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Gathering Journal Part 5
Monday, August 9th
Woke up with Revel calling my room to make sure Alex and I got up and checked out of our room. So, woke, showered, moved all our crap next door into Revel's room, and went down to the lobby to check out.
A bunch of people were going to Six Flags La Ronde, but I declined as I never liked amusement parks too much. So, just hung around, had a soda, and decided that while I was in Canada, I was going to get myself a Cuban Cigar, so I head to the gift shop and buy one. One of those big, fat Montecristos... just like what Castro smokes. So I take it outside to smoke it, and am out there, when who comes out but Keith David, looking for Y2Hecate, who unfortunatly had already left. Keith sees that I have a Cuban and I tell him where he can get one. I finish my cigar and head back in... not the fun begins, cause no one ever told me you weren't supposed to inhale. Aw well, was only a little dizzy for about an hour.
So we spend a lot of time just chilling in the lobby, Aaron, Mara, Hudson, Lynati, Seth, Flanker, Kythera, Kaelyan, Dancer, Wingless, Kathy Pogge. Talking fic, and all sorts of other things. Keith comes back with a cigar, and posed for a pic with the rest of us
Afterwards, some of us were hungry and went up to get food and pick up food for others, Hudson handed me a few bucks to get him a quarterpounder as I recall, so we went up a few blocks to that train station mall, and did not go into McDonald's. We got ourselves Chinese food first, it was Ethan, Aaron, Lynati, Kathy and I. We chatted fic and went to McDonald's and came back, an hour late, but everyone got food.
We all hung out for a bit, before Hudson, Chris and everyone had to go. Afterwards the rest of us, Aaron, Mara, Lynati, Emambu, Alex and I along with Kathy and Mandi retreated up to Revel and Spacebabie's room and chatted more fic and later, Revel and Spacebabie came back, and the conversation went all sorts of places, weird car stories, accidents we had as kids, you know, the get to know each other better discussions. This went on well into the night. Finally, Kathy and Mandi called it a night, and we went to sleep early (well, early for us) as we had to clear out my noon the next day), and so all eight of us manage to fit into this room.
Tuesday, August 10th
Woke up, in a timely fashion, we all did, and began taking all our crap down to the cars... and we had a lot of crap. Revel checked out of the room, and now the Rogue Squadron was back on the road. We bid a fond farewell to Montreal and stopped for gas and snacks. Finally we came to the border. First we got out and went over to the Duty Free shop to get our tax refunds, and bought a couple of shot glasses. Before heading to the border.
Emambu's Mafia Cruiser was in front of us, and got pulled over to the side for inspection. This of course made us nervous. But we were just questioned and allowed to drive. Emambu followed shortly. Turned out that "The Department of Homeland Security was quite interested in Lynati's tail" quote Aaron.
So we pull over to the side, and go to Subway's for lunch... it was built in a shack, but it was still Subway's. And we all rejoiced at being back on U.S. soil. We ate, and went on our way, though it turns out that this time we'd make more stops than on the way up. We had to stop for gas at some point in a back water NY town (que the "Deliverance" theme). Also on the way back, Emambu ran over a backpack lying in the middle of the high way, and stopped to check his tire, which was fine. So finally we reach the Tappan Zee Bridge at around eight at night, and get back to my place.
It's a nice night so we eat dinner out on the deck, we eat Italian, and we enjoy our last night hanging out together before the next con. Come up to my room, where Lynati brought the season six of Buffy set to watch the Musical episode since some people wanted to see it and never saw it. When I first watched that episode, I hated it. Years later, I enjoyed it. Go figure ;)
Then we watched this link Seth gave us of these re-edited and re-dubbed GI Joe Public Service announcments gone horribly wrong. Laughed our asses off before all going to sleep.
Wednesday, August 11th
Woke up, and showered and dressed and waited for everyone else to get up. Packed up the cars and all decided to go for one last breakfast at the Croton Diner, so we headed down there, and got a look of shock from the Host there when I went in and said "yes, I need a table for seven people" ;). I ordered the Chile Con Carne and Chedder Cheese Omelate. Forget what everyone else had. But we ate, and breakfast was good.
Finally was time for us all to go our separate ways. Lynati got into The Mafia Cruiser with Emambu and headed back to Pittsburgh, and Aaron and Mara piled into Hyena for the very long haul down to Houston Texas.
Had a great time, really needed this since I didn't get a vacation last summer, and I can't wait till Las Vegas next summer.
It's so great that the Gatherings and fandom have created these tight friendships.
Here it is, as asked - my Gathering Journal.
What I did on my non-Summer Vacation.
Tuesday & Wednesday.
Oh the joys of an early flight and insomnia - being awake since 2 am and then travelling for 36 hours resulted in worse than usual travel sickness. I spent 2 days curled up in a chair at the Auberge sipping water and nibbling bread, reducing all my sightseeing plans to nothing.
I, literally, dragged myself to the hotel where I dozed in the foyer trying to spot Garg fans as they appeared. Some were pretty obvious :). I finally spotted Talyesin (along with other staff) and I got a big twirly hug (I managed to repress my puke reflex). I also met Liz, Taylor and Karlyl who were to be my roomies. Karlyl, Taylor and I lounged in the foyer chairs (so comfy) and waited for Kelly to arrive.
When she finally turned up there was much hugs and hellos and we all went out for food. I didn't eat, since I was still feeling ill, but talking and laughing and just being around fun people made me feel better (The Gathering â" a cure for any ill). We were supposed to go out for tea with the staff, but that got bumped so instead we went to a 24 hour coffee place.
Breakfast was found, DDR wasn't. Kelly and I walked all over Montreal looking for an arcade, only to miss by about 2 blocks.
Instead we decided to get back on time for Registration, where we hung out, volunteered for the Clan Olympics and waited for the staff to appear :)
After registering we hung out a bit then headed out to Con Virgin 101, hosted by Kelly. Not a lot of people showed up and most of those that did were late, so there was some repetition. But it was fun. Kelly did well, I met some new people, we all ate the free lollies.
The hotel pool was fun, but kinda cold. If you are going to heat a pool, please make sure it is at least close to body temperature!
While we were waiting for Opening Ceremonies, Kelly, Kyffin, Ethan and I all practised the skit Kelly had arranged for the Masquerade. It was fun and I almost forgot about the fact that I would have to perform in front of real people.
Opening ceremonies were a blast! Taylor furiously worked on a Green Dragon mascot for our Clan (it was great â" he is a fantastic artist) and it was done just in time for the first event. Abe and Maui hijacked the room and made Kyffin and I scramble for plastic balls so Karlyl could stuff them down Kelly's shirt. Kyffin had the idea of using a blanket to collect a larger number of balls, but I couldn't grab hold of the right corner â" people were shoving us and grabbing all our balls, so we gave up and just did it the same as everyone else. Unfortunately the time wasted meant that we came last, saved by the presence of a bonus ball.
After the commotion died down I got to hear the famous spiel from Greg. It was interesting, but long. By the time it all ended I was hungry and had a headache, so Kelly, Kyffin, Liz, Taylor, Ethan and I all went out to Le Marche.
It was *busy* and noisy. But the food was good, especially the dessert :)
We had to get back to the hotel though â" the second Clan Olympics event was due to begin. We had to wait a while for our turn, so the others actually fell sleep waiting. The second event was easier to play, all we had to do was throw a ball at a target in a darkened room. We got a few points, enough to keep us alive. By that time we were all totally stuffed, so we went back to our room and just crashed.
First event up was more Clan Olympics, trivia this time. We were doing great â" we answered heaps of questions, got to torture a couple of people, had bonus cards that were supposed to save our butts. But, on the last question a member of an eliminated team (who were allowed to interfere in game play) came over and confiscated the one card that would have won us the game. They pretty much decided that we weren't allowed to win and kicked us out. After that our team decided to leave and find some DDR, walking those two extra blocks mentioned earlier.
We got back in time to watch the Radio Play. It was great, the VA's were perfect.
Next was the Banquet, which, while the food was ok, was made all the better by having Greg sit at our table. (Though the moan of disappointment made when we realised we wouldn't have Keith, and Greg's reaction to that, were even more amusing)
I didn't actually say much, I just couldn't think of anything. But it was still cool.
I would have liked to stick around for the Q&A, but we had to go get ready for the Masquerade. One last practise and we were ready (Karlyl was in stitches after we showed it to her). Oh the nervousness ...
All the costumes we saw while waiting were absolutely fabulous, I am in total envy of their imagination and sewing skills :)
We were up first, but I managed not to have a breakdown. The only bit we fluffed was the lighting â" the dimmed lights went unnoticed, and I missed my cue to scream.
Still, it was fun and the costumes I saw were great!
I got a ribbon :D
I would have hung around for the karaoke party afterwards, but that really wasn't my thing, so I went to bed. When everyone came back later, I got out of bed and socialised. Liz wanted to go up to the Con Suite and give Greg the con badge she had drawn him, so we all went up there and talked and watched live action Sailor Moon til 4am.
My head is still boggling over that.
Today was a lazy day. We all just hung out in the dealers room and talked. I was still there when Keith David came in for his Mug a Guest, so stayed and listened to him talk.
I love his voice..
Closing Ceremonies were good â" I finally caught up with Hecate and Venus! I gave them monkies.
When pre-Reg fro next year opened I ran out to the only ATM that I knew would give me money so I could sign up. Yup, that's right â" I'm off to Vegas next year.
While in line I chatted with Venus some more and got to meet Pixlz. I really regret not catching them earlier, but at least for next year I'll know what they look like :)
Since Keith was still signing autographs I stood in line again and got him to sign the menu from Saturday night. I have my very first celebrity autograph, I'm so proud ^_^
After getting some food we went up to the con suite for the party (Mara showed off her cool new art), then went room hopping, playing video games â" I won a game! That never happens to me, so I think the celebratory dance was warranted ^_^
I went off with Kyt to collect the art I bought from her, so I also got to see more gaming and to say goodbye to others that were leaving in the morning.
We tried to be good and sleep early so we could get up in time for La Ronde, but silliness seems to be inherent in all the friends I make, so we were up late doing the sort of things that are only funny at 1am in the morning ^_^
La Ronde! I hadn't been to an amusment park in a veeery long time, so I was really looking forward to it. I had promised to go on the coasters, but I had to get them to force me- I'm afraid of things like that. We waited in line, then waited some more, it took an hour, but then I was finally strapped in (second from front!) and then the fear set in.
It was fun ride, but I was freaking out *before* it started. The only coherent words I made during the ride were âOH MY GOD!!â repeated frequently and loudly.
I had fun.
The other rides were good, but having to wait in line for an hour for each really sucked. I didn't want to go on the Vampire with the others, so I got to sit in the shade and relax while they boiled in the sun :)
Finally, at 8pm we decided to go back to the hotel. A teary farewell was had for Ian, then we went out for tea, once again ending up at the 24 hour coffee place. Damn they got a lot of business from us that weekend.
Once again, we tried to sleep early, but that was a futile hope. Finally sometime past 1 sleep claimed us all.
Kelly woke up early, but my brain refused to engage properly, so I just lay there and tried to get both my eyes open at the same time. Eventually everyone was up and packing. It was sad, because it meant that goodbyes were coming.
I hate goodbyes.
Kelly left with much sadness by all. Liz decided to stalk Keith David one last time and buy souvenirs and I checked back into the hotel for a few more days.
Finally Liz and Taylor left too, so Karlyl and I went out to find some lunch in the city. We had a nice walk and bought some stuff in Chinatown, then it was time for Karlyl to go too.
