A Station Eight Fan Web Site
The Con, Day 1 and Day 2
FRIDAY, JUNE 27TH
The 1st day of the con. It went hella fast.
I didn't really do much, aside from poking around the Dealer's Room, auditioning for the Radio Play, (where I had read for
both Brooklyn AND Hudson) and attending the mandatory Opening Ceremonies. Nothing really new to say, if I may be frank,
since it was the same material (Bad Guys leica reel, early Gargoyles pitch, etc.) that seems to show every year, but I was
Went to the bar afterwards for a beer. My 2nd or so that whole day. Drinking it outside, even. What a great idea, Ed.
Bought a bitchin' $15 Yama shirt. Also put a bid on the 'Gargoyles Vs. Predator' piece.
SATURDAY, JUNE 28TH
Found out I wasn't cast in the Radio Play. Damn.
Oh, well. Can't win 'em all, right?
Sat through Keith David's Mug-A-Guest. He talked some about his acting. Answered various questions from random fans and
signed an autograph for my ex-boss (being a Keith fan, she'd been begging me for months before the con even started) and
another, for myself, (on my 'There's Something About Mary' tape) as well.
Had dinner with A Fan, VidTheKid, Patrick, (new guy named Patrick, not Patrick Toman) Chyna Rose, and... whatever his name
was. Nearly burned my mouth (even after letting it cool for a few minutes) on a meatball sub, and had more Garlic Bread
then there was room for. Chyna Rose's appetite was ruined after she found a small piece of glass in her food. Can't say I
blame her. Glad I never have to eat there again. Would not want to, after THAT. Damn.
Went to the library across the road from the Orrington to catch up on my email.
Radio Play was fun. As I had suspected, (I was probably not alone in my suspicions) the play was about Gargoyles issues #7,
#8, and #9. The hail outside made things a little difficult, but it didn't last long and definitely didn't ruin it.
Keith was Goliath and Thom was Lex, of course. Jen 'CrzyDemona' gave a great turn as Shari. Greg requested a vow of secrecy
for the events of #9, which, just like last year's rendition of #3-#5, I'm keeping. At least until issue 9 is out and the
RP footage ends up on YouTube.
Blue Mug was... okay, though far from 'blue'. Tried to ask a couple raunchy questions, but I was overtired and my brain was
fried, so I couldn't even be coherent. Yay. So, I wasn't entirely in a 'Blue' mood. After 2 failed attempts, I caved and
went with the non-blue flow, asking Greg W. why he'd chosen to place 'Gargoyles' in Manhattan instead of L.A. or Chicago.
Eventually retired to my room for the night, hoping to catch '28 Weeks Later' on HBO. But, wouldn't you know it, the
eastern time zone had screwed me up and I'd ended up missing the first hour of it. Dammit. Returned afterwards hoping that
the Blue Mug was still going. Nope.
So far, luck has not seemed to really be on my side at this year's con.
I returned to my room and went to bed. Really needed sleep at that point.
NEXT: The Conclusion Of My Con Journal.
Sleep is always good.
2008 Gathering Journal:
5 am comes way too early, more so when you only had about 4.5 hours of sleep. After getting up at that way too early hour, I ate breakfast, took a quick shower and headed out to the airport for my 7:55 am flight. This year, I flew out on Southwest for the first time in 9 years.
I managed to take a short nap on the first hop of the flight, which was into Lost Wages, eh, Las Vegas. Of course, I noticed that my plane landed at Terminal C and my flight into Chicago-Midway Airport was at Terminal B. To get there, I had walk down a flight of steps to the bottom of the terminal and take a shuttle bus. So I got to a mini-tour of the flight line.
My flight out Las Vegas was delayed about an hour because they decided to change which runways the planes where using for taking off. According to the pilot, we would get in nearly 25 minutes late. Well, that was a bit too optimistic. We landed around 50 minutes late.
After finally got off of the plane, I turned on the cell phone to call Mandolin, only to find her plane had taken off late. After getting my bags, I found a place to wait and she finally arrived around 6:30, about 2 hours late. From there, we tried to find the shuttle to get to the hotel only to find out we were supposed to call and reserve the day before. And for some reason or another, they had lost Mandolin's reservation.
We decided to snag a taxi and after some confusion and about an hour, we finally got to the hotel. After checking in, the hunt was on for some badly needed dinner. We wound up at Chile's where talked about some of the various BS going on at our jobs.
I picked up some Gatorade at the CVS before going back to the hotel. Mandi and I talked a bit more before finally going to sleep around midnight.
We both got up just before 8:30 and learned Merlin Missy would be joining us in about 45 minutes. Just after we both finished ours showers, Merlin called again and met us at the room. From there, we headed to Panera Bread Café for some breakfast. I got a chocolate chip bagel with butter and a lemonade.
