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So, here was Matt, enjoying his evening, finishing up dinner and dishes and about to settle down to a good book before bedtime when alas he decides to peak into the Comment Room and realizes the Ask Greg queue closes in mere hours (so he gathers) and he has forgotten to post his 2007 Gathering Journal!!!
So in a mad rush to finish he begins to type. Without further ado...
After barely arranging to get Friday off work and saying the goodbyes to my Jason (the boyfriend who will probably attend G '08 with me) I hit the road around 5 AM CT. It had been a while since I had a nice road trip and there is always that fun feeling about leaving when it is still dark outside. Long (and boring) story short, I arrived in the town of Pigeon Forge at about 3:15 PM ET. My first impression of the town was that it seemed to be brimming with traffic and pancake houses. I was relieved to discover the hotel without incident (aside from the aforementioned traffic) and checked in. I quickly found my room, threw down my stuff and made my way to the convention area. I found it a good sign that right after checking in at the Staff table, I ran back to my room to leave some stuff there and on my way back ran into Greg Weisman himself. I was amazed that Greg seemed to remember me by face alone (or maybe he read my badge, but he seemed like he knew me). I wish I had his talent of face/name recognition. I'd only met him once before briefly in 2002. Anyway, Greg tried to convince me to try out for the Radio Play. I had considered it for months, but I greatly enjoy listening to the production so I opted out. Perhaps next year. I'll think about it. Greg seemed in a hurry for something and I made my way back to the art room/dealer's room area. On the way I ran into Harvester of Eyes. We hadn't met before and chatted about Putt-Putt golf a bit and how he dislikes it and then I finally made it back to the main convention room. As I was looking around the wares, I noticed one space left on the sign up sheet for Mug-A-Guest with Greg and I eagerly signed up. I went to examine the art, which was naturally quite good. There were a few really fun pieces, kudos to those who submitted art. I was happily surprised to see a few sample pages for Issue #5. I felt almost guilty seeing Brook's costume, Dr. Sato and Mary and Finella. Of course, at the time I didn't know that I was going to soon learn much more about Issue #5. Ran into Greg X and chatted about the comics, the Comment Room and other silliness for a bit.
The time for Opening Ceremonies came around and I eagerly found a good seat... of course, not long afterwards I found myself sitting on the floor. It was all very kindergarten story/naptime-esque.
I don't care how many times Greg has been through the Opening Ceremonies stuff, I loved seeing and hearing it all. However, I guess Greg felt that he needed to add something new to the routine, so he proceeded to destroy the hotel podium to the delight and amusement of the con-goers .
After the end of Opening Ceremonies, I was famished and made my way to dinner at Shoney's across the street. I went back to my room and laid on the bed and enjoyed that "I'm on vacation" feeling for a while and then, feeling fat, went swimming to burn off the Shoney's. Exhausted, I went back to the room and passed out.
Slept pretty late. Reveled in the feeling of not waking up to an alarm. Took my time getting ready and went down to the complimentary breakfast. Finding no fruit in sight, I shrugged and gorged on biscuits and gravy like I hadn't done in years. Vacation, right?
I made my way back to the con and attended the "Fan to Pro" panel with Karine (and Samuel). I felt guilty again when Karine accidently let slip Quincy's name, but that was nothing compared to later. Anyway, the panel was great, I really enjoyed listening to Karine and there were some great questions. Even though I'm not much of an artist, it was fun. After that I had the Mug with Greg. This was a lot of fun and it really made me realize why the Gathering is so great. When a group of people can sit in an (ever growing) circle (in person!) and chat about Gargoyles, it makes me feel a great sense of community which is only faintly felt via the internet community. Somehow Greg revealed to us that the Jogger is Billy and Susan's uncle. Not sure how we got that out of him, but I thought it was a neat tidbit.
After the Mug, I decided I needed/wanted a walk so I wandered down to Taco Bell for lunch and ended up counteracting the purpose for the walk there when I got a big ole quesadilla thing... ugh, I ate too much on this trip.
