A Station Eight Fan Web Site
Wednesday - Thursday
For all intents, the Gathering started on Wednesday, when my mom and I began the first half of the drive up to Tennessee. We thought it best to split the six hour drive into two parts, and ovenight somewhere halfway up. Thankfully, the drive was uneventful and we arrived at the hotel Thursday afternoon without any problems. Upon check-in, I found out that the hotel was pratically booked solid, with only a handful of rooms left. Turns out that the Gathering was one of five or six other groups staying or using the hotel that weekend. Whoa.
This was the first official day of the Gathering, and I split from mom that morning so she could do what she wanted while I was occupied with the events. I got my badge and got a one-day pass for my mom to use that night at the opening ceremonies. I looked at the available dealers and the art that was up so far in Artists' Alley (I got a Metal Man comic from the comics dealer there, a plus for me). The first panel I went to was the basic arts panel, to which Karine eventually managed to make. It was fun, a review in part for me, but still great to attend. The next panel I attended was Grimorum-making, taught by the wonderful Jenn-Bob, who also modeled for the life-drawing session we had afterwards. Finally came the opening ceremonies, and I was rather nervous about this particular event. I was one of the volunteers who provided animatics for the reel for "The Last", for which I dragged my mom to see. I listened and cheered through Greg's remarks and news, enjoying the promo reels and the little bonuses that have happened over the last year. It was with a lot of butterflies that I watched "The Last" animatic, but once I saw my part up on the TV, I was relieved. It had turned out rather well, and I was glad to have added my part to it. Unfortunately, my mom couldn't stay through the whole ceremonies and had to miss it. Ah, well. I stayed for the music video contest (sorry, guys, not one of the ones who did the mini-golf). And that was it for me that night.
Went to the life-drawing panel first thing in the morning, which provided a lot of nice gestures and drawings. Next was Karine's Fan to Pro panel. Samuel liked to squirm during it. He's so cute! Back to the panel: Karine gave a lot of information about her work in the past, how things went in the industry, and what she was enjoying about working on issue 5 of Gargoyles and so far for Bad Guys. After that, I hung out for a while in Artists' Alley and got to talk with Mara while she drew, then caught the last part of the Worldbuilding panel. Mom and I went to have a late lunch / early dinner before the radio play.
Okay, for me, and I'm sure a lot of others, the radio play this year was a highlight. For one, it's possibly the largest one so far, with the cast -- even with a few doubling roles -- that was about equal to the audience. Second, it was a performance of issues three to five, and we had to promise to keep our mouths shut about what gets revealed until the final issue comes out. Needless to say, it rocked. So much gets answered in issue five, and so much more. Let's me say this much: there were a lot of laughs, a lot of "Ooohhs" and "Ahhs" and at least one "Squeee!". When it comes out, I am so buying it.
After that, I checked out the MGT3K for the first time, which was fun, though I don't think I contributed much. Lastly for the night was the Blue Mug. It was rather tame this time around, which isn't to say we didn't have our dirty moments. Greg got to show off his custom shirt. Thom pulled his pants down to show his tattoo, which was cool. At least two animated gifs were shown to them, and Mara's own oh so wrong but oh so funny pic got passed around, which prompted another revelation that drew a collective "Ooohh."
I opted to attend the costuming panel, which became an open discussion and tip trading. I followed this up with the Garg physiology and culture panel. Because it was mentioned in the weeks prior to the Gathering, I decided to ask the question whether Katherine's excuse towards Constantine had any validity. We came to the consensus that yeah, the eggs needed to be turned, and various reasons why. Taxonomy was discussed, genetics, as was the interesting, to me anyway, topic of the "castle" as a concept of home and duty to Gargoyles, and to Goliath specifically. After that came the Bad Guys panel, that was part discussion of the upcoming comic and part brainstorming session about what we as fans can do to help get more notice for the comics, DVDs, and next year's con. All very cool ideas, and a few I plan to follow up as well as I can. We also got to see the posters for the upcoming trade of issues 1-6 and for Bad Guys #1. I disappeared for while to eat until the Masquerade, as well as watch the really strong summer storm that went through that afternoon. It was fun to see all the costumes, and at least one dance perfomance (whoever you are, I'm sorry I don't remember your name). Prizes were handed out, and then we partied. I enjoyed dancing and talking with everyone. Especially the performances to songs from Rent and Rocky Horror.
Monday was a short day. I attended the re-scheduled marker panel while listening to the live auction in the next room. I came over to say goodbye to Karine and Jen. After that, I went to help my mom with her stuff, and we were off.
Overall, it was a rather fun con. I signed up for next year's in Chicago, and plan to get to Vashkoda a better version of the animatic I contributed, as well as participate in the art show. Hope everyone else had fun, and I hope to see you guys next year.
I really appreciated your contribution to the Garg Phys&Cust panel. Thanks!
OK, I'm told this is where con reports go, so here goes... Gathering 2007 only, not the camping trip that preceded it.
So Thursday we woke up in North Carolina at a very nice little motel about 5 miles west of Cherokee. We took our time heading out, and just had breakfast out of what we had with us, which was plenty. We actually spent the first part of the day in the park, looking for a couple waterfalls we had managed to miss the first time through. Finally sighed and headed back to the craziness that is Pigeon Forge, and since we'd spotted the hotel on the way down had no trouble finding it. Shan checked us in, we hauled our stuff up to the room they gave us, and whoops... It was very definitely a smoking room, and reeked accordingly. Since Shan had specifically requested a NON smoking room, we called the desk and got put on hold. For way too long a time. Finally we got fed up and just walked back down to the desk, where the putz on the counter just rolled out the old "Oh no, that IS a non smoking room (despite the lack of sign, odor, and ASHTRAYS on the tables) we have no room to move you to, sorry, go spray air freshener." As he was finishing up his little memorized rote a manager comes up behind him, hands him a paper, and says "This is where we're moving them to" and boy did the putz clam up fast. Twit. Guess SOMEone had been working while we'd been on hold after all. Ah well, we had much much less room trouble than the rest of the clan, so we can't complain too much.
Anyway, got up to the room, which was RIGHT across from the con area, which would have been more marvy if we didn't have to wait for and take the elevator that whole 10 feet... *L*
Settled in, cranked the AC up high, and went back to the desk to get directions to the airport, since we were planning to go pick Rob and Maui up at about 11 pm. Nice clerk gave us a map and directions, and we walked across the street for dinner. Finally managed to get a hold of the rest of the clan, who were riding in from Memphis with Trimm - They were running late due to flight delays of course, so we re-confirmed I'd go get the other bunch that night, no problems. I called Rob to make sure everything was still OK with his flight just after the buggers cancelled it for a 10 minute thunderstorm. As far as we knew Maui was still on time, but we had no idea when Rob was gonna get in now. Finally he gets rescheduled, to the NEXT DAY. So poor Wobby spent a crappy night at the airport, but at least it meant Shan and I could BOTH go get Maui (we were gonna leave Shan behind before because of lack of space - remember all my camping stuff was taking up the entire trunk. :P ) That worked really well, because there was construction blocking all the routes we knew of to get BACK to the motel from the airport - so we got brave and after picking Mau up without a hitch, we grabbed the atlas and map the hotel gave us and fumbled our way back to PF in the dark. Made it, though,and got to the hotel not that far behind the rest of the clan, who'd gotten stuck in the construction traffic we'd detoured around. They'd reserved a suite, but I guess there were none left, so they got thrown across the freaking street to a even more ghetto hotel owned by the same people. Sure, it was technically a suite, and I admit I never saw it, but I heard stories. And 'overcharged' doesn't start to cut it, I also heard. Still, I'll let them blog that little mess... We got back, Mau went over to visit them for a few minutes, then came back and we all slept.
Next morning, Friday! I woke up and everyone else was still asleep (or half awake and just not getting up yet, who knows) but it was rapidly approaching 9 am and I finally said screw it and got up and wandered a bit, looking for people I knew. Walked next door to the BP station and got breakfast, then ran into con staffers on the way upstairs. Asked if they needed help and got told no, not really, but I went and butted into the room anyway because I saw JG in there setting up the art area. Said hi to her, and volunteered to help with art panels, and that time got a 'yes please!' *L* Helps when people can recognize you without a nametag. :P Finally the rest of my room got up and moving and wandered over, and promptly got put to work, because that's what Arcadia does... we get drafted easy. :P I grabbed my badge in there somewhere, but we hung out until all the art we had was hung and labeled, and by that time the rest of the clan had arrived and hugs were exchanged. About noon Shan and I headed back up to the airport to get Rob, and we took a different route that was more scenic, had less construction, but was much longer. Still got there just at the right time, though, and grabbed Wobby without much trouble. Grabbed lunch on the way back, and zoomed back to PF... I was still about 15 minutes late getting to the 3pm lifedrawing session though. Life drawing was fun, I always like it because the con is the only place I can do it in anything like a formal setting. They were also cool about taking pics, so I snagged photos of some of the more complex poses, too. ^_^ The clan waited patiently while I finished that up, then those who wanted to went to opening ceremonies, which Shan and I skipped in favor of being lazy in the hotel room and eating our leftovers from lunch. After the ceremonies finally wound up, we all met up downstairs, picking up a few adoptees of course in the process, and went to dinner (Shan and I just got desserts) and then walked a couple blocks to a laser tag place. I'd never done it before, but it was fun. I assume part of the fun was the group, though. We got the whole session to ourselves, which rocked, too. I came in next to dead last for points, go me! ;P At that point it was getting late, so it was back to the hotels and bed -eventually. *L*
Saturday!! We all slept too late but I hauled my butt out of bed for the 10 am lifedrawing. They were really the only con things I did, so I'm glad I did that much, at least. *L* The poor across the street people finally managed to get a room in the con hotel, another suite, which was much nicer but still too expensive in my opinion. *L* Hung out there a bit and goofed off a lot, (pic is DE, Arno, and Maui) of course. There was not much going on that we really needed to go until the MGT3K at 8, so some of us went swimming and Mau and DE wandered off shopping or something, I think. We ended up driving to TGIFridays for dinner that night, which was nice - I usually don't get to see much of the people who stay in the other clan room, so getting to hang with Trimm, Beedoo! and Arno for the evening was awesome. ^_^ I didn't do the radio play as usual (I still have -never- sat through one of those. Some year, I guess) but a lot of the clan wanted to go to the MGT3K, and the rest of us went swimming again. Well, Rob came and played with his camera and let us pick on him, and DE couldn't swim because of her bum knee, but the rest of us swam. Well, ok, all 5 of us. But still. After that there was much confusion and trying to find Arno and the others, which was finally given up on and sleep happened. Eventually. :P
SUNDAY! I... have no idea what happened Sunday? Oh! Wait, yeah, we went to breakfast at the pancake place next door, and then split up again. DE had to leave to head back to work Monday, most of the clan went for mini golf and Shan and I went up to the outlet mall because I was looking for things for my nephew's birthday. I didn't get a darn thing for my nephew and ended up only getting some hand soap for myself. But it's nice soap, darnit. ;P Met up with the rest of the group and did a lap of go-cart racing, before we headed back to the hotel and picked up the cars and went to Golden Corral for our non-banquet clan dinner. *L* Got back and headed to the Masquerade! Most of my pics are semi-random Masquerade pics, so I'm not gonna detail them here again, sorry. pic folder is here again if you missed it the first time.
