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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'm not exactly sure when I'll be watching Cloud Fathers and doing that ramble, but it's obviously on deck, so while I'm thinking of it, I thought I'd present my notes on the Outline from May of 1995.
SPOILERS for the episode.
Notes on "The Cloud Fathers" Outline...
Primary emotional conflict is between Peter and himself. It's an internal conflict. Think Field of Dreams. He can't admit that there was value to his father's Sioux Traditions or he'd have to admit that he wasted all those years being at war with his dad. Now that his dad is dead, he feels it's too late to see his pop's PoV. That's where his adamant stance comes from. But we won't objectively reveal that Peter's dad is dead until the last scene.
We'll illustrate this conflict by letting Coyote/Trickster/Kachina appear as young Peter. One of the trickster's goals is to recover the real Peter. Bring him back to the fold, so to speak.
We'll have less "obvious" magic up front, or else it's hard to keep the real Peter in complete denial. Replace shimmering trickster with trickster posing as mysterious "young Peter" in various guises. Very worldy and cynical the way young Peter was and old Peter believes he still is, but really isn't.
Not a Beth/Peter conflict, per se.
Maza family is Sioux. Not Hopi.
In retrospect, I was wrong to leave the real Xanatos out of this story. His presence will undercut Coyote, but we need someone for Coyote to talk to anyway, so we might as well put Xanatos on the scene and in charge. It's another one of his bids for immortality. And the narcissistic byplay between Xanatos and Coyote might be fun.
It's Coyote (Kachina Trickster) vs. Coyote (4.0 Robot & Xanatos) for the Trickster hall of fame.
Coyote-4.0 has been made from an alloy that includes the melted down Cauldron of Life, making him able to catch and contain a Kachina. The robot is also heavily upgraded with armor and weaponry, making him a lot tougher than the last three versions Goliath defeated.
No longer necessary to force the proximity between campus, construction site and "village".
Don't need the elders.
Keep the midnight ceremony, but I'm extremely nervous about the dancing -- it could be a real animation problem.
1. Teaser opening at seemingly deserted construction site. Something very weird and spooky is happening to the bulldozers. Don't show too much.
2. Flashback to 1960. Peter, an only child, is 18 years old. (Maybe he's got a brush cut, while his dad has very long hair.) Peter's fighting with his dad. Dad believes in old ways. Peter doesn't. He leaves for NYC.
3. Dissolve to Peter waking up from Flashback dream as his airplane comes in for a landing. He doesn't like to be back in Arizona.
4. Beth picks him up at airport. She's asked him to come because of Xanatos' building project on leased tribal land. (She can't tell authorities about Derek, but she knows X is probably up to no good.) Peter is equally suspicious of Xanatos. (As long as it's a real world thing.) Beth's driving Peter out to get a look at the construction site. Small talk en route: While he's in town does Peter want to "visit" grandpa? No, he does not. O.k., then, new topic. Any word on Elisa?
5. Mist to swimming pool. Elisa is alarmed to find out where they are. If Avalon sent them here, her sister Beth might be in danger.
6. Beth and Peter arrive at construction site. They are given permission to enter, even encouraged to enter, by a young security guard (whom the audience may or may not recognize as a dead ringer for the young Peter Maza, but who is in fact the kachina Coyote in disguise). Beth may say in an offhand way that the security guard looks familiar. Once inside the perimeter, we find the bizarre Stonehenge of vehicles and tires (in front of the large shed that hides the soil carving). And then Peter and Beth are surrounded by Xanatos and the tribal police. Arrested for trespassing and vandalism. Vandalism? They didn't do this. How could they? And the security guard gave them permission to enter. Xanatos says he has no security guards, but maybe he should hire some. Take them away.
7. The next day, Beth and Peter (a bit worse for wear) make it back to her off-campus apartment. They spent the rest of the night in jail, before making bail. Elisa is inside waiting for Beth. Reunion. Gargoyles are frozen in stone on the terrace. They discuss Xanatos situation. He must have set them up, which is a neat trick since he didn't know they were coming. Who was that security guard? He's the key to proving their innocence. And what is Xanatos up to on that land in the first place?
8. Meanwhile at construction site, Xanatos is in conversation with someone who's standing in the shadows. Someone who sounds a lot like Xanatos. (Coyote Robot, obviously.) Xanatos knows the Mazas didn't have anything to do with the "vandalism". But he let them take the rap because he didn't want the tribal police to investigate any further. Maybe he has a security camera video of "Young Peter/Phony Security Guard/Coyote/Trickster/Kachina" giving the Mazas permission to enter the site. Xanatos thinks that this security guy is the true vandal. He's positive he knows who the guy is. And he wants him.
9. Night. Goliath and Angela have been filled in. They are going to enter construction site by air to find out what Xanatos is up to. Peter has a few moral qualms about this, but the Gargoyles don't legally exist, so legally no one is trespassing. (Let's also not make Peter and Beth too comfortable too quickly around the gargoyles. Knowing they exist and seeing them frozen in stone, is not the same as seeing them walking and talking in all their glory.) After gargoyles head out, Elisa asks whether Peter might want to "visit" grandpa, after this is all over. No, Peter does not.
10. Goliath and Angela glide in. Enter the "shed". Find the soil carving and the land-sat pictures, though they don't know the significance of them. Then Coyote-4 shows. He was expecting Peter and Beth Maza, not Goliath and Angela, but he figures they'll do. We have a fight, which the gargoyles lose. They are down for the count.
Intercut between beats 11 and 12.
11. Outside the construction site, Peter, Beth and Elisa spot "Young Peter" (no longer dressed as a security guard, but as we saw young Peter dressed in the flashback). With Bronx's help they "apprehend" him. Now that he doesn't have his security guard hat, both Beth and Elisa are startled by his resemblance to their father. "Dad, doesn't he remind you of someone?" But Peter doesn't notice the resemblance and doesn't give them much opportunity to comment on it. He wants some answers from this faux-security guard. Why did he help Xanatos frame them? The kid sidesteps the question by asking a question of his own. Why shouldn't he help Xanatos? Who cares if Xanatos destroys a soil carving sacred to the kachina Coyote? All that old indian stuff is just that: old indian stuff. Beth is shocked. If that's what Xanatos is up to, he definitely must be stopped. Peter begrudgingly agrees that the tribe should be informed. The soil carving has anthropological value at least. Oh, please, says the kid, scoffing at Peter, the way Peter once scoffed at his father. Xanatos is bringing jobs to the tribe. Real jobs. Real money. If you inform the tribe, they'll just rope the site off as sacred land and Xanatos' project won't get off the ground. No jobs. No cash inflow. The kid looks at Peter and says: Get with the program, old man. Besides, where are your priorities. Your worried about some scratches in the sand, while Xanatos is about to ice your two gargoyle friends. The Mazas look shocked. They instinctively turn to look toward the construction site. In that moment, Bronx starts howling, and when they turn back, the Trickster has vanished.
