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Aaron writes...


We were supposed to get up early, head down to the dealer's room, and sell pre-registration for G2K3. Again, any plan that includes the words "get up early"...

Around nine, Lynati came and pounded on our door. I begged for an hour to shower, shave, etc. (Sometimes I just need to feel pretty) Only my feet carried me back to bed instead of to the shower... So, around ten, Greg *and* Lynati came and pounded on the door. Feeling bad about oversleeping, I wanted to tear down to the dealers room and start selling pre-reg immediately. Everybody else thought we should get brunch first. And I've got the only car... In retrospect, I probably should have just gone out and picked up some McD's or something. Hindsight is 60/20. We ended up at some buffet place, which was better then the previous day's IHOP, but still overpriced. (But what did I expect in a tourist town?)

So, we ate. And then we came back, and set up in the dealers room. Demona May gave us a receipt book, and drew a fancy sign for us, as well as a stack of calendars she had made. Thanks DM. Greg and Mara and I rotated at the table for a couple of hours, (I spent my off time bumming around the art room) until it was time for the radio play.

Radio Play was the Demona episode from the aborted Team Atlantis series. It was quite good, (the guys playing Mole and Vinnie, whose names escape me right now, were especially hilarious) and a fun glimpse of what might have been.

Afterwards, Greg produced yet another surprise, a tape of the actual voice recording of the episode in question. He popped it in the deck... And nothing happened. Somehow, the stereo didn't like the tape. So Greg asked if anybody had a boombox or a tapedeck or something. To which I replied, "Well, we could all go out to my car..." (Laughter from the crowd) Greg told them "Don't laugh, it might come to that." (More laughter) It didn't. A boombox was procured, and the episode played. I almost enjoyed the Radio Play more then the actual tape. Maybe because the tape didn't have Greg narrating to give us visuals with the audio.

Interesting things learned from the radio play. One, there were gargoyles on Atlantis. Two, the Praying Gargoyle is an Atlantean artifact. Three, the PG regenerates over time.

After that, we went back and did the pre-reg thing again, until the banquet. We got there late, and so we couldn't get a seat on the higher level where Greg was. And then the hotel staff, who'd been so great about so many other things, wouldn't let us push tables together to make more room. Apparently it was a fire hazard or some such thing.

The food was burgers and dogs, with a side of mac and cheese. Free, and therefore better then a kick in the head, as my grandmother is wont to say. We finished pretty fast, and I would have liked to stick around for Greg's Q & A, but consensus was that we wouldn't be able to hear or ask questions from down where we were, so we split. Hudson needed a hand moving the chairs in the Opening Ceremonies room, so we went and helped with that instead.

And then it was time to get ready for Cos Play. The major question of course, being whether Lynati would finish her costume on time.

While Mara was getting dressed, I hung out in the hall with Winterwolf, who wanted to know if I remembered any of Edwin the conjurer's lines from Baldur's Gate II. (Of course) Jen popped out of her room and asked if I had a black hair tie, (of course) and then I retreated to get dressed as well.

It wasn't the most authentic Xanatos costume, but it worked, and opportunities to wear that purple coat are rare, so I went with it. Mara made a stunning Fox, if I do say so myself.

Other costumes> Jen makes a freakily good Xanatos. I mean, really, it's scary. If we can ever get Jonathan Frakes to a Gathering, she has to do it again. Spacebabie will never again be mistaken for jailbait, and will probably have to fight off the propositions with a stick next year. Anthony "Gambit/Archangel/Dracon" Zucconi was a scary Elisa. Dreamie was a very purrlicious kitty. Edwin never summoned any creatures like that for me. And there were lots of other cool costumes belonging to people whose names I unfortunately don't know. But they were cool.

And then there was Lynati... Lynati was literally working on her costume up until the moment Mara threw her out of the room to go to Cosplay. She'd told me about it in the months leading up to the con, but the descriptions didn't do it justice. Once again, I am awed.

Oh, and Mara and I won best skit for our Eye of Greg thing.

Mara: (As Fox) Look David, I'm wearing your engagement present. The Eye of Greg Weisman.

Me: (As Xanatos) That's... great honey. But, won't that turn you into a sarcastic genius who's unable to give a straight answer to anything?

Mara: ... Maybe... All things are true.

So the winners were announced, group pictures were taken, and then we took Lynati upstairs to show her to the desk crew who wanted to see the costumes. (Did I mention the hotel staff was really great?)

Which leads to one of my favorite anecdotes from this con...

A little set-up. Across the hall and down a ways from our room there was a family of the mundanest mundanes ever. White, middle-class, 2.5 kids, dad's probably a CPA or something. I would love to know what they thought was going on that weekend. Anyway, we seemed to be (Eric Cartman voice) warping their fragile little minds.

