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Gathering 2005 Part One
I couldn't sleep, there was just no possible way I would ever fall asleep. The shuttle was supposed to pick me up at 7 AM, and here I am, not being able to sleep. So, at 5:30 am and wide awake, I do what any one would do. I go to the diner to have breakfast. Thank gods for 24 hour diners. I order the Eggs Benedict and coffee and orange juice. Eggs good, coffee tasted like chalk though. So, I come back, right in the nick of time to catch my shuttle.
So, we take a drive, pick up two more people, one of whom is flying on the same exact flight that I am. Cute girl who I spend the remainder of the trip over to Vegas flirting with. Same shuttle, same place, hell our tickets had us sitting next to each other on the plane. I never caught her name, which kinda bums me out now, but not too much.
So, we soon arrive at John F. Kennedy airport. I hate JFK and greatly prefer LaGuardia. JFK is a very hard airport to find your way around without asking directions, and the place is HUGE! JFK is it's own enclosed city, it has it's own monorail and everything.
And now it's time for my rant on Airport Security... first of all, keep in mind, I'm not wearing my trench, I'm wearing a black suit jacket (not the same one I wore later at the banquet), and Security is all over me, everything except t-shirt and pants has to come off. THey pull me to the side to further frisk me, and my Zippo Lighter is pulled out of my checked luggage and confiscated... I was pissed. But, I get everything back, and I make it to the plane. Yeah, yeah, this is my first time on an airplane post 9/11.
The flight is long and uneventful. The in-flight movie is Sahara, but I'm not interested. I try to sleep a few times, I skip the meal, but I have this curse of not being able to sleep on airplanes. The last half hour of the flight is really nice, as we fly over the Grand Canyon and the Hoover Dam... hmm, somehow, you'd think the Hoover Dam would have a no-fly zone. Aw well.
We land in Las Vegas, and well, Sin City wastes no time, there are slot machines in the airport, as soon as you step off the plane. I go and grab my checked luggage, and head to grab a shuttle. Unfortunatly, we end up with a lousy shuttle. AC is broken, driver doesn't know where anything is. Eventually I spot the Palace Station from the window, and point it out, and so I get dropped off, and check in.
First of all, I drop off my stuff, and go get food. I treat myself to a cheese burger and fries from the Cafe (I forget it's name). I wonder back to my room, and try to watch some TV, nothing's on, and the hotel doesn't have Comedy Central, so I can't catch the Daily Show later in the evening. So, I order myself some hotel porn... the porn wasn't very good.
I check my e-mail, and find out that Dreamie and Winterwolf are in the hotel, so I call them, get their voice mail, and leave a message. It's late, so I roll over and go to sleep. I get a call back, and it's them, naturally I invite up to my room to hang out, I haven't seen them in two years. So, we chill and get caught up. I show them some crap on the internet... most prominently the American translation of the Chinese dub for "Revenge of the Sith"... which led to this year's in joke:
Do not want!... which was the Chinese translation of Darth Vader's now, infamous Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
So, first day, despite some problems ended on a high note... a high note that continue on for the entire duration of my stay.
Got up, showered and dressed and went downstairs for breakfast, wondered over to the Buffet and I spotted Chris Rogers, Hudson, Seth, Kathy, Zaius and Dancer, and they invited me over to sit. So, we ate, and again got caught up, battle plans were discussed for the con, and so on, we finished and left.
Soon enough, Aaron, Revel, Spacie and Lynati showed up, and we helped them unpack their van (they drove to Vegas, all the way from Houston, TX), and since Aaron and Lynati were on con staff (AGAIN! They're masochists ;)), they had a lot to bring. So, we do that, and a group of us head out to Target, and the Home Depot to get crap that's needed for the con. I wasn't on con staff, but I did so much volunteer work, at times it did feel like being on staff again. Not that I minded, I'm always glad to help out a Gathering where I can.
So, we take two cars, Aaron and I ride in the rented van and follow Chris, unfortunatly, he knows his way around and we don't, so we lose him for a bit, lefts and rights are confused, but eventually we all end up at Target and get this stuff done.
We bring it all back, and drop the panels off at what will be the art room. Then we chill for a while, and I'm blanking a bit, but eventually we go to see the Tournament of Kings at the Excalibur, which is like "Medival Times", but a little better. Food was okay, and we get to sit in the evil section and root for Lord Mordred and his Dragon Knight. It was hokey, a little lame, but hey, still fun. BTW, some people rode in a bus, and a bunch of us crammed into Aaron's rental van, I got stuck in the trunk... and unfortunatly no pictures were taken. But, I got a seat in the back on the way back, still fun.
