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Okay, I'm finally sitting down and writing this, listening to Sarah Harmer and Great Big Sea on the CD player, making a conscious decision that I'd rather do this instead of writing my Master's thesis. "Gargoyles" has already scored me a fiancee and a passion for writing, so if the show screws up my degree for me, I'll consider the score even. (It's not much of a sacrifice, though - write a Gathering journal or write about garlic compounds deactivating enzymes? Hmm…Gathering. Definitely Gathering.
THURSDAY, JUNE 26th
My trip actually started late - I had to go to school and finish up some microsome incubations, which involves taking poisonous solvents and mixing them with tiny little flecks of protein from pieces of human lungs. I kid you not. I am Anton Sevarius in embryo. But it wasn't just that; I skipped off on the weird science early to go home and do laundry and then get my money changed to American dollars, and then, after grabbing the requisite cup of Tim Hortons' coffee (medium with milk, not quite the Canadian double-double institiution but it was close enough) and then drove to Ottawa to spend the night at Wingless' place. It was a fairly uneventful night, as all we really did was plot our route and reassure Wingless' parents that yes, I was a capable driver and yes, we knew how to get to the bus station to pick up Laine, and no, we really didn't want food because we'd already had supper. I finally got to sleep at midnight for a four-hour nap.
FRIDAY, JUNE 27th
Up at 4 a.m. through the miracle of circadian rhythms - the alarm clock of course fails to go off, just a harbinger of mechanical problems to come, but otherwise nothing more than annoyance. We got to the bus station at about 5:30 to pick up Laine, who'd arrived on the bus from London at 4 and was quite cheerful for having waited in a bus station in Ottawa for an hour and a half. Finally we left Ottawa and took off for Brockville (and yes, we stopped for Tim Hortons' - when you leave Canada, you have to have their coffee, because it's going to be a while before you can partake of such an institution again.) We got our birth certificates and passports out, and crossed the border at the Thousand Islands bridge near Brockville.
Now, no offense to America, and I do realize that things are a bit touchy with homeland security, but I hate crossing the border into your country. Hate it. Your border guards are all cranky and as soon as you mention you're going to a sci-fi/fantasy convention, you're screwed. I still bear the scars of crossing at Sarnia last year to go to BotCon. However, to my surprise, this guard was nice, and even expressed a bit of bemused wonder at the fact that people were going all the way form Ottawa to New York to talk about gargoyles. "They have a convention about that?" he asked, but it was a nice tone of voice, the sort that you know he's going to laugh at you for being a geek as soon as your back is turned, but he was friendly enough, and off we went to the heart of a foreign land. Laine slept a lot, and Wingless patiently put up with me switching the radio station every few minutes, though he did sometimes make me pause whenever he heard a nice oldies song that he liked. The true Canadian spirit of compromise.
The rest of the trip was mostly uneventful, though we did get lost in Scranton, Pennsylvania and found ourselves lost in a pleasantly scary sort of town with white houses and little statuettes of Elvis and the Virgin Mary on every front lawn. But we eventually made our way to New Jersey, where we promptly missed an exit and then missed the Lincoln Tunnel. I blamed it on the newness of driving on the New Jersey Turnpike, though I might have done better if I'd not been peering at the Manhattan skyline through the window instead of the highway signs. But make it we did - into the Lincoln Tunnel and into the hell of traffic in midtown Manhattan.
Why are there lanes on the streets in Manhattan? No one ever uses them. I have no idea how seven lanes of traffic can fit on a street that's clearly marked with four lanes, but somehow, Manhattan managed. I knew it was the greatest city in the world, but I had no idea that the mathematically impossible was commonplace here. But you know what? I figured it out, and soon we were driving around like pros. I even cut off a New York City taxi cab and lived to tell the tale. That was when I knew that I belonged, when some guy in a cab behind me was shaking his fists and yelling incomprehensible curse words. I wonder if that's how Peter Jennings feels, driving to work every day.
We got the car taken care of - I should mention that we drove Stormy's car, so leaving it in the care of the valet was a bit of a worry, but we decided to let it go. So in we went to the hotel, and we started looking around for the well-hidden registration desk. We got our stuff safely stowed in consuite until we found our roommates, and soon I had met Chyna Rose, Kellie and Stephen Sobotka, who were kind enough to give me a place to stay for the weekend. After a brief settling-in period, I started wandering around, looking for unfamiliar faces with recognizeable nametags. I ended up in the banquet room for a panel on myths and history being given by Kathy Pogge, Lynati, Batya and Greg Bishansky, who all had very intriguing thinsg to say. I raised my hand to offer a comment and Kathy asked me who I was.
"Oh, hi, I'm Dylan Blacquiere."
They clapped for me. I sort of wondered why nice things like that didn't happen at school, but it was flattering beyond words and that was when I knew that I was going to have a good time at this convention. I know that sounds cocky, and I would have had a good time if they'd booed and thrown pencils at me, but still…
The rest of the afternoon was meet-and-greet, and I got to talk to Lynati, Greg Bishansky, Batya, Constance, Kathy, Patrick Toman, Spacebabie, Mooncat, Princess Alexandria, A Fan, Brooklyn Magus, Gorebash, Guandalug and quite a few others who I'd been looking forward to meeting for a long, long time. It really was like meeting old friends, and I don't think I've ever felt quite as much at home amongst a group of "strangers" before. I got to check out the art rooms, too, and there I met Ellen Stolfa, and I swear to every God that my heart must have leapt up to my nasopharynx, because she just gave off this incredible, radiant aura of joy at being there and when I hugged her, I felt a bit of it wash over onto me. We had a wonderful introduction, and when I left to get cleaned up for the opening ceremonies, I really do think I was floating towards the elevator.
I met more people at Opening Ceremonies, too…Mara and Aaron and the rest of constaff, Sarah the Great, Revel, Siryn, IRC Goliath and so many others that the names are just running together in this haze of fond memory and reminisence. And then we went in and I first saw Greg Weisman, Thom Adcox and Vic Cook, who looked vaguely surprised that things were still happening seven years after the first Gathering but still put on one heck of a show. All the old stories were new for me, as I'd never heard them, and I got to see the original pitches and the Bad Guys reel and all of those treasures for the first time. I thought they were great and I had a wonderful time sharing in the excitement and anticipation of the Gathering. I even got a few people who came up to me and asked questions about writing, and that was grand fun.
After that, before the OtherCon round robin panel, Kellie and Chyna Rose took me across the street for Sbarro and we got pizza and I bought a beer. I did not go into Rick Mercer "Talking to Americans" mode, though I was tempted, and I was grateful for getting my first taste of New York outside the hotel. We went to the OtherCon Round Robin, hosted by Mooncat, who got us going on a scenario involving Owen Burnett and Maria Chavez. I met more people here, like Diamond Debbie, and while I spent a lot of time in a futile attempt trying to get the bottle cap off of the Corona (I never did succeed and I left it in the hotel room fridge and as far as I know, it sits there still) I also had a great time. I also earned a nickname, which I will not share here, but it involves a word that I used in my contribution for the round robin that starts with the letter "c". And to think, I used to be considered an innocent. Then we went for a walk, all the way up Sixth Avenue to Times Square, where I betrayed my roots as a small-town Prince Edward Islander by looking up instead of forward and almost knocking over a few of the natives. Even now I still treasure the fact that on midnight on a Friday night, while all of my friends from school were sitting on the Margaritaville patio in Kingston listening to waiters from the Lone Star introduce themselves as "Rustler" and "Chuckwagon", I was standing in Times Square.
I was standing in Times Square.
Wow. I wish I could tell my parents, but they still think that I was in Ottawa, visiting friends for the Canada Day celebrations. I'm such a liar.
After that, we went to the OtherCon mug-a-guest, where I met Allaine and was present for "the revelation", which I thought made sense. I also tried to ask a question, one that I knew had been asked countless times before, but I just wanted to get my voice in the room. It was something about where gargoyles fit on the taxonomic tree, and Greg said, of course, that he didn't really know. (I also suggested that if Lexington wanted to get married he could move to Toronto now, and Thom thought that was pretty funny). Like everyone else, we finally got kicked out at 2 a.m. and I went back to my room, feeling the pleasant glow of my first night among so many friends. Or maybe it was the couch I was sleeping on. Whatever it was, I did manage to get a good night's sleep.
SATURDAY, JUNE 28th
Nathan's is expensive, and the hash browns were weird - not what I was used to at all. But it was still a nice breakfast with my roommates, writers all, and I got those first cups of oh-so-precious coffee into me that gave me the strength to go across the street and peek around at Penn Station and the accompanying K-Mart with Kellie and ChynaRose. You still have K-Mart in the States. That's so cool. I also got a chance to see Greg Weisman near the London Suite, where I thanked him for indirectly getting Stormy and I together. He told me that he was surprised how many couples get together because of Gargoyles. None of us knew that another one would be entwining during the course of this year's Gathering, of course, but now part of me is wondering if some year a bidding group won't try to sell their Gathering bid on a mass wedding ceremony to be held at the masquerade.
My morning, however, was geared towards the coffee meeting in front of City Perk in the lobby, where Patrick and Allaine and Ellen and I were meeting to discuss the upcoming panel on creating memorable characters. It was a great conversation (with more coffee) and we managed to come up with good discussion points that we hoped wouldn't be given to empty air, since our panel was opposite the TGS discussion. But we actually had a good turnout with lots of interested, interesting people. Not only that, but Ellen, Patrick and Allaine made the panel seem like a discussion among friends, and I think that I had my best time sitting in the London Suite, just talking about writing and characterization with people I admire and others who were as interested and intrigued about creating people as I was. It's things like that panel that make me realize how much I love crafting things with words. Writers really are my favourite people, and spending any amount of time hanging around with them and talking about it is always a treasure.
After that, I stayed in London Suite where I took part in Kathy's "Three Scenarios in Search of a Plot" workshop, where I wrote a scenario that had seems bizarre now but at the time, having Brooklyn crack jokes about beaver dams in bathtubs to a Quarrymen with buck teeth seemed perfectly reasonable. I had a great time here, too - it was a great way to stay sharp, and hey, when am I gonna pass up a chance to scribble stuff? I also met a very nice girl who wrote her scenarios in storyboard form, and she wanted me to have them because she liked my writing. I kept them, and they're in my apartment right now, one of the many souvenirs I kept.
Right after that was the Crossover panel that I was giving with Lynati and Norcumi, and that, again, was excellent fun, though at the start I was surprised to see Princess Alexandria in the room. "I didn't know you wrote crossovers," I said.
"Oh, I don't," she replied. "I just want to hear you say 'aboot' again."
The panel went fine, and after that, I went to soak up conversations with friends, since almost five hours in London Suite was starting to get me itchy for socializing. I went to ConSuite where people were filking songs, and Laine and I played a couple of songs on the tin whistle and bodhran. We are so having a kitchen party next year in Montreal.
The radio play was fun, too - I didn't audition, mostly because I didn't think that my accent would let me score a part, but it was still a treat to watch. Claw stole the show. True artistry.
While we waited for the banquet to start, I went to look around the art room some more, where for a while I got insnaely jealous because I can't draw stick men, but I also got to look at some truly wonderful artwork by some incredibly talented artists. At the banquet I sort of wandered up to Nichelle Nichols and shook her hand as she walked in. She was incredibly gracious, and gave off an air of serenity and patience, though I think part of it was the fact that this, not being a Star Trek convention, meant that people wouldn't come up to her and ask her to page Starfleet over subspace channels "just for them". I sat with Kathy and Wingless and Guandalug and Seth and Duncan, and we enjoyed our meal tremendously (though the Caesar salad was a bit too strong, I found, but hey, if that's all there is to complain about…) Nichelle gave gracious answers to many questions, and the passion and artistry she gave off when talking about stage performances, well holy Jeez. Amazing woman. I was glad I got the chance to eat a lemon meringue tart in the same room as she. And I got more coffee, too.
I didn't get dressed up for the Masquerade, and I sort of regret that - next year, if I can dye my hair blond and my skin green and somehow make wings, I'm going as Bonavista. But there were so many great costumes, and I got to sit and enjoy them with Lynati and Mara and the rest of constaff, who were just a sheer joy to hang around with. Revel as Vinnie was my favourite, I have to admit…there's something about "whoa" that just conveys so much depth and emotion, even more than John Travolta would ever be capable of. Awesome, Revel. The rest of the masquerade seemed to flash by, with the art awards and the souvenir shirts - I got a hoodie, and I wore it all night afterward, I liked it so much. I got Mardi Gras beads from a very nice person dressed as Gruoch, I saw Thom Adcox give the ritual Dropping-of-the-Pants, and later on he made fun of my accent too. I got to have a nice chat with him and Greg, and I found out that Thom had done some work in a tarvelling show across Canada a few years back. He said he's always liked the country. I think he'll enjoy Montreal.
After the masquerade, I stayed for the start of the Rocky Horror showing - I got the letter V written on my forehead with lipstick and I won the contest for all of the Rocky Horror virgins, though again, I think I'll leave that to the imagination. However, I skipped off before the movie started, as I finally got the chance to go out with Ellen Stolfa for a beer and conversation. It took us a while to find a place, and when we did, it was a dive Irish pub just across the street, but it was still wonderful. I like Irish pubs better than most bars anyway - never found one that's steered me wrong yet.
And here was where the magic happened.
Oh, of course that's hyperbole, because it was two friends talking over drinks and occasionally cursing when the Chicago Cubs lost ponts to the Boston Red Sox on the baseball game tuned in on the TV over the bar, but on the other hand, this was what I had come to New York for. Meeting friends. Maybe this will dismay the constaff, who did a wonderful job in the art room and the auction and all the rest, but in the end, the Gathering is, to me, about Gathering with friends, and doing so with a person and friend that I admire so much just seemed to encapsulate the whole experience right there. We talked about Chicago, we talked about classical music. We talked about September 11th and what it had meant to both of us. We talked about writing and we talked about nonsense and it was just so wonderful that I'm babbling about it and I know but I really can't help it. Just a conversation among friends, in the end, but at the same time, it felt more real than any conversation I'd ever had with any of my friends from school in bars or anywhere else. I will treasure that beer and that hour and a half beyond anything else that weekend, which is not to say anything bad about the rest of the Gathering, but that's just the honest truth. Ellen, thank you.
It wasn't over then, of course - we went back to the hotel and had another writing conversation with Mandy Ohlin till well nigh 3 in the morning, and then we ducked down to Mooncat's room and talked with she, Princess Alexandria, Allaine and the Bizz for a while longer. And then I crashed, said my good nights, and went to bed, where I drifted off to sleep feeling more connected with everyone at the Gathering than ever before.
SUNDAY, JUNE 29th
I was sort of dreading this day, because so many of my friends were leaving, but I still managed to have a good time all the same. I went for a walk with Kellie and shared breakfast with her, and then wandered around through the last events of the Gathering. I checked out the auction for a while, and then went to the Team Atlantis panel with Greg. I had no idea what Team Atlantis even was, so I was going in completely cold, but still, seeing the storyboards and hearing the tape of the cast reading of "The Last" was still a great experience. I never was too fussy on Atlantis, to be honest, and hearing Demona invoke a magic spell just before Milo Thatch screams "Jiminy Christmas!!" will never strike me as the most congruent moments of storytelling, but it was still fun.
The closing ceremonies were sad - I didn't want to see the Gathering end, though I did finally get the chance to sit down and talk with a few people I'd missed, like Leo and Flanker and Arno and Robert. I also somehow managed to win the raffle ticket for free registration to next year's Gathering in Montreal, how about that? It's like winning the 50/50 at the hockey rink, only much cooler. I think I will always remember some of the room clapping and cheering when I went up front to have the ticket checked. It was almost as if people were actually happy that I was going to Montreal. Well, good news - I paid twenty bucks anyway and signed up Stormy to come with me, so next year you get to meet us together. Nous penserons que le Gathering 2004 sera tres, tres, bien. If that's wrong, I'm sorry - my French is Acadian, so I plead cultural assimilation. I clapped till my hands were sore, I bought the picture that Revel had drawn of Whitbourne getting Lexington drunk to win at a hand of poker. And then, when I could postpone it no longer, I managed to somehow say farewell to Ellen and Allaine and Kelly and all the others who had to go, and then I set about trying to find a place to stow my swag for the night so that we could stay one more night in Manhattan. And I did, and so a whole crowd of us met in the lobby with Greg Weisman (who looked and acted for all the world like he had not expected his time as a writer for television to lead him to a career as a tour guide-cum-babysitter for straggling Gargoyles fans who threatened to get lost on the subway at every turn.
I went with Mandy Ohlin, and we ended up in a crowd with Princess Alexandria, Mooncat, Leo, Brooklyn Magus and a few others as we took in the sights, both of the subway system and Coney Island. Once I figured out the turnstiles, all was well, and we first stopped at Ground Zero to pay our respects.
This is sort of hard, because I came there with the perspective of someone who knew he was very much the outsider. I've never been to New York, so I've never seen the Twin Towers standing there, and on September 11th all of my news was coming to me through the radio so I didn't see the television signals and pictures that everyone else couldn't stop watching until much later. It's been mostly cleaned up - the site looks like a construction zone, as though something's being built instead of having been cleared away. Yet at the same time, its impossible not to feel the echo of the towers. You can't help but feel, looking at this empty space, that there should be something there, and your eyes are drawn upward in a reflexive motion as you try to imagine how the outlines of the towers looked, how they must have blotted out the sun and dominated the cityscape. And then it hits you, the enormity of what happened here, and you just can't help but feel this slow yet overpowering sadness that just fills you up, right to the brim. People died here, you think. The world changed here. And you feel guilty for lingering, because it is a memorial site, but at the same time, you can't help but tear yourself away.
Part of me wondered if it was appropriate to have a good time at Coney Island after this, but the more I think about it, the more it seems that the only way to fight such sadness is to revel in the simple pleasures of life that come after. So we left Ground Zero behind us to rejoin the world beyond, but at the same time, that place never really leaves you.
When we got to Coney Island, people were clearly in the mood for some fun, so off we went to pay good money for the priviledge of riding vomit-inducing roller coasters and eating greasy midway food, and I miss the place obscenely. It's like a cheesy parody of a midway, and you can tell that its glory days are behind it, but at the same time, it's filled with nothing but pleasure and fun and amusement and it's impossible not to have a good time. We went on the Cyclone twice, and I just about got thrown out of the back seat. Dislocated ribs? Pfft. I went again. We also went on a fruitless quest to find the funhouse from "The Reckoning". I asked Greg which one it was.
"I don't know. Maybe Demona and Fang wrecked it," Greg said. He sounded vaguely bored. "I don't really know which one it was. I didn't have anything to do with the artwork."
So we went to Dante's Inferno, which seemed like it might have been the one. Never, never go into a funhouse where the ticket booth warns you that no refunds will be given. Mooncat and I shared a car and we went through an irritating darkness where plastic witches and vampires jumped out from coffins lit haphazardly with strobe lights. I don't know what was scarier - that a door in the place almost cracked me in the elbow, or that we saw a woman cowering in her boyfriends arms when they got out of the car. Oh well. You can't go to a midway without blowing away money on at least one crappy ride, and hey, it was Coney Island.
We went on the Ferris wheel, we went on the Zipper and almost got concussions from the change falling out of our pockets. We played skee-ball and won tickets that we blew on happy-face mini-frisbees that we all signed, and that disk is still in my souvenirs pile as well. We ate midway food and watched breakdancers who didn't seem to know that the 80's were over. And Wingless threw a water bottle at me; he claims to have been startled by a moth, but really I think he's just violent beneath his pleasant, friendly exterior. And then we went back to the hotel, where I wandered up to ConSuite and watched Cowboy Bebop for a while before surrendering to the lack of sleep and going to bed, my last night in New York City.
MONDAY, JUNE 30th
A detour is not supposed to be that complex a thing, yet somehow, in going out to grab a bagel for breakfast, I ended up on the observation deck of the Empire State Building. I looked at the buildings from up on high, considered myself satisfied, and then went back down. It's the sort of thing that my dad would do, so I did my filial duty by playing tourist.
Monday was spent packing and getting ready to go home. I said my farewells to all of the others, and Wingless and Laine and I began the process of getting the car back and leaving Manhattan.
Cue the ominious Hitchcock music.
I should have figured something was up when the security system on Stormy's car started frigging up, but we eventually got it to work and made it out of Manhattan and into New Jersey. We stopped for lunch and started heading west on I-80, and then we stopped for gas at a dinky little town where the attendant yelled at me for trying to pay with exact change. We got back on the highway and noticed that the radio was buzzing and that the electrical systems were starting to screw up, one by one by one. When the speedometer started reading that we were barrelling down the highway at almost 150 miles an hour (though were were only going 75) I decided to pull off to the side and stop the car.
Well that worked fine. However, the car wouldn't start again, no matter how much I prayed or cursed or begged. We called for help, we got the car onto the shoulder, and I kept trying, but nothing worked. The car was as dead as Demona's chances of winning Homemaker of the Year in Chatelaine magazine.
Of course this wasn't really happening, I told myself. I haven't broken my fiancees car in the middle of New Jersey and not have her CAA card. I haven't stranded us in New Jersey. Any second I'm going to wake up in New York City and find myself lying hungover after that beer on Saturday night.
No such luck. Not only that, but the tow truck we had called apparently thought we were stranded in some other New Jersey, and just wasn't showing up. We tried everything else we could think of - we stood in a line at the side of the road and tried to look pitiful, and Wingless even took out his white cane to appeal to the heartstrings. We were having crazed images of people finally stopping for us on the road and asking if we'd broken down. "Oh, that's too bad," we imagined them saying, and then we'd picture them digging into a paper bag that they'd keep for just such an occasion. "Here, have a cookie," they'd say, and then drive off. This didn't happen, though we'd laugh hopelessly about it for the rest of the night.
Eventually a New Jersey state trooper pulled up and called another tow truck, driven by a guy who looked for all the world like an extra from "The Sopranos". The mechanic promptly loooked at the car an announced that we'd need a new alternator. We somehow managed to squeeze four of us into a three person cab - after I saw him drag the car onto his flatbed so that the tailpipe scraped the asphalt and gave off sparks, of course - and then he drove us to his repair shop in Kenvil, New Jersey.
"New alternator, and a new battery," said the mechanic, half an hour later, after Laine and I had spent ten dehydrated minutes in a battle of wits with an insolent pop machine. "I could fix it in about a half hour, but I'm not going to. See, my five-year-old son's first baseball game is tonight and I can't miss that. You'd be better off getting a motel and staying the night. I'll get to it in the morning."
