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The Gathering 2007, Part 2
SATURDAY, JUNE 23RD, 2007
What a slow morning.
Hung around 3A, (A.K.A. The Dealer's Room) and bought a G2008 T-shirt. David and I considered registering for the next con (which, at the point that I typing this up, we have decided we will. No reason not to, after all.) but that we would have to do it online, at our own home, due to lack of cash (at the time, I'd only had enough for one of us to attend and not the other) funds.
I went down to 2A to check on the Radio Play Cast List. No one there, and, more importantly, no list. Yet. I decided the judges were probably going over it at lunch, and that I would see it soon enough. So I hopped the elevator down to the 1st Floor, strolling to the Con Suite to watch DVDs (A Fan had asked David and I if we would temporarily loan them our DVD player, to which we agreed. We had also brought our copy of Gargoyles Season 2, Volume 1 over. I had also brought over a Aqua Teen Hunger Force DVD over, but quickly figured out that no one, not even myself ATM, would most likely be interested in THAT.) and had a good time.
The Radio Play. How fun.
Like I'd said already, I was confident that I'd get Brooklyn. I didn't. I got Malibu, to my astonishment. But, hey, I'm not overly picky. I was happy to get what I did. I played the clone role with gusto, IMO. Rehearsal came before the actual play, and I was proud of myself during both. The script was the storyline for comic issues #3-5. If anyone wants to know what happens in #5... sorry buddy. #5 isn't out in stores yet, and Greg Weisman asked us to keep quiet about it, a plea I intend to follow. Anyone asks me about issues 3 or 4, that's fine. Those issues are already out. But I'm keeping my mouth shut on what happens in #5.
Thom played Brentwood instead of Lex. Life is just full of surprises.
Whoever (Jay, maybe?) played Goliath sounded more Broadway to my ears, but that could just be me.
MGT3K. Another beloved panel of mine. The choice episodes for this year were, in this order, 'Lighthouse In The Sea Of Time', 'Outfoxed', 'The Price', and, as a bonus, 'The Mirror'. It was still slightly difficult spitting out riffs, though I was more warmed up this year. I guess I don't have much of a sense of humor.
Blue Mug-A-Guest was enjoyable. Started out 'Blue' enough, to my satisfaction. But that quickly changed, to my dissappointment. Some of Thom's work was discussed, (I should watch for that coming Scooby-Doo DTV) as were the recasting choices for both Fox and David Xanatos. In an attempt to get things back on the 'Blue' track, I asked Thom how much time he thinks Lex spends on certain Internet activities, (everyone reacted just the way I wanted, with cheering and laughter) to which he said 'Several hours a night', and, then I asked, in regards to the MacBeth/Demona spell, if MacBeth ever had PMS as well. More laughter, more cheers, and even an 'OMG' was in there somewhere. :P Unfortunately, it still didn't stay as raunchy as I'd hoped.
David and I retired to our room at 1:30 am. He fell asleep almost instantly while I stayed awake awhile to watch some anime.
SUNDAY, JUNE 24TH, 2007
We went to the Thom Adcox Mug-A-Guest first. More movie talk. No problem there. In fact, movies are my favorite subject of conversation. I expressed interest in someday getting into the acting business, and Thom said that moving to a big city, like L.A. or New York, would be a good step. He expressed some annoyance over A-list actors (people like Jennifer Aniston or Drew Barrymore or Mike Myers) stealing vocal work from the lesser-knowns. He gave us all demo CDs that had some of his radio/TV commercial samples, (which I heard in the car later. Fun to listen to.) before we all went as a group to a nearby tattoo shop. It seems everyone was settled on a Phoenix Gate tattoo. Having wanted a tattoo, any tattoo, for awhile now, I'd hoped to join in. But I didn't have enough cash on me (dammit) and David (insert grumbling here), who would've had to charge it, said I should wait until my next birthday (my 25th in the fall) and see if I still want it then. I had wanted to just do something on the spur of the moment and not have to think about it first (for once), plus I don't like the feeling of being left out, but I sighed and unhappily agreed. I can wait if I have to. I made a comment, (during which I found he was 47.) about Thom being one great big tattoo by the time he turns 50. Having no panels ATM, I killed the time by looking for possible tattoo images for use in the future, which I did not find.
I even went back later to re-check the images on a whim. Found some possibilities this time. I definitely know what I want now.
Played 2 games Air Hockey with Jeb. Kicked his ass with a final score of 7-1 both times. :D
Air Hockey is one of my favorite games, BTW. Has been since childhood.
The Banquet (my first) was delicious. My friends Shawn and Louie were supposed to attend the con with us, but had to bail out (summer classes), and Louie had already bought a Banquet ticket, so I ended up with it instead. The menu was top notch. I had Mashed Potatoes with Gravy, (yum) Chicken with Rice, 3 cups of sweetened Tea (and I don't even DRINK Tea!), a dinner roll, and a piece of chcolate cake for desert. There were a lot of questions for Greg, Thom, and... what was her name? Damn, it slips my mind... Anyway. Abby asked a LOT of hyper Puck-themed questions. No prizes for guessing who she likes. Wow.
I played more Air Hockey, this time against Greg, Thom, and what's-his-name (He would later show up as Matt Bluestone at the Masquerade). I beat what's-his-name fairly easily, but, with me endlessly cursing like a sailer during and after the matches, Greg and Thom both smacked me down. Hard.
Speaking of the Masquerade, it was great. Lots of pictures. I knew right off that Halloweenking (as the Gargoyle) would win 1st prize, which he did. Tried to get a goofy picture (think bunny ears for the camera) with Thom, but he wanted to mingle, so I shrugged it off. Participated in the A-hole song (performed by Dennis Leary, in case you didn't know), which I didn't know all the lyrics of. I had to fake it, which I like to think I did okay at.
A few minutes later, I noticed there was some action next door, and, curious, went to check it out. It was a bunch of people (including Thom) playing "Uno". I said before that I like games, but I hadn't played that since I was seven, and, besides, it looked like there were enough players. So I was content to sit and watch instead.
Eventually, Jade Griffin came by and we looked through some of the photos she'd taken, including some of the ladies' room (I guess it'd flooded or something.). I quickly got tired of that, though, and left, running into Karl. I'd played a game of Air Hockey against him earlier and offered a rematch, but he declined.
I went to my room and fell asleep. Forgive me if I sound British here, but the term 'completely knackered' seems to be the most appropriate here.
To Be Concluded.
That's the point of the Gathering... to have fun until your knackered. I think that's our slogan.
Gathering 2007, Part 1
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 20TH, 2007
Vid The Kid and I left home at 9:30 am. The journey itself was hell, with traffic jams, and the occasional coollant change, once the damn car decided to start leaking. Getting there was a real b***h, but eventually we made it. Took longer than it was supposed to, though.
A Fan called to let us know that he would be arriving on the following day. VTK and I went on a grocery run to last us for the week that we'd be there.
That's all that happened today, aside from our sunburned (David's left and my right) arms.
