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Phoenician writes...


With the last morning, I once again beat my alarm, this time about fifteen minutes short of the buzzer. No Mug-A-Guests today, so we didn’t feel the same need to rush to get there . . . nevertheless, I wanted to see these last panels . . . especially one of the first ones. The drive wasn’t that bad, considering the fact that it was a new week and we were worried about Traffic. Aside from a little slow up, it turned out to be better than Saturday’s drive (though not as good as Sunday’s) . . . and anything was better than that first Friday morning drive (I was soooo worried I wasn’t going to get there on time, glad that wasn’t the case). Songs played during the ride included ‘Around the Bend’ (a song used by Apple for one of their I-Touch commercials), Ludo’s ‘Love Me Dead,’ REM’s ‘It’s the end of the world,’ and as we finally neared the hotel for the last time, one more sing along of the Spectacular Spider-Man theme. d:

I was torn a bit as to which of the first two panels I wanted to go to â€" a Q&A about the recent Trades or a discussion on the Future of the Fandom. Remembering the massive flame war that occurred months ago when it was announced that this would be the last Gathering . . . in which despite all the messed up things that were said, a few legit concerns did arise . . . I felt that going to listen and maybe contribute an idea or two the least that I owed the fandom that already given so much to us.
Goose opted for the Q&A.

Again, I’ve said it on occasion in the CR . . . I’m a listener more than anything else, that’s why I don’t post often, and its perhaps why I do have a tendency to ACTUALLY read the archives (both the CR’s and Ask Greg). Such was the case at this panel, I just kept my ears and mind open and fans suggested various methods to continue a Gargoyles convention to some degree in the future. While I was there (and I stayed for the bulk of the panel, leaving about a half hour early), I heard everything brought to attention, starting with the basic expenses for a Gathering of ‘this caliber.’ Bluntly, it is a LOT, something to the extent of $20,000 dollars which includes a TON of things . . . from travel expenses for special guests, the booking and down-payment of the hotel, T-shirts, banquets, Con-badges, as well as other things which I have now forgotten and I guess continue to take for granted. Some suggestions I’ve heard before on the CR, from seeking other conventions to join or to host an online convention of some fashion. A seemingly accepted notion was the understanding that a convention didn’t necessarily have to take place every year. Another thing brought into consideration was the roaming nature of the Gathering, and whether or not it was more beneficial than harmful. Positive and negative things could be said about both, from a set city (like Los Angeles) can provide a larger supply of guests at a cheaper cost but it would be a challenge to those on the other side of the country (and vice-versa for the roaming city method). I for one personally enjoyed the ‘World Tour’ aspect of the Gathering, despite the fact that I myself did use the distance of a location to rationalize not going. Before that announcement earlier this year, Jade Griffin told us that she was considering a bid for Reno in 2010, but has since reworked it as a smaller convention, of which I have now forgotten the name. *Sigh* I don’t know. I didn’t have any ideas myself during that panel. I left my contact information with Jade though â€" I’m graduating within the year, and whatever happens in the next few years, I’m not sure â€" but maybe I can be of some help. Reno’s not terribly far away . . . .

I left the panel early because I had caught wind of people talking about this year’s anthology (and forgetting it being mentioned earlier in the weekend) and I wanted to know where I could grab a copy. A quick question asked at the Dealer’s Room reminded me that it would be available online as a PDF (a quick read in the CR tells me it is now available, and I’m curious to read it, feeling it’s going to be one more bit of this Gathering experience to enjoy now that it is over). Question answered, I slowly made my way toward Salon 6, where the Trade Q&A was wrapping up and the Gargoyle Bio & Culture panel would be starting up soon. Before I got there I was once again treated by Chyna with more sweets, this time jelly beans. Yum yum.

