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RIPOSTES 2006-05 (May)

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Alex Garg writes...

Late Saturday, August 7 - The Weekend, Pt. 2:
Gee, I wonder how many Disney cartoons he could have been talking about, given the activities in the hotel. I suppose they could have just gone on some drunken tangent about Duck Tales, but was pretty sure the guy was talking about Gargoyles and those of us attending the Gathering.

I am a magnificent eavesdropper. I know it's rude, I know I shouldn't do it, but it's just one of those things I do very well; and when the conversation relates (in some way) to me, well, I grant exceptions in my morals to listening in on people talking about me behind my back.

Their conversation started off pretty typically - what nerds, why bother, yadda-yadda; stuff I'm used to hearing being the Gargoyles geek that I am and things I pretty much ignore. I was about to tune out when as the conversation turned to what was going on downstairs, the costumes, karaoke and the like, but then they started talking about crashing the party.


I don't go to many conventions and see my online friends all that often, so when I do attend such events I appreciate them *not* being crashed. They passed around the straw to see who was going to go down and scout it out, come back and bring the others for a good ol' party crashing. They came to a guy who, apparently, had some connection with the group (I would find out what later) and spiced up the bet. The bet was that he couldn't come back to the bar in 10 minutes with a girl from downstairs and the pot was set at $17.

As the group was finalizing their plans, Keith David entered the bar and Ellen and Dylan began talking about inviting him over. All right, so, people were about to go downstairs to crash the party and an opportunity to share drinks with Keith David had just entered the scene.

Stop party crashers, drink with Keith, stop party crashers, drink with Keith...

Ellen and Dylan decided not to invite Keith over - Dylan instead opted to buy Keith a drink - and so my course was clear. When the crashing scouts left the bar, I followed.

Of course, I made no attempt to be stealth-like in my pursuit - the objective was an interception, not make sure they involve a fellow Con-goer in their sick little bet - and they, guy and a girl, spotted me. I was quick to let them know that I had overheard their conversation and wasn't going to give them a free ticket down.

They denied wanting to *crash* the Gathering but the guy did fess up to his boss' bet. Okay, let's back that up - this guy's boss bets him that he can't get a girl back to the bar in 10 minutes. Are you feeling a little repulsed by his boss, too? The guy turns on the charm and appeals to me man-to-man, thinking that I'm going to sympathize and approve of the bet to lure a girl back to the bar. He even tries to slip a bribe by me.

In what some might consider counter to a federal employee's stereotyped first instinct, I refused.

So he tries the backup plan - feign interest in the Gathering. All right, semi-weak spot, semi-opening to get him to leave: if you ask me about the fandom and the Gathering, I'll tell you all you want to know. My thought process was to use that to *maybe* get him to forget about the bet or bothering us and just part ways peacefully. It worked to some extent, however I talked it up a bit too much and they insisted on seeing everything that was going on. Plus in the course of conversation it was discovered that they were from the D.C. area as well, so we ended up talking a bit about all that was going on at home which, although it eased any tension that was between us, took away a bit of my edge.

In any event, we headed down to the ballroom - the two of them looking for their target, me looking for security - and then they revealed who their target was. "Kelly." Earlier I had seen the Kelly I've been hanging around with go to the bar in proximity of the guy, but she had gone to bed a while earlier; so I told him that Kelly was my roommate, asleep, and "probably not" going to go back with him to the bar.

He looks into the room - "No, there she is."

Ah, see, it didn't help that there were three Kelly's at the Gathering and that his "Kelly" I know as Sapphire. So... instead of diverting him, I led him right to his objective.

*heavy sigh of defeat*

Sapphire came over, greeted the guy and invited him in - you have to invite a vampire into your house before they can attempt to suck your blood - and I left; I don't need to be defending people I don't know and who are very capable of handling themselves.

She sums up the event in her journal as follows:
"I had to lay down for a while because I was feeling ill. I went to the bar to get something to settle my stomach. A guy, Nate, came over and started hitting on me, and wouldn't let me go back down to the convention. Once I left, he even came down to the convention to see what it was about (which is fine because I told him he could). Luckily he left shortly, I think we were too weird for him."

As I said, I went back to the bar feeling pretty rotten about the event - namely my handling of it, particularly in hindsight - and saw Dylan and Keith sharing a drink. Ellen shared an anecdote with Keith that had him laughing (it's actually very funny, but you'll have to have Ellen tell it because I can't). The guy, of course, came back to the bar without Sapphire and was chided by his coworkers - no big loss.

We stuck around the bar until it closed then went down to see if the ball was still going. There were a few people left but it was clearly winding down for the night (/morning - it was 1 a.m. at this point). Continuing my wallflower state I hung around while Ellen and Greg talked about baseball and his brother's website. Had I known that Greg was leaving early I would have spoken more - not that I had much to say, I just like the guy - but, alas, I missed my chance.

The party ended and we brought Kathy into the group - now just down to me, Kathy, Dylan and Ellen - as we headed up to Ellen's room to just hang out. The coffee I had sucked down plus my mind rolling over and over the earlier episode and how it could have gone even worse were keeping me up, so I gladly stuck around.

Again I didn't talk much - seriously, I love to listen more than chat. The three of them, among my inspirations for writing, talked back and forth about books they liked, writing techniques they used, etc., so for me, just kicking back and listening in on all this was great. Dylan left around 3 and Ellen booted Kathy and me out about a quarter to 4.

I was still very much awake at that point - again, more from continually going over and over the night's events more than the coffee - and just wandered around the hotel. At that point, it registered that the Gathering would be ending soon and, well, that just saddened me. Eventually my body cried out and my brain allowed it to return to the room to lie down.

