts of Merrilville (Gary / southeast Chicago metro area) is completely rural in character, even moreso than western Ohio. Near the Kankakee River, the smell of manure permeates the air. It's hard to believe the center of this country's third-largest city is only sixty miles away.
* All Chicagoland freeways seem to have a 55-MPH speed limit, which everyone seems to ignore. The prevailing traffic speed (on an uncongested freeway) is 70 MPH, or 60 to 65 in construction zones with 45-MPH limits.
* Chicago's suburbs seem quite sparsely-developed, at least as seen from the Tri-State Tollway.
* The Chicago area has some interesting road signage habits. Sometimes it's hard to know ahead of time exactly what lane to be in. When it comes to lane closures, I definitely prefer the way ODOT does things.
Got to the La Quinta Inn on the northwest side. Best rate I could find besides a Super 8 with a ton of bad reviews. Nice pool, comfortable room, few TV channels.
[ Wednesday, June 25 ]
The continental breakfast reminded me of the Morrill Tower dining hall at OSU. There was no prepared food; the toast and waffles were do-it-yourself, plus fruit, cereal, coffee, juice, etcetera.
We drove to a Park & Ride on the Blue Line to get downtown for sightseeing. I-90 eastbound was really backed up starting around O'Hare, and it probably took us twenty minutes to go the last few miles to the Cumberland station. (Why does the CTA use the term "Kiss & Ride"? I found out later that this refers to commuters who are dropped off, such as by a spouse, to take the train, rather than parking their car there.) So the CTA trains ("The El", though much of the Blue Line is underground) are pretty cool.
We went to the Museum of Contemporary Art first (mid afternoon). There's a lot of interesting stuff there, and I didn't understand it all, but I quite enjoyed the visit. The sculpture exhibits were my favorite. I was expecting to pay admission, but there was nobody at the door selling tickets, so I donated $5 on the way out.
Next we made our way back to the Loop and the Sears Tower Skydeck. Ed couldn't put together the courage to go up, but hey, that saved us a $13 admission ticket. I'll show him the pictures I took later. I was surprised to see Meigs Field Airport was gone. (A Fan told me all about that Sunday night.)
A woman on the Skydeck told me I had to go see that big silver bean thing. It's not visible from there, but she told me where it is. Sort of. Ed and I left the Sears Tower, planning to walk to Millennium Park, home of that silver bean thing. We grabbed some Slurpees on the way. As we finished the Slurpees, we began to reconsider the walking plan. A short trip on the elevated Brown Line saved us several blocks.
So we got to Millenium Park, and walked towards where the woman told me the bean is. Then I spotted a map showing the bean (apparently titled "Cloud Gate") about a block and a half back the way we came. It's pretty cool though, despite the needless excess walking. Observation: Just about everything in Millennium Park has a corporate sponsor.
We entered the CTA system again at about sunset, and it was dark by the time we got back to the Cumberland Kiss 'n' Ride. Ed and I had bought 7-day unlimited visitor passes for $20 each. If we keep riding like we did today, we'll get our money's worth. But I don't think we'll have reason to ride. Still, we really got around today, and it'll be nice to have the option of free rides until we leave town.
A snack run to Meijer and a couple hours of the Discovery Channel rounds out the day.
[ Thursday, June 26 ]
We missed La Quinta's breakfast -- in the sense of being late. Speaking for myself, I didn't particularly miss it in the sense of feeling loss. So we had snack stuff (in my case, Graham crackers) for breakfast, packed up, and checked out.
Since we were planning to pick up A Fan at O'Hare, and he wasn't coming in for a while, Ed and I had some time to kill in the northwest suburbs. We hit Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg. It very much reminded us of a couple of malls in Columbus -- very possibly the same architect -- but it's considerably larger, and with more of a quality I like to call "vertical intrigue". We spent a couple hours just walking around to see what all the stores were, though we did do some actual shopping.
Some may remember that piece of Shinsonic DVD player in the Con Suite last year. Ed and I had brought it from home. This year we packed light, so no DVD player. The new Futurama movie had come out Tuesday, and we'd bought it at Meijer the night before. So then we saw this cheap portable DVD player at Radio Shack, and it wasn't a hard decision for me to buy it. We then picked up a few bargain DVD titles at another store in the mall. Well, we still had time to kill, so we watched Futurama in the mall parking garage. Then we hung around the Oasis on the I-90 tollway before finally parking at the airport to pick up A Fan. Once he joined us, we could finally head for Evanston. Traffic was slow, and we stopped for food along the way, so it took a while. And then I couldn't remember exactly where the hotel was. Anyway, referring to some printed material we had with us quickly resolved that.
A Fan checked us in, and after unloading the car, I did some exploring of the Orrington and its vicinity. I got some ice cream at Ben & Jerry's and went back to the hotel. The three of us then watched Not Another Teen Movie, though since we didn't have the right cable to connect to the TV, we had to watch it on the tiny screen of the portable DVD player.
[ Friday, June 27 ]
I woke up early for registration, shopped for a couple of miscellaneous items, and had Burger King breakfast with A Fan. Then I pretty much took it easy around the hotel (taking a few pictures) until the Greg Mug, then Opening Ceremonies.
Having properly connected the portable DVD player to the hotel TV, we watched various movies until late. I should have gotten caught up with my con journal, but I was too tired. (Friday's events were recorded late Saturday night.)
[ Saturday, June 28 ]
Saturday we got up early again, though we didn't have to. We took our time getting ready for the day. The Comic Page Layout panel was interesting and quite informative. Plus, we got a minor, sketchy preview about an upcoming fight sequence, though I wouldn't call it a spoiler. It's like a movie trailer that shows you parts of an action sequence without explaining anything. It doesn't give away any plot points, but makes you want to see the movie -- or in this case, read the comic book -- when it comes out.
So then I attended the Keith David Mug-A-Guest. He's always great to listen to, though sometimes I didn't quite understand some of the acting nuances he talks about. Also, part of the time my mind was on a software tool I might create to help out with the Team Atlantis episode.
After that I took a break, as well as quite a few photos. The street vendor fair going on this weekend, and the high visibility and changing weather made for some interesting shots. Then I snacked in my room until time for the Radio Play.
At five, I headed up to the ninth floor for the Radio Play. Someone was directing the audience towards one entrance, and performers towards the other. Well, the doors to the auditorium were closed, so I thought I was earlier than most everyone else. Thinking I had time to kill (or maybe I was just distracted) I headed out onto the terrace, where there was already another con-goer. Within thirty seconds, it started pouring rain. Before we could get back in the door, there was a clap of thunder. As we were running back inside, neither of us slowed to close the door, so as we came back to take care of that, we found pea-size hail bouncing in the door! After a moment of thinking "wow, hail!", I said, "hey, let's throw it at people!" So then I picked up a few pieces and ran down the hallway, only finding one unsuspecting target -- and I missed. When I came back to reload, a few people were coming out of the auditorium. I said something like "hail fight!" and playfully tossed a few. Then I realized pretty much everyone was already seated for the Radio Play, and Greg was speaking, so I quieted down and found a seat.
The Radio Play was cool, as usual, though it briefly had to compete with the sound of heavy rain. Like last year, the Radio Play was an adaptation of a story from the Gargoyles comic, including an issue not yet released. And the idea of Keith David and Thom Adcox switching roles was quite amusing -- twice.
After the Radio Play, many people headed out to the terrace, as it had stopped raining. We could see a jumbled pile of metal framing heaped together in an intersection on the streets below, in the middle of the street fair. I grabbed my camera from the room, and then headed down to investigate. From the bits I overheard of fair participants giving interviews to the local news, the storm had created some kind of wind vortex -- like a mini tornado -- between the large buildings, which had picked up several street tents, removed their coverings, and mashed the frames together into that mangled pile. Something like six people were injured. I took a few photos of the scene and headed back to the hotel.
In the lobby, A Fan was putting together a group for dinner. After a bit of discussion regarding the type of restaurant we wanted, the group that left the hotel consisted of myself, Ed, A Fan, and four others. Through a few democratic votes, and a couple of blocks of walking, the seven of us found Dave's Italian Kitchen. Oddly, our waiter was Chinese. (OK, maybe not odd given the demographics of the area, but mildly amusing.)
I enjoyed my spaghetti. Another person in the group (I didn't catch her name) had broken glass in her food; that dish was not included on the bill. Ed took home some leftover garlic bread.
After a bit of relaxing in the hotel room, it was time for the Blue Mug. There were quite a few good questions and funny moments. After a couple hours, though, I had to leave, as I was getting tired and I had 3 days worth of con journal to write. At least I managed to catch up through Friday before turning in. Observation: I really hope I can read all this when it's time to type it up...
[ Sunday, June 29 ]
Sunday morning started with the Gargoyles & Bad Guys Comic panel. What sticks out most in my mind was discussion of possible other comics spinoffs. Between the early hour, and the multiple days I've procrastinated between then and the time I'm writing this, my memory's a bit foggy. But I do remember that Greg is quite anxious to tell a Dark Ages story, pending renewal of SLG's license for the franchise.
Next was the Biology & Culture panel. Of course a few of the usual topics were discussed: glowing eyes, stone sleep, the Wind Ceremony. I asked about navigation, and it would seem the canon-in-training report is that gargoyles can sense the Earth's magnetic field. I feel there's probably a bit more to it than that, though a magnetic sense would be a distinct (if incomplete) navigational advantage.
I had planned to attend the Spider-man panel too, but at that time I really didn't feel like sitting through a third consecutive panel. Besides, the new Spider-man series is of more interest to Ed than myself. It was at this time I realized I'd taken several photos of the view *from* the hotel, but none *of* the hotel. So I headed out to snap some shots, got one pic before coming back in to change my camera batteries, waited for housekeeping to finish cleaning the room, swapped the batteries, went back out, got caught in the rain, and finally got the last couple of "establishing shots" I wanted.
So then I took it easy for a while. Since I had nothing else to do, I journaled Saturday's events. Snacks and The Weather Channel filled up the gap before it was time to grab some autographs. When that was done, I sat in on a nice casual conversation group for a while, which also served to recruit for A Fan's annual Anti-Banquet.
So a group of about six of us, including a 2-person documentary crew, headed to a place called Giordano's, or something like that. They're apparently famous for "stuffed" pizza, where there's cheese between two layers of dough -- across the whole pizza, not just the dough. Ed and I ordered a medium (or was it a small?) pepperoni stuffed pizza with a lighter amount of sauce, because I prefer a more cheese-focused pizza and I know Chicago likes to really pour the sauce in.
A couple of folks in the Masquerade used our room to change into their costumes. The masquerade itself was interesting, but I didn't stay long. That room was cold, and I'm not much for dancing or mingling in large groups. On the way back to the room, I ran into Josh Silver, (I think that was him) who told me who the winners of the masquerade contest were. Back in the room, I called a friend of mine back home. While I was talking to him, A Fan and the costumed pair returned. A Fan pretended to be MovieFone's automated voice system for my friend, who found it quite humorous. I knew he'd fit in well with my Columbus friends. Anyway, he and I worked out the next day's travel arrangements while waiting for Ed to return from the Masquerade Dance. When he did, we pretty much all went to bed. (At least, I don't remember doing anything else.)
[ Monday, June 30 ]
In the wee hours of Monday morning, I had a dream that turned bad very quickly. Swarming bees combined with not being able to escape makes just about the worst dream I can possibly have. I woke up screaming. Of course, I woke up Ed and A Fan, too. I calmed down quickly, and we all got a couple more hours of sleep before getting up to pack.
Ed and I hadn't exactly been keeping our stuff neat for the last several days, so it took us a couple of hours to get our stuff packed and out of the room. Still, we got things taken care of in time for me to catch the last half hour of the Fanfiction panel. And then there was the Blue Mug Productions panel. Now that's an interesting project. And I kind of like the name, the in-reference which, if you don't know, you'll just assume it's something random or abstract.
Closing ceremonies were dominated by the art awards. (Karine and Mara practically stole the show in that department.) Personally, I think they should also do a few awards along the lines of "most distance traveled to attend the Gathering". I don't think I'd ever win that particular award, but I still think it would be fun. Anyway, the ceremonies ended without dragging on too long. It was time for Ed, A Fan, and me, to depart the Orrington in my noble '93 Beretta.
We made satisfactory time to O'Hare. A Fan, having packed for convenient air travel, took almost no time at all unloading his stuff from the car and then disappearing into the terminal. A quick wave "goodbye" and Ed and I were off again, though we didn't go too terribly far. At the first Oasis we encountered on the Tri-State Tollway, we stopped for some ice cream sandwiches and chicken nuggets. Also, I picked up a corny Captain Tollway coloring book. I'll show it to the family for some laughs before giving it to my niece and nephew to color.
We stopped again to eat and refuel in Lafayette, Indiana. Quite a distance later, Ed realized he'd left his hat behind at the restaurant. Without a second thought, I decided not to worry. The cost of the gas needed to go back for it would have been ten times the amount we paid for the hat in the first place. As it turns out, we didn't make a single stop between Lafayette and our home on the far far far west side of Columbus. I wasn't done driving, though; Mom and I rushed to Kroger to pick up some groceries before midnight, so I could get my gas discount for July.
I never did get any further use out of, nor find a buyer for, my CTA visitor pass.
[ Notes ]
The events of Sunday and Monday were recorded electronically, at home, a few days after the Gathering. Then the events of the previous Tuesday through Saturday were transcribed from the actual hand-written journal into that same electronic record, with some minor editing and revision. This is the contents of that electronic record, with some spelling corrections.
[ End ]
Annotated ConJournals. Sweet!
GATHERING 2008 JOURNAL, PART THREE
June 29, 2008
Greg Weisman said last night at the Blue Mug that the automated flushing in the urinals sounded like the Green Goblin's pumpkin bombs from the Spectacular Spider Man. It sort of sounds like it when the mechanism turns on, but I'm afraid I didn't really hear it.
Anyway, I got five hours of sleep, and then my body woke me up. Took a shower, and then made my morning trip to Dunkin Donuts for a coffee and a Boston Creme. When 10 AM rolled around, I went up to the Dealer's Room. It was bit sparse in there. As I was perusing Karine's art, Jennifer "Crzydemona" Anderson came over and gave me a hug, which was random, but very cool. I like surprises.
Shortly after that, the panel on the Gargs/Bad Guys comic started, which was a lot of fun, especially towards the end, when Greg started sounding like a fanboy. Not that I blame him. I imagine it must be pretty sweet to see ideas in print after a decade.
Back in the Dealer's Room, I bought Owen from Vox, because Owen had been neglected all weekend. I also discussed a possible costume idea for next year, which would require minimum effort, since I already look like Owen a little (with my hat off and my hair cut). After that, I photographed some people in the hallway playing a game that involved dice and rapidly switching papers back and forth. Weird. From there, I went to the Con Suite for a few SSM episodes, and then got cornered by Brooklyn X into voting for art. The category I invented was Best Not For Voting. Because, let's face it, I never learn.
After that, there was the Spectacular Spider Man panel, which was a lot of fun. Keith David told a pretty dirty joke for a panel that was open for all ages. I was a little tired after that, largely due to hunger, so I decided to hit the ground floor. I grabbed some chicken fries from Burger King, and managed to beat the rain. I ran into some kids on the way back to the hotel, who saw my con badge, and started asking questions. Sadly, I had no literature on hand, so I talked a little about the Gathering, told them about LA in 2009, and gave them the link to the website.
I then brought my food up to the Con Suite, where people had switched from SSM to Season Two of Gargs. After eating, I went to the auction, hoping to see some blood, but got something even better: The Seth and Gorebash show! Those two were very funny to watch. Gore even got me to bid on some Burger King toys with his description of both light and dark Goliath colors. The guy behind me (Leo's brother, I think) actually got the reference behind my con name. And Keith David got into not one, but two bidding wars!
Spent some time after the auction standing around for autographs. My mom had asked me for Keith David's autograph, so I got her that plus a few extra ones. I also had forgotten to bring my Gargs/Bad Guys comics with me, but Karine still had two copies of Gargs #5 for sale, so I bought one for her to sign.
I dropped the stuff off in the room, then made another trip to the ground to dispose of more trash. Keith David got in the elevator as we were going down, and he initially thought my badge said "Hawkmeister." So I wound up telling him a little bit about Blue Oyster Cult. Namely that my con name is designed to pay tribute to them, and that few people really appreciate them. And this was my favorite con moment.
I didn't have much time to prepare for the banquet, so I changed clothes (from something casual to more casual). The banquet was good: Chicken marsala, garlic mashed potatoes (a very nice surprise, especially since the menu said pasta), and cooked carrots. The trivia afterwards was also fun. Jen ran out of questions. Our table got stumped on a question I knew the answer to, but it was my fault. I was stretching across the table, banging on it to try and grab Taina's attention. I should have just stood up, but I suck at being loud. Ah, well. Still a fun time.
Masquerade was after that. Lots of great costumes this year, and I actually wrote them down. Taina's Shari costume was really good, as well as Patrick Fisher's tourist costume (took Best in Show, which was well-earned). There were two Hunter costumes, both of which rocked. I can't believe Karine actually found thigh holsters. Justin had a very amusing cosplay moment as Odin.
