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Anthony "Archangel"Zucconi writes...

Gathering 2004 Journal
Anthony "Archangel" Zucconi

Thursday, 5 Aug 2004

The morning had finally arrived. Today begins the trip to The Gathering. I look forward to this all year. This is my family reunion, or at least that's what I tell anyone who asks where I'm going, and I am excited. The excitement is a good thing because this early in the morning it's the only thing keeping me going.

The first flight from Melbourne, Florida to Atlanta was pretty uneventful. It was in Atlanta where the fun began. While waiting for our connecting flight, my wife and I noticed that the girl standing in front of the ticket counter was wearing Gathering nametags from past Gatherings. She looked very familiar, but neither of us was sure who she was. I told my wife that she looked like "Sapphire" but it had been a year since I'd seen her so I didn't trust that to be true. She came closer and I was able to read her name tags. I was correct; it was Sapphire (Kelly). She was just two seats away from us and she hadn't recognized us. It was time for the fun to start. I began talking to my wife about this person standing right next to us as if we didn't want her to hear us; however I spoke so loudly that it would be impossible for her not to hear. My wife caught on to this immediately and joined in the game. You could see by the look on Kelly's face that she was racking her brain trying to remember who we were while acting like she couldn't hear us. Finally she remembered, so we all sat around and talked while waiting for our plane.

The plane ride was fun. On the way the toilet broke and the flight attendant had to inform everyone as politically correct as possible as you could only deposit "liquid" waste. He held up an empty water bottle to illustrate his point. He requested Kelly draw him a little cartoon of the incident to remember it by.

When we finally arrived we had to find transportation to the hotel. I was planning on taking a cab, but luckily Kelly had been there before and knew about the bus. This made for some more play money. On the bus ride Kelly showed us her videos from "City of Heroes" which was more then enough to get me hopelessly hooked. (Thanks for killing my budget Sapphire) When we arrived at the bus stop, we still had a couple of blocks to walk to get to the hotel. Luckily I spotted it before we stopped because the buildings there were blocking any view of it.

We got to the hotel, checked in, decided to meet back in the lobby in an hour, and went up to our room. We were on the 7th floor. Apparently the hotel didn't think it would be wise to keep all the Gathering attendees on the same floor, so we were spread out all over the place. The rooms were nice though, not like some of the horror stories I heard from last year in New York. After a quick change and refresh we went back to the lobby. We were late because of my wife. Every married man reading this will know why. They'll also know I'm going to pay for writing that in this story. We met up with Sapphire again and headed up to her room. There we met up with Trishana (Karlyl), Julie (Chamaleongirl), Taylor, and Liz. We all hung out for a while talking (Julie told me the meaning of all the words I didn't understand in "Waltzing Matilda") and watching videos until hunger got the better of us, so we left in search of food. Liz knew of these glass doors in the hotel that lead to an underground alley where there where shops and food, but apparently only Harry Potter could enter the alley, because we never found it. Instead we found another alley with food and shops, so we ate there. They had a Subway which really hit the spot. There was also a place called Second Cup. This must be the Canadian version of Starbucks, which I was in dire need of. After that we headed back to the hotel. We hung around for a while waiting for this big dinner with Greg that was promised. It was supposed to be at 9:00, so we all went to the lobby at 9:00 and nobody was there. Someone got in touch with the Staff and found out it got pushed back to 10:00, so everyone just waited. Then down comes Laurean (Siryn) to tell us that the staff decided to make dinner "Staff Only". Thanks for waiting until 10:00 to tell us this. If I wasn't tired I was tempted to go anyway, but I know where I'm not wanted. It had been a long day so we headed off to bed.

Friday, 6 August 2004

Everything was due to start today so we got dressed and headed down for food. We decided to try out the restaurant in the hotel. That was a mistake. The buffet they offered cost 15.00$ CAN and the food was horrible. The pancakes couldn't be cut and they tasted like cornbread.

After breakfast we went off in search of registration. They weren't excessively late this year so we got our packets pretty quickly. It was good to see all these familiar faces again. After a nice meet and greet session we headed off to set up our stuff in the art room. I love this because it gives us a sneak peak at the art early, and this year had some good art.

After we set up Andrea wanted to see the "Perspective" presentation, so we split up for a while. I wanted to hang out with people so we agreed to meet up at 1:15. After we met up I wanted to see the "Understanding Combat" presentation, but I quickly became bored because I do that for a living. We ducked out and went to the "Voice Acting Seminar" with Greg Weisman. Keith David was supposed to be there to, but he was M.I.A. (Gratuitous Gargoyles Pun) I had a lot of fun in here. I ever got to play the part of Demona. (Eat your heart out Jen) After the seminar I waited to try out for the Radio Play while Andrea went to the "Costuming Seminar". My tryout went well, but I really blew the attempt at an English accent.

Finally it was time for Opening Ceremonies. This had all the same stuff we look forward to every year, plus they added a Clan Olympics event right in the middle of it. Greg played the audio recording for "Team Atlantis" which when you just listen to it without the visuals sounds really dirty.