They did drive us to a nearby motel, though - I have nothing but good things to say about that mechanic, I just wish we'd never met them - where I found out that the cell phone would only make emergency calls outside of Ontario and then had to use my phone card to call Stormy, her parents, and then Wingless' parents to tell them what had happened. We got yelled at by the motel owner who wanted to see my drivers license even though we got the room in Wingless' name, and then we went in to find the fragrant odour of mildew and moist linen. A real catswinger of a motel, as Laine said, but we were just grateful to be off the highway. So we tried to make ourselves at home. We walked to town for supper, to a mom-and-pop Italian place where the panzarotti was made with cottage cheese instead of mozzarella, and then to a grocery store to get a phone card to replace the one I'd used up. The first store had no phone cards; the second did, along with a very nice lady who deduced that we were from out of town and said that she hoped we enjoyed our stay in Kenvil. I felt a shiver go down my spine, knoiwng of countless horror movies that began in exactly that way.
We went back to the hotel, where I tried to phone Stormy again, just to reconnect and talk to her, since at that point I knew that God clearly hated me and wanted to talk with her. However, in New Jersey, phone cards require payment of five cents a minute…which I only found out after leaving my change in the motel room. Our first conversation went something like this: "Hi, Mary, I really miss you. We're all okay, but I wish you were here. I love you very much what the hell do you mean I need to put in a nickel? I'm using a phone card! Oh, for @#(^!…" followed by disconnection.
I remember thinking that every god in every pantheon clearly hated my guts.
Eventually I did find enough change and Stormy and I had a long conversation where I told her about the Gathering and we talked some mushy stuff too, interrupted by the constant swatting of mosquitoes and the annoyed grunting of another guy who wanted to use the phone. Once I hung up, I went to the motel room, and Laine, Wingless and I stayed up for hours watching cartoons and laughing like morons at the situation. The bathroom leaked, right over the toilet, and poor Wingless just about killed himself in the shower when he tried to grab onto the curtain rod and it slipped. It was a dive, and we knew it, but at the same time, we couldn't deny it was an adventure. We all thought that whatever was jinxing us might end by midnight, so when we finally turned in, we of cousre stayed awake laughing some more until midnight came. When Wingless checked his glow-in-the-dark alarm clock, the light startled me on the other side of the room and I screamed and almost jumped out of the bed.
We were supposed to have been home by now. Looking back on it I'm glad it happened - we were among friends and we did have a reluctantly good time, and Laine and I are even considering telling the tale in comic form. I just wish that it had been on purpose.
TUESDAY, JULY 1st
There was a perverse coolness to waking up on Canada Day in the States, though I didn't want to risk it by wishing people a happy Canada Day when I went out for my morning coffee. For all I knew, the jinx wasn't over and I'd run into someone who was mad about Canada's stand on the war in Iraq and decide that yesterday deserved some sort of cap-off to make it even more wonderful. This isn't a comment on Americans, or the war - after a day like Monday, you just don't want to take chances. I was still mildly amazed that we hadn't been hit by an asteroid while we slept. But the jinx did end at midnight - the car was ready and in fine condition by 9:30, and we were soon on the road again, making the aborted trip home and getting out of New Jersey as fast as we possibly could.
And for the most part, the trip home was uneventful that day, almost identical to the way to New York only without getting lost in Scranton. We had lunch near Binghamton and then drove right through to the border, where we were caught in a hellish line. We were wondering if our ease in crossing into the States would be countered by hell getting back into Canada, but that wasn't the case. Apparently, when you enter Canada on Canada day you get a fridge magnet and a pin, both with the Canadian flag on it. Government-sponsored feel-good half-hearted patriotism. Welcome home to Canada. I've never been so happy to cross an arbitrary line in my life. And when we stopped on the 401 and got coffee and donuts from Tim Hortons, well…like I've said, there's nothing like Tim's to remind you that you're actually honest-to-God home. They had Canadian flags everywhere and I got a Canadian maple donut and I sang O Canada on the way back to the car. I'm not usually that obnoxious about it, but Tuesday was already making up for Monday quite nicely, and on our national holiday, besides. Poor Wingless couldn't get what he wanted, though - the iced cappuccino machine was broken. I almost bought him a cookie in honour of the day before, but he settled for something else.
And the rest is straightforward enough - we drove Laine to the bus station and said our farewells, and then I took Wingless home. After I got shanghaied into pizza by his ever-bounteous parents, I went home to Kingston and back to the real world.
I miss the Gathering; I wish time passed there like on Avalon, so that every hour would have the joy and wonder of a full day. But I still had a wonderful time, and I'll be back again next year (nowhere near Kenvil and with no worries of alternators, because damnit, we're taking the train) ready to do it all over again. I can't wait to see everyone again. A la prochaine fois.
Yeah, but... you had to LIE to your parents about coming to the Gathering?
What? Are we not wholesome enough?
Youre sure you want the WHOLE thing, no links? What years, just this one, or all of them? Well, here goes. I apologise for the HUGE length of this... but its going to be all of them. :)
2000 - YES! i went to the gathering 2000. it was so awesome. i could never capture all the awesomeness on this page, but ill relate what i can. HOORAY FOR GARGOYLES CONVENTIONS!
Thursday: i get off work at about 5:30, go home, pack, wait for Tore. Tore gets home and tells me he has to work sunday (and friday, but we knew that) so i decide to ask my bud Cyan to go with me instead. Tore leaves for raquet ball, but not before i tell him i wont be home when he gets back. i drive two hours north to Beverly Hills to cyan's house. i learn that Tore has locked himself out of the apartment. Cyan packs, and we drive two hours south to let Tore in the apartment. O.o
Friday: cyan and i get up at 6:45am and drive to orlando. we get to the hotel at about 8:40and look for the group who is supposed to room with us: Meredith and her husband. theyre not there. we go to the con suite, register and get name badges, waste an entire 24 exposure roll of film and run back and forth to the lobby, looking for meredith. by about noon im convinced that they got in an accident or lost. they finally arrive, and all is well.
during this time i meet Siryn, Damocles, Eden, Flyx, Kythera, Kyshandra, Vig, Blindside, Little Deamon, Karlyl and various other peeps (i wont remember til i look at the photos). Then went to listen to Thom Adcox talk about stuff. I LOVE THIS PART!!
Thom talks about being felix the cat, how he loved doing gargoyles, and how he swears a lot in real life. believe me- its odd to hear this man swear, especially after listening to him as lex for the past six years. imagine lex saying "its too weird. kinda fun... FUUUUCK!" *smiles*
went with meredith to cash her check. this takes at least an hour. bank of america sux. went to a little of the fanfic readings, wandered around the art room.
then aimee and kanthara came in and answered our questions about drawing. (ok so i asked too many questions, and only two other ppl asked anything at all. so what i worship those two!! ;P) and aimee doodled in my sketchbook while they looked for a big paper pad to demonstrate on. (no im NOT gona scan the stuff she drew- at least not til im in the mood to.)
went to dennys with damocles. went to opening ceremonies. clapped loudly. watched starship troopers (the series) which greg worked on. twas cool. followed damocles around for a few hours. by now most of my second roll of film is gone. went to bed around 2am.
Saturday: wake up to my watch alarm going off at 9am. go back to sleep. wake up at 10:15 to damocles pounding on my door. "youre suposed to be downstairs, modeling, remember?" OH SHIT! run downstairs, get instructed, learn the male model goes first, run back upstairs, brush my teeth, wash my face, change, (all this while trying not to wake Cyan, Meredith or her husband) run back downstairs, watch male model. then i model (clothed).
then i go stand post at the art room, not allowing cameras, bags, food or drinks. go swimming. drag others into pool. go to TGIFridays with all tha art chiks. listen to first act of radio show. go swimming. get ready for banquet. power goes out as someone hits a transformer down the street. finish getting ready in the dark. run down to the con suite. meet legolas. sit at table with legolas, little deamon, cyan, and some other ppl :P ask greg and thom questions at Q&A. our table "the table with no name" wins the trivia contest (WOOHOO!). power comes back on. finish my third roll of film.
run upstairs, get changed for masqerade. (im a wench! YAY!) watch the kids costume contest. take lots o pix of ppls costumes. go thru 4th roll of film. dance around, play LOTS OF TAG, get all kinds of bumps and scrapes. (from playing tag) act hyper, bother Gate13, (all night) stay up til... oh i think like 4am. go to bed.
Sunday: wake up at 9:30am. go downstairs and draw the female nude life drawing session. go to lunch with Gate13, coldsteel, and shugun raptor (were now known as "the 4 waters gang"). dont ask. go swimming. watch part of the auction. nap in the con suite for a couple hours. watch some gargoyles. learn that cyan has locked my keys in my car. spend next couple hours getting the lock popped. dont ask. (lets just say that Hudson and DarkHorse and all the other peeps that were chatting in that lil back room in A&B kick ass. they all donated money, cuz i had none, to get the lock popped. you guys rock. i owe u ^_^) watch some 3X3 eyes. go swimming. go to pizza hut with the 4 waters gang. watch more 3X3 eyes. get a couple pix of Thom and have him sign them for me. had planned to drive home tonight but too tired, so room with the 4 waters gang. go to sleep about midnight. have now finished 5th roll of film.
Monday: come home. boy im in pain. but what a great weekend. cant wait for next years ;P
2001 - This year's gathering was very organized, and well planned. In keeping with tradition, this fact will be reflected in my Gathering 2001 Journal. Last year's event was haphazard and crazy, though no less enjoyable, and so my recounting of those events were scattered and random, and the picture gallery lacked any order besides alphabetical. This year, all images will include size tags, and I'm even setting things up in a nice neat table. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the organized and ordered insanity. :) -KWS
Thursday, June 21st
Tore and I woke up at 5:30am eastern time. Having been packed since the Saturday before, it was just a matter of brushing our teeth, throwing some clothes on and going. Luckily Tore and I had GameBoys to keep us amused on the long, four hour and twenty minute flight, or surely we would have gone mad. We arrived in LAX and headed for the ATM and bathroom. Immediately we were spotted by another garg who had been on the same flight, GoliathLugia. The three of us picked up our luggage and boarded the Super Shuttle. Now let me tell you, if you're ever in LAX and need to get somewhere, take the SS. These guys know how to drive. Roller coasters don't compare. This guy had the full size van zipping within inches of other vehicles at sixty miles an hour, pulling into spots and slamming on the breaks with mere milimeters to spare.
When finally we got to the hotel, we checked in with minimal trouble, though we notices that the front desk staff wasn't exactly the sharpest cutlery in the kitchen. We hurried to our 20th floor room and unpacked, and sat there, playing GameBoy. Zaius and MorningSong (among others) burst into the room, and MorningSong dragged me down to her room to see her very cool costume. A group of us, consisting of Tore and I, GoliathLugia, Zaius and Nick went to CityWalk to eat lunch. We ate at the Hard Rock Cafe, which was very expensive with bad food. I had ordered my burger medium well, and it was burnt to a crisp to the extent that I couldn't eat it for the taste of charcoal. By the way, the room keys only worked for about 2 hours before they lost their code. It took several days to fix. Every time it happened, they would ask for and ID, and I would say "it't in the ROOM!" Jason, the Concierge, got to recognize Tore and I to the point that he would just walk by the front desk and say "It's okay, I know them. Just code the key."
Tore insisted at this point, and had been for days, that he did not want to come all the way to the west coast and sit in a hotel all weekend, so we went to the Concierge's desk and talked to Steven and Jason to get a rental car. We grabbed Ylla and Andy Stoker and picked up a small sedan. Jason even gave directions and a map on how to get where. We drove down Santa Monica Blvd and Rodeo Drive. On the way we passed the Gateway to The Underworld and the Hitchiking Tree Stump. We walked along the beach, which had yellow sand and brown water, and enough trash lying around to fill a dumpster. Later Karlyl would tell us we had better be careful, the bacteria count may be up o.O I collected little butterfly shells with the intention of making little plaques for the four of us. I left the cup of shells on top of the car, however, and they are now spread about in little bits on Ocean Blvd.
With all this driving I soon found that L.A. is infested with Volkswagen Beetles. Tore was up by 14 by the end of the day, which is more than we've ever seen in one day, let alone been ahead by. I still find it unfair, since I was the navigator, and spent most of the trip staring at the map, since Tore consistently turned down the wrong streets and missed turns I had suggested. And then he would argue with my directions. *huff huff* !!
Anyway, on the drive back the four of us were being very silly on the way back from the beach. First of all, I really needed a hair brush, but Ylla did not have one. Andy offered his shoe- "It has really deep treads..." We also noticed a type of tree that at first was very cool. It had bone white bark and bright yellow-green foliage, which was thick and confinded to the tops of the long, twisted branches. But then we noticed that these trees seemed to have choked out all other native plant life, and the bone-likeness seemed to become evermore ominous. There were also several posters hanging from the street lamps. They were abstract, though appeared to have a man nailed by his wrists to a post. The banners simply read "Public Offering" and were hung every few hundred yards. We were very amused by this at the time, and it's kinky connotations.
By the end of the trip Tore had sucessfully learned to drive like a native, having cut people off, jumped into oncomming traffic, and generally been totally rude. We also discovered the existance of THREE Santa Monicas - Hwy 101/Santa Monica Freeway, Santa Monica Blvd, and LITTLE Santa Monica Blvd, which runs parallel to its larger sibling then veers east. The construction was also a source of amusement, as Tore pointed out the large trench encompassing the road. Andy's comment "open trenchamie" was enought to keep us laughing until we arrived back at the hotel.
Karlyl didn't arrive until after 9pm, and Jade Griffin perhaps around 1am. Tore slept, and I stayed up until about 2:00am L.A. time, for a total of 23½ hours of wake time. Interestingly enough, this day was the summer solstice, quite literally the longest day of the year :)
Friday, June 22nd
I awoke to Karlyl and Jade Griffin wispering. It was around 8:30. I was astonished that i didnt feel the need to go back to sleep. Tore and I went down to the art room and set up my artwork. Eden organized the whole art show! That will be my job next year, as I will be the art director. I finally got to meet some people face to face, like Stephanie Lostimolo! I also gave CrzyJen a back massage, since she was under so much stress. Anyway, Tore and I then went to the registration desk to get our badges. There were a lot of people milling about, watching gargoyles on the big screen TV. Tore tried to pull out cash, but the Budget Rent-A-Car had held $200 from his card, and not put it back yet. They said they would put it back when they got the car back, which they would get this morning.
We went to the fanfic reading. I won second place for the essay contest: "What Gargoyles Means to Me." I read my essay aloud, and hoped people werent too bored. We listened to Tigris Euphrates read the winner for poetry, and her winning entry for the Star Trek crossover. It was very good, I'm glad it one! Tore and I left the reading session early so I could try out for the Radio Play. I read Demona's lines when she tries to convince Goliath to join her cause. I'm not really sure what episode it's from. Awakenings, I think. Anyway, I left the room positive that the panel (Made up of Greg Weisman, Thom Adcox, and someone else...) would never in a thousand years use me for the radio play.
Tore and I browsed the artwork, but wanted to hold off from voting until everyone's work had been set up. We ate lunch at CityWalk (yes, CityWalk, AGAIN). We went through the dealers room, where I bout gargoyles trading cards (of which i only needed one to complete my set) and a lexington cup. Tore and I wanted good seats at opening ceremonies (because i NEVER get good seats for ANYTHING) so we went to the studio early, and got kicked out. Then MoningSong asked us to guard the door, which we did. When finally the doors opened, i launched myself from the stairs, around some people, and slid thru the door. We got front row seats. Karlyl and Al sat in row two, attesting that they were too good to sit with us ;P Then we got kicked out of the front row for the guests. And Kars and Ali laughed. Then they got kicked out of row two, for more guests. So anyway, I still got lousy seats. But I took many many pictures. Far too many to post them all here. Mwahaha. A lot of the pictures I took were around this time, so this section of the page is going to be spaced a little odd, to fit all the photos.
On a happy note, I finally got a good pic with Thom Adcox. Last year I had my picture taken with him. I finished off the roll of film, rewound it and tried to pop it out of my camera. But it jammed, and the whole roll got exposed to light. There goes that roll. I had another pic taken. The picture came out pretty good. I scanned it, but the scan was awful and horrible and dark. Before I got a chance to scan it agian, the actual photo got lost! Thats what happens when you let people look through your pictures before theyre in an album. This year I wouldn't let anyone touch any of the photos before I got them in an album!
Greg showed us the pitches to gargoyles, the concept stuff, and his developments for spinoffs. We've seen it before, and we can never get enough. I *so* want the original gargs pitch on tape. *shudders* Afterwards, Tore, Karine, Patrick, Ylla, Tristan, Djali, Karlyl and I all went out for Sushi. Merideth and Andy joined us later, but since Sushi at CityWalk can sit a maximum of eight people together, they got put behind us. I spent the meal poking Andy, so he and Mer wouldn't feel left out, and Mer spent the meal trying to snap my bra, which is impossible, as when I actually wear a bra (which is rare) its a sports bra. *evil laugh* MUAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Greg also announced the people who would be in the radio play, and I had a part!
I don't remember what else we did that night, but based on what Tore and I did all weekend, we probably went back up to the room and played GameBoy. :)
Saturday, June 23rd
Karine, Pat, Karlyl, Tore and I were running too late to go to CityWalk for breakfast, so we decided to eat at the hotel restaurant. o.O The prices were outrageous. I got corned-beef hash, two eggs, toast, hashbrowns and water, and my bill came to over ten dollars. The food wasn't even very good! Tore and I were running so late that I gave money to Karine to pay for my meal. Later we would find out that the hotel tried to charge more than the menu prices for everything, and insisted they could not fix it! Karine and Karlyl left a message for the manager, and we were all very miffed.
Anyway, Tore and I went to the voice acting Q&A, which had already started. We stayed for both sessions. I got up and read the part of Una in a small scene from MIA, and then tried to do a voice dub for an anima series I've never heard of. I guess I did semi-okay. I think it might be fun to do some voice acting, but Greg says if you don't have a passion for it, don't bother, as it is a very tough thing. I really want to be a scince teacher, and I don't see myself ever moving to LA anyway. It's much too expensive.
Afterwards, Tore and I went back to the art room and voted for our favorites, then went to CityWalk and grabbed a quick takeout lunch. I had a very good "chopped" salad, which I guess is the LA term for Chef Salad, and Tore got chineese food which gave him a sour stomach.
I got back just in time for RadioPlay rehersals. Then Tore and I played GameBoy until the actual RadioPlay. It was funny, Greg was setting up chairs for all of the actors. Tore came in and set a bottle of water on one of the chairs. I thought it was HIS water, and he was putting it there to save his seat. Greg picked it up and said "Is this mine?" and I said "No, it's my fiancee's." Greg then informed me that he had asked Tore to go get it for him. Boy did I feel sheepish.. Anyway, I played the part of Fox, and had only one line. Blarg. Oh well, at least I got chosen. I know I should be happy with that, but I'm self-centered and vain, what can I say?
After rehersals I wanted to hang out with Tristan and the bunch, but they wanted to see Atlantis at the IMAX. There were three problems with that: I'd already seen Atlantis, I couldn't rationalize spending twenty dollars to see it again, and Tore was very hungry, and we knew nothing would be open by the time the movie got out. So Tore and I parted the company of the masses and ate at Shanghai & Mein (S&M... huh huh huh...) which had EXCELLENT food. The best eggrolls I've ever had.
During the meal and for several hours afterwards, Tore and I played GameBoy. :)
Sunday, June 24th
Sick of the previous morning's experience with breakfast, Karlyl, Tore and I went to Carl Jr.'s for the morning. They had greasy food, but it was CHEAP! We walked down the hill instead of taking the tram, but hitched a ride back up. (We were on a darn steep hill!)
Tore and I went to the series production thingie, or at least what was left of it. We stayed for the voice actor's Q&A. I got Thom Adcox to sign my Lex cup, and went back up to my room to get my gargoyles trading cards and my script from the RadioPlay for the voice actors to sign. We stood in line for a good hour or so, but Kieth David left before we got a chance to have him sign things. His little boy was sick, and bored. How could someone be bored at a gargs convention? ;P Oh well.
Tore and I were going to watch TV in the video room, and sit down with a snack of peanuts and snapple, but I ended up helping Eden disassemble the Art Room. Now, before the con I had heard rumors of the G2002 chair not wanting to run the con. The threat of not having a gathering became very real. I told Jen that if need be, I would run the con myself, despite my lack of knowlege in such things. It's just that the thought of there not being a gathering is very frightening to me. It's what I look forward to all year! Anyway, Siryn was there to take the slack, and I offered to be the Art Director. Cindy thinks she might not be able to make it next year, and Siryn swore she wouldnt be both Con and Art Director. Anyway, so I'm diving into something I have no idea about, just for the sake of keeping this going. *BANZAIIII!*
I bought a piece of art by Tana, and found that someone had bought some of my art! I was totally amazed, and I can't seem to GIVE my art away. Someone bought Pyramid, and Greg's son bought my Cat Comparison pic! Imagine my delight! Tore and I also bought GoliathLugia's GameBoy Advance so Tore could give it to his eldest son, Brandon, and I bought some games. (I have since bought several accessories for my GBColor, including a light, AC adaptor, Car adaptor, two cases, several more games, etc. Me, addicted? NAW!)
About an hour and a half before the banquet I began to prep. Tore insisted I had plenty of time. Har har. I was ready just in time! We got upstairs to find... that they were running behind schedule. Oh well, it gave me plenty of time to go around and take pictures of everyone lining up. When they let everyone in to be seated, I tried to make a dash for Aimee and Stephanie's table, but it filled up rather quickly. In fact, everyone I tried to sit with kind of kicked Tore and I out. So we sat at an empty table. Soon Tigris Euphrates and a few other people who had also been edged out of other tables gathered with us. So we were the reject table, so be it. Then they started seating guests. And to my amazement, who should be called to sit at the table of rejects than Greg Weisman himself! Tore and I spent the meal stealing he and his wife's ear. I pretty much didn't stop talking the entire time. Like I said, I am my favorite subject :)
Thom and Crispin were generally silly the whole time. I didn't get any pictures. Lets just say you should have been there. And if you weren't, SHAME ON YOU!
After the meal (which was okay) I went back to my room to get on my costume. I went as my Avian Form which I don't really RP as anymore. Actually, I don't even have this form anymore, she is her own entity named Krynn Swiftwind. Im kind of disappointed with my actions, if not my costume. The costume itsself was pretty cool. Its just that I only walked on stage, twirled and walked off. EVERYONE else, even those people not in the cosplay, at least did something. ANYTHING. So I was kind of dull. This is one of the few points in the Gathering where I was actually depressed. I felt like a lamer. I was pretty much determined to be pissed for the rest of the night, but after changing out of my costume and coming back to the ball, they were playing Love Shack, and I can't be depressed to that song. See, a long time ago, when I was still a little girl, my brother and parents and I went to a bar and sang Kariokie (how does one spell that word?). My brother and I sang Love Shack. And all the bikers in leather, all the drunks, everyone stopped playing pool, stopped drinking, and turned to watch this (13?) year old girl and her brother sing Love Shack. I wish we had it on tape. Oh well, I will do better next year.
