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Gathering Journal - Monday, June 25, 2007
Got up a bit earlier than the previous days, so I could take advantage of the "all-you-can-eat" pancakes coupon I was provided. It turned out "all-you-can-eat" wound up being four. But they were tasty and filling indeed.
My next stop was the auction, in which many delightful items were offered, although much of the early bidding seemed a smidge subdued. I only bid on one item, as most of the items I wanted moved out of my range. I was tempted by a few items in particular - a Phoenix Gate medallion, and the promo posters for the Gargoyles trade paperback and the first issue of Bad Guys.
As the auction ended, it seemed no one had anything in particular to do until closing ceremonies (save Greg, who went off to work), so most of us hung around chatting. (I had some nice conversation bits with Greg B., Fan and Kathy Pogge, myself.) While I'd already signed up for G2K8, I decided to take the opportunity to snag a promotional shirt, which I may be wearing to an upcoming convention (although, it was suggested I write the URL for the Gathering site on there first - my fannish loyalty is conflicting with my collector's instincts there). As closing ceremonies neared, Hudson took over the microphone for a pseudo-rant; after a bit, I ducked out to my room until the actual closing ceremonies were due to begin.
The ceremonies - as usual - felt very much like a cool-down; which, of course, they essentially are. Various thank yous, and well-deserved applause, and awards were distributed. But the original post-ceremonies plan - a visit to Dollywood - was nipped in the bud by a brief but notable downpour. So new plans were made to head to a local laser tag parlor for a game.
A group of 20 people, including Greg W., Greg B., Hudson, Chloe, GSide, King Cobra, Vid the Kid, Kathy Pogge, Halloweenking, Brant Wells, IRC Goliath, myself and several others headed to Ultrazone. We were split into two groups of 10, and while we waited our turn, another ferocious air hockey competition got underway with Greg and company. Me, I decided to play some skeeball and practice my shooting before I headed in.
The actual game itself was awesome - very atmospheric, with lots of cover and sniper positions, and a mist that doubled as concealment and a means for the lasers to become visible. In something that seems unusual for laser tag, this was a free-for-all match, where everyone was out for themselves. My group included Greg W., Greg B., GSide, Kathy Pogge, Halloweenking, and three non-Gargoyles fans: a mother and her two young kids (who, unlike everyone else, worked as a team). I'd only played one game of laser tag before this, and this vastly surpassed that game - I had great fun, and I suspect others were as well, judging from the smiles. To my vast surprise, I won the game, earning the most points if not the highest accuracy (my codename: "Super Nova").
However, the exertion of the game immediately sent Greg W.'s group out for some drinks at the Walgreens, where we encountered a clerk who was also a fan of the show. (999 to go, as one said.) Greg decided he wanted to seek out a Baskin-Robbins a good ways down the street, in the expectation that we'd all be hungry enough by then for dinner. At that point, the other group of ten, who were nearly left behind, caught up. We settled on a BBQ place called Corky's, where our group's size left the staff a bit stunned at first. Split between two tables, I sat nearest to, and chatted the most with, Brant Wells and friend (whose name I missed, sorry!), Vid the Kid, King Cobra, Halloweenking and GSide. My dinner was a delicious hickory burger.
Our ice-cream plans were scrapped when Greg W.'s table got dessert following their dinner. Heading back, I nearly went with Hudson's go-kart-seeking group, before deciding to go back to the hotel instead. We said our goodbyes to Greg W. and one another, and went our separate ways. To me, these moments felt like the true end of the Gathering 2007.
I found ways to kill the time - namely, a visit to the nearby Book Warehouse for some, well, books, as well as a road atlas. Also snagged some dessert - a moon pie and an ice cream sandwich - and coordinated the return trip with my dad (who suggested an alternate route home through Harper's Ferry) and Greg B. (while we watched a rather odd episode of South Park). Packed my bags, and prepared for an early day Tuesday...
Bittersweet, I know...