THURSDAY, JUNE 21ST, 2007
I woke up and went to the lobby for breakfast, whilst letting David sleep, though I wasn't overly hungry and ended up having a simple cup of orange juice. With pulp, apparently. I woke David up a little while later and we watched the 1st 'Final Destination' on DVD, then had some actual breakfast (cause I was hungry at that point), and left to spend the day driving around the Smoky Mountains National Park, which was one of the most parts of the week (besides the con, of course). 1st stop was a beautifully scenic overlook which, even with my (dwindling) fear of heights, didn't bother me much. Heh. Go figure. We went to Look Rock next. After a half-mile hike through the woods, we finally reached a view tower. Ascending to the top (or as close as we could get to it), we were both blown away by the view. David promised me that it would be the most 'heightsi-est' thing we'd do. I was both happy and dissappointed about that. I was uncertain to go on the tower, but I didn't want to dissappoint David so I followed him anyway. Glad I did. I could see for miles up there. If you want to see pictures, they should be on my website (http://www.geocities.com/kingcobra49036) soon.
We also took a self-portrait of ourselves at the SMNP sign, before driving to Cades Cove. We saw, at a camping site, a rock formation where David and his 2 brothers (I guess they'dve already been to Tennessee before) used to play when they were kids. Then it was off to a scenic loop (God, the state is beautiful), then, chronologically, the John Oliver cabin, a 180-year old Baptist Church, (which was a bit odd for me, because I've never considered particularly religious.) old-fashioned of course, with a cemetary, and an old 1800's styled mill. I've never seen a water wheel before. At this point, I was started to get bored of all the driving around and the scenary, but David wanted to go back to the camping area for lunch, and then visit Newfound Gap, so we did.
Finally got back to the hotel afterwards, just in time to run into some of the guests. Greg Bishansky, Greg Weisman, Thom Adcox, Jennifer Anderson, and others. I was happy. It was great seeing them again. Thom asked how I'd been, to which I'd answered honestly and truthfully.
TA: (grins) S**t?
And we both laughed.
A Fan also showed up and promptly checked in. Obviously, he was our roommate this year.
Took my 1st picture of this year's con, which was of a random attending girl. No reason, purely on a whim. My camera fingers were itching. I went down to the Jacuzzi. God, I love Jacuzzis. After a few minutes of basking in heated-watery bliss, I'd noticed Thom talking to a group nearby, and, after some debating, decided I was too curious to miss out on it, so I got out of the water and joined in. Thom's definitely an interesting talker, that's for sure. Soon, they all headed out to go eat somewhere, with no one inviting me to come. I admit it was a bit depressing, but I wasn't dressed for it anyway, so it made sense. I can live with that. I returned to my room instead, watching a DVD with David and A Fan before going to bed.
Sleep is always good.
FRIDAY, JUNE 22ND, 2007
Enough of the pre-con stuff. THIS was the day of the con, which is the subject of this journal and the purpose for my vacation, so today the convention stuff finally starts.
Woke up, and showered. Daily routine. Nothing unusual there. I paced the hotel, seeking the best view of the mountains. Nice view. I noticed a newspaper article about the con (from Pigeon Forge's local newspaper, the Star Journal) on the con suite door and went down to a nearby gas station to buy a copy. Maybe I'll cut out the article and stick it in a scrapbook or something.
Helped a couple members of the con staff move some comics up to Room 3A too, mainly out of boredom.
More pics at registration, including one or two of Thom. Chatted with him about the 'almost' Lex tattoo that I'd nearly gotten last fall. Found out his birthday. The Voice Acting Panel, which he hosted, was really fun. I'd missed last year's VA Workshop, (My only regret from G2006) so I vowed to go to the panel this year to make up for it. As always, hearing Thom talk was a treat, and I was certainly captivated. He told that 'Snap' story again, and other voice-acting stuff, as well. He's also apparently co-writing a series that he seemed interested in pitching to Adult Swim. I'll have to keep an eye out for it. David and I volunteered to make him a website (since it seems a lot of other VAs have them anyway, and he doesn't), and Thom seemed excited about it. We decided to discuss the details of it later on. Thom even gave us his number so we could run the info by him before building it. And who knew that Thom loved horror movies?!
Radio Play Auditions came next, and they were fun. I went in to read for Brooklyn (my favorite character), and I was a little nervous, at first, but when the judges asked me to re-read the last 3 lines, I decided 'to hell with it', swallowed my fear, and gave them the best Brooklyn I could. They seemed impressed. Greg complimented me for my ability to follow directions, which was pleasent. He asked me if I wanted to go by 'Ed', or 'KingCobra', or what. I told him anything was fine. I left feeling confident that I'd landed the part of Brooklyn, (which I found out later I didn't, but more on that later), but I decided to keep an open mind until I actually saw the cast list the following day.
Although now I feel I have to ask. What was with Thom wearing those pink bunny ears??
Opening Ceremonies. Just as great as usual, but, then, this is only my 2nd con, so what do I know? Other then that I enjoyed it, I mean? News about the 1st issue of 'Bad Guys' which I already knew about to begin with. Music Videos were still as enjoyable as last year's, with Greg B.'s 'I Stand Alone' (by Green Day) ringing in #1 on my list. I also loved 'The Awakening' and 'How Could This Happen'. I should look for them on YouTube or someplace later, b/c I want to see them again.
Afterwards, it was off to the RPG Gaming thing to do nothing but watch...
Once we were bored of that, David and I decided to return to our room for DVDs, but I decided (why, I swear to god that I do not know) to take a different route. While I was on my detour, I ran into a group of people talking to Thom. Surprise, surprise. I stayed to listen to Thom talk, then we headed off. Walked together a little bit, engaged in conversation (about his future site, and movies, and other things. Thom asking me how the Jacuzzi water was.) until we got to his room. I said good-night and kept on going down the same direction to my own room, where I crashed for the night with my DVDs.
To Be Continued.
I did miss out on the scenic aspect this time out. Maybe some other time...
Gathering 2nd half
Sunday June 24
After sleeping in we had breakfast at the Red Rooster again. This time I had waffles, and I am like Buffy when it comes to breakfast foods. I had the waffles with peaches and caramel drizzled on top, ah sweet buttery rich caramel, and to drink I had my preciousssss coffee.
After breakfast we went to the creative positioning panel where Mara and Nikki drew some fun and unique poses, while we suggested some poses. A few others, including Silver came up to also add draw in a few positions.
After the panel it was time for the Bad Guys panel. Greg W answered all the questions he was allowed to and we got to see a promotional poster…sweet. Karine said she loved drawing the characters and was really enjoying Yama.
We hung out in the dealer's room while they prepped for the banquet. GregX ducked out and we thought he went to shower and change suits, nope he went to go and join the Order or the Phoenix Gate.
For the second time in a row I dressed up for the banquet in my new red dress and red shoes. I am not a fan of dresses, so I rarely shop for them, but after seeing Revel's reaction to a character in the Britcom Coupling in a red dress I knew I had to get a red one, and after getting pretty I stood in front of the full length mirror and noticed that I had indeed lost some weight since last year.
The banquet was another good one. We had a choice of water or presweetened tea to drink. I like iced tea, but it was a bit too sweet and I needed to water it down a bit, a lot of us watered down our tea. I made certain I had three courses. I had a little salad, and had plenty of veggies in the form of carrots and broccoli, some beef, and a roll for my carbs, and a slice of cake for dessert. There were a lot of questions after word.
There were a lot of great costumes. Hal's stone gargoyle was stellar and I loved Chyna Rose's gargoyle costume, great work with the horns. Flanker was Matt Bluestone and his performance earned him the Thom Adcox award.
