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Zehra writes...

Hi, Greg!

I present...

My babbles on The Gathering 2004 - (part I)

Firstly, I'd like to give a huge THANK YOU to everyone who made the Gathering a blast, especially the con staff. You guys rocked the house DOWN.
I had a lot of fun meeting so many of you for the first time, as well as seeing those of you I'd met in 2001 and 2002.
Forgive me in advance for forgetting names of folks I talked to. I never forget a face, but the names are a bit harder...

Thursday, August 5th - Setting off!

I left for the airport around 2 for my 7:30 flight. I took a shuttle bus to the Indianapolis airport because my dad had to work all day and couldn't drive me down, and ended up at the airport ridiculously early--something like 3 hours in advance. But better early than late. Packing the night (or morning) before was a challenge, as I hadn't yet unpacked from Japan (I got back about a week before.) I ended up forgetting some essential things (like a watch) so I did some duty-free shopping at the airport.

I also took the opportunity to reintegrate myself into my mother culture by ordering a good old American hamburger from TGI Fridays. Ahhh....my love, how I have missed you! If there's one thing America can do better than Japan, it's the hamburger. Anyhoo, I write about it because I find it amusing that I have started speaking English with Japanese characteristics. For example, I didn't want the pickle. Usually you say "no pickle" or "hold the pickle" right? Instead, I said "I don't need the pickle." Which I guess is understood just fine, but I know it comes from the Japanese way of saying you don't want something "x wo iranai." (literally "I don't need x.") The ex-pat process is nearly complete. ;)

I had an uneventful flight, an uneventful connection in Pittsburgh, and arrived in Montreal around midnight. My taxi driver on the way to the hotel was really nice. He was telling me about neat places in Quebec to hit if I had the time. Also, he asked me if I knew what my name meant, and I said it's the Arabic word for flower. He said not only that, it means "rose." I don't know if that was an indirect come-on or what, but I appreciated it. ;)

More name weirdness--when I checked in at the front desk, the clerk commented on my name and asked me if it was Lebanese. It's used in Muslim families, so I guess it's used over there. I was exhausted, so I fell asleep pretty soon after I got to my room. This would be the only night of the weekend where I would get a normal night's sleep.

Friday, August 6th

I woke up around 9. I had one of the Signature Club Rooms, because when I called to make my reservation, the hotel informed me they were out of the rooms that had been blocked off for the convention. So they gave me the best deal they had available, and that happened to be for the Signature Club, which included access to the private roof lounge. Delta Signature Club--why just *feel* like a pretentious snob when you can actually *be* one? So I had free continental breakfast in the roof lounge which overlooked a magnificent Montreal morning.

Around 10 I meandered down to register, but no one official was around. There were some familiar faces down there. I must say here that I hope I didn't appear anti-social in any way throughout the con. I had planned on dragging some friends with me this time, but it didn't pan out, so I was a lone wolf. I am a pretty extroverted person, but get shy and cautious in social situations where I don't know folks very well, especially if there's already an established group dynamic. I'm workin' on that!

I forget what I did to kill time, but I got a manicure and another burger at some point. But I did get registered--I think Siryn and Rob were manning the desk when I went up.

In the afternoon, I went to the voice-over panel/workshop/Q&A/thing. And as I was about to walk in the door, who did I run into but GREG WEISMAN! Who gave me a hug and commented on my short hair.

The situation then was that Keith David would be arriving a little late, but despite his absence the panel was interesting. Something I found interesting from the director's standpoint was the idea of creating a "sound pallet" that sets the tone of the language for the show--Gargoyles was Neo-Shakespeare. Try to surprise yourself in casting choices I think was another good piece of advice. (fangirl aside: I just think it's so coool that this con exists, and that professionals like Greg and other guests over the years give these workshops and AMAZING opportunities to learn from the pros. It is MIND BLOWINGLY cool.)

Jen sat behind me during the panel, but was unaware that the woman sitting in front of her would soon become her LOVAH!!! ;)

Listening to the exercises of the panel got my acting-bug aroused, and so I decided to audition then as opposed to the next morning. I must give mucho applause to Carol Wagner, who was running the line. I had the pleasure of getting to talk to Carol a little bit throughout the con, and not only is she an amazing guest coordinator, she's an absolute sweetheart.

Ah, auditions, the sweetest torture. I love auditions, even though they make me want to die. I never get nervous during an actual audition. I'm all nerves before, but once I'm actually in there going, it's like I'm in my own little world. And then I'm all nerves after. But the part in between, man, that's fun. I was feeling kinda rusty actually, as it was my first audition in nearly 9 months (there wasn't a lot of performance opportunity when I was in Japan.) I chose Xanatos' lines, because they seemed like the ones I could have the most fun with. I think it went okay, because Jen and Greg seemed pleased.

After the audition I think I went back to my room. Opening ceremonies was fun. I always love seeing Greg's spiel. It's kind of bittersweet though, because I see those pitches and think wow...those would have been awesome shows. Also nice to learn the DVD release date (December 7th!) I really hope they start releasing more of the Disney Afternoon shows on DVD (my life won't be complete until I have Darkwing DVD.)

After opening ceremonies, I was hungry. And really didn't want to end up eating at the hotel restaurant again. And was looking for company. Here's where that shy thing comes in again. I was wandering lost through the lobby and luckily I ran into Greg and he invited me to come along with a group to this crepe place. It was a nice walk through Old Montreal to get to the restaurant. Very European feel. There were street performers with accordions and bagpipes and cobbled roads and charm.

I want to marry the crepes I had that night. Mmm... As great as the food was, the company was greater! It ended up being Greg, Karine, Kathy, Siryn, Shaun and some cool folks whose names I didn't catch (sorry!) The restaurant had a really interesting outdoor lighting scheme that changed from red to pink to orange to yellow. The waiter was a nice guy, but sort of dangerous dropping plates with food and knives and what not here and there. It was fun talking to Siryn about Japan/Asia. I had been semi-miserable being back in the US for the past week, so it was nice being able to reminisce and swap stories. (But let it be known that thanks to the Gathering, I'm not miserable anymore!) Greg also regaled us with the story of how he met his wife. I'm such a sappy girl, I love stories like that.

After dinner, we headed back to the hotel (Greg rushed ahead so as to not be too late for the blue-mug-a-guest) I almost went to the blue-mug(which in retrospect I wish I had,) but I was kind of feeling dead when I got back to my room, so just decided to call it a night. Also, being that Gargoyles is kind of like my childhood, I was afraid of being SCARRED FOR LIFE (that would happen the next night. ;) ) So to sleep I went.

Stay tuned for part II, Saturday shenanigans!

Greg responds...

Ah, Zehra, we missed you last year in Vegas. I hope you can make it to Los Angeles this year. You are always so much fun!!

But what's this about you and Jen being "LOVAHS"? I must know more.

Response recorded on May 02, 2006