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Well, I've been wanting to do this for years, but not being a person very good with words(which is why I got into radio, after all), I've never gotten around to actually writing a gathering journal. This was the 4th gathering I've attended, having been to 1998, 2001, 2003 and this year. I've never been big on traveling, mainly because I'm legally blind and deathly afraid of getting myself lost or something. I can see enough to read(nose to page-or in this case, nose to screen). I can also use a camera reasonably well, and what might surprise you is that I can see things in the photos I took better than I could actually being there. Stating that, I apologize in advance if I don't get all the names right or miss metioning someone. Also excuse any bad grammer or spelling. As I stated, writing ain't my thing.
Wednesday August 4th.
I had been pretty busy trying to get all the details done before the trip. I had done minimal packing up to that point, and needed to get my butt in gear. I had also been working on a little surprise for Greg Weisman, and thankfully got it completed on time(more on that in Saturdays entry). I had also made a CDR of mp3s for the trip. I had bought some new clothes, done lots of washing and managed to get most things packed before the evening. This would be the easiest Gathering trip I've had, being Ottawa is only a 2 hour drive from Montreal, and I was traveling with my friend Gabarus(Dan) and Flanker(John) was driving up to Ottawa to pick us both up. Flanker was going to stay with Gab overnight and we'd head off to Montreal early Thursday morning.
I had gone into Station 8 chat and talked to Whitbourne(Dylan) who asked me to bring my Ultimate Goliath action figure, along with an 12 inch tall Elisa figure his fiancee Stormy(Mary)asked me to bring for her custom action figure display, so I made a point to pack those before I forgot. The Goliath figure actually came in handy later. Talking to IRC Goliath (Seth) that evening, It was looking like we might pick him up at the airport on our way - but the best laid plans..and all that. So, I chatted to Gabarus briefly online(since he has no phone) to make sure Flanker got there ok and make our plans. I wanted to leave by 10, they wanted to leave by Noon, so we compromised and planned for 11am. IRC Goliath was flying to L.A. first, and he got online at the airport for a bit and made some plans to try and pick him up. It was after 1 am before I finally hit the pillows - and actually managed to sleep, which I was never able to do before the previous 3 gatherings I attended.
Thursday, August 5th
I got up reasonably early to get myself showered and pack my shaver and a few last things. Had a bit of breakfast and a coffee(I prefer tea, but coffee is faster to make). Then I headed to the computer to see if my sleepy head travel companions were awake. No sign of them-but IRC Goliath was online again. He was in New York - and his flight had been delayed to Montreal, so he wouldn't be leaving there till after 11. That seemed to be a good thing, except we hadn't left yet. Without being able to co-ordinate things, we wouldn't be able to pick him up, which I felt kinda bad about. When 10 am came and went, I started to get a little nervous. Then 11 am, I started to get concerned. It was 11:15 when I got a call for Gab, they were at a gas station about 5 minutes away and they'd be to get me shortly. A half hour went by and the two lost souls pulled in the driveway. They came in for a few minutes to help me with my luggage. I had a large suitcase and a carry on bag - and a few other things in a plastic bag. Feeling like I was bringing the house with me, I felt a little better when I heard Flanker was bringing a cot and sleeping bag, and Gab packed his full sized computer tower with him, plus his other luggage. The plan was to hook the computer to the TV in our hotel room and we could watch DVD's - again, the best laid plans....
So on went the tunes and off we went. Flanker had already made the trip to Montreal, but not from Ottawa, so we kinda had to limp our way out of the city. I'm no good at directions and Gab is reasonably new to Ottawa. After a few wrong turns, we found the right highway and were on our way. It was a relatively uneventful trip, although we overshot Montreal a little bit, but that gave us a chance to stop. Flanker checked the map, Gab went in search of smokes and I found a Monsieur Felix and Mr. Norton cookie place - a gourmet cookie place only in Montreal that I've heard about for years. So I grabbed a dozen mix of chocolate chunk cookies and some water, found my way back to the car (with Flanker's help) and, after we all had a cookie break, we were off again.