I mingled for a bit, even though the room was like a meat locker. Eventually, JEB set up his laptop and started running a program called Mugen, which is a street-fighting game emulator containing any character you could ever think of from anything. The first time I played was as Fat Albert. I fought Dragon Claw, and got owned. Then I tried playing as the Hard Hat from the Mega Man series, and got my ass handed to me by Batman. I fluctuated the rest of the night between gaming, and watching some musical numbers. I went back to the room between 12:30 and 1 AM, and found Leo and Taina watching a DVD of "Porky's." I was getting tired, so I jotted some stuff down, looked over a few of the pics, and then fell asleep with the movie still going.
June 30, 2008
Got up at around seven to say goodbye to Taina before she left for the airport. After that, I drifted in and out of sleep until nine, then threw on a shirt and went downstairs for my muffin and coffee fix, and then upstairs to pick up some art I'd bid on. After that, I went down to the Post Office to mail the art and autographed materials to my home address (I didn't trust sticking them in my suitcase).
I actually had some time to kill before the Blue Mug Productions panel, so I hung out outside the Dealer's Room. Me, Gore, Arno and some other person had been chatting about Station 8 for a while, and then a shady figure who looked like Greg Weisman, but was missing an eye, came up to the table. Then the panel started. The schedule was misleading, though. Greg Weisman never showed up. Instead, it was that strange figure in the eyepatch, whose name was Edmund Tsabard. It was still a good time. So many bad puns! I also put my name down for the mailing list.
Had time before Closing Ceremonies, so I went to the Dealer's Room for munchies, and also said goodbye to Mandi and Brooklyn X. Then Ceremonies started. It was fun watching the same people get up to accept awards (but they didn't have too many people enter the art show this year). Hopefully, Spike won't get upset by the NOT FOR VOTING Award. After that, people were mostly hanging out or trickling off, since they had flights to catch. Said goodbye to Bishansky as he was literally running out the door. Keith David also popped in at one point to wish us all well. Eventually, it was just a handful of us (ones I remember were Greg, Thom, Karine, Jen, Phil, Nikki, Seth, Patrick, and a few others). Had some amusing conversations, and watched Karine do some body art on a few people. Also, despite Jen's admonishing, I did write down "lemon party" for future reference. I've read Encyclopedia Dramatica's article on Rule 34. I can withstand anything. It was also fun listening to some "war stories" from people who are more seasoned con-goers than me.
Eventually, though, people began to migrate downstairs en masse. JEB and I wondered if the field trip to the Pier was still on, but it looked like a huge van was leaving for the airport with several con-goers. A few others, Carl and CKayote, departed on foot, and then the hotel began to feel empty, and the bittersweet "end of the Gathering" feeling began to take hold. Last con, I had to leave before Closing Ceremonies, so I never felt it. This year, not so lucky. I've heard others write about it, but I don't think I can describe it.
Anyway, JEB and I resolved to meet up later. I gave him my room number, and went upstairs to decompress. Opened the wine I bought, and had a glass while I updated my journal. There was nothing good on TV, so I went for a walk after that. I found a few music stores, including a more "underground" one where I picked up an old Yes vinyl (1974's "Relayer." Roger Dean's artwork on the old Yes albums was eff-ing gorgeous).
Took a catnap in the room after that, then JEB came downstairs and we searched for a place to eat. We decided on a pizza place not far from the hotel. It wasn't bad, but the crust left something to be desired. He and I had a good chat over dinner about the Gathering's history, how we discovered the Gargs fandom, and this year's hotel versus last year's. After dinner, I walked around the block and smoked a cigar (against my better judgment, I stopped off in the same cigar store today, after visiting the Post Office). Stopped off in the room again to rehydrate, and then walked down to Border's, where JEB and I hung out a little bit more and talked about Manga and Adult Swim with another patron. By then, it was dusk, and JEB said he needed to pack for his flight tomorrow. So I went back to my room, and actually showed up same time as Leo.
Nothing much to do for the rest of the evening except pack, drink some more wine (I offered to Leo, but he refused), and do some reading. Leo thought the cover of the Yes record I bought looked like something from a Monty Python movie. I also tortured Leo with a few things on Adult Swim before finally going to bed.
July 1, 2008
Leo left shortly after I got up, which was of course before my alarm went off. We said our goodbyes, then I jumped in the shower, and went down to Dunkin Donuts for my final breakfast there. I'm gonna miss that place. The guy even recognized me and said he'd see me tomorrow, so I had to tell him I was flying home in a few hours. So he thanked me for coming. Nice guy.
I scarfed my donuts, made a final check around the room to make sure nothing was left behind, and got rid of the mangos Leo tortured Taina with (don't ask) by tossing them into the alley from the ninth floor balcony. I did it rather quickly, due to the number of witnesses milling around down there. Then I checked out, and read in the lounge while waiting for the shuttle. The shuttle actually arrived a few minutes early. On the way to the airport, we passed a restaurant called "Bluestone's," but my camera was deep in my bag. The flight from O'Hare was also early. Made record time checking in, and was able to grab a root beer and some pizza on the way to the gate. I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop, but... no. The flight departed and arrived smoothly, and it was on time. I claimed my bag after getting off the plane in Richmond, took the shuttle to the Economy Lot, and found my car. Only ran into traffic on the final road to my house. I stopped at the Dragon Inn for takeout, since I knew I'd be too tired to cook.
Arrived home, looked through the mail, scarfed some Lemon Chicken and a beer, uploaded pics and started to unpack. And thus concludes things. For now. If the Gods are willing, there will be another journal in 2009.
I should have put a header on the last entry. As you may have guessed, it was GATHERING 2008 JOURNAL, PART ONE. So here's:
GATHERING 2008 JOURNAL, PART 2.
June 27, 2008
Woke up surprisingly early, largely due to the fact that my stomach was growling. After I showered, I ran downstairs and out to Dunkin Donuts for a coffee and something frosted. Went back up to the room after getting breakfast, and watched Leo's DVD of "They Live" with the roomies. I don't think that Taina had ever seen the legendary sunglasses fight.
Shortly after 10 AM rolled around, I ran down to the ATM in the lobby, but aborted that mission when I saw the $2.50 surcharge. Taina and I then tried unsuccessfully to get an elevator, and wound up taking the stairs to the Ninth Floor. Then we started searching for the James Room, taking time to laugh at all the funny room names (she got a big kick out of "Noyes Room"). We picked up our registration packages, and then I mingled for a bit. Brooklyn X and I exchanged horror stories about our flights. It also turned out there was a fun map in the registration package, which showed a comic store nearby.
The roommates were planning to the city, but I had been to Chicago twice before. So I went down to search for the comic store, and actually managed to find it. The owner had the "Gargoyles" comic in with the children's comics, which I found amusing. I bought the one Gargs comic they had (#6), and also bought another graphic novel of the Lucifer series ("Wolf Beneath the Tree").
I attended the voice-acting panel after that, which had more of a seminar feel than it did last year. After that, I made my first trip to the Dealer's Room. I bought a T-Shirt with Crzydemona's "Evil Shouldn't Look This Good" picture, so I can now die a happy man. I looked at some of the other shirts (wound up buying another later on in the weekend), and checked out some of the crocheted Gargoyles characters that were for sale.
After that, I started talking with Bishansky, Aaron, and Mara after Mara noticed my GIR shirt. A large group of us eventually decided to go to Chilis: myself, Mandi, Brooklyn X, Revel, Aaron, Mara, Emambu, Kayote, a con virgin whose name escapes me, and two people making a documentary on the Gathering.
I was reminded why I don't go to Chilis very often. It's a great place, but there's too many things on the menu to choose from. I flipped through it back and forth about five times before deciding on mushroom jack fajitas. Tried to follow on the conversation, which mostly involved random movie and cartoon quotes. Mara mentioned something to the filmmakers called a "gar-gasm," but I didn't hear her explanation of it too clearly. After lunch, we stopped on the walk back to the hotel and started chatting about more stuff. Then the rain started to pick up.
I went back to the room to drop some stuff off, and then went down to the 2nd Floor for Opening Ceremonies. Got lost on the stairs. As I was going down, I met Gorebash and Karine coming up, who informed me the stairs were a dead-end. So we all went back to the third floor, where we managed to catch an elevator. Opening Ceremonies only ran for about two hours. And Greg Weisman didn't break anything this time. But he did almost forget the reel for "Atlantis: The Last." After they were over, I finally made my withdrawal from the CVS around the corner. I ran into Thom Adcox in the lobby on the way back, and he seemed to remember me, which was cool.
Met up with the roommates again after that. Taina told me about how she'd gotten her picture taken with Keith David. We hung out in the room for a bit and watched some "Samurai Jack" episodes. I tried unsuccessfully to find the Subway after that. I passed it yesterday while scoping out the neighborhood, but could not remember where it was (and it was listed on the map, but I was looking in the wrong spot). Made a few circles around the block while smoking my cigar, and then gave up. It was a nice night, but a little humid. They also appeared to be setting something up on Church Street.
I went back to the hotel room and wound up eating leftovers for dinner while we watched Leo's brother's DVD of "Heavy Metal." We mostly MSTed it, especially the last half-hour. I think they watched "Flesh Gordon" after that. I wasn't really interested, so I just read (and threw in the occasional smart-ass comment) until I nodded off.
June 28, 2008
Again, I awoke after six hours of sleep without even trying to. Went down to Dunkin Donuts again for coffee and a muffin, and chatted for a bit with a vendor. Turns out the thing they were setting up for last night was an art fair.
Taina was still in the shower when I got back, and Leo and Doppleganger were nowhere to be found. So I took Leo's DVD of "Total Recall" out and put in "Invader Zim." We watched the first episode of that (my roomies came back as it was warming up), and then we headed up to the 9th Floor. Vox told me that she was giving discounts if someone were to buy a "couple." So I bought Xanatos and Fox as gifts for my goddaughter and her brother. Then I checked out some artwork. Mara had a number of good ones up for bid. It was hard for me to bid on just one.
After that, I searched for the Fed Ex Kinko's and found out it no longer existed. So I scouted out where the Post Office was. Mission partially accomplished, I hiked up to the Con Suite. Initially, it was just Seth and Sammy in the Suite with Gargoyles: Season One going in the background. Had a nice chat with Seth about Spectacular Spider Man, and then a few more people wandered in. I ran downstairs twenty minutes before the 1:00PM panel on weapons was supposed to start, and entered the art fair to grab lunch. Decided on a grilled chicken skewer over lo mein noodles, then ran upstairs while snacking to catch the end of "Awakening."
After that, I went to the weapons panel, which was a lot of fun. I decided to stick around for Karine's panel on character perspectives and dimensions. I always like watching artists work, though it makes me jealous the way they make it look so easy. I just don't have the gift. But I'm gifted in other things. Like sarcasm.
After that, I went into the Dealer's Room, and had a fun chat with GregX about Venture Brothers. He's memorized more of the Monarch's dialogue than I have. Eventually, it moved out into the hallway, where we chatted with Matt until it was time for the Radio Play. This one surprised me, mostly because I agreed with Matt that I didn't think it could be formatted for Radio Play. Won't say anything more, other than I learned something unexpected.
During the Radio Play, we could hear a storm raging outside, but the room was windowless. After the play was over, I went out onto the balcony and saw that the Art Fair below had taken a good beating. So after a stop off in the room, I went down to ground level for some close-ups of the devastation. Saw some outhouses that got knocked down, as well as a huge pile of tent supports that were being stacked in an intersection.
Anyway, I went to the lounge next to the hotel after that to get my sushi fix. A little pricey, but I love sushi. After dinner, I saw Matt and his friend Ryan hanging around outside. I chatted with them for a bit, until they went off to dinner with another friend, so I went back to the room, where I found the roomies watching more "Samurai Jack." At one point, I went to the lobby to chuck some trash, and ran into another con-goer named Shadow Wing. I had an interesting discussion with him, but it got cut short since the ride he was waiting for arrived.
I went back up to the room, watched another Jack episode, and then decided to grab some ice cream from Ben and Jerry's before going upstairs to the Blue Mug a Guest. This year,I managed to stay up to the end, and boy was it fun. I saw an amusing Navy ad that I need to look for on Youtube. Also, the location where Keith David bought his cigar is a dark secret. He could tell me, but then he'd have to kill me. We also saw Thom do his impression of Goliath and Elisa having sex, and got Greg's more, um, honest opinions on a few plot points in the movie "Iron Man."
By the end of the Mug, I was a bit buzzed on Vault. After it broke up, GregX briefly told me about his dinner, and then I crammed into an elevator with Thom Adcox and about nine other attendees, and proceeded down to the room for rest.
To be concluded...
So is that the fourth trip to CVS...
June 25th, 2008
Woke up before my alarm. Funny how I never seem to be able to do that on weekdays. Got up, grabbed a shower, bowl of rice krispies, and some coffee. Made sure I'd packed everything, and then sat and visited with my grandparents for a bit, who'd come down from Maryland because my grandfather was having lumbar surgery. After that, I hit the road.
The flight at Richmond International was only delayed by about an hour, but it was okay. I had a good novel to read ("Count Zero," the second book in William Gibson's Sprawl Trilogy). I got my first good omen when we boarded, and my window curtain refused to open. I got my second good sign when the captain announced they were delaying takeoff due to maintenance issues. The clincher occurred after we arrived at O'Hare. My seat was close to the cockpit, and I overheard the captain loudly remark that he was glad they were getting out of that jet and onto another. Whatever. I arrived with my organs intact.
I went to pick up the rental after I'd claimed my bag. The woman asked me if I wanted to upgrade from a PT Cruiser to a Mustang for only six bucks. Gee, that was a tough choice. Sadly, there was a lot of traffic on the road to De Kalb (I was spending Wednesday night with my aunt and uncle), so I couldn't really test the horsepower. The sound system was nice, though.
I had a nice visit with my aunt and uncle. It was fun trying to name a movie that Uncle Dave might have seen Keith David in (best I could do was "Crash." For some reason, "Platoon" never came into my mind). Also played some Star Wars: Battlefront on Xbox Live with my cousin (shot Ewoks with a sniper rifle. Yay!), and I received word that my grandfather made it through surgery. We ate a late dinner, but it was delicious. My aunt made rattatouille and spinach crepes with cous cous (and strawberry shortcake with ice cream for dessert). After that, I drank some wine while we watched my cousin's DVD of "Batman Begins." Went up to bed after that.
June 26, 2008
I rose, ate breakfast, and departed from my aunt and uncle's house at about 10ish. Turns out the Mustang isn't very fuel efficient. So I think the extra six bucks wasn't a fair trade, after all. I put gas in the rental, dropped it off, and after following the wrong signs at O'Hare for a bit, managed to find the shuttle service. The shuttle driver didn't seem to talk much, despite my efforts to start conversation. But I still gave him a tip when we got there.
I ran into Greg Bishansky in the lobby, and we were both checking in at the same time. As I dumped my bags in my room, he called and invited me to hang out for a bit before other con staff began arriving. So I went upstairs to his room. He and I had a nice chat (interrupted briefly when Leo arrived, and I went downstairs to give him a key) interspersed with viewings of various animated things as well as some clips from the Colbert Report.
After that, he needed to prepare for the arrival of the other staff, so I went downstairs, unpacked some essentials, took another minute to laugh at the ludicrous prices of the snacks available in the room, and then went down to CVS to buy more affordable provisions. I picked up some snacks and caffiene, and when I got back to the hotel, bumped into Bishansky and Leo in the lobby, so I stopped to chat. In the process, I was regaled with amusing tales from past cons.
I finally got my stuff up in the room after getting a call from my cousin, who's working at Northwestern for the summer, a block and a half from the hotel. After stashing the goods, I went back downstairs, where Greg was still waiting for the con staff, and chatted with him (mostly about the sorry state of our flights) until my cousin showed up. He and I then found a Panera's not far from the hotel, and got some sandwiches (I had a Bacon Turkey Bravo, not my usual).
We parted ways after we ate, since he had more RA meetings. I made a second trip to CVS (forgot to get bottled water the first trip), then hit a wine and cigar store, respectively. The proprietor of the latter, an elderly Indian man, simply said, "we close in five minutes. Find what you want fast."
Anyway, after that, I went back up to the room, and had a fun chat with Leo about movies and Robot Chicken. Then I realized I had no spoons with which to consume the pudding I bought. So I took another trip down to CVS. Doppleganger and DTaina arrived shortly after I got back. We tried for a while to hook up Taina's PS2 in order to watch DVDs. For some reason, the volume on the TV was a little weak. Figures. They charge through the nose for everything else, and the TV doesn't work. Still, swankier than the last hotel (which was not without its charm). We turned on the subtitles while we watched Leo's DVD of "Orgazmo," which was pretty funny. Then we all drifted off after that.
To be continued...
Sounds like a good start. Only three CVS trips...
My con journal. ^..^
After work, I packed up the last few things I needed and headed off to pick up Ethan from class. Some final preparations were in order while we waited for Vox to get home, and then we were off.