Hung out after wards, got in the conga line, and then went over to take the traditional clan pic. Two weird things happened, first people kept jumping into the pic with us who we barely or didn't know at all, and second, people we didn't or barely knew kept taking our pictures once we finally got posed. It was like we were famous or something? *L* But I was the bitch and kicked everyone else out (except for the guy with the kick ass costume, I wasn't complaining about him) and got the pic - Arcadia Clan Gathering Pic 2007! and my thanks to whoever shot the pic for me. It's a decent photo of everyone except me. *L* Back row is Arno, Trimm, me, Robert, and the gargoyle, Delphine is in the middle, then Beedoo!, Maui, and JG are in the front. DE had already left. After that we noticed the room we were in had handy tables, so we got into a weird card game Beed had brought until JG came back in and told us about the problems with water leaking in the dealers/art room. So the clan pitched in and went to help take down the art show in a hurry, and we were just finishing that up along with the staff when the whole CON showed up and started helping us move the dealers' stuff to improvised high ground. I was very impressed with how we all worked together, and seeing who ended up in charge and who was actually getting obeyed and who was doing what was interesting. *L* Still, that little exercise seemed to pretty much kill the dance ( it's funny, the one time I've been there that we were isolated enough that we could have stayed more than a few minutes, and everyone left - maybe it's habit at this point? ;P ) so we went back to our card games. I finally left when I noticed that the noise in the room was making me literally cringe every time someone said something, and the game was such that everyone was yelling and being loud, that was part of the fun - but I couldn't take it anymore and had to beg off and head to bed before my head exploded. o.O Since I knew we were heading out first thing in the morning, I did manage to get re-packed most of the way, and then went back to donate some of the food we had left from camping but didn't want to haul home over to the card players... But finally I got a shower and some sleep and the headache went away.
MONDAY! Basically just got up, found the clan, and said goodbyes. We had set ourselves a strict goal of 10 am departure, based on how long a drive we had, and we made it almost on the nose. It was the LONGEST damn drive through Kentucky ever, I swear it was all downhill once we got to Ohio, but still it seemed like such a damn long drive. *L* But we had the Arcadia CD to keep us company and we finally got home about 7:30. After which we promptly crashed, since Delfy had to be at work way too freaking early the next morning.
THE END! Yes, I'm planning on going to Chicago, though I didn't have the money to pre-reg yet.
Then I hope to see you in Chicago... maybe next year you'll see the Radio Play. You're missing out, I swear, by skipping that.
Gathering Journal, Part Three
Slept in until ten, then woke up and went downstairs for biscuits and gravy. After breakfast, I hit an ATM, and then my brother and I decided to sit in on the Gargoyles physiology/culture discussion. Greg was very animated during this one, especially towards the end when talking about how a gargoyle might define "the castle". The main thing I took away was that gargoyles and humans have one very key thing in common: the men are idiots, and the women are crazy.
After that, there was a panel on Gargoyles/Bad Guys. Right before it started, I went down to the second floor, found a vending machine that didn't hate me, and got my Mike-and-Ikes at long last! Vengeance is mine (or at least artificial fruit flavors were mine)! The comic panel turned more into a motivational speech on spreading the word. But in all fairness, Greg had said that it was because the panel had been thrown together at the last minute, and he was unable to answer too many questions about the story (for which I couldn't blame him).
I went upstairs after that, and perused some of the items up for silent auction. I had already bid on some art, otherwise I would have put some bids in on a few other things. I didn't even know Tiger made an LCD game for Gargoyles. I tried to get some soda from the third floor vending machines after that, but they refused to give me any love. So I gave up, and went back to the room to shower and shave. I still had time to kill after cleaning up for dinner. I chatted with my brother for a bit (he went to Gatlinburg during the comic panel, and he described it as a Swedish town in the middle of nowhere). Earlier, I had offered to front him some money to go on the waiting list for the Banquet, but he kept saying no.
Went down to the second floor after that, and finally scored some Coke from THAT soda machine. They must have grouped all the working machines on the second floor. I also had a nice chat with Jonathon and Kristen (whom I'd met Friday night), and also with Susan Leonard. My memory was hazy on just what we talked about, but hunger usually puts gaps in my memory.
The Banquet was a lot of fun, though I was confused as to why the chicken appeared to be served over rice with some mysterious yellow gravy. I thought the menu said it would be Southern Fried. Ah, well, it was still good. The potatoes and gravy were awesome. The Q and A afterwards was also very enjoyable (if Greg was annoyed with me asking if he took the Mrs. Smith's apple pie out of the box before eating it, he didn't show it). Overall, it was a lot of fun. If my brother actually comes with me again next year, I'm fronting him the money for the Banquet. He went to KFC.
A wicked storm kicked up after the Q and A let out. My brother and I smoked pipes on the balcony, until the wind picked up and started blowing the rain into our faces. When that happened, we decided to abort. I bumped into Brooklyn X and a few other people not far from my room, and got some pictures of a table upside-down in the swimming pool. Shortly after that, my brother and went to grab seats at the Masquerade.
The Masquerade was wild. I don't know if my brother enjoyed himself, but I did. Sadly, I was sitting under the fluorescents, so I didn't get too many good pictures. I got some great ones after the judging, though. My brother went back to the hotel room shortly after the awards were given out, and I tried to get him to come hang out with us. He came over for about five minutes, and then I lost track of him. I think he went back to the room to drink some more and pray for my soul. It's funny. I'm usually the antisocial one, and this time he was the one drinking in the hotel room. ( ;
Lots of general insanity after that. Managed to have some better, lengthier chats with Greg X, Kelly, and JEB. Kelly and I discussed the possibility of doing something Quarrymen-related at next year's Masquerade, an idea that took better shape as the night progressed. Watched some kareoke, and wound up doing some of it myself with a few other males in the room (that was fun. Haven't belted out a good rendition of "A--hole" in years), but not too long after that, there was a bit of a buzzkill from the rain, which caused a leak in the Dealer's Room. From what I heard later, everything was okay, but a bunch of people needed to go buy tarps because the rain picked up again.
Kelly, Leo and I did our own search for the comic book dealer, but we wound up back in Leo and Kelly's room, drinking coffee and bitching about the hotel. Despite all my belly-aching, I still liked the hotel. It had personality. I went upstairs after that, and hung out a bit more. Had another chat with a girl named Tiffany about tattoos. All this talk has gotten me thinking about getting one at the next Gathering. I eventually wound up in the hotel lobby with Thom Adcox and a group of other people (names are, again, sadly a blur) watching dirty videos on youtube, as well as a short film someone made based upon an internet comic. I went back up to my room about a quarter after midnight, watched "Venture Brothers" with my brother, and then slept.
Woke up, and started to get breakfast. Once again, the line in the lobby was too long. And honestly, my brother and I were tired of biscuits and gravy. So we went to McDonald's and grabbed coffee. We went back to the hotel after getting coffee, and I bumped into Mandy and BrooklynX as they were checking out. Said goodbye to them (BX and I wound up chatting a few times over the weekend when he was pulling guard duty for Radio Play auditions and rehearsals). After that, we went upstairs to where Greg, Thom, and Karine were signing things. Got them to sign a copy of Gargoyles #3 for someone whose wedding I went to over a year ago, and I still hadn't gotten him a gift. Thanks, guys! He's a massive fan of Gargoyles, so he'll appreciate it a lot! Hopefully, it won't take as long for me to mail it out to him, and I'll be sure to mention Chicago in the letter.
Said goodbye to Greg X and JEB, then stopped upstairs to the Dealer's Room to pick up some art. Bought a very nice Demona piece from Revel. Said some more goodbyes after that, and then my brother and I hit the road. I decided to forego stopping at a fireworks outlet, since we got a late start and my brother had a longer drive than I did.
Made the trip in seven hours, and saw more roadkill on the way home. The final roadkill count was:
Bird - 1
Deer - 3
Fox - 1
Opossum - 2
Raccoon - 7
Unknown - 8
Unpacked the car and started to upload the Gathering pics I took so my brother could copy them onto a portable drive. Only problem was it was taking too long. So he told me to just give him a CD next time we saw each other, and he started off again. I unpacked my stuff, had a beer and some leftover enchiladas, and vegged out until I got sleepy.
Overall, it was a blast. Hope to do it again in 2008.
Hope to see you in Chicago!
Gathering Journal, Part Two
I slept longer than I had in a while, but I was on vacation. Wasn't very hungry when I woke up. Had a lot of nervous energy, which usually deprives me of my appetite. Went down to the lobby with my brother, drank some coffee, ate some biscuits and gravy (which were surprisingly good). Tacky as everything was, the people of the town were very friendly. After breakfast, we attempted to find our way upstairs to claim our badges. We wound up going outside to the Convention Center by mistake, then back inside, then down a few dead-ends until we found the stairwell we wanted. Lots of dead-ends in this hotel. It had so much character, I'm amazed that the fire warden hadn't condemned it yet.
After we got our stuff from the Dealer's Room, my brother and I split up. I ran across the street to Walgreens for more supplies, and then sat in on the Fanfic 101 group discussion. Stopped back in the hotel room afterward for a cold slice of leftover bacon pizza. I initially was not going to go to Thom Adcox's voice-acting panel, but my brother was going, so I went with him. I'm glad I changed my mind. Thom is a very funny guy and had some very amusing stories to tell about his experiences in the business. I did manage to take away the sense that voice-acting is tough (the business aspect of it). Plus, he also mentioned that the Gargoyles voice cast looked upon the Goliath Chronicles as a paycheck, which made me laugh.
Had time to kill before Radio Play auditions, so my brother and I went for a drive to see what was in the direction of Gatlinburg. It's weird, because you eventually reach a point where the tackiness of Pigeon Forge just seems to stop abruptly, and you're in the middle of the woods again. We followed that road for a bit, and then turned around, and got back to the hotel with time to spare.
Never made it to auditions, though, because I ran into Kelly (Sadistic Cow) up in the dealer's room. I wound up following her back to her room, where she introduced me to Leo, DTaina, and Doppelganger. For some reason, they were watching "Lois and Clark" on DVD (and I joined Leo in annoying Taina with Superman jokes. Can I make a good first impression or what?).
Fortunately, the episode was just ending, so we all went down to see the ducks. They have these freaky looking ducks that swim in the river next to the picnic area behind the hotel. They're like these mutant duck-turkey things. I got some pictures of them. We chatted for a bit, fed some Chex Mix to the mutant ducks, and then went inside to avoid getting sunburned. I lost track of my companions on the stairway between the first and third floors, mainly because I started chatting with Carter (Alex Garg) and Seth (IRC Goliath) about movies and the tackiness of Pigeon Forge. After that, I ran into Matt on the way back to my hotel room. I told him that I wasn't going to enter the mini-golf raffle, because miniature golf infuriates me, and I wanted to make a good first impression.
Opening Ceremonies were shortly after that, and they were a lot of fun. Most of us wound up moving onto the floor shortly after we got there, so everyone could see the TV, but I didn't care. There was also some trouble with the video, but again, everyone was in good spirits about it. I'd never seen the "Bad Guys" demo reel before. It was more hardcore than I'd been expecting. I also enjoyed watching the "Atlantis" episode. The unfinished scenes were actually very entertaining, even though the finished scenes looked great. Greg Weisman broke the podium and took it in great stride. And apparently, going only 20 minutes over is good for him (I spoke to someone later who advised me that his average is 40 minutes over).