Now I was lonely. The new room was nice (they gave me free chocolate) but it would have been better if my friends were here. So I ate chocolate and watched Scooby Doo 2.
My new room included free breakfast an internet access, so off I went upstairs to indulge. Afterwards I went for walk into the city and ended up back in Chinatown again. On the way back I made sure to pass by some buildings that caught our eye the day before. Karlyl â" remember that creepy restaurant with the rotting dummies? Well, it was actually open, and the dummies *were* whispering as you walk past.
I had tea in the hotel restaurant then went back to the room and watched Van Helsing. Tomorrow was the day I had to leave, so I decided to sleep.
Time to leave. I packed and checked out then had a nice ride out to the airport. I got to see the rest of the city in daylight. Dorval airport sucks, very disorganised and kinda cruddy. Plus my plane was delayed, but they didn't tell us. Vancouver airport is better, but still chaotic. I like travelling by plane, I just hate airports.
I saw the Rockies by air. They are magnificent.
I also finished reading the Phoenix Gate Anthology on the plane. There are some fantastic stories and artwork in it, 'Dust and Ashes' made me cry.
Didn't exist for me. Huzzah for the International Date Line.
Home, finally. Mum and Dad picked my up from the airport in Melbourne and we drove straight home, stopping only for a quick lunch. I hung around their place till I had the energy to drive home, then I got on the net and tried to catch up with my LJ backlog. I gave up around 11.30, seeing as how I had been awake (save for occasional naps) for 48 hours, and went to bed.
And here ends my very first Gathering Adventure.
(I came all the way from Australia to meet you, and I barely said 2 words. Go figure)
But I remember you!! And you spoke more in Vegas.
I always appreciate those fans who travel the VERY long distances to get to the cons.
Gathering Journal Part 4
Sunday, August 8th
Woke up, showered and dressed and wandered around, stopping to chat with people. At some point I went to breakfast with Aaron, Mara, Revel, Spacebabie, Hudson, Chris, and I think Kaelyan and Dancer were there too. Breakfast was a buffet on a revolving restaurant on top of the hotel. Had eggs, bacon, a bagel with smoked salmon, hash browns, sausage, orange juice. It was pretty good.
First excitement of the day was as we were eating, the restaurant revolved and we got a view of a man on top of a crane two blocks away surrounded by police, the man was obviously attempting suicide. Weird thing is that according to the waitress, it was the second time within a month that someone went up there to jump. But just like last time, this guy did not jump and climbed down.
After breakfast, we just hung out on the bottom floor waiting for Closing Ceremonies to start, which started late. I also finally received my copy of "The Phoenix Gate Anthology", so was happy, since mine had been misplaced. Closing Ceremonies came and went, and then Keith David started signing autographs. I had him sign my badge and my copy of the Anthology. Aaron came buy and showed him his tattoo. Keith's reaction to the Demona tattoo was priceless, he stared blankly for about twenty seconds then said "Are you sh---ing me?.... That's fabulous." Keith rocks.
So, Closing Ceremonies ends, and a bunch of people are going to play Laser Tag. For some reason I was not in the mood, I was tired. I ended up in the con suite for the Dead Dog Party. The Con Staff was winding down, and while the party was mostly con staff, I was welcome to hang out, pizza as ordered and I contributed cash, and Siryn and I had a few drinks and traded war stories (what I call work stories). Siryn's had a few interesting jobs while I've worked in the same Barnes & Noble for the past two and a half years, so we both had stories. Funny enough, usually you'd assume that your perfect drinking buddy would be another guy, but Siryn turned out to be the drinking buddy I always wanted.
Let me know if you'll ever be in NYC or the NYC area Si, we'll go get some drinks :)
Mara eventually comes up, and the con staff kicks everyone out. I don't blame them, I did it last year, they deserve time to themselves. They earned it. Told Karine she did a great job, and hugged Jen good bye. Then went down to the lobby, and Mara and Siryn did some bonding, chatting about life and other things. I really respect the both of them a great deal.
Aaron, Hudson and the rest of the Laser Tag crew came back, and there were plans to go play fighting games, but they never really panned out (as far as I know), so some of us hung out in the lobby.
The rest of the evening is a blurr right now, but I went to sleep around two in the morning, that much I remember.
I'm still semi-bummed I couldn't stay for the whole con that year... sounds fun.
Gathering Of The Gargoyles 2004
This year was my first convention, and I was almost unable to attend because of my work and a very limited budget. Still, I got lucky enough to get a week off and the money problem was resolved by staying at my sister who lives in Montreal (a few hours away from my home in Quebec city).
I got to the Delta shrotly before noon. At first, I was a bit anxious at being there, since I didn't know anybody and hadn't been involved with the fandom at all except for posting a few questions on Ask Greg a year ago. That, plus being a shy guy who has problem feeling comfortable with strangers, made me afraid of spending the whole con alone.
I began by going to the Con Virgin 101 seminar. There was only about five or six of us, but it was still fun. I was very hesitant to speak at first because my spoken english isn't all that hot, so jumping into a conversation is kinda hard. Still, I met a few people, got their business card and got a bit reassured about the other people at the con.
I then decided to go to the voice seminar with Greg. I was disappointed at first that Keith couldn't make it, but that didn't last long once Greg started talking. Man, I had no idea he was this young! Or at least, that he acted so casual around us fans. Reading his responses on Ask Greg for years made me build a very different mental image of himself, but I like the real version better :). He gave a lot of good tips about speed, following other people's cues and the importance of interplay between voice actors. I never realized just how important finding the character's motivation behing each line was. There were several readings by fans, from Awakenings Part V, MIA and Thrill of the Hunt.
After that, I took it upon myself to take part in the radio play audition, despite being scared like all hell of speaking in front of so many people. We waited in line for a while until we could get scripts, and I started talking to a guy named Michael next to me. He was really nice and very good with his voice, and made me a bit more comfortable talking to people despite my horrible accent. The documentary makers from Disney then stopped in front of us and asked us to play our part. When they got to me, I think I must have stayed there, laughing nervously for about aminute before taking the plunge and reading the part of Lexington. That part better be on the DVD after all the stress they put me through :). Then I finally got to audition before Greg, and he made me repeat to whole thing from the back of the room with great anger, and I sounded a lot better, because my voice tends to break up when I'm speaking too softly. I had a lot of chances to be picked up, since there were a lot of parts available this year.
I then headed to the dealers room and bought the convention t-shirt (it'd so cute, it'S got a mounty beaver on the back of the con mascot!) and the Phoenix Gate Anthology. I saw a lot of very good art, including Artemis Prime's Warworld Starscream (which I had already seen on a Transformers message board I usually hang out on). There was a lot of stuff up for auction, which was a shame since I didn't have much money to spend. After that I hung out with a bunch of people in the hall in front of the elevators. One of those was an artist (I didn't catch her name though) who was showing us all the pretty gargoyles she had drawn (including lots of naughty ones, especially the seven deadly sins :) ). After that I heard people talking about the banquet so I asked at the registration if it was too late to buy a ticket and they said yes unfortunately. If I can make it next year, you bet I'm going to pre-register for it.
By 16h40 I was hungry as all hell, having only had some cereals for breakfast. Fortunately I saw a guy with some McDonalds who told me he got it from a restaurant one block uphill from the hotel, so I probably beat some record running there, eating a trio and getting back within 15 minutes for the opening ceremony.
The ceremony was very fun, with the Clan Olympics highjacking the place for their first match. It made me regret not signing on. The plans for the 2005 con with the whole incorporation thing was very neat, and I hope it makes it easier for people like me to make a trip there. Greg then gave us a date for the first season DVD, yeah! Spread the word to everyone people, it needs to sell well to warrant the second season because that's where all my favourite episodes are! Oh yeah, Greg's 'manual' Power Point presentation for the DVD was quite... impressive *snickers*. It was fun to hear the tape from several people who worked on Gargoyles, including the great Ed Asner. I was glad to finally see the original pitch for the series, as well as all the stuff people kept talking about on the net like the pitch for Dark Ages and New Olympians and the now famous Bad Guys leica reel. It hurts not to be able to talk about it, because it was so cool! And although I haven't seen Atlantis, hearing Marina Sirtis playing Demona on the unmade episode was great. That, plus the fact that there was a lot of grunting and animal noises made quite a few people laugh hysterically!
After the ceremony, I put a flag on Quebec City on the map of where the fans come from, then stayed for the Gargoyles MST3K. It was the first time I was seeing a MSTing live and it was fun, although it was hard to follow because lots of people talked at the same time. We saw Kingdom, Revelations and Walkabout; I wish I had been witty and quick enough to participate.
I finally went home to my sisters at around 21h20. I was geting tired and didn't want to miss the subway. If I had been able to afford the hotel, I would have stayed for the Blue Mug-A-Guest. Not that I had questions of my own, but I'm sure there were a lot of twisted minds there...
My alarm clock went off at 8h30, but I didn't get up until 9h05. I was really tired after watching a movie last night with my sister and her boyfriend.
I got to the con just in time for 'Thrill of the Chase'. Although I've never really written anything, it was a fun panel with discussions about physical but also emotional chases and epic journeys as well.
After that, I went to Greg's Mug-A-Guest. He told us Keith wouldn't make it until late today, and I started to fear he might not make it afterall. There were a few questions about the show (Gorebash asked a question I didn't understand, and then ran away after getting an answer) but most of the panel was about behind-the-scene things, which I prefered personally. The comment I liked the best is the about his 'appreciation' for Disney's Atlantis, and the scene where he says the whole movie comes to a dead stop and where all the characters 'vomit' their life story around a fire :D.
After that, I headed to the registration desk to see if I was included in the radio play, which I wished I wasn't because I was starting to have second (and third and fourth) thoughts about it. And I got a part (unfortunately :) ), that of Lexington. But all in all, I was more glad than scared because now,I didn't have any excuse not to participate. We did the rehearsals and we learned that we were going to play 'The Journey'. I had four lines in all, and I was told to play them a bit more sarcastic and suspicious, but Greg didn't talk about my volume, so at least I got that part good.
The play itself was great and exciting, even though I was really nervous. I just hope my accent didn't show too much. Everyone was great, and I especially liked the people who did Eliza, Castaway, Vinny and Fleance. After it was over, I got Greg to sign my script, which was awesome since I didn't think we were going to keep them.
I then finish voting for the art contest. Too bad some of the one I would have voted for done by members of the staff. Alas, I didn't get the time to vote for the music video. There wasn't much left for me to do today, since I couldn't go to the banquet and I didn't feel like hanging around until the maskerade. If not for my sister and her boyfriend, I would have taken up the offer of the guy who was looking for a partner in harassing local pizza places in order to get what he wanted.
I was planning to go to the Gargoyles biology panel, but I was so tired that I pretty much slept until 11h00. I got to the con at around 12h30 and hung out in the dealers room until Keith David's Mug-A-Guest. I got my Anthology signed by the authors who were present, and I even met Stormy, whom I knew from a Transformers board I visit. I was actually surprised that she remembered my nickname (I remembered afterward that I had reviewed one of her Transformers stories a few months prior). I also talked a lot with the lady from FPS magazine (who's name I forgot, dammit!) about sci-fi and fantasy conventions in Canada. She was really nice, and was lucky to get a big hug from Keith David when he arrived.