We arrived at the hotel after 2:30 and took the scenic route around the parking garage before we found a spot, close to the elevator of course, and we made our way to the lobby. It wasn't long before I heard a familiar voice - IRC Goliath was hiding off in one of the seating areas close to the windows. Gab & I had our roomie, Flanker went off in search of his roomies as well. We checked in, got our keys and headed up to our room.
The room was certainly nice enough. Being a large person, I always check out the bed frame, which was less than sturdy. Gab suggested we remove it for the duration of our stay, so we disassembled the bed. They brought up our bags and Gab immediately went for his computer tower-to see if he could hook it up to the TV. Although it had A/V jacks, they were not accessible(we even had hotel techs check it out and there was nothing they could do). We also planned to have a few cold drinks in the room, but there was no fridge. We called down and they actually sent one up. We were all set-except for the tv. After we talked for a bit and looked at some of the DVD goodies IRC Goliath and Gab brought that we planned to watch, we headed beck downstairs in search of other early arrivals.
We found a few people, including A Fan. By this time we were all getting pretty hungry, and A Fan was looking for someone to venture out for food with, so we were instructed that there were places to eat down below the hotel(which strangely you have to walk through the hotel restaurant to get to(go figure). A lot of places were closed, but we finally settled on a strange little pub/eatery done up in a super hero motif - almost like you were walking onto the set of the old batman 60's TV series. So we all ordered and started to eat(although they got my order wrong...oh well). Gab wasn't feeling very well. He had been fighting a bout of strep throat for the last few weeks and was still feeling the fever from it-so he had his food packed up and we headed back to the hotel and headed back to our room for a bit.
IRC Goliath and myself headed back downstairs to see if we could find more arrivals - and maybe spot Greg, who had supposedly arrived. Discovering Greg and the Con staff had slipped out for dinner, we hung around checked out who had arrived. Chris Rogers was around, as was the Mysterious Lord Sloth(a fellow Canadian I wanted to finally meet). Abe Wintersmith also had made it and he sat down and chatted with IRC Goliath & myself for a bit. Maui, Arno and her crew from Toronto also rolled in (Maui is from Ottawa originally and I hadn't seen her in some time - this would be the first Garg Con I've been to with her attending. Little did I know the major part She and Abe would play in making it such a fun Con). We ran into Hudson and his group - and took some pictures. Gorebash, Vash & Hyperdawg arrived we chatted in the lobby for a bit-and took a few more pictures. We saw them up to their room. Not surprising the first thing Gore & Hpye did was unpack their electronics - You would almost think that it was sustenance and they required it, but hey, I'm much the same way, so I shouldn't talk. We talked for a little bit, then headed back to our room to check on Gab-who was dozing off with the TV on. Back down to the lobby we went to hang around for a little while longer-still hoping we'd catch Greg & the staff come back from dinner. It was creeping on 1 AM by the time IRC Goliath & I finally gave up and headed back up to our room for some much needed shut eye.
I must admit here that I said hello and got hugs from quite a few people - but my poor memory combined with my lousy eyesight prevents me from mentioning everyone - and I feel a bit bad about that. I appreciated everyone that came up and said hello to me.
Friday, August 6th:
I have this over conscious habit of not wanting to hold everyone up by me being slow, so despite setting the alarm, I got up an hour early so I could shower and clear out of the washroom so Gab & IRC Goliath could have free reign-and that would give me some lounge time to relax a bit before the long day ahead. Goliath was the first of us to head down to register, while Gab & I....gabbed. a bit longer and waited for him to return so we could see his schedule and get an idea what our day would be like. By the time we got moving it was almost lunchtime. Gab & I registered, and I ran in to Whitbourne & Stormy. I was thrilled they would both be able to make it. The Can Clan couple as I call them. They've been to visit me at my place in Ottawa many times over the years. Since they moved from Kingston to Halifax I don't see them as often.