We came back to the hotel, where more people arrived in the lobby, including Jen, Cindy and Kythera. Great to see those three again. Jen greeted me with a hug, as did Cindy. We hung out in the lobby for a while, before the art chicks called it a night, and the rest of us went back up the Con Suite... at long last, Greg Weisman and Thom Adcox arrived from a ten and a half hour flight from Los Angeles (yes, ten and a half hours to get from LA to Vegas... you heard that right), we all hang out and chat for a while, Greg tells us about why he didn't like Batman Begins, and yeah, his critisisms are valid, and he's entitled to his opinion, but I still think the movie kicked ass.
Eventually we all call it a night, and hit the sack.
To be continued...
I just think you're starved for a decent Batman movie. ;)
As I told you, it's the high quality of Batman Begins that raises expectations that ultimately I think the movie fails to meet. So...
But I really liked Kelsey Grammer as the Beast. Seriously.
Con Journal - G2005 The Compressed Edition
I'm back. Home again just long enough to switch suitcases, do some laundry and water the plants. My Gathering went something like this...
Wednesday (If it's 4:00 a.m. it must be ORBITZ)
Thanks for the wake up call, Customer Service. But my flight isn't until 7:00 and I really (edited)ted to sleep until 5. Oh well. Grab the bag, feed the pets and away I went. One minor travel delay meant that instead of arriving in Vegas way before everyone else, I landed at the Las Vegas airport in time to shuttle over to the hotel with Mandi and Jenn my roommates. Yay for travel bungles that actually work out!
We arrived at the hotel after a short shuttle ride. And, as expected, there's a great big stack of boxes waiting for me. We check in, the nice men at the Bell Desk deliver all the convention stuff promptly and the three of us head downstairs to get some lunch and catch up.
Speaking of catching up. My biggest regret this very short weekend was the amount of catching up I didn't get to do. Bad timing, stuff to do, failing synaptic responses rendering me incapable of speech, all contributed to not nearly enough of what usually highlights my Gatherings - the chance to really sit down and talk to people about everything and nothing. But to Ellen, Seth, Lanny, Hudson, Greg B. and whoever I'm unintentionally blanking on that I did get to see this year - Thank you. And to Leo, a big hug and many thanks for the cd.
After lunch, there's convention stuff to do. Boxes to open, tee shirts to fold etc. We get the errands done and decide to see a show. Not a lot of same day tickets left, but we end up with tickets for "V" "THE ULTIMATE VARIETY SHOW" (second set of quotes are mine). Actually, it was pretty amazing. V is produced by the folks at Cirque d' Solei but isn't nearly as expensive (or sold out) it's a rotating group of performers and supposedly no two shows are exactly the same. We saw a singer with an incredible set of pipes, a drummer in a climbing harness who played a wall mounted kit, a really good juggler, a pair of Russian strongmen/acrobats/contortionists - sort of hard to put a label to, but it's the sort of thing that Cirque in all its incarnation is famous for. There was a pair of dancing illusionists and an impressionist who must have been raised on long hours of the "Gong Show" (you really had to be there, but the act was amazing in a trainwreck kind of way) and finally the host - a guy who told incredibly bad jokes ("When I first came to Vegas my luck was horrible. I lost everything, had to sell my clothes, my car. (beat) Boy was Avis (edited)ed.") He was also Mr. Memory telling the audience where they lived by their zip codes. Then after he'd interacted with more than a dozen people reeling their list of numbers and cities off one after the other.
And of course, there was audience participation. A guy got a group of men up on stage, put them into rubber masks and made them do horribly silly things to the delight of the audience. It was, all in all, a pretty good show.
After the show, there was dinner at Lombardi's an Italian restaurant and shopping in the Aladdin's faux foreign bazar. If it hadn't been for some bad news from home, it would have been a wonderfully relaxing evening. (Safe travels, Serena the cat, you are missed.)
Thursday (A bad dress rehersal means a great show)
Thursday the rest of the con staff gathered from all and sundry points. We had a TERRIFIC group this year and it was a joy to work with each and every one of my fellow staffers. Chris, Lanny, Lynati, Aaron, Mara, Seth, Winterwolf, Dreamie, Hudson, Carol and Abe, without which The Strip would have been a shadow of itself, you all ROCK. Thank you.
Any how, the usual pre-con chaos ensued. But, it was good, productive chaos and stuff got done. 'Course that doesn't mean it wasn't slightly nerve wracking. And then of course, there was Thom and Greg stuck in Ontario (California, not Canada) who missed out on Tournament of Kings, our pre-convention staff and guest dinner.
TOK was huge fun. Our block of tickets was in the DRAGON section, which means (for those who have never gone to one of these medieval themed dinner shows) we got to root for the bad guys. And you know, sometimes it's good to be bad. Sadly, the show was rigged and King Christopher the blandly handsome prevailed over Mordred and the Black Knight.
The group split up after that. Most of the attendees headed back to the hotel to either get the illusive "good night's sleep" or to do more last minute convention prep. I ended up in the wrong car (Chris's) and went for a tour of some of the sites of Vegas.