They gave me the fish-eye as I hurried by in my purple coat and the little girl says: "Daddy, I'm scared. There was a girl with green hair walking around earlier." (Which I assume was Ayami. Seemed like a pretty non-threatening shade of pastel green to me)

And he says: "Just keep moving honey." As in, don't stop before we get to our room or the freaks will get us.

So, after the masquerade, we're taking Lynati back to her room after stopping by the front desk, and I spot the same little girl, with the door cracked just wide enough to put her head through, peeking out into the hall. And she gets a look at Lynati, and her eyes get about the size of Lexington's, and then she SLAM!s the door shut. I did not see any of those people for the rest of the weekend.

So we let Lyn get changed, and head back downstairs. Zaius and Greg Guler are talking about Minnesota, and Hudson is trying to organize a Weisman/Guler deathmatch with the dart guns. Both agreed, but sadly, Greg vs. Greg did not happen. Greg Guler disappeared, and after that there didn't seem to be much point in dragging Greg W. out from where he was comfy.

GXB showed up about then with Spacebabie in tow. She couldn't stay for the next day of the con (:( ) but she wanted to pre-reg for next year. So we headed back to our room once again, and got that taken care of. And then we hung out for a while. It is really hard to maintain eye contact with Spacebabie while she's dressed like that.

So, after twenty minutes of that, we drifted back to downstairs *again*, and found out that Greg vs. Greg was cancelled. But people were still really enthralled with the idea of Nerf mayhem, so Hudson and Chris decided to set up a tourney. We assembled as many of the weapons as we could, and commandeered half of the OC room. While the Quake players sketched out a layout, I made yet another trip back to our room, to change into my trenchcoat, vampire emoticon shirt, and skull and bones headscarf.

Nerf War is mucho fun. Everyone, I think, had a really good time, and everyone was a really great sport about it. Every match, after the first one, ended with a headshot rather then needing the judges to count hits. I ended up paired against GXB in the first round. Heh. Staff fight.

We're getting ready, and Hudson tells us to take off our coats, 'cause we'll trip on them. We declined.

So we take our places, and Chris says to lose the coats, 'cause we'll trip on them. Hudson says "No, they wanna have the Matrix fight." And then he set some rules for our fight. 1. No slowing time. 2. No warping space. 3. No flying through the air sideways in slow motion. 4. Hits on the coat count as hits.

And we fought. It's really quite a rush. Maybe even better then paintball, because the range is closer and thus the threats are more immediate.

I won. Barely. I finished Greg with a headshot a few seconds after his dart came so close that I felt the wind on my ear.

Hudson defeated Chris in a much anticipated match that did not lack for excitement.

Which meant I drew Hudson in the next round...

I thought I had no chance of winning. But I had to at least try. So I ditched the coat for greater mobility, and then my shirt, to draw on the power of Demona. That brought things to a halt for a bit as everyone who'd never seen my tattoo had to get a look. Spaz Kitty transferred allegiance from Hudson to me for the rest of the fight. But Chris' "Dude, is that permanent?" had to be the best response.

It was awesome. I'd studied Hudson's fighting style in his previous match with Chris, and tried to imitate it as much as possible. Which lead to a stalemate with both of us dual-wielding dart pistols behind cover just out of range from each other. Hudson, trying to get me to break cover says "You know I ****ed your mom, right?" I wait for him to make a move, and then pop up myself, yelling "Daddieeeeeeeeeee!" in a high-pitched tone of voice.

That pretty much set the tone for the match. Lots of misdirection and trickery. I managed to stay ahead of Hudson's fire with body control and a lot of luck, while Hudson opted for Jedi-like deflection with his own gun.

We fired every dart out of every gun in the entire room, until we were left with nothing but the ultimate last ditch weapon, the spring-launched Styrofoam glider, donated by Tony Z, which killed you if it hit anywhere. I got to it, dodged Hudson's last few darts, and then we strafed the length of the room, before I headshot him when he changed direction.

I beat Hudson! W00-h00!

After that totally unexpected result, I had thoughts about winning the whole thing. Unfortunately, I was eliminated in the next round by Sgt. Goliath. That match was kind of weird. Multiple witnesses corroborate that two of our darts hit each other in mid-air, nearly rebounding back on us, and I head shot him, but the dart was in the air when his hit my forehead with a mighty smack, leaving a mark that was visible for ten minutes after.

Eventually, the tournament finished, and almost everyone who wanted to try their hand got to, except for that one really tall guy. Sorry dude. But take heart that next year Nerf War will be an official event.

After we got kicked out at 2 a.m., I went briefly back to the room, but finding Mara to be sound asleep, I went and hung out with Hudson and Co. outside for awhile. I think I finally left around four, and then I accidentally woke Mara up, and we ended up talking until sunrise on...

Greg responds...

But weren't we using a microphone for the Q&A -- and frankly, don't I have the loudest speaking voice in Christendom?

Response recorded on July 13, 2004