After Opening Ceremonies it was time for food. We decided we were craving McDonald's so we set off on at quest for a Quarter Pounder. The first McDonald's we came to was closed, along with everything else. I guess Canadian's don't eat after 7:00.
We finally found one that was open and the quest for the Quarter Pounder was fulfilled. For anyone who's wondering, they actually call it a Quarter Pounder, but they say it in French.

We returned in time for the Blue Mug-a-Guest with Greg. It's wasn't as "Blue" as usual, but Greg didn't have Tom there with him. We suggested that we call him since it was only 8:00 in L.A. After a lot a fun it was time for bed.

Saturday, 7 August 2004

There was not to much going on early so we took the chance to sleep in. Little did we know, but this would pay off later. We got dressed and had some quick snacks to tide us over until tonight. We headed down to check out the Gathering Auction. There wasn't very much good stuff up for bid this year. I guess Gargoyles merchandise is running out. I decided to offer up 2 of my CDs to the cause. I had to run out in the middle of the Auction to rehearse for the radio play, so Andrea had to tell me how they sold.

The radio play this year was "The Journey" and I was Quarryman #1. I love being part of the radio play, but I always ask for small parts because reading isn't something that comes easy for me. Maybe next year I'll take a chance at a bigger part, but I make no promises. The performance went well and it got filmed for the DVD so maybe we'll all be stars.

Now it was time to prepare for the Banquet. This is our chance to dress up before we dress up. We headed down to the Banquet Room and were waiting around to get in. We found Kelly there so we started talking when who should show up but the DVD camera crew. They were looking for anyone with cool Gathering stories, and they had come to the right place. They let us do some acting at this point because they wanted to film us telling someone our story not telling the camera. Andrea and I told Kelly the story of how we met, fell in love, and got married all because of the Gathering. Then Kelly told us her Gathering story. Finally I told Kelly my skydiving story for fun. I hope they get on the DVD.

Now it was time to be seated. We were told to leave one empty seat at every table because some lucky table would get either Keith or Greg. Karine first announced that we would get Keith, but she misspoke she meant to say Greg, so we had to settle. Dinner was good, but not nearly filling enough for what it cost. Just once I wish the price of the Banquet was for quantity and not quality. I like to feel full after a good meal. As the meal was ending Greg ducked out to go find out where Keith was at because he still hadn't shown up. Just after he walked out Keith walked in. I tried to get everyone to keep it quiet from Greg for as long as we could but that didn't work. However Keith got to get even with his "Ladies and Gentlemen, Greg Weisman."

Now it was time to prepare for the Masquerade. I was reviving the costume that got me my wife, "Tony Dracon". Andrea went as "Bad Elisa". We headed down again and got lined up and ready to go. As we lined up they put Kelly first. The skit that she kept so secret was going to happen and we weren't going to get to see it. Next year they need to let the costumes go in first so they can see the skits. The costumes were great this year. Andrea and I were named "The Cutest Old Married Couple". After a lot of pictures we began the party. We had a decent attempt at Karaoke. It's wasn't as good as we wanted do to equipment problems, but we managed.

Sunday, 8 August 2004

The night was drawing to a close. Andrea and I joined a small group in the con-suite to wait out the rest of the night with Greg since he decided to remain awake all night because he had an early flight. Now as far as what happened in that room I'll never tell, but "Mime's" the word. Everyone said their goodbyes and as Greg left to shower and pack we were off to bed.


We woke up and headed down to close out the art room. I only sold 1 CD this year. Of the 10 I made 1 went to Greg, 1 to Keith, and 2 were donated to the Auction. Do the math and you'll see I'm still left with 5. These 5 went to the people who made this Gathering special for me. If anyone who received one reads this, thanks. In the Art Room Liz told me that Andrea had won a lot of awards for her art, but made me swear not to tell her. After that we listened to Keith talk for a while.

Closing Ceremonies wasn't quite the same without Greg, so we need to start planning the Gatherings around his daughter's birthday in the future. Afterwards we had our first business meeting where we elected our Board of Directors. I would have loved to serve on the board, but to steal a line from the show, "My time is not my own."

Finally a large group of us went to play Laser Tag. This was a great step up from the Nerf War we usually have. The Laser Tag arena even had Gargoyles hanging from the ceiling. The games were great. That's probably because I was on the winning team, but I had fun. Finally a smaller group of us went out for food. Andrea and I split a pizza. Then it was back to the hotel for sleep. We had an early flight.

Monday, 9 August 2004

It was time to get going. We checked out and headed for the bus. The problem was we never found where to by the tickets and I was in no mood to look. Luckily there was a cab stand right there so we took one to the airport. After 3 plane rides we were home and this year's Gathering was officially over. I'm left with a feeling that having our family reunion only once a year is just not often enough.

Greg responds...

Tony, I hope to see you and Andrea in Valencia next month. Wouldn't be a true Gathering without our cutest old married couple.

Response recorded on May 09, 2006