After that, Gab, Goliath & I headed to McDonalds to grab a quick bite. Gab & I had plans to catch Flanker's weapons panel and Goliath wanted to check out the voice actor's panel. I was feeling I was missing something, since I wanted to hear Keith speak again. We only got a brief taste of him at Gathering 2001, and the thought of having him for the whole gathering was great. Not that I'd likely have the nerve to go up and talk to him, mind you. I'm shy as all get out.
I wasn't entirely sure what to expect for the understanding combat panel. Being visually impaired, using a gun is kinda out of my league, but I went just the same. I had promised Flanker - and was a little concerned about a low turnout. I need not have worried, the room was about 3/4 full and there were a lot of technical questions. Flanker put on a very good demonstration. He knew his stuff - despite an attempted upstaging by Hudson and a few other knowledgeable attendees. I've known Hudson was very knowledgeable about weapons for some time-so that wasn't a surprise. I can see him and Flanker working on a similar panel in Vegas next year. On the subject of Flanker-the man has some of the most amazing red eye! You'd swear he was a gargoyle the way his eyes glow in some of the pictures I took.
After the panel, Gab & I went in to the art room to check things out. There was a lot of amazing art and merchandise there. Gab picked 2 T shirts, and he found someone selling a Goliath Mug. My very first piece of Garg merchandise was the Lexington mug-and though I had found Broadway and Brooklyn, Goliath had eluded me. Whitbourne came over just at that moment and bought the mug for me. *blushes* He's amazing-and no amount of protesting from me was going to stop him. The artwork as always is simply breathtaking. We have so much talent in this fandom. That's another thing that Gargoyles has inspired - it's caused many people to explore their talents in writing and drawing - and we have one amazingly large pool of talent in both fields. I spied a few pieces of Kythera's work that I wanted(I think I would have bought out her binder of images-along with everyone else's if my wallet would have let me...*sigh* oh well.
It was time for the radio play auditions. Every year someone tries to get me to audition and every year I chicken out. Would I like to do it? sure! I've been involved in radio on a volunteer basis for close to 20 years, so it would seem natural. Trouble is, doing a radio show in a room by yourself with a microphone is a lot different than speaking in front of close to 200 people. Radio is a breeze compared to that. For that reason, and the fact that the script would have to be large print for me to even considering becoming involved-and with the hectic pace the con takes, it would be too much of a hassle getting one made up. So I just stayed on the sidelines and convinced Gabarus to take part(he's also has some radio experience-and a good voice). I knew IRC Goliath was going to audition-as were Whit & Stormy-Although Stormy wouldn't get to audition until Saturday morning. While all this was going on, I headed back up to our room for a bit to relax, check out some of the pics I took before opening ceremonies.
Gab made it back up to the room to unwind before opening Ceremonies as well. We talked for a bit, and after auditioning for the radio play, we realized he was also tied in with the Clan Olympics. He was just a little miffed, thinking he was committed to 2 things at once-and was certain that it was me who had hooked him into the Olympics in the first place. I was feeling bad-largely cause I wanted to see him in the radio play. Strange thing, I couldn't for the life of me remember ever having talked to him about the Olympics before. We finally figured out that it was indeed Flanker who had "recruited" Gab to team Canadian Body Massage. Ha! It wasn't me!
The Opening Ceremonies began. I was up at the front near the video screen(as always) with Gab on my right and Stormy & Whit on my left. It was fun watching and hearing Stormy's reaction to everything-as a Con Virgin and all, but I'm quite sure Whit filled her in on some of it. Still, you really need to be there. We had the intro for the Con staff and a taste of what Gathering 2005 was about. Then, before Greg got his chance to talk-the event was hijacked by Abe and Maui and the Clan Olympics! We were introduced to all the teams.
Team Canadian Body Massage:
The 2005 Con Staff
- Chris Rogers
- Lanny Fields
- Erin Wheeler
- Mara Cordova
- Top Man
- Robert Luca
The Dark Knights (Said "Ka-Nig-Its")
The Green Dragons
- Kya White Sapphire
The Defective Gargoyles
Clan Challanged: Part Duex
- Sarah the Great
- Chyna Rose
- Mike Cohen
Then-the first event, which involved one member wearing a hole filled shirt while the rest of the team did a relay of sorts to bring plastic colored balls and stuff them in the shirt. Whitbourne was up there as the victim..er, person wearing the shirt-proudly waving his Acadian flag. It was a fun event(although I forget now where we placed in that). Gab apparently got bowled over-landing flat on his back during the event. He has back problems to begin with, and as long as I've known him(which is like 8 years now) he's forever having accidents that result in him landing on his back. Poor guy.