My brother and I went to Wendy's after that (Spicy Chicken sandwich, the only thing I ever get from them), and wound up missing the first few music videos. But that was okay. I'd already seen a few of them on youtube. I hung out in the Atrium after that, which was fun. I have to remember to bring my chess set to Chicago next year. I love to play, but no one in my family will play with me anymore. Chatted with the comic book dealer, who apparently has been in his chosen field since 1983. Told me about what a few of his oldest comics were. I went downstairs after that to see what Cow, Taina, and Leo were up to. Hung out with them, Doppleganger, and Carter for a bit. Watched the last hour of "Army of Darkness," and wound up reciting most of it (hopefully, I wasn't annoying anyone).
Went back upstairs after the movie to see what was happening in 2A. Someone (I think it was Mara) did an amazing sketch of Delilah using only Crayola markers. I chatted with JEB for a bit about gaming while I watched. Lost track of the picture after she finished (there was talk of slipping it under Greg Weisman's door. I spoke to her the next day, and she didn't know what happened to it, either).
After that, Hudson started ranting. It was all highly offensive humor, which is a guilty pleasure of mine. I managed to get my brother out of the hotel room for some of it. Pity we never got around to the Jalapena contest (that sounded fun), but Hudson's rant more than made up for it. Got tired around midnight, so when Hudson stopped to use the restroom, my brother and I went back to our room for rest.
Overslept, which means I missed Radio Play auditions (after I swore I'd set my alarm for them). My brother and I went down to the lobby, and but the line for breakfast was too long. So we decided to go elsewhere. We ran into a Fan as we were leaving, so he asked if he could tag along.
Despite what Thom said during his voice panel the day before, we did wind up eating at the Red Rooster. I didn't get the pancakes, though. Just had cornflakes and coffee, the breakfast of champions. A Fan and my brother did a lot of the talking (my brother's pursuing a master's in History, so he loves to hear people talk about themselves). We split up after that. I bought some provisions from Walgreen's, as well as something for my stomach, since I felt a little queasy. Bought the least drowsy thing I could find. By early afternoon, I felt like my cynical old self again.
Perused some art up in the Dealer's Room after dropping the stuff off back in the hotel room. Saw some things that caught my eye, but didn't bid just yet. Figured I'd stew on it while I sat in on Karine's panel. However, I did buy a T-Shirt for Gathering 2008 in Chicago. I'll be doing my best to make it there. Showed up for Karine's panel early, so I chatted for a bit with Mandy and someone whose name I can't remember (I'm sorry. I've always been better with faces than I have names. Takes me a few tries to remember someone's name). Karine's panel was very entertaining. I was very impressed with her energy. People were asking some very good questions, and she sat and patiently answered them all while juggling her infant son. The way people have talked about it, I'm very much looking forward to seeing Issue #5 of the comic now (the preview pages looked great). Went back to the Dealer's Room after that, and placed a bid on some artwork that caught my eye.
Didn't get a chance to sign up for one of the Mug-a-Guests (I meant to yesterday, but got sidetracked), so I had time to kill before the Radio Play. My brother and I went down the road to a country record store. Got some postcards, and came very close to buying a redneck cookbook. I do like hushpuppies. After that, we drove back to the hotel, and went up to the Dealer's Room. We hung out, chatted with some people, and I wound up flipping through some... interesting... comics that Kelly bought.
Took a nap before the Radio Play, got up ten minutes before it started, shotgunned half a lukewarm Pepsi, and then my brother and I took the long way around to 2A. The cast for the Radio Play was great. It was not what I expected: Issues 3, 4 and 5 of the comic. To anyone who wasn't there, all I'll say is: buy Issue #5 when it comes out. If your comic store doesn't carry it, get them to order it through any means necessary. It is well worth it.
I was expecting the play to go on a bit longer. So I had a chunk of time to kill. I smoked a pipe by the river, and had a little chat with Cow and Leo. Then went back to the room for dinner, which my brother and I had purchased earlier. We were tired of eating fast food, so we scarfed some Oscar Mayer Lunchables (not to mention some fresh blackberries, which tasted great) and watched Jesus Talk Live for about five minutes. Less said about that, the better.
After we ate, I went to MGT3K. I ran sat next to Matt, and had a lot of fun. We all did our best to tear into "Lighthouse in the Sea of Time," "Outfoxed," and "The Price." Oh, and Greg, even though you weren't there, thanks for letting us roast your intros. ( ;
We had time to kill after the main event, so Jade Griffin put "The Mirror" on for us to watch (and rip apart). Pity they didn't have the script for that one. I probably cracked my best jokes during it.
Blue Mug-A-Guest was after that. I jogged downstairs to try and grab some sugar, but the vending machine ate two of my dollars and gave no love. I had my eye on those Mike-and-Ikes, too. Ah, well. I ran back upstairs, and found a seat right before it started. Man, was that wild! I think we scared my brother away with the second question. He went back to the hotel room before eleven. Thom told some interesting jokes, and I also have a vague memory of some youtube videos being passed around. By 12:30, I was falling asleep in the chair, so I went back to the room for sleep.
To be concluded...
Roasting my intros sounds a bit like shooting fish in a barrel.
Gathering Journal, Part One
My brother and I actually left on time, or at least when we intended to, which was between 9 and 10 AM. We made good time down Route 64, and drove through a lot of counties with funny names: Fluvanna, Louisa, and before that, Goochland. Sadly, after Fluvanna, the county names stopped being funny (that, or I just stopped paying attention). We passed a lot of trucks as we drove through the valley, in the right lane with their emergency blinkers on. I would have been feeling better if we hadn't seen an Audi commercial last night that had to do with car crashes. Ah, well, good thing I don't believe in omens.
We tried to play a game where we count all the roadkill we see. But wouldn't you know it? After two hours on the road, we hadn't seen a single dead animal. Saw a living deer, but that doesn't count. Well, at least it started to pick up when we got closer to the Tennessee State Line.
When we came off the exit for I-40, we followed signs for Pigeon Forge and started to get the feeling that we were crossing into another dimension. How many dinner and show services does one place need? Or helicopter-related things, for that matter. Not to mention the fact that I saw more electronic billboards in the last 20 minutes than I have for my entire life! They probably cause more accidents every year than drunk driving.
We found the hotel more easily than we thought. Checked in, and grabbed a shower. The table I sat at in the room when I was writing this journal had several amusing pamphlets, including the Black Bear Jamboree, and the Dixie Stampede Dinner Attraction. I took the pamphlets with me. The place was so much like Vegas: it's so tacky, it's a joke. But it knows it's a joke and doesn't care. I love it! I also grabbed a complementary newspaper that had an article on the Gathering with a hysterical typo in it.
My brother and I went for a walk after that. We saw a bunch of humorous stores as we took a walk down the sidewalk. We passed this one overly tacky store where a person could feed live bears, and also purchase joke novelties, NASCAR merchandise, and a variety of fried dough. We took some humorous pictures of the tackiness. On our way back to the hotel, we ran into Carl, aka Cuddly Dominion. Had an interesting chat with him about the town, and also about designing costumes. The three of us ran into Greg X outside the hotel. He recognized me by my homemade Demona shirt. Couldn't chat too long, but it was nice to finally meet him in person after talking with him online for almost two years.
My brother and I went back up to the room after that, ordered some pizza, and watched a few episodes of "The Office," which I had never seen before but enjoyed. When it started to get a little dark, we went out to the picnic tables behind the hotel and smoked pipes. Even at nine-thirty, it was still dusk out. God, I love the Solstice!
Went back to the hotel room after smoking, and it was too cold. Had a merry time trying to get the climate controls to work. It was too hot outside, too cold in the room. Went to bed not long after that.
To be continued…
The Office was an acquired taste for me. But now I'm addicted...
Well, I'm a little bummed out today. Went to Golden Apple after work to pick up a copy of issue #5 of the comic, but it was sold out. Damn you, Blaise!! Just kidding. I'm bummed because I've learned that Golden Apple -- my own local comic book store -- only ordered three copies of the book. Way to support your local writers, huh? It's very unclear to me whether they plan to order any more copies. But I know I'm not the only one who went in asking for it and came away disappointed.
But... sigh... that's not why I'm here.
As promised, now that the book is out, the staff of the Gathering 2007 has permission to put the Radio Play on YouTube. Don't know when that will happen, but in the meantime, here's the cast list:
Sarah Browne - Airalana
Alex Xanatos - Bridgette/Igiebay & Samuel Davis
D.J. - Kerry Boyd
Jason Canmore - Emambu
Bronx - Bridgette (Igiebay)
Terry Chung - Rebekah
Burbank - Tris Coffin
Hollywood - Amber Garrity
Malibu - King Cobra-582/Ed
Fox - Karine
John Castaway - Emambu
Susan Greene - Elenna Wolfen/Jennifer Branton
Brendan Quarters - David Brown
Anton Sevarius - A Fan, David
Billy Greene - Tiffany Taber
Ian Roebling - Revel
Margot Yale - Ashlee/Norcumi
Maggie the Cat - Rachel (Grey Wolf)
Jeffrey Robbins - Jonathan Francis
Amanda Chung - Cati Brantan
Jay Sato - Shawna Garrity (Nashoba)
Matt Bluestone - Rob "Jurgan" Dukes
Broadway - Greg Bishansky
Morgan Morgan - Chip (Gryphin Wyrm 7)
Delilah - Sarah McEvoy
Quincy Hemings - Mike Canavan
Owen Burnett - Mandi Ohlin
Shari - Abbie
Lexington - Jae
Hudson - Tris Coffin
Al - Alex "Carter" Checnkov
Talon - Anthony Zucconi (Archangel)
Brooklyn - Seth Jackson
Martin Hacker - Eric "Gorebash" Tribou
Angela - Jennifer Anderson
David Xanatos - Roberto Rivera
Goliath - John Clemens
Elisa Maza - Phoenix-Talon
Thailog - Emambu
with Greg Weisman narrating...
and Thom Adcox as Brentwood
[Note that the names of the cast reflect how they filled out their audition forms.]
Big cast, huh?
The Grand conclusion
Sunday was also a bit of a sleep in day, but there were many things I wanted to do later. Breakfast was with Spacie and GregB again and once again I went for the eggs and hash because it was just that good. First panel I attended was the Othercon creative positions. Without going into many details it was a lot of fun. It ranged from the interesting to the totally bizzare. We had a raunchy good time. I definitly knew I wanted to attend th eBad Guys panel, I am really stoked about its up coming release. I always liked the concept and the art is in good hands with Karine. The panel was interesting, even when it branched into tangents. This was of course about the time the rain moved in at full force. It even blew a table into the pool. Water was leaking from the floor above in front of our room but I could not tell if any got in there.
Okay, about the banquet, I was unprepared because I was not aware she had reserved one, so I was under dressed compared to some but at least it was a polo shirt. The food was very good and I had a slice of acake. The fun thing about Banquet and Masquerade are not only the costumes but how some dress fine. Greg was wearing a nice suite, aron had his pimp suit and cane, Tony Zucconi looked very sharp. and the women, just, WOW. Spacie had on this very hot red dress, Lynati, Mara, and many others looked great. I danced a little and joined in the singing of Denis Leary's "A$$hole song" The fun was abruptly halted however when many of us had to run up stairs to rearrange the art room and dealers tables to protect them from leaks in the roof including a LOT of comic books. After we were certain things should be safe we ended up in a small circle talking about work stories and religon of all things, but it was interesting, Legacy was very interesting to listen to. Not sure when I went to bed but it was about 1am, I had talked to Flanker and he was organizing a second group for the gun range and I didn;t want to miss out again.