We did some dancing after, and maybe it was the sugar from both the tea and the cake, but I was feeling rather energetic and I pulled Revel onto the floor and busted a groove, got jiggy with it, worked it. We had a conga line for David Bowie's Dance Magic Dance, and we nearly crossed the stream.
Dancing ended when we had an emergency, the ceiling in the dealers room started to form leaks and we all rescued the art and the comics.
Monday June 25
Breakfast at the Rooster again. This time chocolate éclair pancakes and coffee.
After breakfast we joined up with Flanker who organized a group to go to a shooting range. This was the first time I have ever held a gun, and I am a daughter of a retired army captain.
I fired off about three rounds and I wasn't too shabby. My first shot was right through the neck of the paper target, there were a few in the head, several in the chest, and he won't be having children.
After we returned we packed up our stuff, gave Gregx the key, hugged and said our farewell and then began the drive back to Nashville. We stopped by Wendy's on the way and we both had nuggets and fries and I tried the new frosty float…yummy.
We were a little worried when we went to check in since a lot of people who were flying in to Houston for their transfer flight had theirs canceled, but since we were taking an express ours was fine. We ran into Winterwolf at check in and since his flight was also delayed we chatted some more in the terminal until we boarded.
Good thing we stopped by Wendy's on the way, cause all we got to munch on was a Gorram thing of peanuts. I read during the flight, but even though I was trying to focus on the flight we heard IT, and by that we mean this bimbo was behind us chatting about going to culinary school, and how her daddy was paying for an expensive trip to Paris and she had that valley girl voice combined with Karen Walker's voice from Will and Grace.
Revel's mom picked us up and we stopped by Jack in the Box for dinner, I had a sirloin burger meal with Swiss cheese and grilled onions, returned home, unpacked checked e-mail, and went to bed.
Spacie, you and I have so much in common. Our ConJournals are really about the food!
Con Journal...first half
Friday: June 22
We both had everything prepared the night before, because we had to get up at 4:30 in the morning. We got dressed packed up everything and went to Revel's mother's place where we left Hyena and she drove us to the airport…basically to save cash by not parking at the airport.
Lines were long at the airport, it was early in the morning and the lines were still long, line to check the bag and the line for the scan, made longer since there was only one scanner, but then they opened up a second one. Weeee. Took the monorail to Terminal B… and boarded the express jet.
Flight did not seem long at all. I dozed through most of it, except for take off, landing in Nashville and when they gave out muffins and beverages, ah precious coffee, come to mama.
On the way to the rental car the strap to my laptop case broke. Jack turned out to be fine. Yeah, different laptop, got it a few months prior since Pippin's backlight went out. I named it after the monkey.
Not long after we got on the road we got a real breakfast at McDonalds where I had another yogurt parfait, and an orange juice. I dozed again until we were a few miles outside of Knoxville. Revel decided to try to take a shortcut, but that took us through downtown Knoxville and through a lot of stops.
After we left the city and suburbs and ended up in the sticks we were getting confused, about where we were going. After several minutes of confusion we came through and into Pigeon Forge, after that it was downhill from there. Saw a lot of go-carts, mini golf courses, pancake houses…and a Wonderworks? (The upside down building) Holy cow, somebody cloned International Drive (Street where the 2000 motel was located), and placed it in Tennessee. We Called GregX for final directions and we called him again when we reached the parking lot.
The first person we run into once again is Greg Weisman, and then we came across GregX and were introduced to the elevators and the stairs. After we got a parking pass and were able to put our stuff into the room Revel and I got our con packets and Revel set up his art and we got caught up with our friends until Revel and Emambu went to the try out for the radio show.
I needed actual cash and Mandi showed me where the nearest ATM was, after I came across some paper I returned to the dealers and bought a Serenity shirt, and then I plopped down and did some drawing until they returned. I pointed out the Serenity shirts to Revel and he bought one.
After a group formed, Hudson took us outside where he could smoke and told us a story. We stayed out until Opening ceremonies.
At opening ceremonies we came across the small problem involving the large screen. Greg W decided to do away with the chairs and we sat down on the floor. Nikki welcomed us to the 2007 Gathering, introduced the staff and handed the focus to Jen who gave the fan of the year award to Karine. The focus went over to Susan Leonard who was speaking for Ellen for the 2008 Gathering in Chicago.
Then Greg W took the spotlight. He explained the sales of the DVD's, comics, mentioned Bad Guys and Pendragon. He asked for the Newbies and to see how many Gatherings people have attended. Poor Aaron had lost count of how many he had attended. Greg explained the history of the series, starting with the original comedy pitch and brought in the goodies, the pitches for Gargoyles, for the spin offs, and The Last. Greg W also broke the podium.
After opening ceremonies a group of us went to find food. GregX, Revel, Winterwolf, Legacy, Fan, Gside and I went to Huck Finn; a restaurant that advertised all you can eat catfish. It also had a store similar to Cracker-barrel. They served drinks in mason jars and every table got complimentary vittals; hush puppies, pickles, onions, and beans. I had the grilled trout.
After dinner we returned to the hotel room where we chatted until we were ready to sleep.
Saturday June 23
We woke up and after a shower we sought out breakfast and went to the Red Rooster Pancake house. Oh sweet lord what they did with pancakes, I had the berrylicious pancakes, so many berries, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries on top of a triple stack with whip cream on top and coffee to drink. I am a zombie without my coffee in the morning.
I came back in time for the figure drawing panel and watched as the models sit and stand in positions while we sketched them.
After the panel I was thirsty, real thirsty. Revel and I went to a soda machine and I tried a vault for the first time, one of those cool bottles lasted for a while. We hung out in the dealers room and I got to meet Silver's fiancé, Jordan…and Holy sweet frip, can the dude draw! He was doing amazing shading details to big warrior brute, not sure if it was an orc, or a troll, or an ogre.
I went to the World Building panel, being that is a writing panel for fantasy and sci-fi writers. There were a lot of details, such as creating different alien races and how they would communicate, read, eat, etc. How their society would be set up, family units, politics, and religion. We also covered the different ways to use magic for fantasy.
Then came the othercon art discussion: Hooray pron, and Hooray Mara showing us how to draw naughty bits, making men and women realistic and how that would transfer over to gargoyles and the Fae, and while the discussion was going on, I was drawing something innocent…yes I solemnly swear I was drawing characters with their clothes still on.
Then it was time for the Radio Play, and just like in 2004 it was a pretty large cast. It was a performance of issues 3, 4 and 5 of the Gargoyles comic. Yeah that is right issue 5 and yes I know what happens, and you have to wait for it to come out in July. All I can say is that Emambu was amazing.
After the play it was time to eat. Another group of us trekked across busy traffic for pizza at Papa Johns. Revel and I split a pepperoni and olive pizza and I claimed the jalapeno. After pizza we played round of mini golf, and there were times when we the golf ball left the green and bounced on the sidewalk.
We had an hour to kill after the game and hung out in our room until it was time for Blue Mug, and it was pretty blue, lots of nice dirty questions, to keep us mulled over. The Blue Mug lasted until about 1:30 when Thom left, and when Thom leaves then everybody leaves.
Yeah, there's pretty much no party without the Adcox.
..well.. this being my first convention, I'm now posting my first con journal. I hope I'm doing this right..
