A Station Eight Fan Web Site
GATHERING 2008 JOURNAL, PART THREE
June 29, 2008
Greg Weisman said last night at the Blue Mug that the automated flushing in the urinals sounded like the Green Goblin's pumpkin bombs from the Spectacular Spider Man. It sort of sounds like it when the mechanism turns on, but I'm afraid I didn't really hear it.
Anyway, I got five hours of sleep, and then my body woke me up. Took a shower, and then made my morning trip to Dunkin Donuts for a coffee and a Boston Creme. When 10 AM rolled around, I went up to the Dealer's Room. It was bit sparse in there. As I was perusing Karine's art, Jennifer "Crzydemona" Anderson came over and gave me a hug, which was random, but very cool. I like surprises.
Shortly after that, the panel on the Gargs/Bad Guys comic started, which was a lot of fun, especially towards the end, when Greg started sounding like a fanboy. Not that I blame him. I imagine it must be pretty sweet to see ideas in print after a decade.
Back in the Dealer's Room, I bought Owen from Vox, because Owen had been neglected all weekend. I also discussed a possible costume idea for next year, which would require minimum effort, since I already look like Owen a little (with my hat off and my hair cut). After that, I photographed some people in the hallway playing a game that involved dice and rapidly switching papers back and forth. Weird. From there, I went to the Con Suite for a few SSM episodes, and then got cornered by Brooklyn X into voting for art. The category I invented was Best Not For Voting. Because, let's face it, I never learn.
After that, there was the Spectacular Spider Man panel, which was a lot of fun. Keith David told a pretty dirty joke for a panel that was open for all ages. I was a little tired after that, largely due to hunger, so I decided to hit the ground floor. I grabbed some chicken fries from Burger King, and managed to beat the rain. I ran into some kids on the way back to the hotel, who saw my con badge, and started asking questions. Sadly, I had no literature on hand, so I talked a little about the Gathering, told them about LA in 2009, and gave them the link to the website.
I then brought my food up to the Con Suite, where people had switched from SSM to Season Two of Gargs. After eating, I went to the auction, hoping to see some blood, but got something even better: The Seth and Gorebash show! Those two were very funny to watch. Gore even got me to bid on some Burger King toys with his description of both light and dark Goliath colors. The guy behind me (Leo's brother, I think) actually got the reference behind my con name. And Keith David got into not one, but two bidding wars!
Spent some time after the auction standing around for autographs. My mom had asked me for Keith David's autograph, so I got her that plus a few extra ones. I also had forgotten to bring my Gargs/Bad Guys comics with me, but Karine still had two copies of Gargs #5 for sale, so I bought one for her to sign.
I dropped the stuff off in the room, then made another trip to the ground to dispose of more trash. Keith David got in the elevator as we were going down, and he initially thought my badge said "Hawkmeister." So I wound up telling him a little bit about Blue Oyster Cult. Namely that my con name is designed to pay tribute to them, and that few people really appreciate them. And this was my favorite con moment.
I didn't have much time to prepare for the banquet, so I changed clothes (from something casual to more casual). The banquet was good: Chicken marsala, garlic mashed potatoes (a very nice surprise, especially since the menu said pasta), and cooked carrots. The trivia afterwards was also fun. Jen ran out of questions. Our table got stumped on a question I knew the answer to, but it was my fault. I was stretching across the table, banging on it to try and grab Taina's attention. I should have just stood up, but I suck at being loud. Ah, well. Still a fun time.
Masquerade was after that. Lots of great costumes this year, and I actually wrote them down. Taina's Shari costume was really good, as well as Patrick Fisher's tourist costume (took Best in Show, which was well-earned). There were two Hunter costumes, both of which rocked. I can't believe Karine actually found thigh holsters. Justin had a very amusing cosplay moment as Odin.
I mingled for a bit, even though the room was like a meat locker. Eventually, JEB set up his laptop and started running a program called Mugen, which is a street-fighting game emulator containing any character you could ever think of from anything. The first time I played was as Fat Albert. I fought Dragon Claw, and got owned. Then I tried playing as the Hard Hat from the Mega Man series, and got my ass handed to me by Batman. I fluctuated the rest of the night between gaming, and watching some musical numbers. I went back to the room between 12:30 and 1 AM, and found Leo and Taina watching a DVD of "Porky's." I was getting tired, so I jotted some stuff down, looked over a few of the pics, and then fell asleep with the movie still going.