12. Goliath and Angela regain consciousness inside the shed. Coyote-4 has just finished securing them in some kind of James Bondian deathtrap. Xanatos is there and he's actually apologetic. He has no desire to kill either Goliath or this intriguing new female. But the death trap has to be real, and he must be prepared to follow through or else he couldn't hope to trap his true quarry. He's figured that out at least. For weeks he kept pretending that he was about to destroy the soil carving, but until he made up his mind to actually bulldoze the thing last night, he didn't even get a nibble. His prey obviously knows when he's sincere. The seconds tick away and soon the gargoyles will die.
13. Led by Elisa, the Mazas and Bronx are breaking into the construction site perimeter and shed. (If we need a legal rationale, Elisa feels they have probable cause at this point. They have reason to believe a homicide is about to take place.) Peter can't figure out how that strange kid got away so fast. Beth thinks she knows how and also who the kid really is. But before she has a chance to voice her theory, they're in. Unfortunately, Xanatos (in his battle armor) is waiting. It looks bad for all of our heroes. And then Xanatos is hit with a lot of bad luck. Outrageously bad luck. And Xanatos actually seems pleased. He knows his quarry is near. All our gargoyle and human heroes escape, but not before Beth sees "Young Peter" watching them from the rafters. Coyote-IV tries to sneak up on him, but "Young Peter" jumps out an open window (or something) to safety.
14. Our heroes head for the tribal police station to inform the authorities about Xanatos and the hidden soil carving. Beth finally has a chance to reveal what she's now convinced is the truth about the faux-Security Guard. She believes he is Coyote, the trickster. Peter can't believe that this nonsense is coming out of the mouth of one of his daughters. The guy was a punk working for Xanatos. But Beth spells it out. Why would Coyote try to grab one of Xanatos' employees? And c'mon, the guy looked exactly like old pictures of Peter. And he was clearly trying to goad Peter into action through some pretty amateurish reverse-psychology. Plus the soil carving is sacred to Coyote. And who else would have the power to set those bulldozers up that way? And how about the amazing string of luck that allowed them to escape unharmed? That "kid" was Coyote. And he was protecting his sacred carving and us. Peter is appalled. He appeals to the others. But Elisa knows that such beings exist. She's met them. And Goliath says that Beth's theory fits with what Xanatos said earlier about his "true quarry". Angela finds it hard to believe that Peter doesn't believe. Peter won't budge. This is about a rich guy trying to build a building by bulldozing a cultural icon. That's it.
15. Just before they get to town, the gargoyles hide. The Mazas arrive outside the tribal police station. It is dark. Around back, there is some kind of tribal ceremony going on. No spectators. Just participants in masks. Beth is a student of this stuff, but even she's stumped. Nothing was scheduled, and she's unfamiliar with this ritual. Reluctantly, Peter explains. It's a ceremony of gratitude to Coyote. He knows because when he was a kid, his father made him participate. In fact, he played Coyote in the ceremony. But this old rite was rarely performed even when he was a kid. Beth sees this as further proof. The dark, empty police station. The spectatorless ceremony to Coyote. But Peter just mumbles, "It's a coincidence." Then the 'Coyote dancer' takes off his mask, revealing himself to be the "Young Peter" and asking the real Peter if this is a coincidence too? Before Peter can respond, Coyote-4 rockets into the scene, grabs "Young Peter" and rockets away.
16. Pick up more or less where we left off. The other dancers take off their masks as if waking from a trance. They are the tribal police we met in beat 5. They don't have a clue what they were doing out here, but are very interested to learn about the soil carving in the shed. The Mazas hook up with the gargoyles who saw the robot zoom in and out. Everyone is now sure they must save the true Coyote from Xanatos. Everyone but Peter. Xanatos was simply saving his employee from arrest. There's no one to rescue. Peter refuses to participate in any more of this foolishness. He is adamant in his denial. ADAMANT. This can't be true. It just can't.
17. But of course, it is. The Young Peter/trickster is locked in Coyote-4's grip. He's not exactly terrified, but he's a bit surprised he can't shape-shift himself free or vanish into smoke or something.
(NOTE: I don't know exactly where this should take place. Back in the "shed" makes logical sense, but we've staged all of our action there, and we might want to mix it up some.) Xanatos explains that Coyote-4 was made from an alloy that included the melted down Cauldron of Life -- a device which was supposed to grant Xanatos immortality, but fell short of his expectations. So he put it to a new use. The magic metal of the Cauldron allows Coyote-4 to hold onto Coyote-Trickster indefinitely. (And no, the irony of the names isn't lost on Xanatos. He's always considered himself something of a trickster at heart.) Now, with the trickster under his control, he can get his heart's desire. Starting with immortality. Just then Beth, Elisa and the gargoyles bust in. Still without the trickster's help, it isn't going well. Suddenly, a man appears in the Coyote mask from the midnight ceremony. His mere presence seems to bring bad luck to the villains. Xanatos is shaken. He thought he had the real coyote/trickster but now he isn't so sure. The tide turns. "Young Peter" is freed. Coyote-IV is destroyed. Xanatos is forced to flee or something. And of course, the masked man is revealed to be Peter Maza, who really doesn't know why his appearance helped turn things around. "Young Peter" explains that playing Coyote all those years ago connected them. They are part of each other, which, Young Peter says, is why he worked so hard to get him back. And with that Young Peter vanishes. Leaving the real Peter with the Coyote mask. Peter turns to his daughters and says. Let's go visit your grandfather.
18. We dissolve to the gravesite of Peter's father. The gargoyles keep a respectful distance. Elisa and Beth are closer, but also give Peter room. In a monologue to his dead dad, Peter reveals why he couldn't believe: if he admitted he had been wrong all those years ago, then he'd have had to admit that he lost all that time with his dad for nothing. He believes now, but it is too late. And he's so sorry, because he wishes there was some way his dad could know how much Peter always loved and respected him. Elisa and Beth approach to comfort their father. "I think he knows, dad. I think he knows."
O.K. That's it. As usual, NONE OF THIS is etched in stone. If you like it, you can go right to script. If you don't like it or any part of it, just come talk to me.
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.
Time to ramble...
Chapter LIII: "Bushido"
Story Editor: Gary Sperling
Writer: Gary Sperling
Director: Dennis Woodyard
As with "Sentinel", which immediately proceeded this ep, the Previously scenes are all from "Awakening". Because again, we're going to use this episode to tell another story loaded with parallelism and "What ifs?"
My daughter Erin, who's seen this episode before of course -- but not recently, picked up on all of it immediately. Taro is a Japanese Xanatos. Kai a Japanese Goliath. Yama a Japanese Demona. Hiroshi a Japanese Elisa. Etc.
What if Xanatos' plan for the gargoyles had been more directly and publicly exploitive? What if Demona was tricked... but also maintained her sense of honor and need for redemption. And etc. Would things have worked out better or worse?
Fortunately, Goliath has (in a sense) been through all of this before. And fortunately, Taro is clever. But he's no Xanatos. So it all turns out all right.