This night we also learned about an interesting law in LA. In this city, which you would think never sleeps, there is a law about noise, and how there shouldn't be any after 11pm. So here it is Sunday night, and none of us are ready to sleep. We decided to cram into as many cars as we could find and go somewhere, anywhere. A club perhaps. We asked many of the guests to come with us, but they all insisted they were too old. Too old? What? My dad is 62 years old, and he doesn't show such a lack of energy. I wonder if maybe a lot of the guests were just kind of weirded out by us.
We stood in the lobby of the hotel for at least an hour, trying to figure out where to go and who could drive. By the time we had plans, Karine pointed out, it was probably too late to go anywhere, and everything would probably be closing soon, since it was Sunday. So we just sat in the lobby, and talked. We gave spoons to Myr, who is unfortunately retiring this year. Kyffin even gave him the METAL SPOON! Tore was already upstairs, so I just went to bed.
Monday, June 25th
Tore and I were both semi awake. I heard a knock at the door, but was too far into the next world to care. Suddenly Karine is shoving two plastic spoons in my face, telling me some people at the door wanted her to give them to me. I took the spoons and stumbled towards the door, tripping at lesat twice. An entire MiniClan invasion force stood there. I Invited them in while Tore and I got ready. Then the lot of us went to CityWalk.
We all went to closing ceremonies, which is always a sad time. Tore and I pre-registered for next year. I also commissioned a picture from David Wong, which will be put in the gallery as soon as I get it. We sat aroiund trying to figure out what to do, and I took many pictures. I even took a picture of the concierge, Jason, who helped us with many things all weekend! The whole group of us went to the mall and ate at the food court, because I was still hungry. We got lost several times on the way to the mall. I mean SEVERAL. We made at least four U-turns, and several roads were crossed more than once. Now let me tell you, this mall was LAME. It was in burbank. First of all, the food courst was designed in such a fashion that you must walk the length of it to see what options are available. The food court at Countryside mall, which rules by the way, is in a semi circle, so immediately upon entereing you can browse all your choices and not take a step. Second, the food wasn't that good. But Tristan draw a neat picture in the mustard!
More reasons why the mall is lame: I was taking pictures of our group, and Kyffin was sitting on the floor waiting for the elevator to come. A security guard, who spoke little english, pointed at me and then to this little sign that said "no photographs" and then to Kyffin, and to the sign, which also said "no sitting on the floor." We were astonished. What idiocy! We thought of several reasons for these rules, but none of them made sense. Like I said, it's a lame mall.
We stopped in several stores, including KB Toys, Sears, and more. In ToonTime, I bought some stickers out of the machine. What were the two first pokemon to appear bot Tore and my favorites? It was interesting. I bought two more stickers, neither of which were cool, so we're giving them to the kids! ^_^
After the mall, Tore and I went back to our room to pack. I think I stole someone's deoderant. o.O anyway, after packing, we played more GameBoy. We wanted to go to the dead dog party, but it was canceled. Jen said it might be, since all the food had been eaten. But I even offered to donate large sums of money for food! I so much wanted to spend time with the gang! Later I would learn that Karine and Pat were invitied to hang with the staff upstairs, but I tried as much as possible to let it slide off my back. Afterall, they can't let everyone into their room. (Oh look, is that the reject's table again?)
So Tore and I spent a good deal of time... you guessed it... playing GameBoy. Okay, I admit,some of the times I was playing GameBoy, Tore was reading, but I don't remember which times were which.
Tusday, June 25th
The whole day was spent in travel. We had asked Jason, the concierge, to have a Super Shuttle waiting for us at 7:30am. The driver spoke little english, and in fact had "learning english" audio tapes playing when I got in the van. Tore and Karlyl spent about fifteen minutes at the front desk trying to figure out the room charges. You see, when we got in the room, people had opened up the fridge and said "food!" and I was like "no!" So we moved all the food to a drawer to hide it. What we didnt know is that the fridge was weighted, and so my card got charged for all the missing food. Well, we got it all straitened out. We drove to the airport, when I realized I didn't have enough cash to pay the driver. So I ran to an ATM, and in under three minutes had given him $40. He wasn't a nice driver though. Anyway, we board the plane, fly to CVG, then to TPA. We didn't even land until 10:10, and then we taxied for at least fifteen minutes. Tore and I got home well after eleven. Yes, we played a lot of GameBoy.
2002 - Let's see. I was on staff this year. I've been working on the Gathering for several months (since almost immediately after last year's con.) Thus, despite the fact that I was in Virginia for a week, the con felt FAR too short. It needed to be about a month long, though I'd probably have died. As it is, I'm incredibly tired, But I want to write down everything I can remember, before I forget. So, here we go.
We were actually supposed to leave right after work on Tuesday. But no, Tore had to go out of town Tuesday morning, and he didn't get back until about 6:30. So I went to his house right after work and slept for an hour or so, and when he got home I went off to get dinner so he could take a nap. I had Los Mariachis, he had Shanghai Express. So we actually left Clearwater around 8:30pm. Tore took the first shift driving, with the intention that I would sleep and take over later. The problem is, I wasn't actually that tired. So I did very little sleeping. Anyway, I took over at about 3:30am, gave it back to him somewhere around 4:45, took the wheel again at something like 6am, and gave it back to Tore within two hours or so. He then did all the driving until we reached the Holiday Inn Williamsburg, at 10:30am. We made damn good time, probably due to his speeding.
All day Wednesday we read books and slept. We were so exhausted that we didn't even eat dinner, though we did grab lunch at a place called the Cornerstone Grill. I really liked the decor there... kind of industrial art-deco. We also (of course) found the nearest Wal-Mart and promptly spend $50 or so. Thursday morning we didn't really do anything structured, we had lunch at a small in with Zaius, Goliath116, and two guys from Tennessee who's names I don't recall.
Other staff members arrived later that evening, along with several attendees. Jubes, Si, her boyfrined Tempest, and Tore and I had dinner at a steakhouse Tore wanted to try. We discussed last minute things, then ran to Wal-Mart again to grab more stuff. (Tore and I ended up going to Wal-Mart something like a half dozen times during the week we were there.) We got back and started stuffing envelopes with Maui, Jessie and Kess (who arrived very late.) The envelope stuffing took several hours, and kept me up until something like 3am. Siryn and Tempest roomed with us Thursday night.
Friday morning, the art room setup. That was scary. A VERY big thank-you goes to BrooklynX, Norcumi, and the other guy who was helping (name? AHH!) and of course, Tore. Tore and I almost came to blows about how to set up the art panels, which were all odd sized. The setup looked very good though, and we got many compliments. After that I had to put up artwork for the non-attending artists, and record all the "last minute art" for the attendees. Dreamie, Winterwolf, Tore and I went and had chinese food at Mr. Liu's.
At opening ceremonies I got to read a poem (which is displayed in the Library) that I wrote for the Fandom. I almost cried as I read it... I really love the Fandom. Greg gave his usual shpeel, which we all love. We handed out the FREE STUFF Toon Disney had sent us. How cool is that? They sent us free gargs stuff, like shirts, hats and sweat-shirts. And then, Greg made the BIG ANNOUNCEMENT. The fact that Toon Disney had sent us stuff was a good sign that we had their attention. Another good sign is that they are making Gargoyles pins, one of which I bought at the Gathering. But here is the big one: They are putting Gargoyles on DVD!!! Just one DVD so far, and it will come out sometime in 2003. We don't know exactly what's going on it- probably the first five episodes. But if it sells well, we will get more, and hopefully all three seasons! WOOHOO!
Karine and Adam arrived, so the four of us went back to Cornerstone Grill so I could try the Mahi Mahi from their dinner menu. I wasn't nuts about it, but I really liked the fried green tomatoes. Karine and Adam also got to try gritz. Eww. Anyway, somehow that night CrzyJen and I hooked up, and ended up talking girl-stuff until 3:30am.
Saturday is when I actually went to panels- Karine's how to draw panel, and Greg Gular's character design panel. I worked in the art room for a couple of hours, then went up to prep for the banquet. Oddly enough, everyone lost track of time and I had to clear out the dealer's room to get people to come to the banquet. The food wasn't great, but it was free. I sat with Karine, Adam, Tore, Sara Berkeley, Kythera, and someone I don't know. Then we went down to the masquerade/dance. There wasn't much dance music to be heard, so I danced at first (and pooped myself out) but by the time Karine came down she was too disappointed in the music selection to dance. So we pretty much sat at the other end of the room and talked to Greg. He gathered a large crowd, and we talked until late. Actually I left at a somewhat decent hour, something like midnight.
Sunday morning is when the lack of sleep caught up with me. I went to our morning staff meeting, then went directly back to bed. I was exhausted (a feeling I have yet to shake). I got back up around noon and started counting the votes for the art show. I was doing that up until (and during) closing ceremonies. Then it was strait to the art room to sell artwork and tear down the room. (Did I mention I was the Director of the Art Show?) I think Tore and I went to bed right after that.
Monday morning was the unofficial trip to Busch Gardens. I didn't take any pictures, since I didn't want to bring my camera. But Sara Berkeley and Tore and I spent most of the day together, with Dreamie and Winterwolf there often as well. Tore and I did all four big coasters, so SaraB and I scoured the park for a "Fear the Four" shirt that was small enough to fit me. We ended up getting a youth's small. It fits great! I got to see Greg Weisman at lunch, and dinner, and again when we met to all watch Imaginique. Then Tore and I rushed back to the hotel so we could pack, shower and load the car.
We got up early Tuesday morning to drive Kythera to the airport. I went to sleep in the back of the car, and Tore drove the whole way home. (On about 4 hours sleep. Woohoo.) I offered to drive but he wanted to do it, since he speeds more than I do and he wanted to get home >:) He wasn't out of it though, or I would have taken over. So anyway, we made it back to his house by about 5:30. Then I came home, threw my stuff on the bed, and started up the computer to type this. I wanted to forget as little as possible!!
Thursday, June 26
Joey was supposed to have his Gargoyles music video done. Well, he was SUPPOSED to come to the Gathering with me. But last minute, as in 11pm the night before, he calls and says he can't go. But he assures me that he will still give me the money as if he were staying in the room, so he didnt screw the rest of us over. He was supposed to have the music video ready for the contest. But he didnt start trying to burn it until 6am, an hour before I'm scheduled to be at his house. The power goes out on his street. No video. He tells me he has a bad feeling about me going to NY, I tell him tough cookies, Im going anyway. I told him I'd call him later about getting ahold of the video. (Incidentally, I never got ahold of it. The drama went on for a couple days, over the course of which the vid was supposed to be uploaded to Joey's cousin's site. No file there. So I couldnt enter the vid in the contest. Its a shame really, that vid was awesome.)
Dad drops me off at the airport, and I of course start to doodle. Soon the whole page is full of characters, people I'm supposed to see at the con. I'm flying Song, which is part of Delta. A fun man named Wayne, one of the attendants (now known as "talent" starts quizzing the waiting passengers, since we still have an hour before we can start boarding. First question: "Whats the name of the new Harry Potter novel?" Of course, I yell out "Order of the Phoenix!" and I am rewarded with a lolly pop. Yay! :) I board the plane, which is decorated inside with lime green, orange, purple, blue and yellow. Very fun. The "talent" were a lot of fun too, joking at eachother. Good flight.
Get off the plane, ask where I can go to get ground transportation. I am told to take the shuttle, $13. Woo! I find the shuttle. A taxi offers to take me to the hotel for $38. I scoff and say "But the shuttle is $13." He says "But its the shuttle." To which I respond "But its $13." I took the shuttle. Driver has a russian accent, seems like a total asshole. We drive for an HOUR to get to Grand Central. First impressions of NYC: There's graffiti on EVERYTHING and the whole city smells of sun-baked garbage. Blech. Arrive at Grand Central, take a smaller bus to the hotel.
Check in at the front desk, drop off my luggage in the room. Several phone calls to Dreamie and Winterwolf to figure out where they are. Thank goodness for cell phones. I help Dreamie, WW, Aaron, Greg B, Leo and .. damn I dont remember the other guy's name. Anyway we started setting up the art room. Much scrambling for drills that WORK. We take a break and go to lunch at Sbarro. It's not pizza hut, thats for sure, but it would do. We get back, I go to the hotel room. Liz is there. She shows me her mime impression of the tiny-ness of the room. We exchange gifts: books, shirts, etc. We go back to the art room to continue set up. Women do most of the work, while the men watch. Finally the women get tired and ask the men to take over. Liz says she's hungry, so we make our exit.
Blimpies for lunch. We try to eat in the Sbarro restaurant, but get kicked out. (There is no seating at Blimpies). We wander up to the con-suite. I exchange cell numbers with half the gargoyles maffia. Liz and I decide we want to play DDR. We walk about 9 blocks to the nearest DDR. On the way we see a mom picking her kid's nose. Eew? What a dirty city. Liz and I play DDR Extreme. Some creepy people watch us, but dont say anything. We decide to go back to the hotel. Lamps around the subway entrances look like pokeballs. I notice the marquee from Times Square advertising the Trek Con. I begin singing "Our con is better, we have Greg Weisman...." Just then we notice Greg is leaning on the wall outside our hotel, waiting for Thom to arrive. Much squealing and hugs. (Well, I was the only one squealing.) We wait around for a while, before we find out Thom and Vic are already waiting in the lobby, they'd used another entrance. Greg says theyre going to dinner. Kathy Pogge says that Liz and I cant go. Later Dreamie says we CAN go.
Dreamie, Liz and I wait in the lobby. Everyone else has already gone to dinner and are supposed to call with directions. No one calls, no one answers their cell phone. We FINALLY get ahold of someone, then power walk about 10 blocks to the Sushi place. Unagi is yummy. We walk back. I get to meet Ethan, who seems pretty cool. Liz and I take the leftover sushi to (someone's?) room. Kythera, Hudson, Guandalug (sp?), Duncan, Zaius and Nick are all there, plus others. Someone eats the sushi. We exchange D&D stories. Liz starts drifting off against the wall, so I drag her back up to the room to sleep. I take a shower.. that shower SUCKED. The water pressure was so hard it felt like I was being stung by bees. The water wooshed out so fast it created its own wind. I kid you not. It was like the apartment Tore and I had. Blech. The toilet was funny though. It flushed so violently it felt like it could create a mini tornado in the bathroom. I did finally sleep at some point.
Friday, June 27
Karlyl calls my cell at 630am. I think I'd only been asleep for 3 hours or so. I run down to the lobby to let her in (you cant get to the elevators without a room key.) She stowes her luggage in the closet, then goes to wander the city for a few hours so I can get more sleep. She came back at something like 800 or so. She, Liz and I went down to City Perk Cafe in the hotel lobby for breakfast. We take our food to the con-suite so we can chat with people. We grab Liz's art to set it up in the art room. FLOSS! As we are doing so, Nixie calls my cell, she's waiting downstairs. I go get her, and meet Ganador. Nixie registers at the desk, we get to see Karlyl, Thundra and Djali. Kars and I help Liz set up her othercon art.
The three of us grab Thundra, Djali and Ganador and go for lunch and DDR. Lunch was okay, just subs from the place right next to the arcade. We play much DDR. Good times. Kars and Tuntun are now hooked on DDR. Djali has rediscovered her obsession. MUAHAHA! After DDR we wander back to the hotel. Karine is in the Lobby, I drag her upstairs. We all start arting in our room. (Note: much arting went on this weekend.) We all go up to Opening Ceremonies. We plug the Gathering 2004, which is going to ROCK. We listen to Greg's shpeel again (you know, the same one he does every year) completing his sentences for him. We help Karine set up her artwork. We go to the same sushi place from the night before. Unagi is still yummy. I tried Sake (sp?). The first sip was okay, but each progressive sip was more and more disgusting. I didnt finish even one glass.
We grab our sketchbooks and go to the 6th floor lounge to start arting. We are eventually kicked out by a security guard named Gonzales (remember his name, it comes back up later.) Karine informs us that our room does not lock properly. I go down to the front desk and talk to a man who doesnt seem to know what to do about the situation. Finally I say "Either fix the lock, or give us a new room." We got a new room. The beds were the same size, but the room was much bigger. Very nice. There are sheets on the bed, but no blankets or beadspreads. I go back downstairs and ask for blankets and bedspreads. The girls start moving into the new room. Liz tells me she left her expensive pens in the lounge- I have to get Gonzales to unlock the room so I can get them. Blankets come, no bedspreads. I insist on bedspreads, because I hate getting cold in the middle of the night. Karine rants for about an hour about the stress at her job. King size bedspreads are eventually delivered (for our full size beds.) I shower, then fall asleep.
Saturday, June 28
We all chat in the room while Liz and Karine shower. Good thing: Half of the room occupants are morning shower people, the other half are night shower people. Breakfast at City Perk again. We head to the draing Q&A hosted by Karine, Liz, Kythera and Nikki. At some point Matt (Artgolem) walked in. He came and sat down behind me, YAY! I show him the doodle I did on Thursday. He doodles too. Im so jealous of his mad art skillz. ^_^ After the panel the majority of us went up the the Dealer's room. Karine and Patrick started taking pre-registrations for 2004. I registered. We arted. Djali, Liz and I went to K Mart to get some munchies. Karine started her Cel-coloring panel. Laurean watched the registration desk. I went down to Karine's panel just to doodle. Came up with a decent image, which I may finish at some point. I then went back up to the Dealer's Room to take over the pre-reg desk. I double the number of people who pre-reg. I am an effective salesman when I believe in the product ;) Some people drifted in and out of the room, I got to chat with Laurean, Matt, Karlyl, Nixie, Liz, BrooklynX, and some other gargs.
I leave to start getting ready for the banquet. I take the money with me, I dont feel safe leaving it in the dealers room. We all start getting ready for the banquet in our room. Matt offers to leave to give us some privacy. That launches me into my "60 naked women, ass in your face, you have no idea." basic training story for the umpteen millionth time. So he stays. He says he can't go to the banquet, he doesn't have the money. I offer to pay for him to go, and wont take "no" for an answer. Matt and I race around the hotel trying to find a con-staffer who is willing to take my money. Lynati signs the back of Matt's badge. Thanks Lynatti!! The food was a little dry, the salad drenched with dressing. However the coffee and treats were yummy, Liz and I split one of each of the six kinds of yummmies. Matt had to leave... poo. I wish Matt could have stayed longer.
Random side note: I spent a lot of time trying to NOT be annoying this year. Did it work? I have a habbit of clinging to people (Greg W, new friends, etc.) And I think I alienate a lot of people that way. So I tried to be a little distant. I hope I didnt come off as cold to anyone. I just seem to push people away FASTER if I try to cling to them too much.
Karine, Liz and I really wanted to dance. But the "sound system" was just an old boom box with blown speakers. They didnt even have dance music. Liz and I played a few of my CDs for a while, but then decided we needed to GO somewhere. Liz, Karine and I set out to find a club. We walk something like 15 blocks only to find a club that charged a $25 cover and played rap. GAG ME. We headed back to the hotel, in the hopes of finding another club. Then we just wanted to find a bar with music. Then we just wanted to find something that was OPEN. We finally found a little tavern, and Karine introduced me to a couple of drinks. So the list of things that I can drink without gagging has grown. Yay!
We decide we'd better get back to the hotel and to bed, since we know we're going to get up early for Dim Sum. But we end up arting, chatting and giggling until very early in the morning anyway. Run Away! Ha ha ha ha.
Sunday, June 29
First thought: Arg, I dont want to get up. *Karine goes to take a shower* oh good, I dont have to get up yet. *Karine finishes shower* Liz! Youre turn! *tries to push Liz out of bed* Liz: My turn? Why does it have to be my turn? Me: Okayfine. *gets up*
Karine, Liz, Nixie?, and I wait in the lobby for Dreamie and Winterwolf. We walk to the subway and wait FAR too long for a train. We RUN all over Chinatown looking for a restaurant that serves Dim Sum. We SCARF our food down. Dreamie, Karine and I take a cab back: we MUST be at the hotel at 11am to open the dealer/art room. We get there: the room is already open, probably by the hotel staff. Im glad I didnt leave the money in there last night.
More arting while we sit and take pre-regs for 2004. I go to Dreamie & Liz's computer coloring panel, and find out Ive been doing it all wrong. Poo. We all go to closing ceremonies, where I take yet more pre-regs for 2004. I go to help Liz take her artwork down for the auction. Talyesin arrives, Karine leaves. I miss you Karine! Liz, Talyesin, BrooklynX and I go to Coney Island with a group of people. First we stop at the WTC memorial. Greg W tries to keep count of us, but the group is so amorpheus that he has a hard time of it. (Image concept by me, drawn by Liz.) Coney Island is colder than I thought it would be. That sucks, I was wearing shorts, thinking it would be hot. Liz and I run to play DDR, thus separating ourselves and Tal & BrookX from the rest of the group.
I pout for a while, mad that I let myself separate us from everyone else. Liz and I ride the Cyclone, that ROCKED. What a fun coaster. We stand in line for 20 minutes just to get some fries from the McD's at the park. The sign says "Smiles are Free" So Liz asks for a supersize fry, tripple thick chocolate shake, and four smiles to go. The guy doubles over laughing. We only ever got 2 smiles though. We find a couple of gargs, they tell us where and when to meet the group. We do so at 10pm. Everyone wants to go home, so we get back on the train (long-ass train ride.) We start planting subliminal messages in Greg's brain, and get him to start humming songs. Muahaha.
Greg says he wants Ice Cream. Then he says Pancakes would be better. Thus the 27 of us set off to find any place thats open and serves pancakes. Just like the club-selection, there is really no choice. We finally find an ice cream parlor thats open and partake in the yumminess. We go to the con-suite, but its crowded with people watching the Cowboy Beebop movie. Yay fun. So we (Liz, Dreamie, Kars, Nixie, etc) decide to leave and go art in the room.
Monday, June 30
Woken up by Dad calling me on my cell. Liz, Karlyl, Nixie, Tal and I chatted for nearly 3 hours. We go to lunch with Dreammie, WW & Aura. We walked all over the place for a while, and I finally convinced everyone to try Curry in a Hurry. I'd been craving curry for a month. It was very yummy, but very fulling. To the point where I couldnt finish my meal. A couple more private jokes were spawned, like "A muggle asked me where the Xavier (ex-AH-vee-ay) Institute was. I told him to Live Long and Prosper." and "I'd rather go back to being an accountant." Liz came up with a song, Dreamie helped finish it. "Amaretto, Vodka Amaretto, Amaretto, Vodka Chardinay." More arting in the 6th floor lounge. Nixie is thirsty, so she looks in the empty conference rooms for water. She found a pitcher and some glasses, so started pouring us some water. Later, some guys wearing suits filed back into that room. Nixie got a look of horror on her face, and hid the water behind the couch. This Nixie earned the name Master Water Thief.