Vox drove through the night; I had the morning shift. We arrived at the hotel at about noonish, checked in and headed for the dealer's room to set up the small army of dolls. Those that were to be guest gifts were given out: Thom got a Lexington, Greg and Keith each got a Goliath, and the con-chair received the mascot dolls. Karine was so ecstatic to receive her Robyn Canmore (in her Bad Guys Hunter outfit) that I believe it never left her side the rest of the day. Paula, of Mystick Waboose, was also there with her very amusing t-shirts and lovely clothes. We had fun talking to her last year, and this year her company was just as good. ^..^
Spent the rest of the time before Opening Ceremonies working on fleshing out a sketch I'd brought with me, but that was put on hold as soon as the festivities began. I was surprised to see the number of new people there: it seemed like a third of the room had never been to a Gathering before. As usual, everything was entertaining, and we even got to see the music video entries this time. Unfortunately, we got so hungry we missed out on this year's showing of "The Last."
Wandered off to find some good food, and boy did we find it (good food seemed to be everywhere). That night it was the Celtic Knot, a very reasonably-priced restaurant with dishes based, naturally, in the British Isles. Vox had a very light salmon covered in pesto atop a bed of spinach, Ethan had something that was the equivalent of beef stew in a pastry, and I had marinated London broil with fingerling potatoes and broccoli. So tasty! After that we shuffled back to the room and promptly fell asleep.
I wasn't planning on doing the radio play this year, so my day was pretty easy. Hung out in the dealer's room, gabbed a bit, and inked the sketch. Round about lunchtime we decided to group up for food: took Paula and a couple of other people in search of reasonably priced sushi. Sashimi Sashimi had it, and it was fabulous. Best dragon roll I've ever had, and we had it again for lunch a time or two. ^..^
The radio play went well considering the reformatting that had to be done. I like the story better in nonlinear format, but that totally wouldn't have suited the play at all, and everybody did a great job on what Greg turned it into. ^..^ Dinner that night was fun. We followed a tantalizing smell to the FlatTop Grill, which is a place kind of like a Mongolian barbeque. All the raw ingredients and sauces are there to pile into bowls. If you want any extras (or have allergies), there are little plastic sticks you put into the bowl. Then they cook it on a giant hibachi grill, pour it all into a big red bowl, and bring it to you. And it was fabulous! They also had really good drinks. Their pomegranate lemonade was really tasty, and the pomegranate margarita was great, and we had a good laugh as the others partook of their signature beverage: the Horny Monkey. LOL Then it was on to the Blue Mug, which was hilarious and lasted until about 1am. After that we crawled back to the room for some rest.
Up and back out to the dealer's room. By the end of the day, my pic had a background and was fully colored (thanks to the borrowing of a laptop for reference). The bio & culture panel was good again this year; we got a pretty full explanation of the mechanisms behind the gargoyles' eyes lighting up, among other things. Ran out for lunch, and then it was time for the Iron Artist competition. Theme: the Ultrapack. Secret Ingredients: uncooked pasta and glue! I handed out some paper and let people borrow my colored pencils, and we got furiously to work. After an hour of grousing, requests to hand things over, giggling, and pasta-smashing, people in the hallway were "kidnapped" for voting purposes. I didn't win, but it was definitely a fun thing to participate in, and I'll try to whenever we have one.
Ethan and Vox got all pretty for the banquet and dance; I would have, but I'd forgotten to bring anything nice (and I'm not sure any of it fits properly anymore >..< ). The food was pretty good, and the dessert was very good. Note to self: fruit tarts are yummy. Thom and Gorebash were at our table, so we did pretty well on the trivia, but eventually we fell to a Gargoyles 2198 question. It was fun seeing the staff come up with so many extra questions, though. We all knew so much that they ran out. ;P
The Masquerade was definitely a treat, as I didn't get to go last year (we had to bug out in the middle of the banquet). Plenty of good costumes and a fun time. The dance was okay, but the music wasn't really inspiring me, so after a couple of times on the floor I just watched. Then I got an invite for Uno and snacks in Thom's room, so of course I went. ^..^ That was great fun. I won once, the snacks were good, and we got to laugh at the television (and show Thom some very unmentionable internet pictures LOL). More staying up till 1am, then crashing.
Ran things around to make sure checking out wouldn't be a problem, then hit the Blue Mug Productions panel. I have to say that this will be a very interesting endeavor, and I think the fandom's prurience will be happily satisfied. :P
Then we bundled into the car and I began driving. The way home was more eventful due to missing a turn around some construction and other things, but eventually Vox took over and got us home in one piece. Dropped the others off home and dragged myself to my house, where I promptly collapsed into bed.
All in all, a good con, though I'm glad driving isn't an option next year. That was exhausting. It took me until yesterday to recover. x..x I look forward to seeing everybody again next year, and maybe this time I'll actually be in the art show instead of just looking at it.
Participation is ALWAYS encouraged!
My Gathering 2008 Con Journal, the conclusion.
SUNDAY, JUNE 29TH
Woke up. Showered. Went to the comic book panel, hosted by Greg W. and Karine. A fun way to kill an hour. Didn't really get anything out of it, but it was pleasant.
Killed some time at the library.
Returned to the hotel a little while and headed upstairs for the 'Spectacular Spider-man' panel hosted by Greg w., Jennifer Anderson, and Thom Adcox. Asked Greg (no pun intended) a couple of questions ('Will Harry return in season 2?' 'Will we have Spiderman DVD season sets, like Gargoyles?') but mostly I just sat and listened. There will be DVD sets coming soon, but not as a season compilation. More like those 3 episodes per volume kind that I generally tend to associate with Anime. Not that Spiderman is anime, of course.
Though now I'm pondering what an anime version of Spiderman would be like. Damn you, overactive imagination!
Didn't stick around for the live auction, but I returned to the Bonbright Room at 3:30 for Autograph Signing (I'd figured there would have been a anthology signing session. Boy, was I dead wrong.) and did... nothing. Boredom the entire time. Only one person had asked for my autograph, and that was in line for Radio Play auditions. And it was more of a 'you're here and I have my anthology, so I might as well ask' thing then a 'Thanks for writing this submission! You rock and I want your John Hancock!'
Eh, no sense complaining.
Joined A Fan, Ranmaru, Azariel (sp?), VidTheKid, and those 2 girls with the camera (the ones filming a documentary about the con) for the 8th annual Anti-banquet at Giordano's. Pizza was delicious, but rich, so I got full fast. Halloweenking had come in and asked if he could join us, and we said sure, but apparently the waitress had seated him elsewhere. Oh, well. If I ever go to Chicago again, for whatever reason, I definitely need to eat at Giordano's again. That pizza was like heaven. Not too saucy, delicious pepperoni, and the crust was flaky in a exquisite crunchy sort of way. Big thumbs up to them. If they have Giordano's in L.A., (though I somehow doubt they do) Greg, you should definitely go there. Assuming you like pizza.
Rained heavily. Again. What was it with Illinois weather??
The 4 of us (minus Hal and the girls) went back to the Orrington. Ranmaru and Azariel changed into their costumes in our room, and we headed down to Masquerade.
The Masquerade. Lots of picture taking. Got one with Ranmaru and Azariel, just b/c I hadn't had any taken of me yet and I wanted at least one. Kudos to Flanker for playing Odin and to the guy (girl?) who played 'The Gargoyle Tourist'. Kind of looked it could've been Brooklyn's grandma or something. :P
Lot of dancing afterwards, though I'm not enthused in that activity, so I just watched a lot. Wandered around the room in boredom and hoping to mingle. Eventually got caught up in Jeb's 'Mugen' video game he had set up in one corner of the room. I played such characters as Piccolo from DBZ, Naruto from, well, Naruto, Sonic The Hedgehog, and even Fat Albert. A decent sized crowd remained constant, and everyone alternated between watching participating.
I eventually started having trouble keeping my eyes open, so I called it a night and sluggishly dragged my tired ass upstairs. Comfy bed, how I have missed you.
MONDAY, JUNE 30TH
The last day was here. Fast and bittersweet. Some things never change. At least I've made a few new friends. :)
On my way out of the hotel, Thom got on my elevator and we were so busy talking that I forgot to pay attention what floor I got off at, and I couldn't get back on. My response? 'Oh, s**t.'
After all that, my first panel of the day (because it snatched my curiosity) was the 'Blue Mug Productions' thing, at 11:30, in the Bonbright Room, (as I write this, I'm suddenly thinking of Clue, for some reason. :P) hosted by Greg W., Jen Anderson, Karine, and Mara Cordova. They showed off some artwork, gave some character descriptions for their first online comic, plugged their new website (www.BlueMugProductions), and answered some questions. Sounded intriguing, and I approve. Trouble is, I kept thinking to myself (God, I must sound so cheap) that due to finances and my not splurging too often, I'd probably just look at the free stuff.
Closing Ceremonies. What I wouldn't have given for the con to have gone a little slower. Like I said, bittersweet. Some plugging for next year's con (back in L.A. so I am definitely gonna be there!) and the usual handshakes. Saluted Thom.
And, with that, the con was over.
For another year.
VidTheKid and I, having decided to skip the Navy Pier trip (how did that go BTW?), left right afterwards, the three of us having already packed up and checked out. Dropped A Fan off at O'Hare and drove home, stopping once for gas in Indiana. Had lunch at a Steak N' Shake (another highly recommended restaurant, though service can be a bit slow, from experience) outside Lafayette. We were several miles down the freeway when I realized I'd left my hat there (Doh!), but we decided it wasn't worth it. Price of gas was/still is 3 times as much as I'd paid for that dumb cap.
Tried twice to watch 'Futurama' with commentary on the portable DVD player. The first time the car was moving so much that the disc was skipping. The second time we tried, VidTheKid couldn't hear the audio. We gave up.
We eventually hit 70-West and followed it onto state route 142, following it home. It was after 11:00 PM when we finally ended our journey.
Another year, another fun con.
Until G2009 in L.A., good luck.
I'll watch for Spiderman season 2.
Spider-Man, Season Two - coming in MARCH!
As for www.bluemugproductions.com ...
Don't assume it's going to be that expensive. Charter members will get a HUGE discount. So sign up for alerts at the website.
So things began early Friday morning for Michele (Spacebabie) and myself. Sadly I miss the days we could drive 2 or 3 days across country to get to the hotel in our pimped mini van or other vehicle of choice. But working aound time at work can be difficult. Nevertheless we made due with an ungodly early United Airlines flight. I napped a little on the plane but was in the middle and the person next to me snored.
There were reports of bad weather moving into the Chicago area, in fact it was suppose to rain on and off all weekend. Apparently though we had the Cowboy pilot who did not care how much fuel he was going to use and sped up to get us in and on the ground before the weather moved in. Fine by me! So we got in, no with no problems, the bags came out early, the shuttle got us to the hotel, all without incident. There was a slight mess up at the hotel with the reservation, I had set it with my name and Greg Bishansky's name as well, but apparently they thought I was a no show and cancled me. We got it straightened out and bags stowed.
First order of business was of course to get signed in at the Reg Desk, always a great opportunity to see and chat with people you have not seen in a year. Which is really amazing how after a year, how great it is to talk in person with someone you should keep better tabs on, would be great to hang more often than once a year for 4 days. Anyhow, I next went and got my art, which thankfully all survived the trip perfectly intact. I only had 4 pieces to show but I was proud of all 4 of them.
I received a lot of good feedback and compliments for many artist I am in total envy of and respect. It took a lit to keep from just breaking out into SQUEES, but I maintained my professionalism. I checked out what others had brought and though the show was a bit small the work presented was as top notch as always. We just have really bad ass talented people in our little fandom.
A good number of us moved to the voice acting panel, which I have attended before but it is always fun, you get to hear professional tips and stories about things that can go on in the sound booth. I got to read a few lines as the Sybiote which was fun, not sure if I hit the part right but it was fun.
Next up was the Radio Play Auditions, it's gotten to a point that if Emambu and I DON'T audition we get all kinds of pleading looks, him more so than I, of course. I read for Elisa which I had not used her sheet before and acutally liked it quite a bit, they are smooth and easy lines to get some character behind male or female and even sound ok with a Scottish accent. I did get a part but that comes later.
Spacie was feeling sleepy and went to take a nap during auditions and after which a group of us went to Chili's for lunch I got the 4 mini burgers which were quite good. I then got scolded by Michele for not waking her up to go... oops (dork!) Opening Ceremonies is always fun, some of the videos were cut out this year, but they can be found on the DVD set (BUY THEM!) so it started with the fan made AMVs and then moved into the more Con exclusive materials and stories. I've seen and heard them 8 times now and still love it. Which once again, there were many con-virgins, now if we can just get some more repeats we are so golden.
Spacie was hungry and we decieded to try something different, some Indian food. Now I was still mostly full from Chili's but part of being at con is being social, so I settle for a soup and salad. Gside had a Lamb curry and michele had a chicken dish. It was good, very greasy but good. As with tradtion on the first day we went back to the hotel and hung out and caught up with long time friends, new peopel always welcomed to hang out as well. I think we went to bed sometime around 1am or so.
Elisa as a guy with a Scottish accent... where else but a Gathering do you get to hear that?
The Con, Day 1 and Day 2
FRIDAY, JUNE 27TH
The 1st day of the con. It went hella fast.
I didn't really do much, aside from poking around the Dealer's Room, auditioning for the Radio Play, (where I had read for
both Brooklyn AND Hudson) and attending the mandatory Opening Ceremonies. Nothing really new to say, if I may be frank,
since it was the same material (Bad Guys leica reel, early Gargoyles pitch, etc.) that seems to show every year, but I was
Went to the bar afterwards for a beer. My 2nd or so that whole day. Drinking it outside, even. What a great idea, Ed.
Bought a bitchin' $15 Yama shirt. Also put a bid on the 'Gargoyles Vs. Predator' piece.
SATURDAY, JUNE 28TH
Found out I wasn't cast in the Radio Play. Damn.
Oh, well. Can't win 'em all, right?
Sat through Keith David's Mug-A-Guest. He talked some about his acting. Answered various questions from random fans and
signed an autograph for my ex-boss (being a Keith fan, she'd been begging me for months before the con even started) and
another, for myself, (on my 'There's Something About Mary' tape) as well.
Had dinner with A Fan, VidTheKid, Patrick, (new guy named Patrick, not Patrick Toman) Chyna Rose, and... whatever his name
was. Nearly burned my mouth (even after letting it cool for a few minutes) on a meatball sub, and had more Garlic Bread
then there was room for. Chyna Rose's appetite was ruined after she found a small piece of glass in her food. Can't say I
blame her. Glad I never have to eat there again. Would not want to, after THAT. Damn.
Went to the library across the road from the Orrington to catch up on my email.
Radio Play was fun. As I had suspected, (I was probably not alone in my suspicions) the play was about Gargoyles issues #7,
#8, and #9. The hail outside made things a little difficult, but it didn't last long and definitely didn't ruin it.
Keith was Goliath and Thom was Lex, of course. Jen 'CrzyDemona' gave a great turn as Shari. Greg requested a vow of secrecy
for the events of #9, which, just like last year's rendition of #3-#5, I'm keeping. At least until issue 9 is out and the
RP footage ends up on YouTube.
Blue Mug was... okay, though far from 'blue'. Tried to ask a couple raunchy questions, but I was overtired and my brain was
fried, so I couldn't even be coherent. Yay. So, I wasn't entirely in a 'Blue' mood. After 2 failed attempts, I caved and
went with the non-blue flow, asking Greg W. why he'd chosen to place 'Gargoyles' in Manhattan instead of L.A. or Chicago.
Eventually retired to my room for the night, hoping to catch '28 Weeks Later' on HBO. But, wouldn't you know it, the
eastern time zone had screwed me up and I'd ended up missing the first hour of it. Dammit. Returned afterwards hoping that
the Blue Mug was still going. Nope.
So far, luck has not seemed to really be on my side at this year's con.
I returned to my room and went to bed. Really needed sleep at that point.
NEXT: The Conclusion Of My Con Journal.
Sleep is always good.
2008 Gathering Journal:
5 am comes way too early, more so when you only had about 4.5 hours of sleep. After getting up at that way too early hour, I ate breakfast, took a quick shower and headed out to the airport for my 7:55 am flight. This year, I flew out on Southwest for the first time in 9 years.
I managed to take a short nap on the first hop of the flight, which was into Lost Wages, eh, Las Vegas. Of course, I noticed that my plane landed at Terminal C and my flight into Chicago-Midway Airport was at Terminal B. To get there, I had walk down a flight of steps to the bottom of the terminal and take a shuttle bus. So I got to a mini-tour of the flight line.
My flight out Las Vegas was delayed about an hour because they decided to change which runways the planes where using for taking off. According to the pilot, we would get in nearly 25 minutes late. Well, that was a bit too optimistic. We landed around 50 minutes late.
After finally got off of the plane, I turned on the cell phone to call Mandolin, only to find her plane had taken off late. After getting my bags, I found a place to wait and she finally arrived around 6:30, about 2 hours late. From there, we tried to find the shuttle to get to the hotel only to find out we were supposed to call and reserve the day before. And for some reason or another, they had lost Mandolin's reservation.
We decided to snag a taxi and after some confusion and about an hour, we finally got to the hotel. After checking in, the hunt was on for some badly needed dinner. We wound up at Chile's where talked about some of the various BS going on at our jobs.
I picked up some Gatorade at the CVS before going back to the hotel. Mandi and I talked a bit more before finally going to sleep around midnight.
We both got up just before 8:30 and learned Merlin Missy would be joining us in about 45 minutes. Just after we both finished ours showers, Merlin called again and met us at the room. From there, we headed to Panera Bread Café for some breakfast. I got a chocolate chip bagel with butter and a lemonade.