Greg finally got his chance to shine. We saw the original pitch of Gargoyles to disney(with a very young looking Greg on the video) for those who might not know, this video features a synopsis of the show idea, with several still drawings of the Characters. Being that Gargoyles was conceived as a comedy, several of the character designs on these cards reflect that original concept-namely the trio and especially Bronx. Then, the original test reel with some borrowed music from several other movies. The infamous "It's Better Than Barney" story -and the pitches for the unmade spin offs, "The New Olympians", "Dark Ages", and the lica reel of "Bad Guys" - which in itself is worth going to the Gathering to see! Then, something we fans have been waiting for...the announcement for the DVD release -along with an actual date-December 7th!. I Can't wait myself.
Once opening Ceremonies came to a close, Gab & I hooked up with Goliath, Gorebash, Vash and Hyperdawg and we ventured out for food. This was really my first look at Montreal on foot. I now that sounds strange, not only being Canadian, but also only 2 hours away from the city. I just never had a chance to go before. I was amazed how clean it is - and only someone like me could appreciate the extra bright crosswalk lights and the countdown timers so you know how long you have to cross. What also too me by surprise is how little business activity there was. Many store fronts were empty, and those that were occupied were closed. It took us a while to find a restaurant. We finally found a nice pasta place - which not only gave you a choice of pastas, but also your choice of about 20 different sauces-which they made fresh right there in front of you! We all made our choices, and sat down and talked about the gathering events thus far. It felt a lot like a bunch of old friends getting together. I know most of us chat online to one another, but it always amazes me how much the world has opened up as a result of the internet. The whole gargoyles fandom and the convention are a good example of that. It's a pretty wonderful thing. Myself having been quite a sheltered person most of my life - getting out like this is an amazing experience. Just a little frightening at times being in an unfamiliar place and not being able to find your way around without some help. I'm pretty used to knowing my domain and being able to navigate without looking. I must admit I do feel a little bad having to "lean" on people and have them watch out for me. So I'll say a big thanks to Gab, Goliath, Gore, Whit, Flanker and in past years, Dark Horse and Pogo. All of them stuck their necks out for me to make sure I had a good time. I'll tell ya guys, it's greatly appreciated.
Dinner was over. Gab Still wasn't feeling his best and he brought most of his dinner back to the hotel(that fridge we had sent up to the room got pretty full towards the end of the Con. We all headed back to the hotel and hung out for a bit. Then back up to our room Gab & I went. We watched TV for a bit. Goliath joined us a bit later - he needed the experience of seeing some of the Simpsons and South Park in French! Goliath then headed down to meet some other people before the Blue Mug A guest with Greg. I stayed with Gab for a bit longer-then headed to the Con suite to get us some seats for the Mug A Greg event. At that point there was still hope Keith David would make it for that, but we'd have to wait a bit longer.
I grabbed the last few seats for myself and Gab(who was going to come down later). Someone gave up a seat for me-which was appreciated. The room was soon packed-with little walking room, let alone breathing room. It's one event I think most of the 18+ con goers look forward to the most. I really think at times we talk about the Gargoyles as if they were real. I think that's a lot of the appeal of the show - the characters ARE so lifelike in how they were written and portrayed that it's easy for the fans to get lost in that. I know myself I would like them to be real. I think the human race could stand some competition at this stage of the game. We could stand to have some a "Living conscience" that would help to keep us in check.
It was a tame blue mug A guest compared to previous years. The absence of Thom Adcox and the excitement over the DVD likely helped to keep things at least PG for most of the event. I actually got the nerve to ask a question...ah, the coward that I am. Basically how Gargoyles would handle the subject of the "Birds & The Bees" - since the parental structure of the clan is different from that of humans. The hatchlings have many fathers and mothers(biological connections don't matter so much as the older clan members raises the younger).