Woke up about 8am and grabed a quick shower before breakfast. I went with the bacon belgian waffle this time, was ok, but the eggs and hash were better. I knew today was going ot be a short day so I tried to make the most of it. We met up with Flanker in the lobby, Kathy was there reading and others passed by, There would end up being 8 of us for this trip, Myself, Spacie, Lynati, Gside, and a few others whose names are currently slipping my mind.
We took two car, my Mustang and Flanker's Charger, yes yes we are such guys, but it was a fun drive. Flanker was more than happy to fly over the mountain roads of twists and turns and my pony car kept pace. It certainly cured me of wanting to go drive go carts. *geeeek*
The last time I had been to a range was at school. it was an outdoor range and they were very strict about fire control of only one shot per second. This place on the other hand, while strict in a safe way was more than happy to let you empty and entire magazine into your target as fast as you liked. It was a lot of fun and I did decent. In fact everyone did very good. At one point I nearly shot my target right off the hanging clips and the retractor was scared of me, was odd. The drive back was slower thanks to an old person in a mini van from Florida and we were short on time. We packed up, got the car loaded and said our good byes to every one we could find. I knew more rain was coming and wanted to get to the airport on time. We were flying Continental, and one of the flights to Houston was cancled, that was the one Winterwolf was on, having arrived at the airport right after he did. Lucky for us we were on a very small plane (I could not even stand up in the aisle, had to hunch) it was delayed but we made it in. Later I fould out that Winterwolf bounced around Denver and got delayed there too. Greg Weisman also got marrooned at an airport so we were fortunate, made it home safe and sound just after 10 pm local time.
I had a wonderful time it was a fun if too short weekend and was very glad I could make it, from cars to guns to golf and of course the gorgeous women of our fandom.
PS Buy the DVDs and the Comics. Doooooo it!
Come to Chicago next year, start saving now because it will be more pricy and start finding roomies. Remember, you only sleep in the room, it never hurts to bring a sleeping bag and grab the floor. (I have a small blow up matress I can bring)
Pimp it dude!!!!
To begin with I had a great time, it was a small con but we had a good time. Due to time constraints I had a short con of Friday through Monday and had to miss out on a road trip, but I will give the best details I can recall.
The day began very early. Spacie had to work the night before and I, like usual, waited up for her to come home. We left for my parent's house at about 5am because I am paranoid about leaving my car at the air port and the plane left at roughly 7am. There were no delays or hold ups on the way to Nashville and I had ea muffin and an OJ in flight.
So why Nashville when the con was in Pigeon Forge bellow Knoxville you say? Mostly financial. I had originally wanted to land late thursday so as to not have to worry about missing things, but not flights left late enough, after 8 pm in Houston so I had to settle for early Friday. Knoxvill was a much smaller airport and had limited times available for more expensive plus all the flights transfered through Nashville. Since it was cheaper to rent a car and drive it I just did that. I figured since it was just the two of us I;d get a fun car and we ended up with a new Silver Ford Mustang and it was FUN! Just a 6 cylinder but she would fly.
First stop once on the road was to get food, I grabed a Mc Griddle egg and a cheese and didn;t stop for anything else. We made good time, would have even been better if I was not a bone head and too the 441 through down town Knoxville which had stop lights. It then becomes a country road with almost NO road signs and I often cursed wondering if I had missed a turn I needed. Nevertheless we made it to the hotel with no problems. Met of with Greg Bishansky who already had our key and got things stowed away. My first priority was to get my art set up and to get my con badge. I only had 4 pieces but two sold so I call that a success. Hung out talking with Emabu, Steph, eventually Alex Garg came in Gside, many others. I believe we made our way over to the Radio Play auditions, I knew I wanted to give that a try again.
Opening Ceremonies was cozy. They didn't have a projector only a large TV so most of us ditched our chairs and sat on the floor like a big kindergarden class. Once again there were many Con virgins, almost half I'd venture to say, which is shameful from a veterans stand point but still fun. I missed the musice vids, sorry, but I was voraciously hungry by that point and some how found myself in charge of a small group looking for food. Ultimately we found a fish and fry place that had an excellent Chicken fried steak, hush puppies and I took one of Greg's Gator tail bites. After we got back to the hotel we ended up in our room just chatting and hanging out, always one of my favorite things to do, Greg B, Spacie, Winterwolf and Wolf's newbie friend Legacy who was from Nashville, he was fun to talk to. We had the curtains open and Jen walked by but not before pressing her breast to the glass and giving us kisses. I houted out thankyou to her for fun : )
Bed time soon followed.
I slept in Saturday, after staying up late talking it is always good to do. There really was not much going on, I had already auditioned so it was mostly time to catch up with people I had not seen in a year, some more.
Breakfast was over at the Red Rooster, a little diner within easy walking distance that had really good food, I didn't eat in the hotel at all. Actually I'd like to take a moment to talk about the hotel. Apparently they had assured Nikki that their renovations would be done by the time con rolled around. Well, they had lied. It was not bad but the design was very odd with the way the floors worked, having to use different staircases for con and room areas. The elevators were acomplete waste of time, I could walk to the top and back down before the elevator would open for someone and from what I head they didn;t always open to a floor or between floors. Water was a problem, I mean the jacuzzi in the lobby was cool, but the water fall on the rocks was and asnine design, it splashed right on the floor ensuring a slick entry all the time in the side lobby. Then there were the leaks, lots of them.
Anyhow. Breakfast was eggs and hash with biscuits, it was THE BEST eggs and hash I had had in a long time, was good and inexpensive. Next I checked on my art bids and bought a Jayne: Let's be Bad Guys Serenity shirt, I like it : ) I believe I ended up hanging out pretty much the rest of the time on the 3rd floor talking with people as they came and went, mostly Gside and Flanker and Alex Garg about what ever comes to mind. Was esentially waiting for the Radio play cast list, which came out about 2 in the afternoon. I had done well, there were several parts I would have loved to have had but I was pleased with what I got. Spacie and I squeezed some alone time in here somewhere.
The Radio play was awesome, I can't say enough about how wonderfully talented Emambu is, playing three characters each well done. I am so jealous ; ) In addition to that, buy the Gargs comics, play catch, find a dealer, order online but get caught up and I mean NOW. You so want to have number 5 in your hands when it comes out, it will have it all.
After Radio play I had a desire to go put-put golfing and we had plenty of time before blue mug that night. A group walked over to the Papa Johns and we each pretty much got our own or shared pizza. I got a pepperoni and black olive, hot and fresh.
To be honest it was a very well designed mini golf course, lots of ups and downs and drop thoughs. This also made it very difficult and I think i got a 28+ over par or some pathetic number like that.
Blue mug, there were a few nice questions, some were even blue! And for those wondering I got Greg to agree to that some gargs are Ribbed for pleasure, it is so wonderful having guest who are as perverted as the rest of us ; )
bed time was a little after 1am.
to be concluded...
Gathering Photos HERE -------> http://members.tripod.com/revel8/id502.htm
Who you calling a perv? Me? Oh, well, never mind.
I Went to Pancake World and What Did I See?
Well, first I went to the airport and picked up Greg. And then I went to Pancake World aka Pigeon Forge where they just happened to be hosting the 11th Annual Gathering of the Gargoyles. It was good to see people I talk to but don't normally see in person. And it was good to meet some new folks too.
Open Ceremonies is not without its nostalgic charm. I missed out on all the late night stuff due to a string of crushing headaches and inexplicably having my body clock reset to somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. But I did enjoy a trip to a shooting range where I got to actually try some of the gun-related activities I normally only write and/or read about. (which was extremely educational). And I played laser tag, which was fun in its own cathartic sort of way. And of course there was lots and lots of GARGOYLES - episodes to watch, stories told, and the irrepressable Thom Adcox.
I hosted a writing seminar which was well received. And since it wouldn't actually be a Gathering without talking about writing at least a little (and more likely a lot) that was also of the good.
And there were pancakes. And rain. And a leaking roof. And a whole lot of people pulling together to make sure Kerry the Comic Book Guy's stuff didn't get ruined. Which was cool.
But then it was over. And people went home. And I drove Greg back down the mountain (getting lost slightly in Maryville, because I always do) and when I got home I packed my lunch and got ready to go back to the real world, thus ending another Gathering weekend.
You forgot the late night call when my plane was delayed...
Thanks again for everything!
Hey, I was a guest this year. Yeah, listed in the con book as a Guest next to Thom and Greg. It was strange and weird and cool and fun all at the same time.
I took very few photos, and none of them during con activities. I blame it on Samuel. All his fault for having my attention!!! So you'll just have to go look at other people's photos.
Samuel and I were dropped off at the airport by Adam and Matthieu on Thursday morning. I like the self-check-in terminals, they make things fast and easy. As I was told that Pigeon Forge was a dry county, I went to the duty free store to pick up some good mixer booze and some Sortilège (maple syrup whisky liqueur) to bring, but as they have changed the rules on bringing liquids on planes, the alcohol had to be put in luggage that would be checked. And since I'd packed very tight, there was no room for bottles, and thus I could not buy anything. (poo)
Sam was very well behaved on the plane. Once arrived in Chicago, we met up with Jen and Thom at the gate for Knoxville; Thom was litterally sedated, so Jen and I shared some lunch while he snoozed. Susan (co-chair of G2008 in Chicago) joined us, and then they changed our gate, so we had to wake up Thom and make our way there. I had to work, but there was no room on the plane to have Sam in his car seat, so Jen offered to take him; however, due to placement of oxygen masks, I had to keep Samuel with me. No biggie, it was a short trip, and he slept most of the way (mommy's milk is an effective narcotic sometimes).
In Knoxville, we piled up in the car Susan had rented, installed the GPS, and drove to our hotel. Except that the GPS couldn't find the hotel at first, and then when Jen reprogrammed it with an intersection, it brought us PAST the hotel into the following town. We joked that it brought us to the booze, as it made us pass a very well stocked liquor store. We got, among other things, a TUB of margarita... it was good. Wish I could find that here, it's great for parties. We drove back into Pigeon Forge (aka OMG Tacky Town, aka Vegas Light) and found our hotel.
As far as hotels go, this was on the not good side. It wasn't awful, but for those who've been to the Orlando Gathering... yeah. Like that. Water problems from torrential rain included. Although we'd find that out on Sunday... The thing about the hotel is thaty at first it seemed "not as bad as it seems", if you understand what I mean, but it progressively got worse. The room that I was sharing with Jennifer, Samuel and Eric (aka Gorebash) stank of cigarette smoke. The hotel staff did not have any non-smoking rooms, so they offered to clean the room and change the sheets. Why they don't do this between every stay is beyond me. The room was okay after that, thankfully.
Guests and staff met up in the lobby, and we made our way to the Japanese steak house across the street. Good food. Good performance. Good company. Sam was zerberted by Greg W, cuddled and snuggled by several people, and was a happy camper throughout. When we got back to the room, he went to sleep pretty easily, and we grownups had a relaxing evening chatting before turning in.
Sam woke up around 4:45 AM, and since I'm a light sleeper, he woke me up. I took him into my bed before he could wake up the others and nursed him. We both fell asleep shortly, only to all wake up around 8:30 or so.