June 30, 2008
Got up at around seven to say goodbye to Taina before she left for the airport. After that, I drifted in and out of sleep until nine, then threw on a shirt and went downstairs for my muffin and coffee fix, and then upstairs to pick up some art I'd bid on. After that, I went down to the Post Office to mail the art and autographed materials to my home address (I didn't trust sticking them in my suitcase).
I actually had some time to kill before the Blue Mug Productions panel, so I hung out outside the Dealer's Room. Me, Gore, Arno and some other person had been chatting about Station 8 for a while, and then a shady figure who looked like Greg Weisman, but was missing an eye, came up to the table. Then the panel started. The schedule was misleading, though. Greg Weisman never showed up. Instead, it was that strange figure in the eyepatch, whose name was Edmund Tsabard. It was still a good time. So many bad puns! I also put my name down for the mailing list.
Had time before Closing Ceremonies, so I went to the Dealer's Room for munchies, and also said goodbye to Mandi and Brooklyn X. Then Ceremonies started. It was fun watching the same people get up to accept awards (but they didn't have too many people enter the art show this year). Hopefully, Spike won't get upset by the NOT FOR VOTING Award. After that, people were mostly hanging out or trickling off, since they had flights to catch. Said goodbye to Bishansky as he was literally running out the door. Keith David also popped in at one point to wish us all well. Eventually, it was just a handful of us (ones I remember were Greg, Thom, Karine, Jen, Phil, Nikki, Seth, Patrick, and a few others). Had some amusing conversations, and watched Karine do some body art on a few people. Also, despite Jen's admonishing, I did write down "lemon party" for future reference. I've read Encyclopedia Dramatica's article on Rule 34. I can withstand anything. It was also fun listening to some "war stories" from people who are more seasoned con-goers than me.
Eventually, though, people began to migrate downstairs en masse. JEB and I wondered if the field trip to the Pier was still on, but it looked like a huge van was leaving for the airport with several con-goers. A few others, Carl and CKayote, departed on foot, and then the hotel began to feel empty, and the bittersweet "end of the Gathering" feeling began to take hold. Last con, I had to leave before Closing Ceremonies, so I never felt it. This year, not so lucky. I've heard others write about it, but I don't think I can describe it.
Anyway, JEB and I resolved to meet up later. I gave him my room number, and went upstairs to decompress. Opened the wine I bought, and had a glass while I updated my journal. There was nothing good on TV, so I went for a walk after that. I found a few music stores, including a more "underground" one where I picked up an old Yes vinyl (1974's "Relayer." Roger Dean's artwork on the old Yes albums was eff-ing gorgeous).
Took a catnap in the room after that, then JEB came downstairs and we searched for a place to eat. We decided on a pizza place not far from the hotel. It wasn't bad, but the crust left something to be desired. He and I had a good chat over dinner about the Gathering's history, how we discovered the Gargs fandom, and this year's hotel versus last year's. After dinner, I walked around the block and smoked a cigar (against my better judgment, I stopped off in the same cigar store today, after visiting the Post Office). Stopped off in the room again to rehydrate, and then walked down to Border's, where JEB and I hung out a little bit more and talked about Manga and Adult Swim with another patron. By then, it was dusk, and JEB said he needed to pack for his flight tomorrow. So I went back to my room, and actually showed up same time as Leo.
Nothing much to do for the rest of the evening except pack, drink some more wine (I offered to Leo, but he refused), and do some reading. Leo thought the cover of the Yes record I bought looked like something from a Monty Python movie. I also tortured Leo with a few things on Adult Swim before finally going to bed.
July 1, 2008
Leo left shortly after I got up, which was of course before my alarm went off. We said our goodbyes, then I jumped in the shower, and went down to Dunkin Donuts for my final breakfast there. I'm gonna miss that place. The guy even recognized me and said he'd see me tomorrow, so I had to tell him I was flying home in a few hours. So he thanked me for coming. Nice guy.