Went back to the hotel and decided to find out where the registration desk would be. Found a few other fans waiting around and decided to take a seat. After it opened up, I ended up helping at the registration desk once again.
Around 2 or so, a number of us took off for lunch at Chile's. It was Revel, Mara, Mandi, Kayote, Lynati, 8 others and myself. Like the night before, I had the cheddar bacon burger. On the way back, we ended up talking for a while before getting ready for Opening Ceremonies.
And we all sat through Greg Weisman's usual spill. Of course, Greg nearly forgot to do the Team Atlantis: The Last part. Tsk, tsk, Greg.
Once all of that was done, a small group of us decided to go find dinner. We ended up at Celtic Knot. I got the soup and sandwich, which was grilled cheese with bacon. After that, Sarah The Great wanted to get some liquor. Once that was taken care of, all of us wound up at the Ben & Jerry's for some ice cream
I got the triple caramel. It was rather delicious. Back at the hotel, I decided to join Jen, Patrick, Mara, Gorebash and a couple others. After a while, we ended up in Susan's room about various things until 2:30 am.
I woke up around 7:15 or so and tried to get back to sleep. I think I managed to doze off until 8:30. Took a shower and then went off to Dunkin' Donuts for some breakfast. Also got a Mt. Dew to drink.
Around 10, I helped Patrick and Missy Merlin set up the registration desk. Also got to say hello to Siryn and sometime later, he husband Adam. We got a number of walk-in registrations.
We ended up talking for quite a while before closing down for the radio show. This year I decided to take nap since I didn't get as much sleep as I wanted, but told Mandi to give me a call when they were done so we could go get dinner.
We ended up at some Italian restaurant and got a pair of pizzas for our 8 person group. One we had on a deep dish wheat crust with sausage and the other was on the regular deep dish crust with pepperoni.
The food was pretty good and we wandered back to the hotel. While the rest when drink some wine and watch Dr. Who, I decided to work on my con journal and do some writing. It didn't work out too well since I ended up watching Shrek, the end of Miami Vice and some other random stuff.
I think I called it a night around 12:30 am.
All of us woke around 6:45 when Mandi's phone rang, but went back to sleep shortly afterwards. We dozed off until just before just 8:30. Missy ran off to get breakfast for herself and Mandi. I decided to browse the net before jumping in the shower and running off to get breakfast.
Once again I got Dunkin' Donuts and picked up a strawberry filled donut for Mandi. After eating, I decided to hang out with Y2Hecate in the art room after voting on the art.
As folks came in, I told them to vote on the art since by that point we only havd 4 votes counting mine. At one point, our Con chair Susan decided to buy on the comic ink pages and said "I'm not tiddly-winks with Greg Bishansky anymore." This got a pretty good laugh.
We ended chatting a while before closing down for the banquet. While Mandi and Missy changed into dresses, I changed my shift into something a little more formal. All of us join Siryn and her husband Adam at one of the tables. There were two others there, but I didn't catch their names. Dinner was salad, chicken and a fruit tart.
After we were done eating, they had a trivia contest and we blew it on the first question. Oops. Of course, this cost us in the end, but oh, well. The sudden death round took while since a few of the tables took a while to get eliminated.
After that was over, we headed back to the room for a little before the masquerade started. Mandi and Missy headed off to Sarah's room for some wine while I tried to work on my writing and journal.
There were some pretty nice costumes this year. Managed to take a number of photos and forgot who won what. I ended up circulating and getting some more photos before Thom, Flanker, Missy, Madni, Jillian, and I headed down to Thom's room to play some Uno. After a little while, Ethan and a couple others joined us. We played several rounds before calling it a night around 1:30
All of us woke up around 8 and started to pack up after showering and getting breakfast. One again, I went to Dunkin' Donuts. Got my usual marble donuts with a bottle of Mt. Dew. How I miss them in California. I ate in the room before heading up to the 9th floor to chat with others.
I chatted with Revel and Gside a little bit before helping write out receipts for folks paying for the artwork they bought. I picked up "Lucy as Sekhmet" by Spike. Around 11:30, Mandi and I went down to the room to get our suitcases out when we discovered the keys had expired before the noon check-out time.
After getting the keys fixed, we went back and got our stuff. I went back upstairs to help for a little bit while Mandi finished the checking out. I managed to chat with Y2Hecate and a couple others before we had to leave at around 12:30. I hate having to leave from another great Gathering before it totally wrapped up.
Our shuttle was a few minutes late and we got to spend the next hour winding our way to the airport. Both of us got through check-in and security rather quickly. Both of got lunch while waiting for our flights. Mandi and I said goodbye to each other around 3:40 before she boarded her 4 o'clock flight back to Baltimore.
Having a bit of time to waste for my 5:30 flight, I decided to browse one of the newsstands/ bookstores. I picked up a Chicago shooter glass to add to my collection at home. I also got a Dale Brown book, "Dreamland: Satan's Tail." It's been a while since I've read any of his books and I figured if I can't get out the laptop during the flight, I could read something.