Liz, Karlyl, Dreamie, Talyesin and I meet Patrick, Carol and Greg W in the lobby for dinner. We go to a restaurant that Greg used to go to with his dad. Good burgers. Greg, Carol and Patrick had to leave early to catch their plane. It took Katie, our waitress, several tries to get the right items on each of the checks... and in fact never managed to get it all right. She was still really nice about it, and had cool blue feathered earrings in. We took the subway back, but weren't really sure if we were on the right train. A cool guy named Tuck helped us figure out where we needed to go. He took a group photo for us, and talked to Liz in Japanese. We finally get back to the hotel, where Gonzales is on duty, so I take a picture.
Liz still owes me a characture. It takes her five tries to get it right- she says I have pretty normal features, so its really hard to do a characture. Tal, Liz, Dreamie, Karlyl, WW and I go out to find more DDR. The place that advertized DDR and Pump It Up was apparently not open, so we decided to skip it. We walked to the theater and saw the Hulk. It was very silly, Liz, Karlyl and I were laughing at the absurdity quite a lot. We walk back to the hotel. Tal, Dreamie and WW decide to go to bed, Kars, Liz and I go for drinks. I try some of Karlyl's Midori Sour, very yummy. We go back to the room, Kars realizes she's left her ID somewhere, but calls her dad and finds that she will still be able to get home anyway. We go to bed at some obscure hour of the morning.
Whoo! It took me two days to read this one. But it was worth it. Big rush of memories...
-- Gathering Journal --
The Gathering 2003 kicked off June 27, 2003 and I was fortunate enough to attend.
I arrive, via train, around 4pm. The Gathering was being held at the Hotel Pennsylvania which is right across the street from Penn Station where I had arrived. Finding the place was not difficult. It was also not far from where the first Gathering was held in 1997.
This year I was rooming with IRC Goliath and Wingless. So after checking in I headed up to our room to meet up with them but no one was home. So I dropped my stuff off and headed up to the London Suite where the radio play auditions were being held. I was a bit disappointed I was unable to arrive in time to catch the panel on voice acting held just before the auditions. It may have helped a bit.
While standing in line for the auditions I met up with IRC Goliath and Stephen Sobotka and Gabe among others. Chyna Rose was handing out audition forms that had to be completed before the audition. Among the questions was "Can you growl?" Well I checked off that I could. This comes back to haunt me later.
As I start to get closer to the front of the line I see there are scripts being given to the next three in line for an audition. Each page has dialog for a specific character from the show. The idea is that you pick one character and read that for your audition. A couple minutes before it would be my turn I got my hand on a copy of the script and started to thumb through it. I had just barely skimmed it when it was my turn to audition.
So in I walked and was greeted by Greg Weisman (creator of Gargoyles) and Thom Adcox (voice of Lexington). Greg asked that I go to the back of the room when I read the lines so that way they could better judge what kind of volume I had behind my voice. Since the radio play was done without microphones in a large ballroom this would be important.
Then Greg asked who I wanted to read. What? I hadn't even read through one complete page to get my bearings on what I would be reading. I flipped through the pages quickly as and they fell open to Xanatos. "Xanatos" I tell Greg, and off I go.
I tried to put some emotion into the lines but I was far more focused on making sure I didn't lose my place and that I was delivering the correct lines that there really wasn't much emotional content there.
I was asked to re-read the last paragraph and to boost the volume a little bit. That wasn't a problem.
Then Greg asked to do a big growl so I let loose with something that would pass for more of a scream than a growl but at least it was loud.
After that IRC Goliath and I headed out to find Wingless before the opening ceremonies. We quickly found him on the top floor and headed down to the opening ceremonies.
The opening ceremonies started off with a quick intro by Greg Bishansky and then the Gathering 2004 group took the podium to unveil the Gathering 2004 mascot. He needs a name! The Gathering 2004 will be taking place in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. As the Gathering 2004 crew talked we were informed that the legal drinking and gambling age was 18. This prompted IRC Goliath to suggest the mascot's name be Hammered. I offered Smashed. The Gathering 2004 looks like it's going to be fun.
Some of those who helped with this year's con were then introduced. I can't imagine what these people have to put up with to get something like this off the ground. The Gathering was, at least from my point of view, a success. It was the Gathering 2003 crew, lead by Greg Bishansky, that made it happen.
Greg Weisman then took the podium to deliver his annual Gargoyles speech. During key points Greg would ask the crowd to complete parts of his well-told story about how Gargoyles came to be. It truly is better than Barney. He took a quick show of hands as to how many previous cons people had attended. A few brave souls admitted to having attended every single Gathering since this whole thing began. There were also a few "con virgins" in attendance. Greg mentioned that we, the fans, might be slacking a little bit. Attendance this year was down compared to previous years. I don't know how the LA Gathering will ever be topped, but his message was clear, let's get excited again about the show and get more people interested in it.
Greg then mentioned that Gargoyles would be coming to DVD in 2004 to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the show. Greg said it was a move made more for marketing purposes than anything else. He said that tentatively the DVD would contain all episodes from season one. It would also include a commentary track by "some guy named Greg Weisman". Very cool news to hear.
Greg then moved on to showing us the usual videos. First up was the video pitch Greg made back in the early 90s for Gargoyles. Next up were the Dark Ages and New Olympians pitches which I had never seen before so I was very happy to get the chance to see them. Greg then played the Bad Guys leica reel which was the one spin-off of Gargoyles that had the best chance of being made. The lieca reel was something of a mini-episode put together with rough pencil sketches patched together and with a dialog track and some sound effects. The story goes that the day before the lieca reel was to be completed the plug was pulled on the project. So Greg put up his own money to finish the lieca reel. This was a great peek into how an animated show gets produced.
After the videos Greg went over some of the panels that would be happening during the Gathering and closed up the opening ceremonies.
I was hoping to attend the jalapeno eating contest which started right after opening ceremonies. However I decided to go out and grab some dinner with some friends. It's a shame that the tolerance I've built up eating very spicy Thai food over the past few years couldn't be put to the test. There's always next year.
Later that evening was the Othercon mug-a-guest with Greg Weisman and Thom Adcox. The idea behind the Othercon is that more mature themes may be explored that might otherwise be inappropriate for the general audiences of the Gathering. So at the mug-a-guest there were no limits on what the questions could cover. One noteworthy fact that came out of the mug-a-guest was that Lexington was gay. Greg said that was never the plan going into the series but rather something that just developed over time. He said that Lexington seemed to stop his pursuit of Angela long before Brooklyn and Broadway and that may have been a sign. When asked who Lex's mate would be were the Gargoyles storyline to continue, Greg would not provide a name nor a species. He made it a point to say he wouldn't provide a species. Curious.
Greg was asked about how he would handle Gargoyles after the 9/11 attacks. Greg talked about how he worried it some would see it as exploitive to make such a show, especially given that gargoyles are awake only at night and the attacks happened during the day. He talked about other shows which did episodes dealing with 9/11, some were good and some were poor. His feeling is that there could have been a 9/11 episode for Gargoyles but that it would have to be a spectacularly written episode. His feelings were that the need to have the story told would need to outweigh his concerns about it being exploitive. The bar would have to be placed very high.
At about 1:30am we were kicked out of the room by hotel security, so that was it for the mug-a-guest.
The following day, Saturday, was filled with all sorts of cool stuff. I had to make the most of it as I would be missing out on all of Sunday's events to catch a plane to Las Vegas for another con.
Wingless wanted to catch the "Showstoppers and Scene Stealers: Creating Memorable Characters" panel so he headed off to that while IRC Goliath and I visited the art room. Disney had loaned to the Gathering some early production artwork from the show. This included a lot of work done by Greg Guler who did a lot of the early character design. There was also some character sketches for the comedy version of Gargoyles. As you may or may not know, Gargoyles was originally pitched as a comedy. Disney (Michael Eisner) didn't go for the idea and so the show was reworked as a drama. Many of the characters in the show as you see it today are based largely on characters first developed for the comedy show.
You can see some of this artwork in the video pitch Greg made for Gargoyles. Particularly the images of Hudson and Bronx in Greg's Gargoyles pitch comes from the artwork done for the comedic version of the show.
Also in the art room was a table with all sorts of materials relating to the episode "The Reckoning" including the complete storyboard done by Victor Cook. Vic Cook was also a guest at the Gathering. I spent about 30 minutes going through the storyboards. There was some very cool insight into the episode and how editing story-boards are done. The opening shot was originally done with Goliath looking through a pair of binoculars. Lots of panels had white paper pasted over them to show that the scene was to be cut or changed, but you could see through the paper and get a glimpse at the panel underneath. Several panels had pieces of paper pasted over only part of the panel with the piece of paper cut in such a way as to retain part of the original panel such as an arm or head. Then the piece of paper was drawn over again with the correct poses for the rest of the panel. That was kind of cool to see.
There was also a copy of the script and what appeared to be an edit sheet which kept track of what shots are to be placed where for the episode. Very cool.
Also in the art room was a large collection of fan art. There was some really amazing pieces in there. I especially enjoyed the water-color pieces. Just something about the texture of water-colors on the right kind of paper that I like... can't really put a finger on it.
Kanthara had a nice butt-shot of her character on display. For some odd reason that sticks out in my mind. There were many great pieces of art on display. So I made sure to take my time going around and selecting pieces to vote for. I liked the Gargoyles cards, a set of face cards done up with characters from the show. There was some nice work by Kythera and Dreamie as well. The art was not limited to just painting and drawings, there were some 3D art pieces; a pair of Brooklyn heads by Kelly Fay and a t-shirt with a front shot of Demona on the front and a back shot of Demona on the back.
After visiting the art room I headed over to the Roughnecks / 3x3 Eyes Q&A panel. The panel was hosted by Greg Weisman and I don't believe Thom Adcox was there even though he was slated to. We snuck some Gargoyles questions in there but mostly it was talking about 3x3 Eyes, which Greg Weisman directed the English dub of, and Roughnecks which was a series Greg wrote for. Greg showed us a tape of silly bits that the CG animators put together for Roughnecks. One included the cast singing "I Just Can't Get Enough" which cracked me up. There was also a music video montage which started (and ended) with some of the more violent scenes in the series with the song "What a Wonderful World" by Louis Armstrong playing. Greg also showed us a scene from Roughnecks. It was a funeral scene from an episode he wrote and which he felt was really well done by the animators and he wanted to share that. Greg then showed us some clips from 3x3 Eyes trying to showcase some of Thom Adcox's work on the project. He picked out a few really goofy scenes that were fun to see.
After that panel came the "Writing for Animation and Series Development" which I was especially interested in as we had been promised a sneak peek at a new series that is in development created by Victor Cook with Greg helping out on it as well.
Greg and Victor Cook talked a bit about what it was like pitching a series during the time of Gargoyles versus what it's like now.
Back in the day (1992 or so) a pitch was made directly to Michael Eisner and he would simply give it a thumbs up or a thumbs down. When Gargoyles was first pitched Eisner gave it the thumbs down but Greg was asked to rework the pitch and try it again. Greg talked about how the first time out, the pitch had about 40 or so pieces of art and included a lot of detail about the series. The second time around there were about 20 pieces of art and a lot of detail was cut. That pitch got the show made.
Greg talked about how when pitching a series, less really is more. It also helps to allow the studio you're pitching it to to feel that they could have a hand in developing or fleshing-out the series. Thus leaving a lot of room for tweaking can really help sell a series.
Greg and Vic talked about how things have changed now. Back in the day, Disney could syndicate it's cartoons out to independent television stations. As Fox, UPN, and the WB networks grew they bought up all these independent stations and syndication was no longer possible. Thus Disney bought ABC so it could have a place to put it's cartoons. Disney also opened up the Disney Channel from a pay channel to one that's now part of a regular channel package for most cable companies. This change in structure added new layers to the approval process. Now when a series is pitched it goes before a group of people to be approved. If even one member on that board doesn't like the show, then you're screwed. If it gets approved then the pitch is passed upwards to another group of people for approval. These extra layers, with many more people now involved in the approval process, make it very difficult to get a show made. People are more afraid to green-light the next television bomb than to block the next television blockbuster.
The television world seems to be tough business.
To end the panel we got to see a preview of a show Vic Cook had created and which Greg Weisman was helping to develop. Since the show is still being shopped around I figure I won't go into much detail about it. I'll just say that it seems like a cross between Bubblegum Crisis and X-Men with maybe a dash of Bionic Six. We were introduced to the main characters, given the basic story behind who they are and what the special attribute they all share is and some basic plot points. There's a seemingly Xanatos-inspired character trying to control things from behind the scenes in the series. I wasn't able to get a good idea of what the target audience is but Greg and Vic seemed to indicate that the show could swing from kids to young adults depending on what the network that buys the show wants. Greg and Vic mentioned Disney, when they saw the pitch, wanted to make the characters younger while the WB wanted to make the characters older.
I'll say it again: The television world seems to be tough business, especially animated television.
It was a great insight into a business I've never had any direct interaction with and I enjoyed it immensely. Probably my favorite panel out of all those that I attended.
Next up was the radio play rehersal. Earlier in the day 18 names were posted as being assigned to the radio play and I was lucky enough to be included. However we weren't to find out who we were playing, or what we would be performing, until the rehearsals.
After a brief introduction, Greg Weisman announced we would be doing "The Reckoning" which was an episode story-edited, and put to teleplay form by Gary Sperling. Gary Sperling worked close with Greg Weisman during Gargoyles and was a key figure in the show's development. Gary passed away a couple months ago from lung cancer (having never smoked a day in his life) and Greg felt it would be a proper tribute to do "The Reckoning" and perform it in Gary Sperling's honor. There were other episodes written by Gary Sperling but none of them had Lexington in it. Greg had assumed Thom Adcox would want to play Lexington... well guess again, Thom decided to take the role of Sevarius. Greg then announced who would be playing the rest of the roles in the episode. I was assigned to the role of Burbank who is Hudson's clone; 7 lines, 6 of which are growls. I guess those growls during auditions were okay.
IRC Goliath was picked for the role of Claw who is mute and thus has no lines. He was to be an under-study of sorts should someone fail to show up for the radio play. Like the idiot I am, that was nearly me.
We read-through the first act and then Greg gave pointers to those involved in the first act. We then did a second read-through of the first act. We were short on time so we did a single read-through on the second and third acts. Greg talked a bit about the need for volume and that should any of us make a mistake, to not apologize for it (which would draw attention away from the story) and to just move on. He gave tips on what kind of attitude certain characters had during certain scenes. Be more innocent here... be more cynical here... really have fun with this part... and so on.
Then we had to clear out of the ballroom while it was prepared for the banquet. There was some miscommunication as we were suppose to have more time to rehearse but the food services people wanted to get into the ballroom to setup. So we left and waited just outside for the ballroom to be prepared.
Once the ballroom was ready, we would go back in and start the radio play followed by the banquet. So Greg Bishansky comes out and lets the crowd outside of the ballroom know that it'll be about 30 minutes before everything is ready. So how to kill 30 minutes? I decided I ought to change my clothes. I was wearing jeans and a t-shirt which, I thought, were very unfitting for a radio play that had the kind of meaning and importance as this one. I headed up to my room, got cleaned up, and changed clothes.
As I'm getting my belt on there's a knock at the door.
"GORE?! They need you in the ballroom NOW!"
"What? ... I thought I had 30 minutes..."
"Well they're ready NOW!"
So it turns out that at about the time I got into the elevator, the ballroom was reopened and everyone was ready to start the radio play. So much for those 30 minutes. Instead, I wound up holding the show up for about 10 minutes while Kelly Fay scrambled around the hotel trying to find me. I felt like a total jackass at that point. The one thing I didn't want to screw up... and as I entered the ballroom there was a large, sarcastic, applause to greet the idiot who held up the show. 7 lines... just 7 lines... I wouldn't have waited for myself, but they did. So for everyone in attendence, I am very sorry for holding things up.
I scrambled into line and the radio play began.
From there things went off without a hitch. Batya was exceptional as Demona. Stephen Sabotka did great as Goliath. The lady (whose name I do not recall) that played Angela did probably the best job as she seemed to capture Angela's innocence and naivete perfectly. The guy who played Thailog and Thom Adcox had a great moment where Thailog and Sevarius share a maniacal laugh. The two really did it up like something out of Austin Powers 2. Everyone was cracking up on that. Come the third act, Claw is introduced by Greg Weisman and IRC Goliath stands up. The scene continues and then ends. IRC Goliath sits down. Everyone roared with laughter at that one. I let fly with my growls and for that one line of dialogue I did a bad impersonation of Bill Murray's character from Caddyshack.
The radio play was fun. But I felt horrible about holding things up. But everything went smoothly after that point and everyone seemed to be having a lot of fun.
Then we cleared out while final preparations were made to the ballroom for the banquet. Nichelle Nichols, Uhura from Star Trek, the voice of Diane Maza (Elisa's mother) in Gargoyles, would be attending the banquet.
A line was formed for those who wanted to be assigned to the table of a special guest. I decided to get in line. Everyone in line was give a number to correspond to a special-guest's table. I was assigned the number 1 which turned out to be Greg Weisman's table.
The doors were opened and we all took our seats. First we ate and then a Q&A session followed. Greg became the emcee of the Q&A and most of the questions were directed at Nichelle Nichols. Nichelle talked a bit about her sci-fi books as well as a bit about how she came to work on Star Trek. A general question for all the guests came up asking if there was a special or favorite episode. Greg talked about working on Mark of the Panther with Nichelle and how great she was. There's a point in the episode where Diane Maza delivers a story about the panther queen. Greg said Nichelle busted through that in just two takes. Vic Cook talked about how he enjoyed working on that same episode as that story sequence was done in a very different drawing style than that which is typical in Gargoyles and how fun it was. I dig the music Carl Johnson put together for that episode.
After the banquet a lot of people stayed around while things were cleaned up in preparation for the masquerade ball. Nichelle Nichols took the time to sign a few autographs.
On the the masquerade!
Kelly Fay's chain-mail headdress caught my attention while we were waiting for things to start. I've got to find me one of those mail head pieces.
Dreamie took over as emcee for the masquerade ball dressed up in her DreamieKitty cat-girl outfit. While waiting for everyone and everything to get in order she played up to the cameras and kept things interesting.
Apologies in advance as I never wrote down the real names of the people behind the costume.
First up we had a hunter, Robyn Canmore I believe. Best subtle use of knee-pads.
Next was a Matrix cosplay with a Matrix lady being chase by an agent. Matrix lady had a necklace on which was an LCD display that showed Matrix code.
Then there was a giant red gargoyle. I just don't know about that whole body-paint thing. I can't imagine that comes off easy. It also must make the clothes you wear incredibly greasy. I'll have to give it a shot some year.
Then we had a guy who came as Vinnie and did a dead-on impersonation of him. So much so that even saying the tried and true lines from "Vendettas" got me to nearly snarf the water I was drinking. (Snarf = making the stuff you're drinking come out your nose from laughing too hard.)
The most regal costume was a woman dressed as Gruoch. She did a great job on the costume.
A Fan came as an employed something or rather with a masters degree in something. Basically he came as a burger joint worker complete with mesh cap.
There was an Owen who pulled out a sign that hung around his neck proclaiming him as "Xanatos' Bitch".
Hudson and I'm not sure who did a cosplay where Hudson was something of a goth zoo keeper trying to keep control of this really menacing looking grey gargoyle. Lots of leather and chains and even a few growls that easily beat the best I had to offer at the radio play. The scariest cosplay ever?
Then again, I could be wrong. Patrick Toman and Kanthara cosplay as Anastasia and Fox Reynard with a baby Alexander in tow. Best cosplay in the whole show. Patrick Toman made just the best looking Anastasia Reynard I've every seen.. err.. would have seen, had I not dug my eyes out of their sockets a moment earlier. Kanthara and Patrick really put a lot of effort into it and I thought they did great.
There was another Owen who took the time to color his hand gray and draw stone marks all over it. Great detail.
Thom and Greg were judging the show along with Vic Cook. They seemed to be having fun.
Prizes were handed out and I was asked to deliver thte Gorelisa memorial award to Patrick. I need to reclaim my title next year I think.
Thom Adcox was given a belt with a lock this year to keep his pants up. Last year he apprently dropped his pants on more than one occasion. During the masquerade ball this was also the case. I wonder who was more over-the-top, Adcox at the Gathering or Tim Curry while doing Sevarius in "Monsters".
After the ball I headed back to my room to try and get some sleep as I had to leave early the following morning to catch my plane. IRC Goliath and Wingless with Gabe in two showed back up in the room about 30 minutes later. They stayed up and talked well into the night while I tried to find a comfortable spot on the chair I was sitting in. I'm told that while I was fading in and out of sleep IRC Goliath snapped a picture... I'm still a bit worried about that one.
Eventually I found sleep.
The next morning I got up early and took off to catch a bus to LaGuardia. Having read about the mess involved in Greg Weisman getting to LaGuardia from the hotel I wonder, did he know about the shuttle that goes from Penn Station (right across the street from the hotel) to LaGuardia? During the ride from the hotel the bus passed the Mayflower which was where the Gathering took place in 1997. I switched over to a larger bus just outside Grand Central Station and headed out from there.
I hope to attend the Gathering 2004 in Montreal. This year was fun and next year is sure to be a blast.
Ya know, a year and a half later and I didn't even remember that we had to delay the radio play at all. So don't sweat it.
Okay, while I'm waiting for the internet app I should be working on to rebuild already (which takes way too long), here's my scatterbrained G2003 journal...
(If parts of this don't make sense, Greg, I've been messing with Java code all morning, my brain's a bit fried already. :) )
Thursday, June 26
SOMEHOW got out of work at 1 pm, after spreading the word that I'd be MIA most of the week and getting some co-workers to cover for me. Ran home, packed, violated Resolution #9 (forgot the Gargs figures I wanted Greg Wiseman to sign yet AGAIN), decided not to bring the Banshee costume since it was only half done and I wasn't wearing a rushed, crappy costume just for the sake of having one. Drove up to my folks, rode to Aberdeen with my stepmom (yes, my stepmom, it still feels weird being able to say that now), and waited outside for the train, which was half an hour late. Marsha waited out there with me for 40+ minutes in the heat determined to make sure I got on the train safely. She didn't have to, but I really appreciated it.
Train ride to NYC was pretty nice and fairly comfortable, despite some boredom - I brought my CD player, but managed to leave ALL my CDs at Dad's - and I got into Penn Station around 7 pm. Went up to the main level, looked around at the rush, and laughed out loud at myself. I had to set a scene in Penn Station in "Murphy's Law" despite never having been there and completely pulling the scene out of my ass, so I was highly amused to see that I had actually guessed right about the crowds rushing everywhere. Grabbed my bags and hoofed it to the Hotel Pennsylvania; I came out the wrong side and had to ask a cop if I was going the right direction. I was, so I got to the hotel, got my key at the front desk, gave Kathy a cellphone call and crashed in the room for a bit.