We went to the hotel restaurant for breakfast. The deal was that you could get pancakes and syrup OR biscuits and gravy for free as long as you bought a drink. Starch and Carbs, anyone? I mostly passed on the biscuits and gravy thing. Not my thing. So after the pancakes, I made my way to host my first panel... or at least I tried! I was looking for the room like an idiot. My phone rang and I was told, "You know you're supposed to be in 3B now, right?" I said, "Yes, I know, and I'd BE there if I KNEW how to GET there!" After a few elevator rides, Sam and I finally arrived in the room. Nikki and I hosted the Basic Art Tips discussion. I taught perspective and backgrounds, Nikki and I explored character design, we explained more about how perspective affects characters, and the like. It was a good panel.
I went back to the room for Sam to have a nap. While he slept, I whipped out my laptop and continued working on the Bad Guys comic. After he woke up, I printed a bunch of stuff in the ConSuite, then we made our way to the third floor atrium again. I went to set up in the art show, chatted with some people there, and took a look at the stuff posted. Then it was Opening Ceremonies, and Samuel was getting really fussy after a while, so I had to cut my presence short and make my way back to the hotel room to have him nap some more before dinner. He had a really hard time settling down, so I skipped on the mini-golf because I would probably have been spending my time looking after him rather than playing. Plus, I was HUNGRY. I figured the stroller ride would help him get some sleep. We went out to dinner, but I ended up getting really worried and upset at the amount of noise in the place, which did wake up Samuel. However, he ended up being okay after he calmed down. Sammy took Samuel at one point, and my Sam was finding this arrangement quite pleasant! Sammy is awesome with him. Seth also got a truckfull of smiles and giggles out of him. These two would make wonderful parents. After dinner, we made our way back to the room, and Sam was put to bed. Eric went to get some ice and I prepared the margarita tub. We had some drinks and chatted the rest of the evening.
It was around 7ish that I woke up, I think. I got up after a while, unable to sleep anymore. Everyone else was sleeping -- yes, even Samuel! I checked on him, then went to take a shower, got ready, then looked back in the room and saw that everyone was still sleeping. I lied down next to Jen again, and dozed a bit before everyone finally got up around 8:30.
We got ready and headed down for breakfast. Pancakes again, and coffee. Starch and Carbs. Wheee. Jen was holding Radio Play auditions, and I decided to audition for the first time since the beginning of Radio Plays. After that was done, I hosted the "From Fan to Pro" panel, where I answered several questions about working on the Gargoyles comics, and some about breaking into the business. It was a busy panel, which I hosted with Samuel in my arms. I had brought the Cocoa Warriors book to show (the Aztec comic that had me stressed out and which I hated, and when I received the final product a few weeks ago was quite proud of, and again very grateful for the help I got to get it done), but forgot all about bringing storyboard samples. As I chatted with someone about his art, Samuel was giggling and squealing on my shoulder, and it took me a while to realize that it was Gore playing Peekaboo with him that had him so excitedly happy.
I had a couple of hours free before finding out if I was cast in the play, and so I went to post my silly Kanthara drawing I'd done during Opening Ceremonies (and coloured in the evening) in the Art show. The drawing was an apology for not having any art for sale in the show -- I'd only posted pages from Issue 5 and one of the pages from the test I did to get the gig in the first place. Samuel was sleeping in his stroller, so I was able to leave him with JennBob and Jade so I could get some lunch; after I returned to the Dealers' Room, I took advantage of the babysitting to chat with people and look at what was for sale. I was wowed by the crochet-made dolls that Vox Mortuum had for sale. I ended up being cast in the radio play, after goofing off for a while longer, I went to the radio play rehearsal.
Rehearsal went very well. I think Samuel slept during most of it. He spent it with Sammy, who was sitting at the far end of the room. He woke up just as we finished, and I ended up nursing him at the beginning of the actual performance. This worked out fine, as he got cast as Alex (someone else provided the voice, though ;)) and was cooperative due to a full tummy when it was his turn to act. The play was an adaptation of issues 3, 4 and 5 of the comic, so everyone who was there got a SNEAK PREVIEW of the issue that's going to come out in July! MWAHAHAHA! Anyways, we put on a good show. It was a lot of fun.
There was an expedition to the tattoo parlour across the street, because a bunch of people wanted to get a tattoo. lybell designed a Phoenix Gate drawing, and everyone decided where they wanted it. I didn't want to get a tattoo, myself, but I did toy with the idea of getting a cartilage piercing on my left ear. I finally decided against it, because doing it would have only been a spur-of-the-moment thing, not something thought out; plus, the last piercing I got caused all my piercings to get infected, and my body became allergic to several metals. I'm afraid that I'd end up with an inflamed ear. So anyways, back to the tattoo: the shop didn't have time to do them that evening, so that plan got cancelled, with a rescheduling for the next day.
Dinner happened next. We went to a seafood-type place across the street, and I wasn't in the mood for fried fare (I swear, it's almost all there is to eat!) so I ordered a pasta and shrimp dish instead. And it was the. Blandest. Food. Ever. Andrea had the same thing, and agreed with me. Blegh. I had a beer, and it was American Budweiser... almost like drinking a glass of water. It was that or Bud Light, Coors Light, Michelob Light or Corona... I'm a Canadian Beer Snob. :P
We tried to go swimming before the Blue Mug (which I ended up skipping because I had to put Samuel to bed), but the pool was full of excited kids, so we cancelled that idea too. When everyone went off to the Mug, I put Sam in the playpen, let him fall asleep, and then I had a nice phone chat with Adam. I also did some drawing for the comic, designing a new character. I turned in around midnight, but had trouble falling asleep. I was merely dozing when Jen and Eric came back from the Blue Mug. We chatted a bit about it, and then I tried to sleep... and it took me a good long while to finally drift off.
Again with the late getting up. I'm so grateful that Sam is turning into a late sleeper. We had breakfast, and since I didn't think I could stand pancakes again, I went for the eggs and meat buffet. Protein and Fat instead of Starch and Carbs. And coffee.
Since there were no panels we needed to be at until 2PM, we headed out to the tattoo parlour again. Honestly, given the tackiness and run-down look of the town, this shop was amazingly clean, and even classy. The tattoo artists were great, too. They are very professional, and fun. Jen got marked first, and then it was one after the other for the rest of the time. I went back to the hotel room to get Sam to have a nap before I needed to be at the Bad Guys panel. I nursed him into submission, then was able to work some more on the comic before I printed out the updated page 2 and headed to the panel.
Well, instead of being a panel on the comic, it turned into a marketing meeting on how to promote the comics and the show. I felt pretty useless in the discussion, and Greg felt like he was a broken record, but there were so many NEW people at the con that to them, it was all new stuff. After the panel, I went into the art show to post the six first pages of the Bad Guys comic (only page 1 was finished, page 2 was nearly there, the rest was very rough, but readable), and watched as people filed in to look at the pages.
Jen, Eric, Sam and I went back to our room and changed into nice clothes for the banquet. Samuel fell asleep in his stroller, and slept through most of the meal. Nikki, Thom, Greg and I were seated at a Head Table, which honestly, was kind of weird. Still, we had a good time, and when Samuel woke up, he nursed, then played on the floor between Greg and me, laughing up at us. Greg held Sam and zerberted him some more. Then came the Q&A. At one point, I asked people to ask questions about Bad Guys, since they hadn't at the panel, and eventually we got asked silly things like what kind of pie we like. :)
We headed back to our rooms to get changed for the Masquerade. Jen and I had agreed, just for fun, to wear our medieval outfits (corsets and all), much to our straight male friends' delight. We got back to the room for the Masquerade, and I sat with Greg and Thom to judge the costumes. It amuses me that some people will wear costumes but not participate in the competition, but oh well. It was a fun show. Hal the Gargoyle was FREAKING AMAZING. It was his first con, too. Holy crap. Anyways, I wheeled a sleeping Samuel into the next room with Greg and Thom, and we chose the winners. I ended up leaving Samuel in the quiet part of the room, and then when the party got started, I goofed and did some cancan dancing with JennBob, Nikki, ChynaRose, Jade (and maybe others? I just know the line was getting long). I mentionned to friends that I was going to put Sam to bed, and to come over for our small room party -- I am so grateful that Samuel can sleep through this, because otherwise I would not have been able to spend evenings with anyone, and Jen and Eric would have been kept out of their own room. Anyways, mixers where brought, the Margarita tub was taken out, and we shared drinks and watched silly online videos and generally had a great time. People started trickling out around 1AM... we must be getting old or something.
By the way, I made up a drink that evening, which people called a Green Jolly Rancher. Here's the recipe: in a tumbler with ice, add 1 shot Midori, 1 shot Vodka, and fill with Mountain Dew. Hey, it's what was there, and it worked really well.
I can so get used to Samuel not waking up until 8AM or later... And that morning, when I got him from his crib, I nursed him, and then he just fell asleep again. We all got ready and packed, and as he was still sleeping when it was time to go, I just put him in the stroller with his blanket to go to breakfast. He only woke up in the middle of our breakfast, so I changed his diaper and clothes down there, and then I realised that I'd have to be at the autograph panel (kept forgetting I was a Guest) and rushed upstairs to the panel with Greg and Thom.
So I signed autographs, then they held the auction, and then I signed more autographs on things won at the auction. Before long, it was time for Jen, Thom, Samuel and me to leave, so we said our goodbyes, picked up our stuff, and Patrick drove us to the airport. We got checked in, and as our planes were leaving from the same gate, we were able to have some more time together before we all had to say goodbye. I really wanted to bring Jen back with me.
On the flight to Washington, I was able to get a free seat for Samuel to be in. As our flight was delayed, I was worried that I'd be missing my plane to Montreal, since the layover was a mere 25 minutes; that plane ended up being delayed too, for which I was grateful, as it allowed me to grab some lunch, and notice that Samuel had more than overflowed from his diaper... again. Thankfully, I still had his PJs from the morning in the stroller. The (not so) funny thing is that in the Knoxville airport, Samuel's diaper had overflowed and I decided to purchase a onesie at the airport because I thought the PJs would be too warm... and he ended up in the PJs anyways. Anyways, the second flight was full, so I had Sam in my lap. He slept right through. Landing in Montreal was uneventful. Customs were easy, getting luggage was easy, and then my boys picked me up and we went for pizza. Well, I had pizza. Adam had a sub, and Matthieu asked for spaghetti, and we shared a poutine. Matthieu told me all about his weekend (with some prodding from his dad) and Sam got to tell his dad all about his trip, in the way only a four-month-old can. And later that eveing, after the boys were in bed, I got to snuggle with my husband. It's good to be home.
I'm pre-registered for next year. Chicago! I don't know if I'll get the whole family to come with me... it depends on vacation time and on money, and also on what there is to do family-wise in Chicago. I'm sure I'll find stuff. :)
"zerbert" must equal "flauble". We call 'em flaubles in my family.
THE GATHERING REPORT, PART II
MONDAY, JUNE 25TH, 2007
The last day.
Where the hell did the time go?
I went to the Dealer's Room to pick up what I thought would be my winning bid, but (my confidence seemed to be getting me absolutely nowhere this year) Doppleganger had apparently outbid me for it at the last second. I was disappointed, but it's not the end of the world. Congrats to him. :)
Especially with that Gargoyles handheld I bid $40 for.
"Look at this guy. The game is like sex to him!"
A Fan paid us $130 for his share of the room and checked out before Closing Ceremonies.
Speaking of Closing Ceremonies, they were, as usual, fast and bittersweet. I always hate having to say goodbye to certain people, who I consider friends, for a whole 'nother year. There were a few awards. Lots of pictures.
I saw Thom off with a picture and a hug as he left with Patrick Toman for the airport. I hope he got home alright. I still don't fully trust planes.