Keith really surprised me. I mean, I was a big fan of his voice work, having heard him as Goliath (and in a kids show on PBS called Reading Rainbow where he once narrated a story), and, well, he just has a gorgeous voice! I was glad that people didn't ask him too many questions about his characters, because it's embarassing when fans can't separate the character and the actor behind it. Still, he impressed me a lot because he didn't hesitate to speak about his characters and their motivations (which reminded me of Greg's seminar about finding your character's intent). He was also very heartwarming and charming, and after finally seeing a picture of Sally Richardson, I understood why he said staying on the mike while acting with her was difficult :)
Then finally came the time for the closing ceremony. I was sad to have to go immediately after it ended, because I would have loved to stay for the lazer tag game later on and La Ronde on monday, but I had to get home to go to work tomorrow. I barely had enough time to take the subway to my sister's place, pack my things, eat supper at a local greek restaurant with her and her boyfriend, taking the subway again and finally catching my carpool for Quebec City.
You can be certain that if I don't lose my job during the next year, I'm going to save up for Gathering 2005 in Vegas next year. It's going to be a lot funnier to be able to stay for the whole thing, and at least I'll know a few people this time!
I remember that when Jen Anderson and I were casting the Radio Play, we specifically thought it would be fun to have a Lexington with a French accent. So you were really worried about that for nothing.
I'm glad you had fun. But I honestly can't remember if you made it to Vegas last summer. (Sometimes they all bleed together in my head.) Hope you're saving up for Valencia in June.
The Gathering '04
Alex Garg and Leo picked me up. And they was so nice. ^____^ Alex got a scratching post and an Arnold chew toy type thing for Squidgy (my cat), and got me a replacement pair of earphones as a belated birthday goft...cuz my cat is insane and tore mine apart a few days before. o.O And Leo took a lot of pictures of my kitty, so yay!
The drive. We drove. For many hours, we drove. We first got sorta lost in Toronto, seeing as how that city is insane and none of us really knew where we were going. Trying to follow the map was somewhat difficult, but thank God it wasn't me trying to read directions - I'll get lost in a paper bag. YAYE for Leo, who helped guide us out of the city!
Oh, and we saw a Condom Shop (named that, too) while going through Toronto. And I think we saw the "homosexual" side of town (or, I think, that's what Leo (or somebody, can't remember who) commented on so I guess I'll have to assume we were in the gay community's natural habitat or some such nonsense like that :P). Nevermind the enormous lineup I saw which was where I think Bill Clinton was signing his book for the mob who seem to take more interest in American politicians than Canadian.
Curse you, you un-patriotic blockheads.
Anyway, we made a few "pee stops" before we charged down on Kingston with all of our combined fan fury. We got lost there, too, and had to keep talking to Lord Sloth on Alex Garg's cell phone. Dude, I mean really - we should have gone left but we went right. Right? Right. Yeah. But we finally did manage to find Lord Sloth's house, and he joined us in our romp through Ontario and into Quebec.
And now we reach the roads of Quebec. FLEE FOR YOUR LIVES!!!! Honestly...those roads were insane. We got lost there, too - and so many times we came close to the Delta Centre-ville and then made a wrong turn and ended back up on the interstate practically. Eh heh heh. And here I thought Canadians were law-abiding for the most part when it came to roads, and I was expecting similar driving in Montreal that I usually see in Hamilton.
Did I get what I expected? UM. NO. I never expected Montreal drivers to be as crazy as they were, ignoring the one lane that held two cars side by side. There is no way to describe that street; but there were three lanes and in the middle one you could just barely shove two cars side by side...and there was no dividing line in there anywhere!!!! AHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!! And the drivers were crazy. So...yeah. Nutbars.
We finally made it to the hotel. Checked in, went up to our room, and got unpacked. Poor Alex had to shuttle so many people while Leo, Lord Sloth (who got there after checking in at the hostel) and I lazed about in the room. And it seemed Alex had just missed Denis, who took a shuttle (or a cab, not sure which) to the hotel... customs I think gave poor Denis a problem. Yeesh.
Leo and I then went downstairs and mingled with other Gathering folks. Fun times. Met Mara, and she told me I was shorter and cuter than what she thought I was. o_O And I have my place in the fandom now - I am the owner of the "wrong" Brooklyn/Malibu pic that I use for my LJ icon. Yay, go me! I'm KNOWN! XD
So when Alex finally got back, we all about went to bed. Lord Sloth returned to the hostel and we all just crashed, exhausted from our adventure.
We had breakfast with Ellen and a couple other people. I think it was me, Denis, Leo, Alex, Kathy, Ellen and a few others...though who they were completely slipped my mind. Then we went sight-seeing. Saw lots of cool stuff, like the awesome cathedral and horse-drawn carriages. We also thundered through China-town, something I've never done before, and it was amazing. Simply fantastic.
We also attended many Gathering who-diddlies, which was also fun. I'm skipping over things right now because a) I can't remember *all* of it, and b) I am extremely tired. But I witnessed "Get Stuffed" as the Clan Olympics game during the opening ceremonies, and that was a fun, fun time.
I kept to myself somewhat, browsed the artist alley for most of the day... it's not easy being a n00b. :P I tried but I was still frazzled... met Hudson and a bunch of other people, finally saw a few of my favourite artist's floating around and was pleased with that. But, thanks to my medication I was forced into a state of mind where I wasn't all there in the head, so I can't really remember a lot of it.
But I will say that I despise the elevators at that hotel. Evil, evil things - and it didn't help at all when Leo jumped in the elevator. Scared the crap out of me and I yowled at him for it. XD
Went to the Blue Mug-A-Guest for a while, where Leo's and my screengrab collaboration was passed around, much to the amuement of a lot of people. I didn't stay too long because by that time my medication was kicking in and I would have ended up falling asleep where I sat (which was right next to Greg at his feet, eeeee! XD).
Wandered around the panels for a while. Attended the Gargoyles Biology 101 panel, hosted by the fantabulous Dylan Blacquiere (sp? and I think it was Day 3 that I did that.... o_O). He rules, man. I love that guy. And the panel was interesting, I really enjoyed it. I also went to the Radio Play, which was super fun; maybe if I can make it there next year I'll try out. It looked fun. ^_^
More riding on the elevator ensued that day, and I got a lot of nosebleeds for some reason. Maybe it was the height and the constant going up and down on the elevators. o_O But, anyway, it was gross.
Spent a lot of time down in the restaurant we had breakfast with Ellen in, drinking coffee and losing myself in my thoughts. Alex joined me there for lunch, and we chatted it up for a while before we went about our business.
Picked my mom up a souvenir from Montreal, a glass mug with a Montreal logo on it. Heheheh. I figured I wanted to get her something practical, something that can be used instead of something that won't really be looked at or touched. :P
Then we went to the Banquet. And I discovered that I really don't like quail all that much. LOL But I wasn't feeling wholly good either, I had a bit of a stomach ache and I was feeling tired. But the banquet was fun, and Keith David finally made his appearance there, much to our collective delight. But, seeing as in Regence C there was some sort of party going on, I couldn't hear Keith very well when we got him talking.
And yay! He was on the same floor as me, Alex, Leo and Denis! Bwahaaaaa!
By the time it was over, I was exhausted - again. I went down to Antoine's for a few coffees to stay awake and all that, and I ended up meeting up with Alex Garg, Dylan, Stormy and a few other people. So I stuck around with them, had a couple beers (which was a double whammy, combining meds and booze...o_o) and then went to bed.
Closing ceremonies. It was fun, interesting and I was excited about the Gathering being in Las Vegas next year. Suffice to say, as much as I didn't want it all to end I was glad of it, because it was a nice ending to a good time.
We went out to dinner, kinda just wandering around with Ellen, Allaine, Princess Alexandria and my little group. Then we headed back to the hotel, I sucked back a coffee because I wanted to go with Leo, Ellen and Alex to Mount-Royal. So, yeah, I sucked back a coffee and was ready and rarin' to go. A brief moment of rest and relaxation in the midst of all the excitement.
And hooo boy, was it ever a walk. By the time we reached the topmost part where we could look out over the city I was sweating buckets, but I enjoyed the romp through the forest and the lovely greenery that surrounded us. I never thought there'd be so many hills in Montreal. LOL!
We stood up there looking out over the city for a while, just admiring the view. It was simply GORGEOUS. If anyone visits Montreal again, I would suggest going up there. The walk is long and painful, but it is worth it beyond anyone's wildest dreams. Leo, Ellen and Alex took a lot of pictures.
Anyway, we took the long way back and I was blind for the most part because it was dark outside by the time we decided to mosey along. We took a slight detour/short cut type thing on the way back and ended up in a nice Irish pub for about half an hour or so, at which point I took a moment to take the most well-earned whiz of my life. Thank you, Ellen. LOL.
We sat for a while, had a drink, and then went back to the hotel, whereupon I crashed pretty quickly.
And, yes, I am skipping out on a lot of details. Truth be told it's all a blur now, it was all exciting and fun and I loved it. So much happened and things I saw, words can't even describe.
Oh, and on a couple of side notes I forgot to mention before:
Leo and I got Keith David to say, "I love you Thailog" and another "naughty" bit. :P (and, yes, we have proof. And, no, it wasn't our idea - we did it for Demona Taina.)
And I got to sit on Keith David's lap, got a kiss on the temple from him and got him laughing at the screengrab collaboration Leo and I came up with, with my text and his screengrabs put to a dirty theme. And Keith signed my Pheonix Gate Anthology with an amusing little note, "To Kelly, of the active, very active imagination. (I'm scared of you). Love, Keith David". And told me he "likes how I think". ^____^ YAY! I so happy. XD
Few people are as fun to hang around as Keith. Thom comes to mind, of course. But few others. Glad you had fun. Hope to see you this year in Valencia.
Gathering Journal Part 3
Saturday, August 7
Woke up, showered and dressed and went downstairs. Auditions for the Radio Play were going on, but I decided to sit it out this year, which I kind of regret now. Aw well, there's always next year. So I just wandered around for a while, chatting with people and chilling. Eventually I ran into Carol Wagner (who was my guest coordinator last year and was doing the same thing this year. If you ever run a con, get this woman on your staff, she does an awesome job). Anyway, she told me that the DVD film crew were downstairs doing fan interviews and suggested I go down since I was a Con Chair and if I saw Aaron and Mara to send them down also.
I go down and walk into the room for the tail end of Siryn's interview, and she gave a good one. Kathy Pogge and Mandi give their interviews and afterward it's my turn. THey ask me a few questions, like how the show has impacted me, what I would say to get people to watch it, what I liked best about it, and who my favorite character was... the last sentence gets me into a two minute speech about Demona, to which the camera crew asked "Are you the guy with the tattoo?"... heh, I got confused for Aaron. I say I'm not, but that he'll be down to be interviewed shortly. I thought it went well, hopefully I'll make the final cut. So I get up and Christine Morgan is being interviewed. As I'm about to walk out, Aaron and Mara come in with Lynati, Hudson and a few other people and I tell Aaron they're waiting for him. So I stick around and watch them get interviewed, and Aaron does show his tattoo... that I'm sure is a definite lock for the final cut. I hope they quote him saying "permanently etched into my skin.".
So we head up, and I end up joining Mara for one of the Clan Olympics events... really hard pictionary. We have Kyt on our team, so we figure this will be easy. It wasn't, I swear it was rigged, we got the hard ones. We lost, but didn't mind too much since we didn't want to do the next event anyway.