Hung out with Kathy a bit when she got out of con staff panic briefly and got to hear one of the looniest examples of mailing address silliness I've ever heard. She had to leave me to my own designs that evening, which was pretty boring. Despite the fact that there were a lot of non-staff attendees there on Thursday night, I only encountered ONE other con attendee who I didn't know all that well. I wandered around the hotel, got hit on by this strange guy, and just killed time for a few hours. Yeah, I was in the middle of downtown Manhattan, but there was nothing to do and I wasn't going out at night alone. So I ate at Lindy's for the first and last time, got bored and crashed around 11. (Any restaurant that screws up chicken fingers is not worth trying again.)
Friday, June 27
Got up with Kathy's phone alarm, let her shower first, and discovered the reason for the paint mold spots in the bathroom - the shower tended to hose down the WHOLE BATHROOM, blowing out the shower curtains completely. Hey, at least there was plenty of water pressure.
Went down and got breakfast at the 24-hour coffee shop - better than Lindy's - and bought a birthday gift for Innocence, a teddy bear with "I (heart) NY" on it. On the way back up, I *finally* ran into a non-staff attendee I recognized; BrooklynX was headed back to his room with breakfast. Yay, finally someone to hang out with. Dropped the bear off in my room for fear I'd leave it somewhere, then hung out in his room and checked out his still-growing collection of cels. (You know, I think Vic's comment might not be too far off...) Heard yet another fun travel story, which again reinforced the notion that I had an easy time getting up to NYC. We headed down to the lobby around 11, rolling our eyes at the CNN playing in the elevators. (That really DID get old fast.)
Good move, it seems, as attendees were gathering (no pun intended) there in hopes that registration would appear. Ran into Stephen, Seri Wavelength, Kellie Fay, Gside, Lanny, Duncan, A Fan, Orion, Spacebabie, and Archangel. Spacebabie offered her suggestion for my costume dilemma, which was a lot more creative than anything I'd have come up with, but it was a moot point since the wig was at home (and it was way too long and thick to spike with hair gel - I'd have HATED to wash that sucker afterwards!) Got lots of comments on my Sluggy "Fear the Bunny" T-shirt. Got lots of weird looks from the regular patrons of the hotel, too. Heh.
Registration finally opened up a bit late - they had to set the desk off to the side since the concierge was really annoyed that we were blocking the elevators. The staff rushed down and hurried to make up for lost time - I paid for the banquet up front for the hell of it. Couldn't get a T-shirt because I hadn't pre-ordered one. Oh well.
After a good deal of people waffling indecisively, I joined the group led by Fan to a kosher deli a few blocks away. We needed food, and I wanted to actually leave the hotel for a bit and actually remind myself I was in New York City for the first time in 3 years. The deli was nice, but the service was slow as all hell, which made us have to rush back to the hotel to get to Thom's Mug-A-Guest panel at 1:30.
Got into Thom's Mug-A-Guest panel a tad late, but not too late to miss most of it. Thom talked about the voice work he'd done recently, including a role where he had to play a 4-year-old rabbit with an Irish accent. He apparently could do the 4-year-old voice, and he could do the Irish accent, but not both at the same time. He also mentioned the radio ads he'd done, like the Del Taco ad ("I'm the fast food king.") and about 20 or so Jack-in-the-Box ads, which he thought was a bit of typecasting. He added, somewhat dreamily, "One day, I'm gonna do a Red Lobster ad." The discussion moved on to the fact that Disney's marketing department is apparently on drugs - badly promoting "Treasure Planet" but giving "The Country Bears" good publicity.
He added that he STILL gets recognized for his Gargoyles voice work on occasion, six or seven years after the show was cancelled, and no one Thom's talked to disliked the show at all. We moved on to some more personal stuff, then to demo tapes - the costs involved, the clever demo tape covers some voice actors have. "...So if anyone has any good artwork..." Thom added. There was some complaints about the hotel, some screwed-up reservations and the evil concierge. Thom said he was lucky he could make a living off voice work and didn't know what he'd do if he had to get a regular job. "I can't do anything. I'd have to be a male prostitute." He also showed off his new tattoo (and no, he didn't strip, it was on his calf). We ran late, and someone mentioned Greg was coming for the voice acting panel. Thom promptly shut and locked the door. ;)
Voice acting panel was fun; Greg shared a story about Carol Channing's voice part on Rescue Rangers and the chiffon shirt that kept crinkling when she tried to record. (They told her the shirt had to go, so she obliged and did the whole thing in her bra. When she was called back to reprise the character, she was wearing that same shirt.) During the panel, Kathy ran in and started whispering to Thom and Greg about convention-related stuff, but Thom couldn't resist exclaiming out of the blue, "You're PREGNANT?" Which set the whole room off. Poor Kathy. :)
We did a voice panel workshop, which was a lot of fun. Again I'm glad I stuck with Hood Theatre while I was in school; I haven't been scolded by anyone to "project" properly for a while now. It was interesting to see how certain people interpreted a scene. I hung around to get the radio play audition over and done with, chatting with Sara about anime as we waited. (It's all her fault I picked up Kare Kano this weekend.)
I ended up reading Lexington because a) I figured they'd be tired of Elisa and Demona, b) I couldn't possibly read the Angela bit with a straight face, and c) the Lex passage was not that extreme and I wouldn't crack up. I wasn't all that self-conscious about having to read the Lex bit in front of Thom. Audition went fine, and I went to the History, Myths and Legends panel a bit late, mostly to listen in.
I honestly don't recall much of what happened between that and the Opening Ceremonies; I think I hung out in the con suite and discovered they kept it stocked with free food. Or maybe that's when I wandered up to the regular art show and checked out the pics and the art that Disney loaned, drooling over the stuff done by Dreamie, Sara Berkeley, Niamhgold, and several others.
Opening ceremonies rolled around eventually, and the G2004 staff came up with the Montreal pitch. They're trying to get Brigitte Bako again, and they did point out that the gambling age in Canada is 18. (Chris Rogers: "I'm taking signups for suckers at the poker table right now.") I don't care about the gambling, etc; the con staff looks like a pretty together bunch, and I'd just love to go to Montreal. So I'm going.
Greg came up, and gave us the latest DVD news, mentioned they brought the audio tape from the Team Atlantis Demona ep "The Last" with them (Thom: "And Greg, I'm doing an interpretive dance for it."), and read letters from Greg Guler and Brigitte Bako. Brigitte had to film in Spain, and in her letter told us, "Have fun, and be good to Greg." Ah, she's heard about us. Greg Guler - to Greg W's amusement - apparently misspelled "Gargoyles." Same stories as before, and I got some good pics of the original pitch and the pitch for "Dark Ages." Greg asked that no pics be taken of the "Bad Guys" leica reel, and I obliged. He told most of the same stories, and of course we all finished his sentences, although he added a comment from a reporter I don't remember hearing before: when Greg had said something about having these "ugly" gargoyles as the heroes, a female reporter apparently said, "There is nothing ugly about Goliath at all." Hee.
Kathy got a hold of me after opening ceremonies, and mentioned that Greg, Vic Cook, and some of them were going to a restaurant for dinner. Of course, I came along. It was a long walk, but a good meal, and really interesting to listen to the guys. One of Greg's friends from college met us at the restaurant. I'm glad Vic Cook made it this year, he's an interesting guy and easy to talk to. However, we lost track of time, and had to book it to get back to the hotel in time for the Othercon "Blue" Mug-A-Guest. Vic had to take off, and the rest of us made a break for the hotel. (This was somewhat problematic because Greg, who knew where we were going, started running, and I, who did not know where we were, was having a mild asthma attack and having a little trouble keeping up. Kathy hung back to keep an eye on me, and we did make it back in one piece. I probably shouldn't have tried to run, but even if I knew which way to go I wasn't comfortable getting too far behind the crowd.) We got there all right, and Greg was apologetic, but it was mainly my own fault for trying to run after them.
I took notes during the Mug-A-Guest, which started off as a "let's-see-who-can-shock-Greg" runaround. There were the comments about Goliath and Elisa getting together (Thom: "He'd split her wide open.") Someone asked who was "packing the most heat." While Greg joked, "Coldsteel is made of metal..." he added that he really didn't think about that and that Goliath would be the most obvious answer. They moved on to proportions, and Thom was saying, "The diameter of Demona's -" and Greg joked, "Well, actually, I do think about that."
He said, seriously, that they measured characters by head size (when I snickered, he added, "By head I mean cranium."), although some of the animators had fun. On the subject of Demona (I don't recall where in the conversation this one was), he noted, "And considering she's only fertile once every 20 years, you can imagine her pre-menstrual." Someone asked if gargoyles could perform oral sex on themselves. Thom was speechless, but he was too busy trying not to crack up to speak. Greg: "I sincerely do not know the answer to that." They went back to the commentary on how certain characters were occasionally drawn, and as Thom started going off on how Lex seemed to be drawn a certain way, Greg exclaimed, "Listen to this. 'My' dick! 'My' dick!"
And of course, the question most con reports I've seen have touched on: Is Lex gay? Greg said that in the show, he'd have considered getting Lex a male friend and never have indicated either way. But if people speculated, he added, they'd be right.
The talk went on to more conventional bits - fighting with Frank Paur over Jonathan Frakes and then Nana Visitor, how lax certain mores were on Avalon. On why Matt was so obsessed with the Illuminati, Greg said, "Well, he's Jewish. And he's a geek." (Seriously: just a conspiracy nut.) Asked about taking voice roles, Thom said, "Oh, I'll take them. I'm easy. I just don't get them." Greg: "You SLUT!"
The crowding in the room was making it a little warm, so I had to leave to get some air after that. Hung out outside the room with Stephen, KWS, and some other folks who can all draw better than me. Karine shared some maple liqueur, and I tried a tiny bit because I don't trust my tolerance. (Hey, I don't drink that much to begin with.) The room emptied out, and I didn't stay up too much longer before crashing in our room.
Saturday, June 28
Woke up at 11, freaked and hurried to get to the TGS panel. Only got into the tail end of it, and then wandered down to the art room to check out the pics. Niamhgold once again did an awesome set of pics, this time painting 12 characters as the face cards of all four suits. (I happily managed to snag the Jack of Spades/Puck and the Jack of Spades/Owen, just because I couldn't afford the whole set and I loved the idea of getting those two together.)
I really wanted to check out the Roughnecks/3x3 Eyes panel, but that was squashed as I realized my little notebook - with the Opening Ceremonies and the M-A-G notes - had gone missing. I panicked and spent over two hours searching until I found it; I'd left it at the TGS panel. Duh. Because of that, I missed the aforementioned panel and most of the crossover fanfic panel.
Was going to stick around for the crossover panel, but I stopped to get lunch in the con suite and happened to notice the cast list for the radio play. Dude. I actually got a part. Which meant that between 3:30 and 6, I was pretty much committed to the hotel. I'd been trying to work out how to meet up with Bruce (BK the Irregular to Buffy fanfic fans) while I was in town, and with the added wrinkle of the radio play, if I was going to coordinate anything I had to do it right then. (Of course, I was too busy listening to Stephen's hysterical Gargoyles/Rescue Rangers crossover idea and procrastinated a bit to hear the end of it.)
Got some help from A Fan, who had a wireless setup in the room he was sharing with Carter. However, his room key didn't work, so we had to hunt down his roommate (whose name the room was in). Finally found him, only to find out that his key didn't work either. So we called security. Finally, security let us in the room, and while Carter went down to get a pair of WORKING keys, I sent Bruce an e-mail with my cellphone number.
I ended up only making it to the last 5 minutes or so of the crossover panel. Ah well. :)
Radio play went fine; because of Gary Sperling's passing, Greg had brought "The Reckoning" in honor of Gary, who wrote the teleplay. I got Delilah, Batya got Demona, Stephen got Goliath, Jill "Leopard" got Angela, and if I list the whole cast I'll be typing all morning. Amusingly enough, Seth got CLAW of all characters - Greg's reasoning was that if someone bailed at the last second, he'd have an understudy. No one bailed (although I was tempted to disappear just to make Seth think he had to read Delilah), but Seth's stand-up-sit-down bit got a lot of laughter. Greg picked the script so Thom could read Lex, but Thom decided he wanted to do Sevarius. *snicker* First time Thom did the reading and the maniacal laughter, everyone cracked up. My five lines came out fine; when I did the growl in the rehearsal, it sounded like a cat was being stepped on and drowned simultaneously, but it came out fine when we had an actual audience.
I had to shut my phone off during the radio play, and while waiting in line for the banquet I got a voicemail from Bruce - he was on his way. Nichelle Nichols did indeed show up, and while I didn't get to sit at her table in the guest lottery, I did sit at Vic Cook's table. Unlike last year's banquet, the food was pretty good, albeit not geared towards vegetarians. Got a call from Bruce during the banquet, went down to get him (after resorting to cellphones to find him in the lobby) and we snuck into the banquet and listened to Ms. Nichols for a bit. She talked about "Mark of the Panther," her favorite episode (she did the Anansi story in just two takes), how she "put her career on hold" for Star Trek (hee), and her novels. Greg also worked in the Jalapena story, and Greg B made his own bet: "Should the series ever come back, I bet you can't get Demona to say it." We didn't stick around for the autographs, and instead went down to hang out in the con suite prior to the Masquerade.
As we were sitting there, just talking and hanging out (and a couple people commented on Bruce's Psi Corps pin), Bruce put on his tie and sunglasses, and then stuck in the ear bud he'd brought (thinking he'd take the train). Right then, Jill, who was dressed as the Matrix (the movie one, that is - she had this little flat screen on her chest that showed a green LCD display that looked like it) spotted him, made the Agent Smith connection, and pounced, asking to borrow Bruce for the cosplay. He was fine with it, so he and Jill ended up in the lineup for the Masquerade. I went back into the ballroom when someone told all non-costume people to get in there, camera on hand. Dreamie presented Thom with a gift at the Masquerade - a belt with a padlock. She then announced, "And now we're going to auction off the key." Heh.
As usual, there were some really creative costumes; you had to love Revel as Vinnie and Spacebabie as Robyn Canmore (in full Hunter gear), Seri Wavelength as Gruoch, Archangel as Owen Burnett (complete with "I'm Xanatos' Bitch" sign), y2hecate's costume (I wish I'd gotten a better shot of it), and Patrick Toman and Karine Charlebois as Anastasia and Fox. Respectively. Yep, Patrick went in drag again, and while that's no longer so much of a surprise, the rather long and amusing cosplay they did had us laughing our heads off. ("No one mentioned any fairy PRINCE funny business, though...") *snerk*
To top it all off, Thom obliged those of us who missed it at G2001 and dropped his pants right there on stage long enough for us to get pictures. I was far away, and naturally couldn't get a clear pic in that big, dimly-lit ballroom, but the boxers showed up even on that dim photo. Hee.
I missed a lot of the art show awards, although Sara Berkeley took the lion's share of the awards this year. Niamhgold's face card set won Best In Show (she did it again - wonder what she's going to do NEXT year?). Bruce ended up leaving around 10:30, amazingly not having been scared off. ;) Sorry I kept you out so late!
Went back to the Con Suite, with the Dreamer Clan all dressed up as their evil doubles. Got to talk to Constance and Batya for a bit (and Constance, your outfit was a trip). Snagged some more free food, as it was apparent this was a trend.
Ended up watching A Fan's tapes of the show with him and Carter in their hotel room and split a pizza from Domino's. FINALLY got to actually see "The Reckoning," the one single episode of Gargoyles I never managed to see. (Yes, same ep we did for the radio play, which figured.)
After that, I wandered around for a bit, got locked out of Rocky Horror (and after spending ten solid minutes pounding on the ballroom doors and yelling "Let us in!" someone answered, but at that point I'd lost interest). Ended up sitting and chatting with Ellen (who I'd never met) and Dylan (yep, Whitbourne made it to a Gathering! whee!). I wish I'd been more coherent then, because it was a really fascinating conversation about how we'd gotten into the show, how we ended up with certain fanfic ideas, why we discarded certain fanfic ideas, and what we thought of the Gathering. I could have hung out with them for hours if I hadn't been on the verge of passing out. (God, I still hope Ellen didn't read my stuff. The majority of my old Gargoyles series makes me cringe.)
I think I conked out at 2:30. I'm not sure, but I was out cold as soon as I hit the sack.
Sunday, June 29
Made a lazy mistake Sunday morning - since Kathy was con staff, I assumed her phone alarm would get us up on time. First time I woke up, I saw her still in bed and figured it was still early.
Her phone alarm did not go off. We woke up at 1:15.
Jumped out of bed, dressed, and raced to Vic and Greg W's Team Atlantis Q&A panel. Got there late, but not too late, and they were discussing why the series was so stupidly chucked. They were talking about budget problems and the fact that overhead took so much of it when I got in - lately, only half of the budget goes to the cartoon itself. Yeesh.
Disney saves higher budgets for properties with the Disney banner (ABCFamily doesn't count). There's apparently a difference between shows with the Disney label and shows that are "carrying the flag for Disney." "Team Atlantis" fell into the latter category. When TA was in development, there was no ABCFamily, and a certain exec hated the idea from the start and got to say "I told you so" when the film flopped. Huge S&P arguments over the series didn't help either.
So they'd actually developed 6 episodes of the series, and gotten the voice work done for the 7th (the Demona ep) - that's about $1 million invested in the show already - when there was a message for Greg at 11 am about a "10 AM full crew meeting." He didn't think anything of it, and called their story editor on a separate issue. The story editor wouldn't tell him what was up, saying, "You have to call Tad yourself." Vic had been called in at 9 and was told privately what was going on - they were axing the show completely. Forget the $1 mil already in the project, forget all those episodes, the film was a flop, the execs wanted to kill it, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. At the time, such a thing was unimaginable; wasting all that money and time on something that was half-done and then chucking it all just wasn't done.
Now, however, it's become a verb: last year, Greg mentioned that if something else like that happened at Disney, the project was "Atlantised." He recently heard that used by someone at Sony, and now it's become an industry term.
They showed us some clips from the straight-to-tape "movie," which was actually 3 episodes thrown together. From the bit I saw, it looked like a fun series (better than the original film), so it's really a shame that this happened.
After that, I realized what time it was and bolted for the art room - I'd forgotten to bid on the two pieces I'd wanted! Luck, it seemed, was with me; while a large part of the face cards were gone, no one had bid on the Owen or the Puck. I snagged them both and picked up a Lex print for Thom to sign, then headed to closing ceremonies.
Not much to say about closing ceremonies, really, just some quotes. Greg Weisman, on having the podium turned over to him by the con staff: "And heaven forbid I should shut up." Thom held up a sculpture of Lex's head he got from the art show, saying, "Look, I got a little head." Aaron was kind enough to inform all us camera Nazis that "Thom is keeping his pants in the upright and locked position." Got to say hello and goodbye to JEB, said goodbye to a lot of folks who were heading out, signed up for G2004, and got Thom to sign my print. Also got a look at the Chaos pic Karine did for BrooklynX and nearly fell over laughing. It was just priceless.
Hung out in the con suite for a little while. The video room was pretty much over with, and Greg B tried to set something up so I could watch some Cowboy Bebop (the only episode I've seen in full is "Toys in the Attic") By the time he got it in, though, it was too noisy to hear the dialogue, and it was almost 4 so I had to join the Coney Island crew to hit the subway.
(NOTE: Greg Weisman is the only Greg mentioned from here on in, unless I specify otherwise. ;) )
We took the subway, all 27 of us (as Greg's constant head-counts reminded me). On the way to Coney Island, we stopped at the World Trade Center memorial. Wow. Thankfully, the memorial stuff was not tacky in the least. I didn't cry, but the sight of it just made me stare and think. It made what happened almost 2 years ago seem a lot more real. I took some pictures, and Sara the Great and I ended up following Greg around to the upper deck (we couldn't see anyone else from our group). Once we got everyone together, we went all the way down to Coney Island.
Coney Island was... pretty much what I expected. Overpriced (hey, it's New York), kind of grungy, not as big as some people think, but it was still fun. Ended up in a group with Sara the Great, Dylan, Mooncat, Princess Alexandria, Leo, The Bizz, Diamond Debbie, BrooklynX, and if I forgot anyone, please tell me. We went on the Cyclone first thing - I wanted to go on it, but wasn't going to go on a full stomach. I only went on it once because it was a rough ride; I've been on worse, but it's an older rollercoaster, my brain felt like it had been rattling in my skull, and it was all left turns so I kept squishing Dylan. After I waited with a couple others for the rest of the looney tunes to finish their second ride on it, we went on a few more rides, including the Wonder Wheel ("So which one of these did Demona and Thailog have their fight on?"), the haunted house, and I went on the go-carts while some others went on the Zipper. (Me: "So you gauge the quality of a ride by the amount of head trauma you sustain?" Sara: "Yep!") Played some Skee Ball, got everyone to sign the free smiley faces we got. We did NOT stay til midnight, much to my relief; I think we left around 10.
Took the subway back up to 34th(?) Street, after many headcounts (Someone: "We have confirmed that, indeed, Greg can count to 27.") and a bit of confusion when they were working on the tracks, but the night didn't end there: Greg announced that he wanted to find pancakes. (Me: "Easier said than done. This isn't Williamsburg.") That switched to a general search for something with sugar at 11 pm, and we ran around before finally finding an open ice cream place in Penn Station. I needed to find a pharmacy, but we didn't pass one that was still open. While everyone was hanging out in the con suite, watching Cowboy Bebop, Greg was kind enough to walk me to a 24-hour pharmacy, which naturally was six or seven blocks away. (Of course, I had to ask him after he'd changed out of his walking shoes. Thanks again, Greg. I appreciate it.)
I crashed at a relatively decent hour afterwards.
Monday, June 30
Woke up at 8:45, although at first I thought it was 9:45 and called Kathy in a panic before I realized I had time to shower and dress. We checked out, and I stored my luggage in the luggage check room. We didn't take A Fan's touring trip, and I went with Kathy to Chinatown instead. It was incredibly hot, and we ducked into shops as much to browse as we did to just get out of the heat. Kathy did find the book she was looking for, and I bought a jade elephant for Plague's mother (for the next time I visit OC and she spoils us rotten). We were going to eat in Chinatown, but when we stopped at a fairly crowded restaurant, we were the only non-Asians there. This wouldn't have bothered us if we hadn't realized that everyone else had to take a lottery number and they were going to clear the next table for us first. So we ended up going to Little Italy instead.