Went back to the hotel and decided to find out where the registration desk would be. Found a few other fans waiting around and decided to take a seat. After it opened up, I ended up helping at the registration desk once again.
Around 2 or so, a number of us took off for lunch at Chile's. It was Revel, Mara, Mandi, Kayote, Lynati, 8 others and myself. Like the night before, I had the cheddar bacon burger. On the way back, we ended up talking for a while before getting ready for Opening Ceremonies.
And we all sat through Greg Weisman's usual spill. Of course, Greg nearly forgot to do the Team Atlantis: The Last part. Tsk, tsk, Greg.
Once all of that was done, a small group of us decided to go find dinner. We ended up at Celtic Knot. I got the soup and sandwich, which was grilled cheese with bacon. After that, Sarah The Great wanted to get some liquor. Once that was taken care of, all of us wound up at the Ben & Jerry's for some ice cream
I got the triple caramel. It was rather delicious. Back at the hotel, I decided to join Jen, Patrick, Mara, Gorebash and a couple others. After a while, we ended up in Susan's room about various things until 2:30 am.
I woke up around 7:15 or so and tried to get back to sleep. I think I managed to doze off until 8:30. Took a shower and then went off to Dunkin' Donuts for some breakfast. Also got a Mt. Dew to drink.
Around 10, I helped Patrick and Missy Merlin set up the registration desk. Also got to say hello to Siryn and sometime later, he husband Adam. We got a number of walk-in registrations.
We ended up talking for quite a while before closing down for the radio show. This year I decided to take nap since I didn't get as much sleep as I wanted, but told Mandi to give me a call when they were done so we could go get dinner.
We ended up at some Italian restaurant and got a pair of pizzas for our 8 person group. One we had on a deep dish wheat crust with sausage and the other was on the regular deep dish crust with pepperoni.
The food was pretty good and we wandered back to the hotel. While the rest when drink some wine and watch Dr. Who, I decided to work on my con journal and do some writing. It didn't work out too well since I ended up watching Shrek, the end of Miami Vice and some other random stuff.
I think I called it a night around 12:30 am.
All of us woke around 6:45 when Mandi's phone rang, but went back to sleep shortly afterwards. We dozed off until just before just 8:30. Missy ran off to get breakfast for herself and Mandi. I decided to browse the net before jumping in the shower and running off to get breakfast.
Once again I got Dunkin' Donuts and picked up a strawberry filled donut for Mandi. After eating, I decided to hang out with Y2Hecate in the art room after voting on the art.
As folks came in, I told them to vote on the art since by that point we only havd 4 votes counting mine. At one point, our Con chair Susan decided to buy on the comic ink pages and said "I'm not tiddly-winks with Greg Bishansky anymore." This got a pretty good laugh.
We ended chatting a while before closing down for the banquet. While Mandi and Missy changed into dresses, I changed my shift into something a little more formal. All of us join Siryn and her husband Adam at one of the tables. There were two others there, but I didn't catch their names. Dinner was salad, chicken and a fruit tart.
After we were done eating, they had a trivia contest and we blew it on the first question. Oops. Of course, this cost us in the end, but oh, well. The sudden death round took while since a few of the tables took a while to get eliminated.
After that was over, we headed back to the room for a little before the masquerade started. Mandi and Missy headed off to Sarah's room for some wine while I tried to work on my writing and journal.
There were some pretty nice costumes this year. Managed to take a number of photos and forgot who won what. I ended up circulating and getting some more photos before Thom, Flanker, Missy, Madni, Jillian, and I headed down to Thom's room to play some Uno. After a little while, Ethan and a couple others joined us. We played several rounds before calling it a night around 1:30
All of us woke up around 8 and started to pack up after showering and getting breakfast. One again, I went to Dunkin' Donuts. Got my usual marble donuts with a bottle of Mt. Dew. How I miss them in California. I ate in the room before heading up to the 9th floor to chat with others.
I chatted with Revel and Gside a little bit before helping write out receipts for folks paying for the artwork they bought. I picked up "Lucy as Sekhmet" by Spike. Around 11:30, Mandi and I went down to the room to get our suitcases out when we discovered the keys had expired before the noon check-out time.
After getting the keys fixed, we went back and got our stuff. I went back upstairs to help for a little bit while Mandi finished the checking out. I managed to chat with Y2Hecate and a couple others before we had to leave at around 12:30. I hate having to leave from another great Gathering before it totally wrapped up.
Our shuttle was a few minutes late and we got to spend the next hour winding our way to the airport. Both of us got through check-in and security rather quickly. Both of got lunch while waiting for our flights. Mandi and I said goodbye to each other around 3:40 before she boarded her 4 o'clock flight back to Baltimore.
Having a bit of time to waste for my 5:30 flight, I decided to browse one of the newsstands/ bookstores. I picked up a Chicago shooter glass to add to my collection at home. I also got a Dale Brown book, "Dreamland: Satan's Tail." It's been a while since I've read any of his books and I figured if I can't get out the laptop during the flight, I could read something.
After that, I still had a little over an hour, so I decided to dig out my laptop and watch some of Futurama season 3. A little after 5, they started the boarding for my flight and we took off on time.
Since the plane was fairly packed, I decided to read "Dreamland: Satan's Tail." The good news about the book was that it was just long enough to kill of the flight time into Las Vegas. And I'll admit that while I'm fan of military thrillers, this one wasn't all that impressive.
After the plane landed, I discovered that once again, I got to take a shuttle bus from Terminal C to Terminal B. And of course, I just had barely enough time to get a quick bite to eat before the final hop into Sacramento. There ended up being a 10 minute delay in leaving since there another flight connecting with this one was late.
Strangely, this happened to be the only flight during the entire trip for that was full. I spent most of the short flight staring out the window or reading the in-flight magazine. My trip came to an end when we landed around 9:45, thus bringing my 2008 Gathering trip to a close. And the brought about the start of saving for the 2009 Gathering.
See, gang, follow his example. START SAVING NOW!!
Con Report continued...
Set the alarm for 9 and headed on out to the radio play auditions. I was way more nervous than I thought I was so I didn't do anywhere near as well as I could have. I wound up not making the cut but I don't mind too much. It has made me determined to make it next year though. After that I pretty much just hung out in the dealer's room. If I recall correctly a bunch of us from the dealer's room went out for sushi as well. The radio play was hilarious and tons of fun. I'm not going to say more than that since it involved the next comic. The blue mug was later on that night and it was hilarious and a lot of fun.
Had to wake up kinda early yet again so we could get set up for the day in the dealer's room. After that I hit Thom's mug-a-guest where he was adorable as usual. He's just so damn sweet I can't help but go a little fanboy. *grins* The iron artist was "interesting" lol Macaroni boobs *snerk*. After that I ran out to the local comic shop to see if I could snag any of the comics and I was both disappointed and pleased. They did carry both the comics and the trade but they were sold out! =) I was able to get the scrapbook pages signed instead. As a lark I bought a figure for a couple bucks. It's out of the box so I don't feel bad playing with it. Heh The banquet was great fun although we didn't win the trivia contest. Thom sat at our table which was a fabulous treat. The masquerade had quite a few great costumes and was a treat as always. Hung out, danced, schmoozed, snapped pics. After a bit Thom invited a bunch of us up to his room for Uno. That was wonderful and something I'll never forget.
Morning had us working on getting out of the room and checking out early so we wouldn't have to worry about doing it closer to noon. After that I went to the Blue Mug Productions panel. Let's just say I look forward to seeing what comes out of that. Heh heh. Closing ceremonies were bittersweet but I greatly look forward next year.
So that's it. All in all, out of the four cons I've attended so far over the years, this was my favorite.
Our hope is that each one is better than the last...
2008 Gathering of the Gargoyles
Gorebash's Con Journal
Friday, June 27, 2008
I arrived at O'Hare to find my luggage missing. So it goes. I hopped into a shuttle and headed for Evanston, Illinois where this year's con was being hosted. The ride was less than an hour and I spent the time staring out the window. It felt like you could graft the landscape onto areas around my home town and you'd never notice the difference.
The hotel is right in the middle of the city with lots of shops and restaurants within a couple blocks. I figured I could go about picking up some new clothes the following day. I checked in and ran up to registration on the ninth floor where I was greeted by many familiar faces. It was late in the day and opening ceremonies were about to begin. I killed some time hanging out around the registration desk and the dealer's room nearby before heading over to catch the official start of the con.
Opening ceremonies was the usual affair. We met this year's con staff (who, it cannot be said enough, did an amazing job) and heard about next year's con being held in Los Angeles. We watched the pitches for Gargoyles, Dark Ages, and New Olympians as well as the leica reel for Bad Guys. We also watched the latest version of "The Last", which had quite a bit of new material added since last year. Very cool. But before any of this, there was the Gargoyles music video contest. Unlike past years the videos were shown during opening ceremonies so we all got to watch them. The videos were great, although I was a bit disappointed by the focus on Demona/Goliath/Elisa. There's just so much depth to the show that I think it might force the video producers to focus on one or two characters only. I'll have to put my money where my mouth is and see what happens.
After the show a bunch of us grabbed a bite to eat at a nearby restaurant. I had a pizza which was apparently bathed in vinegar before being served. Later on a group of us retreated to Susan's suite (one of the organizers of the con) and laughed ourselves silly for a few hours over glasses of a maple liquor that I decided tasted like pancakes. A bit of physical violence, a dash of tomfoolery and a heaping spoonful of debauchery insued, however no one got their goop in anyone else's hair.
Saturday, June 28, 2008
The pancakes were still there when I awoke in the form of a pounding headache. So with breakfast already sorted out I made my way to the radio play auditions still wearing the clothes in which I'd arrived. The funk did not detract much from my audition as I was able to air things out a bit on a rather large balcony next to the audition room. From there I could see that a couple streets around the hotel had been blocked off with white tents lining the street. It turns out that there was a street fair going on right next to the hotel.
Once the audition was over I went out in search of clothing. A nearby Gap store looked to be my savoir. I then disocvered that this Gap store (and perhaps its sisters across the country) are unaware that there are people who weight over 100 pounds. Any attempt to wear these clothes in public would result in certain wardrobe malfunctions that might generate the same kind of visceral reactions as those from "Man Faye".
I asked the front desk about nearby department stores and was told to grab a cab and tell them to go to "Target on 2-E". At least that's what I heard. The cabbie seemed to know what I meant. At first. $25 worth of cab fare later I asked him to just pull into a Wal-Mart we were passing, at which point he expressed that there had been several Wal-Marts much closer to the hotel and wondered why I'd picked a store that was so far away. He waited while I made a mad dash to grab all the essentials including several flowery Hawaiian shirts that were on sale and in "over 100 pounds" sizes.
Back at the hotel and in fresh clothes (sporting that New Clothes Smell) I found a room where episodes of Gargoyles were being shown. I thought this a nice way to kill yet more time until the Radio Play rehearsals. There were a few others there as well eating away at various fast foods from nearby locations. This immediately reminded my stomach that I was hungry and it would not shut up until food was within its grasp. A half hour later I was back watching Gargoyles armed with an assortment of fried foods. My stomach commented on its preference of onion rings to fries and my inability to reflect this in my food order, but it was satiated.
A small stage with a big cast meant many in the radio play would have to hold two or more roles. I was an exception. I'd been cast in the role of Coldsteel and we would be performing issues seven, eight and nine of the comic book (even though issue nine has yet to hit the streets; a sneak peek!) in chronological order. I tried to do my best, although it seems the way I read the lines in my head (which were perfect readings) were the exact opposite of how I would read them aloud, which frustrated me to no end.
After a twenty minute break we assembled back outside the auditorium to perform in front of everyone. Keith David (voice of Goliath) and Thom Adcox (voice of Lexington) would reprise their roles. They were both introduced to thunderous applause and I immediately challenged myself to steal even greater applause for no reason whatsoever. It's amazing what you can accomplish by playing to the crowd.
As the radio play started, so did a very strong rain storm. The dimensions of this hotel, at over nine stories tall, could still be considered "squat". Even so I believe I felt the whole building sway back and forth as the wind pounded it with incredible force. The noise alone was so great we had to virtually yell our lines out at times. And as the play ended, so did the storm. This is the power of Greg Weisman's written word.
After the play I went outside on the balcony to get a first-hand view of the storm and was in for a bit of a shock. It turns tarp and canvas supported by light, aluminum frames make excellent sails. Unfortunately the tents along the streets were never told they were not sails. There were several fire trucks and ambulances and tents strewn across the streets of Evanston, Illinois. It was so bad that all of the local news stations made there way out to cover the destruction. Later that night there would be a large pile of bent and broken aluminum structures collected at the intersection of the roads the street fair was on.
That night I was in for a treat. I had conned my way into a trip out to a nearby steak house (http://www.petemillers.com) with several of the con staff and special guests. This was not an entirely inexpensive place to eat and while I was expecting that, the eighty bucks I had brought along would barely cover my end of the bill. I'd overheard one waitress explaining how the filets were the least flavorful of the cuts offered, however they were the cheapest and that's what I ordered. Three small filets, each topped with a different spice (horseradish, parmesean, and one other that I can't remember). These were, and I'm not joking, the three tastiest pieces of meat I have ever had in my life. The garlic mashed potatoes were like buttery silk draped over wisps of air.
The dinner conversation was what I now consider "normal for the con" and almost entirely unprintable, but I think everyone had a really good time. A friend of Susan's was there (I believe her name was Nicole, although it sounded far more exotic than that) who, I was told, needed help finding the hotel and would I help. The logic behind this choice wass very flawed. We got into her car, she asked which way, and I said whatever direction in which the car is pointed. Through sheer luck this turned out to be correct and about 100 yaerds later we were at the hotel. Certain it would take the others many seconds to walk this distance I suggested we grab a drink at the hotel bar and wait for them to arrive. We did. And they did, but we didn't notice and got to talking for a bit, until I reminded via text message that our lack of presence had generated some questions. So up to the ninth floor we went for the blue mug.
The con's special guests were there to take any and all questions about any and all things that might not otherwise be appropriate to ask in mixed company. It's hit or miss each year and this year seemed between both ends of the spectrum. After an hour or two a group of us left as we were all starting to feel the later effects of the evening's beverage consumption.
Sunday, June 29, 2008
Dressed in another of my recently purchased loud and obnoxious Chicago flair I made for the dealer's room. It was becoming habit that whenever I had time to kill I would hang out in the dealer's room/registration desk area. Usually I'd wind up just pestering Rebekah who was managing the artchicks.org table. I took the time to browse the art gallery and fill out the voting slip that BrooklynX was pushing on people like a man with a handful of pamphlets on the Vegas strip. Tucked away in one corner were the works of Y2Hecate and one in particular caught my eye. It was of Fox done up as a sort of Japanese fox spirit (with fox ears and several tails). It was up for sale and I put in a bid of $25. The following day this piece of art would go home with me.
The registration desk was selling tickets to a raffle in which two cels from Gargoyles were put up as prizes. Twenty bucks got you thirty tickets and that's what I bought. One of the cels had been framed and the other was not. My kind of logic immediately identified all the problems there would be trying to carry this long, framed thing onto the airplane, so I dumped all my tickets into the decidedly non-framed cel.
It was about this time I was drafted. The Gathering auction would be held later that day and they needed some auctioneers. So Seth (IRC Goliath) and I were pulled into the fold. Seth taunted me with his ideas on how to extract bids from people at the expense of my dignity (which at this point had been worn down like a bar of soap so that all you're left with is a little sliver just before you finally decide it's not worth it and replace it with a new bar). Several others offered their support of Seth's ideas. I did not.
I took some time to head over to a nearby outdoor/wilderness store which sold, among other things, bags. Specifically luggage bags. I had bought all these clothes and I needed to bring them home in something. And like the Gap, where a plain white t-shirt will run you twelves bucks, this place was more expensive than I needed. However I was in no mood for another cab ride and settled upon a very simple backpack laced in tags that advertised this was an eco-friendly bag made of weeds and berries so that you could, in a pinch, simply eat the thing if you were hungry. Funny, that, as it'd be a more expensive meal than my previous night's dinner.
Back at the hotel I threw down a bid of three dollars on a Gargoyles clock that nobody had bid on. This too would go home with me. It was then time for the auction and we had a bit of a rough start as we worked out the logistics of what was up for auction and what was not. Anything with 1 or 2 bids from the silent auction went to the person who palced the bid (like my clock). Anything with none, three or more bids went into the auction. With that settled we began.
The auctions can be interesting affairs. Usually I'll see new stuff every year that I never knew existed. We had several hard-wired Kenner action figures, but it turns out they came in a couple varieties: American and international. The international figures have slightly different decals and the print on the packaging was different so that it could include Spanish and French versions of the text. Both versions, however, contained many brightly colored plastics. A point of value I made many times throughout the auction. A point of value many seemed to agree on as well.