Bellagio, Luxor, New York, New York... I finally figured out what was throwing me about the Las Vegas hotels. All those famous places re-created, but the scale is off. And of course, they're all juxpositioned against one another in unlikely combinations. It's like being on a steroid enhanced version of the Universal Studios backlot. Cool, but weird.
Anyway, we saw the dancing fountains of Bellagio and the chocolate fountain, the indoor gardens and the fish tank behind the registration desk, missed the Sirens and Pirate battle, but did take in the Volcano erruption before heading back to the hotel.
That of course, began the dreaded search for my cell phone which began appropriately enough, in the Consuite. I was so hoping I'd left it on the table that despite the fact that Greg W. had finally arrived, I waited until I'd torn through everything on the conference table before saying a proper hello. (I'm sorry!)
Cell phones are leashes that tie you to... everyone really. But like every other user of the dread device, I've become dependent and not having it, especially during con weekend was a notion too awful to contemplate.
Never did find the blasted thing, despite retracing steps, reporting it missing in two hotels and the shuttle service. If anyone found a blue Nokia older model and is still hanging on to it - drop me a line, will you?
Anyway, Greg and the rest of the consuite contingent were talking comic books, graphic novels and the like. I stayed to listen for a while but soon it was time to call it a night (morning?) and we all went to bed.
Friday (Places people, it's SHOWTIME!)
Staff meeting, pre con last minute stuff to do and we still had registration running at five after 10:00. Yay team. Thing were off and running. The Dealers Hall and Art Show were assembled, staffed and stocked dispite a technical problem with the drill. There were blessed few problems with reg packet distributions and (eventually) we even got the bulk of the items for the silent auction out for display.
In the midst of much running around, I managed to get in a little shopping myself, acquiring a new cel of Goliath, a nice ensemble pencil sketch and a leather belt.
Good merchandise was had this year. Many thanks to Alan for coordinating the hall. And thank you - Van Eaton Gallery, Designs by Kate, Knightscross Leatherworks and all of our other participants for providing such spiffy stuff and such good company. (I spent several shifts behind the G2005 staff table selling tee shirts, anthologies and calendars and everyone was just terrific looking out for each other and generally keeping the atmosphere lively.)
(Oh! and there was AMAZING flourless chocolate cake and ice cream brought over from the Con Virgin 101 panel. Yum is an pale word choice.)
Eventually though, the Dealers Room and Registration closed for the day. We secured everything that needed securing and it was off to Opening Ceremonies!!
New dvds! New comics! New material from Greg! And to top it off - Thom Adcox's pants! What more could a couple of hundred eager fans (edited)t?
Dinner maybe. Which is where we were off to next. The seafood place was busy, but the Italian one wasn't. Plus we had coupons! Excellent food, good company, leftover eggplant parmesean for breakfast. It worked for me!
Sadly though, a tradition was broken. No frantic jog walk through a new city to make it in time for the Blue Mug. Thom got lost and was late even though it was just up the escalator and around a couple of corners, but that wasn't really quite the same.
The mug wasn't really "blue" this year. Maybe a light skyish color. Many people were really more interested in the impending comic and Greg tried hard not to scoop himself since that was the focal point of the Slave Labor/Creature Comics panel the following day.
After the Mug, it was time for pie! And after that, the group called it a night (morning).
Saturday (We're Swinging Now!)
Cold Eggplant might not be the breakfast of champions, but it did hit the spot. After which there was con stuff to do (silent auction set up) and then a panel to present.
Yep, a panel. With Ellen and Revel to keep things anchored, we talked about writing Action Scenes until we were kicked out of the room. It went great! The audience was engaged and interested and for the first time since I got roped into doing these things I felt completely at ease. Thank you Ellen for organizing my rambles into a coherent outline and Revel for providing really excellent talking points during the discussion.
Then there was cake! Scott (Brother Abe) bakes. Well. Very excellent chocolate goodness. And I never got the chance to thank him properly. Abe, if you're reading this. Mucho appreciado.
More con stuff. Registration table. Dealers room. Moved stuff that was stored in my room into the con suite during the radio play auditions. Fire alarm went off due to an over enthusistic cook. Everyone remembered the 3rd grade drills and exited the hotel through the stairwells in a quiet and orderly fashion, milling around the alley behind the hotel until we got an all clear. I was impressed.
The exact sequence of afternoon events after that is all kind of blurry. I do recall closing the Dealers Room for the Slave Labor/Creature Comics panel so that everyone could attend.
Got there a bit late. See above. But what I did hear was worth it. As usual grass roots participation is a must for project success. Spread the word.
After the panel I went back to the Dealers Hall to do cashier prep for the silent auction lots that sold Saturday and to explain the system to the rest of the crew.
I checked out of the hotel. Then Lanny and I went to dinner,talked about deep and profound things and generally made ourselves late to the poker tournament so I had no idea exactly what was happening during the game itself having not read the rules to Texas Hold'm. But everyone seemed like they were having a good time and the pot moved back and forth between Gore, Greg, Chris and even Thom. (I think Kai had busted by then) before Chris eventually took all.