After that, I still had a little over an hour, so I decided to dig out my laptop and watch some of Futurama season 3. A little after 5, they started the boarding for my flight and we took off on time.
Since the plane was fairly packed, I decided to read "Dreamland: Satan's Tail." The good news about the book was that it was just long enough to kill of the flight time into Las Vegas. And I'll admit that while I'm fan of military thrillers, this one wasn't all that impressive.
After the plane landed, I discovered that once again, I got to take a shuttle bus from Terminal C to Terminal B. And of course, I just had barely enough time to get a quick bite to eat before the final hop into Sacramento. There ended up being a 10 minute delay in leaving since there another flight connecting with this one was late.
Strangely, this happened to be the only flight during the entire trip for that was full. I spent most of the short flight staring out the window or reading the in-flight magazine. My trip came to an end when we landed around 9:45, thus bringing my 2008 Gathering trip to a close. And the brought about the start of saving for the 2009 Gathering.
See, gang, follow his example. START SAVING NOW!!
Con Report continued...
Set the alarm for 9 and headed on out to the radio play auditions. I was way more nervous than I thought I was so I didn't do anywhere near as well as I could have. I wound up not making the cut but I don't mind too much. It has made me determined to make it next year though. After that I pretty much just hung out in the dealer's room. If I recall correctly a bunch of us from the dealer's room went out for sushi as well. The radio play was hilarious and tons of fun. I'm not going to say more than that since it involved the next comic. The blue mug was later on that night and it was hilarious and a lot of fun.
Had to wake up kinda early yet again so we could get set up for the day in the dealer's room. After that I hit Thom's mug-a-guest where he was adorable as usual. He's just so damn sweet I can't help but go a little fanboy. *grins* The iron artist was "interesting" lol Macaroni boobs *snerk*. After that I ran out to the local comic shop to see if I could snag any of the comics and I was both disappointed and pleased. They did carry both the comics and the trade but they were sold out! =) I was able to get the scrapbook pages signed instead. As a lark I bought a figure for a couple bucks. It's out of the box so I don't feel bad playing with it. Heh The banquet was great fun although we didn't win the trivia contest. Thom sat at our table which was a fabulous treat. The masquerade had quite a few great costumes and was a treat as always. Hung out, danced, schmoozed, snapped pics. After a bit Thom invited a bunch of us up to his room for Uno. That was wonderful and something I'll never forget.
Morning had us working on getting out of the room and checking out early so we wouldn't have to worry about doing it closer to noon. After that I went to the Blue Mug Productions panel. Let's just say I look forward to seeing what comes out of that. Heh heh. Closing ceremonies were bittersweet but I greatly look forward next year.
So that's it. All in all, out of the four cons I've attended so far over the years, this was my favorite.
Our hope is that each one is better than the last...
2008 Gathering of the Gargoyles
Gorebash's Con Journal
Friday, June 27, 2008
I arrived at O'Hare to find my luggage missing. So it goes. I hopped into a shuttle and headed for Evanston, Illinois where this year's con was being hosted. The ride was less than an hour and I spent the time staring out the window. It felt like you could graft the landscape onto areas around my home town and you'd never notice the difference.
The hotel is right in the middle of the city with lots of shops and restaurants within a couple blocks. I figured I could go about picking up some new clothes the following day. I checked in and ran up to registration on the ninth floor where I was greeted by many familiar faces. It was late in the day and opening ceremonies were about to begin. I killed some time hanging out around the registration desk and the dealer's room nearby before heading over to catch the official start of the con.
Opening ceremonies was the usual affair. We met this year's con staff (who, it cannot be said enough, did an amazing job) and heard about next year's con being held in Los Angeles. We watched the pitches for Gargoyles, Dark Ages, and New Olympians as well as the leica reel for Bad Guys. We also watched the latest version of "The Last", which had quite a bit of new material added since last year. Very cool. But before any of this, there was the Gargoyles music video contest. Unlike past years the videos were shown during opening ceremonies so we all got to watch them. The videos were great, although I was a bit disappointed by the focus on Demona/Goliath/Elisa. There's just so much depth to the show that I think it might force the video producers to focus on one or two characters only. I'll have to put my money where my mouth is and see what happens.
After the show a bunch of us grabbed a bite to eat at a nearby restaurant. I had a pizza which was apparently bathed in vinegar before being served. Later on a group of us retreated to Susan's suite (one of the organizers of the con) and laughed ourselves silly for a few hours over glasses of a maple liquor that I decided tasted like pancakes. A bit of physical violence, a dash of tomfoolery and a heaping spoonful of debauchery insued, however no one got their goop in anyone else's hair.