Seth and I tried to make our best effort. I tried to be funny where I could. I tried to be desparate to the point of being funny where I could. I tried to be obnoxious and loud to the point of being funny where I could. It seemed to help a little bit. We sold every item up for auction, but a few are worth commenting on. First was a talking Goliath bank. These are hard to find and Keith David was going to have one. When he showed up the bidding began and quickly rose to over $150. In the end Keith won out and the bank is now his. There was also a set of four mugs with the faces of Brooklyn, Broadway, Lex and Bronx on them. Thom Adcox was after this set as he (I believe) lost his Lex mug. He eventually turned up and bidding on this item went to nearly $100. Thom eventually backed out and these went to someone else, although rumor has it a deal was struck for Thom to buy the Lex mug off the winner. Also up for auction was a complete set of the Gargoyles Applause figures which are really hard to find. Bidding for these nearly reached $300! But the big ticket piece for the evening, and the last to be auctioned off, was a framed lithograph signed by the artist and embossed with the Gargoyles logo. I had bid on a similar piece at the 2006 con except that had been just a print and it wasn't signed by the artist, nor did if have the logo embossment. This was something special and it went for a special price reaching $400!! All totalled we pulled in over a thousand dollars from the auction, all of which goes towards next year's con. After the auction we got ready for the evening banquet followed by the masquerade.
The banquet had a new feature this year in the form of a trivia contest. Tables were pitted against each other in Gargoyles trivia. My table hung in there pretty long, but eventually fell to a questiona bout Alexander Xanatos' job prior to the Space Spawn invasion. This is information you could only get from having read Ask Greg, which makes it all the more embarrasing that I didn't get it. The winning table received a bunch of prizes to divide among themselves including a bunch of nice looking Gargoyles calendars. The food itself was good, but nothing will ever be great after my trip to Pete Miller's.
After the food there was a break while the place was setup for the masquerade. A group of us went down to the hotel bar for a beer and a bit of Cubs/Sox action while we waited. The costumes were awesome. Karine had a sweet Robyn Canmore as the Hunter costume. Best in show went to a gargoyle tourist costume (complete with straw hat, Hawaiian shirt, and camera) and the Thom Adcox memorial award went to an Odin costume which included a bit of cosplay and a line about Lexington and Odin using his (Lex's) one eye. It was an appropriate award.
But while the judges worked out the awards I went back down for another beer and completely missed the raffle drawing. Upon my return, however, I was accosted by several people using words like "lucky", "rigged" and several vulgarities. It turns out that I'd actually won the cel I'd put my tickes in for. It's a scene from "Eye of the Beholder" where Goliath is fighting Fox in here werefox form with Elisa in the background holding her gun trying to get a shot. This was the very definition of awesome.
Then everyone started dancing. Some found a laptop with two controllers and a fighter game installed on it and a corner of the ballroom in which to play. Others found a guy who had just won a cel and thought he'd be better off dancing even if he was in disagreement with that particular evaluation. Who would, at one point, find himself grinding with a couple ladies in a fashion that may have resembled the beginnnings of a conga line to the daughters of one of said ladies, who immediately lined up behind their mother, along with their friends, and started to mimic what she was doing. And this cel-winning gentlemen, of high moral content, was quite certain, as the camera bulbs flashed away, that he would soon be in jail.
Late into the evening a group of us retreated back to Susan's room to finish off some spicy wines and continue from where we'd left off Friday.
Monday, June 30, 2008
The shuttle back would pick me up at about 12:30pm so I had just enough time to catch a panel on something called "Blue Mug Productions". It is to be an organization, led by a man named Edmund, which would endeavor to produce litterature and art high in quality as it is in depravity. Samples of which I was able to catch throughout the con, some of which were put on display at the panel. The one-eyed Edmund and his angels of the arts announced their works would soon be available online for a fair price to those that might wish a bit of distraction. We were shown the first few pages of the first issue of this online comic and, unlike Black Cat, the main character did get goop in her hair. So it goes.
Twelve-thirty arrived and so I departed wishing Edmund and his angels good luck.
This time my new bag, with my new clothes, made the trip without getting lost.
And it turns out my old bag, for one brief moment at 12:30pm on the very Monday, just as the Blue Mug Productions panel was in full swing, made a brief appearance at a baggage claim area in Syracuse, NY. I was left a message about this at my office and have since called them back only to find the bag has since gone missing again. Who knows where it will pop up next. China, perhaps?
Despite this, it was an awesome time that I wish could last a few weeks rather than a few days, but I'll take and enjoy every second that I get.
And no Gathering would be complete without the Gorebash!
The day of Thor:
Like last year, the Gathering is a family affair for me. My mom, sister, and two brothers all went to the con. ROAD TRIP!!!
My clan headed out at around 10:30, which was kinda surprising considering that usually when we say we're going to leave at a certain time, we leave 2 hours later, but this time we only left an hour late.
We knew we were on a tight budget from the get go. We could only stay at the hotel one night, but fortunately: I'm an Army Brat. We used to live near Chicago, and we were able to crash with an old friend. It was to her house we were headed.
Even though we were tight on money, we splurged at an Arby's on the trip down. Tris and Kathleen (or Phoenix-Talon as she prefers to call herself whenever she can find an excuse) slept part of the way, whilest my mom and I took turns driving. I expected the trip to take longer than it did, so did my mom. We arrived at Marty's (our friend)house after only about 4 hours, though the Yahoo map took us there through a lot of back-roads.
We got there and talked a little about the con with her, showed her my Grimorum Arcanorum Anthology from the '06 gathering, where I had a story as well. She'd set up the guest room for Kat and my mom, and the camper for me and my brothers. I tried to sleep in the camper, but the mosquitoes decided I was an all-you-can-eat-buffet and wanted to test the "all-you-can-eat" part.
I grabbed my pillow and the blanket I bought in Madagascar (hand-woven, high-quality, and very warm) and crashed on her couch. I couldn't get much sleep, so I spent most of the time watching TV, and thinking in full gargoyle-ish mode. I couldn't wait.
MORE TO COME:
The family that gathers together...
TUESDAY, JUNE 24TH.
Left the house with David A.K.A. VidTheKid at around noon. Got gas and then an oil change (also need to replace the air filter soon) at a local auto repair, followed by lunch. Then we finally hit the road. Arrived at Arlington Heights around 8 PM and checked into a La Quinta. Tried to call my cousin, who lives in Chicago, to make plans, but no go. She was going out of town for a friend of hers who was due to give birth within a day or so. Disappointing for me, but congrats to the new mother.
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 25TH
Bought some books at Border's and non-perishable food items (plus the new Futuama: Beast Of A Billion Backs) at Meijer's before
Did some basic exploration of downtown Chicago. VidTheKid tried to take me up to the 103rd floor of the Sears Tower, but I disappointed him (and myself) when my fear got control of me, and I just couldn't do it. Dammit. I HATE that I am afraid of heights. Oh, well, at least we saved $13. Just gotta think positive. Anyhow, when he'd gone up without me, I kept myself busy (and quickly grew bored) at the gift shop in the basement, trying (and failing) constantly to work up the willpower to go join him up there.
THURSDAY, JUNE 26TH.
Visited Woodfield Mall. Bought a 7 inch screen portable DVD player at Radio Shack for $69 (plus a $30 rebate) and some cheap (4 for $12) DVDs at FYE. Found 2 video games (but I only bought 1 to save $$$) that I'd been looking for at a GameStop. Had a pepperoni Pizza lunch at Sbarro's. Eventually, VidTheKid and I drove to O'Hare airport to pick up A Fan, and the three of us headed out. Stopped at this 50's styled diner (the atmosphere and the employees were 1950's-like. The customers weren't.) and then drove around trying to find the Orrington (I guess even full fledged roadgeeks like VidTheKid can get lost, even if he would say the contrary). Having already checked out of the La Quinta, of course, we let A Fan check in (we paid him for our share via a check later) before going to our room for a night of relaxation.
Went downstairs for a beer, and made the bad mistake of trying to say hello to some of the guests at what I didn't KNOW had been a private party, which I would hear some about later. Damn. *sighs* I can be an idiot sometimes. A friendly idiot, but still a little naive at times. Oh, well, just something to learn from, right?
End transmission. Cobra out.
NEXT: The Con, Day 1
Saying hi is fine. Don't sweat it.
Thursday - I had school so I had to get a ride home from Kerry Boyd so we could go ahead and start packing her car for the drive from GA to Chicago. Shortly after 11pm Vox Mortuum got home and we headed out for the 11+ hour drive to the con. Getting there was pretty uneventful.
Friday - We made it to the hotel shortly before noon so we were able to go ahead and check in and get set up in the dealer's room. We gave Karine her commission and she literally bounced over to get her. It was so cute. =D
Hung out in the dealer's room helping my girl and schmoozing. After a bit we were able to give the con mascot dolls that were made to the con-chair (doing so has become a bit of a tradition and our way of thanking them for all their hard work). The best part though was that we were able to give the other guests theirs. Seeing Greg Weisman, Keith David, and Thom Adcox squeeing over the dolls that my girl created made me very proud. It was wonderful seeing everyone loving her work so much.
Eventually Opening Ceremonies started. They showed the entries for the music video contest which made me want to do one or two of my own but aside from one idea which I'm not divulging yet, I don't know what I'm going to do. The three of us were starving so we slipped out during Greg's presentation of pitches and such because we'd seen them last year. Went out for dinner then staggered back to the room and pretty much just fell out.
To be continued when I'm a bit more awake.
Take your time. I'm always here.
Saturday: After only sleeping a few hours I woke up and was still feeling the effects of the 6 hour liquid heart attack drink. In fact I would say I was feeling more so. I rarely bolt of bed all hyper. I tried to ad some finishing touches on my presentation (which was sloppily thrown together a few days before). I auditioned for the Radio Play. The play is one of those things that sort of don't want to do, but when I sit and watch it I regret not participating. I love the auditioning part, I get a weird thrill out of it. Even though I've only done it a couple of times, all the material was super familiar, so I did Al Pacino reading Brooklyn. The guys laughed and I got a part. Thankfully not as big as last years. I went to Josh Silver's panel on careers in entertainment. He was a really cool dude to talk to and I hope he keeps coming to more Gatherings. I had lunch with Sarah and Aaron, and I got nervous that I would be late for my own panel on weapons. I changed into some more formal attire, grabbed my laptop and at the last minute realized there was no way to hook it up to the large flat screen monitors in the room. So I would load up an image and pass my laptop around. Overall I was very dissappointed with my panel. I didn't have any firearms or other weapons to show people, my material felt very dry. The room was full and noboby left, which was great, but the energy wasn't there. Jenn sounds interested in having me run the panel again next year. If I can make it to LA it'll be much better. Fourth time's a charm...right?
I was talking with Ed and Phil after my panel and suddenly it was time for the Radio Play. I had two smaller parts this time around. I won't get into details but I really think I bombed out on my first part. Sorry Greg. Sitting behind Keith and hearing him read Goliath was definitely my fan nerd freak out moment of the weekend. So was finally getting caught up on the comics and seeing Karine's amazing work.
After the Play I had dinner. A bunch of us went to this fancy steak joint with an over energetic waiter. Being the luckiest nerdy fanboy in the world, I got to sit with not only Thom, but Karine AND Keith! Okay brainfart time: sitting across from me, we talking about Japan and stuff. I'll remember your name as soon as I turn this computer off...
I ate a giant steak and tried to act like an adult and ordered a vodka martini. There was a tiny dead fly in it when it arrived so I asked Thom 'where's Pupert these days? Look he's in my glass!' I guess child celebrities always turn out like that.
By the time of the Blue Mug I was super tired but managed to show everyone that Navy ad on youtube that compares a Japanese recruiting video with one of Keith's. Then I fell into a small coma.
Sunday: Another great breakfast in the hotel's diner then I took in some amazing art and panels. I want to get Greg a military dress uniform and those blue curtains with the Pentagon logo behind him and he can sit there and go 'I'm not answering that...I have no information at this time...I'm not answering that...a wizard did it...'
I thought the Iron Artist competition sounded like fun, only to learn I would be subjected to horrible cruelties under Karine's menacing gaze. Macaroni art? TABERNAC!!
I was too disgusted with my entry and fled for safety afterwards, but I found out that I got honorable mention for use of boobs. At some point I got some comics off Karine and had her and Greg sign them.
Much like Saturday, it was suddenly the evening which meant the banquet and masquerade. I skipped lunch and really enjoyed the food. Karine's modern and Aaron's medevil Hunter costumes were phenomenal. I didn't know I would be attending this year until the Wednesday before the Con, so I didn't prepare any kind of costume. I never really care until I see everyone in their get ups having an awesome time. There's always next year.
Monday: I pretty much got up, ate, packed and ran around trying to make sure I said bye to everyone. Which sucks. I always hate this part of the Con. I had a long drive ahead of me and I wasn't looking forward to it. My car made me nervous when it failed to start after fueling up in Evanston. I stopped at my friend's place in MI again. If wrestling with a hyper black lab puppy doesn't improve your mood nothing will. My trip was again longer than I expected but it was worth it, I'd do it again in a heartbeat!
Overall (Cons are listed first because I'm not ending on a sad note):
Cons: Not much one on one with Greg. Next year there better be an air hockey table because that's a reliable way to get his attention.
I can't remember everyone's names and I feel stupid.
I was dissappointed with my panel, and my performance in Greg's Play.
All that driving was horrendous.
Pros: Got to spend more time with Karine, Susan, Jennifer and got to know them a bit better. Meeting Josh and Keith again is always a pleasure. Oh yeah and that Thom guy is kinda cool I guess ;)
My panel was pretty full and everyone seemed (mostly) awake. Got to meet Phil who had some insights as a Navy Corpsmen. Nobody's complained about my panel...yet.
Susan ran a f***ing great Con. The hotel was beautiful, the area was great (lots of food choices, easy to find everything). Good job Susan!
Lots of first and second timers. You guys are all super. Vicky flew from the UK! That is so awesome. I hope you guys make it out to LA next year!
I'm always up for a little air hockey.
Honorable Mentions and Corrections- (otherwise known as things I forgot to put in my con journal.)
BrooklynX was also with us at Chilli's on Friday afternoon.
I had a nice conversation with guest Josh Silver at the Masquerade and I really wish I had spent a little more time talking with him. Maybe he'll come back as a guest soon.
There were some AWESOME first-time Gathering con goers. Arazia, Ranmaru, Jillian, VickyUK, and I think she was a walk-in so I don't have her name written down, but she had short brown hair and I wanna mention her too even though her name is escaping me. I hope they had a good time. I really liked them.
After I said goodbyes on Monday, we waited just outside for Aaron. Now, in order to escape what we call in my family 'Puerto Rican goodbyes' (The phenomena of saying goodbye to everyone, giving them a kiss and then getting caught up in conversation so you have to say goodbye AGAIn, and that repeating three or four times- so really you never actually LEAVE. The PR part is by virtue of BEING Puerto Rican, but what have you... I guess other cultures have those sort of goodbyes too.)
But I got a wonderfully warm hug goodbye from Keith (so many hugs this convention!) AND he sang a song for me. It was fitting and lovely- and while it's obvious that Keith can sing/talk powerfully- it's the delicateness of his singing voice that really drives home how TALENTED he is. T'was blissful.
Also, Keith needs to learn 'The Old Man of the Mountain'- which was a song Cab Calloway did for a Betty Boop cartoon in the 1930's. I was a little surprised he didn't know it- but there's always stuff to learn.
Was REALLY spoiled this year.
Chicks are always falling for guys with... talent!
Friday: Friday was great in that I spent large chunks of Thursday preparing for it. Had the car ready, had all my travel paperwork completed. I planned on grabbing food on the road but had to wait for laundry to finish...by 1230 I had reached escape velocity and was on my way to Chicago from Meaford Ontario, (google map it, it's bloody far).
I stopped in Battle Creek MI to have dinner with a good friend I haven't seen in awhile. That ended up eating almost two hours! Once back on the road I drank one of those supicious 6 hour energy shots. They work. I got to the hotel around 1130 or midnight and couldn't find my roomie. So I talked a guy at the front desk into giving me a pass card to the room. I showered and met up with Susan, Jenn, Karine, Thom, Greg, Mara and all the usual suspects in Susan's room who seemed to be running their own Blue Mug.
Gotta run, post more in a bit...
That's Flanker for ya. He's there. He's gone. Like the wind...
Thursday- We left for the airport around twelvish- our flight got minorly delayed and then we got delayed in the air A LOT. Luckily, we had not anticipated Chicago traffic so Lyn and Erik were delayed too- which means we met somewhere in the middle.
Tangeant: From above, Chicago looks like Broccoli. The trees are plentiful and round and the land is mostly green. Like broccoli. Las Vegas looks like a Borg cube at night, from above, because of the strict square configuration of its streetlights. San Antonio is a patch work of earth colors and construction. New York from above looks like... well, home. But Chicago is pleasantly vegatable-like.
We stopped off at an Ihop before reaching our hotel- which was about three blocks away from the con hotel. We were tired, we were frustrated by traffic. We slept muchly.
Friday- Got in before reg desk was open. There was the minimal 'ice breaker' awkwardness that always is just before reg opens. But it melted REALLY fast. I stole lots of food from the con suite. (Well, just two apples one orange and two waters- but a LOT of the tea, and the tea is going to be my best friend for a while now as I am home.)
Set up in the art show.Hung with Hecate, Jenbob and her boi (Why is it I blank on his name? I can see his face clearly in my mind- and they both give the best hugs.) No one else had entered in the Adult art section- which was to my benifit later on.