Afterwards it was time for the Radio Play. This year it was "The Journey". A terrific production if I do say so myself. Emambu was great as John Castaway, Jen and Ethan played off each other really well as Banquo and Fleance, Cindy was great as Margot Yale, and Chris really brought down the house as Macbeth with his MADAME THEY BURNED WITCHES LIKE YOU IN THE MIDDLE AGES! line. THe guy who played Vinnie was great too, as was Stormy as Cagney. Lots of applause.
Since there were no events schedualed for a bit, Alex and I went with Ethan to this Irish pub for a couple of drinks. It was fun, the bartender was cute. Talked American politics there and came back. Ethan went to the Masquerade and Alex and I went up to Aaron, Mara and Lynati's room where they were busy finishing Lynati's Ophelia costume. I won't go into the details here, but unfortunatly things ran late. I head down to the ground floor where we're having the masquerade to keep an eye out on when the masquerade starts and keep them informed and make sure Lynati is schedualed to go last, but again I'll spare you the details.
While doing that I meet Keith David who finally arrived (the voice of Goliath, Thailog and Officer Morgan for those who live on Mars). I first met Keith David briefly four years ago in Central Park when he was performing Shakespeare's "A Winter's Tale" where he played the king. I met him for thirty seconds after and told him I thought he was great and mentioned I loved him in "Gargoyles", he shook my hand and really appreciated. Keith then came to the '01 Gathering in LA but had to leave early, so I didn't get to meet him. But I got to say hello and told him I saw him in "A Winter's Tale" and I'll be damned... he remembered me. Keith is a really great guy, and he has a very, very, very strong handshake.
Anyway, the masquerade begins, I miss the show cause I'm standing outside the room, but all the costumes this year were terrific. I can't really name a favorite here, but I'll give special nods to the guy who won... forget his name. Revel as Dracon, the entire con staff was great, that girl who was Ekidna, Flanker as a Hunter, everyone was great. Finally Lynati came down and her Ophelia costume was terrific, one of the ebst costumes I've ever seen at any Gathering.
Masquerade ends, and we just party and hang out, people start singing Karaoke, and this is where Emambu sings "Blame Gargoyles"... once again the link is...
just right click this link and hit 'Save As'
Cindy sang really, really well. There was a dance to "YMCA" but no one knew all the words so it went something like this...
Young man, something, something, something
I say young man, something, something, something.
You get the idea ;)
Chilled on the sidelines mostly talking a bit with Greg Weisman and Carol and Jen, and several hours later he had to turn in, as he had to leave early in the morning. Said good bye and ended up hanging with Aaron, Mara, Hudson, Ethan, Silver and a bunch of others outside till around 3:30 in the morning. Before we all went to bed.
To be continued
A stranger reading all these con journals would think that the most significant event of the convention was the YMCA "something, something" sing-along. It's the one thing that absolutely EVERYBODY seems to mention.
Gathering Journal Part 2
Friday, August 6th
Woke up and jumped in the shower, leaving Alex who still wanted to sleep in the room and ran down to the lobby. Registration was not open for another hour and I ran into Whitbourne and Stormy and a couple others (blanking out on their names) and we went looking for food and ended up in China Town... yes, Montreal has a China Town, though unlike NYC's China Town has much less in common with Tiajuana. Nothing opened till 11 so we had to wait, but finally we ended up eating at this Vietnamese place, I had this shrimp and chicken dish, which was pretty good, and finally we headed back.
Found Alex, picked up registration and hung out in the art and dealer's room for a bit, before heading down to the Voice Acting Seminar which was supposed to be run by Greg Weisman (who is a voice director as well as a writer), and Keith David. Unfortunatly we learned then that Keith had been delayed and wouldn't be arriving until much later that night. But Greg did great on it by himself, talking about voice acting and directing fans with scripts, and critiqing them. Jen as usual read for Demona, and according to Greg was "too good", and had to give it to someone else so he could critique them. I believe it was seri_wavelength who read. Anyway, it was a fun panel.
Anyway afterwards about twenty of us including Aaron, Mara, Lynati, Hudson, Mandi Cat, and well... a lot of people went off in search of lunch. We found this crowded diner which thankfully had enough tables outside to sit us. Though Hudson travelled between tables taking a french fry here and an onion ring there. Good burger there, and we all returned to the hotel for Opening Ceremonies.
Opening Ceremonies was the same as usual, the con staff is introduced. But I felt bad for Karine when she got up and asked "what does the fandom want?" and a lot of people shouted out "We want Thom!" as unfortunatly Thom could not be there this year. I missed Thom too, but I understood, and Thom will be back eventually. I hope the con staff doesn't feel too bad about it, because it was a great con, and I don't think they have anything to apologize for. Putting together a con is not an easy feat.
Greg then got up and did his usual, but also announced the release date for the DVD. December 7th. A two disk DVD set containing all thirteen episodes from the very first season of "Gargoyles". The DVD will also contain an audio commentary by him, Frank Paur and Keith David on all five episodes of "Awakening". They will be the original uncut versions, and will have the original pitch for the series on it, as well as the documentary that was being shot about the con.
Greg then showed his videos, telling the old anecdotes that those of us who have been to several of these cons can now finish for him. He showed the original series pitch, the press preview that used music from the soundtracks from "Glory" and "The Power of One", the Jonathan Frakes press pitch, the pitches for "New Olympians" and "Dark Ages" and of course the leica reel for "Bad Guys.... the latter you need to come to a con to see.
Afterwards it was time for "Gargoyles" MST3K where we MSTed the crap out of the episodes "Kingdom" and "Revelations". I'm blanking out on some of the call backs, but hopefully Jade Griffin will post the transcript soon.
I'm blanking out on the next few hours, but I remember hanging out in the dealers room for a bit and then the lobby with the crew talking fic, and we were being filmed by the DVD crew while doing it. Later we went up to Hudson's room and hung out for a bit before it was time for the Blue Mug-A-Guest.
Keith was supposed to be at the Blue Mug-A-Guest but unfortunatly did not arrive, and it was 11 PM, so we figured we wouldn't be seeing him tonight. Greg was able to hold it all on his own, but unfortunatly we did not have any of the "blue" questions from last year. Though after Lex came out of the closet at last year's, it would be hard to top. It was a very, very, very tight squeeze, 30 of us in the con suite, the floor was completely covered. But it was good. We were finally kicked out at around 2:30 in the morning and we all crawled off to bed.
So far a good first day for a great con.
It is too bad that Keith couldn't make the Blue Mug. I have a feeling, he'd be REALLY good at Blue-Mugging. Just a feeling... ;)
Alrighty, another long, long con report for you... :)
Thursday, August 5, 2004
Ok, early morning. Brrr. We flew from our home in Melbourne, FL, to Atlanta, GA. While we were trying to figure out which gate they wanted us at, we ran into Sapphire (Kelly Creighton), and were immediately in Gathering-mode. Whee! The three of us were able to find the right gate, and thus we had a fun flight with Sapphire drawing cartoons for us and the flight attendant, who was very grateful. My personal favourite was and still is the âfor the lavatory â" how do I put this â" er, liquids only, please!â scene.
Montreal airport immediately reminded me a lot of Paris, as in very crowded and smokey. After a few questionmarks popped out of our heads, we found the right bus and headed to the hotel while Sapphire showed us her video collection from âCity of Heroesâ.
Then there we were, and met up with Liz, Trishana, Taylor and Julie. The seven of us went in search of food â" Lix was convinced there was a âglass door that leads to an underground market in the basement of the hotelâ. Okaaayâ¦ no such thing, but we did find a subway station a few blocks away, and since we found food there we were satisfied and happy so we agreed to let the subway station be Lizâ mysterious underground market.
Word got around that everyone was invited to a dinner that night, so we waited until 9:00, at which point someone said the dinner was giong to be at 10:00 â" so we waited and starved, and as 10:00 rolled around it turned out the dinner was âstaff onlyâ and we were to go hungry. Wah.
Friday, August 6, 2004
The day started with getting our registration packets and setting up the art show. We tried the breakfeast at the hotel bistro â" which lead us to provide anyone tempted to try the same with a passionate warning against it. French cooking? Nah.
I went to Karineâs panel on perspective. Itâs not that I donât know how to do it, but I always enjoy the company of all the many other artists at the Gathering, and I am always interested in how others do things. You always learn something.
After that, we checked out the voice acting seminar, where Greg was left alone because Keith David hadnât made it to Canada yet from his shoot in Miami. But hey, Greg likes the attention, and letâs face it, we are suckers for the man. ;)
Tony headed to the radio play auditions, while I went to Cindyâs costuming seminar. Never miss a chance to listen to a professional. Now I know how to porperly wash wigs. Yay!
We went out to find an accessory we needed for our costumes, which made us slightly late for the opening ceremonies (oopsâ¦). But luckily we didnât miss much, and we got to enjoy Gregâs annual shpeel to the fullest. By now, every one knows the best lines (âItâs better than Barney!â), and Greg gladly plays off of his audience. There were some new pieces in the show, so that was cool.
We went in search for some actual food, but all we could come up with was McDonaldsâ¦ hee heeâ¦ ;)
Later that night a lot of people crammed into the Con Suite for the blue mug-a-guest with Greg. It was pretty much the least blue mugging weâve ever had, but that was okay. It was an aquamarineish-mugging. We had fun. And were very tired when we finally stopped at about 1:30 am. Who needs sleep at the Gathering?? Defenders of the night and so forth.
Saturday, August 7, 2004
Saturday! We ditched the bistro and stuk with our cheese and snack cakes instead.
While Tony was in the radio play rehearsals, I watched the auction and sat on my hands real tight so as not to tempt myself. There was a good amount of money raised for charity. Even though I have to say, the auction has somewhat diminished over the last few years. Back in 1999, it was a huge deal, with lots of yelling and laughing. Maybe we can give it more attention in the future.
The radio play was very cool â" it was Gregâs uncut version of âThe Journeyâ. Some of these people really would make good voice actors. A very convincing Cagney, whoever you were! Cute.
A special thanks to Greg for making my day on Saturday by saying my Elisa-painting was âamazingâ. It means a lot.
After the radio play it was time to get ready for the banquet. It is something of a tradition to dress up for the banquet, so I did. I mostly use the Gathering to show off the stuff I never get to wear otherwise! J/K. Well no, I do. In the hall, the film crew filmed us! Yay! They told us to tell our âWhy we are married because of Gargoylesâ story to Sapphire (like she hasnât heard it before ;)), and she told us her âHow Gargoyles got me through High Schoolâ story. Weâve heard each otherâs stories, but you know what, we donât mind telling and hearing them again. It makes us notice that bond that this fandom shares. Itâs like being comfortably married for five years, and then your spouse says or does something that reminds you with a happy pang of why you fell in love with them in the first place. I love our fandom. We are indeed somewhat of a family.
We were lucky enough to have Greg sit at our table, even though poor Liz was disappointed it wasnât Keith David, we had a great conversation with him all the way through an excellent dinner.
Finally, Keith David showed up, and even though he was served the food he never got to eat much as he was answering questions. He is a really smart and deep individual, and not afraid of sharing his thoughts with us, which we really appreciate.
Time to get into costume! Tony and I went as Tony Dracon and âBadâ Elisa from the episode âProtectionâ. As a gimmick when we walked on stage to show off, we handed the judges a jar of jalapena peppers, which were so nicely set up through Keithâs monologue earlier! Thanks Keith! J The ball was awesome, great costumes and good times. I had to change before the dance though, my Bad-Elisa-top was a little dangerous to wear while moving.