It was 2am by the time Greg called it a night. It had been a busy day so we ventured back to the room and crawled into bed. The con was going by too fast already.
Saturday, August 7th:
Again I got up before the alarm, showered and got myself together before my sleepyhead room mates woke up and did the same. By the time we got ourselves together, it was almost time for the first events for the day, so skipping brekkie, Gab and I headed to the Clan Olympics trivia torture. Keep in mind that I wasn't officially on any team, but I knew Stormy was auditioning for the radio play, and that left Team Canadian body massage short a few members - so I offered to stand in. Thankfully, I wasn't selected to be the victim up at the front of the room having to be tortured. I even got one of the answers right! *faint*. It was a hoot, and I was busy running my camera to capture the "tortures" on film...Chocolate and blue cheese dressing? What were they thinking?!!
Lunchtime proved a bit of a challenge. Goliath, Gab & I hooked up again and went in search of a place to eat. Heading down to the tunnels under the hotel where the stores had been so busy the day before - here, at noon on a Saturday EVERYTHING was closed! I'd never heard of that before -so we followed the tunnels for a while and landed back up on the street. It was a good hour before we found somewhere to grab a bite. On our walk back - we stumbled on a building with multi colored windows. Something like that is great for me. A landmark even my eyes can pick up on-plus I love colors. So we grabbed a few pictures (I see by other peoples photo collections from the con that I wasn't the only one that noticed that building...I still don't know what was in it though.)
We didn't quite make it back in time for the Auction - something I don't like to miss, since I have a vast collection of Garg merchandise. I did notice that someone had brought one of the Gathering 99 double CD soundtracks that I had made(I ended up making over 90 copies of that-and gave em all away or they were auctioned off at the con). I still wonder if Greg ever got his copy(as usual, I never had the courage to go up to him and give it to him myself-but I'd be tricked into it this year...more on that later).
It was time for another round of Clan Olympics-but it was also time for the Radio play auditions, which took Gab, Stormy & Whitbourne away from Team Canadian Body Massage again - so in steps Wingless to stand in on the "Really Hard Pictionary". I think team captain Flanker began to appreciate having Mr.fill-in handy-and surprisingly I got one of the answers there too-woo for me! We wrapped up early and continued to play before the radio play opened up. I was surprised it was held In the Auditorium. The room was set up like a lecture hall, with raised tables with these silly pull out chairs-much to small for us large economy sized Con goers-so I planted myself on the stairs in the middle. I figured that would be a great spot to take pictures from. My Camera overall didn't like the lighting in that room, so it fought with me to take pictures. Once the radio play started and Greg introduced they would be doing an unedited script of "the Journey"-with some scenes that didn't make it to the actual show. He introduced the very large cast and things got underway. We have some very talented voices in the fandom. I was glad that everyone I knew that auditioned got at least some part in it. Then the Camera crew set up and started taping the radio play...right in front of me. That was a bit of a disappointment - but I know it was more important for them to get good shots of the event. Better them in front of me than me in front of them. It was an amazing radio play - always one of the highlights of the convention.
We all went our separate ways for a bit. Gab got invited up to Hudson's room, and IRC Goliath was also socializing. Gab & I had not gotten banquet passes, so we were trying to hook up with anyone that was going out to dinner. It seemed no one was or the plans fell through. I headed back up to the room to relax a bit and wait for Gab & Goliath to return. Goliath headed to the Banquet, and when Gab got back, we made arrangements(after trying to navigate a French phone book for a good half hour) to order some food in. Gab was feeling better thankfully and had a better appetite. We got done early, and I headed down to where the Masquerade was to start. It was then I found out that Keith David had finally arrived, so I peeked in to this bizarre room-lit in Orange mood lighting - very bizarre. I sat down at the back and listened to the last 20 minutes of Keith's Q&A. I don't think I was supposed to be there-not having paid for the banquet, but I'm glad I got to hear some of it just the same (notwithstanding the noise from the group caterwauling with the bad disco music next door to us.