I waddled back to the hotel with enough time to get a great seat for the Radio Play. Wow, that was fun. To have brand new canon material revealed to us as a big group like that was just awesome. Something I haven't felt since I was watching the episodes as the came out 11 years ago with grade school friends and talking about them at school. So much fun. Thom Adcox was hilarious as Brentwood (great casting there, ha!), but I was also impressed by a lot of other people, namely Phoenix-Talon as Elisa. Honestly, I can't read the line "I'm a part of this clan. Nothing will ever change that." without hearing Phoenix-Talon. I should be hearing Salli Richardson, I know, but her Radio Play counterpart deserves a round of applause. Great job.
After the Radio Play I congratulated Greg on a great job and then excused myself to call my friend Ryan (another Gargoyles fan who couldn't attend due to med-school) and told him exactly nothing except that I heard the script for Issue #5. He was good about it, but I couldn't stop gushing about how great it was so I decided to spare him (and spot tempting myself) and just get back to the convention. [On a side note, I happened to witness the most interesting scenario involving a baby duck and a fisherman in the stream behind the hotel during this phone conversation. But that, as they say, is a story for another day...]
I went back and made my way to MGT3K, which was one of my favorite events at G'02. Had a lot of fun making fun of the episodes (and Greg's intros for the eps). I truly do feel, however, that the Goliath Chronicles was made for MGT3K, and hope to see TGC in that (and only that) venue at future Gatherings.
Next came the Blue Mug. Never attended that before and I was not disappointed. Goliath's genitalia, Thom Adcox removing his pants and humping a fan (separate incidents of course), and lots of pornographic Gargoyles art and video clips. And I hear this was a MILD year. Yikes. Lot of fun though. I didn't want to miss a minute of it so I remained even though I was very sleepy. Found myself attempting to flirt with Thom from across the room (can't help it, he's cute) but nothing came of that (truly for the best) and after the Mug broke up, I went back to my room to sleep. Instead, on a whim, I jumped in the pool and swam around until the thought of swimming in the dark had me totally freaked out ( I was actually getting "the shivers" imagining monsters below me in the darkness). Well aware of my exhaustion, I went to my room and slept.
Woke up early and got things packed up. I needed to be on the road asap, cuz I had to get back home for stuff on Monday.
Fortunately, I had time for a quick breakfast at that Rooster pace next door. Finally had some fruit for breakfast, although the restaurant insisted on immersing it in some sort of sugary fruit syrup. Went back to the con and listened to a couple of the open-story stuff. Some people had some pretty good stuff, and the stillness of the room and the singular voice was refreshing after the Blue Mug the night before.
Next attended a panel I'd been waiting for all weekend; Gargoyles Physiology and Culture. Though I certainly disagreed with a lot of the ideas floating around that panel (especially involving Gargate evolution), I had a great time. It was nice to actually be able to have that conversation outside of the Comment Room. And we all agreed, for various reasons, that gargoyle eggs do in fact need to be turned. I felt that this consensus, minor though it was, was a good place for us to move to the culture part of the panel. I was surprised that I ended up enjoying this part of the panel even more. Greg really inspires me when he talks about Gargoyle culture. It really was fascinating and wonderful stuff, and Greg explained his thoughts so well. It made me feel I got a glimpse, for a moment, into that universe Greg is always tapping into.
After the panel, most of us moved on to the "Bad Guys" panel. Turned out that Greg, naturally, wasn't ready to reveal much there and the panel turned into a Marketing seminar. Not much I can say about that that others have not already.
After the so called "Bad Guys" panel ended, I realized I needed to hit the road. I said my goodbyes to Greg and a few others and made my way back home. I arrived in my apartment in St. Louis very very late Sunday night (Monday morning?).
It was a great trip and I'm thrilled that the Gathering next year will be even closer! Hopefully, I'll be able to bring my friend Ryan and boyfriend Jason along next year, but I know I'll be there at least.
Now, I need to get this posted before the queue closes again.
Thanks Greg, Thom, Karine, the entire Gathering Staff and everyone who came! It was a lot of fun!
Thank you, Matt. I'll admit I did cheat and glanced at your nametag, but now I swear I know your face. (It usually takes me a couple of Gatherings to nail a name and face together on anyone.)
I really enjoyed the Phys/Culture panel also. I'm such a science moron, it felt like a great crypto-education. And, as I'm sure ALL of you know by now, I LOVE talking about this stuff.