First of all it was just a little too ironic and serendipitous that the convention happened to be in the same general location as my WestGate resorts vacation package.. I had been offered this package about two years prior and kept not knowing exactly when I wanted to use it.. The location was chosen but the dates had not been. When I found out about the Gathering being in Pigeon Forge I then knew what dates I'd want to use.
...Although... I really didn't like WestGate at all... blah.. I still had a pretty good time overall.
Thursday June 21.
It took us only 5 hours to drive in from Cincinnati.. I was going on no sleep because I was up all night the night before with severe nausea ~ My vice and my Kryptonite since my gal bladder came out. We checked in at 4, did a little shopping and crashed around 9 or 10pm.
Friday June 22nd.
So this was it..Denny's for breakfast at 10. Then we found the hotel which was about a 15 minute drive [5 if there wasn't any traffic...] from WestGate and got checked in. Then spent a good while just browsing over the dealer's tables and artwork. Very nice. Made me wish I had followed through and posted some art of my own. The opening ceremonies weren't quite what I expected but it was nice. My poor foot fell asleep because we were all on the floor in order to see the TV. I can't figure out how to sit Indian style without that happening. Then my friend had mini golf with Kirin who was sadly unable to attend due to being a mother and all. But mini golf was kinda cool... I actually got to play with them even though I was not signed up because Kirin did not make it.
Greg and Tom's group were finished before us, and I was a little surprised they waited till we got done as well. I didn't actually realise the scores were going to be tallied up for later. I lost. hehe.. our whole group did pretty bad.
Then we walked to Hukk Fin's Catfish Grill.. I had no idea we were doing that afterward I would have saved my appetite.. I wasn't thrilled about the location because I'm not a big sea food fan.. but they had fried shrimp and my personal favorite.. Fried Pickles!! YUM!
AND I got to sit near Greg and Susan so that was totally awesome. It was just cool as hell to be able to hang out with him! watching the show when it first came out was the most important part of my day when I was younger and now over ten years later I got to meet the man responsible. or at least mostly responsible.
And Tom Adcox is such a funny guy to be around. Such a wonderful personality, and very entertaining. He found a funny visor hat in the gift shop in the restaurant and walked over to our end of the table with it. I didn't catch all of what he said but it was some funny stuff. One of those Polaroid moments and my camera never came out of it's bag. It's so cool his voice really does sound like that! I wish I could have hung out with him a little more, maybe for the mug-a-guest but that was happening at the same time as the physiology panel which I surely did not want to miss.
Anywho.. as we walked back to the hotel there were alot of sports cars in a parking lot near the street. I noticed a dodge stealth and drooled.. then.. I noticed a second.. a third..at least 6 total. No one really noticed as I ran to my bud to exclaim all excitedly that there were at least 6 dodge stealth's sitting within 5 feet of each other. They went into the hotel. we got in my car and went back to our cabin and crashed.
Saturday June 23'rd.
Today we got up around 10 or 11 and went to Red Rooster for MORE pancakes. Afterwards we headed to the hotel and again went upstairs to the dealer's room and art show. There was more artwork to see this time. Then it was time for Mug-a-Guest with Greg. That was interesting but there were alot of questions I either didn't ask or forgot to ask. I missed out on the Radio play casting and rehearsals and the Radio play itself which was a huge bummer.. I didn't even know what it was otherwise I would have tried to be there for that. We left for a few hours and visited Cades Cove which was about an hour away.. it was a waist of time and gas. It wasn't what we expected though it was kinda pretty.
We came back in time for the Blue Mug deal which was certainly interesting if not entertaining. Then my stupid stomach started flaring up again so we didn't get to stay for the whole thing. We needed to get to sleep anyway.
Sunday June 24th.
Today started with a mandatory 90 minute spiel and tour at the WestGate which I was not interested in but if I didn't go I'd be hit with a $100 charge for every night I was there. When they showed me the 1 bedrooms that timeshare owners got I was thoroughly pissed. So much nicer than the crap hole we got at the top of the hill.. And it caused us to miss out on the open story reading.
so.. we got to the hotel in time for the physiology panel and hung around for the Bad Guy's panel after that. Then there was some time to kill before the banquet. Greg was downstairs talking to a fellow in the lobby. I sat down on the couch across from them hoping for a chance to share some thoughts and ideas I had as well as other questions I had either forgotten to ask or was too self conscious to ask. But it seemed to be a bit of an important discussion between him and the other guy so I just sat back and half listened half meditated on things. There's always next year lol.
Then it was time for the banquet. I was impressed the food was good. The mashed potatoes were the best! When we arrived most of the tables were taken. My friend and I sat down at one that was all empty near the front of the room. Some cool people sat with us, including Lynati. I was happy to meet her finally I'v seen some of her things on deviantart. Luck was on our side in a way, they decided to do a table at a time for the buffet and our table was first to go following Greg, Tom and the staff. I'm still kind of surprised that one of the front tables was empty.. I'd have thought most people would want to be up close to where Greg was so they could hear better. I guess most of them figured being closer to the buffet would grant them a better spot in line HAHAHA!
I left the banquet Q&A a little early to get my camera's battery charger and Nik's Laptop. Nik would be my friend but I'm tired of saying 'my friend' all of the time. Got back in time for the Masquerade wishing like mad I had been able to make the costume I thought about making...well maybe next year. There were some great costumes, got some pictures. They handed out awards for the best costumes in different categories then played music for the ball. At this point I was getting very detached from it all and started to feel some anxiety and depression setting in. I took Nik's laptop back to the car and returned not sure what I would do next.. A trip to the bathroom to get away from the crowd for a bit seemed like a good plan. Nik wasn't having any trouble hanging out with all the new people anyway.
So I went and found someones phone in there. Kirin happened to be in there as well but she sat down on the bench to give Samuel a little meal of his own before exiting so a conversation began between us. I had finished washing my hands and she asked if this was my first convention. The lost phone was gonna be stuck on the sink before returning to it's owner for a while lol.
And what a blessing it turned out to be.. It just seemed ironic that the timing happened the way it did, I wasn't in the best shape when I entered the bathroom. I felt much better when I left. We talked about artwork, her artwork, her plans, what she was doing and had been doing and will be doing.. I talked about some of my art blocks and troubles and belly aching and she shared some advice and thoughts on the matter. And Samuel was so well behaved through it all just suckling away. Then Niki/Y2Hecate entered asking about a phone and my hand went up before she could completely get the words out. So the phone found it's owner lol. Then we left and I met back up with Nik and we caught up on things and returned to our little crappy cabin for another nights sleep.
Monday June 25th.
This was our check out day for WestGate and I was happy to leave. I dropped Nik off at the hotel while I went down the street to check in at Shular Inn for one night. I unloaded some stuff, fixed my hair, stopped at Walgreens for some sweet vitamin water and a zebra cake then met up with Nik at the convention in time for the closing ceremonies. I had this idea to write down the websites on my con shirt with a sharpie.. I could only remember the Gathering site so I put that one on the front near the bottom. I don't know if Greg noticed it or not.
After the Closing announcements, they decided on doing Lazertag since Dollywood was rained out. I got Greg to sign the back of my shirt which was cool. I'm still kicking myself for having forgotten my DVD's. I even picked them up while packing then put them down because all the episodes are on Nik's laptop so I didn't think I'd need them. I'm such a dumba**!