I scarfed my donuts, made a final check around the room to make sure nothing was left behind, and got rid of the mangos Leo tortured Taina with (don't ask) by tossing them into the alley from the ninth floor balcony. I did it rather quickly, due to the number of witnesses milling around down there. Then I checked out, and read in the lounge while waiting for the shuttle. The shuttle actually arrived a few minutes early. On the way to the airport, we passed a restaurant called "Bluestone's," but my camera was deep in my bag. The flight from O'Hare was also early. Made record time checking in, and was able to grab a root beer and some pizza on the way to the gate. I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop, but... no. The flight departed and arrived smoothly, and it was on time. I claimed my bag after getting off the plane in Richmond, took the shuttle to the Economy Lot, and found my car. Only ran into traffic on the final road to my house. I stopped at the Dragon Inn for takeout, since I knew I'd be too tired to cook.
Arrived home, looked through the mail, scarfed some Lemon Chicken and a beer, uploaded pics and started to unpack. And thus concludes things. For now. If the Gods are willing, there will be another journal in 2009.
I should have put a header on the last entry. As you may have guessed, it was GATHERING 2008 JOURNAL, PART ONE. So here's:
GATHERING 2008 JOURNAL, PART 2.
June 27, 2008
Woke up surprisingly early, largely due to the fact that my stomach was growling. After I showered, I ran downstairs and out to Dunkin Donuts for a coffee and something frosted. Went back up to the room after getting breakfast, and watched Leo's DVD of "They Live" with the roomies. I don't think that Taina had ever seen the legendary sunglasses fight.
Shortly after 10 AM rolled around, I ran down to the ATM in the lobby, but aborted that mission when I saw the $2.50 surcharge. Taina and I then tried unsuccessfully to get an elevator, and wound up taking the stairs to the Ninth Floor. Then we started searching for the James Room, taking time to laugh at all the funny room names (she got a big kick out of "Noyes Room"). We picked up our registration packages, and then I mingled for a bit. Brooklyn X and I exchanged horror stories about our flights. It also turned out there was a fun map in the registration package, which showed a comic store nearby.
The roommates were planning to the city, but I had been to Chicago twice before. So I went down to search for the comic store, and actually managed to find it. The owner had the "Gargoyles" comic in with the children's comics, which I found amusing. I bought the one Gargs comic they had (#6), and also bought another graphic novel of the Lucifer series ("Wolf Beneath the Tree").
I attended the voice-acting panel after that, which had more of a seminar feel than it did last year. After that, I made my first trip to the Dealer's Room. I bought a T-Shirt with Crzydemona's "Evil Shouldn't Look This Good" picture, so I can now die a happy man. I looked at some of the other shirts (wound up buying another later on in the weekend), and checked out some of the crocheted Gargoyles characters that were for sale.
After that, I started talking with Bishansky, Aaron, and Mara after Mara noticed my GIR shirt. A large group of us eventually decided to go to Chilis: myself, Mandi, Brooklyn X, Revel, Aaron, Mara, Emambu, Kayote, a con virgin whose name escapes me, and two people making a documentary on the Gathering.
I was reminded why I don't go to Chilis very often. It's a great place, but there's too many things on the menu to choose from. I flipped through it back and forth about five times before deciding on mushroom jack fajitas. Tried to follow on the conversation, which mostly involved random movie and cartoon quotes. Mara mentioned something to the filmmakers called a "gar-gasm," but I didn't hear her explanation of it too clearly. After lunch, we stopped on the walk back to the hotel and started chatting about more stuff. Then the rain started to pick up.
I went back to the room to drop some stuff off, and then went down to the 2nd Floor for Opening Ceremonies. Got lost on the stairs. As I was going down, I met Gorebash and Karine coming up, who informed me the stairs were a dead-end. So we all went back to the third floor, where we managed to catch an elevator. Opening Ceremonies only ran for about two hours. And Greg Weisman didn't break anything this time. But he did almost forget the reel for "Atlantis: The Last." After they were over, I finally made my withdrawal from the CVS around the corner. I ran into Thom Adcox in the lobby on the way back, and he seemed to remember me, which was cool.
Met up with the roommates again after that. Taina told me about how she'd gotten her picture taken with Keith David. We hung out in the room for a bit and watched some "Samurai Jack" episodes. I tried unsuccessfully to find the Subway after that. I passed it yesterday while scoping out the neighborhood, but could not remember where it was (and it was listed on the map, but I was looking in the wrong spot). Made a few circles around the block while smoking my cigar, and then gave up. It was a nice night, but a little humid. They also appeared to be setting something up on Church Street.