Thank you so much Taylor for singing the âLove Boatâ song (thatâs right, itâll be written here for eternity)! That was the coolest! J
As the night grew late, people dwindeld to remove their gallons of body paint and fall into bed. However, there was a small group of people, including us and Greg Weisman, who were just not getting tired. So our little group ended up in the Con Suite, chatting and munching on random treats and having a grand time. Greg had to leave at 6:00 Sunday morning to be home in time for his daughterâs birthday. His original plan was to go to bed, but as 4:00 passed us by, he decided to just skip the sleep. Who needs it. Sometime after the point we were so sleepy-drunk we laughed histerically at anything (canadian picasso-mimes, chickens, ans Senior Tricordio) Greg had to leave to pack, and we finally went to bed. Thank you Greg for being so in touch with this fandom. You are the best, and we had a great time.
Sunday, August 8, 2004
Needless to say we didnât get up early on Sunday. I gathered up my art show pieces that hadnât been for sale (or hadnât sold), and then we went to the closing ceremonies.
I actually got a bunch of awards for my piccies! Hurray! Seriously - it might just be a little ribbon from a bunch of friends, but you know what, it means a lot to an artist. We have a hard time finding jobs, a harder time finding satisfying jobs, or praise. At the Gathering, we support each other, and it helps. Thanks so much to anyone who voted for my artwork, and congratulations to all the other artists â" you are all awesome.
After another short visit to the Con Suite, we joined a group and went to play laser tag and have pizza. And again, it was late, but this time we actually went to bed shortly before midnight. Whoohoo.
Monday, August 9, 2004
Homeward bound. Home is good, but we do miss the family that the fandom has evolved into. Thank you all for a great Con, and see you next year in Vegas!
Andrea - As I seem to recall, you still owe me a good color xerox of that Elisa painting... ;)
Also aren't you two supposed to renew your vows at the Gathering one of these years...?
This is why I write more novels and series than short stories ...
Wednesday, August 4th and Thursday, August 5th
Traveling, and Montreal
Wednesday was long. Extremely long. We got up at two in the morning, were picked up by our town car at 3:20 (_much_ nicer than the Shuttle Express vans, btw), and arrived at the Seattle airport a little after four. Then we waited in a long line to check in. Lots of desert-camo army guys in line, too. The one right in front of us had a fresh hickey the size of my thumb, and no hope of hiding it, not with that hairdo. Go, soldier-boy! ;)
Flew from Seattle to Chicago, but everything going into and out of O'Hare was delayed, so we spent some time sitting on runways. In Chicago, we still had about an hour to grab some food, then get on the plane for the second leg of the trip. Once we disembarked, we walked for what seemed like a half mile or more to the customs station. Which was like Disneyland ... a long rat-maze of a line with a sign saying that the wait from this point would be 40 minutes.
And after that, we got to go to another line to have our books inspected. That's the one drawback to these international cons, and dragging all those books along. But we got through, and were met by our driver (town car again) for a trip to the hotel.
Montreal has the reputation of being a beautiful city, and it's a rep that is well-deserved. Lots of green, lots of clean, and lots of fabulous old stonework. I really do love buildings from back in the day when creative architecture didn't mean weird glass-and-steel geometrics. The hotel is quite posh, and an easy walk from Old Montreal (mucho fabulous old stonework).
We checked in, unpacked, took a peek around the hotel, then walked over to a place called Gibby's for dinner. Gibby's is a steakhouse located in a restored 200-year-old stable, and it was bursting at the seams with the kind of ambiance that most gamers would love. Low, beam ceilings. Stone walls. Dim flickery yellow lighting. It was the Inn, as found in countless campaign beginnings ... "your characters meet at an Inn." All it lacked was the hooded old man sitting by the fireplace, selling treasure maps. Food was good, too, and it was the first time ever that I can recall being served sherbet between courses to cleanse the palate (then again, I have never lived much of a highbrow life).
After, we roamed through oldtown a bit, admiring the buildings -- and the astonishing cleanliness and almost total lack of homeless people. Canada is certainly doing something right in taking care of its folks. We got back to the hotel 10-ish local time (7-ish on our body clocks, but our bodies had been up since 2, so we were ready for bed).
Thursday was a lovely day. Becca and I spent an hour and a half at the pool. Watched a gal whose job I don't envy -- she had to climb out on these ledges that overlook the hotel's four-story atrium to water and trim the plants.
Then we went for a long rambling stroll through Old Montreal, looking in shops. Bought Becca a sweatshirt, and she got herself a keychain for her collection. After lunch, we got on Le Bateau Mouche, a fancy ferry sort of boat that took us on an hour-long river tour. This is, I say again, a beautiful city! I took some pictures, and we had a nice relaxing time.
After that, we stopped for ice cream and then came back to the hotel. As we were kicking back in our room a while later, Tim happened to glance out our ten story window and spotted some familiar folks far below, unloading a car. "Hey ... isn't that Patrick? And the redhead ... that's Cindy."
So we rushed down to the lobby but just missed them at the elevator. Hung around for a while until someone came back -- Patrick -- and he told us where the rest were. We went up for a visit (and to slip some Sabledrake catalogs into the envelopes holding the programs, badges, and other goodies).
And, ta-daaaa! We finally got to see the Phoenix Gate Anthology! It looks very good. I think everyone involved will be pleased and proud.
We left the group for a while to get food, and began spotting more familiar faces. Saw Lanny checking in, and I'm pretty sure I saw Seth in the hotel restaurant. Saw Karine, who is going to have a baby in November! I didn't know! Gosh, I am so out of the loop sometimes! Saw Jen's husband Alan, and then, finally, ran into Jen.
We hung out for a while, and Becca colored with Siryn, and folks came and went, and then Greg arrived. He spotted Becca right away and asked her where her parents were ;) I was there, said hi, got my hug and smooch on the cheek. Tim had gone downstairs to take care of some e-mails (and, really, to indulge his new online poker addiction). Then a whole big crowd was going out for food, but we were all beat and so Becca and I returned to the room and slept.
Friday, August 6
The Gathering, Day 1
The official con was slated to begin when registration opened at 10:00 AM. After Becca swam, we headed down to the terrace and found many friendly faces already on the scene. We mingled, said hi, and waited around. Because, of course, nothing ever quite starts on time, on the first day especially. But soon, con staff appeared with boxes of registration packets. We all got our programs and badges. Plus shirts, pins, and books for those whoâd ordered them. And, dare I say, everyone got a Sabledrake Enterprises catalog.
It was so good to see people again â¦ I canât begin to explain. After missing the past two cons, and having fallen out of touch with many of the online forums â" I lurk around Station 8 and the TGS room, but wouldnât call myself horribly active there anymore â" I was really reminded how much I had missed everyone. And how cool it was to meet new people whose screen names I knew but who Iâd never seen in person.
Except, the funny thing was, I didnât recognize a lot â¦ a LOT â¦ of them. I was feeling quite guilty for being so out of the loop. I would find out later in the day that it wasnât just me being dense, because nearly half of the crowd at opening ceremonies would raise their hands when the first-Gathering question was posed.
After we got our packets, Tim and I left Becca to hang out while we lugged our stuff down to set up in the dealers room. The con rules stated that all kids had to be accompanied by a grown-up, but there were always plenty of folks around willing to keep an eye on her.
Itâs funny, it really is, but this is her extended family. The Gathering crowd even moreso than just the gamer-geek-fantypes at other cons. These are people she may not see as often as she does some of her blood kin, but many of them are people she knows better, and hears more about. Weâre raising her in a con environment. Some of them, like RadCon, get a little freaky with the Goths and SCAers and Klingons running around. Scenes where most parents might be reluctant to let even their teenagers go alone, and yet itâs there, more than anyplace else, we feel safe and at home and have no problem giving Becca a fairly loose leash.
Especially at the Gatherings. This was her fourth, and sheâs become the honorary fandom kid. Everyoneâs hatchling. And it wasnât a matter of persuading her to sit with someone else, either â¦ she was eager to get away from Tim and I, preferring to follow Siryn around, or Cindy, or Jen.
Or Arno, whose patience at having a stuffed cat thrown at him went far above and beyond the call of duty. That, in Beccaâs mind, is as much a Gathering tradition as the masquerade. âIs that guy going to be there, the one I throw Chip at?â Heck, we even had to go online and find a new Chip (calico Beanie Buddy cat) on e-Bay because her original one was lost somehow, and she didnât want to go to the Gathering without a Chip to throw at Arno.
Anyway, the dealers room turned out to be in the same room as the art show and artistsâ alley. It was right near registration, too, and near the auditorium. Very nice to have it centrally located. The con staff had a table to sell shirts, pins, copies of the Phoenix Gate Anthology, and even some leftover calendars from 2003. Jen and Alan had a table, hawking her tee shirts. Later in the weekend, there would be a fanzine company and a sci-fi club.
And we had a table. No, I lie. We had three. When all my books are assembled in one place, they take up a lot of room. Alas that we wonât be able to display and sell the ElfLore trilogy anymore, though! My publisher gave me the axe just a couple of weeks before the Gathering, and wouldnât let me buy any more copies before the whole trilogy went out of print. But we had all three MageLore books, all four of the Silver Doorway books to date, both Trinity Bay books (including a couple of copies of Black Roses on audio), Naughty and Dice, and the two zombie anthologies in which I had stories. We also brought some garg merchandise, not a lot since we were pushing the luggage limit already and Tim had been going around and around trying to figure out the customs and import laws. It all did make for a nice set-up, though.
Once that was done, we had a few hours before the room officially opened, so we headed out in search of lunch. Tim had scouted the train station food court, but we had the bad luck to end up there at lunch hour on a Friday. Now, I have an intense dislike of crowded, noisy, unfamiliar places. Always have. And itâs gotten worse exponentially since Becca was born â" my personal phobia about getting lost canât hold a candle to my fear of losing track of my kid. I think Tim used âintimidatedâ in his LJ, but I wasnât so much âintimidatedâ as just extremely uncomfortable and unable to relax enough to have any sort of appetite.
We got back in time for the dealers room to open, and then Becca and I headed over to Gregâs panel on voice acting. The video crew showed up while we were there â" poor Seri, thought she was going to get off easy, but Greg made her keep reading lines even once the cameras were rolling! She did a good job, though. Itâs interesting to get the inside scoop on how everything works, and to hear all the war stories. Carol Channingâs chiffon blouse, anyone?
Tim and I had signed up to do a panel later that afternoon on RPGs, and a fair number of people turned up. Most of them even stayed, hey! We talked about our experiences in the gaming industry, our plans for releasing Simulacrum next year (and weâll need art, hint-hint). Told some gaming war stories of our own, too. And Beccaâs idea of helping was to draw monsters on the white board behind us the whole time.
Then came the worst part of the whole weekend.
See, there were only a couple of problems with the site this time around. One was that the hotel, while very posh and full of staff who treated us exceedingly well, came with an equivalently posh price tag. The other, more aggravating, was the food situation. While the sprawling underground area does boast about any kind of edibles you could want, you better only want âem during normal day shift business people working hours. Everything closed after evening rush hour, leaving the dining options severely limited.
So, Tim, knowing this and feeling all guilty and responsible for lunch not having worked out so great, took it on himself to wander the streets of Montreal. Man hunt food. Woman and Child go to Opening Ceremonies. Man find food. Slay mammoth. Then Man, returning to cave, get mauled by saber tooth tiger.