Then we went to lazertag.. I was hoping to be in Greg's group but he got sucked into another game of air hockey. I wanted to ask him to play but I heard him complaining about his shoulder so I figured it would be an instant no, or just a bad idea anyway.. then later he started playing with someone else and I felt silly for having passed up the idea. It was time for our team to play anyway though.
Bot what a grungy nasty sweaty moldy old locker room smell that was back there.
.. we eventually started playing and I wasn't doing so grate at first. Then I found one of the sniper points and started to really have a blast. I so enjoy catching people off guard and being able to duck down where they can't get me too easily. It was loads of fun and as it turned out I was first place. ...some might call that cheating but.. what can I say.. I like being the sniper type.. close range combat was never my style when it came to lazertag. *shrug*..
After that they all decided to go walk down the street ..for ice cream I thought.. We decided to say our goodbyes and Greg gave us both a hug which surprised me but it was really cool. Very nice man!!!
We drove around for at least 45 minutes looking for a place to eat.. we saw the group walking lol.. We settled on Ruby Tuesdays and I got more shrimp and no cocktail sauce! They decided to stop carrying it.. what a crock. As we left to return to the entertainment and gift shops we again saw the group walking this time back to the hotel. It was just kinda funny. We did some go carts and some browsing and we did this mining thing which was really cool. Then we went to the hotel and crashed.
Tuesday June 26'th. We were late checking out but we had a great time.. we were even later getting on the road we wanted to go horse back riding but we got rained out. We ate at Denny's again and did some last minute shopping. I got a nice cool new katana and some great shirts for my parents who thoroughly enjoyed them. We got on the road finally around 5 and made it home by around 9:30.
We reminisced about the convention on the way back and I asked Nik if anyone asked him about me or said anything about me. he asked me what I meant and I said about my 'intense expression'.. Yes I do get pestered about this sort of thing all the time so I tend to ask him about it when around new people. The responses tend to amuse or interest me.
Apparently Greg had mentioned it so I was wishing I could have been a fly on the wall for that one. ..and apparently when people say I look intense.. they mean I look mad or mean.. but that's also no surprise to me as I get it all the time. *shrugs*
There is a reason for it..there are several. I am aware of them.. But that's a rant for another time.
I enjoyed the Gathering and look forward to next year.. now if someone could just please invent a miracle potion beyond the strength and effectiveness of Pepto and Emetrol so I could enjoy an evening sans-stomach upsets.. I'd be ever so grateful ;)-
I don't remember mentioning your expression to Nik, but then the Gathering weekends or always something of a blur to me...
I'm glad you had fun though. Hope to see you in Chicago next year.
Here's part one of five from my con journal. Unfortunately, this part doesn't contain anything about the con itself since it takes place the day before, but I thought I'd post it anyway. After all, if the con wasn't happening, none of this would have happened, either!
WEDNESDAY/THURSDAY - June 20th-21st
Our trip actually began late Wednesday night, as it was cheaper than flying out on Thursday. Nothing all that significant happened, other than me being absolutely terrified of the plane, but once I was on it an in the air, everything was fine.
We arrived in Chicago, IL at about 5:37 Thursday morning in concourse C. Our next flight was in concourse F. Oh my god, I cannot tell you how far we walked--concourse F was, literally, on the other side of the airport. They had a shuttle that would take you there, so we walked all the way down to the shuttle station (which was in the opposite direction of concourse F) only to find that it was closed for the day, so we trekked to our destination on foot. The airport was beautiful, but I was too frustrated and exhausted to enjoy it. They had an old army plane on display (I don't recall what war it was from, unfortunately) and a huge, life-size model of a brachiosaurus skeleton.
After we finally got to the gate and had a few moments to recoup, we then boarded the tiniest plane we had ever been on thus far. It was a little Embraer RJ145. The seating layout went accordingly: one seat by the window on the left, then the aisle, and then two more seats on the right. That was it. I'm not sure what the maximum capacity of the plane was, but it couldn't have been much. It wasn't even a full flight, so I was seated by myself on the left while Tif got the two seats on the right all to herself. The flight was smooth and about an hour and a half later, we arrived at McGhee Tyson airport in Knoxville, TN.
We went to collect our luggage. Tif's came out fairly soon, but I had to wait.
And wait, until I finally accepted the fact that my luggage would not be coming down. Apparently, it was still in Chicago, so I gave the United Express clerk the address to the Grand Resort hotel and he said the next flight from Chicago would be at 1:30 and my luggage SHOULD be on that one. Thank you, United. This was the first of a few stupid things you did and I will never fly your airline again, but more on that later.
Tif got our rental car that she was legally supposed to be driving since I'm not 25 yet, so shhh... It was a little, red Chevy Cobalt that had a broken seat, which was really annoying. I wanted to bring the back forward, but the lever on the side did nothing. I spent most of my driving time leaning forward slightly. It wasn't good for my neck.
There was a little mishap on the way to the hotel since the directions we had told us to make a left when we actually should have made a right, but my awesome sense of direction got us going the right way!
By the way, that awesome sense of direction? It must have randomly developed without me noticing, because I used to describe myself as directionally challenged. Seriously. North, south, east, and west meant nothing to me, but somehow, I always know which way I'm going lately. It's neat!
Okay, sorry. Boring little tanget over.
I don't know what time we got to the hotel, because by that time, I was practically sleeping with my eyes open. A very unpleasant woman who didn't know how to smile checked us in, over-charged us a couple of nights, and even charged us for an EXTRA night. More on that later, though. We didn't realize she had booked us an extra day until Friday and we weren't going to do anything about the over-charging until we talked to a few more con-goers. The room rate was supposed to be $59.77 per night, but we were charged $69.77 for Saturday and Sunday. We had asked the lady why we were charged more and she told us weekend nights were always extra, even with the discounted group rate. Whatever.
So we got to the room and were ready to pass out, but we knew we had to eat first. There was a restaurant next to the hotel called Red Rooster's Pancake House, one pancake house out of about 30 on the same street. I kid you not. Pigeon Forge loves their pancakes, mini golf, and tattoo parlors.
I had a (VERY YUMMY) breakfast burrito, Tif had a veggie omelet, and with full bellies, we meandered back to the hotel room and died.
I was awoken by my cell phone ringing. A man named Pete wanted to know what type of location I was at so he could drop off my luggage and said he'd be there in about an hour. Passed out, woke up again because Tif's mom had arrived at the hotel and Tif needed to help her check in (her mom and Allen stayed one night in Pigeon Forge before moving on to Gatlinburg the next day), fell back to sleep and was woken up a final time by the hotel staff letting me know my luggage had arrived. I waited around for Tif, but she hadn't yet returned, so I putted around the hotel room a bit. The bathroom was hideous. Light orange walls and a blue shower, what the hell.
After Tif got back, we retrieved my luggage and were awake enough to appreciate the beautiful view we had from the hotel balcony. We were right over a gorgeous, little creek that had all sorts of wild life, like Muscovy ducks, mallards, geese, cardinals, and squirrels. Some Canadian Geese even dropped by!
We visited with Tif's mom for a bit then got ready for... *dun dun dun* THE GHOST WALK OF GATLINBURG.