I did a quick sketch freebie for Patrick (I like drawing for Patrick as he likes a lot of the same subject matter I like) and mainly relaxed in there before Opening Ceremonies.
Met and spoke with the camera crew- who were very nice people. Went to Chilli's with Ckayote, Harvester of Eyes, Jillian, Kimberly, Mandolin and Carmine (Carmine is a serious flirt, btw) as well as the people I usually hang out with, Spacebabie, Revel, Erik, Lynati and Aaron. I had Chicken Crispers (my standard at Chilli's) and a Mango margarita. All was yummy.
(The irony being that in regular every day life I don't drink since there's no cause to socially, so I imbibe a touch more casually at the con.)
I was REALLY congested the WHOLE convention and I think it's because I had not smoked the whole time I was there. It's healthier, sure- but not being able to smell sorta makes the transitional period not a happy. Saw and spent time with DTaina and Leo and A Fan, and (Drat, what is your name! You had the gargoyle ragatone music last year) and Chyna Rose and.. and... DrAT! I need a better memory. It's like a sieve.
We had Opening Ceremonies and, to my delight, the podium was set up so that you could see the people's side view through the mirror behind them. Visual fun. More visual fun with the Gargoyles Music Videos (YAYE LYN, we love our present! Demona would SO be a Joan Jett fan)
After opening I went to dinner with Karine, Jennifer and Greg to discuss Blue Mug Productions- we had pad thai and crab ragoon and other delicious things. Our waiter was ultra nice. After that we had ice cream at Ben and Jerry's. I don't know WHAT most meetings are like that Greg said we were very productive. Maybe my standards are higher than reality? There are benefits to not living the 'we have meetings' lifestyle.
Soon I found myself hanging out in Susan's room with Gorebash, Patrick, Susan, Karine, Greg, GxB, Jen, Flanker, Thom, Sammy, Seth, Rebecca.. and? I think I got everyone there? It was fun. And many hours passed and I nearly ended up bunking with Karine and Jen and Rebecca because I didn't feel comfortable walking the street at night by myself. (I do in NY because that's *my* city and , perversely, it's safe to walk at night if you know where. This was a college town with some unsavory elements thrown in.) But I called my Aaron and he is a supportive wonderful gentleman who knows the cardinal rule about walking a lady home. So I waited downstairs and had polite conversation with a very drunk and angry young man.
Now, on principle I believe in hearing people out. So I sat politely and kept my eye on the security guard who kept walking OUT OF LINE OF SIGHT. Way to keep a girl safe, bro! But it was alright as he was soon distracted by his drunken friends (as it became obvious he was a guest of the hotel drunk and not some random drunk) And not only did Aaron show, Erik and Lynati did as well and we had some great conversation on the walk back. We went to bed, and slept quite nicely.
I got up around six, even though I was asleep around three or four. (I can sleep eight hours, but it is normally in two hour increments.) I went back to sleep. Eight o'clock. So I took a shower and got dressed and did make up. (Another 'con special occassion thing') I didn't audition for Radio Play for two reasons- one, I had panels directly in conflict with it and, two, more importantly, I was talking funny THE WHOLE con. Seriously. Do I sound like that? Lyn and I walked to the hotel, and I bought a dragon puppet at the art fair next door. I got in I social butterflied. (Or social multitasking, whatever you like to call it.) Spent time in the 'lobby' area, the con suite and art show. I caught the end of Karine's panel and then it was time for mine.
Really, it's just an excuse to draw naked people. But I had fun and I hope people learned something or found it interesting, or just took something away from it like the idea that beauty is where you see it. (I kinda ranted a little about curvy girls and their under-ratedness and I got good reaction from that. For it is true.) Then there was radio play.
What can you say about radio play? Other than, you should go see it if you have never? Everyone was really good and Jen called up a storm as she told the story of the Stone of Destiny as Shari. I wasn't surprised, magical convergence or whatever Macbeth calls it in 'Pendragon'. Not gonna spoil it for you. You shoulda been there or you were.
Then.. time passed. Did I show Greg art then? I did a LOT that weekend but the time is fuzzy to me. Eventually dispanded to eat at a pub and I had a delicious pot pie and I also tried clams on the half shell for the first time. Not as bad as I had feared- perhaps sushi makes you ready for anything. At the table was the usual cast of characters, and two or three first-years. I can see you clearly in my head, but the names are elluding me. But I mean you! Eventually there was Blue Mug-a-Guest.
It started not so Blue got Blue, not so Blue- etc. Always a good time.
Directly bed and then sleep.
I dressed up for Sunday, after having debated it with myself, but in retrospect I am glad I did. I'm not always blue jeans and t-shirts. Greg got it right away- but it is those early imprints that affect later preferences so much. Lynati and Kimberly and Greg did an awesome Biology and Culture panel, and I am still really impressed with Lynati's essay on gargoyle eye glow. I hung out more, did more commission work in the art room. I was going to do the Iron Artist competition but it involved a weakness that I cannot overcome- pasta.
I have clear memories of sucking at pasta art as a child and I was a little intimidated.
Saw the tail end of the auction, and then went back to our hotel room to change for the banquet. I wish more people had- it was a GORGEOUS room and I really think there should be some taking advantage of the elegance availible. We had the trivia contest and we were lucky to be sitting with (among other really nice folk) Matt from Station Eight. The competition was fierce, but our table won. Yaye!
We went down to Rebel and Spacebabie and GxB's room and hung out and we changed into our Masquerade costumes. Lynati and I were cat girls and Aaron was The Cheetah Pimp. (Cheetah print is a thing in our household. Love it.)
I have two complaints of that costume- I have a third degree jawline, which means my bottom teeth are slightly ahead of my top teeth. Which means with artifical fangs I can't close my mouth. Which means I can't pronounce words like 'physisists at Caltek' or 'Foggy Bottom'. Which means I am asked to, because I can't. (It's a 'The West Wing' reference.) On top of the congested, I varied from sounding stupid to sounding baby doll stupid. Actually, that's my only complaint, but I'm counting it twice.
We got a LOT of attention. A lot of positive attention. And, I hate to admit it, but I ate it up. And boy did we DANCE. I don't remember the last time I danced like that, if ever. The hip shaking, sure. But the full on dance steps? Must have been the cat girl costume. Very liberating. I danced with Lynati and Jenbob, and Karine, and Jen and Vox-I will take the time out to declare here and now, Vox is INCREDIBLE on the dance floor. She's a beautiful woman to begin with, very delicate features, and she just let's GO dancing. I was happy. I told her boyfriend Ethan so.
I even danced, a teensy, with Keith. Yaye. Most of the guys sat in a corner playing video games- but that didn't mean some weren't watching the huge amount of sheer female beauty on display on the dance floor.
Eventually, again, I found myself in Susan's room. To which I will say Ben Affleck > Matt Damon. Spent a very pleasant time with most of the group from Friday night- though numbers dwindled as the siren song of sleep called to them. A lotta love in that room.
Saturday: Caught the end of the fanfic panel, which had really good discussion, I felt, especially from Merlin Missy who I don't know if she knows if she is a THE in this fandom- but she is. So there. Then we announced, talked about, etc, at the Blue Mug Productions panel. I was smart and sat on Edmund's (the write) right. Well, mostly smart. I'm not usually that bratty though, honestly. I just work here.
Closing ceremonies was bittersweet as it always is for me, but we got through goodbyes like a bandaid- quick.
Thank you all for a wonderful time and for all the nifty ribbons I won. You can win ribbon too if you enter the art show. Come to the con! They spoil you there. (At least I felt spoilt.)
Erik, Lynati, Aaron and I, before we parted at the train station, went to the Field Museum and saw the Ghost and the Darkness- the infamous man-eating lions of Tsavo. They were beautiful and beneign and my heart went out to them. I don't see maliciousness in efficient predators. That's just nature. And I hear human is yummy.
We got home safe from a fast and uneventful flight.
Really- consider going to the Gathering next year and if you already know you can't afford to make it- start SAVING NOW for the next con after that! This is an experience that is worthwhile and even if you don't buy a coffee once a week that you normally would, you CAN afford it. You just have to commit to the idea and plan for it.
Now I sleep. Stay safe.
And the cake is a lie.
I like how you have a second Saturday after Sunday. I gotta try that.
Mr. Weisman, I am a journalist/reviewer for http://www.ComicMix.com and a big fan of your work. I will be attending the Gathering of the Gargoyles convention in Chicago and I wanted to ask if there would be anyway I could snag an interview with you for our readers. For your review, you can check out the kind of work we do at ComicMix.com and you can find previous interviews I've conducted at this link: http://alankistler.squarespace.com/journal/2007/11/20/alan-kistlers-interviews.html. My personal web-site is http://KistlerUniverse.com and my e-mail is KistlerAlan@gmail.com. Thank you in advance for your time.
Of course by now, the Gathering is passed-- but of course we did have that interview. Thanks!!
CON-ODYSSEY: GATHERING & CONvergence - Monday, July 7, 2009
12am - The Memorial Panel for those who have passed officially made the con a 5-day event. Chocolate Fish.
1am - A bunch of us hung out for hours. Chris, Ken, Lex, Tim, Windy and others.
5am - Back to the room.
5:30am - Sleep.
10:30am - Wake-up. Five hours. Not too bad for me.
11:30am - Packed up with some difficulty. All those extra t-shirts and the crochet'd Goliath made it tough to fit everything in. Lex and I headed to Axel and I had gumbo, an Onion Ring and an Axel burger.
4:20pm - My delayed flight finally took off.
6:20pm - Just barely made my connection to my L.A. flight.
9:30pm - Arrived at LAX.
10:00pm - Home.
And that's that. Finished just in time, because tomorrow I leave for Con-Odyssey II: San Diego ComicCon!! More when I return.
CON-ODYSSEY: GATHERING & CONvergence - Saturday, July 5, 2009
12am - Lex and I met up at COF2E2 and hung out chatting for hours, joined by James toward the end.
5am - I returned to my room and pretty much went right to sleep.
9:30am - Wake-up.
11am - I had a Buffy & Angel panel. Yeah, yeah, what am I doing on that panel? Just being a geeky fan.
2pm - Comic book panle w/Terry Beatty, Chris Jones, Mark Evanier, Marv Wolfman and Len Wein.
3:30pm - A panel on Continuity with Chris Jones and others.
4:30pm - Took a nap.
7:30pm - Dinner at Vantage with Lex. Coke, Bread, water, Tomato Soup, Edimame, Steak, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans. Good food.
9:30pm - Comics as Movies Panel w/Terry.
11pm - Mature Comics Panel w/Hank, Damien and Eve. This was probably the one dud panel of the entire Con-odyssey. It should have been fun and raucous and raunchy like a blue mug. But we got off to a serious start and never quite found a rhythm, though Eve tried when she arrived. Felt strangely on the defensive -- for no particular reason. But I did pimp BlueMugProductions.com.
MORE TO COME...
CON-ODYSSEY: GATHERING & CONvergence - Friday, July 4, 2009
5am - Finally went to sleep.
9:30am - Wake up.
11am - An animation panel with Mark Evanier, Wally Wingert and Matt Waterhouse. We covered a lot of ground about the business. (Some of it pretty disheartening, I'd think.)
12pm - I toured the art show.
12:30pm - Dr. Jim Kakalios, author of The Physics of Superheroes, gave a talk on the costumes and accessories of superheroes, including unstable molecules (although as I pointed out to him later, he really only dealt with how they worked for Mr. Fantastic, not for the Invisible Girl of the Human Torch) and Captain America's shield. It was great.
2pm - I had a Gargoyles panel. Always fun.
3pm - Lex and I went to Dairy Queen for "lunch". Had a cheeseburger, fries and an Orange Julius. Got a chance to talk with Ken Hite and his wife Sheila. Ken's the only guy doing more panels than me. I shrug it off... for now.
5pm - I have a signing alongside Marv Wolfman and Wally Wingert. I have nothing for people to sign. But I learned some lessons from Marv about this that may prove useful at CopperCon later this summer.
6:30pm - Matt Waterhouse, David Margosian, Jennifer Menken and I have ANOTHER animation panel ("Cell vs. Chip"). It starts out as a bit of a struggle to make sure it's not just a rehash of the panel earlier in the day, but it winds up being pretty fun and unique enough. It helps that I have an ENDLESS quantity of showbiz horror stories.
7:30pm - Went out to Olive Garden with Mark Temple, Mark Evanier, Jody, Chris Jones, Marv Wolfman and Len Wein. Had breadsticks, minestrone and angel hair with shrimp.
11pm - A panel on "The Rebirth of the Heroine" with Charlotte Nickerson and Jen Manna. This was a fun one too. But I missed Soylent Blue because of it, which was a bit of a bummer as I remember them being really, really funny the last time I was at CONvergence.
MORE TO COME...
CON-ODYSSEY: GATHERING & CONvergence - Thursday, July 3, 2009
4:30am - Finally went to sleep.
10am - Wake up.
11:30am - Went out to breakfast at the Edina Grill with Uncle Joe. (Joe is my wife's father's brother.) We mostly talked about the crazy industry I work in. I had Eggs, sausage, hash browns, sourdough toast.
2pm - All the con's special guests (over twenty of us) had a photo call. After that, I went to check out the Dealers' Room.
5pm - I had a panel on the Spectacular Spider-Man.
7pm - Opening Ceremony.
9pm - Lex took me for a comparison Juicy Lucy (this one w/Blue Cheese that didn't quite get liquid), Lemonade, Cheese Curds and Onion Straws.
10pm - We got back to the hotel in time to see a pretty good fireworks display in the distance. I toured all the cabana parties, but I wasn't into it, so...
11pm - I went back to my room.
MORE TO COME...
CON-ODYSSEY: GATHERING & CONvergence - Wednesday, July 2, 2009
3am - Went to sleep.
12:30pm - Wake up. Yep. I was pretty tired.
2pm - Lex and her husband James and I go to Matt's for Juicy Lucys and fries.
3pm - Lex and I go to a mall (not THE mall) and grab some Cherry Garcia before...
3:55pm - We saw Wall-E. Which I thought was just great. Really liked it.
7:10pm - Went to the Guest Reception at the hotel. They served cake. But "NO FORKS!"
10pm - I was back in my room and a bit restless. Just started watching television. See even when I catch up on sleep, I wind up blowing it the next night...
MORE TO COME...
CON-ODYSSEY: GATHERING & CONvergence - Tuesday, July 1, 2009
4:30am - Finally went to sleep.
9:30am - Wake-up.
11:15am - Car took me to the airport. Grabbed some McDonalds: Quarter-Pounder w/cheese, fries, coke and an apple pie.
2:15pm - Flight departs for Minneapolis. Had some tomato juice on the plane.
3:45pm - Arrived in Minneapolis.
4pm - Lex Larson, my CONvergence guest liason picked me up and took me to the Sheraton in Bloomington to check in.
5:30pm - We arrive at the amazing new (to me) Guthrie Theater. We had dinner at Cue, the restaurant there. The food was amazing. Breadsticks and bread, Salad, Flatiron Steak, potatoes, green beans...
7:30pm - We saw THE SECRET FALL OF CONSTANCE WILDE, a play about Oscar Wilde, his lover Bosie and especially his wife Constance. It was a great production. Very creative. Amazing performances... and PUPPETS!
10:30pm - Back to the hotel.
MORE TO COME...
CON-ODYSSEY: GATHERING & CONvergence - Monday, June 30, 2009
12:30am - After the ballroom dancers went their separate ways, a few of us (Susan, Jennifer, Mara, Gore, GXB, Patrick, Karine and I) went up to Susan's room to hang out, talk, laugh, debate the virtues of Twizzlers vs. Red Vines, etc.
4am - Back to my room. Had another apple.
4:30am - Bed.
8:30am - Wake up call.
10am - Had breakfast with my cousin Alex and her friend Tobin. Orange Juice, Begniets, toast, potatos, eggs, bacon.
11:30am - Took a break, but as I understand it that one-eyed pig Edmund Tsabard had a panel with Jennifer, Karine and Mara to talk about Blue Mug Productions and show some samples. For more info, stop by BlueMugProductions.com.
1pm - Closing ceremonies. Always bittersweet.
3pm - Goodbyes. Pretty much everyone took off, except myself, Patrick and Susan and her family. Susan took Patrick and I to her house, where we met her many, many, many, many dogs and saw her many, many, many cells. Very cool.
5pm - Susan, Rob, Carly and Chloe took us to yet another great dinner. Had shrimp, clam chowder, coke, steak, lobster tail, rice, slaw. Then Rob and Chloe took Patrick and I back to the hotel.
7pm - I was back in my room. And pretty darn tired.
9pm - Sleep.
11:30pm - Knew it was too good to be true. Woke up. Had another apple. Watched some television and read some Ross Macdonald.
The end of another FANTASTIC Gathering... and yet my trip is only half over!
MORE TO COME...
CON-ODYSSEY: GATHERING & CONvergence - Sunday, June 29, 2009
1am - Returned to my room and ate an apple.
2am - Went to sleep, which for me is early.
8:30am - Wake up call.
10am - Had the Gargoyles and Bad Guys panel with Karine. Fewer questions about Gargoyles #9 then I would have thought, but it was fun.