Then the Masquerade and cosplay began. Some of the most amazing costumes I've ever seen for sure. Every year people seem to go further and further out to create the ultimate Gargoyles related costumes, and they do indeed improve every year. All of them were amazing. From the Gargoyles intro...with visual aids, to Korul and "the Gargoyle who's afraid of heights"-what an amazing costume! Flanker & Stormy were great in their Renaissance Hunter and Quarryman outfits. The Titania and Ophelia costumes were amazing as well. Jade Griffin in her Bellelisa dress-wow! My pic of her has to be the best one I took at the convention. Of course Becca Morgan was adorable as Bronx-ah to be young and able to walk on all fours again without killing your back. Got a great picture of Gab scratching her ear. It's a riot.
Things seemed to be winding down somewhat. I hung around taking pictures of the costumes madly while they got set up for the Karaoke. Then came the moment. I mentioned earlier the CD I made for Greg. To explain this better. A few years ago, someone found out Greg liked M&M's-so of course, the fans(which is short for fanatics, of course) don't miss little details like that, so last year everyone started hiding M&Ms in Greg's stuff-or put some in front of him when he wasn't looking. Well, to continue that fanatic vision. Last year, while on the subway to Coney Island in New York, those of us sitting near Greg picked up on him whistling or humming the Theme to the TV show-the Banana Splits (the "Tra la la song-one banana, two banana"). For the benefit of those who don't know what the Banana Splits was. It was a late 1960s kids show made by Hanna-Barbera.. It was a show hosted by these live action animals-basically people in amusement park type suits. Fleagle the Dog(the group leader), Bingo-a gorilla with lotsa teeth, Drooper, a rather clumsy Lion and Snorky, a shaggy gray elephant that doesn't talk-he honks! Basically these 4 animals live in a clubhouse which we got invited to each week. They'd show cartoons and a special adventure serial called "Danger Island" and also tell jokes, do prat falls & such. It was very colorful ans psychedelic. Well, the four animals were also musicians, and in the last segment of each show-there would be a little music video, with them romping around ala the Beatles or Monkees(this was still over 10 years before MTV folks). Anyway, marketing the way it is, there was a Banana Splits album released-with some pretty cool songs on it, along with a number of box top mail in EP singles you could get. Well, the DJ and 60s music collector that I am, took advantage of this little inside to Greg's mind set and made him a one of a kind CD soundtrack of these rare records. I had planned a little speech when I gave it to him-the whole 9 yards. Then the coward in me began to set in...I started to think-Greg isn't going to remember that happening on the subway. He's gonna bloody well think I'm out of my mind! So, though I had brought the CD down with me, I had, by that time, given up on the idea of giving it to him. Then Gabarus steps in. The take charge, fearless, in your face kinda person he is, went over to Greg and told him I had something for him, the Gab proceeded to drag me over to Greg(without me having a clue what he was up to-in order for me to give him the CD). I was in shock, and likely would have turned around and run given have the chance -but I stuttered through part of what I had planned to say and gave him the disc. I was very surprised and pleased that he seemed to like it. I imagine he didn't know they had actually put out records of the songs from the show. Just the same, I'm happy I got a chance to give it to him. Especially since learning later on that he had to leave the convention that night. I wouldn't have gotten another chance. Gorebash actually made me tell the story of the CD on video. God, I hope that never sees the light of day. I was still in shock from having actually given it to Greg! *faints*
Karaokee: I hadn't planned at all to stick around for that, but I'm awfully glad I did. Like I said earlier, we have some good voices in the fandom, and not just for the radio play. Catching Titania's "all that jazz" was pretty amazing, as was the parody of "Blame Canada"(very appropriate one to filk at a Montreal convention folks) - "Blame Gargoyles-we should form a full assault-it's Weisman's fault!" Then Keith David got into the act. What a voice! With his little ones in tow - he got up to sing-and beautifully too.