It didn't take long to drive into Gatlinburg. We got there at about 8pm. We had initially planned on eating first, but my feet were killing me, so my first Large Purchase of the trip was a new pair of shoes. They're cute, I think. Brown... they sort of look business-like, but the soles have a good grip, which is what I felt I needed since we were going to be walking so much. The man who ran the store even gave me a pair of socks, since the ones I had were too thin and causing the shoes to slip off my ankle. After that, we decided we wouldn't have enough time for dinner and would eat after the tour, so we wandered around the Village Shops for a while. I bought a magnet that has the Berry coat of arms on it from a shop that specializes in Celtic merchandise. We grabbed a couple smoothies from a coffee shop and then headed up to the cemetery for our tour at 9pm.
It was a LOT of fun. Our tour guide was an excellent storyteller. It's hard to describe the way he was dressed, so instead of trying, here's a pic: http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v177/idgiebay/Misc/DSC00533.jpg
To start off, he had us go into the cemetery and take pictures. Hopefully, Tif will be posting some of those soon and I'll actually be posting some footage I took, but that probably won't be for a few days. I have work tomorrow, after all, and I first need to finalize all of my discs.
The tour consisted of our guide telling us real stories of murders and accidental deaths and then following up with tales of hauntings in the locations they took place. Everywhere we stopped, he gave us a chance to take photos and, hopefully, catch some "paranormal activity" on film. It would take a while to type up all of the stories he told us... Maybe I'll type them up later or maybe Tif will, but the footage I'll be uploading should contain the majority of them. Though, they may be choppy. I wasn't continuously filming the whole time he was talking.
Let's see, what else... The tour ended at about 10:15 or 10:20 and, by that time, Tif and I were starving. Oh lord, that was an adventure on it's own.
Gatlinburg, despite being a tourist town, apparently SHUTS DOWN between 10 and 10:30. We literally walked the streets for half an hour, trying to find some place to eat, but everything, even the HARD ROCK CAFE, for goodness sake, was CLOSED. By this point, I was getting very frustrated. My knees were hurting (I still have no idea why--I could hardly walk for a couple days, and then the pain suddenly went away), my feet were becoming blistered from the new shoes, I was still tired, and my stomach was trying to eat itself. Eventually, we got that hint that we weren't going to find anything, so we drove back to Pigeon Forge and stopped at the first restaurant we found, which--surprisingly--WASN'T a pancake house. It was Shoney's, of which there are three on the main Pigeon Forge road.
The service there was all right... We ended up with a trainee waitress who didn't understand English very well. I think she may have been German or French, I'm not sure. She was a sweetie, but it was difficult to communicate what I wanted. I had ordered chicken tenders with onion rings and had ended up with questionable-looking charbroiled chicken. Even though I didn't like it, I didn't send it back, though I probably should have. I didn't want her to get in trouble or anything.
So finally, we went back to the hotel. I can't remember now if we stopped by Tif's mom's room again or not. I was so tired. I do know that we looked at the pictures Tif took and watched my footage. I think we passed out shortly after that.
TO BE CONTINUED IN:
Friday: The Real Fun Begins
Sounds like the fun has already begun...
11th Annual Gathering of the Gargoyles
Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
June 22-25, 2007
Thursday, June 22
I decided to drive down to the con. Why not? Left at 5 AM with my trust GPS/satellite navigation system guiding me all the way. The trip would be 92miles and take about 16 hours. It was long. There were lots of 18-wheelers. Lots. But the trip itself was uneventful. I got in around 9 PM. I ran into Karine in the lobby who helped me get my key. I'd be rooming with her and Jen this year. Karine then took off for the staff dinner while I got settled in. Talked to Hudson, Greg B, Dancer, Jeb, and a few others. Jen, Karine, and her 4 month old son Samuel showed up at the room and we hung out. Greg stopped by at one point to see if the wireless internet connection was any better in our room from his. Nope. He took off for the lobby to get some work done.
Friday, June 23
Grabbed breakfast with Jen, Karine and Sam at the hotel's buffet. Biscuits and gravy. For breakfast? I just don't know. I went for the more traditional pancakes and eggs. Karine had an art tips panel so I followed along. Perspective and reference. I'd read Karine's article on perspective, but it was nice to see it demonstrated live. After the panel I hung out at the registration table, checked out the dealer tables and the art show. One dealer was selling these knitted/crochet gargoyle dolls that were easily the hit of the show. A couple pages from issue #5 (without dialogue) were on display, with a sneak peek at Brooklyn's costume. Very cool. And very not what you'd think the costume would be given the theme seen in earlier issues. Seth and Sammy showed up and we talked for a bit.
The radio play auditions started up and I was right there. A group of us stood in the stairwell outside the audition room trying to guess what the play would be this year. It'd be a large cast with 40 parts, each paired to make it a minimum of 20 actors needed for the play. The bottom of the audition sheet lists out 2 or 3 letter abbreviations for each part making it possible to pick up on the characters that appear in the play. I spotted both the clones and Xanatos were in this one and figured it had to be an adaptation of the current story arc (issues 3,4 and 5). The audition itself was very cool. I picked Angela to read for because she's the only dialogue I've yet to read from for the auditions. I then demonstrated my perfect Scottish accent to great applause and praise from all. My heart wasn't in the dog bark this year. I'd love to know how the hell Frank Welker makes the sounds he can.
Opening ceremonies were what we've come to expect. It's still just as much fun as it was in 1997. Greg mentioned that he's got a new contact at Buena Vista Home Entertainment and is starting to talk with him about releasing volume 2 of the DVD. Here's hoping. The Team Atlantis episode "The Last" was shown with a ton of new updates. It looks very cool. Vashkoda has done a great job putting that together.
A bunch of us went out for dinner at this place across the street that specialized in catfish. Drinks were served in mason jars and we had beans and hush puppies while we figured out what to eat. I grabbed a steak. Someone ordered aligator tail and that went around the table. Tasted a bit like tunafish. A man was going around playing songs on his guitar. Jen knew EVERY SINGLE ONE. After we walked the strip for a bit and headed back.
Saturday, June 24
Breakfast again. Karine had another panel on going from fan to pro (she's the artist on issue #5 and the Bad Guys mini series). One things got started the panel went pretty strong. Lots of people showed up. The radio play cast was announced and I was on it.
At the play rehearsals it was announced the play was an adaptation of issues 3, 4 and 5 of the comic. We'd all get to see what happens in issue 5 before the rest of the world. Sweet! 37 people were cast making up what must be the largest radio play cast we've ever had. I was cast as Martin Hacker. Mike, sitting next to me, was cast as Quincy (the waiter with the Illuminati ring). As my lines were from issue 3 and his were from issue 4 on we were paired to share a script.
The play was a hit. The whole cast did an amazing job. Lots of really good performances. I can't wait to see it up on YouTube. The story was full of big revelations and an ending that I loved, but really hated, but really loved, because I knew it could only mean a ton of problems and complications for the Manhattan clan in issues to come. This one issue every two months deal is just torture.
A group of us (Jen, Seth, Sammy, Karine, Rebecca, Tony, Andrea, and myself) walked the strip looking for a tattoo artist. There'd been rumors of a plan for a bunch of us to get ink. I'd been looking for an excuse to get ink and tagged along. Once actually in the shop I started feeling a bit nervous about the whole idea. We eventually decided to wait since there wouldn't have been enough time to ink us all. Jen wouldn't leave without having something done to her body and despite my offers she chose to get her nose pierced.
We had dinner at another restaurant across the street. It had a Boston theme and dealed mostly in seafood. I had steak. Again. It wasn't the greatest prime rib I've had, but it was food and I was hungry.
