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July 29, 2005
The Gathering officially began today. I was up relatively early, partly because Mooncat basically woke up early every day, and it wasn't easy to stay in bed with her up. The three of us went to breakfast at the Palace again. Since the entrance to the Palace buffet was right next to the convention registration table, there were a lot of people milling around, and I said hello to some people I hadn't seen in a year.
From there I sat in on the Con Virgin panel, even though this was my third Gathering, and I was surprised to see all the people who were there for the first time this year. Once it was over, I stole an opportunity to shamelessly promote my upcoming Win David Xanatos' Money game show panel, once again giving someone the opportunity to (loudly) discover that "Allaine" is not, in fact, a woman.
Then I went to Ellen Stolfa's panel on writing improvement with Emambu. I left halfway through because it was mainly a primer on grammatical mistakes, and I was already familiar with most of the information. I ended up in the Art Room for a while, where I finally spoke to Cindy/Eden. We'd actually seen each other the previous night in the hotel lobby, but she was talking to someone and I didn't want to interrupt (and she wasn't really sure who I was). Kathy was also there and I found out she'd be leaving early, unfortunately.
Next was the Demona debate, hosted by Spacebabie and Revel. This was a lot of fun, mainly centering on questions like "Which words best define Demona?" and "Was she that bad a planner, or did she just want to be stopped?" Nothing like making excuses for a genocidal madwoman, I say. Also had one of the best lines of the Gathering when we were discussing why Demona never had any children after Angela and someone observed "Why would anyone go near her anyway?" (I believe his point was that you wouldn't want to come within ten yards of someone so unpredictable and dangerous.) My response was something along the lines of, "I can't believe I actually HEARD those words."
By now our last roommate Summer Jackel had arrived. This was my first time meeting her, and she proved to be a really great companion for the next four days. I ran into Cindy again and she invited me to come with her to the Mirage and meet her sister. I went to find Summer to see if she was interested, because she's got a thing for big cats and they have plenty of THOSE at the Mirage, but she was jet lagged and passed out, so I eventually passed on Cindy's offer. I basically wandered about until the opening ceremonies. I think we maybe had a snack.
Then came opening ceremonies, which was the usual collection of special videotaped moments and messages from the cast and crew. Greg had a lot of news regarding the DVD release of Season Two, as well as a sneak preview of some of the extra material. Apparently a lot of the cast was in L.A. for the DVD bonus materials, and Greg took the opportunity to record their messages to the fans. Still, the best moment was Keith David, who said, "I've been deprived everything - even my convention!"
The crowd basically erupted.
My roommates and I left a little bit early so we could head to the New York, New York casino. We had tickets for a 10:30 show that night, and we met Ellen for dinner at a Chinese restaurant inside NY NY, which was all very nice. Then we went to the show, which was Cirque du Soleil's R-rated Zumanity show, and I won't go into a lot of detail, but it was really an incredible show. I would see it again in a second. I think it was that moment that I understood that Las Vegas isn't about gambling any more. I would like to return some day for a three-day visit, stay at a hotel, take in a couple shows (definitely another Cirque show), not do any gambling whatsoever, and consider that a great time :)
Speaking of gambling, earlier that day I went to get the gambling out of the way. I put $20 into a quarter-slot Wheel of Fortune machine in the Palace Casino, determined to play until it was all gone. As it happened, I got my total up to just under $125 before I played back down to $80. I cashed my sixty-dollar profit, and I ended up spending the rest of that sixty dollars in slot machines the rest of the vacation. So I broke even in Vegas, which was good enough for me.
Anyway, once the show was over, the four of us went back to our hotel rooms and crashed. The next day would be Summer's real introduction to the Strip, and a chance for the rest of us to see some things we'd missed.