Not long after that - we headed back up to the room. Gab and I are a thirsty pair, and we were forever hunting for drink machines or somewhere to get something wet. I finally located a machine on our floor-and Gab had found one on the pool level too, so we loaded up and headed back to the room. Gab had made arrangements earlier in the day to borrow one of the projectors used for the opening ceremonies. Turns out that he ( Yggdrasil) was our next door neighbor in the hotel. Small fandom. So, Gab proceed to borrow this machine, hot-wire his computer to it(without the proper cables yet) and we were watching a few movies and futurama on the wall of our room till the wee hours of the morning. Yggdrasil needed his projector back early the next morning for his presentation(although I wasn't sure what it was about at the time).
Still feeling a bit damp & icky from the days events, I grabbed a quick shower and hopped into bed.
Sunday, August 8th:
Late to bed, late to rise. The convention winding down and I didn't want it to end-at least not yet. We were up too late to get anything to eat so we made a coffee in the room(Gab had Tea), and we all headed down to see what was going on. We all wanted to attend both Keith David Mug-A-Guests. It was only then I realized that Whitbourne and Yggdrasil had their biology panel at the same time. I waited around for the Mug a guest to start in the art room. When it proved to be delayed, I snuck over to the Biology panel. Much like the Blue Mug-A-Guest, here are all these people discussing cloning and the potential biological makeup of fictitious beings with Wings and tails. It was wonderful. Ah, the possibilities!
After the panel, Gab & I returned to the dealer room to find that the Keith Mug-A-Guest had yet to take place, and would be delayed longer-so we hadn't missed anything.
I only got to meet Keith briefly at the autograph signing in LA in 2001. He was on a tight schedule and didn't really have time to socialize. Wow! Did he make up for it this year. All eyes turned on him and applause sounded as he walked into the room. He went around to every table showing interest in what everyone was doing, The artwork, the Phoenix gate anthology, the T shirts - and everyone waiting to hear him talk. He warmly greeted all of us and shook our hands. That floored me. Maybe it's just me, but I don't see many people with that much charisma and class in the world today - taking time to talk to everyone that was there...even lil' ol' me!
His talk was amazing. One of the revelations that impressed me was when someone asked him "what haven't you done that you would like to do" and he said, "the Nat "King" Cole Story" - after his previous night singing-it just clicked! He'd be so perfect for that. People were interested in stories of the voice recording sessions for Gargoyles, the movies he'd been in and the people he's worked with.
After the Q&A, he stayed around to talked to people. Gab had talked to him briefly the previous evening about how to get into voice acting, and he had promised to talk to him the following day. He remembered Gab-who then dragged me over-Mr. Nervous knees that I am. Gab had told him about my involvement with music and radio. He said he was going to be in Ottawa with his family at one point and would consider dropping by my place to see my collection! I almost dropped dead on the spot.
The schedule was running a bit behind, so closing ceremonies had to begin. We all gathered in another room and ran through the awards ceremony. I was busy snapping pictures left & right the best I could, so the actual awards were a blur to me. I know Stormy and Kythera won several-as did many other artistic fingers. The presentation for Gathering 2005 by Chris Rogers. It sounds impressive. Vegas though? Large people and airlines don't usually like each other very much. At the moment I can't see myself going. That's not to say that I won't work on it. I certainly want to, If over I can get over the fear of traveling alone. I'm awful, I know.
Then the autograph signing with Keith. I had already gotten his autograph in 2001, and hadn't really brought anything to get signed. Stormy had returned my Ultimate Goliath figure during lunch break-since She & Whitbourne had to leave before 5pm. I got the idea of having him sign one of the Wings-which thankfully were detachable. I also brought the Goliath mug Whit had bought me. Gabarus was just ahead of me and we arranged to take each other's pictures with Keith. He was still charming and very open. When it was my turn, I went behind the table with im, and he put his arm around me and talked with me for a minute(keep in mind that I'm in utter shock at that moment). Thanks to Gab, I have a picture to prove it happened. Keith signed both the wing and the mug-and had never heard of the "Ultimate Goliath" figure before. Admittedly, it's not one of the better likenesses of Goliath, but hey, I had it there and Keith signed it.