Everyone trooped down the hall for ice cream. I said my goodbyes and I was airport bound.
Carol, everything was perfect. You dropped me off in exactly the right spot. I got through check in, slogged across the terminal, cleared security and arrived at my gate five minutes before they called my section number.
I wondered briefly what I was going to do on my way home. (I'd read my book and it was too cramped to knit properly). Two minutes after take off they killed the lights and I didn't wake up until we were in approach to Charlotte. Guess I was tired after all.
Sadly, the Charlotte airport doesn't have those comfy rocking chairs in the waiting area where you actually need them. Three cold, uncomfortable hours later, I was headed on my final leg home, and thus ended (for me anyway) the 2005 Gathering of the Gargoyles.
Love and many thanks to all,
That was a great read. Brings back memories.
Now that we've started 2005 conjournals, I want to extend a blanket apology in advance to all who posted them here.
Posting ConJournals here was and is very important vis-a-vis the powers that be. But in the interest of trying to catch up on ASK GREG, I'm going to keep my responses to a minimum, so that I can race through the year-and-a-half-old journals and get back to answering questions.
Thanks for understanding!
G2005 - Tuesday, August 2
8:30am. We hit the road back for Los Angeles. Reading Harry Potter most of the way. (Although we didn't actually finish the book until just last night.) We stopped for lunch at Tommy's (chilicheeseburger, chilidog, fries, coke)... and we were home again by 2pm. That's five and a half hours, including the hour-long lunch break. Half the time it took Thom and I to fly to Vegas. Oh, well.
After that, it was Unpack, Nap, Dinner. Beth made a great home-cooked meal of Meat, Corn, Mushrooms and Strawberries.
More Harry Potter. Did some actual work on W.I.T.C.H.
Then finally bed.
So ends my journal.
Please, everyone post your G2005 CONJOURNALS to ASK GREG by the end of August. I've asked Gorebash to shut down the ASK GREG Submit function at about midnight on August 31st. So before memories get even hazier, please take a few minutes to write up your experiences and cut and paste them here.
G2005 - Monday, August 1
11:30am. I went down to the art room to collect the kids' art that hadn't sold. (Some of it had!) Spent the entire day saying good-byes to various people as they took off.
12:00pm. Time for my final panel: Creating Original Properties. Talked about DOC SHAKESPEARE. Also showed the animatic "sizzle tapes" for MECHA-SAPIENS (which I developed with Vic Cook and Greg Guler) and KIDD/HERO (which I developed with DAG Entertainment and Vic Cook). Thom came in during the panel to say his goodbyes. Hopefully, he had an easier flight back to L.A. than the one that brought us here.
1:30pm. The auction began with a piece called "Bonanza" by Spike -- which depicted Hudson, Brooklyn, Lexington & Broadway as (respectively) Ben, Adam, Joe and Hoss Cartwright. Now the day before in the silent auction, my daughter had put in a bid on Liz's "Leo" piece and gotten it. And my son had bid $5 on Bonanza. All this was done with Beth's permission. We were willing to buy them each a five-dollar piece of art. But Benny noticed that someone had bid $10 after him on Bonanza. Without asking us, he bid $15. That someone then bid $20. And Benny bid $30!!!!! Thus sending the thing to the live auction on Monday. We were stunned. But he offered to pay in the money he made on his art, so I told him that if the bid didn't go beyond $30 in the live auction, I would get it for him.
So anyway, Bonanza came up for bid. I bid $30. And then... I made faces. Yeah, Spike, I'm truly sorry. No one was forbidden from bidding higher. (And the person who had bid against Benny had already left the con.) But I'm not sure anyone was willing to bid against me or my mock-scowl, so $30 is all you get.
The kids love all the artwork they got from Liz and from Spike and from Jade. Beth has framed or is framing it all. It all goes up on their now very crowded walls. Karine also drew me a picture that I am very fond of -- though I don't see us putting it up on the wall.
I did some signing during the auction. But I also wandered around a bit. Fusion Demon had lost her Doc Shakespeare script, and I found it and returned it. But I also found Thom's script -- which I guess he had given to her -- and didn't realize it wasn't up for grabs. So it got auctioned off for $150. Thom's pants went for big money too, I think.
3:00pm. Closing Ceremonies. Brief and to the point.
4:00pm. A group of us went to Quark's for dinner. Patrick, Tony, Andrea, Trishanna, Cindy, Kyt, Julie, Karine, Jen, Seth, Seth, Jade, Scott, Marina, Liz. I finally got that messy burger that I've been wanting since San Diego. Plus onion rings AND fries.
7:15pm. Then I took a taxi back to the hotel. Packed up.
8:15pm. Checked out of the hotel and waited outside. Saw that guy in the big Top Hat. I'm sorry, I'm blanking on your name, but we had a nice talk.