But the parallels continue. Taro also parallels the Captain, and we even present a faux Wyvern to drive the Captain/Demona - Taro/Yama relationship home.
I also like how Yama uses Goliath as proof that the Ishimura Clan doesn't need to hide from the world. Goliath disabuses him of oversimplifying, but it reminds me of when Goliath cited Xanatos to Demona as proof that humans can be trusted.
Yama is great at spouting half-truths that he has thoroughly embraced. Or put another way, Yama is right about a lot. But has chosen a really poor road with which to pave his good intentions. (Not quite the road to Hell, but the road to being a living walkaround character in a theme park!)
LOTS O' LINES
Yama (bored): "Yes, I know. We're terrifying."
Kai: "It's the best kept secret in Japan."
Goliath: "And you believe this problem will be solved by charging admission?"
Taro: "I was always a poor student." (Understatement of the year. And I love how Kai tries to deny it. That's good manners, cuz you gotta figure that for once Taro is being honest -- disarmingly honest.)
Kai: "Gargoyle must not fight Gargoyle" (A conscious tribute, believe it or not, to the semi-seminal "Battle for the Planet of the Apes" and the line "Ape has killed Ape!")
Elisa: "If you don't hurry, you're gonna wind up TV Stars!"
Goliath (horrified): "NO!" (See, we always blamed Disney for GARGOYLES low corporate profile, but Goliath himself was uncooperative.)
Taro: "Nobody ever got rich off Bushido."
Taro again: "Who else needs lessons in courtesy?"
And Taro again: "Bushido is not kind to you, Yama."
Reporter: "You've watched too many cartoons."
Elisa: "But it's a start."
Most of our guest actors began our voice recording playing different roles. But part way through the recording, Jamie and I realized that we needed to start over. They were all good actors but we hadn't worked with most of them before. Once we actually heard the SOUND of their voices, we knew we had to do some switching.
My son Benny immediately noticed that Elisa spent the last half of Act One in a kimono. (I assume her regular outfit was being cleaned -- QUICKLY.) Again, Elisa looks good in anything.
Hey, we actually do get attacked by "EVIL NINJAS"!
Also notice that Taro purchased the same brand of Tranq Gun that Bruno uses for Xanatos.
I love the cultural difference that the Ishimuran Gargoyles face IN, instead of out.
I love how Goliath crumbles the faux stone castle walls.
Hiroshi and Elisa both have some really nice moves. But she's WAY better looking.
And how about those electrified fans of Taro's. VERY COOL. Credit for those go to Dennis Woodyard and his team. The script had electro-disks on Taro's palms. But the fans are much cooler than what I had pictured. (Though I am gonna use those palm disks someday.)
Just exactly how many domes did Taro build? When Elisa & Hiroshi are behind the main dome, there ALWAYS seems to be another dome behind them from every angle.
More damn automated cannons shooting up the place. Sometimes, we fell back on old standards.
Way at the beginning of the World Tour, we had a meeting to decide what we were going to do about foreign languages. The majority felt we should ignore them. (I was on the fence, myself.) So when we wrote and recorded Bushido, we used no actual Japanese. Later, Frank wanted to put the first section in Japanese (with subtitles) -- right up until Kai meets Goliath, and then begins speaking English as a courtesy to his new friend. I felt it would work great (though I sure wish he had brought it up earlier). I felt that even our youngest non-literate audience would be okay with it, since the situation being presented was VERY straight-forward and easy to figure out.
Unfortunately, Frank came up with his plan too late, and Disney didn't want to spend the additional money to rerecord everything. (Many felt it was a dubious creative choice, and the cost settled it.) But in general, I wish we had played with foreign languages more. In Bushido and other World Tour eps.
BUSHIDO IN ISHIMURA
We also were interested in showing that Goliath's vision for human/Gargoyle relations wasn't just a pipe dream. For centuries, humans and Gargoyles have protected each other and lived in peace in Ishimura. It's not a perfect system. The younger human generation has (as the ep opens) lost interest in learning the ways of Bushido. And threats to their little community will always exist, both from within and without. But we felt it was important to demonstrate that peace is possible. And by the end, the pact between human & gargoyle, which we sense had begun to be taken for granted, is renewed. And the study of Bushido will be resumed. This struck me so keenly -- i.e. the notion of young humans and gargoyles studying together in the ways of Bushido (which I view to some degree at least as the Japanese version of the Gargoyle Way), that I incorporated the idea into Gargoyles 2198. Eventually, Ishimura will train both gargoyles and humans from across the globe. The former as protectors, the latter -- as GUARDIANS. All proving that Goliath was a garg ahead of his time.
Yama popped for me a bit. We bulked him up and added him to BAD GUYS as a guy who really wanted to redeem himself for betraying his clan.
We also wanted to do an episode set in Japan for our Japanese Animation Studio. At one point, I noticed that this specific episode was scheduled to go to our Korean sub-contractor. This seemed insane to me, so we juggled some stuff so that WDTVA-Tokyo could do Bushido. And they did a VERY nice job with it.
AND WHO CAN FORGET THE ANIMATRONIC GIANT GARGOYLE
Frank Welker is a lot of fun playing this guy. I want to bring him back. Or them rather. And I love how Taro is stranded up there and then falls. And I love how he says, "Not now." when the Garg starts talking.
Anyway, there's my ramble... Where's yours?
1) Oh Greg, one more thing I forgot! I've heard you were an English teacher once before. Who was your most memorable student and why? Where did you teach? And how come I wasn't selected to be in your class?
I was a Shakespeare T.A. at Stanford. I also taught a literature class there, "The Mythic Hero in Modern Literature".
At U.S.C., I taught Freshmen Composition.
And through U.C.L.A. Extension I've taught a course on Writing for Television Animation.
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.
Gathering journal, New York City, 2003 (copied and pasted with minor edits)
The Gathering...well, my goodness. What a weekend. Here and there, I managed to steal just a few moments to myself in my room, listening to jazz on the CD player as I looked out the window over late-night Manhattan. Magnificent. Also, take it from this stay-at-home mom of a three-year-old: Being able to wear nice clothing and makeup for three days straight was a rare treat indeed.
And this was just the background stuff.
I'll readily admit that I didn't get nearly as much NYC-related activity accomplished as I had planned. For that matter, I got much less *eating and sleeping* accomplished than I had planned, mainly because I continually found myself in situations where, if I couldn't stop talking, I couldn't stop listening.
Upon my arrival, I sought food, because I knew I wouldn't take any time out to eat once I started wandering around the Gathering sites and meeting people. Upon the recommendation of one of the flight attendants on the way from Chicago, I hit the salad bar at Macy's for something quick and good, accompanied by Sarah the Great, with whom I began chatting in the elevator. I returned with her and went to the art room, where I ran into some rotten kid named Dylan Blacquière, and my writer's-retreat weekend was off to the races.