I finally caught up with Goose in Salon 6 just minutes before the Bio & Culture panel was to start. Though I’m hardly the bio expert myself, I’ve been fascinated with a question asked on Ask Greg months and months ago, one concerning Gargates and the extent of their origins in Pangaea. Before the panel, I liked the idea that the Gargoyles Beast and Being, as we know and love them today were already evolved in the time of Pangaea simply because it REALLY gave them a chunk of time on this planet that compared to our own time as modern humans, is HUGE. I liked this because it really seems like a fitting description/explanation as to why they are soooo attuned to the Earth’s biorhythms and such. Greg virtually no idea when I brought it up, though Matt had some thoughts to share, even suggesting just what branch of the animal kingdom they could have belonged to, but ultimately concluding that it had to be a more primitive gargate in the time of Pangaea, but the modern Gargoyle Being and Beast weren’t that far away (and I’m saying ‘far away’ in the context of millions and millions of years, which I just realized how relative and mathematical these discussions tend to all become).

Other questions included the basic nature of the species . . . eating, sleeping, defecating, and mating (oh my!). There were a TON of questions regarding the nature and abilities of Stone Sleep, some pretty gnarly as well . . . whether broken, severed, or even dangling limbs had a chance of surviving if given the chance to turn to stone . . . for the most part . . . a ton of this is severe stuff, so it’s just not likely at all. With luck, a broken bone set back into place properly stood a chance, but that’s the extent of it. Stone sleep providing thermal energy was key in this healing, often at the cost of energizing the Gargoyle for the next night (Goliath’s ‘healed but not whole’ line from the Trades was brought up). A few questions regarding the Humility Spell and the panel had hit its time limit . . . it was time for the Closing Ceremonies.

“Like a Virgin”

Appropriate enough, since me and Goose were in fact, ‘Con-Virgins.’ As such, we had no idea what closing ceremonies typically were like . . . but I know we were part of the most emotional and touching moments the fandom ever experienced. It was seriously hard to cope in that room . . . the bulk of the beginning was really tear-jerking, yet by the end we were howling in laughter with of the stories told in that room (FINALLY got the Bishansky-worst chauffeur bit from Spectacular Spidey). Aw man, seeing Greg and Thom as well as the rest of the staff break down . . . it was incredibly hard not to join them. Without a doubt, this is a tight knit group, accused of many things during that God-awful flame war â€" the least of which was ‘clique-ish’ . . . and that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Despite these folks being busy beyond the notions of sanity, I did not know one person that was unpleasant this weekend. These guys and gals were the most incredibly helpful staff I could ever hope to meet, even when they were juggling a dozen things at once.

If this last Gathering needed anything left, it came right there at these closing ceremonies, where people from behind the tables and in the audience told their favorite stories from cons past. I know those stories mean much more to those who got to live those moments, but for fans like me where this was my first Gathering . . . I really appreciated the chance to get to know these stories, to be able to really become a part of this Gathering family. Like a nephew listening to their uncle telling him a prank he pulled on the kid’s father when they were little, we learned just a little bit of what it was like to be a Gathering attendee in years past . . . from nearly dying on a highway en route to Taco Bell (I seriously vote that as one of the worst ways to go out) to the marathon to (and from) the Red Lobster. From the pitch-in of fans saving all those comic memorabilia after the roof collapsed, to Thom perpetually losing his pants. The tattoos of the Phoenix Gate and the Opening Ceremonies spiel. Thom stranded on the side of the road. Greg trying to talk to an audience wayyyy more ‘interested’ in each other. Marriages. Kids being born. Air Hockey. Karaoke. Late night chats . . . and that ever-miffing question of what Titania whispered into Fox’s ear. Thanks for sharing all those memories to us first timers, Gathering veterans.

At the end of all the story telling when Greg told us to get out for like the fifth time, I had to thank each of these guys in person . . . they put on the meanest and most awesome convention I had ever been to, and I know that will still be the case whenever I finally do go to my second, or third, or tenth. As Greg said more than once in his rambling final speech . . . thirteen years is quite a run, a run that has been influential the lives of hundreds of people, in more ways than one, and responsible in convincing Disney and SLG to produce the DVDs and comics we did get. And after thirteen years they DID go out with a F*CKING bang. It was my first and only Gathering, and I was giddy from day one, but I was never happier of attending than during those Closing Ceremonies. After we asked Thom for a picture together, me and Goose finally left the room.