The blue mug was blue. Raunchy, but not all the time. Thom Adcox dropped his pants. Again. Then again. By 2am we were all really tired and headed back.
Sunday, June 25
Those who were looking to get inked the previous day met up for breakfast. We all figured we could skip the opening panels (although we had to be back for the Bad Guys panel at 2 PM) so, after breakfast, we went back across the street to the tattoo shop we'd visited. This time there was no turning back. The tattoo artist, Phil, would give us a group deal. The tattoo would be of the phoenix gate, about 2.5-3 square inches in size and in color for the low low price of $100. The clever businessman that he is, Phil had us pay up front. No more chickening out now, we'd paid, it was going to happen. Jen went first getting it on her lower back. Andrea followed suit. Then Seth on his upper left arm. Now I was in the hot seat. I got mine on the upper right arm. It's my first tattoo. Does it hurt? Hell yes. Someone describe it, and it makes perfect sense to me, that it feels like someone cutting through your skin with a razor blade. Despite this, not a single scream, nor tear, was shed. In fact nobody who went screamed or teared up. Thom Adcox showed up with a few others. After mine was done we left Tony, Thom and company to get theirs while we headed off to the Bad Guys panel.
The Bad Guys panel was more about how to promote the show than anything. Greg's got an out for his stories now and he's reluctant to reveal new details. Jen showed her ink to Greg and Greg shared his opinion on Jen's mental state. After the panel we headed back to the tattoo shop. We'd forgotten the tip, oops. We also had Greg and Thom sign a copy of the season 2, volume 1 DVD and gave it to him. Tony had gotten his on his upper right arm. Crimson Obsession has gotten one on her lower back, and Thom Adcox was in the chair getting his on his calf when we walked in. Greg B came over with us and stuck around to get one on his upper right arm as well.
We left and got read for the banquet. This year's banquet was a buffet style affair. The food was really, really good. And I was, unexpectedly, introduced to sweet tea. I think the ratio of sweet to tea was about 95 to 1. After the banquet we hung out for a bit while preparations were made for the masquerade.
This year's masquerade was heavy on original characters and light on canon characters. I'm thinking I need to get back in the game. Hal's costume as a stone gargoyle was awesome. Easily best in show. Thing broke down into dancing and partying after that. I left after a little bit to check in on home and make sure everything was okay. I sat down in the lobby because it was the only (mostly) reliable place to get the wireless internet. At some point Hudson and a few others come rushing through. The rain that night was heavy and apparently the roof was starting to leak.. right over the comic book dealer's table. We headed up and started rearranging furniture and moving comic boxes to try and keep them dry. It seemed at every spot we thought dry enough to put the books we'd find a small leak in the ceiling. Eventually we just stacked tables and stuck the boxes under the tables. The following day I found out the books came through the night dry and fine.
Headed back to the room where everyone had piled in to hang out. Introduced Greg to *things* on YouTube. Had some booze. Eventually fell asleep.
Monday, June 26
Packed up. We were all leaving today. Had breakfast once more. After breakfast a bunch of us headed to the live auction. Lots of cool stuff up for auction. I managed to grab a large, metalic looking poster of Coldstone holding Goliath over his head. You've seen a smaller version of this on the cover of the "Brothers Betrayed" VHS tape. Greg and Thom signed it to continue my tradition of having at least 1 signed souvenir from each con I've attended. As the auction was winding down Jen, Karine and I decided it was time to go. We said our goodbyes and went back to the room to get our stuff.
Thom, Karine, Jen and Patrick piled into a car for the drive back to the airport. I said my last goodbyes to them then got in my own car and headed home. 17 hours. 926 miles. And I got lost in downtown Newark because of the late night construction they're doing on the highways. The way down to the con I went I-287, over the Tappan Zee bridge and around New York City. I went through the city on my way home. Paid nearly 1000% more in tolls (not overstating that!) and nearly got lost again in the Bronx, but I finally got home around 3 AM.
Lasting memories: Ink, boobs, Samuel giggling, first rule: don't talk about ...., and THE MAJOR REVELATIONS OF ISSUE FIVE THAT I AM SWORN TO NOT TALK ABOUT. Although I'm dying here. I need to talk!
I had a great time.
Dude -- The name "Quincy" does NOT appear until issue #5. <sigh>
Gathering 2007 Journal
As it so happened, I woke up a good hour and a half later than I had hoped to - or, more precisely, I woke up to the alarm and proceeded to turn it off so that I could sleep for an additional hour and a half - and so was not in the best of moods as I made my way out the door.
While I still left early enough to avoid significant traffic leaving D.C., the trucks were out in force on I-81, as were the state and local police. Honestly, in the years that I traveled 81 in order to get to and from school, I have never seen the kind of police presence as I did going to Pigeon Forge. Neither, it seemed, had many of the travelers, and this led to a problem: The left lane was going painfully slow so as to avoid receiving a ticket, while the right lane had taken up a "Damn the torpedoes!" mentality. I, wanting to neither take 10 hours to get to Pigeon Forge nor 30 seconds to get a court date 350 miles from home (been there, done that) navigated between the two lanes as best I could.
Tennessee, however, was an entirely different story. Traffic became nonexistent and moved along speedily, that is until I made the turn to get to Pigeon Forge. Having varied between 65 and 75 miles per hour for most of the trip, I was not happy to find myself in a miles-long traffic crawl that moved along at under 20 miles per hour, despite the much higher posted speed limit.
In all, it was an eight hour trek down, not including the very quick stop for gas at a station adjacent to a fireworks stand.
I walked into the lobby and saw none other than Greg W. himself, and were it not for this encounter I would have probably wandered aimlessly around the hotel looking for the registration desk - one of those significant things that I failed to do on Thursday was get Leo's cell phone number.
Once I got upstairs and registered, I made my way over to familiar faces and chatted with many people, among them Revel, Spacie, Mandi, Greg B., Gside, and Jade Griffin. The conversation was brief, however, as I then went on a quest to find my roommates, Leo, Kelly, and D. Taina.
The quest was unsuccessful, so instead I got in line to audition for the Radio Play and met up with even more people. It was while waiting in this line, however, that Leo, Kelly, and Taina found me, and who brought in tow Rob and Doppleganger.
I was next to last to audition, but not before I met Kathy, and after which time I finally got to the room and briefly put my feet up to watch "Army of Darkness" before heading over to Opening Ceremonies.
Opening Ceremonies was the usual stuff, with the exception that we had to sit on the floor in order to be able to see the television in the conference room, and further excepting that, as Greg talked about the need to bring more people to the Gathering, a very bright light went on in my head to signal that, as "advertisement guy" for Gathering 2008, that task would be in very large part up to me.
Come to the Gathering in 2008! It's Chicago, it's Gargoyles, it's friends, and it's my self-esteem at stake!
I'm still working on taglines.
After Opening Ceremonies were finished, I introduced myself to Susan, co-chair for next year's Gathering (in Chicago!) and we briefly discussed plans before she was overwhelmed by other people. Afterwards my roommates, Doppleganger, Kathy and I discussed our dinner options, and we settled on Huck Finn's Catfish - as would several other congoers, we would learn. No, I did not violate my rule of not eating seafood when more than 200 miles from a shoreline or major tributary, I had the chicken fried chicken, as opposed to the chicken fried steak, which three of the other five had.