So at 4:15 a.m. I plopped down on the floor and my eyes shut - brain very much stayed on. No sleep.

Next, "The Weekend, Pt. 3"

Greg responds...

Geez, that "boss". Creepy is right. Uggh.

Response recorded on May 22, 2006

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Alex Garg writes...

Saturday, August 7 - The Weekend, Pt. 1:
Woke up 7-ish and grabbed some breakfast before heading off to Ellen, Christine and Spacebabie's panel regarding chase scenes in fiction and what makes a good one. They all seemed rather tired, but despite that the panel turned out well - good participation from the audience (although they all seemed tired, too - for once I was ahead of the sleep curve).

I stopped by the mezzanine to take a look at the cast list for Radio Play around noon and was very happy to see that I had made the cut - along with about 30 other people. Largest cast ever.

Grabbed lunch with Kelly and we pretty much just hung out in the restaurant. From there it was on to Radio Play rehearsals where we learned that we'd be doing the uncut version of "The Journey." I was Art, and I had fun with it.

I filled out the audition sheet as "Alex Garg" - Greg inserted "Alex 'Carter' Garg" on his own. Greg remembered my name... I'm so happy.

Radio Play was well-attended, thanks to the staff closing everything else so people would sort of be forced to attend. A good strategy as last year's Radio Play's audience was sparse. Of course, the DVD crew was also there, so maybe they'll get a shot of my head or something. Overall, the show went very well and everybody seemed to have a great time with it. We had a bit of a break before the Banquet and I used that time to, once again, retreat to the room - briefly.

The Banquet was definitely something else. At the table were me, Kelly, Leo, Denis, Ellen and James Anatidae. It was a fantastic meal. At some point near the end Keith David finally showed up, having escaped filming yet another movie, and was bombarded with questions before he could really get a chance eat. I was tempted to ask, "Would you like to eat before we continue?" but decided not to be a jerk - the group doing karaoke in the next room had that covered.

We got a break after the Banquet/Q&A to retreat to the room, and on our way down to the Cosplay we encountered Keith who, as it turns out, would be staying on our floor - not that we interacted much with him, but it was still cool to know that Keith David was right down the hall.

Let's talk about Cosplay for a second. I don't know if it was Montreal, the DVD crew or just a huge collective effort this year, but the costumes were above and beyond. Seriously, some great work. My camera wasn't working, though, so I don't have any pictures.

I didn't stick around for the Ball - never have, I don't dance - and instead went with Ellen, Dylan, Stormy and a couple of others to the bar (they had drinks, I had coffee). Leo and Kelly showed up later and joined in. I didn't really say much, as always more content to listen. This kept my ears sharp for them to pick up from behind me "It's a [cut] Disney cartoon!"

Next, "The Weekend, Pt. 2"

Greg responds...

Hey, Carter, of course I know your name! It usually takes me two cons to get an individual's name down, but I try my best.

Response recorded on May 22, 2006

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Alex Garg writes...

Friday, August 6 - It Begins:
Nobody bothered to inform my internal clock that I was on vacation and didn't need to be up *nearly* as early as I was. However, it gave me time to freshen up before we all went down to breakfast with Kathy and Ellen, the whole group being me, Kelly, Leo, Denis and Rob. After that we kind of scattered - registration was moved to noon so I just hung out in the mezzanine and talked to folks as they came by.

After a while registration opened and we got our packets - con badge, schedule (which was really something else), PGA and shirt (I ordered an XL, I was presented with a small (made the exchange for a large later)). I flipped through the PGA and was very, very impressed. The stories are truly top-notch, and I'm still surprised that I'm in it. The back of the book says, "This anthology contains ten stories and eleven pieces of art, brought to life by eighteen of the fandom's top authors and artists," and to be in that list (given all of my literary accomplishments) is something else. Still amazed.

At some point Ellen asked if we all wanted to go on a walking tour of downtown Montreal - Ellen's old stomping grounds - and we agreed, we being me, Kelly, Leo, Denis and Kathy. It took a while for us to assemble - whenever one of us showed up, another had to run back to get something - but we eventually made it out of the hotel.

Montreal is a beautiful city, a great mix of modern architecture with an old world atmosphere. We stopped by the Notre Dame Basilica and Chinatown (all very nice) and then started looking for a place to eat. What we hadn't done, however, was check our watches, and when we did we realized that we were all going to be late for panels we wanted to attend (and I had missed Spacebabie's Round Robin). So we had to cut short our plans to eat out and headed back to the hotel. We passed Ellen's alma mater on the way and she and Kathy eventually ducked into a cafeteria. As became a theme with me this Gathering, I wasn't hungry and, with the others being similarly without appetite, we made our way back to the hotel to attend Flanker's panel. From there I was off to Radio Play auditions.

Last year I had the role of Thailog, so I wasn't too nervous going in - right up until the DVD crew showed up. For a second it looked like they were going to film my audition, but they did not. I read as Lex, got nods of approval from Greg and Jen and left it in their hands. As I stepped out of the audition, the DVD camera was *right there.* There was only one thing I could do - look like a deer in headlights, give them a quick nod with a smile and dart away. I hope that doesn't make the cut - nobody needs to see a sleep-deprived, tired, startled Carter.

I had been very excited about the DVD crew being there, but I pretty much made it my business to avoid them. Not that I'm camera shy or anything - not by any means - I just didn't really have anything to say and I wasn't doing anything particularly interesting. So, you know, there was no point in getting in their way.