Well, all right, it was Chinese take-out instead of a mammoth, and it was a car and not a saber tooth. Iâm trying to make light of the situation because when I found out about it, I worked up one hell of a case of retroactive panic. He got hit by a car. For all the gory details, see his LJ (http://www.livejournal.com/users/tavelorn/)
But Woman and Child knew nothing of this. Becca and I were at Opening Ceremonies, where the con staff were doing the introductions, the thank-yous, and all that good stuff. The Clan Olympics interrupted with a sudden wild game that involved a stampede of people running around stuffing plastic balls into tee shirts. Only one casualty that I knew of, and it was all captured for posterity by the video crew. Showing us at our mature, sedate, respectable best.
Chris got up to talk about plans for 2005 (Vegas, baby, and high-damn-time we had another Gathering in the west!). Then Greg gave his speech, and how is this for cool? Heâd gotten his helpful and diligent Girl Friday, Carol, to collect taped well-wishes from several people associated with the show, including Frank Paur and Ed Asner.
If that was cool, the big news was even cooler â" that the first season of Gargoyles was slated for a December 7th release! With commentary, and with this documentary being filmed at the con. If it does well, we may get the second season. And once that ball starts rolling, it might not be beyond the realm of possibility to dream that ultimate dream of a new series!
Of course, in the middle of it all, Greg played his usual prank by raising an arm to the back of the room and announcing, "Ladies and Gentlemen, _Keith David_!" And so, of course, we all looked. Because once, when he did that, Keith was actually there (three cheers for variable interval reinforcement). Because, this time, Keith was expected. Delayed, since the film he was shooting was rained out again and again, but expected. This time, though, no Keith.
It would only be the beginning of a saga that probably added a few grey hairs and notches to the blood pressure of the con staff â¦ Keith will be here for opening ceremonies â¦ well, okay, no, but Keith will arrive late tonight â¦ all right, Keith will be here tomorrow afternoon â¦ he'll be here in time for the banquet â¦ eventually, though, Keith _did_ arrive! Just not today.
We saw the pitches for the original show, for New Olympians and Dark Ages. We saw the Bad Guys reel. Then, as a new treat, Greg played another audio tape of a Team Atlantis episode heâd written, one in which Milo and company encounter a certain Fiona Canmore who is hunting a certain stone-by-day, vengeful-blue-demon-by-night creature with the voice of Marina Sirtis.
It was in the middle of this broadcast (which was unintentionally hilarious, what with all the grunts, groans, and gasps of combat being taken terribly out of context by our collective filthy, filthy little minds) that Tim came in. He sat down by us, listened to the rest of the episode, and then turned to tell me that we needed to talk. That is _never_ a good phrase. Then he told me his car adventure, and I got to freak out imagining all the horrible things that could have happened. Visions of myself having to call his parents to tell them their only son had been run over. Visions of the police finally tracking him to the hotel and delivering the news to me. Visions of being stranded in a foreign country with Tim stuck in the hospital. Or worse.
But he is all right (as I type this, itâs Wednesday August 11, and we are in a plane flying home) except for a murky purple bruise on his arm. At the time, though, we were all in a state. The three of us returned to our room and ate the Chinese food that had survived the collision (lukewarm but good anyway), and then decided that Tim could use a drinkie. Hell, I could have used a drinkie, and I donât normally drinkie. So we thought weâd find someone in the con suite to look after Becca while we went to the hotel bar and got sloshed, but the con suite was closed.
However, we ran into a crowd downstairs, and amended the plan. The hotel restaurant had a neat section of tables surrounded by cushy couches, and eight of us â" Cindy and Rob, Jen and Alan, Patrick, and we three Morgans â" commandeered this primo spot. By then, I had gotten around to thinking I needed dessert more than drinkie, so I had cheesecake. We had a grand time there, and when it was done Tim and Becca went back to our room while I followed the others back up to the con suite to attend Gregâs special late-night Blue Mug-A-Guest.
It turned out not to be nearly as blue as expected. For one thing, most everybody was brimming with questions about the DVD and âwhat would you do if.â For another, apparently most of the real naughtiness has been covered at previous midnight panels of this sort. As for me, I hadnât attended many of those and by now, heck, anything Iâd want to ask, Iâd already decided my-own-self how I was going to handle it in my stories and done so.
The room was packed to capacity, and thanks to Jen abandoning her chair to Greg, I found myself in the weird position of sitting up in a chair next to him while others were all around us, mostly on the floor. I only felt on the spot a couple of times. Once was when Greg put me there, by redirecting a tail question to me. For the record, people â" I did not invent the dirty tail trick! That was Spike! Okay, I did pick it up and run with it, but I didnât _invent_ it (suppose that I might have, given time, but she did it first, so blame her!). I squirmed a little, too, when Andrea brought up my fanfic in an Angela-and-Gabriel question. Greg, if youâre out there, sorry â¦ sorry â¦ that one was all my fault.
What really caught me, though, was when the topic of September 11th came up, and Greg was asked if/how he would handle it in the show, were he given the chance. Now, see, my entry for the Phoenix Gate Anthology, âDust and Ashes,â was a September 11th story. And as I sat there, listening to Greg talk about the importance of addressing it in a way that would not be disrespectful to the actual events and persons involved, I found myself starting to worry about that story.
I _believed_ I had done my best to be respectful, but I got started second-guessing. Especially when Ethan, who witnessed the tragedy, started talking. After all, I was a continent away and watching on television at work (after Tim called me, after _he_ heard about it from Jen). As great as my shock and horror was, I knew it couldnât compare to that felt by those actually present. All I could do in writing was try to reach toward what I imagined it must have been like, and though just writing it gave me the cold chills all over again, I was worried that it would still fall far, far short.
So, after, I sought Ethan out and specifically requested him to read my story and let me know what he thought. He told me the next day that he read it, and that it was just what he would have wanted from such a story. I canât really say he _liked_ it â¦ who can _like_ that kind of story? But I felt it was powerful. One of the most powerful things Iâve ever written. I am very interested in hearing from others whoâve read it, hearing what you think.
Oh, and FYI â" the only place to read âDust and Ashesâ is in the Phoenix Gate Anthology. I have no plans to post that story to my site. The con staff have several copies of the book left, and I know that at least a few of the other authors have stated a similar intention to not make their tales available anywhere else. So, buy the book.
Well, eventually I figured I should raise my hand. Gotta ask something, right? So I did. And Greg denies it, but that sure did look like dread in his eyes. If not dread, there was at least a palpable wariness. I have no idea what he expected me to ask. By the sounds of it, all the really raunchy questions had already been lobbed his way in years past. I donât know what _I_ could have said to overtop those.
My question was, given the tendency (by no means a universal tendency, so donât send me angry e-mails protesting) of human males to fall asleep shortly after nookie, and given also that gargoyles donât fall asleep per se, what _do_ their males do. And I donât mean that human males zonk out instantly, like someone threw a switch â¦ too many people were imagining blissful post-coital gargs plummeting out of the night sky. Gregâs reply was that he figured they would be left with a pleasant mellow buzz.
I followed up with, given that gargs have superior recuperative abilities, how many times can the average healthy male âgoâ in a night. He said âthree â¦ and a half.â I guess the âhalfâ is left up to imagination â¦ perhaps going back to that earlier tail question.
Karine threw us all out shortly thereafter, and a good thing, too. It was past two in the morning. I staggered off to bed, knowing that the dawn was going to come awfully early.
Saturday, August 7th
The Gathering, Day 2
When we checked in, the lady at the desk said our room had a "river view." She was taking a little creative liberty. It's true that, with the proper amount of squinting and peering between buildings and under overpasses, there was a glint of something that might've been water. What we had was an eastern exposure, and on previous mornings we'd found that meant the sun woke us at 6:30.
Given that I had only fallen into bed at about 2:30 the night before, I was not looking forward to waking in four hours. And I must've been tired, because I didn't. I woke at quarter to nine, with the realization that I had a panel at 10:00. Ellen called shortly thereafter to let me know that she and Spacebabie were meeting for breakfast to discuss said panel.
Our initial plan was to just dash down and scarf some fast food, but the weekend isn't a work day, so the underground was closed. Arg! We ended up at the hotel's buffet instead, and still made it in time for my panel and the opening of the dealers room.
The panel was called "Thrill of the Chase," featuring myself, Ellen (who always dresses so smart and sharp, like she's going to a job interview, while the rest of us are slobbing around dressed like â¦ well, like typical fan geeks, which is reasonable enough I guess, given that we _are_). We got a nice turn out, and wound up ranging across various topics of action scenes in general. Given that I still hadn't had any caffeine for the day, I think it went okay, though I think I rambled a bit much.
While I was off doing that, Becca and a couple of other kids joined Siryn to do crafts. Then I got sent off to do an interview with the video crew. I was apprehensive, let me tell you. It's all well and good to have them talk to people whose lives have changed because of _Gargoyles_, who've made something of themselves. The success stories, as it were, be they creative, business, or emotional.
And yes, I owe a tremendous debt to the show and the fandom. My writing has improved so much â¦ I've experimented, my confidence has increased, I've benefited in a roundabout sort of way because people who have read and enjoyed my fanfic are then more likely to buy my books because they know they can trust me to tell a good story.
Some of the connections are very direct â" I might never have written the novel _Black Roses_, for instance, without the inspiration that came from fanfic. That's why I dedicated it to Greg and Salli Richardson â¦ the basic small town ghost story idea had been bobbing around in my head since I was a teenager, but I couldn't quite get a handle on it until after the fanfic, until mentally casting Salli as the character of Theresa. Then, hey presto, it all came together. Greg was so sweet, too, when I gave him a copy. He seemed to think it was very cool, having a book dedicated to him.
But anyway, here I was, having written over two million words of _Gargoyles_ fanfic â¦ the equivalent of twenty paperback books. It felt like I was painting a target on my forehead, getting up there in front of that camera and asking to be hunted down. Imagining stern-faced Disney men-in-black knocking on my door (not that I haven't imagined that, several times over these many years, but I'd never gone out of my _way_ to get their attention before).
We then thought about trying to have Becca interviewed. She was game for it, but she got hit with a big-whammy case of stage fright as soon as we went into the room. We sat and watched a few other interviews â" Aaron and Mara, one of the met-through-the-fandom love stories with the added bonus of Aaron's "Most Dedicated Fan EVER" status thanks to his giant full-color Demona chest tattoo. But, though Becca said she really wanted to do it, she was just too nervous. We ended up going back to the room for a while so she could settle down.
When she was recovered, I dropped her off at an SCA fighting demo â" she's seen plenty of them at other cons, and always enjoys them. I stuck my head into the Auction in time to see a cell going for much higher than I could afford. Then I minded the table while Tim went off to fetch food again. Him being, of course, under orders to cross at the crosswalk and look both ways!
The Radio Play came next, with a huge cast to read from the script of "The Journey," the first TGC episode. Keith still hadn't arrived, so Rob "Talyesin" read for Goliath and did a terrific job. Zehra, as Elisa, was great too â¦ there were moments when she was _so_ Elisa that it was goosebump spooky. Mike, aka Riverdale, was a perfect Vinnie (it was apparently his first Gathering, and I have never seen someone fit in so fast and so well; he is truly one of us), and the guy who played Jon Castaway was almost too intense. It was a great show.
The Banquet began at 6:00, and still no sign of Keith David. The three of us sat with Jen, Alan, Zehra, Darien and Nicholas (the latter two had only just discovered the Gathering and come up from Massachusetts; Nicholas was one of the few kids at the con). Karine had Nicholas and Becca draw slips from a goblet, each slip with a table number to tell where Greg and Keith (if he showed) were to sit.