8:30pm. Beth, Erin and Benny picked me up and we drove to my in-laws, where we read chapter ten of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. And I had a blueberry muffin, minestrone soup and juice. I was still pretty wired, even after the family went to bed.
3:00am. Went to bed myself.
I'll wrap up this ConJournal tomorrow...
G2005 - Sunday, July 31
10:00am. Erin, Benny & Beth arrived at the hotel. They had actually arrived in Vegas the day before, but they were staying at my in-laws house, so I hadn't seen them since Thursday morning. We got them checked in, badged up and showed them the art show. Hung up a couple more of Benny's pictures.
10:30am. Second Day of Auditions with Thom & Jen. Erin auditioned, and did great. We had a number of good people the second day too.
11:45am. Jen & Thom & I went back to Guadelajara's again for our casting lunch. I had a Roast Beef Dip, Fries and a Pepsi. We had some really tough casting choices to make. A lot of good people for only 16 roles and two understudies.
1:00pm. Jen & I posted cast lists at five different locations. I wasn't going to take any chances.
1:30pm. Had a panel next on W.I.T.C.H., the series that I'm working on now. The location got tossed around a bit, but we finally wound up in the ConSuite. I showed the animatic "Pilot" created by the series' first set of producers, who were pushed sideways a bit by Disney, who replaced them with a second set of producers, who were the showrunners for the first season. All four of those producers were then let go, and I did Season Four. I tell this story to show that it can happen to anyone in this business. God knows, it's happened to me. Anyway, it was a fun panel, but I felt very restricted as to what I could talk about. I don't think the entire first season has aired yet, and I didn't want to spoil anything for their stuff, let alone MY second season stuff, which won't begin airing until December at the earliest. But next year's WITCH panel at G2006, should really kick some ass. We'll have a bunch of writers and actors there. Anyway, I recommend checking out the show. We have some really fun stuff planned. It's one of the most fun shows I've EVER worked on.
3:00pm. We had our Radio Play Rehearsal. Everyone showed up, which meant our understudies didn't have much to do, but I hope they enjoyed the process at least. I had fun. It was a great group.
4:30pm. The Radio Play. Again, everyone showed up. This year we were doing an original live-action pilot called "DOC SHAKESPEARE", written by myself & Samuel Bernstein. *UNSOLD*.
Here's the cast list:
Susanna Shakespeare - Laurean Broadbent
Judith Shakespeare - Jen Anderson
Mike Santos - Erik Mambu
Jeff Wylie - Seth Jackson
Anita Santos - Kaylle
Luís Santos - Eric Tribou
Tess Derbyville - Sarah McEvoy
Hamnet Shakespeare - Erin Weisman
Aaron Moore - Adam Leigh
Lewis Santos - Echo Eberle
Arthur Soames - Revel
Ralph - Thom Adcox
Jonas Kent - Alex Garg
Doris - Lanny Fields
Mort - Bruce Lane
Nathan - Vani Shaw
Understudies - Tracy Prelog, Anthony Zucconi
Narrator - Greg Weisman
Everyone really did a great job. I was very pleased with the response.
5:30pm. The family and I went back to my hotel room, to hang out for a while.
6:00pm. Banquet. The four of us were told where to sit, but we were sitting alone and there was some confusion as to how or whether anyone else was supposed to be chosen to join us. Eventually, the Leonard Family (Susan, Robert, Chloe & Carly) joined us and so did GXB, though I think we were too dull for Greg, as he bailed on us at some point. It became a very family oriented discussion there. Erin won the big Gargoyle centerpiece, and Susan was very nice and gave Benny the Garg Puzzle Cube thing. Appreciated, but very unnnecessary. The food was great, I thought. Salad, veggies, rice, eggplant, meat, onions.
No Q&A -- which surprised me. I guess there's just not much left to ask me and Thom. Though I'd think everyone would have wanted a shot at Dave.
After dinner, we went upstairs again and the kids changed into their costumes. GREAT COSTUMES -- created of course by Eden. Last Halloween, Cindy made Benny a Goliath costume (which he reprised for the con) and Erin a Marilyn Monroe costume (which Cindy then added wings to, to transform it into a HOLLY costume, i.e. the mascot of G2001 & G2006).
After they were dressed, we went down to Lanny's room, where Benny got painted purple and Erin got a few make-up highlights. We hung out there awhile with Cindy, Abram, Jen, Karine, Lanny, etc.
9:00pm. Dave, Thom and myself judged the costume contest (after dessert - apple pie, Banana Cream Pie, Swan Puff, Pepsi). Some great costumes...
Erin's Holly won best non-canon character
Benny's Goliath won best canon character
Fusion Demon won best cosplay
Noel's Werefox (with an honorable mention to Jade's La Belle Elisa) won best cosplay.
Eden's sexy Banshee won 1st in canon.
Revel's great Jackal won 2nd in canon.
Onyx won in non-canon.
Tony & Thom won cutest couple.