For me, the ability to talk out loud about the extent of my fascination with and affection for a cartoon series, of all things, was special enough, but the ability to do so with a cadre of talented writers, including Greg Weisman himself, was what made this weekend well worth its cost and more -- *so* much more.
It was partly because I was one time zone removed from mine, but the hours of the days got completely away from me. The time flew by as the little group of us sat around the table for the Othercon round robin, laughing and spinning tales and exercising the naughty-story-telling muscles in our brains. Then it was time for the "Erotica 101" panel with Princess and Mooncat (prefaced delightfully by a long-delayed face-to-face meeting with Allaine), which was every bit the erudite discussion I expected it to be. And I'm not being facetious; good smut writing is a surprisingly intellect-intensive endeavor. What this all meant, however, was that we were late getting into Greg and Thom's late-night (read: blue) panel. We arrived in plenty of time, however, for the revelation regarding Lexington's sexual orientation (I am among those who were not surprised by this tidbit).
More importantly in my view, this was only my second opportunity to hear Mr. Weisman talk first-hand about "Gargoyles" (the first being the opening ceremonies), and the first time I heard him speak in such depth about the series. No questions or responses of any kind came to my mind; I was simply content to listen to this bright, imaginative, personable individual talk for as long as he wanted, and, when he was finished, to wish he'd say more.
The character-development panel that I shared the following morning with Dylan, Allaine, and Patrick Toman was a sheer joy. What a pleasure it was to participate in the discussion and to listen not only to these outstandingly talented gentlemen but to the attendees as well, who helped in equal measure to make the session successful -- and to all of whom I send out a special thanks for being there.
I wanted to pick up something for my son while I was in Manhattan, so it was back to Macy's with me after the panel. As usual, the time got away from me, which meant that I was late for Dylan et al.'s crossover-universes panel. (Unfortunately, this also meant that I missed Greg's panel on animation writing altogether, which I regretted at the time and now, after subsequently having had an opportunity to talk writing with him, out-and-out breaks my heart in retrospect. However, going into the convention, I knew and accepted the fact that schedule conflicts came with the territory. Life goes on.)
Next on the docket was a thoroughly enjoyable chat with Kathy Pogge (and others who congregated in the hall) that grew out of her and Patrick's "Am I Blue?" Othercon writing exercise. The discussion group that formed out in the hall became one of the day's highlights; it's that kind of spontaneous give-and-take that makes an assembly of a diverse and intelligent group like this the treasure it is.
At this point it became abundantly clear to me that the only way I'd be at all functional that evening was to retreat to my room and get a little shut-eye. Naturally, I overslept, and was late getting to the banquet (which I had to leave early after just a light nosh because I was having dinner with a friend). I nonetheless had another pleasant discussion, this one with a girl named Sylvia and her mother (whose name I believe was Anne; forgive my poor memory).
I had to leave just as the Q&A was beginning. That was the downside. The upside was that I went from there down to the lobby to meet up with a childhood friend of mine who lives in Manhattan and works as an actress when she can, and for a caterer when she must. We hadn't seen each other in a while and had a great deal to get caught up on, but the first issue at hand, of course, was the reason I was in Manhattan to begin with. As we were walking over to the next block to get a taxi to Grand Central Station and its splendid old Oyster Bar restaurant, I pulled my convention badge out of my purse and showed it to her. "Welcome to my secret life," I began. It took me a good half hour simply to explain the plot of "Awakening" to her (and I'm sure that the people at the table next to us were thoroughly amused listening to me explaining a medieval/fantasy action/adventure soap opera as well). By the time I was finished, however, she was enthralled, and was determined to pick up a copy of the DVD as soon as it comes out next year.
As an aside, as we walked back out of the station building, I pointed up to the top of the Chrysler Building and explained to her how the silver falcons on the corners figured into the eponymous episode the rest of us know and love. She was duly impressed.
From there we went to one of Manhattan's best -- and best-kept -- secrets: a cozy gentlemen's-club-style bar in the meeting room of what used to be the downtown pied-à-terre of a wealthy businessman around the turn of the century, now restored as an elegant, dark, intimate cocktail lounge. I gave my pals at the Gathering all the details about it, but here in the online version of my Gathering journal, its name and location shall remain secret. (Watch for it to be written into at least one of my future stories, in equally anonymous fashion.) We listened to the jazz combo jamming over in the corner of the room and toasted the evening with -- what else? -- a lovely single-malt scotch. Then we figured we should call it a night, so that she could go home and get some sleep after an already hectic weekend for her, and so that I'd be able to squeeze in a little more conversation with my writer pals at the hotel. This is essentially what happened, except that my one-on-one conversation with Dylan was moved across the street to a late-night saloon. After this, more conversation with him and Mandolin back at the hotel outside the banquet room, and yet more conversation in MC and Princess's room, it was time to call it quits and get a few more hours of sleep.
On Sunday morning I was playing catch-up from the moment I woke up, but I did make it to the art room in time to bid on (and win) a couple of delightful pieces. Most importantly, though, I finally found an opportunity to introduce myself to Greg Weisman. He proceeded to regale me by discussing the mechanics of fiction writing with me for what I fear was a rather immodest amount of time. Next time I'd better take my wristwatch off and put it on the table in front of me; this is someone whose brain I could pick for hours if no one grabs me by the shoulder and shakes me back into the real world.
Following the inevitable and all-too-soon farewells after the closing ceremonies, there remained one last thing for me to do before I left New York. I boarded the E train, direction Brooklyn, and visited the World Trade Center site -- the epicenter of a number of changes in my life, including my involvement in the "Gargoyles" universe. Probably because I was simply numb at that point, I remained surprisingly calm while I surveyed the gaping hole in the ground, still littered with sizable piles of rubble and adorned starkly by a plain concrete monument featuring the famous salvaged broken girders forming a nearly perfectly symmetrical cross. When I finally turned away and headed back to the subway stop, I came away with feelings of closure and completeness -- and of things having come full circle.
Yet, along with this sense of closure I also came away from New York with a sense of having made a new beginning. This weekend's experience did much to reinforce my decision to focus on writing at this stage in my life (as much as I'm able to do so while focusing more immediately on such things as keeping my three-year-old healthy and happy and off the roof), and I have my fellow Gathering attendees to thank for this. To everyone on the Gathering staff, please know that I am aware that this glorious weekend was there for my enjoyment because of all the hard work you all put into this event, and I'm grateful. Sarah the Great, I enjoyed our conversation very much, and I'm delighted to have met you first off at the convention. Spacebabie, Aaron, Alex/Orion, Mara, Mandolin, Greg Bishansky, Sarah Berkeley, Lynati, Lain, Sylvia and Anne, Patrick, Kathy, Leo, Diamond Debbie, Chyna Rose, Stephen, and so many others who made me feel welcome and whose monikers I shamefully cannot recall at the moment, it was truly a pleasure. BiZZ, you're a great guy and a real trooper for coming all that way just for the weekend. Hope you're over the jet lag by now. Princess, you're a delight to chat with; I'm so glad I had this opportunity to meet you. I hope you and Mooncat had a great time during your extra days in the Big Apple. Speaking of whom, MC, you're a doll, pure and simple. I'm so lucky to have a writer pal like you, and shame on me for not saying that often enough. Allaine, there wasn't a crapload of snow on the ground this time around. How 'bout that? You're every bit as engaging as you sounded over the phone on that spectacularly loused-up weekend in Philly. Meeting you face-to-face was worth the wait. Dylan, my "nephew," I said it all in the banquet room by saying nothing. Words fail me -- and anyone who's seen the length of my stories knows that doesn't happen very often. You're a good kid, you'll go far, and I'm proud to say that I knew you when. And if you don't show up in Montreal, I'll go find you and kick your rump.