The con was now ifficially over, but we weren't. Not yet. 3:30 PM meeting in the lobby for us remnants who went out for a game of Laser Tag and Dinner. The original plan was for a trip to Dollywood, but the lousy weather screwed that up, and just when I was in the mood for a nice rollercoaster too. Damn it.
Greg W. and I had played 2 more games of Air Hockey there, but didn't get to finish game #2.
After Laser Tag came the dinner. And it was decided we would all walk about a mile or so to Corky's BBQ and Ribs. I had a Bacon Cheeseburger, a Root Beer without ice, (don't ask) Mozzarella sticks, and fries. Got into a movie-themed discussion with Jeb, Halloweenking, and one other guy (sorry I don't recall his name).
Found out Greg's favorite movie is 'Office Space'.
Nobody, not even Greg W. himself, wanted to go to Baskin Robbins afterward, like we had planned to. So Vid The Kid, Halloweenking, and I let everyone else return to the hotel while the three of us continued our quest for tasty frozen desert. Halloweenking, conveinently, already had his car parked by Arby's, so we drove back to the hotel from there before going our seperate ways.
Vid The Kid and I decided to relax in the Jacuzzi a little while later. We had just gotten out and were drying off when Greg W. walked by, slapping me on the back in a friendly manner, and asking how we were. I said fine and asked what's up. He said work, and then, when I suggested jokingly that it was on the next con, he responded, with a air of amusement, 'No, just work.' Must've been for the upcoming Spiderman cartoon, I reckon.
Ran into Halloweenking again and played some Air Hockey with him. Unfortunately, we couldn't find the puck and by the time, there was only enough time for us to be tied 1-1 before the game automatically ended. Crap.
I'd also had to call front desk and tell them 'never mind, we found the disc'.
TUESDAY, JUNE 26TH, 2007
Spent most of the day at the Smokies again. I wanted to just chill out in the room and watch TV all day, but David was insistent, so I shut up and we went. This time, we saw Fontana Dam, and Clingman's Dome, in North Carolina. Took more pictures. Got back to the hotel that evening and spent the rest of the night there.
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 27TH, 2007
To quote Mace Malone from 'Revelations', it was "check-out time".
Woke up to watch Angel (Season 5, episode 2) before falling asleep again (during which I'd had a dream-within-a-dream about being on a College swim team and somebody drowned, or something. Weird.) and waking up at 10. I wole David up and we started packing up.
We left a $1.25 (cheap, but it was all we had) tip for the housekeeper and went to the front desk to check out. I was slightly antsy about our car's coolant issues, but I kept my anxiety to myself and focused on thinking about how the hotel hadn't been quite as grand as I expected. I'm not on the con staff or anything, but I remember thinking how unlikely it was that we would ever hold a con at the Grand Resort, much less in Pigeon Forge, again.
Never did finish that last game of Air Hockey against Greg Weisman.
I look forward to it someday.
And, yes, we made it home. Left at 11:30 AM and finally arrived at our house at 6:13 PM. No stops, just one time for gas before we'd left Tennessee, one time for a Fazoli's lunch in London, Kentucky, and one time when we got pulled over for speeding (eep).
And with that ends Gathering.
See you in Chicago in '08.
Just to be clear, I like "Office Space" a LOT. But it's far from my favorite movie.
Flanker's con journal.
To make my 6am flight, I wanted to be at the Ottawa Airport for 4am. To get there for 4am, I needed to leave Petawawa Ontario at around 2am. So why bother going to bed right? During the drive I had a random scene from Anchorman looping in my head again and again. I arrived in the darkened parking lot laughing by myself in my car. Not a good sign. I enter the terminal and realize that I have crossed the line from keen early into stupid early. I laid on a bench with my luggage and set my cell phone alarm for 4am. Which was pointless because you don't go into the deepest sleep on a bench. Despite NWA's sign stating they open at 4am, they really meant about 4:25am. Being early was especially pointless since everyone in the airport was channeled into one massive checkpoint and none of them were ready to work until after five. But once all those hurdles were overcome, I slept through take off on both flights. Once in Knoxville, Sarah (the Great) was waiting for me having just landed herself. Her mood seemed enhanced by some drinks at the airport bar. I picked up my luggage and rental car. I opted for a Dodge Charger because I very badly wanted to test drive one and this seemed like a good opportunity until they added fuel, tax and insurance costs. Sarah and I hopped in and navigated our way into Pigeon Forge in what I felt was a reasonable time. I checked into my room with no problems and then blundered my way to the con area to register, which is where I found Shaun (BrooklynX) who was going to be splitting the room along with Sarah and I. Shaun couldn't guarantee me a banquet ticket so I told him he'd be sleeping outside. I also started canvassing con goers for interest in a trip to a gun range, something I had mapped out prior to the con. The interest was high, but once a plan was formulated it was difficult to find everyone and pass it on. Sarah and I auditioned for the radio play with the rest of the con. I thought my southern accent was good and was overall confident that I might get some part in the play. Sarah talked me into sneaking out halfway through opening ceremonies which wasn't hard because my stomach agreed with her plan to go find food. We hit that Japanese place across the street, where they light everything on fire and juggle knives. I had alot of leftovers which came in handy later. Sarah had a golf game to go win, I was left to my own devices. The music video/open role playing seemed a little sedated, so I went for a drive on the mountain roads in my Dodge Charger, exploring routes to the gun range. I came back to Sarah the Triumphant and had pretty much the only full nights sleep I'd be getting the whole weekend.
I dragged Sarah and Shaun out of bed bright and early since Sarah was coming with me to the range and Shaun had to get up and do Con stuff. I tried to pass on to everyone interested to meet up for 8am in the lobby for breakfast. The line up for the buffet was crazy, so my shooters (Kathy, Mike and Sarah) and Shaun agreed to check out the nearby pancake house. For some reason it was much less busy and we were enjoying each others company when a string of zombies that looked like Gathering Attendees shuffled by in a daze. Yelling, waving and throwing things all failed to get there attention so I had to get up and walk 5 feet to their booth and shake some sense into them. Carter, Kelly, Leo, Francis and Esteban (holy crap I remembered your names!) all agreed to come along to the gun range. I was worried this was going to be too big, then too small, then too big again! After a great breakfast and minor navigation bloopers we found the range. I was not happy to see how packed the parking lot was at the gun club. I approached Leo and his passengers and told to them to prepare for disappointment. I could hear gunfire and was thinking that maybe the range was booked by a class or something. We went inside to a very bright clean professional gun range. There was a shooting class present, but they weren't going to need to fire until long after we would be leaving. The gentleman who ran the club displayed every degree of Southern manners and hospitality and was thrilled to have so many new shooters. I didn't even get any heck for being Canadian. In fact, I ask about discounts for soldiers or veterans and he said he'd look into it. We rented a couple guns and unpacked the ones I brought and got started. We had a blast (pardon the pun) and Leo may have lied about never shooting a gun in his life. His groupings were outstanding, even better than mine. Once we were done shredding paper I started to pack up and exited the firing line to hear someone in a deep southern drawl ask 'Now, whut exactlay, isa Gahgoyle? I now that Trawlls live unda bridges, whut about gahgayles?'. I forgot who had the patience to answer his questions but it was certainly entertaining for the rest of us. We got back to the Con and I ran into Karine and little happy Sam. We looked around the art area to see if they had posted the cast for the play and I encountered the fabulous Jade Griffon and her amazing gummigolyes that were so confusing to look at it physically disoriented me. I decided to take a crack at drawing for the first time this millennium in Shaun's book. This killed enough time (and let me sit down for a bit) before the play rehearsal. The cast was huge and I was pretty excited. I thought it was going to be fun to be directed by Greg and have a few lines. Then I found out I was going to be playing Goliath so I was a little tense at first. Eric had to do Thailog, which was way more dialog than Goliath, and two other characters with accents. He did such an awesome job too. Greg never corrected me so I guess I did ok. Obviously I can't get into details, but I will say that I had to deliver a really serious line right after something comical happened and it gave me small glimpse into the real challenges of acting because I had to stop laughing and instantly change moods. Things wound down a bit after the play, and people kept approaching me a little upset that I went shooting without them. Then I recall some of us going to eat at Pizza Hut where I took a photo of some crazy ugly kid smearing his face against the window to our booth. Then of course there was the Blue Mug. I tried to find out if Owen was gay (fit, polite, smart, clean and eerily loyal to a handsome man) Greg told me whatever floats my boat. After Blue Mug was over I approached him and asked sarcastically what kind of nail polish Demona wears in human form, to kinda make fun of how crazy specific fans can get on some details. He just kind of stared at me like I was nuts while (Jen I think?) explained that she used red because it matched her hair or something. The rest of my memories of saturday are spotty at best.
Sunday started with myself and a lovely lady (sorry I forgot your name) following Thom around looking for a fast coffee. We ended up crossing the street to some restaraunt and getting some coffees and biscuits barely in time for Thom to get to his Mug a Guest which he quickly renamed 'The Wake Your Ass Up Panel'. It turned into a bunch of us discussing our favourite classic horror movies and finding out the crazy roles Thom had taken shots at over the years. A bunch of crazies went off to get tattoos, I wanted to check out the Badguys/Gargoyles panel, where getting information was like drawing blood from a stone, although Greg did leak that a certain character would be appearing in Badguys, can you believe it? After that wrapped up I kidnapped Kelly and we went on a rapid clothes shopping mission because I wanted something a little spiffier for the banquet, for which I was finally able to get a ticket for. I got a khaki blaser type thing from banana republic and we dashed back to the hotel. The banquet started and I wish the heat didn't sap my appetite so bad because the food was incredible. I was only able to tackle one plate because I was more interested in drinking lots of water. We had finished eating and Sarah and Tatiana (cant remember real name!) were commenting that I looked a lot like Matt Bluestone with my hair slicked back and tan clothing. So we just up and bolted away from the Banquet with Mike in tow because he had some last minute costume ideas too. I bought a toy badge and rubber training gun (cant have anything too real looking right Hudson?) while Sarah and crew hit a wal mart getting me a clip on tie and some medical garb for Mike. Back at the con I forced my new block of yellow rubber into a holster and took my con badge lanyard and attached the badge to it. Costume was done! I filled out a form for 'accidental Matt Bluestone'. I had some time to kill before the masquerade so I began wandering aimlessly to see who I could bump into. On my first try I ran into Greg and Thom coming out of the stairs. They were going to play some air hockey so I tagged along to take pictures. Little did I know of the epic event about to unfold. What started as two guys having a fun game of air hockey became a tournament of intense passion, focus and carnage not seen since the Coliseum days of Rome. The Gods themselves trembled in terror from the war cries and inhuman savagery displayed by the world's greatest token spending athletes. Greg came out swinging, crushing all oppostion before him, like a tank against an anthill. However, he was ill equipped to deal with my foreign trapping style, aided by years of intensive Shaolin Kung Fu training. Spectators wept blood as I barely won. My victory was short lived as I was slaughtered like a spring lamb by an unknown challenger who's sole purpose was to humiliate me and then vanish back into the mists she emerged from. I thought it was all winding down. Little did I know Greg was plotting and simmering with rage at his loss to me, the only one capable of surviving his onslaught. He challenged me to a rematch and I accepted. Surely he was getting exhausted from maiming so many peons, I would have the edge. The masses gathered for this final exhibition and after another refreshing mouthful of my own sweat we began. My arrogance and assumed supremacy worked in Greg's favour, getting him a score of 6 to 1 in a fraction of a second. Despite Greg's ability to push the puck past the visible light spectrum my strong defensive tactics began to pay off. Tired, Greg's mental grip on the Earth's orbit began to weaken and 'normal' physics and thermal dynamics came back into play. My score slowly climbed and sure enough we had reached the Apocalyptic number of 6-6. The puck slammed back and forth atop the air table forged in the Jurassic era by super intelligent raptors. With the course of history hanging in the balance I managed one final shot that ended the destructive conflict. Greg did not appear to be choked with rage. He congratulated me on my victory but after releasing me from my handshake he began chanting in Latin while his eyes began glowing. Once he began levitating I knew it was time to get out of there.