Anyway, I went back to the room and hung out with Kelly for a while until Opening Ceremonies. LOTS of first-timers at this one, close to half of the attendees. We saw the videos, Greg played a tape of many Gargoyles-involved people and we heard the pitch for the 2005 Gathering - we're goin' to Vegas!

Opening Ceremonies also included the first Clan Olympics event - many, many teams involved - that was hilarious and chaotic. After that event we went back to the room to hang out for a brief time before the Blue Mug-A-Guest. It was at this event last year that I "earned" the title "Creepy" - *poke at Greg* - so of course I was going to participate in this one. The event was going to be held in the con suite and about 60 people packed in, even though there was really only comfortable room for about half that.

It wasn't very "blue," if you will - they scheduled it before the regular Mug-A-Guest, so the many took the opportunity to ask the regular questions; that plus all the exciting DVD news was on people's minds. I would have stayed around longer but I was suddenly overcome with sleep and ducked out about 12:30 a.m.

So ended the first official day of the Gathering.

Next, "The Weekend, Pt. 1"

Greg responds...

I love those late night sessions, whether or not they turn blue.

Response recorded on May 18, 2006

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Alex Garg writes...

Thursday, August 5 - The Longest Freakin' Day:
On the road again...

Leo and I left Niagara Falls about 8:30 and had no problems getting across the border - I know, we were spoiled. Once we were across the border we sent Kelly a heads-up to let her know that we were on the way. After making that call, Kathy called to ask if I would pick up her roommate at the airport after she arrived - to which I agreed.

Hamilton should have given us a warning of traffic to come. I'm used to one-way streets, that wasn't an issue, but not an entire city of one-way streets. I managed it, however (though I almost went the wrong way down one of those pesky one-way streets), and found parking.

We found Kelly, I dropped off Squidgy's toys, Leo scared Squidgy off by taking many, many, many pictures of her, Kelly and I exchanged CDs (which I wasn't originally aware that we were doing, but it worked) and we were off once again.

Toronto is a very impressive city - skyscrapers, CN Tower, etc., much like NYC; and the traffic's about the same. This didn't help us when the GPS decided that we should see Toronto more closely and turn off the highway an exit too soon. We were never *lost* in Toronto, despite what Kelly and Leo might describe in their journals, we stayed on the same street the entire time - we just had trouble finding a suitable exit.

Anyway, because the GPS was kind enough to take us off the highway then peter out (going back to that problem of not managing to download the detail maps), Leo was left to navigate. He got us onto a parkway which led us back to the highway and we fled Toronto hastily.

A short time after noon Lord Sloth (Rob) called and wondered if we could still swing by and pick him up, and I had no problems doing so - well, I had no problems agreeing to do so anyway... sort of.

Cell phone coverage was less than sharp along that stretch of highway which led to some amusing conversation.

Rob: "I'm wearing a white shirt." + cell phone static = "What's your insurance?"
Me: "...State Farm...?"

Less amusing was the fact that when he said we should take the third exit into Kingston we just took the third in a series of seven exits and ended up far, far off course. However, like in Toronto we got through it and picked up Rob without further incident - unless you count the fun we had at the A&W store when trying to pick up food.

Let's not go there.

It was more smooth sailing from Kingston to Montreal, but it was in Montreal that things got very, very interesting and frightening. Like with any metropolis, traffic piled up when we were about 20 minutes out. Then it piled up some more. Then some more.

I've had this route planned for months down to the mile and minute - unfortunately, I must have thought that Rush Hour didn't exist in Canada because that's when I planned the minute I'd arrive in Montreal. On top of that, the drivers in that part of the country are, to put it nicely, insane. So, we were approaching a metropolis in Rush Hour conditions with the worst drivers Canada has to offer.

To this respect, Montreal is Canada's Washington, D.C. - I was home.

On top of the traffic, Rob let us know that he needed to be at the hostel by 6 (it was around 4:45 when we learned this) otherwise they were going to drop his reservation. The crunch was on.

As at home as I was with the traffic patterns, it took a second to dawn on me that I had crossed over to the other side - the tourist. I can't stress how often I grind my teeth at a Georgian who swerves from lane to lane playing dodge-car with Marylanders, or how often I need to charge around a New Yorker who is obeying the posted speed limit in spite of the flow of traffic. Now, I could imagine the Quebecers who took a glance at my Virginia tags and felt their hearts sink at the knowledge that this tourist was going to throw a wrench into their traffic.

And how I did.

All right, let's talk a little bit about that sketch tunnel that welcomes you into Montreal. Because, you know, it's sketch - at least if you're trying to get to University St. The signs... kind of don't exist for that until you get *out* of the tunnel, if you get out at the right exit. I did not get out at the right exit. So, confused, I got back *into* the tunnel and popped out even farther from where I needed to be. From there, things got weird.

I fumbled through Montreal until we got to a major road at which time I pointed towards downtown and hoped to cross University. Let's talk about this road that I turned on.

Okay, imagine your standard four-lane road. On the far right you have your bus/taxi lane, on your far left you have your turning lane - all normal; the middle two lanes are, instead, one big-ass lane that two cars share. To repeat - that two cars share.

Never have I heard of such a thing, much less driven such a thing. I would have been more than happy to turn off of it, but Leo had discovered that the road took us almost directly to Rob's hostel (it was about 5:30 at this point). Traffic was heavy, time was running out, and I was completely in the dark as to what was going on. Eventually I got sick of it all and just sank into D.C. commuter mode.

I must have angered many a Quebecer, much less scared Leo, Kelly and Rob - but I give props to my mad driving skills (Kathy, if you're reading this, stop laughing).

With about 10 minutes to spare we dropped Rob off a block from his hostel, and he reported later that he got his reservation with four minutes remaining. With that mission accomplished, we made it to the hotel (after having to briefly leave Montreal) and got ourselves squared away.