Finally, Greg, despite what you said to me Sunday morning, we're still not square. My column in the ledger is still showing an awful lot of red ink, and there's more and more of it with every story I write. The paltry phrase of "thank you" does a lousy job of covering it.
(With this, Ellen shuts down the computer for the night, turns out the light, and heads off to bed, still wondering how much she'd have to bribe Disney to get that production scene of downtown Manhattan at night framed over her fireplace in her living room...)
So... not to totally miss the point, but... have you confirmed that your friend, the actress/caterer, bought the DVD?
Hi, Greg. I love Gargoyles! I would like to know if is true Gargoyles will become a movie... (tell me its true, please!).
Thank you for answer our questions.
I wish I could. Touchstone was developing the movie for quite a while, but they've shelved it for now.
Time to ramble...
Chapter LII: "Sentinel"
Story Editor: Cary Bates
Writer: Cary Bates
Director: Bob Kline
All really old stuff to compare and contrast with this odd little attempt to present Goliath & Elisa's first meeting in an alternate universe, so to speak.
In "Awakening", Elisa accepts Goliath fairly quickly. In my mind, a lot of that acceptance comes because Elisa has a good sense of herself. She's secure in her black shirt, red jacket and genes. (Pun intended.) I believe that someone who is basically (and truly -as opposed to kidding his or herself) self-possessed, has a better chance at accepting those that are different. If I know who I am and am comfortable with that knowledge, than how does your being different effect me? It doesn't. So live and let live.
In "Awakening", Elisa knows Elisa. So Elisa accepts Goliath. But what if Goliath had met someone, even someElisa, who was not quite so self-assured?
Like, say, an Elisa with amnesia? In that alternate universe, how does their first meeting go? She takes a shot at him with her service piece, that's how it goes. Fortunately, she's out of bullets.
And ultimately, Elisa has good instincts. We left it intentionally ambiguous as to how much of her eventual turn around is credited to her returning memory and how much is a result of her instinct. But she quickly comes to believe that "this Goliath," or as I love to hear her call him, "Tiny," is a guy she can trust, even when she CANNOT trust herself.
SPEAKING OF TINY
Little changes are refreshing to me. So hearing Elisa call Goliath Tiny is like seeing her with her jacket off. Which we do, here, briefly. Long-sleeve shirt again. I know that she has both short and long sleeve black t-shirts. But has anyone kept track of whether or not we saw her in the short-sleeve t-shirt on the World Tour. Cuz that would be a continuity gaff that I could easily explain.... but I'm hoping I don't have to.
Well, for starters one notion that I wanted to put to rest, was some fan buzz after the first season that suggested that Gargoyles must be aliens from another planet. So I wanted to hit that idea head on with the intent of knocking it out once and for all. So Nokkar BELIEVES that the Gargoyles are servents of the Space-Spawn. But he's wrong.
And the result... I got even more fans thinking after this episode that the gargs must be from outer space. <sigh>
Another inspiration was of course, Rapa Nui/Easter Island itself. And those moai statues. This was another stop that seemed like a natural for our world tour. Famous strange statues always drew us to send the skiff to town. I love the image at the very end of Nokkar in profile beside the profiles of the moai.
Finally, when I was young there were tons of stories about forgotten Japanese soldiers assigned to remote South Pacific Islands who were still fighting World War II, because they were cut off from all communication and had no idea that the war had ended (let alone that Japan had lost). I think THE SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN did an episode about that. So Nokkar is a metaphor for that kind of (probably apocryphal) forgotten Sentinel.
A FEW LINES
(all quotations approximate)
*Goliath to Elisa when she agrees not to fight him at high altitude: "I suppose that's a start."
*Elisa to Tiny: "Just shut up and land."
*Nokkar to the Gargoyles: "Tell your Space-Spawn Masters that Nokkar will never abandon his post!"
Elisa to Tiny: "That's some story. Gargoyle Clans. Mutated Brothers. You threw in everything but King Arthur and the Holy Grail."
Tiny to Elisa: "Yes, well, we haven't encountered the Holy Grail yet." (HINT, HINT)
Elisa to Angela: "Stow the melodrama. I'm immune."
Goliath to Nokkar: "We are both Protectors. Guardians. Sentinels."
The way Avery Brooks (as Nokkar) says the words: "Little doubt" used to always strike me as odd. But I guess I've gotten used to it. Didn't bug me this time.
IT'S THE AMAZING NOKKAR SHOW
The way this ended, you'd almost think we were setting up yet another spin-off. "That wacky alien Nokkar teams up with a doctor and two archeologists to save the world from invasion and learn a little something about getting along... all in one hotel room!"
In fact, I did have a spin-off in mind, but set so far in the future that Arnada, Duane and Morwood-Smyth would be long gone, I'm afraid. (See the GARGOYLES 2198 archive, here at ASK GREG for more information.)
Have I mentioned that Arthur Morwood-Smyth was named after Peter Morwood and Arthur Byron Cover, and that Lydia Duane was named after Diane Duane and Lydia Marano? Yeah, I thought I had.
A FEW LITTLE TOUCHES
Goliath thinks Bronx is disoriented, because he's meandering around in front of the hill. In fact, he's meandering there, because that's the secret entrance to Nokkar's ship.
I like how Goliath gathers Elisa to him by scooping her up in a wing.
A real nice hand-to-hand battle between Goliath and Nokkar.
And Bronx jumps Nokkar TWICE!
Erin, who I believe is now TOO aware that I write down her comments thought it was cool the way Goliath sort of "ice-skated" backwards after Nokkar threw him aside.
We destroy yet another archaeological treasure when Nokkar's ship topples a moai.
Anyway, that's my ramble. Where's yours?
Hi Greg! Apparently you want Gathering journals? I'm warning you -- I'm long winded.
Friday: I packed the night before, but spent a huge chunk of the evening looking for my acrylic paints, which I did not find. Which meant I did not have time to dye my hair or do my legs, and it was getting late when I abandonned my search. I just finished packing and put the alarm clock to ring at 6AM. I got up after a snooze or two, and proceeded to dye my hair and take care of other things. I left for work with the 7:34 train, wearing a huge backpack, my portfolio, my bookbag and a tube containing the G2004 mascot poster.