Stormy came over and I congratulated her on her awards. She showed me close up her "gargoyles in drag" figures. Yes folks, she's a very unusual person-but I love her-and her fiencee Whitborune. They were off for their plane back to Halifax, so we exchanged our goodbye hugs and they were off. I snapped more pictures of people before they headed off as well.
Now, there was talk of a laser tag event being put together. I've never played, and being it's a very sight oriented activity-and was willing to go. Gabarus wasn't up to going and I wasn't about to leave him behind. I also figured IRC Goliath would be going for sure, and was very surprised that he didn't. I don't know for certain, but I think he might have stayed behind because I couldn't participate. Either way I was happy he didn't(and if that was the case, I luvs ya Seth).
As it turns out, our entire dinner crew from Friday night didn't end up going, so Gore, Vash Hyperdawg, Gab, IRC Goliath and myself headed back to the pasta place for another round. On the way they had some streets closed off since they were shooting a movie. They wouldn't allow cameras, but, after our meal, we came across a horse drawn bus type wagon(without the horse) so we couldn't resist getting a picture of the crew in front of it.
Once back at the hotel...everything was a blur. There were quite a few goodbyes and hugs from people departing. We headed back to the room for a bit, Goliath went up to the con suite to see what was going on, and ultimately got swallowed in the activities up there. Gab contemplated a swim but decided against it, so we just lounged for a bit. Once Goliath returned, we all called it a night.
Monday, August 9th
We had arranged for a late check out(1pm) so we could catch up on some sleep, pack and grab a bite before we had to check out. Things don't always work out the way we plan them. We got showered, packed, and by the time we got down to get something to eat, it was 12:30! We had to grab a really quick bite-thankfully the tunnel mall under the hotel was open. We ran back to our rooms, ate, grabbed our luggage and headed down to check out. There were still "gatherers" lingering about. We dropped our luggage, and there was a cab waiting. Goliath had to catch his flight in a few hours. After a long hug, we saw him off.
I went to sit down with our luggage while Gab went out for a smoke. Keith David was still there, making the rounds in the lobby. He came over and, shook my hand and said goodbye, again saying that he'd try to come by when he was in Ottawa. He never did make it, but the offer alone-Wow!
We found a few more lurkers at the hotel - Hudson, Kythera and bunch of next year's Con staff talking about 2005 in Vegas. Gab and I were awaiting Flanker-who had ventured to old Montreal for a cyber café to check his email. Keith David came by again-this time with his Kids to say goodbye, and there Gabarus snapped my last Gathering photo. An amazing Gathering it was.
Flanker returned, we loaded up his car and headed off back to Ottawa. An uneventful trip home I must point out, considering my previous 3 disaster trips return trips from the gathering. At least I wasn't going to get stuck on a runway in a fierce thunder and wind storm, or miss my flight an be stuck at LAX for 9 hours-hoping for a seat on an overbooked flight, or get stranded in the small town or Kenville, New Jersey when our car broke down(all true stories folks). We dropped Gabarus off first, and then myself...Glad to be home, and yet wishing I was still in Montreal with everyone.
How about this-we start our own commune - The Gathering of the Gargoyles commune where we'll all live, work and have fun together all year around(or at least for the summer months).
My only regrets? I didn't get to see more of Montreal-and show some of my American friends that Canada does have life to it. That I didn't get to socialize a bit more with everyone. There's so many people I chat with online and would like a better chance to get to know them better-as well as hang out more with those I do know. That I didn't get one of Arno's "Evil makes me Sad" shirts. We need to mass market those Maui.
Lets hope I make it to Vegas next year.
and here's a link to my gathering photos. As I write this(August 29th) I still have at least another 100 to post - so keep looking back in.
Thanks everyone for making it such a great time.
Dave "Wingless" Sampson
You know one of my fondest Gathering memories is that walk we all took down the boardwalk (or whatever they call it) out on Coney Island. Always great to have you at the Gathering. (No need to be so terrified of me. I rarely bite.) And the Banana Splits CD is in my musical rotation. I love it!
Hope to see you in Pigeon Forge!