I went back to the hotel room and wound up eating leftovers for dinner while we watched Leo's brother's DVD of "Heavy Metal." We mostly MSTed it, especially the last half-hour. I think they watched "Flesh Gordon" after that. I wasn't really interested, so I just read (and threw in the occasional smart-ass comment) until I nodded off.
June 28, 2008
Again, I awoke after six hours of sleep without even trying to. Went down to Dunkin Donuts again for coffee and a muffin, and chatted for a bit with a vendor. Turns out the thing they were setting up for last night was an art fair.
Taina was still in the shower when I got back, and Leo and Doppleganger were nowhere to be found. So I took Leo's DVD of "Total Recall" out and put in "Invader Zim." We watched the first episode of that (my roomies came back as it was warming up), and then we headed up to the 9th Floor. Vox told me that she was giving discounts if someone were to buy a "couple." So I bought Xanatos and Fox as gifts for my goddaughter and her brother. Then I checked out some artwork. Mara had a number of good ones up for bid. It was hard for me to bid on just one.
After that, I searched for the Fed Ex Kinko's and found out it no longer existed. So I scouted out where the Post Office was. Mission partially accomplished, I hiked up to the Con Suite. Initially, it was just Seth and Sammy in the Suite with Gargoyles: Season One going in the background. Had a nice chat with Seth about Spectacular Spider Man, and then a few more people wandered in. I ran downstairs twenty minutes before the 1:00PM panel on weapons was supposed to start, and entered the art fair to grab lunch. Decided on a grilled chicken skewer over lo mein noodles, then ran upstairs while snacking to catch the end of "Awakening."
After that, I went to the weapons panel, which was a lot of fun. I decided to stick around for Karine's panel on character perspectives and dimensions. I always like watching artists work, though it makes me jealous the way they make it look so easy. I just don't have the gift. But I'm gifted in other things. Like sarcasm.
After that, I went into the Dealer's Room, and had a fun chat with GregX about Venture Brothers. He's memorized more of the Monarch's dialogue than I have. Eventually, it moved out into the hallway, where we chatted with Matt until it was time for the Radio Play. This one surprised me, mostly because I agreed with Matt that I didn't think it could be formatted for Radio Play. Won't say anything more, other than I learned something unexpected.
During the Radio Play, we could hear a storm raging outside, but the room was windowless. After the play was over, I went out onto the balcony and saw that the Art Fair below had taken a good beating. So after a stop off in the room, I went down to ground level for some close-ups of the devastation. Saw some outhouses that got knocked down, as well as a huge pile of tent supports that were being stacked in an intersection.
Anyway, I went to the lounge next to the hotel after that to get my sushi fix. A little pricey, but I love sushi. After dinner, I saw Matt and his friend Ryan hanging around outside. I chatted with them for a bit, until they went off to dinner with another friend, so I went back to the room, where I found the roomies watching more "Samurai Jack." At one point, I went to the lobby to chuck some trash, and ran into another con-goer named Shadow Wing. I had an interesting discussion with him, but it got cut short since the ride he was waiting for arrived.
I went back up to the room, watched another Jack episode, and then decided to grab some ice cream from Ben and Jerry's before going upstairs to the Blue Mug a Guest. This year,I managed to stay up to the end, and boy was it fun. I saw an amusing Navy ad that I need to look for on Youtube. Also, the location where Keith David bought his cigar is a dark secret. He could tell me, but then he'd have to kill me. We also saw Thom do his impression of Goliath and Elisa having sex, and got Greg's more, um, honest opinions on a few plot points in the movie "Iron Man."
By the end of the Mug, I was a bit buzzed on Vault. After it broke up, GregX briefly told me about his dinner, and then I crammed into an elevator with Thom Adcox and about nine other attendees, and proceeded down to the room for rest.
To be concluded...
So is that the fourth trip to CVS...
June 25th, 2008
Woke up before my alarm. Funny how I never seem to be able to do that on weekdays. Got up, grabbed a shower, bowl of rice krispies, and some coffee. Made sure I'd packed everything, and then sat and visited with my grandparents for a bit, who'd come down from Maryland because my grandfather was having lumbar surgery. After that, I hit the road.
The flight at Richmond International was only delayed by about an hour, but it was okay. I had a good novel to read ("Count Zero," the second book in William Gibson's Sprawl Trilogy). I got my first good omen when we boarded, and my window curtain refused to open. I got my second good sign when the captain announced they were delaying takeoff due to maintenance issues. The clincher occurred after we arrived at O'Hare. My seat was close to the cockpit, and I overheard the captain loudly remark that he was glad they were getting out of that jet and onto another. Whatever. I arrived with my organs intact.
