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SUNDAY, June 29, 2003:
Got up relatively late.
Made a couple more attempts to get into see the Othercon art, and still couldn't.
Went down into Penn Station to the Krispy Kreme store. Now, the thing is I've gotten Krispy Kreme's at a bunch of different places (Dodger Stadium, in particular). But I've never been to an actual Krispy Kreme store where I got their full line-up of donuts to choose from. I restrained myself and only bought and ate three. (And you wonder why I put on 11 pounds over a two week vacation.)
Speaking of sweet treats... PEANUT M&M'S. All weekend long, various different people walked up to me and kept handing me little bags of Peanut M&M's. I happen to really like Peanut M&M's so I was fine with the thing. But it started to get a little weird. Particularly when I left the judges table Saturday night with Vic and Thom to make our costuming picks, only to come back and find a huge pile of those little yellow bags on the table. (We gave them out as prizes for the costume/cosplay contest.) It's not like I minded, but I was pretty stumped as to who or what was behind it all. Eventually, Kathy Pogge revealed herself as the culprit. Seemed I had made one offhand comment at some point about how I was more of a peanut M&M guy than a regular M&M guy. And she ran with it. Hey, free food. I won't complain!
Anyway, after Krispy Kreme I headed up to Auction and Signing. Not many autographs to sign. I guess most people have my signature already. It was nice to see the materials for my Team Atlantis episode "THE LAST" (copies of my director's script, the Demona redesign, the audio-tape of the cast recording and the partial storyboard) all go for a whopping $740 to IRC GOLIATH.
But then it was time for Vic and I to take the elevator down for our last panel.
Speaking of elevators, it seemed odd at first that most of the elevators had t.v. sets playing CNN non-stop. Except that by the end of the weekend, if I got into one of the elevators that didn't, it really felt like something was missing. I'll never forget where I was when I learned that Katharine (note the spelling) Hepburn had died. In an elevator, watching CNN.
Anyway I finally got down to see the Othercon art. A bunch of people, Hudson in particular, watched me watch the art. Having an audience, while being an observer, was a little strange. I think they thought my head was supposed to explode or something. But I just thought it was pretty cool. I smiled and moved on. They all seemed very disappointed.
Next was the Team Atlantis panel. We showed the materials that Seth had just won in the auction and I played the tape of "THE LAST" which went over very well. I'm bummed that Disney never made the series and that episode, giving you guys another shot at seeing Demona on the screen. But I'm glad we at least got as far as recording the episode, so that I have a radio play to add to my opening ceremonies tapes every year. We also showed some clips from the new Atlantis DVD, featuring many garg voice actors, including Tom Wilson, Clancy Brown and Morgan Shepherd as a guy who thinks he's Odin.
Back upstairs for Closing Ceremonies, which is always bittersweet. I gave one last speech, trying to rouse the crowd to register for G2004. The new staff, by the way, is already in high gear. Montreal is going to be great. You don't want to miss it.
But I think my speech was just so-so. I remember the fire&brimstone thing I did in Florida to try and sell G2001 in L.A. I think I had the whole crowd on their feet that day. Sometimes you just can't recapture the magic.
But I'm amazed at how often you can. I think that's one of the many, many reasons why the Gathering is so fun for me every year. (Of course 72 hours of non-stop adulation might have something to do with it too.)
I said good-bye to some people. The auction restarted. No one had bid on my kids' painted ceramics. (Though they shared third place in the 3-D category.) So I tossed their pieces in with mine at the charity auction. I think Uriel picked them all up for about $40. I was grateful that someone wanted them. But this may not have been my most intelligent charitable contribution. It cost me $70 to make the things. Plus I had to give each kid $5 as their "profit". So next time, maybe I'll just hand the con $40 instead of trying to be so creative. They'll make more and I'll lose less. We also auctioned off a signed Atlantis poster, and scripts from "The Journey" and "The Reckoning". But I don't remember what they sold for.
Somewhere in here, I missed saying goodbye to Thom. So I said goodbye to Vic instead, even though he wasn't actually leaving NYC for another day.
Next up was our school field trip. There were 27 of us total, including myself, Kathy, Patrick, Kelly, Liz, Sean, Montreal Rob, Leo, BrooklynMagus, Mandi, Sarah, Erik, Dylan, Wingless, Seth, Ayami, Ethan, BiZZ and... and... well, more.
I was very concerned about someone getting lost, so I was constantly counting heads. A nightmare.
We stopped first at Ground Zero. I'd love to say I was blown away. But to be honest, I felt so distant from the place most of the time. I think it's too immense. And it looks too much (now) like a construction site. Plus so much is gone, I couldn't get my bearings. Couldn't picture what I remembered. It was so unreal, I guess. I think I was more effected by the effect it had on BrooklynMagus than the effect it had on me.
Back on the subway then, the 27 of headed for Coney Island. We arrived and split up, agreeing to meet back at 10pm to find out who wanted to stay and who wanted to go. I immediately knew I'd be wanting to go at 10pm. (I must really be getting old.) It just occured to me that I'd rather spend those hours hanging out and talking than spinning around on the kinds of rides I could go on at any county fair.
But Kathy and Patrick and Wingless and Seth and I tried to hit the things that really made Coney Island special, i.e. the original Nathans, the Cyclone and the AstroTower. Missed out on the Ferris Wheel, which I only realized after the fact was unique. We took a walk down the boardwalk and then met up with everyone. Miraculously, all 27 people showed up and all wanted to go. So we did.
Made our way back to the hotel. I did a final headcount and we scattered. A bunch of people joined me on my pancake hunt, but all I can say is "City that never sleeps, my foot!" Places were closed or closing right and left. We couldn't find a diner. We couldn't even find an ice cream parlor. Finally, we found an open ice cream place deep below Penn Station in the Labyrinth. Well, actually near the LIRR. After sheparding 27 people all night long, it seemed for a good long five minutes that we had lost Kathy somewhere underground. But she showed up with Popeye's chicken in hand. I was inclined to be cross until she offered to share. (I'm such a food whore.)
We all wanted to drop stuff off in our rooms and then hang out. So we agreed to meet in the Consuite in ten minutes. I was there, right outside the door, when Mandi came out. She needed a drug store and no one would go with her, so she and I went on a trek to a 24 hour pharmacy that made the Pancake hunt look like child's play. By the time I got back to the consuite, most of the people I had agreed to meet up with weren't there. Those present were quietly focused on some anime. Wasn't in the mood, so I headed off to bed. Not a big deal, but I do want everyone to know that I didn't blow you off on purpose.
TUNE IN TOMORROW FOR GREG'S FURTHER ADVENTURES IN THE CITY THAT SEEMS TO SLEEP A LITTLE...