The drive back to Goose’s place was funny, as Goose had just realized that totally gushed over when we told Greg thanks . . . he said he had something really thought out but when it came to it he only managed to blurt out, “You’re a really great writer!” I laughed, thinking of what Grey Wolf’s story when she first met Greg. I told him I was surprised I didn’t do the same thing since I’ve been in love with the show sooo much longer than he has (then again, maybe I did, my memory is no doubt biased). We comforted ourselves with the knowledge that Greg is fluent in geekasm (;

After a quick lunch at a Jack in the Box, we got back to his place, and I finished packing all my stuff (meaning, checking to see if I was missing anything). Despite my well-kept camp out, I managed to lose my Hard Rock Café key chain. Grrr . . . hopefully the Goose will find it.

We slowly made our way to LAX, this time listening to Patton Oswalt’s latest album, which no doubt could have inspired a ton of Blue Mug material if it mentioned a gargoyle here or there . . . sadly it didn’t, but it still was worth a listen . . . Lord knows that I did laugh quite a bit while on that long ride to the airport. See ya again when school starts, Goose.

Once I was dropped off, I made my way through security and to my Gate. Waiting, I wanted to keep the Gargoyles high going, so I whipped out my heavily autographed Clan Building (shame David Hedgecock wasn’t there, I did love his work in his later issues) and decided to read the whole TimeDancer/997 arc once more, now armed with information I had learned from the Gathering, specifically the knowledge of Brooklyn’s biological brother and his ‘Bro’ rookery brother . . . the appearance of Hudson’s daughter True, and the appearance of Bronx’s biological parents.

I had only managed to get mid-way to the second part when I boarded my plane (Group A baby!) and I continued to read as I was taking off. Heading back home.
Well, that’s it I guess. There’s really only one thing left to do and that’s Thank Yous . . . and I got plenty of them:

Though I found most of the staff and thanked them, I know I missed one: Patrick â€" so better late than never . . . Patrick, thanks so much for all the work you put in â€" you were the first frequenter of the CR that I met in person, and though I didn’t really got a chance to chat with you, when I thought my name wasn’t there, and while I was quietly panicking that I wasn’t registered, you simply and quietly realized the name snafu on my part and handed me my Gathering packet. If you’re reading this, know that you are awesome.

I know I thanked a bunch in person, but I have to say it just the once more â€" Jennifer, it was such a blast sitting at your table . . . so many hilarious stories that I know is just got to be a small sample of many, many more :) Yeah, Mike was hilarious as well at that table, but everyone, from Ben Diskin to Goose, was in stitches thanks to you as well.

To all the CR folk from over the years that I got the chance to meet: Blaise, Lurker, Justin ‘I’d Rather be Pillaging,’ Gorebash, VickyUK, Greg B, Grey Wolf, Matt, Jade Griffin, Karine, Jennifer, and Patrick. I’m sure there were others in which I didn’t make the connection, and if so, it was still nice getting the chance to see you folks in person (and if we didn’t meet, then I’m bummed I missed that chance). I know there’s a scattershot of places to talk about Gargoyles online, but quite honestly, I’ve only really visited Station 8 and Ask Greg since I first saw the site back in 2003, first commented back in 2006. This is the site that developed my interest in the series well after my initial viewing at six and my first full-series watch on Toon Disney back in 2001. But to meet a chunk of the good folks that always come up with topics to talk, ramble, and wonder each and every week was honestly very fun and exciting, especially with those that I did end up really chatting and hanging out with this weekend.

My sole regret is that if I could, I would have OF COURSE opted to actually stay at the hotel where all the action was. But of course, then the price would have been beyond my own means (it was pretty stretched by the end of it). And that would have been copping out for ANOTHER year, and for the FINAL year . . . and then my liver would be in total and utter pain (*wink wink, nudge nudge*). Besides, Goose’s parents were such gracious hosts, putting up with our consistent early morning breakfast sprees and late-night returns. All things considered, I am grateful to just being able to come. There’s no doubt in my mind that I’ll be remembering this past weekend for many years to come.

So thanks Greg Weisman . . . and thank you con-staff for putting it ALL together. Thank you to the dozens of professionals I got to meet, chat, and take pics with. And thank you fellow fans that also attended â€" no doubt we all had one last blast together (not forgetting it was my FIRST blast d: )

But it was a blast nevertheless.

Greg responds...

I'd like to thank the amazing constaff as well. It was a terrific send-off!

Response recorded on January 15, 2010