Andrea won the Thom Adcox Memorial Award.
Shara as Future Tense Brooklyn won both the Gorelisa Award and Best in Show.
Beth, Erin & Benny left at that point to head back to my in-laws and call it a night.
We gave out the art awards too, but I didn't write all those down. I know that Liz's amazing Zodiac series won Best in Show, among others.
After that, I just hung out talking... which is of course one of my favorite things...
Who was there? Thom, Seth, Tony, Andrea, Carol, Dave, Marina, Flanker, Ahkento, Liz, Trishanna, Jen, etc. (I know I'm missing a ton of people. Sorry.)
Finally, we called it a night....
G2005 - Saturday, July 30
10:30am. Aborted Mug. I showed up. So did Carol. But no one else... :(
Oh, well. Gave me a chance to have breakfast with Carol and Dave Schwartz -- again at Guadelajara's. (Tomato juice, scrambled eggs, sausage, hash browns, pancakes.) I'm afraid I didn't really have the opportunity to sample many of the Palace's restaurant options. Didn't even make it to the Buffet. But I always love breakfast food.
12:00pm. Next up, Dave and I (Thom was a no-show) took on the Development and Production Panel, discussing the entire process of creating and producing an animated series from start to finish. That was fun. Just hanging with Dave is fun. He's a great guy. I hope a bunch of you got a chance to get to know him.
1:30pm. Voice Acting Panel with Thom. I think this went very well. I'm using the same materials I've been using for years, and I should probably get some new ones... but (a) it's hard to find the time and (b) these materials really do a great job at illustrating the basic (very basic) points that Thom and I want to emphasize in the panel. But people must be getting sick of them. Well, we'll see about next year. Anyway, we had some good readers. It was fun, and a nice preamble to...
3:00pm. Auditions. The first set. As is traditional, Thom and Jen and I handled auditions while Cat (Kat?) and ... and... ARGH... I'm blanking out on another name... worked the door. We got some very good people. We were to have more auditions the next day, but Day One gave me confidence that we'd be able to cast the show.
4:30pm. Next up was the SLAVE LABOR GRAPHICS, CREATURE COMICS.COM panel with myself, Dan Vado and Marty Lund. Dan showed his slide show, which included glimpses of all his upcoming Disney Licensced Books: TRON, HAUNTED MANSION, WONDERLAND and, of course, GARGOYLES. For that all we have to show is one gorgeous NEW piece of pro-art depicting Goliath and Elisa. Illustrated by CCC Art Director Greg Guler and colored by the folks at SLG, the piece really kicks some ass! We talked about the upcoming GARGOYLES comic. A lot is still up in the air, but we're all now fully committed to getting this book out in the first half of 2006 -- i.e. sometime between January and June. I know that's a pretty big window, but we'll keep you posted as we begin to nail things down.
Dan was very favorably impressed by the Garg fandom and plans to make SLG a BIG presence at next year's Gathering 2006 in Los Angeles.
6:00pm. We all wanted to grab some dinner, but the wait at Macaroni Grill was like FOREVER. And I had a poker tournament to play in at 7:30pm, and many of the girls were planning to take off to throw Laurean her bachelorette party. So we (me, Adam, Lexy, Tony, Andrea, Patrick, Anna, Si, Marty, Jen, Karine and Kyt) wound up eating at McDonalds (#2 meal and a peach pie).
Si, Lexy, Jen, Cindy, Kyt, Andrea, Trishana and Karine took off for the aforementioned party. And the MEN headed for the Poker Tourney.
7:30pm. Charity Poker Tournament. Competing were myself, Marty, Tony, Eric, Adam, Chris and Thom. All for great charities. (Mine was Daphneyland, a Basset Hound Rescue Organization in Acton, California -- where we got our two new dogs, Abraham and Sami.)
I had NEVER played Texas Hold'em before, but Kathy bought me a book: "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Poker". It was somewhat helpful... though it did make me feel like: "If this is the Idiot's Guide, I need the Moron's Guide." But I did pretty well. We had a pro dealer named Matt. Heavy chips. Good times.
I busted Tony out first. That shocked him, I think. Marty then got killed by Thom, who went out next. I think I slammed him when he thought he had won with two aces in the hole, but I had something like three of a kind or two pair or a full house or something.
Adam then bit the dust, and it was down to myself, Gore and Chris. Chris had been playing slow and easy, letting us all take each other out. But by the time we were down to three, Gore was nearly busted, and I had a decent pot, but Chris had almost all the play money. It finally came down to one hand where both Gore and Chris went all in. I knew I could fold and stay in the game for longer, but I felt it would just be a game of attrition at that point. If Chris took Gore out, I wouldn't have the resources to fight him. So I gambled on a weak hand... and lost. (Though I did beat Gore, to come in second.)
Anyway, I did pretty well and had a great time. It was fun to play with other people's money. I'd do that again anytime!!