Saturday, June 28, 2008
The pancakes were still there when I awoke in the form of a pounding headache. So with breakfast already sorted out I made my way to the radio play auditions still wearing the clothes in which I'd arrived. The funk did not detract much from my audition as I was able to air things out a bit on a rather large balcony next to the audition room. From there I could see that a couple streets around the hotel had been blocked off with white tents lining the street. It turns out that there was a street fair going on right next to the hotel.
Once the audition was over I went out in search of clothing. A nearby Gap store looked to be my savoir. I then disocvered that this Gap store (and perhaps its sisters across the country) are unaware that there are people who weight over 100 pounds. Any attempt to wear these clothes in public would result in certain wardrobe malfunctions that might generate the same kind of visceral reactions as those from "Man Faye".
I asked the front desk about nearby department stores and was told to grab a cab and tell them to go to "Target on 2-E". At least that's what I heard. The cabbie seemed to know what I meant. At first. $25 worth of cab fare later I asked him to just pull into a Wal-Mart we were passing, at which point he expressed that there had been several Wal-Marts much closer to the hotel and wondered why I'd picked a store that was so far away. He waited while I made a mad dash to grab all the essentials including several flowery Hawaiian shirts that were on sale and in "over 100 pounds" sizes.
Back at the hotel and in fresh clothes (sporting that New Clothes Smell) I found a room where episodes of Gargoyles were being shown. I thought this a nice way to kill yet more time until the Radio Play rehearsals. There were a few others there as well eating away at various fast foods from nearby locations. This immediately reminded my stomach that I was hungry and it would not shut up until food was within its grasp. A half hour later I was back watching Gargoyles armed with an assortment of fried foods. My stomach commented on its preference of onion rings to fries and my inability to reflect this in my food order, but it was satiated.
A small stage with a big cast meant many in the radio play would have to hold two or more roles. I was an exception. I'd been cast in the role of Coldsteel and we would be performing issues seven, eight and nine of the comic book (even though issue nine has yet to hit the streets; a sneak peek!) in chronological order. I tried to do my best, although it seems the way I read the lines in my head (which were perfect readings) were the exact opposite of how I would read them aloud, which frustrated me to no end.
After a twenty minute break we assembled back outside the auditorium to perform in front of everyone. Keith David (voice of Goliath) and Thom Adcox (voice of Lexington) would reprise their roles. They were both introduced to thunderous applause and I immediately challenged myself to steal even greater applause for no reason whatsoever. It's amazing what you can accomplish by playing to the crowd.
As the radio play started, so did a very strong rain storm. The dimensions of this hotel, at over nine stories tall, could still be considered "squat". Even so I believe I felt the whole building sway back and forth as the wind pounded it with incredible force. The noise alone was so great we had to virtually yell our lines out at times. And as the play ended, so did the storm. This is the power of Greg Weisman's written word.
After the play I went outside on the balcony to get a first-hand view of the storm and was in for a bit of a shock. It turns tarp and canvas supported by light, aluminum frames make excellent sails. Unfortunately the tents along the streets were never told they were not sails. There were several fire trucks and ambulances and tents strewn across the streets of Evanston, Illinois. It was so bad that all of the local news stations made there way out to cover the destruction. Later that night there would be a large pile of bent and broken aluminum structures collected at the intersection of the roads the street fair was on.
That night I was in for a treat. I had conned my way into a trip out to a nearby steak house (http://www.petemillers.com) with several of the con staff and special guests. This was not an entirely inexpensive place to eat and while I was expecting that, the eighty bucks I had brought along would barely cover my end of the bill. I'd overheard one waitress explaining how the filets were the least flavorful of the cuts offered, however they were the cheapest and that's what I ordered. Three small filets, each topped with a different spice (horseradish, parmesean, and one other that I can't remember). These were, and I'm not joking, the three tastiest pieces of meat I have ever had in my life. The garlic mashed potatoes were like buttery silk draped over wisps of air.
The dinner conversation was what I now consider "normal for the con" and almost entirely unprintable, but I think everyone had a really good time. A friend of Susan's was there (I believe her name was Nicole, although it sounded far more exotic than that) who, I was told, needed help finding the hotel and would I help. The logic behind this choice wass very flawed. We got into her car, she asked which way, and I said whatever direction in which the car is pointed. Through sheer luck this turned out to be correct and about 100 yaerds later we were at the hotel. Certain it would take the others many seconds to walk this distance I suggested we grab a drink at the hotel bar and wait for them to arrive. We did. And they did, but we didn't notice and got to talking for a bit, until I reminded via text message that our lack of presence had generated some questions. So up to the ninth floor we went for the blue mug.
The con's special guests were there to take any and all questions about any and all things that might not otherwise be appropriate to ask in mixed company. It's hit or miss each year and this year seemed between both ends of the spectrum. After an hour or two a group of us left as we were all starting to feel the later effects of the evening's beverage consumption.