I went to pick up the rental after I'd claimed my bag. The woman asked me if I wanted to upgrade from a PT Cruiser to a Mustang for only six bucks. Gee, that was a tough choice. Sadly, there was a lot of traffic on the road to De Kalb (I was spending Wednesday night with my aunt and uncle), so I couldn't really test the horsepower. The sound system was nice, though.
I had a nice visit with my aunt and uncle. It was fun trying to name a movie that Uncle Dave might have seen Keith David in (best I could do was "Crash." For some reason, "Platoon" never came into my mind). Also played some Star Wars: Battlefront on Xbox Live with my cousin (shot Ewoks with a sniper rifle. Yay!), and I received word that my grandfather made it through surgery. We ate a late dinner, but it was delicious. My aunt made rattatouille and spinach crepes with cous cous (and strawberry shortcake with ice cream for dessert). After that, I drank some wine while we watched my cousin's DVD of "Batman Begins." Went up to bed after that.
June 26, 2008
I rose, ate breakfast, and departed from my aunt and uncle's house at about 10ish. Turns out the Mustang isn't very fuel efficient. So I think the extra six bucks wasn't a fair trade, after all. I put gas in the rental, dropped it off, and after following the wrong signs at O'Hare for a bit, managed to find the shuttle service. The shuttle driver didn't seem to talk much, despite my efforts to start conversation. But I still gave him a tip when we got there.
I ran into Greg Bishansky in the lobby, and we were both checking in at the same time. As I dumped my bags in my room, he called and invited me to hang out for a bit before other con staff began arriving. So I went upstairs to his room. He and I had a nice chat (interrupted briefly when Leo arrived, and I went downstairs to give him a key) interspersed with viewings of various animated things as well as some clips from the Colbert Report.
After that, he needed to prepare for the arrival of the other staff, so I went downstairs, unpacked some essentials, took another minute to laugh at the ludicrous prices of the snacks available in the room, and then went down to CVS to buy more affordable provisions. I picked up some snacks and caffiene, and when I got back to the hotel, bumped into Bishansky and Leo in the lobby, so I stopped to chat. In the process, I was regaled with amusing tales from past cons.
I finally got my stuff up in the room after getting a call from my cousin, who's working at Northwestern for the summer, a block and a half from the hotel. After stashing the goods, I went back downstairs, where Greg was still waiting for the con staff, and chatted with him (mostly about the sorry state of our flights) until my cousin showed up. He and I then found a Panera's not far from the hotel, and got some sandwiches (I had a Bacon Turkey Bravo, not my usual).
We parted ways after we ate, since he had more RA meetings. I made a second trip to CVS (forgot to get bottled water the first trip), then hit a wine and cigar store, respectively. The proprietor of the latter, an elderly Indian man, simply said, "we close in five minutes. Find what you want fast."
Anyway, after that, I went back up to the room, and had a fun chat with Leo about movies and Robot Chicken. Then I realized I had no spoons with which to consume the pudding I bought. So I took another trip down to CVS. Doppleganger and DTaina arrived shortly after I got back. We tried for a while to hook up Taina's PS2 in order to watch DVDs. For some reason, the volume on the TV was a little weak. Figures. They charge through the nose for everything else, and the TV doesn't work. Still, swankier than the last hotel (which was not without its charm). We turned on the subtitles while we watched Leo's DVD of "Orgazmo," which was pretty funny. Then we all drifted off after that.
To be continued...
Sounds like a good start. Only three CVS trips...
My con journal. ^..^
After work, I packed up the last few things I needed and headed off to pick up Ethan from class. Some final preparations were in order while we waited for Vox to get home, and then we were off.