Sarah had arrived and attached the clip on tie and I made my way to the masquerade. The other costumes looked great of course. I felt ashamed that I had just thrown mine together at the last minute for like, ten bucks when the others put so much effort into theirs. Except Mike, I'm on to your little scheme...
I ran out and did my bit but nobody told me where to go when I was done so I ended up wandering in circles spewing silly dialog I had thought up minutes before going out. I think it was Jade Griffon (who also found my sun glasses earlier) was pointing out where to go as I started stripping. I put the Blue in Bluestone. Belly dancing seemed to be a popular theme so it became easy to imagine that I was in 'From Russia with Love' and that a gypsy riot was about to break out any second. The judges went to decide on who would win in which category and we took photos of each other in highly dignified poses. Greg and his posse re emerged with their decisions. Sarah was awarded Champion of the Universe in Mini Put Golf. Mike won best canon character. I was recognized for my air hockey skills and was also given the Thom Adcox 2007 memorial award, which is confusing in many ways. Thom Adcox is both still alive and not me, so why I'm getting his award is perplexing. I interpreted the award to mean Sluttiest Attention Whore '07. I determined this on the way to receive the trophy from Greg, and since I seemed to have suddenly earned this new reputation I politely asked him to place the trophy in my belt which I had graciously extended. I then offered everyone present to witness what I felt was an excellent location for a trophy. The masquerade was over and various shenanigans ensued. We played 'Uno' which was new to me. After a quaint remark I made about Thom's fashion sense he led the table in a revolt against me ensuring I would never win a single round. My memories of the rest of the evening are spotty at best.
Never in history has a monday started so good and ended in such total misery. I quickly packed and checked out of the hotel, informing the front desk of the mattress frame that disintegrated when Sarah and I tried to adjust it. I would like to get off my chest that the hotel was utter garbage. But hey, it was cheap. My second range trip was another success, this time Rob, Trim, Revel, Spacebabie, Lynati, Gside and Tatiana came out and we dealt with the same friendly gentleman who was thrilled to have me bring more customers to his business. Many targets were expertly riddled but nobody matched Leo's skill. When that occurred to me I knew I found someone to give my 'special police' badge to since I had already given away my ugly yellow rubber gun. Once back at the Con, we loitered about saying goodbyes to each other (I hate this part every year) and we sat through the closing ceremonies, sans Thom. Many awards were given to the outstanding artists who contributed to the art show. I got a chance to stand up and present Leo with his badge, and he showed his target to the crowd (understanding why he brought it along now). With the badge and his huge camera he looked like a crime scene photographer. After discussing how awesome next year's con is going to be I yelled out 'show up OR I'LL FIND YOU!' to some giggles but Chicago's con chair (I'm so sorry I forgot your name) quickly followed up with or 'I'll SEND LEO' to roars of laughter. Oh openly threatening strangers is so much fun. Once the ceremony was over Sarah and I said our goodbyes to everyone and made for the airport.
WARNING: The rest of this journal is just miserable bitching.
I get to the airport well ahead of schedule and turn in my rental car with no issues. Sarah and I split up to our respective airlines. I was delighted to stand at the NWA desk for almost 40 minutes before they informed me that my flight has been changed to Delta airlines. So my 6pm flight through Detroit is now a 520pm flight through Atlanta (the opposite direction of Canada). With an earlier departure time it was decided I would be a great candidate for random extra security screening. I was nervous that chemical tests would reveal Gun Shot Residue (GSR) on my clothes so I told the guard that I was at a range before any alarms went off. I was told it wasn't a GSR test and that I was good to go. I rushed to my gate and spotted Rob and Anne eating at Ruby Tuesdays. I gave a quick hi but wanted to make sure I wasn't late. Weather in Atlanta was leading to serious delays so I had time to sit and chat with Anne, Rob and A Fan who were all waiting in the same terminal. I stole all of Rob and Anne's food because I was starving and didn't know if I had time to order my own. And because I'm a jerk. After loafing about the airport I finally left last after everyone else at around 8 or 9pm. I watched the throwers place my single black bag on the tarmac and walk away. I asked the lady behind the desk why my bag was on the tarmac and not in the plane. She said not to worry but I didn't listen to her. Naturally, the Atlanta to Ottawa flight was also delayed so I had a couple of hours to spend in an airport that was paralyzed with bad weather all day. Every single gate was crowded with irate passengers, crew and airport staff. I was thrilled to not be back in Petawawa. I hope my plane developed a fault and I would get to stay in the US for one more night. The 11pm flight turned into a 1am flight. At around 3 or 4am, I was finally on native soil but the worst was yet to come. I stood at the baggage claim hypnotized by the rotating belt. It stopped and I had no black bag. I was called over to a desk where forms were already waiting and myself and several others began filling out missing forms. As of writing, most of my civilian clothes, shower stuff, various paper work, knives and three handguns are unaccounted for. Thank god I had the foresight to retrieve my car keys so I was able to get back to base. I really hate to end the journal on such a downer but I did have an amazing weekend and I'm pumped for Chicago (not just because I can DRIVE there either).
PS Whats with all the insane right wingers posting questions these days?
You got me.
Great getting to know you a bit more. I killed ALL COMERS at Air Hockey the next day, btw, and so... YES, I want another rematch!!!
Gathering 2k7 Log
Wednesday, June 20
We got up early today, after getting too tired last right to do much serious packing. Still, somehow we managed to finish by 9AM-ish, and after having breakfast' we departed closer to 10.
South of Cincinnati, we stopped for a quick lunch at Skyline Chili. When we parked, a Puddle of coolant formed on the pavement under the car. After determining the leak isn't fatal, we continued. We bought some extra coolant as a precaution. Then, coming down off the Mountain near Jellico, traffic came to a complete stop or the freeway. Like in the Skyline parking lot, the car was on a downhill slope. Like at Skyline, a leak formed. But this time, it was more Serious. After consulting with my dad via cell phone, and improvising a method to remove a hot radiator Cap, I added the coolant i had bought and continued our Journey with a loose radiator cap, to prevent pressure from building up and forcing coolant out of the system. At the next exiti I refueled and bought sone More coolant. We Made it the rest of the way to the hotel without incident.
I've been through Pigeon Forge before, but not as a driver. Now I know why my dad always preferred to stay in Townsend. This place is like Las Vegas, but with a hokey southern flavor.
Ed and I checked into the Grand, watched some TV, and checked out the pool and jaccuzzi. Then I consulted a map and located two things: a Pizza Hut and a grocery where they're not trying to fleece tourists. We had to go back up to Sevierville for that second one. On the plus side, I found a back road to take us there instead of the congested Parkway. Except -that back road is being replaced with a six-lane divided artery. I guess they're expecting a lot of expansion east of the Parkway. It's rot busy yet, though.
Back to the hotel room for shower, TV, and journaling. I'm starting to get too tired to write so my Pochet PC can translate correctly on the first try. But I'm staying up (It's now 01:27) because a new Myth Busters is on. Oh yeah, and My left fore-arn is sunburned fron the drive. Ed's right forearm is similarly burned. That's it for today.
Thursday, June 21
I'm getting behind here. It's Friday afternoon as I write this.Yesterday I drove Ed around to all the Smoky Mountains locations I used to visit with My family as a kid. Look Rock, Cade's Cove. Newfound Gap, anong others. (BTW, on the way to the park, I noticed a Kroger store here in Pigeon Forge.) At first Ed was a little freaked about the heights. I promised him that Look Rock was the most heightsy thing we would do all week. And he didn't panic. By the time we got to Newfound Gap, he was used to all the mountain driving. I bet when we're on that mountain near Jellico on the way home, he'll have no problem at all. So we come back to the hotel, and watched Seinfeld while waiting for our roommate, A Fan, to show up. He arrived, and shortly after, so did Greg and Thom. I don't remember anything after that... Just kidding. Ed stuck around the lobby to hob-nob or something while I helped A Fan settle in. He needed some network cable, and I needed sorie earwax-removal stuff. So we went to Wal- Mart on the south side of Sevierville. And we forgot to tell Ed we were going. But he didn't seem too upset when we got back. Oh yeah. I chose a nice back-roads way back to the hotel from the store, except the road was curvier than it looked on the Map. I expect better of you, Seeger Map Company. A fan ordered pizza and I watched tv or something. I don't remember exactly what. I was tired, and went to sleep around 11:30 .
Friday, June 22
It's Saturday, and here I am writing down Friday's stuff. I slept in, journaled for Thursday. And headed to the Voice acting panel. It was hard to hear, though, because my ears were still plugged and the stuff I had bought the previous night didn't work at all. After the panel I went back to the room for Lunch. And then the con suite for a few hours until Opening Ceremonies. That was Cool. We got some good news about the comic, and some news which could potentially become good news in the future, about a Movie. Also during the ceremonies. I remembered the word search puzzles I'd made, so before the music video screenings,I went to the room to get the puzzles and took them to the con suite. I also requested that Greg and Thom get copies. I'm in the con suite now, though, and I don't see the puzzles. Anyway, next was the music videos. Too much emo, in my opinion, when they were done. Everyone just stayed seated, watching the G2007 promo loop, hypnotized. Ed and I went to the jaccuzi for awhile. Then headed to 2A and just hung out watching someone draw a naked garg and a happy little tree. Then we went back to the room and finished off the night with a couple episodes of futurama. And I got too tired to journal the days events.
Saturday, June 23
First thing in the morning, I headed to registration to sign up for the Greg mug- a. Guest which was later in the day. Unfortunately, the signup sheets for both mug-a-guest sessions had been put out friday and filled up quickly. So Ed signed us up as "alternates" for the mug-a-guest- with Thom.
Then Ed, A Fan, and I hung out in the con suite for several hours. Well. A few hours anyway. We set up my crappy, crappy DVD player there and put on, of course, Gargoyles. The suite was pretty full by the time ''The Mirror" came up. Which is good, because that's the one everyone wants to see. When Ed headed to radio play rehearsals, he took my camera for some reason. I had to get it back fm him before the show so I could take pictures of him and the other performers. The radio play. Bythe way, was Chapters 3,4,5 of Clan- Building. Yes. That's Issue 5 before it's out. And it just keeps getting better. Greg won't really let me say more.
Mystery Gargoyles theater 3OOO... That was fun. But without being able to hear the dialog well (stipid ears) -it was difficuit lo make snappy comebacks. Next was the blue mug, which of course was fun. Unlike last year, Thom took off his pants. Yay. And Greg explained Elisa's line of thought with Goliath not fitting into the expectations she had for her life. That really resonated with Me, reminding me of that morning in 2002 when I realized my life probably wouldn't be like I had Imagined. I guess realizing you're in love with a member of another species is somewhat similar to realizing you're in love with a member of the same sex. Somewhat.
The blue mug ended a little after 1 am, and everyone went to bed.