I had planned to arrive with enough time to relax myself, but the traffic ordeal had made it so that I had to leave the hotel to pick up Denis and Kathy pretty much as soon as I stepped into the room.

Off I went.

Getting to Dorval was simplistic - just had to take a highway and follow the signs. Again, the Maryland-like driving qualities of Quebecers, the setting Sun in my eyes and a really sketchy roundabout kept me on my toes. I saw that Denis' flight was two hours delayed and was going to come in about the same time that Mandi, Kathy's roommate, would be coming in, so fortunately I would only have one more trip after this one. I picked up Kathy without much of a wait and it was back to Montreal.

Determined not to make the same traffic mistakes I had made on my first ride in, I made new ones. This included screwing up the tunnel again *and* running a red light - first time for everything. Overall, though, getting Kathy to the hotel was much, much easier than getting my roommates there.

Had a little downtime in the room then it was off to get Denis and Mandi. At least, we left the room to do so. Kathy and I decided that since customs was adding an hour to people's wait times we would just hang around the lobby. Oh, boy, talked to a lot of people (Michael, Lenny, Mara, A Fan... lots more), saw Greg show up (tired) and then we were off.

Mandi showed up... Denis didn't. After an hour, Denis still hadn't shown up. After an hour and a half and learning that British Airways was undergoing a complete meltdown at Dorval... Denis didn't show up.

We waited until midnight for Denis and then figured that he'd be intelligent enough to realize that we weren't going to wait around all night and just take a shuttle. This he did - just two hours earlier, minutes before we showed up at Dorval.


Got to the room at 1 a.m., unrolled the airmat that my fellow office intern loaned me and called it a day - a long, long day.

Day's mileage: 480
Total mileage: 930

Greg responds...

Wow... you are a generous and dedicated soul.

Response recorded on May 18, 2006

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Alex Garg writes...

Tuesday, August 3 - Prologue:
Typical day at work. Got up around 7:30 a.m., out of the house around 9, in by 10 (love that summer recess intern work schedule: 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.). I left a note for my parents to dig up my passport so I'd be all good to cross the border - for years I've insisted on keeping it, but they've always said that it would be better for them if they kept everybody's stuff together. At about 11 I get a call from my dad - Dad never calls my office unless it's something big.

Mom was sick and couldn't remember where my passport is (she was under the impression that I had it. See note above, understand the minor headache that washed over me at that moment). So, I said that I'd just go with my birth certificate.

Apparently, that's with my passport.


Fortunately, I was born in D.C., so I cut out from work early to head down to D.C. Vital Records to pick up a new certificate. I don't know if it's because I work for the bureaucracy that has made me immune to fear of bureaucracy (the DMV doesn't scare me, either) or that I was too dedicated to getting this checked off my list that I wasn't thinking about what a trip of this nature entailed, but I set off to do it anyway.

There's nothing like walking in a suit in 90 degrees + humidity for a mile-and-some to get you in the mood for filing paperwork. And, of course, there's nothing like sitting around for 80 minutes while the people who came in after you get their certificates first to keep that energy going, not to mention the words of encouragement coming from the man who had been waiting five hours for his certificate.

So, after that long wait I got what I sought and was on my way. I did all my packing that night, made Kelly her mix CDs, double and triple checked with the hotels that all my reservations were in order and took a good, long sleep in preparation for tomorrow.

Here's what I didn't do: get drinks for the ride, get Kelly's cat, Squidgy, any toys and download the maps I needed to my GPS - I had the route in there for about a week, just not the maps along the way. I could do those in the morning.

Wednesday, August 4 - Onward:
Dad woke me up on his way out at around 7:30 a.m. and we had our goodbyes. I went through my morning routine and was out the door at about 8:30 to take care of the last-minute details of my trip and I left the computer to download those GPS maps. While out I picked up the drinks, an Arnold Schwarzenegger "The Governator" chew toy and scratching post for Squidgy, a 128 MB memory disc for my digital camera and a new pair of headphones for Kelly as a belated birthday present (Squidgy had destroyed hers a few days earlier).

I returned home about 9:45 to check on my maps, only to see warnings that my device didn't have enough room to hold them all and the map of Montreal was corrupted. So after sacrificing the maps of D.C., Maryland, Pennsylvania and greater Ontario in order to keep maps of the key cities *and* reinstalling Montreal… I was out of time. Leo was due into Dulles at 11:10 and, the airport being 40 minutes away, I needed to go.

At 10:06 I posted in my LJ "See you all in Montreal!!!" and was off shortly thereafter - quickly grabbing a road atlas on my way out.

No problems at Dulles, other than getting together with Leo, but through much of the morning we didn't have any incident. We stopped in Altoona, Pa., for a bit of lunch about 1:30 p.m. but for the most part had a straight shot - although through some very windy, skecthy back roads.

One of the great things about today was that my older sister was on her way *back* from Canada and pretty much along the same route. She gave me a ring at some point in the afternoon that she had just gotten through a major storm in Pa. and wanted to know where we were.

We were just entering the storm at that point.

It was, well, massive, and we had to pull over a few miles east of Du Bois to wait it out, but from there (I promise this time) - straight shot.

Pennsylvania is entirely too big, BTW.

We got into our hotel in Niagara Falls, N.Y., around 7:30 p.m. without much trouble and ordered a pizza for dinner (culture clash - how big is a sheet of pizza?) We called Kelly to let her know that we were just across the border and to confirm the time we'd be picking her up (and asked her the question above - she didn't know).