Sunday, June 29, 2008
Dressed in another of my recently purchased loud and obnoxious Chicago flair I made for the dealer's room. It was becoming habit that whenever I had time to kill I would hang out in the dealer's room/registration desk area. Usually I'd wind up just pestering Rebekah who was managing the artchicks.org table. I took the time to browse the art gallery and fill out the voting slip that BrooklynX was pushing on people like a man with a handful of pamphlets on the Vegas strip. Tucked away in one corner were the works of Y2Hecate and one in particular caught my eye. It was of Fox done up as a sort of Japanese fox spirit (with fox ears and several tails). It was up for sale and I put in a bid of $25. The following day this piece of art would go home with me.
The registration desk was selling tickets to a raffle in which two cels from Gargoyles were put up as prizes. Twenty bucks got you thirty tickets and that's what I bought. One of the cels had been framed and the other was not. My kind of logic immediately identified all the problems there would be trying to carry this long, framed thing onto the airplane, so I dumped all my tickets into the decidedly non-framed cel.
It was about this time I was drafted. The Gathering auction would be held later that day and they needed some auctioneers. So Seth (IRC Goliath) and I were pulled into the fold. Seth taunted me with his ideas on how to extract bids from people at the expense of my dignity (which at this point had been worn down like a bar of soap so that all you're left with is a little sliver just before you finally decide it's not worth it and replace it with a new bar). Several others offered their support of Seth's ideas. I did not.
I took some time to head over to a nearby outdoor/wilderness store which sold, among other things, bags. Specifically luggage bags. I had bought all these clothes and I needed to bring them home in something. And like the Gap, where a plain white t-shirt will run you twelves bucks, this place was more expensive than I needed. However I was in no mood for another cab ride and settled upon a very simple backpack laced in tags that advertised this was an eco-friendly bag made of weeds and berries so that you could, in a pinch, simply eat the thing if you were hungry. Funny, that, as it'd be a more expensive meal than my previous night's dinner.
Back at the hotel I threw down a bid of three dollars on a Gargoyles clock that nobody had bid on. This too would go home with me. It was then time for the auction and we had a bit of a rough start as we worked out the logistics of what was up for auction and what was not. Anything with 1 or 2 bids from the silent auction went to the person who palced the bid (like my clock). Anything with none, three or more bids went into the auction. With that settled we began.
The auctions can be interesting affairs. Usually I'll see new stuff every year that I never knew existed. We had several hard-wired Kenner action figures, but it turns out they came in a couple varieties: American and international. The international figures have slightly different decals and the print on the packaging was different so that it could include Spanish and French versions of the text. Both versions, however, contained many brightly colored plastics. A point of value I made many times throughout the auction. A point of value many seemed to agree on as well.
Seth and I tried to make our best effort. I tried to be funny where I could. I tried to be desparate to the point of being funny where I could. I tried to be obnoxious and loud to the point of being funny where I could. It seemed to help a little bit. We sold every item up for auction, but a few are worth commenting on. First was a talking Goliath bank. These are hard to find and Keith David was going to have one. When he showed up the bidding began and quickly rose to over $150. In the end Keith won out and the bank is now his. There was also a set of four mugs with the faces of Brooklyn, Broadway, Lex and Bronx on them. Thom Adcox was after this set as he (I believe) lost his Lex mug. He eventually turned up and bidding on this item went to nearly $100. Thom eventually backed out and these went to someone else, although rumor has it a deal was struck for Thom to buy the Lex mug off the winner. Also up for auction was a complete set of the Gargoyles Applause figures which are really hard to find. Bidding for these nearly reached $300! But the big ticket piece for the evening, and the last to be auctioned off, was a framed lithograph signed by the artist and embossed with the Gargoyles logo. I had bid on a similar piece at the 2006 con except that had been just a print and it wasn't signed by the artist, nor did if have the logo embossment. This was something special and it went for a special price reaching $400!! All totalled we pulled in over a thousand dollars from the auction, all of which goes towards next year's con. After the auction we got ready for the evening banquet followed by the masquerade.
The banquet had a new feature this year in the form of a trivia contest. Tables were pitted against each other in Gargoyles trivia. My table hung in there pretty long, but eventually fell to a questiona bout Alexander Xanatos' job prior to the Space Spawn invasion. This is information you could only get from having read Ask Greg, which makes it all the more embarrasing that I didn't get it. The winning table received a bunch of prizes to divide among themselves including a bunch of nice looking Gargoyles calendars. The food itself was good, but nothing will ever be great after my trip to Pete Miller's.
After the food there was a break while the place was setup for the masquerade. A group of us went down to the hotel bar for a beer and a bit of Cubs/Sox action while we waited. The costumes were awesome. Karine had a sweet Robyn Canmore as the Hunter costume. Best in show went to a gargoyle tourist costume (complete with straw hat, Hawaiian shirt, and camera) and the Thom Adcox memorial award went to an Odin costume which included a bit of cosplay and a line about Lexington and Odin using his (Lex's) one eye. It was an appropriate award.