Vox drove through the night; I had the morning shift. We arrived at the hotel at about noonish, checked in and headed for the dealer's room to set up the small army of dolls. Those that were to be guest gifts were given out: Thom got a Lexington, Greg and Keith each got a Goliath, and the con-chair received the mascot dolls. Karine was so ecstatic to receive her Robyn Canmore (in her Bad Guys Hunter outfit) that I believe it never left her side the rest of the day. Paula, of Mystick Waboose, was also there with her very amusing t-shirts and lovely clothes. We had fun talking to her last year, and this year her company was just as good. ^..^
Spent the rest of the time before Opening Ceremonies working on fleshing out a sketch I'd brought with me, but that was put on hold as soon as the festivities began. I was surprised to see the number of new people there: it seemed like a third of the room had never been to a Gathering before. As usual, everything was entertaining, and we even got to see the music video entries this time. Unfortunately, we got so hungry we missed out on this year's showing of "The Last."
Wandered off to find some good food, and boy did we find it (good food seemed to be everywhere). That night it was the Celtic Knot, a very reasonably-priced restaurant with dishes based, naturally, in the British Isles. Vox had a very light salmon covered in pesto atop a bed of spinach, Ethan had something that was the equivalent of beef stew in a pastry, and I had marinated London broil with fingerling potatoes and broccoli. So tasty! After that we shuffled back to the room and promptly fell asleep.
I wasn't planning on doing the radio play this year, so my day was pretty easy. Hung out in the dealer's room, gabbed a bit, and inked the sketch. Round about lunchtime we decided to group up for food: took Paula and a couple of other people in search of reasonably priced sushi. Sashimi Sashimi had it, and it was fabulous. Best dragon roll I've ever had, and we had it again for lunch a time or two. ^..^
The radio play went well considering the reformatting that had to be done. I like the story better in nonlinear format, but that totally wouldn't have suited the play at all, and everybody did a great job on what Greg turned it into. ^..^ Dinner that night was fun. We followed a tantalizing smell to the FlatTop Grill, which is a place kind of like a Mongolian barbeque. All the raw ingredients and sauces are there to pile into bowls. If you want any extras (or have allergies), there are little plastic sticks you put into the bowl. Then they cook it on a giant hibachi grill, pour it all into a big red bowl, and bring it to you. And it was fabulous! They also had really good drinks. Their pomegranate lemonade was really tasty, and the pomegranate margarita was great, and we had a good laugh as the others partook of their signature beverage: the Horny Monkey. LOL Then it was on to the Blue Mug, which was hilarious and lasted until about 1am. After that we crawled back to the room for some rest.
Up and back out to the dealer's room. By the end of the day, my pic had a background and was fully colored (thanks to the borrowing of a laptop for reference). The bio & culture panel was good again this year; we got a pretty full explanation of the mechanisms behind the gargoyles' eyes lighting up, among other things. Ran out for lunch, and then it was time for the Iron Artist competition. Theme: the Ultrapack. Secret Ingredients: uncooked pasta and glue! I handed out some paper and let people borrow my colored pencils, and we got furiously to work. After an hour of grousing, requests to hand things over, giggling, and pasta-smashing, people in the hallway were "kidnapped" for voting purposes. I didn't win, but it was definitely a fun thing to participate in, and I'll try to whenever we have one.
Ethan and Vox got all pretty for the banquet and dance; I would have, but I'd forgotten to bring anything nice (and I'm not sure any of it fits properly anymore >..< ). The food was pretty good, and the dessert was very good. Note to self: fruit tarts are yummy. Thom and Gorebash were at our table, so we did pretty well on the trivia, but eventually we fell to a Gargoyles 2198 question. It was fun seeing the staff come up with so many extra questions, though. We all knew so much that they ran out. ;P
The Masquerade was definitely a treat, as I didn't get to go last year (we had to bug out in the middle of the banquet). Plenty of good costumes and a fun time. The dance was okay, but the music wasn't really inspiring me, so after a couple of times on the floor I just watched. Then I got an invite for Uno and snacks in Thom's room, so of course I went. ^..^ That was great fun. I won once, the snacks were good, and we got to laugh at the television (and show Thom some very unmentionable internet pictures LOL). More staying up till 1am, then crashing.
Ran things around to make sure checking out wouldn't be a problem, then hit the Blue Mug Productions panel. I have to say that this will be a very interesting endeavor, and I think the fandom's prurience will be happily satisfied. :P
Then we bundled into the car and I began driving. The way home was more eventful due to missing a turn around some construction and other things, but eventually Vox took over and got us home in one piece. Dropped the others off home and dragged myself to my house, where I promptly collapsed into bed.
All in all, a good con, though I'm glad driving isn't an option next year. That was exhausting. It took me until yesterday to recover. x..x I look forward to seeing everybody again next year, and maybe this time I'll actually be in the art show instead of just looking at it.