That night we had to contend with a very, very loud tour group that had taken up the hall. So, though I ended up sleeping soundly, it took a few hours to get there.

Day's mileage: 450

Next, "The Longest Freakin' Day"

Greg responds...

Now, I've got two of you leaving me in suspense...

Response recorded on May 17, 2006

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Spacebabie writes...

Thursday, Aug 5

Woke up and showered. Greg bought Donut Holes. I ate a few along with some coffee. Greg, Alex, Revel and I tried to wake up the others. We paused to admire Greg's action figures and Revel pointed out one of his Peter Parker figures appeared to be constipated. After a few laughs we managed to get the others up. I decided to show off and picked up Aaron from behind. He went LIMP and had to sit back down. Now I know how Lynati feels. (Ask her or Aaron about a certain Akon story)

We managed to get everyone fed and dressed and head out to the hardware store to pick up more supplies for Lynati's costume and then fill the cars with gas and the coolers with ice and sodas

We passed by the Catskills (More mountains and another Washington Irving Setting.)

The lines at the borders were long, but we managed to make it through. We pulled over to a rest stop to get better directions. It seemed the second we drove over the border the temperature dropped. Coat time! I tried to wait along with the others but because of my sandals. (Comfortable for traveling) I had to jump back into Hyena to warm up my feet. After we received directions we continued toward Montreal.

The star wars jokes picked up when we drove through this tight trench made up of cement dividers. As we drove up on the bridge into Montreal Greg noticed a big glowing red search light and made an LOTR joke. Our first exit was blocked off but we managed to find another one and drove towards the hotel.

Nearly everyone got out to find the real place to park and try to get our keys. Several people in the fandom were there to greet us including Sapphire, who looks totally differed sans glasses. We got out our suitcases and I watched the stuff while Revel and Emambu park the cars in the basement parking lot.

After dropping off our luggage we went down to socialize. I met with Ckayote from the S8 comment room: Another Floridian and a fellow Golden Knight. I tried to stay awake but I could actually hear the lullaby music form the Sims game in my head. I had to crawl into bed before I passed out on the lobby floor.

Next up Friday.

Greg responds...

Sure... keep me in suspence... ;)

Response recorded on May 17, 2006

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Some Random Dude writes...

Hello Greg,
This is a DVD release question,which i bet has been asked a butt load, but i have just read on The Gathering site that the dvd release date is Dec 7, 04 i would like to know is this the offical date? is it subject to change? or has someone jump the gun yet again?

Greg responds...

December 7th, 2004 was in fact the OFFICIAL release date of the first season DVD. And in December 2005 the first volume of the second season was released. Both are currently available.

Response recorded on May 16, 2006

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Kaylee Skylyn writes...

(Second try. Not sure it made it the first time...)

Gathering 2004 Con Report/Journal
By Kaylee Skylyn

My gathering experience started well before the gathering. Little did I know what I was getting myself into when I volunteered to do the website for this years Gathering. Being a very shy person and very very thrifty I had never attended a Gathering before. Main reason tho is that I never considered myself a people person and was not fond of crowds, let alone crowds of virtual strangers, so never could bring myself to attend. After attending this year I can totally see why people make the Gathering a priority. The con staff was GREAT and the live meeting early in the year allowed me to get to know them first so I could better deal with everything else afterwards.

By being on staff I gained a good insight into how the Gathering worked and was amazed at the dedication people put into it. But my actual Gathering experience started days before the gathering when I tried to finish my costume in time. I'm such a procrastinator so had left it to the last week before hand. I only partly succeeded in finishing it. I ended up taking Wednesday off work to work on my costume and to pack. I was NOT ready to leave for Montreal yet so I really needed the extra day. There was much stress on Wednesday. Wednesday night I left Milton late and drove the 5 hours to my parents' house.

Thursday August 5, 2004

I got a few hours sleep then got up around 8:30 to say hello to my mom before grabbing breakfast and a few things then heading off the rest of the way to Montreal, which luckily was only 2 hours or so.
I arrived at Karines house around 12:30 to meet the rest of the staff and cart supplies to the hotel. After greeting everyone we trekked inside to get organized. We then piled into the van and car and took a bit of time for a Poutine lunch around the corner. The van was packed FULL of people, luggage and supplies so we filled the space left in my car. We unloaded everything at the Hotel and left most of the staff there to pack the envelops for registration while me and Karine gathered the rest of the supplies including the Anthology (which turned out wonderfully!) By the time we had most everything in place it was getting late and we sat down for a breather while Patrick and others took the van to pick up Greg at the airport.
When Greg arrived we all jumped up to greet him. Everyone was very happy to see him and stood back watching. This was my first time meeting Greg, I suspect he knew who I was by me being the only new face in the group and I was amazed how wonderful and …not aloof he was. Then we trekked down old Montreal looking for an open food place. We didn't have to go far so when we found one we crowded in. We ate, talked and laughed. Greg was a GREAT guy to hang out with, I can see why he is so well loved by the fans. After a nice dinner we walked back to the hotel. I love the old buildings in that section of town so I spent most of the walk looking around at the wonderful stonework. I also like how there are horse and buggies driving around and had to stop to say hello to an off duty horse (I love draft horses). When we got back to the hotel it was fairly late so we agreed to meet for a breakfast meeting the next morning then split up and headed to bed.
Photos from the day:

Friday August 6th 2004

I slept in a bit so had to wait for the shower, once it was free I took a speed shower but still was a bit late getting to the meeting. We walked down to a nearby breakfast restaurant and had a meeting during our time there. We went over who was doing what and made sure everything was covered. I don't remember what I mainly was doing… o_O I do remember running around a lot. I did my task then I tried to make sure everyone else had what they needed. The time flew and before I knew it it was 12 and someone asked me if the Perspective panel was still on so I took over setting up the Auction display while Karine ran down to do her panel. After everything in the dealers room was ready and people started filing in I started making sales from the Con table…despite not having the cash box. Heh…oh well. I make a few sales with exact change so that was good, and not hard as most were nice flat prices. The dealers room was fairly busy for a while and we sold a number of t-shirts ending up with only large left. That was encouraging. After things there settled down again I left Alan to cover the table alone and wandered about checking on things. It didn't take long for me to find another job and I spelled some staff off at the registration table. Part of me wanted to go to the radio play auditions but I knew I would not do very well. Being very shy and all, I also don't like to have the camera focused on me. I'd like to be on the DVD for a bit but am to self conscious for to concentrated attention.
Soon it was time for opening ceremonies and so we shut down the registration and started setting up for opening ceremonies. After we set things up and finaly got the equipment running properly we opened the doors and waited for our guest of honour to arrive. Apparently "Where's Greg?!? Is a very common question at the con. *giggles* Shortly after we had everyone and the staff went on stage, took their seats and Karine got started. I stayed below the stage with the crowd, not wanting all those eyes on my but also to run the tapes for Greg. I loved Gregs speech and the promotional videos of Gargs. They were great. And the tape of the other voice actors messages to us at the convention were very cool too. Very nice to hear them all. Being my first con these were all new to me and was great to see them, very cool to see what he went through to convince the others to make the show, and boy am I glad he succeeded!
After opening ceremonies many staff headed out to dinner with Greg again but I was exhausted so I went back to my room for a snack and a long nap. Happily I woke up just before the blue mug-a-guest so I headed up to the con suite and waited for Greg and the others. The room slowly filled and I'm sure we had more than the scheduled 30 people, not that Greg minded and we didn't have the heart to turn any away as long as there was room to breath. I LOVED the mug-a-guest! It was so cool to just sit and listen to Gregs comments on the show and the background of the show, gargoyle biology, love lives and other cool things. It was stated that this was the most tame mug-a-guest ever but I found it very cool that way. Finally Greg had to dash to the bathroom at 2 am and I took the opportunity to do the same. I was starting to nod off just before that so I decided to just go to bed lest I not be able to function the next day.
Photos of the day:

Saturday August 7, 2004

I managed to get just in time to make in to the con suite for our morning breakfast meeting. Having been a bit late getting back yesterday we decided to go to the hotel restaurant. We all went for the breakfast buffet being fast and lost of food…but it turned out to be darned expensive… We went over jobs and duties and quickly headed out to do our jobs. I ran to the store for a few things before heading up to watch the con suite. I managed to grab my costume and worked on the bottom hem (the only part of it unfinished) of it while I was watching the suite. If I hadn't of had that to work on I would have been quite nervous and fidgety. I like to feel like I'm helping out or at least working in some way.
Luckily Patrick was able to spell me off for a while and I caught the SCA combat demonstration, I was really looking forward to that. I was very thankful. It was cool, fun to see them play around with the swords and see the different styles. When they took a half hour break I rushed upstairs for a shower and then peeked in the con suite and took over the duties again...although sadly it was to late for him to catch the biology seminar. I felt bad (not having known he wanted to see it). So I returned to watching the con suite and working on my dress.
As radio play started Karine popped up and we closed up the con suite and I was SO GLAD I got to watch the radio play (I had forgotten what time it started). It was AWSOME!! I loved how everyone put so much into the voices and it went of so very well! So cool!
I think it was after radio play that they announced the music videos so I grabbed a con suite key and ran upstairs with the first elevator or fans. Saph still beat me to the door. *laugh* But I let them all in and started the videos, we had a good crowd. I passed around a sheet for them to vote on and we got quite a few votes down which was nice. My favourite of the videos won: Faint. So that was cool too, but they were all nicely done!
The time flew and it was time for the banquet before I knew it. My costumes bottom hem was not finished but I ran upstairs and changed into it anyways. While waiting for the elevator Greg came down the hall and I think the look on his face will be etched in my memory. A sorta double take-blink sorta thing. I think I surprised him with my costume. *giggles* I hope he liked it! I took a needle and worked on the finishing touch between courses. I got the front half of it completed and that was good. Made me happy because the back of the hem could be hidden by the cape.
The baquet was great! I really liked the food, although my table mates didn't seem to like it. *shrugs* I loved it. I also think If I am going to pay any sum of money for a banquet I want a NICE banquet, not a cheep buffet. And this banquet was a VERY NICE banquet. I really lucked out as well and I got the chocolate disert. The one I could actually eat too! Made me very happy and it was so taisty.
Near the end of the banquet our long awaited guest Keith arrived! He was greeted with warm applause. It was cool to see him, my first time putting the name to the face. We had a bit of a mug-a-guest as Keith tried to answer questions between bites of food (and he was sure trying to eat as fast as he could) Greg tried to answer questions as well but poor Keith still had trouble eating. For the two days he was at the convention I felt bad for him, as we never gave him a moments peace.
After the banquet we gave everyone some time to get into costume and us time to get ready for the Masquerade. After a while I wandered up to find some of the staff and me and Si decided to go through with our evil cos-play. We asked to go last rather than first because we were both so nervous. Si went as page-boy Tom and me as Princess Katherine so we played the scene where the Princess knights Tom as Guardian of the Eggs. But our evil twist, or Si's evil twist anyways, was that Tom jumps up and kisses Katherine at the end. So we decided to do that, but not really kiss but pretend to. I'm not sure I did very well….ok, I know I didn't. I totally blanked out when we got up there then totally lost my Princess Katherine accent…oy, I was embarrassed….but everyone seemed to like it as we did get some applause and the staff found it very funny. (as we had not told anyone except possibly our roommates, about our plan). Everyone's costumes were great! It was really great how almost all the staff had dressed up too. Very cool. I think the Mask was my favourite part. I'm hopping I can get on the DVD at least for a few seconds with my costume, but I kind of didn't go in the right spot for them to see me in the cos-play. I had my back to them…opps. Well there goes my only chance. Bla.
Afterwards we set up the music stuff and played some music but mostly they did Karaoke. I do not sing well and do not sing in front of others so I did not stick around for too too long. I did feel very bad about going to bed before Greg left as he was so great to just hang out with. I wanted to have another mug-a-guest that night too. :P I think he just stayed up all night talking with people. I wanted to stay up but just couldn't…
Photos from the day :