11:30am - Gargoyles Biology and Culture panel w/Lynati & Kimberly. A perrenial favorite of mine. Not sure anything quite as revelatory as last year in Tennessee, but it was fun.
1pm - Spidey panel w/Keith, Thom and Jennifer. Again, no major revelations, but I like talking Spidey. Next year we're probably going to do a series of Spidey panels at the L.A. Gathering 2009.
2:30pm - Went for stir fry lunch with Sammy, Jennifer, Thom, Adam and Laurean. Good stuff. Afterwards, a couple of us went to Jamba Juice.
4pm - Though we were told we didn't need to get back to judge the Iron Artist competition until 4pm, by the time we arrived it was all over. The medium was macaroni and the theme was the Ultra-Pack.
4:30pm - Sat down to watch the end of the auction, and then we had our signing.
6pm - Banquet: Salad, roll, Chicken, potatoes, carrots, asparagus, tart. I sat with constaff mostly: Nikki, Seth, Sammy, Susan, Jennifer, Karine, Patrick, Greg, Rebekkah. During the Trivia Contest, Matt led his table to victory.
9pm - Masquerade. Fewer entries every year. I hope we can reverse that trend. But what was there was pretty cherce:
1st: J.W./Jennifer Rynmoor
2nd: Gypsey/Noel Leas
Cutest Couple: Ranmaru & Arazia
Thom Adcox Memorial Award: Justin as Odin
No Gorelisa award this year.
Best in Show: Patrick Fisher as the Tourist Gargoyle
Also, Karine had a kick-ass Hunter costume.
There was dancing next. I even swing-danced Jenn-Bob right off a table.
MORE TO COME...
CON-ODYSSEY: GATHERING & CONvergence - Saturday, June 28, 2009
2:00am - Back to my hotel room.
4:00am - Finally went to sleep.
8:30am - Wake up call. I showered, etc., and went down to the ConSuite, where I had a Danish and OJ at the tail end of the staff meeting.
10:00am - We held our second set of auditions.
11:30am - Over a catered lunch of a French Dip Sandwich, Broccoli Soup and fruit, Keith, Thom, Jennifer and I cast the Radio Play.
2:00pm - I was interviewed for an article by Alan.
3:00pm - The Gathering Players had their one and only rehearsal.
5:00pm - The Radio Play. This year's script was a chronological retelling of Chapters VII, VIII & IX of Clan-Building (i.e. "The Rock", "Rock & Roll" and "Rock of Ages"). I think the performers were terrific, but I don't think the script worked chronologically. Oh, well... A highlight was the massive rainstorm that nearly overwhelmed Shari's storytelling. Here was the cast:
THE GATHERING PLAYERS - 2008 Edition
NARRATOR - Greg Weisman
MACBETH - Erik Mambu
SHARI - Jennifer L. Anderson
COLDSTEEL - Eric Tribou
LEXINGTON - Thom Adcox
STONE OF DESTINY - Justin Summerhill
HUDSON - Jordan Mann
DAVID XANATOS - Jaret Morlan
ARTHUR PENDRAGON - Patrick Fisher
CONSTANCE/COCO - Laurean Leigh
STAGHART/AMP - Seth Jackson
GRIFF - Chip
THAILOG - Keith David
COLDSTONE - Revel
COLDFIRE - Sarah the Great
GOLIATH - Keith David
COYOTE 5.0 - Jaret Morlan
PEREDUR - Seth Jackson
COLDSTREAM GUARD - Chip
ELISA MAZA - Phoenix Talon
JAY SATO - John/Flanker
BLANCHEFLEUR - Laurean Leigh
CUSTOMS OFFICIAL - Patrick Fisher
BROOKLYN - Jae
DUVAL - John/Flanker
FOX - Phoenix Talon
BROADWAY - Lucas McClain
HOLY GRAIL - Lucas McClain
LUNETTE - Phoenix Talon
VINNIE GRIGORI - Jae
AIRPORT INTERCOM - Lucas McClain
OWEN BURNETT - Jae
MAGGIE THE CAT - Sarah the Great
TALON - Revel
SCOTTISH PATRIOT - Jordan Mann
7:00pm - Dinner at Pete's, w/Josh, Susan, Nicole, Eric, Greg, Rebekkah, Patrick, Laurean, Keith, Thom, John, Sammy, Seth, Jennifer, Nikki, Karine and me. Fantastic meal: Iceberg wedge salad, amazing bread, NY Strip Steak, Garlic Mash Potatos, Creamed Spinach, mushrooms, Berries. Raced back to be on time for...
10:00pm - The Blue Mug. Fairly raunchy this year. (Though not with every single question.) Teased Blue Mug Productions a bit. At some point, I took a bathroom break. Discovered that the self-flushing urinals in the hotel SCREAMED like the Green Goblin's pumpkin bombs! Freaked me out! Later Nikki gave me a colored sketch of a Green Goblin screaming urinal.
MORE TO COME...
CON-ODYSSEY: GATHERING & CONvergence - Friday, June 27, 2009
10:30am - Wake-up call gets me up. I slept for nearly twelve hours. Guess I was tired.
11:30am - I head up to the con to collect my box of RadioPlay scripts. Say hi to some people. Tour the dealer's/art room, which is a work in progress at this point.
12:00pm - My first panel of the con(s). Thom and I hold the Voice Acting Seminar that we've done in previous years. Phoenix gets up to play Demona and does a great job. We also do the Griff, Leo, Una, Goliath scene and a couple different runs at a Peter Parker, Spider-Man, Symbiote, Uncle Ben scene. Everyone does pretty darn well.
1:30pm - First round of auditions for the Radio Play, w/Keith, Thom, Josh and Jennifer helping with the casting and Sammy manning the door. Vox stops by to give me the crochet'd Goliath she made for me. It's pretty amazing, as is the Hunter she's made for Karine and all the rest. Tthe one that makes me laugh the most is the Owen... which was the last to sell. No accounting for taste.
3:00pm - Mug-A-Guest. I remember having fun, though none of the questions stand out in my memory at the moment.
5:00pm - Opening Ceremony. (It's been pointed out to me that it's a Ceremony not multiple Ceremonies.) We opened with a full hour plus of music videos. Susan then stepped up to offer opening remarks and intros. Jen pitched G2009 in Los Angeles (check out gatheringofthegargoyles.com). Susan thanked her staff, including Nikki, Jennifer, Greg and Patrick (who am I forgetting?). Then I went up to do my schpiel and show the now-familiar pieces: the pitch, the promo, the New Olympian and Dark Ages pitches, the Bad Guys reel (much of which is now canon thanks to the comic) and "The Last". The fans have made great progress on "The Last" - but there's still more work to be done. If you're interested in helping, contact Vashkoda.
After opening ceremony, it was time for a Blue Mug Productions Dinner. Edmund Tsabard, was out whoring, so I sat in with Jennifer, Mara and Karine (who has since had to bow out of the project, much to our sorrow). We got a lot done/decided in preparation for the Monday panel. Plus the food was great: Edimame, Rangoon, Dumplings, Miso soup, Shrimp Pad Thai. Then a stop at Ben & Jerry's after dinner for a Banana/fudge/Cherry Garcia sundae.
I stopped by my room to call home, then came back downstairs to the bar (Indigo... I think the restaurant I mentioned yesterday was called Blue or something). Later a small group of us (Susan, Jen, Mara, Karine, Seth, Sammy, Rebecca, Gore, BrooklynX, Patrick, Thom & John) went up to Susan's room to hang out and laugh.
MORE TO COME...
CON-ODYSSEY: GATHERING & CONvergence - Thursday, June 26, 2009
5:00am - I stop watching Dexter with three episodes left to finish the season. (Still have one left as I write this.) Time to start my day and take a shower.
6:20am - Jennifer, Rebecca and Thom Adcox arrive to pick me up. They're early and I'm not quite packed. But I hussle and we head to the airport. In the parking lot we meet up with Seth and Sammy and take a shuttle to the airport, where we meet up with Josh Silver... and my kids Kindergarten teacher Mrs. Leakley (how weird is that?). I buy a water and a Snickers and a can of Pringles, saving the latter for the plane.
10:00am - The plane leaves for Chicago a mere half hour late. I have tomato juice and Pringles on the plane. I read the L.A. Times, and then continue reading THE ARCHER FILES - The complete short Lew Archer stories by Ross Macdonald, edited by Tom Nolan. Good stuff. I'm sitting with Jennifer and Thom and across from Rebecca and Mrs. Leakley. Josh, Seth and Sammy are further back. Thom sleeps through most of the plane ride.
4:00pm - We land... but are kept aboard waiting for a gate for an hour.
5:00pm - We finally disembark, meeting up with Keith David (who was flying in from New York) in baggage claim.
5:45pm - I didn't check any bags, but others did, and it takes 45 minutes for the bags to come out. We meet up with Patrick, Susan and Rob outside and pile into three cars. I think Josh and Keith went with Susan. Jennifer, Sammy and Seth went with Rob. Thom, Rebecca and I went with Patrick. Traffic was a nightmare.
7:30pm - We finally arrive at the lovely Hotel Orrington in Evanston, Illinois, just outside Chicago. This is a great area for a con, with lots of walking distance food nearby. I go up to my very nice room, where cheese and grapes are waiting for me. Then it's back downstairs for Dinner at the hotel's restaurant (Indigo?). I'll probably forget someone, but I think it was me, Karine, Jen, Greg Bishansky, Thom, Keith, Maelee, Josh, Dionne, Ruby, Susan, Rebecca, Patrick, Seth and Sammy. Also saw Ellen, Fan, Nikki, Jenn-Bob, etc. I had Sushi, Tempura, pork dumplings, Beef asparagus rolls and a couple cokes.
10:00pm - I went back to my room, leaving dinner early, exhausted. I called home, did just a bit of channel flipping, and...
11:00pm - Crashed.
MORE TO COME...
And so begins my conjournal, which I'll serialize over the next few days...
I was gone for nearly two weeks to attend two terrific conventions. I had a great time at both, and really the best aspect of both was just hanging out with people, fellow pros and fans. I'll try to be complete, but I'm bound to make mistakes, skip over some people, etc. So I beg your forgiveness and indulgence in advance.
Wednesday, June 25, 2009
Still a work day for me... as I tried to frantically get everything done and ready for my trip.
10:30am - I had an Attended Edit of Spectacular Spider-Man episodes 125 and 126 with our editor Terry over at Studiopolis. This is the point where we take our voice recordings and edit it into a natural pause tape that the board artists and timers can use to get the feel of the flow of dialogue. Last two episodes of the second season are now completed on the writing and voice side before I leave. (Note: I find out today 7/9 that the board artists and directors never got these dialogue reels. GRRRRRR.)
12:00pm - I arrive at my office at Sony's Apple Building, i.e. the grim warehouse where we produce Spidey. I'm trying to clear the decks, since I don't plan on bringing my computer on the trip and/or checking e-mail.
7:00pm - I stop by Golden Apple to pick up a few comics before I go. Some Amazing Spider-Man (Brand New Day) and Justice League, which I buy for work-related reasons and Angel, which I buy for Whedon geek-out reasons.
8:00pm - I get home and sleep for a couple of hours.
10:00pm - I say good night to the kids and Beth. Then I do some more prep work for the conventions. Printing out my itinerary, etc. Then I watch a bunch of episodes of Season Two of Dexter (even better than Season One). No point in going to sleep tonight - I have to get up too early...
MORE TO COME...
I posted this in the comment room, but Todd suggested I repost it here...
Sometimes I just don't have anything Gargoyles for us to do. And I'm not sure if just doing old episodes is all that interesting. And the other things have been fun... at least it seemed that way to me.
Here's a history of the works of the GATHERING PLAYERS...
1998 - RAIN OF THE GHOSTS (an unproduced pilot I wrote)
1999 - THE ROSWELL CONSPIRACIES (a rejected pilot I wrote)
2000 - ROUGHNECKS: THE STARSHIP TROOPERS CHRONICLES (the last arc of the series, which I story edited, half of which was unproduced. Written by me, Jon Weisman Lydia Marano, Cary Bates and Michael Reaves.)
2001 - GARGOYLES: "Hunter's Moon, Part Three" (Note: this was the first time that we actually did something gargoyles related for the radio play. This included scenes that were cut for time from the original. Written by Michael Reaves.)
2002 - TEAM ATLANTIS: "The Last" (Unproduced episode featuring Demona and Fiona Canmore, written by me)
2003 - GARGOYLES: "The Reckoning" (Performed in honor of Gary Sperling, who co-wrote the script with Lydia.)
2004 - GARGOYLES: "The Journey" (my uncut version of the script)
2005 - DOC SHAKESPEARE (An unproduced pilot written by myself and Sam Bernstein)
2006 - GARGOYLES: "The Mirror" (written by Lydia Marano and Brynne Chandler Reaves)
2007 - GARGOYLES: "Clan Building, Chapters III, IV & V: Invitation Only, Masque & Bash" - (from the comic, premeiring chapter V before it was published. Written by me...)
2008 - Geez, I should probably figure this out soon...
Anyway, you can see that traditionally, we've only done something gargish about half the time. For me it's fun to get to see my unproduced work performed, and it does give the fans a little insight into the biz. In any case, I've never heard any complaints from the folks who attended.
OFF TO CHICAGO... ON A WING AND A PRAYER...
As many of you know, perhaps my favorite television series of all time is HILL STREET BLUES. A couple years ago, the first season was put out on DVD. There was no marketing that I noticed... but there was a bit of publicity. A year later the second season came out. This time no marketing and no publicity. Also, I'm GUESSING, not much in terms of sales -- as the third season isn't on the schedule. I've signed up at Amazon to be notified if-and-when it is released...
I bring this up, since it allows me to do a few things:
1. SPREAD THE WORD! I encourage you all to buy the first two seasons of Hill Street Blues. This was one of the truly seminal shows in television history, brilliantly written and acted and directed and a HUGE, HUGE influence on Gargoyles. Like Gargoyles it created a tapestry, a world of characters. Very much worth your time and disposable income.
2. CREATE A REALITY CHECK. For those of you who STILL seem to feel Disney is doing something unusual (let alone nefarious) in its treatment of Gargoyles, this is one of just many, many, many examples that demonstrates it's not. We can all sturm and drang about how business should be done, with marketing and publicity galore for every product, with a guarantee that once a company starts a project they must finish it (whether or not the economics justify it), etc. But the gnashing of teeth doesn't change the reality. Companies -- even companies as huge as Disney have LIMITED resources and must deal with the notion of OPPORTUNITY COST. So one company takes a flier on a Gargoyles DVD set, another takes one on Hill St. Both do fairly well in their first season releases, despite limited or no marketing and limited or no publicity. Both fair poorly in their second release. Both don't seem to rate a third release. It's sad. But it's life.
3. ENCOURAGE YOU TO SPREAD THE WORD! The best thing any one of you can do to help get the next release of ANY show you love -- short of spending your own money -- is to help us Spread the Word! About the DVDS, the comics, the Gathering. Oh, and about Hill Street Blues. (See, I practice what I preach!)
With that in mind, I depart in less than 48 hours for Chicago and my 12th Annual Gathering, followed immediately by a trip to Minneapolis for ConVergence (http://www.convergence-con.org/). I won't have internet access while I'm gone, but when I return I'll post my conjournalx2. I encourage all of you who are attending the Gathering to post/cut&paste their conjorunals, diaries etc. here to ASK GREG. It creates a central place where I can refer ignorant PTB-types. Also, if you see me at either con, please come up and say hello. I am notoriously bad with names, and I admit (with some embarrassment) that it often takes me two or three conventions to really nail a name down. But I do want to meet you, and I do want to get to know you. I'm not much at small talk, but I can talk about animation and comics and pop culture in general ad nauseum (just ask my wife).
Hey Greg, I Might not be able to Attend The Gathering Of The Gargoyles this year because I'm going to Israel, but if it's allright can i attend and meet you in the 2009 gathering of the gargoyles, and can it again, just for once, be in Chicago, i really, really do want to be there and see you. Can we come to an arrangement? Please?
I don't know what to tell you, Daniel. The Gathering IS in Chicago for once... THIS YEAR, THIS SUMMER, JUNE, 2008. In 2009, it's in L.A. But we'd love to see you at either or both.
Hey Greg, are you giong to be in The Gathering Of The Gargoyles in Chicago this year, I'm developing My own Gargoyles series for my school, also with Titania, Oberon, Puck, And Others (But it's not related to this series),I'm not giving you suggestions and i'm not asking for you to hire me, i just want to talk to you, and ask you for some suggestions for my series, and to pay you and Disney money for what I'm doing. Can I Talk to you there? can i meet you and have you help me?
I will be at the Gathering in Chicago. But...
You can't pay me for what you're suggesting, and I can't take money on Disney's behalf, and I CANNOT/WILL NOT listen to anything like an original idea relating to Gargoyles in ANY way. So I'm not sure HOW I could help you. But I'm happy to talk to you generally about being creative. But some advice: create something ORIGINAL. Don't crib off of a series you don't own.
I've got good news, i'm flying all the way from the UK to come to the Gathering in Chicago and I can't wait and i'm a little bit nervous. It's also my first time coming to America. I'm looking forward to meeting everyone so i'll see you there.
"I know where my copy of the Gargoyles Trade Paperback "Clan-Building" Volume one is, Do you?"