Participation is ALWAYS encouraged!
My Gathering 2008 Con Journal, the conclusion.
SUNDAY, JUNE 29TH
Woke up. Showered. Went to the comic book panel, hosted by Greg W. and Karine. A fun way to kill an hour. Didn't really get anything out of it, but it was pleasant.
Killed some time at the library.
Returned to the hotel a little while and headed upstairs for the 'Spectacular Spider-man' panel hosted by Greg w., Jennifer Anderson, and Thom Adcox. Asked Greg (no pun intended) a couple of questions ('Will Harry return in season 2?' 'Will we have Spiderman DVD season sets, like Gargoyles?') but mostly I just sat and listened. There will be DVD sets coming soon, but not as a season compilation. More like those 3 episodes per volume kind that I generally tend to associate with Anime. Not that Spiderman is anime, of course.
Though now I'm pondering what an anime version of Spiderman would be like. Damn you, overactive imagination!
Didn't stick around for the live auction, but I returned to the Bonbright Room at 3:30 for Autograph Signing (I'd figured there would have been a anthology signing session. Boy, was I dead wrong.) and did... nothing. Boredom the entire time. Only one person had asked for my autograph, and that was in line for Radio Play auditions. And it was more of a 'you're here and I have my anthology, so I might as well ask' thing then a 'Thanks for writing this submission! You rock and I want your John Hancock!'
Eh, no sense complaining.
Joined A Fan, Ranmaru, Azariel (sp?), VidTheKid, and those 2 girls with the camera (the ones filming a documentary about the con) for the 8th annual Anti-banquet at Giordano's. Pizza was delicious, but rich, so I got full fast. Halloweenking had come in and asked if he could join us, and we said sure, but apparently the waitress had seated him elsewhere. Oh, well. If I ever go to Chicago again, for whatever reason, I definitely need to eat at Giordano's again. That pizza was like heaven. Not too saucy, delicious pepperoni, and the crust was flaky in a exquisite crunchy sort of way. Big thumbs up to them. If they have Giordano's in L.A., (though I somehow doubt they do) Greg, you should definitely go there. Assuming you like pizza.
Rained heavily. Again. What was it with Illinois weather??
The 4 of us (minus Hal and the girls) went back to the Orrington. Ranmaru and Azariel changed into their costumes in our room, and we headed down to Masquerade.
The Masquerade. Lots of picture taking. Got one with Ranmaru and Azariel, just b/c I hadn't had any taken of me yet and I wanted at least one. Kudos to Flanker for playing Odin and to the guy (girl?) who played 'The Gargoyle Tourist'. Kind of looked it could've been Brooklyn's grandma or something. :P
Lot of dancing afterwards, though I'm not enthused in that activity, so I just watched a lot. Wandered around the room in boredom and hoping to mingle. Eventually got caught up in Jeb's 'Mugen' video game he had set up in one corner of the room. I played such characters as Piccolo from DBZ, Naruto from, well, Naruto, Sonic The Hedgehog, and even Fat Albert. A decent sized crowd remained constant, and everyone alternated between watching participating.
I eventually started having trouble keeping my eyes open, so I called it a night and sluggishly dragged my tired ass upstairs. Comfy bed, how I have missed you.
MONDAY, JUNE 30TH
The last day was here. Fast and bittersweet. Some things never change. At least I've made a few new friends. :)
On my way out of the hotel, Thom got on my elevator and we were so busy talking that I forgot to pay attention what floor I got off at, and I couldn't get back on. My response? 'Oh, s**t.'
After all that, my first panel of the day (because it snatched my curiosity) was the 'Blue Mug Productions' thing, at 11:30, in the Bonbright Room, (as I write this, I'm suddenly thinking of Clue, for some reason. :P) hosted by Greg W., Jen Anderson, Karine, and Mara Cordova. They showed off some artwork, gave some character descriptions for their first online comic, plugged their new website (www.BlueMugProductions), and answered some questions. Sounded intriguing, and I approve. Trouble is, I kept thinking to myself (God, I must sound so cheap) that due to finances and my not splurging too often, I'd probably just look at the free stuff.
Closing Ceremonies. What I wouldn't have given for the con to have gone a little slower. Like I said, bittersweet. Some plugging for next year's con (back in L.A. so I am definitely gonna be there!) and the usual handshakes. Saluted Thom.