I got to work before 8:30, and work. By 9:30 it was time for the monthly meeting, where our big boss proceeded to irritate the entire staff even more than we already were, so my conviction to quit was even further strengthened. No matter -- I just kept working, knowing I'd be off to NYC in a few hours time.
By 11 or so, I got a phone call from Adam asking me about stuff I left on the couch at home, asking if it was something I needed for the trip. I said no; however, I did forget my contact lenses but I can do without. Adam asked me how I plan to get to the airport, and I explained that I would go to the dollar store of the shopping center by the train station, and then I'd take a bus or taxi from there for the less than 5 minute trip to the airport. Adam offered to get me my contacts and be my lift for the errands, which I accepted gratefully. (Yay! I get to see him before I leave!)
At noon, I was out of the office and on my way. I was giddy then -- I couldn't wait to get to NY. Adam picked me up and I got the acrylic paints I needed, and made copies of the pre-registration forms for 2004. Then, Adam dropped me off at the airport. My passport is expired by one month but nobody seemed to mind. I breezed through customs and got to the gate in the new jetty they just built at the airport.
I was on the plane pretty much on time, and worked on a marker piece of Kanthara during the flight that was shorter than I expected. I got off the plane at LGA and went for the conveyer belt. The first piece of luggage to come down was mine. O_O So quickly, I went to the transportation desk, and got accosted by a man asking me where I'm going. I mentionned the hotel, and he said he was leaving in 5 minutes, gave me a price, then told me to just sit there. Surprised, I obliged. The price seemed reasonable, but I realized later that I was had. So I did not tip. It turned out to be a shared ride with two other people, and I thankfully got to the hotel before 6PM. When I walked into the lobby, I was greeted by Laurean and (her) Adam, and saw Kelly shortly after; we quickly went to our room which was tiny, leaving about 2 feet of space between the two double beds and the walls, maybe 3 feet at the front of the beds. A big commode with drawers was placed in front of the beds, but in the restricted space, if the drawers were opened, they touched the beds. It was THAT cramped. No way could we have fit 5 people in there! So in any case, I piled my stuff on top of other people's stuff, and got to work on my Kanthara picture to finish it. Then, we hurried out to Opening Ceremonies.
The G2004 staff was introduced as the opener to Opening Ceremonies. We all walked up on stage, and I stood behind the podium and started my pitch. "Who here has ever been to Montreal? What do you like about Montreal?" Someone at the back yelled out, "The Poutine!" After laughter and agreeing, I started talking about the Gathering being in Montreal, about the city, the hotel, the things to do in the city, and then I talked about the convention, the events, guests. I think I managed to make people drool with the banquet possibilities. People also responded positively to the prices, and the exchange rate, and the drinking age in Quebec (18!!!) and I think we managed to psyche people up for it. They loved the mascot, and after announcing the Name The Mascot contest, there was some joking around of calling him Rover or Fido or something like that. ;) Kelly addressed the English vs French issue with a really well chosen argument, that I'll retype here (loose quote): "When I went to Montreal, I expected to pick up some French while I was there. That didn't happen. As soon as people realized I was english, they switched over to English to speak to me." That seemed to reassure people, from what I could see.
When our pitch was done, we sat back down and the G2003 staff officially opened the festivities. Greg was next on the podium and told the good old stories we know and love and never get tired of hearing. There were also quite a few newbies in the group so that was great too.
After the Ceremonies, I went back to the room to get my artwork to post it in the art room, and realized on my way out that the room door did not lock. So I made a note to tell my roommates about it, but got distracted by the art posting thing and the lack of hooks. I still managed to get my art up decently. After that was done, a group of us slipped out to get some dinner, so we went to a nice sushi place close by. Let's see, there was Dreamie (Sara) and Winterwolf (Allan), Sapphire (Kelly), Karlyl (Trishana), Sara Berkeley (Liz), Cybernetic Nixie (Emilie) and Ganador, and myself. Nixie and Ganador sat at another table since we couldn't be 8 at ours. We had sushi, and sake, while Dreamie and Allan got some fried squid and noodles. Good food was had, pleasant times too. I informed the other girls with whom I share the room, Kelly, Liz and Emilie, of our predicament with the door, and they were shocked. We headed back to the hotel and verified that the door did indeed NOT lock, so Kelly went down to the lobby and made a complaint, and the guy she was talking to seemed clueless on how to help us. Kelly demanded another room, which we finally got. It did not have blankets or bedspreads, so housekeeping had to bring them to us. The misunderstanding that ensued had them bring only the blankets, and it took a half hour more to get the bedspreads. They were king sized, the beds were doubles. Lots of eye rolling ensued. No matter -- a blanket is a blanket, and we went to bed shortly after.
Saturday: We got up around 9AM, and went to get breakfast at the café inside the lobby of the hotel. On the way in, I noticed Patrick Toman, and I went to chat with him about pre-reg, and our cosplay skit. We compared schedules, and arranged our plans for the rest of the day. Then, I joined the girls inside to get breakfast. They don't toast bagels. :P It's called City Perk; I kept calling it Central Perk. Whatever. So once we are all equipped with coffee and food stuff, we climbed up to the 6th floor and went to the Paris room to give the drawing Q&A, only to find out that the Paris room was actually the Othercon Exhibition. So we talked to Greg B. about the room being locked, and he said he'll open the room for the class, but then we realized and reasonned that an art class open to all should not be in an 18 and over room, so the video room got given to us instead. As well as to the following events planned in the Paris room for the day.
By 11, Nikki, Liz and I were behind the table at the front of the room, and about 15 people were sitting there, waiting for us to start talking about our craft. Kyt wasn't there yet, and we figured that she was still sleeping, so we started without her. I took the lead and introduced the panel, forgetting to introduce us, but someone in the first row (never caught her name) asked us who we were, being new to the fandom. So we introduced ourselves and told people about what we did professionally, and I was a little sheepish about forgetting that -- the things you take for granted when you've done this art panel thing for 6 out of the 7 Gatherings :P Anyways, questions started coming in. I expected more art and drawing questions, but there were more questions about the process of art, and how you get started, and 3D animation. People were coming into the panel and sitting down, and we got more and more of an audience, which is a real boost for me. I was definitely talking a LOT. I hope I didn't step on any toes. Once I get started... But no one kicked me in the shins, and questions were adressed to everyone... I especially liked the question about preferred media, which we all answered one after the other. I think that's cool, because we like different things, so that shows to people that there is no Right or Wrong tool to draw nice pictures.
I was looking forward to seeing Matt, because I've known him online for the last three years and had not yet met him in person. And there are people that you meet online, and you get to know them by their words on a computer screen, and I can't explain why or how, but you end up becoming friends with them, and caring about them as much as if they were physically present friends. Of course, this impression can always be misleading, because I have met some online friends and found that in person, the friend was just not what they advertise online, or the spark you feel chatting with someone just isn't there when in person. So I was looking forward to finally meeting him, but at the same time afraid that we just wouldn't connect in person. So when he showed up at the panel, I recognised him immediately, waved at him to signal I'd recognized him and said hi happily. In that moment, that nervous smile and Hi he gave back, my fears were immediately tossed away.