Sunday, June 24
Sunday norning, I actually woke up before A fan and Ed. We watched TV and Ed and I headed to the mug_a-guest with Thom, since some seats had opened up. We talked Mostly about show business and living in L.A., since a couple others in attendance were also from that area. After that was the Gargoyles/ Bad Guys comic panel. A lot of people had questions which Greg refused to answer. Of course. But there was some good information about the comic structure, and we got to see some nifty (over art.
After that. I went to the con suite to loaf. The con suite is good for that. When it was time for the banquet, A fan had his usual anti -banquet. He and I and this other guy went to T.G.I. Fridays where a couple other con-goers were already eating. I made a meal of overpriced fried mozarella and a grape slushie, which some what seemed to defeat the purpose of shunning an overpriced banquet.
Bach to the roon, ard more TV. At 8, The Masquerade began. Some good costumes, some awards, dancing, and a free T-shirt. And I got bored. I'm not really into dancing. So I went back to the room again and basically watched Adult Swim until going to sleep.
Monday, June 25
Now I'm getting really behind. It's Tuesday night and I'm just now getting to writing about Monday. Monday morning, I slept in and took a nice long shower, while Ed went to the dealer's room to spend his last cash at the aucton. Then came the dosing ceremonies with Announcements about next year, and then awards for art and music videos. Except Most of the award recipients had left already. Even A Fan, our roommate and one of three people (Greg Included) to have come to all 11 Gatherings, had departed.
So after that, everyone discussed what to do next. It was raining on and off, so Dollywood didn't sound too great. Instead, we walked down Parkway to an arcade for laser tag. The 20 of us were divided into two groups. Ed and I, as well as Greg, were in the second group. A bunch of us took turns playing Greg at air hockey. Not having much practice, I enjoyed losing to Greg. When our turn for laser tag came, I had fun. It was a free-forall. I didn't do particularly well score -wise, (7th in a field of about 13) but my accuracy was the highest, with about 2 of every 7 shots hitting something.
After that, we :dscussed ice cream. The Baskin Robbins was quite a distance, so we decided to walk that way, Building up an appetite for dinner, which we had at a Porky's. By the time that was done, nobody wanted ice cream anymore except for ne, Ed, and a guy named Halloween king. He had diiven there, so we didn't have to walk all the way back to the hotel.
Filled out the rest of the evening with TV and the jacuzzi. Spotted Greg one last time walking past the jacuzzi. Then bed. Basically.
Tuesday, June 26
Today turned into another Smokies sight- seeing day. First we hit Clingman's Dome, which turned out to be much busier than I'd expected. I haven't been there before, and the broken clouds at the same level as the mountain top Made for an eerie situation. Maybe Xanatos should have moved Castle Wyvern there. Much more scenic than Manhattan. ***Last-minute edit: This was intended as a joke. Although I highly doubt it would be used, since it goes against established canon, I hereby release any rights to the concept. So Greg or any fanfic author can use concept, regardless of whether or not they thought of it first, with no opposition from me, legal or otherwise.***
Next stop was Fontana Dam, which turned out to be a much longer drive than I'd expected. I've been there once, but my dad drove then. I usually study a map better before driving somewhere new, but today I didn't mind the extra mileage on the North Carolina highways. Coming around the west end of the park, there was some really thick fog on the little Tennessee river. That was cool.
Bach at the botel, we microwaved a pizza. More TV. More jacuzzi. More TV. Some people tried to come into our room, apparently having been told that they had it for the night. And then I got caught up with my con log.
Wednesday, June 27
So we woke up this morning -- when we got a wake-up call at 7am which we hadn't asked for -- went back to sleep, and woke up again around 10. Ed showered, and I started organizing our stuff which had been spread around the room in our 7-night stay at the Grand. We loaded everything into the car, made a final check of the room, and then checked out -- a half hour after the nominal check-out time -- and we made our way back to Columbus. Instead of the scenic route through Cumberland Gap which I'd been considering, we decided to stick to the Interstates, in case of more car trouble. Somewhere in the middle of Kentucky, I got pulled over for speeding when I thought the construction zone had ended; after explaining the simple mistake, I got off with a warning. We hit Cincinnati in rush hour. The radio traffic reports there are very timely and accurate; we hit the traffic jam exactly where they said we would. In Columbus, you could get stuck in traffic and not hear about it on the radio for a half hour; or you could hear about a really bad accident and drive past the described location minutes later and see absolutely nothing. Anyway, about 3 minutes from home, the "low coolant" light came on. No big deal. It's been refilled already. Still, I gotta get that radiator fixed. Total trip stats: 1,100.8 miles driven, 41.5 gallons of fuel consumed; that's 26.5 miles per gallon.
Oh yeah, and I'm having Ed proofread this to fix the worst lexicographical errors. Not typograhical, but lexicographical; because nearly all of it was written by hand and my writing interpreted as text by my pocket PC. Today's stuff was typed directly, though. And I'll post it to Ask Greg shortly.
Always interesting to hear about the same events from different perspectives...
So normally I am pretty bad about posting my con journal. I'll write a hyper-intensive lead up describing the trip up to the hotel the night before the con and then... nadda. In past years either most of my convention experience was such that I cold not post it publically, or I simply was too exhausted to remember any of it (2003 comes to mind) or any variety of things. But not this year, no. This year, I took notes in the car as I rattled my day off to my mate Aaron. (One of the nice parts of not spending the entire con attached at the hip is the being able to talk anecdote without having him go "I know, I was there- remember?"
FRIDAY: Got up around nine and had a very long shower before going to Karine's panel. I'm still quite impressed at how she can juggle work, friends, and baby concurrently- during. a. panel. After that I hung out with Hudson, Dancer, and Ash in their room, we watched car chases on t.v. Much fun. Eventually it was time for Opening Ceremonies, and enjoyed seeing the dvd version of the pitch because it is slightly different from Greg's version. (I'm still not quite sure which I like better, if one could make distinctions over such things.) The Last is getting intense and I *really* need to get off my butt and do the scens I called dibs on. I know how to draw Mole, and lord knows I know how to draw Demona, but watching the current version really helped cement in my mind what I'll be doing. SO hopefully there'll be mor for next year. After Opening Ceremonies, there was dinner. I think I had pizza but I don't remember. I hung out with Cat, Rika, Dave, and Cheri for a long bit, my notes tell me. Eventually I went to bed around four am.
SATURDAY: I had a panel with Nikki which was an othercon open discussion dealie. I'm really glad that Othercon is still going strong. I sat at Artist's Alley after that, and after seeing the artshow decided that there was not enough adult art work. So, I drew some. The reason I didn't have any for sale was because I didn't think it'd be nice to charge for stuff when I so obviously came to the convention unprepared. I hung out with Jade, Silver and Jordan. I looked at the dealer's stuff and met Ethan's girlfriend who was the one who made the gargoyle crochet dolls. Much awesomeness. Let's see... spent a lot of time with Erik and his girlfriend Steph... eventually there was the awesomecake that was Radio Play. It was engaging, revealing *singsong* and I'm not telling!(Wow, Mozilla Firefox is awesome, I had an error and had to reboot my computer but I didn't lose all of this text. Geez.)After Radio Play, I spent more time in Kathy's room with Kathy, JEB, Steph, Erik and Lynati. Then some MST3K and Blue Mug. Thom is absolutely adorable, and I felt some odd amount of pride when Aaron was the butt of his joke. (Har de har har.) I also was happy that it *seems* like we got a small reveal because of I picture I was doodling during that mug, but, yet again, not telling. You shoulda come to this con, come to nest year's con. There must have been more, since I went to bed again, around four am, but it's not in my notes.
SUNDAY: More time spent in Artist's alley, and the other othercon art panel. Silver and Jordan also came up to the board and it's just great to get all of these other perspectives since a good percentage of the fandom are artists. I helped Cheri, Cat, Dave, and Rika guard the artshow during the Banquet and also camped Greg's sketchbook. I didn't win it at auction, but it was fun to look at the randomness that is another person's headspace when their bored. Seriously. Me, Aaron and Lynati dressed up for Masquerade... I hadn't planned to originally, but since Lyn was going as "slutty" and Aaron was going as a pimp, I had to throw something together. So I was cheap slutty and Lyn was classy slutty. Good times. The dance was fun, especially lipsynching to RENT with Jen and Lyn respectively. Then I went out for a smoke, talked with KingCobra, Doppleganger, Leo and Sadistic Cow.. and came back to... The Twilight Zone. The dance was empty and there was an intense game of UNO going on in the other room. So I went upstairs to face THE LEAK. (Bah bah!) We moved boxes and tables and a big job became quick and easy because SO MANY PEOPLE HELPED. Like, yaye. Then I sat down between Alan and GregX. Alan gave me the best foot massage I think I have ever had, and we talked for many a hour it felt like until it was time to go to bed.
MONDAY: Was primarily time for goodbyes. I got and gave a lot of hugs, and I also did more of the volunteer thing by writing out the labels for the artshow awards. Then I had dinner with Aaron, Lynati, Quindar and Norcumi- which was kinda bittersweet since Lyn was leaving with them to Pennsylvania. After we came back to hang out in the con suite. I'm a light-weight and took a nap after about an hour. Then we (Aaron and I) spent more time in the consuite. The group came back after dinner and Aaron played Guitar Hero and I talked fic with Rika, Nikki, Dave, and Patrick. The waiter from the restaurant they went to dinner came to the hotel to hang out, and he was a really nice sweet guy. He taught us slight of hand tricks and during a smoke break me, Cat, and Jenbob's boi who's name I am blanking on even though he is the defininitve best, took a short night swim. Eventually, again, bedtime.
TUESDAY: I packed, hung out until people got ready to leave. More goodbyes, and hugs. We packed the car and said goodbye to Greg in the lobby while he was writing out one of his con journal entries. We helped move Hudson and crew to another motel since he had needed work on his car done. Then we got on and went home.
Thank you to everyone I got to spend time with and talk to during this con. I had a marvelous time, and it's wonderful to see how everyone is growin' up in a way over the years. And maybe not a little bit of that is because of a show we all watched as pre-teens and teenagers?
See you all in Chicago.
I'll be there! Loved the Blue Mug pic, by the way.
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.
MONDAY, JUNE 23rd, 2007
When I woke up around 9am, my arm was killing me from Air Hockey. I am SO old and decrepit (more on this in a second). At 10am, Thom, Karine and I had a signing during the auction. I also purchased some G2008 t-shirts for Beth, Erin & Benny. Then I had a phone meeting about the music for Spider-Man. Then Closing Ceremonies, which is always bittersweet. The plan was to head out to Dollywood, but it started to rain during Closing, so instead 20 of us went to play Laser Tag. Despite my sore shoulder, I played more air hockey, beating ALL comers. I was like some kind of air hockey god! Of course, Flanker wasn't there, so he might still have been able to beat me. I so need a rematch. My shoulder even felt better AFTER playing. Then Laser Tag, which was fun. But almost immediately after that, I was sore as hell. I got a root beer at Wallmart, and then 18 of us went to dinner at Corky's. I sat with Kathy, Seth, Sammy and Greg, and we had great barbecue and split two cobblers, including an AMAZING berry cobbler. We walked back to the hotel, and it was back to work for me - despite the fact that by this time my legs, back, shoulder, you name it, were stiff as hell and killing me. Oh, well, no rest for the weary or the wicked or both. I finished editing the seventh Spider-Man outline and turned that in at about 3am. Watched some t.v. until 4am, and went to sleep.
TO BE CONCUDED...