And, with that, the con was over.
For another year.
VidTheKid and I, having decided to skip the Navy Pier trip (how did that go BTW?), left right afterwards, the three of us having already packed up and checked out. Dropped A Fan off at O'Hare and drove home, stopping once for gas in Indiana. Had lunch at a Steak N' Shake (another highly recommended restaurant, though service can be a bit slow, from experience) outside Lafayette. We were several miles down the freeway when I realized I'd left my hat there (Doh!), but we decided it wasn't worth it. Price of gas was/still is 3 times as much as I'd paid for that dumb cap.
Tried twice to watch 'Futurama' with commentary on the portable DVD player. The first time the car was moving so much that the disc was skipping. The second time we tried, VidTheKid couldn't hear the audio. We gave up.
We eventually hit 70-West and followed it onto state route 142, following it home. It was after 11:00 PM when we finally ended our journey.
Another year, another fun con.
Until G2009 in L.A., good luck.
I'll watch for Spiderman season 2.
Spider-Man, Season Two - coming in MARCH!
As for www.bluemugproductions.com ...
Don't assume it's going to be that expensive. Charter members will get a HUGE discount. So sign up for alerts at the website.
So things began early Friday morning for Michele (Spacebabie) and myself. Sadly I miss the days we could drive 2 or 3 days across country to get to the hotel in our pimped mini van or other vehicle of choice. But working aound time at work can be difficult. Nevertheless we made due with an ungodly early United Airlines flight. I napped a little on the plane but was in the middle and the person next to me snored.
There were reports of bad weather moving into the Chicago area, in fact it was suppose to rain on and off all weekend. Apparently though we had the Cowboy pilot who did not care how much fuel he was going to use and sped up to get us in and on the ground before the weather moved in. Fine by me! So we got in, no with no problems, the bags came out early, the shuttle got us to the hotel, all without incident. There was a slight mess up at the hotel with the reservation, I had set it with my name and Greg Bishansky's name as well, but apparently they thought I was a no show and cancled me. We got it straightened out and bags stowed.
First order of business was of course to get signed in at the Reg Desk, always a great opportunity to see and chat with people you have not seen in a year. Which is really amazing how after a year, how great it is to talk in person with someone you should keep better tabs on, would be great to hang more often than once a year for 4 days. Anyhow, I next went and got my art, which thankfully all survived the trip perfectly intact. I only had 4 pieces to show but I was proud of all 4 of them.
I received a lot of good feedback and compliments for many artist I am in total envy of and respect. It took a lit to keep from just breaking out into SQUEES, but I maintained my professionalism. I checked out what others had brought and though the show was a bit small the work presented was as top notch as always. We just have really bad ass talented people in our little fandom.
A good number of us moved to the voice acting panel, which I have attended before but it is always fun, you get to hear professional tips and stories about things that can go on in the sound booth. I got to read a few lines as the Sybiote which was fun, not sure if I hit the part right but it was fun.
Next up was the Radio Play Auditions, it's gotten to a point that if Emambu and I DON'T audition we get all kinds of pleading looks, him more so than I, of course. I read for Elisa which I had not used her sheet before and acutally liked it quite a bit, they are smooth and easy lines to get some character behind male or female and even sound ok with a Scottish accent. I did get a part but that comes later.
Spacie was feeling sleepy and went to take a nap during auditions and after which a group of us went to Chili's for lunch I got the 4 mini burgers which were quite good. I then got scolded by Michele for not waking her up to go... oops (dork!) Opening Ceremonies is always fun, some of the videos were cut out this year, but they can be found on the DVD set (BUY THEM!) so it started with the fan made AMVs and then moved into the more Con exclusive materials and stories. I've seen and heard them 8 times now and still love it. Which once again, there were many con-virgins, now if we can just get some more repeats we are so golden.
Spacie was hungry and we decieded to try something different, some Indian food. Now I was still mostly full from Chili's but part of being at con is being social, so I settle for a soup and salad. Gside had a Lamb curry and michele had a chicken dish. It was good, very greasy but good. As with tradtion on the first day we went back to the hotel and hung out and caught up with long time friends, new peopel always welcomed to hang out as well. I think we went to bed sometime around 1am or so.
Elisa as a guy with a Scottish accent... where else but a Gathering do you get to hear that?
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!