Kathy had a flight to catch, so we got back to the hotel around 2. This gave me two and a half hours to kill, so I went in the gift shop, and suddenly remembered - to my chagrin - that I'd left the birthday present I'd bought for Innocence on the top shelf of the closet. After a few phone calls and a bit of panic, someone from security kindly went and got me the teddy bear from the room. So now I had an hour and a half to kill, and no one familiar in sight. I did see Revel and Spacebabie coming back from the Empire State Building, but after what transpired they weren't really going anywhere. (Congratulations, guys. :) )
So what happens when Mandi has time to kill in New York? I spend money. Went into the gift shop and got a T-shirt for the hell of it (but since this is ME, the NYC shirt I picked was the one that said "New York Mental Institution"). I went across the street to Penn Station and picked up an on-sale copy of the 5th Harry Potter book (between the discount and the coupon I had, I saved about $16 off the cover price), came back and sat down with the book. I'd made it through a good chunk - hey, I'm a speed reader - when I ran into Greg, who was headed to McDonald's and asked if I wanted to come along. So we picked up lunch in the tiny McDonald's, noted the lack of air conditioning and space, and took it back to his room to eat.
Greg was surprised to find that this was my fifth, not my second con - he didn't remember me prior to 2002. (Being one of the few people in Williamsburg with a car last year, I drove down to the Jamestown tour and boat ride after the con.) That was because 2002 was the first time I could go to a convention with a real job that allowed me to save enough leave up to stick around after the convention - I had to fly out of Orlando before closing ceremonies in 2000, and I missed G2001 because I had to start my job the day after that convention ended. He didn't remember me as the person who they held radio play auditions an hour late for in G1998 because I got sick. (And I'm VERY glad he didn't. I was in bad shape that Saturday. Damn you, Blimpie's! :) ) Besides, you know, I'd been too shy to introduce myself earlier. Helps when you room with someone who's on the convention staff. Greg eventually kicked me out to get some sleep, which wasn't a big deal since I didn't have as much time to kill anyway.
It was 4:15 when I confirmed that my train was on time, got my bags and headed across to Penn Station. Got on the train with no problem, didn't forget ANYTHING for once (knock on wood), and got back to Aberdeen on time. Let me tell you, next time I head up that way, I'm definitely taking the train. I wouldn't take the train outside of the Boston-to-DC routes (I still can't believe BrooklynX took the train from Sacramento, and I nearly choked when I heard the train coming from Detroit was delayed 6 hours because it HIT SOMEONE), but it's a really smooth ride up and down that corridor.
And that's all, until I go to Montreal for 2004...
I would have done well to put my tennis shoes back on, that's for sure... My feet were killing me after that drugstore run.
But they're fine now. ;)
Ok, Greg, here's mine:
June 23 - 25:
Boarded the train in Sacramento at roughly 11:25 and was moving about 5 minutes later towards Chicago. Learned something interesting as we passed through Truckee, CA. Between 1871 and 1882, the town completely burned down 6 times. Oops.
Spent most of the time between Sacramento and Chicago sleeping, writing and listening to my E Nomine CD's. Through in a couple stops where we were there for several minutes at least, so I go off and stretched for a few. Got into Chicago around 5:00 p.m. on the 25th. Was roughly an hour late, but wasn't an issue since it cut my layover from 3 hours to 2. Then I walked into South Lounge and it was packed with bodies and more showing up every minute. They had no AC going and the only thing that was moving the air was 4' by 4' fan. This area was meant to seat roughly 250 people. There were probably about 400 of us packed in there. Lovely.
Had Pop-Tarts and a Mt. Dew for dinner. Yum. Around 6, they said the train would a few minutes late to the track due to some issue with the diner car. So instead of leaving at 7, I figured maybe 7:15. Wrong. At point, I called Kelly to let her know there was no chance of me meeting her at the hotel at 2 like planned the next day. I told her I would call back the next day with more information about the arrival time. As the delay got longer and longer, I was beginning to wonder if they somehow had lost the train out in the yard or if it burned to the ground.
At 9:45, we get told the train will be to our track in 15 minutes. Of course, it didn't pull up to the track until 10:10. No real surprise there. So the delay ended up turning into just over three hours. We board and finally depart from the station at 10:30 p.m. Just after we cleared the yards, you could tell the engineer had throttled way up and was trying to make up some of the lost time.
Wake up at 6 a.m. Where is the train? Cleveland, Ohio. We're now 4 hours behind. Went and got breakfast in the diner car. The food left something to be desired. Explained to somebody about the show, since I was wearing one of the sweatshirts they gave out last year. As the day goes on, we get later and later. By the time we reach Buffalo, NY, we're 5 hours late. By the time we get to Rochester, NY, we're not 6 hours behind. While at the station there, I mentally waved to Siryn. At one point, it looked like we might make up about an hour, but we fell behind once again.
Because of how far behind we were, they served us a free lunch and dinner. The lunch was some Beef Stew. That food really left something to be desired. It was rather... gross tasting. Not to mention, couldn't find any beef in it either. I could just see it now: "Beef? You want beef in your beef stew? HAHAHA! That's a good one!"
Dinner was a boxed meal. Got to pick between turkey or ham and I went for ham since I rather dislike turkey. Got a drink and sat down. Opened it up to discover it was a sub sandwich, a bag of chips and an apple turnover. The sub wasn't bad, but wasn't great either. Was far better than that beef stew though! Finally got to NY Penn Station at roughly 8:40 to 8:45 p.m. At this point, I was almost 7 hours behind. I was supposed to be in at 1:50.
It sure wasn't pleasant when I stepped off the train with my luggage. Walked out from a nice and rather cool train car into a sheer wall of heat. I moved out of the way and quickly stripped off my Gargoyles sweatshirt, but that didn't help much. Trudged upstairs and tried to find the I needed to get to the hotel. I figured out the right direction, but wanted to double check, so I asked the guy at the information desk. He laughed when I asked which exit for Hotel Pennsylvania "Are you serious?"
I wanted shake my head, but didn't. "Yes, I am." He then told which way to go. I thanked him and walked off. I still find a bit ridiculous that he laughed at for making sure which direction I needed to go to get to the hotel. Short walk later, I get to the hotel and checked in. Called Kelly to see where she was, but she was out doing DDR. We had planned to meet up after I got in, but that was for the 2 p.m. timeframe, not the almost 9 p.m. timeframe.
This is the first hotel I've seen where you need to show your room card before getting in the elevators. My room was up on the 11th floor as was maybe 30 feet from the elevators. Nice and close. When I went to shower, I had to wait over five minutes just to get some hot water in my room. Of course, there was the weird water pressure that made me feel like I was getting pelted by stuff. Ate a small dinner and tried to fall asleep. Didn't pass out until roughly 2:30 a.m. 3 hour time difference can be such a pain to adjust to. Oh well.
Woke up around 8:30 when the maids wanted to come clean my room. So much for getting a rather good amount of sleep to start the con off with. Tried to sleep for a little longer, but decided it was futile at best. Got up, showered and went downstairs to the cafe down in the lobby. Got a banana muffin and a coke for breakfast. On the way back to my room, I ran into Mandolin. On the way to her floor first,
we both started to get annoyed by the CNN that kept playing in the elevators. The first couple times it was amusing, but got real old, real quick.
She drops something off in her room, then we went to mine. She thumbed through my cels while I chewed on breakfast. We talked for a little and then headed down to find registration around 11. After getting my badge and shirt, went to lunch with a few others. I got the chicken fingers. The food was pretty good, but the service was crappy. Several times I had started to wonder if the server had forgotten we were there. Got back and was supposed to be a runner, but didn't really do anything. Went up to the art room at around 2:30 to help watch it while Kellie Faye was helping get some supplies. Took a look at the art that Disney had lent us. Very spiffy stuff.
Too bad I couldn't buy some of those pieces. Would love to get one of the pre-production Goliath's so it could join the one I picked up last year. Not to mention, would have loved to have gotten the drawings for the clones as well. Oh well, maybe someday?
Checked out an art panel before hitting opening ceremonies. After a the brief introductions by the 2003 staff, those of us on the 2004 staff got to stand on stage to make our pitch. Karine and Kelly did all the talking and did a great job at making the pitch. We handled a few questions, plus Kelly took care of the whole speaking French deal. After that, Greg Weisman went through his usual spill that I've heard four times now. Sure it's the same stuff over and over, but it's still good to hear it. Course, we started finishing his sentences too.
After that, got some raffle tickets. Was supposed to meet up with Karine, Kelly and a few others for dinner, but Kelly couldn't reach my phone for some reason. Went up to the MST3K they were doing for a few episodes of Gargoyles. After that, went to the blue Q&A that Greg and Thom were holding. Several times the questions went out of the gutter, but after did get back there. Learned that Lexington was gay, more or less. Wasn't something I really expected, but as Greg went on, I could see where he was coming from. Of course, he wouldn't say who Lexington's lover was going to be, or what species for that matter, other than it wasn't somebody we've seen on the show. Ended up getting kicked out around 2 by security.
Tried to sleep in, but once again, didn't work out too well. And this time I had been smart enough to put up the "Do Not Disturb" sign on my door to keep the maids from waking me up. Went through the morning routine and got breakfast. Talked to several folks for a while, though I can't remember their names. Around 2, I went to check out the "When Worlds Collide" writing panel. After that, checked out a storyboarding panel by Vic Cook. After that, went up to the art room and voted. This year they had folks write down the numbers for the pieces they wanted to vote on and then enter the information into a computer. Very smart idea, since it cuts down on them having to tally it all by hand.
Skipped the radio play this year and hung out with Kelly as she did pre-registration for next year. Also got a pic done by Liz while chatting. After that, went up to wait for the banquet. Showed Greg, Thom and Vic my cels. I liked one of Vic's comments: "He's got more cels than Disney!" We talked briefly and I found out he has some relatives that live over in the Sacramento area. Sat with Karine, Kelly, Patrick and a few others. Oh yeah, Artgolem from Aimee's forum was at the table as well. Always nice getting to meet folks from forums.
Talked about a number of things before the Q&A session with Nichelle Nichols. She's got a good voice, but she seemed to be going on and on about her books. Hung around after that to get pictures at the masquerade. Was sort of disappointing to see not many entries this year. Also got picked up a free sweatshirt, since the 2003 staff was giving away free shirts and the likes for folks who went to the banquet.
Ran into Thom on the way down to get some breakfast. He had to pretty much start a war just to get cream for his coffee from the folks in cafe. While trying to pack away my drinks, he kept trying to prod me into hurrying up. For the first time, we both got asked to show our room key cards to go up the elevators, which surprised the both of us. On the way up, we talked briefly about how rude it was on them not to want to give him cream for his coffee and how my bagel shop job a few years back, we would have the cream out for folks. Plus we both shook our head at the CNN blaring away in the elevator.
I went to browse what they had to auction while he went off to do something else. Didn't see anything of interest other than the Atlantis storyboard, but knew that would shoot out my price range real fast. Went over to the art room, where I sat down with Karine and Kelly to help sell raffle tickets and pre-registration. Kelly showed my some of the new art she had gotten from Karine, plus a doodle of some of some of the folks and how they arrived. I loved how she had me going: "Tap, tap, tap," while waiting in Chicago.
Got Karine to do a colored commission of my gargoyle character, Chaos. She did it of him counting money and saying, "It's good to be treasurer..." I really love the expression she gave to him. After seeing it finished, I went, "That is so going to be put on a shirt!" After that, we started discussing about doing special staff shirts. We would have the mascot on the front like everybody else. On the back would be "Staff" and our own character doing their respective job. Brought this up with Greg, who told us to surprise him for the design on the back of his shirt.
Moved over to closing ceremonies and sold some more pre-registrations. Also drew the raffle tickets for the prizes. Stayed through part of the auction as well, during which I bought the Gargoyles board game. We did pretty well on pre-registration. Sold 54 of them, which isn't a bad start.
Around 5, Met up in the lobby with Greg and company that was going to Coney Island. We took a vote and stopped at where the WTC towers had been. It's hard to believe that one of the places my grandfather had worked in was gone. He had worked on the 68th floor of the North Tower after they had been built. Took several pictures before we moved onto Coney Island.
Of course, Greg kept counting us... several times over. Barely had entered the place when Kelly and Liz ran over to play DDR, effectively separating myself and Talyesin from the group as well (they were my buddies). After that, we wandered for a little bit before getting on the Wonder Wheel. While going around on that, we tried to see if we could spot anybody from the group, but wasn't able to. After some walking around, we hit up the McDonald's. We stood in line for twenty or so minutes and noticed the smiles are free sign. Liz asked for a large fries, small chocolate shake and four smiles. It took the guy a couple seconds to catch on to what she had said. We only got two smiles. After we walked away, I said I felt cheated since we only got two.
A couple minutes later, we ran into a couple others from the group. Found out where we were supposed to meet up and when. Joined up at the right time and headed back to the hotel. As we waited for the subway, a few of us took group pics. Boarded the train and got to the hotel a little over an hour later. As we were walking back, Greg decided he wanted pancakes. We started searching about for diner or a Denny's. Course, this isn't Williamsburg, so no luck. Of course, he said he could go for a donut or ice cream. We finally managed to find a place one the lower level of Penn Station that was still open and selling ice cream.
We heading back and after a few minutes of seeing the con suite crowded, headed down with Kelly and a few others down to her room to chat while they drew. I said goodbye to them at around 2 a.m. and went back to my room to start packing. Finished up around 3 and set the alarm for 10:30. Course, having the con is over jitters, I didn't fall asleep until 4:30 a.m.
Woke up at 8:30 to somebody's door slamming shut. I tried to get another hour to two of sleep, but it didn't work. Checked at around 11:30 and ended up chatting with several folks from the Gathering until about 2:15, when I had to head to Penn Station to catch my train at 2:50. Felt sad that the Gathering had come to an end. There I ran into Silver once again, who was taking the same train, but getting off long before I was. The train managed to make good time.
July 1 - 3:
Got into Chicago at 9 a.m. and got to sit there for a little over 5 hours before my train back to Sacramento. The train pulled out at about 2:40, a little over 30 minutes late. The trip went pretty well until we got to Denver. At this point, we were an hour behind, but that's nothing new from what I've heard. As they went to disconnect the mail cars and the sleepers, they derailed the sleeper cars. Thankfully, nobody
was hurt. Turned me from getting into Sacramento about an hour late into me getting there almost 5 hours late. Instead of getting in at around 2:20, I got there at 7:10.
One of the first things I did after I got off the train was go to Denny's to get some non-train food, which I was really sick of at this point. While it was nice to be home, I miss the fun I had at the Gathering.
Did you have pancakes?
I'm assuming this is where we're supposed to post our little Gathering journals.
This year was my first Gargs con and it started off on a real down note. Even though I was told I could get off early, I didnt get off early enough and I missed my flight by ten minutes (ottawa to laguardia direct). So I had to take a flight that cost four times as much. There was also a connection in Montreal. I got to New York way behind schedule and with no money. Fortunately the airport shuttle took credit and I got to the hotel. I scrounged up some US money and managed to call Gabe who I had arranged on the gathering forums to share a room with.
While I was waiting for him I decided right there to stop being bitter and miserable and just relax and have a good time. Gabe was great guy. After I dropped my stuff off in the room I wandered around and met Dave AKA Wingless whom I already know, which was comforting after what I had been through.
By this time it was the blue question panel. It was the first time I had seen Greg or Thom in person and it was very interesting. I finally got ask about the politics (or lack thereof)in Deadly Force which had been bothering me. Thom blurted out that Lexington has a ten inch tongue. I can't remember how that came up but it was hilarious. Thom really seemed to indentify with Lex which was interesting. We got kicked out by a security guy. I could've handled him no problem, but I was tired anyway.
The next day I got up and ate 'breakfeast' in some grease hole called blimpie's. I headed back to the hotel and figured I'd try my hand at voice acting. Someone handed me a list of characters and reading material. On the form I circled 'yes' for accents and chatted nervously with some other people auditioning. I went in knowing I was not going to get a role, I just thought it would be fun. Being a moron I read for Hudson thinking I could tackle it. I ended up goofing off and joking around more than auditioning. Thom seemed to think I was funny, but I dont think I impressed Greg. Oh well, there's always next year. The rest of the day was a bit of a blur. I finally registered and got my con badge which was neat. I had my internet handle on it instead of my name so people I've chatted with could recognize me. When people started calling me Flanker in person it was kind of weird. I ducked in and out of various panels. It didnt take me long to realize I was totally outclassed by the artists and writers present at the convention. You can't teach me how to pop a wheelie if I cant even ride a bicycle in the first place. The original show concepts hanging in the art room were disturbing. It looked like gummi bears crossed with the gargoyles from the hunchback movie. Creepy. I watched Greg's panel on Starship Troopers and 3x3 Eyes. It was very interesting and freezing in that bloody ballroom.
I cant remember what else I did before the radio play. That was very enjoyable. I could have done a better Sevarius though.
The Banquet started on an awkward foot. Anyone interested in sitting with a Guest (Greg, Thom, Vic or Nichelle Nichols) would get in a different line. I'm no math guy, but it was a small line. There were fewer people who wanted seats with guests than there were seats. Then someone handed out numbers. I had 001. So I figured I would have my pick of where I would sit. That was weird. I figured I wanted to eat dinner with Thom Adcox. He had laughed at my stupid jokes earlier and we chatted a few times since. I figure if I had a rapport with anyone, it was him. It didnt matter since the same person came along and put us in groups of four. That was really weird. We go in and sit down. I see Thom sitting at a different table. Fortunately whoever was supposed to be at my table hadn't arrived yet. So I committed the one seat sneak and darted over to his table. He knew my name which was kind of flattering. I sat down and no one seemed to care. I was happy thinking I was at 'the funny table'. Nichelle Nichols came in with her entourage. It was odd how we were all in our jeans and T-shirts and she looked ready for the Oscars. I'm glad I wasn't at her table. I'm sure I would have had nothing intelligent to say to her. Anyway, someone asked about Thom's dogs and he mentioned that one had been put down recently. One by one everyone around the table shared a depressing story about their favourite dog passing away in some tragic fashion. All I could do was think about Maggie (greatest dog in the world) and how much that sucked. Before I could make the comment, Thom smiled and said "I thought this would be 'the funny table' John looks like he's going to cry." It was funny and then on it was all jokes and laughs. I didnt really have a masquerade costume. I had my tac-vest and some camoflauge paint. I wanted to find a bad guy and work out a skit. This never happened in time, so I figured I'd have to come up with something. I've already been participating in the M&M prank, so I figured I go with that. I got another package and hid under a table right next to the judging table. I could hear all of Thom's lewd comments. I waited for a perfect moment. I would have prefered a steathly crawl and maybe place the M&Ms on Gregs shoe or something. The layout would not permit that, so I waited for all the skits to end. I wanted to strike when Greg started talking but not yet announcing winners. When he left someone place M&Ms on his seat. Bastard. Greg and the judges returned and found the treat. He started speaking by saying "and what's with all the M&Ms its starting to freak me out.."
I popped out and tossed the candy at him and bolted for the exit yelling about being spotted and aborting the operation. I think maybe one person in a room of a hundred people thought it was funny. I felt a little embarassed. Hindsight is 20/20 I suppose. Maybe in the post 9/11 NYC a guy wearing camo springing out from under a table and lobbing candy treats at unsuspecting Greg Weismans just isnt funny anymore. I offer an honest apology to anyone who felt that I acted innapropriately.
After the masquerade music came on and I left before I made an ass of myself trying to dance. I was tired from waiting under a table having many photos taken of my boots.
Sunday was a little depressing, but I really enjoyed hearing the audio tapes and seeing the videos of Greg's other projects. The world of animation seems so hostile and bizarre. The stuff that gets made vs the stuff that gets rejected, I'll never understand.
As the con was ending I had another chat with Thom and he told me he hadnt been 'officially invited' to next year's con. Is that even neccesary anymore? I mean, c'mon, seriously. Same with you Vic.
Dave AKA A Fan lead a walking tour the next day. I went with Leo and the Deutsch Duo. (I forget your names, beat me up next time you see me). We had a good time and I got lots of cool photos with my tiny camera. Then I forgot to give Leo the book he bought ( I was carrying it around in my back pack). I mailed it back to him when I got back up north. I'm already planning my next trip to NYC for some more sight seeing. And Montreal shouldn't be a problem. I'll see you all there. Hopefully the DVD will be out by then.
Well, the DVD wasn't quite out by Montreal, but it's out NOW!!!
Anyway, I don't think anyone was actually frightened by the M&M attack. All in good fun.
I wasn't going to do a Gathering Journal, but here it is anyway! Feel free to point and laugh at if need be...I suck at this kind of stuff...
Woke up around 7 am and called my friend to wake up. She'd woken up like an hour before, was already at breakfast. She got to my house around 8, and about 8:30 or so we headed down to the train station. Train was a few minutes late. We then settled back and just played gameboys and listend to music for the hour ride into Boston. Once we arrived at North Station, we had to hop the subway to South Station. We got 2 tokens each, since we had to ride 2 different subway lines along the way. When we changed over, both lines were in the same area, so there was no charge for the changeover. So, we saved our tokens for the ride home. We arrived at south station at like 10:30 or so. Our Bus wasn't leaving until 12 (we had to leave early since the next train out of our town would make us very pressured for time, and we didn't want that), so we sat around until our bus was ready. After the 11:30 bus out of our gate boarded, we got in line. There was plenty of room left (it was also going to NYC), so they let us on. There was a delay, so we didn't actually leave until 11:45, but it was still earlier than our bus was scheduled to leave.
Bus ride was okay, we were due to arrive at about 4:20 or so, giving us plenty of time to call our parents and enjoy the surrounding before opening ceremonies. But we got caught in a LOT of traffic, so we didn't rrive at the bus terminal until about 5:45 pm. We cuaght the subway to the Hotel, and when we arrived on solid ground, I SCREAMED out loud (mostly stuff along the lines of, "If I ever needed proof of the exitance of God, here it is.") my joy that we had finally arrived. We checked in, and got to our room, and called out parents, and headed up to the ballroom just before opening ceremionies were to begin. We didn't have our bdges yet, but we got okay'd by a bunch of people, and we were going to pick them up after in the Con Suite. I noted that some people looked like some people my friend and I knew back home, which was facinating and yet creepy at the same time. My friend was all, so which guy is Greg? I'm saying to my self, how can you NOT know what Greg looks like? Didn't you see his picture on the Gathering site?
Opening ceremonies was cool. We represented a few of the con virigns this year. On the way to the Con Suite afterwards, like 12 of of crammed into the elevtor. I don't remember exactly what I said, but I made a reference to Fang's saying of "Mommy" In the Bad Guys reel...and soon we were all screaming it. I was rather funny...After picking up our Con stuff, my friend and I went back to our room to put our newly aquired packages away, and headed to the 6th floor since we wanted to win Xanatos' money. Well, that got screwed over, so we went upstairs for Hudson's rant. It was great. I even had to correct Hudson at one point because he screwed up the line, "Put your head between your knees and kiss your ass good-bye" (afterwhich, he told me to shut up). My friend left in the middle of it, don't know where she went...
