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Alex Garg writes...

Friday, August 6 - It Begins:
Nobody bothered to inform my internal clock that I was on vacation and didn't need to be up *nearly* as early as I was. However, it gave me time to freshen up before we all went down to breakfast with Kathy and Ellen, the whole group being me, Kelly, Leo, Denis and Rob. After that we kind of scattered - registration was moved to noon so I just hung out in the mezzanine and talked to folks as they came by.

After a while registration opened and we got our packets - con badge, schedule (which was really something else), PGA and shirt (I ordered an XL, I was presented with a small (made the exchange for a large later)). I flipped through the PGA and was very, very impressed. The stories are truly top-notch, and I'm still surprised that I'm in it. The back of the book says, "This anthology contains ten stories and eleven pieces of art, brought to life by eighteen of the fandom's top authors and artists," and to be in that list (given all of my literary accomplishments) is something else. Still amazed.

At some point Ellen asked if we all wanted to go on a walking tour of downtown Montreal - Ellen's old stomping grounds - and we agreed, we being me, Kelly, Leo, Denis and Kathy. It took a while for us to assemble - whenever one of us showed up, another had to run back to get something - but we eventually made it out of the hotel.

Montreal is a beautiful city, a great mix of modern architecture with an old world atmosphere. We stopped by the Notre Dame Basilica and Chinatown (all very nice) and then started looking for a place to eat. What we hadn't done, however, was check our watches, and when we did we realized that we were all going to be late for panels we wanted to attend (and I had missed Spacebabie's Round Robin). So we had to cut short our plans to eat out and headed back to the hotel. We passed Ellen's alma mater on the way and she and Kathy eventually ducked into a cafeteria. As became a theme with me this Gathering, I wasn't hungry and, with the others being similarly without appetite, we made our way back to the hotel to attend Flanker's panel. From there I was off to Radio Play auditions.

Last year I had the role of Thailog, so I wasn't too nervous going in - right up until the DVD crew showed up. For a second it looked like they were going to film my audition, but they did not. I read as Lex, got nods of approval from Greg and Jen and left it in their hands. As I stepped out of the audition, the DVD camera was *right there.* There was only one thing I could do - look like a deer in headlights, give them a quick nod with a smile and dart away. I hope that doesn't make the cut - nobody needs to see a sleep-deprived, tired, startled Carter.

I had been very excited about the DVD crew being there, but I pretty much made it my business to avoid them. Not that I'm camera shy or anything - not by any means - I just didn't really have anything to say and I wasn't doing anything particularly interesting. So, you know, there was no point in getting in their way.

Anyway, I went back to the room and hung out with Kelly for a while until Opening Ceremonies. LOTS of first-timers at this one, close to half of the attendees. We saw the videos, Greg played a tape of many Gargoyles-involved people and we heard the pitch for the 2005 Gathering - we're goin' to Vegas!

Opening Ceremonies also included the first Clan Olympics event - many, many teams involved - that was hilarious and chaotic. After that event we went back to the room to hang out for a brief time before the Blue Mug-A-Guest. It was at this event last year that I "earned" the title "Creepy" - *poke at Greg* - so of course I was going to participate in this one. The event was going to be held in the con suite and about 60 people packed in, even though there was really only comfortable room for about half that.

It wasn't very "blue," if you will - they scheduled it before the regular Mug-A-Guest, so the many took the opportunity to ask the regular questions; that plus all the exciting DVD news was on people's minds. I would have stayed around longer but I was suddenly overcome with sleep and ducked out about 12:30 a.m.

So ended the first official day of the Gathering.

Next, "The Weekend, Pt. 1"

Greg responds...

I love those late night sessions, whether or not they turn blue.

Response recorded on May 18, 2006