Kyt showed up at the panel shortly after, and we continued replying to questions. I don't know how many times the lot of us said "Practice" as an answer to how to get good. Several times in a row, sometimes all at the same time. I mean, it's the obvious answer, but it can't be said enough.
This young woman was there with her very proud mother, and she told us about what she draws and such, not really asking a question, but still. And then she asked me if she could show me a picture she did. I was at a loss, but finally agreed, and she came over to show me. I looked at it, then showed it to everyone, and asked her if she wanted a crit (I think she didn't want one but was just wanting to show me her picture), she agreed, and so I gave her an honest, constructive crit that people around agreed with, and it started up a discussion on the anatomy of cloaked wings. All in all, it was turned into a teaching experience for all, and that was a good thing. (Yes, Matt, I'm considering applying for art or animation teaching jobs!)
So the panel was done a short while after. As people cleared out and Dreamie prepared for her costuming panel, I went over to Matt and greeted him with a hug. Matt knows how to hug, and it's a talent I find not many people have. Some people give half-hearted hugs, or stiffen and straighten back instead of leaning forward so you feel like you're hugging a metal rod. Matt gives good, warm, friendly hugs. :) After chatting a little, I asked him if he would join us, and we headed back to the art room to set up pre-registration for G2004. We took control of a desk and set up the mascot poster, and announced that pre-registration was open, and soon had people signing up for the next year's Gathering. Patrick Toman joined us, and we chatted, doodled, sold registration; Matt gave us his Knights of the Shroud ashcans in which he had done drawings for Sapph, Kyt and me. He made me a funny picture of Ellis and Neeve looking at me fencing and cracking a joke. Then, Matt showed his Malefic Malfoy comic on actual notecards (tiny!), and I told him how much the comic worked without the dialogue. We chatted more, drew more, sold more registration, and it was a lot of fun just sitting there and enjoying the company.
At 2, it was time to go to the cel making panel, so I went up to the room with Matt, Karlyl and Kyt, and got my supplies. We went back to the same room that was not Paris, and told the people there to sit around me as I plugged in the portable light desk into the wall. There was only a small group there, and really, making cels does not require much explanation, so I just gave the instructions on setup, mixed the paints and just started painting. Once in a while I'd give an explanation on something, but aside from that, I just painted. Other people stared, hypnotized, and some took out sketchbooks and drew at the same time. There was some chatting as well, so people weren't bored to tears by my just sitting there and painting. Once in a while I'd turn off the light and show the other side of the cell so the result was appreciated. I was almost finished with the cel when my time ran out, so I decided to finish the cell later when the paint was dry.
Kyt, Karlyl, Matt and I went to the room to drop off my cel stuff, but my card key didn't work, so we dropped off the cel stuff at the art show with the pre-reg people (Sapph was manning the station and got a LOT of pre-registrations -- she has convincing arguments, that one ;)). Then, the four of us went out to get food, and ended up at a place called Sbarro to have Pizza. I'm told this is a New York Pizza sin. I'm not a NewYorker. I don't know. I just enjoyed my pizza slice and my beer, and generally had a great time talking with Matt, Karlyl and Kyt. I can honestly say that this kind of thing is one of my favourite activities at the Gathering: hanging out with friends. We got to know Matt better, and it was just so much fun... and I'd like to point out that Matt has amazing blue eyes, and is quite handsome. I get the feeling he would deny this. ;)
When the Sbarro staff asked us if we wanted anything else, it was our cue to leave the restaurant. Kyt, Matt and I went back to my room, and we exchanged sketchbooks. And I sat there with Matt's sketchbook (I spied in it and looked at all his yummy pictures) trying to get an image down on the paper, but I felt I was just coming up with unsatisfying crap, so lots of erasing happened. I have to admit I was a little... intimidated? I felt that I had to draw something really nice for Matt because, well, he's such a great guy and such a great artist! He drew me a gorgeous picture of Roberta, with the pencil texture he put in the entire image, it's just amazing -- I'd even go so far as to say it's of frameable quality. It's that beautiful. Kyt also drew in my small book, but I ran out of time and didn't draw in hers :P so I'll just have to figure out a way to get to see her and draw for her in the not too distant future.
When the time to go to the banquet came along, Matt was going to leave, and I felt sad that he had to go. I didn't feel right about offering to pay for his banquet seat -- at some point, doing something like that can be considered an insult by some people, so I didn't know what to say, because I didn't want Matt to go yet. Then, Kelly decided that Matt was coming to the banquet. She didn't ask -- she just put her foot down and made that decision. That honestly impressed me. Kelly and Matt ran off to purchase a seat for him at the banquet (I offered to share the cost later on in the evening, which she accepted), and I finished getting ready. Kelly and I love to dress up fancy for the banquet, and it makes the event feel special when we do. Kelly had a sexy short sleveless dress, black, with vertical stripes that looked a little like tiger stripes. My outfit was the one I wore at my engagement party, a black pantsuit with spaghetti straps over the shoulders, and a sort of diaphanous black skirt around the body and down the back. Dreamie then showed up with that tiny black number, that made my motherly instincts go "Young lady, you're going to walk right back into you room and put on something decent!" because it was just THAT tiny. AAAAnyways, Kelly asked Matt to take a picture of the three of us, and we did the Charlie's Angels thing (I can't wait to see the pictures).
The banquet hall was... well, it wasn't very full. It was actually a bit disappointing to see all those empty tables. We did enjoy the food, which was buffet station style. There was a choice between roastbeef, chicken and salmon, with a side of carrots and veggies, and a choice between a ceasar salad or a house salad. The ceasar was already mixed with dressing and looked just nasty and soggy so I went for the other one. The deserts were a selection of pastries that looked just more yummy than the next, and from what I'm told, they were all very good. The coffee was also enjoyable. We chatted about the US president, about stuff I can't recall, and Shaun mentionned meeting David Wong in a convention a while back. The artist (and I use the term loosely) was asking about the Gathering, and made a griping comment about "why can't you people hold the Gathering in LA?" Oh sure, you want us to have OUR convention in YOUR area, hm? Before I continue ranting about David Wong, lemme just do the following exposition -- this man takes commissions from people at conventions and takes forever to draw the pictures. He screwed Kelly over, and she has a nice rant about him right here and has also used the image he made of Cindy's character Eden and sold prints of her, without Cindy's permission. So back to Shaun telling me about David Wong, who was asking about being a dealer at our convention, and the fact that he may see him at other conventions later: he wanted to know what to say to the artist when he ran into him at AX or ComicCon. My answer was simple: Tell him that we are not interested in dealing with him for our convention. Thanks, but no thanks. Shaun was smirking at that point, looking forward to relaying the message to the arrogant artist.