9:30pm. I led a HUGE crowd to the Station's Ice Cream Store. Don't remember all who were there, but I know it included myself, Thom, Tony, Lanny, Marina, Ryan, Patrick, Norcumi, Carol and Dave. I had a Banana Royale.
Then we stopped by the Arcade, but that doesn't really jazz me. I asked what else we could do. (I usually run out of ideas after food.) Someone suggested swimming... so we made our way to the pool.
10:00pm. Took a quick couple of dips in the main pool, but we mostly hung out in the jacuzzi: me, Lanny, Adam, Scott, Carter, Thom, Seth, Eric, Tony, Marty and Marina -- the one brave girl willing to hang with ten dopey guys. Marina, whom I remember as a KID from G1997 is a real sweetie. *But man does she make me feel old!*
12:00am. Called it a night, when the guard kicked us out of the pool.
2:30am. Turned out the lights and went to sleep.
More coming soon...
G2005 - Friday, July 29
The Guadelajara Restaurant in the Palace Station bookends my day.
Started there in the morning, eating alone: eggs, toast, sausage, hash browns.
Then I checked in at the front desk, I believe, before heading upstairs for my first Mug-A-Guest at...
12:00pm. Fan was there, and Daniel and Doug, I think. And others. But I can't remember now. (Please forgive me, as always, if I left you out.) We had a nice fairly open chat, I think. Friendly and intimate, which is the whole point of Mugs.
1:15pm. Then I think I helped Carol carry a bunch of the Gargoyles Production art that she had brought down to the art room. (And a shout out to Johanne Beaudoin at Disney for helping arrange this for us.) I also set up the art panel for my kids stuff. I also spent some time admiring all the great fan art.
3:00pm. Next up, the Writing for Animation Panel. I'm afraid I had nothing prepared for this one, so I talked a little about the writing process, and then opened it up to Q&A. Somehow, we managed to fill the time. I hope it was somewhat interesting and/or informative.
4:15pm. By this time, I was hungry again. So it was time for a late lunch across the street at the Macaroni Grill with Jen, Si and Patrick. Still, I didn't want this to be my dinner, so I just ordered a Fried Calimari appetizer.
6:00pm. Opening Ceremonies. Chris spoke. And Jen intro'd the 2006 convention in Los Angeles. Eventually, it was my turn... and I had a lot to cover:
--Talking about the DVDs (First Season out, Volume One of Season Two coming this winter (probably December)).
--the Comics (due out in the first half of 2006).
--A BIG YEAR FOR GARG FANS!!!
--I thanked the current staff: Chris, Lanny, Carol, Kathy, Lynati, Winterwold, Dreamie, Aaron, Hudson & Seth.
--Nearly forgot to thank Thom.
Then I had stuff to play.
--We had pre-recorded Audio Greetings from Kath Soucie and Keith David. That Keith greeting went over very well.
--Then we had pre-recorded Video Greetings from myself, Thom, Michael Reaves, Frank Paur, Jeff Bennett, Bill Faggerbakke, Brigitte Bako and Ed Asner. Those also seemed appreciated.
--I showed a teaser from the Second Season DVD extras. People seemed to like that too.
--I skipped showing the Gargoyles Pitch that I show most years, as it now appears on the first season DVD. Instead, I had dug up a tape that I had forgotten existed: it's an earlier version of the pitch, with older art, read by Jim Cummings. Next year, I may show both.
--Showed the Garg Promo and Garg Presentation videos, as always.
--Showed the New Olympian & Dark Ages pitches, as always.
--Showed Bad Guys, as always.
--Instead of playing the Audio to "The Last", we had a special treat. Vashkoda did an amazing job of editing, coloring and adding music and effects to The Last, based on the audio tape, script and storyboard. It looked just great. The work only really covered ACT ONE of the episode, but I'm really hoping that some of you artistic types will contact her. If every artist in the fandom just boarded one scene, then by next year, we might have a "new" episode totally completed.
After the Ceremonies, a bunch of us went looking for a place that could handle a large dinner party. We (myself, Carol, Kathy, Thom, seth, Marina, Eric and Scott) wound up at Pasta Palace, where I had bread, minestrone, Veal Picatta and mashed potatos.
Also finished in time, so that I didn't need to run to the Blue Mug... though somehow Thom managed to be late.
10:00pm. Blue Mug. A few Blue moments and a stunning near-psychic moment from Andrea Zucconi. ;) But mostly it was just fun talking until late into the night.
Then, as noted above, it was back to bookend the night at the Guadelajara for Banana Cream Pie and "milk". (In quotes, because it was undrinkable.) I think that was me, Kathy, Lynati, Norcumi, Aaron, Emambu, GXB, Tony & Andrea. And... and... i can totally picture him, but I am just blanking out on the name. (SORRY!!!)
Then I called it a night.