Afterwards, we had the Clan wars. I watched, and took a few pictures (which didn't come out too good, since it was a suck camera, but still...), and later decided to sign up. We stopped before it was my turn, since half the guns were broken or didn't shoot. I definatly plan to play next year. After, I headed down to the Blue Mug-a-guest. I'm surpirsed no one asked me to whip out my ID, sicne I don't like I'm over 18, I look maybe 15 (just for the record, I'm 19 1/2). I sat on the floor for a bit (with a perfect view), and later in a chair on the corner (So I was out of people's way of leaving). We finally got kicked out at like 1:30. I got to talk with Greg for all of 30 seconds and shook his hand (which was the reason I came in the first place). I went back to my room and to bed.
We got up at about 8 am to go to shopping. We had lots of fun. We got into a little bit of "touble" on the way back to the hotel. Hudson and a bunch of other people (I'm horrible at names, and was in no mood to pay attention anyhow) helped us out with, so I missed a bunch of stuff. Later, I hung out at the con suite (bringing twizlers for the gang) for a bit, discussing manga and evil twins until the Radio play. It was good, I didn't pick up on the fact that Seth was playing Claw at first (I wasn't thinking in the right terms at that moment), but I did later when he stood up. Some of the growls were quite funny. And Thom as Servarius was SOOO hilarious! It was just so wrong...
I think it was here when I got Greg to sign my book. He drew me a picture, but of exactly what, I couldn't tell. Then I got my picutre taken with him (and Greg, you're not looking at the camera!).
At dinner I got to sit at the table with Nichelle Nichols. It was okay, I admit I would have rather sit with Greg. The food was good, but I didn't eat much of it since I wasn't very hungry.
The Masquerade was fun. I look lots of pitures, but on a few, I have the back's of people's heads since they jumped in front at the last second. I ran out of film and couldn't change it fast enough, so I dont' have a good picture of Thom dropping his pants. I have the start of it though (hehe, nice boxers, Thom!), and I guess that'll do for me.
I didn't stay around for the dance, I think I went to my room for a bit maybe, and later to the Con Suite until like 1 am. I felt kinda dumb and almost invasive (being a newbie), but I'm one of those people that just have to be around other people. We listened to a bunch of music by people I'd never heard of.
I spend much of the day running around trying to solve the problem left over from yesterday. I missed the auction because of it. I spent time looking for my friend, and I couldn't seem to find here anywhere.
Closing cereminies was okay. I wasn't paying much attention, since I was having a bad day (Saturday's incident didn't help any at all). Plus, I was kinda mad at a few people for various reasons (I'd rather not say why, since I don't want to insult anyone).
Then the fighting between me and my friend started. She wanted to leave for the bus terminal, but I wanted to stay (I'd rather be killing time around people I sorta know than complete strangers). By the time we started to leave, she had to say by to everyone. I finally saw a teeny bit of the othercon art room (loved how inside on the board it was labeled "The Porno Room").
Bus ride home was okay. I spent the entire time listening to CD's. We would've gotten home in time, but the 15 minute rest stop turned into like 30 minutes. We missed the train back home, but we called my friend's boyfriend to pick us up because we had a feeling we were going to miss our train. We fought some more. I was trying to be respectful of people around us by telling her not to swear so darn much and turn the car radio down (that was very loud, and I told them if we get pulled over and fined $500 by the cops, I wasn't paying a penny. And yet I would probably be begged for it, as the only one in the car that had that much money in my bank account) when we hit my neighboorhood (which is a residential area that is NOT used to loud noise at all, and espicially not at 1 am on Monday morning when people have to get up and work). She made a point of saying next year she was taking her boyfriend, and they were going to room together, and that I might not be able to go (since it wouldn't be with her, and one reason our parents let us go is that we were going together). That REALLY pissed me off. I don't think she's even going to be dating him in next August, plus I can find other people to go with, and I have PLENTY of money to get me there and back. I havent talked to her, but I'm going to be compensated for this trip that I paid for ENTIRELY, one way or another (which cost me, oh, about $800. That's a LOT of money for someone with my age and current job).
I was glad to be home. After all that happened (especially Sunday, which was a REALLY bad day), I was glad it was over.
All in all, though, it was worth it, and I plan on going to Montreal next year if I possibly can.
I hope you made it. And I hope you make it to Las Vegas this summer. Hope you and your friend reconciled too.
A lot of what you wrote was semi-mysterious. Incident on Saturday. People your mad at on Sunday. But I hope you had a good time overall.
Knew I would get to this eventually.
Tuesday, June 24th.
Woke up early to pick up Aaron and Mara from LaGuardia Airport. Drove to my friend Nick's house in Pleasantville to pick him up, as I needed someone to navigate as I've never driven to the airport before. Well, the directions were confusing (it would take another trip later to teach me that Mapquest.com really sucked), but we got there eventually. I parked the car, Nick and I grabbed a quick bite-to-eat (though he bought a whole meal) at the food court, and waited for Aaron and Mara. They soon arrived, and we grabbed their luggage and brought it to my car, where we made the trip back home to Croton.
My brother's graduation was later in the day, so we all lounged around and rested before the event. We watched some anime music videos, and later on made our way to the graduation. We all agreed that the ceremony was way, way too long. It was a small class, and they filled it up with long speeches, and songs (I actually quietly heckled it). We knew more guests would be arriving later for the party at home, so as soon as Alex (my brother) got his diploma, we were out of there. Good thing to, cause people were already arriving. The food was great, we spent some time mingling with various guests. Got to see family I don't get to see often. And eventually Aaron and I went to pick up Lynati at the train station.
After the party ended, I drove Nick home, and came back here, where we checked e-mail, and then Aaron, Mara, Lynati, Alex and I watched this horrible animated Ben-Hurr movie, narrated by the great Charleton Heston himself. Bad animation, bad CGI, and a Jesus that looked like a child molester. All and all, it was fun to just rip into it. Then we called it a night.
Wednesday, June 25th.
Alex, Mara and I were the first ones up, we chatted out on the deck about things, and shared a smoke. Eventually, we had to get Aaron and Lynati up, cause we needed to drop Lynati off at the train station. After that, the three of us went shopping for con equipment, first to Wal-Mart and Office Max, then to a Toys R Us to grab some Nerf Guns for Clan Wars.
We came back, and watched Kevin Smith's classic film, Clerks. I've seen the movie a million times and it never gets old. But this was Aaron and Mara's first time seeing it, and since they were both fans of the six episode cartoon series based on the movie, I thought it was about damn time they finally saw it. ;)
Best reaction came from Mara after the incident in the movie with the Chewlies Gum rep that tried to start an anti-cigarette riot in the store.
Mara: I feel like going out and having a cigarette.
The movie ended, we had leftovers for dinner, and began loading up my car with Con equipment, as Aaron and I needed to be at the hotel early the next morning with it, just in case the Home Depot people showed up (they gave us an 8 AM to 5 PM window). So Aaron and I loaded up the cars, while Mara prepared envelopes up stairs.
We were done by a quarter past midnight, so we decided to get some sleep.
Thursday, June 26th.
Aaron and I woke up early, and headed down to the city. We got to the hotel shortly before 8 and had my car parked. We then proceeded across the street to take care of getting cash we owed the hotel. Chase Manhattan took a look at us and well, let's just say it took a very, very long time and a couple calls to his local Chase in San Antonio for the withdrawl to go through.
I ended up making my way back to the hotel, where I was spotted by Mooncat and Princess Alexandra (Mooncat I had met at G2002, but this was my first time meeting Princess). Also ran into Leo, and Dreamie and Winterwolf. We waited, and Aaron came back to check Greg Weisman, Thom Adcox, and Vic Cook into their hotel rooms. And soon, Mara arrived with Alex and Greg Weisman. My mom was nice enough to pick Greg up at the LaGuardia.
Everyone arrived, and we checked into the Con Suite. Soon we got a call that Home Depot arrived with the wood and panels, so we went outside and brought them in. We brought them up to the 18th floor, to the Madison Suite, which was where we were keeping our Dealer's Room and Art Show. Met Sapphire there also (had previously met her at previous Gatherings, but never really got to know her till this year). Now, I'm useless when it comes to things like power tools, so were Alex and Leo, so we all stood back while the women did the work. Quite funny actually.
We took our lunch break at Sbarro's. Tasty and cheap. And met up with Kathy Pogge there. Food was good, and we came back
A good portion of the rest of the day, and con planning is kind of a blurr, but Lynati and Ethan eventually showed up, and I saw many con early arrivals (like Hudson (though he was staff) and his crew). Then Thom and Vic showed up. Thom recognized me, which was cool ;)
(Also at some point, we had a quick meeting in the Con Suite, and Greg W laughed at me for looking dazed already)
The staff, and the guests, and some of the early arrivals went to dinner down at the Monster Sushi. I had eaten there before with Aaron, Mara and Lynati about a year or so ago, and the place is still good. Too small unfortunatly, as the large group we were could not get a table together. So we divided up by three tables. At my table was Aaron, Mara, Lynati and Ethan. We talked about the con, how to eat sushi, Aaron played with his chop sticks, and we discussed Mayor Bloomberg and NYC's new smoking ban (which none of us agreed with), and I remember Ethan was really upset about it (I don't blame him, I am too). Aaron made a great comment in reference to "Clerks". "Bloomberg is a representative of Chewlie's Gum."
We got our food, ate, and eventually we made our way back to the hotel, to the Con Suite. Revel and Spacebabie showed up around this time. We stuffed enevelopes and watched the first half of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. But it was late, so we all went to get some sleep. Aaron, Lyn and Mara in the bedroom, while I took the "couch that turns into a couch".
Friday, June 27th.
Woke up early to turn the Con Suite over to Batya and the Dreamer Clan. Saw Stephen somewhere around here. Met up with Kathy and we arranged Sky Top for panels. Then went down and had a shift at the Registration Desk in the Lobby. Got to meet a lot of familiar faces, and new faces during that. Though I got sick of people coming up and asking where the bathroom was. It got so bad, we had to put up a sign saying "Gathering 2003. We are NOT Hotel Staff. We do NOT know where the bathroom is". Of course people kept asking anyway.
My shift over, I went to a panel I was supposed to sit on, and my brain was on overload. I barely said a word. And it wasn't till later I finally thought of something to talk about. Like Kathy said, staff members should not provide content. Then it was down to audition for the Radio Play. Being on staff, I knew it was "The Reckoning" several weeks in advance. I was hoping to be cast as Thailog, cause Thailog is just good, old fashioned, evil fun. ;) Though I would find out the next day I was cast as Hollywood, but I was just happy to be in it.
After that, I browsed through the art room. Walked around the hotel to make sure everything was running smoothly, and nothing was on fire. Popped in on Mara briefly during her Round Robin. Couldn't stay though.
Eventually got back to Skytop, where Kathy and I, with help from volunteers set the room up for Opening Ceremonies. Lined up the chairs, and had one table in the middle for the projector. Then Leo, someone else (was it you Winterwolf?) tried to set up the screen, but couldn't get the damn thing open. I think Hudson finally got it open. It was also around now that I met Lain for the first time. I've been friends with her since shortly after G2001, and it was nice to finally meet her in person.
Everyone arrived, all the guests arrived. And it was time for Opening Ceremonies to begin. Now, I have had this fear of public speaking all my life. So when I first went up, first thing I did was bring up G2004. WHile watching them, I figured that I should just get over it. Mara offered to go up and speak, but I went up again, and I thought I did so much better. Made a short speech, and introduced the guests and staff. Then I turned it over to Greg Weisman, who made the same Opening Ceremonies speech he's made ever since the cons first began, but never get old.
Afterwards came Hudson's rant, which I'd have loved to stay for, but I had to set up a TV and VCR, and tapes in the London Suite for Mara's MST. This year's victims; "Enter Macbeth", and "Vendettas". We were supposed to head right into Greg and Thom's Othercon: Blue "Mug-A-Guest", but as learned at G2001, the letters in "Gathering of the Gargoyles" can be rearranged to "Get Greg In Here", so we ended up MSTing "Turf" and the first act of "The Reckoning".
Finally, Greg and Thom arrived. By now everyone has heard the big revelation, but I'll say it anyway. Lex is gay. And it took less than twenty four hours for that tidbit to reach the comment rooms ;) Greg obviously didn't plan to say it, but Anna has a way of getting things out of people ;)
Lots of great and funny, and perverted questions were asked, I think we would have been there al night had Hotel Security not told us to vacate. I think I met Allaine and Ellen Stolfa for the first time around here also.
"I have a ten inch tongue."
Afterwards, Mara and I went to the COn Suite to get our bags, and settled in to the room Aaron got for the night. We were up for a couple more hours chatting with Hudson, Chris Rogers, Kythera and Cat. I was dozing off and really needed sleep, but I'm not one to be a party pooper. Besides, I really enjoy their company.
But we got to sleep.
Saturday, June 28th.
Got up early, and fetched sodas for Aaron and Mara before making our way to the sixth floor for a brief staff meeting.
Then went to a TGS panel, which consisted of little more than a former staff editor voicing complaints about another staffer. I didn't stay for the whole thing as I was pulled out by Goliath116 to let me know about a security issue. Which he and I made brief announcements about. I won't go into it here, but we ended up telling people not to leave the hotel unless they were in groups of four.
Went down and joined Mara for a shift at the Reg table. Sign was still up, and we still had people asking where the bathroom was. Spent a couple hours there, and then it was time for Radio Play rehearsal.
(somewhere before rehearsal, my aunt and uncle showed up, I gave them a brief tour, told them what the Gathering was. They couldn't stay long, but it was a pleasant surprise.)
Rehearsal went great. I was cast as Hollywood, and we went through Act One twice. Thom and Alex Garg (not to be confused with my brother) did this great Thailog and Sevarius Dr. Evil laughing scene. And speaking of Thom. He was great as Sevarius. Truly, truly hillarious. Thom really needs to get on to the internet, and visit the CRs.
Greg also made a funny joke about Batya and Alex Wittenberg. They were cast as Demona and Fang. And when Demona says "he's a fool but he may be of some use," and Fang says "I can work with that." Greg turns to them and says, "I bet that's what you said at the wedding." Which got a big laugh. No offense to both Batya and Alex, tyhey're great people, but that was just plain funny.
As soon as we finished Act 3, the hotel catering told us to clear out while they set up the banquet. Which caused me to spend the next several minutes arguing with them, cause the Radio Play was schedualed. but we soon cleared things up, and held the Radio Play. Which went over very well. Aside from grunts and roars, I only had one line, but it got a big laugh. I think Gore tried to one-up me, but never! I am master of the stupid voice! ;)
Afterwards it was time for the banquet. Nichelle Nichols arrived, and I have to say I was impressed. The woman looked and carried herself like a queen. And speaking of stunning looking women, Karine, Sapphire and Dreamie arrived and dressed to kill. Damn, did they look great.
We all took our seats, with at least one staff member minding each guest. I sat at Greg's table. Also there was Lexy, Revel, Spacebabie, AlexGarg... and I'm blanking out on the others. The food was great, I especially liked the rice and chicken. At some point I made this observation. "I kind of feel sorry for the people sitting with Nichelle. I mean look at her. They're all going to have to watch themselves and how they eat. Wheras Greg is probably almost as big a slob as the rest of us." To which Greg said; "Actually, I'm probably a bigger slob than the rest of you." We discussed quite a few things at the table. Revel kept a great conversation going. Lexy and I discussed Griffith from "Berserk" briefly. And we had a conversation on X2, and why Greg thinks Magneto's name is corny. I respectfully disagree though ;)
Dinner ended, and we set up for the Masquerade. Dreamie and I were running this. She MCed the event while I handled the behind the scenes organizing and the entries. The number of costumes dropped, but what we had was great. We had a great Lady Macbeth, two great Owens, Patrick and Karine as Anastasia and Fox, Revel as Vinnie, Spacebabie as Robyn Canmore, A Fan as "A Highly Educated Individual with a job straight out of college" (actually, A Fan wasn't going to enter, but I put him up to it), and of course Hudson and Kythera's show. I'm blanking out on everyone. Though I personally thought it was a shame that Aaron and Mara couldn't enter as Severus Snape and Herminone (I can't spell her name, sorry ;)).
Then came the Awards Ceremony, which ended with Siryn getting her much deserved Fan Guest of Honor award. She may not think so, but no one deserved that award more than she did. I hope she enjoys it.
After that was over, it was time for our showing of "The Rocky Horror Picture Show", at first I wasn't going to attend, and went down to Chris Roger's room to watch anime. They were playing the Animatrix, which unfortunatly did not impress me, so I made my way back up to Rocky. There were problems with the DVD player (I swear that thing never gave me a problem before), but Anna and Jill were kind enough to... ahem, entertain everyone till this was sorted out. Then we had a great Rocky showing.
Afterwards I went to sleep in the con suite on "the couch that transforms into a couch".
Sunday, June 29th.
Woke up early, showered and dressed, and picked up sodas for Aaron and Mara. it was time for the auction, Aaron was in charge of the auction, and Cat resumed her role from last year of vibrating the auction items. And encouraging people to bid by removing an article of clothing as the bids increased. She was down to her bra and panties when "The Last" broke $750. Aaron, who never needs an excuse to show off his Demona tattoo manned the auction shirtless as well. And I think at some point Greg agreed to take off his shirt if anything broke $1,000. Which didn't happen.
The auction kind of died off when most of the big spenders went off to the "Team Atlantis" panel, but we resumed and sold off what we could after Closing Ceremonies.
Ah Closing Ceremonies. Always bittersweet. I introed my staff again, and let G2004 pitch their con as well. Thanked everyone for coming, then turned it over to Greg.
Then I went down to the Con Suite after Patrick set up his laptop there, so we could accept PayPal payments for auction items. While doing this, I corrupted Batya by showing her the first two episodes of "Clerks" ;)
Since the Dreamer Clan was bidding their farewell, I spent most of the day in the con suite, making sure it wasn't trashed and nothing was stolen. Helped clean up where ever I could, and eventually showed the remaining four "Clerks" episodes. Then we watched "Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker", anime music vids, and later "Cowboy Bebop the Movie". Seth made a great comment here. "This movie is about SARS! Nano-SARS!"
After that was over, we watched anime music vids again, but I was exhausted and went to sleep.
Monday, June 30th.
Woke up, showered and dressed, and Patrick, Mara and I, (forget who else), cleared up the con suite before we had to check out. We relocated to Aaron and Mara's room for the rest of the day. And later, most of us took a trip down to Midtown Comics. The majority of the time we spent in the pr0n section. I believe it was Aaron, Goliath116, Cat, Revel, Spacebabie, Y2Kecate, and I. Revel and Spacebabie cut out early. But the rest of us, shared pr0n, and just looked at it for a long time. Some might say we're all a little too comfortable with each other.
Came back the hotel, but it was almost time for me to leave. Had the hotel staff bring my car around, while we transported all my crap and other stuff to the car. I said good bye to everyone and drove off. I ended up leaving my katana in Aaron's room, but that was okay, because I had to come back the next day to pick up Greg W and takin him to LaGuardia. but first I went to work to cash my paycheck, went home and ate dinner, and got myself directions from the Hotel to LaGuardia from mapquest.com.
Tuesday, July 1st.
Lesson of the day. NEVER, EVER, EVER Use MapQuest.com.
Started driving back into the city, and as I approached the hotel, something happened and my engine began to sound like a lawnmower. but figured I'd make it. Got my katana and said good bye to Aaron again. Said bye to Carol, and Greg and i got into my car. Some small talk, we discussed comics, and his time in NYC. He mentiond pcking up "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen", and having liked it. He thought making Captain Nemo an Indian was interesting, cause he's never seen him played like that before, and it was a long time since either he or I had read the book (actually I checked the book recently and saw that Verne wrote Nemo as an Indian, the movies just made him a Brit.)
Then Murphy's Law kicked in. The direcions sucked and we were going in circles. We passed the Hotel Pennsylvania at least twice. They wouldn't let us get onto 34th St, where we needed to be to take the Midtown tunnel. A guy in a van smashed my mirror, got out, tossed $20 and left. Greg wrote down his license plate number though. The transmission in my car started going crazy up the yin-yang. We finally go to the tunnel, and missed the exit, drove all over Queens, trying to get back onto the highway. Almost ended up in Brooklyn. I'm panicing, and Greg is keeping a level head. But we got directions, and made it to the airport. Greg thankfully made his flight. He told me he's going to make fun of me in Ask Greg, but it's all in good fun. I look forward to seeing it. It was an adventure. And looking back, I can laugh about it, though I was a wreck for a couple days after it happened.
My car has been repaired, nothing bad happened, and it's running beautifully again. Figures, of all the times it goes crazy, it had to happen with Greg Weisman in my car. But we're cool. Everything's cool.
Hosting the Gathering was a real experience. It was hard difficult work, and I doubt I'll ever do it again. But everyone seems to have had a good time. And I thought it was time to give something back to the series in fandom that I love. So, I'd love to thank everyone on my staff. You all did great. Best staff I could ever ask for. So, Aaron, Mara, Lynati, Dreamie, Winterwolf, Carol, Kathy, Patrick, Hudson, Noel, JEB (you helped a lot), and Jen (I know you couldn't make it, but I still feel I couldn't have done it without you), all my best regards to each of you, and I hope to see you all in the near future. To all the Security (Kythera, Goliath116, Zaius, Duncan, etc), and volunteers, you did great. To everyone for coming, this fandom is truly awesome. And to my brother, Alex, you weren't on staff, but you broke your back for us. Thank you.
The weekend has become a big blurr, so I apologize if i forgot anyone or anything. But to everyone, you all Rule!
I hope everyone goes to Gathering 2004. Montreal has a great staff, and a great location. G2004 is going to kick ass! Give Karine, Sapphire, and the rest of the staff all the support in the world. Being on con staff is not easy. It's a very hard job. be thankful there are people dedicated enough to do this every year. It's a labor of love.
Ah, yes, Mr. Bishansky's Wild Ride. Everyone should try it.
Well, I don't have a website or a LiveJournal, so I was going to do something like this myself. (Sorry, long speech.) I got home around 8 Sunday night, just in time to tape the new Caesar TV-movie. This was . . . I think it's fair to say this was one of the best weekends I've had in a long time.
Traffic was a beast on Friday night. I left work in S. Jersey around 4:15 PM, thinking I might see part of the opening ceremonies, since MapQuest said it would be just a 2-hour, 100-mile drive up the NJ Turnpike. Hah! There was a lot of congestion, and I made it to the Lincoln Tunnel exit around 7. Then I crawled my way through hideous traffic for an hour until I got to the Tunnel. Within five minutes of leaving the Tunnel, I got lost and found myself on a road that led me inexorably, without exits, back to the Tunnel. A traffic cop led me to believe I would have to fight my way through at least half of the traffic jam I'd lived through the first time, and I basically screamed my way down the Tunnel. Fortunately, I took the Hoboken turnoff and had a much shorter path to the tolls ($6 again!). And this time, I found the hotel, even if I was overwhelmed by insane taxis and ruthless hordes of pedestrians, and forced to settle for parking at $32/day three blocks away.