But one thing that never changes from one Gathering to the next is that I always end up sleeping on the floor, and after a long day of driving, I must say that the floor of our room was quite comfortable</lie>.
Well rested, my roommates and I woke up and headed off to breakfast. We settled for the Red Rooster Pancake House, where we encountered Kathy, John, Sarah, and Mike. Actually, we didn't encounter them, John had to throw a wad of paper at me to get my attention; and when that failed, he got up from his chair, came over to our table and proceeded to "fire" us as friends.
On firing, he mentioned that his group was headed over to a firing range and asked if we wanted to come. I don't know what possessed him to invite a bunch of people who were too tired to notice good friends sitting at a nearby table to go off and fire guns, but we agreed to go all the same.
We had fun to say the least, and our lack of sleep had no ill effects on our health.
From there we all branched off to do our own things, and I headed up to the art show/dealer's room to look at the pretty things and talk with more people. I also learned in this time that I had been cast in the Radio Play, as had apparently half of the Gathering-goers.
I am sworn to secrecy on the specifics of the Radio Play, but let me say in no uncertain terms that it is a must - a MUST - that you go buy Gargoyles #5; and if you haven't already, get Gargoyles #3 and #4 as well. The story is fantastic and a half.
And a half, people.
After that entertainment, Garrett, who I had met earlier in the dealer's room, informed me that a group was getting together for pizza and mini golf. In the last few weeks I have had my mini golf efforts thwarted time and time again, so this was not an opportunity I planned to miss!
My roommates, however, weren't too enthusiastic about the affair, as they had already had it in mind to order pizza, so I went across the street to Papa Johns with Revel, Spacie, Greg B., Aaron, Gside, Mike, and… I'm trying so desperately to remember his name, but I'm failing horribly. My apologies.
I had leftover pizza, so I went back to the hotel room and tried once more to rally my roommates around mini golf, and this time Kelly and Leo decided to attend, while D. Taina and Doppleganger (roommate de facto at this point) decided to stay behind. And so our teams were formed, and off we went, although Doppleganger and D. Taina would eventually join us.
I think there was a reason fate had conspired so many times to keep me from playing mini golf: I suck. After 27 holes, which had a combined par of 69, I took third place of our group of four - me, Kelly, Leo, and Garrett - with a score of 97. My reasoning for this is that I "beat" my local mini golf course back in high school, and not having returned since, I am woefully out of practice.
Yes, woefully out of practice.
The reason we cut our second game short by nine holes was so that we could be back to the hotel for the Blue Mug, the "anything goes" Q&A. I was pretty well zoned out for most of it, so when the panel adjourned at 1:30 a.m., despite Greg's insistence that we could stick around for another half hour, I was more than ready to get back to my cozy floor space.
I slept well past the alarm in order to be as rested as possible for my long drive home, the price for doing so being the foregoing of breakfast. I packed up my things and then headed over to Jade Griffin's writing/reading panel, for which I had completely forgotten to write anything.
Following this panel was the science & culture panel, hosted by Greg, Jade, and Lynati, and which was by far one of the better panels I have attended in all my Gatherings. The discussion was intelligent, informative, civil, and very enjoyable.
Immediately following the panel, however, I had to hurry through my goodbyes in order to get onto the road and home. Given the nature of the drive down, I did not want to risk getting home too late so as to be too tired to go to work on Monday.
That didn't work out too well.
While I managed to get through Tennessee without much incident, after I crossed over into Virginia, the skies began to open up. I pulled over for dinner at Outback Steakhouse and to let the storm pass, adding much time to my journey (but giving me some delicious, heart attack-inducing leftovers).
Storms aside, I managed to get home at about 10:30 p.m., at which point I had little left to do but crawl into bed (yay, no more floors!), forget to set my alarm, and go to sleep.
Having forgotten to set my alarm, I woke up 15 minutes before I had to leave to get to work. The easy going pace of the Smokey Mountains was as removed from me mentally as physically, and with added urgency I began my daily routine.
I still managed to get out of the house on time, but it was all for naught, as the train I got on ended up breaking down, resulting in me arriving at work 30 minutes late. And as I sorted through the 121 e-mails which had piled up since Thursday afternoon, I knew I was back home.
This year's Gathering was fantastic, and my hat's off to the staff for getting it together. I apologize to all the people who I didn't get the chance to say goodbye to in my rush to get home. Hopefully I will get to see you in Chicago in 2008 so that you can tell me in person just how much I hurt your feelings.
Carter - Always great to see you. Glad you had fun. And folks help him SPREAD THE WORD!!
Check out www.gatheringofthegargoyles.com
TUESDAY, JUNE 26th, 2007
Got up. Packed. Handed a box over to Nikki, because I had more stuff than would fit in my duffle and briefcase. Worked on Spidey some more in the lobby 'til my 'puter ran out o' juice. Kathy and I went to the Red Rooster for lunch - great berry pancakes. Then she drove me to the Knoxville Airport. She got a bit turned around along the way, but not at a true Bishansky-level. HOWEVER, United Airlines definitely topped Bishansky. Arrived at the airport at about 2:30pm for a 5:30pm flight to Chicago, with a connection to L.A. -- but the flight was cancelled around 4:45pm. Was then placed on a 7:30pm flight to Chicago, with a new connection. That flight was delayed until 9:30pm, and at 9pm was cancelled also. The soonest I could get to L.A., I was told was by taking a morning flight to Denver, and a connection from there that would put me into LAX at about 1:30pm on Wednesday. This was... problematic, as I had a 10:30am Spider-Man Episode #4 voice recording. But what choice did I have? And what was I to do until morning? We were the LAST flight of the day cancelled, but far from the ONLY flight cancelled. By the time we knew we weren't getting out every hotel room in the vicinity was booked -- or nearly. I walked to the Hilton, where a nice lady told me they were booked, but called a Country Inn Suites nearby that had one room left. They picked me up. I got a room with a HUGE jacuzzi smack dab in the middle of the room. I didn't feel like jacuzzing much, but I did get to PAY the premium associated with having the thing. It was also their only Smoking Room, so it was quite... stinky. But it was a room. I found out later that some of my fellow passengers didn't get a room at all. I ordered Dominos, watched a little t.v. and went to sleep.
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 27th, 2007
Got up. Checked out. Got a ride to the airport. Got on a plane to Denver. Got McDonalds. Ran into Crispin Freeman of all people in the Denver Airport. He was on my flight to L.A. The odds of this -- given all I had gone through the day before strike me as astronomical. Flew to L.A. The car drove me home, and I pretty much dumped my stuff and headed to the recording session. Stayed there until 6pm and went home. Beat the rest of my family home. It's VERY good to be home. I'm home.
To everyone -- I had a terrific time! I hope all of you did too. My thanks go out to Nikki and her always cheerful staff and to all of you, old friends and new, who attended and made things so great. I'll admit, that given ALL the work I had to do this trip (not just during the Gathering part), I was a bit more stressed than I usually am. I know I got cranky here and there. So I appreciate everyone's patience! But once again, thanks!
Why do Gargoyles only lay eggs once every twenty years?
Originally, for a species as dominant as Gargoyles once were... and as long-lived... it made evolutionary sense from a resource standpoint. This is what I have always believed, but coming out of the recent Physiology and Culture panel at G2007, I'm more confident than ever that it makes sense.