Sunday August 8th, 2004

We got up for the usual morning meeting, this time me and my roomies were a bit late as we all slept until 9. Those there decided to go to the bagel shop close by, not wanting to pay outrageously at the hotel restaurant. As I couldn't eat anything they would have there (due to gluten intolerance) I decided to stay and have a shower, for breakfast I ate some fruit I brought just for this type of occurrence. When the staff got back and we got to work I found myself jumping between jobs as people needed me.
I wandered over to the animation magazines table during a slow time and started browsing their stuff. The guy promptly swept over and hit me with the plug, and did well as he got me to sign up for the mailing list with the slight chance that I could win a CD.
Keith slept in, and I certainly don't blame him, but this meant that there were lots of people milling about waiting for his mug-a-guest. When Keith finally did come down and do the mug a guest he was great! Such a cool guy and the fans had a good time too. I helped to finish taking down the art show set up as quietly as I could while he was talking (and me trying to listen). After the mug-a-guest we started to set up for closing ceremonies, I kept running errands and such then came back for a few seconds and was just about to run off again when I hear someone call my real name (a rare occurrence this weekend) I look around kinda dazed and Karine points at me and I see the magazine guy holding up one of the ballets and I realise I won something! How cool is that! So I picked out a CD, not having any idea what any of them are I just chose the cover I liked the look of best. Later Si explained what the anime was about and now that I listen to it, it does have son nice music so it was a good choice.
Somewhere in the Keith mug a guest Abe Wintersmith pulls me aside and asks me to help him set up the surprise for the staff. He had this planed for MONTHS. He had bought tones of chocolate and some wine as a thank you for the staff. I was nervous about it…I had no idea if I could keep the secret and get the staff up all at the same time. But we set up ok and I kept the key away from Karine as best I could. Then me and Ian tried to keep all the staff OUT of the con suite until the reveal time…it was hard! Everyone kept wanting to go up, and most of the time I could divert them by saying I could run up for them…but there were a few times they would not let me. I forget the first but then Tal needed to put some of his art away, then Karine needed her closing ceremonies notes and wasn't sure where they were… So each time I escorted them up and tried to look nonchalant as I stood IN FRONT of the door to the half of the con suite with the chocolate and wine. Boy was I nervous someone would see it! But NO ONE DID! *cackles!*
Closing ceremonies was prity good. Just before starting I had to go let Keith know we were about to start. The poor guy. Right after his mug-a-guest the DVD guys interviewed him for an hour or so. I found him in the restaurant trying desperately to get some food into himself and burning his tough trying. I felt horrible….but told him that we were starting…but to take his time! (he didn't of course, I felt so bad) so a bit after we started he came in and I popped down to show him to the stage and to a spot to sit up there. After Karine summed everything up Cindy gave out the art show awards, and Clan Olympics gave out their awards we then gave the 2005 staff a chance to pimp next years con in Las Vegas. When Closing ceremonies was finished Keith ran off for a bit and me and Liz tried to convince the rest of the staff that it was essential that we go up to the con suite for an emergency meeting! It took a lot of convincing but eventually they all agreed to. We ushered everyone up and I opened the doors to the other half "Come on in!" Karine was the first in I think and she was "Oh wow…" which was followed by the others, after the speechlessness (besides the wows) it was quiet for a minute and then someone said "So what was this emergency meeting about?".*laugh* Your looking at it. So Karine read Scott's (Abe) awesome letter and the staff thought it was totally awesome. And they thought it was a great idea to carry on as well. So I left them to it and popped back downstairs to make sure the signing session with Keith had started alright and boy was the line long! It was cool tho. And I let Abe know that the thank you gift was well received.
Just before Keith started the signing session tho he had be talking to some staff and I went to apologise again for interrupting his lunch. He spotted my necklace of porcupine quills and claws and leaned in for a REALLY close look (like inches from my neck) as he asked what it was. I was a bit surprised and didn't really respond to coherently...I'm not use to people being in my personal space and not use to a celeb doing that at the least! I told him what it was and then he asked where I got it. "Uhhhh…a trail I use to walk on?" I wanted to tell the full story but was too nervous and before I could collect my thoughts he was whisked off to the signing. I felt a bit silly.
After that I wasn't sure what to do with myself. It took a while for it to set in that "Hey the con is over." And I got a bit of a sad feeling. I really had a good time with the staff, they were all so awesome! I hung around watching fans get stuff signed then eventually wandered back to the con suite to relax. I later felt bad I didn't wait till Keith was done with the signatures to really thank him for everything, and apologise again. Eventually the staff slowly tricked back up to the con suite and we started the dead dog party. We ordered pizza, or rather the rest ordered pizza and I ordered a side of fries. We broke open the wine and started the drinking. It was VERY good wine! Ian had also been sent to buy us some other drinks earlier so Karine mixed up some stuff for us and the wine was gone in no time! We had a good time relaxing, it was nice to know it all went off alright. Granted there were some bumps but there was nothing really big that went wrong so we had much to be happy about.
Just before midnight we all started to wind down and some of us wandered off to bed. We tidied up a bit and vacated the con suite so Karine-mom could get some much needed sleep. I stopped in at Abe's room (as it was right beside mine) and watched them play Mario for a bit before I got too tired and headed to bed.
Photos from the day:

Monday August 9, 2004

I had to get up fairly early so I could get Patrick to drive me back to Karines, where my car was parked, before they headed off to La Rond. I took a speed shower and grabbed almost all of my stuff. (I realised later I forgot my shampoo and such but no biggy). We unloaded the art room stuff at Karines house then I said my goodbye and got in the car. I was kinda sad again, realising this was the end of the end. I loved hanging out with this gang and was sad to leave, but I really did need to get back. I REALLY couldn't afford another day off work. So I drove out of Montreal and back to my parents house, picked up some stuff, said Hi and Bye to mom then continued back to Milton. My adopted kitty was certainly glad to see me when I got home.

It was a great weekend! I thank the staff for being so very awesome and such a great effective staff. They all made me feel so welcome. I really had a good time being on the staff and I am very happy to have met them and to (if I may) call them friends. Thanks guys!

Greg responds...

And thank you for all your hard work too.

I'm afraid those picture links don't work anymore. That's the trouble with having a two year backlog, I guess. Things get outta date.

Response recorded on May 16, 2006

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Lucas Truman Williams writes...

Are you saying (in your ramble) that Gargoyles have the potential even now to have psychic powers the way Fox even now has latent magical abilities?

Greg responds...

Uh... which ramble was that?

Anyway, I don't think I was saying that.

[Context, guys. Context! It takes me nearly two years to get to your questions. I just don't have THAT good a memory.]

Response recorded on May 15, 2006

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Spacebabie writes...

Gathering or Bust!
In preparation for the mega trip I made sure everything was ready. Water dishes were filled the food storage was full of cat food. Dyed my hair red for both costume and to cover up my few gray hairs. Printed out synopsis for my panel and even the schedule. The last thing was make a packing list and of course pack.

We did a lot of driving in a couple of days. If you want to save on money on flying then organize a road trip for a Gathering. It's more fun when there are a group of people. You are going to need the following"

Gas Money. Have some of the other people in the car pitch in for gas.

More than one person who knows how to drive

Snacks. Get a good variety so you don't always have to stop for food.

Music. It doesn't have to always be music Comedy CD's are also good

Walkie Talkies. If there is more than one car.

Decent Maps.

Sunday, Aug 1

Flew out to Houston on an Express Jet. It was a cramped little thing. They had to reopen the door and close it thus soaking the flight attendant. We were extra nice to her. Landed at terminal B Revel was parked in C. We rode the monorail to C. We stopped by the Food Bucket to pick up snacks for the trip. We got a good variety. There were chips, crackers, jerky, candy and granola bars.

Monday, Aug 2

We made last minute preparations. Talked with Mara and Gregx via Instant messenger and made sure they had their papers ready. I did some sketching and watched Princess Bride. Revel's mother did some last minute stitching on the jacket for Revel's costume and she helped me laminate my badge for my costume. Aaron and Mara arrived after I have gone to bed.

Tuesday, Aug 3

The four of us woke up real early and loaded the coolers with ice and sodas and packed away our luggage into the back of Hyena. After we drove out of Houston I fell asleep. I woke up around when Revel pulled into a McDonald's parking lot. I had a Sausage McMuffin and a cup of coffee.

During the first part of the trip I was in charge of the music until I snoozed again. We switched around seating positions at gas stations. Revel and I were both falling asleep when Aaron thought a Highway patrol man was after him. It turned out it was the car in front of us. We stopped for Arbies in dinner in Tennesse. I forgot what it was called but I had the grilled chicken sandwich with pepper bacon combo. I fell asleep sometime when we were in Kentucky and we played a few word games when we arrived in Ohio. When we drove through Cincinnati I looked around for the WKRP sign. Afterwards I kept dozing off and on until we reached Emambu's place in Pittsburgh. The sun was rising when we left Hyena. Emambu and Lynati greeted us and helped us stagger back to the places Emambu had set up for us to sleep.

Wednesday, Aug 4

Technically we began the day by falling asleep at Emambu's. The original plan was to leave around 2 PM. We got everyone awake by 2. A group of the earlier risers went out and bought bagels and coffee for everyone. I had a blueberry with cream cheese. After we had eaten and showered we had left Emambu's in two cars. Revel and I were in Hyena and everyone else was in the Mafia cruiser. We communicated with each other over the Walkie Talkies. The Rogue Squadron has been born. We stopped at a mega gas station for gas and food. Revel and I split a pizza stuffed pretzel. We continued driving through Pennsylvania, even going through tunnels in some of the mountains. I haven't seen mountains since I was eleven so the whole scenery was amazing. The higher altitude caused the tops of some of the Pringles to bulge. Before we drove into New Jersey we saw this sing "Last Exit in Pennsylvania. It almost read as "Your last change to get off the road before you enter New Jersey." We drove through NJ and into New York. This was when the rain stated. We drove past the area known as Sleepy Hollow. The haunt of the headless horsemen is a golf course. After some confusing roads we finally found Greg's house.

Next up: Thursday

Greg responds...

I've read so many versions of this trip by now, I almost feel like I was on it with you guys. ;)

Response recorded on May 15, 2006

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