Other than some early-morning problems waking up, that was probably the last bad thing that happened to me after I walked through the PA's doors at 10 PM exactly.
I made it in time to the 10 PM Fanfic Sex Panel and met three of the people I was most excited about - Mooncat, Ellen Stolfa, and Princess Alexandria - as well as some other cool names, including Stephen Sobotka and Lynati, who answered so many of my Gathering questions and had a big impact on my planning. Afterwards Mooncat took me to the room she was sharing with Alex (I'll call her Princess here, even though I usually call her Alex, so as not to confuse her with other Alexes) - and me. They'd been more than incredibly generous in offering me sleeping space, and since my original ideas for a place to sleep proved dreadfully unworkable, it proved to be a lifesaver. And of course, being able to have private conversations with two fellow femslash authors - *glee*. And MC had great presents, including the Poison Ivy/Harley Quinn T-Shirt that I wore most of Saturday and am totally in love with. Anyone who reads my stories would know it was me that day without having to look at my nametag ;). Then I listened in to the Mug-a-Guest panel for a while, just in time for the Lexington surprise. Then I spent a couple hours with MC and Princess talking, which was a blast, and I finally got to see Silver Falcon for the first time.
Saturday was the best day, partly because unlike Sunday, I didn't look at a clock obsessively. I had an 11 AM panel to sit on, so I met with my fellow panelists at 10, my first time with Dylan Blacquiere and Patrick Toman. The panel went great, the turnout was satisfactory considering the competition we had, and I felt extremely flattered sitting with Dylan, Patrick, and Ellen, talking to people who were interested in what I had to say. Then I finally got to register, where I met Mara for the first time (and she was very happy to see me - I hadnt realized she was a fan. But I love her MiSTs, so _I_ wasn't complaining). Later I wandered around the Art Room, attended the X-Over and Blue? panels, showed Liz and Constance my shirt, and then watched the Radio Play, which coincidentally was my favorite episode, Reckoning. Best part - Thom doing Sevarius and indulging in some Dr. Evil laughs with "Thailog" (Orion, I think?). Then came dinner with Princess, since I passed on the banquet, and we talked and went back to our room and watched "Broadway goes to Hollywood" (which I had not seen and, figures, was a disappointment even with Fox - when she tries to tackle Hyena and falls on her face, I wanted to vomit), "Sanctuary", and "Reckoning". The Masquerade was a classic - favorites were Spacebabie as Robyn, Revel as Vinnie (that was great), Seri Wavelength as Gruoch, and Patrick as . . . well, I'll let you wait for pictures Later I went out with MC, Princess, and Bizz, and then saw the Rocky Horror showing where - like I told Ellen, you just had to be there. Then more talking with MC, Alex, Ellen, Dylan, and Bizz, shower, curl into my Ivy shirt, and go to sleep. (I made MC purr *blush*)
On the last day, which had that frenetic, sad quality of not wanting the hours to pass, I visited the auction. I didn't get anything (being outbidded at the last second on a Demona comic), which didnt bother me because of MC's gifts, so I could just congratz those who did. The audiotape of the Demona/Atlantis episode was manna from heaven, since I was so upset by the cancellation when I first heard about it that I would just glare at the Atlantis video and walk past it. Now I feel like I can watch it. When little Garg refs came up, like Moliere's "AOTN" remark, everyone cheered. When Demona talked, no one said anything. I think we were all concentrating/memorizing too intently. And that slightly remodeled D drawing, *shivers*. Then came closing ceremonies, which were happy and sad at the same time, but it ended quickly, giving me enough time to say my goodbyes to everyone before the Coney Island group left. I had a disposable camera and took lots of pictures, and then I got my bags, and I left. I had to run back as I got to the garage because I forgot to give Princess something, and THEN I got to my car.
At the risk of sounding less than manly, it wasn't until I drove out of the garage that I cried.
This was my first Gathering ever, and I never really believed I would ever get to one, and I doubt I will get to the Montreal one, but maybe I can pull it off. It would depend partly on who else goes. Better than the gifts and the panels and the exhibits and the comedy was getting to meet all of you in person, and I have these great memories. Those of you who I got to know for the first time like Seri and A Fan, I will be reading your stories if you have any, and I would like to keep in touch, so my email is firstname.lastname@example.org and I'm also on YIM and sometimes AOL IM. Everyone else, I'll continue to see you on the Internet as well, but this was very special, and I would have stayed until Monday afternoon if my personal situation was different. Mooncat, I love you and your generous spirit; Princess, you too; Ellen, finally! You're such a pro (I feel like I'm graduating high school); Dylan, I am going to read the rest if it kills me; Pat and Kathy, you kept me involved long ago when it seemed like there was nobody else; Spacebabie, Lynati, Mara, Seri, Bizz, Liz, Stephen, thanks! What a weekend.
Extremely sincerely, Allaine
I'm so glad that your first Gathering experience was a good one. Here's to many more, I hope.
Mooncat's Gathering Journal
prequel... started packing a week before I would leave, so I wouldn't forget anything. Decided to try the clothes in plastic bags thing to maximize the room in my one very large piece of luggage. My very, very, VERY large piece of luggage. I'd forgotten from last Gathering that it would be better to have two smaller pieces than one large one, especially as the airline I was using this trip, American, had a weight limit of 50 pounds per bag, but allowed two bags. *vows to find two smaller bags for future traveling* Plastic bags work great, and I stuffed that luggage so full I had to let out it's extra zipper extensions that allowed more room. I even had room for the my Gift Bricks, for the fellow fans and friends I knew I'd meet at the Gathering. *^_^* I call them them Bricks, because they were probably part of the reason my bag felt like I'd filled it with bricks... sigh.
I packed for every occasion - casual clothes, dress clothes, night clothes, fancy shoes and belts jewlery (which sadly I never got to wear) lots and lots of under things (and I still wasn't able to find my socks half the time I was in NY), artwork for Othercon and art supplies (I actually thought I'd have a spare moment to draw a little... pure madness), books, presents, toiletries including several new toothbrushes "just in case", snacks, camera, extra hard drive for the lap top (which I was taking in my carryon) and my DVDs of Gargoyles that I'd recorded from Toon Disney. I even took Fluffy, my three headed cerebus dog to be room guardian. And Talcum Powder. A great lot of Talcum Powder. *evil grin*
Wednesday 25, day one of my journey...
I left on Wednesday because Princess and I had plans to see New York before and after the Gathering, and were planning on a week of fun all told. A good friend of mine gave me a lift to the airport. He'd given me a little bit of a fright because he'd arrived a half hour later than he'd said, because he'd over slept. But since it was still hours before my flight time and he lived less than five minutes from me driving I knew I could go drag him out of bed if necessary. I spent the extra half hour adding "just in case" items to my luggage and eating a food bar and downing a bottled water. Stuffed extra bottle of water in my carryon. It took us a while to figure out how to get the luggage in his car, as it was Too Big for the empty trunk, *@_@*, and we literally wrestled it into the back seat, with one pushing and the other pulling from the other side of the car seat.
The luggage, when weighed at the airport, came to 110 pounds. Luckily I'd packed an empty duffle bag at the last moment, and right there was able to stuff it with the loose clothes I'd stuffed in at last moment and got the luggage down to 94, which meant I *still* had to pay an extra $50 for surpassing the weight limit, but at least I could take all my stuff because only 100 pounds are allowed maximum. I squeaked by by the skin on my teeth and a few extra bills. yeek!!! Other interesting things is that I got to use the automated check in machine for the first time at the ticket counter. wheee!!! Of course, since I'd already waited a half hour in the "ticketed" line before I was informed people with e-tickets needed to use the machines, which had been EMPTY the entire time I'd been waiting in the other line, but then two huge familis showed up right after I was informed and I had to wait another 20 to 30 minutes for them to go through the machines first. *~_~* sighs...
After checking in my luggage, I took my two carry ons with me through security, and got patted all over. I was wearing jeans and my white LA Gathering T-shirt, which was suspicious because it was a bit loose and baggy on me. But otherwise I went through quickly and went to wait for my flight. I began reading Song of the Beast by Carol Berg
A fantastic, if dark edged read. Highly recommend it.
My flight, from Kansas to Dallas Fort Worth TX and from there to La Guardia in NY was very smooth and worry free. Arriving in DFW, my connecting flight was in the same gate area as the one we arrived in, so there was no muss and no fuss and I arrived at just a bit after 3pm NY time. I went to get my luggage which was made easier by my having spray painted the great beast with florescent yellow streaks so I'd recognize it. yay!!! Then I hoofed it over to the United baggage claim to wait for Princess whose flight from O'Hare was scheduled to arrive ony 50 minutes later than mine. Our plan was to share a cab to the hotel and cut our expenses. I was a little worried because we'd not actually set a specific meet point, not knowing the layout at LaGuardia, but I gambled that she'd come out that way and settled in.
I waited with bouncing eagerness, having noticed from the flights monitor (I love those) her arriving flight would actually be 20 minutes earlier than expected. Since I had No Idea what she looked like, other than about my height, blondish and would be wearing jeans, I checked each person who passed out of the United gate area with great curiosity and anticipation... and found out afterwards that because the flight had taken off earlier, Princess had been bumped to a flight that would arrive an hour later than her original one. Yeeks! Luckily I'd given her my cell phone number, and checked to hear the message she'd left me. She said she'd do a sweep of the baggage area to find me if I wanted to wait for her. Since I'd already waited one hour, waiting one more didn't seem a big deal. Plus... I forgot the name of the hotel. I remembered it was P something... And I'd forgotten to print out the hotel page. Actually the info was in the numerous print outs I had, but I didn't know that at the time. I figured Princess would know, so I didn't let it fash me any. I had a good book, and the only worrisome thing was the this guy in a suit who kept wanting to know if I needed a ride. I wasn't going to go off with a strange guy by myself, so I settled in to hook up with Princess.
Meanwhile, several drivers had their little signs out that had names of people they were waiting for. I took the extra time to make my own little sign, using the back of the print out with Princess's last e-mail to me, I used a pen to scrawl PRINCESS across the back and propped it onto my Big Luggage's handle. When she arrived, she made a beeline for me and it was like we'd been hanging out together for ages. She actually looked and spoke just like a lot of my friends at home, which is kinda scary, but in a good way.
Soon as she arrived, a grungy looking guy (jeans, t-shirt, etc) asked if we needed a cab. Thinking he was a cabbie, and since there were two of us to one of him, I said yes rather easily. As long as I have one person at my back, I can be pretty fearless. We did need a cab. He then informed us he had a Limo, and it would be more expensive but he was available right then and there, and though we both knew the warnings, it was just too convenient. A taxi would have cost mid 20s to 30 bucks, he gave us a flat rate of 55 dollars not including tip. That didn't sound half bad since Princess and I were doing halfsies. Now when he said LIMO I was actually thinking of a town car of some sort. I've seen many car services refer to themselves as limo services, but actually were driving regular cars. But no, he (I forget his name) meant an honest to goodness Glossy Black Stretch Limousine. I was so surprised. I think I made the *squee* noise.
He wrestled The Luggage into the back, along with our carryons and all in all a LOT of luggage. Princess and I got into the Limo, and sat opposite each other, grinning like cats in the cream. If only we had someone to take pictures! But my camera was in the luggage and we settled in to talk and take in the sites as the driver took us to the Hotel. I sat in the backward facing seats, and she in the normal facing seats, and we talked of things I don't really remember much of. *welcomes any input from Princess if she remembers* but it was exceedingly comfortable, and not at all like it was the first time we'd ever spent real life time with each other. The week in New York was off to a great start *^_^*
I was hungry. I think we talked about food part of the way to the hotel. All I'd had since leaving home was the beverages on the plane, and the bread and meat sandwich (no garnishes) you get on the longer, meal time flights, and that was some hours ago. We planned to go food hunting once we were all checked in and everything. Our drive took a long time, and we saw vehicles that were covered in graphetti as we went through the streets of New York. Apparently if a vehicle stays too long in the wrong place, it's fair game. This is something I'd never seen before, and it was rather startling.
We arrived in style, and the driver got our luggage onto the sidewalk outside the hotel easily, we paid him and looked over the outside of the hotel, hoping it was the right one. It didn't look very impressive, and I guess we came in at the side that confused so many people. I didn't dare go through the revolving doors with The Luggage. It's just that huge. But the side door was available and myself and Princess made it into the hotel proper. As we headed to the desk line, a gentlemen asked if we were checking in, and then directed us to a side alcove where he checked us in and gave us our room cards.
We were set!
To the elevators we went, and to our room... 1053. The hotel is very big. The rooms are VERY SMALL. I've been in bathrooms bigger than the room we had. It was just as wide as our beds were long, with about 3 feet of clearance to allow them to jam a TV armoire at the foot of one of the two beds. Apparently if more than one person wanted to watch tv, they'd have to all pile on the one bed to be able to see it. There was NO remote. Not a huge loss, because we didn't watch much TV the entire time we were in NY, except for the CNN that played in the Elevator monitors. It was going up and down the elevators we heard about the Supreme Court ruling that struck down the "anti sodomy" laws that certain states, including Kansas, use to get at anyone not using heterosexual missionary style sex when they do "it". The elevator also let us know that Katherine Hepburn, aka Kate the Great had died during the convention weekend. Ironically, Kate Mulgrew, voice actress for Anastacia Renard/Titania, is the star of "Tea at Five", a play about Hepburn's life's playing... Katherine Hepburn.
I knew this in advance, because Princess and I planned on taking in a Broadway show while in NY, so I had researched what was playing during the time we'd be there. We opted for Phantom of the Opera, which was wonderful, but I wondered if anyone had tried to get ahold of Kate Mulgrew for the Gathering? While in NY we also learned that Brent Spiner, aka PUCK was also in town to tread the boards in "Life (x) 3". Princess spotted his face staring at us from a huge Bill Board when we checked out Broadway street, which I give her high points for because he's older now and is really very different in appearance from his most recognizable role, Data of Star Trek the Next Generation.
Anyhoo... back to the hotel room. The teeny, tiny hotel room. The bathroom was scary. I'd never been to a hotel that charged prime rates (as this one did) where there was so much obvious wear and tear on the facilities. The ceiling above the ancient bath/shower was peeling and distressed, the tub had dark rust (I hope) stains, and the toilet had "ancient public toilet facility" simply written all over it. There flusher was something I'd only seen in very old public park toilets... when I was a very small child. It also took several flushes after use to give you a "clean" bowl. I looked at the bathroom and made "mew" noises in pure distress for a few moments. But aside from the primitive facilities, the cramped space, and the awkward placement of the very few pieces of furniture that had been shoe horned into the room, it would do to meet our most basic needs. We wouldn't be spending all that much time in the room anyway, except to sleep. With that comforting thought in mind, we dumped our luggage and took off in search of supper.
Princess and I decided to ask someone in the lobby if they knew a good place nearby to eat. I went to this desk in the lobby which was for tour and show info, but the lady was so rude she didn't even bother to hear my question, just said she was "closed" -- she was the only rude NY person I ran into the entire trip. However Princess had better luck with another hotel person, and we wound up walking down the street to a GREAT restaurant called Mustang Harry's (not to be confused with Mustang Sally's which is not so great) -- and had a really nice meal.
Princess had the Chicken Cordon Bleu, and I had an interesting house special, kind of a Beef Fajita but made with Teriyaki Beef and bean sprouts... a curious cross of Mexican and Asian food styles that was very delicious, managing to be totally American and Exotic at the same time. In the course of our stay in NY, we ate at Harry's quite a few times, having different things each go around, and I was quite happy each and every time. Nice waitress. Great buffalo wings. And the drinks were very good. Princess had a Melon Margarita, blended, and I got a little taste. I don't much care for Melon, but enjoyed the texture of the drink which was a finely ground slurry of the ice and drink. Very nice.
Found out that soda pop is paid for by the glass. This is something that held true for every restaurant we went to, from Midtown to Uptown, Greenwich Village or Little Italy, that there is no such thing as a free refill. Each glass of diet coke or what have you is $2.50 a go. Lemonade too. Don't know about tea or coffee. Otherwise food prices were very reasonable, and you could eat a nice sit down dinner restaurant meal with drinks for 15 to 20 dollars a person. Fast food prices were only slightly higher than those in Kansas, and every kind of fast food place was available within walking distance of the hotel. Blimpies, Sbarros, Burger King. Things get more pricey if you add in appetizers and desserts, but the portions of the entree were so generous, I don't know how people manage desserts afterwards, unless the only eat a fraction of their entree.
During the stay in New York, since we had no refrigerator or anything to keep our left overs in, I wound up wasting a shameful amount of food. Good food. I felt very badly about this, but without a way to keep it from spoiling, there really was no choice.
Having eaten, Princess and myself took a walk around the hotel. There was a slight humidity in the air, but it really wasn't hot and the evening was really very enjoyable. We walked in squares around the hotel, and noted the fast food places and tried to see what there was to see in the later evening. We found out that cross walk signals are generally ignored and people in NY are almost suicidal in how they cross whatever intersection they please at just about any time they think they can get away with it. We watched carefully and simply went with the flow. There really is a kind of reasoning behind how and when people in NY cross the streets, and it has to do with the streets mainly being one way, and keeping an eye on the traffic lights and how cars are parked and where construction has part of the street barricaded and so on... I was getting the hang of it to the point I was flinging myself into traffic and probably worrying my walking companions with some regularity. There is a heady, reckless joy to walking in NY. However someone told us that people do get hit quite often.
At one point, I don't remember when exactly, I was nailed by a bicyclist going the wrong way on a one way street when I was looking for traffic going the lawful way. I almost got hit again by a bicyclist another time too. Otherwise there wasn't any problems. When crossing the street, even with the white "walk" light, cabs and cars will constantly nose through the streaming mass of crossing humans as the vehicles make right turns. It must not be illegal in NY to do this, as the cars did this in front of police constantly.
Anyone who stops for a light if there is the slightest chance of making it to the other side in one piece is a tourist.
Trash piles up on the street curb in really disturbing amounts. Bags and bags of trash in heaps and pyramids, so much so I wondered if there was any trash service on NY. Fruit stands and ice cream trucks and hot dog vendors stake out every corner. We passed numerous tiny cubby hole 'grocery' stores, and magazine shops which seem to take the place of Quick Trips and 7 Elevens for small 24 hour grocery needs. These shops were scattered about and you could walk in any direction and stumble over one with in a few minutes. Very convenient, as we would later find out NY may be the city that never sleeps, but they don't eat after a certain hour. As many convention goers found out, there are no "real" food places that are open past 11, if even that late. Nothing equivalent to a Denny's or even a greasy spoon trucker joint where you can grab a hamburger or stack of pancakes in the witching hours. There are cold, over priced sandwiches in the hotel coffee shop, but that's about it. So be warned and wary, if you are looking for late night munchies of the cooked / hot variety, you are pretty much screwed unless you have kitchen facilities of some sort at your disposal.
In the course of our wandering we checked out a Drug Store, which was surprising large inside, more a small five and dime general store than a drug store, with two levels connected by an escalator. And an office supply shop. I was in desperate need of an exacto knife to prep my artwork for display in the Art Room and the OtherCon room, and hoped to be able to pick one up at one of the NY shops. While I'd bought with me several sheets of heavy weight metallic gold and silver poster board to mount my art on, I needed to make slits to put the corners of my art through to hold the pictures in place. I had thought to play it safe by not bringing anything blade like with me in my luggage, assuming that such a basic tool would be available in one of the NY office supply shops or other convenience stores. Uh uh. While the Drug Store had an extensive school supply section, an exacto knife was not part of it. Further searching through various office supply shops like STAPLES proved that in NY, you can't buy exacto knives in any of them, I was told that MAYBE I could find one in an art supply store. Since we couldn't find one of those while we were combing NY, that remains unknown.
I asked in some of the stores we went to and found out that many *used* to carry exacto knives, but no longer do so. I was also informed that they no longer carried staple guns. One person I asked had a very hostile tone, as if I'd asked for a disgustingly taboo item. This is probably a strange NY thing. Apparently knives are available for sale (I'm pretty sure I saw some pen/swiss army knives in Macy's, and I think I remember seeing some swords in a few gift shops (those katana and knife sets) but if you want certain basic art supplies, you are pretty much screwed. *grrrrss* I wound up simply clipping the metal clamps for holding the pictures for the art show directly onto my bare, unmatted and unframed pictures, because I couldn't work with the precision and force necessary with the razor blade BiZZ generously lent me on Friday (much thanks to BiZZ for trying to help me out though). When I went home after NY, I went to the local office shop and bought a brand new exacto knife, even though I had several in my art desk, simply because I could. I also loaded up on metallic ink markers (gold and silver) because that was another item that people couldn't find in NY, and apparently they had needed them at one point.
Aside from the exacto knife failure, our walk was very pleasant and we returned to the hotel in very good spirits. We further unpacked our bags, and I gave Princess her Gift Brick. It included a box of Godiva chocolates, which I made puppy eyes at during the rest of the week, in hopes that Princess would like to share *^_^* I also gave her some books I thought she'd find useful and entertaining, and a special something that I knew any Gargoyles fan would enjoy (its a secret). *^_^* Plus I'd run off a DVD set of the Birds of Prey tv series for her, as she indicated an interest of writing fic in that fandom. I tried to plug my lap top into the room tv, which I can do at home, so it would show what plays on the laptop... but for some reason it wouldn't work. We wound up watching the Pilot for Birds of Prey on just the laptop as we got our gear stowed away. The very cramped space was worrisome, as Allaine would be joining us on Friday and we didn't know exactly where to put him. Fortunately Allaine is a slender guy, and we made sleeping space for him on the far side of my bed, in the little space between the bed and the wall. *^_^* If he'd been a big bear of a man, it would have been unfortunate.
Princess soon learned that I am prone to fill up any empty space under my dominion with my stuff. She didn't think I'd be able to sleep since my bed was completely covered with things I'd unpacked. But since Allaine wasn't going to be there for the first two nights, I simply shoved everything that I'd unpacked onto my bed onto the floor. Afterwards I had to get... creative.
As the hour grew late, we talked and talked and talked some more... but since we wanted to get up early to do as much in the next day (Thursday) as possible, we finally tucked ourselves into bed and slept the sleep of happy travelers.
End Day One.
I definitely ran into the where-to-eat-late problem while I was there. I don't know if it was the neighborhood. Carol Wagner assures me that we could have found pancakes if we only knew where to look.