The room was lit eerie orange, so I have no idea how anyone's pictures are going to turn out. Our waitress was a strict grandmotherly type who scolded me for not eating my appetizer or finishing my salad. Dinner was stuffed quail, eensy little birds with eensy little leg bones. Decadent dessert. After seeing that Lanny's table had ordered wine, we did the same (Sprite for the kids).
The menus were an additional cool touch; the menu was listed opposite a color image of Goliath. I meant to save some, but on unpacking, I never did find them so I must've left them somewhere.
And then, at last, Keith arrived. The funny part was, a few minutes earlier, Greg had left the room. So here was Keith, and no Greg. Keith was taken to his table, and it struck me that what we needed was for him to, when Greg walked in, stand up and announce, "Ladies and Gentlemen, _Greg Weisman_!" You know, like Greg keeps doing. So I told Jen, Jen told Karine, Karine told Keith â¦ and he did it!
Keith managed to talk between bites, and had to compete with the party going on next door. It was, I think, a nursing school reunion or graduation, so lots of women singing lots of bad karaoke. That is not always necessarily a contradiction in terms, by the way â¦ when it was our group's turn later, a few shining stars rose high above the rest.
We left to go back to the room, so that I could get Becca into her costume and so Tim and Denis could work out their PayPal arrangements â" Denis, one of my most dedicated readers, even shelled out for the _Black Roses_ audio book on CD!
Becca went as Bronx for the second time. Amazingly, most of the outfit still fit her (four years? was Orlando four years ago? egad!), though we did have to do new pants for it, since the old ones stopped just below the knee. Borrowed face paints from Jen, and soon we had our Bronx. We hooked up with members of the con staff â" Jen and Alan as Gruoch and Macbeth, Cindy and Patrick as Titania and Puck â" and it was time for the Masquerade.
What an incredible turnout, too! The staff weren't eligible for the contest, but plenty of other people dressed up and were just fabulous! The judges were Greg, Keith, our hotel liaison Daniel (he had such a good time; he's probably going to be talking about this for years!), and a lady who, I think, was either Daniel's wife or girlfriend.
I was sitting on the sidelines with my camera when Jen came up and grabbed me and stuck me at the judge's table, so that I could help keep track of who was who and which characters were canon as opposed to fanfic. It was a little startling to suddenly find myself seated next to Keith. And it turned out I didn't have much to do â" most of the characters were canon this year. But I got to join the judges in their sequestered chamber and listen to them discuss the entries.
I say again, incredible turnout! Incredible costumes! Andrew, as Korul, not only had an amazing outfit but did a song-and-dance routine, was the undisputed best in show. Keith particularly appreciated the ladies, and I am pretty sure I heard a couple of those deep rumbling Goliath-growls from him â¦ like when Argenta was strutting, or when Jade undid the skirt of her Elisa-Belle dress.
The Masquerade opened with Ethan, Sapphire, and Chameleongirl doing a cosplay with props of the _Gargoyles_ opening theme. Then came Vanessa as Dancer, in a lovely white dress. Then Spacebabie as Lori Canmore, and Nikki as Elisa-as-a-gargoyle. Then a scene from "Eye of the Beholder" as a trenchcoated Fox was carried in by Xanatos (that was Jackie and Alan, I think). Then Becca as Bronx. Tony and Andrea were Dracon and Bad Elisa (that costume often wins the Cleavage Award), presenting the judges with a jar of jalapeno peppers.
Sorry if I'm getting any names wrong; I was a little dazed. Then we saw Allan West as Thailog, Stormy as a Quarryman, Mandi in long purple hair as the Banshee. Annie came as Fox. Revel won the Thom Adcox Award for the attitude of his Tony Dracon.
Sherry's Echidna costume â¦ so cool! So neat to see different characters! Lynati was a late but spectacular arrival as Ophelia. Flanker as the Renaissance Hunter â¦ Kaylee and Siryn as Princess Katherine and young Tom (for which Si won the traditional Gorelisa cross-dressing award). Karine was ideal as Fox-in-maternity-smock.
Becca loved being Bronx. She posed for pictures, she roared for the crowd, she had a wonderful time and was thrilled to win a ribbon for Best Junior. But she was also glad, after a couple hours, to get out of that sweaty costume and wash off all the blue. Not only was there facepaint, but the costume hat has never been what I'd call color-fast.
So we took her back to the room to clean up. Then she and Tim stayed to sleep, while I went back down to the party. There was much singing. Now, I don't sing. Ever. I mouth the words to "Happy Birthday." So I admire the heck out of everyone who got up to sing in front of a crowd.
Keith reappeared and sang a number. He had his family in tow. I didn't catch their names, but there was a boy a little older than Becca, a girl of around three, and a baby who was all big adorable dark eyes. At one point, the little girl was climbing around on the stage and did this precarious step-wobble-teeter, and Greg and I, who were standing nearby, both almost lunged for the kid. Parents. Just can't help it.
We had our own lounge-singer rendition of "The Love Boat" (we definitely need him to come to Vegas, to shoehorn him into tight Tom Jones pants to do "It's Not Unusual"), and Zehra blew us all away with her performance. What a voice! Earlier, in the radio play, she'd been Elisa â¦ now she sang like Julie Andrews, with that same almost unbearable purity of voice. She got a well-deserved standing ovation.
And talk about a hard act to follow! The only thing to do was to plunge into absurdity â¦ and you'd have to look long and hard to find any number more absurd than "YMCA," especially when nobody knew the freakin' words! "Young man, something-something-something! I say, young man, something-something-something!"
I mean it. Literally. That's what they sang. Twenty people doing the arm movements and everything. Only knowing the chorus. I have not laughed so hard since seeing "Van Helsing."
So, for future reference, here is a link to the complete official lyrics:
I didn't stay long, and what time I was there I spent hanging out with Jen and sneaking peeks at her husband's legs (gosh, Alan's got nice legs â¦ and those boots! Oh, baby!) while he was busy rounding up a bevy of beauties to keep him company at the back of the room.
What the rest of the hotel guests must've thought, I do wonder. There was the elderly couple: "See? I told you this place was full of weirdoes." (this because they were sharing an elevator with Puck, Titania, Bronx, Gruoch and Macbeth). There was the couple that wandered in while the karaoke was going on. There were the nursing students, or whatever they were.
And there was the man who approached Jen and I at one point (I forget exactly when) and asked, "Excuse me â¦ what are Gargoyles? I mean, I know what 'gargoyles' are, but â¦ who are you people?" Jen abandoned me to field that one on my own. I think I handled it okay. At least the guy didn't run.
And that was it for Saturday! I got to bed at a more reasonable hour, after saying goodbye to Greg â" he was planning to stay up all night and leave at six to get home in time for his daughter's birthday.
Sunday, August 8th
The Gathering, Day 3
We went straight to the hotel buffet that morning, and had breakfast with Kathy Pogge. I think most everyone was off to an even slower start that morning, especially the people who'd stayed up all night to see Greg off.
There was some confusion all weekend long about the Phoenix Gate Anthology signing party. It wasn't on the schedule, and so it was going to be at the same time as Keith and Greg were doing autographs. Which, of course, got shoved all around. Finally, it was decided that the signing party would take place during Keith's Sunday morning Mug-A-Guest, in the dealers room.
Which, of course, conflicted with Allaine's adult round robin, and Dylan's talk on gargoyle biology. At least, it would have if the Mug had started on schedule at 10:00. What really happened was that I moved furniture, setting up some tables and chairs and pens, and made some quickie handmade signs for the PGA and for Keith.
Ultimately, it worked out pretty well, I thought! We had a long row of authors and artists. All but two of the PGA authors were there: me, Dylan, Stormy, Ellen, Scott, Allaine, John, and Alex Garg. The other two, Christi and Summer, had sent autographed stickers so that they could sort of sign in absentia. Kyt was there, having done the beautiful cover art, and Kya White Sapphire and Liz joined us to sign their pics, too.
Speaking of which â" big thanks to Liz for filling in at the last minute when we had a space in the book and needed a piece of art; all the more thanks from me because she did an illustration from "Dust and Ashes," and then honored me by giving me the original! Time to hit the frame shop, and see about squeezing some more space out of our overcrowded walls!
The crowds kept us pretty busy with our pens, and then just as we were more or less finishing up, Keith arrived. It was coming up on 1:00 by then, and some people had been sitting and waiting most patiently. The art show was already coming down. Keith toured the dealers room (he took one of my _Black Roses_ audio tape demos, which was mildly alarming) and then sat down to answer questions.
He also expressed interest in the PGA, so Karine snared him a copy and had us all sign it. This, of course, got me nervous all over again. Wonder what he'll make of the stories? Wonder what he'll make of _my_ story?
The talk topics ranged all over. We found out that a couple of Keith's dream roles would be to do _The Man of La Mancha_, and the Nat King Cole story. When he said this, a low anticipatory sound â" "ooooh!" â" went through the crowd. He briefly ascended a soapbox to talk about soldiers and, after someone is trained to dehumanize and kill the enemy, how difficult it is to reintegrate into regular society.
While this was going on, the art show was being taken down and Art Show Goddess Cindy was busy getting the awards ready. As always, the talent of this fandom is just amazing. I liked seeing the unconventional things, too, the wooden sculpture, Jade's darling little Demona doll â¦ it made me resolve that next year, I'll have something to contribute. I may not be able to draw, but I can craft, and I think I'm finally ready to bust out the old hot glue gun again.
Closing Ceremonies began at 3 or so, with the presentation of the art show ribbons, another Vegas reminder from Chris, and the Clan Olympics winners (Becca was swimming at the time, but she was happy later when I told her that Arno's team won the gold). Keith did his autograph session, and a lot of people signed up for next year.
Then Chris convened a business meeting to elect a board of directors. The final seven members were him, me, Jen, Siryn, Hudson, Scott, and Greg B. But in retrospect, I think Tim should have been nominated, not me. He's had loads of experience with this sort of thing, bylaws and motions and seconding and voting and quibbling over wording and all that hoo-rah from being a Mason (so _this_ is what they do at their secret meetings!). But he'll be here to help me out.
After that, we horned in on the con staff for the Dead Dog party up in the con suite for booze and goodies. Karine mixes a mean drink! Some friends of hers showed up with their daughter, a cute little kid who was shy at first â" for maybe three whole minutes â" before she was running around playing with Becca and tickling people and feeding candy to us all. There was laughter, cussing, foot massages, silliness, ranting, cuddling, bad jokes (I don't think Karine was all that terribly amused by the "what's the difference between a lightbulb and a pregnant woman" one; she shot me a narrow "har-har" sort of look).
We had pizza â" Becca had chicken nuggets; whenever we go on vacation, I try to enforce the "chicken nuggets for only ONE meal a day, but sometimes it doesn't quite work out â" and we partied. The three of us left around 11:00, and I heard that the rest of the party broke up shortly thereafter.
Monday, August 9th and Tuesday, August 10th
La Ronde and Montreal
We got up and got moving fairly early Monday. Breakfast at McD's, and then Tim headed off to explore the city. Again, under orders to stay out of the street. He wanted to prowl the university district, and look for game stores, and go to museums, and take more pictures of buildings â¦ and all the general gamer/history geek stuff that he likes to do.