It's in the post (all 3 copies)should get it next week.
That's great!! I'll be sure to look for you there, uh... Anonymous...
I know this is far too early to ask...but... Will you be making an appearance at Comic-Con 2008 in San Diego? I'm just hoping SLG will have a booth set up with you (and hopefully the Gargoyles comics) appearing in hopes of spreading the word before/during/after the convention. :)
I will indeed be at ComicCon this summer. In fact I'm at quite a few conventions this year...
February 22-24 - WonderCon in San Francisco
June 27-30 - The Gathering in Chicago
July 3-6 - ConVergence in Minneapolis
July 23-27 - ComicCon in San Diego
August 27-September 1 - CopperCon in Arizona
Gathering Journal - Friday, June 22, 2007
Setting a pattern for the next few days, I lazed around and watched TV before actually getting on my way to the con. After getting lunch and yet more supplies, I picked up my registration (bumping into Aaron en route) and decided to check out the dealer's room. This year's dealer room was much more impressive than in most prior Gatherings - of course, I may be biased, since we had a comic book seller there for the first time. I snagged a couple comics (anyone besides me heard of Doctor Spektor?), browsed the art gallery, snagged a neat T-shirt, sat for a bit, back to the room. (While there, I also ran into A Fan, Jade Griffin and Mandi "Mandolin".)
Second trip out, decided I would see what the con suite looked like, and wait there for opening ceremonies. While there, I engaged in conversation with Emambu, Stephanie and Kathy Pogge, whereupon I discovered there's at least one person who actually reads things like my comic reviews and multiverse maps... (By the way, whoever had the bright idea of having oatmeal cream pies among the snacks deserves a commendation.)
Next was the opening ceremonies. Fairly standard for Gathering veterans, but just as entertaining as always. Due to the TV's necessarily inconvenient positioning, it was proposed, and accepted, that we should all sit on the floor. (Made me feel like I was back in elementary school - not that I minded.) We had the introductions of staff and guests, and the study of newbies vs. veterans (a goodly number of the new this year!).
Notable information from Greg:
- Regarding the DVD of Season 2, Part 2: No progress, but Greg does know who the new exec to talk to about it is. (Apparently they have a lot of turnover there.) Greg re-emphasized that the comparatively lower sales of Season 2 Part 1 vs. Season 1 hurt the chances of getting Part 2, and probably lost us Disney's attention. And he emphasized that we need to each find 1000 more fans and spread the word...
- Regarding the comic: Issue #5 concludes the current storyline. Issue #6 is a stand-alone story. Issues #7 through #9 will "blow your minds" - something strange, weird, cool and universe-opening. The first graphic novel, which will include issues #1-6, will be released this winter.
- Regarding the movie: Yes, it's still being considered! Greg was contacted regarding this earlier in the year. At this point, they've gone through 10 or so writers - none of which produced a script they liked. But they still keep trying.
Then, the so-called "Rocky Horror Gargoyles Show" began. Greg described the development of the series; showed us the Jim Cummings version of the original dramatic pitch, and his version of the same pitch (from the Season 1 DVD); showed us the original press pitch (with "It's better than Barney!"), and the pitch sent to sci-fi cons.
At this point, Greg covered Gargoyles: Bad Guys. All the art will be by Karine Charlebois, in black-and-white, and the series will last six issues. If it sells well, it will be followed by Gargoyles: Pendragon, Gargoyles: TimeDancer and maybe even another Bad Guys series. And why was Bad Guys the first spin-off to get this treatment? Because continuity-wise, it needed to be told now...
Back to RHGS! According to Greg, the Gargoyles spin-offs were proposed after Disney considered, and rejected, buying Marvel Comics around 1994-1995. (The idea was tempting, due to Warner Bros' ownership of DC, but Marvel was too unstable and chaotic at that time.) Thus, Gargoyles was selected to be the core of a possible "Disney action universe." Greg followed with the usual spin-off videos: The New Olympians, Gargoyles: Dark Ages and the Gathering-exclusive Bad Guys leica reel. Lastly, we saw the vastly enhanced fan "leica reel" of "The Last" from Team Atlantis. (If you want to help, contact Vashkoda!)
Following the completion of the ceremonies, I went out to a most enjoyable dinner at Red Lobster with Lynati, Emambu, Stephanie and Mandi. (The original plan was to eat at this place with Chinese acrobats, but they didn't serve food.) Emambu regaled us with the hilarious tale of how his brother wound up causing a massive traffic jam on I-95 (which he should really write up as a story or something!).
Upon our return, we wound up going to the temporary con suite in Atrium 2. I got there too late for the open gaming (I was hoping to show off a little game of mine), but mostly just relaxed there until Hudson's Rant began on the opposite end of the room. After Hudson ranted for a good while, the session concluded with Emambu's terrific imitation of Christopher Walken trying to order a pizza. Things slowed down quite a bit after that... after seeing some impromptu renditions of Rent tunes from Mara, Lynati and Stephanie, and Hudson et al discovering they were ripped off on pizza, I headed by the closed con suite, then went to my room.
I do try to keep the "Show" interesting for both old and new fans alike. I think the greatest roadblock to that is my self-doubt as to why returning attendees would want to hear this same schpiel for the umpteenth time.
Greg, I just wanted to let you know that I am seething with jealousy over the radio play from Gathering 2007! I bet that was an incredible experience, and I can't wait for issue 5 so I too can know what everyone else now knows! My question for you is this: Are there any plans in the comics for Xanatos' Red Steel Clan Gargoyle armor to show up in the near future? To this day, the big reveal as he pulls off the helmet in Season One is one of the images that pops into my head every time I even think about Gargoyles!
Also- it's very exciting to hear that Gathering 2008 will be in Chicago. That's also the weekend of Wizard World Chicago 2008 (an unusual coincidence since WWC is usually in August), so I think I will finally get to attend a Gathering! (as well as WWC, since we do that every year.) I am sure it's too early to think about, but will you be taking advantage of the overlapping scheduling and attending Wizard World as well?
Thanks for everything you do for Gargoyles, Greg!
As you can imagine, I'm not to anxious to give away stuff in the upcoming comics.
It's not thrilling actually to learn that Wizard World is COMPETING with us. I suppose that some people might come to both though. I'll probably stick to the Gathering.
Gathering 2007 Journal
As it so happened, I woke up a good hour and a half later than I had hoped to - or, more precisely, I woke up to the alarm and proceeded to turn it off so that I could sleep for an additional hour and a half - and so was not in the best of moods as I made my way out the door.
While I still left early enough to avoid significant traffic leaving D.C., the trucks were out in force on I-81, as were the state and local police. Honestly, in the years that I traveled 81 in order to get to and from school, I have never seen the kind of police presence as I did going to Pigeon Forge. Neither, it seemed, had many of the travelers, and this led to a problem: The left lane was going painfully slow so as to avoid receiving a ticket, while the right lane had taken up a "Damn the torpedoes!" mentality. I, wanting to neither take 10 hours to get to Pigeon Forge nor 30 seconds to get a court date 350 miles from home (been there, done that) navigated between the two lanes as best I could.
Tennessee, however, was an entirely different story. Traffic became nonexistent and moved along speedily, that is until I made the turn to get to Pigeon Forge. Having varied between 65 and 75 miles per hour for most of the trip, I was not happy to find myself in a miles-long traffic crawl that moved along at under 20 miles per hour, despite the much higher posted speed limit.
In all, it was an eight hour trek down, not including the very quick stop for gas at a station adjacent to a fireworks stand.
I walked into the lobby and saw none other than Greg W. himself, and were it not for this encounter I would have probably wandered aimlessly around the hotel looking for the registration desk - one of those significant things that I failed to do on Thursday was get Leo's cell phone number.
Once I got upstairs and registered, I made my way over to familiar faces and chatted with many people, among them Revel, Spacie, Mandi, Greg B., Gside, and Jade Griffin. The conversation was brief, however, as I then went on a quest to find my roommates, Leo, Kelly, and D. Taina.
The quest was unsuccessful, so instead I got in line to audition for the Radio Play and met up with even more people. It was while waiting in this line, however, that Leo, Kelly, and Taina found me, and who brought in tow Rob and Doppleganger.
I was next to last to audition, but not before I met Kathy, and after which time I finally got to the room and briefly put my feet up to watch "Army of Darkness" before heading over to Opening Ceremonies.
Opening Ceremonies was the usual stuff, with the exception that we had to sit on the floor in order to be able to see the television in the conference room, and further excepting that, as Greg talked about the need to bring more people to the Gathering, a very bright light went on in my head to signal that, as "advertisement guy" for Gathering 2008, that task would be in very large part up to me.
Come to the Gathering in 2008! It's Chicago, it's Gargoyles, it's friends, and it's my self-esteem at stake!
I'm still working on taglines.
After Opening Ceremonies were finished, I introduced myself to Susan, co-chair for next year's Gathering (in Chicago!) and we briefly discussed plans before she was overwhelmed by other people. Afterwards my roommates, Doppleganger, Kathy and I discussed our dinner options, and we settled on Huck Finn's Catfish - as would several other congoers, we would learn. No, I did not violate my rule of not eating seafood when more than 200 miles from a shoreline or major tributary, I had the chicken fried chicken, as opposed to the chicken fried steak, which three of the other five had.
But one thing that never changes from one Gathering to the next is that I always end up sleeping on the floor, and after a long day of driving, I must say that the floor of our room was quite comfortable</lie>.
Well rested, my roommates and I woke up and headed off to breakfast. We settled for the Red Rooster Pancake House, where we encountered Kathy, John, Sarah, and Mike. Actually, we didn't encounter them, John had to throw a wad of paper at me to get my attention; and when that failed, he got up from his chair, came over to our table and proceeded to "fire" us as friends.
On firing, he mentioned that his group was headed over to a firing range and asked if we wanted to come. I don't know what possessed him to invite a bunch of people who were too tired to notice good friends sitting at a nearby table to go off and fire guns, but we agreed to go all the same.
We had fun to say the least, and our lack of sleep had no ill effects on our health.
From there we all branched off to do our own things, and I headed up to the art show/dealer's room to look at the pretty things and talk with more people. I also learned in this time that I had been cast in the Radio Play, as had apparently half of the Gathering-goers.
I am sworn to secrecy on the specifics of the Radio Play, but let me say in no uncertain terms that it is a must - a MUST - that you go buy Gargoyles #5; and if you haven't already, get Gargoyles #3 and #4 as well. The story is fantastic and a half.
And a half, people.
After that entertainment, Garrett, who I had met earlier in the dealer's room, informed me that a group was getting together for pizza and mini golf. In the last few weeks I have had my mini golf efforts thwarted time and time again, so this was not an opportunity I planned to miss!
My roommates, however, weren't too enthusiastic about the affair, as they had already had it in mind to order pizza, so I went across the street to Papa Johns with Revel, Spacie, Greg B., Aaron, Gside, Mike, and… I'm trying so desperately to remember his name, but I'm failing horribly. My apologies.
I had leftover pizza, so I went back to the hotel room and tried once more to rally my roommates around mini golf, and this time Kelly and Leo decided to attend, while D. Taina and Doppleganger (roommate de facto at this point) decided to stay behind. And so our teams were formed, and off we went, although Doppleganger and D. Taina would eventually join us.
I think there was a reason fate had conspired so many times to keep me from playing mini golf: I suck. After 27 holes, which had a combined par of 69, I took third place of our group of four - me, Kelly, Leo, and Garrett - with a score of 97. My reasoning for this is that I "beat" my local mini golf course back in high school, and not having returned since, I am woefully out of practice.
Yes, woefully out of practice.
The reason we cut our second game short by nine holes was so that we could be back to the hotel for the Blue Mug, the "anything goes" Q&A. I was pretty well zoned out for most of it, so when the panel adjourned at 1:30 a.m., despite Greg's insistence that we could stick around for another half hour, I was more than ready to get back to my cozy floor space.
I slept well past the alarm in order to be as rested as possible for my long drive home, the price for doing so being the foregoing of breakfast. I packed up my things and then headed over to Jade Griffin's writing/reading panel, for which I had completely forgotten to write anything.
Following this panel was the science & culture panel, hosted by Greg, Jade, and Lynati, and which was by far one of the better panels I have attended in all my Gatherings. The discussion was intelligent, informative, civil, and very enjoyable.
Immediately following the panel, however, I had to hurry through my goodbyes in order to get onto the road and home. Given the nature of the drive down, I did not want to risk getting home too late so as to be too tired to go to work on Monday.
That didn't work out too well.
While I managed to get through Tennessee without much incident, after I crossed over into Virginia, the skies began to open up. I pulled over for dinner at Outback Steakhouse and to let the storm pass, adding much time to my journey (but giving me some delicious, heart attack-inducing leftovers).
Storms aside, I managed to get home at about 10:30 p.m., at which point I had little left to do but crawl into bed (yay, no more floors!), forget to set my alarm, and go to sleep.
Having forgotten to set my alarm, I woke up 15 minutes before I had to leave to get to work. The easy going pace of the Smokey Mountains was as removed from me mentally as physically, and with added urgency I began my daily routine.
I still managed to get out of the house on time, but it was all for naught, as the train I got on ended up breaking down, resulting in me arriving at work 30 minutes late. And as I sorted through the 121 e-mails which had piled up since Thursday afternoon, I knew I was back home.
This year's Gathering was fantastic, and my hat's off to the staff for getting it together. I apologize to all the people who I didn't get the chance to say goodbye to in my rush to get home. Hopefully I will get to see you in Chicago in 2008 so that you can tell me in person just how much I hurt your feelings.
Carter - Always great to see you. Glad you had fun. And folks help him SPREAD THE WORD!!
Check out www.gatheringofthegargoyles.com
SUNDAY, JUNE 23rd, 2007
Despite going to bed at 4am, I woke up for no good reason at 5:30am. Stayed in bed for 45 minutes, hoping I'd get back to sleep. No go. So I got up and worked. Checked my e-mail, did an Insta-Journal and worked on the outline for Spider-Man episode #7. Jamie Thomason, Gargoyles & Spider-Man voice director, called, and we reviewed the recording script for Spidey ep. #4. Then at noon I went to my first panel of the day: Gargoyles Physiology & Culture with Lynati and Jade. It was truly a fascinating panel for me. I love hearing and talking about this stuff. At 2pm, Karine and I had the Gargoyles & Bad Guy Comic Book panel. Since, I'm reluctant to reveal too much beyond issue #5 (since everyone at the Gathering saw #5 the night before), the panel turned into a fan marketing seminar. But I guess that's okay. At 3:30, I met with Ted, a Cartoon Network writer to discuss a project we're working on together. Then at 5pm came the Banquet. I sat with Karine, Samuel, Thom and Nikki. The food was very good. I really liked the Apple Pie. We had one more Q&A, led by Abbie, mostly, who is VERY enthusiastic and fun. After that, Thom and I played Air Hockey. People began to gather, and I beat all comers (Thom twice, Ed, Yami Raven) -- except Flanker, who beat me twice. Our last game, I was winning at one point 6-2 and I just lost all energy, like someone flipped a switch. I only needed one more goal, and he still beat me 7-6. Next came the Masquerade. The big winner -- best in show -- was Aaron as Hal the Gargoyle Halloween King. AMAZING costume. There was some dancing and singing and lip synching. After that, Mike and Tracy helped Thom, Susan and I record a You Tube promo for G2008. I went back down to the Masq, but I was pretty tired. Stopped by Jennifer, Gore & Karine's room and then went to bed. Slept for SEVEN hours, which for me is just great!
FRIDAY, JUNE 22nd, 2007
The first real day of the Gathering -- and I spent a TON of it working on Spider-Man, which is more than a little frustrating. The whole morning was Spideyesque. Got my G2007 t-shirt, and toured the art room. Attended a bit of Thom's voice actor panel at 1:30pm, before I had to break off for another Spidey-related business call. Went to lunch with Jennifer, Patrick, Thom, Rebekah, Tony, Andrea and a couple of others. Finally at 3pm we held the first auditions for the Radio Play. Then at 5pm, Opening Ceremonies. A welcome to fans and guests. The Fan Guest of Honor Award went to Karine Charlebois, for years of dedicated (never-miss) Gathering attendance, con-chairing Montreal's Gathering (pregnant no-less) and being such an amazing fan artist that she is now a pro, pencilling Gargoyles #5 and the Bad Guys Mini-series. Susan Leonard, co-conchair of G2008 in Chicago spoke, and sent regrets from her well-but-recently hospitalized co-conchair Ellen Stolfa. Then I got up and did my schpiel, including the old promo's and pitches (for Gargoyles, New Olympians & Dark Ages) and a couple of animatics: Bad Guys and "The Last". Vashkoda has done an amazing job at continuing to put this "episode" together. Then it was mini-golf with Mike and Tracy and Susan. I got the top score on my team, but Sarah the Great on the other team, beat me handily. Then Dinner at Huck Finn's Catfish. I had fried chicken. Good stuff. Back to the hotel to try and get some work done, but the hotel connection, which only works in the lobby kept shutting down. Then Jennifer, Seth, Sammy, Tony, Andrea and myself talked on the balcony overlooking the pool. Then I went back to my room. Should have Spidey'd it up then too, but I was too beat. So I watched some tv and then went to sleep.
MORE TO COME...
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