Nichelle Nichols, who played Elisa Maza's mother in Gargoyles and Uhura in Star Trek, was a guest this year (I missed the voice acting panels, but it was for a good cause ;)) and was asked questions at the banquet Q&A. She is a beautiful, beautiful woman. And her voice... it's just so smooth, and powerful... I love to listen to her talk. But, I also had to get ready for the masquerade, and Matt had to leave, so we all slipped out of the banquet hall and met up by the elevators.
I was sad that Matt was going -- his stay was too short! I was so happy to have finally met him in person, and to have spent a great day with him and friends, and I didn't want him to go, but I knew he had a train to catch. So I gave him a warm goodbye hug, and most everyone who was there did too... and then he had to go. :( Oh well, I'm sure we'll find an excuse to see each other again soon. ;)
Back in the room, I finished up the cel I'd done at the panel earlier in order to donate it to the auction, then started getting ready for the cosplay. Mara was kind enough to give me her blue eyeliner pencil so I could do my Fox makeup, and Patrick joined me shortly after with his own costume. Emilie was on the phone with a friend from the furry fandom. Patrick and I went into the bathroom to revise our lines, and I did his makeup; I did my own makeup and took the lifesize baby doll I'd brought as a prop, which during the course of the weekend had been dubbed "Spawn Of Xanatos".
We went upstairs and waited in line to make our entrance and do our cosplay skit. There were few costumed people this year, but what was there was pretty good. Kyt's Orcus costume was very cool -- kudos to hudson for the makeup job! Then, Patrick and I made our entrance -- me as Fox with baby Alex in my arms, and Patrick as Anastasia Renard, her mother(!). Our skit drew loud laughs, it was great! So much fun. After all the costumes were introduced, the guests withdrew to judge the contest. In the meantime, we didn't really know what to do. Dreamie tried to keep people interested by making the costumed people parade a little more, while some of us called out for music to get the party started and dance. well... that didn't happen. some music happened, but we didn't really get to dance. A little. Then the guests came back with the prizes, as well as the art show prizes, those were distributed (I'm just a bit miffed that staff got prizes -- I deliberately did not vote for staff members because I believed staff was not eligible for voting). So anyways, after the prizes were given, I expected the party to get going. You know, party? With, like, dancing and such? no?... err... well, eventually there was Rocky Horror Picture Show shown in that room and we were not interested. I wanted to go dance, dammit :P so Liz, Kelly and I went back to our room, got changed, did not take our purses but rather stuck the necessaries in our pockets, and the three of us walked out of the hotel, heading for a club we'd selected in a list the concierge showed us. It was a good, fun walk, where Liz and I sang Utena out loud, and we laughed and talked and generaly enjoyed our walk. We got to the China Rose club, barely waited in line, and got in; we passed security and got to the cash, where I asked how much the cover charge was.
25 frikkin' US dollars to get into a club for about an hour. While I was picking my jaw off the floor, Kelly leaned over to listen to the music, and asked, "Is this the type of music you play all evening?" The girl at the cash nodded, said "yes, pretty much". The three of us looked at each other and left.
We looked for another club to go to on the way back, but didn't find anythuing. I mentionned to Liz and Kelly that I'd rather find a place to go have a drink in rather than go back to the hotel and not have done anything. They both agreed, and we found a place a couple of blocks past the hotel. I ordered for all of us, calling a Melonball for Kelly, an Amaretto & Orange Juice for Liz and a Kamikaze for myself. We enjoyed our drinks and chatted for about an hour. We then went back to the hotel, and instead of going to bed because we had to get up early for Dim Sum the next morning, we stayed up with Nixie and drew in each other's sketchbook until 4AM and then some.
At some point we decided it was beyond time to go to bed, and checking the alarm clock again, I slipped under the covers and zonked out.
Sunday: We reluctantly left our beds at 8:39 (one snooze) knowing that people would be waiting for us in the lobby at 9:15 to go for Dim Sum. We got down there and were soon a full team: Kelly, Liz, Alan, Dreamie, Emilie, Patrick and me (was there anyone else? It's been a week, I think that's the gang). The lot of us went to take the subway, which surprised me because I expected the Dim Sum place to be within walking distance of the hotel. Then we waited for the train. And waited. And waited. We started getting worried because we had to be back in time to open pre-reg at the same time as the dealers room, at 11:00. The train finally showed up just when I was about to change my mind about going to Dim Sum.
When we got to Canal Street, we walked in search of the Dim Sum place Alan knew about. Kelly and I were a little on the panic side, thinking about our deadline and all, and we finally just found a place, any place that served the chinese breakfast. We scarfed down a selection of steamed delicacies, had very nice Jasmine tea, then Kelly, Dreamie and I grabbed a cab to get back to the hotel. We got there at 10 to, only to find that the room had already been opened by god knows who, when opening time was clearly stated as 11:00 AM.
I went to the room to get the money and raffle tickets, and *slaps forehead* I have to email the winner back, note to self! Anyways, Kelly and I sat down and continued taking pre-registration. Later on, Kelly went to Liz's computer colouring pannel, that I would have loved to attend, but duty called ;) I stayed at the pre-reg desk for the rest of the time before closing ceremonies. I drew a picture for Shaun, which Shaun decided to have printed at the back of his Staff t-shirt, which made us decide that we should all have such a shirt. Then I drew a commission for Brooklyn Magus. I was regularly asking if the cel I made the previous day had been auctionned off yet, because I wanted to know what it would go for. The auction was dragging on unbearingly long, so at one point the scheduled Atlantis Q&A got most people out of the auction, so that slowed the auction down even more, and they decided to report the rest of it to after Closing ceremonies.
I zipped off to the room to pack before Closing ceremonies started, so I missed most of the raffle draw. I got there just as they were getting to the prize of my art, and Liz's art, and the G04 Staff had relocated there, still taking pre-reg. I joined them, doodled something for Emilie while Karlyl and her were sharing my sketchbook, and kept looking at my watch to know how much time I had left before I had to leave.
Rob arrived, and insisted we take a picture together to prove we had actually seen each other in NYC. ;) A short short chat later, I had to hurry out, hugged my friends, waving big goodbyes, missing them already. I walked out of the hotel, and right there in front was a shuttle that was headed to the airport. I asked them if they had room for me, the driver cnsidered this for a second and said, "sure, get in".Woot, cheap, easy ride back.
I chatted with some of the people in the shuttle, then started doodling a picture of the G04 staff. I got to the airport 2 hours before takeoff, as I'd been advised, and found myself at the gate 5 minutes later. Finding this ridiculous, I turned around and went to have a late lunch/early dinner and a beer at the sportsbar before the security check, chatted with a couple of other Montrealers who were also waiting for their flight out while sipping beer and snacking on chicken wings, and continued working on the picture.
Flight home was uneventful. After the plane landed, however, there proved to be problems in attaching the bridge to the plane, so they had to back up the plane so we could descend by the plane stairs. Adam picked me up at the airport, all congested and sniffling, and we drove home.
It's all sort of like a mosaic. As various people fill in the events they were present for, you begin to get a full picture...