But while the judges worked out the awards I went back down for another beer and completely missed the raffle drawing. Upon my return, however, I was accosted by several people using words like "lucky", "rigged" and several vulgarities. It turns out that I'd actually won the cel I'd put my tickes in for. It's a scene from "Eye of the Beholder" where Goliath is fighting Fox in here werefox form with Elisa in the background holding her gun trying to get a shot. This was the very definition of awesome.
Then everyone started dancing. Some found a laptop with two controllers and a fighter game installed on it and a corner of the ballroom in which to play. Others found a guy who had just won a cel and thought he'd be better off dancing even if he was in disagreement with that particular evaluation. Who would, at one point, find himself grinding with a couple ladies in a fashion that may have resembled the beginnnings of a conga line to the daughters of one of said ladies, who immediately lined up behind their mother, along with their friends, and started to mimic what she was doing. And this cel-winning gentlemen, of high moral content, was quite certain, as the camera bulbs flashed away, that he would soon be in jail.
Late into the evening a group of us retreated back to Susan's room to finish off some spicy wines and continue from where we'd left off Friday.
Monday, June 30, 2008
The shuttle back would pick me up at about 12:30pm so I had just enough time to catch a panel on something called "Blue Mug Productions". It is to be an organization, led by a man named Edmund, which would endeavor to produce litterature and art high in quality as it is in depravity. Samples of which I was able to catch throughout the con, some of which were put on display at the panel. The one-eyed Edmund and his angels of the arts announced their works would soon be available online for a fair price to those that might wish a bit of distraction. We were shown the first few pages of the first issue of this online comic and, unlike Black Cat, the main character did get goop in her hair. So it goes.
Twelve-thirty arrived and so I departed wishing Edmund and his angels good luck.
This time my new bag, with my new clothes, made the trip without getting lost.
And it turns out my old bag, for one brief moment at 12:30pm on the very Monday, just as the Blue Mug Productions panel was in full swing, made a brief appearance at a baggage claim area in Syracuse, NY. I was left a message about this at my office and have since called them back only to find the bag has since gone missing again. Who knows where it will pop up next. China, perhaps?
Despite this, it was an awesome time that I wish could last a few weeks rather than a few days, but I'll take and enjoy every second that I get.
And no Gathering would be complete without the Gorebash!
The day of Thor:
Like last year, the Gathering is a family affair for me. My mom, sister, and two brothers all went to the con. ROAD TRIP!!!
My clan headed out at around 10:30, which was kinda surprising considering that usually when we say we're going to leave at a certain time, we leave 2 hours later, but this time we only left an hour late.
We knew we were on a tight budget from the get go. We could only stay at the hotel one night, but fortunately: I'm an Army Brat. We used to live near Chicago, and we were able to crash with an old friend. It was to her house we were headed.
Even though we were tight on money, we splurged at an Arby's on the trip down. Tris and Kathleen (or Phoenix-Talon as she prefers to call herself whenever she can find an excuse) slept part of the way, whilest my mom and I took turns driving. I expected the trip to take longer than it did, so did my mom. We arrived at Marty's (our friend)house after only about 4 hours, though the Yahoo map took us there through a lot of back-roads.
We got there and talked a little about the con with her, showed her my Grimorum Arcanorum Anthology from the '06 gathering, where I had a story as well. She'd set up the guest room for Kat and my mom, and the camper for me and my brothers. I tried to sleep in the camper, but the mosquitoes decided I was an all-you-can-eat-buffet and wanted to test the "all-you-can-eat" part.
I grabbed my pillow and the blanket I bought in Madagascar (hand-woven, high-quality, and very warm) and crashed on her couch. I couldn't get much sleep, so I spent most of the time watching TV, and thinking in full gargoyle-ish mode. I couldn't wait.
MORE TO COME:
The family that gathers together...
TUESDAY, JUNE 24TH.
Left the house with David A.K.A. VidTheKid at around noon. Got gas and then an oil change (also need to replace the air filter soon) at a local auto repair, followed by lunch. Then we finally hit the road. Arrived at Arlington Heights around 8 PM and checked into a La Quinta. Tried to call my cousin, who lives in Chicago, to make plans, but no go. She was going out of town for a friend of hers who was due to give birth within a day or so. Disappointing for me, but congrats to the new mother.
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 25TH
Bought some books at Border's and non-perishable food items (plus the new Futuama: Beast Of A Billion Backs) at Meijer's before
Did some basic exploration of downtown Chicago. VidTheKid tried to take me up to the 103rd floor of the Sears Tower, but I disappointed him (and myself) when my fear got control of me, and I just couldn't do it. Dammit. I HATE that I am afraid of heights. Oh, well, at least we saved $13. Just gotta think positive. Anyhow, when he'd gone up without me, I kept myself busy (and quickly grew bored) at the gift shop in the basement, trying (and failing) constantly to work up the willpower to go join him up there.