G2005 - Thursday, July 28
And so begins my annual ConJournal. As I've stated before, it would be very much appreciated if all of you who attended would post your conjournals, diaries, etc. here at ASK GREG. I know there are other places to post them, including the new Gathering Archives, but please ALSO cut and paste the things and put them here too. This is a location Disney is already aware of. In the past, it's helped them to see the fandom taking such a passionate interest.
Okay, the usual caveats... I may misremember some stuff, may leave out some people, reorder events, etc. For that -- in advance -- I apologize.
I do not apologize that most of my conjournal is dedicated to the discussion of what I ate. That's just who I am. Live with it.
Also, some thank yous off the top to Chris Rogers and this year's AMAZING CONSTAFF. GREAT JOB! As always, I had a BLAST at the convention! And you guys did it all!
Okay, here goes...
For the first time in ages, I was taking a non-working vacation. Wasn't even bringing a script to read on the plane. So Thursday morning I woke up and didn't go into the office.
10:30am. Instead, I went to my kids' summer camp to see the neat furniture that my son had built in his furniture building class: a chair (which he named "bacon & eggs") and a table (which he called "hot dogs and mustard"). It was pretty amazing stuff. I said my good-byes to Beth, Erin and Benny. I wouldn't be seeing them again until Sunday at the con.
11:00am. I went home to pack. Had a bit of time to kill, so I had a snack of apple, cheese and salami, while watching a bit of ALL MY CHILDREN, a soap I've watched on and off since the 70s.
12:15pm. Note the time. This is when I departed my house. The car that Carol Wagner arranged picked me up and got me to Bob Hope Airport in no time at all. There, I met up with Thom Adcox. I checked in while he waited to retrieve his cellphone from the driver of his car. Then we went to the gate. We grabbed some lunch (Turkey Sandwich, Chips, Three Musketeers bar, Water, Perrier, Licorice Wheels) and sat and talked.
2:55pm. The flight does NOT leave as scheduled. It's late arriving from Oakland.
4:00pm. We board the plane. Thom gives me some Tootsie Rolls. We wait. Eventually, we depart. I doze off. I wake up, having just missed a P.A. announcement. Seems we're very close to L.V., but we're being redirected. There are thunderstorms in L.V. and unfortunately, since we left Burbank in a hurry -- trying to make our "landing window" -- we didn't take the time to refuel. So now we don't have enough fuel to circle Las Vegas indefinitely. Instead, they send us back to Ontario, California. That's almost all the way back to Burbank.
We land and stay on the plane while they refuel. They give us peanuts. Then they tell us we won't be departing for another hour and a half, so they let us deplane. Thom and I go to Carl's Jr. and order food. Then suddenly a Southwest person comes running through the terminal, telling us all to get back to the plane immediately... we're about to take off. So we grab up our food and reboard... and sit... and wait... and sit... and wait...
One thing I will say is that everyone on that plane maintained a VERY good attitude. Good spirits. You'd expect some nastiness given all the delays ... but it never happened.
I ate my Carls -- Sourdough Bacon Cheesburger, Fried Zucchini and a coke -- and wished I hadn't. Just NOT very good, but with plenty of grease to spare.
Finally, we take off.
8:15pm. We land in Vegas. But there's no gate open for us, so we wait on the tarmac.
9:15pm. We pull into a gate and deplane. Now originally, Chris was supposed to pick us up and take us to the hotel to check in. Then we were all supposed to go to a pre-con staff dinner at the Excalibur. But by the time we arrived, the dinner was already underway. So instead of dragging Chris out, we went to catch a cab. Man -- that's a LONG line for cabs. I spotted Ellen behind us in the line and invited her to share our cab. It was hot. But I was with good people, and like I said, everyone stayed calm.
We finally got a cab. Got to the Palace Station and checked in with no problem.
10:15pm. I finally got up to my room. TEN FULL HOURS exactly after I left my house. Thom and I could have DRIVEN to Vegas and back in that amount of time. Oh, well...
Thom decided to call it a night, so I went down to the consuite and hung around for awhile, chatting with Carol, Hudson, GXB, Lynati, Winterwolf, Dreamie, Aaron, Allayne, Kat (Cat?) and Revel. Kathy came in searching for her cellphone. (The second cellphone search I witnessed just in that day. And people wonder why I don't want one.)
Then, finally, I headed back up to my room and called it a night...
Well, I'm taking off tomorrow for Vegas. I'll be back here in August to post my Gathering Journal. Don't forget to post yours too!
Gorebash is going to be opening the ASK GREG posting function in the next day or so. Specifically, that's because I'm hoping that a whole bunch of you will post your Gathering Journals, Diaries, Notebooks, etc. right here.
It helps to have a central place for industry types to read this stuff. Plus I like to read it all.
I'm told we have 170 people pre-registered for the Gathering. So my goal is to get 100 Gathering Journals up on this site in the next couple weeks.
During this period, we'll also be open for questions, but I urge you not to post a question lightly. I'm still backlogged nearly two years worth.
Thanks in advance,