Becca and I, meanwhile, waited around for the group that was headed to La Ronde. There ended up being some two dozen of us who went, many in garg shirts. Entertained (or frightened) the passengers on the Metro by treating them to a loud, enthusiastic rendition of the "One thousand years ago" speech. Oh, how I love cities with actual efficient rapid transit! Seattle is such a throwback in that regard.
We had our Six Flags season passes, bought this year since not only have we visited our local park but knew we'd have this trip coming up, as well as Magic Mountain in December when we plan to invade Jen's house (and, in light of developments, we're now thinking to arrange it so that we're there on the 7th, for a DVD release party!).
As it turned out, the season passes caused a slight problem. We got separated at the gates because Becca and I had to go to another window to use our passes. By the time we got that sorted out, we'd lost track of the others. Becca, who had wanted to go on the big rides with Siryn, was disappointed but soon got over it.
Nice park! Hot day. We went on a few rides, not many as it turned out because some of the lines were horrendous. Becca won four little stuffed snakes and two fat little stuffed dogs playing carnival games (skee-bowling and darts). It was a lot of fun, just me and her, mommy-daughter time. I bought a "La Vampire" visor, to make up for the hat I lost at Wild Waves.
The last ride was the log ride, which was not the tame tepid Splash Mountain we were expecting but fast and bumpy and full of rapids â¦ fun! Then we sat for a while and watched other logs come down the flume, waiting to see if anybody was going to flash the camera. Closest we got was a quartet of teens who flipped the finger in unison.
We wound up making our way back to the hotel on our own, too. Becca was sure that I was going to get us lost, oh she of little faith. Then she went swimming, and Tim told us about his day.
Then, with aching legs and feet, we wimped out and took a cab down into the old town district, to a fondue restaurant. Seen as how Becca had already eaten her day's quota of chicken nuggets and all! And wow! What a meal! We got the Fondue Trio, which started with a cheese fondue, bread, grapes and apples. Then we got a bubbling pot of broth and a platter of raw chicken and beef and veggies to dip. And then, oh-my-slavering-gods, a fondue of dark chocolate with bits of crepe, marshmallow, banana, and strawberry.
As we returned to the hotel, by cab again because now we were not only footsore and achy but stuffed to capacity with yummy fondue, we ran into Keith and family again. Judging by the array of stuffed animals they were carrying â" a clownfish, more snakes, etc. â" they had been at La Ronde too.
We slept in on Tuesday, and then headed to Notre Dame. I only shot a couple of pictures before Tim started grumbling about how flash photography would damage the paint. So I quit, even though hoards of other people were popping flashbulbs right and left. It was a truly impressive building â¦ and I wish I'd realized sooner the gross impropriety of wearing a Gothy black "La Vampire" visor into a cathedral â¦ but my skin didn't blister when I dipped my fingers in the holy water font, so I guess that's a good sign.
Our next stop was the Science Center, where we were just in time to catch the English version of this interactive immersion shark game movie thing they had. Fifty or so people sitting in a dark room at computer terminals, while up front is a huge screen of underwater scenes. Each of us played the role of some sea creature, starting low on the old food chain and working our way up through the species by eating prey, avoiding being eaten, and reaching certain goals. Very cool.
Becca enjoyed the Science Center, which had exhibits devoted to the science of sleep, the human body, and technology. A movie must've been being filmed outside, too, because we could see trucks and trailers and cameras and crew, and they had gone to some effort to make the outside of the Science Center into an airport. Luggage trolleys, suitcases, signs, etc. Never did catch a glimpse of anybody famous, though.
We had an early dinner, then returned to the hotel. By now, if anyone else was still around, we didn't see them. Tim started packing while I took Becca for a final swim, and then I got online briefly â¦ before the thunderstorm rolled in.
And what a thunderstorm! Huge flaring sheets of lightning, stinging rain blown almost horizontal by high wind, crashing roars of thunder. The weather channel even said something about a chance of tornadoes, if I was translating correctly (though how hard can it be to guess what "tornade" means?). So I turned off the computer, and we doused the lights, and sat and watched the storm.
Luckily, it didn't blow out the power or the television, so Tim and I were still able to catch "The Amazing Race" before falling asleep. The alarm was set for 4:00 AM, so that we could get to the airport and finally head for home.
It was a wonderful trip (except for the car thing). So great to see my old friends and meet new ones! I didn't realize until I was there just how much I'd missed everybody. We're all looking forward to Las Vegas, and Tim and I have even found ourselves thinking seriously about a Seattle bid one of these years.
Seattle sounds great!!
Christine, I love reading your Gathering Journals. I also love hearing about the Montreal stuff that you did. One of the few regrets (and it's pretty minor) that I have about most Gatherings is that I'm so busy that I never get any real tourist time in. Don't ever see all that much of the town. I'm glad you managed to.
This is my con report from Le Gathering, Montreal 2004.
I have attended sci-fi/fantasy conventions since 1985. In my youth, everything was new and exciting and I always looked forward to the next opportunity to meet like-minded people at these magical weekend gatherings.
But like anything, it gets old after a while: one becomes jaded, or cynical, or bored. And for those of us who turn a hobby into a business, this is intensified by the "professional" angle that we maintain.
But at this convention, I re-discovered a pleasure that I haven't enjoyed in almost ten years: The sheer enjoyment of reveling in the appreciation of a wonderful creation-- in this case, Disney's animated TV series, "Gargoyles."
The show ended its run in 1997, but the fandom survived-- and have held a regular convention every year since that time. Understand: the show was over. It only ran three seasons, the last of which wasn't even the same production house as the first two (thus a dispute on whether there were three seasons, or really only two.) And yet, despite this, a loyal following of fans put forth the effort to make a convention happen, dedicated to this show, year after year in a different city each time.
I was always a fan of the show, but I felt no particular motivation to seriously join the fandom, until this year, when my good friend Lanny invited me to the convention. "You're a voice actor," he said. "You've got to come. Some of the voice talent from the show will be there." And then he very, very generously offered to fly me down on his air travel points, and put me up in his hotel room.
How could I say no? I looked forward to it-- and I hadn't been to Montreal since I was four-- what a fun opportunity!
So I flew down east, got picked up by Lanny and Derrick and off we went to the hotel.
The very first night, I saw the difference between this convention and so many others: The people who made it happen, and the guests around which the fandom is based. Lanny, it turns out, knew most of the convention staff personally, not to mention Greg Weisman, the creator of the show. We all went out to dinner the first night and I sat between Greg and Lanny and across from the con chair, Karine "Kanthara" Charlebois (six months pregnant and still the perfect hostess, she is TEH FABULOUS, or as we say in French, <i>absolument fameuse.</i>).
And there it was: meeting one of the guests of honour, the show's creator, who is a great guy and very open and-- and this is the part that really sent me-- just one of the gang. You'd never pick Greg Weisman out at this convention as the Special Guest Superstar Guy. He knows these people, and they know him. They're old friends. You can feel that vibe. They're used to each other, comfortable with each other. It's a feeling I haven't seen before in the otherwise drooling-fan-infested populations of other conventions.
I noticed that compared to other conventions, the dealer's room and art show were small. I realized this was because they weren't the focus of the convention, they weren't the <i>point.</i> The point was, and always has been as far as I can tell, the people. The fans I began to meet were happy to be there, as opposed to the dull whineyness of many convention veterans. They were from many diverse backgrounds, and there was a wide spread of age ranges. Artists, theatricals, computer techs, veterinarians, publishers... one couldn't pigeonhole this fandom into one demographic; they are, literally, from all over the place.
I met people that I knew only vaguely as names mentioned by artist friends of mine who were involved in the fandom. They too, had heard of me in similarly vague ways. Those barriers dissolved quickly as I was welcomed by everyone I met. Like I said, these people are all part of the gang-- in Gargoyle terms, we're all one big clan.
I haven't felt that connection in years. I used to have the same feeling with other <a href="http://www.elfquest.com">ElfQuest</a> fans in the late 80's, but since then had become jaded. These people, this Clan, re-awoke something in me that I thought I'd lost, like a memory of my youth but still present in the here-and-now.
The Radio Play, the main reason Lanny invited me and the reason I wanted to go, was so much fun I forgot that I was trying to be a professional and do some serious learning from the veterans of the biz. I auditioned for Greg Weisman, who made it very easy, explaining in a prior seminar what he wanted and how to give it to him, and with the help of Jen, miss CrzyDemona herself, they cast me (as The Ham Comedy Character, which tells me that they had me figured out from the word Go).
Here's the other magical thing about this: Keith David, the voice of Goliath himself, was meant to be at the voice seminar and the subsequent radio play. Due to complications he couldn't arrive until late Saturday night. Guess what-- I had an amazing time anyway. It says a lot about a convention that even when a major guest can't make it, that the fun just keeps on going. I know it did for me.
Keith arrived at around 11 pm Saturday night and he was welcomed-- he had brought his family and he sang karaoke songs after the costume contest. Once again, a miracle-- I can't think of any celebrity who would not only bring his family to a convention with him, but actually stick around and participate in a room full of adoring fans singing karaoke.
The magic of the Gathering, again.
On a personal note, I found the man inspiring. He was <i>resonant.</i> I could believe everything he said because I could feel the strength of <i>his</i> belief behind it. He spoke of the industry of acting and voicing, which spoke directly to me-- but his other anecdotes and stories were a pleasure to listen to as well, because he was sharing in an intimate setting.
Intimate settings seemed to be the name of the game, as Greg Weisman hosted his own "Mug-A-Guest" panels, in both the PG-13 and the "Blue" -- anything goes -- format. Sitting in the con suite, hanging out, anyone could ask him anything. He was accessible. He was friendly. He was candid, open, everyone's pal.
Again, something I've never seen before.
Disney is planning to release the first season on DVD on December 7th of this year. There was a film crew at the Gathering, filming us every day and asking for interviews with the fans. I volunteered, wanting to do my part to explain the amazing phenomenon that Gargoyles fandom is. I hope that I painted a good, clear picture and that something of that message makes it onto the "special features" of the DVD release, because this phenomenon is too cool to allow to pass unnoticed.
To my fellow Clansmates out there, the new people I've met and the generous friend who allowed me my first glimpse of this amazing world-- thank you. Thank you for a great weekend. Thank you for a truly magical experience. I can't say enough about a weekend with no downsides except perhaps:
- Fear me in battle at LaserQuest.
- Liz is a total SHARK at Mario Kart. Fear HER.
- Next year, in Las Vegas, I really hope to put together a smashing team for the Clan Olympics.
Thank you all. I know I'm looking forward to the future of this fandom, and my place in it.
To those of you reading this: The next Gathering happens around the beginning of August, 2005 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Go to <a href="http://www.gatheringofthegargoyles.com/">http://www.gatheringofthegargoyles.com/</a> and keep an eye for further developments. And remember: The sooner you register, the sooner the convention has more money with which to create a fantasy weekend of unparalleled enjoyment.
"And remember: The sooner you register, the sooner the convention has more money with which to create a fantasy weekend of unparalleled enjoyment. "
Truer words and all that.
Well, Michael, I hope to see you in Valencia this summer. There will be a ton of guests, including voice actors Keith David, Thom Adcox, Jeff Bennett, Bill Faggerbakke, Brigitte Bako and Edward Asner. Plus Voice Directors Jamie Thomason and Ginny McSwain. And that's just for starters. We'll have writers and artists and composer Carl Johnson, etc.
An L.A. Gathering is a great place to interact with professionals. Lots and lots of guests in a relatively intimate setting.
Check out www.gatheringofthegargoyles.com for more information.