THURSDAY, JUNE 26TH.
Visited Woodfield Mall. Bought a 7 inch screen portable DVD player at Radio Shack for $69 (plus a $30 rebate) and some cheap (4 for $12) DVDs at FYE. Found 2 video games (but I only bought 1 to save $$$) that I'd been looking for at a GameStop. Had a pepperoni Pizza lunch at Sbarro's. Eventually, VidTheKid and I drove to O'Hare airport to pick up A Fan, and the three of us headed out. Stopped at this 50's styled diner (the atmosphere and the employees were 1950's-like. The customers weren't.) and then drove around trying to find the Orrington (I guess even full fledged roadgeeks like VidTheKid can get lost, even if he would say the contrary). Having already checked out of the La Quinta, of course, we let A Fan check in (we paid him for our share via a check later) before going to our room for a night of relaxation.
Went downstairs for a beer, and made the bad mistake of trying to say hello to some of the guests at what I didn't KNOW had been a private party, which I would hear some about later. Damn. *sighs* I can be an idiot sometimes. A friendly idiot, but still a little naive at times. Oh, well, just something to learn from, right?
End transmission. Cobra out.
NEXT: The Con, Day 1
Saying hi is fine. Don't sweat it.
Thursday - I had school so I had to get a ride home from Kerry Boyd so we could go ahead and start packing her car for the drive from GA to Chicago. Shortly after 11pm Vox Mortuum got home and we headed out for the 11+ hour drive to the con. Getting there was pretty uneventful.
Friday - We made it to the hotel shortly before noon so we were able to go ahead and check in and get set up in the dealer's room. We gave Karine her commission and she literally bounced over to get her. It was so cute. =D
Hung out in the dealer's room helping my girl and schmoozing. After a bit we were able to give the con mascot dolls that were made to the con-chair (doing so has become a bit of a tradition and our way of thanking them for all their hard work). The best part though was that we were able to give the other guests theirs. Seeing Greg Weisman, Keith David, and Thom Adcox squeeing over the dolls that my girl created made me very proud. It was wonderful seeing everyone loving her work so much.
Eventually Opening Ceremonies started. They showed the entries for the music video contest which made me want to do one or two of my own but aside from one idea which I'm not divulging yet, I don't know what I'm going to do. The three of us were starving so we slipped out during Greg's presentation of pitches and such because we'd seen them last year. Went out for dinner then staggered back to the room and pretty much just fell out.
To be continued when I'm a bit more awake.
Take your time. I'm always here.
Saturday: After only sleeping a few hours I woke up and was still feeling the effects of the 6 hour liquid heart attack drink. In fact I would say I was feeling more so. I rarely bolt of bed all hyper. I tried to ad some finishing touches on my presentation (which was sloppily thrown together a few days before). I auditioned for the Radio Play. The play is one of those things that sort of don't want to do, but when I sit and watch it I regret not participating. I love the auditioning part, I get a weird thrill out of it. Even though I've only done it a couple of times, all the material was super familiar, so I did Al Pacino reading Brooklyn. The guys laughed and I got a part. Thankfully not as big as last years. I went to Josh Silver's panel on careers in entertainment. He was a really cool dude to talk to and I hope he keeps coming to more Gatherings. I had lunch with Sarah and Aaron, and I got nervous that I would be late for my own panel on weapons. I changed into some more formal attire, grabbed my laptop and at the last minute realized there was no way to hook it up to the large flat screen monitors in the room. So I would load up an image and pass my laptop around. Overall I was very dissappointed with my panel. I didn't have any firearms or other weapons to show people, my material felt very dry. The room was full and noboby left, which was great, but the energy wasn't there. Jenn sounds interested in having me run the panel again next year. If I can make it to LA it'll be much better. Fourth time's a charm...right?
I was talking with Ed and Phil after my panel and suddenly it was time for the Radio Play. I had two smaller parts this time around. I won't get into details but I really think I bombed out on my first part. Sorry Greg. Sitting behind Keith and hearing him read Goliath was definitely my fan nerd freak out moment of the weekend. So was finally getting caught up on the comics and seeing Karine's amazing work.
After the Play I had dinner. A bunch of us went to this fancy steak joint with an over energetic waiter. Being the luckiest nerdy fanboy in the world, I got to sit with not only Thom, but Karine AND Keith! Okay brainfart time: sitting across from me, we talking about Japan and stuff. I'll remember your name as soon as I turn this computer off...
I ate a giant steak and tried to act like an adult and ordered a vodka martini. There was a tiny dead fly in it when it arrived so I asked Thom 'where's Pupert these days? Look he's in my glass!' I guess child celebrities always turn out like that.
By the time of the Blue Mug I was super tired but managed to show everyone that Navy ad on youtube that compares a Japanese recruiting video with one of Keith's. Then I fell into a small coma.
Sunday: Another great breakfast in the hotel's diner then I took in some amazing art and panels. I want to get Greg a military dress uniform and those blue curtains with the Pentagon logo behind him and he can sit there and go 'I'm not answering that...I have no information at this time...I'm not answering that...a wizard did it...'
I thought the Iron Artist competition sounded like fun, only to learn I would be subjected to horrible cruelties under Karine's menacing gaze. Macaroni art? TABERNAC!!
I was too disgusted with my entry and fled for safety afterwards, but I found out that I got honorable mention for use of boobs. At some point I got some comics off Karine and had her and Greg sign them.
Much like Saturday, it was suddenly the evening which meant the banquet and masquerade. I skipped lunch and really enjoyed the food. Karine's modern and Aaron's medevil Hunter costumes were phenomenal. I didn't know I would be attending this year until the Wednesday before the Con, so I didn't prepare any kind of costume. I never really care until I see everyone in their get ups having an awesome time. There's always next year.
Monday: I pretty much got up, ate, packed and ran around trying to make sure I said bye to everyone. Which sucks. I always hate this part of the Con. I had a long drive ahead of me and I wasn't looking forward to it. My car made me nervous when it failed to start after fueling up in Evanston. I stopped at my friend's place in MI again. If wrestling with a hyper black lab puppy doesn't improve your mood nothing will. My trip was again longer than I expected but it was worth it, I'd do it again in a heartbeat!
Overall (Cons are listed first because I'm not ending on a sad note):
Cons: Not much one on one with Greg. Next year there better be an air hockey table because that's a reliable way to get his attention.
I can't remember everyone's names and I feel stupid.
I was dissappointed with my panel, and my performance in Greg's Play.
All that driving was horrendous.
Pros: Got to spend more time with Karine, Susan, Jennifer and got to know them a bit better. Meeting Josh and Keith again is always a pleasure. Oh yeah and that Thom guy is kinda cool I guess ;)
My panel was pretty full and everyone seemed (mostly) awake. Got to meet Phil who had some insights as a Navy Corpsmen. Nobody's complained about my panel...yet.
Susan ran a f***ing great Con. The hotel was beautiful, the area was great (lots of food choices, easy to find everything). Good job Susan!
Lots of first and second timers. You guys are all super. Vicky flew from the UK! That is so awesome. I hope you guys make it out to LA next year!
I'm always up for a little air hockey.
Honorable Mentions and Corrections- (otherwise known as things I forgot to put in my con journal.)
BrooklynX was also with us at Chilli's on Friday afternoon.
I had a nice conversation with guest Josh Silver at the Masquerade and I really wish I had spent a little more time talking with him. Maybe he'll come back as a guest soon.
There were some AWESOME first-time Gathering con goers. Arazia, Ranmaru, Jillian, VickyUK, and I think she was a walk-in so I don't have her name written down, but she had short brown hair and I wanna mention her too even though her name is escaping me. I hope they had a good time. I really liked them.
After I said goodbyes on Monday, we waited just outside for Aaron. Now, in order to escape what we call in my family 'Puerto Rican goodbyes' (The phenomena of saying goodbye to everyone, giving them a kiss and then getting caught up in conversation so you have to say goodbye AGAIn, and that repeating three or four times- so really you never actually LEAVE. The PR part is by virtue of BEING Puerto Rican, but what have you... I guess other cultures have those sort of goodbyes too.)
But I got a wonderfully warm hug goodbye from Keith (so many hugs this convention!) AND he sang a song for me. It was fitting and lovely- and while it's obvious that Keith can sing/talk powerfully- it's the delicateness of his singing voice that really drives home how TALENTED he is. T'was blissful.
Also, Keith needs to learn 'The Old Man of the Mountain'- which was a song Cab Calloway did for a Betty Boop cartoon in the 1930's. I was a little surprised he didn't know it- but there's always stuff to learn.
Was REALLY spoiled this year.
Chicks are always falling for guys with... talent!
Friday: Friday was great in that I spent large chunks of Thursday preparing for it. Had the car ready, had all my travel paperwork completed. I planned on grabbing food on the road but had to wait for laundry to finish...by 1230 I had reached escape velocity and was on my way to Chicago from Meaford Ontario, (google map it, it's bloody far).
I stopped in Battle Creek MI to have dinner with a good friend I haven't seen in awhile. That ended up eating almost two hours! Once back on the road I drank one of those supicious 6 hour energy shots. They work. I got to the hotel around 1130 or midnight and couldn't find my roomie. So I talked a guy at the front desk into giving me a pass card to the room. I showered and met up with Susan, Jenn, Karine, Thom, Greg, Mara and all the usual suspects in Susan's room who seemed to be running their own Blue Mug.
Gotta run, post more in a bit...
That's Flanker for ya. He's there. He's gone. Like the wind...